Been away from blogging for a while but now that harvest season is in full swing, I guess there’s no better time for me to get back to posting - at least some food photos. Last night I came home ravenously hungry and cooked up some local summer squash with garlic and olive oil. Then I splashed in some balsamic vinegar and served the squash over angel hair pasta.
A few months ago, I joined a gym. It took a while to cobble together, but I finally designed a heavy lifting program on my own (with help from the web). The trainer at the gym gave me this machine program that I did for 6 weeks which resulted in nary a change in my body. Now I’m doing this, and I get a good soreness after it, and my arm muscles are getting a little bigger and my butt is getting a little firmer. I also get good and sweaty afterward.
It’s important to get enough protein and refuel after working out so I’ve been making some protein heavy meals that I eat in the break room before starting my shift (I exercise before work). Yesterday it was brown rice, collard greens and pan-fried tofu. I tossed the tofu with a sauce I made of lemon juice, liquid aminos and tahini and a little Dijon mustard and roasted sesame oil. I served my portion with some sriracha drizzled on top.
Yesterday (June 29) was Vegan Pizza Day 2013, and you won’t be surprised that I was glad to participate. I like to do something a little different on this special occasion so this time I made a “white” pizza with artichoke hearts and broccoli.
While the dough for the crust was rising, I steamed some broccoli florets for a few minutes, and then cooled them off with some cold water. After they were cooled I tossed the florets with some olive oil and crushed garlic.
When the dough was ready, I pressed the crust out onto an (olive) oiled pizza pan, and sprinkled Daiya mozzarella style shreds over it, and then added the broccoli and artichoke hearts. I baked the pizza for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. When Sweetie saw it, he said, “It’s a masterpiece.” I have to admit, I was pretty proud of this creation.
I hope everyone had a great weekend whether or not they celebrated Vegan Pizza Day!
Blueberry pie season is here. My crusts may fall apart when I’m assembling them, the pie filling may run juice after I cut into it, but my pies taste delicious, if I do say so myself.
This is the pie I made on June 2. My mom and I made one together a couple weeks later and the crust stayed together and the filling didn’t run (I added cornstarch instead of just flour), but it didn’t taste as good. Thus, I’m not going to mourn the messiness of my pies because it seems a crumbly crust and runny filling taste better.
I served the pie a la mode with Trader Joe’s vanilla Soy Creamy which is probably the best vegan ice cream I’ve had. And the pie slices stayed together a little better on subsequent servings.
Thank you to everyone for all the good wishes on my last post. Sweetie’s surgery went as well as can be expected: it was relatively minimally invasive as the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes. So things look good on that front. We’re not out of the woods yet as far as the recovery period is concerned, but he is home and we’re adjusting. And I’m cooking some brown rice and vegetables. ;-) I plan to visit all your blogs again soon, and thanks again for the good wishes. They were much appreciated.
There’s really no way for me to talk about this without feeling as if I’m dropping a bomb on people so here goes… my Sweetie’s got “the cancer.” The prognosis for his survival is good, but he has to have surgery which is scheduled for this Friday, and there are all sorts of potential, negative side effects. It’s not as if he’s been feeling sick and got diagnosed either. Nowadays there are all sorts of tests that allow for early detection so the doctors know before you do, and I guess that’s a good thing, but it’s hard to feel happy about a cancer diagnosis. I mean, cancer just sounds bad, you know?
I’ve got some paid time off from work this week, and I’m grateful for it, but after almost a year, I still don’t have a full time job. I applied for an opening, but my employer moves at a glacially slow pace, and I’m getting frustrated by the drawn out process and even starting to doubt myself. Still, I’m trying to be optimistic and visualize myself getting it.
In other news, one of my oldest friends (my roommate junior year at Westover) who now lives overseas is visiting the U.S., and I’m going to see her for the first time in years. (The last time I saw her, her daughter was a baby; now her daughter just graduated from high school.) She’s staying on the Cape so I’m going there to see her for a day or two and then coming home for fun with cancer surgery.
I promise I’ll be back with some vegan food posts (the the vegan diet is good for cancer prevention, you know), but I felt I needed to get this announcement out of the way. Thanks for reading.
A few months ago I made pizza topped with caramelized onions. Since then I’ve made caramelized onion pizza a bunch of times because it’s just so good. In addition to the usual garlic, diced tomatoes and vegan cheese, I also included mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
I’m looking forward to the summer when fresh, local vegetables like tomatoes and zucchini are available for pizza topping, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying caramelized onions. And don’t forget that Vegan Pizza Day is June 29 this year!
