Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh Midwestern Winter

Oh Midwestern winter, you do nothing for my photo skillz.

Here we have Smokin' Red Beans and Rice from the pressure cooker. It was a good dish, altho' the beans were a tad underdone. It seems like every time I make something in the pressure cooker, one aspect of the dish is off. If it's not the beans, it's the rice, if the rice is done, then the beans are a little, shall we say, al dente. Although I did have fun the other day putting in 8 C of chopped winter root veggies and pressure cooking them and when I opened the lid, ta dah! they were, like, 1/4 of their former mass.

here's the Smokin' Red Beans and Rice recipe...

3/4 C red beans, soaked overnight
3 T veg oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large red pepper, diced (I just used some frozen roasted red pepper I had in the freezer 'cause I'm thrifty like that)
1 C Minute Rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 3/4 C veg broth
1 t thyme
1 t adobo in sauce

Saute garlic, add everything else. Bring that sucker up to pressure, then keep it at pressure for 10m (next time I'll try 15m see; underdone beans). Allow pressure to drop naturally. Add salt and tabasco sauce as needed.

I will really try this one again, because it's! all! in! one! pot! so, it's almost like a casserole, and you know how much I like my casseroles, or as they say here in Minnesota, hotdish.

On the reading front, well, to my shame I am still working through Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. I cannot believe I have been reduced to reading such dreck. It is, however, great for just reading a few pages right before bed and not getting hugely engrossed in. Man, I should be reading Murakami or something. Geez.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Ah, little blog, how I have neglected thee...

Ah, little blog, how I have neglected thee...

was it the two year old, who, every time I sat down at the computer, wanted to climb up into my lap, severely interfering with my typing?

was it the uninspired 'get-'er-done-quick' meals?

was it a tad too much of volume after volume of 'in a series' sci fi/fantasy?

Who can say?

The above picture is one meal that stands out in the desert of pasta + sauce + veg/rice + sauce + veg that has been the modus operandi around here as of late...

I won't post the particulars, but it was penne pasta, glued together with a fake cheeze sauce, tediously vertically aligned in a spring form pan and baked, topped with sauce and fake mozzerella cheeze and sprinkled with dried parsley.

truly epic.

perhaps if I had used, you know, the flat ended kind of pasta, what's that called? instead of one that was cut on the diagonal. But who knows?

and what of all the reading that has surely transpired during this long blog drought? Well, the one that stands out was "Ship of Destiny" by Robin Hobb (yay!, a woman writer!), the last in a series 'The Liveship Traders' which I began, in my mind, to call 'Ship of Density' because, lo, truly, it took. me. forever. to finish. Bedtime would roll around and I'd think to myself, "Better get to reading 'ship of density'!".

I read the Harry Potter series somewhere in there and loved it.

Well, folks, that's all I've got for now, but I will try posting more often, especially as a)I'm still reading and b)I got a pressure cooker for Christmas and I'm inspired to cook again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer of Juvenile Fiction

Welcome, welcome, so good to see you back...

Oh no, wait, that's me!

Ah well, today I bring you the best of July-August for your viewing pleasure...

A while back I read about caramelizing onions in a slow cooker somewhere on Metafilter and I just had to give it a whirl (see here for more tips)... and yay, it worked! Whee! So I turned them into soup, which you see above and is totally anticlimactic. But I WILL be using them on my next pizza (more on that later).

Here is a blueberry grunt which photographed terribly but was pretty good. It was a little tart, as I recall, but I think that was the berries we used which were from last summer, really late season blueberries (think apple picking time) so they, as a berry, were just tart. I followed the recipe here and veganized it, of course omitting the whipping cream at the end.

And here is my new favorite thing! Whee! I used follow your heart vegan cheeze, mozzarella flavour, and my new favorite pizza dough. Yummy! I made it again recently, and just used 1/3 of the block of cheeze so now I can eek out three pizzas from one block of (fairly expensive) vegan cheeze! Yay! And in all truth, the pizza using the third of a block of cheeze was better anyway, used some fresh veggies from the farmer's market that I sauteed up and nom, nom, nom!

