Monday, September 8, 2008

Food, food, and more food

I'm terrible at writing titles for these posts. Anyway, I have neglected this blog for over 6 months now. Life has been busy, crazy, all those things that distract you from blogging. I have intermittently been taking pictures of my food, so without further adieu...

After having an amazing veggie burger with teriyaki sauce & grilled pineapple in Maui last summer, I decided to try something similar at home. Here I used my go-to Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomican, some delicious teriyaki, and fresh pineapple that I grilled myself. Of course, anything with pineapple is probably delicious, as you'd expect, but I really enjoyed this.

I had leftover pineapple, and I remembered once having pineapple mushroom pizza and liking it. So, I made it happen, with a whole wheat crust & FYH vegan mozz. Yum. I actually made 2 of these, all for myself, bwahahahaha.

Lentil Sloppy Joes. No idea where I got the recipe from. They were very tasty, even if I did overcook the lentils a bit. No biggie, I still ate these for lunch for basically a whole week.

Cauliflower, peas, peppers & soy curls in some kind of Indian sauce I made (I forget! this was ages ago!) over jasmine rice. Yummmmmmmm.

I believe this was vanilla poundcake with a lime glaze from... Veganomicon? I made it twice, it was tasty-licious!

This is one of my favorite dishes EVER! I actually make it quite often. It's from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and while I forget the exact name, it's something like Polenta bake. It's just so easy and delicious and I never tire of it.

Hm. I don't quite remember what this was. I do recall thinking everything looked very pretty all chopped up, and I remember eating it (vaguely). Maybe Pineapple Cashew Stir fry? As you can see, I went on a huge pineapple kick. Okay fine, when am I NOT on a pineapple kick...

No clue what exactly this is... whole wheat pasta & peas in... vegan alfredo sauce? That's my guess at least.

And now, for my most recent dish, which was absolutely delish...

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Gratin, adapted from a NYT recipe that was featured in their series on eggplant recently. Really I just subbed a bunch of nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese. I am sad that I only have 1 serving left, but I will definitely be making this again. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I used eggplant and tomatoes from my CSA share, and homemade breadcrumbs, either. I'm going to go eat more of this right now!!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

...And we're back! (again)

Finally! This will just be to catch up on things I've made since the last time I posted, which was in (gulp) November. I really did have every intention of updating, but life frequently gets away from me. Unfortunately I have very little recollection of the order in which I made things at this point =P
First up, Winter Squash Stew with Pinto Beans & Corn, a la Fat Free Vegan. My pictures will never be as beautiful as hers, but Susan's recipes are always perfectly delicious. I have yet to be disappointed!

Next up, Pumpkin Spice Bread from the PPK. I kind of wish this had been more pumpkin-ey and more spice-y, but now I know what do adjust for the next time. It was tasty nonetheless and I had it for breakfast for a few days.

This is an absolutely amazing cake that I made 3 times within 2 weeks for different functions (well, one just for myself) - and no one cared that it was vegan! It was that damn good. It's the Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe from the Urban Vegan. The photo is the first one I made for myself; you can see that I had a bit of trouble getting it out of the cake pan, but that never happened again. This cake was just wow all around - tangy cranberries, a slightly lemony cake... how can you go wrong?

But I had some cranberries left over... what to do? Add them to the pumpkin spice muffins (VwaV) that you've been having a love affair with for months! This added a whole new dimension of awesomeness to these muffins.

I made them multiple times, actually, since I made the cake multiple times and kept having a small amount of cranberries left. I brought a giant batch of them to the final exam for my evil class, figuring we all need something tasty in our bellies, and boy did these go quickly. Naturally I was procrastinating by making the muffins instead of studying, but that's just what I do.
Back in November I gave the Veganomicon Chickpea Cutlets o' greatness a try, after seeing them appear on so many of the other vegan food blogs. I made a portobello mushroom gravy to go with them (some fried, some baked, just to experiment). Sadly, I wasn't impressed this first time, but a month or so later I gave them another shot and figured out what I was doing wrong: not kneading enough! You really need to beat the crap out of the "dough" (or at least I feel like I'm beating the crap out of it!). Then they come out much more tender and tasty. I now keep chickpeas permanently stocked in my pantry, just in case I get a craving.

I continued baking in the weeks before Christmas with this Vanilla Pound Cake (Veganomicon). It was nice and moist, and had a good flavor, but it just didn't do for me in the "pound cake" category. I'm still trying to figure what would make it pound cake-ier in terms of texture. The flavor works well though, and it was very good warmed up with some blueberry sauce.

Since I had more time to cook once classes were over, I went for Veganomicon's spicy tempeh and kale (I think that's where the recipe was from??). The flavors were good (how can you go wrong with kale?!), but I think I'm having issues with tempeh because its texture was just bleh to me. I think I'll try it with tofu next time.

