15 July 2007

i've moved my blog!

i was drawn into wordpress, which i'm still tinkering with but whose format is far more pleasing to me. from now on i'll be posting here. new post and all! (and more to come of course)

this page will stay up for a little bit for those of you who arrived late.

13 July 2007

the joyification properties of homemade cookies

tonight i was having a bad night... i have been pms-y and crabby and unmotivated the past couple days, and about half an hour after i'd gotten to a show at the organ haus tonight i discovered that a bottle of beer had leaked out into my bike bag and destroyed any shred of paper i'd left in there. (plus my bag is saturated with beer and now hanging upside down from the shower head to drip freely into the tub.) so i rode home (in a downpour) and decided to bake off the snickerdoodles i'd been interrupted from making earlier in the evening.


i used the snickerdoodle recipe from LDV and must say i am very pleased! it's just like i remember tasty snickerdoodles being: just slightly sugary crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside! yum yum yum. my night has become infinitely better, and i am excited to try out zucchini pancakes in the morning for a secret surprise breakfast. followed by the homoplex rummage sale and vegan tasty lunch preparations with micah. things are definitely looking up.

11 July 2007

bread baking!

spelt-rice bread with imagine foods sweet corn soup and a baby romaine and tomato salad with annie's lemon-chive dressing:
sweet corn soup, spelt-rice bread, and salad

today was a bearable day, almost chilly at times, which is a welcome change from the heat and humidity of late. so i decided it was cool enough to try some baking. i found this recipe in my ExtraVeganZa! cookbook and have been wanting to make it for quite some time because it sounded so weird (cooked rice, spelt, cornmeal, no yeast or leavening agents!). it has a really weird name too, with somebody's name and old english spellings (?) that sound like more of a quote than a title. it also asks for sesame seeds in the recipe without listing it in the ingredients, so i put my own version below. anyway, i popped into work and got a container of cooked rice (because i was a little lazy) and some soup and salad fixings. then i got to work...

spelt-rice bread (makes one loaf):
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 c. spelt flour
1 tbsp. olive, corn, sesame, or other natural oil
1 1/2-2 c. brown rice, cooked and cooled
2/3 tsp. sea salt
3/4 c. (or more) water
about 1/8 c. sesame seeds

in a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, and salt, and rub in the oil with your fingertips. work the rice with your fingers until all of the grains are separated and kinda coated with the flour mixture. add enough water to make a dough that sticks together easily. it will look something like this:

formed spelt-rice dough

shape the dough into a round loaf. place the sesame seeds on a plate, then roll the loaf in the sesame seeds until it is completely covered (or until all the seeds are used up):

rolled in sesame seeds

sprinkle some sesame seeds on a baking sheet, then place the loaf on the sheet. put loaf into a cold oven, then turn oven to 350 degrees and bake for one hour. remove from oven and allow to cool. serve with soup and salad, or just with your favorite topping! keep remaining bread in sealed container or plastic bag to retain moistness.

baked and sliced

this dough is quick to make, and easy to work with (not very sticky like other doughs can be). it doesn't rise (duh), so don't be alarmed if it's the same size when you pull it out of the oven as when you put it in. it's super-dense, simple, and (so far) pretty moist. i bet toasted it would make a good open-faced sandwich base (mmmm... cashew cheese!!).

on a related note, i'm going to try and make my own sweet corn soup soon. the imagine foods brand is delicious (and vegan of course) but i bet homemade it could be even tastier. the ingredients don't seem to weird or vague, either, so whenever my corn crop is ready for eating, sweet corn chowder here i come! (or i may have to make it sooner).

