Archive for Technique

Vegan Dumpster Sushi

Only the veggies for this sushi were dumpstered. I didn’t have sushi rice, or want to spend money on it, so I used brown rice. It was the first time I ever used brown rice for sushi and it worked out really well. And it’s better for you. I just added about a 1/4 cup more water than usual to cook it and that helped make it sticky enough.

You’ll need:

  • 3 c cooked brown or sushi rice (short grain)
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • veggies of your choice; I used:
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • cucumber
  • avocado
  • tempura batter
  • nori (roasted seaweed)
  • sushi mat (or get creative w/tinfoil, parchment paper, etc.)

Thinly slice the veggies and prepare the rice. Let it cool down to room temperature. Mix the vinegar and sugar together. You’re supposed to warm it up so the sugar dissolves more quickly, but I’m usually too impatient to do that. You can just let it dissolve in the vinegar while you wait for the rice to cool. Stir the vinegar mixture into the rice when cooled.

Batter and fry the veggies (except cucumber and avocado, of course). Somehow I didn’t get pictures of this step, but you can check out the link above for my post on making veggie tempura. Places the nori on the mat and spread rice onto a little less than one half of the sheet. Keep a bowl full of water next to you so you can keep your hands wet while you spread. It will keep the rice from sticking to you.

Layer the veggies, tuck them in, and start rolling.

Put a little water on the last bit of the nori to help it stick and form the roll.

Slice the roll. Use a damp towel to clean the knife after every cut, makes it a lot easier and cleaner.


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Vegan Dumpster Radish Kimchi

I am horrible at keeping up with posting. Someday I will be a disciplined blogger. Of course, judging by the large gaps between my “Coming Soon!” post and when I actually write the post, that day may be a long time coming. I never said I was perfect.

Anyway, once upon a time I briefly dated a Korean girl. By briefly I mean one month and during this month I had a constant supply of her mom’s homemade radish kimchi in my fridge. It was a really good month. Then I screwed up and I’m pretty sure she still hates me and I definitely still miss that kimchi.

Cabbage kimchi is … good. But, radish kimchi is the shit. The texture of the daikon, crisp yet a little soft; lots of heat yet cold; the red pepper and the green onions. Pretty much perfect.

After a Food Not Bombs cooking night I had a ton of daikon and Jerusalem artichokes on my hands. I had to make kimchi even though I knew I didn’t have all the right stuff. Whatever, I had to make kimchi.

You’re supposed to use:

  • daikon
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • fish sauce (use soy sauce or mushroom sauce)
  • sugar
  • red pepper powder
  • green onions
  • salt

This is what I had:

  • daikon
  • garlic
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • soy sauce
  • sugar
  • paprika and red pepper flakes
  • arugula (which I picked out of a bag of dumpstered salad mix)
  • salt

I cubed the daikon, covered with salt, and let it set while prepared the other ingredients. Jerusalem artichokes may look a lot like ginger, but there are no flavor similarities. I minced it like ginger anyway and used a lot since I had a ton and they have such a mild flavor.

I rinsed the daikon and mixed everything together in a bowl. Korean red pepper powder is NOT the same thing as red pepper flakes (like you put on pizza). Red pepper flakes come from cayenne peppers which means they’re pretty hot. I used the paprika, which is quite mild, and added a little bit of red pepper flakes to add some heat.


I covered it with an inverted plate and plastic wrap and let it sit unrefrigerated for 24 hours to ferment. Then I put it in small containers and put them in the fridge. It didn’t even compare to REAL kimchi, but it was good enough considering what I was working with.

Here’s one of the recipes (with nice photos) that I referenced when making my janky kimchi.


Dumpster Kimchi

And that’s the story of how I made the world’s jankiest radish kimchi.

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Dumpster Tip: Bagels

When freezing a surplus of dumpstered bagels slice them almost completely in half before you wrap them. This way you can just take them out of the freezer, pull the two pieces apart, and pop them in the toaster!

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Veggie Dumpster Tempura


Let’s say you dumpster a ton of vegetables. Let’s say you can’t eat them before they start to make your house smell like the dumpster you pulled them out of. Well, kid, I’ve got the perfect solution, and I am offering it to you completely free of charge. Just like the veggies you dumpstered!