Pizza Dough

1 C warm water
2 T yeast
3 1/2 C flour
1/4 C vital wheat gluten
1 t ginger
1/4 C oil
2 t salt
2 T sugar (or honey if you're a beegan)

Mix water and yeast and let sit 5m until dissolved.
Mix in olive oil, flour, salt and sugar.
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, approx. 10m.
Place in oil coated bowl and turn and flip dough so it is coated.
Cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel and allow to rise until doubled, around 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough, divide in half and let sit 10m (you could freeze one half here if you don't want to make 2 pizzas- that's what I did and I made breadsticks with it for spaghetti another day).
Place pizza stone on rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 450 degrees for 30m to 1 hour (I scoffed at this initially, but the second time when I made it, I let the oven preheat for more like an hour and the crust came out crisper!).
Flatten dough to 1/2" thick and 10 - 12 " wide. Go easy, if it starts to get wierd, let it rest (and you, too) for 5m. Then start again, patting and stretching.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and put pizza crust on it.
Make dents using your knuckles, then brush with oil and let rest 5m.
Top with toppings and slide pizza onto baking stone (if it doesn't slide, add more cornmeal).
Bake 10 - 15m.

And here is what we had for supper last night-

Chickpea and Broccoli Macaroni

I must have been channeling my winter self or something, because this is a *gasp* casserole (yes, I turned on the oven, I am a masochist) and *gasp* it uses frozen broccoli. I should have gone to the farmer's market and bought fresh broccoli (wears hairshirt).
Anyway, this was good! Yay! I will make it again, fo' sure.

I made it just like the recipe, except I was all like, what's up with the 3/4 t ?!?! So I bumped the salt, garlic powder and paprika up to 1 t. Talk about taking a walk on the wild side, baby! Also, I used pasta water for the sauce, because my husband was not home yet with the soymilk. It turned out fine. Really good, folks. Definitely put this in your 'to make' pile. I can't wait to make it again, this time with soymilk and maybe even frying up the chickpeas with some garlic and onion. Yuuuum!

So, this has been the summer of juvenile fantasy fiction. I read "A Wizard of Earthsea" which was really good, read the next two after that.

I also read Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonsinger" or whichever one is the first in the series. Dragonsinger, dragondrums, dragonmaster, dragonrider... eventually the series will reveal 'Dragonaccountant' or 'Dragonhairdresser'. I have read the 'harper's hall' trilogy. The first was pretty good, then they were okay.

When I've run out of library books, I've been slowly working through LOTR. So good.

Next up, I am thinking about tackling the Harry Potter series. Yes, I am that crazy. Don't you think that would be a good way to end the "Summer of Juvenile Fiction"?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I Despair!

Heya peeps! Long time no blog!

Well, maybe it's best this way... you are spared the innumerable combinations of rice/pasta with a bit of tofu/fake ground meat/tvp and a somekindof sauce made usually with nutritional yeast.

I bring to you my 'best hits' of the summer, thus far!

First up, the magnificent breadstick! Ooooh, ahhh!

Marvel at it's uniform brownness and the sparkly bits of salt atop it's crest.

Truly, it is a wonder.

Ahem. No, really, though. It was good! Yay! I think I just googled 'olive garden breadstick' and this is what I came up with (after wading past all the nutritional info sites, oh, yeah, and all the sites telling me how to make breadsticks using a frozen bag of bread dough- d'oh! yah, right.). So anyhow, I really liked these and the baking time is less 'cause you've cut up the dough and stuff and I added my seekrit ingredients the second time around (pic above) and got even better results! Hoorah!


4 C flour
2 T sugar
2 t salt
2 t yeast
1 1/3 C water
1/2 C vital wheat gluten (opt- seekrit ingredient)
1 t powdered ginger (again, optional, secret ingredient)

1 T melted Earth Balance
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t oregano

Oil 2 baking sheets.
Mix first group of ingredients in mixer, then knead for a few minutes.
Divide dough into 16 (I use my digital scale for this, because I am a nerd) and roll into breadsticks, placing them on the baking sheet once you've rolled them out.
Cover with a damp teatowel and let rise 45m.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt butter and brush onto breadsticks.
Mix the salt, garlic powder and oregano and sprinkle the tops of the breadsticks.
Bake 15m.

