Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Recent meals

I had this post half-written, and did something to make it disappear entirely. Boo! How does that happen, so I can avoid having it happen again?
Anyhow, I made this based on Zoa's veganized recipe for greens pie by Jamie Oliver.  So aesthetically pleasing, right?!? You could totally serve this to actual human beings.

I mostly followed the recipe, but added tofu feta, nutmeg to the tofu omelette, and copious amounts of tomato sauce (I definitely recommend the nutmeg + sauce; the feta was not so noticeable). It was so, so good!! Thank you, Zoa!!!

Sorry for the lack of crappy knickknacks in this post,  but you can see our fugly thrifted wine goblets and my book from the "A Song of Fire and Ice" series (by George RR Martin) in the background. Anyone else reading these?

Now, as for this.....you should make it right now! Why are you still reading this blog?!?!  Well, leave a comment before you go.  Brussels sprouts, apples, garlic, pinons, maple syrup....so, so tasty. 

Really, this was so good. I put sriracha on mine and loved it maybe even more than without. Major thumbs up. It looks so humble here, but it really was incredibly delicious. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Smoky potatoes and squash rancheros

 Howdy, and happy Thanksgiving to those living in Canada's dirty beard! Maybe you will actually be spending time with loved ones, and not checking the innernerds?!? What's up with that? 

Anyhow, here are a few noms I made recently.  I can't say I followed a recipe for either, but they were both inspired by blog posts/actual recipes.  First, these smoky potato wedges from Vegan Crunk.  She doesn't give the recipe from the cookbook it came from, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. I'll be damned if I'll buy yet another cookbook from which I use a total of two recipes, but I wanted smoky wedges so I decided to wing it!  I tossed potato wedges in smoked paprika, potato starch, olive oil, and salt, and baked until crisp.  They were really good. 

Now, this next thing was really special albeit something I might be inclined to overlook. Beans and squash--deceptively simple! But I promise you this is really wonderful!! It was based on this recipe from the PPK.  I'm sure it'd be great if you just followed the recipe, but I used way more coriander and cumin, and substituted a chipotle in adobo + tomato paste in lieu of the jalapeno.

Holy crap, this was so good!!!  Make it now! Or after your Thanksgiving coma!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Epic tortorial

Hey everybody, brace yourselves for what will probably be the longest and maybe most boringest post ever on this here blog. I hope you're not wearing shoes, because what I am about to show you will blow your socks off!!!! Or not. Ahem.  

Anyhow, this is how I make corn tortillas.  First, dump some masa harina into a bowl.  How much? Who knows?!? I just eyeball it. This time I dumped in about 4 cups and ended up with about 8-9 tortillas. You can totally follow the instructions on the masa package as far as amounts are concerned.  Disclaimer: this here post is more about technique than recipe. 

Nope, masa harina is NOT the same thing as cornmeal. Never has been, never will be.

Add a pinch of salt. Can you see it? It's the slightly paler white stuff just south o' the center.  I estimate that I added about half a tablespoon. You just want enough to where the tortillas aren't totally bland.

Mix the salt in, then keep adding water until you end up with a dough that looks like this. I think it looks like ice cream, or stiff mashed potatoes.  Or what's inside my cold, dead heart. 

You should buy a tortilla press if you can!! Tacky ceramic boots from the thrift store are an optional accessory.  Most cities in the US have Latin markets nowadays so what's stopping you? It can't be the price, as these go for less than $20 USA Fun Tickets. Having said that, if you don't have one, keep reading--I experimented in making these without a press. Because I care. 

Open up the press (pls ignore those brown stains. I have no idea where they came from.)  Tear out a long piece of plastic wrap, long enough to lay across the length of the open press. THIS IS ESSENTIAL!!! I hate plastic wrap on environmental grounds, but even I concede that you must do this or your tortillas will be a miserable failure! Don't worry, hippies (like me)--you can reuse the plastic many times (maybe that's where the brown stains came from?).

Pinch off a ball of the dough, roll it up into a ball, then roll said ball in some masa. Something about the perspective here is off--the ball looks way bigger than it was.  It should be slightly bigger than a golfball. 

Man the presses!!!!  Fire at will!!!

This is what it will look like after pressing, safely ensconced in the plastic wrap. 

Take the flattened dough out, still in the wrap. 

 Peel up one side of the plastic, like so.

Next, flip it over so the bare naked tortilla is resting against your palm. Try to stay calm as you peel up the other side of the plastic. 

Throw it onto a hot skillet! You were preheating one all along, right? Right?! No? Sorry. 

You will need to flip it after a few minutes but I didn't take a picture of that. It's easy, though, not like flipping pancakes or any other "loose" substance where sh*t can get real at the flipping stage.

For those in a state of press-deprivation, I tried making one with a plate and my kitchen counter. 

