Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Vegan MOFO Survey

I thought I would weigh in on the Vegan MOFO Survey that is floating around. It seems like a good method for bloggers to share more about themselves, and their food philosophy.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I like my own almond milk the best. I also make sprouted soymilk occasionally, but I tend to use the almond milk more often. Too much of anything, even healthy things can lead to problems. That is why I save my soybean consumption for tofu and use almond milk in my cooking, and for my smoothies and oatmeal

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
I have had a couple of recipe requests so I have to go with vegan escargot and braciole. For myself I want to make a vegan version of saag (the Indian creamed spinach) that has the taste and texture of the original.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
That is so easy, truffle salt and truffle oil is my absolute favorite popcorn topping.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
That is a tough one because it has been awhile since I had an actual disaster. I have had dishes I didn’t love but disasters haven’t happened in a while. That is a function of how long I have been cooking (I am old). I remember a crazy Thanksgiving about 30 years when I hadn’t gotten the whole “timing thing” down. It is not a great idea when everything else is ready and the main dish is still far undercooked. But that little event with the in-laws taught me how to plan dinner so everything was done at the same time.

5. Favorite pickled item?
Pickled peppers, I use them in everything. Here on the east coast we call them “wet hots” and most people use them on sub sandwiches.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
My new recipes are saved electronically in my cookbook software so they are easy to find. The recipes prior to that could be almost anywhere. Some are on paper in binders, others are on index cars, and still others are saved electronically as word files. Thankfully I have a good memory and can usually remember where to begin looking. I am looking forward to the day when all my recipes are saved electronically in the cookbook software but that is going to be a while.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Trash. Compost is something I have wanted to do but haven’t made the time.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Wheat berries so I could also plant it or turn it into flour and make many things. Beans for protein and so I could plant them to grow more. Last I would say tomatoes since I am part Italian and can’t imagine life without red sauce.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
This is a tough one. My mother never embraced cooking so we eat a lot of dinners out. I would say my favorite meal was at a restaurant in Chicago that is now closed. We used to go to dinner and movie or show a few times a month and sometimes we would go to “The Berghoff” for dinner. They had the most amazing creamed spinach, and Weiner schnitzel. I have not had either in over 30 years but I still remember those great dinners.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
I prefer to make my own ice cream. Of all the frozen desserts I have made recently my favorite was the peach, banana and ginger sorbet, which isn’t ice cream but was extremely tasty and not too unhealthy. That was a twofer in my book.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
I couldn’t live without my Vitamix! I use it almost every morning to make smoothies. It is also my good too device for making salad dressings and pureed soups. I also use it to make almond milk, another daily activity.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Tellicherry peppercorns

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I bought Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and The New York Times Cookbook at the same time. Both are extremely warn and have fallen apart. Yet I still use them both when I am looking for ideas of something to veganize for dinner.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
There is an Italian condiment called Mostarda that is like chutney with a background flavor of mustard. I love it on top of seitan and tofu. We don’t put jams or jellies on toast at our house. It I had to pick a sweet flavor it would be pink grapefruit marmalade.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
I always serve either my mushroom ragu or curried ravioli stuffed with tofu feta; both of these are always a big hit.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Hands down my own seitan. If we were talking store bought then it would be tofu.I really enjoy making my own seitan sausages. The different forms seitan can take make it the most versatile of the three in my opinion.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
I prefer to make dinner. I like to make multiple courses and enjoy building flavors with the dishes. On weekends I also enjoy making a leisurely brunch, which is also fun.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Other than cats, there are rolled oats, rolled barley, spelt flakes, rye flakes and Larabars. There may also be an empty reusable lunch bag or two in the back.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
I can probably name 50 things in my freezer. We keep a lot of food on hand for quick dinners. The first three items in my freezer that come to mind are whole golden flaxseeds, homemade seitan sausages (various flavors), and wild blueberries.

20. What's on your grocery list?
I went to the grocery store a few days ago but there are a few things that seem to always on my grocery list:
Various types of dried beans
Whole golden flaxseeds
Nutritional Yeast
Raw Cashews
Raw Sunflower seeds
Raw Pumpkin seeds
Silken Tofu
Seeds for sprouting
Frozen broccoli
Canned tomatoes
Sprouted whole-wheat flour
Whole-wheat pastry flour
Wild Blueberries, frozen
Mixed Berries, frozen
Edamame, in the pod
Baby Spinach
Crimini Mushrooms
Red bell peppers
Mixed Dried Mushrooms

