Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pasta Bolognese

Are you ready to try something amazing?! This is the Super Easy Pasta Bolognese from Manifest:Vegan. So good I was asked to make it again the following week and visitors were happy just eating the leftover sauce with bread. I'd say that qualifies as success! The TVP takes on a slightly too sweet flavor; the first time I thought it was the brand of tomato paste I used (I caved at the store and bought the cheap stuff at like 10 cents a can), the second time I used my usual all-natural one and it was better but still sweet, so I'm guessing it's the wine or balsamic vinegar--I might cut those down next time. Regardless, it's scrumptious. This is comfort food at its best. Paired with garlic bread and a salad (the one in the background had roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, olives, and a basic vinaigrette) and you're all set for making people's tummies happy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lazy Sunday

I thought about going to lab, then decided against it. While there are definitely things I could work on, there's nothing that I *have* to work on, so I decided to just have a nice carefree day. Of course, that included cooking! For lunch I whipped up two more recipes from Appetite for Reduction that I've been meaning to make: Butternut Apple Soup and Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits. I actually had the pleasure of trying the biscuits yesterday at Isa's demo at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market (she made Roasted Vegetable Thai Green Curry Stew and these biscuits). So, I already knew they were good. The soup had been on the schedule to make for weeks with said butternut squash hanging out on the counter, but it's just been so warm here lately that it didn't sound good. I just sucked it up and made the apartment ridiculously warm by having the oven and stove going--sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyway, the soup was fabulous. While the process of peeling and cutting the butternut squash can be a little daunting, on this lovely, relaxing day it went smoothly--and Isa's instructions helped too! I used Fuji apples here because that's what I had in the fruit bowl and once all the prep is done this comes together quite easily. The pairing of the soup and the biscuits is quite nice too. The soup is sweet and spicy and the biscuits are a very different sweet and they blend beautifully. This makes a TON of soup, so be prepared for lots of leftovers or halve the recipe.

I also decided to make some sweet treats for people at school. I had originally decided on chocolate-covered strawberries, then I thought those might be difficult to transport without melting and sticking together, so I searched around for something using those ingredients that might be more carry-to-school friendly. I found these cookies from Messy Vegetarian Cook and decided to give them a try. They looked adorable, like little chocolate strawberry love letters. Here's how mine turned out:

I think I was a little too generous with my filling. While they're not all going to win awards for beauty they do taste good--had to do something with those ones that completely fell apart. I did have some that turned out really good though, like this one:

Some lucky soul will get that beauty tomorrow! Lesson of the day: less can be more when it comes to filling chocolate fruit cookies (or just cut larger squares). I followed the directions except I needed to add a little soymilk to my batter in order to get it to hold together, maybe 1 tablespoon total.

Hope everyone has a fabulous remainder of the weekend and a Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

40 Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli

I happily received Appetite for Reduction for Christmas. After reading about this dish online for a while now--it was a tester's fave this was on my list to try first. It didn't disappoint. I screwed it up a little bit because sometimes I lack the ability to pay attention to details (what'cha gonna do?). I just threw everything in the casserole dish at once instead of adding the vegetable broth at a later time; regardless it worked out great. This makes for a very light dinner--not always what I'm looking for, but for a weeknight it's fabulous.

I love that this book uses tons and tons of veggies in all the recipes and incorporates lots of beans, along with tempeh and tofu. So easy to find awesome things to pair together. Highly recommend! Also, Isa is gonna be at the Ferry Building here in SF this saturday during the Farmer's Market doing a demo from this book. I plan on checking it out! I've been wanting to go to this supposedly amazing market since I moved here. I'll have a bit of free time the next couple of weekends so I'm excited to get out again.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Cornmeal Waffles

And I ate them all!!! No, not really. I played nice and shared. These were the cornmeal waffles from Vegan Brunch. Thus far I had only tried the chocolate beer waffles, and while they are amazing, I figured it was time to branch out a little. These were the only others that I could make with ingredients I had on hand--though I do plan to get around to the ginger ones and also the Chelsea waffles eventually. While I'm not a huge pancake fan (too dense) I love me some waffles, so it was a happy day when I realized that there were so many different types possible. These ones were interesting. Interesting good, but still interesting. They use quite a bit of cornmeal so they had a bit of a grainy texture and they had the cornmeal flavor, yet were also sweet. I enjoyed them. Another thing that I love about waffles is that the remainders can just be bagged up, popped in the freezer, and then reheated in the toaster Eggo style whenever your heart desires. These didn't even need maple syrup to be fabulous. I just popped them in the toaster and ate them plain on my walk to school--brought some warmth to my cool morning.

Do you have a favorite waffle recipe or flavor?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vida Vegan Blog Conference

Have you folks heard of Vida Vegan?! It's gonna be this totally epic vegan bloggers conference in Portland this August. I've decided to go! I know I'm a bad blogger (2 months since last post, yay first post of the new year!) and a deeply indebted (thanks federal government) student, but I want to go badly and I figure I deserve to treat myself.

During my Winter break I decompressed for a week (read: slept and caught up on TV), then visited some friends (who were starting to wonder if I was still alive), celebrated the holidays, and finally got out to see some of the sites of our fair city. It was fabulous and completely refreshing. Now school's started again and it's go-go-go. I am however making it a priority to exercise a lot more and make good meals (even if it means eating dinner at 10 PM) because I was just not feeling so good the last 2 quarters. We're 4 weeks in to this one already (where does time go?!) and I'm feeling so much better. I'm even doing better at school (part of this is that I've actually learned something these last 2 quarters, so that helps).

