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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Snacking and Tester Tahini Sauce

Yesterday was a pretty snack-y day. I was mostly entertained by my cat, Haxan, and her reactions to the birds out the window. At one point, there were four little finches vying for feed! I need to fix that crooked feeder though.

Trust me, folks, that's as alert as she gets. Though she was chirping back at them through the window. Cute.
Anyway, I started the day off with another smoothie. This one had spinach, frozen craberries, frozen blueberries, a banana, some TJ Green Berry Powder and some ice.

Then, I went into the city for some groceries to be able to make some more tester recipes for the upcoming Urban Vegan cookbook. Here's the loot (plus a few extra things I can't not buy at an emporium like Whole Foods):

I was hungry when I got back, and had a small handful of a snack mix I threw together with the goji berries in the picture and some chocolate chips and raw cashews I had in the freezer.

Has anyone else tried goji berries, which I will henceforth only refer to as Wolfberries? I've heard a lot about them and am only now trying them. They're alright but not really anything I feel like I NEEDED to try. Well, I did need to try them because I'm obsessive, but I didn't need to buy them. Oh well. Here's to health.
Then I made the quickest tester recipe I could: Smoky Tahini Sauce. I love tahini and this was a bit different due to added spices (notably smoked paprika, which tinted it a little pinkish) and herbs. It was tasty on top of some steamed kale and chopped tomatoes and zucchini.

I also had the last of the homemade hummus (with harissa) on the side, with some chopped vegetables.

After reading for a while and cleaning and trying to write, I was a little tired and had another snack. French bread with soy yogurt and apricot jam with Irish Breakfast tea.

This reminded me of what my dad used to eat every morning for breakfast, except he ate it with ricotta cheese.
After all that damn food I wasn't really hungry for dinner, but I ate the rest of the steamed kale with more tahini sauce.

Is there any food you associate with a family member growing up?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eating Vegan is a Walk in the Park

Today was a good day and I'm going to say it was all because I got up and ran for the first time since maybe August. I didn't even run far, or long, or hard, but I'm glad I got moving. Before I headed out, I had two medjool dates with a bit of almond butter for some energy.
I ran, showered and had a really great smoothie.

I know they all look the same but this was spinach, 1 banana, orange juice, 1 kiwi, and some ice (Which I don't usually add, but the banana wasn't frozen this time). I'm a little weird about kiwis in that I'm always afraid I'll have some horrible hivey, throat-closing up allergic reaction, but apparently there's no basis for me thinking that. In fact, the kiwi added an amazing tartness to the smoothie, and a little crunch from the seeds.
I cleaned and had a small snack:

Celery and carrot sticks with homemade hummus mixed with harissa.
Then I went down to Park Slope and walked around the park for a while since it was a beautiful day, stopped at a bar for ONE BEER and ONE BEER ONLY go me, browsed a used bookstore, and walked most of the way home (I caught a bus the last few blocks just because it was there) - about 2.5 miles.
When I got back I had another small snack of one of the biscuits I baked yesterday night. G had wanted something not too sweet as a dessert but wanted dates in them, so I made a batch of plain whole wheat biscuits from The Joy of Vegan Baking, added some chopped dates, some unsweetened cranberries, and some lemon zest.

They're nice and pretty small, so I didn't ruin my appetite for dinner.
And, so, dinner:

Not a great photo. It's steamed kale with cherry tomatoes in garlicky tahini sauce, and an Indian-spiced potato and pea dish, sort of inspired by Hannah's Samosa Potato Salad, which I still want to make..soon. I just tossed boiled potatoes and peas with ginger powder, salt, and curry.
Vacay is coming to a close so tomorrow I hope to make something fun.
What do you like to do to exercise?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mostly Raw Monday

Guys, I have a confession. Mondays are supposed to be raw for me during Lent but last week I totally bombed. I made it until about 4 in the afternoon and couldn't handle it anymore - I needed a snack and we didn't have many vegetables in the fridge. If I've learned anything about eating raw, you have to be prepared. I didn't make that mistake again this week, though there were still a few slip-ups.
Breakfast was another super green tropical smoothie:

Spinach, mango, 1 frozen banana, water to blend, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Coconut flakes on top.
I snacked on some dried apricots, then went to my parents' house to borrow their car to run some errands, but my brother was home so he drove me around! Nice. Thanks, Billy. I got cat food, some workout clothes (because I MUST get off my butt sometime soon) picked up some mail, AND! a package that I had! A while back, and I mean a WHILE, I won a CSN Stores giveaway from the very kind Carissa. I took a long time deliberating on what to buy buy eventually picked...a spiralizer!

