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Monday, February 28, 2011

A Tale of Two More Cities

How many times can I reuse this post title? Hmmm.
This first dinner is Italian inspired and G inspired by his watching Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. I don't really watch it, unless I catch it over his shoulder, but apparently there was an Italian restaurant on the show and G started craving some vegetable roll-up smothered in sauce. He was tawkin eggplant - and I was thinking of Rose's eggplant rolls. She mentioned having sauteed spinach on the side. I put it inside the eggplant roll-up with sauteed mushrooms and roasted zucchini.
I also made tofu ricotta and tomato sauce, both from recipes in Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Vegan Table.
I layered one slice of roasted eggplant, one slice of roasted zucchini, the ricotta, and the sauteed spinach and mushrooms and pierced the little rolls with a toothpick and baked them at, oh, I don't even know - 350 for about 10 minutes.
I plated them with linguine and topped everything with the tomato sauce.

I'm pretty proud of this dish. It was simple overall, but there were a lot of components and I wasn't exactly sure what G was looking for but he ended up liking it a lot. I'm also really happy about this recipe because we already had everything in the fridge - it just all came together. I did have to pick up some basil and the linguine but that's nominal. G and I make a good team, I think, because he has definite ideas of what he'd like to eat and challenges me to try new things. I just carry out his wishes. And both the zucchini and eggplant were probably about two days from going bad. He swooped in just in time to SAVE THE PRODUCE.
Then, tonight for dinner I wanted to use up an oldening avocado in the fridge, plus a bit of rice I had from...maybe a week ago? I also happened to have a package of seaweed, so I attempted sushi rolls with avocado, cucumber, and carrot. No photos of that because they were a mess and hard to hold together. I think I really need to start with one of those larger sheets. They were tasty, however, and I used up the stuff that was leftover from the 5 mini seaweed sheets to put together a sushi salad. I added mushrooms to this plate and topped it all with soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

Good stuff. I'm stuffed.
One more thing - the Kuntrageous Vegan is now at a new site and is giving away a change to win the Happy Herbivore cookbook. Take a look!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Back to Baking, another Tester Recipe

I feel as though I haven't baked in a million years! Those sweet potato drop biscuits don't count because they were so easy.
When I was borrowing my parents' house to do errands the other day, I ran into my sister's flour stash. She bakes a lot of bread, or did, when she was living here with our folks. When she went back to school for the semester, she left behind a pantry full of goodies! All sorts of flours, dried nuts and seeds, and some other weird things. She told me to have at it, and my parents certainly won't be using it so I nabbed bran, Rye flour, and garbanzo bean flour. I might go back for the caraway seeds I saw, but I have enough for now...
Anyway, I think that set me off, and I decided to make bran muffins with raisins to bring in to work. I used the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which has almost never let me down. I followed the recipe almost exactly, but left out a little sugar and subbed in some apple sauce for oil.

They came out well, if I do say so myself! I had one for breakfast today with an apple. People at work seemed to like them a lot as well. I used to bake a lot for work, and haven't so much lately but I'd like to keep it up. People seem to appreciate it and it's good to stay in practice and indulge my hobby without indulging in all the calories. So, yah, that was fun. I want to make rye bread soon too! But uhhh any ideas on how to work with the chickpea flour?
So that was that, I had salad for lunch, came home starving and got to work preparing Zucchini "Linguine" with Lemony Spinach Pesto, a raw pasta dish! This was a tester for Dynise's upcoming cookbook and it was another winner. The "noodles" were prepared this morning as I rushed around before work (another good reason to have healthy baked goods and fruit on hand). I don't have a spiralizer (yet!) but I shredded a zucchini on my grater and julienned 'em. The pesto was super surprisingly fresh and a nice change from the usual basil pesto. The nut base was almonds, which made the pesto a bit sweet and contrasted nicely with the lemon.