Curried cauliflower, chickpeas, onion, spinach and tomatoes over rice. In a large skillet, saute a coarsely diced onion in some oil (I used about 1 T of coconut oil) with a few cloves of garlic (crushed), 1 T of curry powder, 1/2 t of cayenne, and a little salt. Add 1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes including their liquid. I also added about half a can of water. Bring everything to a boil and once it’s bubbling, add cauliflower florets (I used a 12 oz. bag). Cover and turn heat down a little so mixture is still bubbling somewhat. After about 5 minutes, add 1 15 oz. can of drained, rinsed chickpeas and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Then add spinach (I used a 6 oz. bag) on top of the mixture and let wilt for a couple minutes; then stir in the spinach and let cook for about three more minutes. Serve in bowls as is or over the grain of your choice. (I used brown basmati rice. I don’t have much white rice left.)
This dish would work with other types of beans and possibly other vegetables. Making it further enforced my belief that one should always keep cans of beans and tomatoes on hand for dinner creations.
Tuesday was Sweetie’s birthday, and since I knew I had to work that night I decided we should have a birthday-inspired dinner the night before. I cooked up some chickpeas with garlic, onions, tomatoes and a bunch of spices. It wasn’t quite Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe, but I did follow the spice combination in her Very Spicy, Delicious Chickpeas recipe and dinner was indeed delicious and spicy.
I served the chickpeas over basmati rice. I used up all our brown rice, and I’ve decided to try white rice for a change.
For dessert, there was no question of what we’d have: cupcakes. I took VCTOTW out of the library again, and made some birthday cupcakes. (I ran out of sprinkles by the time I got to the last few.)
I put some candles in one for Sweetie and snapped a pic before he blew them out.
I’m not one for getting up early and cooking. Most mornings, I’m a sip-coffee-for-an-hour+ before doing anything kind of person, but on Sunday I decided to make blueberry muffins. I followed this recipe from Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking: Vegan Blueberry Muffins (leaving out the lemon zest and lemon extract because I don’t want lemon flavor in my blueberry muffins).
I also poured the batter into only 9 muffins cups so I’d have nice muffin tops.
Sweetie and I enjoyed them with some Earth Balance vegan butter.
They were a bit fall-apart-y, but I can’t complain about homemade muffins, fresh and warm out of the oven. I had two.
I’m a big fan of lentil soup, and a coworker was looking at a magazine that featured lentil soup that included some ingredients I don’t generally use in mine: curry and red peppers. I didn’t follow the recipe nearly, but I decided to try using those ingredients the next time I made lentil soup. The recipe also called for sweet potatoes, and while I usually use carrots, I just happened to have some sweet potatoes on hand so I used them. I sauteed some garlic and onions in a little coconut oil and curry powder. Then I added mushrooms, a red bell pepper and sweet potatoes, then about 3 cups of red lentils and 8 cups of water. I simmered everything for about an hour and a half, and that was dinner. Here’s my bowl which I served salted to taste with some freshly ground black pepper on top.
Greens make a nice addition to lentil soup, and although I didn’t have any available at first serving, I did add some fresh spinach leaves on subsequent servings. I just put a handful of greens in the bowl, ladled some soup on top and heated it together in the microwave. Spinach cooks so quickly, it was done in short order, and it looked really pretty too.
Visually, the movie Detropia is beautiful and haunting. I sense the intent behind the movie was just to show viewers the place and let us make our own conclusions. However since Detropia presents Detroit as something of a post-apocalyptic desert, we’re definitely being guided to see it in this particular light. I found the movie frustrating for what it did not show. Although it showed the Detroit Opera House, it did not show the Detroit Institute of Arts, a museum which has a large and significant collection. Although it showed the vast, empty automobile factories, it did not show the major corporations that have moved into Detroit. Although it showed some young people were moving in, it did not show the Live Downtown project and the incentives its providing for businesses and people to move there. I don’t think anyone would deny that an American city whose major industry used to be automobile manufacturing has some big problems, but Michael Moore told us about that in Roger & Me in 1989. Detropia would have us believe that Detroit is continuing to devolve into a wasteland, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. I haven’t been to Detroit. I’m just someone who watched a movie and uses google, but I sense that Detropia may not be giving us the most balanced view of the place. I’d be glad to hear opinions from anyone else closer to the problem.
Last summer during farmers’ market season I discovered my favorite way to make pizza was with fresh, local tomatoes and zucchini. However, Joey blogged about a most delicious, winter-friendly pizza even though she said she didn’t like pizza (what?!). It featured caramelized onions, and I was intrigued.
