• October 5th, 2011quarrygirlappetizers/snacks, recipes, vegan events

    just over a week ago, we joined the hot knives team on the verdugo patio for an afternoon of snacks and beer to celebrate the release of their new vegetarian (and vegan-friendly) cookbook, salad daze.

    we’d been looking forward to this day for ages—we’ve been HK fans for years, and even had an opportunity to test out one of the the salad daze recipes (magic shroom dust, loved it!) several months ago. now that the book has been released into the world and i’ve got it in my hands, i can safely say that it doesn’t disappoint. page after page of meatless recipes, with all the vegan ones clearly marked, each listed with their own thoughtful beer and soundtrack pairing.

    so how was the release party? it was awesome! we always love kickin’ it on the verdugo patio with some good beer, but eating hot knives food at the same time makes it even better. on this day, the dudes prepared a slew of appetizers including some recipes from the book, and played a strictly salad daze playlist of bands we love including the fall, the stooges, and belle & sebastian.

    here’s what we ate…

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  • April 15th, 2010quarrygirlappetizers/snacks, products, recipes

    these nachos are the ultimate indulgence, and you seriously don’t have to be raw or even vegan to enjoy them.

    we’ve been toying around with raw foods for a few weeks now, and this has to be the richest most extravagant meal we’ve made at home. i suggest you give it at try—it puts most cooked vegan nachos to shame!

    here’s how you make ’em…

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  • March 26th, 2009quarrygirlappetizers/snacks, recipes, vegan stuff

    vegans, rejoice! there is a new cruelty-free product on the block from none other than chicago soy dairy. if you aren’t familiar with them, they are the same folks who created teese, which tied for 1st place in our best vegan cheese for pizza showdown and also covers our favorite pizzas in los angeles. as if making great vegan cheese wasn’t enough, chicago soy dairy has recently rolled out their most convincing product yet…a line of treats called dandies vegan marshmallows. lemme tell ya, the word dandy doesn’t even begin to describe how tasty these sweet, moist, little, gelatin-free puffs are…they are nothing short of exceptional.

    vegan rice krispies treats made with dandies from chicago soy dairy!

    vegan rice krispies treats made with dandies from chicago soy dairy!

    i tested the dandies out in the standard rice krispies treat recipe from the kelloggs website, and the batch came out absolutely perfect. i haven’t had real rice krispies treats (or marshmallows for that matter!) in AT LEAST ten years, and still these little squares propelled me back in time to a place when eating cereal coated with gelatin was the uninformed yet delicious norm.

    dandies vegan marshmallows: $5.29/10 oz bag

    dandies vegan marshmallows: $5.29/10 oz bag

    i kept the recipe exactly the same as on the kelloggs website, but i substituted dandies for real marshmallows and used earth balance sticks in the place of margarine. i tasted a few of the dandies raw before making the rice krispies treats, and i can assure you that chicago soy dairy has nailed the exact marshmallow flavor AND texture. i ordered my dandies the moment they were available from veganessentials.com, and they were very quickly sold out. they are still currently out of stock, but for more updates you can always follow chicago soy dairy on twitter.

    dandies vegan marshmallows melting away!

    dandies vegan marshmallows melting away!

    i prepared the rice krispies treats exactly according to the original recipe…melting the dandies with margarine and mixing them up in a pan with the cereal. the dandies had a thick and gummy texture that was so close to real marshmallows, i could barely believe it! they melted down immediately and became a thick sticky stew that coated the spatula and kelloggs alike.

    when i let the cereal/dandies/earth balance mixture cool, it turned into a perfect slab of rice krispies treat that was easy to cut and tasted great. i am so used to eating the vegan brown rice marshmallow treats from trader joe’s, which suck ass compared to the dandies version. i even took a bite of each one side by side, and the dandies treats were so incredible, i don’t think i will ever buy the trader joe’s ones again. the vegan marshmallows were soft, creamy, and chewy…the rice krispies treat was in every way identical to its non-vegetarian counterpart.


    just for fun, i also tried roasting a dandie over the fire. it turned out perfectly. crispy edges and gooey insides, just like the real thing. if i were a camping person, i would definitely be loaded up with tons of dandies for campfire smores.

