Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Veggies, Tofu, and Strawberries

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Stir-fried vegetables in a tamari-peanut sauce and baked tofu on a bed of spinach, plus a side of fresh strawberries

The Dish: It's a very dreary day here in San Francisco, so I decided to go with a big bowl of warm veggies  and my favorite homemade baked tofu. While it's not the prettiest meal, the peanut sauce and perfectly seasoned tofu (tamari, a hint of stevia, onion powder, and garlic powder is all!) really hit the spot. Considering the meal took me about 20 minutes to make was just a bonus (and adding some delicious in-season strawberries for dessert didn't hurt, either). Check out more super simple summer dinners, snacks, and more in our new featurette, Easy Vegan Meals

Friday, May 27, 2011

Classic Soup & Salad

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A leftover half of the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich from Millennium, and Vegetable Barley soup from Amy's Kitchen.

The Goods: Yes, we're still stuck on the deliciousness of our experience at the Southern Comfort Dinner, which you can read all about on our Press Pass blog. The sandwich was just as good two days later, and I am sad to say that there are no more leftovers from that glorious night, and now my waiting for next year begins. I'm also sad to say that this is the last day of Editorial Assistant Alexandra Chang at the VNHQ. We don't want to see her go, but we wish her all of the best. Happy Memorial Day to everyone—enjoy the long weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DIY Falafel and Green Juice

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: Sunshine falafel burger, Annie's Natural Goddess dressing, and spinach in a whole-wheat pita. A glass of green juice with spinach, romaine, kale, celery, lemon, and apple.

The Goods: Last night, I had the meal of my life. Millennium's Southern Comfort dinner, which is a food feast of fried pickles, buttermilk fried "chicken" sandwiches, jalapeño cornbread, and wait for it—an ice cream sandwich bar. For all the pics and full menu, check out VN Office Manager's Lyndsay Orwig's detailed account on Press Pass of the debauchery and ensuing food coma. So today, I juiced. Carrot juice for breakfast and green juice for lunch. I'm hoping this evens out the ice cream sandwich I made topped with caramel, Rice Mellow, and brownies. It totally evens out, right? Good. I recently bought a Breville juicer so I'm tossing all my fresh fruits and veggies in there to see what I come up with. Can you believe I used to shy away from green juice? Now it's my best friend. Thanks, Kris Carr!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Magical Vegan Miso Soup

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Colleen

The Menu: A perfectly flavored miso soup with sliced carrots, rice, spinach, and plenty of fresh garlic.

The Goods: This magical bowl of soup appeared when Colleen learned that I was without lunch today. Sometimes you get locked out of your house where your carefully packed lunch (not to mention sources of money with which to buy lunch!) is waiting. Colleen came through big time by offering to share her freshly made miso soup, which was the perfect, light meal to eat in preparation for Millennium's Southern Comfort Dinner tonight. Our staff looks forward to this incredible night of low-brow, high-deliciousness cuisine for 364 days every year. Maybe we're now counting the minutes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick & Easy Black Bean Tacos

The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: My favorite local vegan tacos—soft corn tortillas filled with with black beans, seasoned rice, chopped onion, cilantro, and large slices of avocado—plus a young coconut water from the coconut truck guy

The Goods: Some days, I can barely last until lunch because I'm so hungry. Today was one of those days, and, having not packed a lunch, I ventured out to my favorite taqueria for a basket of tacos. And, as always, they were both delicious and filling. I also visited the nearby coconut truck guy, who sold me a young coconut for $3 and then proceeded to hack up the fruit into small snack-size pieces after I finished slurping the water. A lovely lunch indeed, especially on this gorgeous San Francisco day. Unfortunately, I missed sitting out on the VegNews deck with my colleagues, who were getting ample Vitamin D from the very ample sunshine. What I could really go for right now is some homemade banana ice cream, which Editorial Assistant Anna Peraino chats about over on our Savvy Vegan blog this week. Since we're also putting the final touches on our July+August edition, summer is definitely on our mind—inside you'll find stories on vegan budget living, animal sanctuary road trips, and an all-vegan ice cream truck you have to see to believe. Let the countdown begin!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Vegetable Curry and Birthday Cake

The Chef: Anna and Colleen

The Menu: Thai coconut curry with potatoes, carrots, red pepper, spinach, and fresh basil over Jasmine rice, followed by a vanilla bean cake filled with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream.

