Friday, September 30, 2011

Bountiful Bowl

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Some salad greens topped with tomato, avocado, quinoa pasta, and the slow-cooked eggplant casserole with cashew ricotta dish from The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester

The Goods: Lately, I've been obsessed with my new slow cooker. Actually, I have three. I recently acquired these appliances in preparation for my recipe testing for Robin Robertson's new slow cooker cookbook coming out in the not-too-distant future. Kathy Hester's new book is also superb, and this casserole was the first recipe I've cooked from the book—it is delicious, to say the least. It made a wonderful topping for my salad, which I enjoyed on the sunny and breezy deck at the VNHQ, where we will be holding the VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods on October 21. Be sure to secure your ticket before they sell out!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: A salad with cherry tomatoes, broccoli slaw, and spinach in a tahini-miso dressing and a tofu veggie burger on brown rice topped with broccoli slaw

The Goods: I am a sugar addict. I love anything sweet and vegan ice cream is my downfall. So in anticipation of Halloween (candy), Thanksgiving (pumpkin pie), and all of December (everything), I decided to go on Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet cleanse and give my body a break from sugar and gluten for 21 whole days. Today is day two and it's going well so far, considering I work in an office overflowing with vegan goodies like the boatload of bread we got in yesterday (you've got to see it to believe it).  And even though alcohol is off limits during the cleanse, I'm still heading to our monthly SF Vegan Drinks tonight because I always love chatting with the wonderful folks there. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

All Green

The Chef: Joni and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, tofu and green beans glazed with ginger, and iced green tea

The Goods: Seriously, think twice before sampling this pesto pasta sold at Valencia Whole Foods—it’s so good that I have to it nearly every day. Why is something so delicious located just a block away? Speaking of delicious, check out this huge delivery of bread that arrived today, courtesy of Dave’s Killer Bread. After all this pasta and bread, you can certainly find me happily snoozing on our sunny deck. Thank you, post-lunch, starch-induced coma. For a more exciting event on the deck, come to the VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods on October 21. Tickets are selling out fast!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Salad In a Roll and Salad In a Salad

The Chefs: Hilary and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Refreshing salad rolls stuffed with avocado, cucumber, and shredded carrots, a spicy medley of curried tofu, eggplant, and potatoes, and a side salad of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes. 

The Goods: After a decadent Monday, during which I gorged on homemade chocolate-raspberry cupcakes, courtesy of Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria, and shared about 30 menu items during a highly indulgent lunch with my roommate at vegan Japanese restaurant Cha-Ya, I decided that today I was going to go green—not in the carbon-footprint sense, but in the "salad day" sense. Sometimes a big pile of lettuce and veggies is all it takes to feel like, in the words of Lil Wayne, a milli. Plus, with Vegan Drinks this Thursday and party season just around the corner—I'm trembling with excitement for the VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods—I've got to keep things balanced with a fresh, wholesome lunch here and there. Grab your tickets today for the aforementioned bash, and I'll see you at the Cinnaholic cinnamon roll bar! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gracias, Allison!

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A tempting trio of tacos, filled with refried black beans, grilled zucchini, roasted eggplant, and sauteed Swiss chard, all topped with cashew cream.

The Goods: Today I got a surprise call from Allison Rivers Samson, VN columnist extraordinaire and owner of Allison's Gourmet, saying that she was in town and would be at Gracias Madre for lunch. Associate Editor Jennifer Chen and I were out the door and down the street faster than you can say "almuerzo." We enjoyed a lovely lunch with Allison and her two right-hand gals Tessa and Jada. Since they're all in the desserts business, we had extra, professional incentive to order the out-of-this world desserts at GM, including the flan, nectarine crisp, and chocolate cake. The last two there come with softball-sized servings of ice cream (dulce de leche and toasted coconut, respectively), and you know, there's nothing that brightens up a Monday like phenomenal ice cream shared with great people. Here's hoping that your week is off to a similarly great start!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Salad, Sandwich, and Guacamole

The Chef: Anna and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A random smattering from the salad bar (lettuce! hummus! rice!) and half of VWF's beloved veggie sausage sandwich, filled with hummus and avocado. Bonus: homemade guacamole!

