Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Vegetarian & Vegan

Twitter #Weekendeats highlights: Summer produce galore

Summerproduce

This morning's #weekendeats chat on Twitter was especially colorful. Chat participants shared pictures and recipes for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables used in salads, desserts, tarts and more. It seems everyone is in the mood to make and enjoy light, easy dishes for summer. Here is a look at some of the highlights:

Lemons were definitely a favorite this week. Daisy Thompson of the blog Daisy's world shared a recipe for lemon blueberry cheesecake cookies, which she notes are especially good with a glass of milk. Mary from the blog the Food Librarian shared a recipe for Meyer lemon muffins, there was a lemon cake from the blog Deliciously Directionless and Stephanie Arsenault from the blog Global Dish shared a berry lemon cobbler with cornmeal topping.

Tomatoes were also a weekend favorite with a mozzarella, tomato, olive oil and braised fennel sandwich from Sycamore Kitchen, shared by @RE_LvTravel, an heirloom and cherry tomato salad with peach-basil vinaigrette from Daisy Thompson of the blog Daisy's World and a pretty tomato mascapone tart from Samantha of the blog the Little Ferraro Kitchen.

The blog Wonderland Kitchen shared an entire feast of vegetables with ways to use your CSA vegetables, including recipes for creamed kohlrabi, cold tomato and cucumber salad, beets in a sweet thyme balsamic glaze, five-minute broccoli and backyard garden string beans. 

After the chat, we ask people to upload pictures of their #weekendeats to our What did you eat this weekend? photo gallery. We'll feature some of the photos here on Daily Dish, so be sure to check back for more #weekendeats and #foodporn throughout the week.

Hope to see everyone next Monday morning on Twitter! It's sure to be a drool-worthy good time.

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Photo, from left: Heirloom and cherry tomato salad with peach-basil vinaigrette and lemon blueberry cheesecake cookies. Credit: Daisy Thompson

Dinner tonight!: Scarlet quinoa salad

ScarletquinoaannjohanssonLooking for something a little different for dinner? The quinoa salad from M Cafe is bright, refreshing and filling if you're looking for something on the lighter side. Oh, and it's vegan.

Quinoa is cooked with finely diced beets, which tint the quinoa a vibrant shade of red. Cool the quinoa, then add cucumber, lemon zest and herbs and toss the salad with a tangy fresh vinaigrette.

The recipe does require a little forethought when it comes to ingredients and a shopping list (you'll need to buy umeboshi vinegar -- available at Whole Foods and Asian markets). And you might as well shop for extra of everything -- yeah, this salad is good enough you'll probably want a double batch.

For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food Editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.

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Photo credit: Ann Johansson / For the Times

Susan Feniger's Street gets vegan-friendly

Streetsushi

Susan Feniger's Street launched a new menu today, with vegan and vegetarian dishes added to its globally inspired street food. More than 20 dishes on the new menu, executed by chef and co-owner Kajsa Alger, can be prepared sans meat.

The dinner menu is divided into seven categories, including Asian pub food, pizza, meatballs and fritters, veggie sides, Korean barbecue, salads and "classic street." Vegan-friendly dishes on the Asian pub menu include the mung bean pancake with scallion, kimchi and shiitake and the brown rice sushi roll made with umeboshi, apple and burdock.

Black bean burger at Susan Feniger's Street

A spicy black bean veggie burger (pictured above) with pea shoots, smashed avocado and tomato on toasted sourdough was added to the "classic street" portion of the menu. New veggie sides include the Roman broccoli and white beans with garlic, chile, olive oil and Pecorino and the coal-roasted Greek artichoke with wild oregano sauce.

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-- Jenn Harris
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Photos, from top: Brown rice sushi, spicy black bean burger. Credit: Street

Green Truck to visit the LAPD festival of skid row artists

Gardein

Food truck fare is known for being tastebud-friendly, but not necessarily healthful. The Green Truck and Gardein team is trying to accomplish both. In January, Green Truck, a food truck dedicated to organic, sustainable cooking, and Gardein, makers of meatless protein products, got together to launch the "Cheat on Meat" campaign. The Green Truck and Gardein food carts travel to various L.A. communities to sell and distribute samples of their wholesome products.

"Part of Gardein’s mission is to make healthy vegan, nutritious food available to the people who need it most -- those low-income families who by and large only have access to McDonalds," said Colette Brooks, Meat cheater and marketing representative for Gardein.

