Wednesday, October 31, 2012

End of the Mofo and Unemployment Cooking (VEGAN MOFO: DAY 31)

It's the last day of the Vegan Month of Food, more commonly known as Vegan Mofo, and although it's nice to not have the pressure on to post every day no matter what, I must say it was really a pleasure posting daily.  As a result of this blogging month, I think I will never go over a week without blogging again, and actually I suspect I'll now post multiple times a week.

If you've been reading because of Vegan Mofo and you like what you've read, but haven't subscribed in any way, I encourage you to do any or all of the following things:
-subscribe via email
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-like me on Facebook at Food and Loathing in the Steel City.
-add me to your own blog's blogroll.  I'm happy to return the favor, just email me at Melissa@foodandloathing.com.

I only just created my Facebook page and found the Twitter password in the middle of the night last night, so that hopefully explains my woeful lack of followers.  I'm trying to get Instagram to work on my Android phone, but all it does so far is crash.  Instagram, you haven't seen the end of foodandloathing.com!  You may have won this round, 'gram, but I'm determined.

Being newly unemployed for only the second day ever yesterday, I did very little job hunting, instead choosing to sleep in until an obscenely late hour and listen to that depressing Bon Iver album.  I swear I'll be right back on the "go git 'em" path tomorrow, one full day seems reasonable enough, right?  And it's not like I did nothing.  Eventually, I prepared a whole bunch of amazing food for myself, because that's my favorite thing to do in the whole world.

Would you just check out that thing of beauty?  It's the Warmly Spiced Quinoa Chickpea Stew with Figs from Dreena Burton's book Let Them Eat Vegan, which I have out from the library but I really want to own.  It is chock-full of healthy recipes that are light on oil and heavy on flavor.  This recipe called for 10 different spices if you include salt, pepper, and the bay leaf!  But it actually was easy. (This recipe is online here.)

When I first started preparing it, I went to cut up the onion that I had bought only the day before from Giant Eagle Market District and want to see the bad omen inside?  It's gross, you actually might not want to see it.  Too late, I know you already looked!
If that ain't just about the rottenest onion you ever did see, I pity you.  Not even those onion-eating hungry kids in the book and movie Holes would eat this (I apologize to everyone who does not get that reference).  I decided to walk to my most local grocery store, the infamously low-brow Shur-Save.  As is my practice whenever I have to make a run to the grocery store mid-recipe, I took a look to see if I forgot to buy anything in the recipe.  Alas, I had!  I forgot the fresh fennel, which folks 'round these parts usually call "anise."  There was no way that Shur Save was going to have fresh fennel, so I thought on it during the whole three minute walk and decided that celery would be the most doable replacement.  So I used celery in this recipe and it is very delicious!  I recommend replacing fresh fennel or anise with celery if you ever need to for whatever reason in the future.

I also made this ranch dressing from terrific blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  It's not actually fat free--it has both raw cashews and chia seeds.  But it is oil free, and that's cool.  I left some things out of the recipe, like the chives, and although I do think it would have been better with them, I still think this dressing is a very tasty version of ranch, and I'm likely to make it again in the future.
I also finally made my own "bacon" bits, using the really easy, fat-free recipe in The Happy Herbivore (the recipe can be found here).  They look just like commercially-prepared Bacos, don't they?
You may be aware that Bacos and all their generic imitations are, in fact, vegan, but they also contain hydrogenated oil (otherwise known as the dreaded trans fat).  That's why it's better to make your own if you like that little crunch in your salad like I do.

And onto dessert.  We newly-unemployed people gotta have our dessert, even if they're the relatively healthy kind.  I made Rip Esselstyn's fat free chocolate pudding from the book The Engine 2 Diet, mostly because it uses boxed silken tofu and I found the last time I made it that it worked fine using the "firm" kind and I have tons and tons of firm, boxed tofu that will go bad in, like, March of next year, and I know from experience that those things get a really gross taste when they go bad.  You can find the original recipe here, but I like to use more chocolate and a bit less syrup.  I may even try it out with stevia next time in place of much of the maple syrup.  It's also fun to add other things into it, like orange juice/zest, espresso powder, cinnamon, or extracts you've got on hand like mint or raspberry or whatever floats your particular boat.

Then I made my first-ever recipe from a book I'm excited to have gotten my hands on called The Blooming Platter by Betsy DiJulio, who also maintains a blog that always makes me both drool and feel really jealous of her picture-taking skills.  Definitely check it out, especially if you like Dreena Burton (author of the above-mentioned Let Them Eat Vegan).  They both make detailed, delicious recipes that are healthier but not completely fat free or sugar free.  Anyway, the recipe I made was the Maple Glazed Nuts, just because I had all the ingredients on hand and also because, yum, maple-glazed nuts.
I used a mix of whole pecans and chopped walnuts for this.
And yet, I still was not content with these two dessert items.  But then I remembered that I still have the Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (recipe here) I'd made from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Foods in my freezer. Also, I made it with the homemade Miyoko Schinner cashew cream cheese (recipe here), not with any soy crap.

So, let me get this straight: I've got strawberry cheesecake ice cream, chocolate pudding, and maple-glazed nuts for dessert.  I think that I finally have something that is worthy of being labeled as an "unemployment indulgence."

Goodbye Vegan Mofo 2012!  It was really a blast participating and reading the blogs of others who participated.  Many of you just knocked my socks off with your recipe ideas, photos, and funny writing.  I am now following many of your blogs.  Thank you to everyone who commented, emailed me, or added me to her or his various feeds.  Your comments and feedback mean a lot to me.

Oh, and, happy Halloween!

4 comments:

  1. happy end of mofo! way to embrace unemployment and take to the kitchen. Well done. Sorry about your rotten onion. That's happened to me too, and it always pisses me off. I've actually taken to keeping a couple of extra onions in the fridge at all times, just in case!

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  2. Well I'm glad to see being unemployed hasn't made you lose your appetite. It's good to take a few days to reflect (and eat) before commencing on your job hunt. You deserve it!

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  3. Happy end of mofo, and happy unemployment! :) Looks like you spend your free time in much the same way that I like to - cooking heaps of awesome food! I really want to take a look at Dreena's book, I love her previous work so I'm sure it would be super awesome. Did you manage to blog every single day in October? If so, power to you! I made it past 20 so I'm happy about that, ha ha. :)

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    1. Why, yes I did post every day in October!

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