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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Various and Satisfactory

Playing a little catch-up. Nothing mind blowing.

Salad with squash, dried figs, tomato, broccoli, red cabbage and Brown rice with broccoli and ajvar. A big old lunch.

                            Breakfast - Cooked oats with leftover cranberry sauce and banana

Salad with onion, dried figs, tomato, and squash and polenta with cashew alfredo and marinara sauce. I couldn't decide which sauce to use and I'm reeeealllly glad I used them both. So maybe this one was mind-blowing.

Lunch and snacks packed: an apple, celery sticks with almond butter (in the container) and roasted broccoli, polenta, and squash with cashew alfredo sauce.

Urban Vegan's pumpkin-pecan scones. (No glaze) Delicious. I jumped up and baked them about 20 minutes after I saw her post. I've been eating them with vegan cream cheese and fig jam.

Tonight's dinner - cooked kale, squash, homemade seitan, and onion. Sriracha on the side. Pepper on top. I like it spicy, obviously. The seitan was the recipe from Veganomicon and one of maybe only one or two other times I've made seitan at home. It's a nice lazy afternoon thing.
In case you couldn't tell, I cooked up a butternut squash a couple days ago and had to use it in...apparently everything. Have a good night, guys!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Exploratory Food Excursion

I entered a book at work the other day called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese about how to make at home foodstuffs that are usually store-bought. Some of the stuff isn't vegan (like, um, grinding and stuffing yr own sausages...) but from a DIY and self-sufficiency standpoint, the book looked great. Plus the author has already done all the dirty work for us, meaning we don't have to buy all the ingredients and do all the work to produce something that tastes essentially similar and may cost more to make yourself.
I was particularly compelled by the book because it's now officially the holiday season and I typically like to stay anti-consumerist or support smaller, independent companies in my gifting. Plus, there is nothing more heartfelt than a nice, homemade gift. So when I stumbled upon a very interesting recipe in Make the Bread, I knew I had to run out and get some spices, obscure though they may be.
Hence, Kalustyan's! This was my first time at this amazing place, despite having heard many recommendations. It is a specialty foods store established in Manhattan in 1944 and now carries an amazing assortment of ethnic ingredients, groceries, beverages, and condiments - as well as housing a small selection of prepared foods.

                                             Towering wall of EVERYTHING EVER (A-C)

                                                           Everything ever, in jar form

                      Preserved lemons, cornichons, cabbage salads, I don't even know what

Bamboo Rice! Never even heard of such a thing. Next to Forbidden Rice and Basmati Rice and like 7 million other rices.

                       Prepared refrigerated stuff: turnip pickles, preserved lemons, kimchee

There were also rows of chips and such, frozen foods, filo dough, dried fruit in bulk (I stayed away), candies, tahini, tea... and even a small section of kitchenware and little cups for Arabian coffee! Needless to say, I could have been there for a long time. My OCD loves these shelves and collections, claustrophobic though it was in there. I stuck dutifully to my list, though, (mostly) and came home with these:


Ajvar (Spicy red pepper spread), vegetarian moussaka, and dried shiitake mushrooms are in the middle there - those were impulse purchases. For the present/project are: anise seeds, cardamom seeds, vanilla beans (in the bag and DAMN are they expensive), juniper berries, allspice berries, and whole cloves.
Any guesses as to what I'm making? I'll probably tell you when I start the project but I just want to be certain that the people I'm gifting this don't read the blog. And, ah, since the recipe only calls for a bit of each of these spices...does anyone have any ideas on how to use up some of these things? Or does anyone want a little bag mailed to them? Cloves, anise seed, anyone? Anyone?
That's all for now, though I also want to show you breakfast, inspired by Shen's smoothie yesterday. Hers looks a little nicer and thicker, but this was definitely different from what I usually smoothicize and very tasty.


Spinach, 1 1/2 frozen bananas, tahini, spirulina, coconut flakes, molasses. Cinnamon on top, next to my yoga mat which I actually used this morning - but as you may notice, the end is still curled a bit because it has been far too long since I've exercised at all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Serve the Servings: My thanksgiving, a guest post By "G"

By Gregory Farrell, esq.
  Hey ya'll, happy thanksgiving. Here is a rundown of what my family did on that 'o' holiest of sacred of days, the days of giving of thanks (Thanksgiving). Here is some musical accompaniment, should you so desire: 


So, Full disclosure, I hate to disappoint you guys but we didn't have a turkey or Tofurkey. We decided to take it easy, so we went to the bodega and bought six of these mini pizzas. Five slices each!


