Monday, May 21, 2007

Portland, VegFest, Veganized Molé Rojo, Molé Verde, and Tamales!

I was traveling to Portland, Oregon, from May 10 - 14, 2007. The purpose was to visit friends (Julie Hasson, Bryanna, and Yongkie) and to attend Portland's VegFest 2007.

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It was a delightful journey to be close to friends I met in the Internet. Yes, Internet is a great place to meet friends who have the same taste and ideas.

Take a look at Bryanna's Blog: Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen about this event. I also went to Powell's bookstore and attended Bryanna's and Julie's demos at the VegFest. It was a lot of fun! Then, we all had a vegan asian fusion dinner at Julie's. Yum!

At Powell's (the biggest bookstore I've ever been), I bought new cookbooks. I love cookbooks! The one that was outstanding to me was the Mole! cookbook by Gwyneth Doland. It is not a vegan cookbook but I am able to veganize the recipes. I also want to make tamales with the veganized molé sauces I made from this cookbook.

It was a success! I made Vegan Molé Rojo (red molé).

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The ingredients are guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, new mexico chiles, whole cloves, canela (Mexican cinnamon), whole all spice, pecan halves, almonds, garlic, onions, tomatoes, bittersweet chocolate, and veg. broth.

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The next sauce is Vegan Molé Verde (green molé).

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The ingredients are tomatillos, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), canela(Mexican cinnamon), whole cloves, whole cumin seeds, garlic, onions, fresh pasilla chiles, fresh jalapeno chiles, fresh cilantro, and veg. broth.

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Mole Verde
Adapted and veganized from Mole! cookbook by Gwyneth Doland
Makes about 3 cups
3/4 lbs. tomatillos, husked and washed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 whole cloves
3-inch piece of canela or Mexican cinnamon
2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 cup cilantro leaves, washed and dried
1 teaspoon salt
  1. Put the tomatillos and broth in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Drain the tomatillos and save the broth.
  2. In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast the pepitas, cumin seeds, cloves, and canela until the seeds start to pop and turn golden.
  3. Transfer the seeds and spices to the blender and puree with about 1 cup of the reserved broth from the tomatillo pot. With a rubber spatula, scrape the puree into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Transfer the tomatillos to the empty blender. Add the jalapeno and poblano chiles, onion, and garlic. Puree while adding 1 cup of the reserved broth.
  5. Add the cilantro and puree again until smooth. Scrape this puree into a large bowl.
  6. In the cast-iron skillet, heat oil. Transfer the pepitas and spices mixture back to the skillet and fry this mixture in the oil until it browns slightly.
  7. Add the pureed tomatillos mixture to the skillet. Mix well and heat thoroughly. Add more broth if the mixture is too thick. Season with salt. Serve immediately or it can also be store in a freezer until ready to use.
Then, I made tamales' fillings using soy curls, onions, garlic, zucchini, red bell pepper, and cilantro. The fillings were cooked in these molé sauces.

Here is the picture of Molé Rojo Vegan Tamale:

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and the Molé Verde Vegan Tamale:

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BTW, I added Smoked Cheddar Sheese inside the Molé Verde Vegan Tamale and it was delish!

Now, this is a teaser for you. I won't post the recipes here but will include the recipes in Bryanna's Vegan Feast Newsletter . I haven't submitted recipes for a while so I thought I'll share my experience with vegan feasters only in the Readers' Recipes section.
On top of cooking and buying cookbook, I also went to visit my ex-roommate, Carolyn, that I haven't seen for 15 years. She suggested that we visit Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Rhododendrons are also known as Rhodies were flowering at that time. This turned out to be the highlight of my trip. We spent 2 hours in the garden and took a lot of pictures with my new camera, Canon Rebel XT Digital SLR. It was also Mother's Day that day. I promised my mother-in-law and my mom to share the pictures with them as I was thinking of them while strolling in the garden. For viewing the pictures, click here. I can't thank enough to Carolyn and her husband Michael to take me to this beautiful garden.
After enjoying the garden for 2 hours, we were famish. We went to this Lebanese restaurant(Yongkie's suggestion): Nicholas Restaurant for the best lunch I ever had in Portland. It is a family restaurant and very small. It has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options (check out their menu). This is the kind of restaurant I love: informal, family owned, small, located in not so great part of town (not in a mall or fancy location) but the waitresses and waiters are friendly and....the food is GREAT and CHEAP!


Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Wow, those look good! And your food photography is getting even better! I am salivating!

julie hasson said...

Yum Debbie!! I'm going to try making tamales soon, along with the mole sauces. Which sauce was your favorite?

Your food photos are great!


n/a said...

This is a great post - I love all of the pictures. Especially teh cilantro!

Vanessa said...

Argh! Thwarted from getting that tamale recipe - looks so good! I love mole and that green one looks particularily good. thanks.

april said...

I would love the recipe for your vegan mole verde! I went to the link for Bryanna's Vegan Feast Newsletter, but this issue is not available and I did not see the recipe listed anywhere else. Either way, if you would like to email me you can do so, princessleena at hotmail dot com.


spiceislandvegan said...

My favorite is the Mole Verde. I included the veganized recipe in the blog. Check it out!