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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cause for Celebration

The ever so kind Jenny over at Vegan and So Forth had a giveaway for some vegan goodies a few days back, and I won! I'm pretty stoked because I don't usually enter these things.
In the attempt to pass along some karma, I figured I'd start to have a few giveaways of my own. While I'm not exactly rolling in the dough, I work at a bookstore and am constantly and compulsively buying a stockpile of books. Today Greg kindly showed me a newly revised edition of Dianne Jacob's Will Write For Food, a how-to writing and reference guide to writing I know most, if not all, blog readers are bloggers themselves and this seems like a pretty neat little guide to have. It also has some tips on food photography, recipe and cookbook writing, how to make it professionally, and so on. I'm going to thumb through it but when I'm finished, I will pass it along to anyone who's interested. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment here and check back. I'll leave the contest open for a week, until August 4, when (fittingly for foodies) in 1936 police attacked a hunger march in Springfield, Il. (This according to my Slingshot!)
So, thanks, Jenny!
Another cause for celebration is just the lame fact that I finally can remember eating something green. I feel like with all the dinner parties G and I have been having, I've been eating things I wouldn't usually and have sorely neglected healthful eating, which I'm paying particular attention to for a (minor) health reason. I had a lot of fruit in the morning, including the sweetest dried mission figs and a not-quite-rotten banana but lunch was the all-star: Whole Foods salad bar kale and avocado salad (with red onion and lemon juice on it, I think), sliced bell peppers, and shredded beets. Thank God for vegetables. I felt totally rejuvenated afterwards. I also bought a Naked Green Superfood juice to up the ante.
Dinner was simple. G and I bought rice cakes and hummus to make sort of sandwiches for dinner yesterday and I pretty much ate the same thing tonight, with the addition of spinach, sliced onion, and tomato. Carrot sticks on the side.

Not pictured is an additional small salad of the rest of the tomato and more spinach, topped with capers and nooch. Now I'm on to the (cheap!) leftover beer we bought at WF, which is another reason for celebration.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DP Three

I would say the dinner party went pretty well. Beers were had, food was eaten um etcetera.
Andy and Maritza brought a Shepherd's salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, and lemon juice which was really nice and refreshing.
Greg made his famous (true) guacamole, this time with the addition of some black beans. Also included were grape tomatoes, raw corn, jalapeno, and the usual lime juice. My only problem with the guacamole is that I didn't really taste any of it...I was still baking the stuffed peppers at this point.
I bought bell peppers at the farmer's market the other day - 2 of which were purple peppers! They were a light eggplant color, but when we baked them, they turned a horrible grey corpse-y color. Oh well. They were stuffed with arborio rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, onions and garlic, parsley and mint and ground almonds.
Also baking was polenta which I have only eaten once before and never made. It was totally bizarre! Almost as soon as the corn meal went into the boiling water it was cooked! Crazy! We threw sundried tomatoes and chopped basil and parsley in with the cornmeal, as well as some nooch and soy milk. You can serve it right away, but we went with the cooling and later baking method. These were served with a red pepper sauce, which Greg didn't like so much but I did - it had coconut and cayenne pepper in it!
So that was that, then we washed dishes, and out came the cake! I used the Chocolate Cake recipe from Joy of Vegan Baking, with chocolate chips thrown in. I doubled the recipe in my own weird way, splashing wet ingredients in and hoping for the best, and adding a little applesauce to offset some of the oil.
Here it is cooling:

With a layer of raspberry jam in the middle:

Iced and decorated:

I didn't taste any of it. I do sort of wish I had...if only to know what to do for next time, or to see if it was any good. It was pretty easy all together, so perhaps more cakes are in the future.
Also, everything we made this time was from a Colleen Patrick-Goudreau book. I'd say the lady knows what she's doing.
Also! Do you guys take vitamins and/or supplements? What brands do you use? I want to start taking vitamins again but I can hardly choke down these Solgar brand that I use. They smell like vomit! Any recommendations?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