With a side of baby carrots.
Anyone have any favorite raw dishes you want to share?
Dates and baking chocolate for dessert.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greens to Greens (Chocolate in Between)

This is the last day of my vacation...whoa oh oh

Haha, yeah. It was sort of a bust today but at least I got the laundry done. I tried to start the last day out strong with a green smoothie and some Irish Breakfast tea:

We were out of rice milk, but this smoothie had spinach, a frozen banana, some water to blend, a few frozen blueberries and an Amazing Grass berry blend. Talk about antioxidants! It was a little weird, though - the berry flavor was a bit off and tasted sort of fake, which is bizarre because it's completely natural. Anyway, I might stick to the plain Amazing Grass powder, but I definitely want to start drinking more green smoothies in general.
Then I was running around, back and forth to my parents', and to Trader Joe's for groceries (it turned out G went too - we will never run out of rice milk again!). I managed to snag a roll from the folks' to put on :zucchini, green peppers, arugula, lettuce, and a spread of tahini and sriracha (it was amazing) - AND I found some vegan chocolate truffles I made my mom for her birthday last year! You snooze, you lose, mommy!
Blah blah blah, I did some junk and somehow it was dinner time. More romaine wraps, which didn't really hold together well with so much stuff crammed into them but included an interesting new addition.

It's not a great photo but those chunks on top that look like pineapple are actually parsnip. I got the idea from Gena, who made a cheesy parsnip spread. I only had one parsnip, so I scaled down the recipe significantly and didn't puree anything because I didn't want to dirty the food processor for one measly parsnip. Instead, I just worked with the flavors of miso, nooch, and parsnip. Interesting stuff. I'd still like to make the spread sometime when I can though. Other innards included cucumber, carrot, mushrooms, sprouts, spinach, and tomato. Badass. Back to work.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.2: Smoky Split Pea Soup PLUS

(Plus what?)
PLUS the continuation of the other day's Mystery Post.
Today was cold. Very, very cold. I convinced my friend to come over and cook soup (yes, more soup) with me. To kill two birds with one stone, I picked another recipe from Appetite for Reduction for the Cookbook Club, the Smoky Split Pea Soup.

Split Pea Soup is delicious. But this is not what I'm used to. The recipe called for "split peas," not taking into account the fact that there are both green and yellow split peas. I picked green. Despite my pre-soaking these peas for over an hour, which the recipe never even called for, they were mos def not cooked by the end of the cooking time. Bummer. I mean, it was edible and tasty - paprika is the smoked flavor here, which I love - but not what I expected. I'm not even positive if pureeing would improve the crunchyish texture.
If you try this recipe, I would DEFINITLEY pre-soak green peas at least 3 hours ahead, or use yellow but I feel like that's not what's usually done. Luckily, I bought peas in bulk and will be fixing this a bit...many times. I do love split pea soup.
AND for the continuation of the mystery post and for more green things, you'll have to head over to Ainslie's Everyone is Vegan. Lemme know what you think.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.1: Snow Food

I had no idea more snow was coming, though maybe I should pay more attention to weather reports. Mondays are my Sundays so I usually sleep in a little but no wonder I slept until 8, when the sky was gray and muted again with snow.
It also being my sort-of vacation, I was feeling cozy and started the day with warm lemon water and some writing, then moved on to the hard stuff:

Coffee, fresh, for the first time in a long time and oatmeal with almond butter, blueberry jam and frozen blueberries.
While looking outside at this, again:

I cleaned up around the house a little, tried to read, started a sewing project (!) and decided to get out of the house. I headed to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which was open and free today (and all winter weekdays - go if you can)! It was beautiful and pretty quiet due to the freezing cold, which did make it a little uncomfortable to stroll around. I'd love to go back again soon.
When I got back, I turned on the light in the kitchen to find that our shelf with all our small kitchen appliances and cookbooks had totally collapsed! There was even more on it than pictured in that photo and all of it was all over the floor: knives, forks, bags of beans and grains... Amazingly, curiosity did NOT kill my cat, she was NOT squished or stabbed or anything, NOR was anything broken! Our juicer and extra coffee maker were actually sitting upright. So, so luckily, nothing glass was on the shelf at the time and I think the bananas and an avocado got the worst of the collapse. I don't know if you can see from that photo but there is a small window on the left and I'm just thankful the whole shelf didn't actually break through. I'm also super happy I actually tied closed all the bags of food on the shelf! That would suck to have lost (and had to clean up) all those lentils and flour and stuff. As it is, only two cloves of garlic are unaccountable, hmmm....
Anyway, I sort of straightened up and got to work on dinner; something to warm G and I up (although I was already pretty hot from having panicked over the mess) from the snowy, chilly day. I had some leftover kale, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of chickpeas, and some rice in the pantry, plus a million spices, so an easy soup it was.

