Saturday, August 7, 2010

back to the future

Hi, all. I've decided to recreate my blog over on Wordpress. The posts here are from...before. Life is changed, different, big, exciting, wow (ok, not really big, exciting, or wow). I'm going to leave this site up for people to be able to look at my old posts if they'd like. If I'm on your blogroll, please update with this NEW LINK. And please, come visit me! I plan on blogging way more. Topics might include: Cooking for one. Dealing with leftovers. What to do with that old bunch of parsley/eggplant/tomato/cucumber/rice/mustard you just found lurking in the depths of your fridge. The ever popular drunk cooking experience. Cooking with friends. My cats. Cooking for an omnivore. Etc.

It could be fun. Come find out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

epic proportions

Last night I made an epic bagelburger at 3 am and my roomie demanded that I blog about it. He is not vegan, nor does he even read my it seems as if this is more of a 'people must know about your awesomeness' type thing, to which I am rarely opposed. I only allowed him one bite, but he immediately said that I must take a picture of it and write about let the world know. However, I was not in a state to be taking pictures of my food. I was in a state to be devouring my food. That just meant that I got to recreate it today.

My first thought upon recreation was that it was not nearly as lovely as I remembered it from the night before. In fact, it's downright ugly and not that easy to eat (the insides kept squishing out the sides of the bagel). Whatever though, because it's definitely as delicious as I remembered. Ok.

Explanation #1: I've been on a mega bagel kick lately.

Explanation #2: I've been on a mega hummus kick lately.

Explanation #3: I much prefer putting hummus on my bagels than fake cream cheese or jam.

Explanation #4: I've been a bit lazy in my cooking and when I run out of leftovers...I eat bagels with hummus quite a bit.

Explanation #5: As my most devoted readers must know, I am a mustard fanatic. This is a case where the mustard absolutely makes the sammich.

I recently acquired a new type of mustard: dill mustard. It is, in a word, fabulous. It's all the awesomeness of having pickles on your sammich without that gross, rubbery, sometimes just nasty pickle actually being on your sammich. It reminds me of...ok, to be quite honest, what I remember McDonald's cheeseburgers tasting like. Granted, I haven't had a McDonald's cheeseburger in around 12 years (seriously, gross), but those darned things were a pivotal part of my youth. It was, once upon a time in young Jessica's life, quite a treat to go to McD's to get a cheeseburger and, if the season was right, a shamrock shake. Admittedly, I would not touch one of those things with a ten foot pole now, nor would I ever encourage anyone to actually eat one. But forgive me for having a taste memory that reminds me of my childhood and getting a little treat and hanging out with my fam. It happens.

So. That being said, you're gonna have to get some dill mustard, especially if you would like to create my epic bagelburger. It's pretty simple. The ingredients list is almost laughable:

1 Boca burger (original vegan...for that smoky, fast-food type taste)
3-4 giant spoonfuls of hummus (just regular old hummus, nothing fancy)
some lettuce (i've been buying this artisan lettuce stuff, another post on that situation at a possible later date)
1 bagel, toasted (i used whole wheat [it makes me feel less guilty]...and another rant on the complete and utter uselessness of an untoasted bagel at yet another possible later date)
1 squirt of DILL MUSTARD (no alternatives, i'm sorry, it's just not a possibility)

uh, yeah. Assemble. I put hummus on both the top and bottom of my bagel, because I'm decadent like that.

Lets have an admission of guilt here: it's drunk food. It's 'I've been drinking since I got off work and I want fast food in the middle of the night but should definitely not drive and I don't want Taco Bell and none of the fast food places have a vegan burger' food. It's fast. It's messy. It's ugly.

It's perfection.

Friday, January 22, 2010

hey, good lookin'...what you been cookin'?

Yes, I've been gone for a long while. Yes, I do have a legitimate reason or two. You will most likely figure out this reason within the next two sentences, but I'd rather not go into detail just now.

