Sunday, November 28, 2010

So Much Time, So Little To Do!

Wait, strike that, reverse it. While being sick gives me a whole lot of time to spend not doing the things I would normally do if I was feeling better, there are always books to read, movies to watch and blogs to read. It is the later that leads me to the conundrum I am in today. Whilst scouring the internet looking at delicious food and recipes, I collect links to try at a future date. I copy the link from my desktop computer and then put it into an email which I send to myself so that I can pull up the recipe on my phone in the kitchen and not have to waste paper. This results in the majority of my inbox being from myself. Not to mention how full it's getting up in there. So I thought today I would post all those links that I have yet to try in one place so I can clean out my email. And if anyone has a better way of organizing recipe links online I would love to hear about it!



Need to Veganize

Already Made But Want To Keep Handy

Eezeee Cheeze I haven't made this one in about a year...
Maple Chocolate Chip Cookies OMG I had it the whole time! This is my go to choc chip cookie recipe.

Can you see why I don't do much other than bake, cook and work out? I think, after compiling this list that I will probably never get to even half of, I really should look into a career in the kitchen. Too bad I already have a degree and a career. Never too late to switch, but would it really be worth it?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breakfast of Sick-o's (and a Thanksgiving Recap)

I have been feeling really sick with a sore throat for about 24 hours now. This may or may not have something to do with running myself too thin on Thanksgiving day and being a little dumb. We'll get to that in a few. Meanwhile, here is the breakfast I am currently enjoying to combat the illness in my throat.

Thank goodness I had some chamomile tea in my cabinet. I had 2 cups last night and I am on my first today. It is the only thing making my throat feel better. Next up is some iced tea to combat the stupid caffeine headaches I have been getting on days I don't work and thus do not drink coffee. I am in the process of weaning myself off coffee because I do not like being a slave to caffeine and having it ruin my weekend if I don't get it. And finally, Naked juice in the flavor of Power-C Machine for a dosage of Vitamin C. 8 oz doses of these three things should get me feeling right as rain immediately, right? Here's to wishful thinking. I'm not sure if I have any soup in the house so I may drag my butt to the kitchen long enough to make a small pot. I'm thinking some lentil soup might be yummy. But onto why I may have gotten sick.

For Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle's house, I had offered to bring rolls and pumpkin pie. They were going to make me a Tofurkey roast along with some roasted vegetables. I had attempted to make Oh She Glow's Fluffy White Dinner Rolls when she first posted the recipe but had a major flop on my hands. I tried using all whole wheat pastry flour and for some reason the dough just didn't come together right. I had to keep adding flour and by the time they made it into the oven they were almost like biscuits. Delicious, but definitely not fluffy. Just to be safe I bought some rolls from the store and set out Wednesday night to attempt them again. I decided to try half whole wheat pastry four and half high gluten bread flour and this seems to have worked wonderfully. Let me tell you, most times I try to make anything with yeast I end up practically never wanting to touch the stuff again, but these turned out very yummy.
When they came out of the oven I didn't know what to do because I wanted to try one to make sure they turned out but I didn't want to mess up the presentation. In the end, a reassurance from my boyfriend after feeling their fluffy tops led us to the conclusion that they would be delicious and I left them as is.
Thursday morning I woke up bright and early to get a start on my pie. I also had lofty intentions of climbing a nearby mountain while the crust chilled, but I quickly ran out of time. The only other time I have made pie crust is last Thanksgiving and it turned out incredibly well for my first attempt but for some reason I was terrified I was going to mess it up this year. The crust and the pie recipes both come from The Joy of Vegan Baking. I love this book for baking for people who eat the S.A.D (Standard American Diet) and who are not as adventurous in the food they eat because the recipes are not exactly healthy and just try to recreate foods that taste good.

I gathered my crust ingredients:

And my 2 page long recipe:

And got to work. Using a food processor, I have found that this recipe is really not very difficult but both times I have made it I have had to add extra water. I think it is because I use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose.
Once the dough came together, I divided it and wrapped each half in plastic wrap as a thin disk and refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. Here's where my day may have taken a turn for the worse. Actually, let me take you back about 45 minutes before the disks came together. The recipe calls for everything to be chilled for 30 minutes before beginning; the flour, the water, the sugar, the shortening. This was good since I started the day with a sink full of dishes from the night before. After putting everything in the freezer I set to work on the dishes. I finished in about 20 minutes and debated what to do with my remaining 10 minutes. I had been listening to the radio and someone had mentioned bloody mary's while cooking and I thought, hmmm, I have some champagne in my fridge and a bunch of citrus that is getting rather old, maybe I'll make a mimosa. And so I did. I squeezed some oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits and made myself a little mimosa.

