Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bagels! Bagels! Bagels!

I thought I'd start by offering you the goods and, believe me, this picture actually does them a lot of justice. The reality is that these jalapeno bagels were a disaster, barely look like bagels, and adhered to the wax paper like a thrift store price tag to a $4 salad spinner. However, I am proud of myself for trying and they actually taste delicious. If I can get this recipe fine tuned, I might actually save myself some money, because...Well, I'll be honest: I eat bagels like they're going out of style. I'll defend the variety and nutritiousness of my diet against just about anything or anyone, but there is an exception. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day--or damn near. In fact, I'd say 28/30 days.

My morning goes something like this: wake up, drag ass downstairs, cut jalapeno bagel in half, put one half in the toaster, slice cucumber, tomato, and avocado, pull bagel out of toaster, spread Toffutti cream cheese on bagel, top with salt and lemon pepper, add cucumbers, then tomatoes, then avocado (all in a pretty flower pattern), and eat. My morning bagel is like coffee; I can't start the day without it (and, I actually often follow it some time later with a coffee beverage of some kind).

Now, I can stop my incessant hunt for adequate jalapeno bagels, whose habitat is inevitably far from mine. I can just make them. As soon as I get the dough to rise in sometime less than 30 hours. And, as soon as I can figure out a way to separate the bagel from the paper. And , I have to admit, it would be nice if they looked remotely like bagels, though they do have a vaguely croissant-ish look about them.

But, for now, I'm happy with the bits I can pull off the paper and dip straight into the cream cheese container. In fact, that very act even feels a little triumphant.

(I do want to add that I think this recipe will work. The bagels turned out crispy on the outside and deliciously chewy on the inside--just like a bagel should be.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's an...Avocado!!!

I realize I've been horribly remiss in posting, but the reality is that--except for Thanksgiving--I haven't been cooking all that much. Half way through Vegan MoFo I found myself knee deep in my dissertation proposal and much of October and all of November was a mad dash to get that finished. The good news is that I did get it finished and I successfully defended it yesterday. Now I just have to write the damn thing. Oy. Good thing I have a whole lot to say about reality TV.

The other good news is that last week I hit the 16 week mark. That's right, the baby--you know, the one I haven't mentioned here--was officially as big as an avocado last week. My first thought, of course, was that avocados make tasty guacamole. So, we went out to West End for yam chips and guacamole to celebrate, which was divine as ever. And, yes, that's my club soda in the background. Surprisingly, bourbon is not on the baby-approved list.
This week the baby is the size of a turnip. I don't particularly care for turnips. Luckily, we actually get to find out the sex in two weeks and we can stop calling it the produce of the week. And, also lucky, the semester is almost over and the grading is almost over and the proposal is over, so I might actually find time to post again before we find out what kind of turnip we're having.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Corn Maze Food

I went to my first ever corn maze last night. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I was kind of disappointed anyway. It was mostly...well, dead and trampled. But, we did get to partake in some nasty greasy carnival type food, which Josh was kind enough to model.

Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the a-maize-ing, the awesome, the frightening....tater twister!!!!
That is a $5 potato that has been thinly cut into one long potato chip and soaked cooked in oil. Along with that there too sweet lemonade, we had a complete meal. That counts as a fruit and vegetable, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vegan MoFo: 2 Days in the Soup

While it is warming up a bit, this weekend was cold and nasty. And we didn't even get snow, which would've made it worthwhile. Instead, we closed up the house, fired up the woodburning stove, and turned on the crockpot. One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is Fresh from the Vegetarian Slowcooker. I've used it quite a bit and seldom been disappointed.
The first soup we tried is the French White Bean and Cabbage soup, which I topped with some homemade seitan sausage. I'll admit that I seldom like cabbage, but this soup is really really good--the flavors are simple and good together wonderfully. I usually only buy cabbage so I can make a small amount of salad for my calabacitas, since cabbage holds up better than lettuce and lends a nice crunch to the dish. Unfortunately, the rest gets composted. Now I know what I'll be making with my leftover cabbage.
The second soup is the Almost Irish Stew. I have to admit that I didn't really care for this one. There's just something slightly off about the taste and after I mentioned it Josh tasted it too (though I think he may just be sensitive to the power of suggestion). However, this only the second of 12-15 recipes I've tried that hasn't been quite good. And, those Pilsbury crescent rolls more than made up for it, I'm ashamed to say.

(Funny...looking at those pictures side by side, the soups look the same, but the taste is totally different.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Pizza Hut

Just the other day, Josh and I were discussing the finer qualities of Pizza Hut's crust--namely, the gooey inside and the oily, crispy outside. It's been a good 15 years since I've had one of their pizzas, but I still remember the goodness. Admittedly, this conversation started with me wondering how the Pizza Hut near us possibly stays in business, but this conversation also ultimately led to us helping the local Pizza Hut stay in business.