See? Easy! You can make these if you have maybe an hour before supper and then all you have to do is make spaghetti, but you've really fancied it up here with the breadsticks and everyone will be like, wow.

Next up is a few pictures of my new favorite 'spice blend' for 'Indian' food. See how I used those little quotes there? That's because spice blend sounds so fancy, yes? And quotes make anything better. Also around the word, Indian? That's because I'm sure an real Indian cook would scoff. But hey, me likey. Scroll down for the recipe. Below you see fried chickpeas and tofu with tomatoes and below that you see fried chickpeas and silken tofu with tomatoes and freshly wilted, or is that wilted fresh, spinach. It was fresh spinach, freshly wilted, anyhow. Sooo good.

This 'spice blend' originates from this recipe... the only thing I changed was to drop the chili garlic paste and replace it with paprika, 'cuz my family are wusses.

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 can diced tomatoes
2 T oil
1 T fresh grated ginger
1 t onion powder, cumin, garam masala, salt
1/2 t coriander, tumeric, garlic granules
1/4 t paprika

Fry the garbanzos in oil until browning. Add ginger and spices. Add the tomatoes and spinach if you've got it, mix until well heated. Serve over rice. Tada!

And finally, here is the piece de la resistance (that is wholly incorrect, I'm sure)- strawberry shortcake!! I found the recipe on the intarweb and now alas, I cannot find it again. Ah well, besides, I changed it up some, so there. Soooo goooood! Go, pick some strawberries, now! Make this tonight!!

Strawberry Shortcake

2 C sliced strawberries/1 quart strawberries
2 T sugar

2 C flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 C soymilk
1 1/2 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 C canola oil

Oil two baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice strawberries, sprinkle with sugar, mash up a little with a fork and set aside to allow juices to release.
Add apple cider vinegar to soymilk, whisk a little and set aside to sour.
Mix dry ingredients well.
Add soymillk and oil and gently mix.
Spoon 6 mounds onto baking sheets.
Bake 15m until golden.
Remove to racks and cool.
Top with berries and serve.

Well, so now for the reading...
I finally got my hands on a copy of "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" and it was a really good read! Lots of engaging stuff in there about culture and aging and love. I couldn't put it down! I was so tickled because I hadn't been able to get it from the library (not in the system) and so I had just relegated it to the 'books I can't get ahold of but have come highly recommended'- thanks Mallika!. This category also contains "The Mysterious Benedict Society" btw. ANYWAY I was making my semi-frequent stop at my local bookstore to see what they had on the free to members prerelease shelf and there it was!! Whee!

Again, you are treated with my 'best of' reads here, suffice it to say I would give myself a headache if I tried to remember and list all the books I've been reading, but one that stands out, dun, dun, DUN! is "Treasure Island". Yes, that great classic of old. Aaaaand, get this. I read it online!

Here's the story- I checked it out from my library, from the children's literature section, mind you, and it was some terrible bastardized version! Ptoooey! Oh, it was awful. I cannot even say how awful it was. They gutted out all the interesting asides that make the characters spring to life and I couldn't even bear to read past a few pages when I threw it down in disgust. Yes, folks, it was that bad. OMG, srsly, if this pap is what they are giving our children to help smooth it down their throats, I despair. End rant.

Okay, that's it for today. Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Glazed Over.

Ooooh man, sorry for the blog neglect!!

But here I am, safe and sound again...

Here's a little number I like to call 'The Perfect Sloppy Joe'. I'd make it every day if I could get away with it...

No, seriously, you know I've been honing in on my perfected sloppy joe and I think I've finally found it!

So here goes, do not faint at the amount of brown sugar!

1 C red lentils, (uncooked) rinsed and drained
1/2 C TVP reconstituted in 2 C boiling water (do not drain)
1 - 2 C water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil
1 can tomato paste
1/2 C brown sugar*
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T italian seasoning
1 T molasses
2 t salt
1 heaping t paprika
1/2 t mustard

Saute onion and garlic in oil in a large pot. Add spices, salt, sugar, tomato paste, molasses and apple cider vinegar and mix well. Heat until fragrant.
Add lentils and TVP, including the water from rehydrating the TVP and mix well. Add 1 C water and cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender (30m or longer, depending on your lentils). Add more water by 1/2 Cfuls as needed.