GardeinburgerThe Green Truck will make an appearance at the Los Angeles Poverty Department's (LAPD) second annual skid row artists festival in Gladys Park on Friday from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Public art will be displayed along with a stage for live performances of poetry, music, rap and more.

Attendees can feast on vegetarian dishes from the truck that will showcase the Gardein meatless products and the Green Truck's signature sauces, including the Cheat on Meat beefless sliders made with Gardein's ultimate beefless slider, grilled onions, fresh arugula, lemon and heirloom tomato ($3 for one or $5 for two), the vegan shawarma miniature wrap made with cornmeal-crusted Gardein beefless tips, hummus, cherry tomatoes, arugula and marinated onions ($5) or the chick'n and nopalitos tacos made with nopalitos (marinated cactus), Gardein's grilled chick'n strips and ancho chile-pineapple salsa ($3 for one or $5 for two).

The festival will take place at Gladys park Friday and Saturday at the corner of 6th and Gladys Street in skid row from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

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Photos, from top: A Gardein food cart stationed at a Whole Foods Market to dole out free samples, inviting shoppers to "cheat on meat"; the Gardein ultimate beef-less burger. Credit: Gardein 2012.

Vegan Super Bowl specials at Tony's Darts Away

Tonys

Craft beer hot spot Tony’s Darts Away will be offering vegan Super Bowl specials on Sunday, Feb. 5. Patrons can watch the big game while munching on hot buffalo style “wings” with "818" valley ranch dressing or fresh tortilla chips with five-layer dip made from spicy vegan beans, tomato salsa, vegan cheese, avocado salsa and vegan sour cream. Many menu items come in either a vegan or nonvegan option, such as the the Frito pie or the barbecue pulled pork sliders on biscuits with slaw. Wash it all down with Golden Road Beer, $3.50 per glass, the Super Bowl drink special.

1710 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, (818) 253-1710, http://tonysda.com/

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Photo: Tony's diners chow down on vegan and nonvegan sausages. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Spork Foods wishes you a very vegan Thanksgiving

Seitan WellingtonLast year I wrote about two sisters who founded a vegan cooking company called Spork Foods. Enthusiastic, vivacious and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to eating vegan, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel have just released their first cookbook, "Spork-Fed."

Between promoting the new book, teaching their cooking classes, filming their online classes and giving in-home healthy-eating consultations, the sisters are short on time. But they still managed to take a moment to share two of their favorite holiday recipes with us. One is for seitan Wellington with creamy spinach sauce; the other is for pumpkin cheesecake.

I tried the Wellington when I attended one of their cooking classes last year. It was savory and delicious, with mushrooms, onions and red wine adding earthy flavor. The advantage of eating a meal like this as opposed to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey is that you don't feel as heavy afterward. 

Also, many families have at least one vegan, and it's nice to have a festive option instead of just a medley of veggie sides. I once had a vegan boyfriend, and when he came home with me for Thanksgiving, my mother was kind enough to make a variety of vegan dishes for him, which really made the difference in his experience that day.

So in the name of Thanksgiving options we give you these Spork Foods recipes after the jump. (Note: These recipes have not been tested in The Times' Test Kitchen.)

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Unearthing downtown's inner vegan with a new food crawl

Pizza
We’re halfway through a bowl of menudo at downtown’s cavernous Mas Malo during Urban Food Crawl, a new vegan-food walking tour of downtown’s Historic Core, when the lull sets in. That post-Thanksgiving feeling of having been beaten into satiation by a hodgepodge bounty of tastiness that’s left us yearning for sweatpants.It’s around 4 in the afternoon, and balmy, and the table’s gone silent, slack in our chairs from the sheer task of it all. And we’re only halfway through this gauntlet.

Only a few weeks old, Urban Food Crawl is a way of introducing beleaguered vegans and curious newcomers to the animal-free sides of Central City’s mid-priced dining scene. But it’s a validation that so much has already taken root there. Every Saturday at 2 p.m., the relentlessly enthusiastic Sheri Wheeler and Jen Bardekoff schlep small crowds around to six downtown restaurants (only one of which, coincidentally, is completely vegan or even vegetarian) for four hours of downtown boosterism.

