Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tap, tap, tap....

Is there anyone still out there? I can't believe it has been 4 months since I posted anything here! So much has happened since I posted last! I joined the SDSU Marching Aztecs as an alumni and played cymbals in the drumline for the last 4 months. It was a crazy busy time at work as well which lead to my not cooking very much. I relied on a whole lot of farmer's market tamales, canned soups, boca burgers and a ton of granola bars. Now that the marching season is over though I am slowly getting myself back in the kitchen but still haven't made it back to many whole foods. Case in point; tonight's post.

Vegan California Burrito

If you've never been to San Diego you may have never heard of this wonderful creation. In my high school days this was a staple of my diet. A couple of friends recently reminded me of it and it made me want to create a vegan version. The staples of a California burrito are:

Carne Asada
French Fries

In addition, they usually include cheese and tomatoes and can sometimes have sour cream.

Here's what I started with:
  • Alexia salt & pepper crinkle fries
  •  Daiya cheddar style shreds
  •  Smart Strips chick'n style
  •  Guacamole (I generally would make this myself but this guac is made by a little    start up company run by a guy I used to work with so I thought I'd go with that)
  •  Roma tomato
  •  Tortillas (disclaimer: I love La Fe tortillas and they do make vegan versions that I buy and eat most of the time, but the burrito tortillas unfortunately have whey...but I let it slide when I really want a burrito)

While the oven preheated for the fries, I marinated the chick'n strips in some bragg's liquid aminos to hopefully turn them into more of a carne asada than a pollo asada.

Once the oven was preheated, I cooked the fries. When they were done I put the tortilla on the hot pan to soften it and I added the cheese in hopes it would melt but the tortilla was soft before it had a chance.

While the fries were cooking I heated the carne asada in my tiny cast iron skillet (I wish I had a picture of that...oops. Rusty I guess). It browned up quite nicely and looked quite a bit like carne asada.

Next I added the fries, carne asada and tomatoes to the tortilla and cheese.

Finally I topped the whole thing off with guacamole.

Rolled the thing up, took a bite and died and went to heaven. This may have been one of the greatest things I have ever veganized. Try it. I dare you not to! Only, make sure you ran 5 miles at the gym before you got home so that you do not feel one ounce of guilt for the ungodly amount of calories that is probably in this thing.

I hope you all enjoyed my first post in a long time. No guarantees that I'm back regularly but as inspiration strikes it's nice to have an outlet!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So there is this one thing I made....

I had still have a bounty of zucchini from my garden this year. One recipe I have fallen in love with is this chocolate zucchini bread. The recipe said it was brownie like so I took a chance and cooked it in an 8 x 8 pan and let me tell you, that is one of the best brownies I have ever tasted. Ever. Uuuuunfortunatly, despite their deliciousness, they do not stay together very well and you end up with brownie crumbles. Not that I'm complaining. I am going to experiment with baking them in muffin tins to see if they hold up better to travel that way. As soon as I work through the 2nd of two batches I baked and froze about a month ago. Zucchini, by the way, picked fresh from the garden, survives remarkably well in the fridge unwrapped.

So this was all leading to a picture, and a description of what I did with the frozen brownie bits.

That's right, I ate it with ice cream. Sometimes I warm the brownie first and other times I eat the whole thing cold. It reminds me of Coldstone where you get to mix in whatever you want. I love So Delicious coconut vanilla ice cream because I can mix in whatever I want. I usually only eat a small portion and mix in whatever sounds good. Last week I had frozen cherries. Yum. This ice cream you may notice is a bit green. While I wish I could say that it was spinach in that ice cream, it's not. It is however matcha. The flavor was a little strong for me to eat by itself, but mixed with the brownie it was very good.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hi, My Name is Allison and....

  • I have been really failing in the photographing of food and my garden departments lately.
  • I have a cookbook addiction. Seriously, I just bought Babycakes, Peas & Thank You and Vegan Diner. So far I have made enchiladas from P&TY and chili from Vegan Diner. Neither have disappointed. I also made the Summer Succotash Quesadillas from the Peas & Thank You blog but did not have any garbanzo beans to make the Mmmm Suace. Next time. They were delicious by the way.
  • I went to Comic Con, watched a bunch of new shows on netflix, went on some hikes, worked in my garden shopped at some farmer's markets, have been drinking way too much Starbucks and have generally been enjoying life. 
How have you been?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Busy Busy

