Vegan MoFo Day 15, Post #11: Obama hypothetically coming to a vegan dinner cooked by me

I saw this prompt (OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?) and was really upset that I couldn’t think of anything I make that I truly feel is worthy of serving a president.

I have made things that are really impressively tasty by my standards, like for example, this moussaka. I just have trouble thinking of things to pair it with that I would also make. It’s an extremely agonizing decision.

However, I started to think, and I remembered that when Obama came to Rhode Island, he apparently got advised by people to go to a really gross restaurant in RI that’s pretty famous here, called Gregg’s. When I could eat there, the few times we went there I was really disappointed by my meals. The only thing I really liked from there were their cakes. Here is an example picture of one of their cakes, the death by chocolate cake, so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Since I didn’t have enough time to try and create vegan recipes inspired by Gregg’s menu, I looked at the menu, which is huge, and tried to find a few recipes or ideas for veganizing some of the items. This can give you an idea of what Obama may have actually eaten when he went there, but vegan…of course.

I’m going to start with the desserts, since I’m pretty sure some people only go to the restaurant for that thing. After doing some research on their website, it is 6 layers worth of cake, and covered in mini chocolate chips (good luck with placing the mini chocolate chips all over a cake that size! probably better to randomly decorate it with some bigger sized vegan chocolate chips). So, here’s a recipe that looks good for this (and probably won’t put you into a dessert-induced coma after eating a slice). Vegan Death By Chocolate Cake. I haven’t actually made this one yet, and won’t be because it’s not gluten free, but let me know if you try it and it’s good.

Now, I’m going to try and find at least one recipe from almost all the rest of the categories of the menu (except for drinks, breakfasts, Monday and Tuesday special, daily features, seasonal selections, healthy choices, kids, and platters to go–yes, this menu is huge, I’m taking on a lot work for this and the day to post this is almost over, woops!)

Soups and Chowders:

French onion soup is on the menu. I actually almost forgot I made an amazing french onion soup last year for MoFo. Here it is! 

I feel the need to also include a chowder. This is the one I’d choose to make, though I haven’t tried it personally.

Appetizers:

Rhode Island actually has an official state appetizer. Sadly, it is fried calamari. Yes, it’s on Gregg’s menu. Usually this is done here in an Italian kind of style, tossed with a buttery, lemony, garlic sauce with banana peppers or sliced peperoncino. To make this, I’d actually recommend you buy Sophie’s Kitchen breaded vegan calamari, cook it according to directions, and then melt some earth balance and combine that with at least 2 cloves of minced garlic, pour on top and mix together, then fold in the peppers and dip in marinara sauce. It’ll be a pretty accurate RI vegan rendition of this dish, I believe. I’m not sure if the Sophie’s Kitchen vegan calamari is gluten free, so I probably won’t be trying this and perfecting it myself. Let me know if you try it and how it goes. I did have the vegan calamari awhile ago, but didn’t do much with it. I feel that product needs something fancier done to it, so this should be perfect!

There is also Spinach and Cheese dip on the appetizer menu. I highly recommend this vegweb recipe if that’s what you want. I recommend shredding the Follow Your Heart cheese with a grater instead of the way it’s pictured in the recipe, though.

Sensational Salads

Groan…there’s also a  “Calamari Mediterranean” salad here. Basically, based on their description, it is the same recipe as the appetizer I listed above but on a salad with roasted red peppers and sliced black olives. Add some vegan parmesan cheese to make it fancier.

The salads they list are so easy to make vegan that looking up recipes isn’t actually required. I’m running out of time to post this before midnight, so I’ll do one more:

To veganize the Tuscan salad, grill a portobello mushroom, add some roasted red peppers and greek olives, make some vegan feta out of tofu, and place over greens.

Sandwiches with Style

Tuna Melt- I highly recommend this jackfruit version.

Thanksgiving Sandwich. This recipe from Beyond Meat seems pretty authentic. To make it more like we do in RI, I’d also spread some Just Mayo on the bread.

