The Vegan Month of Food: An Introduction

The fourth annual installment of Vegan MoFo is upon us. For the next month, bloggers from around the world will be racing between their kitchens and their computers, posting anything and everything related to food AND veganism. There aren't any strict guidelines, but the goal is to write about vegan food every weekday (20 days, total) for the whole MoFo. This year, the Vegan Month of Food (MoFo) takes place during the month of November and will feature writings from hundreds of blogs worldwide. There are going to be culinary contests, veganized family recipes, cookbook addicts, and copious amounts of food porn! You can check out Vegan MoFo Headquarters International for updates throughout the month. If you are interested in participating in MoFo, there is a sign up sheet HERE.

Blogger Amanda Chronister made this year's MoFo logos!

This will be my first year participating in Vegan MoFo and I'm truly excited to be involved with this growing movement. Vegan MoFo has gained recognition by several popular news sources - check out THIS article in VegNews Magazine - and is inspiring so many individuals to highlight the awesome that is Veganism. I'll be blogging from this here ole blog, and I've spent the eve of MoFo working on the perfect theme. The Five-Course Vegan. Each week, I'll be featuring a different meal. Each day, I'll post a different course to that meal. The menu will be created and announced on the Sunday prior to the food being served. Below I've outlined the week's days and I've paired them with an accompanying course. Saturday's will be a free-for-all, and I'll feature giveaways (homemade aprons!), restaurant and product reviews, and probably a trip or two to the Red Stick Farmer's Market.

Monday: Appetizers or an Amuse Bouche
Tuesday: Salad and/or Soup
Wednesday: The Main Course
Thursday: Desserts
Friday: Cocktails of the Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic variety

Please check back (almost) everyday for the next MONTH, as I'll be posting original recipes, luxurious photos, and a few minor treatises on various things vegan (hint: one of them will be on vegan wine!). I'm ecstatic to be participating in the Vegan MoFo this year, and if any readers that may stumble on this blog share even an iota of my excitement, it'll be a MoFo well-done :)

With that said, today is Sunday! While MoFo hasn't officially begun yet, I see no reason to withhold all of my vegan endeavors. Don't hold your breath for all the details, but look forward to a menu laced with pristine tablecloths, your best china, and waiters in cumber buns. Yup, The Five-Course Vegan is exploiting the world of Fine Dining.


Promotional Black Bean Burger

 Overtime Black Bean Burgers

Matt made us black bean burgers on Tuesday after I told him my homecoming would be delayed. He had the day off and surprised me with this luscious spread. We ate the patties with veganaise, vegan cheddar cheese, spinach, avocado slices and sprouts. There were also tortilla chips, guacamole (that he made) and pineapple salsa. I think I'm going to start working late more often...

Now, why was I working late on a Tuesday? I'm normally home by 4:30pm. Well, I was offered a promotional position at work! About eight weeks ago, I had been placed in the accounting department to aid with administrative tasks such as filing and filling out invoices. Working in the main offices allowed me to learn more about the company's business dynamics, and get to know many of my coworkers. Until recently, I only worked upfront during the latter half of the day. Well, at the beginning of October, the company's CFO offered me the position full time! I happily accepted the extra responsibilities along with a hefty pay increase. Now I spend the entirety of my day as an accounting assistant. Before this reassignment I miserably completed a few menial administrative tasks that left huge chunks of my day unoccupied. I was largely unhappy and considered resigning on countless occasions. Now I'm productive and an integral part of this company. It feels great to know my contributions are worthwhile! This promotion has made dwelling in Baton Rouge a bit more tolerable. Especially when Matt cooks dinner after several hours of overtime!


Too much of nothing exciting, and a sandwich.

My favorite spot in Tallahassee - St. Michael's Pub on Gaines St.
A great friend from Tallahassee, FL called me last night. We spoke briefly, but I was tickled pink!  She's desperate for a change in scenery, and is contemplating moving to San Francisco, or Chicago. How hard would it be to resist the urge to join her? Spontaneity is a character trait that I admire, and her readiness is inspiring. I've felt rather unsettled in Baton Rouge of late; moreover, I greatly miss my life in Tallahassee: the lights, the sounds, the smells. The people are incomparable. I know I'm glorifying the city's mediocrity, but the lonely idealize everything and reminisce about nothing. I'm beyond ready to pay that old town a visit. The last five months have felt like years with little resolve; there is too much of nothing exciting. My return is tardy. Tallahassee, I'll see you yet.

Some, but not all, of Tallahassee's finest.