I had my bowl with a kale salad: Kale, avocado, cucumber and tomato with an olive oil, agave, apple cider vinegar dressing.
I also decided to make Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits from Appetite for Reduction, the second cookbook in Lindsay's Cookbook Club.

These were really good. Light and moist inside with a crispy crust and a subtle flavor from some nutmeg. They might have been a little bit salty, and the yield was only 10 which is NOT enough for biscuits this good. They are very easy to whip up, though, so I'll definitely be repeating this recipe. Why is it that every baked good with sweet potato in it comes out so well?? The good news is also that each biscuit is only 100 calories with 80% of yr daily Vitamin A, 2g each of protein and fiber - but who cares? Like I said, they're really good.
Now for some tea and wine, which are also necessary ways to wind down a snowy day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities, kinda: Part 1

With apologies to Dickens.
Today was much less raw food, which is lame, but everything was tasty. I was working most of the day on various projects (and got my taxes done!) and then got down to lunch/dinner: a worldly plate of food.
I guess it makes sense to combine two different cuisines, since the meal was smack dab in the middle of lunch and dinner times. One part of the meal was kibbeh, a Middle Eastern food usually made with bulgur wheat and lamb but uh not this time! This was another test recipe for Dynise, and used lentils instead of lamb. The mixture, before being cooked, looked creepily similar to ground lamb, though, from what I remember.

No? Well, it's been a while.

They were pretty tasty. I don't know that I've ever eaten bulgur wheat before, but it's quite good and gave these balls a very chewy texture. They are a little bland on their own, though spiced quite interestingly, but I wasn't sure how they were intended to be eaten. I figured Middle Eastern is Middle Eastern, and mixed tahini with some more muhammara for some sort of sauce.
The other part of the meal struck a little closer home, but I'll have to tell you more about that at another time and place....Maybe in the meantime you can guess?

There was also an unpictured salad on the side of both these dishes, but we are AGAIN running out of vegetables (it didn't help that half the cucumber fell in the garbage as I was peeling it)!
And thanks, Michelle and Dianne, for both giving me the Most Stylish Blogger award. I appreciate the mention but I don't really feel like saying seven things about myself. However, I will give you this, as evidence that I honestly don't even deserve the award which should sort of make up for being a bit guarded about "who I am."

Style? I can't even match my socks some days.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mostly Raw Day

Despite the temps dipping way, way, back down to the flippin 30s from yesterday's high 60s, I thought today would be a good day to eat mostly raw.
Breakfast at 7:30 was a handful of dried apricots and two! bananas (don't worry, we have a zillion) with some raw almond butter. With black tea.
I had a snack around 12 of an orange. I was pleasantly surprised at how long I stayed full from breakfast.
Lunch at 2 was a coleslaw salad: spinach, coleslaw, sprouts, and tomatoes. About an hour later I also had about 8 ounces of this vegetable juice:

Have you guys tried this? It really wasn't that great - much, much too salty. I generally only like Bolthouse Farms bottled juice (when I don't want to pay for or make fresh juice) but the closest Whole Foods only carries the fruit juice varieties! Totes lame. Actually! I just tried to look for it on their website and it's not even there! I wonder if they discontinued it?! Even more totes lame.
Anyway, I had half an Amazing Grass Berry bar at 5, which I like a lot. Maybe more than the original, which I also enjoy but sometimes tastes too sweet.
When we got home at 7, I ate three of G's pita chips which was the first non-raw food I had all day, and then ate romaine wraps for dinner: romaine, muhammara, sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, cucumber and carrot. On the side was a bunch of broccoli in a lemon juice/mustard/tahini sauce.