STRANDZIG Bake Sale #4

I do believe I've mentioned it before, but G and I put out this magazine at work called Strandzig, which is a collection of art and literature and whatever-the-hell else that the employees at our store give us. To offset printing costs, and sort of to increase interest and/or morale, we've taken to having a bakesale prior to an issue's release. I also just need a reason to bake sometimes.
I made a smaller selection of baked goods this time, but it was good because I used a lot of stuff that I already had around. I made a repeat of Lindsay's zucchini muffins to use up my last zucchini, brownies with chocolate chips and walnuts in cupcake form, this time from Colleen Patrick Goudreau's Joy of Vegan Baking (I feel like every time I make a brownie I use a different recipe); as well as her Oatmeal Raspberry bars.
First to go were the Oatmeal Raspberry bars. I didn't taste them, but heard they were delicious. Next liked were the brownies, which didn't all go - the recipe made 15 cupcakes - but got rave reviews, and of course, people are lame about healthy sounding goods, so there were also a few zucchini muffins leftover.

Just between you and me, I mess baking up ALL the damn time especially for things like this where I'm anxious to please. I actually left out both vanilla extract and soy milk (!) from Linday's muffins but they still tasted really good! Bizarre. I also used half AP flour to use it up this time. The brownies I ran out of cocoa powder halfway and had to run to the grocery store at 9 pm with the oven still on, and with the raspberry bars, I had the whole base pressed into the pan before I realized I hadn't yet added sugar! Luckily, that disaster was averted.
We made some bucks, I sweated a ton, and I got more baking practice in.
I'd really love to be able to sell these somehow. I should get on that.

G and I are having yet another dinner party tomorrow. 3rd weekend in a row! Let's cross our fingers. The menu is going to be salad, polenta with red pepper sauce, stuffed bell peppers AND my very first homemade cake! I'll let you know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eating Yr Greens, Every Which Way

Halloo! Despite the heat, I am in a good mood ironically because I used my oven. The Sierra Nevada Kellerweis is probably also playing a part.
Like I said, my mother came back from vacation with a lot of farmer's market produce for me, including an eggplant. Though I am trying to eat high-raw, people seem to be on the fence about whether or not it's good to eat eggplant raw. And anyway, everyone knows that roasted eggplant is crazy delicious. I also had some asparagus that was about to go bad, so I chopped up the both of them, along with some sliced onion and chopped garlic (of course), tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and black pepper and roasted them (oy!) in the oven at 350 for...I don't know how long. Until they were done.

While those were cooking, I sweated and stirred making Lindsay's zucchini muffins, which I've had on my mind since I saw the recipe. I love that all of her stuff is low-fat and no oil. I also love zucchini! It was also nice that I had all the ingredients for these muffins and didn't have to run and get anything special.
Finally, everything was cooked, baked, washed, drying, and the roasted vegetables had cooled (I might be crazy enough to turn on the oven but not enough to then eat the vegetables hot). I threw together an easy, easy small salad with the roasted vegetables and spinach. A carrot on the side for the vitamins and hell of it.

Damn that fork looks huge.
Then I ate a muffin. They were tasty, for sure, but they sort of stuck to the baking cup. This obviously is not the worst thing that could happen. I was planning to bring them to work tomorrow to share, but I usually share my more indulgent baking endeavors and I don't know who would appreciate the muffins. I'll probably bring them anyway, even if G is the only one who cares. I'm just happy to be baking again.

