Saturday, August 23, 2008

farmers market and camping trip

I am having the perfect Saturday morning. I heart the famers market. I went alone this time because Michael's sleeping in. It was pretty hard getting up yet AGAIN at 7am on a Saturday, but so worth it. It excited me so very much that I needed to blog about it right away. While watching Project Runway (the one with drag queens, wooo!). And everyone's asleep but me. Mwahahaha... I love it. Ok, here's what I got.

peaches, cherry tomatoes, baby red potatoes

squash, zucchini, baby chinese eggplant, yellow tomatoes, watermelon, cabbage, corn, variety of peppers

All for $20. Yes, that's right. 20 freaking dollars. Don't be jealous. Obviously vegetables are underrated in WV, which is why they're SO expensive in the grocery stores and SO cheap straight from the farm. I think that makes sense... or is it 9am and I'm just rambling? Either way. Anyway, everyone was super nice this time, and I got to chat with a few of the vendors. By the time I got to those peppers (3/$1 for all colors wtf!) most were gone and I was talking about how I froze some last week and the lady gave me 2 extra for free because they had small bad spots. Woot! At the watermelon stand ($2 for a huge one) I had filled up my bag to the brim and she goes, 'You eat a lot of vegetables, don't you?' And I was like, 'I'm a vegetarian' (didn't feel like explaining vegan at the market this morning, sue me) And then she was all, 'Oh, that's wonderful! My daughter's a vegetarian and she's so healthy!' Smiles all around. I mean, it's good for them for me to be vegan, of course, since a huge part of my diet is exactly what they're trying to sell. Finally, no criticism.

The only problem I have with our market is that every single vendor has these giant stacks of plastic bags, and not even grocery store castoffs, but specially designed Old Central City Farmers Market bags or something silly like that. It generates a lot of waste. So I brought my own bag from my HFS. It got pretty damn heavy, but everyone I talked to there was talking about what a great idea it was (especially for someone like me who buys a crap ton of veggies). I still had to get 3 of the plastic bags (the baby eggplant was loose, and the peaches and cherry tomatoes were bought last and I ran out of room). Still, better than... 10 or more, since they dump everything at each place into its own frigging bag. Wasteful. Oh well, at least I'm doing my part. Maybe people will see me with my bag and start copycatting me.

Ok, well since I'm up, I might as well post about the camping trip before I totally forget what we even did while we were there.
this is a view of our campsite... yes we brought a metal folding chair. it sucked.

we set up our tent all by ourselves!

michael hates it when i take his picture like this oops!

So after we set up our tent and got organized, we went on a little hike, which was BEAUTIFUL, but of course, I forgot to take my camera with me. Oh well. Then, we needed a beer. But... you can't have alcohol on the campgrounds. So we had to be sneaky.
sneaky beer pouring

PBR out of a starbucks mug is so ironic

We decided to start eating watermelon FIRST instead of last, because we had a special dessert planned. This is a yellow watermelon (although it's also pink) from the farmers market last week.
1/4 yellow, 3/4 normal. lots of seeds.

We spit the seeds into the woods at the edge of our site in hopes that next year watermelons would grow there. Hey, don't laugh, I've witnessed this happening! When I was little, my family spit some watermelon seeds off our back deck and the next year, there were watermelons randomly growing there. And they were awesome! We're hoping they grow there on the edge, but no one sees them, so we can go back next year and have free, wild watermelon. It could happen.

Oh, and we saw a lot of deer. Michael was obsessed with getting a photo of one. Deer are kinda quick though, so this is the clearest one he got. Not bad really. It was funny because our site was right by the highway (yeah, this wasn't the...remotest campground, unfortunately) and we kept hearing the deer clipping their hooves on the guardrails as they crossed the road. I mean, you didn't really notice the road until a car went past, it was screened by some trees, but it was still pretty funny.
hello, deer friend.

We got our fire started. Which took a little time, but we were the only people there without starter fluid. Roughin it, yeaahhh. Anyway, we got it started, but literally all night long, Michael could NOT stop fucking with the fire, and he won't be mad that I'm saying this because it's totally TRUE. It became kind of a running joke that we decided we were the running joke of the campground. As in 'Look at those silly kids (we were the youngest couple there) trying to start a fire. They can't stop fucking with it. oooops, it's out again! Oh...there it goes, they have it now' Then 15 minutes later, 'Why can't they quit messing with their fire? They had it going fine, but now it's almost out again! Silly kids.'

