Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spreading Holiday Joy...Vegan Style!

Cranberry Orange Holiday Punch and ChocoNog Cupcakes with Nutmeg Cream Cheese Frosting
Last weekend Dan and I hosted a mini holiday party.  A small get together, only six of us.  Just some quality time spent with family, before the craziness takes over.  And even though there were only 6 of us, we decided we still wanted to have a festive menu.  Kind of reminiscent of the family christmas potlucks we went to when we were kids.

So, what did we make?  Well, we went semi-homemade with a finger food menu.  Crudite with vegan ranch, Veggie Piggies in a Blanket, various Chips and Dips, Meatless Balls in Marinara, Phyllo Triangles filled with a mixture of Soyrizo and Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, Hot Spiced Apple Cider kept hot in the crockpot (filling the house in the best, and the above punch and cupcakes.

Cranberry Orange Holiday Punch
Open up a few bottles, float in some cranberries, and voilla!
1 bottle (750 ml) Cranberry Italian Soda
1 bottle (750 ml) Blood Orange Italian Soda
1 bottle (750 ml) Vodka (optional, of course)
1 quart pineapple juice
1 (15 ounce) can mandarin orange segments, in juice
3 cups cranberries (I used frozen)

Pour it all together in a punch bowl and serve over ice!

ChocoNog Cupcakes with Nutmeg Cream Cheese Frosting
These cupcakes are an adaptation of Kittee's Chocolate Cake from Papa Tofu.

For the cupcakes:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups evaporated cane juice
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegan Nog
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons chocolate extract
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the Frosting:
1 cup non dairy butter
1 (8 ounce) tub vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Vegan food coloring, optional


To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake pans with papers.
In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the wet.
Add wet to dry and mix until there are no lumps.
Fill papers 3/4 full.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese.
Mix in vanilla and nutmeg.
Add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until stiff peaks form.

Yield: 24 frosted cupcakes

Holiday Baking Round One:  Gifts for mailing.  This round included the Sweet Twigs and Berries and Saltine Butter Toffee from Vegan Food Gifts, Rice Crispy Treats and Kittee's Peanut Butter Fudge.
But the fun has only just begun!  Now I start with the vegan gift giving.  Yep, it's my favorite way to proselytize.  Give 'em some tasty vegan treats!  My first round went into the mail yesterday and it included two recipes from Vegan Food Gifts, and two reliable recipes from Christmas' past.

Saltine Butter Toffee (from Vegan Food Gifts)
This is one of those recipes that I think everyone has in his or her stash. But guess what? It makes a great gift, and it is super yummy. This is my version. There is just no way that anyone would ever suspect the vegan-ocity here. They are too buttery and delicious. feel free to experiment and play with different toppings, such as sprinkles, crushed candy canes (like I did for this batch!), or even coarse sea salt.

35 to 40 saltine crackers
1 cup (224 g) nondairy butter
1 cup (200 g) evaporated cane juice or sugar
2 cups (352 g) vegan chocolate chips
1 cup (120 g) chopped nuts (any nut will do!), or any of your favorite toppings

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the crackers on the sheet in a single layer.
In a saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and evaporated cane juice until completely dissolved. Pour evenly over the crackers.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.
Carefully remove from the oven. Place on a flat surface, and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly all over the crackers. Using a spreader or butter knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers as it melts. Sprinkle with the nuts or other desired toppings.
Allow to cool and harden completely before breaking into pieces and packaging for gifts.

Yield: 35 to 40 pieces

Twigs and Berries (from Vegan Food Gifts)
Since vegans only eat twigs and berries, why not show those omnis how tasty they can be? Below are two versions, sweet and spicy, based on the same basic mix. This recipe makes a HUGE amount. I use this one when I am making lots of gifts. Feel free to cut the recipe in half, especially if you don't have an industrial sized mixing bowl.

Base Mix
7 cups (216 g) crunchy rice square cereal, like Rice Chex
3 cups (112 g) pretzel sticks
1 cup (142 g) dried cranberries
1 cup (160 g) raisins
1 cup (84 g) banana chips
1 cup (124 g) raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup (112 g) raw almonds
1 cup (112 g) raw pecan halves

In your largest mixing bowl, toss together ingredients, then follow instructions for either the Sweet or Spicy versions below.

