• November 27th, 2008quarrygirlrecipes

    for thanksgiving this year, we here at quarrygirl.com threw a non-traditional dinner party and invited the parents. sure, my parents will still have their slaughtered carcass tomorrow…but today, their holiday feast was all vegan.

    everyone seems to be blogging about their thanksgiving menu, so i thought i may as well do the same. i’m no cook, and i didn’t spend tons of time in the kitchen. but we did manage to throw together a mix of store-bought and homemade dishes that pleased our omnivore guests. here is the rundown:

    suds: we celebrated nonturkey day this year by opening up our first bottle of homemade beer. it’s been brewing downstairs in our guest room for two weeks, and today it had finally reached a very drinkable and alcoholic point. full disclosure, we made our wort beer from a kit. we didn’t go all mad scientist, boiling hops or anything. that’s for next time. thankfully, the beer came out quite well. a strong, delicious, fruity dry-hopped lager.

    appetizers: we really, really know how to class it up for thanksgiving. that’s why for a pre-meal snack we served a bag of doritos spicy sweet chili nachos with terra potpourri potato chips, along with fritos hot bean dip and calavo guacamole. super fancy, eh? in our defense, this dish was super last minute. (duh.) we stupidly headed out to go grocery shopping on thanksgiving morning in search of horderves and ended up abandoning ralphs because the parking lot was too crowded and bristol farms because it was a fucking zoo in there. (i did see pauly shore though, and had to explain who he was to my husband, yay!) we ended up at the closest place to our house by far to purchase food, the canyon country store. i don’t know if you’ve ever been to this little hippie shack, but they don’t have much selection. hence the truck stop appetizers we ended up serving. it’s all good though. tasty as fuck, and no prep time.

    salad: mr. meaner took care of the salad this year, because he kicks ass at that. he made the previously blogged about “best salad in the world”, although this time he toasted the pine nuts and whipped up his own batch of zesty lemon balsamic vinaigrette. total hit.

    stuffing: this is actually the first year i’ve ever cooked homemade stuffing. usually i just grab a box from whole foods, add a few ingredients and call it a day. this year, i decided to try a really healthy and simple stuffing from happy herbivore’s cookbook, pudge-free holidays. she’s compiled a list of tasty-sounding holiday recipes without all the fat and calories that usually come along with this time of year. i made a batch of the traditional thanksgiving stuffing with mushrooms and vegan sausage. the only change i made was i added some garlic, because i can never have enough of that. i can tell you this is much tastier and much healthier than the store-bought box crap i’m used to making.

    sides: we outsourced the cooking of our side dishes to the awesome vegan soul food restaurant, a taste of life. i could never make food this good, so why even try? we ordered two sides of mac and cheese and two sides of kale. both were delicious and impressed the hell out of my omnivore parents. if i could cook this well, i’d never eat out. but i can’t…so i get take-out on thanksgiving day. yay.

    vegetables: mr. meaner took it upon himself to toss some thickly sliced potatoes and carrots in olive oil and oregano, then bake them to perfection. we also had some steamed broccoli and cauliflower to round it all off.

    roast: since our favorite thanksgiving centerpiece, the unturkey, is no longer available, we have been looking for a worthy replacement. we spent the last two years with the tofurky, which is good but not great. this year we opted for the very scrumptious celebration roast. field roast is a company up in seattle who makes tons of great faux meats, from sausages, to slices, to several different flavors of roasts. their products are kind of hard to find in los angeles, so if you ever see them, buy ’em up. follow your heart consistently stocks the celebration roasts, and a handful of whole foods carry the sausages. while the celebration roast is no unturkey, it’s pretty damn incredible. the body, crust and middle stuffing are all magnificent. (please note, some folks have made a website and posted a recipe for the original unturky. i’m way to much of a cooking n00b to try it, but others have. and i am jealous). the celebration roast will totally do for now.

    dessert: i actually did some baking some baking this thanksgiving! when i bake, things usually go wrong…but luckily, this holiday my shit came out pretty nice. i went through several recipes online and adapted my own from many to make a chocolate-chip vegan cheesecake. a total crowd-pleaser, this cheesecake made me so proud. plus it satisfied my sweet tooth for the day.

    here’s the recipe i “came up with,” standing on the shoulders of giants:

    vegan chocolate-chip cheesecake

    1-14 oz package firm silken tofu
    1-8 oz package tofutti better than cream cheese
    2/3 cup sugar
    splash of lemon juice
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    about 1/2 a 12oz bag of chocolate chips
    1-9 inch vegan pie crust

    preheat oven to 350F.
    put silken tofu and tofutti better than cream cheese in the blender and blend until smooth.
    add the sugar and blend until no granules remain.
    add a splash of lemon juice, the vanilla and the corn starch, then blend until smooth.
    add 1/2 a 12oz bag of vegan chocolate chips and stir it up with a spoon.
    pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 40 minutes.
    refrigerate before serving for at least 4 hours.


    all around, we had an epically delicious thanksgiving. good to know we could gorge ourselves on all kinds of dishes—healthy stuff, junk food, salty appetizers, sweet deserts, salads, roasts and vegetables—all without killing any animals. what a fucking concept, right?

    here’s to hoping the rest of the world will catch on. hope you had a great thanksgiving!