08 July 2007

bad pictures of delicious food

in the limitations of my nearly windowless current apartment, and my excitement to feast, i have some really awful photographs of some rather tasty dishes.

i cooked up the collards and made a spicy bbq sauce for tofu:
southern din din
i kind of hate store-bought bbq sauce sometimes, and i wanted to make my own anyway. but i wasn't sure if i had a recipe at home so i looked in a cookbook at work and got the ingredients i knew i didn't have, but then forgot what most of the other ones were because i didn't write them down (silly a-k). so i rifled through a few cookbooks and found one in VWAV for bbq pomegranate tofu. needless to say, pomegranate molasses is something i don't really keep on hand, so i kind of fiddled with the recipe and made up my own. i think i'd like to use a different recipe next time--this one was interesting, but seemed to lack something. or maybe i just haven't had bbq sauce in that long. i almost didn't add the peanut butter but did at the last moment, and i'm not sure if that's something i'd do in the future either. but here is an approximation of what i did:

tofu with spicy bbq sauce (makes about 4 servings, with tons of extra sauce):
1 lb. tofu, drained and sliced into about 8 pieces

a little oil for frying
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 hot chili pepper (seeded for less spice), diced
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4-1/3 c. molasses
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp tamari
dash black pepper
dash apple cider vinegar
2 c vegetable broth
1/4 cup peanut butter

heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. add onions and cook until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). add garlic and chili and stir for one minute more. add remaining ingredients and stir well to mix. simmer over low heat until thickened (about 5 minutes). use an immersion blender or food processor for a smoother texture, then pour over tofu and marinate 30 minutes or longer in fridge. grill or fry, basting with extra sauce if needed. serve with extra bbq sauce poured over top, with collards and "buttered" toast.

a and i have been meaning to make a beet salad for a long time, ever since regretting passing one up at the ethiopian restaurant we went to with her sister in chicago. here is what i made today:
moroccan beet salad

moroccan-style beets with baby greens, avocado, and yellow bell pepper (serves 2-3):
for the dressing:
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp agave nectar or other syrup
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt to taste

2 large beets (or 3-4 smaller beets), scrubbed and washed

mixed greens (as much as you want!)
1 avocado, cut in half, pitted, peeled, and sliced
splash of lemon juice (for avocado)
1/2 c yellow bell pepper, diced
black pepper, to taste

cut off the greens and roots of the beets, leaving a 1-1/2" stem. place in a pot and cover with water. bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.
meanwhile, prepare the dressing. whisk all dressing ingredients together until well mixed in a bowl big enough to hold the beets.
when beets are done, drain and let cool until you feel comfortable handling them. cut off the stems, peel, and cut into bite size pieces. place in dressing bowl and toss to coat.
fill bowls with greens, top with beets, avocado, and peppers, and add fresh ground pepper. yummy!

this salad was super filling and rich and delicious! though the dressing certainly was rich on its own (and super flavorful from all the spices), the avocados add a creaminess like a lot of beet salads have by adding blue cheese or whatnot. the freshness of the greens and crunch of the peppers is a nice contrast too.

yesterday i went to magers and quinn and booksmart and got 4 used vegetarian cookbooks/reference books: the new becoming vegetarian: the essential guide to a healthy vegetarian diet, the new whole foods encyclopedia, yamuna's table (indian food!), and the millenium cookbook. so far i am most excited/scared of the millenium cookbook because it is very gourmet and new york fancy. but it looks like there are some tasty things. a new recipe soon!

06 July 2007

mochi for breakfast

today i tried mochi for the first time. it's a japanese food made from sweet brown rice that is cooked and pounded into a paste/cake of sorts that puffs up when heated. you can buy it plain or flavored, then cut it up into 1-2" squares and bake it (sweet-like) or steam it (in savory dishes). this is a picorial of how i made it:

mochi package
mochi cut
mochi baked
here, with earth balance, cinnamon, and agave nectar. it smelled delicious when i was baking it, like a sweet bread. i may have not spaced the pieces out enough on the baking sheet because they kind of puffed into each other. but it reminded me of funnel-cake that way. it was sweet like rice but the agave really helped it feel like more of a breakfast-y sweet. next time i might try maple syrup!

breakfast mochi (serves 1):

10 pieces mochi (cut in 1" squares)
earth balance spread or other vegan margarine, to taste
a couple sprinkles of cinnamon
agave nectar (or other syrup), to taste

preheat oven to 450-degrees.
place mochi squares at least 1" apart on baking sheet and put in preheated oven.
bake 8-10 minutes, or until mochi has puffed up and browned.
top with earth balance, cinnamon, and agave nectar.

