Here's what a vegan eats on Memorial Day:
Sunday, May 30, 2010
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.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
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.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I've been heating things up in the kitchen ... again!
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:
Monday, May 24, 2010
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.
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
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 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.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
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.
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 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
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
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
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!
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.
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!