Monday, November 30, 2009

Wellington Returns!

The Chef: Joseph

The Menu: An eclectic mix of Thanksgiving-ish leftovers, which included the very last of our beloved Native Foods' Wellington, some stuffing, a quinoa and green bean salad with walnuts, roasted sweet potato slices, inari, and crudités. We were, of course, both thrilled to see the Wellington on the menu, and sad to see it go, since this was the last of it.

The Goods: It's going to be a busy week here at the VNHQ after our long Thanksgiving weekend! We hope that everyone who celebrated thoroughly enjoyed their holiday, and that everyone else had a good, non-holiday weekend. A few important notes: tomorrow is the deadline to apply for our 2010 Wedding Feature, so if you had a vegan wedding this year, don't forget to apply! Also, keep an eye out for awesome guest Bryant Terry, who'll be joining us for lunch on Friday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Too-Good Tacos

The Chef: Peter

The Menu: Some of the fanciest tacos we've ever eaten! Peter, whom you may remember from a number of our Press Pass adventures, was kind enough to stop by and guest chef for us today, and, um, wow. So, on top of either blue-corn or whole-wheat tortillas, we piled rice, a super-flavorful black bean sauce, a delicious tomato-corn compote, caramelized onions and garlic, and a fresh basil chiffonade. See that plating? Yeah. We like that. Also, Peter made an absolutely perfect side salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and lots of fresh veggies.

The Goods: Anything less than today's stellar meal would have badly paled in comparison to yesterday's insanity. Thankfully, Peter's a great cook, and we'll be coercing him into cooking for us again as soon as possible. Here's hoping that everyone enjoys a happy, turkey-free Thanksgiving! See you next week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

The Chefs: Everyone! And Native Foods and Babycakes NYC

The Menu: Thanksgiving! We went all-out today with an amazing holiday spread. First of all, let's talk about the Native Foods' Wellington. Holy heck. This thing is puff pastry wrapped around delicious layers of seitan, kale, sweet potatoes, and portabello mushrooms, caramelized onions, and some magic. OK, OK, it was mostly magic. Seriously, we could eat this every day. Moving on from the Wellington's majesty, we enjoyed perfectly garlicky mashed potatoes made by Liz, which we doused in a cashew gravy that Elizabeth whipped up. Abby made her signature chive biscuits, and Colleen roasted Brussels sprouts to perfection and made her traditional Thanksgiving salad with candied pecans, dried cranberries, sliced apples, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Oh, and then we had dessert. Apple-crumb cake from Babycakes NYC? We'll let this photo speak for itself:

The Goods: This may well be the most epic lunch ever eaten at the VNHQ. Easily one of the most delectable meals we've had, this pre-Thanksgiving smorgasbord was a wonderful treat for our hard-working staff, and might just have us in fighting shape for the actual T-Day. ("T" is for "Thanks for not eating turkey," obviously.) We'll be back with one more post this week, and then it's off to our respective holiday celebrations/mashed potato-induced comas.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Biscuits and Brussels Sprouts

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Ms. Lyndsay is into her savory treats, and we're ok with that. Today she made—from scratch, mind you—whole-wheat biscuits, which she topped with Match Meats Breakfast Sausage crumbles, and a rich, Hollandaise-esque sauce. Her roasted Brussels sprouts were perfectly done: bright green, still slightly crisp, and with their natural bite intact.

The Goods: It's going to be a crazy (and short!) week here at the VNHQ, and we're pretty danged excited for it. Don't miss our pre-Thanksgiving celebration lunch report tomorrow, and don't forget to check VegNews and VegWeb for all your holiday recipe needs!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wrap-It-Up Wraps

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Some hearty, delicious wraps that may have been inspired by what we had in the kitchen. What we had, it turns out, were whole-wheat wraps, pinto beans, greens, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Colleen roasted the spuds, sautéed the beans, 'shrooms, and carrots, and wrapped everything together with mashed avocado. Yum.

The Goods: We're not bragging, but this week we might have whipped up one of our all-time favorite covers, double checked our document, and talked endlessly about Thanksgiving. Oh, did you know that's happening next week? If you are in a panic over what to serve, take the advice of one of our favorite chefs, Jesse Miner. He'll be chatting away over on VegWeb this Sunday, answering all your vegan holiday questions. The guy knows his stuff, including knowing the way into our hearts, which—as if there were any question—is through chocolate. Jesse joined us today and generously brought along chocolate-covered peanut-butter truffles. Um, yeah. That's how you wrap up a week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mighty-Good Moussaka

The Chef: Sara

The Menu: A truly yummy moussaka, which featured layers of eggplant, zucchini, and potato, all doused with a savory tomato sauce and tofu ricotta. Sara also make a spinach salad with broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms. Suffice to say, both were delicious.

