Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Here's what a vegan eats on Memorial Day:

Veggie hot dog with sauerkraut and jalapenoes, a lentil dal patty from Whole Foods (with chopped hot pepper on the top), and watermelon! I had to work today, but fortunately was able to leave a little early. J put the patties and hot dogs on the grill pan (we don't have a real grill, much less the outdoor space to grill in), and we had a great and relatively painless dinner.

My grandfather always went to the cemetery on Memorial Day to visit his parents' graves. Unfortunately, I'm not in Honolulu, where both sets of grandparents and my father are buried, but I like to spend some quiet time on Memorial Day in remembrance of them.

Have a good one, everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

Today was really hot in Pittsburgh, almost too hot for cooking. I didn't let that stop me, although I might be experimenting with raw foods in August, if the temperatures get much higher. Anyone out there have any favorite raw food dishes? I'm partial to cooked food, but admit I'm curious about the raw food movement. 

Anyway, this morning I woke up late and immediately went to the kitchen. I can't let my sleeping in interfere with our tradition of a semi-lavish Sunday morning breakfast. There's something really soothing about sitting down to a plate of warm goodies and watching public television with the husband!

I had an extra container of firm tofu in the refrigerator, so decided to make a nice tofu scramble.. I always follow the recipe in Vegan Brunch pretty closely, because I think the spice combination is perfection. Today I added a cup of sliced white mushrooms, a handful of kalamata olives, and half a diced onion. I also toasted a few pieces of rye bread.

I had every intention of making the Pumpkin Spinach Ravioli from 500 Vegan Recipes, but couldn't find any pumpkin puree. Silly me for wanting pumpkin in the summertime! I decided to improvise with a spinach, mushroom, and butternut squash mixture.

Working with semolina flour was pretty challenging. I'd never made any pasta from scratch before, and had the hardest time with the sticky quality of the semolina flour. It kept sticking to the rolling pin, and I ended up adding a crapload of additional flour just to be able to roll it out into a semi-circle. I also think I need more practice with rolling dough out, because I couldn't get it anywhere near as thin as it should be. I've since found these instructions, which I will follow the next time I make homemade ravioli. I also found this recipe, which calls for a mixture of either wheat flour or white flour, and chickpea flour. I'm guessing this might make the dough less sticky. Oh, and this recipe, for heart-shaped ravioli. Super cute.

So my ravioli was a little thicker than they should have been (okay, a lot thicker), which meant there was less room for the filling, but I thought they had a lot of promise. J thought so too.

Here's a pic of the ravioli, nekkid.

And here they are, mixed up with some of the extra filling and a few spoonfuls of extra marinara sauce we had lying around (Nana's Heirloom Roasted Red Pepper). By the way, I think the tomato sauce from Veganomicon's Pasta E Fagioli would be awesome on ravioli. Next time.

J is a pasta purist, so ate his with a drizzle of olive oil and Italian seasoning.

I was exhausted after the semolina challenge, so didn't do my normal manic cooking-for-the-week routine. I did make a pot of vegetable stock, but that's it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Falling Water, Ohiopyle and Basil Eggplant

Today we took a road trip to see Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural wonder. It was a beautiful day for travelling, and Falling Water, which was originally built as a summer home for the Kaufmanns, was amazing. There were a few strict rules in the visitor's guide about not posting pictures of Falling Water on websites without permission, so sadly I can't share any of the great pictures we took.

 For lunch, we stopped in Ohiopyle to eat at the Firefly Grill. I'd like to say that we just happened to stumble upon this great little place, but I found the menu on the website. When you're a vegan, you have to do a bit of planning beforehand. The Firefly Grill has so many vegetarian/easily veganized choices, it was almost overwhelming. But it's the season to start grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, so I ordered a veggie burger with french fries.

I always feel kind of weird about taking pictures of my food in restaurants. I know I have to get over this! So, no picture of the veggie burger, but it was thick and substantial (very hamburger-ish) and delicious. The fries were great too. J had a grilled cheese sandwich, which he said was also very good.

An extra bonus was the restaurant is next-door neighbor to the Methodist Church, so I got to look at the pretty stained glass windows while eating my lunch.

