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Gorgeous! Floating rice in big white space! It’s the hunan fried rice from Vegan Fire & Spice, which is actually pretty fantastic. It actually has flavour, and I especially love how the tofu pellets explode with sherry goodness. I switched up the vegetables completely and can see myself pulling out this basic recipe to accomodate any old veg & rice, cause it’s really yum and takes like 2 minutes to bash up.
Equally fast and furious – the snobby joes from the Veganomicon on spaghetti squash with baked paprika yam fries from Extraveganza. I’m so officially hooked on spaghetti squash right now, it’s like noodles except refreshing. It had been so long since I’d had it that I forgot you could actually slurp the stuff, and that became so much the deciding factor in my new love for it. Veg! You can slurp! Everyone wins. :)
Persimmon blondies!! As luscious as they sound and look, they’re a tester recipe for Hannah‘s upcoming book. I am super lucky that things like this freeze well, or I’d have polished off the pan already. :p
And I picked up a cool looking bag of assorted herbs in chinatown the other day. It was only 70 cents and I kind of saw it as a taster pack of a bunch of exotic ingredients I might never get around to trying all in one spot. Like… lotus seeds, dioscorea, dried lily bulb, fox nuts, dried longan and polygonatum. And a big pouch of barley!
I assumed it was for boiling with chicken for to make extra-healthified chicken soup (at least according to my book on asian cooking) so I just skipped the chicken part and boiled it for 45 minutes or so. The funny thing is that I went for a quick grocery run in the middle – yes I am that bad and I leave the stove on while I’m gone sometimes ^^; – and when I came back the apartment smelled so nutty and sweet and… quite like chicken soup. Strange! But not bad. I strained it out because the solids were tasteless, added some tamari, green onion and tofu cube and it was strangely very satisfying. Not a taste sensation or anything, but it felt good going down the throat and I could see myself picking up a pack the next time I get a cold.
You’re also gonna think I’m weird, maybe, but this salad was a great accompaniment to barley broth. I didn’t know that endive, pear and pecan (in my case walnut) was such a classic salad! This is the veganomicon version, but I’m pretty interested in playing around with the components, maybe adding some fermented tofu as a blue cheese element, or tossing in some roasted beets like Emilie did. It’s also so pleasingly in season, I love that. So far, winter hasn’t been half bad!
I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I’m always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils… and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn’t hurt in the pretty department, either.
The south indian blend has — white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.
The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.
These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it’s like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it’s the akarkhora.
Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn’t realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn’t mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I’m still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I’m not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes… intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.
Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.
J’s (half awake) response was A: “They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz.” (I nodded). And B: “Hmm… they taste like rice cake.” Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
In response to KingoftheFrogs — what I did for the mochi:
The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good… it takes some playing around I think.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)
* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it’s smooth (but still pretty thick)
* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy
* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and bouncy.
* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.
* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.
note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.
note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it’s just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it’s sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it’s really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.
Lunchtime: wake up leisurely and construct (reheat) some stuffed butternut squash from last night, with black rice, chard, walnuts, cranberries and red peppers inside (much inspired by jessy), with lemon sauteed green beans and a lovely white bean garlic sauce done pretty close to how Atxvegn made hers. Boomshakka, that plus coffee and then off to school.
Dinner: swung by chinatown on my way home to replenish my Sriracha and of course picked up some extra goodies to play with. Fried gluten balls, a strange turnip-like thing with lavender insides (anyone know what that might be?), dried kumquats (ew), salted black beans (yay! mapo tofu!), and dried black fungus. The fungus ended up in my tummy tonight! It’s so weird and I’m hooked, it’s all crrrrunchy in a mushroom way. I used this recipe, and threw some stir-fried chard with fermented bean curd along side, and ate it with …………. wheat berries. OH, it was good!
Oh my gosh, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I have been cooking! Notably I made a turtle cake for my friend’s 24th. A turtle turtle cake, if you will. He’s so cute… swimming in generous puddles of buttery caramel sauce. It was almost a shame to cut into him to get at the deep chocolate innards. Almost.
I started with the Vcon deep chocolate bundt cake, mostly in the interest of conquering the book – in all honesty I don’t think the coffee really meshed with the rest of the cake components, but I also oopsed and used my regular crappy brand instead of brewing up my stash of GOOD coffee that I keep around just for cakes. I am d’oh.
Luckily toasted pecans and caramel sauce (ohhhhh that sauce!) go an incredibly long way towards nummifying everything they come into contact with. Generous layer and then onto…
My FAVOURITE icing in the whole world. I got it off vegweb, but I’ve seen identical versions over the internet, and holy all that is holy, it is good. Think rich, choco-fudgey, creamy, not too sweet. Also low in fat, and not like eating a bowl of shortening (*ahem* buttercream I’m looking at you). Add an extra shake of salt and it’s pure heaven.
The finished product? Gooey, addictive, got pretty much destroyed by three people, if that says anything. Also, it had wings and is thus a Koopa Cake for extra nerd points. :)
The other day I found these chayote squashes for 25 cents, can you believe it? And at a mega-supermarket no less (I was making excuses to walk really far ’cause the sun was sooooo beautiful that day, and hey, they have a good selection of extracts in the baking aisle).