While the onions were caramelizing on the stove, I made the crust and drained the tomatoes. After the crust had risen, I pressed it out and assembled the pizza: garlic, tomatoes, cheese (I used my latest vegan shreds discovery - Trader Joe’s - cheaper than Daiya and still good!), and I also added some sliced mushrooms I had hanging around. I put the pizza thus far into a 425 degree oven.
After 15 minutes I took the pizza out and added the onions and some marinated, sundried tomatoes. Then I baked it for another 6 minutes or so, and it was done.
I adore caramelized onions, and they work really well as a pizza topping so I can say that this pizza was an unqualified success. It will definitely be gracing my table again while I wait a few more months for local tomatoes and zucchini.
Most of the time I don’t follow published recipes, but there are some that I have tried that make such a good impression I return to them. One such recipe is Tatie Wawo-Runtu’s Spinach with Shallots from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, an excellent cookbook that I recommend you seek out. The recipe is very simple: it just requires spinach, shallots, a chili pepper and oil. It requires a LOT of spinach - 2 lbs - but as you know spinach cooks down a great deal.
I toasted and steamed some Israeli couscous and served the spinach over it. Delicious!
Yesterday was my birthday, and although I enjoyed a delicious meal with Sweetie at one of my favorite vegan restaurants, It’s Only Natural, I was disappointed when I found they didn’t have much in the way of desserts. So I decided to make my own birthday cake in the form of cupcakes!
I followed your basic vegan cupcake recipeusing rice milk in place of soy and corn oil in place of canola and increasing the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Also I didn’t do any sifting and they came out just fine. I topped them with your basic vegan vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkles, put a candle in one of them and then Sweetie sang to me.
Yesterday I made up a curried pumpkin soup. Real(ly) quick. This method works really well with pieces of of squash, but since I had a can of pumpkin puree hanging around, that’s what I used. Lightly saute 2 onions, a few cloves of garlic, salt and spices in some coconut oil. Add a can of pumpkin puree and a few cups of water. Let it all simmer for an hour or so, puree in the blender and you’ve got soup.
The storm hit us hard in central Connecticut, and I don’t feel like talking about it here yet or posting “OMG! so much snow!” photos so I’ll just show you some food stuff. I went to Whole Foods on Friday and brought home a nice big haul.
I did not lose power and hence, I was able to cook some good meals. Friday night’s dinner was tofu with curried potato and collard greens. I cook the tofu separately in a nonstick pan with some oil so it develops a nice crust.
I’ve been enjoying tofu a lot lately, and I also had some for breakfast yesterday. This was seasoned with turmeric and cooked with some mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. I sprinkled the whole thing with fresh cilantro.
It’s wintertime, and we’re expecting a big storm. Rice and beans is a good combination anytime, but it’s especially appealing when the weather is cold and blowy and snowy.
Here’s what I did: I sauteed a diced onion and some crushed garlic in a little oil for a few minutes, added 1 t of chili powder and 1/2 t each of coriander and cumin and 1/4 t of cayenne and cooked and stirred for a few more minutes. Then I added a can (15 oz.) of black beans and a can (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes and simmered everything for about an hour.
I served it over rice. Note: I also think this would be really good over a potato, but I had some leftover brown rice hanging around so that’s what I used. (And this post is called rice & beans so I had to use rice - ha!)
I love winter squash in general, although acorn squash in particular has always seemed kind of bland and dry. However, I tried cooking it Nikki’s way (with vegan butter and maple syrup for the variables) tonight, and it came out pretty nice.
I also roasted some Brussels sprouts (with olive oil and salt and pepper).
Although I get tired of the “I’m doing god’s work” tone of some #librarian bloggers, I feel like screaming when I read yet another blog post by a non-librarian saying libraries are obsolete without any evidence to support their postulation. Have these people gone to any libraries recently? And did they ever go to libraries before these institutions supposedly went extinct? Are they saying “oh back in 1990 I used to go to the library and it was so busy” and “now I go to the library and I’m the only person there?” Somehow I doubt it. So before you go assuming that just because your iPhone and your tablet hold a lot of books means libraries are no longer used, go to some libraries a few times a week (like the one where I work for example) before you tell me they are obsolete.
Last night for dinner, I cooked a bunch of spinach with some garlic and olive oil, and served it over angel hair pasta. I added a little lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and Herbamare. (I also sprinkled on some nutritional yeast after I took this photo.)
Then I made chocolate chip cookie batter and baked up some of it for dessert.