Last Saturday we tagged along, and learned that the job of hitting six restaurants in four hours –- even for calorie-skimpy vegan dishes –- is about three-fourths invigorating and one-fourth exhausting in all the best, belt-loosening ways.

The tour begins at Pershing Square, where those who bought the $65 all-included tickets make their introductions and begin a quick stroll to the upscale general store and deli Two Bits Market, on 5th between Broadway and Spring. Because we are terminally late to anything short of our own funerals, we unfortunately just missed the first course of a Rupee sandwich with bean puree, artichoke, squash and arugula.

Continue reading »

Survival cooking demo at High Desert Test Sites workshop

High Desert Test Sites workshop

Artists Danielle McCullough and Gabie Strong will lead a sun-print cyanotype-process workshop, "Blast Site: A Workshop for Conjecture," on Nov. 12 at the High Desert Test Sites headquarters in Joshua Tree.

The workshop explores survival in the high desert, primarily grounded in post-apocalyptic science fiction, plant guides, archaeological archives and 20th century art history. The day's itinerary includes a guided hike through Blast Site, a cyanotype-process printing demonstration using sunlight and materials gathered from the desert floor, a survival cooking demonstration and a barbecued vegetarian lunch.

The lunch is part of an overall arts experience, incorporating native vegetation. Mushrooms marinated in a homemade vinegar and desert aromatics will be seared on hot rocks in a fire pit and served on mesquite flour flatbread, with pickled nopalitos, homemade yogurt and pinion seeds. Alcohol-based tinctures and teas derived from an assortment of local desert plants will be served to workshop attendees too. 

Registration for the workshop is $120 per person. Highdeserttestsites.com.

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Photo credit: Gabie Strong and Danielle McCullough, Blast Site: A Monument for Future Failures, 2011. Cyanotype fabric, painted leather, slipcrete, silver, ash, paint, pallets, wood, 16mm film with pen and ink,  and 16mm projector. Installed in at Shangrila, New Moon exhibition, Joshua Tree. Photo courtesy of Gabie Strong.

Tofu or not tofu: The high cost of vegetarianism is puzzling her

Quinoa

When my friends used to ask me why I became a vegetarian, I trotted out the standard responses: for ethical reasons, for health reasons, because I have more energy, because broccoli doesn’t scream when you kill it. You know, the usual.

Now, of course, I do it mainly to annoy people. And that works on so many levels — sending them on guilt trips, sometimes in mid-bite, or prompting them to contemplate their entrée’s mother. Of course, it can backfire, like when my dining companions make a show of shoveling pulled pork or fried chicken or ribs or pepperoni pizza into their pie holes with an overly dramatic “Mmmmmmm, you don’t know what you’re missing.” Or, “That’s fine. More for me.”

After nearly 15 years, I yam what I yam: used to it. But something’s become stuck in my craw of late, and I’m going to break radio silence. We hear again and again that a plant-based lifestyle will save our health, our planet, our wallets ... but am I the only one out there who feels like I'm being punished financially for giving up meat? Why should I pay $4.99 for 12 ounces of Litelife Smart Ground (yes, that’s fake ground beef -- much to my carnivorous husband’s dismay -- which shakes down to $6.65 per pound), when real ground beef is $2.99 to $3.99 per pound, depending on fat content? I mean, Google says it takes between 2 pounds and 16 pounds of grain or feed corn to create one pound of beef. (The numbers vary wildly depending on whether you want to believe PETA or the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn.) Well, I’m buying 12 ounces (4 ounces short of a pound!) of … plant stuff. Seriously? What did they water the plants with? Dom Perignon?

Continue reading »

Trails Cafe: Grab a bite after your hike

Trails300 July marks the six-year anniversary of Trails Cafe, a favorite stop for Griffith Park regulars and out-of-town visitors alike. The cafe's ultra-small setting can be a baker's challenge, but this before- or after-hike stop still manages to pull off an efficiently run production. Its baked goods are made in house, from scratch daily. Scones, quiches, galettes, pies and cookies, with daily changing flavors, are on display in the cafe's windows for the indecisive to "ohh" and "ahh" at while waiting in line to order. Stumptown Coffee is a recent addition to the menu, and as of late, weekend specials include homemade ice cream. There are vegan options too. 2333 Fern Dell Drive, L.A., (323) 871-2102, thetrailslosfeliz.com.

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Photo: Trails Cafe sign. Credit: Michelle Youssefzadeh

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.