Then Christmas came rolling around and I needed a gift for my landlords downstairs and our upstairs neighbors. I absolutely did not want to go out shopping, so cookies it was! I gave them a dozen each of VwaV ginger snaps (which I've made previously), Veganomicon Almond Cookies (so good! very German tasting), and chocolate chip cookies (I think also Veganomicon?). Naturally I made a few "extra" for me to nosh on. I neglected to tell everyone that they were vegan (I think they'd have ditched them if they knew), but they got rave reviews from the recipients (and me!)!! It was worth all the effort baking them the weekend before Christmas.

Now, these were a total impluse buy at Whole Foods and really expensive, but it was soooooo worth it just to try them once. These are Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows!!! I haven't had marshmallows since I went veg at 13, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But oh my heavens, these are almost exactly how I remember marshmallows! A little denser, but the flavor is spot on. Pathetically, I kept roasting them over a burner on my gas range; then the texture and flavor were absolute perfection. I just wanted to stuff them all in my mouth! They were a really great one time treat.

I hadn't eaten brussels sprouts since probably middle school. One day I decided it was time for the sprouts and I to have a reunion, but how? Someone gave me the brilliant idea to roast them, and they were FABULOUS. I'm actually about to have them again this week (the last time I made them was January). Just cut the suckers in half, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat, throw on a pan lined with parchment, roast, and bingo! Sprouty awesomeness! Who'd have thought that such a detested veggie could be so succulent and delicious?

And finally, random meals that I threw together:

Quinoa pasta with lemon herb sacue, Temp-teh from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (my impulse gift to myself while Christmas shopping!), and lemony steamed kale.

The use what you have dinner: spinach & mushrooms with tofu feta (storebought - didn't love & had to use up somewhere) and Tamari Chickpea spread from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (which I am absolutely obsessed with... probably because it has vegan mayo in it, mmmmmmm).

Obviously there were many more things made over the last few months (I lost my pics of my Thanksgiving extravaganza!), and even more delicious things consumed, but alas, this is the only photo evidence. Well, not all, I've already started amassing more pictures on my other memory card :) Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

coming soon...

I do realize that I haven't posted in quite a while. I have, however, been taking pictures of my food to share! They're just still on my camera. The end of last semester nearly killed me, and let's just say I wasn't eating all that well or interestingly. Then came winter break (though I was still working full time) and I enjoyed not being forced to do anything I didn't want to do. I did quite a bit of cooking though, including Christmas cookies for my upstairs & downstairs neighbors (I didn't tell them the cookies were vegan, hehe; and they LOVED them! I'm so sneaky). In addition to trying out new Veganomicon recipes, I also bought myself a little giftie while Christmas shopping: Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. I've been enjoying it so far, and there are pictures to come (I think). I know I didn't photograph what I call Mexican Lasagna, but it was great and my coworkers said it smelled delicious too. Anyway, eventually I will get around to posting my pictures soon - the new semester has started and that means more time for procrastination! And procrastination now includes going to the gym :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

If I'm in the kitchen, I'm probably procrastinating.

There's nothing like midterms to make me want to get in the kitchen. It's a productive way of procrastinating. And at least if I fail out of grad school, I will have delicious food to eat.
I've been seriously abusing the deliciousness of spaghetti squash lately. I need to find something new to do with them, but they are so yummy as is. My organic CSA has an orangetti variety, which I like better for no particular reason. I've been putting together different sauces to top the shredded squash with, like the arugula pesto and tomato sauce below (I couldn't decide which to have, so I made both toppings). I think I might try spaghetti squash pancakes next.

Not one to waste things, I've been taking the seeds from all the sqashes I've cooked and roasting them in the toaster oven. Most people think you can only do this with pumpkin seeds, but almost any squash will do (pumpkins are squash too! Yay curcurbitaceae!). Once you've cleaned, washed, and dried off the seeds, toss with a scant amount of olive oil - just enough to coat - and some salt. Then you spread them on a baking sheet or piece of foil and stick them in to cook for ~30 minutes at 300 degrees, or until slightly crunchy. They're great just with the bit of salt, but I've also been adding some curry before roasting, which is so, so good, and also what is pictured below.
I've been doing a lot of baking as well. I made the chocolate chip cookies from VwaV (thumbs up all around, including those who received some as birthday gifts), which I forgot to photograph. They were eaten too quickly (mostly by me). I tried to make some peanutbutter cookies from VwaV for a coworker's party, but something went horribly awry and the result was not fit for human consumption. Believe me, I tried to eat them. I still have no idea what went wrong. But sometimes you just have to get back on the horse, so I made these tasty but not overly impressive chocolate thumbprint cookies with strawberry preserves.

