As If I Needed More Beans

I have unintentionally been on a protein overload lately and lunch this afternoon was no exception. Portland now has an all vegan taqueria truck called Los Gorditos II and today was the grand opening. Hooray, hooray, hooray! Tim and I are lucky enough to live fairly close to the taco truck, so we walked there to fill our grumbling bellies. The best part? The kind folks preparing and serving the food were giving away free burritos, sodas, tortilla chips, and fun cookies (I think they might have been Mexican tea cakes)!!!!! Despite the large crowd gathering in the lot, we only waited maybe five minutes before our burritos were ready. I opted for the Regular Burrito (simple name, no?): a flour tortilla filled with beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Tim had the Fajita Burrito: a flour tortilla stuffed with grilled veggies, soy curls, beans, rice, onion, and cilantro. The final word? BEST BEANS AND RICE EVER. We pretty much plopped down on the sidewalk, unwrapped the (HUGE) burritos and chewed in happy silence, commenting briefly on the yumminess. We will definitely be heading back to Los Gorditos II for future meals.

Mind the bite marks, but how else will you see the inside?

Now I am off to work out the recipe for the Skanky Pumpkin Squares.

The Skanky Pumpkin

I don’t know what it is about the pumpkin, but it seems to be making its way into kitchens everywhere, mine included. Who can resist the pretty orange color, roasted seeds, and sweet or savory delights the pumpkin so willingly gives us? Not me! This October marked the first time I ever roasted my own pumpkin. I used to walk right past bins of sugar pumpkins at the farmers’ market, but the thought of using canned pumpkin puree for holiday treats this year made me shudder. What did I discover? Roasting pumpkins is easy and fun! Plus, you can make savory (or sweet) snacks from the seeds! The pumpkin might be skanky, but I love it anyways.

Before I moved to Portland, I had a job working at a local wine shop in Pennsylvania… Funny, considering I don’t drink alcohol, but whatever. During the fall months, we always had a crockpot with mulled apple wine for customers to sample. One nice lady commented on how the mulled wine would pair well with pumpkin squares she makes every Thanksgiving. “Pumpkin squares?” I asked. “Oh, I must bring you the recipe! They are so good!” the nice lady replied. And guess what?! She came in the next day with the recipe written down for me! She totally deserved a Customer of the Year award.

The recipe ended up becoming a favorite of mine, but I stopped making them when I went vegan, and then completely forgot about them – until a few weeks ago. I veganized the recipe, but my method of recipe adaptation/creation never involves writing stuff down. I need to work on that. Anyways, once I make them again and write down the changes, I will share the recipe.

It’s Not Just for the Donuts… I Promise!

Tim and I took a few days off this week and drove up to Seattle to see one of our favorite bands perform. We brought our bikes along and took advantage of some lovely weather and food (donuts and more). We even found a park two blocks away from our hotel that had a Petanque court! How cool is that? Below is a photo journal of the highlights:

Beloved Mighty O Donuts and my new favorite bevvie: Chai! Here you see a Cocoloco donut and a Lemon Poppyseed Donut. Mighty O was less than a mile from where we stayed, so we walked there in the morning (on two different occasions… What?) to fuel ourselves for bike rides.

Tim and his new galsses made from donuts: one Raspberry lens and one Chocolate Peanut Butter lens.

Sipping some tea amongst the lovely fall leaves…

Moving on from donuts:

We also rode our bikes along the Burke-Gilman trail. This is an amazingly pretty trail, especially with the fall foliage at its peak. It’s easy to ride farther than you realize, and there are nice parks along the way to stop and have lunch.

Gas Works Park

Fun ducks and cormorants at Matthew’s Beach

After lots of bike riding, we were hungry:

 

Pizza Pi was also close to our hotel (we stayed in the University District)

Vegan sausage, mushrooms, spinach, olives, garlic sauce, and some Teese, I think.

Ready to play some Petanque! Tim won a game and I won a game. The reward? Donuts! This game is so much fun.

We also strolled through the University of Washington campus and spent some time people watching and remembering the freedoms of college life… Sigh…

It’s hard going back to work after having such a happy vacation.

Even Mr. & Mrs. Duck agrees with that.

Benefit Takes Two

Last night Tim and I attended a four course benefit dinner held at Sweetpea Bakery in Portland. Staff from Herbivore, Food Fight Grocery, Sweetpea, and some helpers prepared and served a most lovely and beautiful meal to forty people. The dinner was held for House of Dreams, a no-kill kitty shelter. The tables were each accented with a kitty knick-knack. This was the second benefit dinner we have attended so far (I posted about the first one here), and the food was delicious! I hope there are more benefit dinners to come. Thanks to Isa and all the good folks who made last night so special!

Here are a few shots of Sweetpea Bakery all decked out and ready for hungry vegans:

 

Tim and I were lucky and ended up sitting at a cozy table in the corner next to a window. I just didn’t get a photo of that or us… Oooops!

Onto the food!!!!!! It was dimly lit inside so I had to use my flash, forgive me…

Soup
White Bean And Roasted Garlic
A puree of navy beans and sweet smoky roasted garlic with leeks and fresh herbs

Salad
Golden Beet And Shallot
Warm roasted golden beets and baby greens in a creamy vinaigrette with caramelized shallots and a handful of toasted walnuts

Main
Autumn Plate
Cornbread and homemade sausage stuffed acorn squash, smoky grilled tempeh in a wild mushroom ragout served with garlicky green kale

Dessert
Caramelized Apples
Warm apples in a caramelized maple sauce, served with crisp gingerbread shortbread and topped with homemade coconut based vanilla bean ice cream

Annnnnnnnndddddd:

Housemade hot chai – so good! My first time having chai, it’s true!

The gingerbread kitties that were served with the dessert were so cute (and yummy). I was lucky enough to get two cookies, complements of the sweet Jess from Get Sconed. Thanks Jess!!!!! Oh, I mean three extra cookies because Josh from Herbivore snuck us a few extras as well!!!! I love cookies, so it’s okay.

This was an amazing dinner; Tim and I really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks to all the people who organized the dinner and prepared and served us an awesome meal!

 

What a Dip.

I mentioned awhile ago that I had a recipe for an edamame spread. Well, I still do! This spread is easy to make, super green, and mighty tasty. It’s a dip really. The recipe was printed in my local newspaper, so I think it’s okay to share it here. Actually, I did pay fifty cents for the paper, so if you make this you have to give me fifty cents.

Edamame Spread (Dip)

Makes 4 servings

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for boiling edamame (divided)
2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1-2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a medium-sized saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and garlic cloves. Gently boil for about 5-7 minutes, or until the edamame are tender. Remove from heat and drain.

In a food processor (or blender), puree the edamame, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of water until very, very smooth. Scrape down the sides of your food processor bowl or blender jar if needed. You can add more water if you want a thinner spread-dip. Season with the salt and black pepperĀ  if you please.

Refrigerate for at least a half hour to let the flavors make friends (it tastes better the next day… just like curry!). Serve this with pitas, veggies, crackers, or do what I do, and simply sweep a finger through it. Wait… I don’t do that. Enjoy!