Sunday, February 1, 2009

good to be back, plus a hotdog rant

I have had more internet woes.  Nuff said.  Anyway, here's I be.  Superbowl Sunday!  I have a lot of work to do today.  I haven't watched much football this season, but I am sort of excited to see Pittsburgh in the bowl.  And that requires much food to be made...and a lot of cleaning to do before I start cooking!  It's been kind of a weird week, a lazy one, which I don't always like, but maybe I needed a week of lazy.  I've been kind of tired.  Anyway, I have my first bit of news to reveal!  If you noticed in the sidebar, I have a new little icon that means I am now a featured blogger on Wellsphere in the vegan community!  This is a site dedicated to healthy living, and yeah, I was probably as surprised as you are that they contacted me to be a part of their community.  Still, I must remind myself that I do try to live a healthy lifestyle and that if anyone can learn anything from my ramblings about how awesome vegan food is, then I'm happy to be a participant!  Head on over to their site and check out other vegan bloggers.  Most of them seem to be doctors and experts, so I feel priveleged to be considered among them.

Food time.  I have a lot of catching up to do here!  We haven't cooked anything groundbreaking this week, but there have been some interesting meals.
teese quesadilla

So maybe quesadillas aren't really that interesting, but they are when you have Teese!  This was my first teese encounter, and it's pretty good.  That's the newish cheddar flavor, and I found the flavor itself to be better than FYR cheddar.  The texture is still a little weird, but at least it melts!  You see, I used to be quite the quesadilla addict back in my vegetarian/omni days.  It's a super quick lunch and it's gooey and comforting.  This pretty much hit the nail on the head under those criteria.  Still, I honestly think I like the flavor of my own cheeze sauce better, but it's a helluva lot less work to use teese.   Anyway, I had this for lunch twice this week, so it couldn't have been too terrible, right?
soycurl fajitas

Can you tell I recently  made an order from Vegan Essentials?  This was my first soycurl experience as well, and I have to say that I love them.  I was a bit suspicious of their crusty appearance at first, but they really soak up a load of flavor and have a great texture!  Plus, they cost waaaaaay less than Morningstar chickn strips and don't have a 'flavor' to begin with.  These fajitas (made by Michael) are made with peppers and a red onion.  Michael read somewhere that traditional garnishes to Mexican burritos/fajitas/etc are radishes and green cabbage.  I have never heard this ever in my entire life, but it was delicious!  I was worried that they would taste too...  well, radish-y and cabbage-y, but somehow they flavors complemented the fajitas really amazingly well.  They add just the perfect amount of crunch without getting soggy, like regular lettuce does.  If you would like to attempt this, make sure you drizzle the radishes and cabbage with some lime juice and then salt & pepper them.  That makes them extra yummy.
roasted tempeh with veggies

Ok, I have to admit that all of the dishes you've seen so far were made by Michael, including this one.  I was in a bit of a cooking slump this week for various reasons, but I think I'm out of it now.  I hope.  Thank goodness I have him to help me out when I feel that way.  Still, a schedule change happened this week that put me a little out of whack, so I had to get used to it.  Next week will be better.  Anyway, this is some marinated tempeh roasted up with red potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, red onions, and garlic.  It was so good!  I don't know what was in the marinade, I'm sorry.  But it was salty and kind of soy-y and altogether very good.
tempeh with bulgur pilaf

I did contribute something to this meal, however.  That's a bulgur pilaf with leeks, and it was amazing.  We haven't had much bulgur lately, mostly because we ate it so much this summer that I think we got burned out, but I had a hankering for a healthy grain, so this emerged!  I even have a recipe for you.

Bulgur Pilaf w/Leeks

1:2 parts dry bulgur: water (i used a coffee mug to measure, so mine was probably 1.5 cups bulgur to 3 cups water)
2 small leeks, thinly sliced (ALL of them, even the dark green parts)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp EVOO
3-4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of one small lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

This was so simple, guys.  First heat up your oil in a large skillet.  Saute leeks first for about 2-3 minutes, then add shallots and continue to saute until soft.  Add bulgur, water, and red wine vinegar.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes.  Uncover, add lemon juice and parsley, then taste and add salt and pepper until you think it's right.  That's it!  Especially good served with roasty toasty tempeh.