    melted dandies vegan marshmallow on top of some dark chocolate. yum.

    melted dandies vegan marshmallow on top of some dark chocolate. yum.

    lastly, i threw the dandies in some hot chocolate to see how they did. they got soft and mushy, again, just like real marshmallows. it was so awesome being able to just drink a mug of cocoa with puffy white marshmallows…a simple pleasure that’s been off limits to me for over a decade.

    hot chocolate piled high with vegan dandies marshmallows

    hot chocolate piled high with vegan dandies marshmallows

    so overall, dandies vegan marshmallows are a pretty impressive break through product. the marshmallow taste and texture are hard things to get right, and chicago soy dairy has got them both nailed. a+! i will be adding these to my list of staples to order from vegan essentials.

    for more info check dandies out on the web, on myspace, and on twitter.

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  • November 13th, 2008quarrygirlappetizers/snacks, recipes, salads

    as you may or may not know, native foods in westwood changed their menu, and in doing so eliminated most of my favorite dishes. so after my most recent and somewhat disappointing lunch there, i decided to go home and dust off the old native foods cookbook that i’ve been meaning to put to use. it’s filled with old recipes so i figured surely it could help take me back to my happy native foods place and give me a taste of the dishes i remember.

    since native foods put the kibosh on farrah’s fatoush, my regular order and favorite dish, i decided to whip up a greek-style feast with all the cookbook had to offer. i varied it a little depending on preference and available ingredients, but i pretty much wound up with some quinoa tabouli, harry’s hummus, and a gorgeous greek salad. (btw, the cute names of the recipes make me wanna smash something.)

    quinoa tabouli, harry's hummus and the gorgeous greek with tofu feta. all from the native foods restaurant cookbook

    quinoa tabouli, harry's hummus and the gorgeous greek with tofu feta. all from the native foods restaurant cookbook

    lemme start off by saying the meal i actually wanted to make was the bali surf burger. it’s this crazy-good tempeh concoction and i couldn’t wait to get my grubby little hands on the secret. well here’s what the cookbook said:

    native foods recipe for the bali surf burger

    native foods recipe for the bali surf burger

    ok, now normally i would never post a scanned picture of recipe from a cookbook. it’s unethical. but in this case, as you can see, i’m giving nothing away. there are so many things wrong with this freaking recipe, i don’t know where to start. first off, the recipe is for a burger, but at the top right, the serving size is 2, “because you can’t eat just one!” and then the book goes on to just double all the ingredients in a really simple way. man, if i wanted 2 burgers i could figure it out for myself, trust me.

    next, this isn’t even really a recipe. it’s a list of ingredients and a dummy’s guide on how to assemble a hamburger: “spread each side with 1/2 teaspoon mayonnaise. on bottom bun, place sauteed tempeh…” whaaaaaa? seriously? i dropped 20 bucks + shipping on this cookbook and you are wasting a page telling me how to physically put a hamburger together? stop it.

    they may as well just give a tempeh recipe and be like, “this is awesome. make a burger with it if you so choose.” i don’t need a whole rundown on how to put mayo on a bun. …and not just that, but the tempeh recipe on page 65 is no big shakes either. it just tells you to go out and buy some tempeh, then sautee it. i won’t give away the “secret” or anything, but it feels like kind of a jip. basically everything with fake meat in the cookbook just provides ingredients, and then sends you to a website where you can order the soy meat products. hmmmmm. not cool.

    so i decided to make something with ingredients i could find, that actually required some preparation. bring on the greekness!

    k, lemme tell you what you’re looking at here. there’s harry’s hummus, the book describes it as a lighter hummus which doesn’t include tahini…then there’s quinoa tabouli, a blend of quinoa and parsley on a bed of greens (i omitted the mint because i didn’t have any, and used spinach instead of lettuce)…then there’s the gorgeous greek, a mixture of vegetables and tofu feta (i made it without bell peppers).