This is going to be really fun. Raw noodles shall abound! Does anyone have one of these? Any tips or ideas?
Anyway, my brother dropped me at home and we hung out for a short bit, then I broke in my workout clothes with some yoga and leg exercises but mostly I couldn't wait for lunch.
Yesterday I prepared some raw "No Tuna" from Jennifer Cornbleet's Raw Food Made Easy, which Michelle at Lovin Livin Vegan also recently purchased, and has inspired me to start making things from as well!

It's made with soaked sunflower seeds and almonds, blended up, and mixed with celery, onion, parsley, and lemon juice. I added a few crumbles of nori seaweed for a fishier taste. Served over romaine shreds for true diner-style dining. It was delicious. Michelle, I can't wait to see what you make and think of the recipes!
I served this with a salad on the side. Freshhh.

This held me over for a surprisingly long time, but when I started thinking about dinner I realized we didn't have many vegetables in the house. We seriously go through them so quickly, but that's a good thing. I walked to the store and picked up some things to make a kale salad.

I let the kale marinate in lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and agave and when Greg got home, thew in some mashed avocado, tomatoes, and red pepper. I ate it alongside more red pepper and carrot sticks, plusss the homemade hummus (plain flavor this time) mixed with some harissa.
So, the hummus wasn't raw, and I tried a few pieces off some bread my brother was eating without even really thinking about it (it was mad good though - 3 Seed bread from Trader Joe's with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and fennel seeds! I'd love to try to bake something like it). I also had a small handful of chocolate chips during the day because I'm addicted. Other than that, I did alright. Oh wait. I also baked biscuits after dinner. Oops, duh. More on that tomorrow.
I'll keep trying with the raw.

Cookbook Club 2.7 and Appetite for Reduction Review

Sunday was the last day for making anything from Appetite for Reduction before getting the reviews up, so I made one last dish: Herb-Roasted Cauliflower with Breadcrumbs.
There were mixed reviews about this dish, but I had all the ingredients and it seemed easy enough, so I threw it together as a lunch side. Jessica at Vegetabull pointed out that Isa Moskowitz has quite the talent for "reconfiguring cauliflower" and I'd totally agree. Since buying AfR I've taken to buying cauliflower with no real plans in mind just because I've learned how awesomely versatile it is.

Anyway, I thought the dish was great! (That's them on the right. The leftermost side is forthcoming wonderment!) There is one confusing typo in that the directions say to drizzle oil into the bread cumbs, but no oil is called for in the ingredients. Did anyone else notice that? I did add a very small drizzle olive oil and some lemon juice to the mix, but otherwise the bread cumb/spice mixture sticks to the cauliflower just from having washed the florets. It was super easy to make and very delicious.

As for the rest of the cookbook, I loved it. These are the recipes I made:
Smoky Split Pea Soup
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Goddess Nicoise Salad
Jerk Asparagus
Baked Falafel
Balsamic Vinaigrette
and this here Roasted Cauliflower

