Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For the Love of Vegetables...

...and boy do I have it. Even if asparagus season has come and gone, and all our tomato plots have been dug up, there's a few late fall favorites I have come to look forward to.

Mulled cider, Silk Egg Nog, the wafting smell of gingerbread across the house... but most of all, I can think of nothing better than coming home with a large stalk of fresh brussel sprouts. A cheap, seasonal meal that can last you for days (and it has!).

It was clear to me after T and I were finally adventurous enough to try cooking them at home that these spherical sprouts are sadly misunderstood. I've had been brussel sprouts, perhaps we all have--the reason for its common spot upon the "most hated vegetable" list.

But I've come to learn that such an absolute list cannot exist. All vegetables can and usually are superb, if only prepared correctly. For brussels, that mean retracting the urge to overcook them. As a cabbage member, this results in the release of a strong, often unpleasant, odor.

To keep the healthful benefits though (e.g, not boiling them away), I found the best way to cook brussel sprouts was to cook them simply, carefully, and make them the star of the dish. Mustard sauces atop are great (especially paired with some collard greens), but for the love of vegetables and all their naked glory, give this recipe a try:

Browned Brussel Sprouts


* 1/4th C, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
* 1 stalk, Brussel Sprouts (3-4 Cs), sliced in half along the stem
* 1/2 T, salt
* 1/2 T, freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat a heavy-bottomed (preferably cast iron) pan over medium-low. Drop in 3 T of the coconut oil and allow it to melt, coating the pan.
2. Place the sprouts face (flat-side) down in the pan, using as many as will fit. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Let sit for approximately 5-7 minutes, adding a small t of oil as needed to dry areas. Lower the flame slightly if the sprouts are browning to fast before this
3. Check the underside of the sprouts. Once they are soft and the underside is clearly browned, remove from the pan. Add another 2 T coconut oil and sprouts and continue the process until all sprouts are cooked. Enjoy!

What's your favorite late fall/early winter vegetable?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Changing Colors: Fall Harvest and Preparation for Winter

The time to harvest is here. The leaves are changing and winter, I fear, is beginning to rear is unpleasant head. It's not all that bad--fresh pressed cider, local pumpkin beers, and time to celebrate with family is all a plus. But for many students, or maybe for just myself, the lack of sun after a full day of studying can get wearing... and as much as I love squash, the idea of eating it everyday in an effort to eat locally is not as desirable either.

That's where a little planning ahead can make a world of difference. While I'm a fan of canning, jamming, and the like, I find they're a bit more time consuming that I'd like during the school year. But here's a few student-friendly options for savoring the best of summer all winter long:

1. Frozen 'Pesto' (fresh basil blended in a food processor or blender with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper): just thaw and add garlic and chopped nuts.

2. Frozen Tomatoes (we just put them in a bag here and they're great for making deliciously flavored soups and sauces; avoids the dull flavor of the GMO January tomato)

3. Frozen Bell Peppers (fresh from our garden, just slice these guys into strips and ready for a quick fajita night on a snowy day)

4. Frozen Thai Hot Peppers (or any kind you like. I love bringing simple heat to a dish in the middle of winter, a great source of warmth)

5. Frozen Fruit Muffins (yes, basically the freezer is your best friend here. I chose a classic, blueberry muffins. Just wrap a freezer sealed bag, defrost overnight, gently reheat, and enjoy on the way to work).

6. Dehydrated Summer Fruits (a real favorite of mine, this is so easy to do and with such an amazing pay off. Dried fruit can be expensive and so doing it on your own; only catch is you'll need a dehydrate first, though some can be quite affordable and makes for great kale chips. I'm a fan of dehydrated cherries and even strawberries)

And, of course, I'll be sad to see all my fellow garden critters go when the snow hits (okay, maybe not these pests), but at least I'll have the owls outside my window to purr me to sleep.

Start Your Day Right: Tropical Green Power Smoothie

An apple a day may help with our overly friendly doctor situation, but a handful of spinach for breakfast is the perfect pick-me-up.

I admit, I used to be one of those wake-up-late-in-a-rush-run-to-school-skip-breakfast kind of person; but I also used to be asleep in my 8am Biology class. So Instead, for the student on the go, skip the poptart that will leave your on the edge of a sugar crash mid-day, and get fresh, sustain, energy to-go: The Green Power Smoothie.

Of course, this is just one of many variations here, but the way that the subtle tropical flavors and strong peanut-butter after taste come together is one of my favorites. the Peanut-Butter gives the the protein and brain-power to power through your morning, the ginger and orange to keep your system healthy (even on a rough schedule), and spinach and spirulina to pack it with vital nutrients.