The Dish: I was super jazzed to go to VWF today for some spring rolls, but after the last package was stolen from me (ahem, Jennifer Chen), I had to improvise. And you know, I think improvising with one of our office favorites is a good way to go. The office feels a little empty today, with Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig off to Virginia for Charlottesville VegFest and Publishers Joseph Connelly and Colleen Holland in Thailand with VegNews Vacations, but we're coping the best way we can (with guacamole and delicious sandwiches). Want to travel the world with VegNews? Our trips for Bali and India are sold out, but there are a few spots left on this November's Vegan Yoga Retreat in Mexico. Sign up today!

Hello, homemade guacamole. Won't you get in my belly?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebratory Pizza Party!

The Chef: Hilary and Patxi's, courtesy of Publisher Colleen Holland

The Menu: All of the melty, saucy goodness that Patxi's Chicago-style vegan deep dish pizza has to offer—oozing with Daiya and bursting with the flavor of tomato sauce, onion, and garlic—enjoyed with Champagne and Sjaak's peanut butter cups!  

The Goods: The VNHQ is a place to rejoice this afternoon, as we just got our first look at the final draft of our amazing November+December issue, which is almost-literally bursting at the seams with mouthwatering recipes, gorgeous photos, and other amazing content—including the results of the 2011 Veggie Awards. Naturally, a good old-fashioned pizza 'n' Champagne party on our sun-drenched, tanning bed-esque deck was in order. 

Furthermore, we've unveiled the details of the VegNews Book Bash with Spork Foods, guaranteed to be the party of the century, the millennium, the party that will reign supreme for ETERNITY. Endless Champagne, tasty appetizers, a photobooth, and a cinnamon bun bar, all in celebration of the unrelenting cuteness of the Spork girls? You would be crazy not to buy a ticket today. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fancy Salad!

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A salad! But, fear not, dear reader(s). This is not just your average everyday normal guy salad. Oh no, the compelling compendium of comestibles includes romaine (boring), kale (boring, but addictive), hearts of palm (what?! Delicious!), chopped basil (pow!), chopped up leftover seasoned potatoes (très fancy!), cherry tomatoes fresh from the garden of our Associate Editor Jennifer Chen's mother (bursting with flavor, no joke), Parma! (a necessity), and avocado, which needs no explanation.

The Goods: Today is a lull at the VNHQ. Tomorrow the proofs for our November+December Veggie Awards issue come in, and just as soon as we get done going over them and sending them to press, Joseph and Colleen head out on our first-ever Food Lover's Tour of Thailand. We've been working like maniacs on the Veggie Awards issue, and pretty much totally can't wait for it to be in our hot little hands. To take advantage of today's slightly slower pace, we enjoyed lunch al fresco on the deck, where it was roughly 115 degrees, aka the perfect temperature. (Yes, the actual temp was more like 75, but that's clearly beside the point. This is what we call "summer" in SF!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Burrito for the Broke and Busy

The Chef: Joni and Amy's Kitchen

The Menu: Pinto bean burrito topped with spicy tomato salsa and corn tortilla chips

The Goods: Amy's burritos topped with salsa are my go-to lunch during busy weeks. They cost significantly less than going out to eat and I just pop them in the over 40 minutes before lunch time. What could be easier? Despite this busy day of finalizing the cover for our November+December issue, lunch was spent lounging on the deck with the ladies of VN, dishing about celebrities and soaking up the sun. Ah, the life. If you're interested in finding out about cruelty-free fall threads, join us on tonight's Twitter chat for a discussion on compassionate fashion.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vegan Chili Mac 'n' Cheese

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: A big bowl of mac 'n' cheese topped with red beans, veggie chili, and garlic roasted salsa

The Goods: I just got back from Kauai, Hawaii, yesterday (I miss you, taro smoothies!), and I luckily had the ingredients in my fridge to make VN columnist Robin Robertson's Chili Mac 'n' Cheese from Vegan on the Cheap for dinner. After a five-hour red-eye flight, this quick meal was perfect. Even better, I had leftovers for lunch. While vacation is sweet, it's nice to be back at VNHQ, just in time for tomorrow's Compassionate Fashion Twitter Chat at 6pm PT. We'll be talking with vegan stylemakers about cruelty-free fashion. Join us!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Eggplant and Sundried Tomato Sandwich

The Chef: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: A hearty eggplant sandwich with tangy sundried tomatoes, herbaceous pesto spread, and fresh side salad with avocado and mustard dressing. 