The Dish: We had a lot to celebrate today at VNHQ; both Office Manager Lyndsay and Editor-at-Large Laura turned one year older this week. For their birthday lunch, Associate Publisher Colleen made a seriously delicious green curry. It had the perfect amount of heat (spicy but didn't burn my mouth) and the fresh vegetables complemented the curry deliciously. And the cake? Well, I didn't have any, as both Managing Editor Elizabeth and I are currently on Kris Carr's 21-day cleanse (I know I know, I'm doing it again, but it's much better this time I swear!). Luckily, Elizabeth and I had the good sense to put our slices in the fridge for safekeeping. All cleanses have to end at some point.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bagel and Tangerines

The Chef: Alexandra and Javalencia

The Menu: Toasted sesame bagel with Tofutti and two tangerines.

The Goods: Happy Friday everyone! Today's lunch definitely put a smile on my face, so much so that I ate half of my bagel before remembering to take a photo of it. It's a good thing though, because you wouldn't be able to see this happy face on a plate. There's a lot to look forward to: We just got cupcakes, chocolate, and wine in the office, VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig's birthday is this weekend, Millenium's Southern Comfort night is next week (check out the previous years' events here), we're working on the finishing touches of July+August issue... so take a breather and have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Food Truck Lunch Adventure

Hello, divine falafel with toppings galore and sweet potato fries

The Chef: Colleen and Liba food truck

The Menu: Incredibly fresh falafel over organic greens topped with roasted eggplant in tomato sauce, red cabbage with black sesame seed, olive-orange relish, rosemary peanuts, pickled onion, dill cardamom pickles, fresh baby apricot slices with chervil, and housemade hummus dressing. Oh, and the most adorable paper bag of hand-cut sweet potato fries with fresh cilantro, garlic, and lime.

The Goods: Today's lunch was meant to be. I was supposed to be on a flight at noon so didn't pack a lunch. Then, right after I discovered my trip was cancelled, I got an invitation from local vegan chef and VN columnist, Jesse Miner, asking if I'd like to hit up his favorite falafel food truck, Liba. He's been raving about this place for months, and always knows exactly where they're going to be at what time, so VN Associate Editor Jenn and I met up with him for an exciting lunchtime adventure. We headed for Potrero Hill and got in line just before the masses arrived. Gail, the lovely owner, took our orders and gave us a tour of the mouth-watering topping bar. Customers can get a regular falafel ($8), small falafel ($5), or falafel bowl over organic greens ($9), and then pile high on as many toppings as they'd like. Let's just say Jenn and I filled our compostable boxes to the very top and had one of our best falafel meals ever. Jesse suggested we order the sweet potato fries to round out our meal, and at $2 a bag, we couldn't resist. We then headed to a local park and enjoyed our food truck meal under giant trees overlooking the city. Check out where Liba is next by following them on Twitter. You'll be happy you did!

VN columnist Jesse Miner and Jennifer with their mile-high falafel salads

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Veggie Coconut Curry

The Chef: Jennifer 

The Menu: Eggplant, carrots, zucchini, and strips of Coconut Curry Tempeh strips in a coconut curry sauce over brown rice.

The Goods: I am a recipe kind of gal. Unlike some of my coworkers at VN who can whip up an entire raw lunch or soup from scratch without even glancing at an ingredients list, I am the opposite kind of cook. I like my cookbooks, VegNews recipes, and vegan blogs (I heart you veganstoner.com) to make my meals. So when whipping up dinner last night, I found this quick and simple recipe on the back of Turtle Island Foods' marinated Coconut Curry Tempeh Strips for a coconut curry stir-fry. After chopping the veggies and grilling the tempeh, I added a can of low-fat coconut milk and some curry powder and bam! there was a satisfying dinner. If you're like me and love recipes, sign up for our weekly Recipe Club, full of delicious vegan recipes, like today's hunger-inducing Avocado Pesto Pasta. You can already guess what I'll be making for dinner tonight.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brunch for Lunch!

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: Brunch! A savory tofu scramble with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms, accompanied by a heaping helping of potatoes and a big green juice.

The Goods: On cold, rainy days like today, the allure of my favorite salad goes way down. I just need something warm and filling to combat the inclement weather. Of course, since I'm now in the second week of Kris Carr's 21-day cleanse (notice: none of the delicious toast that typically comes with this scramble!), I paired the cooked goodies with a green juice and big side salad. The weather is supposed to stay just as cruddy as it is now for the next couple of days, so to facilitate the illusion of warmth, I'll be fantasizing about our current travel feature on VegNews.com: honeymoon destinations. With wedding or without, these spots sound much more inviting than the gray skies above SF.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Organic Green Salad with Brown Rice

