Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Austin Day Two

I think I made a mistake; I probably should have stayed in Austin.

If the weather alone isn’t enough to make you want to live in Austin, the beautiful people and amazing
food just puts you right over the edge. I have been looking at pictures of my trip and it makes me very
nostalgic. It also makes me hungry, but that’s another story.

I am going to take some liberties and break apart “Austin Day 2” into what is more like days 2-4.
There are so many great places to talk about, but I don’t want to be like Aunt Edna showing you slides
from her trip to Niagara Falls.

So, shall we?

Counter Culture

Austin is known for their food carts. There are quite a few of them around town and there are at least
three that are exclusively vegan. I really love the idea of a food cart; a basic menu, a couple of specials,
outdoor seating, and the ability to pick up and carry your restaurant to a new location. Awesome!

I only got the chance to eat at one food cart in Austin, but it was pretty amazing. It’s in the parking lot of a convenience store, which in itself is so punk rock I can’t even stand it. The owner, chef, and all around cool chick (Sue) was there and we chatted about all things vegan and Austin. I love meeting new vegans, especially adorable food cart vegans.

My friend Erica and I split three things at Counter Culture:

Red Lentil & Celery Root Loaf Sandwich (made from sweet potato, bread crumbs & spices served with
organic lettuce, tomato, ketchup & mustard)

Philly Seitan (w/ cashew cheese, onions, and pepper)

Raw Doughnut Hole / Brownie

All of it was excellent! Hard to believe such perfection can come out of a little truck in front of a
convenience store. I feel like I should open up a food truck. Do you think I can do that in cold and snowy Pittsburgh?

More vegan Austin, after the jump…

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whole Wheat Pizza

I think the last time I made pizza from scratch was in home economics.

Oh home economics, how I love thee.

The people who didn’t take home economics were so missing out. Who else got to eat fun foods during the middle of the day! It’s where I first learned to make cookies from scratch, monkey bread, biscuits and my own pizza. I should go back and teach vegan home economics… I could teach all those young minds about the joy of tempeh, nutritional yeast, and raw cheesecake.

Think of the possibilities!

Well, until then, I will just share you with a super easy pizza dough recipe that brought me right back to home economics. This recipe came from husbands’ mom, who I will call “Mom in Law.” She is not vegan, although I feel like if she lived with me for more than a week I could sway her… *wink wink*

This particular pizza is "upside down" because I used cheese (teese) on the bottom and layered sauce and toppings over it. Why? Why not?

So thanks Georgia Mom for sharing!

Recipe and more photos after the jump!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daily Gourmet Goodies

Who doesn’t love a macaroon?
Hands? Anyone?

That’s what I thought!

Daily Gourmet is offering a super special offer on raw, organic, and vegan macaroons & cinnamon squares from One Lucky Duck.
One Lucky Duck is a raw empori-yum in New York specializing in organic, raw and mostly vegan products. The offer is for 12 Blonde Macaroons, one bag of 12 Chocolate Macaroons and one bag of 6 Cinnamon Squares for $35 w/ free shipping!

Where do I sign up? Well, visit Daily Gourmet before Wednesday night to get the deal.

Also, to my loving Chubby Vegan readers, I am giving away coupon codes for an extra $5 off. If you want one, just do one of the following things: 

Once you do any of the following, leave a comment with your email and let me know or send me an email and I will get a code over to you asap!

I only have a certain amount of codes and the offer ends Wednesday so do it fast; you will be loving on some macaroons and cinnamon squares before you know it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chubby Vegan Takes Austin: Day 1

Isn’t it crazy that a state known for leather, beef, and rodeo can also have a city with about a million vegan friendly eateries? Well, welcome to Austin!

This is the third time I have been to what I would call “the best thing about Texas” in the past couple of years. Every time I have been to Austin I like it a little bit more. One of my best friends in the whole world lives here and this year I am coming purely for vacation and a little bit of vegan Austin love.

I have completed day 1 and color me crazy about the “live music capital of the world.”

Before I came I asked some Austin twitter friends for vegan recommendations and they did not let me down! We hit up three places on day 1 and each one had its own flair, personality, and spirit.

I love Austin!

After coming directly from the airport I was ridiculously hungry and we hit up Mother’s first. This recommendation came straight from fellow Austin lover dreamofgreenie and it did not disappoint.