Anyway, I had no idea what they were, but I did a brief search-up and they’re totally a mexican thing, so I made probably the least-brainer I could have, just tossing them with coarse salt, lime juice, chili powder, cumin and red chile flakes. Lovely refreshing, actually. They taste a little bit like a bland cucumber-melon and I don’t think I’d go nuts trying to find them again, but hey, one less mystery on the list.
And more Vcon recipes cause I’m predictable like that. They are both to die for, because the Vcon is predictable like that. This is the pineapple cashew quinoa stirfry, mega yum. If pineapple-y grain-based stir fries had a bare knuckle fight in that square foot of free space in my kitchen I’d probably leave my bets with the pineapple couscous curry I made a while back, but that’s not to say they both wouldn’t both fight valiantly with their ways of deliciousness and copious use of sweet sweet juice. I’d also even say this tastes better out of the microwave the next day, but I might just be weird like that.
I’m not one for adult food, really. I made the Vcon tomato couscous with capers and rustic white beans and at first didn’t really… know what to do with it? But then something happened, something wise in me turned off my computer, headed to the fire escape with a glass of leftover white wine and a trashy novel and all of a sudden I was “some single woman shooing her cat away from the subtle flavas of leek”, instead of “some kid blogging, rocking, reading AND playing video games while shovelling back stirfry”. I dunno, it’s a subtle difference. And I was sad to see the last of it go.
Okay, first off — I LOVE going home and I LOVE finally being in a house that practically inhales food faster than I can make it! It’s so gratifying, and I can cook up a storm like I could never do for just myself. And there’s a big ‘ol feast I’m making tonight, so I have to throw up all the other pictures first so I can post about the dinner later. Anyway…
Peanut butter banana ice cream (based on ED&BV’s Cashew Banana Ice Cream). This was the last meal I had before I got on the bus. Nice meal, eh? Ooh, I want to let *every* banana in the world go overripe and then freeze them all and make creamy nutty soft serve. ALL the TIME.
And this is the leftovers I brought with me on the bus — the cauliflower curry and saffron garlic rice (both from the Veganomicon). The rice would be better with the chickpeas romesco I think, but it’s still the best rice I’ve ever made, so I shovelled it all up anyway. Does anyone else feel like they’re totally indulging by using white rice instead of brown?
I also brought a big container of tofu salad with me, because I make a really mean tofu salad, and I feel better travelling with a huge amount of no-brainer protein. It basically incorporates half my fridge door — braggs, lemon juice, nayonnaise, dijon, bbq sauce, garlic, paprika, turmeric, thyme, oregano, pepper, nooch, diced pickles and red onion. Oh, and a niiiiiice loooooooong squirt of sriracha, ’cause I roll like that. It’s so good. I had to fight my mom away from this sandwich.
So then my sister says “I’m hungry…. lizbeth, go make me something.” and I’m like “YES. This is called the V-con. What does your heart desire?” and she goes “Chocolate Chip Brownie Waffles” and I’m like “You rule so hard I can’t fathom your rulingness. Where’s the cocoa?”. These are basically the best thing to ever come off of a panini press, which we had to use instead of a waffle iron but that hardly matters because you could fry this on the sidewalk and it would still be good. They’re all fudgey… but not too fudgey. Pleasantly mid-fudgey. *drool*
I can’t believe I’m closing with vegetables. But I’m really proud of myself! I made a squash soup worthy of rivalling those little expensive pseudo-gourmet boxed soups. Nothing out of the ordinary, regular squash soup stuff like apple vinegar, almond milk, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, salt. A *tiny* bit of soup powder (but this kind was organic and actually tasted really nice). And a bit of maple syrup, and a bit of coconut milk. I didn’t even warm it up, I just blended the roasted squash with everything and put it in the fridge to reheat when I need it, and it’s, dare I say it, lovely.
So that’s the spread, but there’s a whole wack of goodies happening tonight, I spent all yesterday blending spices and prep-cooking pastes and making chutne—- oh, I shouldn’t say anything else. (I made a cake!)
Okay, I’m done. :)
(oh, and my sister actually DOES rule the universe, and keeps bringing me home treats from her job at the health food store — Belsoy puddings (chocolate and vanilla), asafoetida, gluten flour, thai ginger kettle chips, organic sesame-spelt bread, organic millet and red quinoa, vitasoy soynog (which is amazing, btw), carob chips, a jar of raw cashews about as big as a cat, lots of produce. Most of it free/about to expire. Quelle yay! I wuv her.)
Good old spinach ‘sagna… it could have used a bunch more sauce, but I like my ‘sagna juicy enough to squish. Marinara lack is all part and parcel of making vegan food from a communal larder – my mom lives with 3 other people so I have to be aware of supplies – but it went over well with the roommates and I’m so using almesan as a topper again! No more lame-o breadcrumbs. Also, I came home today to hear that the german meat-lover had finished up the leftovers, so huzzah and score-point for tofu ricotta!!
Chipotle butternut chili. I’d been craving chili forevers, so I made a ton and I was really happy I did. There was cornbread to go with it, but got snarfed up before a picture was taken (oh, I loves me cornbread… so simple and grainy and sweetly good… mmm)
And tonight some simple dhal, after a looooooooong day of shopping for christmas candies. Okay, so it’s fun to buy sweets for sweethearts, but after eating a food court so-called “Veggie Delite” sub sandwich** of Incredible Blandness I needed immediate protein-ified spicy remedying after getting home. Serves me for even entering a mall. ¬_¬ (the dhal was good medicine)
**no relation whatsoever to Veggie Delight!