Sunday, August 22, 2010

Garden Bounty

Ok, so in actuality, my garden has not provided near the bounty I expected for the amount of work, time and money I put into it but I hardly expected a perfect harvest in my first garden.  Regardless, my garden has provided some bounty and I'd like to share it with you.

Let me begin by introducing you to my new acquaintance.  I say acquaintance as we are far from friends.  This little guy was munching on one of my cherry tomatoes and had gotten huge before I knew to look for him.  He is about 2 inches long and has a scary looking spike that is apparently harmless.  I have since learned to look for evidence of these guys before they get so large. 

You may remember this sunflower that was a beauty of my garden which I didn't even have to plant.  I was so looking forward to some sunflower seeds but after this picture was taken, this baby started wilting and produced no seeds.  :-(  I ended up pulling it.

I had high hopes for this little butternut squash but it has been stunted at this size for weeks now and I don't think it is going to make it.

But onto happier subjects.  This is the second heirloom tomato my plant produced.  It was soooo delicious.  I literally stopped buying tomatoes and thus eating tomatoes because the ones you get in the store and even most of the ones from the farmers market just do not taste like tomatoes.  This is what a tomato should taste I wish I had one now...

Here is the above tomato along with some cherry tomatoes and some green beans.  I didn't think the green bean bush was ever going to produce but it just lately has started.  I think it is due to the fact that we have had such a mild summer so far.  Hopefully things will explode now that it is finally getting hot around here.

And finally a dinner using my garden bounty.  Garden burger, Trader Joe's soy nuggets, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato and green beans.  YUM!

Refigerator Cucumbers

My CSA gave me pickling cucumbers and I have never canned anything before.  I do not have the equipment to properly can so I set about on the interwebs to locate a method for making pickles without actually going through the canning process.  The process I found was relatively simple.  Of course, since this was a couple of weeks ago I have since lost the actual link, but it went something like this.

Take 7 or 8 pickling cucumbers, 3 or 4 sprigs of dill, 2 cloves of garlic, vinegar, salt and water.

Slice cucumbers to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and slice garlic.

Add to jar with dill and about a teaspoon (I think) of salt and fill half way with vinegar.

Fill to the top with water.

Place lid on jar and put in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.  I am told these should last at least a month.  I don't think they are as good as if I would have made proper pickles, but they do the job.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


It is this happy vegan's birthday!  What am I doing today?  Since it is Saturday morning I am most likely at the gym but hopefully I have been on a hike and will be getting some dinner at this restaurant I keep meaning to try.  And don't do a double take.  I did indeed title this post birthdays as in plural.  My boyfriend's birthday happens to be the day after mine.  My boyfriend's mom is planning a dinner tomorrow for us.  She also invited my parents for desert and this will be the first time they meet.  I'm so excited!  Pictures to follow at a future date and time!  See you all later!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Some Random Dinners

Since this post is going to be so random I think I will refrain from much commentary save for expliantion of what it is.

Cantaloupe halve filled with blueberries, grapes, strawberries and cherries.

That thing was nothing compared to this cantaloupe.  I cut this thing open last night and I think it is easily the best cantaloupe I have ever eaten.  I have yet to cut open that watermelon.  Those are both from the farmer's market last Sunday.

Chicken Boca Burger mania.  Wrapped in lettuce with Spicy Sabra Hummus.  Yum.

And the full plate.

Chicken Boca Burger on a sandwich thin with Trader Joe's hash brown, tomato form my garden, steamed broccoli and corn and a smidgen of hummus.

Black beans, corn and oven fries.

Fennel potatoes that my boyfriend didn't like and so ate with ketchup.  I thought they were delicious.

Oven fries with a salad of CSA goodness.  Lettuce, cucumber, heirloom tomato and some hummus.

Boca burger with lettuce and avocado, hash brown and tomato sprinkled with pepper.

Lentils cooked with onions and shredded carrots topped with avocado and salsa with a side of rye bread with earth balance.