    back to restaurant reviews now for quarrygirl…

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
  • October 7th, 2008quarrygirlLA restaurants, native foods

    native foods in westwood has been one of my regular haunts since becoming a vegan. i mean why not? they’ve got great food and have used to have a huge menu with reasonable prices. that’s right, it’s all changed. imagine how bummed i was to walk up to the native foods counter over the weekend only to find the enormous novel of a menu replaced with a one page paper hand-out. it was tiny! and there wasn’t even enough food to carry on to the back side of the menu, so it was just covered with creeds and missions about saving the earth. really? a disposable paper menu, that you are handing to each customer who is dining in, just because you haven’t had time to get the real menus printed. that’s not saving the environment, now is it, tanya?

    so let’s get to the food. upon opening the menu, my heart sank because most of my favorite items had gone. latino lover pizza, malibu veggie burger, farrah’s fatoush…all history. drats. so i went with something that sounded exciting, the portobello & sausage burger.

    portobello & sausage burger: big grilled beauties with seitan sausage, pommodoro, caramelized onions, vegan mayo, pesto and sweet roasted garlic. $10.35

    portobello & sausage burger: big grilled beauties with seitan sausage, pommodoro, caramelized onions, vegan mayo, pesto and sweet roasted garlic. $10.35

    while the portobello & sausage burger is by no means a new item, it did used to cost only $9.50, and now it’s $10.35. don’t think i didn’t notice, native foods! while this burger was pretty tasty, it had waaaaaay too much oil. a more appropriate name would the grease & grease burger. seriously, the drippy pesto, globby cheese, and runny olive oil totally overpowered any protein. in fact, the burger got so covered in grease that the bun fell apart and i had to eat it with a fork. ick. a little too slippery for me.

    grease and oil on top of fat

    grease and oil on top of fat

    also, i just wanna add that the sausage patty tasted EXACTLY like a celebration roast. it even had the same little ridges on the side.

    not a bad thing, just makes me wonder if native foods has started buying in bulk.

    while navigating the new menu was a little bit intimidating for me, it was especially daunting for my husband, because he’d never ordered anything at native foods EXCEPT the malibu veggie burger. he decided to go with the new burger option that looked kind of similar. unfortunately, it wasn’t.

    veggie-mighty-vita burger: 100% angus friendly veggie patty, lettuce, carrots, sprouts, beets, onions, pickles, and 1000 island. $8.75

    veggie-mighty-vita burger: 100% angus friendly veggie patty, lettuce, carrots, sprouts, beets, onions, pickles, and 1000 island. $8.75

    the veggie-mighty-vita burger isn’t much to write home about, especially since it comes in at a buck more than the malibu veggie burger. the patty is smaller and thinner, and doesn’t have the same combination of grains and quinoa that made the malibu so luscious. the vita is kind of limp and bland. don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t BAD, and it did come stacked with a ton of lovely vegetables, as you can see…it just wasn’t great, either. ooh ooh ooh!–and another thing to note: all burgers used to come with a side of coleslaw, rice or black beans. now the default side is 8 pieces of slightly brown edamame that taste fresh out the microwave. hmmmm.

    one cool thing though, as the kind lady at the counter pointed out, is if the new menu is missing one of your old favorites, they can probably still make it for you with the ingredients that are still around…for now. oh really? let’s just see about that. i decided to return to native foods and give this offer a shot with the poltz burrito, a wildly popular item from the previous menu.

    poltz burrito: black beans, brown rice, original seitan, flamed banana salsa in a whole wheat tortilla, topped with salsa fresca, chips and guacamole. $8.95

    poltz burrito: black beans, brown rice, original seitan, flamed banana salsa in a whole wheat tortilla, topped with salsa fresca, chips and guacamole. $8.95

    i guess this emasculated version of a poltz burrito counts as making something off the old menu. but seriously, who would want this? i mean, does that look “topped with salsa fresca, chips and guacamole” to you? no! and the inside of it was even more depressing.



    this burrito used to be massive, overflowing with guacamole, beans and colorful salsas. why did they have to go and ruin a good thing?

    oh well, i’m sure i will keep going back to native foods anyways. after all, they do still have the awesome greek gyro on the menu, although it costs more now as well. it’s always a bit sad when menus shrink or prices rise…and it’s especially sad when these two things happen at once.

    R.I.P. all my old favorite dishes from native foods.

    here is the new menu for you to check out.

    and here is the old menu, if you wanna reminisce.

    Tags: , , , , , ,
  • April 11th, 2008quarrygirlfield roast, products, stores, vp discount, whole foods

    i used to love the holiday season. i’d look forward to it all year long, not because of the silly holidays themselves, but because every november through january, i could go to my local health food store and stock up on the recently deceased unturkey.

    since the unturkey’s passing, i’ve unsuccessfully been searching for a substitute. now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with tofurky, and i do appreciate the fact that it’s everywhere. it’s just that unturkey set such a high standard, i can’t help but search for something better to replace it.

    luckily, this january i stumbled across the celebration roast at my favorite whole foods. i had a good feeling about it, and i was wise enough to buy 3 roasts, which were all gone within a month! while it’s still not quite as good as the unturkey, it comes pretty damn close!

    the catch is, celebration roast is made by a company called field roast, and in los angeles their products are very hard to come by. as of this posting, the whole foods in el segundo (the mother of all health food stores) is the only place i’ve been able to find them.

    i suggest you make a trip out there and grab anything field roast you can get your hands on. while they no longer have the celebration roast (DAMN!), they do have some really tasty vegan sausages. again, not to dog on tofurky, but these are just SO much better. if only they were more widely available. not even this massive whole foods heaven carries all the products on the field roast website, which i imagine are amazing as well.

    for now, i’ll just have to look forward to the holiday season and get by with my sausages. they make a great breakfast atop some potatoes and smothered in hot sauce.

    Tags: , , ,