The place is cute and the staff was all very sweet. Let me sum it up… free chips and salsa, spicy tempeh enchiladas (w/ spicy cashew chipotle), and a koi pond inside the restaurant. Really, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Since I am in TX, how could I not have Mexican food at my first stop? The enchiladas were very good but the cashew chipotle sauce and guacamole took it a whole new level. I could probably put that sauce on anything. *drool*

More Austin love after the jump…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Funny

In case you didn't know, someone wrote a song about me...

Head to :50 seconds for the beginning of my infamous anthem.

PS: I really can't understand the rest of the words, but this is still pretty awesome.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vegan Brunswick Stew

I was southern for two years.

Well, I lived in Georgia; so I am going to call myself southern. I lived in a great city called Athens, which is a liberal oasis in the middle of Georgia. My experience there was a really good thing for this Yankee boy who grew up in the south of Boston.

One thing about Georgia (and the south in general) is that its known for its food; think Paula Deen. Athens certainly had its fair share of barbecue and fried chicken, but it also had some of the most fabulous vegan and vegetarian food in the south. My favorite restaurant in the country, The Grit, it located right in downtown Athens.

I only knew Georgia as a vegetarian, so I never had any of the more traditional meat meals that Georgia is known for. One of them, Brunswick stew, happens to be one of husbands’ favorite. (Husband spent his formative years in GA, which is where we met)

Brunswick stew is traditionally a thick BBQ stew made up of chicken, beef, or pork and some vegetables. When husbands’ friend Beth came out with a vegan version of his favorite I knew we had to try it.

At first bite husband was instantly brought back to Georgia. He absolutely loves this stew and the fact that this recipe makes A LOT was a good thing. He ate it pretty much everyday for about a week. I have no other “original” version to compare it too, but I loved this stew regardless of it's origin.

Serve this with some vegan cornbread and you will be in love too.

So, “Glory, Glory to old Georgia,” this one’s for you!

Recipe after the jump…

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pierogi Casserole

What do the church ladies make in your town?

You know what I am talking about…  Every town has Nana’s that spend 11 months out of the year preparing for a church picnic. At every one of those church picnics there is one food item that people rave about. Maybe it’s baklava? Empanadas? Cookies? Seitan wings?

Picture = Bad
Taste = Amazing
Although my hometown didn't have a huge Polish population, I was baptized in a Polish church and my parents were married there. The Nana’s at that church got together every day for about 11 months making pierogi (by hand) for the annual Polish Picnic. It was a really big deal.

The weird thing is I really don’t remember eating them. I just remember the stories of how many they made. I am sure they were good though because they always sold out.

Now that I live in Polish Pittsburgh, pierogi are a part of life. Finding vegan pierogi is a bit challenging, so when I saw another ‘burgher post a recipe for Pierogi casserole I totally knew I could veganize it.

So presenting the Chubby Vegan Pierogi Casserole, just in time for St. Josephs Day!  (Thanks to my Polish co-worker for that bit of knowledge)

Although my little camera doesn't do it justice, it is rich, cheesy, and just good. Yum!

Recipe and more pictures after the jump…

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New York: Day 2

Token NY Picture
As promised, day two of New York veg-stravaganza is even better than day 1!

Picture It…
New York…
A week ago...

A loving Chubby Vegan eats at an incredible vegan restaurant in the Upper West Side. He is floored by the incredible food that abounds. His co-worker say’s, “hey, that woman behind you looks familiar.”

He passes a super nonchalant glance and nearly faints.

It was GD Kyra Sedgewick; eating in the same restaurant as me! Holy smokes!

I am not a creepy celebrity stalker and I think it is rude to go up to someone in public just because they are famous… But as we left I carefully snapped this pic as evidence.

It’s not perfect but take my word for it, she was beautiful! Plus, her selection of lunch at a vegan restaurant makes her cool factor go up about 50,000 in my book.

Even if I didn’t get to see Kyra, (we are on a first name basis now) I would have been just as happy because I got to eat at Café Blossom. 

Day Two Vegan Stop: Café Blossom

Café Blossom was a recommendation from my new best friend at Red Bamboo. Like I thought, she didn’t let me down. Not only did I get to see Kyra, but I also got to try my first raw appetizer.

Kelly and I split the Autumn Spring Rolls which were sweet potato rolls with coconut noodles, jicama, carrot, red and yellow pepper, scallion, avocado, and an almond ginger dipping sauce. I have been a little leery about raw food but I have wanted to try a professionally made raw dish for a while. I am so happy I did!