It was fine though, and funny, and eventually I just stopped commenting and let him play in the fire like he wanted. I mean, who cares. We ate, and were warm. That's all that matters. First we had some corn that we grilled, but we ate it really quick and I didn't photograph it. While they were cooking though, we got some sticks and sharpened them in order to grill hotdogs.
that's mine on the right. tough!

Mine was so tough, in fact, that Michael's paled in comparison. Look how wimpy!

he thought it was funny that it looked like i had a dick in my eye. hilarious. stupid stick.

Have you ever roasted a soy hotdog over a fire? It's pretty weird. They bubble. As in, huge air bubbles happen under the 'skin' of them and they look like they're covered in huge goiters. Ew! But tasty.
yes please and thank you

Our fancy dessert was supposed to be smores. We found some marshmallow ice cream topping at the local market that's vegan. The only problem is that it's more like... marshmallow flavored syrup. Therefore, it will not set up. So we wrapped graham crackers filled with the syrup and some chocolate in foil and put them on the fire. But it just burned the graham crackers. So no dessert for us. Oh well.

In the morning we woke up before most people in the campground, probably because they had full mattress sets and heat controlled tents or some silly shit and we slept on the hard ground with not enough blankets and froze. Also, we're both kinda... boney I guess (well, I'm not, but when I sleep on hard surfaces, it HURTS!) so yeah. Ouch. Up early! Breakfast was key.

I know posting about tofu scrambles is a little...done or something, but first of all, I don't care, and second of all, scramble over open fire is totally awesome and worth talking about. We made everything on the site with fresh peppers from the farmers market and some onions (I got to chop, wooo) and jalepenos and some fresh salsa. And it really didn't take that long, honestly. We also grilled some hotdog buns to eat with this, and had some lovely tea.
tofuuu scramble on an open fiiiiiiiiire (new christmas carol? yes!) [so rereading this, i just realized that i cannot read that without the tune in my head, so i don't know if you know what carol i'm talking about, but it's 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' just in case]

and here it is on our plates. perfect warming meal after a long, cold night.

Afterwards, we were ready to go home. We didn't really have much to do there after breakfast and we were both beat, so we packed up our stuff and headed back. And napped. But all in all, it was a fun trip. Here's a photo of us before we left, just to show that we survived (mother nature and eachother, ha).
hot outdoorsy couple makes it through the night

I think we look damn good for sleeping in a tent and needing a shower.

And that's how a vegan does camping.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Vegan One Hundred

I saw this on Yeah, that "Vegan" Shit and thought it looked interesting. It's about all I have the energy left for tonight.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
Tofu Scramble
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
Baba ghanoush
Authentic soba noodles
PB&J sandwich
Aloo gobi
Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
Vanilla ice cream
Heirloom tomatoes
Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
30. Pate
Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
Root beer float
Mulled cider
Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (as long as I wasn't paying for it. =)
46. Stroopwafle
Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
54. Sheese
Cotton candy
Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
Carob chips
62. Soy curls
Chickpea cutlets
65. Durian
Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
Corn on the cob
Whipped cream, straight from the can
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
Mashed potatoes with gravy
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
Macaroni and “cheese”

89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
Raw cookie dough

I only bolded the ones that I've had vegan versions of... I've had omni versions of creme brulee, fondue, and some others. I guess I have a lot of creative eating to do!

a variety of dinners and some semi bad photos I took of them

So I have this problem where I drink a little bit before and during cooking so that by the time I need to take pictures of the food, I'm too tipsy to hold the camera steady. Since I eat dinner at like 11 pm every night (ugh!) the lighting is bad too. Therefore, if you ever wonder why sometimes my photos suck hard even though I have a masters in photography, now you know. Plus, I'm still not an expert at digital photography and the fact that the shutter doesn't click as soon as I want to, although my dad's camera is much better than the OTHER one I was using. Anyway. I just uploaded a bunch of craptastic pictures and wanted to explain ahead of time. On the plus side, there is someone who is happy about the fact that Michael and I drink a lot of beer:
ghostface's new home

