Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week Three

Okay, I don't know what I did with my camera. I remember taking pictures a few nights ago of squash and spinach stuff I made, but my camera has decided to hide from me since then, so I don't have any pictures from what I made last night.

I cooked bulgur for the first time ever. I had found a recipe in a magazine, (can't remember which one,) and realized I had everything for it except the bulgur itself. And since I'm really trying to take advantadge of trying new foods this month, the $4 I paid for a bag, was more then worth the cost. Not that I used the whole bag in one dish, I could probably make this at least three more times, since everything else is always in my pantry.

It was sauteed garlic with dried ginger powder, (the recipe called for fresh ginger, but I find it impossible to chop and a little bite of fresh just completely overpowers everything else, so I always just add a little dried powder instead, which with every other spice I refuse to do, especially dried onion and garlic.) But then I added the bulgur to that, with orange juice and vegetable broth, let it boil, then simmered it for about twenty minutes, and then mixed in a little bit of soy sauce and chopped almonds to finish it off.

It was really good. It had a nice Asian flavor to it that wasn't too over powering, and I steamed some broccoli to go along with it.

Tomorrow I plan to do my big weekly cooking, especially since I have company coming over Thursday night. I plan to make cookies, some kind of soup, a baked squash dish, and something with bagged stuffing I have. I also bought some delicious looking apple-raisin bread that I'm going to try and make a sweet vegan stratta out of. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Colorful Food

So today I got back to cooking, not that I had really stopped on purpose, but after a few days of dining out or just eating sandwiches, I was glad to finally have some time to cook.

For lunch I made a recipe that I found on another Vegan Mofo blog, spaghetti squash with cashew-pumpkin sauce. Or at least that's what I'm calling it. I did things a little differently then the original. I roasted a whole spaghetti squash, which I then mixed with the "sauce" I made. The sauce was sauteed onion and garlic, spinach, sage, cashews, and canned pumpkin.

For dinner, I made fun finger food. I made the autumn latkes from Veganomicon, which were shredded sweet potato, beets, and carrots, mixed with onion and fennel seed. I really liked them, but they were so much work, and beets are so messy.

I love beets, but I don't eat a lot of them. I think it's because they are so messy, and I just don't like dealing with them. I still have a single beet leftover however, and I think I'm going to try to roast it and do some kind of orange glaze for it. We'll see how that goes.

I also made spinach-stuffing balls, and if I hadn't made them myself, I wouldn't have believed they were vegan. I used two packages of frozen spinach, mixed that with seasoned stuffing mix, (which I'm so glad I found a vegan variety of,) onions, garlic, some ener-g, Italian seasoning, oil, nutritional yeast, and some vegetable broth. I mixed it all up really well, and then let it sit for a little while so the stuffing could absorb some more moisture, then rollled it into balls, and baked them.

I keep on saying I'm going to make the pumpkin ziti from Veganomicon, but I never have the time or energy to do that it seems. Maybe tomorrow, but I doubt it since I have a full day of work.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Days Are too Short

I realize I haven't posted in the last couple days, but I've really just been crazy busy. I have been eating vegan, though finding vegan treats to eat, when I don't have time to cook, can be challenging, and I can't just live off Oreos. I did find these Mi-Del all natural vanilla snap cookies, (also available in lemon,) that I ate a bag of over the past couple days that were decent.

Tomorrow I plan to catch up on my cooking, a lot of cooking, so I have enough leftovers to last for a couple days. I plan on making at least one recipe from Veganomicon, probably two, as well as a squash recipe I found on another Mofo blog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mofo Iron Chef - Week One

I've always enjoyed the concept of the show Iron Chef. Give chefs an ingrediant that will challenge their creativity, and see what they come up with. So when I found out there was a Mofo Iron Chef, I knew I wanted to participate.

When I found out that the secret ingrediant for this week's challenge was mashed potatoes, I orginally thought of doing something with russet potatoes, but then I remembered I had sweet potatoes that had to be used, and I figured out what to do.

I give you, my mashed sweet potato and black bean cakes;

These were quite easy to make. I made mashed potatoes before I headed off to work today, so all I had to do tonight was make the actual cakes. I mixed the sweet potatoes with black beans, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, lime juice and zest, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, bread crumbs, and silken tofu, then sauteed them until crispy on the outside, but still soft and mushy on the inside. The sauce is silken tofu, blended with cilantro and lime juice, garnished with lime zest and jalapeno pepper slices.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vegan Mexican

Though I had Mexican for dinner, I have to start by telling you about the sandwich I had for lunch, which I thought was vegan, but after rereading the ingrediants, (which I had read when I bought the honey mustard dressing, I'm convinced the label somehow changed while it was in my fridge to magically changed,) I found out there was egg yolk. Still, I had thought I was eating vegan, and I obviously didn't use that dressing on purpose, and will next time just have to be more careful.

The sandwich, however, was excellant. I'm sure some, if not most, of you have been to Disney World before, (if you can't tell from my screen name I am Disney-obsessed, so Disney references are sure to come up once inawhile.) In the Magic Kingdom there is a counter service restaurant in Liberty Square called Columbia Harbor House, (which if you happen to ever be in the Magic Kingdom, in need of a place to eat, head here,) and they have a fabulous sandwich, which they call the Lighthouse.

It's toasted whole wheat bread, with hummus, tomato slices, and broccoli salad. It is delicious, and I've been able to recreate it at home, mixing a bagged shredded broccoli with honey mustard dressing, and though I've made my own hummus before, the store bought stuff is so easy.

