Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easy Comfort Food

I made this simple Carrot, Spinach and Rice Stew last night for dinner. It is from the New York Times food blog, Bitten. There is a lot of great inspiration over there. I made it to the Farmer's Market yesterday and got a bag of assorted greens: beet greens, arugala, etc. So I used that instead of the spinach. I also used a suggestion from one of the comments which was to add chickpeas. So good. Cooked to the point that the rice was kind of mushy, which I think is what made it such a comfort food for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

So far I'm having a really nice Earth Day! I took my boys to Whole Foods where they were having some booths and activities out in front of the store. Olen was shy and didn't feel like participating in the activities, but we shopped a little, got some snacks and played on the playground. I hadn't been to Whole Foods in forever--it just isn't on my way anywhere and is too expensive to do my regular grocery shopping at. But it certainly is a nice treat every once in a while.
Some of the treats we got were freeze dried fruits (Just Fruit Salad), Plantain Chips, cranberries (I'm thinking of making some granola bars with these), and dried green beans(which got a yuck from Olen). Also got some hummus and pita chips, smart dogs, and Earth Balance.

Later this afternoon we have plans to go to the farmers market which sounds like a perfect Earth Day activity to me. Can't wait to get some veggies!

Earlier in the week we did some grilling. Seitan Ribz, potatoes and swiss chard. The swiss chard I cooked inside and the potatoes were similar to the Crash Hot Potatoes. I boiled them until fork tender and then cut them into big chunks and put them onto the grill in a grill pan to get crispy. Very nice sides to go with the Ribz which are a favorite around here.

Also baked some tofu the other day. It is a recipe from the Vegetarian Times Vegetarian Entertaining cookbook. The recipe is Tofu Teriyaki Bites. I made these last week to go in a cold Sesame Noodle dish. This week they never even made them onto a plate. I just kept walking by the stovetop where they were sitting on the baking sheet and eating them off. I had specifically made them to pack in my son's lunch because he liked them the week before with the noodles. Of course he didn't eat them this time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I give in

I could only take it for so long! HappyVeganFace keeps making these Crash Hot Potatoes and taunting everyone with the yumminess. And then Shellyfish had to go and mention them too. So I just had to make them. And they were every bit as good as they say. I know, they are just potatoes, but the smashing then baking really makes for a nice surface area to get all crunchy and yummy. I really enjoyed them. My smashing got a little out of hand because I didn't quite boil them long enough so the middle wouldn't smash very easily so I kind of just smashed all the skin off. But really they turned out wonderfully and the skins were all crispy and delicious. Check out the others who have made them for better pictures.

Another recipe out there tempting me was Jennshaggy's Vegan Mozzarella. Mine didn't quite turn out like hers though. I think I may have gotten impatient and not let the mixture come up to a boil, maybe just a simmer. So the agar did not set properly and the result was very soft. Or it could have been that I substituted Mimicreme for Silk Soy Creamer. Not sure if they are similar or not. It wasn't a complete loss though. I was able to use some as a ricotta cheese type substitute in Lasagna Rolls. These had the cheese, spinach, zucchini, onion, garlic and parmesan cheese substitute rolled up in lasagna noodles. Then covered with tomato sauce (which was just a can of diced tomatoes with basil added and smashed a little more with a fork) and a little more parm substitute and baked.

I just made it up as I went along and it turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grilled Vegetable sandwiches on Foccacia

The weekend consisted of visitors and Easter fun. I'm starting to realize that when we have people in town, I don't cook much. We ate out and we cooked on the grill a lot. Easy stuff like veggie dogs and tofu and veggies. It was a beautiful weekend for it. I intended on making Alisa's Cinnamon Rolls, but somehow never got around to it. I hope to soon.
On Monday I made Quinoa Salad again. This time I added an avocado and measured the lime juice (1 TBS). I'll update the recipe on the original post.

Yesterday I had my best friend Gina over for a delicious meal. The best part was that it was completely spontaneous, we both used up veggies that were about to go bad in our fridges, and I didn't have to go to the grocery store to make it. (I was putting off grocery shopping until today).