Ohiopyle looked like a great little town. There was rafting and bicycling activities going on everywhere, and little cafes and hippie-ish stands. We stopped in at a store that sold local food stuffs, mostly condiments. Luckily there were samples. I tried a little of these and just had to buy them. The ingredients for the apple butter was especially impressive: cider, apples, and spices. That's it! Amazing. And I can't wait to use the habanero pepper mustard on pretty much everything.

Tonight I made the Basil Eggplant from The Vegan Table. I improvised a bit by adding asparagus and broccoli florets, and then doubling the sauce ingredients to make up for the extra vegetables. This is what happens when you buy too much produce and don't feel like cooking a bunch of side dishes. I also decided not to seed the red chili peppers, because I like my food really spicy.

Also, sorry for the blurry picture. I took twenty of them, and this was the most focused of the bunch. My camera doesn't like to work at night!
This was great! Next time I'll follow the recipe so I can try it with just eggplant, and double everything to make sure there are lots of leftovers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Hodgepodge of Food

I've been heating things up in the kitchen ... again!
First, a picture of what I ate for lunch the other day. Just a salad with green leaf lettuce, half a tomato, olives, beets, wasabi peas, and spicy tortilla won ton strips, but isn't it pretty? I thought it was.

Last night was another Viva Vegan! extravaganza. Every once in a while I'm nice and let J choose what we'll have to eat. Here's what he decided on.

Arroz con seitan ...

And tomatillo salsa with freshly made corn tortillas and storebought tortilla chips (we like Frontera's blue corn version).

The tomatillo salsa was absolutely the best salsa I've ever had. I wanted to eat it with a spoon. And it made a great amount too, which means at least a few more days of chip and salsa. :) The arroz con seitan was also wonderful and flavorful. The long grain white rice, seitan, carrots, green peppers and green olives make a tasty combination. There is a recipe (actually, two recipes) in Viva Vegan! to make your own homemade seitan, but as this was my first venture with seitan in the kitchen, I decided to play it safe and bought a packet of it from Whole Foods. I did use my homemade veggie broth, however!

I'm really impressed with Viva Vegan! I've been eyeing the recipe for black bean pupusas, so maybe you'll see a photo of it soon!

Tonight we stopped at the Farmer's Market on the way home from work. There were so many lovely vendors, with a great assortment of baked goods, fruits and veggies, flowers and plants. I wanted to buy pretty much everything, but settled on this:

Strawberries, kale, and pear jam (but not the black pepper grinder that somehow snuck its way into this picture).  

No way was I going to let the kale languish in the fridge. I made a side dish of Ginger Sesame Greens from Clean Food, served with Mushroom Bulgur Pilaf from Quick-Fix Vegetarian.
It was a nice, simple meal. We aren't used to Tuesday nights without Lost, so soothed ourselves with an episode from Season One.

There was an abundance of beautiful-looking rhubarb at the Farmer's Market. I think Clean Food has a recipe for a strawberry rhubarb crumble ... hmm. Yum ... I've never cooked with rhubarb before, but each week brings new culinary adventures (seitan and bulgur, for example). Why not rhubarb?  

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Lost

I apologize for not posting in quite some time. This past week has been very busy and stressful. J was in the hospital for a couple of days, and then we went to upstate New York to visit his mother for the weekend. I was too stressed out to cook while J was sick, subsisting on the hospital salad bar and leftovers. But once Friday night rolled around, I was cooking like a maniac.

J, his mother, and I are all big fans of Lost. Last night was the big series finale, so I threw a Lost party on Saturday night for the three of us. Of course, a party ain't a party without dessert.

This is the peanut butter blondie from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I think I may have to buy a copy of this cookbook someday, despite it being full of wicked temptations (ha ha!). The blondies were AMAZING. My mother-in-law loved them too.

The rest of our dinner had an Italian vibe going on. I made the pasta e fagioli from Veganomicon. This was quite easy to throw together, and I loved the tomato-based sauce. Tomatoes smell so wonderful when they're simmering down to a sauce. I'd never had pasta e fagioli before, but apparently other people make the dish with peas instead of tomatoes. Next time I think I'll throw in a cup of peas, but I won't forgo the tomatoes.

I also made a batch of Rustic Olive Rolls from Students Go Vegan. I made these rolls once before, and then realized that my baking powder had expired, umm, approximately a year ago. Amazing what a difference fresh baking powder makes. Here's a picture of a roll, with the heel of a store-brought loaf of French bread.

