Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Egg-Free Frittata, Romaine Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: An egg-free frittata chockfull of tangy green chiles that Elizabeth prepared with one part Lucini Italia's line of Cinque e' Cinque Traditional Frittata mix, and one part, well, green chiles. Elizabeth paired this perfect brunch main with a crunchy salad comprised of chopped romaine, cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, and pinto beans.

The Goods: You may have noticed that we're sort of obsessed with Lucini's frittata mixes, as evidenced by the fact that we are constantly eating them. We're not sure why these mixes—free of dairy, soy, and gluten—taste so so fantastic, but from their spicy, punchy flavor to their fluffy, satisfying texture, we fear our beloved tofu scramble has officially been replaced. Oh, and if you were wondering, each serving—42 grams per VN staffer, give or take—packs a whopping nine grams of protein, officially trumping its animal-product counterpart.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vegan Cürrywurst

The Chef: King of Cürrywurst

The Menu: A delicious, hearty meat-free take on Germany's legendary street cart cuisine, cürrywurst; a sliced vegan sausage slathered in a rich, tangy curry-tomato sauce. Our veganized currywurst was paired with a fluffy bread roll—called a brötchen—for dipping in the super savory sauce.

The Goods: Today's lunch was fantastic for a variety of reasons. First, we never complain when vegan companies such as San Francisco-based catering company King of Cürrywurst offer to cater our staff lunch. Second, we never complain when said companies bring to-die-for vegan sausage covered in spicy sauce. Third, well, that pretty much sums it up. We loved the fresh, zesty kick of the perfectly seasoned curry tomato sauce, and would definitely order this veganized version of the German standard from a SF street cart. Ideally, we will be doing so in the very near future. Currently, King of Cürrywurst is serving its meat-free fare at the SF Underground Farmers' Market.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vegan Frittata Time

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A spicy, highly delicious Tuscan Fiery Chili Frittata whipped together from a super simple mix from Lucini Italia's line of Cinque e' Cinque Tuscan Chickpea Frittata line. Lyndsay paired this zesty main with a mixed greens side salad including kale, spinach, grated carrot, avocado, and cucumber, and rounded the meal out with slices of crunchy bread topped with We Can't Say It's Sour Cream.

The Goods: We were already big fans of Lucini's frittata mixes, but this new, spicy variety was especially tasty; perfectly capturing the flavor of scrambled eggs with 100-percent vegan ingredients. Additionally, we love having breakfast for lunch whenever possible. Yep, this lunch has sufficiently crushed any case-of-the-Mondays that we might have been feeling.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chili and Cornbread

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Three-bean chili filled with pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, onion, tomato, meat-free hamburger mix, and sweet potato topped with squares of Wholesome Chow Homestyle Cornbread and dollops of We Can't Say It's Sour Cream. Abby baked a fresh batch of tasty, fluffy corn muffins for our chili-dipping pleasure, and completed the meal with a crunchy salad of mixed greens, onion, cabbage, and grated carrot.

The Goods: Nothing is more satisfying on a chilly, cloudy afternoon than a hearty bowl of vegan chili—unless it's a hearty bowl of vegan chili and cornbread. Lets just say that if we weren't pretty big fans of Wholesome Chow before lunch, we definitely are now. Okay, so maybe we were already in love with its line of all-vegan baking mixes before lunch. Seriously, from its perfectly spiced Chai Spice Cake Mix to its exotic Lavender Cake Mix, every product we've taste tested so far has been a home run. In review, we feel a 4pm cake-sized snack maybe be an appropriate afternoon treat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fully-Loaded Baked Potatoes

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Perfectly cooked, fully-loaded baked potatoes brimming with coconut butter, We Can't Say It's Sour Cream, two varieties of sweet and savory chutney, and spicy tapenade. Colleen paired our hearty main course with an inspired salad of baked and seasoned bread and veggies, including onion, roasted red pepper, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.