Sweet Mix
2 cups (352 g) nondairy semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup (224 g) nondairy butter, like Earth Balance
1/2 cup (128 g) creamy no stir peanut butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups (600 to 720 g) powdered sugar, to coat

In a sauce pot over low heat, melt chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter.
Once completely melted, stir in cinnamon and vanilla.
Pour mixture over base mix and stir to coat evenly.
Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and toss to coat. By the time you add the last cup of sugar, your mix should be powdery white and the pieces should not stick together.
Allow to cool (you can leave it right in the bowl) completely before packaging.

Spicy Mix
2 cups (448 g) nondairy butter
1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce or Tamari
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Sri Racha
2 tablespoons (16 g) garlic powder
2 tablespoons (16 g) onion powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons red chili flakes, adjust to taste
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (or Cayenne pepper), adjust to taste

Preheat oven to 250 F degrees.
Line four baking pans with parchment.
In a sauce pot over low heat, add all ingredients and stir until completely melted.
Pour mixture over base mix and toss until evenly coated.
Spread mix evenly in a single layer on baking sheets.
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, or until crisp.
Allow to cool completely before packaging.

Package in clear bags, tins, jars, or boxes. Regardless, make sure you add a pretty Hang Tag!

Screen shot from my Google search for free downloadable Christmas Gift Tags.  So many to choose from!
Speaking of Gift Tags...
And one final thought for the holiday baking and gift giving season...Want to print your own personalized gift tags, but don't have the creative know how to put it together? If you don't have your own copy of Vegan Food Gifts which has all sorts of scannable and copyable gift tags in it, you can
just type "Free Downloadable Christmas Gift Tags" into your search engine, and click on the images search.  Scan through to find a style you like and click to go to the website where you can download them.  There are thousands of designs out there!  Super cute!




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joni's Top 10 Picks for this Holiday Season (Plus a Giveaway!)

Here they are, in no particular order, my Top 10 Picks for this Holiday Season!   And in order to help at least one of you out, I will be giving away a copy of my book, Vegan Food Gifts, to one of you so you can make some of your own gifts this year.  Simply leave a comment telling me about one vegan gift you'd recommend giving, or would like to receive, this year!  I will choose one of you at random this coming Thursday at 9 am PST.  If you enter, don't forget to check back to see if you have won!

The Contest is now over.  Congratulations to #5!



YAY!  I will be contacting you shortly, so I can mail you your book.  Happy Gifting!



These caramels are amazing.  With over 20 flavors to choose from, it's hard to choose, so for only $22, I go for the sampler!

Our Hen House: a place to find our way to change the world for animals


#9 Flock Member status on Our Hen House
For as little as $10 per month, you can make that lucky someone a flock member, or simply make a one-time donation to Our Hen House so that they can effectively mainstream the movement to end the exploitation of animals. You can help them to produce consistent, top-notch content (written, audio, and video), by supporting the work of Our Hen House.



#8  Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
This book is not only full of delicious and fantastic recipes from all over the world, but it is a joy to look at as well.  This hard cover book is beautiful.  The fonts are fun,  the photos are gorgeous, the layout is exceptional.  Right now, I am totally digging the Jamaican Plantain and Pumpkin Curry.



#7 The Koala Ripper Pullover Hoodie by Herbivore Clothing Company
What's not to love about this awesome unisex hoodie?  Stolen from the description on Herbivore's website-- "Those of you who grow up skateboarding will appreciate our tip of the cap -- and those of you who didn't -- cute Koala, huh?" 


#6 Dessert Cup Pan by Wilton
This pan is genius!  Check out how I used it to make some tarts, and then get one and see what you can do with it!


#5  Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day by Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen
One might accuse me of being biased when recommending this book.  If loving it because it's full of delicious sandwiches, breads, spreads, amazing photographs and all around fantastic theme (I mean, seriously who doesn't love a good sandwich?) then, so be it.



#4 Immersion Stick Blender by Kitchen Aid
I used to se another brand, because it was cheaper, but I broke 3 of them.  I fibnally bought this one, and it really is a dream.  It has 2 speeds, it's very sturdy, and the motor purrs like a kitten.




#3  Cookin' Crunk by Bianca Philips
I haven't been this excited over a cookbook in ages.  I think I have bookmarked every single page.  This is my kind of food!  My husband is still raving about the Fried Tofu Chicken and Wafflewiches!