PSYCHE (mad gelatin). Weird though, right?

ANYWAY, my family is about half vegan. I myself am not entirely vegan but my brother and his wife both are. However, I was able to keep vegan this thanksgiving because the only non-vegan items served were the turkey itself (for my dad, he's old school) and the stuffing from inside that turkey. Also, the cranberry sauce from a can may not have been vegan, but whatevs, that is a tradition dating wayyy back. I'm not entirely sure anyone ate it. I didn't.


Anyway, on holidays, my Dad usually a makes a breakfast of french toast and sausage (Gimme Lean sausage for the VEG). Often there are clementines, as pictured. I'm not vegan but I don't eat eggs, and he was dismayed to find out that he had to make two separate batches of french toast, one vegan, one non. He does this every year and usually the vegan batch comes out being better (heheh). He didn't have the recipe on hand so he made it up.


Day old bakery white bread. Cut it thick at home.
Three heaping TBSP of flour
Enough almond milk to submerge the bread
Vanilla
Cinnamon
Sugar if you want
Whatevs. Add whatever you want, as long as it will soak into the bread.

Mix it all in a bowl, submerge the bread, let it soak then fry it up, well done (cast iron skillets work best, my inheritance). Butter while hot. Serve with REAL maple syrup, which also tastes good with the Gimme Lean. YUM.  

   
Major disadvantage, obviously is in using flour as an egg substitute. All you get is the bulk, not the protein. It's weird to add flour to bread. So basically I was full after a few of these.


  Then I watched some of the Woody Allen documentary on PBS and read some of this book by Robert Rodriguez. Both are very good.
This is a picture of my dog. Her name is skipper. She was there too.


At around Two P.M. my brother and his wife arrived and we started preparing dinner.

Earlier, I had told my dad that he would have to document the meal in photographs for this blog post. He agreed, and then complained while we were peeling potatoes that it was "boring" and we all told him that nobody cares about the potatoes, they want to see the finished dishes. However, if you do care, here are some shots of potatoes:

   
Things went fast from here. And we soon wound up with dinner.

Maritza brought a quinoa kale salad (kale, lemony dressing and cherry tomatoes). For some reason everyone in my family is quinoa-phobic so they made yuck faces while they ate it. Babies. It was very good though.


Pictured beside it is a green bean casserole made by my little brother Ben. It may be one the first things he's ever made. It was gross. Very 50's with french onions and soy yogurt. Not recommended, but here is the link with a photo.

Here is a photo of our whole spread:


Clockwise: Bottom left corner in the green bowl is the famous "Artichoke to Death" this time with way more sauce, heavy mustard, made by Maud. All the way on the left on the edge of the picture is mashed potatoes. My family does it very "no frills". Potatoes, mashed with some margarine and soy milk. BAM. That's it. Sixpoint Bengali Tiger Beer in the corner, stuffing with leftover gimme lean from breakfast, green bean casserole, real live (dead) turkey, more stuffing (non-vegan), yams ("no frills"), applesauce, and cranberry sauce. I just realized that there is a plate of Tofurkey out of the frame on the left. Basic Tofurkey, no big. What do you guys think of that stuff?

So we all barfed because we ate too much, then waited awhile and had dessert:


Clockwise: Pumpkin pie from the store, Pumpkin brownies from The French Fry Conundrum. I personally made them, and I personally apologize. They came out horrible, nobody even looked at them, let alone ate them. For some reason they just wouldn't bake properly. I just left them at my parent's house. They were probably thrown away.

     
Raspberry Chocolate ganache by Maritza from (book) it was awesome. Major home run. Cranberry pecan oatmeal cookies, made by me. Also home run. Here is a picture Maud took of me making them:

 
They were awesome, as they have been in the past, but nobody bothered to touch them either. Thanks family, last time I bother! Then you got some chocolates, an an apple pie from a store, finishing out the dessert photo.

And finally, here is some applesauce:

BA-BAM!

I'd like to thank my pops Ken for taking all the pictures. Food photography is not his forte. He is a very talented portrait photographer. I would link you to his blog but he doesn't have one. He feels like he is too old, perhaps, and says he is "too busy."

BLOGGERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE AND DISPEL THIS MYTH. URGE MY FATHER TO POST HIS PHOTOS TO A BLOGGER ACCOUNT FOR ALL TO ENJOY. ONE A DAY! ONE A DAY!

ANYWAY. I have to go now because I am tired. I didn't sleep much last night because Maud and I have rats running rampant and gnawing on our ceiling. Thanks for letting me post here, Maud, and to the blogosphere for reading.

-G

Friday, November 25, 2011

This-Is-The-R-R-R-Remix

Leftovers all day everyday wooo! (Who else is dancing in her/his seat to Girl Talk right now?)
Breakfast:


Raw overnight oats and chia with pumpkin puree, fresh cranberries, chopped dates, cinnamon and vanilla extract. This was an interesting bowl of textures and tart/sweetness. Not bad.
Lunch:


Fresh spinach, extra squash pocket insides (beans, squash, kale), tomatoes, carrot, red pepper. I'm "over" salads at this point. I just throw any and all vegetables into a bowl and call it done.
Dinner:


Baked polenta rounds (from a tube) and roasted broccoli with the cashew alfredo sauce. Spiked cranberry sauce on the side. All good.
Do you eat your leftovers as is (as were?) usually, or do you try to do something different with them? My meals weren't particularly creative but I've heard of some really fun ideas for using up leftovers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a delicious day with friends, family, loved ones and/or your own happy self. G went out to his family's house on Long Island (and he has promised to return with his own very vegan Thanksgiving rundown!) while I cooked a couple dishes here and went to my parents' house. The table (for 10) was decorated thusly with the last hydrangeas and black eyed susans of the garden:


Utilizing one of my newest cookbooks, Nava Atlas' Vegan Holiday Kitchen, I baked Wild Rice-Cranberry Stuffing, which didn't get stuffed into anything:


My mom promptly stuck her finger right into the middle of it to see if it was warm.
It wasn't, so she excitedly cleared out the "warming oven" ("This is why we bought the damned thing!") along with these Butternut Squash Hot Pockets that I saw on Scissors & Spice.



I had a lot of trouble making the pockets, to be honest. The dough was hard to roll out, the pockets burst open during cooking, I was rushed to make the separate components, and the cashew alfredo sauce from VegWeb was hell to congeal. Sarah kindly directed me to Vegan Yum Yum's alfredo sauce, and I used a couple tips from there but I still had to blend and blend and cool and heat up and cool the sauce down again for it to work. That said, the pockets were very tasty and the sauce finally did set up.
Shpeaking of sawce, I brought along some spiked cranberry sauce! This uses 3 c. fresh cranberries and 3/4 c. dry vermouth :)


This was a recipe from The Tipsy Vegan, which I don't TECHNICALLY own but did take some detailed notes from it at work one day. Although a lot of recipes looked really good and I may...peruse it further. Stay tuned on that front. There was a piece in the New York Times on it the other day, with a couple printed recipes! (Check it.) My mummy also served a really tasty spicy tamarind-date chutney as an alternate sauce.
I also made a spinach salad with dried cranberries, red onions, and almond slivers.



Also a bonus blurry outake of me showing off the salad. My mom was only supposed to photograph the bowl!
Once I got to the house and my mom and I finished our glamor shots, I made some braised fennel with Earth Balance ("Maud used vegan butter and you can't even tell the difference!") and vegetable broth:


There were also some roasted root veggies (potatoes, parsnip, carrot):


Aaannnnd a green bean and sauteed mushroom dish that I missed a photo of. Phew! Got all that? I think that was it. There were a couple non-vegan dishes too that we don't need to discuss. Everything was very tasty except that the "warming oven" overcooked the wild rice dish and it got kind of crunchy in a weird way. There was also an absurd amount of olive oil on absolutely everything which I am trying not to think about too much. I guess it's okay because the dessert I brought was pretty guilt free: Susan Voisin's Skinny Figgy Bars.



