Friday, October 30, 2009

Ribs and Biscuits

The Chefs: Abby and Alisha

The Menu: Hello, lovely. This meal might have been the most hearty, savory lunch we've ever had. Abby, and her sister Alisha who's in town visiting, busted out some delicious meatless ribs, a perfect spinach salad with sunflower seeds and homemade dressing, broccoli with grated carrots covered in melted Daiya, and, the grand finale, Daiya biscuits. Um, maybe Abby makes the best biscuits on the planet, and maybe they are even better filled with Daiya. We're just saying.

The Goods: Boo! Happy Halloween (Eve), everyone! Don't forget to go see Lyndsay and Liz at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival this weekend, where they'll be giving out a free Go Max Go candy bar with every subscription. It is entirely possible that some of our staff tried to renew their (complimentary) subscriptions today to try and snag one of these bars.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pancakes A' Plenty

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Pancakes! Lyndsay whipped up a batch of gluten-free pancakes from Purely Elizabeth, which were lovely. She also roasted a bunch of root vegetables, which were seasoned perfectly.

The Goods: We are thisclose to leaving for the last SF Vegan Drinks of the year. If you're in The City, come see us!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ike's Sandwiches

The Chef: The team at Ike's Place

The Menu: Um, Ike's. These are the best sandwiches in the world. You can disagree if you want to, but do so knowing that you're wrong and making a mockery of yourself. Fresh, soft Dutch crunch bread, tons of veggies, Dirty Sauce, and any number of fillings make these sammies the be-all-end-all sandwiches. We ordered the Backstabber, a couple Womanizers, Nacho Boy, Chester the Cheetah on gluten-free bread, Eli Manning, and the Meatless Mike—all vegan, of course. When you eat an Ike's sandwich, there's no room for salad.

The Goods: Today has been semi-calamitous here at the VNHQ. Yes, the internet likes to go out when we're working on e-newsletters; yes, the printer decided take a little unexpected break in the middle of printing; and yes, we've all been thinking Office Space kinds of thoughts all day. But! Today is also a special occasion, as it's the one-year anniversary of our relaunch of To properly punctuate this momentous milestone, we had lunch generously catered by Ike's Place. Let's just say that after these sandwiches, all seems right with the world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Curry and Rice

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A super-flavorful Indian curry with tons of veggies! If there's anything a team of vegans likes better than a plate full of vegetables, we don't even want to know about it. Brown rice made the base for our satisfying meal, and we topped it with a yummy curry of potatoes, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and chickpeas. Then we sprinkled Daiya over everything, mostly because we could.

The Goods: Today's meal was totally fantastic in its own right, but, sadly, it really didn't stand a chance in comparison with what we're having tomorrow. In celebration of a spectacular, surprise event, we're having lunch catered by none other than our beloved Ike, of Ike's Place. OK, there might be one thing vegans love more than a plate full of vegetables: a smorgasbord of sandwiches!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mexican Medley

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A delicious serving of black beans that we sprinkled generously with Daiya, and a too-good savory tofu scramble with grated carrots, spinach, and Mexican spices. What goes great with any main course? Dollops of Vegenaise and Frankie's barbecue sauce, of course!

The Goods: It's a fast-and-furious week here at the VNHQ—oh, and it's only Monday. We're putting the final polish on the editorial for our January+February issue, and just finished our first-ever cookbook! That's right, this time next week you'll be introduced to our totally digital, completely amazing, drool-inducing Holiday Cookie Collection. This is the big time, people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Grilled Cheese Friday

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Delicious open-faced grilled-cheese sandwiches with fresh halved cherry tomatoes, basil, and Daiya on whole-wheat bread. Colleen made an incredible marinated kale salad with carrots, red cabbage, and the perfect balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: It's Friday, and Colleen arranged for a little surprise. Lyndsay's mom decided to fly out for a surprise visit from St. Louis, which made us all jump around with glee when we saw her come into the office. It's always wonderful to have lunch guests, and is even more so when we're not expecting them! (OK, so long as at least one person is in on it...) It's also sunny and gorgeous, and all over things are pretty much fantastic. We hope everyone thoroughly enjoys the weekend, and we'll see you Monday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Italian Tomato Soup

The Chef: Sara

The Menu: A delicious, chunky tomato soup with pasta, garbanzo beans, spinach, and black beans, which we heartily topped with Daiya. The Italian theme continued to the salad, which featured cherry tomatoes and pine nuts, along with avocado and romaine. Finally, slices of toasted rustic bread with Earth Balance rounded out the meal.