Good morning everyone! Sorry to have disappeared for so long. Life has been quite filled lately. The accounting office where I work recently had our largest client acquire another company and thus double their size. This led to increased work loads and promotions. I gained a new position at my company (one that involves mostly solving puzzles and reconciling bank accounts which I find fun because I am a dork) and also was given permission to log on remotely from home and work some overtime. A number of people ended up working some 55 hour weeks for about 4-6 weeks. Luckily, the worst should be over and we can all resume our normal lives. And thank goodness, as an extra 15 hours of work a week means that there is a trade off somewhere. For me it was working out and cooking. I ate a lot of tofurky sandwiches, quick salads and simple no fuss roasted veggies over the past month. Not to mention some super quick breakfasts, which is actually the first thing I want to show you. Last weekend I went to Costco and purchased a large container of kiwis that smelled super ripe. One day genius struck and I put some berry jam on a piece of toast and topped it with a sliced kiwi. Since then, I think I have eaten this for breakfast just about every day.
Throughout all the chaos, I did take some time at the end of May to have my family over for dinner for my dad's birthday. I made a whole soft taco spread complete with spanish rice, refried beans, taco seasoned tvp, lettuce, guacamole, tofutti sour cream, olives, tomatoes, salsa, chips and a tiny bit of cheese. It was a delicious dinner and a great time. In addition to dinner, I attempted a vegan version of my dad's favorite birthday dessert, a sheet cake. My mom's mom used to make this cake for my dad and so I had some high standards to meet. Luckily I found this recipe and it turned out fabulous! Not only did everyone love it (and go back for more), they said that it might be closer to my grandma's recipe than the version my mom makes. Win! Admittedly, it's pretty hard to dislike a cake with as much sugar as this has, but since it was my dad's birthday I didn't want to go all crazy health foodie on him. I used all purpose flour and made no substitutions.

I still have a piece in my freezer which is the only reason I haven't jumped into the kitchen to go make these Fudge Daddies from Chocolate Covered Katie. How yummy do those look?

And finally, I'll leave you with a teaser in hopes that it will get me to write up another post tonight or tomorrow:

I bought a Vitamix!

Do you have one? What's your favorite thing to make with it?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Best Boyfriend Ever

I received a text on Friday night from my boyfriend on his way home from work saying that he was bringing home yum yums. This job and his last were at restaurants and at his old job that would have meant either chicken or tofu. I was out and about, and when I arrived home I found this in my kitchen:

3 different kinds of hummus and grilled bread slices. Can I just say that hummus is an infinitely better gift to come home to than flowers. Oddly enough, his new job has enabled to me to awaken to surprise flowers as well.
Nevermind that they were leftovers from a private event (as was the hummus) and that his boss made him take them home to his girlfriend (shh...I didn't tell you that). Still, it was quite a surprise to wake up to flowers. Hummus is a way better gift though. What holidays are coming up? I need to capitalize on this idea.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Vegetarian Cooking Class

Good morning yet again! I think I have determined that daylight savings, mixed with needing to get up and water my garden, with a pinch of going to bed at a reasonable hour are all coming together to bring you (almost) daily morning updates. Weird.

About a month ago my mom surprised me by taking me to a vegetarian cooking class at this cooking store called Great News. She had told me about this store filled with cooking gadgets and also that they often held cooking classes. I was slightly disappointed when I learned that the class was not going to be hands on, but it turned out pretty great regardless and I had a lot of fun. Everything had the option of being vegan and we got to eat samples of everything made. The class was a little high on the tempeh and seitan levels but all in all, pretty good vegan food (especially for non vegans). I would love to find another vegetarian cooking class that focuses more on fruits, veggies, beans, grains and nuts. Now that would be cool. Sorry for the fairly low quality photos as I was a bad food blogger and forgot my real camera (and had to use my phone). In addition, I also forgot to take a picture of the first dish until my mom reminded me and my bowl was already cleared.

 If you can read that, it lists the menu and the venue. The first dish was a coconut milk curry corn chowder. It was really good considering how few ingredients it contained. They served it with tempeh bacon which was not a winner in my book.

Next up was fried falafels in warmed pita bread with tahini sauce and smoked paprika tomato onion relish. This was so good. And convinced me to buy smoked paprika.
Tempeh reuben with vegan cheese and spinach, mushroom and..and...something else. Can't remember now. This was just all right.

This was the star of the show. Seitan risotto bolognese with portabello mushrooms. My friend Rachel and I recreated this that week with brown arborro rice and leaving out the seitan. A lot of work, but if you have a friend in the kitchen (especially one who likes to cook) it isn't really that hard. And it is mighty delicious.
And finally, coconut pudding with crushed pineapple. Really simple and really delicious. I recreated this at home but failed on the cornstarch front and had lumpy pudding. It was salvageable though since it was sort of like rice pudding.

I did also try the coconut curry corn chowder at home but I wasn't as impressed.

Alrighty, I am off to work now. Have a great day!

Have you ever been to a cooking class?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Any Plant Experts Out There?

Good morning! Just popping in quickly to say hi and show you some pictures from a recent and a not so recent hike around Mission Trails. Saturday my friend Rachel and I embarked on a hike up Cowles Mountain. We proceeded past the summit to Pyle's Peak in a hike that ended up lasting 3 hours in probably 80 degree weather. I ended up extremely starving and a bit sun burned despite having applied sun screen but it was a fun hike.
Which brings me to this plant you see here. It was growing everywhere! It looks like a 7 foot tall asparagus stalk with stems coming out of the top which are either covered in flowers (whitish with purplish ends) or as below
With fruits that look like mini bell peppers. This plant was fascinating! There were also dead dried up old ones along the way as well. I thought perhaps someone might know what they were? Long shot I'm sure, but you never know.

As for the past hike, these are from Mission Trails heading out of Santee near the Old Mission Dam about a month or two ago.

The picture of the mini water fall is shaded pretty poorly, but I love looking at it and remembering that even though I live in a suburban area, there is still water and life to be found only a short ways away.

I hope you all have a wonderful day! I'm off to work!