So she brought over corn and we roasted it on the grill. I made some homemade Foccacia bread from The Vegan Gourmet. I love foccacia, but have maybe made it only once before. I cannot even express how delicious this bread was! I grilled the veggies I had on hand: sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, onion.
We each had two pieces of foccacia with a little Veganaise on them, some fresh basil leaves from the garden and the grilled veggies. Oh so good!Olen and Jeff enjoying the meal

And now for some Work In Progress Wednesday:
A baby blanket I am crocheting for a friend of mine that is having a baby soon. I got the idea from Joelle's Giant Granny Square blanket over at The Purl Bee. It is the perfect project for leftover yarn. I'm using all cotton yarn. And it is just a big granny square, what could be easier than that? It is turning out so cute, I'm not going to want to give it away.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quinoa, tofu and let's pretend it is Wednesday

I made a very tasty Quinoa salad the other night. It was a combination of two different Quinoa recipes. One from Veganomicon and one from Vegan Planet. Here is a recipe. I didn't do much measuring. I'll make it again and update the recipe. I'll also have to take a picture. The one I took came out badly. (even worse then the tofu picture below).

Quinoa Salad

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 mango, peeled and diced small
small handful garlic chives, minced
small handful cilantro, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
splash of lime juice (I used bottled, fresh might be 1/2 to 1 lime)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa in the vegetable broth. I used a rice cooker, but however you want to make it.
Put cooked quinoa into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Serve at room temp or cold.

To go with the salad I made some baked tofu. It was a loose version of a recipe from The Voluptuous Vegan. I didn't have all the ingredients, so I just went with what I had. If you have this cookbook, you have to make the Chocolate Coconut Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting. I used to make it whenever I made a cake for special occasions.

These veggies here are what went into the Masaman Curry I made. My friend Jam owns Thai Fresh and makes the best Thai food and teaches thai cooking classes. I took one a couple of years ago and learned to make about 4 dishes. This is a really easy one. I definitely cannot make it as well as she can, but it works.
I didn't get my W.I.P. in yesterday, so I'm doing it today. I just finished these little cuties tonight to put in Easter baskets for my little boys. I filled them with rice. So cute I can't stand it! This was the stitch-a-long project for March. Better late then never.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Breakfast for dinner

I love having breakfast for dinner. Last night we had Biscuits and Sausage Gravy with Tofu Scramble.
I got the biscuit recipe from Jewish Vegan and they were the best vegan bicuits I have ever made! Usually mine come out all hard and dense and flat. Not the case with these! Check out her recipe and blog post for pictures. Hers look way better than mine. Her main tip for making them fluffy was folding the dough over before rolling it out. Next time I'll probably roll them out even less and make bigger fluffier biscuits. The sausage gravy I kind of made up. I browned some of the leftover Italian sausage from the Sicilian Bread Pie and added flour and soy milk to make the gravy. For some reason the gravy came out tasting kind of sweet. Not sure if it was the fennel in the sausage or what. I also used whole wheat pastry flour because I had just used up the last of my unbleached white flour in the biscuits. So who knows. It was okay. My Tofu Scramble was just kind of thrown together with some squash and zucchini, nutritional yeast and tumeric. Nothing special. But all together it was breakfast!

Speaking of Breakfast....This month's Vegan Culinary Experience (online magazine) is called What's for Breakfast. I haven't got a chance to check it out yet, but I look forward to looking at all the recipes. Alisa of One Frugal Foodie turned me on to the Vegan Culinary Experience and I thank her for that. I also thank her for the Cinnamon Roll recipe she currently has up on her blog. I have big plans to make these for Easter morning breakfast.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sicilian Bread Pie

Have I mentioned how much I love all of Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipes? Well, I do. For Italian food, Nonna's Italian Kitchen is the best vegan cookbook out there. Okay, I guess I haven't actually tried all the vegan Italian cookbooks out there, but this one has everything!