Facing a long, busy, work-focused weekend, neither of us really felt like cooking. And, since it's suddenly about 38 degrees outside, neither of us felt like riding our bikes either. So, we started brainstorming about delivery options. We came up with two possibilities: Pizza Hut or the generically named Colorado Wok. After glancing at the Colorado Wok menu and deciding that I'm not nearly brave enough tot give it a go, we decided to see if Pizza Hut's crust is as good as we remember. Since the last time I ordered pizza for delivery, they've developed a nifty online ordering system. At least it would be nifty it worked. It kept insisting that my name was already taken and, trust me, there is no way in hell that anyone else in the country has my full name. After screaming at the online system, I finally just called and ordered in a cool 3 minutes. We decided on sauce, red onion, green pepper, and pineapple, with no cheese. While we were waiting, I whipped up a variation of the Native Chi's from the Native Foods cookbook to put on top of the pizza when it finally got here.
Final Verdict: That cashew based cheese was delicious on Pizza Hut pizza. And the crust is good, though not quite as greasy and delicious as either of us remember it. I'm a little worried that this worked out so well. Ordering one large pizza with a tip was a pricey proposition (about $23) and it turned out so good that I can see us doing this more often than we should. Luckily, the shame I'll feel at putting out a recycling bin with a Pizza Hut box in it will probably deter me.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Balsamic Lentil Soup

I am a lazy lazy slob of a girl. Yes, I may commute 24 miles on my bike. I even make dinner most nights and keep the house --with all its accompanying animal messes--clean. But what did I do today? I slept until 3:00 in the afternoon. I didn't intend to. With piles and piles of grading slowly starting to take over the dining room table and floor and a dissertation proposal to finish (or suffer very dire consequences), the last thing I can afford is a day in bed. It started innocently enough: I grabbed my laptop and sat down with my writing materials. One problem is that I work in bed because the office is a disaster and it's the most comfortable place to type on a laptop. The next problem saw me get into bed with my work and promptly deposited himself between me knees full of purrs and stretches. Then the third problem thought he might as well join the second problem....and, well, what can a person do except sleep the day away when two purring cats are cuddled up against you and it's damn cold outside? Especially when Nico asks so nicely:
After sleeping the day away, I knew I needed something easy and delicious and comforting. It's been a while since I made my favorite lentil soup, so it seemed to be just the thing to have before I crawl back in bed for the night.
Balsamic Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
4 tbsp. tomato paste (I think that's what two frozen ice cubes worth equals)
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a soup pot and saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until almost cooked through. Add chopped tomatoes and cook 1-2 more minutes. Add water, lentils, tomato paste, dill, bay leaf, and peppers. Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are cooked. Turn off the heat and balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper.

I like to eat this with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Tsuey Yuh Slice

Don't know how to pronounce it. Don't really know what it's supposed to be, but I know it's good:
This little nugget of veggie goodness resides at Pacific Ocean Market, the mother of all Asian markets (at least in this neck of the woods). It is the size of a small Safeway, is stocked with exotic and wonderful foods (and some not so wonderful), and smells like day old fish. It's quite an adventure shopping there since most of the labels aren't in English, products tend to migrate around the store, and everyone there speaks a combination of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog with perhaps a bit of Korean thrown in. I speak none of these. Once when I asked after curry leaves, one of their employees threw a bag of bay leaves in my bag. I tried to explain that I wanted curry leaves and she simply replied, "Yes, to put in curry." I bought them anyway.

The real pleasure, though, is digging through the shifting freezer section of mystery veggie meats. Twice in a row now (!!!), they've had Tsuey Yuh Slice which is best described as a dense sponge with a chickenish taste. You know, if an old sponge full of chicken flavor actually tasted good.
(Tsuey Yuh Slice with veggies, coconut milk, green curry, and lime juice)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Vegan MoFo: Costco Run

I've been slacking. Again. Despite Vegan Mofo. But, to be fair, Friday night dinner was me slumped on the couch watching the VP debate clutching a bowl of popcorn with nooch and dill. Last night, we had company and I had no oomph to post or take a picture with a belly full of calabacitas and a brain full of Aliens.

I did, however, get a picture of our Costco run yesterday. When we ran into some friends in Costco, they were amazed to see us there (I guess we don't seem like the big box types), but, every once in while, we do give into a great American pastime: overindulging at Costco. Since we don't drive, we have to be careful about how much we buy and yesterday we just managed to fit everything into the trailer--which Josh was gracious enough to pull home. The trailer must've weighed 90-100 pounds thanks to 60 pounds of cat litter. But, when you have 3 cats, it's worth slogging to Costco and back--especially when you have someone else willing to do the slogging--for cheap litter that doesn't make the cats smell like artificial meadows or some such madness.
What you can't see under the paper towels and ziplock bags and canvas stretchers and the crockpot is our brand new Vita-Mix. I seldom get excited about anything, but, rounding that corner at Costco, I ran smack dab into a Vita-Mix demo which literally caused me to squeal, do a little hop, and start pointing at it excitedly. Anything that gets that kind of reaction out of me is bound to cost a lot of money and it did. But, we made salsa in it last night and shredded cabbage and I am completely impressed. I immediately put the old blender in the donation bin and stuck the cuisinart in the cupboard, because I think it too may have just been made obsolete.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Vegan Mofo: Egg in my Face

Saying you're vegan often elicits a list--from whomever happens to be around--of a wide range of food that people can't live without. Cheese usually tops that list for omnivores. Vegans will often cite things like Nutella as the food they miss the most. Neither of these things moves me. I thought I would miss cheese and I still sometimes get a yen for feta, but Nutella does nothing for me. Instead, I miss eggs (and steamed clams, but that's another story).

