Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We've moved to a different blog!

Hey guys! We've moved to a different blog!

You can find the blog at

Why the change?

Well, "How to become a vegan domestic goddess" was just too long a blog name. I've been wanting to change it since forever and now I have. Oh and now that I think about it, it kinda sounds pretentious. I still don't think that I'm a domestic goddess. And if I do claim domestic goddess-ness, I give you permission to hit me on the head.

Why kitchen activist?

This is actually what I call myself because I'm a vegan who loves to tinker around in the kitchen. I think the simple act of choosing veganism means you are choosing compassion for animals. You are standing against the animal agriculture industries. You choose not to support animal cruelty.

Anyway, see you 'round !

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegan MoFo fail + news shmews

Hey Vegan MoFo'ers, sorry for my embarrassing Vega MoFo performance. Nine MoFo's is really sad. But I have a good excuse. I was busy all October trying to help victims of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. So things got busy. Which is too bad, because I wanted to blog about awesome things, like:

My lentil and quinoa Sunday lunch, which Francis seemed to like.

Vegan food activism in the office which you can definitely do at least once a year or when it's your birthday and your coworkers require you to feed them. In this case, it's a farfalle and black bean salad which I believe knocked their omni socks off.

Being vegan in Hong Kong, which was hecka easy.

And other non-MoFo topics, like despedida food!

Despedida meal #1 at Healthy Kitchen in Serendra; featured: fresh Thai spring rolls.

Despedida meal #2 at Som's, Rockwell; featured: Pad Thai.

Despedida dinner at home with the family; featured: tomato and aubergine linguini.

Why despedida? Well I temporarily closed up my baking shop and resigned from my real job because I'm gonna be away from home for at least half a year... I'm going to culinary school in New York! Which is another reason why I've been neglecting this blog -- I have been busy with work, baking and getting ready for school. I'm excited for this new adventure because I can't wait to seriously hit the culinary scene.

Watch out Manila, I'm gonna set you on vegan fire!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gorgeous grilled vegetable sandwich: Vegan MoFo #9

This will be a quick post as the photo speaks for itself. Had a lovely brunch with my 2 lovely cousins, Miren and Monica, and my brother's girlfriend, Bea at Cafe Mary Grace in Alabang Town Center. We came for the chica session but I gotta say, this vegetable sandwich somehow stole the show.

Hey vegans! Cafe Mary Grace may not have a lot of vegetarian breakfast / brunch options but don't feel sad. Grilled vegetables on foccacia was some kind of awesome. It's usually served with caesar dressing inside but tell your server to kindly substitute the dressing with the tomato-wansoy salsa. The salsa is actually one of the fillings of one of their omni sandwiches. If your server doesn't seem to relent, just ask for Glen - he was our server who was only too happy to follow my vegan wishes.

The homemade potato chips is usually served with garlic mayo -- go ahead and sub it for the salsa, but do yourself a favor and just get good old-fashioned ketchup. It's hard to scoop salsa with tiny chips.

What made this sandwich gorgeous? Uber-smoky eggplant and balsamic-glazed oyster mushrooms. Cafe Mary Grace usually adds in grilled zucchini but with the whole Typhoon Pepeng catastrophe, it's been difficult to get fresh vegetables from Benguet. They ended up doubling the eggplant -- no complaints from this customer! I heart eggplant, I can eat it all day.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For vegans who miss puchero: Vegan MoFo #8

Holy crapparoni, I’ve missed 2 days of MoFo’ing. I gotta get my ass into shape…

What I’d like to share today is a vegan version of another childhood favorite: puchero.

I think this dish is something every Filipino family has its own version of. Puchero actually came from Mexican and South American cuisine. It arrived in the Philippines via Spain and I guess, puchero is one good thing we can thank our colonizers / slavemasters of 300 years for.

Puchero, Spanish for “stewpot”, comes from Argentina, Uruguay, and Spain. According to Wikipedia, the
preparation and ingredients of the dish vary by region. Spain particularly likes chickpeas while Argentina and Uruguay like theirs meat-based. Puchero is usually made up of a soup of meat and vegetables.

Here in the Philippines we use chicken, beef, cabbage, baguio pechay / Chinese cabbage, and potatoes. We also like having boiled saba / cooking bananas served on the side. For families who can trace their roots to Spain (fun trivia, on my paternal grandfather’s side we get our Spanish blood from a friar), we like adding chorizo / pork sausage and chickpeas. I believe puchero is usually eaten as a hearty soup but for those with Spanish influences, we like ours soup on the side, meat and veggies served separately, and with rice.

I fondly remember the Sunday puchero tradition upheld in my family. We usually chop up the meat and veggies and mix it with rice, tomato sauce, olive oil, and vinegar in a huge wooden bowl. Each of us had an assignment, whether it’s chopping the meat, or the veggies, or pouring the sauce. My dad usually added the final touch, whether it was a splash of vinegar or a dash of salt. It was a family affair and it was so satisfying to sit down and eat the fruits of our labor.

