Thursday, January 28, 2016

It's National Blueberry Pancake Day!

Guess what? Today is National Blueberry Pancake day! Why this day is not during blueberry season is a mystery to me, but as I usually use frozen blueberries in my pancakes, perhaps it's frozen blueberry season...it is January, after all.

So let's celebrate! It just so happens that I have a recipe for the most Perfect Blueberry Pancakes you've ever eaten. I shared it during Vegan MoFo but it's worth sharing again! Fluffy, puffy, golden pancakes are always a win! Make some for brunch this weekend or even for dinner tonight - they go great with home fries and tempeh bacon, or maybe a tofu scramble.


Blueberry Pancakes
makes 6 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups soy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
pure maple syrup for drizzling
or powdered sugar for dusting

Method:

Stir the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Combine the milk and oil in a large measuring cup, then add to dry mixture. Stir until all ingredients are homogenized.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high flame. Flick a drop of water at it to check if it's hot - the water should steam right off. Brush surface with oil, then pour in 1/4 cup of batter and add a few blueberries.

When bubbles start forming and popping in the middle of the pancake, and the edges are solidifying, give that baby a flip. Cook a minute or two more on the other side, until golden. Dust with powdered sugar or drown in maple syrup and serve with coffee.

Notes:

On consistency - you may need to add a bit more flour or water depending on your climate/altitude. The batter should be neither too runny nor too thick, but somewhere in between - sort of gloppy.

I like to use coconut oil for frying my pancakes - coconut oil is great for high temps, has a slightly sweet flavor, and is very light in color.

You can turn your oven on the lowest setting and keep the pancakes warm inside by placing them on an oven-safe plate as you prepare them.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Where Vegans Eat Pizza in Denver + Easy Homemade Pizza


Cowabunga, dudes! Welcome to the 
Pizza Edition
of #whereveganseat in Denver 

Pizza is everbody's favorite, right? Naturally, it follows that "where to get the best vegan pizza" is a popular thread on the Denver Vegans group page. I was surprised to see how many different suggestions popped up! There are  many places I haven't yet tried, though surely I've been to some of the best. I threw my cowgirl hat in the ring with votes for...

My Top 3! 


Hops & Pie (pictured above) is an artisan pizzeria and craft brew taproom. At Hops & Pie, vegans can hang at a for-real pizza place, drink pints from a kickin' beer list, and eat slices like any other Americans. Hops & Pie also wins because they make their own vegan chorizo! Radical!

Most pizza places with vegan options use Daiya, but City o' City makes their own cashew cheese - which is delicious, by the way! I don't have any pics of my City pizza, because it disappeared too quickly. Never leave a pizza box unattended!

#3 Paxti's
Paxti's delivers. Say wha?!? Vegan pizza delivered to my door? My choice of deep dish or thin crust with Daiya, olives, onion, tomatoes and spinach? Yes, yes please.


Right about now you probably are craving pizza pretty hard. I highly recommend the aforementioned top 3 pizza places! But just in case you don't live in Denver, it's easy to make pizza at home. Or make it at a friend's house - they'd love that. Everybody loves pizza!

I was particularly fond of that black olive and sausage pizza I ate at Hops & Pie and it has since been reincarnated in several homemade variations. First time I made dough and sauce and all from scratch. There was a flat crust version made with ingredients from King Soopers that was frighteningly processed. The best was definitely the Trader Joe's pizza. I swung by one day for snacks and discovered their ready to bake pizza dough in the produce area. A quick circuit around the store yielded a large can of sliced black olives, soy chorizo, vegan cream cheese, and roasted garlic spaghetti sauce. It didn't take long to transmogrify those ingredients into pizza form. Instructions follow...