As good as tofu scrambles are (especially the one in Vcon) and as delicious as the Skinny Bitch egg salad is, I still dream about the perfectly fried egg. There simply is no substitute--or, at least, there wasn't. I came across this recipe somewhere on the internets, so kudos to whoever came up with this. Perhaps it's been so long that I don't remember what a real breakfast sandwich tastes like, but I don't care. This is crazy good. I have ended my love affair with eggs once and for all.

Now, if only I can figure out a way to make vegan steamed clams...

Vegan Breakfast Sandwiches (4 servings)

1 pound extra firm tofu
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. black salt (find this at all costs)
8 thin slices FYH cheddar
8 slices veggie ham or canadian bacon (or use tempeh bacon)
4 vegan english muffins
Earth Balance

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Slice tofu into 8 medium width rectangles and brush one side of tofu with vinegar mixture. Put tofu mixture side down on a baking sheet and brush the other side of the tofu. Heat oven to 425 and wait 10 minutes. Brush tofu with mixture one more time and bake each side for 10-12 minutes. If you have any leftover mixture, brush the tofu again when you flip it over.

Meanwhile, pour a little oil in a frying pan and fry fake meat a minute or two on each side. Toast and butter muffins.

About 3 minutes before the tofu is done, break each cheese slice in half and place both halves on each piece of tofu. Comtinue cooking until cheese melts.

Layer the tofu and fake meat on the english muffin and try not to burn your mouth.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Smoky Miso Tofu and Cantaloupe Salsa

I love melon; I just don't like cantaloupe. I don't know what it is, but I've always though that cantaloupe just tastes...funky. That said, cantaloupes abound around here right now and I ran across a recipe for cantaloupe salsa that I thought just might make that funky melon palatable. Since I've been making a conscious effort to eat more salads, I threw together a salad and decided that flavors would go perfectly with Veganyumyum's Smoky Miso Tofu (I think her tamarind glaze would also be perfect with this salsa). Like everything I've ever tried from her, it was amazing, and the salsa and tofu made great wraps later in the week.
Cantaloupe Salsa
1 cantaloupe, small diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 jicama, finely diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1 habanero, minced or very finely diced
Juice of one lime
A squirt of agave

Mix all ingredients together. As with most salsa, the longer this sits, the better it gets. Letting the flavors meld overnight is ideal--if you can wait that long.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fried Land Fish and Rice with Partridge

Yes, you heard me right.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm feeling overwhelmed by school or maybe it's the fact that fall has clearly announced itself, but I've found myself daydreaming about Spain a lot lately. Unfortunately, instead of jumping on a plane headed for Espana, I pulled out My Kitchen in Spain hoping to try a few new recipes. The first one I decided on is a vegetarian recipe that is made during Lent: "Rice with Partridge." The partridge is that there bulb of garlic in the middle, though i like to imagine Danny Partridge jumping out of the middle of a pile o' rice.
(This is also the latest addition to my Copco collection.)

In order to keep with the vegetarian meat theme, I thought a side order of fried land fish would go with the rice swimmingly. Apparently, land fish is is eggplant (I can't quite fathom how eggplant was associated with fish, but there it is...). It is simply an eggplant cut into french fry shaped pieces and coated in a flour, cumin, salt, and pepper and deep fried. I don't typically like eggplant, so deep frying it made sense. The flavor turned out great but the texture is...well...Josh says they're like "really soft french fries," which he said sounded bad and amended to wilted. I think the texture was more insubstantial.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rizo'd Garbanzos

I used to eat a salad every night. Always spinach. Always with Consorzio balsamic vinaigrette. Somewhere along the line though, I stopped eating salad. I forgot how good they are until Patty came over to watch some BSG and brought along the makings of a Caesar salad. She has been searching in vain for a vegan Caesar recipe and didn't even realize that she had it in her fridge all along: Girard's Light Champagne dressing. Ever since we had that salad, I've been thinking about making one and last night I did (the fancy purple carrots I got gave me the initiative). I happened to also have an unbelievably good whole wheat loaf of bread that I picked up at Lafayette's humble farmer's market. With salad and bread taken care of, I really just wanted something simple and rustic to go with them.

Enter soyrizo. So soyrizo isn't exactly rustic, but garbanzo beans are and that's actually where I started (with "Fried Garbanzo Beans" in 1080 Recipes, which I've adapted here). Soyrizo entered the game late, but goddamn if it didn't steal the show. As usual.
Several tbsp. Earth Balance
1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cans garbanzos, rinsed and drained
2 tsp. pureed roasted garlic
1 tsp. paprika (smoked, hot,'s up to you)
1 package of soyrizo
3-4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Melt EB in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add diced onions and saute until they begin to look translucent. Add tomatoes and continue to saute for another 8-10 minutes. Tomatoes should fall apart. Add paprika and roasted garlic, mixing thoroughly. Next, add the garbanzo beans. Turn up the heat and saute garbanzo beans until they seem "fried" to your liking. Turn the heat back down and add the soyrizo. Heat through, then turn off the heat completely. Mix most of the chopped parsley into the dish and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Easy. Quick. Nachos.