I think my favorite of these was the Goddess Nicoise, but the sweet potato biscuits were amazing as well. Let that be my one complaint with the cookbook: healthy baking CAN be delicious, but these biscuits are the one baked good recipe in the whole book. Personally, I love baking but am constantly having to alter recipes to healthify them. It can be disheartening to flip through a book and see a dessert section or even a baked goods - breads, muffins, etc. - completely omitted. Some people might think they have to completely give these things up when they begin cooking vegan or low-fat and just pass over the book. Anyway, that's my spiel.
Otherwise, this was a very consistent cookbook with a good amount of recipes that I bookmarked to try. Isa relies on global cuisine, bringing in spices and flavor pairing that excite the palate without added fats. It's really relieving to be able to pick anything at random to make and not have to alter ingredient amounts to suit your lower-fat tastes.
In not having to alter amounts, and following recipes more to the letter, I was able to get a good approximation of the intended result, and everything tasted great. The directions were easy to follow and there seemed to be fewer typos than in Veganomicon. Other than a few specialty items, most ingredients are widely available and most people should have all the necessary tools to make the recipes.
The tone of the book, though a bit more grown-up than Isa's previous books, is still light and fun. A nutritionist was consulted in the writing of the book and provides dietary information, making the book a bit more educational than others. This is something I really appreciate.
There is a fair selection photographs in the middle of the book, which is a big selling point for me, though the recipes sound enticing enough on their own for me to make even if there weren't any photographs.
All around, I couldn't recommend this book any more highly. It is a great informative guide for non-vegans looking to cook more healthfully as well as an amazing cookbook up to par with anything else vegans are already acquainted with. In the period of time allotted for the Cookbook Club, I wasn't able to make everything I originally wanted to but I will certainly continue through the book, and return to specific recipes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.6: Dressing, Yes, Dressing

Since I didn't have work yesterday, I blended up a really good smoothie for breakfast. I know smoothies are quick, but I don't usually drink them on days I have work because I'm usually in too much of a rush to carefully clean around the blender blades, but also I feel a little self-conscious about making that much noise early in the morning. I guess other people are awake and getting ready too, but still.

This one was a really pretty bright green: Spinach, fresh mango, 1/2 a frozen banana, ground flax seed, a few sliced almonds, and water. Since I had leftover mango, I ate it on the side, and topped both with a bit of coconut. Tropical Iceland!
Lunch looks banal but is actually supercool.

It's a quickly whipped up salad and a slice of bread with hummus. To spruce it up a little more than usual I decided to make a real salad dressing out of Appetite for Reduction. I don't usually make dressings from cookbooks because they're so obvious, but hey, I had the ingredients and I wanted to smush in a few more recipes for the Cookbook Club. I made the Balsamic Vinaigrette, which isn't much of a change from the vinaigrette I always make, but has a few extra ingredients that really pull it together. Isa's recipe calls for chopped shallot, balsamic, water, mustard, agave, and raw cashews, for which I subbed raw sunflower seeds. All blended up in a blender. Nothing special, but tasty - and no oil.
And in case you didn't notice - the dressing is in a "dressing jar." Sometimes I buy the most ridiculous novelty kitchen items. This might be the first time I've used that stupid thing.

The hummus is also notable because it's completely homemade! I even bought dried chickpeas and soaked them and then cooked them myself! I'm snapping my non-existent suspenders right now. I made it a sundried tomato flavor, blending the chickpeas up with cooking liquid, a little tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, paprika, cayennne, and...sundried tomatoes. It was a bit thicker than the stuff I buy, but that's because I tried to keep the fat down with not much tahini. Some brands even add oil for smoothness, but yuck.

The bread was store-bought because I'm only human.
What flavor of hummus would you make homemade?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What to Do, and What Not To

Blech. My head has been aching for three days straight and my nose has been alternately runny and stuffy and bloody for a few days. All I wanted to do was steam my face and sleep but my co-workers were on vacation and I couldn't leave early or take off. It was a busy week but now I got mine and I'm on vacation as of today until Friday! Now to find something to do. I sense a lot of cooking on the horizon.
Here's last night's dinner, Udon-Miso Soup, which was perfect sick food.

