Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let's start at the beginning. I love meat. I love the taste of meat. I have heard about animal suffering in the meat industry, but I did not care because I love meat, cheese, and cream! Then, I read a few books and saw a few movies that radicalized my views of what I put in my body, and overnight became a vegan. These catalysts were: The Kind Life, The China Study, Food, Inc., and Supersize Me. Jay and I went out to eat at Ruth's Chris and the next day I stopped eating everything involving animals. I am an extremist. Recently, our friend Ryan Wrenn called me Nina "Overdrive" Johnson....and it would be a fitting call sign for me, since everything I do is over done or not done at all.

Back in Feb. I challenged my dad to an "Iron Chef: Vegan" competition when he came into town. :) The  photo below is of the supplies I gathered for such a competition:

And these were the lovely things we made:

We seared these chiles on the stove top and then let them sweat in a bag for a long time. Then we peeled off their skins. The stuffing is a mix of brown rice, lemon, capers, a little vinegar, truffle oil, walnut cream, cayenne, s/p, cumin and a tofu ricotta with soy cheese. On top is cilantro and a browned garlic and scallion mix. These were then baked for about 45 minutes.

These were made from a cookbook called "The Conscious Cook" by Tal Ronnen. It is a tofu ricotta (tofu, balsamic vinegarette, salt and pepper) that is then wrapped in a thinly sliced red beet. The beet is wrapped around the tofu and then rolled in a panko bread crumb mixture and deep fried. These were interesting. They were really difficult to make though, and weren't as tasty as everything else we made, so I doubt I will make them again.

This was a coconut and black truffle oil brown rice with shitake mushrooms. It was really really good.

This was the final product of the rice with asparagus. It all sat on top of a portabello mushroom that had been marinated in a concentrated soy sauce marinade called "Dales Marinade". Yummy!

These were gold and red beets, boiled and then baked with scallions, olive oil, and a ton of garlic. This was actually my first ever experience with beets and it was INCREDIBLE! We took the finished beets and served them with garlicky beet greens (I think these are my absolute favorite type of greens). So yum!

Here is out plate, I think the two things I don't have individual pictures of is the kale (bottom right) in a rice wine and olive oil vinaigrette with walnuts and the sourdough BBQ seitan sandwiches (bottom left).

This is a dish we have a lot...its udon noodles with tempeh, straw mushrooms, green onions, sesame oil and shoyu. Shoyu is basically soy sauce and tempeh is a really yummy bunch of beans and grains pressed really hard into these little bite sized pieces. The tempeh seems to absorb flavors better than meat ever did, so I love marinating it in lemon or garlic or shoyu because it really takes on the flavors so well and is really healthy for you.

I was going to post a video here of my father trying umeboshi plums, but I couldn't figure out how to insert it into this blog....so Ill post this photo instead, of our vicious Lulu and my dad :)

Umeboshi plums are considered "fruit of the samurai" because samurai warriors ate them prior to big battles. They are really salty and pickled plums which have a TON of potassium and other nutrients and they are the ULTIMATE hangover cure! They give you a lot of energy when you are feeling drained and are really just excellent, however, they taste really really salty. The video of my dad's virgin sampling of these tiny plums is hilarious, so if anyone knows how to insert a video let me know!!! :)


  1. Yum!!!!!! Can't wait for you to come and visit me so we can make all this together!!!! You have me hooked!

  2. Oh yeah baby! So hungry now!

  3. wow, you went from meat eater to gourmet vegan chef?! impressive!!! :))) those chiles look a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

  4. Thanks! :) I did make the transition very quickly. After reading "The Kind Life" it was like a brick hit me in the face and suddenly I just "got it". I think everyone has realizations about things in their own time, but Silverstone's accepting and understanding book was so enlightening, and not judgmental at all. Loved it. I felt so so so amazing after I gave it all up, I just don't know if I would ever want to go back to feeling so tired and sluggish! :)