Monday, April 30, 2012

Review of Gobble Green Vegan Frozen Meals, Day 2-3

The saga continues!
For the second day we had tofu scramble and hash browns again. This time Sarah added enough other ingredients to the tofu scramble for her to be able to choke it down, and again the hash brown was pretty good.

We did better than the previous day, w/ Sesame Tofu & Vegetables and Baked Cauliflower and Broccoli:
The sesame tofu and vegetables (on left) was actually pretty good (no complaints), although it was odd that although the instructions said to serve it over rice, we didn't receive any rice in the package. Fortunately we already had some prepared to eat it with.

Sadly yet again the cauliflower / broccoli dish tasted like vinegar and in general off-tasting, so presumably it too was somewhat spoiled.

For dessert we had the "carrot coconut scamble" but it was just shredded carrots, coconut, and agave nectar. So not really gross, but not really dessert either. Just OK and odd.

Lunch, Day 2:
I had the Lentil / Cauliflower Curry and the Coriander Courgettes:
Surprise! They tasted of vinegar! Otherwise they were both actually sort of good, but by the time I was almost to the end I had a stomachache again and couldn't finish it (not due to quantity, I'm a big eater).

Sarah had half of a Texas Caviar (good, too salty but otherwise had good flavors) and the Paella (good, sort of peppery flavored, not gross but if we had made it we wouldn't make it again). Fortunately they weren't vinegary tasting at all so presumably they were frozen more quickly after being made.

Once again for dinner we had to eat normal food. We're almost done!

Review of Gobble Green Vegan Frozen Meals, Day 1

We saw one of those group buy deals for 50% off a week of frozen homemade vegan meals delivered to your house (from Gobble Green), and since we knew Sarah would be extremely busy in the week before her final project for school was due we thought it would be fun to try.

The first wrinkle was that when we ordered our food, it was scheduled to arrive a month later. They indicated that you can get it next week instead by ordered $25 of extra food, so we did so thinking it would arrive on Monday or Tuesday. After a week of not being able to get in touch with them by phone and having a few cryptic and unhelpful email exchanges it finally arrived on Saturday, without the extra food we ordered (hopefully we don't get charged).

Anyway, aside from the customer service issues (perhaps they are overwhelmed by the response to their group buy offer), here's the rundown on day one of the food.

"Hash Browns" & Mushroom Tofu Scramble w/ Cheese (not pictured: strawberry oatmeal and peanut butter cookie):

The hash browns were really tasty (although not crispy like hash browns usually are), but the tofu scramble was inedible (it tasted like plain tofu with vinegar, and adding salt did not help). Definitely the worst tofu scramble either of us had ever had; I really hate wasting food but couldn't finish it. Perhaps the tofu had gone bad?

We also ate a strawberry steel cut oatmeal (which Sarah liked, but I thought was too sweet and funny tasting, although the texture was good) and a delicious peanut butter cookie (it looked like fake meat when it arrived, but was quite good nonetheless).

Tortilla Soup, Southwestern Salad, Signature Vegetable Soup

I thought that the Southwestern Salad was OK, but bland and too sour (so I added some agave, salt, and Sriracha). Sarah thought it tasted vinegary and "indescribably wrong" and "chemically."
The Signature Vegetable Soup tasted to me like it had spoiled a bit, although to Sarah it just tasted like soup made from canned vegetables.
The tortilla soup was definitely the best of the three, but was (yet again) too sour / vinegary for our tastes, and pretty salty as well. I still sort of enjoyed eating it, but by the end I was ready to quit and couldn't handle another bite.

So lunch was definitely not a winning meal.I got a solid stomachache afterwards, so we ate normal food for dinner instead. It seems likely that several of these dishes were left out too long before being frozen since they mostly tasted "off."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tempeh in a Port-Fig Sauce with King Oyster Mushrooms and Asparagus

We've been meaning to post about this dish for a long time because it was especially delicious. We started with the recipe from the vegan slow cooker, and then made lots of changes.

This is more or less the recipe we used:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
6 cloves garlic
2 large king oyster mushrooms, sliced thinly (NOT at all similar to normal oyster mushrooms, these are super-thick stalked fatty mushrooms)
2 8 oz packages tempeh

fresh rosemary & thyme to taste (I used about 3 Tbsp of each, you could use a smaller quantity of dried herbs)
1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup fig butter (we got this from Trader Joe's b/c we couldn't find fresh figs and the dried figs smelled bad)
2 cups port wine (we used a zinfandel port, in retrospect I would have used a drier port instead)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt to taste
1 bunch chopped fresh asparagus, with the tough ends broken off

Heat the olive oil in a big skillet, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes or so until the mushrooms are nice and fragrant (these mushrooms rock). Add the tempeh and black pepper and herbs and stir well, then pour in the port, vinegar, and fig butter (mix it up with the wine so that the fig butter dissolves). Add a bit of salt (you can add more to taste later), and wait for the whole thing to get hot again. Meanwhile, stir fry the asparagus in another skillet in a bit of olive oil, and take it off the heat immediately when it's done (this is easy to overcook, so it's best to cook it separately, but if you're feeling lucky or skilled with timing, just add it near the end of the tempeh simmering). Once the tempeh mixture has come to a nice simmer reduce heat and cook about 15-20 minutes until the tempeh has soaked up lots of flavor and the whole thing has thickened up a bit. Remove from heat, mix with the asparagus, salt to taste (and you may need to add more fig butter to taste as well) and serve with a nice wheaty bread.

