Monday, January 26, 2009

pizza mania

Yeah, that's right.  But first, let me show you some other meals.
broiled tofu, rice w/peas, mint & dill, turnip greens

This meal was a labor of love.  By labor, I mean that I not only burned my arm on a hot pan, but I also cut the shit out of my thumb while chopping herbs.  By love, I mean that, in theory, I really love this meal.  In actuality, it was just ok.  I have a confession to make:  I don't know how to cook rice.  I mean...I get how to do it.  But for some reason, my rice never works.  It doesn't matter if I do it on the stovetop or in my rice cooker.  The stuff sticks to the bottom and burns.  This rice wasn't even done all the way.  Al dente rice is not that great.  However, it was saved by the amazing flavor combo of mint and dill.  I've blogged about this before, but seriously, if you haven't made anything with these two herbs yet, you're doing yourself a disservice.  Anyway, that's broiled tofu with some sauce Michael brought home from Hibachi, but it was reaaaallly salty.  And turnip greens are gross.  Sorry!  Anyway, it was ok.  I didn't starve that night, in other words.
shredded seitan w/shallots and 'green beans'

I could have sworn we had green beans in the freezer.  Apparently not, haha...  I've found, though, that brussels sprouts sub in nicely for any vegetable.  Because they rule.  This was a recipe from Vegan Planet, and it was just ok.  Not overly flavorful.  But not bad.  In fact, this is my general experience so far with this book.  So many of the recipes look amazing!  But then...  they're just ok.  But not bad.  I mad the manhattan 'clam' chowder too, but it's not even worth blogging about, really.  It was so-so.
grilled cheeze w/tomato soup

Now this was good.  This is the gooey grilled cheeze recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.  I was skeptical.  But it was amazing!  It tasted a lot like the grilled cheeses of my youth.  Creamy.  Salty.  Yummy.  I did add in about 1/4 cup of cashew cream (cashews blended with veggie broth) and then added a slice of tomato when I grilled them.  Seriously, they were so, so good.  And easy peasy to make.  That tomato soup is a hodgepodge of canned soup, diced tomatoes, soymilk, and nutritional yeast.  It was ok, but a little sweet.  I like a salty tomato soup more.

And now, on to the main event.  Pizza.
simple pizza, italian style

So, last night we made pizza.  I read the pizza novel in VWAV and decided that it needed to be done.  The dough turned out amazing.  I finally got some yeast that works (this strangely [ha] makes a big difference in whether or not dough rises...who knew).  This first one was a skimped version of what we originally meant to make, just because we really needed pizza immediately and couldn't wait to put on the rest of the ingredients.  And yeah, you might say that all pizza is 'Italian style', but you're wrong.  I've been to Italy.  They don't put a whole lot of shit on their pizza there.  The pizza I got in Italy had:  like 3 slices of tomato (thin slices), a sprinkle of basil, garlic, and a teeeeny tiny sprinkle of mozzarella.  Well, we didn't do mozzarella, but we did add marinated artichoke hearts.  This was freaking amazing.  Simple, but delicious.  

Granted, this is what I usually want my pizzas to look like:

But simple is good too.  This one had all that other stuff (minus artichokes), plus onions, spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, and FYH mozzarella.  It was yummy, as well.  But strangely, not as much so as the former.

And, because these pizzas were SO good...  yeah, we're having pizza again tonight.  The dough is rising right now.  Gimme a break, it's Monday and I'm not motivated to do much else.

Oh, and Michael also wants Mac n Cheeze, so we're having that too.  Nothin' wrong with that, my friends.  Once in awhile, anyway.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

W.I.P Wednesday + a recipe

Ok, I'm telling you right now that knitting when your hands are cold is pretty much impossible. Also, most of the patterns I like that I've found want me to use double pointed needles, which I don't have. Well, I will have them shortly, because I ordered some awesome bamboo ones of all sizes last week, but they're coming from China, so I must wait. That's ok though, because I've been occupying my time with something else: drawing. (Am I the only one who, when they hear/think the word 'drawing', automatically thinks of the old SNL sketch with Mike Myers as Simon, who does 'drawerings' in his bathtub? Just me then? Ok.)