Perfect for anyone on the go, just throw the items together, blend, and pour it a cup together. Trade it out for coffee and you won't regret it.

Tropical Green Power Smoothie


* Handful of spinach leaves
* Full, peeled orange
* 1 peeled banana, cut in half
* 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
* 1 tablespoon minced ginger
* 2 tablespoon peanut butter
* 1 tablespoon spirulina
* 1 cup almond milk (or vegan milk of choice)


1. Wash off spinach and place it into blender or immersion blender cup.
2. Place the rest of the items in the blender or cup (with fresh fruit in the bottom and frozen fruit on top)
3. Blend until everything is chopped and mix thoroughly to desired consistency.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Rainbow for Dinner

I'm not sure there's any more beautiful culinary site that delicious and fresh vegetables, raw and chopped, just begging to be dressed, sauteed, steamed, roasted, or just eaten the way nature provided them. Unfortunately, such a scene is as rare as it is beautiful for many students.

Nearly everyone at Harvard is on a meal plan and even with the ever-present salad bar, most of the prepared dishes use frozen, pre-cut vegetables; many students leave without ever having (or knowing how) to prepare meals to enjoy themselves... at least we have a series of cooking class before graduation for those about to embark into the real world of self-sustained eating.

So any chance I get, I love to host dinner parties with my on-campus classmates. Cooking together, eating together creates such an incredible bond and fun experience. This weekend, craving Thai food, instead of going out to one of the city's many restaurants we decided to try it on our own at home.

Green curry, panage curry, and pineapple fried rice--I could not have asked for a more delicious meal! I'm particularly addicted to Thai Pinapple Fried Rice and so this gave me the opportunity to try my hand at the recipe at home--brown rice, no fish sauce, everything fresh.

It was wonderful. If you're an addict like me, or just looking for a new way to use that rice cooker, try this recipe. The best part? Extra pineapple chunks for dessert!

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice


1 ½ cups salted/roasted cashews

1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted

½ red onion diced, sautéed

1 green chili minced

4 garlic cloves minced

¼ vegetable oil

3 shallots diced

2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4th a pineapple)

1 carrot shredded (optional)

1. Cook: 1 cups brown rice w/ a bit of curry powder

2. Mix Sauce: ¼ cup soy sauce + Tbsp curry powder + 1 tsp sriachi

3. Cook Vegetables, then add cooked rice and then sauce once vegetables are softened to desire. Stir-fry for five minutes until desired consistency is achieved.

Easy as One, Two, Three :)

Peace & Love<3

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Vegan MoFo: cupcakes and cats

Okay, so its been too long. You know it, I know it... but certainly I know it. There's not excuse really, but time seems to fly by and yet often I wonder what how much has happened. A lot I suppose.

It's senior year for one. Toni and I have moved to a new home, a beautiful place with a garden and balcony, all thanks to our friend and his wonderful mum. Our baby, Marley has grown up...

... but she's at home in California with my mum, hopefully just for awhile...

and it's Vegan MoFo and my first year participating :)
[now that research over the summer has subsided and I'm back to Boston]

The theme this year: vegan eating for students.

I know that's kind of the theme for the blog... but now I'll be posting 5 times a week with a bigger focus on healthy but comforting foods, shopping on a budget, an
d taking advantage of city life.

But for today, I'll leave you with just a little something sweet:

Cinna-Punk Vegan Cupcake @Kickass Cupcakes

They have a Food Truck often at Harvard Campus its dangerous: I think they might be trying to get students addicted... ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Taking NY by Storm: A Vegan's Tale

Check out that view! I also have in hand the BEST smoothie I've ever had: Squaw Valley!!

Last summer I was lucky enough to have volunteered for and attended an amazing four-day Yoga & Music festival in the middle of beautiful Tahoe. Wanderlust was such an enlightening experience and I hope to return again soon; being among such spiritual power and creativity was inspiring, advocating everything environmental protection to compassionate eating.

Among the many big names to play the music scene among the looming majestic mountains was old school DJ Moby. His DJ set was epic, totally killed it (in a good way!) and his afternoon acoustic set was harmonizing. But it is his speaking event that was of utmost interest for purposes of this blog: on vegan living.

Moby was promoting a new book he has out and spoke briefly on it, taking questions and engaging people on the real issues of vegan living. Imagine my delight when, after a few internet clicks, I find out he owns a vegetarian restaurant in NYC.