21. Favorite grocery store?
I go to at least three different grocery stores each week so I don’t have one favorite. We go to Costco and buy a lot of things there every few weeks. Additionally we belong to an organic CSA and pick up produce every Sunday. I like going to Wegman’s for their unusual produce selection. There is also a neighborhood health food store (The Natural Market) I frequent regularly. We order a lot of food from Amazon grocery. Finally I stop at an Asian market (H Mart) before cooking class a few times a month for those items you can’t find anywhere but an Asian market.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
There are many recipes that I have on my list of things to veganize.
- Escargot
- Braciole
- Homemade puff pastry that is also whole wheat
- Whole Branzino in Cartoccio (we had this in Venice on our honeymoon and it was my favorite) – my problem is that I want it look like Branzino with the skin on, which may be impossible.
- Whipped cream that doesn’t taste like tofu. I have been working on this for a while and it harder than I imagined it would be to make without silken tofu.
- Gorgonzola cheese substitute
- Smoked Gouda substitute

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?
I spend far too much time cooking and posting to read other people’s blogs as much as I would like. That is the one downside of having a blog. However, I always like to keep up with my blog buddy Rose at Dandelion. Our cooking styles are very similar and I get great ideas seeing what she it making. I have to check out what Bryanna is up on Vegan Feast Kitchen. If it weren’t for Bryanna my husband and I would have given up veganism before it we really got started. She gave me enough ideas to get me going so we stuck with it.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Oddly, I am not a big chocolate fan. It is okay but I would rather have anything made with lemon. My husband likes Green and Black chocolate.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
That is a toss up between the organic unfiltered olive oil, fresh black truffle, fresh porcini mushrooms and kefir lime leaves. I justify this by saying, “but think of all the money we are saving my not buying the buffalo tallegio and organic grass fed steak.” My husband acts as though this sounds perfectly reasonable. He is such a good guy.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
- Sea cucumber (serious slime factor), but I am trying to work up to it since I know it is good for us.
- Making my own tempeh is a little daunting.
- Making my own sauerkraut scares me. I have this fear I will grow bad bacteria and make us sick. I probably just need to do more research to get over this fear.

That is it for now. I will be back later with a recipe or two. I also have an “experiment” in the dehydrator that I need to blog about later today after it has chilled and I have tried it.

I hope everyone is having a great day.


  1. Clever choices for the 3 foods to take onto an island; I'm with you, I can't imagine life without red sauce.

    Also, now, I'm sitting at work dreaming about pink grapefruit marmalade; I've never had it, but I think it must be delicious.

  2. Rose,

    I forgot to mention I would need to take someone with me to grow the food on the island given my black thumb.

    Pink grapefruit marmalade is amazing. I first had it in Italy. You don't see it much here though. Italians must like grapefruit because Italy is the only place I have seen pink grapefuit yogurt (which is also amazing I might add). And... yes I have a thing for pink grapefruit.

    I have made pink grapefruit marmalade before it is easy. All I did was take a orange marmalade recipe and use pink grapefruit instead. I like that it is much more tart than regular orange marmalade.


  3. I'm thinking of making some as Christmas gifts...but we'll see how that pans out.

    I think Italians must love grapefruit too...when I lived in Spain, I could never find any grapefruit juice or anything grapefruity...until they had a special event at a local grocery featuring products from Italy, and lo' and behold grapefruit juice, grapefruit soda...I was in heaven. I lurve grapefruit.

  4. I always think of making Christmas gifts too, but somehow it doesn't happen as I envision it will. Last year I was on a sweets kick and made 10 different variations of homemade marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate. Not vegan, but I was giving them out. Most of them went to work, cooking class, and the restaurant.

    No grapefruit in Spain? I hadn't noticed that. But then again I wasn't there long. It is such a shame grapefruit causes problems with so many medications. I love it too.

  5. Stonewall Kitchen makes a Pink Grapefruit Marmalade that is natural and vegan (assuming the sugar is vegan, don't know, haven't asked). I used to eat it and it was quite good. I can't get it in Florida (unless I mail order), which is to bad because now that I am off birth control I can eat it again. Interestingly enough I could get it in Kansas, which makes no sense because I was living in a smaller metro area there then here.

  6. Snugglebunny,

    Thanks so much for the tip of the pink grapefruit marmalade.

    Very odd that you could buy it in Kansas but not in Florida.


  7. Making my own tempeh is a little daunting.

    you can do it!!!i read up on that a bit ago, you buy a starter for it??? or something?

  8. Michelle,

    Thank you that made me smile. You can buy a starter kit which contains what you need to inoculate your own soy beans. I think then it is just a matter or keeping it in the correct temperature zone (like making yogurt). I am a little concerned about the fermentation and how to know if I am growing bad bacteria. I don't want to make us sick. Although I might be making too much out of it.


  9. Whilst searching your site for vegan cheese recipes, I came upon your reference to sea cucumber. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought sea cucumber was an animal.

    Your cheese recipes look great, btw. I will definitely be giving them a try.:)

  10. Felicity,

    Sea cucumbers are one of those slimy foods that completely creeps me out. I do believe it is an animal. They are totally safe from me due to the slime factor. I have a Japanese friend that loves it and swears it is very healthy. When I think of creepy food that is the first thing that always comes to mind for me. Gross! I am shuttering just thinking about it.



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