Saturday, February 23, 2008

Butternut Squash and Roasted garlic pizza

Last night I made the best vegan pizza ever. It had roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, carmelized onions, Field Roast Apple Sage vegan sausage, and a tofu ricotta. I'm really sorry I didn't take a picture of this one. It was really good. I'll be making this again and again and again so I see a picture coming in the future. This recipe looks like a lot of work, but you can do it in parts and place various components in the fridge for later use and it comes together nicely.

A recipe of sorts:

Butternut Squash and Roasted garlic pizza

pizza dough (I like the recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance and The Vegan Lunchbox). Or you can use this one.
olive oil
1/2 butternut squash, cut into 1/2 in. cubes
1 head garlic
1 Field Roast Apple Sage Sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
Tofu Ricotta (recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance - but I used 1 tsp dried basil instead of fresh)

Make tofu ricotta and set in refrigerator for flavors to meld.

Remove papery outside from the head of garlic and slice off the top of the garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves (See Lolo's pic from Vegan Yum Yum). Place on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil tightly around the garlic with the ends meeting at the top of the garlic.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the butternut squash on a foil (or nonstick foil) lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Place the foiled garlic head on the cookie sheet too. Cook for about 20 minutes, stir squash,, cook for another 20 minutes or until tender. Remove the squash from the oven and place the garlic back in the oven for about another 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and open foil to cool.

Meanwhile, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and heat over med-high heat. Add onions to the pan and add some salt and pepper. Add about a 1/2 tsp of sugar to help with the carmelization. Turn heat down to medium. Stir occasionally (every 4 minutes or so). Cook until light brown and carmelized. This will take about 25 minutes or more.

When garlic is cool, squish out the garlic from the garlic head into a small bowl.

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees for about an hour before placing the pizza in the oven.

Once the stone is hot, we can assemble the pizza. Roll out the dough till thin. Place on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled with semolina or corn meal. Drizzle with olive oil and spread the oil around with your fingers or a brush. Sprinkle with salt. Rub ALL of the roasted garlic onto the crust. You can leave a few larger pieces for a nice garlicky bite occasionally. Add the caramelized onions. Add the butternut squash. Add the sausage. Then add some tofu ricotta to the top. You can either add it in 2 Tbs sized dollops or, as my husband likes it, just sprinkled over the top (You will have a good bit of the tofu ricotta leftover for some other recipe). Drizzle with olive oil.

Move the pizza to the pizza stone and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Note - you can get Field Roast sausage at some Whole Foods locations (not mine!) or you can order it here. It is really worth ordering it.

It's a good thing I am moving!

In April, my husband and I are moving to Park City, Utah. We are pretty excited about it and I was surprised to find it more vegan friendly than Boston. I attribute this to the Sundance Film Festival.

Yesterday I learned that if I wasn't moving that I might become fat really quickly... my local Whole Foods in Framingham has Cafe Indigo Carrot Cake. Yum. If you haven't tried this yet and see it in your Whole Foods, make sure you grab a slice. I am probably preaching to the choir here since most Boston vegans have tried this cake over at My Thai. I was so happy to see that Whole Foods was bringing in this yummy locally made vegan cake and helping to keep this local vegan business going.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vegan eats in Whistler (British Columbia)

I recently returned from Whistler. Before I left, I tried to investigate where we should eat since our hotel room didn't have a kitchen. I found lots of people asking the same question, but no real answers. Whistler's menus aren't the most vegan friendly, but we did find that no one blinked an eye when we said we were vegan and everyone seemed to understand what that meant without any further definitiions needed. We did manage to find some lunch and dinner spots, but breakfast was not great.

My hotel (The Fairmont - we had free hotel vouchers!) luckily had soy milk for my coffee and toast with peanut butter; they also had oatmeal.

Lunch on the mountain was hard, but once we figured out which lodge had the vegan food, we were all set. You will want to eat at the Roundhouse Lodge. This lodge has several options - vegan chili, baked potato with vegan chili, noodle bowl with tofu and veggies (not sure if the noodles are vegan - I think they might not be, so beware), black bean soup. Note that there are several little cafeterias in this lodge so if you don't see something at the first one you look at, walk around a bit. And it gets really crowded so eat lunch around 11 or 11:30.