I got some tat soi (or pak choi, depending on your mood) in my CSA share last week, and I had to figure out what to do with it. I looked at a bunch of different recipes for cold tat soi salads and came up with this cold sesame tatsoi, pictured here with quinoa pasta and more homemade tomato sauce. Yes, I know they totally don't go together, but I tend to eat my foods one at a time, so it worked out.

I marinated the tat soi in a bit of tamari, rice wine vinegar and an eensy bit of sugar. I let it sit too long though (overnight, oops), so the saltiness of the tamari was too much for me. Anyway, then right before serving, I mixed in a little sesame oil and sesame seeds. If it wasn't for the saltiness, I'd have given this a big smiley face or whatever you give yummy things.

I've also been excited by all the varieties of apples coming in to the farmer's market. A special treat my mom used to make is baked apples. I still make them her way: get as much of the core out without breaking through the bottom, fill the hole in the middle w/ a pat of [soy margarine] and a lot of brown sugar, then sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until soft. My brother and I used to douse these in whipped cream, which I kind of miss doing, but it's still tasty.

Before and after pictures. The apple shouldn't um, explode like that, but you get the idea. It was really strange though, some of the juice got on the pan and as it starting getting crispy it seriously smelled like marshmallows roasting!

I also made my first attempt at making applesauce from scratch, and it was AWESOME. I kind of winged it after reading a few recipes, but it came out perfect; hopefully I can replicate it in the future, since I plan on freezing a load of this stuff. Basically I peeled, cored and sliced the apples, put them in a pot with ~1 cup of water, ~1/2 cup of brown sugar, a bunch of cinnamon, the juice of half a giant lemon, and some long peels from the lemon (to be taken out later). Cook until the apples are soft, pick out the lemon peels, and put through the food mill (I did it on the chunkiest setting). Then taste and see what it needs; I put in a teeny bit more (white) sugar, a splash of vanilla, and some more water to thin it out because it was too chunky even for me. It is FABULOUS. Okay, I'll stop raving about it now.

[Blogger pictures not working now. Grr.]

And because I am always looking for more ways to add sugar to my diet (HA), my favorite way to prepare butternut squash: load the cavity with brown sugar!

[Blogger pictures still not working. Grr.]

Friday, September 21, 2007

Adventures in Deliciousity

This post is brought to you by... the color green. At least, last night's dinner was very green:

Some wilted swiss chard and gnocchi with pesto. The chard and basil for the pesto came from my wonderful organic CSA. Yum!

Sorry for all the crappy pictures I have to show you here, but I do a lot of my cooking rather late and the light stinks when I actually get around to taking pics. Since I haven't posted in a million years, I have a lot to share!

I got these cute pattypans one week. I knew someone had posted a recipe using pattypan squashes once, so after some digging, I realized it was this Patty Pan Squash Stuffed with Cajun White Beans recipe over at the FatFree Vegan blog (I <3>

These had everyone at work drooling, and inspired a coworker to make some stuffed squash like this for some friends coming over that night! So easy and tasty.

My CSA share has provided me with a ridiculous number of green bell peppers. I really do like them, but it has become a real challenge to find new and exciting things to do with them. Here is one iteration of many stuffed peppers I've had recently:

This one is brown rice, onions, tomato sauce, herbs and Morningstar Chik'n Strips thrown in because I had to use them up (wasn't a huge fan). It came out good, but my coworkers teased me about eating so many "stuffed" vegetables.

I thought I'd share a picture of these gorgeous beans we've been getting. They were first labeled "Magic Beans" at the CSA pickup and I didn't know why (subsequently, they were labeled Rattlesnake beans, and I don't know why they're called that either).

Then I steamed them and learned why they are magic!!

It's a little dark, but if you look closely, there are no more purple stripes on the beans! I was really confused when I made them for the first time. They would be fun for kids I think. They're pictured here with the Creamy Tomato Sauce from Vegan YumYum, which I've made several times with my handy dandy Magic Bullet, proving that it is good for something besides smoothies and pesto. I hate Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, but at least you can't taste it in this recipe, and it's another quick and easy sauce to whip up. I also ate it with just some bread once (LAZY).

There was also a night where I ate this delicious stuff with just some really good italian bread:

It was my first attempt at making tomato sauce myself (a la Joy of Cooking), and it was so amazingly delicious, which is why I just sopped it all up with bread. I think it was because it was such a good tomato week from the CSA share. I have yet to recreate the awesomeness of this first attempt - subsequent tries where significantly more lackluster in the taste department. I will keep plugging away at it though, because hot damn, that first sauce was so good!