    overall, everything tasted great, but i gotta say…there was SO MUCH FREAKING OLIVE OIL. in everything! i couldn’t believe my eyes when i was reading the recipes. i decided to half the oil in everything, and even then, as i was pouring the olive oil into the measuring cup i was like, ok i gotta stop, this is gonna fucking kill me before i finish it. i calculated all the recipes together, and in total, all the dishes would have required 2 CUPS OF OIL! seriously. granted there would have been left-overs and such, so it wouldn’t have all been eaten in one sitting…but i used left than half that amount and my food was still swimmin’ in it. gross.

    my last criticism about the cookbook is that every recipe requires you to prepare something from another page. like to make the salad, i will need x amount of tofu feta, then i have to go to the tofu feta recipe page and not make the entire recipe, but figure out the right proportions to just make x. sometimes 2 or 3 times for one recipe. seriously, i’m no idiot, and scrambling around, flipping through pages and doing calculations got both tiring and mathematically taxing.

    all that aside, the recipe came out great! everything was extremely delicious, albeit pretty heavy on the oil side. the best part was for sure the tofu feta which was lemony and tart, and didn’t taste like feta at all.

    tofu feta from the native foods cookbook

    tofu feta from the native foods cookbook

    although the food was tasty, i’m gonna wait a few months before using the native foods cookbook again. it was hard work, and i think i should give it quite some time before consuming that much fat again. i mean, that’s what eating out is for!

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  • sometimes i just want greasy, oily mexican food that makes me remember what it was like to be a vegetarian. unfortunately, i can’t trust the stuff at conventional mex restaurants, and a lot of the veganized establishments offer dishes that are a bit too healthy-tasting. so i’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and create a masterpiece of junk food with no redeeming qualities except for a few tomatoes, and the fact it tastes ridiculously fine. vegan homemade nachos! so yummy, despite the fact that all i had on hand was follow your heart cheese.

    vegan nacho plate with soy cheese guacamole tofutti sour cream and black beans

    now, imho, what sets these apart from the countless vegan nachos in everywhere else you’ve ever eaten, is that these include homemade chips. most restaurants smother store-bought corn varieties (from the bag) in vegan cheddar and all the fixins, leaving people like me 10 minutes and 1,000 calories short of satisfaction. now, while cool places like pure luck have the homemade chip thing down, they don’t even provide a nachos options. wtf! that’s where quarrygirl comes in: care-free, greasy, unforgivable homemade nachos…from the chip to the guacamole.

    mission tortillas for vegan nachos - flour tortillas deep fried and layered with amy\'s black beans and soy taco meat and follow your heart cheese and pico de gallo and guacamole

    recipe, pix, and more. all after the jump.

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  • April 12th, 2008quarrygirlappetizers/snacks, recipes

    i’ve ruined 2 blenders in 2008…both were the victims of this exact hummus recipe. i won’t go into detail about how i wrecked them, because it’s far too embarrassing. i think i’ll just give you the recipe and some tips to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you. trust me, the hummus recipe is amazing…and if you follow some simple guidelines, you can prepare it with out sacrificing any of your kitchen appliances. i, on the other hand, had to learn the hard way—so the hummus pictured was never actually eaten. i’m sure it would have been damn good though…

    step #1, the ingredients.
    here’s what you’ll need to make the perfect hummus:
    1 can of chickpeas with 1/4 cup of their liquid
    2 tablespoons of tahini paste
    4 tablespoons of lemon juice
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    2 cloves of garlic
    1/2 teaspoon of salt

    step #2, the mixing.
    now that you’ve got the stuff, combine it all in a blender or food processor…

    step #3, don’t be a dumbass.
    now, here comes an important bit…
    before you blend everything together, check to make sure no foreign objects (or loose pieces of the blender itself) are inside the blender. that may lead to hummus that tastes like plastic and smells like burning metal.

    step #4, blend.
    once you’ve checked all the other boxes, blend the ingredients for about 5 minutes, or until your hummus is a smooth and creamy texture.

    (i don’t have a picture of the finished product because while i’ve definitely got steps 1,2, and 4 down, i failed to follow step 3)

    good luck! this really is the best hummus if you actually finish it!

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