Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Jalapeno Kind Of Dinner

Tonight's dinner (which took me a good 2 hours in the kitchen to make) centered around farmer's market finds. Last Sunday I bought a basket of jalapenos and a basket of tomatillos with absolutely no plan for them. Over the past week, a plan was formed. I give you:

A Jalapeno Kind Of Dinner

I have a couple more things I'd like to get done tonight so I'll leave you with only a short description, some links to recipes I used as well as two more pictures of kitchen basics.

Back during MoFo, Vegan Eats & Treats did a post about pupusas. I was immediately intrigued but forgot all about it until Wednesday when I went to the Ocean Beach farmer's market and my friend and I started discussing the pupusas they were selling on the side of the street. I googled Viva Vegan Pupusas and found this recipe. I may have to look into actually buying this cook book because these were (apart from some minor trials and tribulations) delicious and fairly easy. I stuffed the pupusas with a veggie mix that contained roasted jalapenos, garlic, onion and sauteed chard, bell peppers and more onion. For my boyfriend I stuffed his with refried beans and a little cheese. Note: I do not recommend refreid beans for stuffing. Use only solid foods for ease of preparation.

Next, I made jalapeno cornbread from this recipe. Oh! And while I'm thinking about it, I have to thank reader Becky who suggested that I try google bookmarks for keeping track of the recipes I'd like to try. This was exactly what I was looking for! I hit bookmark, change the name, add a category if I choose and then there is an app on my phone that I can click on to bring them right up. Genius! But back to the muffins. I left the roasted jalapenos out of half of them for my boyfriend and used whole wheat flour because that was all I had on hand. These were really good topped with a little Earth Balance.

The main goal I had when I set out 3 hours ago though was to use up the tomatillos by making a green salsa. I roasted garlic, tomatillos, jalapenos and onion and here's where you get kitchen tip #1 and #2.

Roasting your veggies in muffin tins is super easy and convenient!

An oven thermometer (even a dirty one) can really help when baking to show you whether or not your oven is really at 400 degrees or not.

But back to the salsa. I roasted everything and then took the seeds out of all the jalapenos. I threw everything except for about half the jalapenos, a quarter of the onion and one of the heads of garlic into the food processor with some cilantro and lemon juice and blended it up. I used no specific recipe for this and it turned out delicious!

Finally, I made a wild rice blend that I seasoned with lemon juice and salt and pepper after cooking.

Plated, I added refried beans and the veggie mix to the top of my pupusas and drizzled with the salsa. This was way too much food but was definitely delicious. Now that I know how all the ingredients go together I think I will be making these more often.

Sorry for the detour from Portland. Probably one more post before I get to it as well as I have one more food I am dieing to tell you about!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Portland: Saturday

I'm still here and I haven't forgotten about the rest of my trip. I'm sure you are all on the edge of your seats waiting for the rest of the story (or at least you were 3 weeks ago when I posted Friday's recap). Without further ado, I give you: Saturday in Portland.

As when someone learns the fact that I am vegan is so often met with the question "Where do you get your protein?", so too is the fact that I want to live in Oregon often met with the question "You know it rains a lot there, right?". I patiently explain that I am well aware of this fact while I roll my eyes in my imagination. My mom and I were pleasantly surprised to find that it did not rain once on Friday. Of course, we joked, it would rain all of Saturday when we had plans for doing things outdoors. Boy were we ever right about that. One of the major things I wanted to check out while we were there was the Farmer's Market at PSU. So we set out Saturday morning with the plan to go there and to the Saturday Market which is a sort of art market. When we left the hotel it was already raining. But, if I was to ever move to Portland I would definitely not let a little rain stop me.