The Goods: This meal was a home run hit for two reasons: One, we love piling baked potatoes high with saucy condiments, and Two: the inclusion of bread in salad is awesome. Seriously, if you ever find yourself short on greens, we highly suggest creating a salad base out of crispy, flavorful cubes of french bread. Now that we've had a rejuvenating, carb-filled lunch, we're ready to power through our afternoons until 5pm, when our staff will head over to local watering hole Martuni's for SF Vegan Drinks! We always kick off the occasion with a bottle of budget-friendly Champagne from our local grocery store, thanks to a thrifty tip-off from VN's own Savvy Abby. We always look forward to this monthly event for the chance to share cocktails, stories, and veggie dogs—if you live in SF come out and join us at Martuni's from 6 to 8pm! Except you might have to buy your own veggie dog at the bar. We're not actually that good at sharing ours.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Crispy, savory Korean pancakes simply made by pan-frying a mixture of veggies including chopped onion, carrot, cabbage, and garlic with flour and water in canola oil. Elizabeth covered our Korean flapjacks with sesame seeds and a slew of saucy toppings including We Can't Say It's Sour Cream by Wayfare Foods, vegetarian hoisin sauce, and red pepper paste. A lovely side salad of romaine lettuce, cabbage, onion, and mushrooms rounded out our terrific meal.

The Goods: If these mouthwatering Korean cakes look familiar, it's probably because the recipe appears in VN's May+June issue. Yes, VN contributor and cookbook author extraordinaire Robin Robertson shares the secret to crafting perfectly crunchy Korean pancakes, along an accompanying dipping sauce and tips for hosting an unforgettable Korean hot pot dinner party. If delicious vegetable pancakes sound like something you need more of in your life, we recommend you pick up a copy of the issue—on newsstands now! Hurry, because soon our July+August Anniversary issue will soon replace it. Or you know, you could always order a back issue copy from VN's online store. Just saying.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avocado Pesto Pasta

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: Tangy, buttery Avocado Pesto Pasta a la vegan Chef Chloe Coscarelli. Liz marinated perfectly cooked macaroni and rigatoni pasta in a zesty pesto sauce replete with garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. The recipe calls for one bunch of fresh basil, but with none on hand, Liz improvised with dry basil and fresh spinach leaves. She paired this rich, savory dish with two varieties of rosemary-seasoned roasted potatoes and a veggie-filled side salad including spinach, cabbage, onion, halved cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, grated carrot, and two types of mushrooms.

The Goods: While we'd take any excuse to whip up a batch of this super satisfying summer pasta, today's lunch was inspired by Chef Chloe's appearance on tonight's episode of Cupcake Wars, a new Food Network cooking competition. Chloe is the only vegan chef on tonight's episode, and we'll be rooting for her to claim the top prize: A chance to cater a star-studded magazine party in Beverly Hills, Calif. Last February, she catered a star-studded magazine party—which we like to call lunch— at the VNHQ. Her lovely, themed Valentine's Day feast completely blew us away. Also, Chloe just might be featured in VN's July+August Anniversary issue, which hits newsstands on July 1—okay, she most definitely is. Yes, we're pretty much obsessed with this rising star chef.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spicy Wraps, Crunchy Salad

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Halved mixed vegetable Roti Rolls filled with potato, carrot, peas and spices made by Sukhi's Gourmet Indian Foods topped with curry sauce and healthy dollops of We Can't Say It's Sour Cream from Wayfare Foods. Lyndsay also whipped up a simple, crunchy side salad of lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, sliced cherry tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado, which we mixed together with perfectly cooked quinoa.

The Goods: Our lovely al fresco lunch was made even brighter by the company of VN's favorite frequent lunchtime guest, Peter Ryan. We all loved Sukhi's super satisfying Roti Rolls and curry sauce, and We Can't Say It's Sour Cream nicely complemented the meal, cooling down our spicy fare. Here at the VNHQ we're big fans of Wayfare Foods, the makers of the to-die-for, all-vegan We Can't Say It's Cheese line. While We Can't Say It's Sour Cream hasn't hit shelves yet, we're pretty positive it will be a similar smash hit with everyone from dairy-free diners to cholesterol-conscious consumers. We're also big fans of today's sunny weather, which we're hoping to see more of. To be more specific, we hope it's sunny tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chana Masala, Spicy Rice

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A simple, lovely lunch featuring a delicious chana masala complete with tomato, kale, and spicy marinated chickpeas paired with two varieties of slow-cooked, seasoned basmati rice. Colleen also prepared a crunchy side salad chockfull of shredded romaine and cucumber slices.