Oh, this was just to prove that we did have pizza again Monday night.  And it was even better this time.  We also had mac n cheeze, but I didn't take a photo.  Just imagine pasta shells covered in yellow.  Yay!  Mac n Cheeze!
buddha chocolate

I just thought this was cute...  It's a buddha shaped chocolate (also from Vegan Essentials) that has hazelnut bits in his belly.  I got this for Michael when I did the order (in addition to other yummy chocolates for us to share...we don't get chocolate much here) because he's very interested in Eastern religions, Buddhism in particular.  So adorable!

Watching Jamie make scallops all the time on Top Chef and hearing Fabio saying stuff about 'This isn't Top Scallop!' in his crazyawesome accent finally got to me.  I ordered a can of veggie skallops.  We sauteed them with some sesame oil, tamari, sriracha and sesame seeds...  and then...  (I'm almost too ashamed to admit this...)  ....

...   added them to Chinese food that we ordered.  Ok, ok, that is so lazy, I know, but it was really pretty good!  The skallops themselves were mostly just ok (the flavor was great, but the texture was a little strange).  They were just like chunks of seitan, really.  Still, worth the experience, I guess.  And I got some greasy lo mein out of it.  Worth it!
agave spiced cornbread w/beanie weenies

This cornbread is from the testing of recipes for the Cookin with my Craw-Daddy zine.  For some reason, mine didn't rise up and get fluffy, but the flavor of it was amazing!  Slightly sweet and spicy from chilis.  I found it to taste a little like hush puppies, which cannot be a bad thing.  And then, those are beanie weenies.  I've posted about them before...  But I have to say:  vegan hotdogs rule.  They are the one fake meat item that we buy regularly, and I was trying to figure out why that was...  First off, they only have like 45 calories per dog, which is ridiculously awesome because you can eat like 3 of them without even feeling the least bit guilty.  Also, I think it's because hot dogs themselves (omni ones) are such bullshit that they're really easy to recreate.  There must just be some universal 'hot dog flavor' that they add to all hot dogs, be it a cow, pig, turkey, or soy dog.  Granted, the texture of soydogs aren't the same, but..uh...thank goodness!  Regular hot dogs are standardly horrendous in all ways.  I do not understand why omnis the world over don't just switch to soydogs.  I mean, they don't know what's in their hotdogs anyway (nor do they wish to, I'd imagine...blegh!), so why not at least eat one that's good for you?  

In conlusion, soydogs rule.  Except LightLife soydogs, those suck really bad (weird flavor).

Ok, it's noon.  Time to wake up my Michael and start cleaning so that I can start cooking! 


Anonymous said...

That bulgar pilaf sounds great! Bulgar is my fav grain.

Aww, I love the little buddha!!! That's so cute how he has the hazelnut in his belly =)

I'm drooling over that bean and cornbread meal! But I must say I love Lightlife soydogs!!! If you roast them in the oven until they are browned and puffy...mmm.

Chelsea said...

Wow, that is a lot of food! Thanks so much for the bulgar pilaf recipe - I have a bunch that we used for tabouleh, and the leftovers have just been sitting in the cupboard forever.

Congrats on Wellsphere!

Alice (in Veganland) said...

This means I need to switch to another brand of soydogs, because the ones I tried sucked! Oh, well, I'll keep trying! I have lots of bulgur in my pantry (but I refuse to tell you how old it is) so thanks for the recipe!

K.E.N. said...

my roommate does the radish and cabbage thing with her mexi food. i thought it was weird at first but it's not bad. i'm not a huge fan of radishes, so i don't do much.
i would have to disagree about soy hot dogs. i feel like i haven't had one that doesn't have an off taste about it. which i thought was weird b/c i feel like hot dogs should be pretty easy to make vegan. what brand do you use? i'm more of a sausage person and always get Tofurkey Italian ones. yum!

T said...

Oh how I love this season of Top Chef. Fabio is my favorite (although he keeps dissing on vegetables... whatever.)

Those soycurls have definitely peaked my curiosity before... maybe I'd better make an order myself!

I have tried Teese now, the mozz flavor, and I agree- good not great.

That bulgar pilaf looks awesome..

michelle said...