Josh thought these were so pretty when he got home late the other night that he said they deserved to be in the blog.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blueberry Crumb Bars

Today was the first day of school. It was hard. I ate one of these*:
Smitten Kitchen comes through again. I simply used a quarter cup of applesauce instead of an egg. Lemony blueberry goodness.

*At least I had the oomph to take a crappy picture first.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jackfruit Tacos

So, I've been eying these "carnitas" tacos for quite some time now (or at least the time it takes for another trip to the Pacific Ocean Market) and finally got around to trying them out yesterday. I followed pretty much followed the recipe--except I roasted the carnitas in a shallow baking dish for 20 minutes on 400 after slowcooking it (I was trying to get the crispiness that carnitas get and kind of did). I also served it with homemade pico de gallo and refried beans. I really, really liked this dish, though the jackfruit still tasted briny (in fact, the brininess was particularly strong today when it was cold...yuck) and I'm trying to figure out how get rid of that flavor altogether. Any ideas?

The good news is that I get to mark another item off my 101 things list. I tried kohlrabi last week as well, but I think I may have tried it before and I didn't do anything with it--just tried a chunk. I wasn't impressed, but I don't blame the kohlrabi. I just wasn't sure what to do with it.
Pico de Gallo
6 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
dash of olive oil
salt to taste

Mix the diced produce together, then carefully mix in the rest of the ingredients. Chill and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ebony and Ivory...

...or, in this case peanut butter "cream cheese" frosting and chocolate, do go together in perfect harmony. Josh's birthday was last Friday and I decided that I'd bake him a fancy cake for his birthday. Josh loves peanut butter and chocolate and to prove my complete and utter selflessness, I not only baked him a cake with those two things which I don't particularly like but I also baked--which I don't like to do.

Luckily for me, Smitten Kitchen had recently posted a recipe for a chocolate peanut butter cake. As she points out, this cake is incredibly rich: three layers of chocolate cake connected with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and topped with a chocolate glaze. it also has more sugar than flour and an impressive amount of oil. Josh, by some miracle, managed to put away two good size pieces after a big dinner. But, be forewarned, this cake is not for weak of heart--or stomach.
Also, this cake was exceptionally easy to veganize using earth balance, soy creamer, egg replacer and so forth. I do, however, recommend cooking the cakes for a few minutes longer, though I'm not sure why mine took longer (replaced ingredients, altitude, ineptness...?).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup; Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Tan Food

Somewhere, somehow, I heard that garlic was good for colds. And, somewhere, somehow, I though that making a recipe out of all our cookbooks--granted, at the time I was thinking only of cookbooks I'd thus far neglected before then deciding that I shouldn't limit the new experiences I could gain from this whole crazy idea and I would indeed make a recipe I'd never tried before from each and every one demanding square footage which is admittedly easy to come by 'round these parts--would be a good idea. Naturally, when added together, these two ideas equal "White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup" from Vegan with a Vengeance. For another reason that kind of eludes me, I though that it would be a good idea to use dry beans instead of canned. A decision I came to around 1:30 this afternoon. As a result, the soup seemed crazy complicated, but I'm sure that's only because it took me 7 hours from quick soak to finish. The good news is that Josh said he felt better 4 bites into the first bowl, so I guess that makes it worth it. By the time it was done, I wasn't really feeling up to breaking up that tan, so I just take the damn picture.
On a slightly less tan note, I also made the "Tofu Ricotta" from VwaV which I stuffed into shells with Teese and shredded zucchini and an attempt at marinara (I've never liked the stuff). Totally worth all the dirty pots and pans and stovetop. I picked an exploding shell to show off the ricotta. So, yes, it's another fairly unattractive picture of food. Sorry, Isa.

Yellow Rose Recipes

Josh woke up feeling crappy today, so he's been camped out downstairs watching Batman Begins and the original X Files movie between naps. Not wanting to catch whatever crud he has, I've kept my ass upstairs. I took the opportunity to catch up some things around the house: touching up the paint, laundry, dishes, and cleaning out the fridge. Since we had a bunch of leftover produce going bad from the Community Cycles shindig and I need to get on my goal of trying at least one recipe from the mountains of cookbooks we own, I decided to make the Raw Corn Salsa and Aloha Bread from Yellow Rose Recipes ( I also made several other things, but that's the next post).

I originally had doubts about the salsa, though I think I was just being stubborn because it calls for cayenne instead of a fresh pepper of some sort. I'm not sure why I thought anyone could mess up salsa. I guess I have strong feelings about these things. Anyway, I need not have worried because it came out great. Completely unphotogenic, but great.