I don't really like to draw. Mostly because I always want what I'm drawing to look real. That's the photographer in me. Mind you, I do know how to draw (and paint) pretty well, as I was forced to take like 5 drawing and 2 (oil) painting classes (which I hated) in my undergrad. They did give me the skills to render subjects onto paper fairly true-to-life. But it takes me hours, for which I do not have the patience. At all. That's why my quickie drawings are... bad? No, lets call them 'whimsical'. That's more like it. Anyway, here, you can judge for yourself.

Hahaha... ok, seriously, my drawings crack me up. All of these took like 2 minutes (max). And, as you can see, I am currently obsessed with gray and pink markers. A couple weeks ago I happened across these little square pads of bristol board that totally took me back to undergrad and the days of design classes and sketch books (which, again, I hated) and fresh, blank pages just waiting for something totally rad to appear on them. At first, I got one for Michael, because he actually enjoys drawing and is pretty darned great at it. He's always telling me that I should draw, and I'm always telling him that I hate drawing. However, the draw of that fresh, perfectly square (I do love squares) bristol pad was too much for me to resist. Plus, they're smallish (like 6x6"), so they're not too intimidating. So I picked one up for myself, as well. This kitty is my first drawing in the pad.
bunnies on a log

Michael and I have been drawing together, then. A lot of times, he'll ask me what he should draw. In this particular instance, I said, "two bunnies sittin' on a log." Once he started, I thought to myself, "Hey, self, bunnies on a log sounds fun to draw." So I drew them too. You need to know that these are all drawn directly with marker. No regrets! No take-backs! Plenty of mishaps. Oh well. My bunnies are happy, as is my kitty.


When I was little, my parents had (maybe they still do) a double spoon holder on the stove that had a little faces in the depressions and underneath it said 'spooners'. I had no idea what that meant when I was little, but now I do. And I like it! Spooning is possibly the best form of cuddling ever. For the purposes of this drawing, the big spoon looks more masculine than the little spoon. However, in real life (at least mine), I am big spoon and Michael is usually little spoon. That's just how we roll.

I have other drawings, but they really suck, so I left them out. And naturally, all of Michael's drawings are waaaay better than mine, but whatever. I had some fun with some markers and now I have three super cute drawings.

Now, I believe that I promised a bac*n recipe.

Maple Smoked Tempeh Bac*n

1 package of tempeh
3 Tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar/water mixture *
1 Tbsp ketchup
3/4 tsp liquid smoke
2 Tbsp maple syrup
3 cloves garlic, crushed
canola oil or nonstick spray, for frying

*this is kind of...sketchy, and i apologize in advance for lack of better measuring. basically, take a 1/3 cup measuring cup and fill it 1/4 of the way with apple cider vinegar. then, fill to the top with water. hence, a mixture. if you like more of a vinegar taste, add more vinegar than that, and less water. it's up to you.

First up, cut your tempeh into flat rectangles. I cut mine into thirds widthwise, then cut each of those into thirds, then cut each of those in half, lengthwise (so they are superthin). Boil some water in a small saucepan, throw the tempeh in, lower temperature to a simmer and leave it for 10-15 minutes (I do 12 minutes, personally). Drain, and set aside (but not for long because...)

Meanwhile, get the marinade together. Just stir it all up in a tupperware with a lid or a shallow bowl. Once the tempeh is done, put it in the marinade and leave it for an hour. Shake or stir them around every 15-20 minutes (I usually read or watch tv while they are marinating). After you're done marinating, remove garlic cloves and toss.

Get a large cast iron or nonstick skillet hot and ready (I prefer cast iron, but the other will work, if you must). Heat up the oil or spray with the spray (if using cast iron, you really don't need to use any additional oil). Arrange the tempeh slices in the pan (now at about medium heat). They should all fit, but if not, do them in batches. Pour about half (or a quarter, if you're doing 2 batches) of the marinade over them. Swirl the pan around so that the marinade gets evenly distributed. Now just wait until they brown on the bottom. This may take a little time, but really, wait for it, because the lovely crust it gets is completely worth it. Once they are browned, turn them, add the rest of the marinade, swirl, and wait again until they are browned and lovely.


The flavor of these is sort of sweet, pretty darned smokey, and completely delicious. Enjoy on a sammich or on the side of some pancakes or a tofu scramble.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make some dinner so that I will not be distracted during the upcoming 3 hour LOST extravaganza. Do Not Disturb!
eta: check out other peeps doing cool stuff at the W.I.P. Wednesday page!