Good food today. Breakfast was coffee, blueberries, and some carrot-ginger "galletas" my sister had made (cookies for breakfast AND WHAT!). Lunch was a carrot, half a zucchini, and half a tomato. Mostly I drank a damn lot of water.
I'm sorry there are no pics from the dinner party; I was having too much fun to think of it, but I think it went really well! Best so far, maybe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Old News, Precap

Greg and I had a dinner party last week. And we're having another one today. Today's is probably going to be more casual (cash (?) as G would say) which is way cool by me. Last time was fun too but I get stressed out and upset pretty easily, even when the hot button is really only the smell of frying grease and Ed likes to flip out. Also, I hate roaches with a violent, firey passion.
Okay, this is perhaps a TMI aside, but do any of you other food bloggers have problems with bugs in your kitchen? I'm pretty obsessively clean but living in an NYC apartment building that has (and does) housed countless other families, other families' food, food remnants and general grossness, there are bound to be bugs. And it's not like I'm not to blame too: cooking like I do, it's bound to get bad. And it's bad. I can hardly stand it anymore. How do you guys deal with it? It's almost embarrassing to have people over and the filth is almost so depressing and overwhelming that I don't want to face it and keep cleaning constantly. Ugh.
Ummm the food was sort of Latin themed because G likes it and also sort of for my sister who just got back from a semester away in Barcelona. (Whattup Biz!) Gazpacho, guacamole with chips, black bean burgers, and coconut rice pudding with mango. I felt too weird to take pictures during the meal (that's gotta stop...) but here's the gazpacho, and my leftover black bean burger from the next day, which I topped with avocado, spinach, and tomato.

The gazpacho was tasty! I think I could have used more tomatoes, or at least a deeper flavored one and I always wish things were spicier...we used the recipe from The Everything Raw Food Recipe Book and the black bean burger from Colleen Patrick Goudreau's The Vegan Table, even though pretty much every vegan cookbook will have a recipe for these burgers. I'd say she knows what she's doing. They were really tasty but I recommend baking them, not frying them (400 for 25ish minutes).
G's guacamole was a hit...and oh! I didn't have any rice pudding until the next day, when it was cold but it was crazy good. It was super super rich, though, but the mango cut the creaminess and the sugar just the right amount. That recipe was adapted from Arroz con Leche from The Urban Vegan. We substituted coconut milk for soy and arborio rice for regular.

And like I said, Colleen Patrick Goudreau knows what's up. We're using her cookbook again for spinach lasagna for this dinner get-together. Maybe I'll take some photos this time, though technically you have seen it before.

Summer Salad

I had been rocking the breakfast smoothies, and by rocking, I mean I've had two. It's hard when I get up so early and my roommate is sleeping in the adjacent room with no door closer. Does anyone know if the smoothies are still as healthy and tasty if I made them the night before? Like with fresh juices, they say to drink them immediately or at least within 3 hours.
Other summer breakfasts have been simply a piece of fruit or two, especially since I've been going through Natalia Rose's Raw Food Detox Diet, in which she goes through food combining methods. Apparently you're supposed to eat fruit alone on an empty(ish) stomach: at least three hours after anything else. I feel like I eat too much fruit anyway (I know that sounds stupid but it IS a lot of sugar and I eat it to the detriment of vegetables) so stay on the safe side, I've been eating only fruit until lunchtime and then no more fruit for the rest of the day. I feel as though I get my quota in. This also helps make for a higher percentage of raw eating.
Anyway, last week my mom dropped off my sister with some goodies from a trip her and my father had taken down to the Chesapeake. Apparently they drove back with about 50 dollars worth of farm produce. She gave me: pea shoots, a tomoato, some ears of corn, a bell pepper, an eggplant, and a yellow summer squash. Thanks, ma!
So I made a salad for dinner featuring these raw, fresh, cooling summer beauties. Everything came together so well and was so sweet and delicious. I used the squash, raw corn, green pepper, and pea shoots from my mother with some parsley, spinach, onion, and cucumber I had from before. Boy-oh. Raw corn, man. I only put the tiniest bit of balsamic vinegar on as a dressing to let the flavors best shine through.

