More sushi, more details

The whole table

The whole table

We’ve got spicy tempeh rolls (from Vcon, made my Jeff), rolls with various combinations of veggies (bell pepper, scallion, carrot, avocado, cucumber, enoki mushroom) and tofu (fried lemongrass chili flavor, fried onion flavor and baked in soy sauce), inari, edamame, magical rice cylinders with surprises inside, and those same cylinders wrapped in pastel-colored tapioca sheets because I didn’t know what to do with those weird tapioca sheets I’ve had for ages.  Their texture was really weird, though.  Check out my new chopsticks– I got 20 pairs for $3 at Fubonn.

I think between 12 and 15 people showed, and there was more than enough sushi to go around.  I have lots of leftovers in my fridge and I have to make sure to eat them before I leave for San Francisco in a few days!

Evan from bjorkedoff brought some amazing cookies, all tester recipes from Isa and Terry’s upcoming cookie book.  My favorites were the tahini lime ones.  I am definitely looking forward to the book coming out.

Right now I am eating leftover stir fry I brought home from my parents’ house on Friday (I needed a break from sushi and cookies).  Apparently my dad likes to marinate tofu (in soy sauce + whatever), roll it in brown rice flour and seasonings (usually Chinese five spice) and bake it on a greased cookie sheet.  Delicious and so much healthier than my method of frying it in a shitload of oil.  I can’t believe my parents are making tofu innovations without me.  They made it with a ton of garlic and ginger because I am very slowly recovering from bad sinusitis.  Yes, when I get sick I have parties and make massive amounts of sushi.  Smart, I know.

omg so much sushi

I am full from eating the ugly ends already.

I am full from eating the ugly ends already.

That’s over 200 pieces.  I feel like the picture doesn’t do it justice– those baking sheets are big industrial-sized ones.

I am tired.  My friend Jeff helped, though.

More pictures when it’s pretty and on serving dishes.

Late night snack of champions

A rice cake with half White Chocolate Wonderful from Peanut Butter and Co., and half Spar chocolate hazelnut spread on my very messy bedside table next to some Yogi Mayan Cocoa Spice tea.

The White Chocolate Wonderful is from Food Fight! and the Spar is from Fubonn.  Two of my favorite Portland grocery stores on one rice cake!  Which is probably from Whole Foods, regrettably, but I live really close to a Whole Foods and New Seasons is way far away, ok?

Sweet dreams everybody.

VegNews Mac ‘n’ Cheese

There are a million bajillion vegan mac and cheese recipes out there, and most of them are more or less like, fat+nutritional yeast+some other seasonings+noodles. A while back the magazine VegNews published a recipe for mac and cheese that contained no nutritional yeast. My friend Karla at VeganShizzle made some mac and cheese based on that recipe for a potluck a while ago and I thought it was amazing. Today I realized I had most of the ingredients to make it myself so I decided to make some lunch.

What I did not have was raw cashews, so I used raw sunflower seeds instead. This definitely affected the flavor but not in a bad way, I thought. Cashews have more fat and probably would have made the sauce creamier. Of course, I used less than 1/4 cup sunflower seeds since they are smaller and pack in tighter. I also didn’t have shallots so I just used more onion. I never use black pepper for anything so I upped the cayenne a little bit– a little more than I intended too, actually, but a little spice never hurt anything. Right before I stuck it in the oven I stirred in some sauteed spinach because I’ve got to get my veggies somehow.

Here’s the obligatory bad picture.

Steamy!

Steamy!

I think that next time I might reduce the lemon juice a little (it tasted kind of sour to me), and add some thyme and nutmeg because I associate those seasonings with true mac and cheese.  I’ll also spring for the cashews to see how it’s really supposed to be. This was delicious, though not “cheesy” exactly. The mac and cheese recipe I posted a few months ago is still my favorite but this both healthier and cheaper to make. I can’t be making Teese a regular part of my shopping list.

Fudgey Gluten-Free Brownies

Recently I had a small potluck with some friends (because we needed lots of food to keep ourselves alive while watching an entire season of Lost) and a friend of mine who can’t eat gluten came. I knew I wanted to make a dessert, and I had been craving brownies for a few days. I decided to de-glutenize a recipe I’ve been using for ages. I got this recipe from the vegancooking livejournal community and it’s been a hit with plenty of friends as well as a whole lot of people at my college back when I was the vegan baker for the cafeteria. It’s great because it doesn’t require Earth Balance, or even chocolate, just a ton of cocoa, and it always comes out fudgey and awesome. It’s great gluten-free too– I would have had no idea if I hadn’t been the one to make them.

