Friday, January 29, 2010

Lazy Friday Leftovers

The Chef: Liz and Nature's Express

The Menu: If today's plate looks familiar, it's probably because most of the components were also in play during yesterday's lunch. Yes, Liz took the semi-homemade approach to cooking today by reheating several of the delicious leftovers from yesterday's lunch catered by Nature's Express. Liz altered the leftover coconut-yam soup by adding pureed garbanzo beans and cashew cream, and served it with several other Nature's Express leftovers, including Grilled Tempeh Reubens, Eggless Egg Salad Sandwiches, and Couscous Salad. This stick-to-your-ribs meal was rounded out with a side of Amy's new vegan mac 'n' cheese and a heaping helping of delicious green salad. 

The Goods: It's been an unusually quiet day at the VNHQ, with Ms. Colleen, Elizabeth, and Abby out of the office to attend a conference. We have to confess, we're a bit blue without them—and the weather seems to agree, as its been overcast and rainy most of the afternoon. Thankfully, there is a silver lining to the day: fun and sassy pictures from last night's SF Vegan Drinks! We had a blast mixing, mingling, and sipping on cocktails with the coolest people in San Francisco—and we have pictures to prove it! Of course, today's other silver lining is that it's Friday, and the weekend is nary an hour away. Hurrah!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nature's Express

The Chef: Joel Daniel and Nature's Express

The Menu: A huge sampling of the vegan fast-food chain's tastiest offerings! Joel Daniel, kitchen manager at Nature's Express' new Berkeley location, brought us a bevy of tasty menu items. A fantastic coconut-yam soup started the meal, and Grilled Tempeh Reubens and Eggless Egg Salad Sandwiches were shared as the main course. A variety of fresh, flavorful salads followed, including Quinoa, Black Bean and Couscous, Potato, Nature's Signature, and raw kale and collard greens. No meal at the VNHQ would be complete without dessert, a quota happily filled by both Chocolate Mousse and Key Lime Pudding.

The Goods: Seriously, how lucky are we? Not only is this the second catered lunch we've had this week, but it was freaking delicious (of course). If having healthy, plant-based fast food delivered to our doorstep wasn't enough, the sun actually came out. That's right—no fog, no rain, just warm sunshine. Oh, and SF Vegan Drinks is tonight, which only adds to today's excitement. Come say hi, Bay Area vegans!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pizza and Piccata

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A mish-mash of on-hand delicacies. Today's plate certainly doesn't have a theme (except maybe the letter "p"). We enjoyed, and then promptly mourned, our last Daiya pizza from Vegan Essentials, which was just as delicious as the others we've had recently. Elizabeth made a seitan piccata with mustard and capers, and finished off the plate with a big freaking salad.

The Goods: Pizza and piccata might not be the new surf 'n' turf, but with some serious time limitations it totally filled us up today. Speaking of things that might fill you up, did you know that there are Sticky Fingers goodies being given away on our Facebook page?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Philip Gelb Caters!

The Chefs: Philip Gelb and Cori Spence

The Menu: (Please make sure you are sitting down/not drinking hot liquids before you read this to reduce the risk of falling/spitting coffee all over your computer.) Ok, first we enjoyed an incredible black-lentil soup that was perfectly spiced. It warmed us from the inside out on this blustery, winter day. Next up, we enjoyed the trio of treats you see here, namely ravioli, salad, and collard rolls. The rolls had homemade tempeh, rice, kabocha squash, and an incredibly good marinade. The salad was blood oranges, fennel, and greens with blood-orange vinaigrette. Oh, and that ravioli? That would be filled with pumpkin and homemade vegan cheese, and covered in a perfect pesto. No, it does not end there. We also devoured the amazing poached-pear tart that you see below with homemade vegan banana-chocolate ice cream.

The Goods: You know what? Just go ahead and see above if you want to hear about goods. This meal was freaking incredible. This is the second time Philip has graced us with a delicious lunch, and we hope to see lots more of him in the future.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chili and Sandwiches

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: A very yummy homemade chili, complete with kidney and black beans, sweet potatoes, red quinoa, tomatoes, and spices. By spices, we pretty much mean garlic, which is just how we like things here at the VNHQ. On the side Abby served finger sandwiches with sautéed mushrooms and some melted Ste. Martaen cheese. And, of course, no meal here would be complete without a lovely green salad. Today's had sliced bell peppers and mushrooms for extra veggies!

