Archives for August 2012

August Vegan Food Swap

Mr. Stinky Kim, the Yorkshire terror, starts barking and wailing like a wild beast and I know the mail has arrived. Instead of bills and brochures, I received this month’s Vegan Food Swap box filled with goodies from Elizabeth at Coconut Bliss. Woohoo!

Elizabeth is based in Oregon and found some fantastic local treats like sun-dried cranberries, pesto pumpkin seed crackers and a gluten-free oatmeal cookie sandwich.

I can’t wait to try the Dragon’s Breath dank sauce…perhaps in a Bloody Mary this weekend? Oh yeah!

Want to get in on the food swap action? Head over to The Verdant Life and register for the September swap by Sept. 4th

My Week in Photos- Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot!

It’s so hot, I had to set up a desk outside on the patio. Winston and Mr. Stinky like the cool tile on their bellies.

Cold soba noodles hit the spot on a summer day

I ate a LOT of salads this week too! These tomatoes from Ho Farms were ridiculously sweet.

Still trying to get rid of my slippah tan!

Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti w/ Lychee Jelly…oh yeah!

My kitchen scrap vegetable garden is looking pretty good! Click on the photo to check out my easy DIY video

My new love, a Shun knife (gift from cousin Po)

Random grocery haul: I’ve got big plans for the fillo dough and agar!

When it’s absolutely, positively too hot to cook, the best thing to make is…reservations!

One of my favorite new restaurants is The Grove. We may not have an all vegan restaurant in Kailua yet, but there are certain establishments that make a great effort to have more plant-based options. The Grove offers beautiful salads, flatbreads,and sandwiches that can be easily veganized and my favorite, the kiawe grilled vegetable terrine. The terrine is a piece of art. Layers of eggplant, zucchini, peppers, sea asparagus,tomatoes and basil are served cold (or warm by request) atop swirls of two different  purees, kabocha pumpkin and Okinawan sweet potato. Dig into this stack of yum and make sure to get some of the balsamic reduction on your fork to tie it all together into a perfect bite. The presentation is so gorgeous, I’d expect to see it plated for close to $20 at someplace like Millennium in San Francisco. It’s on the menu for only $8 here! And if you really want to dine frugally, get there between 5:30-6:00pm for the early bird menu- 3 courses for $17.

The Grove on Urbanspoon

Kiawe Grilled Vegetable Terrine @The Grove, Kailua

DIY: Grow a Garden from Kitchen Scraps

Organic food can be really expensive, right? I saw a post on Pinterest about growing a garden with kitchen scraps and wondered if it could really be done. Basically, you can double your money if you use the trimmings you’d normally throw away to grow more food. Is your thumb brown instead of green? No worries, you can do this.

I’m not a gardening expert and I don’t use anything particularly fancy. The only thing I am picky about is my soil. Composting and making your own soil is best (leave me a comment if you want to know what my method is and I’ll do a separate post). If I have to buy a bag, I choose organic potting soil and steer clear of brands like Miracle Grow. I mix in my favorite fertilizer Down To Earth 6-Pound Vegan Mix 3-2-2  and follow-up with a chemical-free soil conditioner EM-1 Microbial Inoculant . The EM-1 can also be used weekly to help the plants absorb more nutrients. My little patch of garden only gets partial sun, about 4-5 hours a day. Even if your growing conditions are not ideal, you should be successful with the varieties listed below.

*Always start with organic, non-GMO fruit or vegetables*

Pineapple– Remove all of the fruit flesh or it will rot. Peel back the lower leaves from the crown to expose the root nodes. Place in a glass of water near sunlight and you will see roots begin to form in 5-10 days. I like to let the roots get really long so that I get a super strong and healthy plant when I put it in the soil.You can grow them in a large pot, raised bed, or put them straight in the ground. Pineapples are part of the bromeliad family and hold water in the space between the leaves. I water from the top a few times a week and have them planted in full sun to partial shade.It takes a full 18 months for the plant to fruit, but it will be the most delicious pineapple you ever tasted!

Celery– Cut off the bottom root end leaving about 3-4 inches of the stalk. Place the root end in water and place near a sunlit window. I removed more of the outer ribs after about 5 days to encourage more root growth. Once the roots are established, plant the celery in soil, covering the roots and base with about 2 inches  of soil. I have mine in a large pot in full sun. Keep the soil evenly moist but do not over water. Harvest in about 120 days.

