miso chicken ramen

I had my first bowl of ramen in March 2016. I could not believe I had gone 21 years without ever having ramen that wasn’t Maruchan instant noodles! It was a shockingly different dish from the salty, thin broth-ed soup of my youth. As I had more experiences with ramen and became more interested in cooking, I was excited to find a recipe for ramen that I could make. LOL! If anyone else has looked into making ramen from scratch at home, they know it is a long and fussy process. Fortunately, there are versions of ramen in between traditional and instant. This is one!

Though I aspire to eat entirely vegan, I also prioritize wasting as little food as possible, which means that I sometimes eat meaty leftovers that no one else wants. In this case, I had some shredded chicken on hand from a friend who was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was craving something warm and comforting, and decided to try my hand at a ramen-y noodle soup. It turned out to be really delicious! The broth was rich, savory, and salty, and everything else was nice and simple. I think this could pretty easily be made with tofu or mushrooms if you want to make it vegan-friendly. Otherwise, everything else is vegan! It was really satisfying, and very easy to make. I’m excited to look around for more pseudo-ramen recipes. If you’re looking for a vegan, full-on ramen experience, though, here’s a recipe that I haven’t tried but that looks delicious from Serious Eats. Enjoy! Continue reading miso chicken ramen

vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

I think we can all agree that “savory, filled dough pocket” is the most delicious food category on this beautiful planet we call home. Empanadas, gyoza, ravioli, pierogies, samosas. They’re all so different, but they all take me to sweet, sweet ecstasy! I especially love bao, soft, puffy steamed buns with savory fillings. I’ve been intimidated by them for a while because they require a yeast dough, but they ended up being pretty easy! They just require some time and patience. They can be filled with anything your little heart desires. This filling was very delicious– savory, rich but not heavy, and salty with a bit of bite from the vinegar.

I synthesized two recipes from the Kitchn and Food52. Good luck and enjoy!!!! (Also, for active dry yeast users, the Food52 recipe uses that kind of yeast. Very easily adaptable.) Continue reading vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

Since I was very young, I’ve loved cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese. When I started eating fewer animal products, I stopped eating cream cheese, and the grocery stores near me don’t sell vegan cream cheese. RATS! No more delicious cucumber sandwiches for me, I thought.

But then I realized cream cheese isn’t the only delicious thing in the world.  For instance, my mom makes a really yummy dressing in the summer, when her garden explodes with cucumbers.  So I’ve started eating a lot of cucumbers on toast with this dressing to get my cucumber and cream cheese sandwich fix. It’s not exactly the same, but the dressing is creamy and tangy, so it hits the spot.

The dressing uses mayo, which is not vegan, but it’s possible to buy vegan mayo, and it’s really easy to make yourself! I will put a few recipes for vegan mayo below. This dressing goes really well as a sauce on other sandwiches too, and tastes great with roasted artichokes and green salads. Enjoy!

Continue reading cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

why i have trust issues with vegans

Recently(ish), I wrote about how primarily animal-centered activists and  primarily human-centered activists can and should be working together towards a future without oppression, violence, or systemic hierarchies and dichotomies. Despite the rampant racism, classism, and sexism in mainstream animal rights activism, I think that the principles underlying racial/gender/economic justice movements are present in some food justice and animal rights movements, and that those coalitions should be expanded.

I still believe that, but I want to provide a (semi-)topical example of someone who makes that kind of coalition-building difficult.  Casey Affleck, Oscar winner, (alleged) sexual harasser and assaulter, and vegan/animal rights activist, represents a lot of the problems with mainstream animal rights activism and food-based social movements.  It’s very hard for anti-racist and feminist activists to be open to food-based social movements that are truly progressive and radical when Casey Affleck and others like him continue to be the most public faces of veganism and animal rights activism.  Casey makes this particularly difficult, both because his activism is simplistic and oppressive and because of the interpersonal violence he himself has perpetrated. Continue reading why i have trust issues with vegans

recipe test: shiitake bacon

Recently, I made a soup that called for small chunks of ham. Instead of ham, I decided to try making shiitake bacon to top it. I’d had it at restaurants, and it’s incredibly good: smoky, crispy, caramelized, and salty, it makes an effective and delicious vegan vehicle for umami.  It’s also truly simple and quick to make!

No, it does not taste exactly like bacon, but it can replicate some of the key things that bacon brings to a dish: the crispy meaty texture, the smokiness, the saltiness, and the umami-ness. I chose to use it to replace the small amount of ham because it was comparable in size and texture; a larger ham hock, for example, would also give you some gelatin from the bones, so this would not be a good replacement for a larger, meatier meat.

This was was a great complement for my tangy, creamy soup (I will post that recipe soon!), and would be great on a salad, on sandwiches, mixed with roasted veggies like brussel sprouts, or in an omelette/scramble-type dish. And probably in a lot of other things too! It’s so yummy!  Continue reading recipe test: shiitake bacon

chickpea mushroom toast

I knew I was going to like “Mushrooms and Garbanzos on Toast with Cider and Thyme” before I tried it. It hits a lot of my favorite food tastes and textures: crispy bread, browned mushrooms, tart vinegar, sautéed shallots, fresh herbs. I was right. It’s so delicious.

I’ve made it 5 times in the last two weeks. It’s so easy and quick, it tastes amazing, it’s filling and feels hearty, it’s cheap, it’s vegan. I’ve made a few of changes to mine from the original recipe on Food52, sometimes for taste, sometimes for budget: I use fresh rosemary instead of thyme, sherry cooking wine instead of hard cider, onion instead of shallot, corn starch instead of arrowroot starch, baby bella mushrooms instead of shiitakes, added garlic, and I don’t have poultry seasoning so I use a combination of spices to replace it.

That sounds like a lot of changes, but the spirit of the food is the same. You should play around with it too and find the yummy toast that speaks to you!  You could add non-dairy milk to make it creamier; you could increase the proportion of liquid to make more gravy; you could change up the spices; you could add vegetable stock; you could do this with lentils; you could change the kind of mushroom. You can do anything! You’re in charge.

Enjoy! Continue reading chickpea mushroom toast

freakin’ delicious granola bars

I am not a breakfast person, not because I don’t need or want it, but because I don’t really live a “get out of bed in time to make yourself breakfast” life. On weekends, I love making myself a late breakfast/brunch, but during the week, I just haven’t figured out how to motivate myself to start my day with food, instead of the snooze button. That’s why these granola bars RULE. They are actually really yummy, they’re filling (for a not-real meal), and they keep me fuller than, say, an apple or toast (my other go-to breakfasts…smh). These are easy to eat quickly, in-transit, or at your desk (or in the bathroom if you need to sneak it…).  Full disclosure: the overhead for this recipe is a little expensive, BUT you can make soo many granola bars with them, and they are ingredients you can use in a lot of other dishes, too! Continue reading freakin’ delicious granola bars