Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gratitude and Turkeys

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and there are certain things I like to do every year to mark the occasion. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, then you are probably already aware of the fact that Thanksgiving is also my "vegeversary." I stopped eating meat on Thanksgiving in 1989, so one of the things I like to do every year to celebrate is to participate in the "Adopt a Turkey" campaign sponsored by Farm Sanctuary. It makes me happy to honor this personal tradition, and it also inspires me to think about all of the things I am thankful for, like my family, my amazing friends, my wonderful job, and all of you! And of course I am also excited to start my menu planning for this year's Thanksgiving, (and you know I will share my holiday food plans with you soon...)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine: 1530 Cornwall

I had the great pleasure of eating at Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine yesterday, and while I was not the very first in line, I was lucky enough to be among the first customers of the day. I also had the great pleasure of having my wonderful and beautiful niece accompany me, so the meal was quite enjoyable, both in terms of food and the company! (I borrowed and cropped a picture from Ambo's facebook page from yesterday that includes the two of us waiting in line.)

The new space is great, the food was fantastic, and I am so pleased that we now have access to Mulu's food year round! Congratulations on your restaurant, Mulu, and congratulations to Bellingham for having the gift of Mulu's amazing food!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vegan in Bellingham News

Happy belated World Vegan Day! Apologies for my late post--afraid I have been pretty sick with the flu these past few days, but I am finally feeling better this evening, so I am going to share with you some news now. First off, breaking-happy-wonderful-news that you probably already know, but I am so excited I am telling you anyway: Mulu is opening Ambo Ethiopian Cuisine in the Public Market this coming weekend! I don't know about you, but I will definitely be there on Saturday!

The other news comes from a reader who recently learned something about some local pizza crusts not being vegetarian, and she asked me for help in spreading the word. It turns out that both Goat Mountain Pizza and Pizza'zza use Bellingham Flatbread pizza crust, and it also turns out that Bellingham Faltbread puts gelatin in their pizza crust dough. Unfortunately, this means that not only is the pizza crust not vegan, it's not even vegetarian. Thanks to Cordelia for passing on this information --it's really great when we can help each other out by sharing news about ingredients that might not be openly disclosed. Maybe if enough of us know about these kinds of things and speak up about them, then changes will be made. (And I can't help but wonder, why on earth would anyone need horse and cow hooves in their flatbread anyway?)

Thanks again to Cordelia, and please send any type of info like this my way if you want help sharing it. And hopefully I will see you at Mulu's new place on Saturday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cocoa Cranberry Zucchini Banana Bread

This past weekend I made this tasty bread and it was so rich and yummy, I knew I had to share how I did it. I used two smaller loaf pans to make two smaller loaves, but you could probably make one big loaf if you wanted to, although you might need to adjust the baking time. If you wanted to be really decadent, you could throw in some chocolate chips, but I also think it is plenty rich as is, especially if you use a good quality cocoa powder.

3 cups grated zucchini
2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your baking pans. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & powder, salt, and spices in a bowl. In a different bowl, mix the mashed banana, sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla and zucchini.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. Add the cranberries and walnuts last. Pour into loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes.

This is a really tasty rich and delicious zucchini bread and I know I will be making it again. It's perfect when you are craving something rich and chocolatey and brownie-ish, and the cranberries give it another layer of flavor that is so delicious and satisfying. I hope you like it!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Of Busy Days and Trader Joes Dinners...

I am afraid this weekend finds me a combination of busy and lazy, which doesn't make for a great blog post. Tonight's dinner is courtesy of Trader Joes combined with the very last package of Sophie's vegan shrimp I had stashed in my freezer. My apologies for not sharing anything exciting or of much value! I wish you a happy week and I promise to write something more interesting next weekend. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Easy Use-it-Up Vegetable Curry

With the shorter days and brightly-colored leaves that are now so common, it is clear the fall has arrived. I don't know about you, but this is one of my favorite times of year. It's hard not to feel happy when the grey skies are contrasted with such lovely oranges and reds and trees look like exploding fireworks and there is a chill in the air that underlies even the warmer days, a chill that makes me feel vaguely excited, as though anything could happen and anything is possible. And one of the things I love the most this time of year is coming home after a long walk or hike and eating something hearty and flavorful.

Sometimes making something hearty and flavorful starts with just seeing what you have in the fridge and taking advantage of what you find there. Yesterday I was in the mood for a nice veggie curry, and I also happened to have some veggies I needed to cook. What follows is my attempt to share with you how I made a yummy curry, but since I sort of made it up as I went along, I am afraid my ingredient proportions are estimates rather than exact measures.I encourage you to use this more as inspiration than an exact recipe, and take advantage of whatever ingredients you have that sound good to you.

My Saturday Curry
1 small red onion, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Begin by sauteing the onions and garlic in olive oil in a stockpot over low to medium heat with some salt and the red pepper until softened. I chopped and sliced my onions first, and then covered the pan with the lid and let it cook down some while I prepped the other ingredients.

5 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed into bite-sized chunks (as though for a stew)
2-3 cups chopped carrots
6 or 7 celery stalks, sliced

Add the carrots and let cook for a couple of minutes, followed by the celery and then the potatoes. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook a bit longer over low heat. Then add:

2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

stir until all of the veggies are coated with the spices, and then add:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1 small cartoon mixed variety mushrooms
1 can chopped tomatoes

If it looks like things are starting to stick to the pan a bit, go ahead and add a couple of cups of veggie broth at this point, then cover the pan again, make sure your heat is on low, and simmer until the veggies are soft, at least 30 minutes.

Once everything seems cooked, stir in:

1/2 cup frozen peas
1 bunch beet greens, chopped
1 can coconut milk
2 cups cooked basmati rice

I let this cook a bit longer over low heat so that all the flavors could marry, and then at the very end stirred in:

2 cups fresh mixed greens (spinach, baby  kale, etc.)

And that's pretty much it! Again, feel free to try other veggies. Broccoli and cauliflower would also taste great, and while I really like the flavor of the beet greens, I had just made beets earlier that day and happened to have the greens to use, so really it is a matter of using what you have and figuring out the combo that works best for you!