Ginger– Choose a piece of ginger root that does not look dried out or shriveled up. I select pieces that have lots of “nubs” since this is where the ginger will sprout. Cover the root with soil, nubs facing up. I like to plant ginger in a large pot to keep it from spreading out too much in the garden. Keep the soil well-drained and evenly moist. Do not over water or the roots will rot. Harvest in about 4-6 months.

Garlic– Select larger cloves and peel back the paper from the sprout end ( the pointy side of the clove).Push the clove into well-drained soil, sprout side up.Garlic tends to favor full-sun. The green tops or garlic “scapes” will appear in about two weeks. The scapes are edible and can be used in pesto or other dishes. It takes about 9-12 months for the garlic to mature. A good indicator will be when the scapes turn brown and start to die back. Cut the tops off, do not water for about five days and then harvest.

Green Onions– The easiest thing to grow! Choose green onions with healthy looking roots at the market. Cut off the tops, leaving about 3 inches above the roots. Place in a glass of water near a sunlit window. Green onions will regrow in about 10 days and can be cut again. Leave them in growing in water ( change the water once a week) or plant them in soil outside.

Round Onions -Cut off the root end and leave about 1/2 inch of the onion flesh. Place the roots into a large pot or directly into well-drained soil. Leave most of the onion flesh exposed above the soil, it will sprout from the center onion ring.Do not over water or the bulbs will rot. Onions are ready to harvest in about 60-70 days. A good indicator of when they are ready is when the tops start to fall over and die, similar to the garlic.You can use the green tops in cooking.

Growing my own fruits and veggies helps me to feel more connected to my food. How does your garden grow? Let me know if you have any great tips for easy planting.


September Conscious Box Giveaway!

Aloha friends! I can’t believe that my Facebook page has over 1,000 likes and I’m getting very close to 1,000 subscribers on YouTube. Thank you so much for your support . I really appreciate all of you that have joined the conversation. It keeps me motivated to know that we all share a love for delicious and beautiful plant-based food. I’m super excited that Conscious Box is providing one  of their first all vegan boxes for me to giveaway!

Conscious Box has teamed up with Brendan Brazier, former pro Ironman triathlete, bestselling author of Thrive, and formulator of Vega. Brendan Brazier is known as a top authoritative source for the vegan, plant-based diet, and has used his experiences to help create one of the most incredible Conscious Box experiences yet!

Here’s how to enter:

1) Be sure to “Like” Conscious Box and Veggietorials on Facebook

2) Leave me a comment on this post telling me how you found my blog/Facebook/YouTube. Did you see one of my videos? Did a Facebook photo catch your eye? Have you tried one of my recipes? One entry per person. ( Please comment here on my blog, not on FB)

3) I will select one winner to receive one (1) September Conscious Box. Must have a U.S. shipping address to win. Winner will be contacted via email (please be sure you use a valid email when you leave your comment)

4) Giveaway ends August 20, 2012 and winner will be contacted via email. Winner has 48 hours to respond and claim the prize or an alternate will be chosen.

Mahalo and good luck!

Braised Shiitake Inari Sushi

These little tofu pockets have been on my mind since I tried a version at M Cafe de Chaya in Beverly Hills. The idea was wonderful, but the tidbits I sampled were dried out and flavorless after sitting in the deli case.

After a quick trip to Marukai for the ingredients, I had the brilliant idea to use my leftover of quinoa instead of rice to bump up the nutrition in this snack-a-roo.

It’s been awhile since I made inari sushi and was unable to find the dry tofu pockets that you can rehydrate and season yourself, so had to pick up a package of the pre marinated inari skins. Most of the brands used bonito (fish) for seasoning but I was able to find a can of the Shirakiku pockets that were vegetarian*. This product does contain MSG which is another reason why I prefer to buy the dry tofu skins and marinate them myself. I’m the kind of geek that reads almost every ingredient list. Even on products I’ve been buying for years, I still peruse the ingredients because manufacturers can often alter the formula for a product.

You can purchase furikake to season the rice or quinoa but again, many brands use bonito, shrimp, mackerel or anchovies in the ingredients. It’s simple enough to mix the seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar and maybe a pinch of salt to your liking.

