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!

1 comment:

  1. Ma wanted you to know that the muffins were delicious and they smelled so good like fresh pears..