They're actually more scone-like than roll-like, which is completely alright with me. I love the kalamata olives and onions, and the fact that you just mix up the ingredients and then bake. No waiting for any yeast to rise.

Here are a few pictures of our festive table.

I also made us iron-on transfer shirts with the Dharma Initiative logo on them.

The Lost series finale was amazing. I cried for an hour afterwards, not only because the television show ended (I've decided that it's my favorite series of all time, tied with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It definitely had a much better ending than Buffy), but because the series finale was profoundly sad and beautiful.

Monday, May 17, 2010


This is what we brought for lunch today. Osekihan is a traditional Japanese dish composed of sticky rice and adzuki beans. I got the recipe here. It is simple but filling, with only gomashio (sea salt and sesame seeds) used as a seasoning. I also made a pot of Quick Boiled Broccoli and Stems with Toasted Sesame Seeds from Clean Food. This was an equally simple, yet tasty, dish. I always shyed away from eating broccoli stems in the past, but no more. Now I know the secret of preparing broccoli stems correctly: trim the skin off.  Believe me, it makes all the difference in the world.

Tomorrow is the Farmer's Market on the South Side, yay!!! I'm crossing my fingers and hoping it's better than the one in Strip District. I'd like a nice bunch of kale or maybe some ramps ... has anyone tried ramps before? There were some at the Co-op this weekend, and they were streaked through with a lovely violet hue. I hesitated about buying them without knowing exactly what to do with them ... but have since found a couple of recipes that actually call for ramps. So hopefully I'll get to try them before they're out of season.

And now for an obligatory  kitty picture. This is what happens to the paper bags I bring home from Whole Foods: impromptu cat tent madness!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Another Crazy Sunday Post

I always do the majority of my cooking on Sundays. Today was not an exception. It started at eight o'clock, which is very early for me on a Sunday morning! But J was going to the local soup kitchen to help prepare and serve lunch there, and I wanted to make a nice breakfast before he left.

I also wanted to make use of my new pancake animal pan. Who doesn't want monkey or giraffe mini-pancakes?

Here  is a picture of the pancakes. I used the Perfect Pancake recipe from Vegan Brunch, and true to its name, it was indeed perfect. I served the pancakes with Yves meatless breakfast patties. This is the first time I tried any of the Yves products, and J and I liked the patties a lot. They had the perfect "meaty" consistency.

I had to take a close-up picture of the monkey pancake, which was way too cute.

After that, I decided to relax ... so I did a little more cooking. It always bothers me to throw away wilted veggies, and I need a cup or two of vegetable broth to cook with, without fail, every week. So I decided to whip up a batch of homemade vegetable stock. I used the Busy Cook's Leek Broth recipe from The New Vegan Cookbook and the Homemade Vegetable Stock recipe from The Vegan Table as points of reference, because I've never made vegetable stock before.

Into my stock pot went: leek greens, an onion, garlic cloves, baby bella mushrooms, carrots, three stalks of seriously wilted celery, sea salt, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves.

I sauteed the vegetables in a little olive oil for a few minutes, then added some water and simmered everything for about half an hour or so. I took a picture of the simmering action, but for some reason cannot add it to the blog!

The vegetable stock has a nice, delicate taste. I reserved a few cups for a bulgur dish I'll be making later this week, and froze the rest for future use.

Next up was a bit o baking. I borrowed a vegan cookie cookbook from the library ... and not just any cookie cookbook, but the infamous Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I made a batch of Banana Everything Cookies.

I've never had banana cookies before, so I was really excited to try this. In addition to banana, the mix contained oats, chocolate chips, and chopped walnuts. It was a pretty sticky mess to shape these cookies into the recommended "smaller than a golf ball" size, but they all turned out looking really cute.
Banana is really great in a cookie, by the way! I ate a couple more of these than I intended (because they were so good), J ate his share of cookie goodness, and the rest he will take to work with him tomorrow. No way are they are going to stay in our house -- too much temptation for me!

After so many sweet goodies this weekend, I'm looking forward to a week's worth of calmer, digestion-friendly meals. With a lot more vegetables too -- I didn't really eat that many this weekend.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mochi Dumplings and Stuffed Peppers

It's Saturday night, so of course I have plenty of new food pictures. :) I first read about the mochi dumplings I made tonight on Vegan Crunk. This comes from Clean Food, but as Bianca mentions in her post,  it is not labelled a vegan cookbook, despite the fact that all of the recipes are vegan. Huh. Maybe Walters (the author) feels that the term "vegan" is too polarizing, too political?

Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You
Anyway, after reading Bianca's rave review of the dumplings, I immediately went to my trusty local library and borrowed Clean Food. I think I already mentioned this, but the Pittsburgh library system is incredible. There has not been a vegan cookbook yet that I haven't been able to either locate on the shelves or reserve. And believe me, I've checked out a lot of them. Great armfuls of them. Sometimes the librarians look at me like I've gone crazy.

But I digress. Clean Food is a very lovely-looking cookbook with the recipes divided by season. This way, you're eating fruits and vegetables when they're actually the freshest.

This was my first adventure with mochi-on-a-sheet (I used the Grainaissance brand, which Whole Foods carries). I know this is the only form of mochi many people are acquainted with, but I've never seen anything like it before. The mochi I know best is the sweet dessert variety, usually stuffed with something like red bean paste or peanut butter (mmm, peanut butter mochi is the greatest). There is also a local-style Hawaiian mochi that is made with ghastly amounts of butter. It's very delicious, and I will veganize it sooner or later.

Anyway, this was a relatively easy recipe. Just bake the mochi pieces, and then stuff them with sauteed cabbage, mushrooms, onion, ginger, and carrots. Serve with a simple dipping sauce on the side. I liked the contrast of the chewy mochi with the flavorful vegetables.
J and I also bought a couple of hot peppers at Giant Eagle today. After some discussion, we decided to improvise and stuff them with chilpotle mashed potatoes!
These turned out really well. Here is a picture of the creamy spicy chilpotle filling.

Hot Peppers Stuffed with Chilpotle Mashed Potatoes

Makes two stuffed peppers

2 large green hot peppers (you can use poblanos for a milder taste)
2 medium red potatoes
3 T chilpotle sauce (we used San Marcos' brand of chilpotle "salsa") or 2-3 canned chilpotles mashed into a fine paste
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 T diced onions
3 baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 scallion, finely chopped
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan filled with water, add the potatoes and garlic, boil until potatoes are very tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until vegetables are cooked and onion is translucent. Set aside.

Cut the tops off the peppers and discard. Scrape out and discard the seeds inside as well. Set aside.

Drain the water from the saucepan, and mash potatoes and garlic. Add the chilpotle sauce, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Try some of the mashed potato mixture -- if you desire a spicier filling, add a little more chilpotle sauce.

Spoon mashed potato filling into peppers. Wrap each in tinfoil, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes, then unwrap from tinfoil and serve warm. Bon apetit!

Recipe Alert!

My mom is really excited about this blog. She's been telling all kinds of folks to check it out, which is great. The only problem is, she wants me to start posting recipes. Every time I speak to her on the phone, she mentions the lack of recipes on the blog.

So here is my veganized/slightly altered version of the pear muffin recipe I found on the internet. I apologize for not giving credit where it is due, I can't remember what website it was on! I have pictures of the pear muffins in an earlier post (scroll down!). As soon as I make a new batch and take more pictures, I will add them here.

Pear Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup rice milk or unflavored soy milk
1 egg replacement equaling 1 large egg (I use EnerG)
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored, and choppped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices) in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg replacement, and canola oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add milk mixture. Stir just until all ingredients are combined and moist. Fold in chopped pear. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about 2/3rds full. Bake for 20 minutes.

These muffins freeze very well. I wrap each muffin in tin foil and then put them in freezer bags. Wait until muffins have completely cooled before freezing, though.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Curried Couscous and Vegetables

Curried Couscous and Vegetables from Quick-Fix Vegetarian. This is not actually what we had to eat tonight for dinner -- I've been a little behind with my posting. We did have the leftovers for lunch, though.
I stuck pretty closely to the recipe this time, except for adding some fresh fava beans. I'd never tried fava beans before, and have come to the realization that I really don't like them. So I picked them out of my couscous. Jason liked his though. This is a great dish to make on weeknights, as it came together so quickly! Just chop up a zucchini or two, add some green onions, baby peas, and chickpeas with vegetable broth and curry powder, and then mix in some quick-cooking couscous. Done!