Naturally, I've attached myself to a small array of potentially time consuming activities. Foremost and without exception, I'm working close to 10 hours a day. Weeknights are primarily devoted to spending time with our dog, Merlin. He's trapped inside while Matt and I are working and is psyched upon our homecoming. My greatest consolation is spending time in the kitchen. I'll spend a fair amount of the evening hovering over the stove while Merlin anticipates my clumsiness and laps up all of what I spill. Last night was no exception. My aforementioned nostalgia bred fierce sandwich cravings (pun certainly intended), like I would have back in Tallahassee. From cheap falafel and grilled vegetable pita's to house-made veggie burgers and creamy tempeh wraps, Tallahassee understands sandwiches and helped nourish my unhealthy obsession with bread and what lays in between. I understand sandwiches, even the simple ones.

Avocado, spinach and tomato with garlicky cilantro hummus and home-baked bread

A good sandwich starts off with great bread. For anyone interested in baking their own bread, but lacks the time and patience needed for traditional leavened loaves, I recommend purchasing Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. With their method, there is no kneading, starter or proofing involved. Just mix your ingredients, allow two or more hours for rising, and you're ready to bake!

Sourdough buns pre- and post baking
For the sandwiches, I made sourdough buns with sesame seeds and dried thyme. They puffed up nicely! I split the loaves open to spread on Garlicky Cilantro Hummus (recipe included at the bottom of the post) and topped them with my always on-hand fixin's: spinach, tomato and avocado.

Garlicky Cilantro hummus, spinach leaves, sliced tomato and avocado with a sprinkle of black pepper

If you like cilantro, you'll love it in hummus.*

Garlicky Cilantro Hummus
2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15oz) can
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from half a large lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
water for thinning (unless you like a chunkier hummus)
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro

Add the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt to a food processor or blender. Blend until well combined. Add water by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached. Toss in the cilantro and pulse until it's chopped and you can see little green specks throughout.

For a spicier dip, add 2 teaspoons diced jalapeno with the cilantro and pulse until evenly distributed.

*Don't like cilantro? Reduce the garlic to 1 clove, add 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary and 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes for a sweeter and mellow hummus.


winter's warmth.

Tomato Rosemary Scones

The harvest months are slowly rolling in and out their blankets of chilled fog, fully prolonged only by the cloudless days of a struggling summer sun. Naivete sets in as the mornings grow comfortable, dare I say cold, and I happily fool myself to believe that autumn is here. Just as my home's floors begin to demand socks and residual heat from the oven suffuses a welcomed warmth, reality rears its tepid self. Autumn is a fickle season in the southern US. The last nights of heavy thunderstorms cloak the next morning's air, nearly suffocating the earlier riser. 

Garlic-Ginger Roasted Roots and Tubers with Rosemary (Pre-baked Yukon and sweet potatoes, turnips, garlic, ginger, rosemary, sea salt)

For me, the aforementioned hiccups usually result in a preemptive giddiness. I enjoy winter. It means huddling closer to friends on dimly lit porches and spending a little extra time folding warm laundry. It means more nights indoors, alone and with others, sharing and creating memories, and getting to know yourself. Yeah, I'm looking forward to the approaching few months.

 Four Bean Chili sprinkled with Vegan Cheddar and Scallions
(artisan bread for scooping)


classic broccoli quiche.

 Classic Broccoli Quiche

I'm often presented with exploratory questions regarding the veganizability (it is a real word..) of many "traditional" dishes and desserts. One such food that often raises the eyebrows of my family, friends and coworkers is the quiche. While vegetable quiches and similarly styled dinner pies are common fare amongst meat eaters, many inquiries revolve around the the creamy custard encasing a particular filling. Traditionally prepared with a blend of eggs and milk or cream, an edible veganized version may onset suspicious stares and doubtful scoffs. Disbelievers, cast your skepticism aside, for a vegan quiche is entirely possible, and entirely delicious!

Classic Broccoli Quiche
Spinach, Cucumber and Olive Salad

The recipe I used made its debut tucked inside the publication of possibly one of the greatest vegan cookbooks to date. Vegan Brunch is a regular go-to cookbook in my kitchen, and offers an array of brunch meals with enough variety to please any palate during any meal of the day (because everyone knows that breakfast is best when eaten for dinner). This was the first time I've ever made a quiche, vegan or not, and it was pretty satisfying. The texture is what I remember of dairy-laden quiches. The flavor was good, but next time I will increase the seasonings, as the quiche itself was a little bland.


a minor observation inducing great expectations.

The harvest season is fast approaching. Produce and Farmers' Markets are growing sturdy with warty gourds and thick-skinned squash. Sleeping in is starting to seem very appealing.

All I want to do for the next five months is hang out in my backyard during the day, cooking intermittently. At night I would like to be nestled in front of the fireplace with Merlin, watching movies and cooking intermittently.