I've been eying the Aloha bread for a while and decided to actually bake something today. I hate to bake. And I don't like sweets, but that bread has all my favorite fruit in it so I had to give it a try. It does not disappoint. It was even good without the almond extract which Josh told me we had. We didn't. We have vanilla and orange and rootbeer and two bottles of lemon, but no almond. I don't particularly like almond extract anyway, so it's just as well. It's easier to taste the orange and pineapple and coconut this way.
So, so far, Yellow Rose has split even for me. I tried two recipes that I wasn't crazy about and two that I really like. Anyone else have some favorite recipes from that cookbook?

Anasazi Bean and Rice Quesadilla

Oy. I'm getting slower and slower at posting these things--even though I'm sitting around doing nothing. Funny how that happens. I finally decided to try the Quesadillas (with some minor changes) that Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) posted about a while back. This was basically a variation of the other Mexican-y squash based dishes I've been focused on lately. However, the anasazi beans are wonderful and a nice change. The salsa I served these with--Chipotle Roasted Tomatillo Salsa--complemented the quesadillas perfectly.

Somehow, once I gave up cheese, I never though about making quesadillas. What a dolt I am.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Summer Tacos

I'm overwhelmed by all the things I need to do. I'm staring the semester in the (not so pretty) face and I've tasked myself with 101 things to do and--though the list actually gives me some confidence and focus--there's a lot to do and all I want to do is sit around and watch crappy TV like "Greatest American Dog." I suppose these really are the dog days of summer.

Luckily, tonight's dinner did not add to my stress at all. I finally got around to trying another tester recipe for Happy Herbivore: Summer Tacos. Delicious and anxiety free.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Award!!!

Well, I'm so flabbergasted that I'm afraid I don't have a speech prepared and quoting Sally Field just makes me feel old. I would, however, like to thank Bianca over at Vegan Crunk for passing on the award. Her food looks amazing, so I guess I keep good company. At least on the internets, anyway.

**Um, I don't know how to make the award smaller. I tried so as to not look so ostentatious. Really, I did.

Calabacitas Wraps

There are many, many things I don't miss about Tucson--mostly the sheer variety of things that can kill you--but there is one thing I miss: La Indita. As a Southern California native, it took me some time to get used to the Tucson brand of Mexican food, which is Sonoran as opposed to Baja, but I came around to it eventually. I was lucky enough to live exactly two blocks from La Indita, which is the best Mexican food that town has to offer. It is, more precisely, a Tohono Tarascan Mexican restaurant. The food is cheap, plentiful, and vegan friendly. They even have vegan tamales (made by la abuela) that are to die for. But, it's not the tamales I went there for most days; it was the calabacitas. I made every effort to fill myself up with their home made chips and excellent salsa, but somehow I always found room for the main course. One tortilla, when unfolded, takes up half the table and is dangerously thin, so I'd fold it in half in a lame attempt at reinforcement and fill it with refried beans, calabacitas, the cabbage salad that decorated the plate, and some salsa. While I attempted to eat it before it fell apart and I had to lick it off my hands, I never succeeded. I did, however, succeed at gaining 30 pounds.

2 crookneck squash, sliced into rounds
2 zucchini, sliced into rounds
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion diced
1 can of corn (you can also use frozen or fresh, but I like the canned for this)
1 jalapeno, finely diced (use your judgment--for instance, the jalapenos are hot right now so I used half)
4 sprigs of cilantro

For the wrap:
Refried beans
Shredded Cabbage

Heat a small amount of oil in a cast iron dutch oven or similar pan. Saute the onion for about five minutes. Add both kinds of squash and let cook for couple of minutes. Add water. You don't need to cover the squash, but there needs to be enough to cook in for a while. Add tomatoes, corn, jalapeno, and cilantro. Next, add salt and garlic to taste. I usually like things garlicky, but I like to let the flavor of the squash shine through on this dish--especially this time of year. So, I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of granulated garlic and closer to a teaspoon of salt. Keep stirring occasionally so all the squash gets cooked through. When the squash is cooked and the liquid has thickened a bit, it is done. Roll the calabacitas in a tortilla with refried beans, shredded cabbage, and a little bit of salsa.

If your burrito has a blowout, you're on the right track.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Krispy Peanut Butter Balls

Aspen had an additional cooking request for her visit: Krispy Peanut Butter Balls. They're simple, delicious, unphotogenic, and oh so bad for you.
1 stick of earth balance, room temperature
2 cups peanut butter
2-3 cups powdered sugar (can't remember, but this is just like the myriad 'buckeye' recipes online)
3 cups rice krispies
1 bag of vegan semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together all ingredients except for chocolate chips. As gross as it sounds, I find it easier to mix well by using my hands. Shape into balls and refrigerate for an hour or so. Once chilled, melt chocolate chips in a double boiler (or, if you're like us and don't have one, use a pyrex bowl that sits inside a pan of water). Dip each ball into melted chocolate. We found that it was easier to accomplish this with less chocolate, so you might want to melt the chocolate chips in batches. Then refrigerate again until the chocolate hardens.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cold Brewed Minty Iced Coffee

