Thursday, February 07, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Baking can be pretty frustrating when you are omitting not only binders like eggs, and fats like butter, but also gluten which offers structure and balance to your baked goods. But, having gained some impecable vegan skillz over the last year and a half, I have found ways to handle the seemingly unavoidable disaster that would ensue from these missing links. Lucky for me, my favorite baked good- cornbread- is just as good without any of these things.
I made the Mole Skillet Pie from V-con, using brown rice flour for wheat flour, and blue cornmeal. It looks a little dry on top, but the mole sauce, and all the sour cream you will put on top moistens it right up.
Shown with yummy fried plantains in the background, and Joanna's homemade sour cream. Yummm!
Next, I tried attempting my second favorite baked treat-sweet bread. I made zucchini banana bread, following the banana bread recipe from Gluten Free Goddess. I used Arrowhead Mills All-purpose GF mix, and subbed much of the oil for applesauce. I also didn't have any xanathan, and used cornstarch instead of arrowroot, and raisins for chocolate chips. The result was, well...
..a bit of a crumble mess, but still edible and pretty fantastic with dabs of whipped earth balance. I ate my pieces with sweet tangerines from the farmers market, and a fork to make it easier to get from the plate to my mouth.
We were jonesin' for pizza during the week, and I had a bag of Pamela's GF Bread mix in the pantry. I was going to make a loaf of a bread for sammiches, but decided against it when I saw how simple the pizza crust recipe looked. It made enough for two crusts, but I decided to take one half and turn it into a foccacia.
Both were so fantastic. We couldn't keep our hands off the focaccia while waiting for the pizzas to bake. I will definately be using Pamela's mix again, even if I go back to eating gluten. (*Disclaimer: the mix does contain honey.)
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
So, just because I haven't shown my face around the blog world for a while, I have still kept myself busy making and eating good food. First of all, I want to start with Christmas dinner. Even though it is so far behind us and I'm sure we all just want to forget about the craziness, I think it was a pretty good dinner, and worth showing off. Since we only had 24 hours in Houston due to work schedules, our original holiday plans for Christmas eve dinner didn't work. Instead, it was a small dinner with me, my mom and Candy. For that reason, I made a very modest, yet super awesome meal.
First, the non-meat loaf, made with beef style TVP, sauteed carrots, celery, onions, and garlic with herbs, nooch, breadcrumbs, and ketchup. Glazed with yummy tomato-lemon preserves I picked up from the farmers market the weekend before. Looks just like the loaf of my childhood. For a different kind of side dish, I wanted to combine the savoryness of roasted vegetables, with the crunchiness of fresh vegetables. I picked up fresh green beans from work, and roasted them with baby beets from the farmers market, and fresh herbs. I got small red radishes from the farmers market and thinly sliced them, then lightly sauteed some arugula I picked up at the same time. I added some toasted walnuts, and garnished with sliced oranges. Delicious, fresh, and fun!Here is the whole plate. The "meat" loaf crumbled a bit more than I would have liked, but it still had an amazing flavor and texture. We also had roasted garlic mashed potatoes, just to add to the comforting feeling of the meal.
Since my birthday is so close to Christmas- New Years Eve- it oftentimes gets overshadowed by all of the rest of the holiday madness. This year, though, it seemed like it was in a totally different month. I asked my family a few months prior to meet us in Ft. Worth for a special lunch. Since my aunt and uncle live in Ft. Worth, my grandparents live 1 hour outside of Dallas, and my mom was visiting them for Christmas, they all humbly agreed and made it happen for me. I was so excited that I would finally get to try out The Spiral Dinner, and share the experience with my family.
I had the Viva Las Migas, basically a tofu scramble chocked full of beans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes and spices, topped with avocado and sour supreme and served with corn chips (or tortillas). I had mine with a side of potato salad, just because I heard it was awesome...and it was! This was one of the best brunches ever. I can't wait to go back and try the other amazing food they offer.
Here is Candy and the family-minus me (I was taking the picture). I was a bit disappointed that they all ordered just a bowl of soup (except Candy or course, she knows the value of kickass vegan food), but they look happy enough, huh? In the background is the soda machine- all natural and organic soads, and the condiment dreams of vegan's dreams- braggs, nooch, natural sweetners, and organic ketcup and mustard.
Here is the birthday girl (middle) with her Nanny and Lovely Lady in front of the diner. I just want to show off my birthday outfit. Too bad you can't see the kick ass red boots I got for Christmas..
I also want to show off what I got my mom for christmas. Her name is Sparky, and she is a gift sponsorship from Farm Animal Sanctuary. Her flock got attacked by a bear on their farm and the survivors were sent to the sanctuary for safety. I think she is beautiful, and mom was showing her off like a grandchild. How cute.
After all was said and done, Candy and I ordered a Jamaican Jerk Tempeh sammich for dinner since we had an 8 hour drive to New Orleans ahead of us. It was yummy and everything I could ask for, as was the delicious piece of carrot cake. Go to Spiral Diner as soon as you can! It won't disappoint, seriously.
There is more, but we'll save that for another post. It's good to be back! See ya around in the blogworld, ya'lls.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
When you spend any extended amount of time (more than 10 minutes) with someone else's crazy family, you begin to appreciate your seemingly less crazy family
Eat nothing but sugar for a week, and you will feel like shit
If your grandmother asks what you want for Christmas, never say "nothing". She will inevitably get you something.