Re: all of your comments re: my news.

This is me, channeling Britney Murphy in that terrible movie she was in (but I can't help but like her, regardless of how many shit movies she shows up in):

"I'll never tee-eelll..."

Actually, I WILL tell you, but I just love the suspense of it all. I'm waiting until a couple things actually happen so that if something falls through, then you (I) won't be disappointed. And if it does all fall through, then I'll still tell you, but with sadness instead of joy. So don't get your panties in a twist!

p.s. I just love how when I go to type 'life' in my tag area that the three items that pop up that start with 'L' are as follows: leeks, life, lunch. Three of my favorite things. That makes me happy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jessica tested, Michael approved

So, for whatever reason, the internet is working.  I'm actually stealing someone else's right now, which hasn't worked all through the previous week, but right now, is.  I'm taking advantage and posting; hopefully it won't die on me halfway through, right?  First off, I know I said I had recipes for you, but upon retesting one of them, I realized that the first time was a fluke.  It was a seitan recipe that was defreakinglicious.  I tried to recreate it last night, from memory (but now taking notes) and it didn't taste the same.  Therefore, I have more testing to do.  The other recipe was for a butternut squash and leek risotto.  That's pretty self explanatory though, and again, I didn't write down what I did specifically, so I forget.  I am completely lame, I know.  I do have some scraps of paper with notes on them, however, and really do plan to make these happen again so that you can have the recipes, because they are the ultimate in yum  Want to see how yummy?
i admit to my use of flash

I was so hungry by the time I churned this out that I almost forgot to take a picture.  This plate was actually sitting on my lap at the time of said picture taking, and no flash just wasn't cutting it.  And I also want to point out that I spent over an hour yesterday looking for my tripod and can't find the damned thing.  I really do want to take better pictures of my food.  There is no reason for me not to.  Well, now there is, because apparently my tripod has gone the way of the buffalo.  

At any rate, that's the seitan cutlet that I'm talking up, and dude, seriously, it was amazing.  Denser than the usual recipe, which I like.  I'm not a fan of 'fluffy' seitan.  This one is not.  Fluffy, that is.  On top is a gravy Michael mixed up that had orange zest in it and it was the yum.  In the back you see my risotto which was creamy and savory/sweet.  And it had leeks, with which you cannot go wrong.  
tempeh blt

This is a sammie that had all odds against it, and still turned out delicious.  We wanted BLTs, but had no fakin bacun, but there was a package of tempeh in the fridge.  However, we didn't have, like, any of the ingredients for the marinade in VWAV, so we winged it.  And hello buddy did it turn out wonderful.  I do remember the recipe for this one, but not the specific measurements.  I was going to go figure it out real quick when I transfered the pictures from my computer to Michael's desktop for uploading, but then the internet started working and I don't want to jinx myself by moving one inch.  This one I will have for you, tomorrow probably, since I'll be doing W.I.P. Wednesday.  

Our friend Chase, who was here on New Years and loved our food was here for both of the above  meals and loved all of it.  I don't think he finished his risotto, but he only left like 2 bites, so it couldn't have been that bad.  I figure if something is omni-approved, it must be fairly decent.  Well, unless that person has terrible taste.  So I guess the jury is still out.

Anyway, on to more exciting things:  I am testing recipes for a future vegan cajun cookzine by Sarah (she doesn't have a regular blog up yet, so I can't link to anything for you) called Cookin' with my Craw-Daddy.  Here are my first two attempts!
Creole Stuffed Mushrooms

Or, Muffuletta Mushrooms, she hasn't decided on the title.  I like muffuletta better, personally.  Anyway, these were really good!  Very spicy and sausage-y (but using TVP, nothing 'fake') with a fabulous taste of olives.  I was highly impressed with this one.  I'm no expert on cajun cooking, but if spiciness and tastiness are key, then...there ya go!  And for those of you (coughmecough) that don't really love mushrooms, Michael and I decided that the mixture would be completely wonderful stuffed into red bell peppers as well.  Michael did love the mushrooms though, and ate them all up with no hesitation.  Success!
Smothered Potatoes

This is another spicy, spicy creation.  The method for cooking the potatoes is pretty genius and they are perfectly tender, with just the right amount of kick.  I'd say these would be rockin' with a tofu scramble.  They weren't at all bad with the mushrooms, either!  Anyway, you should definitely look forward to getting this zine, and keep checking back here because more recipes are being posted for me to try out regularly.  I'm so happy to be a tester for something, especially something as yummy and awesome as this!

