Here is an actual picture of the lunch I ate that day, complete with my desk's telephone chord and some notes I'd scribbled onto scrap paper (I tried to eat them, but they weren't that good).
BreadWorks bread: absolutely delicious unadorned. I think about buying a breadmaker sometimes, or just getting into baking bread myself, and maybe someday I will, but because it is so easy for me to walk over to Donatelli's on a Saturday (their limited hours mean I cannot get there on a weekday) and buy BreadWorks thick Italian bread for $1.99, it's really difficult to NOT just do that.
Anyway, the stew is the Tofu Bouillabaisse from The Vegan Slow Cooker. I picked this recipe for two reasons, really. One, it calls for tomatoes--either canned or fresh. I had a bunch of fresh ones from my garden ready for use, so I used them. Two, it called for the spice saffron, and my friend Sara, after traveling abroad, brought me a baggie full it! I was excited about this, but because it is such an incredibly expensive spice that most people do not have on hand in their fridge like I do now, not many recipes call for it.
Anyway, the Tofu Bouillabaisse was pretty good, and I enjoyed it, but I got sick of it before I was out of what I'd cooked. I ended up giving a bunch to my friends in containers and throwing out about two cups-worth. Pity.
What's a girl to do with a ton of tomatoes, huh? It seemed like all my tomatoes became ripe all at once. I decided to make an old favorite, which I've written about on this blog before, Vegan Yum Yum's Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta.
Now, I don't have a fancy blender. Laura Ulm, the author, suggests that you might need a Vita-Mix to get the creamy consistency you want in this recipe. Well, maybe so. But all I've got is a low-end food processor, so that's what I used. OK, it's not completely creamy. Still, I have no complaints about the taste. Maybe someone out there wants to help me out by having a sham marriage with me in order to receive expensive kitchen gifts? We can totally go our own ways afterward and split the take if you like. Bonus if you've got citizenship to a country that has universal healthcare--then I'll put out. Hahahaha!
For the rest of the tomatoes, I was super-excited to use the instructions from The Vegan Slow Cooker for Preserve-the-Harvest Diced Tomatoes. I love love love the first section of this book that's all about making kitchen staples like beans and bouillon and ketchup and glazes. As she instructs, I diced my tomatoes, slow-cooked them, then placed them into freezer-safe baggies in 1 and 1/2 cup measurements, which is about equivalent to a can of diced tomatoes, to freeze for the winter and use in place of cans in a recipe. I had already been doing that with beans per her instructions, and her Chickeny Bouillon has absolutely improved my life. No more buying bouillon cubes, I've got something better stored in my freezer.
I started this post with lunch, let me end it there. Every once in a while, I fail to pack my lunch and have to search out some affordable vegan lunch in Downtown Pittsburgh. I tell you, it ain't an easy quest, and I'm always mad at myself whenever I don't pack. But, my favorite place to go is this new tiny little Mexican place called Madonna's that is on the corner of Smithfield and Forbes. I went in there one day and saw that on their menu, they had a "value burrito" that contained only rice, beans, and hand-cut salsa. The "chico" cost $4.50, the "grande" $5.60. I ordered the smaller one and the owner/cashier asked me if I wanted and cheese or sour cream. "No thank you," I told him, "No animal products." He got all excited. "Vegan??" He pronounced it, "vey-gan." "I cook all the food vegan! All veggie broth, nothing added unless you want cheese or meat! I always eat vegan myself, except maybe once a week meat!" Which, you know, cool. I'm all for progress, even if it's not 100%. And, also, how could I not love this guy? He's so cool! Anyway, the burrito was good, and quite large, and I sat in the restaurant and ate it with a lot of hot sauce and got really full and it made my blood sugar super-high later (whoops).
|Madonna's Rice, Beans & Fresh Hand-Cut Salsa Value Burrito - $4.50, already over half-eaten|