The first night we ate at the Dubliner (or Dublin) cafe. This is a cute Irish pub with a vegan burger (ask for no cheese and no mayo) - not sure about the bun and lots of beer and french fries. It's pretty good and will fill you up.

The second night we had a free restaurant coupon for listening to some stupid time share presentation so we went to Aubergine at the Westin. This place is pricey, but has a couple of nice vegan options. They brought us a basket of bread which they made sure was vegan and along with the bread, they gave us hummus and an olive tapenade. They made us a mixed greens salad with a nice vinaigrette (slight modification to a salad on the menu). The for dinner, Mike had a vegan mushroom risotto which was to die for. I loved it. My spoon kept sneaking across the table for more... and I hate squishy mushrooms. I had a tofu satay with broccolini. It was ok. Go for the risotto.

Other places that we did not try, but looked like they would have vegan friendly options:
Hot Pot Etc.  - Shabu Shabu
Mongolie Grill - A fire and ice kind of pick you own food to be stir fried. Sauces are supposedly vegan.
Amsterdam cafe - vegan rollup
Wildwood Bistro - vegan vegetarian napolean
Longhorn Salon - 2 veggie burgers
Thai one on
Kypriaki Norte (Greek) - has a Filo tower that might be vegan (with seasonal grilled vegetables, mashed yam and potato layered between basil filo pastry squares and topped with a tomato basil sauce)

Some other random notes I found from various posts on the internet:
"There is also a small place next to the pharmacy in the village (sorry, can't remember what it's called) that serves tofu terriyaki and veg wraps that are vegan. It's a very small place, mostly take out."

"There's also a cafe right next to the IGA that has vegan soups, salads and sandwiches. There is also a burger place just around the corner from IGA that makes great vegan burgers. "

If you get a chance to stop in Vancouver to eat on your way in or out, I highly recommend Naam. We stopped their for breakfast on the way out and had tofu scramble and really fantastic vegan sausages. It is right on the way back from Whistler on route to the airport!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Hungry Vegan, Your Personal Vegan Chef (review)

When Eric mentioned The Hungry Vegan in a recent BVA newletter, I hopped right onto the 'internets' to get more info and try it out. Here is the lowdown: The Hungry Vegan is a new nationwide vegan and organic meal delivery service. It offers a new menu each week. The food is shipped overnight or in two days. The shipments provide for about five to seven days of lunches and dinners. Orders should be placed about a week before you want the food. The order has to be in by Sunday of the cooking week.

I've always thought it would be cool to have someone come to my house and leave me food each week, but the costs for that kind of service is way to high for me and being vegan makes it unlikely to find such a personal chef. Having it shipped to my house is the next best thing and the cost is just right. So, I ordered a weeks worth of food for 2. The cost was $140 (for tw0) plus a $14 delivery fee. I ordered on a Friday, the food was made on Tuesday, and then arrived at my house the next Friday.

When the food arrived, we immediately froze anything that was not tofu or potatoes, as they suggested. Then about 1-2 days before we wanted to eat a particular item we'd take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw. Then it was just a quick microwave for dinner. We had plenty of food for dinner for the week - and a lunch leftover or 2 (some servings seemed to be more than a serving size for me). The great thing is that you don't have to eat it all in one week since you are freezing it and then you can pull out dinner when you know you have a busy night coming up.

The food was pretty good. Not as good as I'd make myself but freezing tends do that to food so it was expected. I think my favorite of the week was the pinto beans with sweet potatoes. We also liked the pasta with olives (and I hate olives). Other dishes we got included a rice pilaf, a lentil stir fry, black bean chili, tofu in a green curry sauce, potato turnip soup, roasted beets and apples, and a peanut bread. We also got 2 slices of pumpkin cheesecake, and 2 servings of blueberry cobbler. These sadly got crushed in delivery, but it didn't stop of from scraping the desserts out of the containers and eating them anyway. I mentioned the desserts to the hungry vegan and they will be changing their containers for future deliveries. They had been trying out a recycled environmentally friendly container that just didn't work out.

I definitely plan on ordering from them again. You should give them a try.

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