Just for kicks, here's my plate:
messy at best

You can see that I put a bunch of nutritional yeast on my tatoes and used a lot of the leftover mushroom stuffing to top one of my seitan cutlets (that the recipe isn't ready for yet).  
soup 4eva

Since it's so freaking cold here, and also since Michael and I both have been a little sickly, we've been eating a lot of soup.  In fact, I'm making more tonight.  The above specimen is something Michael whipped up for our lunch this past week.  It's a carrot soup, but not like a creamy one.  It's brothy (which I love), but still has carrots pureed up in it.  Just the perfect amount of spice and hotness and wonderfulness inside.  He also made some couscous that was bangin'.  His goal was to make everything in the same color family (warm toned oranges).  Totally worked.

And just to prove to you how cold it is here:
kitchen window frostastic

Guys, that is not the type of frosting that yours truly gets excited about.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  Stay warm, everyone!  

I still have other news that I am bursting at the seams to tell you about, but...  I can't yet.  What!  hahaha...  

p.s. happy inauguration day!  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

here's the deal!

Our wireless internet is broken.  I have not forgotten about you, but Michael's desktop computer is in a place that is incredibly freezing in our apartment (it's like 10 degrees [F] outside and we heat our whole apartment with 3 space heaters), so I lack the motive to sit over here for too awfully long.  I really apologize, especially since I have 3 recipes I want to share and some cool news and some other pretty cool news, but you're going to have to wait until either:

a) it's above 32 outside or
b) my wireless works again.  

Anyone who has wireless internet smarts, please contact me.  We are clueless here.  Everything says it's working, but the network isn't showing up on my computer.  Obviously, Michael's internet works fine.  Bummer!  I have no idea what's going on.  And we can't contact our ISP because we didn't get our wireless router through them (it was an old one of Michael's that we re-used).  So....  Sorry!  I will be back in action soon, I promise!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I need... go grocery shopping.  The food you are about to see was eaten before this dilemna.  On Friday, we ordered pizza (gift card, thank goodness).  Saturday?  Spaghetti.  Oh, and Sunday...nachos.  Nothing special.  Still, here's a couple of dins that weren't quite so heinous.
soup n springrolls

That's the Hot and Sour Soup from Vcon with leeks and green cabbage subbed in for the cabbage it calls for...can't remember if it asks for napa cabbage or baby bok choy (which is sort of like cabbage, right?).  Anyway, it was yummy.  I had an inspiration for some spring rolls, since we finally had carrots, lettuce, scallions, and mint in the house at the same time.  To round them out, I made some tempeh to go in them from this recipe on Vegan Dad.  It was the perfect addition. 

I love mint in spring rolls...not only does it taste fabulous and fresh, but it reminds me of New York and the spring rolls Michael and I got at Saigon 88.  I can't find a website for them (which doesn't really surprise me), but it's yumtastic Vietnamese food at a decent price with a good sprinkling of vegan options (basil tofu steak what!).  So anyway, here's the story with MY spring rolls:  they fell apart because I insisted on cooking them potsticker-style.  Dumb.  They disentegrated pretty much immediately.  Whatever, though, so I had to eat them with a fork.  They tasted damn good.

That's a terrible photo.  I have to show it to you though, because that side dish was amazing.  First off, that's a nature burger (fantastic brand) in the background.  It was good, but unremarkable.  The star of this show was that lovely mound of roasted beets and carrots with caramelized red onions and steamed beet greens.  Oh yes.  OH.  YES.  You may have the recipe, but it's pretty simple.

Roasted Beets n Greens with Carrots and Red Onions  (title too long?)