The Goods: Ok, we have some big news. You know about our sister site, right? And how it has thousands of awesome vegan recipes, yes? Great. But! Do you know which of those are the absolute best? We need your help to determine which recipes from VegWeb will be featured in the May+June issue of VegNews! We are thrilled to announce our first-ever VegWeb Recipe Showdown! Voting will last until next Wednesday, and by voting you'll be entered to win some amazing goodies from Sticky Fingers Bakery! Lots of exclamation points!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup! But Mostly Pizza

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A delicious, veggie-filled soup with lentils, sweet potato, broccoli, and eggplant that Colleen cooked in a light broth with Indian spices. She also made a light, crunchy salad with her signature garlicky balsamic vinaigrette. And then, there was pizza. As you might remember from Wednesday, Vegan Essentials recently mailed us some frozen vegan pizzas. Yes, that makes them our favorite. Colleen simply topped the frozen pie with some fresh rosemary, and it was fantastic.

The Goods: Honestly, things are pretty stinking good here today. It's Friday, the sun has finally decided to peek out from behind the nasty rain clouds we've had all week, and maybe we have a little surprise for you that will be revealed on This Just In today. Feel free to get ready.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pasta Marinara

The Chef: Liz and Karine

The Menu: A lovely marinara with eggplant and lots of garlic that Liz served over rice pasta and topped with cheddar Daiya. Red-cabbage slaw courtesy of our guest, a green salad, and sliced fresh bread made this a mighty fine meal.

The Goods: Today we had the pleasure of dining with Karine Brighten, a local vegan event planner. Karine was responsible for the excellent grand opening of Nature's Express this past weekend, which you might have heard about on a little blog we like to call Press Pass. Lunch was lovely, despite the inclement weather and fact that we've been cooped up in the office this whole week! We can't wait for our next opportunity to dine al fresco!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Daiya Pizza!!

The Chefs: Vegan Essentials and Elizabeth

The Menu: Pizza!! One plain cheese, one with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and spinach, sliced olives and tomatoes, and capers. A side salad of romaine, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and garbanzo and kidney beans added a pop of color to the meal.

The Goods: Yes, we had pizza two days in a row, and yes, we are thrilled about it. As you might remember the awesome team over at Vegan Essentials sent us a couple of their Rossini's Gourmet Vegan Cheese Pizzas to try out, and today we finally had the chance. Hello, melty Daiya cheese! We are pretty much dead with glee, in case anyone was wondering.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Amy's Comfort Food

The Chefs: Michelle and Tina from Amy's Kitchen

The Menu: Today we were kindly treated to two of Amy's brand-spankin'-new products. First up we devoured the incredible vegan mac 'n' cheese. Yes, this time it's totally vegan (the cheese is Daiya!) and gluten free. While sometimes "gluten free" really means "gummy and freakish," if our guest chefs hadn't clued us in to the missing gluten in this pasta, we would never have known. The same goes for the roasted vegetable pizza, which is another of Amy's products that's getting a gluten-free revamp. This one was already vegan, but the GF spin is new, and we liked it just as much as the original. And we had a salad. Woo hoo, salad. Not pictured (mostly because we ate it too quickly) was a GF version of Amy's chocolate cake. Yeah, that's gone.

The Goods: One of the best things about our office location is that we are within driving distance of Amy's, and this is the second time that Michelle and company have come down to make us lunch. Um, getting to try new products right away? Yes, please! Now if you'll excuse us, some of us have bowls to lick.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raw Cones!

The Chef: James Hall of Raw Daddy Foods

The Menu: Raw cones! James offered to cater our lunch today, and when have you ever known us to turn down free food? His concept is simple: take cones of raw flax crackers and fill them. We sampled the Spicy Thai Salad Cone (the filling you see on the right above) and the Forest and Earth Mushroom Polenta Cone, along with chocolate-coconut haystacks and a refreshing glass of sparkling ginger lemonade. The cones were crisp and the fillings were quite flavorful; the majority vote on the meal was a thumbs up!