Sorry for the dark picture - a light is out in the kitchen and we don't have a ladder to change it!
Dessert was the other half of the Amazing Grass bar, and some more tea. So the only non-raw stuff I had today was those three chips, the mustard on the broccoli, and the muhammara, although that juice was probably pasteurized.
I feel a little hungry but I might have some more water or something. It's kind of too late to eat anything anyway. Raw food always makes me feel so good and happy! Green and alive. It's astounding, really. I am taking a mini vacation Sunday through Wednesday, and I'd like it to be semi-cleansing, which would mean raw mostly, but there's a lot of cooking I'd also like to get done. Maybe I'll do some un-cooking? We'll see how everything goes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tonight, for you, from Greg

Last night I meant to cook a lot but I drank far too much with a friend, came home and slept in my clothes.
Lunch was good (home made coleslaw over spinach with sprouts and tomatoes) but unphotographed due to being the stumbling dead this morning.
I made a test recipe tonight and it bombed. My polenta fries turned into an over-rosemaryed corn crepe.
Ate muhammara by the spoonful and too many dried apricots instead.
I just want to read tonight but since Greg is so wonderful, he brings you this:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dinner with a Tester Recipe: Muhammara

Muhammara is a Middle Eastern red pepper dip and it is delicious. This particular recipe was one from Dynise's upcoming cookbook. Her version calls for both red pepper flakes and cumin to spice it, and well as agave so it has a wonderful spicy/sweet flavor.
I use dips not just as dips, so I topped my salad with it, and had it shmeared on a piece of bread as well so I could really taste the flavor, as if all the crackers I had with it last night didn't let it shine enough.

Also, how often do you guys go grocery shopping? A friend of ours totally called us fat last night because we apparently go grocery shopping every day. WHICH is not true. Maybe 4 or 5 times a week. I'm keeping track of how much I spend. I'll keep you posted at the end of each month.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cookbook Club: Veganomicon Review

I said I'd have this up yesterday, but I was in a pretty terrible mood. Today I've calmed down AND it is reading 54 degrees in NYC today! I had a nice walk this morning, got groceries, cleaned, and am sitting with the windows open! Here's the lunch I ate in the sunlit living room, incorporating the last (well, within the time period) Veganomicon recipe I made for Lindsay's Cookbook Club: cauliflower hummus.
Lunch was collard wraps with sprouts, carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes with the cauliflower hummus. The sprouts are something that I'd always like to buy more of but sometimes they're hard to find. And for something so delicate, they are packed with nutrients.

Delicious! The cauliflower hummus is good - very garlicky though. There are also scallions in it, and parsley, which gives it a very gentle green tint, which I like for some reason. It's light and lower fat than the all-chickpea kind, which is nice for a compulsive snacker like I tend to be. It's not hummus per se, but I enjoy all kinds of dips and spreads so I'd recommend this one for sure. The glue stick is to hold the collard wraps closed.

So to close the book on Veganomicon, I'd say that it's nice to have worked from. Its subtitle is "The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook" and I think a lot of people (myself included) took that at face value without trying too many recipes. Theoretically V'con is a wonderful, inventive cookbook that got a lot of people excited about veganism as a real cuisine and not just a lifestyle. In practice, some of the recipes could have been tweaked a bit for salt and flavorings, or edited for typos. I can't remember if I came across any but I know other people participating met with some frustrating ones.
Although the recipes are pretty easy to make - the ones I made were whipped up after work most days - they aren't exactly ones that I'd incorporate into my usual repertoire, mostly because my "usual repertoire" consists of easy salads and wraps and a little less cooked food. The recipes also use a little more oil than I usually like to. That being said, that's just my taste and V'con DID open my eyes to a lot of new ingredients and foods: udon noodles, bok choy, escarole. While most of the ingredients were not unusual or difficult to find outside of my normal grocery store/health food store stops, they were ones I passed over, not seeing how they'd figure in to a meal I'd eat. I also learned more about what I do and do not like. With many of the leftover ingredients, I used V'con as a guide but changed some steps or methods: steaming the bok choy rather than sauteeing it, adding more vegetables and spices to polenta next time, etc.
I'm happy for the opportunity to be "forced" to use this cookbook and to critique it because it gives me more faith in my own cooking and the realization that even fancy professional vegan cooks make a dud or two of a recipe. Practice makes perfect and life is a process. Now that V'con no longer seems like an unapproachable and venerated tome, I see myself using it more and playing around with it. Isn't that all Isa and Terry can ask for? I certainly recommend it as a cookbook. It is creative and beautifully laid out (I'm a font nerd), with a fair amount of pictures, plenty of information about cooking techniques and specific ingredients and still a heartening sense of humor.