This was a fantastic dinner!  I learned a new trick to toss my spaghetti with a little olive oil after cooking.  It makes the sauce stick to the pasta so much better and leftovers are a million times better!  I also make toast and spread with earth balance and then run a piece of cut garlic over it to make quick garlic bread.  The salad consisted of lettuce from my CSA, cherry tomatoes from my garden and topped with hummus.  The spaghetti also has Trader Joe's meatless meatballs.  Yum!

This was one of the first meals I ate at home after Comic Con.  Defrosted tofu quiches, hash brown with ketchup and two pieces of toast.  One had jelly and the other earth balance along with a lonely piece of frozen broccoli.

A few nights ago I tried my hand at making home made tortilla chips.  They turned out decent but I didn't have quite enough oil to get them exactly right.  Still delicious.

I paired them with some salsa, steamed corn, broccoli and carrots and some pan fried prebaked tofu.

A few weeks ago I went to an off site meeting with my boss with one of our clients and on the way back to the office he stopped at Denny's for us to get lunch.  I was pleasantly surprised to find  that Denny's offers Boca burgers!  I got this with onion rings, bbq sauce, tomato, onion and lettuce and it was quite good.  I should post this in an ongoing series of "Proof That Vegan's Can Eat Anywhere!".

At one of the other restaurants I sort of work for, Indigo Grill (I am a bookkeeper for multiple restaurants) I got a plate they call Good Things Growing that they made vegan.  This plate is a mash up of a bunch of different vegan options.  One time when I came in they made it with this rice with cranberries and pepitas that was so delicious but I have yet to have that again since.  This plate consisted of butternut squash, an anaheim pepper stuffed with corn and other veggies, a chunk of tofu, a salad with pears, red pepper and a fried beet slice, roasted garlic, roasted potatoes and grilled plantains.  Yummy!

And here is my boyfriend's half chicken with beans, rice, guac and I believe a mole sauce.

And here is my plate of leftovers combined with some toast with earth balance. 

And that is the end of my randomness.  Promise the next post will have more structure.  Assuming I get a next post written....I mean, for sure.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pancakes & Garage Sales

This was my first attempt to make pancakes without a recipe.  It was decent but landed more in the fail column than in the win column.  I wanted them to come out a bit on the thicker side so I was afraid to add too much liquid and in the end they turned out half an inch thick.  Definitely were not bad though.

I wanted to show you how I cook my pancakes on my garage sales finds.

This is my beautiful cast iron skillet (I love it so much I should give it a name.  I think I'll call it Vera.  Firefly, anyone?).  As I have mentioned before, I got this baby at a garage sale for $1!  Find of the century for me.  I had been wanting one for so long and even looked to buy one new but they were about $20 - $30.  For something that I wasn't 100% sure I would ever need, I didn't think it was worth the price so I continued to look at garage sales until one day the garage sale gods smiled down on me.  Now, while I love Vera and she makes great pancakes, she only makes one at a time.  And me, I'm a multi-tasker.  I don't do one thing at once hardly ever.  Luckily I made another garage sale find that fixed this problem.

When I first started coming over to my boyfriend's house, I noticed one day that his mom had a cast iron griddle that sat upon two burners.  I thought this was one of the most genius inventions ever and immediately wanted one.  Could I find one?  Of course not.  I looked for months and then one random day, this showed up at a garage sale.  It only sits across one burner but it lets me cook two pancakes at a time which means, combined with Vera, I can make THREE pancakes at once!  Score!

What are your thoughts on cast iron?  I personally think it is the most amazing, incredible equipment I have ever used.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Basil Strawberry Creamy Goodness

I store my compostable scraps in a container on my counter until it is full and then I take it downstairs to the compost pile.  One day when I opened the container I was met by an intriguing smell.  Usually I try to keep from smelling when I open the container as it is not generally a pleasant smell but this time was different.  When I investigated further I found that the aroma was coming from a combination of strawberry and basil.  This smell combination fascinated me.  I googled strawberries and basil and found a number of people had already discovered this genius combination.  The next time I got some basil and strawberries in my CSA I decided to take this flavor combination for a test drive.

It's been a while since I made this but I think that in the mini food processor are frozen strawberries, basil and soy milk.  Pulsed for a minute or two, this came out nice and creamy and delicious.