Sunday night I made Sicilian Bread Pie. It was filled with a broccoli and vegetarian Italian sausage filling. The 'crust' is pizza dough. Here is a picture of the inside before I put the top crust on. It is steamed broccoli and crumbled spicy Italian sausage (a recipe from the book). This sausage is really great. It is tvp and tofu based with lots of great spices like fennel and garlic and crushed red pepper. I usually make a double batch so that I have plenty for all kinds of things. Like pizza or adding to pasta sauce. Back to the pie...I then topped the filling with halved yellow pear tomatoes and a generous sprinkling of Cashew sprinkle (soy parm substitute) from the cookbook. On went the top crust and into the oven. It took a while from start to finish, but it is so tasty and now I have leftover sausage to use. The pie is good hot or cold and goes well with some marinara sauce to dip it in.

Speaking of pizza dough, I think I've finally found the perfect thin crust pizza dough recipe. I was browsing the New York Times food blog, Bitten, and came across this post and recipe. It made a beautiful thin and crackery crust. Just what I've been looking for. Now I just need to find a vegan soy cheese I like. I used Follow your Heart on this one, but not a big fan. I need to order some Teese and try it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Perfectly Simple

A big pot of beans is so simple and filling. But top it off with some sauteed greens, some Tahini Miso Sauce and a tortilla on the side and it is perfect!

Yesterday I made a 2 lb bag of pinto beans. That's a lot of beans. I sauteed up some spinach with garlic and red pepper flakes and made some more Tahini Miso Sauce from Vegan Gourmet. Yum!

I love buying kitchen stuff from the restraunt supply store. Not too long ago I got these condiment bottles which are perfect for holding sauces and dressings. It also came in handy yesterday for putting the Chocolate Ganache onto the cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

cupcakes and stuff

First off, I would like to wish my wonderful Brother-in-law a Happy Birthday!!!! I am so happy he and my sister found each other those many years ago. He is a great brother-in-law and a terrific Uncle to my boys. These cupcakes are for him. Now hopefully they will make it to his house before we eat them all.
They are Chocolate cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting inside and Chocolate Ganache on top. And you gotta have sprinkles for a birthday celebration. All the recipes were from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

I made car shaped 'cupcakes' earlier in the week for no reason at all. Just really wanted to use my car pan. I made Vegan Cream Cheese Icing for these and we just put icing and sprinkles on as we ate them.
I bought some tempeh my last grocery trip planning on making Tempeh Meatballs to go on top of pasta and tomato sauce. However, as I started simmering the tempeh in the soy sauce/water mixture I realized I did not have any tomato sauce. I thought about making some, but I was just not feeling that dedicated to being in the kitchen a long time. So, I searched around on the Internet for something to make with my tempeh and found the Tempeh Wingz from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk. These are something I've always intended on trying, just never go around to it and forgot about it. Plus, my husband does not like tempeh, so I don't buy it very often. Well, he used to not like tempeh. After trying these he said if it tasted like this more often, he would eat it. I had to make a few slight changes to the recipe, but nothing major. As I said, I was already simmering the tempeh in a water/soy sauce mixture so that was different. And I didn't have any Panko, so I crushed up some Matzo crackers instead. And finally, I didn't have any agave nectar for the sauce, so I just used some leftover barbeque sauce I had. It was all very good. Like I said, even my tempeh hating husband liked them.

And finally, a little Work In Progress for you:
These are some Rock Babies that I made for a friend of my son's that just turned 3 years old. They have been in a weekly playgroup together since before they were 2. His mom blogs over at Savvy Source and has all kinds of great ideas for activities to do with your preschooler. There is a tutorial for the rock babies on Resurrection Fern.
I had planned on joining the stitch-a-long this month, but didn't quite get around to it. I got the patterns drawn onto the fabric, but I still need to stitch them and sew them into little softies. I still plan on doing it by Easter as gifts for my boys, so I'm sure they will turn up on my next W.I.P. Wednesday.