The Goods: We have tons of good news today! First, congratulations to Caitlin H for her winning comment from yesterday's giveaway! Caitlin, please send us an email with your full name and mailing address, and your Sjaak's Peanut Butter Cups will be on their way to you! Next, it should be noted that Sara did a fantastic job as chef today, but there is one other chef about whom we are pretty excited. Tal Ronnen, who penned our Book of the Year, is appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show today (or has already appeared on it, depending on your time zone!), and we're absolutely thrilled for him, for veganism going totally mainstream, and for the animals.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Milestone Meatless Ribs

The Chefs: Abby and Frankie

The Menu: Yes, those are Frankie's Falsies ribs. Yes, they are just as delicious as we remembered them. Abby roasted these babies up and doused them in Frankie's barbecue sauce, which was absolutely perfect. She also made her signature biscuits—Abby can whip these up in about 10 minutes flat, and they are so, so good right out of the oven—with the surprise addition today of Daiya and an absolutely incredible cashew gravy. Oh heck yes. Also, there was a salad. But really, Daiya biscuits!!

The Goods: In case you were wondering what milestone we're celebrating today, it's the 500th post on Café VegNews! Yes, our first-ever blog is still running strong, and we're so happy to be able to share our weekday meals with everyone on these here interwebs. In honor of the event, Colleen made a fantastic apple crisp and Frankie made a delicious peanut-butter-chocolate pie from Alicia Silverstone's new book, The Kind Diet. Since we couldn't share the pie with everyone, we made a crazy, one-day giveaway for you! Just leave a comment with your favorite Café VegNews post by midnight tonight, and we'll randomly draw one winner, who will receive an enormous tub of Sjaak's Peanut Butter cups. They are, in a word, incredible, as you can see below.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The Chef: Daiya!

The Menu: Pizza! Like, the kind with melty, gooey, stretchy, delicious vegan cheese on it! And sauce and crust, but those pretty much come standard.

The Goods: As you might have read in an exclusive sneak peek on Ecorazzi recently, we named a few of our 20o9 Veggie Award winners—among them Daiya cheese for Product of the Year. This is kind of a big deal. In celebration, we ventured out to a local pizzeria, brought our own Daiya with us, and, presto! Amazing vegan pizza. We highly suggest doing the same, wherever you live. If you can't wait any longer to know the other winners, advanced copies of the November+December issue are now available, and ship immediately. We're just saying.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lovely Potato Leek Soup

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: An utterly phenomenal potato-leek soup. Liz wowed us with this rich, homey main course that was definitely more of a meal than our typical miso. She added cashew cream (the recipe for which can be found in The Conscious Cook—we're slowly tapering off cooking from this book!), rosemary, and cherry tomatoes to the pot, and the savory results were nothing less than sensational. Liz also whipped up a lovely salad and roasted some Brussels sprouts with corn, which rounded out the hearty meal.

The Goods: It's another exciting week at the VNHQ! To carry over some of last week's giveaway fun, we are proud to announce that MacKenzie has won our last copy of The Conscious Cook! Congrats, MacKenzie! Please send us an email with your full name and mailing address, and we'll stick your winnings in the mail. Other than that, it's back to work for us! Happy Monday to all!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vietnamese-Style Tofu Heroes

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: An interesting mixture of recipes inspired by The Conscious Cook! Today's recipes are "inspired by" as opposed to "made from" the book, since—in our typical Friday style—we were running slightly low on ingredients. So, we have the lovely Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and the Vietnamese-style Tofu Heroes with Asian Slaw, and, finally, a big kale salad. Since we went with whole-wheat bread instead of the requisite baguettes, Elizabeth decided to serve our sammies open-faced, and with chopped basil instead of cilantro, which she pretty much can't stand.

The Goods: First, a big congrats to Debbie! Hers is the winning answer from yesterday's comments. Debbie, send us an email with your full name and mailing address, and we'll send your copy of The Conscious Cook right out. It's with great sadness that we come to the end of this week. It will definitely be difficult to go back to our steady diet of whatever's-in-the-fridge casserole and a-salad-is-like-a-meal-right? salad after totally feasting on the amazing recipes from our Book of the Year Veggie Award winner! So, for the last copy that we'll be giving away, tell us in the comments: Which recipe from this week are you dying to try?!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mediterranean Wraps

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Lyndsay took her turn in the kitchen with The Conscious Cook and whipped up Chef Tal’s Mediterranean Chickpea Wraps. A slight change was made due to a rare lack of chickpeas, but her smart substitution of black beans worked perfectly with the flavorful combo of carrots, banana peppers, potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, and a heat-raising blend of spices. A lovely green salad with colorful cabbage and a sprinkle of pine nuts cooled things off.