It was inspired by the Udon-Shitake-Kale soup from Veganomicon. This version was more brothy, and had baby bellas and spinach instead of shittakes and kale, but it was still good. I also threw some seaweed in for good measure. There was a small salad on the side, too.
And here's what you probably don't want to eat when you're sick (sugar apparently weakens your immune system):

Since G and I have greatly reduced our sugar intake I've been feeling pretty good but when I do eat something really sweet (like these cookies) I get bad headaches that don't go away, even after going to bed. They just have to "wear off." So, it's a good thing I didn't have to keep these around. These cookies were baked for a co-worker who's leaving, but wouldja believe it, he wasn't even at work yesterday! The rest of the folks at work seemed to enjoy them, though. They are Orange Chocolate-Chocolate Chip cookies from Veganomicon and which I saw on Jennifer's blog.

I pretty much agree exactly with her description; I thought there could be more orange flavor, but everyone else thought the amount was good. I have made these cookies (well, the original variation) a few times before and they always come out well: moist with just a good bit of crispness. She kindly posts the recipe for those (few) of you who don't have VEGANOMICON.
The second batch are a personal tweak on another V'con recipe for Fig-Smushed Almond Cookies. I made them Apricot-Almond cookies by using half almond flour-half WW pastry, adding cardamom and omitting anise extract, and mixing rehydrated chopped apricots into the dough.

Oh, I also used less baking powder but that was an accident because I ran out. Ha. These I didn't like so much. The flavor is okay but there was way too much oil in them and they were very greasy. They are also a little thinner than I would have liked, probably due to the amount of baking powder. Anyway, one person actually preferred these to the chocolate cookies, so what do I know? I may bake something else for the guy leaving on Monday because I HAVE 6 DAYS OFF AND NOTHING TO DO.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So this is Spring

It really MUST be spring when the weather's this wonky. Woke up to gray skies and snow on the ground. What else to do but continue on in denial with this tropical, colorful breakfast?

Banana/mango fruit salad
topped with an edible dusting of coconut snow and ground flax seed. With Irish Breakfast tea (I had to) overlooking our dreary yard.
Since breakfast was light, I brought a Vega bar for a snack.

And am I glad I did - work was totally insane today and I didn't get to eat lunch until 3:45! These bars are pretty good. They are about the same calorie-wise as most other (LARA or Pure) bars, high in protein, raw, and not too sweet.
Lunch - finally - was the same as yesterday, but with a photo: Green leaf lettuce topped with the apple-miso tofu and orange scented broccoli.

And by the time I got home, after getting rain/hailed on, my feet soaked, a long day, and a bit of a cold, I was done with the weather denial and made myself what I'm going to refer to as a "Polish Plate," though I have no real facts to back that up. "Deconstruced Pierogi Plate," perhaps? This is what I imagine people eat in Eastern Europe.

Roasted beets, sauerkraut, steamed red potatoes, and spinach and red onion sauteed in vegetable broth. This probably would have gone really well with a beer, but. Eh.
"In like a lion, out like a lamb"...just keep repeating it with me...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not all Lettuce is Created Equal

Which is not to say I don't appreciate each delicate and subtle difference between lettuce types (breeds?) - okay, well, not iceberg - but it can be hard to keep up. I generally use spinach as my "green base" when composing a dish but G and I use an Organic Girl 50/50 spinach/spring mix for our salads (my favorite is the baby red chard!). And lately, following cookbook recipes, I've been embracing green- and red-leaf lettuce.
Green leaf lettuce was a really nice base in my lunch salad today - no picture - which included leftover apple-miso tofu, orange-scented broccoli, and the last of some VERY about-to-go bean sprouts. It cut the saltiness just enough and gave a great crunch, seeing as how the bean sprouts weren't up to it.
However, Green leaf lettuce leaves give about as much support as flimsy about-to-go bean sprouts when you're looking to make a lettuce wrap for dinner.