Green Hummus & Building a Dog Ramp

We have been delinquent in posting recently, partly because Vegan Lady is very busy with her final project at school, and partly because of the extra time it has taken to deal with our persistently gimpy dog. After 6 months of various treatments, lots of carrying her up and down stairs, etc., she is still limping. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see our current approach, which involved building a ramp for her to go in and out of the window to avoid stairs.

Also, here is some green hummus we made from fresh chickpeas. Well, they were frozen, but they hadn't been dried so they were still green. We used our standard hummus recipe (on It was OK, not really any better or worse than normal hummus, just different:

Here is the dog ramp solution: inside we have a store bought dog ramp, the one from the window to the grassy patch we built (out of some scrap plywood, recycled doormats, and lots and lots of time and screws and cross-bracing scrap wood for stability):

Even this was proving too hard on her shoulder, so now we lift her onto the coffee table inside first so that the slope of the inner ramp is much more gradual. But it is still a big improvement over the old method:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How to throw a Star Trek Party

Although it has been almost 3 years since we threw our Star Trek Party, I recently discovered that the web site we set up for the party is still getting traffic, as are the labels we created for the drinks. So, we thought it would be good to get a bit more mileage out of all of that preparation and write a guide on how to throw a Star Trek party of your very own, especially with regard to the food and drink. We found a few "how to" guides online but they either recommended buying a ton of custom crap (costumes etc.) or were not even trying (cookies in the shapes of moons and stars?). Obviously while we have a lot of ideas here you should pick and choose and make the party your own. You can also see all of our pics from the party.

The basic elements we wanted to go for were:
The food was harder than expected; there's a star trek cookbook you can buy, but it's total BS. They're not even trying. Plus virtually nothing from there is vegan. We knew we wanted to do a "cellular peptide cake with mint frosting" (just a yellow cake with mint frosting, some decorations, and a recording of Troi screaming "no Data!" to play while cutting the cake with a serrated knife):

We also found a recipe online for vegan hasperat (a spicy, briny, Bajoran wrap; this recipe is hummus w/ horseradish and sriracha, plus cucumbers and carrots soaked in vinegar and soy sauce, plus baby spinach leaves) and definitely wanted to do "yamok sauce" (having just watched a DS9 episode all about it), and figured cotton candy could work as truffled baby tribbles:

We also found a great idea for "gagh" (a Klingon dish of live worms) online (cooking spaghetti in red wine instead of water to make it look like worms), and even put some of our compost worms in a little dish for the people who planned to complain about the gagh being dead, and I figured gimme lean cooked with some smoke flavor, maple syrup, and assorted spices could stand in for targ (Klingon pig).

The last two foods (not pictured) were just cool things we found at the farmer's market that we assigned star trek names to (we used things that were referred to but never actually shown so they could be believable): pineapple tomatillos (aka ground cherries) become "takka berries" and an orange watermelon became "Alvinian melon."

The most fun was definitely coming up with the label designs for the drinks, and my absolute favorite was the design for "Tea. Earl Grey. Hot" (each of these 6 panels made up one side of the tea box, with the directions on the bottom):
You can see / download all of the labels for the drinks, but in addition to tea and earl grey infused vodka, we did prune juice (courtesy of Worf), Slug-O-Cola (from a DS9 episode, we used green apple soda and wheatgrass juice, strained through cut okra to make it just a bit mucilaginous), bloodwine (just red wine, we rejected the idea of dissolving an iron pill in them as over the top), chech'tluth (from a TNG episode, we used mostly 150 proof rum, plus scotch, some gin, and lots of bitters), Romulan Ale (blue food coloring in vodka and white cranberry juice), raktajino (weird coffee substitute with dry ice in it, I think we used "Teecino"), etc. The key is putting dry ice in everything, just for fun. To make the labels I had to download klingon, ferengi, and romulan fonts, but it was worth it the results (note that we printed out "menus" to explain what all of the food and drink was supposed to be, and what it was actually made from):

We ordered a lot of star trek figurines for door prizes, got some wall stick-ons, and printed this for our coffee table (which we have retained):

Once everyone had food and beverages, we quickly determined that we weren't hardcore enough to be able to play "star trek scene it" and just picked episodes to watch (with a borrowed projector and screen) by consensus:
We still have all of our templates, so if you want to start with any of our labels and tweak the text on your own, or just have a higher quality version to print from, send us an email!