The Goods: This hearty, Indian standard was exactly what we needed to warm us up on this chilly, windy Friday afternoon. We'd love to compare Colleen's tasty take on chana masala with the vegan eats served at India's first vegetarian hotel, or to all the tasty alternatives we'lll be dining on in October, when VN goes to India! Our first VegNews Vacations trip to Rajasthan, India sold-out in record time, and we can't wait to announce our plans for upcoming 2011 excursions!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Greens, Grains, Gardein

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: A creative lunch of mostly leftovers including a fresh kale salad tossed with avocado, shredded carrot, cucumbers, red cabbage, and seasoned, garlicky rice leftover from Tuesday's lunch. Abby also utilized yesterday's leftovers: cucumber and tomato tabouleh and seared Gardein chick'n strips prepared by Chef Sarah Smart. After freeing the VNHQ refrigerator of its tupperware clutter, Abby whipped up a fresh batch of roasted sweet potato wedges to add the finishing touch to this satisfying meal.

The Goods: We pretty much loved everything about this lunch. That is to say, we pretty much love kale, Gardein, and deliciously seasoned grains. Over lunch the staff talked about how excited we were to hear that Gardein's seven grain crispy tenders are now sold at 13 CostCo locations in Los Angeles and that the company is currently testing in new markets all across the country. Hooray for herbivore-friendly products at buy-in-bulk prices! We hope that someday soon every CostCo in San Francisco—read: the one near our office—will supply these tasty, totally vegan products.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Middle Eats: Pita and Tabouleh!

The Chef: Sarah Smart

The Menu: Tasty two-bite pita bread topped with onion, lemon, thyme, and seared Gardein chick'n strips simmered in Middle Eastern spices which we covered with generous helpings of fresh tahini and spicy red pepper relish. Sarah paired these delicious, open-faced sandwiches with savory tabouleh brimming with diced tomato and cucumber, coated in a light, silky pesto dressing. A lovely romaine and kalamata olive salad dressed in an olive oil and lemon vinaigrette rounded out our Middle Eastern feast.

The Goods: Holy heck. We're officially in love with Chef Sarah Smart. Somehow, between balancing her day job as pastry chef at gourmet vegan destination Millennium Restaurant, booking events for her catering business Sarah Smart Catering, and making plans to open up a local ice cream truck called Rocket Ship Ice Cream, Sarah found time to prepare us an exceptionally stunning smorgasbord of food. Let's just say that we're ever so slightly impressed—but wait. There is somehow more great news. After finishing our spicy, satisfying meal, Sarah pulled out the big guns: scoops of chocolate brownie chunk and Thai tea homemade coconut-milk ice cream. From the perfectly silky texture to to-die-for taste, this was by far the best homemade ice cream we've ever had. But you know, no big deal. We recommend that if you need some dairy-free ice cream in your life, you contact Sarah asap. Yep, you probably should have done that yesterday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuna-less Sandwiches

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Tuna-less sandwiches made with chickpeas, red onion, garlic, vegan mayonnaise, and seasonings situated between slices of tomato and avocado on a slightly toasted bun. Elizabeth balanced this hearty meal with a light, fresh kale salad which included cabbage, tomato, and puréed mushroom, carrot, and onion, and prepared a simmering side of garlicky basmati rice to top it all off.

The Goods: We love a good, meat-free sandwich here at the VNHQ, and these tasty, satisfying tuna-less sandwiches were no exception. We are also huge fans of crunchy kale salad, so Elizabeth pretty much made our day with this great, green side. Over our delightful lunch we chatted about our weekends, how awesome it is that Bob Harper has gone vegan, and how excited we are to see Skin Trade, a new film from vegan director Shannon Keith exploring the cruel practices of the fur industry, tonight at its San Francisco premiere. It's a busy week for vegan filmmakers, as the world premiere of feature film Bold Native screens tomorrow in Los Angeles.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Golden Soup, Kale Salad

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: An old-fashioned veggie soup filled with russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted onion and garlic, spinach, and spices cooked and blended in the Vita-Mix. Liz paired this silky soup with a fresh salad overflowing with kale, spinach, diced tomatoes, crimini mushrooms, cucumber slices, chickpeas, shredded carrot, and avocado.

The Goods: It's been awhile—read: more than one week—since we've dined on a crisp, crunchy kale salad, and lets just say that no one is complaining about its return. It's a quiet day here at the VNHQ, with operations slightly slowing after sending our July+August Anniversary issue off to press last Thursday. Don't worry, we're definitely not celebrating by eating our weight in dairy-free Mango Custard. That would be an absurd, delicious waste of time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bean Burritos, Carrot Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Fully-loaded burritos stuffed with fluffy white rice, black beans, pinto beans, Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix and seasoned with cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, and oregano. We heaped a helping of this hearty filling onto slightly warmed sprouted grain tortillas and topped them off with green curry sauce. Elizabeth also whipped together a scrumptious salad with peeled carrots and raisins. 

