Thursday, June 30, 2011

FYI. vacation.

I have been enjoying the ocean, the sun and the sand all week..... and of course,  eating like the vegan foodie I am! Sadly, the 21st century (meaning wi-fi) has yet to catch up to this, my salty sanctuary.   So as I compose this blog, via my smartphone,  know that the River City Vegan will soon be posting more on fabulous food... assuming she does, in fact, return from her blissful patch of silicon dioxide Utopia.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Squash, Mint and Berry Dinner

Stick rice, spring roll and soup
Here are a few yummy recipes for the berry and squash season that is now upon us.

Squash and Berry Sweet Curry Chilled Soup:

2 yellow neck squash, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup mixed berries
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon liquid amino
sriracha to taste
chopped mint leaves

Saute red pepper and squash with coconut oil till tender
heat berries and coconut milk in pan till just before mixture boils. remove from heat and pour through sieve into bowl. The point is that we are trying to remove the seeds from the berries. So go ahead and smush the berries through the sieve as best you can.

Pour sauteed red pepper and squash into the bowl and use an immersion blender to get a smooth consistency. Add in liquid amino and sriracha to taste.

Chill for 30-45 minutes

Blend the mint leaves and a dash of coconut oil into a pesto like paste. use this as a garnish and swirl around the top of the soup. add a few leftover berries as well, to make a pretty finish.

Berry Glazed Tempeh

1 cup berries
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 can coconut juice
1 Thai chili
1/8 cup chopped mint
dash of sesame oil
1 package tempeh

Add first seven ingredients into a sauce pan and heat till just before boiling. remove from heat, and strain into sieve with a bowl underneath to get rid of seeds in the berries.

slice tempeh into short strips that are about 2-3mm thick and place into a frying pan. Pour sauce into the pan and cook until glazed.

I added this to spring rolls with cabbage and carrots, but the possibilities abound, so do with the glaze what you will!

Enjoy. We did!

P.s. Thanks, Kayla for your help, your kitchen and your tasters!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Jen's Famous Tempeh Bacon

Here it is, the recipe that everyone loved on T.V. and at the Richmond Vegetarian Festival's Meatless Gourmet... TEMPEH BACON!

This is a recipe I made up based on the ingredients found in various real pork products, adapted for a healthier and more humane lifestyle.
OMG! Snout kisses! Smooch!

My apologies and a forewarning that these are not the exact measurements, as they have never actually been recorded. If interested, or seriously fiending for structure, message me, and next time I cook this dish I'll try to remember to record the exact measurements.

1 package of tempeh (I prefer the multi-grain, but it doesn't really matter)
1/2 tablespoon fennel seed
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoons liquid amino
1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance or coconut oil

  • Slice the tempeh into short strips, about 2-3mm thick and place into a large pan. 
  • Just barely cover with water and set the burner to medium-hot. 
  • Sprinkle fennel seeds into water. 
  • Shake the thyme and sage over the tempeh so that each piece is lightly covered. 
  • I tend to rapidly squeeze the liquid amino in a zig-zag formation, basically being sure that each piece has a little dose of the liquid. 
  • Again, with the hot sauce, just be sure each piece has a dash. 
  • I just use a cap full of the Worcestershire sauce, and a few shakes of the liquid smoke. 
  • Gently stir the ingredients to be sure everything is evenly coated. 
  • Let the mixture boil till there is essentially no water in the pan. 
  • At this point add a bit of either Earth Balance or coconut oil into the pan and lightly fry the tempeh on each side till just slightly crispy. 
  • Remove from pan and enjoy in all the places you would eat bacon, if you ate bacon!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Vegan Iron Chef: Overview of Fabulousness

Saturday, Bryan Park in Richmond hosted its 9th Annual Vegetarian Festival. I had the honor of participating in the event's first annual Meatless Gourmet... er, Vegan Iron Chef.
Photo by Otway 

Fabulous Chefs:

Nick Bergheimer, Richmond area restaurant chef extraordinaire, and guitarist for punk band, Landmines. I am beyond thrilled to have met Nick through this event. He is a talented, chill and totally down to Earth dude (I can only assume it is because of his healthy and ethical life style choices). After the food prep was finished, and we were all waiting for the judges to taste our plating's, I was so glad Nick sat down next to me. We chatted about the experience, greatly alleviating the nervous tension we were all feeling while waiting for the judges to dissect our food (Thanks a bunch, Nick)! He and his brother made some beautifully plated food. You have no idea, I wish I had a picture! And dude made his own toastadas... from scratch! Wow!