*that's a lotta sugar! you could reduce this (obvs) and I think I may next time, to 1/4 C. But it WAS really good....

And here is another quick supper that was sort of improvised that turned out well.

I call it 'Tofu and Garbanzos Over Rice'. Because that's what it is! Yay!

1 can garbanzos, drained
1 1/2 carrots, shredded
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T oil
1 pkg extra firm silken tofu
1 C frozen peas
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t ancho chile powder (or some other spicy something you like)

In a large (pref cast iron) skillet, fry up those chickpeas. Really fry those puppies. Then add the spices and salt. Then add the garlic and fry for a bit, then the garlic. Add tofu and peas and mix it all up, letting the tofu get coated in all the spicy goodness and the peas get hot. Serve over rice. Ta da!

Well, let's see. After finishing "The Stand", I read some filler books that I had laying around the house. Some good, some okay, all fine.

"Wesley the Owl" good with a little woo at the end there. But fun to read about an owl (win!) and wacky biologists.

"The Storekeeper's Daughter" kind of preachy (ha) the author obviously thinks we should all be Amish, really. Don't ask how I have this book.

"Summer World" by Bernd Heinrich is interesting and I love to learn about nature but I sort of glazed over about half way through. Good intentions of finishing, though.

"The Elephant Keeper" this was a reader's copy or prerelease or whatever and I enjoyed it. An interesting story with some cool thinking about animals. Lame ending, though. In my opinion.

Oh, and I can't forget "The Fairy's Return" by Gail Carson Levine! I am a big fairy tale geek and I guess this shows it. Having read "Ella Enchanted" and enjoyed it I risked picking this up at Goodwill (actually I didn't remember the author or that she'd written Ella Enchanted or anything, I just saw 'fairy' in the title and skimmed a page and thought it looked good. Thanks, subconscious!). Anyway, these are fun, although it does give me pause to discover that she is allied with Disney... I just have this reflexive 'ewwww' reaction. Oh well.

That's it! Gotta get my hands on something else to read!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kind of Drippy.

hey, yo.

wow, lots of foodstuffs for you today!

first up (above) we have some yummy pasta with sauce.

do you ever do this? where you mix it all up together and let it cook up hot? kinda reminds me of a cafeteria...

i used some fancy pants spaghetti sauce from the coop (no corn syrup) and doctored it to my taste. turned out pretty good!

2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 t oregano
1 t salt
1 t italian seasoning (remember to crush those spices up between your fingers, folks)
splash balsamic vinegar
1/4 t ancho chile powder

Saute onion, then garlic in oil. Add spices, vinegar and salt. Add sauce. Simmer for a bit while your pasta boils.
Mix up with your pasta and serve hot.

oh, man, this was good! of course, everything was fried, so what do you expect?

1 can garbanzos, drained
1 1/2 carrots shredded
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 T oil
1 pkg water pack extra firm tofu
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t ancho chile powder

Heat your oil in a large cast iron skillet over med high heat. Add your garbanzos (watch out, those garbanzos can spit!). Stir around and add salt and cumin and ancho chile powder. Add the garlic in there and then the carrots. Keep stirring on high heat.
Lower heat and add the tofu- I boiled the tofu for ten minutes, as is my standard operating procedure these days (I think it makes it firmer), then cut it into cubes- stir around until tofu is hot and spicy too and then serve over rice! So good!

I made bagels again, this time with 3/4 C whole wheat flour replacing one of the cups of flour. I also added 1 t of cinnamon, just to mix it up a little. They turned out good (a little chewy, but good).
Here is an old favorite- Taco Ring! I think I got this originally from Fairly Odd Tofu Mom... I used the reduced fat crescent rolls and they weren't as insanely addictive tasting, but still good.