The Goods: With today's lunch, Elizabeth has singlehandedly refined the concept of making something out of nothing. Of course, barren cupboards and almost no fresh produce didn't flummox Elizabeth for a second; hence our lovely Latin food inspired feast. The only thing that could have made this budget-friendly meal more resourceful would be rolled-from-scratch tortillas like the recipe perfected by VN's very own Savvy Abby

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Burrito Bonanza

The Chef: El Burrito Express

The Menu: Freshly made, perfectly wrapped burritos filled with black beans, guacamole, rice, and veggies stuffed into slightly warm whole wheat tortillas. Did we also snack on a delicious side of chips and salsa? That would be a "heck yes."

The Goods: After many months of writing, editing, designing, and then editing some more, we've come to the final step before sending out July+August Anniversary issue to press: proofs day! And while we rarely outsource lunch here at the VNHQ, it is tradition to order El Burrito Express on proof day to minimize stress and maximize burrito eating in the office. We love these hearty, hit-the-spot burritos from our favorite local taqueria, and our appetites for burritos skyrocketed after hearing yesterday that Chipotle have expanded its vegan garden blend meat alternative in Southern California. We're thrilled to see people embracing the burrito chain's vegan option. In addition to a day full of editing and eating, we're also excited to choose two winners at 5pm PST for our latest Twitter giveaway—five pounds of Daiya cheese! Haven't entered yet? It's as simple as retweeting VN before 5pm! In the meantime, if you need us, we'll be editing proofs, pretending to wait patiently for garden blend to arrive in San Francisco, and trying not to keep all this Daiya cheese to ourselves.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baked Beans, Crispy Cornbread

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: A sampling of Southern stick-to-your-ribs standards including sweet-and-savory hot water cornbread, baked beans and kabocha squash slathered in barbecue sauce, a fresh, crunchy cucumber, onion, and carrot tossed with Annie's Goddess dressing, and a batch of Abby's signature fluffy biscuits.

The Goods: Supplies in the VNHQ kitchen are running a bit low, but luckily Abby is an expert at throwing together a fabulous meal with only a few items. While her standby recipe for hot water cornbread is a gem, she switched things up today and used the hot water cornbread recipe appearing in VN's fantastic July+August Anniversary issue Soul Food Feast feature. These crunchy cakes were perfectly complemented with savory barbecue sauce, sweet maple syrup, and agave. Oh, and did we mention that Abby also made biscuits? We did? Sorry, it's just kind of a big deal. Biscuits aren't the only exciting thing happening around these here offices, as tomorrow marks the final proof day for our July+August issue. This means two things: We'll be having burritos for lunch per VN tradition, and after the magazine officially goes to press we will be drinking champagne at our desks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beans, Bread, & Birthday Cake

The Chef: Colleen and Frankie

The Menu: Slow-cooked, cumin seasoned black beans served with vegan sour cream, fresh guacamole, and chutney paired with a simple, crunchy side salad filled with grated carrot, mixed greens, and onion. Colleen rounded out this lovely meal with rosemary dusted roasted potatoes and Frankie brought homemade carrot and thyme bread.

The Goods: Happy Birthday, Elizabeth! Per office policy, Elizabeth spent her birthday—which was yesterday—relaxing and celebrating with friends, but per another office policy, we saw fit to continue the celebration today. VN's resident pastry chef Colleen baked a mouthwatering, rich cocoa and raspberry-filled cake covered in a sumptuous, vegan buttercream icing, topped with drizzled chocolate over ripe raspberries. Lets just say that this cake made us wish birthdays happened everyday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lentil Soup Leftovers

The Chef: Lyndsay and Chas

The Menu: Hearty leftover lentil soup brimming with carrot, green lentils, garlic, kale, celery, rosemary, and onion paired with a simple, delicious leftover salad chockfull of mixed greens, halved cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, black olives, cucumber, and avocado. Naturally, we rounded out this classic soup-and-salad combo with doughy slices of sourdough bread.