And it was delicious. I sipped on it while I made the crusts and felt all kinds of jolly holiday spirit. After the crusts were in disk form and chilling in the fridge, it was about 10 o'clock and I decided I'd really like to get a workout in. So I changed my close and jogged to 24 hour fitness. That's about a 20 minute slow jog. Then I did resistance training and weight lifting for 35 minutes and headed home, another 20 minute jog. It was on this final 20 minute jog that I realized the silliness of my ways. Have you figured out what I did wrong? In my business in the kitchen and wanting to get in a workout, I had been up for 4 hours, worked out for 1 hour 15 minutes and fueled my body with only....a mimosa. Yeah, I hadn't eaten anything. I was going to eat when I got home and I had just been so intent on getting the pie crust done that I had neglected food to fuel my workout. When I got home I was in a weird sort of place. I was super in need of food but I was so worked up that I didn't want anything. I had a tiny bite of an energy bar but found it was way too sweet. I tried a slice of bread and that was ok. I smeared some peanut butter on it and that did the trick enough to let me get in the shower and cool down. I am the sort of person who gets really rosy cheeks just running for a minute, so 20 minutes of jogging really gets me worked up. The shower cooled me down and then I proceeded to make a real breakfast. I made a wrap out of a tortilla, tofu scramble, tofurkey slices and salsa with a Trader Joe's hash brown on the side. And I felt much better. Mind you, this was now 12:15 on Thanksgiving when we were having dinner at 3, but it had to be done. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. Do you ever work out and over do it and then feel the effects the rest of the day? I get this a lot. If I work out too hard I feel a bit of a headache and just a little off the rest of the day. I tried to fix myself by drinking tons of water but to no avail. This coupled with the aforementioned caffeine withdrawals led to a headache the entire day. Fortunately it did not ruin my mood and I was able to finish the pie with only 15 minutes to spare before I left the house.

If you managed to read all of the above, you are my new best friend. To reward you, here is the finished pie and my Thanksgiving dinner.

Tofurkey roast, cranberry sauce made by my mom, roasted yams, shallots, brussel sprouts and carrots, roll with earth balance, roasted potatoes and tofurkey gravy. Yummy! Just about everyone tried the tofurkey roast and was quite impressed, even though they are all omni's!
Pumpkin pie with Soyatoo whipped cream.

And finally, I leave you with a poster in my Aunt and Uncle's kitchen that I am madly in love with. It is from World War II I believe. I wish more people lived like this.
Not to mention how great it would be if the FDA could still say things like this. Can you imagine the FDA putting out posters saying to eat less meat? They would be crucified!

Thanks for joining me on my Thanksgiving and I hope yours was fabulous!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Checking In

Hey Guys! I know I totally spoiled you with 4 days of posting in a row and then totally disappeared on you! What can I say? I've been busy. In fact, this little vegan who is normally in bed around 9:30 or 10 most nights has been up past 11 o'clock four consecutive nights this week. Anybody out there watching the Walking Dead? Do I have any comic book fans as readers? Do I have any readers? My boyfriend and I spend a great deal of thought and time on comics (he is trying to break into the comic writing business) and I highly recommend The Walking Dead as well as Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. But that's not why you come here, is it? No, I know you. You want food! And I've got it for you!

Ok, so I am aware that that is a radio and not food. But I wanted to share with you my day in the kitchen from Saturday before last and no day in the kitchen is complete without my trusty radio. Sometimes I listen to CDs (my favorite are musicals!) but most of the time you'll find me listening to my local public radio station KPBS and the great news and programs they play. Anyone listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me? A Way With Words? This American Life? Wow, I sound like a commercial. Well, now that we are set with something to listen to, here's how my Saturday started.
I have enough food stored away to feed myself for months. I couldn't wait to get into the pumpkin! On the agenda was:

Pumpkin Waffles (from Vegan Without a Vengeance)
Pumpkin Muffins with chocolate chips (also from VwaV)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (I have had this recipe so long I don't remember where I got it)
Pumpkin Granola

Pumpkin waffles were first up since they would be breakfast. I mixed up the batter and started them cooking while I started on the muffins.

I don't know that I will ever get over the fact that I got this thing for $2 at a garage sale!