Like this....

It may not be obvious, but this is insufficiently thin despite me totally pressing down with all my middle aged might. However, a couple of rolls from the rolling pin and it was ready to go. 

With this batch, I made vegan huevos rancheros (corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, refried beans, tofu scramble, red chile sauce, and guacamole).  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


More goodness inspired by Mr Jamie Oliver. One of his books has a recipe for raw beet + feta + parsley + horseradish! When I saw this awesome horseradish for sale at our farmer's market, I snatched it up and the rest is (really boring in the grand scheme of things, but quite tasty all the same) history. The "feta" in this case is whatever tofu feta version you like. Mine was cubed feta marinated for several days in miso, nooch, olive oil, oregano, dried red pepper, and apple cider vinegar. We have a lot of beets in our garden that need to get et. 

 This was really good. Plus beets still look gorgeous, even with my bad camera and poor lighting. Now I just gotta figure out what to do with all the rest of that horseradish--I welcome any suggestions.
PS I made corn tortillas tonight and took a lot of pics for a "tortorial" of sorts. Stay tuned. Or not, actually; I wouldn't blame you. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

World's Best Mustard?

I sometimes go to this expensive "gourmet" type store in town to stock up on tomato paste in the tube, fancy salts and olive oils, etc., and was mesmerized by this hefty crock o' mustard.  The salesperson said, no kidding, "This is the world's best mustard." So of course I HAD to buy it. 
It came with this thick, red seal on top.  After scattering a brazilion little wax shards across my kitchen trying to hack the seal off with a butterknife, I conceded defeat and had to actually go look up the company's website to figure out how to open *the world's best mustard.* Here it is, with a bean burger:
After all the hyperbole and the struggle to get it open, I guess I was bound to be slightly disappointed. It's pretty good, but not the end of the world or anything. Then again, no one called it "World-ending mustard."

Tonight we had some roasted squash, baked tofu, and rice.  Nothing fancy.  Deborah Madison (in her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) suggests throwing freshly minced garlic and parsley on roasted squash, right after you take it out of the oven.  It's delicious!
In unrelated noms, have you tried this tahini dip?  It really is pretty fabulous. I highly recommend the addition of liquid smoke.  I made a small jar's worth the first time I tried the recipe, and upgraded to half a quart next time!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More questionable photos of tasty meals

So today's installment of good food, horribly immortalized in digital format, comes in part from Zoa who has lately been talking up Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. I never thought I would bother with his oeuvre, but Zoa made his recipes sound awesome so I got some of his cookbooks from the library. In this one, there was a recipe for Jools' beef stew. I guess Jools is his special lady friend? I don't know. Anyhow, the recipe sounded good except for the beef (ugh). It entailed many root vegetables, winter squash, lemon zest, sage, and rosemary.  Subbed in seitan for the beef.  It was pretty much delicious.

Now back to the Vegan Slow Cooker.  This week I made the chickn noodle recipe (it was a little on the bland side, but I think if I had a cold, I would love this. Half of a toasted cheeze sandwich on the side), and.... 

the mushroom "soysage" ragu recipe (definitely not from the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls--I just included that for Shen).

So far I would rate this cookbook pretty highly. I'm not blown away, but the recipes deliver what they promise: straightforward, easy, wholesome, accessible, and healthy vegan food.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Miscellaneous grub part II: Electric boogaloo

I am a bit reluctant to post this photo because it looks like total ass compared to Rose's beautiful chowder, which was the basis for its inspiration. Having said that, Rose is 25% of this blog's readership, and she already knows this is tasty, so how much harm can a fugly photo of this recipe do?  I made a few changes out of love of booze/laziness/lack of ingredients.  First, I fried up some tempeh bacon then deglazed the pot in a buttload of white wine. I could only get trumpet and crimini mushrooms, so I augmented those with some dried shiitakes.  I think they imparted a nice smokiness.  Also, I didn't smoke the shrooms so I added some liquid smoke.  Finally, I added peas 'cause I like peas.  And I don't chop very finely OR peel anything. 

This is just here because it was delicious. That is all.

This. What can I say about this horror?

Do I need to tell you that it is not real chicken? It is in fact fake vegan chicken I bought from our local Asian superstore.  Could someone please tell the genius who extruded the soy protein into the chicken-shaped mold that no one EVER ate chicken because of the goose-pimply plucked appearance? They needn't have bothered! I only bought this because this company made a shiitake fake chicken product that I loved. Either the store isn't selling it anymore or the company isn't making it. Either way, after MUCH deliberation, I bought this.
I ended up shredding it (hope the artiste who lovingly sculpted the chicken shape mold it came in can forgive me) and serving it in Bryanna Clark Grogan's fried rice recipe from Authentic Chinese Cooking. Damn I love that cookbook.