We headed out once again across the Willamette and easily found the market. We also managed to find a parking space pretty close. The market was mostly deserted but was filled with so many beautiful stands of fresh vegetables and fruit. We made our way around about 3 times just to make sure we didn't miss anything before I decided what to get. Since we were staying in a hotel there was very little I could do with vegetables, but fruits I could bring home with me. The only thing I hated about the rain was that I didn't want to have my camera out and get it all wet, so there are no pictures of the actual market but I do have some I took later of my finds. This was especially sad because on my 3rd trip around when I had stopped once again at a stand filled with vegan baked goods, I ran into the fabulous Sayward of Bonzai Aphrodite and her beautiful family! At this point though I was totally drenched and freezing so we didn't stay long and chat.

And when I say drenched, I mean drenched. I had an umbrella and what I thought was a rain proof jacket. I gave the umbrella to my mom as I had a hood and said jacket. This did nothing to protect my legs and as I learned later, really no part of me. My pants were soaked all the way down and my hands were frozen. We left the market after a fairly short time and headed to the Saturday Market.

My mom had suggested the Saturday Market and I am so glad she did. I dried up only a tiny bit on the way there and then we were back out in the rain but with so much to see. There were hundreds of artists of all kinds selling their handcrafted work. I ended up buying some gifts as well as some artwork for myself.

I got this hanging glass art for my boyfriend's grandma as well as a rainbow necklace for his sister that I neglected to get a picture of. I also neglected to get a picture of these totally awesome earrings I bought for her that were made with this metal that changes colors at different thicknesses.

I got these two pieces of art done by artist Sienna Morris. They are drawn entirely with numbers of the clock. There is not one line drawn. If you have the time, I highly suggest checking out her site.

Walking out of the Saturday Market we were even more soaked than before and I suggested we stop in some place to dry off a little bit before getting back in the car. We happened upon Kell's Irish Restaurant & Pub and our initial thought was possibly some Irish Coffee but then my mom asked what kind of soup they had and would you know, it was vegan! 

Hot apple cider, Irish soda bread and kale and white bean soup! This was so delicious and clean and warming and I absolutely couldn't wait to get home to try to recreate it. I am pretty sure it was just vegetable stock, kale, carrots and white beans but it was sooo yummy. I have recreated it since then and mine turned out a little too oily (I don't think oil was even necessary). This restaurant was great though, they took our coats and we attempted to dry off at least a little. This was when I learned that my jacket was not rain proof. Oops.

After we left Kell's we headed out with no specific agenda. We drove around a lot that day and the heater in the car managed to get me almost 100% dry. We went to a couple of used clothes stores but nothing was too great. We went to Bridge City Comics which was a very nice store.

We drove past my Aunt's old house.

I studied the street structure of Portland. There are little inlets on each corner where water flows and stays instead of an underground sewer system. Also, many, many houses had raised gardens in their frin yards! I absolutely love the look of the older houses in Portland.

We traveled to a Trader Joe's that is right across the street from a 24 hour fitness. We didn't go inside either but the Trader Joe's had to have been 3 times as big as the one I shop in.

For a late lunch we ended up at the most awesome block I have ever seen. On the left was Sweet Pea Bakery, then Herbivore Clothing and finally, Food Fight Grocery. All vegan! If I could move in right across the street I think I'd be the happiest vegan on the planet!

At Sweet Pea Bakery I got a seitan filled sandwich. I can't remember what it was called or exactly what was in it, but it was delicious.

My mom and I also got a slice of carrot cake to split after our leftover Thai food back at the hotel. Sorry for the horrible picture. Bonus points though, the container was compostable. And according to blogger, compostable is not a word....Get with the times blogger.
Back at the hotel I was finally able to take some pictures of the days goodies away from the downpours

Delicious gingerbread spice cake with lemon ginger icing.

Peanut butter & chocolate crispy treat.
Hot pepper marionberry jam.
Apples and Pears.

And that takes us pretty much to the end of Saturday. It was a wet but wonderful day and I felt like I got a true taste of Portland.

Hopefully it wont take me three weeks to get back to you about Sunday and Monday.

Thanks for reading! Also, please pardon the formatting of this post. I am tired and do not have the energy to figure out why I can't get the spacing right.