Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thai Lemongrass Tofu Tacos with a Lime-Sriracha Aioli & Basil-Cucumber Salsa

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These are not the most photogenic tacos in the world but they are damn amazing.
These tacos came into our lives about a week ago when our darling friend and cookbook author Marta Holmberg posted this photo of Vegan Vietnamese Tacos made by The Mandoline Grill in Los Angeles. They had a strange combination of delicious things and being a bit ugly on the eyes. We're friends here. So we can be honest -- pink food can be hard to photograph.

But I really hope that you'll give these messy,spicy, savory and smokey tacos a try because they're more than worth the short amount of time it takes to make them (if you don't count marinading) and that rosy sauce is amazing on veggie burgers *, steamed artichokes, and with carrots sticks and really anything. Yes -- even corn on the cob. It's really a beautiful thing - even if it's pink**.

Now you might be wondering what makes these Thai tacos rather than Vietnamese like the originals.Well I am neither Thai or Vietnamese so my take on these cuisines comes mostly from restaurants and research. Both cuisines do share a lot of the same key ingredients like lemongrass, coconut milk, rice and noodles. Although Sriracha sauce is Vietnamese, my experience is that Vietnamese food is not as spicy as Thai and these tacos are actually really fiery. I mean they're hot.

I also added Thai basil, cucumbers and lime to the salsa recipe to add a freshness and a citrusy bite to keep the Lime-Sriracha Aioli from over powering everything with it's awesomeness. But really does that make it more Thai than Vietnamese? Hard to say.

So I guess -- long story short -- They might be dressed in pink but they kick ass. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Vegan Meyhane Pilavi (Turkish Bulgur Pilaf)

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There is a crazy thing that happens when you're a food blogger who hasn't been able to post reguraly because you're working on a book. You're still writing all the time but you can't decide what to post and then you end up not posting at all. This week we actually had a house guest! So it was double the posting drama.

I know! We actually let someone into our Fortress of Solitude that has become our Brooklyn apartment. Michelle Schwegmann from Herbivore Clothing Company and I stayed up late talking like we were having a slumber party and explored this not so little borough we call home. Including a happy jaunt around Park Slope and an afternoon in uber-hip Williamsburg. We had a vegan Creamsicle shake, vegan Caesar salads and some Buffalo fries with the lovely animal activist Amy Trakinski at Foodswings then took a walk over to see Leanne and her adorable dogs at Vaute Couture. Not a bad week. Not a bad week at all.

But it left little time for cooking and blogging. Then I woke up this morning with the remains of a dream in my head. In this dream, I was talking to people on a bus about how much I love bulgur and all the fun dishes I have made over the years with it. I was speaking with real purpose and passion about my adoration for this grain and at times would turn to people for validation to find that they were either completely captivated or looked like they were being held captive by a crazy person. Yes. It was an odd dream but it reminded me that I had a recipe I had been meaning to share since our return from Istanbul a few months ago.

Now some of you might remember when we made Vegan Turkish Tempeh Whole Wheat Lahmacun -- we mentioned that we bought a pretty interesting Turkish cook book. Well, we've made a few things out of it since then and everyone has been pretty much awesome. This dish was one of my personal favorites because (obviously) it's a very flavorful bulgur pilaf that gave us an opportunity to use some of the herbs we bought at The Grand Bazaar. The thing about this book is that it's full of inspiration but the recipes are strangely vague. For example the original recipe for this dish in the book calls for 150 grammes meat in small cubes. I guess it doesn't need to be any particular kind of meat and the liquids in the book are measured in "glasses". I'm not kidding.

Needless to say - we took some liberties like usual. Our dish is pretty delicious and makes a lot. You'll have a lot of leftovers to keep your kitchen cool this summer or to take to lunch for work. Whatever you want. That's not my business. What I can tell you -- this recipe will flip you for real!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Tart with a Rosewater & Coconut Crust

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So I admit I've been a little MIA lately. There has been a lot going on and to be honest -- I've fallen behind on basically everything. I mean emails, laundry, cleaning out the fridge... pretty much everything but bills*. But there have been a few really exciting things that have happened lately. To paraphrase:

1. Our book Betty Goes Vegan is finally available for pre-sale! There are all these early bird special discounts available on the amazon page -- which is cool.

2. I was able to share some of my favorite vegan baking substitutions on the kitchn. I love this blog so it was a real honor for me. Plus it was great to be able to share with a not-all-vegan community how easy it is to bake vegan. I focused on substitutions you can find in any old grocery store and was really touched by the over 600 likes!

3. The Seed - Vegan Experience conference is this weekend. I won't be able to make it unfortunately but if you're around NYC -- you should really check it out. They have a pretty impressive speaker line-up. I'm also excited because it means my buddy Michelle Schwegmann from Herbivore Clothing Company will be in town. Love that girl.

Michelle & me at The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival - photo credit : The Village Voice
4. I finally posted our photos from Belgium. We spent a few days there around the end of May and you're going to hearing a lot about this trip. I mean this is a country famous for fries, beer, chocolate and comics. What's not to love? Today's recipe is actually inspired (in part) by a tart I saw in the window of a bakery in Brussels.

We didn't glaze ours and didn't add as many raspberries in the photo so you could see the filling. We also played around a lot with some more Mediterranean summer flavors by adding rosewater to the crust. Last summer we made Rosewater Lemonade Sorbet (shaved ice) and it just wouldn't be summer with out dabbling with the rosewater some more.

I'm curious -- what flavors say "Summer" for you?