The Goods: These warm wraps saved us from the dreary, drizzling rain, back with a vengeance after yesterday’s sunshine. Don’t worry, though, there’s plenty of news to brighten the afternoon. First, congratulations to yesterday’s cookbook winner, Amanda, who said her favorite baked good is “baked doughnuts, hands down.” Amanda, send us an e-mail with your full name and mailing address, and we’ll get your copy of The Conscious Cook out in a flash! Now for the big news: The 2009 Veggie Awards are finally here! Head over to Ecorazzi tomorrow for their Veggie Awards Exclusive—a bonafide sneak peek at the winners you won't want to miss. For a chance to win today’s copy of the cookbook, tell us in the comments: In the spirit of honoring the best veg people, products, and more, who/what would you give an award?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spring Rolls and Tomato-Basil Bread

The Chef: Sara

The Menu: The Asian-cuisine theme continued today with Tal Ronnen’s Ponzu-glazed Tofu Crystal Rolls. Baked tofu marinated in ponzu sauce teamed up with rice vermicelli, carrots, cabbage, and scallions in these Japanese-inspired Thai spring rolls. A dash of Miso Sambal Sauce topped them off, adding a tangy kick. Sara also made a refreshing mixed greens salad with cherry tomatoes, and Frankie treated us to homemade tomato-basil bread.

The Goods: Not only did we get to enjoy another day of recipe-testing from The Conscious Cook, but we were inundated with freshly baked goods. After Frankie’s awesome bread, Ms. Laura Beck surprised us with pumpkin bread, which we quickly devoured. Oh, and we dined al fresco. We're pretty happy right now. To share our good fortune, we’re giving away another copy of The Conscious Cook! First, congratulations to yesterday’s winner, cardamomandcastiron, who attributes good health to drinking lots of water. Cardamomandcastiron, send us an e-mail with your full name and mailing address and we’ll send your copy stat! For a chance to win today, just tell us in the comments: What’s your all-time favorite vegan baked good?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quinoa Maki and Miso Soup

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Quinoa Maki with Avocado and Cajun Portobello Fillets. That’s right, we're fancy. Colleen treated us to an elegant lunch centered around the super scrumptious Quinoa Maki from The Conscious Cook. Each roll was stuffed with fluffy quinoa, marinated Cajun-style Portobello mushrooms, ripe avocado, and just a hint of Thai chile sauce. A warm bowl of miso soup filled with spinach, carrots, and scallions completed the meal.

The Goods: The VNHQ is currently smack-dab in the middle of a disaster movie. Okay, so maybe we’re exaggerating a little (or a lot), but the rare occurrence of a rainstorm in San Francisco has left us chilly and confused. Colleen’s healthy, vibrant lunch warmed us right up and gave our immune systems some much-needed nourishment. Ready to roll your own maki? We’ve got another copy of The Conscious Cook to give away, but first let’s get to yesterday’s winner. Congratulations to Lebkuchen, who said the most comforting foods were, “Cassoulet or soup!” Lebkuchen, send us an e-mail with your full name and mailing address, and we’ll get your book right out. For a chance to win today’s copy, just tell us in the comments: What’s your stay-healthy secret? Check out a few more of ours!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Penne and Kale Salad

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Whole Wheat Penne with San Marzano Tomatoes, courtesy of The Conscious Cook. This flavorful sauce starred sautéed onions and fennel, Swiss chard, Manzanilla olives, tomatoes, and the perfect blend of herbs and spices. The fragrant vegetable-filled sauce topped off a healthy serving of penne, garnished with fresh parsley. Our favorite, the always-delicious kale salad, made a guest appearance with ripe cherry tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon.

The Goods: There’s nothing quite like a hearty serving of pasta to warm up an overcast Monday. Lunch proved to be the perfect midday pick-me-up, and the perfect way to kick-start cookbook week here at Café VegNews! All week long we’ll be giving away copies of The Conscious Cook, the brand-new book from renowned vegan chef Tal Ronnen. For a chance to win today’s copy, tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite comfort food on a brisk, fall day?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fresh Tortilla Friday

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Fresh, homemade tortillas. Yes, Abby actually busted out two different varieties of tortillas for us today, and they were both pretty much amazing. First, she made a whole-wheat garlic batch that we topped with homemade refried beans, salsa, and guacamole. Um, yum. Then, she made a super-fancy, saffron-infused sweet batch, which we completely doused with Emmy's Organics Raw Chocolate Sauce and Soyatoo's Whipped Rice Topping. Oh! And Abby made kale salad, aka the very best kind of salad.

The Goods: We have to say, things here are not good; they are effing great! It's Friday, we spent the majority of our lunch time trying to decide how best to eat the whipped cream and chocolate sauce (the clear winner: filling a spoon with whipped cream and drizzling it with sauce in a most ladylike manner), oh, and we had a little something we like to call homemade tortillas for lunch. Seriously, do days get much better than this? There are also lots of fun things going on this weekend, including Chicago Veganmania and the DC Green Festival, so make sure to check out Press Pass for full reports next week!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homemade Vegan Gnocchi

The Chef: Sara

The Menu: Freaking homemade gnocchi. Like, when Sara started this meal, she had potatoes, and when we finished it, we'd all eaten our fill of perfect little potato dumplings drenched in yummy marinara. Yes, this is why our editorial assistants are better than your editorial assistants. Sara also made a lovely mixed-greens salad with avocado and tomatoes, and toasted up some French Meadow Sprouted Grain bread with garlic and herbs. But really, she made gnocchi. In less than an hour.