First, a few notes. I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour. I’ve tried a few gluten-free baking mixes and this one is definitely the best. Feel free to try something different but I make no guarantees it will still turn out well. Also, I added the xanthan gum as a last-minute thing because the recipes on the back of the Bob’s package all called for it, but I have no idea how necessary it is. If you try the recipe without it, let me know how it goes. I also doubled the recipe from the original because I was feeding a few people.

The last note– this is important. If you are baking for someone who can’t have gluten, it’s good to find out about the extent of their gluten intolerance and exactly what they can and cannot eat. For example, some people cannot handle the very small amounts of gluten in some types of vanilla extract, but for some that’s not an issue. Some people can’t eat foods made on the same equipment as gluten-containing foods. Also, read labels for everything! Weird things can have gluten. For example, did you know that Vitasoy Soy Milk contains barley extract, which contains gluten?

Anyway, here’s the recipe.

Fudgey Gluten-Free Brownies (based on cas_one’s recipe from the vegancooking lj community)

Mmmm blurry

Mmmm blurry

1 cup canola oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
Pinch salt
2 cups water

Preheat oven to 375.

Blend the oil and sugar until creamy. Add vanilla. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa, xanthan gum and salt. Dump the contents of one bowl into the other bowl and add the water. Mix it all up. It should make a pretty stiff batter. Put batter in a greased 9×9 (or slightly bigger) pan. Bake for around 20 minutes, until it doesn’t look totally molten.

After the brownies cool, you can top them with chocolate ganache.  I use the recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which you own, right?  If you don’t, I’ll give you the recipe to tide you over as you wait for the book to arrive in the mail.

Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping (also doubled to cover all those brownies)

1/2 cup soy milk
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 8 ounces chocolate chips
1/4 cup maple syrup, or brown rice syrup (what I used)

Bring the soy milk to a gentle boil. Immediately take off the heat, add the chocolate and syrup, and stir until it’s smooth. Let it cool to room temperature and then frost your brownies.

Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant

Last night I went to Bete-Lukas for the second time. The first time I went I was with friends, and this time I went with my parents, who had never been before. They are fans of Ethiopian food, though, and they agreed that this was the best Ethiopian food they have had in Portland. I’m not going to claim that I have been to ever single Ethiopian restaurant in Portland– I’ve been to Queen of Sheba, Dalo’s, Jarra’s (but it was ages ago) and E’Njoni. I’m not trying to diss those places because I really like all of them (except I don’t remember Jarra’s at all). But Bete-Lukas is my new favorite, for sure. I’m really bad at reviews so I’m just writing a top five list of why I like it.

5. Nice atmosphere. The building doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on the inside, it’s so cute and nice, with pretty curtains and nice table settings and Christmas lights everywhere.
4. Good/hilarious service. The owner is a total ham (don’t freak out if he says your credit card is declined– he’s full of shit). The other waiter we had was great and didn’t blink when we asked that a meat dish be put on a separate plate (I’ve had trouble with that at another Ethiopian restaurant in Portland).
3. All of the vegetarian dishes, except for one that specifically says “butter” in the description, are vegan.
2. I’ve had some amazing things there that aren’t available at other restaurants I’ve been to, like my two favorite dishes, the kale and the eggplant. A lot of Ethiopian restaurants use spinach for their greens dishes but Bete-Lukas uses kale and it is sooo good. And the eggplant dish is my favorite. It doesn’t come with the veggie combo so I recommend adding a side order of it if you’re getting that. Only order it if you can handle spice, though, because it does have quite a kick.
1. I love taking my parents to restaurants that I love and having them love it too. Maybe that’s a silly subjective reason but it’s enough for me to give something five stars.

Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant is at 2504 SE 50th Ave (just South of Division), Portland, Oregon 97206, on the second floor. It’s open for lunch on the weekends 11:30-2:30 and open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday from 5:00-close.

Nhut Quang and supporting vegan and vegan-friendly businesses in this crap economy

You may have heard that Kinta, which I reviewed a long time ago, just closed.  And before that Nutshell closed, after going from vegan to vegetarian, and before that Veganopolis closed, which I had mixed feelings about.  It is a hard time to have a restaurant right now, and our amazing and diverse and vegan-friendly restaurants are something that I really love about Portland.  So when I hear that a restaurant that I really like isn’t doing that well, it’s kind of scary.  Apparently Nhut Quang, the vegan Vietnamese restaurant on NE 82nd & Fremont goes in that category.  I grew up in a pretty Vietnamese neighborhood and it makes me sad that I really can’t go to  restaurants that I went to as a kid, so I’m glad that Nhut Quang is around.  Jess of Get Sconed! reviewed it if you want to know more.   If you’ve been to Nhut Quang and you liked it, or if you’ve been meaning to go, or if you’ve never heard of it until now but you’re intrigued, now would be a really good time to go.  I went last night and I’ll be going again today.