2 cans reduced fat crescent rolls
1 package Boca 'ground beef'
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 C minute rice, uncooked
1/2 C frozen corn
1/2 C salsa
1/2 C bulk dry uncheeze mix
1 T oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

Take yer crescent rolls out of the frig.
Let 'em sit.
Meanwhile, boil up 2 C of water in your microwave safe dish in the microwave and then, slowly (I mean, add a few grains rice, first, to make sure it's not superheated) add rice. Let that sit.
Heat oil in a large pot, saute onion, then garlic.
Add Boca.
Add uncheeze, salsa, pinto beans and corn. Add rice. Mix well and heat on medium heat, covered.
Meanwhile, take a baking sheet and oil it well.
Lay out your crescent roll triangles with the points facing outwards. You will overlap the wider ends on the baking sheet, leaving a circle approximately 6" in diameter in the center.
Put 1/4 C of the bean mixture in the center of the base of every two triangles. Wrap the two triangle ends over the mixture and press them together with the dough in the center.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20m.
Cut into 8 wedges and serve with salsa, vegan sour cream and sliced black olives.

This was just some hot buttered pasta with tofu and fingerling potatoes. Sounds just like what it is- made the pasta, boiled the fingerlings right along with the pasta, boiled up some silken tofu, then cubed it then sauteed it with garlic and Earth Balance and added the pasta and potatoes in there too. Served with a side of green beans (from a can!) seasoned with sumac and salt. Nice and filling.
And here is the ubiquitous spicy peanut sauce spaghetti. It was pretty bland as I didn't add any ginger or basil or even cumin, oh well.

1/2 C peanut butter
1/4 C soysauce
1 t salt
1/4 C brown sugar
splash rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic

Blend. Thicken on stove (you can see I didn't thicken mine enough or drain my pasta enough- the sauce is kind of drippy). Mix with spaghetti. Yum, supper.

So, I finished The Stand with a side detour into "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".
Okay, first off, don't read the unabridged version of "The Stand". I mean no disrespect to the King, but whoah. That was long.
SPOILER America sure loves it's sacrificial heroes, doesn't it?
Long on dread and short on action, NOTHING HAPPENED until way into the book, and then it was sadly disappointing when the bad guy turned out to be a straw man- or was he? Dun, dun, dun. I may try to read "It" some day, but I think after that, I'll be done with Stephen King.

The P & P & Zombies was fun! Don't go into it expecting a super ton of zombie action- I mean, it was there and all, but it sort of strangely ended up as an accompaniment to everything else. Funny, yes. A whole new thing, no. But that's not what it's meant to be.

I got "American Psycho" from the library. Hm. I have a hard time reading books where the goal is so obviously to make me ?hate? the protagonist... we'll see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Subtle, he is not.

Greetings, fellow earthlings.

Oooooooh man has it been a while.

Let us begin.

First up, last night we had chickpea cutlets.

My husband is not a great fan of these (I know!) (it's the vital wheat gluten chewiness) but since they are so easy and I like them, we have them every once in a while.

I stayed with the recipe, except that I didn't have enough vital wheat gluten, so then I added more bread crumbs, but then when I added the water it wasn't like a dough any more so I added more flour, and more, and more... well, you get the picture. Still good. And, oh yeah, I used parsley instead of thyme and sage. And added some garlic granules as well as fresh garlic (double garlic!!!).

The sauce I used is from another quick and easy garbanzo based meal "Quick Saucy Garbanzos". It's good! This time I remembered to add more water after it cooked down too thick so that it was actually pourable (it's something I'm working on).

It was kind of strange to eat rice as a side. Do people normally do this?

2 cloves garlic
2 T oil
1 C soymilk
2 generous T flour
1/2 t salt
dash pepper
1/4 C nutritional yeast

Blend. Heat. Serve.

And here is a casserole!

Actually, it's not REALLY a casserole- I made up all the ingredients, put them in a casserole dish and let them sit in the (now turned off from making tater tots) oven until my family was home to eat it all up!

So. Tater tots, ground 'beef' with seasoning (I think I used some ancho chile powder, some chili powder, garlic and onion gran and salt and pepper thankyouverymuch), 1 C mixed vegetables and sauce (Dragonfly's bulk dry uncheeze). Aaghl aghl aaaaa... it was good.

