Thursday, September 18, 2008

some hits and misses

I am not above blogging about my failures as much as my successes. Naturally, I'd love to have more good dishes than bad.... but sometimes things just go wrong. And you can learn from my mistakes! Lucky you. First though, how about some pics from my life. Like my bike.
just imagine me cruisin' around town. oh yes.

radtastic pinstriping action

Next, you can see that mom sent me an apron in the mail. She included a note that said 'A sassy apron for a sassy cook'. Awesome! Thanks, Mom, and I totally wear it all the time.
me in 50's garb. i looked happier before the pic was taken but then the camera screwed up. this is the best we could muster.

Oh, and I came up from taking photos of my bike and was watching the kitties under the door. They were watching me, too. The ever curious Ghostface Killa:
'hey! get up here and feed me, already!'

K, food time. You'll notice a pattern soon.

FAIL: bread. I made two loaves, one herb, one normal. I used half WW, half AP flour. And then I made the mistake of startling the loaves after they had risen (an awesome amount) and they fell, and it became all dense and sad. Which in turn makes me sad. But it tasted pretty good.
mom, i seriously need that bread tutorial we keep talking about. i keep screwing up and i'm tired of it!

SUCCESS: turkey style lunchmeat from Vegan Dad. Even though I tried my hardest, subconsciously, to mess this up, too, it turned out good. First, I added waaaay too much soy sauce. Then, while steaming, I steamed out all the water and almost burned my pot to a crisp. Actually, it turned out really great, but could use just a tad more... flavor. I'd add more liquid smoke and more... just everything that adds yum. It'll be ok. This makes a HUGE loaf of seitan and the flavoring in the original recipe gets a little lost, is all. Generally, I'm really happy with how it turned out. It slices thin, scarily just like meat. But way more rad. Vegan Dad is easily the best seitan maker I've seen so far, and his recipes turn out for me most of the time. Plus, steaming seitan is GENIUS!
doesn't this look like meat in a deli? ew! but awesome!

SUCCESS: turkey dinner. Well, this one's fairly obvious. I used the above seitan to make a nice little turkey din for my boy. There with it is some smooshed potatoes (I always leave the skins on potatoes because 1. I'm lazy and 2. no one around here seems to mind) with loads of garlic and scallions, and some steamed Brussels Sprouts and squash with loads of the Mustard Sauce from Veganomicon. This mustard sauce is simply fabulous. Muy Sabroso!
everyone needs a little turkey din in their lives now and again.

SEMI-FAIL: pasta casserole. This tasted better the next day. Consisted of: WW penne, some sauteed squash and zucchini, tofu-spinach-basil ricotta, vegan meatballs, and sauce. I was feeling lazy and needed something I could pop in the oven and forget about. It actually turned out being more work than I wanted. And the ricotta tasted weird or something. But the next day I had it for lunch and it was good. So. I dunno. I've never had that ricotta taste weird before, maybe I was just in a weird mood that night when I ate it. Anyway... just another boring pasta casserole for the masses. Woo!
i mean, it LOOKS good, right?

SUCCESS: coconut black beans, coconut rice. Oh. My. Goodness. Please make both of these, immediately. Go look at the recipes, like RIGHTNOW. Don't change anything about the beans. Definitely eat them with the avocado and mango. I even add some shredded unsweetened coconut. I do cook them for awhile longer than it says, so that they thicken up. Now, the rice. I straight up cooked mine in the coconut milk, not water. Then towards the end, when it seemed a little dry, I added about 1/4 cup of water. I also used a package of oyster mushrooms instead of white mushrooms because I hate white mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are the only kind I like, really. Sounds weird to say that I like a type of mushroom, but oyster mushrooms are nice and chewy, NOT meaty like most mushrooms. Anyway, if you like whatever mushrooms, just add whichever you feel like or have on hand. I just like the oyster ones.
bad pictures of a delicious dinner

FAIL: marinated italian tofu and couscous w/tomatoes and capers (from VCon) and some sauteed spinach with walnuts. Ugh. Everything about this fail is my fault. I used frozen tofu for the tofu dish, which sucked up so much marinade that it made it extra salty. Oh, and I baked it IN the marinade, which I guess just made it worse. The flavor was good though. The couscous.... I was so sad. I'm still a little sad. It says to add optional cloves in the recipe. I don't know what I was thinking, but I added them. And the entire bottle of cloves accidentally got dumped in. I thought I got it all out. I didn't. At all. I was left with a huge container of clove flavored couscous that was impossible to remedy. Nothing really covers up the very strong flavor of cloves. I'd reccommend you skip the cloves altogether on this one. Oh, and that spinach was just very blah.