Maat Free, Owner of Vegi-Luv kiosk on the corner of Adams and Broad Street. She also owns Vegan Valet, a personal chef service. For everyone who didn't get a chance to see this lovely lady, and all the support that surrounded her, well, you missed out. She practically had a procession of fans, family and friends. I can see the reason why, too! She puts her heart into each dish she makes. When she described the dishes she prepared, she spoke of how they were part of her ancestry, her soul, and how they were almost an ingrained instinctual creation. Cooking, for this fabulous lady, is a spiritual experience!

And me, of course!

Secret Ingredient: Tomatoes!!!!!
It makes sense when you think about it, tomatoes are just coming into season, like this week. So of course the Meatless Gourmet/ Vegan Iron Chef would showcase interesting uses for a food that is just now coming into season.
Kayla and I having a blast!

And the winner was...... MAAT FREE!!!!!!
I couldn't be happier for Maat. She not only cooked with the entire essence of her being, but she had so much support from friends and family. Her sous chef, Carol Brown, of HausFrau Cakes is also one of the coolest people I have met.

I also can't forget to mention the awesome MC, Jason Guard, who operates THE premier Richmond food site, He generously placed my blog on his site, THANKS, JASON!!!

And then there were our fabulous judges, Brittany Mullins, who runs the site,, and who imparted a wealth of knowledge on how to run a successful blog to me during her time not being a judge.

Deveron Timberlake of Style Weekly was a fabulous judge, as well as your young audience judge, twelve year old Miles, who was our quintessential Simon Cowell.

As a participant in the first Meatless Gourmet/ Vegan Iron Chef  in Richmond, I am beyond proud of our community, the thousands of vegetarians and meat eaters who ventured out to support a healthier, more ethical, and eco-friendly lifestyle, even if just for the day!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sticky Fingers and Smart Kids

I was a judge for National History Day at the University of Maryland on Monday. Every year that I participate in this event, I have renewed faith in the future of humanity. I am reminded that children can be brilliant, and their ideas can hold meaning and purpose.  I <3 smart kids!

So after spending all that time in College Park, MD, I headed down to D.C. to visit with one of the most amazing people I know! We had dinner at Sticky Fingers, on 14th and Park. Just go there. I can't describe how great everything tasted. Especially the cupcake. Beyond.words.
Visited this amazing vegan bakery and cafe in D.C.

Yup, I had one of these.
UMD. <3

Buffalo Chick'n wrap

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BEETS!!! Practice Iron Chef

Tonight's dinner was a practice iron chef challenge. We prepared a chilled summer borscht with homemade vegetable stock as an appetizer.
The main course was a beet green and spinach salad topped with sprouts, raw cashews and sunflower seeds,  with red pepper slices and panko fried beets. We made a cashew cream spicy citrus dressing to top off the salad, and plated it with sliced peaches.
I found a recipe for a beet bundt  cake and had to give it a whirl. Think red velvet,  if you want to envision the decadent goodness of this delicious dessert.  I will post the recipe soon.
We saved all the magenta juice remaining from our beet-y delights, mixed it with some sugar and lime juice,  and poured it into a fancy glass to round out the most beet-centric dinner imaginable.  Seriously. If you can imagine a way to consume more beets in one meal, please enlighten me. I dare you!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Perfectly Magical Dinner

A dear friend of mine dropped in to town for the evening. Of course, I had to feed her! She is a raw vegan, and the very epitome of beauty and health, both in and outwards.  There is something to be said for embodying a compassionate lifestyle! We went to see a few amazing musicians at Balliceaux, Chris Pureka and Nicole Reynolds after our dinner. If you like soulful folk music, I highly recommend you check them out (also, the drink menu at Balliceaux is phenomenal!).

...and on to dinner. I admit to being thrilled to have a reason to "cook" a raw dinner. We had a fresh salad using the beet tops and spinach from my mom's garden, finely chopped kale, for the extra nutrients,  sprouts, red pepper, raw sunflower seeds, tomato and cucumber, sliced beets and a simple lemon and olive oil dressing. We also decadently consumed fresh mango and apricot!

Once again, the Green Earth Soup made an appearance.  My friend, however,  proclaimed, "this is not soup! It is magic, in a bowl!" Perhaps I should refer to it as such from now on?
So magical, it's upside down! HA!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Meet My Sous Chef!

For the first annual Richmond Vegan Iron Chef, I have chosen the most amazingly talented, and fabulous budding vegan chef I know! 

Kayla Serene! 

Kayla has been either vegetarian or vegan her entire life! That is correct, she has never eaten meat-- ever (thanks, for raising an amazing woman, Durga)! She has a passion for cooking, especially desserts, yum! She is also one of the star players for the Richmond Derby Demons, Richmond's premier co-ed OSDA roller derby team. She used to be Minor Threat, till she became legal, and now she goes by Major Threat! 

We will be practicing up a storm for the next two weeks in preparation for the Richmond Vegetarian Festival's first Vegan Iron Chef! 

...can you tell I am excited?!