And here I continue my quest to perfect the sloppy joe. This time I used 1 C red lentils and 1/2 C TVP. I was out of tomato paste so I used ketchup (ouch, that makes me cringe- trying to avoid that, you know- ketchup in cooking). I think the TVP helped with the consistency. And I like the spicing on this one- molasses it is! If I make it again, I may double the spices or something. And next time I'm going to use tomato paste and 1/2-1/2 C brown sugar instead of the ketchup. Sugar is bad, but not as bad as corn syrup, right?

1 C red lentils, rinsed
1/2 C TVP reconstituted in 2 C boiling water, undrained
1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 C ketchup
1 T italian seasoning
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T molasses
1 t onion and garlic powder
1/2 t mustard powder

Saute yer onion, then garlic. Add spices, mix well. Add ketchup, molasses and apple cider vinegar and mix well. Add lentils and TVP (including the water you reconstituted it in) and another cup of water. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring often, until thick.

This one counts as a fail. Except the cornbread. For some reason (and I have made this chili before) I thought pineapple was a good thing to add to chili. It was a phase. If I'm going to stick anything in my chili, it's going to be chocolate from now on.

Actually, later when I made it again as a lunch, I added some chili powder and it was good then (duh).

1 25 oz can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T oil
1 T brown sugar
2 t cumin
1 t oregano, ancho chile powder, cocoa, salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 C water

Saute onion, garlic. Add spices and seasonings, tomato paste, beans and finally water. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until thick.

And finally we have a tasty dish that looks strange- dumplings with veg and chickpea gravy.

Oh how I love to make dumplings. Boiling dough. How fun is that! Make some today.

And the sauce was good, too!

2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
4 T Earth Balance margarine
1/4 - 1/2 C water

Put a BIG pot of water on to boil.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt in food processor. Add EB until it looks like a coarse meal. Sloooowly add water until the dough pulls away from the bowl and sticks to itself.

Roll out into a 'snake' and divide into 16. Roll each of these in flour and place on plate.

When the water is boiling, lower the heat to a rolling boil and tip the dumplings in. Cover and DO NOT PEEK for 10m. Remove with slotted spoon.


1 can garbanzos, undrained
1/4 C nutritional yeast (I forgot to add this in the original post- bad blogger)
1 t onion powder, parsley and salt
1/2 t garlic granules
2 T veg broth (powdered)

Blend. Heat. Serve. Serve over dumplings, if you're smart.

Okay, now that we're all caught up on food, I'll catch you up on my reading.

Still reading "The Stand". There.
No really, I must say that I am getting a wee bit tired of King's having all his characters have a sudden gust of certainty that "it will all end in a bloodbath". Subtle, he is not.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is That So Wrong?

Hello, hello, hello!

What do we have here? Why, it's a chili topped sweet potato! One of my favorite dinners!
About 4 hours before you have to eat, wash off your sweet potatoes and place them in the crockpot (I always make an effort to say 'slow cooker', but in my heart it's really a crockpot. I've decided to give up on the high-falutin' 'slow cooker' and just call it a crockpot from now on. It just never came naturally.).
Cook on high 4-6 hours or until tender. And, oh, man, are they ever tender! I have not found a better way to make a sweet potato!!! I usually do four, but I have a huge crockpot.

Anywhoo, after you've got that going, then a little before supper (less than an hour), make the chili toppin's and you're golden!

This time I did it this way...

1 big can black beans (25oz I think) undrained
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t ancho chile powder, cocoa, salt, cumin, garlic granules, oregano*
2 t apple cider vinegar
1 T oil

Saute onion in oil, add garlic, throw in spices, add tomatoes and stir and mix until most of the liquid is gone. Dump in black beans, cover and simmer. Uncover and simmer until thick how you want it and add the apple cider vinegar. Boom.

*didja notice how I did that, there? I just used 1 t of everything- hee!