My only thought was that it might have been even better with tomato cut into it, but I had already devoured the entire huge tomato my mother had given me. That was damn good.
Seasonal eating really is the way to go. No more will I reconsider Farmer's Market prices, I just have to maybe not eat an entire pint of blueberries in one day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Finally!

This one was inevitable because it is DAMN hot outside.
I've been wanting to make a green smoothie for breakfast for a long time now (especially that raw week) because everyone seems to say they are good at holding you over, they're obviously healthy, give you a great green burst of energy, and what is better for breakfast in the summer than something cool to drink?
The only problem has been my apartment - namely the fact that I get up and eat early, whereas my roommate works and sleeps later but he leaves his bedroom door open to get more air. I feel weird enough in the kitchen already without blaring a blender. Anyway, he's away this week so I finally made the damn smoothie!

-A little less than two cups of loosely packed chopped spinach leaves
-1 frozen banana, chopped
-Almond milk to almost cover
-small Tbs. raw almond butter
-small Tbs. Trader Joe's Green Powder

Blend! There are probably so many variations on this that I wish my roommate would stay away forever. Or maybe I'll start making salad smoothies for dinner or something. I bet some lemon in with no nut butter and apple juice instead of almond milk would be pretty tasty too.
I know they say this is pure liquid energy, but I might bring some iced coffee with me to work anyway. Or drink it

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Or an Interpretation Thereof

Last night's dinner was a bit of a bust in that I had most of the lovely key ingredients for this really tasty looking and sounding dish..but I figured that since I had most of the ingredients, basically anything I could do to it would approximate its glory.
Apparently not so. I'm so unbelievably lazy about washing things that I didn't want to dirty the food processor, so I just chopped the parsley, skipped the part where I was supposed to blend the snap peas up, and completely forgot about nutritional yeast. Basically the meals were nothing alike, but it was tasty and something I wouldn't have thought to make otherwise. The stuff had to be eaten somehow. I had a salad on the side for more green veggies (Spinach, celery, onion, pea shoots, carrot, zucchini, tofu.)

Hannah Kaminksy's Samosa Potato Salad also would have been nice to make, but I was missing more of the ingredients. Some other time?

And today for lunch I had a super, zuper, tasty salad - leftover from dinner, but with no tofu and added avocado, tomato, and topped with creamy hummus and black pepper. Yeah.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shape Shifting

Tiny things are cute! Huge things are hilarious! Food is tasty! Here are some hilarious, cute, or other wise funny foods.



Oh, here: also cute but a little less edible, unless she shapeshifts herself into a cuppycake (possible - she IS on the kitchen table - she thinks she's food!):

Monday, July 5, 2010


I made Oats in a Jar! But rather than using up the last of a nut butter and letting the oats and nut butter cream together (which still sounds delicious and which I still have to try) I used up some apple butter by making raw oats. This was cooling, filling, really tasty and creamy, and pretty healthy, I'd venture.
I did top it with raw walnuts. I wish I had more of this apple butter, actually!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4

Happy 4th of July and God Bless America, home of the 79 cent accidentally vegan crap you can buy in bodegas when you're having a sugar fit.

Here in America we also like to use plastic utensils because we're lazy. Because we can be. I do have to note that this made it into the house via my roommate, and I did wash and intend to reuse the fork. Also because I can.

Actually this potato salad (because that's what it is) is pretty good. It's yellow potatoes, beets, and parsley from the Farmer's Market with onion, Dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar. Greg and I made it and brought it to a party yesterday. Most people didn't eat it but more for me.
I'm still trying to eat heavy-raw but that kind of ends up being a lot of raw food (an apple, a bar, some nuts, and some veggies today)...and then also a lot of not raw food so I'm just overeating in general. Blech.

I'm bitter because I'm bored, because I ate too much other stuff I didn't even bother taking a picture of, and other reasons.
Reading Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and browsing for jobs. Window-shopping, really. Ugh. I hope you all are imbibing something cold and having a good day.