Another thing I will never get over is how much I love these silicone muffin liners! The muffins/cupcakes just pop right out of them and there is no need for added oil or putting anything into the garbage! Win/Win

While the muffins cooked I ate waffles (plain and eaten with my hand is my favorite way to eat waffles oddly enough). I also mixed up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. I think I've mentioned it before but my boyfriend is quite the lover of chocolate chip cookies and so I try to always have some in the house baked up and some in the freezer as well.

Here are the muffins and the first batch of cookies. I was going to make a second batch of muffins and try to alter the recipe but I ran out of both oil and sugar! The horror! My intention was going to be to reduce the oil and replace with apple sauce and reduce the sugar slightly and add fresh cranberries and walnuts. Still haven't gotten around to this yet, but I will soon!

Whilst all this was going on, I realized I had just a bit of pumpkin left in the open can and I decided to make my normal granola recipe into pumpkin granola.
Looks delicious, right? Totally is. Mmmm. Granola. Maybe that's what I should have for dessert...Sorry, back to granola.
I think granola is one of the easiest things to make. If you have never tried it you totally should!

While all this was going on, I forgot to mention that I was cooking up a batch of garbanzo beans as well.

Needless, to say, it was a very productive day in the kitchen! Now I'm off to visit my mom where we are going to be purchasing tickets for my first vacation in at least 3.5 years! I am so excited. I haven't been on a plane in about 8 years and it is going to be so nice to do some traveling! Not to mention I am going to the west coast mecha of vegan food! Any guesses as to where?

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Use Crying Over Burnt Caramel

Ever since Mama Pea posted about making vegan caramel apples, it has been practically all I have thought about. Mostly just trying to come up with a place where I could share caramel apples since I really didn't need to be eating an entire one much less 4. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. My obsession actually goes back a bit further. A few months ago someone in my office brought in a chile covered caramel apple and was sharing it with people. I know, sharing a caramel apple? She ingeniously used an apple corer/slicer to cut the thing into 8 wedges that were then sharable. Genius, right? I commented how utterly genius I thought that was and how utterly useless that bit of information was going to be to me as I would likely never eat a caramel apple again. Fast forward to October 12th and Mama Pea posted this. It was like all my dreams had come true. Oh, except for the one where I actually had a reason to make 4 whole caramel apples.

Then the Halloween potluck at my work occurred and I thought it a perfect opportunity to try. I bought my candy thermometer and had all my ingredients. I got to working on making some dinner and my aforementioned hummus platter and before I knew it, it was 8:30 the night before the pot luck. I decided I was setting myself up for disaster if I attempted to make temperamental candy an hour and a half before I should be in bed. So I patiently waited. But not so patiently that I didn't attempt it the next day. I had all my ingredients all laid out.
I wasn't trying to multi task (which is what I almost always do in the kitchen). I was focused, I was prepared. And you know what happened? I overcooked the caramel. I do not know what happened. Everything was going fine until I got to the step that said cook for 9-11 minutes. At about 5 or 6 minutes in I started to think it looked too dark. I stuck my candy thermometer in and it immediately shot up to over 250 degrees when the whole thing was only supposed to get to 235. I knew I was going to have hard caramel but I tried it anyway. I took it off the burner and immediately dipped my apples.
The first one looked ok, but by the third one, the caramel started getting clumpy and I knew I was done. I tried to cut the first apple.
But the slicer wouldn't go through the caramel. So I used a knife that mostly cut through it ok. But the caramel was way too hard. I had failed. The only thing I can think is that Mama Pea's pot might have been thicker than mine and thus heated more slowly.  Oh well, sometimes you have to live with disappointments, right? But now what to do with the one sliced and 2 caramel covered apples? I pried off the failed caramel and the skins were a little cooked from the heat. So I decided to slice them up and make these.
 Apple Chips! Based on the recipe posted here from Oh She Glows. They took forever to dehydrate and they never really got chipy but they are definitely delicious!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

More CSA Yumminess

Two CSA's in a row now (I only get them every other weekend) I have gotten eggplants. I had never really eaten eggplants so I was a little shy on what to do with them. The first time I tried my hand at baba ghanoush but the eggplants were so tiny that I didn't really get much flesh. What I did get was pretty decent but I did not fall in love with it.
Baba ghanoush, the aforementioned red pepper hummus (not Sabra), my attempt at meatless meatballs (kind of a flop), carrots, broccoli and the best freakin pita bread on the face of the planet. Seriously, when I first became contious of what I was eating and started liking pita bread, I had to drive really far to get good pita bread with the right texture but without a list of ingredients 10 miles long. I'm going to have to do a whole post dedicated to this pita bread one day. It has, I think, no more than 5 ingredients and is the most fluffy, pocketed yummy pita bread ever. I'm gushing. Over pita bread. You know you're a foodie when....