3 large beets, with greens
3 carrots
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
olive oil
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or more, to taste)
lots of salt

Preheat your oven to 450F.  Wash the beets and trim off the greens (set greens aside).  Cut the carrots in half, and put both the carrots and the beets on a rimmed cookie sheet with a half inch or so of water.  Put the whole shebang in the oven and leave it for a good 45-50 minutes.  While that's going on, cut the greens into thin ribbons (about 1 inch wide) and prep the onions.  Wash the greens very well and don't dry them.  Once the beets are done, you can go ahead and try peeling them by hand (something I've never been able to accomplish) or cut the skins off with a giant knife (my preferred method).  Once you get the skins off, slice them into thin circles.  Cut up the carrots too, lengthwise, so you have nice long slices.  Heat up your olive oil in a medium-large skillet and start sauteeing the onions (med-low heat), until they get brownish.  Be patient.  The  brownish-er they get, the sweeter they will be.  Anywho, when you think they're brown enough, add your beets and carrots and the vinegar.  Stir to combine.  Add the greens and cover the pan (the water left on the greens should be enough to steam them).  After about 5 minutes, stir them in.  Once they are nicely wilted, add salt to taste (I added a bunch, because I think it tastes better that way with the vineger - think salt n vinegar chips here).  That's it.  Enjoy!

So rooty and sweet and vinegary (in a good way).  The greens, especially, were delightful.  Delightful?  Sure.  Why not.  So...that's it until I either have a stroke of some genius or I get paid and go shopping.  I've been trying really hard to not go shopping in between shopping trips and have succeeded well enough that I don't really have any produce left in the house.  

Back to watching The Devil Wears Prada!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WIP Wednesday, quiches, and muffins

First off, this will be a quick post.  I'm sleepy.  And slighty drunken.  My bad!  And Top Chef is on.  Triple whammy.  Anyway, I've been working on my knit stitches.  This is for my WIP Wednesday (visit shellyfish if you don't know what I'm talking about!).  This is my special knit stitch for sweaters (knit, purl, alternate rows).
Next up is my first try at cable knitting.  You can just see the little swirly-doo.
swirl twirl!

This swirlydoo takes lots of time, but is fun, nonetheless.  I enjoy it.  I want to try making some knit animalpals, but have yet to find any fun patterns.  It will be, though!
Chick-wheat savory muffins

These are Celine's wonderful savory muffins.  Michael made these and we had them with dinner last night.  Then I had one for breakfast.  Then I had one with lunch.  They taste like fluffy falafel!  Wonderful, wonderful.  I fully reccommend that you made theses as soon as possible.  PS - they are my new favorite muffin AND biscuit!
mini quiches

These are the mini crustless tofu quiches from  I modify mine, using regular tofu instead of silken and other veggies besides mushrooms (none on hand and i just don't like 'em that much).  Still, I garnished them with a little cherry tomato while baking and they turned out wonderful!  Hint:  super spraying your tins with spray oil  makes them come out easier.
all together now

Steamed carrots (on sale, what!) with mustard sauce from Vcon, quiches, and chick muffins.  Lovely.  I especially loves the muffins soaked in the mustard sauce.  Woo!  And now, I must continue watching Top Chef.  See ya!

Monday, January 5, 2009


So I haven't even been on the internet since that last post. Being away from work, one of the last things I want to do is get online...mostly because it reminds me of work. And oh, I hate my job. Today was especially mind-numbingly terrible. Probably because it's Monday. And I've been away from it for 4 days. And the fact that my bosses are jerks and my work is boring. You know. The usual. So anyway, that means that I have a lot of catching up to do. Starting with that exciting thing that I told you I've been doing that Blogger is miraculously letting me upload photos of today. Look!
i'm learning to knit!

Michael got me a basic teach yourself to knit thing for xmas! He also got me loads of yarn and a more advanced book on slinkyrad sweaters for when I get better. And despite not understanding the instructions at all at first (I'm a learn by seeing/doing person), I really have a knack for it, somehow.
growing growing


My first knitting creation! I've gotten loads better since then and have been practicing different pattern stitches. I want to make little animals, like...really bad. For some reason. The cats would just commandeer them and hide them if I did make them, but that might just be part of the fun, yes? Anywho, now I get to participate in W.I.P. Wednesdays (brainchild of shellyfish)! That stands for Work In Progress, in case you are not in the know. I really enjoy making things with my hands that I get to see growing and improving as I do them (hence my love of ceramics). I did not at first think that I had the patience for knitting, but it turns out that I was wrong. It's a methodical, calming process, surprisingly enough. So, while other 20-somethings go out every night and drink themselves stupid at the bars and are generally not acting like 80-year-old women, I am content to act just that way. Let's not call it 'old'. Let's call it 'settled'. K?