I loved these. I thought the sweet potato would have been really grainy, but it was not at all. The flavors blended together really well, like a fresh roll at a Thai restaurant. Plus the dipping sauce was just amazing; I could have drank it like a shot.

I thought about it. ß Chubby

Kelly didn’t hate it but I don’t think she would be the first to board the raw only bus. I am looking forward to trying a raw dish again.

Follow me after the jump for the rest of my Café Blossom deliciousness!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baked Tofu with Asian Peanut Sauce

I am about to rock your world. Are you ready?

Take out a block of tofu, shake off the water, put it in a plastic baggie, and put it in the freezer.

Say what?!?!

What do you mean I don’t have to spend 12-18 hours pressing the hell out of a block of tofu to get the water out? That is the only way to do it right?

Now I know some people don’t love this method of preparing tofu, but I have found it to be pretty great. Before I tried this, baking tofu just never worked for me. It never had the “fried-like” consistency that I love. 

Since I am not trying not to be a super chub and fry tofu every time I make it, I use this method and it works pretty well for me.

I have been making tofu this way, almost exclusively, for about a month and I am a big fan. When it’s done it has a really good "meaty" consistency and  you can add pretty much any sauce to it. I made this particular version with a super easy peanut sauce.

Recipe and more photos, after the jump…

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New York Vegan Tour: Day 1

New York, New York! A hell of a town!
I remember the first time I went to New York…  I was about 13 and my Aunt Dottie and my Mom took me on the Amtrak Northeast Direct from Boston to the Big Apple. The World Trade Center was still intact, The Rosie O’Donnell Show was filmed at Rockefeller Center, and the TRL studio was being built right next to the giant Antonio Sabato Jr. underwear billboard in Times Square. Those were the days…

I have had major love for New York for as long as I can remember.

I had the chance to head to my favorite city last week for work and got to sneak in a couple of fun vegan stops while I was there. My friend and co-worker Kelly gladly joined me on my culinary tour as we hit up two vegan restaurants and one amazing vegan bakery. I am separating the trip into two posts because it's too good to lump into one…

STOP 1: Red Bamboo

This was a recommendation by my Twitter doppelganger, Fat Gay Vegan. You know I love a recommendation so I was all about it.

Red Bamboo is a small restaurant adjacent to the behemoth NYU campus in Greenwich Village. Their menu is pretty extensive and has a little bit of everything. You can get everything from vegan fish and chips to vegan BBQ ribs. I mean, what?!?!

There is a fair amount of fried yum yums on the menu, so if you love a deep fryer you are in luck.

Kelly and I shared the tempura broccoli and sweet potato, which was a plate of hot and fried loveliness. Sweet potato is one of my absolute favorite vegetables on the planet, but when you fry it with a tempura batter its loveliness increases.

For our entrée we actually got the same thing, the vegan chicken Parmesan. I don’t really know if it was baked or fried, but I can tell you it was great. I tore through mine like I had never eaten in my life. In all reality it had been a long day and I was pretty hungry. There was nothing coming between me and that plate.

The sauce had just a perfect level of sweetness, which I love. It’s a good thing.

The best part about Red Bamboo was our server was just delightful. She was way cute and gave me about a million and one vegan recommendations for other places to try. If I had the time, I would have gladly gone to all of them! I love a good server; it just makes the experience even better.  I told her about my blog, so if you are reading this Angela, leave a comment. I think we should be friends. (stalker alert)

Read more about my New York Adventure, Day 1, after the jump…

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pittsburgh Vegan Meet Up

Pittsburgh Photos

Do you feel all alone?
Do you cry into your seitan every night wishing upon a star that you will meet new vegan friends?
Do you live in Pittsburgh?

Well here is your chance friend!

What: Pittsburgh Vegan Meet Up with Your Daily Vegan (KD & CN), The Chubby Vegan (JP), & Vegan Tweeter (AE)
The Date: Sunday, March 13th
The Time: 12:00 pm (noon)
Location: The Zenith, 86 South 26th Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203 (South Side Neighborhood)

On their quest to find great vegan hotspots around the country, KD & CN from Your Daily Vegan are setting their sights on Pittsburgh. Exciting right!