Meanwhile, back to the point. So the next time I got eggplants I wanted to go a different route. They ended up sitting in my fridge for days and days until they were some of the last vegetables in there. Then I ended up making pizza using dough I had bought at Trader Joe's (I love this dough!). I was going to make bbq seitan pizza for my boyfriend and was debating what type of pizza to do for myself. I was down to limited options in the veggie department so here is what I went with. I sliced and roasted with a little oil and salt, the two eggplants, a yellow bell pepper and some red onion. This got done roasting well before I was ready to make my pizza and so I decided to just try a bit of the eggplant and it was love! It was the most flavorful, delicious thing ever! Ok, so I say that a lot. But it was good. I snacked on it while my boyfriend's pizza cooked and my dough came to room temperature.

I then topped my dough with some jarred spaghetti sauce (it was a really thick one too, but that made it kind of extra yummy) and piled on the vegetables. When searching for vegan eggplant pizza online I had seen someone make a pine nut cheeze so I decided to add that as well. I blended together some soaked pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lime juice (didn't have any lemons...this is a recurring theme) and I think just some I can't remember. I should really try to find that recipe again... Let me tell you, I was a little worried. It was really chunky and didn't taste like very much raw, but it was so good on the pizza.

Yum! And even though it's not vegan, here is my boyfriend's pizza. Vegetarian at least with seitan strips from Trader Joe's.
I am so excited that my CSA will have eggplant again this week!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vegetable Soup

While I'm on the subject of CSA vegetables, I would be saddened not to share with you the delicious soup I made this weekend. Whenever my CSA gives me celery, the first thing I think to make is soup. This week my soup included:

Green Beans
Butter Beans
Red Onion
Fire Roasted Tomatoes (Muir Glen, these are the best!)

This soup was so easy it is kind of ridiculous. Chop veggies (or use food processor). Heat onion, celery and carrots in a little oil until flavorful and/or a little soft. Add the green beans, tomatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer until carrots and green beans are almost done. Add in precooked beans, chopped chard and chopped dill and cook until the greens are just wilted. I added a little salt at this point. Some days I ate it and it didn't taste like enough salt, but today when I was starving it tasted just fine!

Soooo good! And so good for you! This pot ended up huge and my boyfriend doesn't like soup. I shared a bit with my mom and froze one portion, but I have been working my way through this for days now.
And I'm not even close to sick of it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

When Life Give You Lemons...

Or in this case: When your CSA gives you limes and cilantro.

Two weekends ago my CSA included a bunch of cilantro and a few limes. While I like both of those ingredients on a normal basis, my love for them has blown up over the last two weeks. My work was having a pot luck last Friday for Halloween and I decided it would be cool to bring some orange and black hummus and some dips. For orange hummus I went with roasted red peppers (I cheated and used a jar from Trader Joe's). I have actually made this a couple of times now as my boyfriend loves the roasted red pepper Sabra which is a fairly expensive habit. For the black hummus I decided to make it with black beans. I was going to go about it in the same way that I make normal hummus but once I got the beans opened inspiration struck! I added a couple cloves of garlic, a handful of cilantro, juice from a couple of limes, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt to my food processor and created one of the best things ever. My boyfriend was jealous that I wasn't leaving it at home and he could only try a bite.
I put the two hummus's (hummi?) together and created a festive little bowl. I then added some dippers around the side (secretly they were also to be sandwich toppings for me as I brought full pita bread for myself as I don't eat much at omni pot lucks).
Pita chips, pita bread, red and green bell peppers, cucumbers, pepperoncinis and some green olives.

Then, a few days later, I was reading Oh She Glow's latest post at work and saw her recipe for Avocado Lime Black Bean Salad and decided to continue the flavor combination love. No pictures of this one but it was delicious!

A few months ago I made some rice and decided to gussy my own serving up with some lemon and cilantro because I didn't think my bf would like it. Turned out he did and the other night he asked me to make it again. Having no lemons in the house at the time, I altered it by making it with lime juice. Delicious!

Then last night when I got home from the gym all I could think about was making black beans with cilantro and lime and then making a burrito out of it. So that is what I did. I had the most delicious burrito (which I neglected to take a picture of) with lime cilantro beans and rice, heirloom tomato and mashed avocado...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Do yourself a favor and try some lime and cilantro with anything and everything.