This is actually the sort of meal that tastes even better the next day, which is great for leftover lunches. Just wanted to mention I borrowed Quick-Fix Vegetarian from my amazing library, as I have with a lot of the cookbooks I've mentioned in other posts. It's great to give a cookbook a trial-run before putting down the twenty or so dollars for one. I look forward to trying another recipe or two before I have to return the book.

So: what did we have for dinner? We went to dinner with a friend we hadn't seen for a long time. I chose Pacific Ring because it's not far from where we live, and because I had a coupon from the Pennysaver. I also liked the shrimp dishes I'd ordered there in the past, but unfortunately, shrimp dishes and vegan dishes don't seem to be on quite the same level. I ordered the Buddha's Delight, which was ... lackluster. The vegetables were a bit limp and tasteless, as was the watery brown sauce. Maybe the short conversation I had with the waiter should have served as a warning:

Me: Can you tell me what's in the Buddha's Delight?
Waiter: (shrugging) Mixed vegetables.

Oh well. They did have a pretty large selection of veg dishes, which is nice. And maybe they were just having an off day. It happens.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Guacamole Bean Dip

Sometimes you gotta have comfort food. I've never been a very big fan of macaroni and cheese (or uncheese, as the case would be) or potpie. This is my go-to comfort food.
Guacamole bean dip. To be precise, Cheesy, Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip from The Kind Diet. As you can probably tell from the picture, J is still leery of vegan cheese, so half of the bean dip has real cheese on it.

Here's a close-up of my half. There's layers of refried beans, mashed avocado and lime juice, black olives, Tofutti sour cream substitute, green chiles, and tomatoes. I ate my dip on a bed of red leaf lettuce with tortilla chips and, of course, more homemade corn tortillas.

 It made an enormous amount, so we will have guacamole bean dip for several more meals. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Snack Foods and Other Random Things

Dinner was veggie burgers cooked on the grill pan with corn tortillas, so nothing interesting to take pictures of there. I had some leftover napa cabbage from the Nabeyaki Udon, so I sauteed it with a few baby bella mushrooms, sweet peppers, zucchini, and a tablespoon or so of fresh ginger. Here's a picture of the vegetables before I added the requisite TJ black pepper sauce.
I am growing to really like cabbage. When I was a child, I hated it, but I only remember it from the boiled hamhock dish my mother used to make, so that might be the reason. Now I appreciate its delicate flavor. It was wonderful in the udon broth ... mmm. I am totally going to make Nabeyaki Udon again. 

I discovered two snack products recently that I liked enough to take pictures of. :) The first is Zevia, which was on sale at the Co-op. I rarely have any soda these days, even diet soda, but I liked that Zevia is made from stevia (a natural sugar substitute that is supposedly safe for diabetes), rather than aspartame. The black cherry flavor tasted pretty good, too. I'll probably have a can of this once a month or so.

The second find is the most exciting. There are two food products I don't think I could ever go without: salsa and peanut butter. I kept reading praise for the Peanut Butter & Co brand on various vegan blogs. Everyone in the blog world seemed to be in consesus that Peanut Butter & Co made the best peanut butter, hands down. I was intrigued. So when I saw that Giant Eagle was carrying several flavors of this brand, I quite happily shelled out the money for a jar. Giant Eagle had chunky, smooth, and dark chocolate! Guess which one I picked?
Yes, it's true. It's the best peanut butter in the world. The combination of dark chocolate and peanut butter is ridiculously delicious without being overly sweet. Here's a pic of it smeared on a whole grain English muffin.
This will be my go-to dessert until further notice. Wow. J. likes it too -- he can't wait to try it on (his non-vegan) ice cream. For now, he's happy eating it by the spoonful.

I would love to try some of the other flavors too, like the white chocolate or the maple. I did a little online research and found out that Peanut Butter & Co has a storefront in Manhattan that also sells cute-sounding sandwiches and snacks. Why did I not know about this when I lived in NYC?? Oh well. I'm quite happy with my jar of Dark Chocolate Dream. Yay peanut butter!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Carrot Soup and Feijoada, oh my!

So. The Farmer's Market yesterday morning was kind of a bust. It was rainy, gray and cold, and there were much fewer vendors than I expected. I did snag a pound of portobello mushrooms from the local Mushroom Guy, but that was about it. Oh well. We'll try the Farmer's Market on the South Side next week. That's one perk about living in Pittsburgh -- there are several every week in different locations.