Ok, so as most of you probably know, going from cooking for two or more to cooking for just yourself can be difficult. At first it's all like, 'Why bother? It's just me. I can live off Taco Bell burritos for a period of time.' But then you get tired of eating crap and you start cooking again. Still, cooking for one kind of blows. I'm still in the mode where I cook for an army, only to find myself with leftovers for at least 3 days afterward. Solution to depressing problem? Cook with friends! Recently, I have been cooking with my lovely and talented friend Becca about once a week or so. It's an excuse to get out of the house and socialize, yes, but it's also a reason to bring some joy back to the cooking process. We started off simple for our first kitchenventure: Indian food.
ladies in action

Becca whipped up an exquisite chana masala whilst I slopped together the curry potatoes from the 500 Vegan Recipes cookbook (which is amazing, by the way). I added about twice as much garlic as it called for and used red curry paste since I didn't have any green.
my girl stirrin' it up

lots of stirring action

The potatoes didn't require nearly as much stirring. (Above photos are courtesy of Becca's manfriend, Max, since I forgot my camera.)

end result

Paired with some fluffy basmati rice (and some whiskey), it was a deliciously awesome meal. And I only had to take home one little container of leftovers. Not to say it wasn't yummy enough to take home more, but I probably had like 3 tupperwares of pasta in my fridge already.

This next kitchenventure occurred last night...and I remembered my camera, so there's loads more photos. Also, I broke my ankle last week so I had pretty much nothing better to do but mince the garlic and onions and take an annoying amount of pictures. We decided to make a risotto...lemon brussels sprout risotto, to be exact. It started out with lots of garlic and onions (yeah, we doubled [or tripled] the amount of garlic...we love the garlic).
the woman knows how to pick out a good head of garlic

which turned into this

mincing queen

I told you, that was all I was good for. The rest is the work of the wonderful Becca. She blanched some brussels sprouts:

And then she sauteed them:

And then she cut them in half:

Waiting for the rice to 'separate and crackle' (much confusion ensued):
And this is about when Becca realized that risotto is really frustrating to make:

The lady owns the most awesome kitchen crap I've ever seen, but she does not have a ladle (we superwomen know how to improvise, however):

"I strongly suggest that you take a picture of this right now":
if only i could have taken a video so you could see it bubbling away

If you clicked on the link for this recipe, you'll see that Becca has the same lemon juicer thingamabob as the one in the picture (she's my real life Betty Crocker):

And, at long last, this:
tasted way prettier than it looked, i promise you

We both agreed that the risotto was heavenly. We added an extra squirt of lemon juice on our individual portions, which contributed a lovely tang. The brussels sprouts were sweet and tender and paired nicely with the creaminess of the rice. Upon asking Becca if it was worth all the effort, she replied, 'Yes...but I'll never make risotto again.' I warned ya, girlfran.

So, the moral of the story is this: If you're feeling a little down in the dumps or your cooking has gone into a rut, I recommend that you cook with a friend once in awhile. You're more likely to try challenging recipes that you wouldn't bother to make just for yourself, and it's just plain refreshing. (Next up, I think we might try seitan en croute...which I would never attempt on my own, but with my ladyfriend there for moral support might just be achievable.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

failing at vegan mofo

It's cold outside. We are scraping by on very little money this month. Not many groceries (ok, zero groceries) have been bought. This is all I want to eat:

But we're out of tofu and mushrooms. That's another version of the manhattan style chowder from the idiot cookbook, by the way. We didn't have spinach, so we added (the last of our) frozen green beans. There's also some cubed silken tofu in there and some (bargain bin) shiitake mushrooms.

It's just been a lazy fall around here so far. We need to get motivated to be more creative. I guess I'm just pouty because I've gotten 3 new cookbooks in the last couple months (Vegan Brunch, Everyday Vegan, and Urban Vegan), and can't make pretty much anything in them since I can't go on a huge grocery binge. Bummer!