When my brother Michael and I turned vegan, we no longer joined in this tradition. We missed the family food preparation. When everyone else
would enjoy the puchero, we would have some completely different vegan meal.

Last Sunday we had puchero for lunch and for the first time we were able to enjoy a ve
gan puchero! It felt completely familiar at once and incredibly satisfying to eat. We missed our puchero. For our version we cooked our vegetables (cabbage and baguio pechay) and saba bananas in gently boiling water until tender. Chickpeas, usually an afterthought, became one of the main stars of the dish. We cooked ours in garlic, onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

And I confess, I missed chorizo – or rather, the smoky saltiness it imparts. Luckily I had a stash of homemade vegan chorizo (off Isa’s Vegan Brunch cookbook) in the freezer. I threw in a couple of chorizos in a sautee pan with about 1 inch of water and simmered them until tender. I then sliced the sausages in half, and then in quarters diagonally. So as not to throw out the now flavorful cooking liquid, I sautéed some sliced onions in it with a splash of olive oil until tender. After setting the onions aside, I added another glug of olive oil in the same pan and fried up the chorizos.

Eating puchero after years of no puchero was… nothing short of amazing. We didn’t have the time to slice up the chorizo and veggies and mix it up with chickpeas, rice, tomato sauce, olive oil and vinegar like our family usually does but it was rewarding just the same. I got bits of everything and couldn’t even fit rice onto my plate.

If you come from a family that regularly eats a meat-based puchero – you can have your puchero veganified! So to summarize:
  1. Cook vegetables and saba bananas separately from the meat.
  2. Gussy up your chickpeas – cook them with garlic, onions, and tomatoes.
  3. Fry up your favorite vegan chorizo, either store bought or homemade. Check out Julie’s Spicy Italian Sausages, they’re a good substitute.
  4. The puchero seasonings – tomato sauce (cooked with garlic and onions), olive oil, and vinegar – are already naturally vegan!
  5. Mix everything together and dig in!

Monday, October 12, 2009

String beans that will make you sing: Vegan MoFo #7

You've probably grown up having your own fair share of sucky vegetables. You know what I'm talking about -- vegetables steamed, blanched or boiled to flavorless oblivion, sometimes sauteed in grease and some bits of animal protein, often discolored from too much cooking. Blech.

The humble string bean (here at home, known as the Baguio Bean) is almost always the sad victim of under- or overcooking. I quite frankly detest steamed or blanched string beans because they're just so... boring. Eating blanched string beans feels like a chore. This is why omnivores are omninivores and not herbivores.

I love string beans, they're one of my favorite vegetables. They're dirt cheap and easy to cook so they taste awesome. And and and, if you've got a party and want to serve your guests a non-salad vegetable, string beans are the way to go.

Beans before being stuck in the oven, and they already look lovely.

My favorite way to cook beans? Roast 'em. Lay them on one layer on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle on a good dose of sea salt and black pepper, that's it. No need for some fancy spice blend, leave that for carrots and potatoes. Pure heaven. I can eat these all day.

They usually cook for 20 minutes in a 400 deg F oven, but I like mine quite toasty so I leave them in for an extra 10 minutes. Heck, just eyeball it. Just make sure they don't turn too yellow-green.

Definitely make them garlicky by topping the beans with a smashed garlic / olive oil / salt / pepper mixture before sticking them into the oven. The garlic should be well lubricated in oil so it doesn't burn.

String bean love!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vegan birthday dinner 2 - a photo essay: Vegan MoFo #6

Best birthday dinner, especially when you didn't have to lift a finger to make it or have to clarify a hundred times that it's vegan.
Thanks mom.

Samosas from Assad's Mini Mart on Jupiter St., Makati

Lumpiang Macau: friend spring rolls stuffed with seasoned shredded tofu,
served with sweet and sour sauce.

Japchae: Korean glass noodles with vegetables topped with toasted sesame seeds,
spring onions, and sauce (sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar)

Fried tofu slabs to go with the Japchae.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A well-loved dessert from my childhood: Vegan MoFo #5

Oh mais con hielo, how I've missed thee. I haven't tasted your icy corny goodness in years. How I've longed for your juicy kernels, your crunchy shaved ice, your sweet surrender, your ability to cool this humid tropical weather -- but alas, you are almost always served with dairy evaporated milk. For shame, for shame. It's a good thing mother took me literally when I said I wanted you, and only you veganified, for my birthday dessert. No birthday cake for me, heavens no. And you taste just as good, if not better, with coconut milk. You don't need cow's milk to make you all creamy and lovely. You just need a good dose of creamy non-dairy milk and a healthy serving of sugar (and in my case, brown) to sweeten you up.

While I only had you 2 nights ago, I do hope we see each other very, very soon. I can't wait until our next rendezvous.
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