also, last night i made a midnight snack... i found a recipe for braised collards on vegweb, and though i'd adjust the amount of water suggested in the original recipe for the future, it was a tasty way to use up some of my MASSIVE garden bounty. i might make it again tonight for dinner with some southern-style tofu or beans.


braised collards (serves 2-3):

1 lb. collard greens, washed, torn, and w/ stems removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
balsamic vinegar

saute onion and garlic in oil over med-hi heat. when tender, add greens. stir for 2-3 minutes, then add enough water to almost cover the greens (or just the bottom of the pan if you want less water in the final product). stir occasionally. when greens are tender and bright green, and some of the water has boiled off, add a spash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

***i added salt to the original recipe. the recipe makes more of a stew/soup, so next time i will reduce the water because i like more of a saute. it would also do well with a little spice (cayenne perhaps?); i'm thinking i would take care of that by serving it with a spicy dish, like cajun tofu or spicy red beans. collards are cheap and good for you, and they taste delicious! go get some.

03 July 2007


in lieu of attending a veg-friendly cooking school (for now), i have decided to start up this vegan food blog. i was inspired by many hours of stumbling across different blogs and recipe sites, and though i expect to change the overall design within the next couple months (with the help of a very smart person!), my drive to create/produce has overcome my ability to wait any longer for the "perfect blog."

i am also moving in a couple of months, which means access to my presentable/decorative plates and bowls is limited. hence, the limitations of my food porn. but i expect that to improve in the near future as well! on to the good stuff:

teriyaki tofu with sesame stir fry and quinoa

teriyaki tofu with sesame vegetable stir fry and quinoa

for the tofu (larger batch to serve more than one person):
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, pressed/drained and cut into 8 slices
juice of one apple (about 1/2 to 3/4 c.?)
juice of 1-1/2 in. chunk of ginger (or freshly grated ginger)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/3 c. tamari or soy sauce
red chili flakes, to taste (optional for spicyness!)
a little vegetable oil, for frying

mix marinade ingredients together and pour over tofu. let marinate at least 20 minutes. place in lightly oiled frying pan over medium-high heat and brown both sides, adding extra marinade as desired (or you can save it to pour over when serving). remove from heat.

for the sesame vegetable stir fry (single serving):
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 green onions, cut diagonally into 1-in. pieces
sesame oil for frying
gomasio* or sesame seeds for garnish (*sesame seeds, seaweed, and sea salt. i use eden organic)

heat oil in skillet over medim-high heat. add onions and peppers and stir-fry until just softened and lightly browned. remove from heat.

for the quinoa (1-2 servings):
1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed
1 c. water
bragg's or tamari for flavor (optional)

place quinoa and water in a small or medium saucepan. heat to boiling, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. cook 10-15 minutes, until all water is absorbed and the grain is translucent with the germ ring visible. add a splash of bragg's or tamari when serving if desired.

notes about this recipe:
a lot of teriyaki marinade recipes call for orange juice to provide the sweetness. my own personal preference is to use apple juice because i like the flavor better and i think citrus fruits can overpower the other ingredients. but orange juice is okay too. you can use fresh, bottled/canned, or frozen juice for this (i have a juicer, so i like to make it fresh if i can). and of course, the longer you marinate the tofu, the more flavorful it will be. i also find that adding it towards the end of the cooking process adds a nice color and extra burst of flavor. skillets are totally okay to use, i just like the pretty grillmarks my grill pan makes--it's a new toy(and grilling would work too!).
you can change the kinds of vegetables you stir fry, or add garlic to the mix too. i just grabbed what was on hand and seemed simple to me.
quinoa is a great, protein-rich alternative to rice with origins in south america that is also gluten-free. it has a light, nutty flavor and a fairly soft texture. you can read about it more here.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this blog/entry. i will continue to fine tune as i add more to it, and appreciate any feedback you can give me.