I used to be loyal to the Vitamix, and that surely is a great blender.  But this, I am afraid to say, is my new favorite.  Green drinks and smoothies are, well, smoother!




#1 Vagabond Status on Citizen Radio
This listener supported podcast is headed up by 2 vegan progressives who will challenge you to get off your ass and do something about it!  The show is free, but for only $10 a month you can give a subscription to a starving punk rock college student who may or may not already be a maniac.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Much F'ing Turkey Did You Make Anyways?


Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey (Complete with a butthole for stuffing!)
getting a margarine massage before roasting.
So, seriously, for the week after Thanksgiving all you see on the news, and in pop-up ads all over the interwebs, are ways to use your leftover Turkey.  And all I kept thinking was, "Seriously?  How big of a f*ing turkey did you make that you need a butt ton of recipes to use up the leftovers?"  It's one of the amazing things about being vegan, you know?  Our food is so delicious, we don't have many leftovers, and when we do, we just eat them as, I dunno, leftovers!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giveaway Results!


CONGRATULATIONS TO #11,  


LADLELADY, WHO SAYS:

AND I COULDN'T AGREE WITH HER MORE!  PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN GET YOU YOUR BOOK ASAP!

Please stay tuned, I will be posting a few more giveaways this holiday season!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Holiday Gift Giving Season is in Full Swing! (Plus a Giveaway)

Thanksgiving has passed and that means this holiday season is in full swing, and I couldn't be more excited!  If you know me, you know I love the holidays.  All of them.  Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (for the rest of us!) and any other winter celebratory day you can think of.  I love the music, the food, the drink, the tacky sweaters, the decorations, the hustle and the bustle, the cold winter nights, the lights on the houses, and the gift giving.

My family has done away with the giving of gifts in the traditional sense.  We no longer buy presents for each other.  We have everything we need.  One half of my family donates the money we would have spent on presents to a charitable organization instead, and the other half has decided it's okay to give each other a little something, as long as it's home made, and if you can eat it, even better. WOOHOO!  Home made food presents are my favorite!

Hearty Pasta Soup with Chik'n Mix in a jar ready for gifting.  Photo by Celine Steen.  Recipe from Vegan Food Gifts 
I love making vegan food gifts so much, I even wrote a book about it...Vegan Food Gifts.  Haha.  And to get you all in the vegan food gifting spirit I am going to not only provide you with a super fun recipe for gift giving this holiday season, but I am also going to give away a signed copy of the book to one of you.  Simply leave a comment telling me your favorite (or not so favorite) thing about the holiday season and I will choose one at random on Friday, November 30. 2012 at 9:00 am PST.

CONTEST NOW OVER!  CONGRATULATIONS TO #11,


LADLELADY, WHO SAYS:

AND I COULDN'T AGREE WITH HER MORE!  PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL WITH YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN GET YOU YOUR BOOK ASAP!



Hearty Pasta Soup with Chik'n from Vegan Food Gifts (page 97)
Now on to the recipe!  This recipe not only makes a great gift, but it is also a great mix to make up ahead of time, and store in the cabinet for quick and easy weeknight suppers.  And what better way to warm up on a cold winter night than with a hearty bowl of soup?

CLICK TO ENLARGE AND PRINT



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving is when? OMG.

There has been so much going on lately, that Thanksgiving has completely snuck up on me!  I fear I have no time to experiment with new recipes this year, so I will be depending on some of my tried and true favorites to get me through this holiday.

Going way back, I will make a double batch of Greek Stuffing.  It is adapted from a recipe my cousin Jerry made for us on Thanksgiving many moons ago, that was full of fatty ground beef and lots of dairy butter.  When I recreated it as a vegan dish and submitted the recipe to Better Homes and Gardens recipe contest, guess what?  It won.  Haha.  If I have time, I will make a Seitan en Croute, if not, I will rely on a classic Tofurkey Roast to center my plate.  And for dessert I will most likely enjoy a slice of my super easy, and super tasty Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Veganized Family Favorite!  Greek Stuffing made with seitan instead of ground beef.

Greek Stuffing
2 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice blend
500 grams vegetable bouillon (2 cubes)
24 ounces prepared seitan (about 3 cups) chopped into tiny little pieces 
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Prepare rice, according to package instructions adding bouillon cubes to the water. 