Trader Joe's Homestyle Pizza

1 ready-to-bake pizza crust
1/2 jar roasted garlic marinara
1/2 package soy chorizo
1 package vegan cream cheese
1 can sliced black olives
olive oil, dried oregano and basil
flour for kneading

Heat oven to 400°F.
Sauté the chorizo with a little olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. 
Brush a pizza pan with live oil and sprinkle with dried basil and oregano.
Knead dough on a floured surface, adding dusting a of flour until the dough is stretchy and not sticky. Roll the dough into a large circle, then place it on the pizza pan.
Optional: brush surface of dough with olive oil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes if you like a crispier crust.
Top crust with sauce, olives, chorizo, and cream cheese.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cream cheese and crust are golden and toasty.
Slice and enjoy!


Here follows a compilation of the pizza suggestions that popped up on the Denver Vegans page. I checked on Yelp to verify all restaurants are operational. I still have to visit them in person to fully verify their ingredients are vegan.

Vegan Pizza in Denver
City o' City
Hops & Pie
Live Basil
Marquis
Mellow Mushroom
Paxti's
Sazza
Silvi's
The Rebellion

Also check out www.vegantravel.com!

What is your favorite pizza? Leave a comment below and party on!

Monday, November 30, 2015

100% Vegan Holiday Shopping Guide


Happy Holidays! Did anyone else notice that the season started earlier this year? Perhaps folks were simply trying to get their decorations up before the arrival of all that lovely, lovely snow...I don't know about you, but I'm glad to be inside a cozy house with wifi and nothing to do but eat leftovers and surf the net.

I've been compiling a Pinterest board of my top picks for nifty vegan gifts! Many finds are from the shops of friends of mine, others are things I stumbled on that I think are really great. If you know a Maker of Things whose creations belong in my 100% Vegan Holiday Shopping Guide, please (pretty please with a slice of cherry pie) paste a link in the comments below! Also check out my personal Etsy shoppe for hand made hats, original art and prints.


How was your Thanksgiving? I had a lovely dinner. The hostess very kindly provided vegan options for appetizers, soup and sides. There was a spinach & artichoke chickpea dip, creamy coconut-butternut squash soup  with chipotle adobo, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes made with vegan butter & almond milk! I brought a side dish of mushroom asparagus risotto to share, and a sweet potato apple pie - but I forgot to bring my coconut whipped cream!! I guess I'll have to make more pie.

Risotto is a great dish to bring to a family meal. It's so savory and creamy that no one can complain. I've had some prior  successes sharing risotto, so it was an obvious choice for thanksgiving. This time I blended together two of my recipes to make Mushroom Asparagus Risotto. Who can resist baby asparagus for $1.99/lb? Risotto takes some time,but it's worth the stirring. Plan ahead...




Mushroom Asparagus Risotto

ingredients:
1 small onion, chopped
8 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bunch baby asparagus, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white cooking wine
2 - 3 cups hot vegetable broth 
1 - 2 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh thyme to garnish

method:
1. Heat the broth and/or water to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. 
2. In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high flame. Sautée the onion until transparent. Add the mushrooms and asparagus, then sauté until the onions begin to caramelize.
3. Add the arborio rice and sauté, stirring constantly, until the grains become translucent. Add salt and pepper and the white wine, stirring until the liquid is absorbed.
4. Add 1/2 cup hot water or broth to the risotto, stirring occasionally. Continue adding broth or water 1/2 cup at a time until the risotto is soft and creamy.
5. Add fresh herbs to garnish. The risotto may be served immediately or kept in a covered dish in a warm oven.


I made a second batch next day so I could snap a shot of the plated result this time around!

Related Posts:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Seitan Turk E. Loaf


In the United States, the annual Thanksgiving feast approaches. The traditional centerpiece of the family meal is, of course, a turkey, but I say that's a silly tradition! I made my first batch of seitan in 2008 for a vegetarian "friendsgiving" in Brooklyn. We had pies and stuffing and squashes and salads, green bean casserole, wild rice with hazelnuts, and probably a bunch of other delicious things that I can't recall.

Making seitan can be tricky at first, but it's worth the effort. Once you get the hang of it, you can make a batch pretty quickly and save lotsa moolah on faux meats. You can serve it as a roast, use it for stir-fry or curry, burgers or sammiches. All it takes is a few ingredients and an hour of your time.

