Monday, June 27, 2011

Back in Time pt 2: Vaguely Multicultural Food

Doctor, you know where I'd really like to take the Tardis?  To about two months ago, when I made some really delicious and totally inauthentic vaguely-multicultural food, of course.  Because, you know, who would want to travel anywhere in the universe at any point in time when you can relive a relatively recent awesome meal?  Right?  Guys?  Umm, ok, moving along...

For dinner, I made Vegan Yum Yum's Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale, and Carrots.

Now, I'm no vegan insider.  In fact, I'm kind of naturally an outsider.  So I don't really understand what's up with some folks on the web's dislike of Laura Ulm and her excellent cookbook, Vegan Yum Yum.  She's got two 1-star reviews on Amazon that reference recipes that are no way in the book, and have conversations following about some apparent grudges that at one time, at least, went around the vegan cooking world.  On one site I saw, a poster makes reference to Ulm's "unsavory practices."  WTF?!  Her recipes are damn savory, so I'm not so sure I care about her practices.  (Ha!  Knee slapper, that one!)  Something about recipe testers and book deals and stopping responding to emails/updating her blog.  I actually don't care at all except that I'm sad that she doesn't do food publicly anymore because she has really great taste and a super-artistic eye for pictures and making food look incredible.  A lot of people I've known with that much natural skill and talent suffer from major anxiety and/or depression, and sometimes worse.  So I withhold judgement completely and fully support this book, because it's a great one, no matter what internet controversy surrounds it.  Blah blah bullshit.

So I made Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale, and Carrots from Vegan Yum Yum.  Worked up some seitan (I've never bought pre-made seitan, have you?), sliced some carrots and enjoyed how all the colors looked together.  Check out how pretty it looks in the pan, before the sauce and noodles were added.

Know what?  It doesn't look half bad all put together, either.  And it tastes just absolutely perfect.  Freak out good, really.

And then I made the Tahini Lime Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  Mostly because the lime peanut noodles called for lime juice and the cookies called for zest, and I don't like to waste food, so it made sense to make them together.  But I also made it because I've made them before so I knew that they kinda resembles those crumbly almond cookies from Chinese restaurants that I used to love.  Two other things the cookies resemble are halvah and Pecan Sandies.  Due to their halvah resemblance, I ended up bringing half of them to an Israeli Independence Day party I went to in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill, a neighborhood that is 40% Jewish.  I'm no Zionist, but my friend's roommates were having this party and I wasn't going to miss anything as bizarre as all that (it was hopping, too!), plus, you know, I just happened to have these oddly appropriate cookies to bring.  Everyone who tried them loved them.  And how could they not?  They're amazing!

Here is a picture of the noodles and cookies together on a plate that's actually meant for sushi.  In fact, I've only ever used this plate to take photographs of non-sushi items.  Someday I'll get down to business and roll out some veggie sushi for my friends and use these plates, though, I swear it.

It's difficult for me to explain how badly I wish I was eating this RIGHT NOW.  Doctor?  DOCTOR!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back in Time pt 1: Breakfast Every Hour

Sherman, set the WABAC machine to about two months ago when I decided to make breakfast for dinner!

I roasted some potatoes in the standard sort-of way, and I made Vegan Brunch's Classic Broccoli Quiche and Italian Feast Sausages.

As you might expect, Isa's quiche is awesome, although people who oppose tofu may not be into it.  I'm eager to make the Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon from Veganomicon just because it doesn't contain any of the standard vegan quiche ingredients -- no nutritional yeast, no tofu.  But I've made this broccoli quiche before, and I like it, so I made it again, sticking to the recipe.  And check out what a looker it is...

The Italian Feast Sausages, though, in my opinion, require a serious adjustment.  I've made them twice before.  The first time, I didn't have any fennel seeds, so I just left them out, and it was great!  The second time, I DID have fennel seeds, so I included them as instructed by the recipe -- two teaspoons.  BIG mistake.  They overwhelmed the sausages!  All crunchy with them, all throughout, it's gross!  I mean, I like fennel seeds, but I can't condone the amount included in this recipe.  I remember that I sliced the sausages pretty thinly and picked out as many fennel seeds as I could find, which was a serious pain in the ass, but it made them edible, so it was worth it.  This time, though, I put less than half the amount called for.  So, it still has some of that fennel flavor, but you're not getting a mouthful of the seeds.

I have two other changes I like to make to the preparation instructions of the sausages.  One is that I like to just double the recipe because, pray tell, what the heck am I supposed to do with half a can of white kidney beans?  So, rather than allow half a can of beans to go to waste, I just double Isa's sausage recipes, which makes you use almost the whole can.  They store well.

The other change is that, if you look at the picture below and compare it with the pics in the book, you'll notice that mine look less wet and more sausage-y.  That's because, added fat or no, I think it's a shame to not slice the sausages and and fry them in olive oil.  It just makes them so much better!

Viola!  Breakfast for dinner (and every other meal)!  I love breakfast, and I've made probably half the recipes in Vegan Brunch.  Great book, even if some of the recipes don't strike me as even remotely "breakfast" (Courico Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa, Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I'm not dead!!

I'll bet you guys thought this was an abandoned blog.  Well, no such luck, haters!  I'm baaaaaaack!

So, here's what happened.  At my old apartment, I didn't have an internet router, but I could still manage to watch Netflix Watch Instantly on my TV at the same time as having my computer out, updating my blog.  This is because I could steal the internet out of the air somehow.  It wasn't super-strong, but it was strong enough to post a little blog entry.  OR, I posted at work.

Well, at my new apartment, I still didn't have an internet router, but there also wasn't internet in the air to steal.  So using my computer would mean unplugging my internet out of the Roku and plugging it into my computer, and also not being able to watch dumb TV while I typed.  So I never did it.  Plus, I can't update my blog at my new job.  They monitor that shit.

But two awesome things happened tonight that changed everything.  One is that my CSA started, and I went to pick it up.  If I don't write about that, I can pretty much hang up my vegan blogger hat for the rest of my life.  But, more importantly, after going to Shadyside to pick up my CSA share, I went to a stranger's home in Shadyside to pick up a totally free internet router!!!!  Have you guys ever heard of Freecycle?  I absolutely LOVE me some Freecycle.  I've gotten so much stuff I desperately needed, and given out so much stuff that's been sitting around my apartments for years.  Google it, along with your area.  Like, if you're in Pittsburgh, google "Pittsburgh Freecycle."  Find yours!  It's so worth it.

I'll get to food posting again now.  Not now, now, like right-this-second now, but soon now.  I have a lot of stuff I've made in the last two months that I could write about!  But in the real now, I'll leave you with something I saw in Shadyside tonight.

Hey, you said it, not me.
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