Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking with my Big Sister, Yay!

As promised on yesterday's blog post, I spent last night cooking, baking, and dying my hair.  Just FYI, I dyed my hair the same color I always dye it: black.  I've been dying it black ever since Kerry lost that election.  I'm still not over it, as Bush did so much harm to our country and world, so my hair is a constant reminder.  Some mourning never ends, you know what I mean?  I'm not a violent person, but I'm not going to lie.  I'd still love to kick George W. Bush in the face.  Hear that, secret service?  Hear that?  Don't arrest me -- I can't even kick that high!  It's a totally inactive wish, like wishing to win the lottery when you're not even buying tickets.

It was going to be one of my casual listening-to-the-This-American-Life-podcast-while-cleaning/cooking evenings, but my sister, Rachel, who lives a town away with my father, was bemoaning her feeling of being stuck in the house with nothing to do and, she claimed, nothing to eat.  So I offered to come pick her up, as long as she didn't mind a Futurama-watching homebody kind of night (Futurama instead of This American Life because Rachie don't dig NPR the way I do).  She thought that sounded fun, so I ventured out into the outrageous cold to get her ass, because I love her.

Actually, it was nice to have her there, and, in all seriousness, I hope that eventually she'll become my roommate.  She was nervous about what I would be making, I think, because she cannot help but not take it easy.  It's not that she's actually a picky eater, she's just got to stress about everything.  And, truth be told, I was making something kind of weird -- Supermarket Vegan's Chutney Peanut Pita Pizzas with Broccoli.

The last time I made a pita pizza, I was in college and just starting to cook, and lacking in truly excellent cookbooks, and I thought it was super-gross.  But this wasn't gross at all!  It was super-good!
Rachel described it as tasting like "Savory peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with vegetables," which, I gotta say, is a pretty excellent description.  I didn't use sweet mango chutney, instead choosing hot mango chutney, which I really recommend.  Also, I didn't have any sesame oil, so I used peanut oil.  For the leftovers, I cut them into quarters and froze them, uncovered.  Once frozen, I wrapped them in plastic and put them back into the freezer, to be placed in my toaster oven at my convenience.  Brilliant!  Good call, me!
After having eaten this, and also eating the last of my leftover Tomato Soup with Thyme, my sister started looking through Supermarket Vegan and, when I heard a lot of "I'd make this all the time," and "This is pretty much what I've been craving," I pushed her to take the book home with her.  Ever defensive, she said, "Why do you want me to take this book so badly?!"  I told her the truth: "Because cooking is awesome!"  She borrowed the book.

Onto dessert.  From The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, I made the Chewy Banana-Banana Cookie -- so named because it's not banana-oatmeal or banana-walnut, but plain old banana.  And also cuz they're chewy.  I LOVE banana baked goods, and I also had one super-ripe banana, so I went for it.
Terrific!  Despite having three types of sugar (cane, brown, and powdered), they're not overly sweet.  I actually forgot to put in the vanilla extract because I'm an idiot, and still, very good!  The only thing was that the dough didn't stay together.  It kinda crumbled apart.  I ended up adding quite a bit more oil to make it into a cohesive dough.  Also, Kelly Peloza, I know, is part of the internet generation who are likely to be functionally illiterate, but I have to say, her direction-giving has some issues.  I did fine because I bake all the time, and I know how these things go, but there were a few things I thought required some editing.  For instance, she probably should have simply instructed the users to combine the sugar and the wet ingredients together in a large bowl, then combine the remaining dry ingredients in a smaller bowl, then add the dry to the wet.  I mean, that's standard.  But instead, she lists every ingredient and it makes the recipe seem more complicated than it is.  It's a super-simple recipe, and that's what I like about it!  And then she wants you to take about two teaspoons of dough for each cookie.  Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think in two teaspoon amounts.  In my opinion, she should say a half a tablespoon, or walnut-sized, or something like that.   And a lot of the wording in her directions is pretty awkward.  I'd quote some to you if I had the book with me here, but I don't, so I won't.  Not everyone is going to be a former copy-editor, though, so I guess it's OK.

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