Saturday, August 7, 2010

back to the future

Hi, all. I've decided to recreate my blog over on Wordpress. The posts here are from...before. Life is changed, different, big, exciting, wow (ok, not really big, exciting, or wow). I'm going to leave this site up for people to be able to look at my old posts if they'd like. If I'm on your blogroll, please update with this NEW LINK. And please, come visit me! I plan on blogging way more. Topics might include: Cooking for one. Dealing with leftovers. What to do with that old bunch of parsley/eggplant/tomato/cucumber/rice/mustard you just found lurking in the depths of your fridge. The ever popular drunk cooking experience. Cooking with friends. My cats. Cooking for an omnivore. Etc.

It could be fun. Come find out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

epic proportions

Last night I made an epic bagelburger at 3 am and my roomie demanded that I blog about it. He is not vegan, nor does he even read my it seems as if this is more of a 'people must know about your awesomeness' type thing, to which I am rarely opposed. I only allowed him one bite, but he immediately said that I must take a picture of it and write about let the world know. However, I was not in a state to be taking pictures of my food. I was in a state to be devouring my food. That just meant that I got to recreate it today.

My first thought upon recreation was that it was not nearly as lovely as I remembered it from the night before. In fact, it's downright ugly and not that easy to eat (the insides kept squishing out the sides of the bagel). Whatever though, because it's definitely as delicious as I remembered. Ok.

Explanation #1: I've been on a mega bagel kick lately.

Explanation #2: I've been on a mega hummus kick lately.

Explanation #3: I much prefer putting hummus on my bagels than fake cream cheese or jam.

Explanation #4: I've been a bit lazy in my cooking and when I run out of leftovers...I eat bagels with hummus quite a bit.

Explanation #5: As my most devoted readers must know, I am a mustard fanatic. This is a case where the mustard absolutely makes the sammich.

I recently acquired a new type of mustard: dill mustard. It is, in a word, fabulous. It's all the awesomeness of having pickles on your sammich without that gross, rubbery, sometimes just nasty pickle actually being on your sammich. It reminds me of...ok, to be quite honest, what I remember McDonald's cheeseburgers tasting like. Granted, I haven't had a McDonald's cheeseburger in around 12 years (seriously, gross), but those darned things were a pivotal part of my youth. It was, once upon a time in young Jessica's life, quite a treat to go to McD's to get a cheeseburger and, if the season was right, a shamrock shake. Admittedly, I would not touch one of those things with a ten foot pole now, nor would I ever encourage anyone to actually eat one. But forgive me for having a taste memory that reminds me of my childhood and getting a little treat and hanging out with my fam. It happens.

So. That being said, you're gonna have to get some dill mustard, especially if you would like to create my epic bagelburger. It's pretty simple. The ingredients list is almost laughable:

1 Boca burger (original vegan...for that smoky, fast-food type taste)
3-4 giant spoonfuls of hummus (just regular old hummus, nothing fancy)
some lettuce (i've been buying this artisan lettuce stuff, another post on that situation at a possible later date)
1 bagel, toasted (i used whole wheat [it makes me feel less guilty]...and another rant on the complete and utter uselessness of an untoasted bagel at yet another possible later date)
1 squirt of DILL MUSTARD (no alternatives, i'm sorry, it's just not a possibility)

uh, yeah. Assemble. I put hummus on both the top and bottom of my bagel, because I'm decadent like that.

Lets have an admission of guilt here: it's drunk food. It's 'I've been drinking since I got off work and I want fast food in the middle of the night but should definitely not drive and I don't want Taco Bell and none of the fast food places have a vegan burger' food. It's fast. It's messy. It's ugly.

It's perfection.

Friday, January 22, 2010

hey, good lookin'...what you been cookin'?

Yes, I've been gone for a long while. Yes, I do have a legitimate reason or two. You will most likely figure out this reason within the next two sentences, but I'd rather not go into detail just now.

Ok, so as most of you probably know, going from cooking for two or more to cooking for just yourself can be difficult. At first it's all like, 'Why bother? It's just me. I can live off Taco Bell burritos for a period of time.' But then you get tired of eating crap and you start cooking again. Still, cooking for one kind of blows. I'm still in the mode where I cook for an army, only to find myself with leftovers for at least 3 days afterward. Solution to depressing problem? Cook with friends! Recently, I have been cooking with my lovely and talented friend Becca about once a week or so. It's an excuse to get out of the house and socialize, yes, but it's also a reason to bring some joy back to the cooking process. We started off simple for our first kitchenventure: Indian food.
ladies in action

Becca whipped up an exquisite chana masala whilst I slopped together the curry potatoes from the 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook (which is amazing, by the way). I added about twice as much garlic as it called for and used red curry paste since I didn't have any green.
my girl stirrin' it up

lots of stirring action

The potatoes didn't require nearly as much stirring. (Above photos are courtesy of Becca's manfriend, Max, since I forgot my camera.)

end result

Paired with some fluffy basmati rice (and some whiskey), it was a deliciously awesome meal. And I only had to take home one little container of leftovers. Not to say it wasn't yummy enough to take home more, but I probably had like 3 tupperwares of pasta in my fridge already.

This next kitchenventure occurred last night...and I remembered my camera, so there's loads more photos. Also, I broke my ankle last week so I had pretty much nothing better to do but mince the garlic and onions and take an annoying amount of pictures. We decided to make a risotto...lemon brussels sprout risotto, to be exact. It started out with lots of garlic and onions (yeah, we doubled [or tripled] the amount of garlic...we love the garlic).
the woman knows how to pick out a good head of garlic

which turned into this

mincing queen

I told you, that was all I was good for. The rest is the work of the wonderful Becca. She blanched some brussels sprouts:

And then she sauteed them:

And then she cut them in half:

Waiting for the rice to 'separate and crackle' (much confusion ensued):
And this is about when Becca realized that risotto is really frustrating to make:

The lady owns the most awesome kitchen crap I've ever seen, but she does not have a ladle (we superwomen know how to improvise, however):

"I strongly suggest that you take a picture of this right now":
if only i could have taken a video so you could see it bubbling away

If you clicked on the link for this recipe, you'll see that Becca has the same lemon juicer thingamabob as the one in the picture (she's my real life Betty Crocker):

And, at long last, this:
tasted way prettier than it looked, i promise you

We both agreed that the risotto was heavenly. We added an extra squirt of lemon juice on our individual portions, which contributed a lovely tang. The brussels sprouts were sweet and tender and paired nicely with the creaminess of the rice. Upon asking Becca if it was worth all the effort, she replied, 'Yes...but I'll never make risotto again.' I warned ya, girlfran.

So, the moral of the story is this: If you're feeling a little down in the dumps or your cooking has gone into a rut, I recommend that you cook with a friend once in awhile. You're more likely to try challenging recipes that you wouldn't bother to make just for yourself, and it's just plain refreshing. (Next up, I think we might try seitan en croute...which I would never attempt on my own, but with my ladyfriend there for moral support might just be achievable.)