Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eating on the Cheap

I've been eating on the cheap because moving, failing to get my old security deposit back and having to pay a new one, spending two weeks without a job, driving back and forth, and making less money than I used to for the first three months of my job has all got me broke, broke, broke.  Since I don't own that book Vegan on the Cheap, I made recipes out of another cheap vegan book, Supermarket Vegan by Donna Klein.

So, let's see, it needed to be something I wouldn't have to buy a lot of ingredients for, and maybe two recipes that would use some of the same things so nothing would go to waste.  Got it!  Curried Roasted Carrot Soup with Coconut and Coconut-Curried Portobello Mushrooms with Basmati Rice.  All I had to buy was some scallions, cilantro, portobello mushrooms, a little bit of ginger, and a bag of baby carrots.  I buy coconut milk in bulk from, and I always have rice and garlic and chickpeas.

So the mushroom and rice was pretty darn good, but I have some issues, which has nothing to do with the recipe.  One is that, I don't know, I think my basmati rice might not be a very good kind.  Or maybe it's because it's not made in a rice maker?  I don't know, but it's, like, too chewy.  It's brown basmati -- the only kind they used to sell at Giant in Phoenixville, but I hear there's a pretty good Indian grocery store in Oakland here in Pittsburgh, and I kind of think it might be time to try some different rice.  Along similar lines, I'm also not thrilled with my curry powder.  I actually used the last of it for these recipes, so it's OK for me to make a trip to the Strip District, where there is a store that sells nothing but spices.  NOTHING BUT SPICES.  Isn't that amazing?  I want a nice, hot curry.  Maybe madras?  I'm not sensitive to spiciness. 

But let's talk about the soup -- can we talk about this soup??  Wow!  Best. Soup. Ever.  I know that's a pretty extreme thing to say, but it's true.  You know, there's a fairly similar recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for a carrot/coconut soup, called "Carrot Bisque," but this is far better.  First of all, the carrots are roasted, not fried, and holy moly, that's a better way to do it.  And I did it with my new gas oven, too, and it was really ever-so-pleasing, and they roasted so evenly and thoroughly.  Plus, this has fewer carrots but the same amount of the other ingredients.  And a tablespoon of mango chutney and, wow, that's good.  I enjoyed every bit of that soup.  I licked the container I'd stored it in.  You should make it, because you deserve it, don't you think?

I also baked for the first time at my apartment, although it wasn't too great.  The Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.  
I'm not a good liar, so I'll just tell you straight out, I didn't use freshly grated lemon zest.  Instead, I used dehydrated lemon zest, which you add some water to rehydrate.  And maybe that's why these aren't amazing.  But I'm pretty sure they're just not really amazing.  I don't know.  Maybe a little lemon extract would help also.  I'm not really sure.  Maybe I'm just being a pooh-pooher.  They're not bad cookies.  They're just not amazing.  But definitely, I need to try some of Kelly Peloza's more fancy cookies, instead of making the easy stuff that for which I already have all the ingredients on hand.  But then again, that's not eating on the cheap, now is it?


  1. I know this is super late but they have brown basmati at Whole Foods, that Lundberg brand.

  2. I no longer want for any kind of rice. I got enough of every typ of rice from Costco to pretty much survive the apocalyspe.


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