Sauté seitan, or other meat substitute, in a separate pan in a smidge of olive oil, until browned. 
Use about half of the olive oil in a large pan (I use a wok) and sauté the onions and garlic on medium high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. 
Reduce heat, add the seitan, then all other ingredients to the pan, mix well and remove from heat. 
After rice is fully cooked, add to the sautéed ingredients along with the remaining olive oil and mix it all together.

Yield: 8 servings


Seitan en Croute
Seiten en Croute:  A savory moist seitan roast wrapped in flaky puff pastry.
Seitan en Croute
Seitan en Croute: Inside Shot
Seitan en Croute
2 cups (288 g) vital wheat gluten flour
1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup (235 ml) beef flavored vegetable broth (or plain veggie broth)
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons (50 g) tomato paste
1 tablespoon (45 g) prepared stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 sheets vegan frozen puff pastry

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Have ready a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat such as Silpat.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together, gluten flour, wheat flour, nutritional yeast, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper.
In a separate bowl, mix together broth, oil, soy sauce, tomato paste, mustard, and liquid smoke.
Add wet to dry and knead together until well incorporated and until moist dough forms.
Let rest 20 minutes.
Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.
Form into a loaf (similar to a meat loaf shape) and place in the center of the baking sheet.
Bake, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Increase the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).
Cover the loaf entirely with one of the pastry sheets, tucking the edges underneath the loaf.
Slice the other sheet into 10 even strips for weaving. Weave the strips, on the diagonal across the top of the loaf. Tuck loose ends under the loaf.
Sprinkle a little paprika and parsley on top for color.
Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry is fluffy and golden brown.
Allow to rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: About 8 servings



Pumpkin Cheezecake Pie
1 (9-inch) pie crust (you can make your own, but I went with a premade graham crust for this one)
2 (8 ounce) containers of vegan cream cheese
1 (15 ounce) can of pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 
350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).
Beat all ingredients together using an electric mixer until smooth. 
Pour into pie crust. 
Place a pan of water (about 1-inch deep) on the bottom shelf of the oven. 
Line a cookie sheet with foil. 
Place the pie on the foil lined sheet and place in the oven on the top rack.* 
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool, place in refrigerator until ready to serve, and to set even more.

Yield: One 9-inch pie

*This step helps keep the moisture in the oven and prevents the pie from cracking on the top!


  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Worknight Wednesday: Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili


Yep, I am still reveling in the marvel that is Jackfruit.  I really do feel silly not having jumped on this bandwagon sooner.  It is so quick and easy to make, and the results are so impressive.  Kudos, jackfruit.  Kudos.



Indian Spiced Pumpkin and Jackfruit Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 fresh jalapeño, finely diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chilies (more to taste!)
1 (20 ounce) can jackfruit, packed in water or brine, rinsed and drained
1 cup (235 ml) all natural root beer (not diet!)
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a pot.
Add onion and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add garlic and sauté an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
Add in jalapeño, chili powder, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and crushed red chilies.  Stir to combine.
Add in jackfruit and toss to combine.  Using the edge of your spoon or spatula to break up the jackfruit as it cooks.  Continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Add in root beer, tomatoes, and pumpkin.  Stir to combine.
Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, constantly stirring, until jackfruit is stringy and tender.  About 10 minutes.
Serve garnished with non dairy sour cream and chopped cilantro if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two for Tuesday: Soyrizo!


I do love me some Soyrizo.  And I know it's processed, and I know it's full of fat and salt and all of that stuff that is bad for me, but if I can get my newly vegetarian husband to crave something and actually ask me to buy it, then I know this is some tasty stuff.

I have been squeezing the brown lumpy goodness out of it's fake intestine tube casing for years, even before I was vegan, because let's face it, real chorizo sausage has some pretty gross and scary stuff in it.  And this stuff is really easy to use too.  One of my favorite ways to make it is in a breakfast burrito.   The other is a funky little appetizer I like to make that I call a Meximosa.





Soyrizo and Tofu Scramble Breakfast Burritos
Make up a bunch of these to bring to your next morning tailgate party, like I did with these ones (See original post here).