Despite the attendant heat, I look forward to summer for many reasons. However, perhaps the best thing about summer (besides mojitos) is this drink: Minty Iced Coffee. I sometimes go to the local coffee shop for one, where it seems I've started a trend. The last time I was there 3 other people were also drinking coffee that looked strangely radioactive. But, most of the time I make it at home since finding a coffee shop that carries the right syrup can be hard. In fact, this summer I've taken to cold brewing the coffee, which produces coffee that is smoother than coffee brewed with hot water, and buying the syrup in bulk so I don't run out (I get mine at a gourmet kitchen shop but you can find it at some coffee shops and online). Getting up at 5:45 to get Aspen to swim practice at 6:30 requires sufficient caffeine. This ensures that I get her to practice on time and gives me the oomph to go for a run at such an ungodly hour.
Cold Brewed Coffee
2/3 cup medium ground coffee
a large mason jar
enough filtered water to fill the jar
Coffee filter or cheesecloth

I actually don't measure the coffee. I fill my grinder up with beans, grind them, transfer them to the mason jar, and repeat. I think it's around 2/3 cup. Fill jar with water, put the lid on, and shake. Let the jar sit overnight--unrefrigerated. Filter coffee into a pitcher. I use a mesh strainer lined with a a coffee filter. Then add some water to the coffee if you like. It'll be quite strong--depending on how big your jar is and how much coffee you used. I get a full pitcher of coffee out of this recipe.

For Minty Iced Coffee:
Fill a glass with ice cubes and 3/4 of the way with cold brewed coffee. Add soy creamer (about 3/4 inch), then pour in Torani Creme de Menthe syrup (you can use peppermint, which is easier to find, but I think it's too harsh) for a 2 second count. Mix and enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Raw Cashew Cheesecake (from July/August Vegetarian Times)

Two cups of macademia nuts in the crust + a cup and half of cashews in the filling + 3 cups of berries for the top=EXPENSIVE

Plus, the recipe makes more crust than filling, so I pureed the berries to fill out the crust.

Overall, not really worth it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vegan Cream Cheese Wontons

I grew up in a house that had a bar which had, in turn, a view of the kitchen. As a kid, I used to watch my mom cook and talk about whatever monumental event that occurred in my 8 year old life. However, I also sat at that bar when we made wontons. Back then, the wontons were filled with ground turkey, spices, and water chestnuts and pan fried to perfection. But, what I loved about making wontons wasn't what they were filled with, it was getting to take part in the process. I couldn't be trusted with kitchen utensils for the most part (particularly knives and my parents were sure I would fail miserably on dates when I got older since I was utterly inept with a steak knife), but I could be trusted with wonton wrappers, plates, a spoon, and a bowl full of water. I happily sat through the tedium of filling and folding wontons.

I still think of making wontons as a bonding experience of sorts and I've passed on the tradition (at least that what it seems to be becoming) to my daughter. Truth be told, I've mostly passed on the work of making wontons but I don't tell her that. The first thing Aspen said when she got here was that she wanted to make wontons. In fact, when pressed about what she wanted to do for 3 weeks in Colorado, making wontons was usually her first--and sometimes only--response. So, that's what we did. And they were perfect.

I only wish we had a bar.
Vegan Cream Cheese Wontons

1 package of wonton wrappers (Twin Dragon brand is vegan)
2 containers of Tofutti cream cheese
6 green onion, white and green parts chopped
water chestnuts, chopped (about the same size pile as the green onions or about 1/3 can)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
oil for deep frying

Mix cream cheese, green onions, water chestnuts, and garlic in a bowl. Individually fill the wonton wrappers with a spoonful of filling by dipping your finger into a small bowl of water, tracing the edge of the wrapper, and folding it in half tightly pinching the edges. Be careful not to overfill. Once they are all filled, deep fry at 340 degrees, keeping them submerged until brown. Remove from fryer and let cool on a paper towel.

Makes a lot--and yet not nearly enough.

Monday, July 7, 2008

$14 Baked Tofu

When I finished coursework, I got the hell out of Dodge. Ok, it was actually Tucson, but it felt like hell and I skeedaddled. While once again residing in my parents garage, I started studying for comprehensive exams and, in order to not go bat-shit crazy, I got a job at a local coffee shop so I'd have contact with people. Said coffee shop was owned by a couple of vegans and they had a baked tofu wrap with the most delicious tofu in it. While I was eventually fired from that job--for reasons that still elude me though there was a veiled suggestion that I took $14 and I suppose a 30 year old grad student might look like the likeliest culprit--I do have fond memories of the tofu. Fond enough that I tried to recreate it despite the heat.
$14 Baked Tofu

2 lbs. extra firm tofu, sliced
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. white pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients--except tofu, of course--and pour into a flat bottom pan. The pan should be big enough to hold the tofu, but not so big that the liquid doesn't cover the tofu. Submerge tofu in liquid, cover, and marinate overnight (I put mine in the fridge). The next day, lay tofu out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes on each side (time depends on thickness of your tofu). Let cool and enjoy in a wrap or munch on them all on their own.

Monday, June 30, 2008

at least the food tastes good.

"easy, cheap, and quick." i say as i plate the kale, white bean, tofu on top of brown rice and place it in front of thedalyn.