These are in Vegan Holiday Kitchen as well but there is a typo! The online recipe calls for both oats and oat flour; the cookbook omits the oat flour. They aren't gorgeous but they're tasty. I was serving the desserts (there also were 5 pies, no joke) and very happy to not be eating lemon meringue pie. Fluffy nasty, sorry.
There was also plenty of wine and champagne and coffee, no worries ;) It was a good time but I'm glad to be home. Hope your day was stress-free. See you tomorrow with way, way less olive oil in my system.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrate Vegan winner, Randomness

First things first, Happy Thanksgiving eve. G has left for his folks' so I'm all alone flinging things around the kitchen. I assume most of you are as well.
Secondly, out of 22 entries in the cookbook giveaway, I used Random Number Generator to pull #4. Congratulations to Art You Dream About! Please send me your mailing address within the week, or I'll pull another entry.
Speaking of random:


Dinner last night: mashed potatoes, broccoli, sauteed mushrooms and tofu


Everything food-related I packed to bring to work with me today. Lunch (yes, in the yogurt container), coffee in the mini jar, brownie PureBar, and instant miso soup. I didn't end up having the miso soup. This was especially a ridiculous amount of stuff to bring because I have carrot juice and tea bags at work also.


Lunch: leftovers from last night, extra tofu, spinach, and red pepper in sriracha/soy sauce.


Even more ridiculous? Despite the food haul I brought to work, I bought these Rhythm kale chips just in case I got hungry! I did NOT get hungry. But I did eat them when I got home and they were good. They were also on sale.
Anyway, sorry for the scatterbrained post. I have 5 things going on in the kitchen right now, haha.
Happy Thanksgiving, ye American vegan bloggers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Yeppp. Real tough day around here, sewing, cuddling with the cat, listening to some new music (thanks for the recommendations, guys) and -oh yeah- eating. I got some heavy groceries but that was about the extent of my exertion.
Breakfast was kind of late and less involved than usual, but still good. We were all out of fruit!


Pumpernickel bread with Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese and fig jam. I bought 2 of the vegan cream cheese containers because they were on sale (2/ $5!) and G needed one for a Thanksgiving dessert. Now I can't stop eating it.
Lunch, oh lunch, was delicious, vibrant, and healthy:


The last (boo!) of the roasted kabocha squash, cherry tomatoes, spinach, white beans, mushrooms, and red onion. Balsamic, and a little salt and pepper on top.
I also snacked on a couple of these Candy Cane Joe-Joes!


Tis the season, right? I'd never actually tried these before despite hearing raves coming from all directions. They're good.



Dinner is a mess of awesome. Sauteed onion and garlic, kale, broccoli, mushroom, and grated carrot mixed in with green tea soba noodles and tofu in a bit of miso broth. The requisite red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.
That's all, folks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Miscellany

Hey guys, sorry I've been a bit lazy about posting lately. Food has been a lot of leftovers and reheats and repeats (Pete and Repete were in a boat...), otherwise I've been kind of busy.  I'm mostly obsessing about the horror that will be Thanksgiving, and then last night, G and I went to go see Robyn Hitchcock play at Bell House, which was a lot of fun. He played his 1989 album, Eye, in its entirety and now I have Cynthia Mask stuck in my head.


Now you will too, ha!
Anyway, just because I'm obsessive, I'm going to clean out my photo backlog from the past few days.


          I don't even remember what was in this. Cranberry, spinach, coconut, agave, other stuff


   OSG Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothie. I'm loving oats in smoothies lately. It gets so creamy.

I read the ingredients on this a million times, even though it says VEGAN on it. Having never had dairy Greek yogurt, I liked this a lot.

                          Andrea's sunburst-celeriac soup with balsamic sauteed mushrooms.

                         Overnight soaked oats and chia, banana, fig jam, golden mulberries

                Steamed broccoli, curry-cayenne roasted kabocha squash, white beans peeking out

I eat a lot of oatmeal: Soaked overnight oats and chia with banana, pomegranate arils, cacao nibs

 Roasted root veggies, grated red cabbage and beets, spinach salad with nooch, mustard, and balsamic.
Phew, now I feel clean. Here's a picture G took of Haxan being a weird alien ghost cat:


Just out of curiosity, what kind of music do you guys listen to? I've shared a couple concerts G and I have been going to lately (we are on a month and a half concert binge - this is really out of the ordinary) but there is SO much more stuff I love from folks who don't/can't tour anymore. I'm always interested in learning people's music tastes. That sort of stuff doesn't often make it to people's food blogs.
Aaaand finally, don't forget to enter the giveaway for Dynise Balcavage's new Celebrate Vegan. Share the news for good karma.
Okay! I think we're done here. Have a good Sunday.