16 November 2011


As it is 16 November, Halloween has passed and (Unitedstatesian) Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  The Holidays are a time of gathering of family and friends.  Last year, my neighbors and I had a friend Thanksgiving and I hosted my family and a couple friends at my apartment on Thanksgiving day (my family's first completely cruelty-free Thanksgiving complete with seitan roast, green bean casserole [all from scratch], stuffing and soy crème brulée for dessert).  This year, skip the turkey and leave the Tofurky Roast on the Whole Foods shelf.  This weekend, I'll be posting recipes for a complete cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner all from scratch.  Following these recipes will lead to a successful vegan holiday where the only suffering will be by the waist of your pants, struggling to make room for all the vegan deliciousness.

Vegan Chicago on the Road! - NYC

Next month, I will be going to New York City to visit a friend who will be coming in from Italy.  If any readers have any suggests for vegan places to eat in NYC, please let me know, I'll be happy to try them out and review them!

Review: 16.11.11 - Urban Vegan

Kids, in the fall of 2011, I discovered a new vegan restaurant about a mile away from my apartment, Urban Vegan. An asian-themed version of the Chicago Diner. The first time I had it, I I used grubhub to have it delivered to me. I had stir-fry vegetables with pepper steak. Then, I continued to order from Urban Vegan wanting to try the different dishes they offered on their menu. So here's what I think of:

1605 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613

4:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Tuesday - Thursday
11:00 am - 9:30 pm
Friday - Saturday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
12:00 am - 9:00 pm

As I stated earlier, I grubhub from this restaurant frequently. I've been inside as well. Like most small shop restaurants in the city, Urban Vegan has limited seating but the service is excellent. Water and Miso soup are brought to you once you sit down. The menu offers a broad range of dishes and for someone who is used to non-vegetarian asian restaurants, receiving the menu for the first time can be liberating. Orange Chicken, Pepper Steak chow mein, the list goes on, tens of items that shout, "TRY ME!"

Now, I have no experience with the actual dish Orange Chicken, I have no idea what it's actually supposed to taste like, but this was great, truly an enjoyable eating experience. The Pepper Steak, I believe is Vegetarian Plus's Pepper Steak and you can get it with almost anything. The orange chicken is from the same brand. Despite them not actually making their TVP, it's still delicious and dining is an enjoyable experience. They also have veggie fish and shrimp dishes, but I must admit, those scare me a bit.

Taking into consideration that their TVP is commercial product and not homemade or locally made, Urban Vegan still gets a happy bunny rating for making Thai/asian food vegan and allowing me to try things where I never had their meat counterparts.

The service is excellent and deliveries are prompt. I would recommend Urban Vegan over any other Asian restaurant simply because instead of being limited to just curry, you can try anything on the menu and everything is delicious.

Expect a review from Ben soon!

03 April 2011

Vegan White Pizza

Pizza. The soft spot in every vegan's heart. Vegan pizza has existed in several forms, but they never... looked like pizza. This is a white pizza I made today (and ate half of before I remembered to take a picture for Vegan Chicago). A white pizza is one without tomato sauce, but with olive oil and garlic for a sauce.
You can certainly put whatever you like on the pizza (including the vegan kimchi I gave a recipe for), so for this recipe, I'm just going to give the pizza dough recipe. This will also mark the turning point in my recipes with it being the first to use ingredients by mass (if you don't measure out ingredients by mass, you should switch over, you'll thank me for it)

225 g bread flour
30 ml sugar
7 g active dry yeast
200 ml water
15 ml salt
15 ml Olive Oil

Boil water and place hot water into a liquid measuring cup. Add sugar, stir and dissolve. Drop a cooking thermometer into the sugar water and let the temperature reach about 43°C. Once the desired temperature has been reached, add yeast and let proof until the top gets foamy. Add the flour, olive oil and salt. Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl covered with a warm wet towel and let rise for 45 minutes. Once the ball has risen a bit, turn out onto a surface and roll out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. Now, for this one, I put it on my cast iron grill first to cook the bread so the crust would be crispy on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Once this has been done, then you can build your pizza. This one was done with Olive Oil, a couple cloves of garlic (minced), basil and Daiya Cheese.
Happy eating!