I kept this recipe super simple, using ingredients that are easy to find at any grocery store. That way, if you're new to the vegan game, you don't have to go hunting for wierd things like nutritional yeast. A little nooch never hurts, but this is a family-friendly recipe, as in, your mom can get all the ingredients at Safeway. Vital wheat gluten can be found in the baking aisle at pretty much any supermarket, while liquid smoke is usually hiding next to the A1 and the BBQ sauce.



Turk E. Seitan
makes 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • For the dough
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • For the glaze
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons agave/maple/molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 drops liquid mesquite smoke
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot bring the veggie broth to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the cold water and apple juice concentrate and immediately mix with your hands. Knead until a springy, stretchy dough is formed.
  3. Shape the dough into a loaf and add it to the simmering broth. The dough will double in size as it cooks. Simmer gently for 40 minutes, turning the loaf occasionally.
  4. Watch the broth carefully and lower the heat if you need to; the broth should never boil, else thy seitan shall be mush.
  5. While the loaf simmers, heat your oven to 350°F and whisk the glaze ingredients together in a measuring cup or small bowl. Lightly oil a baking dish.
  6. After the dough has simmered, transfer the loaf to the oiled baking dish. Give it a coat of glaze and bake for 10 minutes. Continue to bake, adding new coats of glaze every 7 - 10 minutes until glaze is used up.
  7. Slice to serve

*please note: add 1/4 cup cold water to the recipe in the video!

One thing I'm looking forward to is eating all the Thanksgiving leftovers! Sammiches loaded with seitan and mashed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce, maybe some balsamic Brussels sprouts...mmm! By the way, seitan makes a great plant-based lunchmeat! 

Dave from Colorado writes, 
"Rachael! Hey! Got a question for you. I'm refining my meat intake. What's a quick lunch vegetarians like? I've been tossing together a turkey sandwich for years... looking for a replacement but not finding anything that seems an equivalent. Fast, easy, nutritious. Thoughts on this?"

There's lots of easy vegan sandwich toppings - hummus, peanut butter, avocado, grilled portobello - and nowadays you can buy Tofurkey vegan turkey slices at most grocery stores. But if you're avoiding processed foods for health or environmental reasons, try making a batch of Turk E. Seitan. And Dave, thank you for adding more plant based meals to your daily routine! You rock!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! This year, please give your presidential pardon to the bird and try a plant-based feast instead! My Thanksgiving board on Pinterest is full of mouth-watering sides, soups and desserts. Check it out! If you have a favorite plant-based holiday dish, please leave a comment below.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Where Vegans Eat: The District

Happy Novembrunch! Denver is overflowing with vegan options these days. Most modern eateries are hip to the plant-based trend. The District is no exception. This popular destination on Denver's restaurant row has a seasonal menu that always includes at least one vegan dish for both brunch and dinner. I'm a big fan of their brunch, mainly because of the bottomless bloody mary & mimosa bar for $10/person. Bottoms up!


My boyfriend brought me there for a birthday brunh last month. The vegan option was breakfast tacos with sides of fruit and The District's famous home fries. I feasted!


If it's a warm, sunny day, try to snag a seat on the patio - it fills up fast! The District is located at 1320 E 17th Avenue.  Brunch is from 9-4 on weekends and dinner is served until 1:30 am on weeknights. Cheers!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October News Brief


October was a beautiful month, but it blew by so fast! I celebrated my birthday, practiced yoga, and spent a lot of time outdoors soaking up the Colorado sunshine and enjoying the fall colors. I really truly meant to blog a few times - I guess I'll have to make it up to you by blogging regularly in November. I have some Thanksgiving themed posts and another round of #Novembrunch queued up for you!

My main activity in October was participating in a month-long yoga challenge on Instagram. The challenge was for each participant to post a picture of each of the assigned daily poses, with a goal of reaching 100,000 #octoberyogaspice posts on Instagram. The challenge was also a fundraiser for the organization Yogi Is Heart, who provide yoga scholarships for students ages 15-25. I'm really proud of myself for posting every pose! Here are all 31 days in a nutshell:


If you'd like to see these pics on a larger scale, and find out more about the challenge or the poses or who painted the murals, my insta handle is @wolfspriestess - and if you want to follow me, I'd love that!