Alright, on to the food. Here is what we ate on new years day. I've heard it's lucky to eat cabbage on that particular day, though I'm not really sure why. I couldn't find any decent collard greens at the store, so that one was out. And I was going to make something out of black-eyed peas, but...didn't. So, sauerkraut it was! I've had it in my mind that sauerkraut and sausage are awesome together (which they are) and wanted to make a pizza from this thought, but Michael deemed that idea icky, so we tried this instead:
not as pretty as a pizza, but still, it was good

This is sauerkraut cooked in some veggie broth with seitan sausages and dumplings. The dumplings were the star of the meal, by far. Little doughy bits of savory awesomeness. The kraut got a little watered down from the broth and the sausage got a little...soggy. But the dumplings were great! Michael found the recipe for me here. These are not the dumplings of my youth, which were more like doughy clouds sitting atop stew. They are compact, more like noodles. A nice, chewy noodle. That recipe calls for cornstarch, but it never says where to put it in, so I left it out. I also lacked the patience to roll them out to 1/8 inch thick and cut them all into 1x1" squares, so I just rolled them out to an acceptable (to me) thickness and used a spoon to cut out little oddly shaped noodle-biscuits. It turned out pretty good.

Next up is last night's dinner:
angel hair with garlicky oyster (mushroom) sauce

So here's the deal. I used to make linguine with clam sauce a lot as an omni. It's pretty much the only dish I made that had meat in it. I was good at it, and it tasted awesome. I decided to recreate it last night, with pretty decent results. The key? Oyster mushrooms. Also known as the only mushrooms that I like to eat. And I like them a lot. Too bad they're so expensive, jeez. Like, more expensive than tempeh. What! Anyway, I totally have a recipe for you because I wrote it down right after making it. I'm so on the ball. This is not a pasta that has loads of sauce on it. It's one of the ones where the sauce just coats the noodles and there's bits of yumminess here and there to chew on. Mmmmm... Served up with some olive bread (we found like a million artisan loafs of bread on crazy cheap sale at Kroger and put them in the freezer - score!), it's juuuuust right.

Angel Hair with Garlicky Oyster (Mushroom) Sauce

1 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup white wine (i just used white cooking wine)
1 cup veggie broth
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3-4 scallions, finely sliced
5-6 (or more!) cloves of garlic, minced
1 package oyster mushrooms, chopped into smallish pieces
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp capers, chopped (optional...i sprinkled mine on afterwards)
1 package angel hair pasta, cooked, drained and rinsed*

Make your pasta, set aside. Heat up olive oil in a medium skillet, then add scallions and cook until slightly translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic (and capers, if using), reduce heat and cook until fragrant. At some point, the mushrooms will start sticking to the pan, so deglaze with small pours of the veggie broth as needed. This will take about 3 minutes. Then, pour in wine, the rest of the broth, and lemon juice; stir in nutritional yeast and garlic powder. Cook, uncovered until reduced by about half. You want it to still be fairly liquid, but not like soup. (I reduced mine too much and there wasn't enough to cover the pasta well, so make sure you don't reduce for too long.) Once this has happened (shouldn't take long, really), stir in the parsley and cook, stirring constantly, until parsley is just wilted. You want to retain that yummy parsley flavor, so don't overcook it. Take off the heat and pour over the rinsed pasta. You may have to dig for the yummy mushroom bits when you serve, because they'll tend to fall to the bottom of the pot. Eat, enjoy!

*the reason you want to rinse your pasta for this recipe is that you don't need the extra starch on the noodles to grab onto your sauce, as you would for a tomato sauce. I usually never, ever rinse pasta, but you really need to for this one, otherwise the noodles will just soak up all the sauce and it will be dry.