I also had a ridiculous amount of zucchini at one point, so I went wild and pureed it into soup. Tasty, but not very filling. I have a relatively high metabolism, so I need calories!
Aaah, calories... seek and ye shall find. I wanted to make something sweet as a goodbye for my intern, so I decided to give the raspberry chocolate chip blondies from VwaV a shot:

Holy crap, these were AMAZING. Danny doesn't even like raspberry and he said they were great (he requested future batches be made with strawberry preserves instead). My intern thought they were awesome, as did everyone else who tried them. Especially me. So decadent and delish. I never thought I'd like a blondie as much as this. Here's a pic so you can see a little more of the detail pre-cutting:

I have to say, everything I've baked from VwaV has gotten absolutely rave reviews from vegans and omnis alike. Not to mention how much I've enjoyed eating it all! The chocolate chip cookies are on deck for my next baking venture.
Over the past few months, I've seen a ton of people make Jess of Get Sconed's version of the New Farm mac 'n cheese. I finally couldn't resist and gave it a shot. This is the only picture I managed to take before I scarfed it down.

Wow, this was so good! It was nice and creamy, unlike other vegan mac and cheeses I've tried to make. I added some english peas I had frozen a couple months ago, which worked out perfectly. I will definitely be making this again!
There are other meals and other pics but I think this has been long enough already. I knew I'd get back to this once school started - anything to avoid homework!!! My mom is worried about me going to school on Monday; the president of Iran will be there for a Q&A with faculty and students. She's convinced I'm going to get blown up or something, even though I will likely be off campus before he even arrives. Gotta love mom :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

on the road again

Well, not literally on the road, more like in the air... Through a happy coincidence and proper alignment of the stars, I managed to finagle a budget friendly trip to Maui, which is where I will be for the next week. If it's anything like Oahu, I will be eating a lot of the Luna bars I brought and cereal. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised!

See you when I get back!

Friday, July 27, 2007

...and we're back!

Oh poor flog, I have been neglecting you. I lost a bunch of pictures and got annoyed with cooking for a while. But there's still a lot to catch up on! Here's what happened in the interim...

Well, there was my birthday, first of all! We had a little party at my brother's in Connecticut. The fam had burgers and dogs while I had a grilled portobello. And this delicious pineapple upside down cake that my mom made. I'd never had this cake before, despite my ridiculous love of pineapples! The six candles are for the number of years past twenty... now starts the downward slope to thirty!!!As a birthday gift, I begged my brother to get me popcorn, like he had for Christmas. He gave me a small sampler pack of gourmet popping corn for my air popper, and I loved it so much I wanted to try all the varieties. Here they are in all their colorful glory:
Then I had a plethora of blueberries because I can't stop buying them when they are in season. So, I decided to make the Blueberry Coffee Cake from VwaV. It made WAY more than I figured it would... I have a habit of not reading recipes all the way through (I just read the ingredients to make sure I have them) and didn't notice it required a 9x13 pan! So I brought half of it in to work, where it was positively DEVOURED within two hours, and some went to Danny's parents, who asked him to bring over more the next day. I think that solidifies the omni-approved rating for this recipe, yes? :) Here's how I had it after it cooled:
Last week I decided to try the VT Chicago Diner mushroom veggie burgers that I saw on Eat Air and Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan. There's no way these would hold up on the grill, but they sure were tasty. A lot of them fell apart, usually in half, so there were a lot of halves matched up on some wheat toast. I made up my own sauce to go on them because I didn't want to make the red pepper aoli; it was veganaise, ketchup, mustard, onion powder and a lot of hot sauce to give it some kick. I call this Condiment Sauce, and it goes on many things when I can't figure out what else to use.
I was trying to figure out what to do with some of the goodies from my organic CSA share, and decided I wanted to use the cauliflower and peas for something Indian flavored. I found this recipe on the fatfree vegan site and it sounded perfect to serve with some basmati rice. Well, the spices needed some major adjustment and it just wasn't saucy enough for my liking, but it wasn't terrible. I probably won't use this recipe again.
That brings me to tonight, where I still had to confront a lot of my CSA share veggies. We got some basil this week, so I knew I had to make pesto, so that meant pasta, but what else? I have a ridiculous amount of zucchini, so that went in, as well as a CSA onion. Why an onion? Because these are the best onions EVER. I ate a bunch of the sauteed onions before they even made it to the pasta. Here's the end result - I cleaned my whole plate tonight!
I was so happy to have an almost exclusively organic and local meal (the pasta sadly wasn't) - the zucchini, onion, basil, and garlic all came from good old Farmer John from Starbrite Farms! I've still got lettuce, swiss chard, tons more squash, fava beans and kale to use before the next delivery on Tuesday! Unfortunately I'll be away at a wedding tomorrow and Sunday, which makes it difficult, and then I am off to Maui for a week, so Danny's parents will be getting all my veggies!