Traditional Club Sandwiches

There’s actually a veggie burger club on the menu (without the bacon, it even says!) Make it better with your favorite brand of vegan bacon or make your own. Their menu says it’s a black bean and corn burger, which many vegan brands have similar versions of, and I bet you can find a recipe to make as well (in the interest of time I’ll leave that up to you).

Since I bet Obama wouldn’t be too impressed with that as a choice, may I suggest veganizing their Buffalo Chicken Club. Fry up some buffalo cauliflower or tofu (my fave recipe can be found here), put on bread with your favorite vegan bacon brand, maybe add some vegan ranch or bleu cheese dressing (this cauliflower recipe has a sauce that to me is pretty close to bleu cheese dressing!)

Gregg’s Favorite Sandwiches

Apparently all their favorite sandwiches are all on Focaccia bread. There are two on the menu that are easily veganized. The Portobello and Eggplant ones. First, find or make some vegan focaccia bread. I have found some good vegan focaccia at wholesale clubs, such as BJ’s in the bakery section believe it or not. Then, slice it into sandwich bread size pieces and either grill a portobello and top it with roasted red peppers, fresh sliced tomatoes, and greens or make a vegan eggplant parmesan and put it in between the bread. I recommend you melt some Follow Your Heart Provolone sliced cheese on top of the eggplant in the latter.

Burgers and “Steaks” Sandwiches

To veganize the Steak Sandwich, I recommend you make this from a fellow MoFo-er.

Dinner Favorites

Maybe Obama would be cool and choose the French Meat Pie, which is amazingly veganized here (it’s even gluten free, so I can still eat it! And one of my favorites of all time).

Pasta

Keeping with the vegan calamari idea (since they have a Crispy Calamari Pasta), do pretty much what you did with the appetizer and salad recipe, but instead of salad, toss everything (including the roasted red peppers in the salad) with thin spaghetti and some olive oil.

Everyday

Chicken Pot Pie is on this menu. I was surprised to see Trisha Yearwood has veganized this and it looks really good.

Voila! There you have a sampling of the menu of the restaurant Obama visited when he was in my small state of Rhode Island and some tips on how to make it all vegan! 

Although, as an after thought, if we are talking classic RI stuff and he specifically came to me for vegan food, I’d make him my RI Vegan Pizza Strips, serve some lemonade or coffee almond milk, a nice salad (we’ve made this one more times than we can count), and my raspberry lime rickey cupcakes I can’t stop linking to and talking about and making.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, friends! I’m done just in the knick of time…and didn’t want to steal anyone else’s photos…knowing me, if Obama actually came to visit me I’d attempt to make a ton of these items to impress him and stress over it so much, haha.

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Vegan MoFo Day 6: Post #6 Thai Peanut Massaman Curry with Coconut Rice

Today’s theme for Vegan MoFo is to recreate a restaurant meal.

There is a Thai restaurant in my town called Tong-D that is really vegan friendly. However, at one point I was assuming my favorite dish I used to get, Peanut Massaman Curry with tofu was fully vegan based on the description on the menu. Well, one day my mom went a step further than I did, and tried to confirm that it was vegan with the waiter. They wouldn’t say what is in it that does not make it vegan, but I knew from that point on it wasn’t. So, I’ve eaten there other times and ordered different stuff, but I’ve missed this particular dish.

A few months ago I went to Market Basket and found a package of Massaman Curry paste that’s both vegan and gluten free. The implications for this ingredient was obvious. I was going to recreate this dish. And since I could, instead of tofu, I decided to use Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips.

Additionally, the restaurant in particular has the most amazing coconut rice they serve as a side. It’s the ultimate comfort food for me. I have been wanting to recreate it for so long, but all of the recipes I’ve tried online do not come out as good. So, I decided to try and experiment with how I think it should be done to re-create the taste, and it actually came out pretty much exactly spot-on.

