Thursday, August 19, 2010

More Food!

I've been slacking off with blog entries lately, for two good reasons. One was that our friend Dan came to visit for a week.  
And the second is that I'm finally buckling down and writing my novel. I have a MFA in Writing, so it's not like I have an excuse for not doing it ... I'm just a slacker. With that in mind, I'm making myself write a least an hour every day. No breaks, no exceptions.

This means there's less time to cook. We don't want to resort to take-out food, so J has picked up the slack and cooked a few meals this week. Both of them turned out great!

Okay, here's a breakdown of the new dishes we tried:

Enchilada Casserole from 500 Vegan Recipes. This one was nice and spicy, with the faux chorizo and the green salsa I added to the mix.

J made Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash Stew from The Kind Diet. This was delicious!! Even with the substitution of butternut squash for kabocha, it was amazing.

J also made the Veggie Mash-up Casserole from Manifest:Vegan. You can get the recipe here. It's been awhile since we've had mashed potatoes, so the casserole was a nice treat. Love that Daiya!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baked Goods Galore

Having a guest at our apartment for a week has compelled me to bake. A lot. Which, granted, doesn't make a lot of sense when our kitchen is about 90 degrees these days without the oven turned on. But I wanted to bake some cookies for our friend Dan, and chose the Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies from 500 Vegan Recipes. The recipe clearly mentions that they are not too sweet, but I was still surprised when they turned out less of a cookie and more of a healthful snack (at least, it tastes like one).

Which ain't bad, right? And I have a deep love for oatmeal cookies anyway, so I'll make these again. No doubt about it.
A month or so ago I made a ginger quick bread and really liked how it turned out, so I went back to 500 Vegan Recipes and browsed through their chapter on Sweet and Savory Quick Breads. It's a very comprehensive cookbook! Anyway, I chose to bake a loaf of Lemon Thyme Quick Bread and was so glad that I did! This was amazing!
It was moist, sweet and lemon-y, and the thyme didn't taste obtrusive at all. Everything melded together quite nicely. Wow!! And the best thing about quick breads is that they're so easy to make. Just mix everything together and spoon it into a loaf pan. The only real "work" (if you can call it that) I had to do was zesting the lemon. That's it.

The lemon thyme quick bread went really fast, so I pulled out my recipes and looked for something else to bake. I was aiming for another quick bread, preferably a sweet one, but it turned out that the only thing I had all the ingredients for was the Country Corn Muffins in How it All Vegan.

I guess what makes this 'country' is the addition of corn kernels. Anyway, I have a pretty big bag of cornmeal that I never to seem to find a use for, so this muffin worked nicely. Sweet, but not too sweet. Yes, it would have been great to have with a nice bowl of chili on a cold winter day, but it's a good summer breakfast food too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

More Curry and Orecchiette

I made a couple of new meals this week. I felt we didn't have nearly enough curry in our diets (ha ha!), so I made Creamy Curried Vegetables from How it All Vegan. It's got cauliflowers, peas, and carrots in it, and the creaminess comes from coconut milk. I added a few more tablespoons of curry powder than the recipe called for, and because the curry still tasted pretty mild, added some sriracha to my serving. Very yummy with brown rice.
Tonight we had Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes and Kalamata Tapenade, from Vegan with a Vengeance. I love olives, especially kalamata olives, and this recipe does not disappoint. I did use grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, but I don't think it made that much of a difference.

And look at all those red onions! Another great meal.
We're going to have a friend stay with us next week, which of course calls for a lot of cooking. So look forward to a lot of fancy schmancy dishes soon!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Brunch at Zenith

Zenith is a quirky antique store that also doubles as a vegetarian restaurant on the weekends.

Here's a picture of the entrance to the store.

I've been to Zenith for lunch once before, which was great. But it was nothing compared to their Sunday brunch extravaganza.

Ten bucks gets you an entree, tea or coffee, and access to the buffet. I ordered the vegan apple and walnut pancakes for my entree, which was fantastic. It was served with a side of garlic rice, also tasty.

And the buffet! Let's just say, there was an entire table devoted to homemade cakes and pies. I had a small slice of root beer cake with vanilla icing. The cake was moist and the icing sweet but not too sweet.
Other highlights of the buffet incuded noodle salad, grape leaves, green beans, and a pesto potato salad. I didn't even get a chance to try everything, because I had so much to eat.
After that crazy, gut-busting brunch, J and I weren't extremely hungry when dinner rolled around, so I made a pot of Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. My friend Nina highly recommended this soup, and I'm so glad I tried it. You should definitely try it too. It tastes like perfect summer goodness. I wish I had a garden full of zucchini, because I'd made a gigantic pot of this soup and eat it for days.

One of my co-workers is celebrating a birthday tomorrow, so I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Bars from How it All Vegan. I was a little alarmed by the whole cup of oil called for in this recipe, and I suppose I could have added less oil, but I didn't want to mess things up and have to make another pan. Here's a couple of picture of the bars.

I wanted to try a small piece, but am trying to figure out how much of a pain it will be to transfer everything to another pan. It's probably too much trouble, so I won't get to try one until tomorrow. It looks good though.