To re-cap:
Tempeh with Broccoli Rabe and Rotelle
Baby Bok Choy with Shallots and Sesame Seeds
Broccoli Polenta
(scroll down)
Udon with Shiitake and Kale in Miso Broth
Escarole with Capers and White Beans

Cheezy Sauce (un-posted about: it was a bit of a dud, but I think that was my fault. It didn't thicken up much but the flavor was good. I mostly used it to drizzle over vegetables.
Lower-fat Cauliflower Hummus (see above)

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day for those of you who care. I'm not big on it but I do have a wonderful, beautiful, talented, kind boyfriend who will probably be eating another Veganomicon recipe tonight. I may post again later. For now, here's Haxan wistfully planning her little kitty picnic in the yard (or so I imagine)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nutrient-Dense Salads (and cookies for balance)

Guys. My computer is so dumb. I will be brief because the technology might give out at any time. This is also why I'm not commenting too much, but you are eating some really tasty looking stuff. Rest assured, I am drooling and will soon be back with a (vegan with a) vengeance.
Easy, fast, green lunches:

Baby spinach, the eggplant mush, chopped red pepper, mushrooms, and the white beans. Topped with black pepper.

Baby spinach, red pepper, tomato, chopped broccoli, chickpeas and roasted rutabaga and parsnip that I made last night. Topped with tahini, lemon juice, and a little salt - no garlic for work! This salad was amazing. It might not be as beautiful as the kale, but dayum.
Also, more tester cookies for Dynise. These are hamantaschen, popular around Purim, a Jewish holiday. I remember eating these as a kid; I think my favorite was actually prune filling! These I filled with strawberry jam. Not what I remember - the dough is a little lemony for me, the jam too sweet, not to mention my lack of folding skills but I'm no Jewish grandmother. I think only they really know how to pull these off.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Testing is the

Before my super-delicious dessert, my super-amazing lunch!
Marinated kale salad with avocado, chopped red pepper, avocado, red onion, red pepper flakes, salt, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, topped with white beans.

And tonight's dessert, again brought to you by the upcoming Urban Vegan cookbook: Sesame Seed Cookies!

These were amazing, seriously. They were a little messy to make but who cares! They remind me a little bit of lace cookies in their delicacy and crispness, but bring a ton of sesame flavor and a good crunch. Greg gives it his serious seal of approval, forbidding me to bring them in to work to share with our coworkers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tester Recipe: Earthy Eggplant

More testing today for the upcoming Urban Vegan cookbook: Earthy Eggplant. I don't know if I should call this Earthy Eggplant dip, or Earthy Eggplant sauce, or what - but I do know that if it's being served, just don't call me late for dinner! HA! Ha..anyway.

As you can see, I served it as a sauce over whole wheat pasta and kale. Dynise suggested (or desired) that we top the sauce with pine nuts so, despite the $7.99 price tag (and that's the cheapest they come - at Trader Joe's) I did so - and they were delicious.
There are raisins, mushrooms, and both cumin and paprika in the dish, as well as fresh bursts of mint (as well as other things) which all sound a little bizarre but really melted together to something great. G ate it as a dip with pita chips and couldn't stop raving about it. I guess this won't be a hard one to figure out how to finish it up.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookbook Club 1.5: Escarole with Capers and White Beans

This isn't exactly Superbowl food but it would have been finished within half-time. My 5th recipe for Lindsay's cookbook club is Escarole with Capers and White Beans (as you may have gleaned from the title of this post.)
G is a fan of Escarole and White bean soup, so I thought this would appeal to him as well as giving me a chance to taste escarole, which I don't know that I have before. It sounded like an interesting take on a classic.