Peanut Massaman Curry

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 package Kanokwan Massaman Curry Paste
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 9 oz package Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips
  • 1 onion, sliced into strips
  • about 2 cups chopped red potatoes
  • 1/3 cup peanuts, plus more for topping

Directions:

  1. Steam potatoes in a covered microwave proof bowl or casserole dish with a small amount of water (you don’t want to cover the potatoes with the water). Microwave for about 5 minutes or until a fork can easily be inserted into a piece. You don’t want it anywhere near the softness you’d need for mashed potatoes
  2. Pour the coconut milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan and put the curry paste into it. Stir on the stove on medium heat constantly until the paste melts and oil appears on the top.
  3. Mix in the peanut butter until it melts.
  4. Add the chicken free strips and cover, stirring occasionally until they defrost.
  5. Add the onions and microwaved potatoes.
  6. Turn to low heat and stir every so often until the onions are soft.
  7. Fold in the peanuts.
  8. Serve with coconut rice (recipe below) and top with peanuts.

Thai Coconut Rice

IMG_5119

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix the sugar into the coconut milk and water.
  2. Place the rice and coconut milk, sugar, and water mixture into a saucepan or rice cooker bowl.
  3. You basically cook this as you would normal rice (if you don’t know how to cook rice on the stove, I highly suggest you invest in a rice cooker. They are usually $20 or less and make perfectly cooked rice every time. They also make cooking a heck of a lot easier because you can focus on other things–like making curry– while your rice is cooking.) You may need to stir it a bit more at the end before letting it sit for a bit. It turns out my rice cooker was broken when I went to use it, and so I had steamed the mixture for a bit before I had to transfer it to a pan to cook on the stove. It still came out awesome.

Enjoy! The first full week of MoFo is done, and was pretty successful! Yay!

Vegan MoFo Day 5: Post #5: Best Sandwich Ever: Pretzel Bun Po’Boy from The Grange in Providence, RI

Today I’m excited to bring back a feature of my blog that I haven’t done in a long time. That is, to bring back some of my drawings. Since my favorite vegan sandwich happens to be something I can no longer eat due to being gluten free (well, who am I kidding, I don’t really eat sandwiches anymore, which makes me sad!) I couldn’t just snap a fresh picture of it. Adding to problem, is that this sandwich is from a local vegetarian/vegan restaurant in my state. So, I wasn’t going to go there, and buy something I can’t even eat just to get a good picture of it. No, that’d be pure torture.

So instead, I drew a picture in homage of this sandwich. It’s from a restaurant called The Grange. If you’re ever visiting Providence, I recommend you go to it. And get in touch with me, I’ll happily meet up with you and we can talk about vegan (and also vegan gluten free, if you’re into that!?) food the whole time. They have really great brunches. Just sayin’.

EPSON MFP image

The picture I drew basically describes it perfectly, although it is hard to describe the oyster mushrooms to do them any justice. The salty and smooth pretzel baguette along with the veganaise (which I guess, according to the menu is actually “remoulade”, house made pickles (or at least I assume they are, they’re good, and taste almost homemade), and mushrooms makes the perfect combination for a sandwich. I seriously would do almost anything to make myself be able to eat gluten again so I could have one more of these. Alas… 😦 I will need to find a new favorite dish that is also gluten free at this awesome restaurant.

Thanks for reading!

An Update finally! As of yesterday I am a graduate with an Associate’s degree!

Hurray! I graduated from my community college yesterday with high honors (my gpa ended up at a 3.72!). This was an extremely important milestone in my life, as it’s been a long time coming, and there was a point in my life where I never thought I would graduate from any college or even finish a semester. 

 

ImageAfter the ceremony and reception, we went to a local restaurant, Blaze, which has a whole section on the menu of vegan dishes. I got the Penne with pink vodka sauce, which also had a variety of mushrooms in it, and a huge portobello mushroom on top. It was quite good.

Then we went home, I whipped up some hot fudge sauce and some coconut whipped cream, and this happened:

Image

 

A vegan hot fudge sundae with FoMu salted caramel ice cream. FoMu is a Boston based vegan ice cream company that just started selling pints of their ice creams in RI Whole Foods stores! It is pricey but so worth it! http://www.fomuicecream.com/

I’m really excited to have graduated, and I’ll probably relax for a few days, and then get back to regular blogging activity! The last month and more of this semester was tough, but I got through it (even got straight As!) 