And so he won't get jealous, here's Bill Murray, looking particularly evil:

Ok, so first off, a few photos of random stuff I've made that haven't fit into other posts so far. This one is a nice salad with calendula flowers (edible!). The petals are kind of buttery tasting. But don't eat the middle parts, they're just there for show for the photo.
mmmm flowers

This is one of our favorite, junky, go-to meals when no one feels like cooking. CroissantDogs! It's highly processed and not good for you. Best served with lots of ketchup and spicy mustard.
This is obviously fairly simple... Just wrap up some soydogs in croissants and bake them according to the croissant package. It's a nice twist on pigs in a blanket (ew!) with the flakiness of that croissant. It's better than it should be, actually. This time, we used Worthington's Linketts. WHAT! They are so good. Even better than Yves, despite their creepy light pink coloring. Michael says that's how real hot dogs look, but I'm not so sure.

Oh, and this is a chocolate pie I made for my grandmas' (plural!) birthday party. My one grandma used to be like... a baking expert and somehow I managed to catch this gene in my DNA. Yay! The only problem is that her best best best recipe is a chocolate pie that mostly consists of cook n serve pudding and butter and milk. And I veganized it, much to my family's surprise. I even made the crust. I suppose you want the recipe....

TOO BAD! It's a family secret, sorry. Well, the orginial recipe was a secret, and this is based on the original and tastes just like it. So... if you want to come over for dinner, I'll make it and you can taste it for yourself. Oh...maybe someday I'll post it. But not right now.
grandma's chocolate pie. VEGANIZED. check!

Ok, what's next.... *sigh*

(I can only upload pictures in batches of 5 so I might need to take a break here)

Remember how I got even MORE swiss chard at the farmers market? In a valiant effort to eat more leafy greens...this is what I keep doing. I buy them, and then have no idea how to make them edible. I can't stand the kale that's sold in our grocery stores (it's so bitter!) and the one time I tried just cooking chard, I made it really vinegary, and I kind of hate the taste of vinegar by itself, so for some reason that scared me off from cooking it like that. Anyway, so we stuck to stuffing it for this round. Also, Michael did saute some up that was really good, so maybe he should be the one who cooks it from now on. But this time, we went south of the border with Mexi Swiss Chard Rollups! Um... all the photos I took of prep turned out terrible, so you'll have to just listen to how we ate them with and what's inside them.
more creative swiss chard solutions

We put some brown rice with cumin in our rice cooker and let that cook up. After it was finished, we mixed in a can of kidney beans and seasoned to taste. Again, blanche the chard to make it easy to work with. Then, just a spoonful or two of the rice and beans went into the leaves and we rollllled em up and baked them at 350F for maybe 30-40 minutes. That's Follow Your Heart mozzarella on top. By the way, it only melts truly when you cover it with foil. We did not know this until this point, so foil yours. Served it all up with some homemade salsa and guacamole on a small bed of tortilla chips.

Next is something I AM SUPER PROUD OF!!!! No really, after I made this, I danced around the kitchen in complete ecstasy for about 10 minutes. And me dancing is like a combination of Elaine and Michelle Tanner. Bad. But humorous! Anyway, this is Sausage, adapted from Vegan Dad's recipe. I used a little less fennel, because I'm not a huge fan of the licorice taste, and added some thyme. Oh, and we didn't have pinto beans, so we used butter beans instead. Um, but, seriously.... amazing. You won't know what hit you. And it was so easy! Ok, enough gushing. We used these in a stew that was delicious, but photographed like babypoop, so I'm not showing it. There were lots of veggies, the sausage, a lot of soymilk, 'beef' broth, and Earth Balance. Rich, to say the least. But delicious.
better than any sausage on the planet

When we went camping, we took one of these links and sliced it very thin, left it in the oven on about 100F for around 2-3 hours and ended up with jerky! Which we took camping. Mmm.

Zucchini Bread Muffins

My buddy AllyChristine from VegWeb gave me this recipe. She sent me these muffins when we had a package exchange a couple months ago, and I literally needed the recipe. Like, I needed it. And you need it. She dusted hers with cocoa powder, which was awesome. But I was lazy, plus I don't have a sifter, so I didn't do that.