1 block (1 pound) extra or super firm tofu, drianed and pressed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black salt, optional
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tube (about 6 ounces) of store bought Soyrizo
1/4 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya Pepperjack)
5 to 6 burrito size tortillas

parchment paper, optional
aluminum foil, optional

Into a bowl, crumble tofu. Mix in turmeric, black salt (if using) and paprika. Set aside.
In a frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and fragrant.
Add in Soyrizo and stir. Heat all the way through, stirring constantly.
Add in tofu mixture, and heat all the way through.
Stir in sour cream and cheese. Mix together until melted and well combined.
Remove from heat.
Heat tortillas until soft and pliable. Divide filling amongst the tortillas and roll up.
If eating now, serve while hot. If saving for later, wrap each burrito in a square of parchment and then in a square of aluminum foil, then refrigerate until ready to heat up.



Meximosas

A spin on baked samosas!  These are super easy to make, and awesome to bring to parties or pot lucks.

For the crust:
Simply, a flour salt and water dough (+/- 2 cups ap flour, +/-1 cup water and a pinch of salt), rolled out thin and cut into squares.

For the filling:
1 package of Soyrizo 
1 tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 350.
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Mash together soyrizo and cream cheese in a bowl.
Put a pretty big dollop of filling in each one and pinched them together at the top. 
Bake, for about 20 minutes.
Half way through baking, brush them with olive oil. 




Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway Winners! (I can't wait to get cookin'!)

It was so hard to choose what to make, so I picked two!  Brunch and dinner!  Now I just have to find the right gas connector to get cooking.  (Which sounds a lot easier than it actually is.)  Stay tuned for a post featuring these two great meals cooked up on my new grill.  My tummy is rumbling just thinking about it!

And to the two winners...PLEASE send me an email at joni AT justthefood DOT com with your mailing address and which book you would like, so I can send it out right away!  

Thanks to everyone for playing, there are lots of good ideas in there!

UPDATE: I finally found the right part to connect the gas, so now I just need to get her all seasoned up and I will be ready to cook!  I did get one good pancake tonight, but more seasoning is definitely necessary to get her all nice and naturally non stick just like a cast iron skillet!



Friday, October 19, 2012

Freedom Fridays: Phoney Baloneys and a Cry for Help


Today I finally got myself over to Phoney Baloney's!  It's hidden away in the backside of a strip mall, but definitely worth the hunt.  The fine folks who took and made my order were super friendly and the food was ready really quickly.  Because of the location (inside of a gym) I ordered mine to go and could hardly wait to get to my car and open up my lunch.

I ordered up a Grown Up Grilled Cheese. A unique blend of apples, onions & pepperjack melted between fig butter lined whole wheat sourdough - $5.95

Grown up grilled cheese!
The Grown Up Grilled Cheese from Phoney Baloney's in Irvine

It was amazing. The bread was toasty and grilled to perfection and all of the gooey insides were a perfect contrast to the crisp thinly sliced apples. And the fig butter was so good in there! This was a great sandwich. It really was. Now that I know where it is and how it happens to be on the way home from work, I know I will be stopping by there way more often.

And now for the cry for help...

I have started compiling recipes for my next cookbook.  And I need testers!  This will be a pretty quick round, as my manuscript will be due February 1, 2013.  I know that sounds like ages away, but it is only a few months from now.  Here's what I am looking for:  Anyone who is willing to test recipes that are whole foods based.  Everything from scratch.  NO store The majority of these recipes will be made from ingredients that can be found at any well stocked grocery or farmer's market. There will be a few specialty ingredients, most of which can be found at any Asian or international grocer.  Anyone interested will need to have a Google account so I can give you access to the super secret testing blog.  And you must like cilantro.  Cilantro haters need not apply.*

The theme?  California Vegan Fusion: California cuisine is a style highly influenced not only by fresh, local ingredients, but also by an amazing amount of cultural diversity. From our pizzas to our mashed potatoes, you’d be hard pressed to find a dish that hasn’t been touched by some sort of ethnic twist. Just check out the burgeoning Mexican Asian fusion food scene in Los Angeles which has taken diners by storm. From ChaCha Chili, to Don Chow Tacos, to Kogi’s Korean BBQ Burritos. But why stop there? Out West, we like to take risks with our foods: Fresh takes on traditional favorites and lighter versions of traditionally heavy classics.