Sorry for the dark picture. I can't keep up with the sun, even with daylight savings. That's lettuce topped with hummus, tomatoes, and marinated mushrooms (mushrooms, lemon juice, olives, and parsley)
I also had our usual salad: 50/50, beets, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, and broccoli topped with more of the mushroom mix, sunflower seeds!, nooch, black pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

Anyway, it was tasty but I need some collards - or at least a hearty romaine leaf. Yeahhhh now that's what I'm talking about.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mexican Lunch Leftovers, Aisan AfR Dinner

Greg and I went to our friend's show last night so we stopped and got some food (and some beers too! First since last Wednesday!) after a bit of a trouble deciding where to go. I never eat out, so it's a little hard for me to deal with it, but we stumbled on a really good Mexican place - Taco Chulo. I got the Santa Cruz burrito, which is specifically marked as vegan on the menu, and came with spinach, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, radishes, lettuce, a choice of potatoes or rice (I got the potatoes), and tofu sour cream. It was a little pricey, but it was really delicious and huuuge. I shared some with G and still had some leftover to take home.
I had the piece for lunch today with leftover steamed vegetables from a few nights ago, and ended up putting some of them in the burrito as well.

It was nice to have leftovers around because I was in the midst of preparing an early dinner of the last two Cookbook Club recipes from Appetite for Reduction (at least within the designated time frame - I'm going to skip the next cookbook, Skinny Bitch, and continue making more from AfR.)
Anyway, we had two Asian-themed dishes: Apple-Miso Tofu and Orange-Scented Broccoli. I picked these two because I had the major ingredients already (tofu, miso, broccoli, spices...) and just went for a quick stop at the grocery store after church.

This was a really good meal. Most of the time I just have completely random dishes that I'll put on my plate together and call it "dinner." Here, I followed Isa's recommendation to pair these two dishes and they complemented each other really nicely. The miso tofu on its own was a bit salty for me but fine when I piled on the apples, and the orangey broccoli was just a subtle bit of sweetness that it also went well with the tofu.
Two notes: 1 - I didn't have any sesame oil. I used canola oil. I'm sure sesame would have made this even better. Oddly enough, there must be a typo in the book because though sesame oil is listed in the ingredients, it's left out of the directions. I assume it gets mixed into the marinade. 2 - I also didn't have mirin and I'm not 100% sure what it's like but I subbed apple juice (a tip I learned in V'con). This could have changed the saltiness of recipe.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.5: Baked Falafel

I'm Irish, as my pug nose, pale skin, and pudgy cheeks could tell you, but you wouldn't know it based on my food today. I'm alright with that. For more celebratory food, Choosing Raw has colcannon, Healthy Happy Life has damned near everything you could want, Oh She Glows has Shephard's Pie, and Hannah at Bittersweet has some really interesting potato candies! I'm sure you all have found a bunch-million other links too, so I'll leave it at that.
My tip of the cap today was breakfast, inspired by Kris: Irish Oatmeal.

I opted for a raw version of overnight soaked steel cut oats with dates and a bit of raw almond butter mixed in. Irish Breakfast tea with soy milk.
Lunch was leftovers from the Goddess Nicoise salad: red leaf lettuce, green beans, olives, chickpeas, tomatoes, and red pepper thrown in with the Green Goddess (Queen Maebe, perhaps?) dressing.

Eaten in the park, in the sunlight because it was beautiful out today!
And dinner was another recipe from Appetite for Reduction for the Cookbook Club: Baked falafel.
A staple in vegan "fast food," I'm sure we've all had our fair share of falafel. These are a bit healthier, being baked and not fried.

They were easy to throw together, and tasted fine - they just weren't anything special. I can't tell exactly what I felt was lacking, but I wasn't especially impressed. G, the falafel connoisseur (among so many other things), said they were good but the hummus and pita bread were lacking and considers them crucial to a good falafel experience. I didn't have mine with hummus but agree that the pita was a little sad. I ate the falafel with spinach, chopped cucumber, olives, tomato, and red pepper, and some tahini. Anyway, there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow - maybe the spices will have settled by then. The recipe DID have me discover coriander, which smells intrinsic to a good falafel. OH! And - notable for those of you who also have chickpea flour and were looking for a use for it, the ingredients also include a few tablespoons of chickpea flour to bind everything together, since they aren't being fried to a greasy crisp.
So, I think my Irish ancestors would be proud of my frugality with working with what I have and not baking an unnecessary loaf of dry old soda bread for show, if nothing else.
But - I can't pass up a chance to share part of a food-related poem from Seamus Heaney, one of my favorite poets:

At a Potato Digging

Under a gay flotilla of gulls
The rhythm deadens, the workers stop.
Brown bread and tea in bright canfuls
Are served for lunch. Dead-beat, they flop

Down in the ditch and take their fill,
Thankfully breaking timeless fasts;
Then, stretched on the faithless ground, spill
Libations of cold tea, scattered crusts.