The Goods: We are pretty stinking excited about getting close to putting the finishing touches on our cover for the January+February 2010 issue! Maybe it looks really good, and maybe we like that. Speaking of things that excite us, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Do you have questions? Maybe we have a chat all lined up on VegWeb with expert veg chef Jesse Miner, who'll be joining us for lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fat Bottom Bakery Mac 'n' Cheese

The Chefs: Carolynn and Ashley from Fat Bottom Bakery

The Menu: A mighty good mac 'n' cheese. In fact, this is the very same recipe which garnered our guests second place in the SF Food Wars mac 'n' cheese competition, when they battled both vegan and pork-laden versions of the homey favorite. Our beloved Laura Beck of VegWeb fame brought some radically roasted Brussels sprouts, and we whipped up a salad. Oh, and maybe Carolynn and Ashley also brought us some cupcakes:

Yeah, what you're seeing there are coconut, red velvet, and carrot cake cupcakes. The one with pink dinosaur sprinkles was for Laura, obviously.

The Goods: Today's lunch might just have been one for the record books it was so delightful and delectable. Here's the team—very, very full of mac 'n' cheese and cupcakes at this point. These darling bakers are welcome back any time, and you can sample their wares at the next SF Vegan Bakesale!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Multi-Vegetable Soup

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A rich, delicious soup, baked potato, and salad. Liz told us that she originally intended to make a cheddar-broccoli soup, but then discovered that somehow all the Wayfare Foods cheesy dips have disappeared from our fridge. Yes, this is highly suspicious—or it would be, if we hadn't been slathering the stuff on anything that wasn't nailed down for the last week. The soup ended up having broccoli, cashews, carrots, and potatoes, and was extremely satisfying. And can you really go wrong with a baked potato covered in Daiya? No, it turns out that you cannot.

The Goods: You may have noticed that there was no post here yesterday, and we have a pretty simple explanation for it: we didn't have lunch. As a way of saying "thank you" for the team all taking shifts at our SF Green Festival booth, we took the morning and lunch off. To make up for it, please find all the details (including Gavin Newsom and Woody Harrelson) of this weekend's festival on Press Pass.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick Ribs

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Frankie's amazing meatless ribs and barbecue sauce, cumin-roasted sweet potatoes, and a side of fantastic, garlicky Swiss chard.

The Goods: This delicious, simple meal totally hit the spot for our small staff today. About half our team had already left for the Green Festival by lunch time, and those of us who were left devoured these goodies. We hope to see everyone at the festival this weekend, where we'll have a special present for you: subscriptions for just $15! For a whole year! Yeah, we're excited. Oh, and in case you were hoping to not have to cook for Thanksgiving, don't forget that we're giving away a gourmet meal featuring Native Foods and Babycakes NYC over on!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vegan Crêpes!

The Chef: Sara

The Menu
: Um, maybe it's crêpes. Maybe Sara is a sneaky chef and prepared the batter last night, so she'd be all prepped and ready to make today's totally stellar lunch. She filled one of these whole-wheat wonders with a mashed sweet-potato and caramelized-onion mixture, and the other with roasted broccoli, cashew gravy, and Daiya. Hell yes. And, sure, there's also a big, beautiful salad, but we're not talking salad now. Now we're talking crêpes because they are awesome and delicious and you should make them.

The Goods: We were a small team for lunch today, since a couple of our staff were over setting up for the Green Festival this weekend. Do you like things that don't hurt the environment? Do you like all-veg food? Do you like VN subscriptions for only 15 stinking bucks?! Then you should probably come say hi at our booth this weekend! The fun begins tomorrow, so don't be shy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mexican Mash-Up

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A Mexican-food inspired mish-mash of tofu, black and pinto beans, tomatoes, tortilla strips, potatoes, and spices. A fresh green salad with spinach, grated carrot, avocado, and halved cherry tomatoes finished off the plate.

The Goods: Today we enjoyed the lovely company of Noelle and Rebecca from PCRM, who are in town for this weekend's Green Festival. It should be a fantastic event, so if you're in San Francisco, come by the VN booth and say hi!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Double Cheese Quesadillas

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: Some of the best freakin' quesadillas we've ever had. No joke. Liz not only stuffed these crispy tortillas full of Daiya, tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms, she also added a sneaky layer of WayFare Foods' Mexi Cheddar-Style Dip to the rich filling, and yeah. Let's just say that there are not leftovers today. Though Liz did incorporate leftovers from yesterday's lunch into her salad, which made a hearty addition to the standard romaine and avocado. She also fried up some homemade tortilla chips, which we totally devoured with more of the Mexi Cheddar. And, just for kicks, Liz whipped up some brown rice. We like brown rice.

The Goods: Yes, quesadillas with two varieties of vegan cheese are pretty thrilling. A note of caution: if we had the means to prepare our own body weights in 'dillas, we would, and we're pretty sure that you'll be similarly enthused/addicted. Eat with care.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stuff on a Shingle

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Maybe when Lyndsay presented this savory meal of simmered garbanzo and pinto beans she didn't say "stuff." Maybe she used another word that begins with "s" and out of deference to the fact that this is a food blog, we decided to replace it. Evidently, stuff on a shingle is an actual recipe, which Lyndsay found in Cozy Inside. Of course, we covered everything in Daiya, like we do. Lyndsay served a lovely side salad with her "stuff."

The Goods: So, did you know that Thanksgiving is like, right around the corner? Like, we can smell the homemade dinner rolls and stuffing from here? In case you're not so much the chef type, but still want something insanely delicious to devour once the holiday is actually here, take heart. We're giving away a Native Foods Wellington and BabycakesNYC Apple-Crumb Cake to one lucky commenter this week on It would be really difficult for us to recommend more strongly that you go comment, since we're just about positive that there isn't anything better than having a five-star Thanksgiving delivered to your door.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Black Bean Soup

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A delicious, savory, slightly spicy black-bean soup, dolloped with vegan sour cream. Colleen is a whiz at making something out of, um, close to nothing, and this soup was a very tasty example. She served cumin-seed-roasted potato wedges and slices of toast slathered with WayFare Food's We Can't Say It's Cheese alongside.

The Goods: And so another week at the VNHQ comes to an end. It's been and awesome and busy week, and we hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Polenta Lasagna with Jonathan Safran Foer

The Chef: Barry Jones Horton

The Menu: A stunning, delicious, incredibly lovely three-course meal. Chef Barry totally spoiled us today with one of the best lunches we've ever had. It started with off with his take on a Cobb salad. Romaine, cornmeal-crusted tempeh, tomatoes, and roasted shiitake "bacon" combined for a stellar salad. For a main course we devoured his polenta lasagna with fresh puttanesca sauce, sautéed kale and mushroom filling, and baked tofu ricotta. As a special accomodation for us, each plate was dusted generously with Parma!, because Chef Barry knows how obsessed we are with it. For dessert, we had a perfectly done raw apple crisp. Yes, we died of glee.

The Goods: The food wasn't our only source of excitement today, as renowned author Jonathan Safran Foer joined us at the table. Sandwiching lunch in between speaking at a local high school and doing a phone interview in the car on the way to a radio interview, Foer chatted with us about his book, Eating Animals, his family, and his role as chef at home. (Lentils are a favorite with his son!) Maybe you caught his recent clip on Ellen? If not, you probably should. Here's Jonathan, Chef Barry, and the whole VN crew:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pesto Pizza

 The Chef: Sara

The Menu: A yummy pizza and tons of veggies! Sara topped a Clean Cravings Perfectly Pesto Pizza with some of our supply of Daiya, and we totally devoured it. She also roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, and whipped up a yummy tomato and avocado salad with pine nuts. 

The Goods: Um, things are pretty awesome. We've eaten pizza two days in a row, and we followed up today's meal with an impromptu cookie dough taste test. Our amazing guest chef from Monday will be returning tomorrow. Why the fancy food again tomorrow, you ask? Well, that would be because we're going to host one Jonathan Safran Foer for lunch. Yes, that Jonathan Safran Foer. Maybe we're excited. Maybe it would be nearly impossible for us to be more excited. We're just saying.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stuffed-Crust Pizza

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: So, the title says "stuffed-crust" for a reason. It's because Liz stuffed the homemade crust for today's pizza with Daiya. Yeah, about that. Tomato sauce, bell peppers, mushrooms, and, of course, more Daiya, topped the incredible crust. Yes, that's a big pile of extra pizza toppings you see at six o'clock, and a fresh spinach salad with green olives, more Daiya, and black sesame seeds rounded out the meal.

The Goods: Well, if you're curious about the fastest, and tastiest, way to transport yourself back to a middle-school pizza party, the stuffed-crust route is definitely what we recommend. Liz's lunch was totally thrilling, and to make the day even sweeter, we are ecstatic to annouce that our first-ever cookbook—the super-sleek, totally digital, in-freaking-credible Holiday Cookie Collection—is on sale now at We are so, so excited about the collection that we pretty much can't stand it, so you should probably go check it out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Magical Menu

The Chef: Barry Jones Horton

The Menu: An incredible, three-course delight from our star guest chef. We started with a perfect kale salad that featured pomegranate seeds, sliced persimmons, sprouted mung beans, red onion, and a fresh lemon vinaigrette. We take kale salad pretty seriously around the VNHQ, and this one blew us away. Then, we dined on tofu skewers with a citrus-peanut sauce served over rice with citrus as well. Um, we could have pretty much eaten this sauce on everything in our lives forever. Really. Though we sadly didn't get a photo of it, dessert was an amazing chocolate tart covered coconut-coffee crème, which pretty much made us die.

The Goods: If there's anything we like better than having guests (which we like a LOT, for the record), it's having fancy chef guests who cook for us! Barry is the former Executive Chef of The Ravens restaurant, and he recently moved to the Bay Area, where he's working on starting up a catering business called Local Love. Yes, we will keep you posted. Yes, as soon as you can you should book him for something, because, um, did you see that sauce? Ridiculous.