If interested, please send me an email at joni AT justthefood DOT com.  I will get back to you all by the end of next week with further instructions!  As of now I have received enough testers.  I will post again should I need more!  Thanks everyone, you guys rock!

*My husband is a cilantro hater.  I just don't get you people!  But seriously, you can still apply.  Just secretly do so, and then subtly do not test the cilantro heavy recipes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Worknight Wednesday: Leftovers, a New Grill, and a Giveaway!


I am not cooking tonight.  I shall feast on leftovers, because this girl is pooped out.  I started working this morning at 5 am and after I got off work at 2, I drove an hour to return a flat top grill I bought myself (an early birthday present?) last week.  This is not the first time I have returned it.  I returned it once already, because the flat top warped and flipped out within minutes of me turning it on.  This time I returned it for the same reason.  That thing was just junk.  Expensive junk, but junk nonetheless.  All is well, because check out what I got instead!

Vegan Taco Party anyone?  
I cannot begin to convey the excitement I am feeling about this thing of beauty.  My head is swirling with new recipe ideas.  What should I make first?  Leave a comment telling me what you think I should make on this bad boy, and I will pick one of your ideas to make on Saturday afternoon!  And the person who comes up with the idea that inspires me most, will receive a copy of any of my books!

(Please leave a comment below.  I will choose one winner on Saturday at 1pm Pacific Standard Time.  YES!  I will ship internationally.)

Contest now over...Congrats to COCONUTANDBERRIES and Dawn from VEGAN FAZOOL!  Please send me your mailing address and which book you'd like to receive!


Two for Tuesday: Macaroni


I love macaroni.  I love it hot and I love it cold.  Here are two of my favorite macaroni recipes, and neither one of them is mac and cheese!  (Though I really love that, too.)

Buffalo Mac Salad: cold AND hot

Buffalo Mac Salad (From The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions, page 100)
Maybe I've been working in a deli for too long, but it seems I can always be counted on to be the one who whips up a kick ass macaroni salad to bring to any get together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mash-Up Monday: Vegan Mofo and Blog Action Day

Today is a different kind of Mash-Up Monday.  Instead of mashing up two different foods, I am mashing up two different blog events.  Vegan Mofo and Blog Action Day.  This year's theme for Blog Action Day is the "Power of WE" and it couldn't have been a better topic for me this year.  This year I am all about the power of WE.  And just who is WE?  Technically, it's all of us, and what amazing things WE can accomplish when WE work together.



And to mix it up with Vegan Mofo, the Vegan Month of Food, I am going to tell you about how the power of WE pulled off a pretty vegan amazing event on Saturday night.  And for the purposes of this post WE are the FNA Foundation (Joni, Kristen, Carrie, Jennifer, Elizabeth), Danna, Wade (and the rest of the amazing folks at The Prospector in Long Beach), Exene Cervenka (Squee!) and the uber cool Petunia and the Vipers, Mike Hack and the generous team at Whole Foods Market, Tustin, and of course all of our friends, family, and new faces that came out to support this, our first ever, pop-up vegan food shack.

L-R: Elizabeth, Joni, Carrie, Kristen
So, what was the power of WE?  The girls and I who formed the FNA Foundation (which stands for Food-N-Art) wanted to give back to the communities that have given us so much.  None of us have enough scratch to just be giving it away, so WE decided that WE would donate our time and talents to putting together events that would raise awareness of healthful eating through fundraisers in which 100% of the proceeds would be donated to various charities throughout the community.  Each of us has our own talents to share, from marketing and graphic design, to art and fashion design, to cooking, blogging, painting, spinning fire, musicians, the list goes on and on!


Last Saturday WE all got together and chopped, cooked, boiled, steamed, baked, dipped, mixed and served up some pretty awesome vegan food to a crowd of folks out for a great night of drinks and music.  That's right kids...WE set up a vegan venue right outside of a steakhouse!  And, man was it well received by carnivores and herbivores alike!   So, WE got to do so much good!  WE got to expose lots of people to yummy vegan food.  WE got to spread the word about our foundation.  WE got to raise a bunch of money for the Whole Kids Foundation.  But most of all, WE got to have a great time with our friends, doing good deeds, and spreading the good vibes!

L-R: Me, Exene Cervenka and Carrie

What else can WE do to spread the vegan love?


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2012 Copyright/Permissions/Disclaimers

All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni