Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thank you.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Dalai Lama

The River City Vegan has thus far focused on great food, and spreading the word about my cooking class (okay, and one post with adorable poppets). While no doubt, these are all worth while bloggings, I am hijacking this post to say "thank you".

Our Earth may often be brutal, unjust, and heartbreaking, this is true. Yet somehow,  the world around me is full of love, full of hope, and capable of untold kindnesses.

Compassion and kindness are the building blocks upon which I became and have stayed a vegan. To me no words ring truer than, "be the change you want to see in the world". Also, those who know me, know of my personal Norman Rockwell obsession, as evident by the print next to my front door, which reads, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

These ethical building blocks have brought into my world such amazingly wonderful Earthlings, people and creatures who fill my life with an overabundance of joy, of admiration and hope that I am able to be who I am, create what I want, love who I do, and find a peace and happiness in the world every day of my life.

This, to me, is all part of being a vegan.  This is life. It should be filled with all that is good.

In closing, I want to make sure that my friends, family, coworkers, and everyone else whose heart crossed my path know that you are so very appreciated. the Earth is a better place with you in it. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vegan Curries and Couscous

These are the items featured in Wednesday's River City Vegan Cooking Class: The Spice Trade:

  • Thai Lemongrass Curry (with accompanying jasmine lemongrass rice).
  • Indian Eggplant Curry
  • Moroccan Couscous.

So many choices!

I pretty much poured over all my recipe books to find the best possible combinations to highlight the use of spice when making delicious vegan meals that you can cook to impress your friends.

After picking some pretty freaking amazing sounding recipes to recreate, I ventured out to Tan-A Asian market in the West End. I recommend Tan-A for the cheapest and most exotic produce, soy products, rice and spices available in the RVA area. But ALWAYS bring cash, as they do not take credit cards. Also be prepared for a noxious fish odor to hit your nasal cavity upon entering.  In my opinion, it is worth braving the fishy smell for great deals on all sorts of exotic and vegan friendly obtainable options at Richmond's very own Asian market. 
All these Thai Chilies for $1.80!

Once food stuffs were procured, the recipes were successfully tested on yet another set of my most wonderful friends who donate their time by hanging around, drinking beer and watching me chop veggies before being forced to sit down with a heaping plate of food and tell me just how good it is!

So the verdict is out, just spicy enough, a bit more lime here, and a bit more salt there, and I think we've got it! 

SO. If you would like to learn how to make amazing curries and couscous, join me at the William Byrd Community House this coming Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.! Click here to register:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tofu Picatta, Stuffed Shells and Alfredo Sauce... also smoothies

One must test their cooking class dishes before attempting them in a classroom setting, yes?

Luckily on Saturday I was fortunate enough to have willing participants eat the massive amounts of pasta and Italian deliciousness that is this coming Wednesday's Vegan Cooking Class: Italian Uses for Tofu (you can click on that link to register. Hint, hint).

Perhaps because we were enjoying stuffing our face with so much food and wine and beer, we didn't take pictures. Someone needs to remind me to take pictures. If you ever come over to eat my food, remind me, or just bring your own camera and take pictures. Seriously.

the main reason there are no pictures of food on this blog post

My immersion blender also arrived in the mail this week!!! It might possibly be the coolest new cooking toy to date! As you might imagine, not only did it get used on  the alfredo sauce, but also on smoothies the next morning. Uber yum.
~*Heavenly music plays*~

Sunday Smoothie for Two:
1 Mango
1 Orange
1 Apple
squeeze o' lemon juice
2 bananas

Cut up the fruit into about one inch pieces. Then use your amazing immersion blender until all fruit is in liquid form. (This is even more helpful if you drank too much with dinner the night before!)

Also, just because I think my readers might get a kick out of this:

Apparently 'restaurant' was just too hard to spell.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vegan Cooking Class Sucess!

So much fun! My "students" were the best I could of possibly hoped for! The food turned out very very tasty, and all I can say is bring on next week's Italian class!

For your enjoyment, here is a photo montage:

River City Vegan Attire

My very first students!

I must be saying something important...?

Look! Stuff on the stove!

Do you see the awesomeness that is my class?!

Making cheeze sauce

Not much room, but I am an improviser by nature.

And now we eat! NOMZ!!!!

So now that these photos have made you all want to come to one or all of my classes, I have included the featured menu lists for all my classes.

River City Vegan Cooking Class
Wednesdays from 6-8
at the
William Byrd Community House

DONE: Class 1: Comfort Food
Mac n Cheeze
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Class 2: Italian/ Uses for Tofu
Stuffed Shells
Tofu Piccatta

Class 3: Vegan World Fare

Class 4: Breakfast
Red Flannel Hash
Tofu Scramble
Biscuits and Gravy

Class 5: Mock Meats
Chikn’ Salad
Tempe Bacon

Class 6: Vegan Baking
To sign up, click here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twas the Night Before Teaching My First Vegan Cooking Class...

Twas the Night Before Teaching My First Vegan Cooking Class...

... and all through the kitchen, no one was stirring not even a mixin'
Yeah, well that about concludes my pathetic allusions to classic Christmas tales in this blog (breath a sigh of relief if you'd like)!

I have my recipe lists printed up, I have purchased the ingredients, washed the dishes, and gathered the right utensils to use for tomorrow's class. I did a test run on Sunday, worked out a few kinks (collards need to be started first, and don't forget to preheat the oven!), and tested the recipes on my "meat and potatoes" family (Mom, if you are reading this, thanks for letting me cook for your big birthday celebration! You, as always, ROCK!).

Wish me luck! I will have my assistant take lots of photos, so stay tuned for the post visit blog!

I hope everyone that wanted to, got a chance to sign up! There might be one or two spots left. If you are interested, here is the link!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fur Chronicles

Sweet Auryn
Today was day two in my new quest to brush the poppet every day in a valiant attempt to reduce the dog hair in my life. While I am not convinced this will cure my addiction to lint rollers and Swiffer dusters, at least I have a pretty dog!

Okay, did you want one more picture of uber cuteness to tide you over on a Tuesday? Here you go!
Mischievous Xie

Monday, March 7, 2011

Samedi Gras Party: Vegan King Cake, Gumbo, Dirty Rice and Collards and more!

Gluttony! Is it really necessary to say more? Maybe not, but since this is a blog, I feel compelled. This is the second week in a row that we have thrown a dinner party. Apparently I like this food and friends thing. Who knew?!

On the menu: (a big huge thank you to this website: Mardi Gras... Minus the Meat )
*I linked each of these dishes to the recipe I used, then added my tips in parenthesis.
** There is a certain person that I cook for quite a bit who absolutely abhors both onions and green peppers, so considering their selective taste, I use red peppers in place of green, double the garlic and use a boat load of onion powder to offset the lack of actual onion. This seems to work quite well, as each dish was properly devoured by all of the guests. :-)

King Cake (tips: cut the salt by 2/3, cut the filling by 1/2, and double the amount of icing)
What king cake is suppose to look like.
This is not what mine looked like :-(
*a sad note on the king cake: it was ugly. very very ugly. As good of a cook as I am, I am not such a hot baker. Didn't taste half bad, just looked... well, awful!
Gumbo (tips: add the file at the very end, and don't use miso, make a roux with Earth Balance and flour, and add that at the end as well, also, add as much veggies as you care to and don't really adhere to the specific amounts dictated by the recipe)
Dirty Rice (tips: I don't like to use mock meat, so I just use kidney beans)
Cajun Collards (really, this one turned out fabulous, so I have no tips)

The guests supplemented with:
  • Dixie Beer <3 <3 <3
  • Rum
  • Cajun spiced fingerling potatoes
  • Blueberry and buckwheat dumplings
  • Succotash dumplings
  • Pancakes
  • Chicory Coffee (french press)
  • and Beignets, prepared fresh in the kitchen for dessert (french donuts)
I am formally stating in writing that I have the best possible friends who consistently outdo themselves every time we have a dinner party!

Bruce brought me Dixie Beer <3
As a reminder: Sign up for my vegan cooking class!!!!!!! Seriously, Do it!
email Jessica at 
or call
(804)643-2717 ext 324