Vegan Omelette

Okay, so the picture (shown with pancakes, also vegan) isn't the best, but this is a work in progress. Since my unfortunate mishap with Victory's Banner, I've been thinking about working on a vegan omelette that looks like an omelette. Friday night, I had a vegan author/couchsurfer, Shakti, stay with me. Saturday morning, we promptly set out on the task of creating a vegan omelette that looks like a proper omelette.

1 Package of Silken Tofu
1/4 c (rounded) of Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 t Tumeric
1 t olive oil
a pinch of salt & pepper
a splash of soy sauce
dash of garlic powder

In a bowl, break down the cube of tofu and add the egg replacer with a whisk. Once the mixture is broken down, add in the flour, tumeric, salt, pepper, soy sauce and garlic powder. Once this has been well mixed, fold in the Daiya cheese. Once this has been done and the cheese is evenly distributed, heat up a pan with olive oil and once hot, place the mixture in to make omelette. Place in any thing you'd like to put in the omelette (i.e. onions, green pepper, mushrooms, etc.).
For best results, let the mixture sit for couple minutes then move around, like making scrambled eggs. Eventually, you will end up with an omelette form.
This was fairly easy.

02 March 2011



Being of Korean birth, this stuff runs through my blood. I cannot get enough of fermented cabbage.
Back on 10 February, I posted my recipe for "Working man's Kimch'i" or "Kimch'i-kraut" which was a cheater's way of making something similar to Kimch'i. Today, I post my recipe for his big brother, quite possibly one of the best things I make (because of the emotional attachment or birth ties). Now, Kimch'i can be made with a variety of different ingredients, Napa cabbage, Bok Choy, Cucumbers, Zucchini, etc. Most of the time I make my kimch'i with Bok Choy because it's easier to come by at my local grocery store, and that is the what this recipe consists of.
The recipe used this time:
Main part
1 head of Bok Choy (or Napa Cabbage)
2 carrots
1 large daikon raddish (julienned)
Saline bath
about 6-7 c water
4 T kosher salt
Seasoning liquid
about 2 T water
2 walnut-sized pieces of ginger (peeled and minced)
about 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
3-4 T Red pepper flakes
4 T plum sauce
Take the head of Bok Choy and cut into 1.5 to 2 inch slices from top to bottom. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the heck out of the carrots, to nothingness. Finally, julienne the daikon raddish.
Place the salt in a container and add the water. Mix well until completely dissolved.
Take the prepared vegetables, place in a large bowl. Pour the saline solution over the vegetables. Cover with a plate and weigh the plate down to completely submerge the vegetables.
Let sit for 4-5 hours.
While waiting for the time to elapse, prepare the seasoning liquid by putting the water, minced ginger and garlic, spices, etc. into a jar and let sit.

Once the vegetables have been in the brine solution for 4-5 hours, drain the brine and rinse the vegetables under cold water. Mix the seasoning liquid into the vegetables well and put into a container or containers to let ferment.
For best results, let sit at room temperature for at least 72 hours or in the refrigerator for at least a week. If you use an old jar with a pop top lid, you'll know it's ready when the pop top will not let you press in.
And there you have it!
Homemade VEGAN kimch'i. You can serve it as a side, in kimch'i fried rice, kimch'i jjigae, etc.

10 February 2011

Working man's Kimch'i / Kimch'i-kraut?

Now, I make a proper Korean, vegan Kimch'i (Korean fermented cabbage). I've made it a few times and it's really good, especially for someone who grew up with it. I'll share the recipe the next time I make it; but for the Super Bowl, I had part of a head of cabbage left over and thought to make sauerkraut. What I ended up with was what I'd like to call, "working man's kimch'i" or mabybe "kimch'i-kraut"?; if you don't have the time to prepare proper kimch'i, this is the recipe for you. It looks nothing like Kimch'i, it's not fermented like Kimch'i, but it'll hold you over until you can get Kimch'i.

3/4 head of cabbage sliced thinly.
1/2 small onion
1/2 c water
3 T Apple Cider vinegar
a pinch of salt
1 to 2 T sugar
1 T Sriracha Hot Sauce
**spices to taste**
Garlic powder
Ground Cumin
Ground Ginger
Dill (weird, I know, but good)

In a medium sized pot, cook the cabbage down a bit, add apple cider vinegar. Mix in the other ingredients gradually and let cook down completely. After about 30 minutes total, remove from heat, let cool and serve.

While I may have a definitive place to put this dish... it's definitely something else you can do with cabbage that doesn't turn out half bad.