The Goods: If this meal looks conspicuously like our Friday lunch prepared by Chas, it's because it is. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our good friend as he left for home this morning, so lets call our leftovers-filled lunch a lingering tribute to Chas—and not laziness. It definitely wasn't laziness. Seriously though, we can't wait until Chas visits the VNHQ again. We miss you Chas! In addition to missing Chas, we also miss lovely Ms. Elizabeth, who is taking the day off to—VN office policy—celebrate her birthday. So, happy birthday, Elizabeth! We can't wait to continue the celebration tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Lentil Soup, Crispy Tofu Salad

The Chef: Chas

The Menu: A wonderful Italian lentil soup replete with kale, carrots, green lentils, celery, onion, garlic, and rosemary paired with steamed broccoli marinated in nutritional yeast and olive oil. As per usual, Chas rounded out our lovely meal with one of his signature mixed green salads brimming with avocado, black olives, cucumber, and shredded carrot, and topped it off with pan-fried crispy tofu.

The Goods: It's a bittersweet day here at the VNHQ. On the bright side, we're just about to send our July+August Anniversary issue to press and we couldn't be more excited. On the less bright side of things, today marks the last day of Chas' stay. While we've heard that all good things must come to an end, we're pretty set in our "we love Chas" ways and wish he never had to go home. Don't worry, we've already devised a plan to begin emailing him requests to return before he arrives at the airport on Monday. Does that sound a little creepy? Hey, if you knew Chas—or had tasted his to-die-for crispy tofu—you'd do the same. We'll miss you Chas! Safe travels!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pasta e Tofurky

The Chef: Chas

The Menu: Perfectly cooked Racconto Essentials rigatoni pasta mixed with slices of zesty, seasoned Tofurky Italian sausage all tossed in a spicy marinara sauce made up the bulk of this Italian feast. Chas continued the Mediterranean theme by tossing halved olives into our mixed greens salad, adding a savory kick to the accompanying avocado, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot, and broccoli. The inclusion of homemade crispy tofu squares to our salad and several servings of bread made this one hearty, heavenly meal.

The Goods: In case there was any doubt, we think this meal sets the record straight: We love carbs! This spread of Italian goodies was exactly what we needed to warm us up on this slightly chilly, overcast Thursday afternoon. Despite the lazy weather outside, we're hard at work indoors as we put the finishing touches on our July+August Anniversary issue. If you can hardly contain your excitement for said issue, we suggest you join the club—okay, so right now the club is us, but we're totally fun. Make sure to order your advance copy today to receive our largest, most celebratory issue yet.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Onion Soup, Mashed Potatoes

The Chef: Chas

The Menu: A rich, flavorful onion soup of kale, seasoned tofu squares, carrot, celery, kidney beans, garlic, thyme, and lots of savory, crisp onion paired with a complementary comfort food classic, mashed potatoes and gravy. Chas took a samosa-filling inspired take on this standard side by adding peas, almond milk, veggie broth, and seasoning, and literally took a page from American Vegan Kitchen for the gravy recipe. Despite our assertion that a carb-filled meal was exactly what we always want, Chas also busted our one of his signature salads tossed with avocado dressing.

The Goods: Oh yes, this meal was a big, heaping helping of awesome. If there's one thing that the VN staff can rally around it's vegan mashed potatoes and gravy. The only thing more exciting than indulging in this satisfying fare is finishing off our meal with dessert from Sticky Fingers. During a weekend trip to Washington, DC, VN Art Director Sutton Long visited the capital city bakery and was gifted a box of dairy-free desserts by Sticky Fingers' Manager Ben Adams. Lets just say we're not complaining about any of it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Green Beans, Veggie Soup

The Chef: Chas

The Menu: A super satisfying veggie-filled soup complete with kale, russet potatoes, carrots, kidney beans, pinto beans, sweet potato, and onion paired perfectly with a mixed greens salad brimming with chickpeas, shredded carrot, cucumber, and cabbage mixed with a tangy, smooth avocado dressing. To top off our great, green lunch Chas also prepared a side of steamed green beans  marinated in olive oil and mixed with diced onion.

The Goods: Here at the VNHQ we love three-day weekends, but getting back to work has its perks as well. Namely, that we're putting our July+August Anniversary issue to bed this week—and we couldn't be more excited! In honor of our 10 year anniversary, we've packed this issue full of the very best vegan recipes, lifestyle features, products, and media imaginable, and to honor this milestone world-famous artist Peter Max has designed our cover. Ready to read this must-have issue cover to cover? Sign up today, as it's the final day to subscribe in time to receive our fabulous anniversary issue. Already a subscriber? Gift a year-long subscription to your mother, best friend, or curious coworker and make their summer a little, well, sunnier.