The Goods: After Publishers Joseph Connelly and Colleen Holland were generous enough to bring in a smorgasbord of bagels for the staff this morning (complemented by Office Manager Lyndsey Orwig's amazing butternut squash butter—like apple butter, but to reiterate, butternut squash!), I didn't foresee my appetite springing back into action for hours. However, due to a lively brainstorming session for the cover of the November+December issue, which will contain the eagerly awaited results of the 10th annual Veggie Awards, I needed something majorly nourishing by lunchtime. Sorry to brag, but having an all-vegan café right around the corner comes in really handy sometimes. Keep San Francisco in mind when you plan your next road trip, as we're launching our own Ultimate Vegan Road Trip on this month. Follow us as we cruise the country finding all of the best veg eats that America has to offer. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ginger-Garlic Stir-Fry

The Chef: Joni

The Menu: Stir-fried carrots, string beans, sugar sap peas, water chestnuts, red peppers, tofu, and mushrooms atop brown rice.

The Goods: This summer, I moved to San Francisco from Ithaca, NY, and donated anything that wouldn’t fit in my Honda CRV to my previous roommate. The most depressing things to give up were all of my kitchen items, including my beloved wok. But, a recent trip to Ikea has provided me with a replacement, and now I’m stir-frying everything in my kitchen, with more garlic and ginger than my roommates can probably stand the smell of. While I’m passionate about cooking, it’s nice to have a night off once in awhile, which is just one more reason why you’ll find me at the VegNews Book Bash on October 21, featuring the writers of Sporkfed. Take the night off and party with us—ticket sales start next week!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spectacular Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A big, beautiful (if I dare say!) salad. This poppy meal featured romaine lettuce, chopped fennel and avocado, and huge pieces of a giant, gorgeous late-summer heirloom tomato, all topped with a balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: Salad days are here again! So maybe it's foggy at the VNHQ today, and Anna's lentil soup from Monday would have been a more appropriate midday meal, but when there's a tomato this alluring sitting on your countertop, you're having salad for lunch and that's that. Also, you and I are evidently interchangeable here, so I hope you (I?) are comfortable with that. Sometimes identity, voice, and authorship can be tricky topics, but a stellar salad never fails to satisfy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grateful for Café Gratitude

The Chef: Colleen and Café Gratitude

The Menu: I Am Fortified, a heaping bowl of steamed quinoa topped with sauteéd seasonal vegetables, sunflower sprouts, and a delicious tahini-garlic sauce

The Dish: I am a huge fan of the local healthy dining spot, Café Gratitude, and never seem to eat there enough. What started off as a gaming salon years ago at 20th & Harrison (just blocks from the VNHQ) has now blossomed into eight locations, plus one sister restaurant (our beloved Gracias Madre down the street). So when my brother visited our offices today to help out with a project, I knew where we needed to go for lunch. In addition to the I Am Fortified (all menu items are listed as affirmations), I sipped on the very-luscious I Am Cool, a chocolate-mint smoothie with raw cacao nibs. It was a lovely lunch, and I wholeheartedly recommend it on your next visit to San Francisco. In fact, if you're still wanting to squeeze in that late-summer road trip, vegan style, VegNews has done all the work for you. Check out our just-launched Ultimate Vegan Road Trip over on! Bon voyage.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lentil Stew

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Lentil stew with carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes, a few olive chips from Food Should Taste Good, and a nectarine for dessert.

The Dish: After a birthday week filled with cake, burritos, deep-dish pizza, and more cake, I was ready for a simple, healthy meal. The recipe for this tasty, hearty stew comes from vegan actress, mom, and superhero Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet, which is one of my favorite vegan-friendly books. Come to think of it, Clueless was one my favorite movies when I was a teenager (hello, freeway scene). Coincidence? I think not. Speaking of the teenage years, check out some veg organizations around the country that are just for kids—like Trix, but with real rabbits instead of a cartoon one who tries to steal your breakfast.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Blissful Gracias Madre

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: The stellar taco plate, with black beans, fresh tortillas, sauteed greens, summer squash, and extra cashew cheese.