And that ethic and gratitude in the face of a brutish life of hardship are the reason I'm not drinking tonight to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Read the whole poem here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.4: Jerk Asparagus

We're drawing to a technical close of Appetite for Reduction over at Lindsay's Cookbook Club funhouse and I've been slacking, what with fasting, raw days, dinner parties, leftovers, appointments etc. (you all know how it is) but tonight I got around to making a recipe that had been on my list since I first flipped through the pages: Jerk Asparagus.
Despite growing up near and living around various Caribbean enclaves in New York, I can't say that I've ever eaten authentic "jerk." Ha. But I did have a feeling I'd like it a lot. I like heat and I like interesting spice combinations, and I like the smell on the streets of Bed-Stuy. Well, some streets. Plus, ever since the asparagus/carrot dish from the dinner party, I'd really been wanting some asparagus.

According to Wikipedia, the prominent spices in jerk are scotch bonnet peppers and allspice. The heat in this version relies on red pepper flakes, which I may have been a bit heavy-handed with, and is blended with allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and a few other spices. Sadly, I was out of the fresh ginger the recipe called for but I did give a good dusting of powdered ginger to the stalks.
As you can see, I ate them alongside collard wraps (tomato, beet, mung bean sprouts, red pepper, and carrot with harissa/tahini), which may not have been the best pairing because there were a lot of flavors in those as well. The asparagus turned out nicely and I'd love to make them again with the fresh ginger, a more subtle side to let the asparagus shine, and with a squeeze of the recommended lime juice. Definitely tasty, and more in the works (plus leftovers in the fridge).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on Raw and...Bread

Yesterday was raw and I don't really have to put much effort into not eating cooked foods if there raw options, especially because eating raw means having your food more quickly - just some chopping prep or something.
But what to do with all that extra spare time? Bake bread, of course. And then gaze longingly at it.

Sarah Kramer's Sassy Sandwich bread, again. This time, more whole wheat flour, less sugar, less oil, and pumpkin seeds on top.
I ate a slice for breakfast with banana, a bit of almond butter and more pumpkin seeds on top, with black tea and an extra handful of seeeeeds with dried cranberries for iron. I always feel weird "breaking" a raw day because raw makes me feel so good, but I do have leftovers to use up, a boy to feed, and a recipe addiction. Plus, on days I work (unlike yesterday) I like to have a heartier breakfast to keep me be able to..sit at a computer.
I really am trying to eat raw more often though, and one thing I noticed yesterday was that I didn't get any of the ridiculous headaches I far too often do. It could be because of less sugar, or more water, or the lack of any alcohol for the past 6 days, or any number of things but I'll take it, whatever it was. Anyway, a few of you mentioned an interest in eating raw more often too - so look for a few more raw posts/recipes to come! Spring is definitely on its way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Alive!

Breakfast smoothie: TJ Green Powder, frozen blueberries, spinach, frozen banana, water to blend. Coffee with rice milk.

I did laundry and snacked on some raw almonds and an apple from the Farmer's Market, which is finally looking lively again.
Lunch was collard wraps: Green beans, carrot, tomato, olives topped with tahini. On the side were more veggies with a harissa/tahini blend for dipping.

I read, ran a few errands, and picked up a Cranberry-Orange Pure bar.

Raw-Vegan-Gluten free. Have you guys ever hand these? I think they just came out with a bunch of new flavors. I'd only previously seen Cherry-Cashew and a Brownie bar but noticed today this flavor, an Apple Cinnamon flavor, and a Blueberry bar. This was okay. It was tasty enough, but a little gooey and sticky for my liking. I probably won't buy it again, especially since it was 2 bucks, but I have a problem with needing to at least taste new vegan products.