My birthday was on a Saturday, and my sweetie took me out for a bottomless mimosa brunch at The District on East 17th. I had their vegan option: breakfast tacos with home fries, fruit, coffee, and lots of mimosas! Later that night I danced myself silly at at the Boulder Theatre to my favorite band, Beats Antique. I had been looking forward to this show for a long time - I purchased the tickets the day they went on sale. Beats Antique were amazing! I love when they play old theaters and I can get up close and just get sucked up by the rhythm; I don't care how crowded the dance floor is. I had a wonderful birthday - I even got to enjoy vegan gelato! It's true! If you're ever in Boulder, go to Fior di Latte on the Pearl Street Mall. That's where you will find the vegan gelato.


The next weekend, my boyfriend took me on a date to an enormous pumpkin patch north of Denver to pick out pumpkins for carving. It was an absolutely perfect day - sunny and warm -plus the mountaintops had a fresh dusting of snow. Blue skies, white mountains, orange pumpkins everywhere - so many to choose from. I haven't carved a pumpkin in years, but I knew I wanted a big one. The pumpkin I picked was so heavy, I could barely carry it back to the truck. I had so much fun! We carved the pumpkins on Halloween and made toasted pumpkin seeds.


October was a great month for me and also a great month for vegan newsMore People Opting for Plant Based Diet means millions of innocent animals were spared - thank you everyone for choosing more vegan meals! Maybe you did it for your health? This month, the World Health Organization declared that processed meats are equally as carcinogenic as cigarettes: Bacon and hot dogs cause cancer, WHO says, so bring home some tempeh bacon! To help raise awareness of the plight of farm animals, Jon Stewart Quits Comedy, Starts Animal Sanctuary. He and his wife Tracey opened Bufflehead Farm in the garden state of New Jersey as a sanctuary for rescued farm animals, and Tracey has written a new book for kids and all animal lovers titled Do Unto Animals.


How did your October go? Did you carve any pumpkins? Practice any yoga? Paint any murals? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Tacos vs. Burritos

Totes Tacos!!!


I make tacos at least once a week, if not twice! Tacos are way better than burritos. For one thing, flour tortillas disgust me. They just taste weird. I don't like them. Every time I get a burrito, I end up just eating the filling. Tacos, however, usually come in tortillas made of corn. Plus, there's a tortilla factory only a few blocks from my art studio on Santa Fe that makes the best corn tortillas - so fresh and soft! Enchiladas are probably my favorite-favorite, but tacos are quick and easy when one is enhungered. 


Sometimes my tacos are simply spicy black beans with tomato, avocado, and hot sauce. Other times I incorporate leftovers, like the Field Roast kielbasa tacos below. Sometimes I like to get fancy - I'm experimenting with inventing my own "tofish" tacos as seen in the first photo. Tacos also go great with my favorite food group, beer. 


For as often as I make tacos, you'd think I'd blog about them more! But even in my blog posts, tacos are beating burritos 4 - 1, and the burrito post is from 5 years ago...here's the evolution of the Tacos vs. Burritos debate on Rubber Cowgirl:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
black beans, black olives, quinoa, 4 different peppers, sweet corn and cilantro in a pita

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
broccoli, bulgur, garlic, peppers and onions in a whole wheat tortilla

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
sweet potatoes, roasted corn, black beans, rice and guacamole in blue corn tortillas

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
pinto beans and guacamole with cilantro and tiny tomatoes in tiny tortillas

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
tacos almendras - seasoned ground almonds, radishes, green onions, cilantro and lime
and
tacos aubergine - grilled eggplant dip, baby greens, black olives, garlic and cilantro

Tuesday August 26, 2014
sweet & spicy tempeh with cherry tomatoes and swill chard in corn tortillas



Notice how all these posts happened on Tuesdays? That's not entirely coincidence. I'm a teensy bit miffed that this post is going up on a Monday. I blame it on the burritos. 

What are your favorite taco fillings? Comment below!