The Goods: Though today's meal certainly filled us up, but since it was raw there wasn't much warmth to be had. So, we're warming our hearts (if not our stomachs) on this cold, stormy day in SF by giving away our final copy of The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone! Congrats to [melissa] from yesterday's comments! [melissa], send us an email, and we'll mail your book right out!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cookbook Week: Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: A light, lovely soup with lentils and sweet potatoes, as you might have assumed from the title. Sides of red quinoa and steamed broccoli continued the warm, homey trend, and a fresh spinach salad with orange sections and sunflowers added a little color to the plate. For dunking, where would we be without bread?

The Goods: The end of Cookbook Week is upon us, and we have just one more copy of Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet to give away. First, a hearty congratulations to Tanya from yesterday's comments! Tanya, send us an email, and we'll send your book right out. So now that we are at the end of the week, let's talk weekend plans. For the last copy of the book, tell us in the comments: how are you going to be kind this weekend?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cookbook Week: Mushroom Pizza & Caesar Salad

The Chef: Abigail

The Menu: Crispy, doughy Thin Mushroom "Pizzas" paired with a light, tangy, classic Caesar Salad from The Kind Diet. Yes, the recipe does substitute whole-wheat tortillas for pizza dough, and no, we're not complaining. These scrumptious tortillas were covered in Tofu Cream—another recipe from The Kind Diet—and topped with button and shiitake mushrooms, onions, garlic, and black olives. To accompany our meal, Abigail whipped up one of the best Caesar salads we've ever had. Full of flavor, the greens and homemade whole-wheat croutons were covered in a to-die-for salad dressing that included puréed almonds, Dijon mustard, tahini, and fresh lemon juice. 

The Goods: First, congrats to Abigail on her first day in the VN kitchen! With not a leftover in sight, we can safely say that Abigail did an amazing job. Second, another congrats to SSheilah, who won yesterday's copy of The Kind Diet! Ssheilah, we agree about the dried fruit—it can liven up any meal! Simply send us an email with your full name and mailing address, and your winnings will be on their way. Finally, for tomorrow's copy of the book, tell us in the comments: From classic to creative, what's your favorite recipe substitution (like today's tortillas standing in for pizza dough)?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cookbook Week: Risotto and Collards

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A savory meal that was bursting with greens! Liz made a double serving of Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks, and Peas, and a lovely side of Sicilian Collard Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins. Both of these recipes were from The Kind Diet, and both dishes have completely disappeared. The huge, beautiful kale salad you see was one of Liz's own recipes, and featured avocado, black sesame seeds, and Parma! Everything was scrumptious and promptly devoured.

The Goods: From the looks of the responses to yesterday's post, you all love some salad! We couldn't agree more—you might have noticed that just about every single post on this blog features some sort of leafy mixture. Speaking of things you might have noticed on this blog, we're giving away Alicia Silverstone's book! Congrats to GreyShore, who is the winner from yesterday's comments! GreyShore, send us an email, and we'll mail out your copy! To be entered to win today's copy, leave a comment with your answer to this question: Do you like raisins in savory food (such as in today's lovely collards?)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cookbook Week: Seitan Piccata and Sexy Salad

The Chef: Kristen

The Menu: The super-saucy Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Capers and Alicia's Sexy Inspired Salad from The Kind Diet. The piccata was cooked to perfection, and the savory, rich onion- and caper-infused sauce was an indulgent lunchtime treat! If there's anything VN staffers love, it's a caper. Our side salad today had a fresh, lemony dressing that perfectly balanced the luxurious sauce.

The Goods: First, a huge congratulations to Kristen on her first turn in the VN kitchen! This meal was beyond critique, and we can't wait to sample more of her stellar cooking. Second, another gigantic congratulations to Vegyogini, who won yesterday's copy of The Kind Diet! Vegyogini, send us an email with your full name and mailing address, and your winnings will be on their way! Finally, for tomorrow's copy of the book, tell us in the comments: what goes into your go-to salad?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cookbook Week: Eggplant Chana Masala

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Hearty, spicy Eggplant Chana Masala courtesy of The Kind Diet by our very own January+February cover girl Alicia Silverstone! This take on a classic Indian vegetable dish calls for eggplant, onion, garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes, and a can of vegetarian chili—Lyndsay chose Pinto Beans and Spelt Chili by Eden Organic. Lyndsay seasoned the chana masala with cumin, curry powder, and fresh cilantro, and served the stewy mixture over piping-hot white basmati rice. Paired with a lovely green salad, this filling meal was the perfect perk-up for our particularly overcast Monday afternoon.