"just like my boyfriend." she returns.


kale with with beans, tofu and brown rice:

1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups water

get the rice going ahead of time. i can never figure out brown rice. it's either super undercooked and way nutty tasting, and i get impatient and eat it anyway, or it's mushy. i've yet to get it exactly right. except my now defunct rice cooker. if you can have the rice done before you start the other stuff, that's a bonus, so it'll cool down a bit.
you could also use any other kind of rice for this part, but we've been trying to use brown rice more than white, just cos...well, whitey must pay and all that.

other stuff:

1 bunch of kale--rinsed well, torn into bite sized pieces. i like to leave a little stem, to add some crunch.
1 block of tofu--the hard stuff--cubed into 1/2 inch blocks
1 can white beans-your choice--drained and rinsed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast--or more, to taste.
1 large shallot--chopped
3 cloves garlic--chopped
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
oil for sauteing

spike, soy sauce, earth balance can all be added to suit your taste. add these at the end.

once you've gotten the rice going/done, heat some oil for frying. saute the tofu until it's brown on at least two sides. add the garlic and shallot at this point, and stir so as not to burn the sensitive shallot and garlic.
once your kitchen smells nice and onion-y, toss in the beans and stir to mix everything around. it's ok if the tofu gets crumbly.
after a minute or two, add the kale, and cover without stirring for a minute or two, while the liquid from the other ingredients steams the kale. this will wilt it, and it won't take up nearly as much room in the skillet, which makes it easier to stir without sending kale off in all directions.
once it's wilted and manageable, stir it around to coat it. add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and any of those optional ingredients...

top the rice with the kale mixture, and enjoy.

oh, and if you time the rice cooking time right, then your kale won't be as brown grey as mine. it still tastes good, though.

The Fridge

There's a reason I haven't been posting lately:
After the BBQ last weekend, over-shopping, and not wanting to turn on the oven, we had a fridge full of food that needed to be eaten. So, the past week has mostly been variations on leftovers and sandwiches/wraps of some kind. Here are the highlights:
BLTA on a Jalapeno Cilantro Bun with "Tuna" Salad (from SBITK)
Easy Stir Fry with TJ's Harvest Grains Blend (based on Vegan Yum Yum's Sesame Soy Curls with Asparagus and Quinoa) Birthday Pizza!!!!

Vegetable Stock

Though I haven't been posting, I do feel like I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen. And, apparently, I'm not the only one to think so. Josh had a couple of friends over on Saturday to do some print screening and I took advantage of the time to tinker around in the kitchen. Nothing big, mind you, just cleaning, cold-brewing some coffee, making iced green tea, grinding cumin and coriander, refilling spice jars, making some egg salad and tuna salad, throwing together some veggie stock, and then finally putting together an easy stir fry for dinner. All in all, I probably spent 4-5 hours in there just getting little things done that I'd been putting off. It was nice, actually. However, my time in the kitchen didn't go unnoticed.

Dan: "You know, for a liberal, you sure have your girlfriend in the kitchen a lot."
Josh: "I let her out when you guys leave."

At least I wasn't barefoot too. The kitchen floor is STILL too dirty for that.
Crockpot Veggie Stock
(This is all approximate since I throw veggie trimmings and whatnot in a freezer bag to use later, so whatever I have goes in: asparagus, kale stems, etc. These are the basics that I add to.)
1 potato, quartered (or peels if you saved them)
1 small parsnip (mine is in the form of peels and trimmed off ends)
1 onion, quartered
1-2 carrots
1 small stalk celery
1 stalk of broccoli
5-6 sprigs of parsley
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
a couple tbsp. tamari
some peppercorns
enough water to fill the crockpot

Put all the ingredients in the crockpot (6 quart works best), then fill the rest of the way with water. Turn crockpot on low and leave overnight/24 hours. If the broth is strong I sometimes spoon some out, add some more water, and cook a while longer--stretch it out, if you will. Fill cream cheese containers (which hold exactly one cup) and freeze. To get the stock out, let it sit on the counter for 5 minutes, then simply pop out the frozen cup of stock.

Here, in the only organized corner of my freezer, you can see the 1 cup servings of stock and the freezer bag full of trimmings (on the left).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wilted Kale Salad

So, Vegan Tickles tried out this recipe and gave it a big thumbs up, so I thought I'd try it. The dressing is, as she points outs, divine. I actually wish I hadn't added it to the kale. The salt in this recipe--which is used to wilt the kale--was so overwhelming, it was almost inedible. And don't let the recipe fool you: 4 bunches of kale is indeed a shit-ton of kale (which is why, I'm assuming, it calls for 2 tablespoons of salt!).