I love the little flecks of green.  Don't be afraid to give this a try.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Comic Con

Every year my boyfriend and I wait 51 weeks for our favorite time of year.  No, I'm not talking about Christmas, though it is a little like Christmas for the two of us.  I am talking about the San Diego Comic Con.  I had been to Comic Con before meeting my boyfriend but it wasn't until we started dating that I started actually reading comics.  Now I could tell you so much about the Marvel Universe that your head might explode.  Comic Con isn't simply about comics anymore but is a place where sci-fi, fantasy, gaming, movies, pop culture and comics all collide.  It takes place over a 4 day period and we suck up every last minute of it.  We go to panels where we hear people talk and answer questions about books, authors, shows, movies and anything else we love.  We walk the floor where there is art, previews, merchandise, celebrities and even some movie set pieces.  We people watch including taking pictures of people dressed up like their favorite characters.  But mostly we just geek out at getting to spend a weekend away from the reality of life and immerse ourselves in the culture that we love.  I would like to share, with you all, some of that culture.

If you've never seen the BBC show, Dr Who, then do yourself a favor and start watching it.  I started on the 9th doctor which is season 1 of the relaunch from I think 2005 or 2006.  It is a fantastic show!  I didn't manage to get any pictures of people dressed as the doctor (there were a ton!) but I did get pictures of people dressed as the Tardis, an alien, robot enemy and a Dalek! 

I also got a USB hub (which I needed anyway) that is shaped like the Tardis and makes the Tardis noise when you plug or unplug anything!  It is brilliant!

One of my favorite shows to see people dress up as also happens to be one of my favorite cartoons. 

Here we have Baron Underbite, Sargent Hatred, Dr Mrs The Monarch and the Monarch.  They look pretty fabulous.  I have also seen a number of Molotov Cocktease's in years past but did not see any this year.
From another adult swim show, I saw Dr Rockso, the rock 'n roll clown from Metalocalypse, but I will spare you that horror.  Be grateful.

My boyfriend and I love Marvel and usually spend a great deal of time at the Marvel booth.  This year since we didn't get to the floor as much as we'd like, we didn't spend too much time there, but we definitely did get to see some set pieces from upcoming Marvel movies. 

This is Odin's throne from the upcoming movie Thor.

And here is Captain America's shield from the upcoming Captain America movie.  We also saw the crowns from Thor for Loki, Thor and Odin but I neglected to get a picture.  The throne was the talk of twitter while we were there with numerous people posting pictures of random people in the throne.  The most awesome one was a bunch of slave Leia's all crowded around.  See a picture here.

Thursday night was a little lacking in anything we actively wanted to see or attend and so my boyfriend and I decided to cut out early for one night and go to a restaurant downtown that I sort of work for.  Henry's Pub can be quite the happening place any night of the week.  It is a great bar/club with some pretty great food.  We were lucky enough to get a table and get some great food.  Bonus points to the restaurant as they actually had a vegan entree on the menu that was soooo delicious.  But before we get to that, booze was had.  Let me preempt this by saying that I am not a drinker.  (Ok, so right now I am actually drinking a margarita for the second day this week, but really, usually I am not a drinker).  But Henry's Pub had Comic Con themed drinks.

First there were Avengers shots.  My boyfriend ordered the Captain America which was layered with something red and something blue and I ordered the Hulk shot.  My boyfriend also got this:

Lord Vader consisting of Jager and Root Beer.  I had never heard of this combination but I have to say that it is THE most logical combination I have ever heard of.

Here is the Vader and the Cap shot.

And here are the Hulk and Cap shots together.

 And here is my food.  Rice, beans, steamed veggies, salsa and avocado.  Good lord this was fantastic.  We spent most of the weekend eating foods that didn't have to be heated or refrigerated so it was nice eating something hot that was absolutely delicious (and vegan!). 

My boyfriend got the chicken tacos that he said were also delicious.  Henry's Pub was definitely a win for Comic Con dinner.

And I'd like to close with one final picture.  While waiting in a line that wrapped around a nearby hotel to get into a Venture Brother's panel, I got to witness first hand how our bananas are delivered.

A banana boat!  That's a lot of bananas.  Yum!

Hope you enjoyed my Comic Con journey.  More vegan food tomorrow!