The Goods: Yes, I know that yesterday's post also featured Gracias Madre. Not to sound like a broken record, but we really love this place. Plus, today we had the extra excuse of out-of-town guests who'd never been, which was reason enough to head for our go-to impress-the-guests restaurant. Associate Editor Jennifer Chen and I had the pleasure of dining with Christy Morgan, author of the just-released Blissful Bites, and Jamey Scott, founder of Dallas Vegan and the Texas State Veggie Fair. Christy is finishing up her book tour, and the two Texans just had time for a quick tour of our offices after lunch before scooting off to see more of the city, this being Jamey's first visit to SF. We got to hear about the future plans for the TSVF, which sound fantastic, and about Christy's ideas for her next book. It's always great to see friendly faces, especially when they're attached to people doing such great work! Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gracias Madre Feast

The Chef: Joni and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Quesdadillas stuffed with sweet potatoes and topped with cashew cheese, and a potato-corn gordita with even more cashew cheese, lettuce, and fresh slices of avocado.

The Dish: While oatmeal is a good start for breakfast, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies fail to have the same hearty morning meal effect. After scarfing one of those down with a cup of coffee for breakfast, I was famished by the time lunch rolled around, so Editorial Assistant Hilary Pollack and I feasted at Gracias Madre. The staff spent the rest of the day lounging in the sun on the newly revamped VNHQ deck while discussing stories for the March+April issue. The more time we spend out there, the more we love it, and we think it will be the perfect place for the VegNews Book Bash with the Spork Food sisters this October. Ticket sales start September 15, so keep checking for more details. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trifecta of Salads

The Chef: Hilary and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Generous helpings of three tasty vegan salads: Kale and tofu salad, white bean salad with celery, and pesto pasta salad (sort of) with sun-dried tomatoes. 

The Dish: All's quiet on the Western front. With two of our comrades out of the office today (one for her birthday; feliz cumpleaños Anna!), my stomach rumbles were loud and mournful in the quaint editorial room. Not one, not two, but three delicious varieties of salad were needed to hit the spot. After yesterday's amazing Chocolate Peanut-Butter Bomb Cake extravaganza and the subsequent aftermath (overindulgence, tummy aches, and sugar highs/crashes), I decided to err on the nutritious side. Now I just need to yoga retreat in Mexico a la VegNews Vacations to balance my tendency towards decadence with a little bit of healthy exertion. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vegetable Rice Bowl (and Cake!)

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Rice bowl with pea shoots, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and yellow pepper—all over warm brown rice and tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt

The Dish: It's the Tuesday after a three-day weekend, and it's time to start eating healthy! It seems like there have been far too many opportunities to eat out lately, so a nice, healthy rice bowl was just what I needed. This is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and I have it at least three times a week (for either lunch or dinner). And given how gorgeous it was today on the VegNews deck, it was the perfect meal to enjoy outside with my colleagues. Since tomorrow is Assistant Editor Anna Peraino's birthday, we toasted her today with a homemade chocolate-peanut butter cake (inspired by our friends at Vegan Treats). Happy Birthday, Anna!

Anna's chocolate-peanut butter-bomb cake, which we quickly devoured.

A closer look at the three-layer, peanut butter frosting-filled cake.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Vegan Tacos & Nachos

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: Smoky soy curls, Food for Lovers vegan queso, roma tomatoes, Tofutti sour cream, and nachos piled high with Yves fake ground beef and Daiya pepperjack cheese.

The Goods: I fell in love with soy curls the moment I tried a bite of Native Bowl's Mississippi Bowl while in Portland, OR for Vida Vegan Con. They reminded me of seitan strips but more flavorful, so I made sure to snag some in the Whole Foods' bulk bins before I left Portland, land of amazing vegan eats. While at VVC, I met the lovely Julie Hasson, the chef/owner behind Native Bowl, and found a smoky soy curl recipe in her Vegan Diner cookbook. So I whipped up some tacos and nachos for dinner. And what makes a great dinner even better? Leftovers for lunch. I need a hearty lunch after shopping at our very own VegNews Vaute Couture Pop-Up Shop! Discounts on the fall collection + awesome sales on Vaute Couture's past items + Fat Bottom cupcakes = happiness. Just add in some soy curl tacos, and I'm ready for Labor Day weekend. (Psst ... the sale continues on Saturday, so don't miss out!)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Salad & Voodoo Burger

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A lovely kale salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and avocado, plus a Gardein Ultimate Beefless Burger topped with Nacho Mom's Voodoo Queso and a sprinkling of Parma!

The Goods: After our amazing trip to Portland for Vida Vegan Con (read: eating my own weight in awesome vegan food every day) I am very ready to return to my salad-eating ways. Kale, you're my best friend. While I was plating my salad for this here photo, an idea struck me. Since we had both the burgers and the queso just sitting around in the fridge, could these two great things go great together? Indeed they did!