Saturday, June 6, 2009

simple dimples and famers market and other things

I really do mean to post more often...  but things have been a bit crazy around here.  Michael found a new job (yay!) and I put in my two weeks notice at mine (also yay!).  Still, it's been stressful, and though I think about blogging every day, I only seem to have the time on weekend mornings.  So...  you're getting the best I can do for right now, friends.  Explanations aside, lets discuss some more interesting things.

We went to the farmers market this morning for the first time this year!
the basics

And there was only one seller and we bought mostly everything they had!  Well, one basket of everything, anyway.  And it wasn't as cheap as usual...  but the real deal farmers market starts officially June 27, so you bet your bottom dollar we'll be there for that.  I was a little disappointed that there were no greens...  But I can make do.  I'm always a fan of little red new potatoes.  And those tomatoes don't look completely ripe, but I'll make it work.  I'm most excited about the beans and zucchini though...  Mmm.  Spent $9.25.  We've been discount shopping like crazy lately because of our tentative job situations, and cheap produce is perfect right now.  

Have you been wondering about our garden?  Well, it's been a tad stunted because the light on the porch has been dwindling since the trees outside got more leafy, but...  progress!  Look!
teeny tiny pea pod

Our babies are growing!  So far, this is the only sign of actual items producing veggies, but it means there is hope.  And hope is damned fine for me, thanks.

What with it getting warmer (though it's been raining here all week, go figure), I've been craving raw veggies like nobody's business.  Thankfully, I remembered this, and have been making my own rendition.
i may never cook kale again.

I didn't even watch the video again before making the salad, I just remembered seeing it once and decided to wing it.  Basically, you just wash and tear your kale into bite sized pieces and massage olive oil and salt and lemon juice into it until it looks nice and wilty.  Then add in an avocado and mush it around so it coats the leaves (I do whole bunches of kale at once, so that's one whole lemon's worth of juice and an entire avocado...I do skimp on the olive oil though).  Then just add cracked pepper and whatever other veggies you like.  I put radishes and strips of summer squash in this version...and I've learned that I also love raw squash.  And zucchini.  

I liked it so much that I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day.  Then went home and used the other bunch of kale I had to make another raw kale salad.  I am a woman obsessed. 
ok, not fully raw, but we do what we can here.

To this one I added thinly sliced zucchini (you really must try raw zucchini if you haven''s amazing.  So much better than cucumbers.) and scallions and radishes and also a few splashes of red wine vinegar.  Michael made some seitan and we topped our salads with it, and it was freaking amazing.  I ate the leftovers for lunch, then went out that evening and got more kale and lemons and avocados, and plan to make more salad today.  It's been like 3 days.  I miss it.  Yeah, it's got a lot of fat in it, but it's healthy fat, so suck it up and go make this.  Because it's awesome.

More on budget meals that are also quick and/or relatively easy:  Thai tempeh with veggies and rice noodles.
this was amazing.  i impress myself sometimes.

We've had a lot of tempeh floating about since Michael's mom brought us 3 packages of it, and we had 2 already in the fridge.  And we're out of tofu, and seitan sometimes takes longer than my poor hungry (aka grouchy) belly can handle.  Anyway, I got all this coconut milk at Aldi for like 90 cents a can, and a bunch of zucchini and frozen broccoli...  We had all the other stuff on hand: scallions, frozen peas, carrots, tempeh, rice noodles, ginger, limes, soy sauce, etc.  I steamed the tempeh and while that was going on, made a marinade of coconut milk, ginger, lime zest and juice, a little cumin and coriander, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.  Drain tempeh, marinate for about a half hour, scoop out with slotted spoon and pan fry...  While that was going on, I sauteed the veggies and cooked the rice noodles.  Add tempeh to veggies, add marinade on top of that to act as the sauce, heat through, and bam!  Dinner's ready.  That might seem like a lot of steps, but if you're good at multi-tasking, it's not so bad.  

Ok, so I just noticed that the next 4 pictures are really strange looking...because there was a lot of yellow in the meals and I took them in sort of bad lighting, so pardon.  I always forget about the white balance button on my camera because I'm hungry when I'm photographing the food.  And I color corrected the best I could without making them look like food from Mars.  I will try harder, haha...

Anyway, here's some more tempeh and discount meal stuff:
maple dijon tempeh is the best thing on this planet...and it wasn't my idea.

So, at the market down the block they have discount veggies sometimes, which I love, obviously.  This time I got a pack of leeks, some sweet potatoes, and some roma tomatoes.  They all went into this carb-filled meal.  The tempeh was simmered in some broth, and then Michael pan fried it and made this amazing sauce out of maple syrup, dijon mustard, hot sauce, and water.  It was so creamy and fabulous and decadent...I can't even think about it.  It makes my mouth water.  We also roasted the sweet potatoes with some red potatoes we already had and a bunch of whole garlic cloves (amazing!), and I made a risotto with the leeks and tomatoes.  This was all relatively easy, except for my stirring for half an hour.  It was kind of a chilly evening, so the oven being on wasn't a big deal.  Anyway, it was all delicious!

Next is a weird bean and millet salad we concocted one night when it was really hot and we were being lazy.
creamy beany

It's just two cans of beans, some millet, avocado, celery, and Nayonaise.  I actually kind of had an aversion to this because I've somehow become like, incredibly over sensitive to the taste of soy mayonaise and I officially hate it.  I mean, I never really liked it, but I could tolerate it in salads and sauces.  Now, it's on my black list, which sucks because I used it a lot in those things.  Maybe I need a new brand.  But I digress...  This salad was good though, in theory.  I added a bunch of nutritional yeast and lemon juice to my portion, which made it way better.