We happened to find a couple bags of fancy schmancy pre-sliced carrots, three boxes of mushrooms, a green pepper, and an onion – all of which are perfect for making veggie tempura.

I had some tempura batter mix that my mom gave me, but it’s super easy to whip up your own all-purpose batter.


  • 1 cup flour
  • water, broth, beer, or soymilk (add a dash of vinegar to make ‘buttermilk’)
  • 1 tsp salt

Just mix together flour and salt then slowly add liquid until you reach a pancake-like consistency. Double or triple recipe as needed. You can also add a few splashes of hot sauce if you like. Batter your sliced veggies and deep fry.

But, wait, I said I could tell you how to solve your ‘too many veggies’ dilemma. Now you just have a ‘too much tempura’ problem. That doesn’t really solve anything.


This is where your freezer becomes your best friend. But you can’t just throw a bunch of steaming hot tempura in a bag and freeze it. Then you’ll just have a big tempura ice cube on your hands. First you have to let the tempura cool a little (while you’re stuffing your face) and spread them out on a plate or cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer for about an hour. This way they’ll be partially frozen when you wrap them up and won’t stick to each other.


Problem solved! Now whenever you want fatty fried food you can just pop these in the oven for a few minutes and reminisce about the night you dumpstered the veggies you’re now eating.

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Bagel Chips


When we dive we usually hit up a local bagel shop where we’re pretty much guaranteed a huge bag of various bagels. You can wrap and freeze the ones you can’t eat immediately, but I like to make a bunch of bagel chips to keep on hand. They’re great with hummus and a healthy alternative to potato chips.


Just slice the bagels as thin as you can and spread on a baking sheet. You can drizzle with olive oil, but it’s not necessary. You can also use salt and pepper, or whatever herbs or spices you like. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Store in an airtight container.

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I made a sourdough starter and left it in the cabinet with my vinegars and, well, then I kind of forgot about it. My girlfriend noticed something stinky while I was gone,  discovered the starter, and put it out on the porch. I hope it’s still out there because I want to see the blue stuff she was talking about. And take pictures, of course!

Here’s how I made my failed and forgotten sourdough starter:

 1/2 cup warm water + 1/2 cup flour + 1 tiny pinch of yeast (to help things along)

To test the water, stick your finger in it. If you can’t really feel anything (cold or hot) then it’s around 98 degrees which is perfect for making yeast happy without killing it.

So, I’ll attempt the starter again when we move into our new place and get it into the fridge before it turns hazardous.

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First Vinegar Attempt

Given my intense love affair with pickles you may correctly assume that I have a deep affection for all vinegars as well. Red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider, rice, malt, you name. Plus, vinegar most likely occurred by chance, kind of like love affairs do! Like, the mutual ones between humans – not so much humans and pickles.

Anyway, I’ve always had a palate geared more toward the sour, bitter, tangy, and savory. Even as a kid I would much prefer a pickle over ice cream or a lemon over a popsicle. I was inspired by Trace’s post about fruit scrap vinegar and decided to try it out.

I made a tiny little batch just to try it out and see if I have any success. I put a few slices of a dumpstered gala apple and maybe a tablespoon of sugar in a wine glass and filled it with water. That’s right, a wine glass. If this works I’m going to have some really classy vinegar. Maybe I’ll even store it in a Swarovski encrusted bottle. Maybe something a little like this:

Yeah, it’ll be like the Paris Hilton of Vinegars (who’s currently shilling ‘her’ cans of RICH Prosecco right now). Except, that giant praying mantis of an heiress is kind of the opposite of classy.

But, I digress. My concoction’s been chilling out in a dark cabinet for about a week now with a cloth on top to keep yucky things out. Chilling indeed. It’s been so cold the past few days and the heater here is such a joke that I’m afraid maybe it hasn’t been warm enough for my little acetobacters. Apparently between 70 and 90 degrees is ideal. It seems to be doing well though. The water is slightly tinted and there appear to be some gelatinous bits (the mother) forming on top. The smell is something like really fruity, sweet white wine.

I think tonight I’ll start a batch of red wine vinegar with some chianti I have. Oh, and there’s some Cristalino in the fridge! I’m totally going to make some champagne vinegar. MMM!

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