The Goods: Maybe some of us have tried our darnedest to make gnocchi at home, and maybe it always comes out somewhere between rubber and watery mashed potatoes. Sara's little potato bites were the perfect texture, and totally delicious. Inspired by success (and by a much anticipated shipment that arrived today), we'll be using actual recipes all next week!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pan-Asian Stew and Slaw

The Chef: Elizabeth and Joseph

The Menu: A variety of Asian-cuisine-inspired vittles. Joseph had prepared a mixture of red quinoa, red Bhutanese rice, and jasmine rice, which Elizabeth used as a base for a Thai-inspired curry with sweet potatoes, tempeh, bell peppers, and coconut milk. On the prettier side of the plate you see a Napa cabbage slaw, which was literally just cabbage, red bell pepper, mirin, agave, a little apple-cider vinegar, avocado, black sesame seeds, and salt.

The Goods: OK, you caught us. Maybe Elizabeth was inspired by today's Recipe Club to make this Thai-ish stew. Maybe the fact that we had a leftover grain blend sealed the deal. Maybe we'd be remiss, considering that it's now October if we didn't share this joke with you: What do vegan zombies eat? Graaaaains. Feel free to leave your favorite vegan jokes in the comments!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mashed Potatoes, etc.

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: As you can clearly see, we enjoyed hearty helpings of super-good, super-garlicky mashed potatoes today. Yes, there are other items on the plate, but do any of them really stand out when served next to mashed potatoes? No. OK, to be fair, Liz made a really lovely salad, and attempted a new fusion cuisine that involved making calzones with whole-wheat tortillas instead of pizza dough. She filled the crispy shells with a yummy mixture of marinara, broccoli, and cashews.

The Goods: We are deep in the depths of Trader Joe's Maple Leaf cookies here at the VNHQ, so this savory meal was just the thing to break us out of our sugary routine. Also, it's always a good time for mashed potatoes. Maybe some of us are already looking forward to Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Totally Trader Joe's

The Chef: (Trader) Joseph

The Menu: A taste of Trader Joe's! We noshed Mildly Spiced Vegetable Burritos, salsa, guacamole, roasted Brussels sprouts, Corn Chip Dippers, and Veggie Chips, all from this morning's run to TJ's and expertly prepared by our own Joseph.

The Goods: The store from which we stock the VN kitchen had a booth at World Veg Festival Weekend, which inspired Joseph to make an all-TJ's lunch today. Check out full details on the festival, including interviews with best-selling authors Rory Freedman and Kathy Freston, on Press Pass soon!

Friday, October 2, 2009

(Veggie) Dog Days

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A fantastic array of veggie dogs, buns, more toppings than we knew what to do with, homemade cumin-lime fries, and a huge, beautiful salad. No one makes veggie dogs like Colleen, who goes all out on condiments. Sliced red onions, green olives, ketchup, two kinds of mustard, Vegenaise, sauerkraut, Frankie's barbecue sauce, and chopped white onions were available to top our dogs. With fresh corn, sliced peppers, and fresh tomatoes in the salad, we certainly got our fair share of vegetables—including the Ronald Reagan kind.

The Goods: We had no shortage of goods today! It's Friday, it's gorgeously sunny, and we were joined for lunch by Bob and Sal of Book Publishing Company, who are in town for World Veg Festival Weekend. Don't forget to come by the VN booth at the festival this weekend and say hello!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

World Vegetarian Day Chili!

The Chef: Sara

The Menu: A triple-chili treat! Ms. Sara prepared three varieties of Eden Organic Chili (the black bean and quinoa, Great Northern bean and barley, and kidney bean and kamut, in case you were wondering), which we topped with hearty handfuls of Daiya. She also made a delicious cornbread from scratch, and a fresh guacamole. Are we spoiled? Yes.

The Goods: Happy World Vegetarian Day, everyone! To give lunch an international feel, we had the pleasure of dining with Helen, a long-time friend of VN who's in town for World Vegetarian Festival from Switzerland. There are a couple reasons to love Helen, one of which being that she's amazing, and the other that she brings Swiss chocolate with her! Again, spoiled. We like pretty much any excuse to celebrate, and this one just happens to be near and dear to us! To make an awesome day even more fun, we're giving away an enormous shipment of Sticky Fingers goodies. Yes, you definitely want these. But! It's a one-day giveaway, the winner will be picked at 11:59 pm tonight, so make sure to comment quickly!