In the afternoon, J participated in a poetry reading at the library. He is one of the contributors in Natural Language, which is a collection of work from featured readers of the Sunday Poetry Reading Series. I took one far away and pretty awful picture of him reading. He did a great job!

Dinner Saturday night was entirely from my newest vegan cookbook, Viva Vegan!!
Viva Vegan!: 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food LoversThis is the newest offering from Terry Hope Romero, one of the authors of Veganomicon, and all of the recipes are for Latin food. J and I are big fans of Mexican cuisine, and after flipping through the cookbook at Barnes and Noble and drooling over all the beautiful photographs,  we both agreed that it was the one purchase we had to make! Choosing a dinner menu was difficult, because every recipe sounds wonderful, but I finally decided on portobello feijoada, Brazilian-style savory orange rice, and homemade corn tortillas! That's right, I made homemade corn tortillas. I feel so proud of myself! And they were amazingly easy to whip up.

I'm lucky to have access to a great Mexican grocery store, one which not only has delicious homemade salsas, guacamole, and tortillas, but useful items like tortilla presses. It isn't necessary to have a press to make corn tortillas, but Terry writes that it's much easier with one. As I forsee many years of homemade corn tortillas ahead of me, and it was reasonably priced (a big plus), I am now a proud owner of a tortilla press.
The Mexican grocery store also has the flour necessary for making tortillas.

All you do is mix the flour with water and salt, as per the instructions on the back of the package. You then divide the dough into the number of tortillas you want, put the ball of dough between wax paper or plastic wrap, and use the tortilla press to smush it into a pleasing tortilla shape. Just heat it on a hot frying pan for less than a minute, and you're done!

And can I just say that fresh corn tortillas are really one of the best things in the world? They are. Believe me. I could eat them all day long.

Here is a picture of the tortillas and the orange white rice I made. I would have never thought of cooking rice with orange juice and orange zest, but it is a great combination. It tasted wonderful even though it burned a little on the bottom of the pan.

The portobello feijoada took approximately three hours to make, not including the eight hours of soaking time the dried black beans required. It wasn't that labor-intensive, though, as most of the cooking time was for simmering the beans. And it was well worth it. I'm really frustrated because I can't make the camera take a good picture of this dish! It isn't that colorful looking, but it has a taste that is both intense and pleasing. I will definitely make this again.

The feijoada was also my first chance to cook with TVP, or textured vegetable protein. When rehydrated, TVP has the texture very similar to chunks of stew meat, and absorbs the taste of the liquids and spices it is cooked in.

My verdict? Viva Vegan is a winner. I look forward to more delicious Latin food, paired, of course, with homemade tortillas!

Today I made the Garden Carrot Soup with Fresh Ginger from The Garden of Vegan. Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally!), one of J's favorite kind of soups is carrot ginger. This was really easy to whip up, especially with the help of the food processor. I strayed a bit from the recipe, adding a few cloves of garlic and curry powder to taste. Here is the end result:
I love the taste of carrots in soup, especially paired with fresh ginger and yam. Yummy! I only had a few spoonfuls tonight (because I was busy eating leftover feijoada!), but am anticipating a great carrot-gingery lunch at work tomorrow.

Today I also made a batch of pear muffins. I found this recipe on the internet somewhere, unfortunately I don't remember where. I think it was related to diabetic-related eating? Anyway, I veganized it and have already made it four or five times.

Veganizing muffin recipes is actually really simple. The secret is this:
EnerG egg replacer takes the place of eggs in baked good recipes. I've also heard of people using flaxseeds to replace eggs, but I'm not sure if that works for muffins or not. I also replace the milk called for in this recipe with rice milk, and that's it. Easy, right?

Well, normally it's easy. I had to make two batches of muffins today because I forgot to add sugar to the first batch! There's not a great deal of sugar in this recipe, but it turns out that it's a pretty crucial ingredient. The muffins turned out to be really interesting pear-biscuit creations. Interesting in a way I don't care for at all, but J claims he really likes them.

Batch number two turned out the way they should be: fruity, gingery, cinnamony goodness. I always eat one or two and then freeze the rest for the next couple of weeks. Freezing the muffins is an effective way to prevent overeating!

A close-up picture! Look at the chunks o pear!