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A delicious oversized salad with tomatoes, shredded carrot, olives, and green onion—all tossed with warm brown rice in an olive oil-balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: I didn't have much at home to prepare lunch today, but after eating out a few times last week, I really wanted to kick-off the work week with something fresh and homemade. Enter some aging lettuce (remove the outer leaves!), a handful of olives, a single carrot and green onion, and some leftover brown rice. And voila—a healthy lunchtime meal, and it tasted great! Hey, have you checked out the amazing menus from our 2011 vegan wedding couples? They'll blow your mind. If I ever get married, I am going straight to these stories for inspiration. And happy 25th anniversary to Farm Sanctuary, who celebrated in style this weekend with a star-studded event in New York City. VN's NYC correspondent was there, so read all about it on Press Pass!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Baked Yukon Gold with Guac & Greens

The Chefs: Colleen

The Menu: Baked Yukon Gold potato with organic coconut spread, avocado, and green onions—with a side marinated kale salad and sliced English cucumber

The Goods: In my Savvy Vegan blog post last month, I touted baked potatoes with toppings as a great mid-day meal. Since we have a convection oven here at the VNHQ, it's easy to pop in a potato an hour before lunch and then load it up when I'm ready to eat. Years ago, once I first tried baked Yukon Golds, Russets were history. Yukons bake up creamy and smooth, and are perfect with Earth Balance's new organic coconut spread and mashed avocado. Add some fresh kale, and it was a wonderful, healthy lunch. If decidedly not healthy (but gorgeous!) vegan wedding cakes are more your thing, check out our brand-new story on VegNews.com all about 10 incredible vegan weddings. Our couples are creative, compassionate, and inspiring—and their stories are incredibly moving. Enjoy! P.S. For the first time ever, we missed a Café VegNews post for yesterday's lunch. Our blog host, Blogger, was down all afternoon and it just wasn't going to happen. Apologies from all!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Leftovers & Fresh Produce

The Chefs: Lyndsay

The Menu: Leftover vegetarian chicken and broccoli, with a side salad of baby greens, cilantro, and Follow Your Heart Vegan Ranch Dressing. Finally, two fresh strawberries for dessert.

The Goods: I've been working out a lot lately, so I'm a fan of big lunches—this one definitely left me satisfied. I ordered food from my favorite local Chinese takeout last Monday, so I wanted to finish it up today. I also received my first produce box from Farm Fresh to You, which I was very excited about, so I included some of the goods in my meal, making a yummy salad and dessert. I really want to use up the entire box and not let anything go to waste, which is why I included cilantro in my salad, because that is one of the things that I usually end up throwing away. Any suggestions for using cilantro? I'd be most grateful!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spinach Salad & Pozole Soup

The Chefs: Jennifer and Flacos Tacos

The Menu: A spinach salad topped with mango, walnuts, and Annie's Natural Goddess dressing. Pozole soup filled with hominy in a spicy broth.

The Goods: After attending a Forks Over Knives screening last night with VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria, I went home and opened my produce drawers. The movie was a wake-up call to me that even though I'm vegan, it doesn't mean I'm eating healthy (hello, soy ice cream). My family has a history of cancer and diabetes so Forks Over Knives was a real reminder that what I put in my body is important. Hence, the spinach salad topped with fresh mango and walnuts. The pozole soup is from the wonderful vegan Flacos Tacos in Berkeley, Calif. My husband and I ate there a few nights ago and we love it. Everything there is delicious and freshly made. If you've seen Forks Over Knives or want to go, we're giving away an amazing prize pack over on our Facebook page just by answering a question about the movie. Here's to your health!

Monday, May 9, 2011

21-Day Cleanse Starting Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A fantastically enormous salad of mixed greens, romaine, shredded carrots and beets, cherry tomatoes, roasted beets, grilled tofu, and avocado, all topped with my absolute favorite dressing, the Dijon vinaigrette.

The Goods: After a recent long weekend in NYC (read all about it later this week on Press Pass), I have been in desperate need of greens. To make sure that I'm really getting all the good, green stuff possible, I'm starting Kris Carr's 21-day cleanse today! I'm really excited to juice, meditate, and generally get myself into tip-top shape. To celebrate the start of this little adventure, I grabbed the biggest salad on the block, which happens to be my favorite. Tonight, to continue the healthy theme, a group from the VNHQ will attend a screening of Forks Over Knives, which I absolutely can't wait to see! Have you tried the cleanse or seen the movie? Tell me your thoughts on either in the comments!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Buddhist Lunch in Chinatown

 The Bird's Nest at Lucky Creation in San Francisco

Chef: Colleen and Lucky Creation

The Menu: The best wonton soup on the planet; shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, and tofu over noodles; sautéed vegetables over a fried-noodle nest; and an eggplant claypot