Yay, a recipe! I feel like I never post enough recipes. Mostly this is just because I throw stuff in and don't measure and then forget exactly what I did. Maybe I'll start keeping track a little better. Anyway, on to some random food that we ate before new years.
thai coconut green curry

Seriously, the best way to eat kale ever. Ever! Normally, I find kale still just a tad bitter, but after simmering for awhile in this scrumptious green thai sauce, it was tender and sweet and just fabulous. The tempeh in there wasn't so great, though. Still sorta bitter, even though I cooked it from the beginning to the end of the process (about 45 minutes). Bummer!
gnocchi with okara pesto

Now this was amazing. I completely forgot what I did, except this: I had some basil, but not enough for a proper pesto. I had some pine nuts, but not enough for a proper pesto. In order to fill it out, I added about half a cup of okara to the mix, in addition to some nutritional yeast and lemon juice. And possibly other things, but alas! This dinner happened so long ago that I truly am at a loss. It was very delicious though.
crabbycake casserole w/sesame quinoa

I keep forgetting not to use frozen tofu in this recipe. It won't allow for the cakes themselves to stick together properly. In the midst of utter frustration and cakes falling apart left and right, Michael suggested we just make it into a crabbycake casserole. It worked and tasted delicious. By the way, I don't really follow that recipe above, I just use it as a guideline (mostly to remember how much Old Bay and nayonaise to add). That quinoa was cooked with tahini, nutritional yeast, spinach, tomatoes, lemon juice, and oregano. It was creamy and wonderful and tangy. I've come to really love the taste of tahini with lemon juice. Which isn't a great thing, since it's so fatty. Oh well.
ceasar salad

This is the ceasar salad from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, which my brother and sister-in-law got me for xmas. Loads of awesome recipes in that one, by the way! This ceasar dressing was...nothing like what I remember ceasar dressing tasting like, but it was still totally delicious. I used to love love love ceasar salads back in the day (which went on to become a greek salad obsession when I went vegetarian) and this is a nice reminder of them. Greek salad, you are next! I must master tofu feta (feta was the last thing I gave up before becoming vegan and I've been to scared to recreate it...I'm waiting until I fully forget what it tastes like first so I won't be disappointed haha). Anyway, we added some tomatoes to our salad because it looked a little bare with just lettuce, which tasted awesome, but added way too much acid. The dressing has a bunch of lemon juice in it, and apparently, I've developed a sensitivity to overly acidic foods. My mouth feels all scratchy and sore when I eat them. Sad. But most likely, worth it. Moving on...
the best tempeh i have ever eaten

And which of course, I forget what I put in the marinade, except that I know it had some of that sweet and hot mustard I'd just bought. I did boil it, then marinate it for like an hour, then fried it up (with the marinade) in the cast iron skillet. Delicious! That's mexi-millet and some green beans with it. Oh man, I have been craving tempeh ever since we had this. But I'm afraid I can't remember how to do it again!
sweet potato n brussels sprout chili

I kept hearing people rave about Isa's recipe for chili with brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. At first, I was like 'meh'. But then all of a sudden, I was all 'hmmm!' instead. Naturally, instead of actually trying her recipe, I just added sweet potato chunks and brussels sprouts to my normal chili recipe (minus 2 cans of beans) because I couldn't be bothered to look at yet another chili recipe. So, I have no idea if Isa's actual recipe for this is any good, but I can tell you that chili with brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes is awesome. Hint: the sprouts hold onto all these juices that when you bite into them totally explode in your mouth! Try resisting that!
where i got the idea that sausage is good with kraut

Ohhhh yeaahhhh...I had forgotten I even ate this. That's a Tofurkey beer brat with some Ezekial bun action. Add a little kraut and some sweet hot mustard (I love that stuff!) and you are in heaven. Oh, and because you can't get enough cabbage (apparently), brussels sprouts are a key side dish.
french onion soup

Last, but not least, we have this stuff. Another recipe from the Uncheese book. I must say, I have never before in my life had french onion soup. It always seemed gross to me. Beef broth...onions as the main component...bread...cheese...blegh. But without any of those grossy things (well, bread still, not that bread is gross, but soggy bread in soup?) I decided to give it a whirl. And it, too, was really good! I got a little freaked out by the 'cheese' eventually because it kind of just made me think of wet dough that I was eating, but had I followed instructions and schmeared the 'cheese' onto french bread instead of using croutons and plopping the stuff in the soup itself, I wouldn't have been bothered by it. I know because the next day, I spread the leftover cheesy stuff onto toast and it was delicious.

Wow. That was a long post. Now it's time to start cooking again. Happy (hellish) Monday, kids. Hope you survived. I barely am, with the help of some PBR and LOST on tv. Thank goodness.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

happy 2009!