3 tbs ground flaxseed or 4.5 teaspoons (tsps) ener-g egg (I used ener-g)
.5 cup water or 6 tbs if using ener-g
1 cup neutral oil or 1/2 cup oil 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I actually used 3/4 C applesauce, 1/4 C canola oil)
1 tbs white distilled vinegar (I used redwine vinegar here cause i didn't have white and it was fine)
2 cups gran. sugar (I used Sucanat here)
2 cups grated zucchini (no need to peel)
2 tsps vanilla
3 cups unbleached AP or whole wheat pastry flour (I use the latter)
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
one tsp salt

Preheat to 325. Lightly grease 8x4x2 loaf pans, 4 mini loaf pans, or 2 muffin tins. In food processor or bowl (I just use a whisk), combine flaxseed and water...or ener-g and water. Whip until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add oil, vinegar, and sugar, and combine. Stir in the zucchini and vanilla. If using food processor, transfer oil/vinegar/sugar mix to large bowl before stirring in zucchini and vanilla.

In separate bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Add nuts and raisins if using. Stir dry into wet until just combined. Divide into prepared pans, and bake 60-70 for standard loaves, 40-45 for mini, 30-35 for muffins (I did like 25). Check with toothpick!

Last night we made lasagna. The sauce is sauteed onion, zucchini, squash, and crumblers with some of our homemade marinara and some storebought as well.

oh yum.

So the noodles are layered with the sauce, some spinach, and my basil/spinach/tofu ricotta (huge bunch of basil, 3 garlic cloves, package of spinach, extra firm tofu, salt blended in a food processor) with a little Follow Your Heart mozzarella on top. This time, we foiled the top so the cheese would melt. But halfway through cooking I wanted to unfoil it in order to brown the cheesiness, but when we looked only half of the cheese was melty. I said it would be fine. It turned out just like the cheese on the mexi chard rollups. So guess which side of the lasagna I got to eat, since it was my fault? haha...I don't care, it was still delicious.

Ok, and finally I have a little Indian food for your tasting happiness. I was in a curry mood. And I had a lot of beets and sweet potatoes. This resulted in sweet potato and beet curry salad. Which was not good until the next day, but the next day, it was sooooo good. So if you make this, make it a day ahead and refrigerate until you're ready to eat it. I needed something to go with it, so I whipped up a quick Chana Masala to go over some brown rice. Chana Masala = chickpeas, onions, garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, soymilk, and salt. You can find a recipe you like online, yes? It's really simple.
Indian food does not photograph particularly well. especially when the photographer is a tad tipsy. oh well.

Here's the recipe for the Sweet Potato and Beet Curry Salad:

sweet potatoes (cubed)
beets (peeled and cubed)
plain soy yogurt
scallions (thinly sliced)
dijon mustard
red curry powder
a tiny amount of garam masala (optional)

I know there are no amounts up there. But this is pretty versatile, and you can just use as many beets and sweet potatoes as you like, then adjust the rest to fit. Ok, so cook your beets and sweet potatoes first. Note that it takes longer to cook beets than cubed sweet potatoes, so adjust your cooking time for this. I boiled all mine together and my potatoes were a tad mushy and the beets were a tad crunchy (they went on the stove for about 25 minutes, so I'd say 15-20 minutes for the potatoes, around 30 for the beets). Once the beets are cooked, peel them and cut them. To the lovely root veggies, add your tahini first. You will want to have like... a 2:1 tahini:yogurt ratio, however much you use. So, more tahini, ok? Then just add your mustard, scallions, curry (I used around 3-4 Tbsp here, but remember that RED curry is spicy, so be careful - do it to taste [and remember that the flavor will intensify and get better the next day]). Salt to taste, give it a really good stir, and plop in the fridge for several hours.

The sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the beets (and the earthiness of both) goes really well with the curry flavoring, while the tahini and yogurt make this creamy creamy creamy. You will be pleasantly surprised, I promise!

I'm done for now. I will (i will i will) post about our camping trip next, as I'm pretty much caught up on our meals now. I might even do it later tonight. But my hands are a little tired right now. Go make dinner! But don't drink so much you can't photograph it...