Oh, this one's old, but was really yummy:
vwav alfreda

I got some orriechette, which is my absolute favorite pasta shape and wanted to use it in some kind of creamy sauce with broccoli.  Never having tried the alfreda from Vegan with a Vengeance, I decided to give it a go.  This sauce is seriously the best creamy sauce ever.  It calls for a lot of nutritional yeast, but somehow doesn't taste noochy.  We added some sausage style tempeh (basically the tempeh sausage crumbles from the same book, but I didn't look at the recipe and just winged it).  Fabulous.  I don't often call things fabulous, unless they really truly are.  And this is.  Ok, so I called the maple dijon tempeh fabulous as well, but it was.

With quick and easy meals, sometimes it's not worth taking a picture.  Like the beans and rice we had last night.  Or the pesto we put on pasta a week or so ago.  But sometimes the leftovers from those meals become something totally photo-worthy.
if i could only get a decent photo when the time comes!

The leftover pesto went onto a pizza crust...  toppings were onions, garlic, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, black olives and vegan parmesan (all of which we just had one hand!).  I don't often like a pizza without a tomato sauce, but this one was perfect.  And easy.  And quick.

Lastly for today, I leave with with deliciousness and a good photo.
spinach artichoke dip!

Yes, that does deserve an exclamation point.  I used to luuuurve spinach artichoke dip.  I made a vegan version once before and it was horrible.  It called for all this soy sour cream and cream cheese...and it tasted just like those.  Of which I am not a fan, by themselves.  This recipe came from the idiot cookbook.  And it was...I'm running out of synonyms for delicious again.  But it was all of those synonyms put together into one giant flavor explosion of happiness.  We liked it, in other words.  Plus, it was easy peasy and didn't call for any specialty ingredients except for nutritional yeast, which is only specialty for some people (like me, who have to drive a bit to get it).  Michael and I devoured this with crostinis (discount bread, hell yes) and the Greek salad that I blogged about last time.  I'm loving this idiot cookbook, by the way.  At first, the recipes seemed too simple to bother making, but it turns out that simple is good when you're in a hurry (duh) or it's hot out (duh) or the flavor combinations just plain old work (double duh).  

So simplify your life.  And enjoy your weekend!


Jes said...

Congrats on the new job! That's always so exciting! And your eats look fabulous as always. Love the raw kale!

miss v said...

pesto pizza is grand, for sure! and i love the toppings!

i'm happy to hear you are down with raw kale... i was converted earlier this year and don't think i could ever eat it cooked. i just love it raw so much.

congrats on the job transitions for both of you - sounds like a good thing!

allularpunk said...

ahhh haha, i don't have a new job yet. i just got up the guts to finally quit. i do have a couple interviews though!

saveyrgeneration said...

where is there a farmer's market near Huntington?!

veggievixen said...

great stuff! your pea plants look like mine!! so exciting. the farmer's market here doesn't have too much yet but there are now strawberries!! yay. the kale salad looks fantastic. i don't often have raw kale but i need to try that asap. the maple-dijon tempeh sounds amazing! also, where did you find the inspiration/recipe for spinach-artichoke dip? sounds so good.

Anonymous said...

salivating over the spinach artichoke dip! nommmm!

Sarah said...

i too was addicted to the kale salad and ate a huge bowl a day for quite awhile.

that baby pea pod!! so cute!!

VeganCowGirl said...

Congrats on quitting - it is liberating isn't it?

I love your creamy beany pic - looks great. I heart all the avocado in your photos. Yum Yum.

Anonymous said...

I hope you find a great new job! It's a little scary, but exciting, too.
As usual, everything looks amazing - even those yellow-y ones.
That idiot spinich artichoke dip sounds very good - I have fond memories of that dip from my pregan days.

Sal said...

ahh go you - i often fantasize about quitting my job!! :0)

All that food looks amazing as always, especially the pizza. Yum.

Virginia said...

i have yet to visit our farmer's market for this year...isn't that sad?

i might check out that idiot cookbook!

Eric said...

Ahh I feel guilty now.....I was gonna hit up the farmer's market yesterday (sunday) but instead I couldn't drag myself out of bed.

All of the dishes you cooked look really tasty. Especially that kale salad. Perfect warm weather summer food.

Hannah said...

I'm so jealous of your meals! They all looks so veggie-ful and delicious.

Vegan_Noodle said...

It all looks great! That raw kale salad sounds especially good.

Hope all is going well!

aTxVegn said...

Boy oh boy I can't wait to try the raw kale salad - it sounds amazing! I love raw zukes and often sub them for cukes. Sometimes cukes have such bitter skin and ruin the whole salad.

I don't eat soy, but I've always disliked vegan mayo. I've been using the new coconut yogurt in place of mayo and that works really nice. Also try Miso Mayo. I know it's soy but just a little bit doesn't bother me. I get Miso Mayo in the tofu section of Whole Foods.

jessy said...

superw00t on Michael finding a job! that rocks! and hooray for you getting ready to leave yours – i know yours isn’t much fun – so i’m glad you’re getting outat there, Jessica! no worries on the blogging – we haven’t been posting much either – there’s just too much go’n on! yay for buying up that one seller’s goodz @ the farmer’s market – that’s too funny! sadface on no greens, but very cool on it officially opening up soon! what a cute little pea pod! i’ve been craving veggies like mad, too – glad i’m not the only one. i just had some raw squash today – it’s so damn delicious! hooray for a rock’n kale salad – man, i really need to try that technique! your thai tempeh = scrumptious, and so does the maple dijon tempeh! hooray for tempeh awesomenesses. craziness on not caring for soy mayo now @ all – there are some things i can’t really stand now either – it’s so weird how tastes change! pizza, pasta, and artichoke dip! ooooh, that’s the best! hope you’re having a wonderful week, Jessica! superhappyface!