So far, this year has been good.  Seriously, I laid in bed this morning wide awake thinking about getting up when I decided that my first act of the new year had to be a special one.  I didn't want to start out this year just the same as any old day from last year.  I became obsessed!  What would I do first?  After awhile, it became obvious that I would need to make eating my first act of 2009.  But...what would I eat?  Not cereal, booooring.  Oh, wait!  I had leftovers (it foggily came back to me eventually) from this:

Oh yes.  That was my new years spread.  I was a busy bee last night, indeed.  Let me detail for you just what was on that fabulous table.  In the back there's chips and salsa and storebought hummus.  Blah blah blah.  Next to that you'll see some cocktail grapefruit that I got on sale because apparently no one around here cares about them (the same display doesn't seem to have moved for over 2 weeks).   Then there's this!
homemade wontons and eggrolls

Like, completely homemade.  I made the wrappers myself because eggless ones do not exist in my town.  I got the recipe here.  I told Michael, as they were deep frying away, 'You know it's a special occasion when I deep fry!'  Oh, and it was totally worth it.  They were a giant hit and monstrously delicious.  The little wontons are filled with tofutti cream cheese into which I mixed grated ginger and sliced scallions.  They tasted just like crab rangoons!  I was telling Michael just the other day how I sort of missed crab rangoons...just because they are so...I don't know.  Delicious?  Anyway, I knew I was successful when our friend Chase ate one and goes, 'Hey, is this a crab rangoon?'  Ha!  This guy was great, by the way.  He is one of those poor souls that lives off of fast food for every meal of his life and was so grateful to be eating real food.  He was not phased for a moment that it was all vegan.  Fake cheese?  No problem for this dude.  It was pretty amazing, actually.  I love it when people come over and eat my food and enjoy it.  I mean, cooking for Michael and myself is rewarding in and of itself, but it's a joy to spread the love to others.  Especially those who eat like crap normally.  

Anyway, the 'egg'rolls contain shredded cabbage and carrots that I cooked in some sesame oil and hoisin sauce.  I'm seriously in shock over how nicely the wrappers bubbled up, too.  They look just like real eggrolls!  That sauce in the background is one inspired by a recipe in Vegan Planet (which my granny got me for xmas).  It's tamari, sesame oil, sliced scallions, chili garlic sriracha, rice vinegar, lime zest, and lime juice.  Yummm!  We have leftover cream cheese and sauce and cabbage filling and I want to pile them onto a bagel so bad.  No bagels here though.  Anyway, if you can't tell, I'm super proud of myself for making those and the fact that they turned out fucking awesome.  It wasn't that hard, either.  You should try it.
pizza bites

These were a big hit as well.  I should have made more.  In fact, I just made a bunch for Michael for lunch because there weren't enough last night.  This is just a sliced baguette with some pizza sauce, a slice of FYH mozzarella, and some spicy pizza topping that rules.  Baked at 400F until I forgot about them and heard them sizzling.  Melty awesomeness.  Chase popped one in his mouth before I could warn him about the fake cheese, but it didn't matter.  He ate like...almost all of them haha...
bruschetta and sweet potato fries

I wanted to make bruschetta really bad, but after going to two stores and finding no basil at either one, I was at a bit of a loss.  However, with my knowledge that mint and dill go mysteriously perfect together, I just used those herbs instead.  It was good!  My crostinis got a little overdone, but that's ok.  Oh, and those sweet potato fries were baked with smoked paprika and garlic powder.  Also a hit.  I just wanted a large variety of food, you know?  Lots of munchies for us to eat while we drank.  Thing is, I thought more people were going to be there for some reason.  Between the three of us, the only leftovers we have are:  a tiny bit of bruschetta mix (gone now), some crostinis (also gone), chips and salsa, hummus, and grapefruit.  Those boys crushed it!  I mean, I was eating too, but I was more concerned with drinking.  

And now a gratuitous fried yumminess picture, because I am overly proud:

I have one more thing to show you that's especially exciting, but Blogger won't let me upload any more photos for some reason, so I suppose it will have to wait.  Bummer!  I guess it's back to watching my Looney Toons marathon (yes yes yes!) and doing that thing that I'm excited to show you but can't.  I'm in total bliss because I somehow have tomorrow off work as well and there's nothing better than watching Pepe le Pew, Sylvester, Bugs Bunny, Wiley Coyote, and Daffy Duck do a bunch of stupid shit while I relax myself into oblivion.  Enjoy yourselves today, and have a happy, happy new year!