 

 

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday #5: Eating out, Pumpkin/Chocolate muffins, Tofu Satay

Hello hello! It’s foodie (photo) Friday! Annnd… I did not make much food this week because I ended up going out to eat quite a bit.  I’ll talk about my dining experiences first before going on to the food pictures and recipe reviews:

I went to a burrito place that had seitan as a filling option (which I was very excited about) in Amherst, Massachusetts,  an Asian restaurant in Providence, RI  (the menu had mostly Thai and Chinese dishes but also some Cambodian I believe) where I got orange crispy tofu, garlic eggplant, and sticky white rice, and then tonight to The Grange in Providence where I got a pretzel bun po’ boy with fried oyster mushrooms, vegan remoulade, pickles, lettuce, and cole slaw.

It’s a big toss up between whether I liked The Grange or the Asian food better. I want to say I liked the Grange more. I was so excited when I was eating that sandwich. The flavors in it are amazing. And all the textures together worked really well. A mix of 3 crunchy elements (the pickles, lettuce, and mushrooms) and two soft/creamy (the bread and the remoulade). I was worried that the restaurant might not live up to the hype I’ve heard about it, but I was impressed by the food at least. The only complaint I may have but am undecided about is that I found the atmosphere kind of weird, it was noisy and too dark (I don’t really like dark restaurants, but maybe that is because my vision is not great in the dark? I honestly do not know!

The Asian restaurant (called Gourmet House) had a lot of options for tofu which is always a sign of a good Asian restaurant for me. Almost all the dishes you could choose tofu or tofu and vegetables with. The orange tofu was so good. I was not expecting it to come the way it was though. This tofu was more like what I remember the sauces being when I was an omnivore and had ordered lemon chicken. It was a thick, citrus-y orange flavored sauce, with no hint of soy sauce or anything that I was expecting. I liked it so much I may have gone a bit overboard by eating the whole plate of it. Oops. And the eggplant and rice were also very yummy. I liked the stickiness of the rice, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had sticky rice before. It’s kind of sweet. The eggplant was savory but also had a sweet flavor to it at the time. The eggplant itself melted in my mouth.

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of my food at the restaurants, I was embarrassed to do so, heh.

Anyways, on to what I made from some tasty recipes this week.

The first:

venus chocolate pumpkin muffinsVenus Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. These are half and half pumpkin/chocolate muffins with a streusal topping. They’re difficult to make half and half so they look good, but they do taste pretty good. Next time I might omit the walnuts in the pumpkin, because I’d like a stronger pumpkin flavor. I think the walnuts might overpower it.

photo (51)

Also I had a hard time with my oven getting them cooked well enough. Even with the max time listed with the recipe they were still totally liquid in the middle when I put a toothpick in the center, I think I cooked them for 5-10 minutes more. I honestly cannot remember, sometimes my oven is a bit weird lately.

Overall, these tasted pretty good and the recipe was pretty straight forward and easy despite having to make 3 separate parts so I give it a 4 good banana, one bad banana. It lost one good banana because it just didn’t have that “wow” factor when I tasted it. But they’re good otherwise.

4bananas1

Second, was Tofu Satay from The 30 Minute Vegan cookbook.

tofu satay

I made it into a bowl with some quinoa and added extra peanut satay sauce on top. The satay sauce was perfect, it tasted exactly like the kind of peanut satay sauce I like, that I remember getting from the Thai restaurants I have been to. Sometimes people and companies make a type of peanut satay that doesn’t taste this good, maybe without coconut milk and less of a peanut buttery taste, but this was amazing. The tofu came out pretty good, but I wish I had baked it longer until it got a little more crispy, except I was hungry and impatient so oh well. The addition of raw scallions and red pepper made it a complete and tasty meal all together with the quinoa. So yay! I think this probably deserves a 5 good banana rating!

5bananas

That’s all, folks! I have some couple neat ideas for a few different kinds of posts this week, hopefully I’ll get some time to post them, but I do have some exams coming up as well, so I don’t know! But I hope so!

Until next time!

In deliciousness,

Laura