SUCCESS: soft polenta w/poppy seeds (from VCon) and kale w/white beans (from Yellow Rose Recipes). Obviously, those aren't white beans. They're kidney beans. They were the only beans I had in the house, and they were canned. And it turned out just fine! I also added a handful of cherry tomatoes for a little punch. This dinner was SO delicious. The flavors were very subtle, but very yummy. Comforting. Nutritious. Heaven. I added about 1/2 tsp dried thyme to the polenta and I used veg broth, not water. Perfect.
ultimate perfection. i am in love.

FAIL: beanball hoagies. Beanballs from VCon. Are. Mushy. I need to add more wheat gluten, I guess. I thought they were just ok, Michael hated them. He didn't even finish his. Which is rare, honestly. The texture was off, the flavor was off... it was all kind of just...bleh. He made a veggie soup to go with this. It was ok, in my opinion. Sorry, Hunny! Too much cabbage, and I don't add potatoes to my veggie soup. Other than that, it was good though.
how can something that looks this good taste so weird? like mush in your mouth. sorry, Isa.

SEMI-SUCCESS: jalepeno poppers. I got this idea from a really old post from VeganYumYum. I stuffed them with a nooch sauce that I already had in the fridge, and these jalepenos were just dying to be used for something. So. This:

Served these up with some sloppy joes (Fantastic brand) on that bread from above. The poppers were beer battered (winged that one) and deep fried. I didn't even care, cause they were pretty good. Outside my comfort zone (fry-phobic here), but good.
and in the pic they become shapeless mounds. oh well. there's jalepenos under that batter.

Ok, I'm getting tired here, but I'll just end with a couple things.

LUNCH SUCCESSES: Michael made me lunch a couple times this past week. First off, some pasta that was nice and fresh tasting. I topped with nooch.

Next up, 'steak' sammiches. These are sliced up Boca patties, sauteed peppers and onions, homemade bread and steak sauce. Very yum.
big lunch, good lunch.

Last but not least.... a silly zucchini.


Alex Rushmer said...

Cool blog. Awesome ink too

jessy said...

i'm fry-phobic, too! which kinda sucks 'cause fried food tastes sooo good (even though it's not always awesome for you) - but i'm always afraid i'm gonna burn the hell out of myself. or get oil all over my kitchen. i'm pretty messy in the kitchen and it's not a good thing when one is working with oil. ick!

that zucchini is too cool! i love it! it made me giggle, and the "steak" sammies - sweet batman those look stellar!!! :D the peppers and onions "had me at hello". mmmmm! that sounds like the perfect lunch. and something that doesn't take too long to put together, which is cool. i go home on my lunch break to hang out with my dog, and i am totally gonna try those "steak" sammies sometime - they look too freak'n good not to!

i've heard mixed reviews on those beanballs. i'm not the biggest fan 'o wheat gluten (well, i think it's good, but my stomach tends to disagree with me. sadface!) - and i can see them not stick'n together too well without a bunch. that sucks that they didn't turn out. and it also sucks that your whole cloves all came out into your couscous! that's frustrating as hell! oh, and back to the frying - the jalapeno poppers - damnit - those look STELLAR! dan really super misses poppers - i'm totally going to try and get over my fear 'o frying and make some. now all i have to do is find out how to make beer batter. and how do you get the batter to stick to the jalapenos?!

the soft polenta makes me drool - it looks comforting, indeed! beans & kale is one of my favorite combos! mmmmmmmm!

cooking rice in coconut milk - now you're talk'n! hot damn, that sounds so deeeeeeelicious!

i think the pasta casserole looks tasty & comforting, too! glad it turned out to be tastier the next day. come to think of it - most italian type dishes we make taste better the next day - i think they flavors have more time to hang out and get to know each other or something.

brussel sprouts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg, omg, omg! brussel sprouts! i just wrote them on my list! sweet gloriousness - BRUSSEL SPROUTS! with mustard sauce - mmmmmmmmmm! i have yet to try any of the sauce from vcon, now i'm gonna have to.

dan & i are baking bread this weekend, and i'm kind of scared, or maybe i'm just intimidated! you're way more brave than i am! i'm afraid ours will be fussy, and i don't really bake that often ('cause most baking i do = failure), but i hear that homemade bread = the best! so i'm gonna try and be brave and make some! i'm glad the bread tasted good though - it looks REALLY yummy - i would have spread some e.b. all over it! it's my fav!

kitties = cute! and your bike + radtastic pinstriping action = the best ever! awesomeface!

i think i wrote a novel instead of a comment! ahahahahaha. sorry! you just had so many yummies that i wanted to comment on!

that's one rock'n post! hells yeah! :D

Virginia said...

The beanballs didn't really work for me, either; glad it's not just me! That apron is too cute.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

I looooooove your bike. And I have bread-making issues too. I really want to be able to do it right, but it's rare that I get a good (I definitely won't say perfect) loaf. Still, even if the texture is off, it is better than store bought loaves of preservatives.