Braising the shittakes in the combination of sweet hoisin* and salty oyster sauce adds more complex layers of flavor to this otherwise simple dish.

Braised Shiitake Inari Sushi

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (16 pieces)

  • 16 seasoned Inari wrappers ( tofu pockets)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (rice cooking wine or sake)
  • 1 tablespoon nama shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dried seaweed, crushed (wakame,nori,etc)
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts,chopped
  • 1 carrot,finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons green onions or chives,finely chopped
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced (rehydrate if using dried)
  • 1 cup mushroom soaking liquid, reserved (or 1 cup water if using fresh mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce (or black bean garlic sauce)


Cook quinoa and set aside to cool. Braise shiitake mushrooms in a small saucepan with reserved soaking liquid or water,hoisin and vegetarian oyster sauce.Cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and juicy. Mix rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and shoyu in a small bowl. Pour liquid mixture over quinoa. Add water chestnuts,carrot,sesame seeds and seaweed. Mix well.

Stuff each inari wrappers with a generous amount of the quinoa filling but be careful not to overstuff and break the wrapper.Top with 2 slices of shiitake,green onions and garnish with black sesame seeds.

Store unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days, but best eaten fresh.

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*Caveat for ethical vegans- All of the prepared tofu pockets brands(inari skins) will contain sugar.The sugar is not specified as organic on the ingredient list, so may or may not be devoid of bone char processing. Packaged hoisin sauce also contains sugar of questionable origin but it’s easy enough to make your own.

Cool & Creamy Coleslaw

I think coleslaw is one of my favorite summer salads. From picnics to BBQs, this side dish compliments rich and spicy  foods with a cool tang. You can speed up the prep time by using a food processor to chop all the vegetables but I prefer to hand chop.

Cool & Creamy Vegan Coleslaw

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Keywords: uncook salad side dairy free gluten-free nut-free vegan vegetarian cabbage Picnic BBQ spring summer

Ingredients (8-10 servings)

  • 3/4 head large green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk (iunsweetened,unflavored)
  • 3/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons Penzey’s Forward seasoning (similar to Old Bay)
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • salt & pepper to taste


Chop all vegetables and place in large mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Taste and correct seasoning, add salt & pepper.Pour dressing over vegetables and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Store unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Purple Haze Smoothie

It’s Sunday, I’m rocking out to Jimi and feeling inspired. I may even do something wild & crazy, like more video editing. But first, I need a some liquid sustenance. The texture of this smoothie is big part of what makes it perfect for me. Using frozen fruit and no ice makes the consistency super duper creamy. None of the flavor is diluted from ice, so the natural sweetness from the fruit and the tang from the coconut yogurt really stand out. Add magical ingredients like maca, chia, spirulina to bump up the nutrition in this antioxidant rich meal-in-a-cup.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky…

Purple Haze Smoothie

by Veggietorials

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Keywords: blender smoothie dairy free gluten-free soy-free nut-free vegan vegetarian blueberries Raw summer spring

Ingredients (about 32oz ( 2 tall glasses))

  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla coconut yogurt
  • 2 cups frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 3 mandarins, peeled
  • I always use organic ingredients when available but make a special point to use organic berries exclusively.Conventional berries tend to test very high for pesticide residue


Combine all ingredients in a VitaMix. Blend on high speed for 60 seconds.Use tamper as needed.No need to add ice, the frozen fruit should keep this pleasantly cool.Serve immediately.

*If you do not have 2HP blender, you may need to use non-frozen ingredients and add ice at the end.Ice will dilute the flavor slightly.

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My Week in Photos

Aloha Friday friends!I’ve been working on a lot of different projects this week and I’m excited to give you a little sneak peek.

My new video editing glasses 🙂

Filmed and edited my Cool & Creamy Coleslaw recipe

Filmed a quick DIY on how to grow veggies from scraps you trim away. Super easy and even better than composting!

Took a break to grab a bite at Loving Hut on King St.

What the pho?!

Recipe test for Okonomiyaki was a success! Filming this video next week

Humidity is one factor that can really throw a glitch into filming. Eh, you don’t always need to see my mug in the videos, right?