This recipe made 2 servings as a main dish, though I could have had a little bit more. I think it would have benefited from more escarole (always more with the greens!) as they wilted a lot. G suggested that the dish would have been better with larger beans and I agree, though the recipe specifically calls for "small white beans." This may have been partially off due to the fact that my capers were frickin HUGE! We both thought the amount of capers could have been reduced as they are really, really salty and briney. I like them, but in small amounts. Bizarrely enough the recipe also calls for added salt which I didn't add because it sounded, well, insane. What is up with this cookbook and its salt? It's either too much or too little. The wedges of lemon "served as a garnish" offset the salt a little and did add a nice tang.
G and I also agreed that it would have been tasty served over rice - both to cut the salt and brine of the capers and to stretch the meal a bit more.
I might make this again, definitely with bigger beans, fewer capers, and more escarole.
I do appreciate the fact that there isn't much oil in the recipe, that it was quick, soy-free, and gluten-free but one of the icons also indicates that it is supermarket friendly. I don't take issue with the book for this so much as EVERY SUPERMARKET I WENT TO! You have no idea (or maybe you do) how hard it was to find a store that carried escarole - nope, not even Whole Foods. No wonder, then, that I've never cooked with it before. I definitely still want to try an make a soup version of this. What else should I do with these capers?
Back to your TV sets.

Close-up on Kale

Lunch was an overnight-marinated kale salad and zucchini, carrot sticks, and a few sliced mushrooms with the zucchini-bean dip from Dynise's upcoming book.

The kale salad was kale (obvz), avocado, chopped red pepper, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and a little agave syrup. Oh, I mixed a little bit of silken tofu in for some protein.

While at work, G was feeling a little poorly and dreamed up a nourishing meal: Quinoa, kale, root vegetables, red onion: OK GO.
I went to the Farmer's Market to pick up carrots, parsnips, and a rutabaga. They had NO greens whatsoever, although they did have alfalfa and sunflower sprouts. I didn't get those. Coming home, we picked up the kale.
One of the things I like about G is that he knows what he likes and what will taste good together. I didn't have a recipe but his guiding words and a "I was thinking of a red wine sawce."

Quinoa, Kale, and Root Vegetable Bowl with Red Wine Gravy
Makes 2 generous servings

1 carrot
1 beet
1/2 small rutabaga
1 largish parsnip
1/2 fennel root, sliced thinly
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

3/4 cup red wine
1 TBs oregano
1 pinch dried thyme
1 tsp rosemary
salt + pepper
1 TBs olive oil

1 TBs olive oil or vegan margarine
1 clove garlic, minced
other half of the red onion
about 4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2 TBs flour
2 TBs water
salt to taste

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 bunch kale, chopped finely

-Preheat oven to 375*. Chop root vegetables, fennel, and onion. Throw into a large bowl and top with the red wine, spices, and oil. Let the vegetables sit for a while, then spoon onto a baking sheet, leaving the liquid in the bowl. If some comes out it's fine.
-Bake for 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Set aside.
-Meanwhile, rinse your quinoa and add to a pot with the water. After about 5 minutes, add the finely chopped kale and cook until quinoa is soft.
-Finally, to make the red wine gravy, heat oil or margarine in a small saucepan. Add garlic and onion and stir until just softened, being careful not to burn the garlic.
-Add in the red wine liquid from the marinade and the chopped mushrooms. Heat until mushrooms begin to soften. You may want to add more red wine.
-Mix in the flour and whisk, stirring constantly until incorporated and thickened. Add the water to desired thickness. Salt to taste.
That's all! Throw the vegetables together with the kale/quinoa and top with the gravy, duh.
This might look like a long prep, but it was made and eaten probably within an hour and a half. And it was worth it. G is a really smart fellow and we are both very nourished thanks to the meal.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Food Log and Craquelins!

Phew! I was on a tear these last few hours in the kitchen! I had to stop myself from making pickles because that would have been ridiculous. Although, if pickled things are what you want, read this post by Sarahfae. Or don't read the post but look at that cute frickin pizza puppy! I wish my cat stayed still long enough for me to get gratuitous animal shots up like some of you.
Okay enough talk because I have a lot of food for you today. I tried to keep an exact log of what I ate, how much, and when - just as an exercise in accountability and because I used to do it obsessively and I wanted to romp some old stomping grounds.
Breakfast - 7:30

A veritable fruit salad. Baby spinach, pineapple, banana, and mango. Green tea.