I thought/hoped/wished that adding the kale to something else would diminish the saltiness a bit, so I made a wrap using toffutti sour cream, kale salad, pinto beans, and cholula. Tasty. But, still waaaaaaay too salty. And I have a whole lotta kale salad left. I'm not sure what to do with it...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chickpea Chimi

As with most things, my intentions started out good. I went for an easy four mile run, ate a healthy lunch, and then went downstairs to do some work--only to encounter technology problems. Which, I guess, is just as well since the run kind of made me tired anyway. So, I laid down for a nap instead and slept with the cats for an hour (speaking of, have you seen our newest member?). I woke up renewed and decided that burritos sounded like a good idea for dinner. Perhaps even ones that make use of chopped up cauliflower instead of rice. The cauliflower worked wonderfully. I felt good about making healthy choices. I tasted the burrito filling...and decided it would make an even better chimichanga. Sigh.
Chickpea Chimi's
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 head cauliflower, obliterated by the food processor (it should be in little chunks)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1-2 cups 505 green chili sauce
1 can diced roasted green chilis
1 1/2 tsp. cumin (fresh ground if possible)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup shredded vegan cheddar
4 flour tortillas
Oil for deep frying

Saute onions in oil until they begin to become soft. Add bell pepper and continue sauteing until cooked. Add cauliflower and a couple of tablespoons of water. When cauliflower begins to soften, add 505, chilis, cumin, and garlic powder. Let cook until most of the liquid is gone. Stir in chickpeas and shredded cheese. Heat through. Remove from heat and mix in cilantro. Roll in flour tortillas and deep fry (you could also eat this as a burrito but it really is better as a chimi). Top as you like. Enjoy.*

*I can't help but feel that this recipe is missing something. I liked it but it was slightly bland to me (which is why I added the cheddar which I don't like all that much). If you have any ideas, I'd be happy to hear them...

Soundtrack: Momofuku by Elvis Costello and the Imposters

Catching Up. Kind Of.

Between going to California, recovering from the Mud Run (which I'll blog more about in a bit), having a birthday, and life, I haven't been doing nearly as much of, well, anything. So, I thought I'd at least throw a few tasty morsels your way in the mean time. First, I can not overemphasize how much I liked the Coconut Green Curry from the last post.In fact, I made a stir-fry with the leftover sauce and served it with wontons .For my birthday, Josh said he'd cook whatever I wanted. I wanted pizza. The problem is that I finally decided what I wanted at 6:30 on the night of my birthday and the Teese and sausages were still snug in the freezer. He's promised to make me pizza sometime later this week and I instead settled on the Red Lentil-Cauliflower Curry from Veganomicon since we had everything to make it. He even went all out and made the Roti to go with it, which I had already almost finished when I remembered to take the picture.
And, since I just got back from a run--albeit a fairly easy one--and I'm once again trying to get my ass into shape, I made the "Tuna" Salad from Skinny Bitch for lunch. It's one of my favorite recipes in the book.Now I just have to get through the rest of this summer class, a visit from Aspen, and a dissertation proposal by August. No sweat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cauliflower Cakes

I left for California last Thursday and returned yesterday morning just in time to teach my class. During those 3 days or so, Josh was left to fend for himself (as were the cats apparently). Fending for himself generally means eating bags and bags of chips with whatever he can find to dip them in: 505, salsa, hummus, you name it. However, he managed to go a step further this weekend.

Some time ago, Josh bought a generic can of tomato sauce from Costco and then froze the entire thing in our freezer thereby turning it into a tomato glacier. I often wondered how he'd portion it. Now I know: he didn't. Apparently, all he ate this weekend was pasta (the pasta I like of course--not the pounds of elbow macaroni he bought on sale that I won't eat) and that glacier. Unfortunately, the mushrooms, onions, zucchini, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, nor spinach made it into the pasta he made. So, I arrived home to find a fridge full of nearly rotting produce and Josh not feeling so well (shocking). Fortunately, Vegan Tickles had a post about these cauliflower cakes. After much thought, I decided to serve them with this coconut green curry sauce which I made with soy milk and a little corn starch to thicken it up. The sauce was much more sophisticated than our normal green curry mixed with coconut milk and the cakes were filling and delicious with a delicate flavor. Now I've got to muster up the energy to freeze all those blueberries that didn't get eaten and figure out what to do with the broccoli and squash tomorrow...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tuna Casserole

Ok, it's not a tuna casserole, but I decided to make this because it reminds me of the tuna casserole (tuna, cream of chicken, corn tortillas, a jar of salsa, milk, and a whole lotta cheese) my mom used to make that I loved so very much. I tried to replicate it once with Tuno, but it was a disaster. I wouldn't even let anyone else try it. This recipe, however, came really close. I think it needs a bit of tinkering, but it definitely satisfied the craving. Josh loved it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

BBQ Sandwich...

...a test recipe from Happy Herbivore's upcoming cookbook.
But the fries are no secret: sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, hot paprika, and olive oil baked to perfection.


I've been totally slacking for the past week or so--mostly because I started teaching again. Unfortunately, I had to prepare for a new class (sadly, no more TV class) and I sacrificed cooking. However, I was struck with the rare (we're talking Chinese White Dolphin rare) craving for something sweet last week. It was so bad that I was even almost undone by the blueberry coffee cake at Starbuck's (yes, we were at Starbuck's after entering an unknown part of the burbs on our bikes--it seemed to be the only choice). So, I promptly--after 2 days and a total loss of willpower--made the blueberry coffee cake from VwaV. Totally worth the wait.
I followed that up with a delicious date shake (soy vanilla ice cream, almond milk, and medjool dates), which effectively alleviated my desire for anything sweet for about the next year and half.