Oh, ok, Woe is me, I know. Hopefully I'll get out of my funk and have something good to post soon. Complaining gets me nowhere!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegan Mofo day 7: get your orange on.

It's getting to be that time of year when I get super excited about all things orange and sweet and fabulous. Pumpkins and winter squash, my friends. This past weekend I attended the Pumpkin Festival in Milton, WV with Michael and our friends Becca and Max. If you remember from last year, we mostly go in order to buy locally made foodstuffs like cornmeal and pumpkin butter and salad dressings and whatnot. This year there were pumpkin milkshakes...everywhere. Michael and I got a little sad that we couldn't have one, so a couple days ago I got the fixings to make them ourselves!

Also showcased is some lovely pumpkin butter from the festival. The milkshakes were super easy to make...I didn't measure (of course), but it's just vanilla soy ice cream, pumpkin puree, some soymilk, and a little bit of pumpkin pie spice. Yum! They were especially yummy paired with some vegan gingersnaps we found at the store. Next time I want to make a blizzard-style thing with a thicker mixture and some crumbled gingersnaps added to the whole shebang. This was a perfect treat on an evening where my throat was feeling crappy and sore. And probably healthy too - I mean you never know.
punkin's favorite cousin, butternut squash

I am a huge butternut squash fan. The eating of them, that is. I really hate dealing with the preparation, but luckily, Michael made this dinner for me on the first evening that I was feeling sick. He roasted the squash with some olive oil and just a pinch of cinnamon sprinkled on top. It was perfectly cooked...tender and sweet. Mmmm! He also whipped up the lemony roasted potatoes from Veganomicon and a felafel loaf from a box mix to which he added some chickpeas, peppers, onions, and tomatillos. Luckily, my cold is mostly in my chest (luckily?) so that I can still taste stuff. This was an excellent and filling meal. Those potatoes are spectacular. If you haven't tried them yet, you should!
super sick meal

Another night when I was still feeling icky and Michael wasn't feeling too hot either, we just had a simple supper of storeboughts. That's butternut squash soup from Imagine, some roasted pine nut hummus, and Triscuits. Super easy to make and to eat. Sometimes we just don't feel like cooking. It happens, people.
almost as good as winter squash - sweet potatoes

This is something I made before we got sick, but it is completely worth mentioning and also falls under the category of wonderful orange foods. This is the cumin-lime tofu from VegNews. You guys should totally sign up for their newsletters and join the recipe club, because they send you all these awesome recipes straight to your inbox and they rule! This tofu was out of this world delicious. They suggested pairing it with sweet potatoes, so I made a mash of sweet potatoes and a regular potato or two. That's lightly steamed broccoli with lemon zest in the back. I can't wait to make this one again. So good! I can't link to the recipe because it's only in my email and not on their site, but that's just another reason why you should sign up yourself!

Feel like making something orange for dinner? What are some of your favorite ways to cook these squashes? I need suggestions, so I don't get sick of them by January!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vegan Mofo day 4: so much for that!

Despite all my precautions, I made the mistake of kissing my lovely fiance Friday night and was sick by Saturday morning. Lame! I've just got a nice cough now, not nearly anything so bad as what he had, but yesterday was icky. Since I'm too lazy to upload the pictures from my camera of dinner last night (which I didn't even make since I was laid out on the couch), here is a conciliatory photo of some cupcakes I made with my mom last weekend:

These are the chocolate cupcakes and peanut buttercream frosting from VCTOTW, which I got my mom for her birthday. She is cupcake obsessed these days, which is pretty rad. Also, these were the first ever cupcakes I made from the book myself, a couple years ago, but mine were ugly and didn't have sprinkles.

I wish I had one now. Instead...more tea for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegan Mofo day 1: i'm back.