Breakfast being lighter than my usual oats/nuts/fruit, I was hungry again by 11, and snacked on one of these Amazing Grass energy bars:

Anyone ever tried these? It took me a few tries to get into them, but I like them a lot now! They're a bit more calorie-heavy than I usually like in a bar, but they really are nutrient-dense and super healthy and I was considering it half of my breakfast. I like the Berry flavor too, and recently purchased a few single packets of their powders for smoothies.
Lunch - 2:00

Salad with a little silken tofu mixed in and a dollop of the zucchini-bean dip. I also added some lemon juice and black pepper. Very tasty.
I was hungry again! at around 4, and ate an orange for a snack. One of the best I've had recently, actually.
Thennnn I was for some reason starving when I got home from work at 7 and ate exactly five of these Whole Foods vegetable crackers.

They are a little weird. They have dehydrated vegetables in them, which is nice, but no real flavor and a bit of a bizarre texture. Very crunchy. Anyway, I didn't want to eat too many because I was making crackers anyway, so I started boiling some broccoli that was about to go bad and making the Cheezy sauce recipe from Veganomicon (this isn't the one! Maybe it counts for the Cookbook Club, but I'm planning a real dish on Sunday.) It tasted alright but didn't thicken up as much as I thought it would. It also got even runnier because the broccoli was still a bit wet. I served it with more romaine wraps.

Romaine leaves with red bell pepper, zucchini strips, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms. Good and fresh as ever.

This picture is for you, Jenny - I'm grasping onto the wrap with my pudgy little hand for dear life to keep all the vegetables in!
Thenn I finally cleaned everything up and patted my full belly for the day and got to work making, as promised, crackers. I used Kris Holechek's recipe for "Hippy Dippy Crackers" from 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. They were fun to make, and taste better than WF's but they certainly aren't my FAVORITE CRACKERS EVER, but it's certainly something I'd like to work with, despite my dough sticking a bit and frustrating me. I won't be content until I make them PERFECT! I do like them, though! Don't get me wrong.

Hers originally used pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds. I didn't have flax seeds (just flax meal) so my mix was: poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and caraway seeds. Topped with a bit of sea salt.

Next time, I think I'll add some garlic powder or dried onion and roll them out more thinly.
So that's my whole day. Oh! PS dessert was unphotographed because the handful of chocolate chips and raisins was melting quickly in my hand. And you?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cookbook Club 1.4: Udon with Shiitake and Kale in Miso Broth

I like to pronounce "recipe" "reh-CHEE-pay" in my head. Ooh! I also like the french word for crackers - "craquelins!" Even the word looks crunchy. But this has nothing to do with craquelins. I had plans to make some tonight but I'm tired for now. Tomorrow: crackers; tonight: Udon with Shiitake Mushrooms and Kale in Miso Broth from Veganomicon.

I was pretty starving when I got home, so I got quickly to work and, as the recipe promised, was eating within 40 minutes. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly and was really pleased. I halved the recipe (to serve two), and there was still enough for another bowl - which I ate. It had to be done.
I love kale in soups because of its chewy texture and the texture of the shiitakes was also chewy but fun and kind of slimy like the udon was (neither of which I've had before!) It made it hard to eat, but fun to slurp. I would definitely make this recipe again. It was simple and really filling (I didn't need that other bowl but this doesn't seem like a soup that would keep) with minimal fat that could probably be left out completely. It was a little salty, but I added extra water and it was fine - plus it made more broth, which was delicious with little bites of ginger.
Highly suggested! Do it! I'm going to try to make one more V'con recipe soon, and for those of you following the cookbook club, I'll write the review next week.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegetables and Fruit (yes I'm a vegan)

I am so full of vegetables!

Salad (the weekly usual: beets, greens, carrots, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper) with nooch, balsamic, and black pepper.

And Romaine wraps with Dynise's Smoky Zucchini dip (awesome!), bell pepper strips, tomatoes and mushrooms.

I felt seriously energized after this and full but not stuffed.
The Zucchini-bean dip was really tasty. It was like a very subtle hummus. It called for sumac, a Middle Eastern spice that adds a lemon-y flavor to things. I have a LOT of it leftover now though: any ideas on how to use it?
The romaine wraps were otherwise alright; not as good as collard wraps but romaine pre-washed and pre-cut (I got a bag from Trader Joe's) is cheaper and quicker than collards - though I won't say easier because they are so crisp they snap open and the fillings fall out! Boo.
Dessert was a few slices of delicious, juicy pineapple, the remainder of which I might get wild and crazy with and throw into a smoothie tomorrow for breakfast.