The book is always better than the movie. The big boys in the media industry seem to think that dumbing down movies will somehow make it much better and more accessible to the general public.
If you tell people your plans, things will inevitably go to shit
Cinnamint flavor is good for lipgloss, but not always so good to eat
Chocolate and Amber are a match made in olfactory heaven
Teenagers possess an uncanny ability to sit and stare at a TV screen for an amazing 12 hours straight
Meatloaf is so much better without the meat, this recipe saved my x mas, with the addition of sauteed carrots, celery, onion and garlic
Hope everyone found a way to keep their sanity in tact. Cookies, coffee, and sleep helped me a lot. Except when I got sick, then it was mainly orange juice and echinacea.
In less than 6 hours, I will be having lunch with my (stubbornly omnivorous, yet still love able) family at a vegan haven in the middle of cattle country- Spiral Diner, to commemorate the beginning celebrations of my birthday. I am undecided on what to eat, but I'm sure it will be good. Then it's off to New Orleans for a weekend of raucous fun. See you next year!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
We went to a vegan cookie exchange party the next day. We took our cherry almond drops, and came home with a bigger selection of really yummy cookies and bars.
I came across Amanda's recent post about getting in the spirit, and I'm totally jealous of all the lovely cookies she has baked. I decided to do the holiday themed meme she had, but I think it makes me sound even more like a scrooge..
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer recycled good: newspaper, paper bags, boxes, etc, or cotton shopping bags
2. Real or artificial tree? Usually artificial
3. When do you put up the tree? Growing up, it was usually right after Thanksgiving. This year, we did it right after we couldn't stand hearing the kids ask one more time
4. When do you take it down? After New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Soynog, totally. I wasn't ever much for the egg stuff, though.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember really loving the play kitchen I got, even though it was made entirely out of cardboard. As an adult, my favorite gift so far was my stainless steel pot and pan set.
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Nah
8. Hardest person to buy for? My grandparents
9. Easiest person to buy for? Mom
10. Worst Christmas present you ever got? Hard to say...probably that one lamp thing with the angel...
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I usually don't do cards.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? Huh..I've never really had one.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually I make a mental note of things throughout the year, and then I forget about them and go shopping at the last minute. This year, I'm not shopping, I'm making.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, yes, yes.
15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Gingerbread!
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like the clear ones on houses, but I like color on trees.
17. Favorite Christmas song? Nellie McKay's A Christmas Dirge. Looove it!
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Usually my mom and I travel to my grandparents house. This year, Candy and I are travelling home to Houston
19. Can you name all of Santa's Reindeer? Proabably, if I thought hard enough.
20. Angel or star on top of tree? Usually star, nothing this year
21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas eve, the rest on Christmas. A little different this year. I got my presents from my family early, and we're doing Christmas with Candy's family Christmas eve.
22. Most annoying thing this time of year? Everything
23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? No, but I like my friend's Star Wars tree
24. What do you leave for Santa? This year, Candy Cane Joe Joes, because me and Candy are Santa
25. Shopping? I stay far, far away from the mall. This year most of my stuff is handmade.
26. Do you decorate outside for Christmas or just inside (or at all?) Just inside this year. Oh, a couple of poinsettas on the porch
27. Favorite Christmas cookie? Hmm..Ginger Gems, any biscotti, gingerbread, chocolate peppermint....
28. Do you own Christmassy clothing or jewelry? Not really. I bought these cute green tree earrings, and someone said they look kind of like christmas trees. I told them they kind of look like a crack addict..
29. Do you believe in Santa? I believe if Santa was real, he would have every health problem known to man.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
This is what fall tastes like- spiced steel cut oatmeal spiked with raisins, served in a roasted squash 'bowl', topped with sweet almond gravy, with half a roasted apple on the side. I used the recipe from Hot Potato, subbing my own spice preference/on-hand mix, and using a different squash. Soo delightful!
What do two PPKers do when they meet? Cook, of course! And cook we did. Denise got Veganomicon before I did, and we were both really hyped to make Chickpea cutlets. She came over one night and we made the cutlets with red wine roux, and had the tomato spinach on the side. They were really simple and very good. The one thing I can say is they are super filing. I had a small baked one, and I was full all night long.For our 4 month anniversary, I wanted to prepare a nice, somewhat elegant, yet simple meal for Candy and I to share. Remembering the PPK 'Love Bites' episode, and how they waxed so romantic about the sweet potato crepes, I decided to give the recipe a try. I was a little overwhelmed by the fact that I had only made crepes once before, even though they were a success. I was pleasantly suprised at how quickly, and simple the meal came together. I had nothing prepared in advance, but it took me around 2 hours from starting the filling, to finishing the sauce, and I even found time to make a simple green bean dish for the side (fresh beans, thinly sliced pears, tossed in a vinagrette of canola, cider vinegar, miso paste, and fresh basil, with toasted walnuts).
Money shot, ya'll's. Super fantastic filling and saucey sauce. I had two, plus extra filling, and ruined crepe pieces. And the wine kept flowing...
That's all I have to share right now. There were some other things in between, like a super awesome cake that started as a disaster, but became the best thing ever. The picture would not have done it justice, so I didn't even try. But do not despair, for there will be other cakes in our future, I am sure..