Delicious cakes, almost 100 different types of free leaf teas to choose from, and owned by a techno god? Yes, please!

Teany Cafe can only be described as cozy. At 10pm the lighting was dim, all but blinding bar the gently flicking tea candles. Sleek, modern, and white, it reminds me of vegan cafes of Brighton (UK). And what could go better with this English feel than plenty of properly prepared teas and homely sweets (think whoopie pies and coconut cake).

T & I actually discovered Teany after looking for a gift for my Brother for Christmas; we just got back from London and thought the tea-for-two deal at Teany was appropriate for him & his girlfriend. Him having raved about the club--and me being the sandwich fiend I am--my choice was probably already made before arrival (as tempting as the lasagna sounded).

I opted for the blt, even though I *always* get the blt as T reminds me. On the side a cup of honey roobios with steamed almond milk (again, England had entranced me with their London Fog). T & Adam both got the half chili/half "turkey" club.

The drink was fantastic, as it ought to be, creamy and with just a hint of sweetness. The salad greens crisp and dressed with a lovely thick balsamic. But it was the sandwich that stole my heart. Not the biggest around for its price, nothing too fancy, but simple and classic, and perfectly toasted (a must!).

The chili, sadly, was just a bit lacking. I think T & I may be biased from our constant chili making contests but I had made a better lentil chili days earlier (thicker, more robust). But still, tasty.

Our biggest mistake, which I beg none of you to make!, is to have left without dessert. I guess I felt the impulse to explore, being in NY and all (I have a list of about 30 possible vegan havens to check out). But for the rest of that weekend, I could get those luscious looking cakes and pastries out of mind and I'm still sure that I had made the wrong choice and that those desserts (as Adam also told us they would be) was what I was searching for.

In conclusion, if you're in NYC, please visit Teany, sip some tea, and don't let the city rush you out... get that slice of cake you're eyeing!

Oh yeah, and go to Wanderlust if you get the chance... besides amazing music, great people, fun vendors, beautiful artwork, breathtaking views, and tons of yoga... we get free pool & spa access at the site of the Olympic Village :) Do it (and let's meet up there!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cookies for Charity: Carrot Cake Cookies & Boloco Vegan Fare

It seems like time just escapes us sometimes. Particularly around midterms, I really think my subjectively based movement in space-time are shorter than usual (or maybe my Quantum Mechanics class is just taking over my imagination).

Yet, even in what feels like a few seconds we accomplish a lot; lots to update on!

For one, I start selling my homemade, vegan cookies at a local Boston chain, Boloco in Harvard Square! It's a fun project, being able to experiment with new recipes and hearing feedback. Plus, ALL proceeds go to charity! Its been a great way so fa to raise awareness about vegan issues.

Originally the money went to Farm Sanctuary, but light of the recent events, the next batches are going to Red Cross Japan.

We could talk endlessly about the atrocities, but now, more than ever, it seems our earth on all fronts is in the midst of a crisis, from environmental degradation to financial corruption (PS. everyone check out Inside Job, the 2011 Oscar-wining documentary narrated by Matt Damon): positive vibes and good intentions are short and well needed, and I applaud the innumerable people I meet each day online who try to become educated on the issues and do immense good in this world.

And to give you just a little taste (literally!) of what I tried to put together, here's one of the sample cookies being sold at Boloco:

Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies



1/3 C, Sugar
1/3 C, Brown sugar
1/2 C, Canola oil
1/2 C, Soy milk
2 T, Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 t, Vanilla extract
1 t, Ground cinnamon
1/2 t, Ground cloves
1/2 t, Ground nutmeg
1/2 t, Ground allspice
1/2 t, Salt
1/2 t, Baking soda
1/2 C, Grated peeled carrots
2 C, Whole wheat flour
1/2 C, Raisins


* I used the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World but this one is similar. In Vegan Cupcakes they suggest adding chopped, toasted walnuts to the cream cheese which sounds amazing; I think I'll try this next time, let me know if you try it how it turns out!



1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper, silicone mat, or lightly grease (the first two are more recommended).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars and oil until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add in soy milk and arrowroot; mix together well. Add in vanilla and mix.
3. Add in all the spices, baking soda, and carrots and mix. Slowly add in the flour, about 1/3 at a time and mix well. Fold in the raisins.
4. Drop tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheets just under 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball with the end of a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes; allow to cool on the sheets for about 2 minutes and then remove and allow to cool on a metal rack.


1. Take two cookies of approximately the same size. Place a tablespoon size dollop of the cream cheeze frosting on the flat back of one cookie and spread; place the other cookie on top. Enjoy!