Glad you're back! I hope your internet woes are over.

I've been thinking of making a vegan essentials purchase! So much to choose from though; it's a bit overwhelming. I think I might go for the sheese, 'cuz I've never tried it before. I've been on a quesadilla kick lately. soooo gooood.

Super-cute Buddha!

saveyrgeneration said...

ah! Teese. you lucky lady. need to place a Vegan Essentials order pronto. and, that choco Buddha is adorable!

p.s. vegan potluck: affirmative.

Anonymous said...

Ooooo News!! Congrats on the wellsphere invite! Awesome. But you said 'first bit of news'!?! Is there more? Is there? Fess up!
The food looks yummy. And you know how much I adore 'Not Dogs' >:o)

Anonymous said...

I am always so hungry after I visit your blog chica! How on earth do you two manage to make so much amazing goodness? I swear, I'm going to *your* house next time I get to visit the US!

Virginia said...

all the food looks delicous! i became a part of wellsphere a few months ago but they put me in "vegetarian" which is OK, but my site and I are all whatever...i never go there anyway, ha. we had soydogs last night made into not-pigs in a blankets! vegan junk food is good.

jessy said...

picturing pasta shells covered in yellow right now! mmmmmmmm! shells are the best for mac 'n cheeze because the cheeze can get all up in the shell - shells really hold all the awesomeness. mmmmmmm! dan prefers spirals because he claims the surface area is better for holding cheeze, but i think the pockets of cheeze in the shells is most awesomeest!

i want those buddha chocolates. i think i'm going to have to place an order just so i can have some! mmmmmmmm!

the agave spiced cornbread sound awesome - huzzah for tasty tester recipes! yay for more beanie weenies! i still need to make those for dan & i. soydogs do rock really hard! w00t!

i've been feeling kinda "meh" lately, too - so it's totally okay that you have as well. :) only you're making yummy eats and i've had a couple of failures and been making some old favorites. teese is pretty yummers, but i'm with you - i like my own cheezy sauce a bit better! congrats on Wellsphere! totally going to check it out! that so cool, Jessica!

i love the roasted tempeh & veggies - thanks for the leek filled bulghur pilaf recipe!! :) leeks = my fav & i puffy heart me some bulghur! mmmmmmmmmmmm!

radishes & cabbage, yeah?! never heard of that either - but i am totally gonna have to "give it a go"! especially since you gave it the thumbs up! doublesuperw00t!

Sal said...

oh my god i'm so hungry now after reading all that.

I wish we could get teese over here, they need to start shipping it because most vegan cheese i've tried is just ick!

the bulgar pilaf looks awesome and the pizza. and quesadillas! it must be time for dinner!!

miss v said...

i very much want to try teese for it's melting qualities.

that buddha is even more awesome when you know he's got a hazelnut in his belly!

Jes said...

Your week looks delicious, not lazy! And I love the scallop adventure! Top Chef is so good this season--and you've veganized it!

Fresh from the Source said...

The little Maitreya Buddha is cute.

Going to try the bulgar pilaf tonight. The best hotdogs I can get here are made by Yves, though I only use them when in a real hurry, as I never liked hotdogs much, even when I ate meat. Yves taste like the real thing.

Hannah said...

I agree with you 100% about those vegan hotdogs. I generally hate mock meat so they're sort of like a guilty pleasure for me, but they are surprisingly good.

aTxVegn said...

Welcome to Wellsphere! Look me up over there.

I still haven't tried Teese. I just learned today about a local pizza place that makes vegan pizza with it, so yay!

Beenie Weenies - it was such a treat when I was a kid and my mom would buy those.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love getting packages from Vegan Essentials! I haven't tried the cheddar teese yet but am very interested.
Glad to hear Michael is helping you out during your cooking slump! I've been experiencing the same thing!

Anonymous said...

The roasted veggies with tempeh sounds like a super comforting, tasty, happy meal. Radishes in fajitas? Curious indeed, but I must try it! And, beanie weenies!!!! Love love love that meal!!!!!

Eric said...

Awesome food all around! Love the chocolate Buddha :)

I agree....soydogs are awesome. I recently tried the Yves veggie brats and boy were they delicious.

Anonymous said...