Dinner was raw pad thai!
This was an improvised dish, as I've made it before and sort of knew what flavors to go for. This was actually one of the first raw recipes I remember specifically trying to make. Zucchini noodles, shredded carrot, and bean sprouts topped with a sauce. I'm not sure how authentic this really is, but here's what I did:

Raw Pad Thai Sauce, enough for one plate of raw noodles
3 dates, chopped
water to cover dates
2 TBs lemon juice
1 TBs raw almond butter
1 TBs fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

-Soak dates in water until they soften a bit. Drain most of the water out.
-Add lemon juice and almond butter and whip ingredients together well.
-Add in other ingredients, season to taste, and pour or glob (depending on consistency) over noodles.

I found myself wanting the sauce a bit thinner and spicier. But whatever, I just ate it as is. Served along side a red salad - Red leaf lettuce, sliced beets, red pepper, and tomatoes.

More dates for dessert, with unsweetened dried coconut and cocoa powder.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cookbook Club 2.3: Goddess Nicoise

When I visited Paris in 1999, I was an omni and my friend and I ate and lived it up. I remember pain au chocolat, chocolate mousse, croque monsieur...the only thing I remember wanting but not eating was bouillabaise. I turned vegetarian in 2001 and vegan in 2006. When I last visited France in 2007, my vegan friend and I were in the South of France, which is much more Mediterranean and less forward-thinking and cosmopolitan than Paris. We were a bit hard up to find food: everything had cheese on it or or in it (even the hummus!) and being more laid-back than Paris, cafes and restaurants were often closed for lunch. Suffice it to say, I'm glad we packed a lot of CLIF bars for the trip. We also ate beaucoup de frites.
We stopped in Carcassone, Beziers (where our friend was apprenticing to be a pastry chef!), Marseille, Arles, Montpellier, and bien sur - en Nice, where we were introduced to the Nicoise salad. Which we also couldn't eat.
This "composed salad" usually consists of tuna, hard-boiled egg, olives, tomatoes, onion, and green beans over a bed of lettuce. Isa, in her wisdom and glory, in her newest Appetite for Reduction, has subbed a chickpea/caper mash for the tuna and included steamed red potatoes (occasionally found in Nicoise salads, but not especially traditional). She then tops it all with an amazing Green Goddess Dressing herbed with chives and parsley.

The whole damned thing was delicious! Oh my goodness. Oh my Goddess. And easy to beat! Merci beaucoup, Isa!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ask Me About My Breakfast

What, this ol' thing? Oh, if you insist:

This was a minimal fruit salad with grapefruit segments (not gonna do the g-fruit/kale juice again methinks) and banana with some unsweetened dried coconut on top. With a green juice (green powder, apple juice, water) and some Irish Breakfast tea. Tasty.
Oh, and in the bowl with the fruit is, yes, a cookie for breakfast. G wanted a dessert the other night so I threw a bunch of things in a bowl and made these Almond-Oat cookies. Here's the recipe and you can tell me whether or not I should be ashamed. Most notable in the ingredients is...cardamom! Yes, I finally bought it and I am way more excited than I should be. Anyway, these came out surprisingly well considering I was winging everything. The almond meal and coconut flakes make them nice and chewy and the oats make them pretty filling. So do they count as healthy breakfast cookies? I don't know. I don't really care.

Almond-Oat Cookies, Oil-free, Vegan
Yield, about 15 odd cookies

1/3 c soymilk
2 T flax meal
1 c WW pastry flour
1 c almond flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom
1/8 t ginger
1/4 c rolled oats
1/4 c unsweetened dried coconut
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c apple juice
1/2 t vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix soy milk and flax meal together briskly with a fork and set aside.
In a large bowl mix flours, baking soda, spices, oats, coconut, and sugar.
Create a well in the middle, add soy milk/flax mixture, apple juice, and vanilla. Blend until just combined.
Scoop out dough, a little less than a Tablespoon's worth, onto the baking sheets and pat down a little bit. These cookies won't spread, but puff up a little.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove, and let cool.