The Zenith will be their first stop for a little Pittsburgh vegan adventure to try out their amazing veg brunch. What a delicious way to start…

This is a really informal gathering but if you are planning on coming please leave a comment below and let me know.

If you have been to Zenith before, you know it gets pretty busy on Sundays. I emailed them and gave them a “heads up” but haven’t heard back yet. Zenith is pretty much community seating so even if we can’t all sit together at least we can all just have the chance to meet up and give our visiting friends a little PGH vegan love.

Hope you can meet up with us! With love and carrot kisses-

The Chubby Vegan (JP)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Squares

Sometimes people are scared of making desserts.

Wait, I have to turn on the oven?
Do I have to buy crazy ingredients?
I am just “not a baker.”

Well, never fear my chubby veganers; this is the easiest dessert ever in life, ever, ever, forever ever.

I stumbled across a new vegan website the other day that I absolutely adore. The Vegan Stoner is written (and illustrated) by two amazing graphic artists and vegans. Their concept is to take the idea of vegan cooking down to the absolute basics; a couple of easy to find ingredients, a few steps, and BAM- vegan yum, yums!

Their pictures are so beautiful (jealous) and their illustrations are amazing and hilarious. I have a crazy vegan crush on both of them.

So these peanut butter squares are from the Vegan Stoner. I brought them to a work luncheon and they were snarfed down in about 5 seconds flat.

The recipe and more pictures after the jump.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lazy Vegan Corn Muffins

Pittsburgh is not really known for its amount of sunny days. I read a statistic once that said Pittsburgh is one of the cloudiest cities in the country.

Don’t know if that is true or not, but it sure is depressing. Nothing against the good ‘ol Burgh, but gloomy days just make me want to do one of three things:
  1. Nothing
  2. Eat
  3. Do nothing, while eating.

Today I choose option 1…. nothing. How boring.

So since I am feeling so lazy today I have the perfect lazy vegans recipe; vegan corn muffins from a box. Really, you can’t get much easier than that.
I was a little hesitant when I bought the box (Dr. Oetker) and it has taken me FOREVER to finally make it. 

I will say I was pleasantly surprised. I have a very particular corn muffin affinity. There was a non-vegan donut shop in my hometown called, “Honey Dew Donuts.” They had corn muffins that I would push over a nana for. Legit.

Since going vegan I have not found for the "magic bullet" cornbread yet. I have had some pretty good cornbread though. That’s what I would call this version… pretty good.

But on a scale of one to “it’s so good I contemplate murder for more,” I would give it a 4.5. That means, I would make it again.

More pictures and Chubby Vegan notes after the jump.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lemon Linguine Pasta

Inspiration is 99% perspiration, 1% lemon.
-       Chubby Vegan, 2011

I love getting recipe inspiration from people. A few weeks ago I asked folks on twitter if they had any suggestions for a kick butt lemon pasta recipe. I was in the mood for pasta, but not some boring one with just marinara. Lame!

Since everyone loves a food challenge, I got a few different suggestions from people that all sounded awesome. I put on my thinking cap and morphed a few different ideas together to come up with my first ever lemon linguine!

WARNING! For lemon lovers only…

Okay... if you stuck with me I am assuming you are a Larry Lewis lemon lover like me. You are in for a treat! I made this lovely, luscious, lemon pasta with a side of cashew ricotta and some sliced beefsteak tomatoes.

This pasta recipe uses the juice of 3 lemons, lemon zest, and lemon balsamic vinegar. Holy lemon Batman! 

So, proceed with caution, its about to get real yellow in here!

Recipe and more lovely lemony pictures after the jump!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You Tube Addiction

My name is Chubby Vegan and I am addicted to You Tube.

I don’t understand what draws me to it so often, but it is so addicting. I have spent more than one night frozen on the couch watching hundreds of You Tube videos. Is this a real disease yet? Youtubitis?

When I was in college, my friends and I made dozens of hilarious videos. I firmly believe if You Tube was around then I would have been on Oprah or something. Alas, our videos are lost to evolving technologies and the world will miss out on our Jabba the Hut videos lip syncing Britney Spears. Sigh

However, since I believe I should pass this addiction on to all of you, here are a couple of my current favorite videos. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

            I don’t know why dubbing funny voices over cute animals gets me everytime. This one is British, so it’s pretty much a double win.

            If you hate prescription commercials as much as I do, you will love this. If you are vegan, you will love it even more. Satire = man’s best friend.

Two more after the jump.

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