Anyway, I have been cooking and I look forward to posting. Even more, I look forward to this conference and meeting many other fabulous vegans, including those whose blogs I read. Any one else attending?

And, yeah...Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

MoFo 18: Stick a Fork in Me...

I'm done. The shirt's from etsy, I found it fitting (ah, so punny). I made it almost the whole month of MoFo, I'm impressed! The next couple of weeks are raging up to be killer as I truck on towards finals week. I have 4 exams, 3 quizzes, 2 practicals (timed preps on teeth in the lab for a grade) to go 'til the 7 finals that will test my limits in "finals week." I had the nice long weekend and almost felt like a real human being again...
It will be quiet here for a few weeks. When I get a break for the winter holidays things will start to get cooking again!

Friday, November 26, 2010

MoFo 17: Thanksgiving Dinner

We had a lovely Thanksgiving day! The sun was out and it was beautiful here in San Francisco. I did have to hit up two stores (two because I forgot portobello mushrooms for the above dish and had to run out again), but it all came together--even if it was 2 hours later than expected.

Above is the porcini and pecan pate with some fresh french bread for spreading. This was delicious! I was a little concerned as I was making it because it didn't seem like it had enough different ingredients to have more than a musky mushroom taste (what with the dried porcinis and the fresh portobellos), however it didn't taste overly mushroomy at all. It was super smooth and tasted creamy and decadent. Definitely a winner.

Next up was dinner. Here we have festive chickpea tart, cranberry and orange salad, and green bean casserole. The tart was a recipe from Dreena Burton, and like everything from her it was just fantastic. This tart is like fall blended together and put in a crust; it's got chickpeas, spinach, dried cranberries, onions, and is perfectly spiced. I made the flaky pie crust from Vegan Vittles to put it in and that was great as well--best part: no shortening in the crust! We topped the tart with the yeast gravy from The (almost) No Fat Cookbook, a nice simple nutritional yeast based gravy. The salad recipe I adapted from swell. I used a baby spinach and arugula mix instead of kale because the guys are not the biggest fans of kale, especially uncooked. I also swapped out dried cranberries for fresh. I doubled the amount of orange juice, orange slices, and avocado, and halved the amount of oil. I didn't bother with the balsamic reduction drizzle because there was enough going on already. This salad was fabulous! I loved the combination of all the fruit with the greens. Yum! Lastly on this plate of goodness was green bean casserole. This recipe was modified from cute and delicious. I swapped out fresh boiled greenbeans for the canned and caramelized onions for the can of french-fried onions. This also turned out great! The noochy sauce was deslish. I loved having so many vegetables on our plates, it made dinner not feel so heavy...and it left room for the amazing dessert we had coming. Behind the dinner plate are some roasted chestnuts. I'd never had these before and a friend brought them over with her. Interesting, but good! She was raving about the chestnut and lentil pate from Veganomicon; I may have to get on that.

Alright, and here's dessert! It's the chocolate cinnamon babka from Vegan Dad. We had a bit of trouble with this recipe since it's written in ounces and I don't have a kitchen scale. So, I just kept adding flour til it seemed like the right consistency to me--and it worked! Crisis averted. This looks much more complicated to make than it really is, perfect for entertaining! I didn't realize there needed to be a second rise after adding the chocolate layer and twisting it up, and since I didn't have time I just skipped it. It puffed up quite a bit while cooking (and we had let it rise the first time for about 5-6 hours), so it worked out just fine. Let me tell you, this is delicious! Once it's cooked the cinnamon flavor doesn't really hit you, it just adds to the bitterness of the chocolate and makes it taste so good. This will definitely get made again.

Being the klutz that I am I of course didn't make it through the day without a battle scar. I hit my arm against the rack in the oven (right above where my oven mitt covered) and ended up with this lovely. Luckily it doesn't hurt...I'm so tough.

Here were the beautiful arrangements we had for the table. I put together the mums and sunflowers and my friend brought over a beautiful bouquet with purple kale as the main component! Gotta love people who appreciate the beauty of vegetables! We also had some cute little pumpkins and a kabocha squash mixed in with some candles. I plan on roasting these babies up and making something with them (I've never had kabocha before, ideas?). Hanging out on the counter there is also a plastic Yoda...He's from a cereal box years and years ago (at least 9), and ever since my dad and I have taken turns hiding it back and forth, seeing how long it would take for the other to find it and just how creative we could. He's been in showers, pillowcases, suitcases, car trunks, purses, food--he gets around. Now that my parents live in Florida it's longer in between the hidings. I left him at their house for him to find last time I was out there in June; I got him back today (my dad snuck him to my brother when he was visiting in September for my brother to hide), he was tucked in along with the groceries. Oh, Yoda where will you go next...

Weird traditions--just another thing I'm grateful for. Here's hoping you had a wonderful day with good food and great company!

If you have photos of your vegan Thanksgiving dishes there a couple of blogs that would love the pictures for some epic food posts: Quarrygirl and Lunchboxbunch.

Also, if you feel like winning some awesome cookbooks: Robin Robertson is giving away her last cookbook of MoFo, Party Vegan. And Ricki is giving away the cookbook of the winner's choice!