I figure the best way to get back into blogging is to start up with Vegan Mofo again. I know I've been a terrible bloglady as of late, but I do have a reason or two. September was a bit insane. My birthday was at the beginning of the month and I got...engaged! Yep, Michael popped the question and I said yes and ever since, the wedding (ok, mostly the food) is all I can think about. We're getting married next October, I have a year to plan, and it is consuming most of my waking thoughts. So...excuse my little absence from the blogworld last month. I've still be cooking and eating and farmers marketing, so let's jump right in with a quick overview of some tasty things that have been brewing in our kitchen.

Might as well start with my birthday foods.
what better way to begin a post than with cake?

Excuse the crap photo of my lovely birthday cake. This is our family's (accidentally vegan) wacky cake that I have been eating since my very first birthday (presumably). My mom dutifully makes this for me every year, even though I'm 27 years old and living 3 hours away. I think it's because the last time I tried to make it, I royally screwed it up, thus disgracing my family name. Anyway. She now tops it with the chocolate buttercream icing from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World...and it is even more divine than ever. We also found some sorbet (raspberry and lemon) to go along nicely. And she made two cakes, so Michael and I ate on this for over a week. (My mom rules.)

That evening we went out and I forgot to take pictures of my Mexican veggie pizza, but Michael and I made a trip to Athens, OH a few days prior and I remembered to bring my camera.
best balls on the planet

We traditionally go to Casa Nueva for my birthday dinner, as they have nice vegan food and a great beer selection and prepare local and seasonal fare. This year we started with tofu albondigas meatballs in their housemade bbq sauce (which was fantastic) atop a bed of jasmine rice. I could have eaten a couple plates of these and been done with dinner and it would have been just fine. They were amazing. Stayed together perfectly. The sauce was sweet and tangy, with some flavor that reminded me of my mom's Christmas molasses crinkle cookies, which sounds weird, but was in fact awesome.
adorable little salad

Next up was a salad comprised of baby greens and sprouts and a terrific lemon-basil vinaigrette. Perfect.
yum yum

Our entree was a stacked enchilada with seasoned tofu and the veggies of the day (tomatillos and green beans). It also contained a vegan queso cremosa (uh...fake cheese sauce) and was topped with some smoky salsa. The tofu was, as always, delectable, and the addition of those two strangely compatible vegetables was a huge hit. The beans lent a nice crunch while the tomatillos were smooth and nicely sour. I could barely finish this, but finish it I did. We took a nice, long walk afterwards.

Sometime before or after that, I made these things:
sweet and sour chipotle tempeh with sweet potatoes

This recipe is from Eat, Drink, and be Vegan...and I didn't really like it. Michael loved it, don't get me wrong, but it was just a teeny bit too sweet for me. I've never really liked the main part of my dinner meals to be sweet, so this isn't too surprising. Still, it was delicious in its own right. Just not the right that goes up my alley.
this looks like an octopus

But it's not. I made some seitan cutlets (my own concoction) and layered it all up with some couscous and steamed spinach. Michael made a lovely little mango salsa to top it all off. This was a delicious and relatively easy little meal.
goddess garbanzos

Another recipe from ED&BV. The true hero of this mixture is the apples in the salad. They add this lovely little crunch and just a hint of sweet. I'm assuming this is supposed to feed a family of four for 2 days of lunches, but we polished it off in one sitting.
lemony garlic pasta

Gosh, another ED&BV recipe. I had forgotten I made so many this past month! This one was stellar. Absolutely amazing. It wasn't overly saucy, but there was plenty of sauce to stick to the noodles...incredibly garlicky...and some walnuts added a good crunch and some protein. That woman is amazing.

And that's it for me today. I have to be at work in a little bit and Michael is nursing some horrible sickness that has been going around (and somehow I haven't caught it yet). I need to force some soup into him (some impromptu thing I made with fake chicken bouillon, scallions, garlic, ginger, chili garlic sauce, and noodles...and it's pretty tasty for the non-sick, too). I still have backup food to show you, so expect to see me back here tomorrow!