For dinner, I was definatly hungry for Mexican. I used TVP to make another batch of taco "meat" which was not as good as the other night's, but it was still fine. I think it's because I made more TVP then I had previously, but used the same amount of taco sauce. I think it definatly needed more taco sauce. Aside from a little Diaya cheddar, I also had some chopped red and yellow vine tomatoes with cilantro.

I also made a dip/salsa of black beans, corn, and roasted red peppers. Really easy to make, and something I've made for years, even before going vegetarain;

1 onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 box frozen corn kernals (I use Green Giant shoepeg corn)
1 can black beans
1 jar roasted red peppers, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all together. It's really best after sitting for awhile to give the flavors time to combine. Also, the measurements for the oil, vinegar, and sugar are approximate, and you should really taste, and add more or less as needed.

I had a bag of Tostitos new garlic and black bean artisan tortilla chips that I used for my salsa, I recommend those. Or the Tostitos lime flavored chips, I've always been a fan of those.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Apple a Day

I bought a huge bag of apples the other day. And I'm not even the biggest fan of apples. I mean, I like them all right, but I'm not sure what posessed me to buy a five-pound bag of them, especially while I had a pound or so already at home. So what was the solution to the abundance of apples I had. Baking!

First I decided to bake a recipe I'd seen in Vegan with a Vengeance, and had thought would be nice for Christmas, gingerbread apple pie. Though I have what I consider to be a considerable amount more then the average person in baking and pastry education and experience, I hadn't made pie crust from scratch in years, but I wanted to stick with the recipe, since it sounded so good, and be vegan.

The result? Delicious apple yumminess. I had nothing to fear, the crust was so easy to make. And pressing it into the pan, instead of having to roll it out, made it so much easier for me as well, since I don't have a lot of counter space. Though the finished crust seemed more like a cookie to me then a pie crust, not that I'm complaining.

The filling was very easy to make, but I'm very used to making my own fillings. While I always used refridgerated pie crust before, I absolutly refuse to buy canned fruit fillings, I find them much too overly sweet, plus, except for a few brands, most of them are full of HFCS and artifical flavors - complete crap, which I try to avoid whenever possible.

I loved the finished pie, it was sweet, but had a nice spicy flavor. Not spicy hot, but very spiced from the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and whatever else the recipe called for, plus cardamom, which I add to almost everything with those flavors.

That still left me with a lot of apples. When life gives you lemons, you're supposed to make lemonade, so when life, (or my mindless grocery shopping,) gives me apples, I have to make apple sauce. Also from Vegan with a Vengeance, (I've only had this book a week, and have already used it a half dozen times at least,) the roasted applesauce.

I diced up all the remaining apples I had, which were a mix of gala and macintosh, mixed them with what the recipe called for, using extra cinnamon. Cursed myself for not having a real lemon handy to zest, (I switched to using lemon juice from a plastic lemon, which isn't nearly as good as juice from a real lemon, but the cost difference really leaves me no choice,) and threw it in the oven. And then forgot about it in the oven. Luckily, they didn't burn.
After roasting I just grabbed my imersion blender, which other then my chef's knife and saute pan, is probably the item I use the most in my whole kitchen, and I suggest anyone who makes smoothies, soups, purees, or now, applesauce, buy one. Honestly, they're cheap, (I think I paid $10 for mine,) and they work wonders in the kitchen, with very easy clean up.
I loved the applesauce. Reminded me of my grandma's applesauce, except thicker with nice big chunks of apples. (Notice the quickly dissapearing pie in the picture.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day Two

Today I did my major weekly grocery shopping, which was much larger then usual this week due to going vegan, and wanting speciality items like nutritional yeast. Altogether, I spent around $80, which might not sound like that much, but that's very high for me. I'm just going to go through my receipt, and post everything I bought; pumpkin soy milk, Daiya shredded cheese, (which I've heard is really good, if it's not, I think I'm giving up with vegan cheese replacements,) Earth Balance butter sticks, tofu, vegan Boca burgers, vegan chocolate chips, (which I'm so glad I was able to find, I bake quite a bit, and was worried I would have trouble finding vegan ones, or that they'd be very expensive,) molasses, nutritional yeast, flax seeds, sugar, vegan beef base, squashes, apples, beets, bean sprouts, tomatoes, and some cumin since I was running low. I also bought some adorable Halloween cookie cutters and some black cat plates that were reduced to clearance prices.

That doesn't really seem like $80 looking at that list, but I spent $10 on squash alone, on all different kinds, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and two kinds I haven't tried before; carnival and delicata, $10 on three different kinds of sugar, and some of that other stuff was quite pricey by iteself, like the cheese.

What did I eat today? Aside from leftovers from yesterday I made another recipe from Vegan from a Vengeance, the Brooklyn pad thai, which I need to upload the picture of, but I think it turned out very well. The sauce was a little more spicy then I would like, so next time I make it, (and there will be a next time,) I'll use less hot sauce. It was also a little runny, but I blame myself for that since instead of tomato paste, (which I was out of,) I used tomato sauce. Overall, it was very good though. I also didn't have any cilantro on hand, which would have added some much needed color to the dish.

I also bought two new vegan cookbooks today; Veagnomicon, and Vegan Celebrations. I'm going through both tonight, making lists of recipes I'd like to try.