The Goods: Of all the veg restaurants in San Francisco, I have been going to Lucky Creation longer than any. Back in the late 90s when I lived in SF's North Beach neighborhood, I would stop by this Buddhist-run, hole-in-the-wall Chinatown vegan eatery for a hot bowl of soup or a plate of vegetables over steamed rice. I could walk out having spent no more than $7, and the food was always fresh and delicious. Fast forward 14 years, I relish any opportunity to eat at Lucky, and, thankfully, it has become my mom and her partner's favorite San Francisco restaurant as well. So, yesterday, when they came up for a visit, we immediately headed to Chinatown for lunch at this veggie institution. On order were all of our favorites, including the most sumptuous bowl of won ton soup (freshly made won ton purses filled with mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts in a chrysanthemum flower broth), the "Bird's Nest" (a medley of Chinese mushrooms, broccoli, snap peas, and ginkgo nuts over a fried noodle ring), and my mom's all-time favorite, the #11 (shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and bok choy over noodles). In accordance with Buddhist tradition, no onion or garlic is used at Lucky, but the flavors of the food are so stellar that you don't even think about. Have a great weekend everyone—eat lots of great vegan food!

Lucky's wonton soup, featuring wonton bundles filled with mushrooms, carrots, and water chestnuts

The rich, stewed Eggplant Claypot with tofu and carrots

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Falafel Wrap Sandwich

Chef: Jennifer and Ali Baba's Cave

The Menu: Falafel wrap filled with hummus, tahini, cucumber, tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and potatoes.

The Goods: I am heavily influenced  by descriptions of food. I can't even make it through editing our latest issue, July+August, without trying out one of our new recipes (hello, deep dish pizza!). So when VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland mentioned Ali Baba's falafel wrap that you could get stuffed with roasted eggplant and potatoes yesterday while we were eating massive burritos (see below), I had to have it for lunch today. I love falafel. Back when I went to NYU, Mamoun's Falafel on MacDougal Street was my $2 lunch standard. This wrap did not disappoint. The roasted potatoes and eggplant were key! The wrap was so large that I saved the second half for tomorrow's lunch (or possibly a late afternoon snack). While falafel isn't normally part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration, nachos are and one lucky winner will win a Daiya Nacho Kit today—hurry the contest ends in a few short hours!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Veggie Burritos and Guests

Chef: Alexandra and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Burritos filled with rice, black beans, avocados, and salsa, with a side of chips.

The Goods: It was a big day at the VNHQ. We had several visitors for lunch and to make sure everybody's appetite went satisfied, Associate Publisher Colleen Holland got burritos from local favorite Taqueria Cancun.  This meal never fails, and yes, I am currently eating the half of a burrito I saved "for later" while writing this. As for our visitors, we were lucky enough to chat with Back to the Roots founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora. These are the guys who created the VN Best of Show- winning mushroom-growing kit, with which we are obsessed. Also joining us was About.com writer Jolinda Hackett, who covers everything vegetarian on the site. With a conference room packed with talent, passion, and drive, it wasn't hard to have some great conversation. If you're in the Bay Area and are interested in learning more about Back to the Roots, check out their event in Oakland next Thursday evening, where they'll be showing off their new warehouse and providing food (plenty of mushrooms!), drinks, and entertainment. That's where you'll find us, at least.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup with a Twist

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Butternut soup infused with ginger, peanut butter, and a pinch of cayenne, and a slice of bread—to dip in the soup, of course!

The Goods: Believe it or not, I made this soup within 20 minutes, and the prep time was less than five. It's a very simple recipe from The 4-Ingredient Vegan by Maribeth Abrams and Anne Dinshah, which is a cookbook that specializes in fast and easy recipes. Yes, the soup came from a carton—sometimes a working girl needs to take the easy route—but it was super good, especially with the other additions. Just to let you know, tomorrow is the last day to subscribe in time to get the July+August 2011 issue of VegNews. You don't want to miss out!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spinach Salad

The Chef: Anna and Gardein

The Menu: A spinach salad with carrots, tomatoes, red peppers, sweet potatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing, plus Gardein's new Ultimate Beefless Burger

The Goods: Okay, so it might not be the prettiest salad you've ever seen, but it sure was tasty. I first tried Gardein's brand new meatless patty at Expo West, and I was instantly hooked. And by "hooked" I mean I stopped by the Gardein booth at least twice a day. Needless to say, I was excited when a shipment of them was delivered to our door. Come lunch time, I threw a patty in with my salad for an extra dose of protein and deliciousness, and it worked like a charm. Here's to dinner, which will feature another one of these gems, this time sandwiched in a bun with ketchup, some Daiya cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Man, I wish it was 7:00pm.