The Goods: Today kicks off our cookbook week for The Kind Diet, which is good news for VN staffers and readers alike. For the staff, it means having a recipe to follow instead of our usual flying-blind approach to lunchtime meal-making. For our readers, it means the chance to win a copy of Alicia's kind cookbook! To win today's copy, simply tell us in the comments: What is your favorite veg Indian dish?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A savory shepherd's pie, made with seasoned Match Meats, carrots, celery, and a colorful mashed potato topping. Alongside, the signature VN salad (aka mixed greens, red cabbage, and carrots) was delicious with its vegan Thousand Island dressing.

The Goods: It's Friday, and we are appropriately fried. Today's meal was definitely of the "inspired by what's left in the kitchen at the end of the week" variety, and Lyndsay rose nobly to the challenge. Next week, however, we'll be making recipes out of Alicia Silverstone's new book, The Kind Diet. Maybe you've seen the lovely lady gracing our current cover. If not, you might want to go ahead and check out our interview with her! Be sure to check back next week for our kind culinary adventures, and to win yourself a copy of the book, which we'll be giving away each day!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Maybe Abby served up homemade black-bean burgers, which she covered in melted Daiya. Maybe she also made her signature delicious biscuits, and just maybe those were also covered in magical melted Daiya. Yes, it was a good lunch day here at the VNHQ. As if the cheddary goodness wasn't enough, we also had a lovely mixed-greens salad with sliced zucchini, grated carrots, and red quinoa that we topped with Organicville's soon-to-be-released vegan Thousand Island Dressing.

The Goods: You might think that after such a wonderful lunch, we'd be all out of goods, but that's where you'd be wrong. You see, one Laura Hooper Beck joined us today, and with her she brought the lovely Mandarin and Raspberry Cheesecake you see below. This dairy-free delight was made by Sugar Plum Vegan, a bakery with a storefront coming soon to Sacramento, Calif.

So yeah, things are pretty good. Here's hoping that everyone's first week of 2010 has been this tasty so far!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tomato Bisque and Kale

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A lovely take on tomato bisque, inspiration courtesy of The Conscious Cook. Tomatoes, carrots, celery, and garlic provided the base for this wintery weather soup, while cashew cream added that special something. A fancy marinated kale salad delivered our daily greens, packed with shredded carrot, zucchini, and cabbage. Roasted olives and cherry tomatoes made for a pretty addition, and oh, don't forget the bread. You can't have soup without bread.

The Goods: Okay, so we're not exactly experiencing winter weather here at the VNHQ, but that doesn't mean this bisque was any less delicious. Maybe we're on a bit of a soup and salad kick this week. Maybe we like it. For those buried under mountains of snow across the country, we send our condolences and suggest a big bowl of soup.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sumptuous Soup

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: Another installment of what is quickly becoming Liz's signature dish: soup! Today's pot contained a blend of potatoes, curry, carrots, broccoli, corn, tomatoes, cashew cream, and garlic. She topped the thick, savory meal with breadcrumbs and served a vibrant kale salad alongside. Yes, those are grated carrots and avocado that you see in the kale salad, and yes, it was delicious.

The Goods: As you can probably tell from the last two days' meals, we're a little bit over the insanity of holiday food, and totally into hearty, healthy soups and salads. Are you trying to get your eating back onto a not-so-sugar-coated track as well? Our website has thousands of yummy recipes, just waiting to help you eat better this decade.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Split-Pea Soup

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: One tasty batch of split-pea soup, complete with perfectly cooked potatoes, carrots, and onions. Turning a basic dish into gourmet dining, Colleen seasoned the soup with cumin, thyme, and her secret ingredient—a splash of wine. Slices of crunchy baguette were the perfect side for dipping, and a simple salad of mixed greens, tomato, and avocado finished the meal.

The Goods: Happy New Year, everyone! We couldn't be more excited to be back in action, and today's lunch was the perfect opportunity to catch up on everyone's holiday hijinks. With gorgeous weather and good eats, what could possibly have made it better? How about the warm welcoming of two new, fantastic editorial assistants, Kristen and Abigail? With a full house here at the VNHQ, we can't wait to get 2010 started.