And here is an unremarkable dinner, except for the tofu!!!
Wow, I liked this.
I used my bulk uncheeze mix I had made up, rice and broccoli as you can see, but let me tell you how I did the tofu!
First, I got out my water packed extra firm tofu out of the refrigerator and stabbed it open. Anyone else get a thrill from stabbing open the package and ripping down the sides with a knife? Just me, then? Hmmm... moving on....
Then I boilt it! Fer 10m! Just 'n like I always do!
Then, I pressed it. Wow, am I crazy or what, boiling, then pressing my tofu!
Then I sliced it in two and put half in the fridge and cut the other half into tiny little cubes which I then proceeded to fry the heck out of in 1 T olive oil with a generous dash of pepper and salt.
They were crispy, flavorful bits 'o goodness! Do it today!

Well, let's see, when I last left you, I was reading gosh knows what. I did, however, find solace in "Alas, Babylon". What a crackin' good book! One of the first apocolyptic novels, I thought it was fun to see how the genre started out. A leetle chauvinistic, but then, those were the times, I guess. We've come a long way, baby. But it was nice to read a normally narrated story, I really enjoyed it.

Then I started "The Rift" but stopped shortly after the gratuitious sex scene. The story was sort of jumpy and I wasn't really getting into any of the characters.

But then, oh joy, oh joy! "The Stand" which I had requested, came in at the library. Gosh, if I ever live someplace where the library is far and not right on my way to my daughter's preschool, I will be a sad puppy. Anyway, "The Stand" I got was the unabridged or whatever one and it's like, 1,000 pages long. But hey, so far so good! A little horror-y for my taste, but what do you expect from Stephen King. It's different enough from other apocalyptic stuff I've read that that makes it interesting. More later.

Oh, and this past weekend I was at Shepherd's Harvest Fiber Festival and now I want an alpaca. Is that so wrong? Actually, two alpacas, you're not supposed to keep them alone.

I thought this picture was so awesome, it so captured the day. Dudes in the back are using those big grills to make heart attack inducing burgers, dude in the front with the flannel. And people walking around with animals. I think those are alpacas but I don't want to tip my noob hand and get any comments informing me that they are llamas.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

That Would Be Awesome.

Do you know that they make CHOCOLATE Pez candies?!? What is the world coming to, I tellz ya!

Oh well. Here we have a few of our more recent suppers...

After my recent success with tortillas, I was excited to make these again (yes I did use Crisco)! I decided to use one of my favorite crock pot recipes as the filler. Conveniently it is actually taco/burrito filling. I've changed it a little from the original so that it works for our family, the greatest change being the change from barley to bulgur.

Aaaaaaand I finally remembered to pick up an avacado at the coop this week! Hoorah!

And I got to try out a sour cream recipe, too, so that was fun as well.

So here's how I made the fillin's this time...

Bulgur Burrito Filling

1 25oz can black beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 T oil
2 t cumin
1 t onion gran, garlic gran, salt, ancho chile powder
1 C your favorite salsa
1 C bulgur
2 T chopped cilantro (I had some in the freezer)
2-3 C water (I added some as I went along)

Mix it all up in the crockpot, set on high and cook until tender 4-5 hours.

Meanwhile get your tortillas mixed up and risin'.

At the end, make yer 'sour cream'.

Tofu Sour Cream

1 12.3oz pkg silken extra firm tofu
1 T oil
1/4 C water
1 t sugar
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/8 t citric acid

Of course if you don't have citric acid around the house (I mean, who doesn't?) you should just take a peek at the original recipe. Other places I've seen it on the intarweb suggest using only 2 t lemon juice. We left off one of the t's of apple cider vinegar because we don't really like tart things here at chez centrepullball. Voila!

Well, I am still working through "Rides A Dread Legion" by Feist. No, not that Feist. That would be awesome.

No, no. First of all, the title. Rides a dread legion.

Okay, now, there is a lot going on so far in this book, lots of introducing characters, backstory, history etc. etc. and I guess if I had the other two books already and loads of time, I'd keep going. As it is, I may bail. This would make great light reading for a long winter, but it's spring and I'm in the mood for some post-apocalyptic reads...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How Could You Go Wrong?

Hey peeps!

Here is a delicious, yummy supper we had last night!

Red lentil curries are a popular dish at our home, and this one was super easy and good!

First, I was just going to make some rice and cover it with the cheeze sauce. That seemed so lame.

Then, I thought, hey, I'll add some red lentils to that sauce.

Then I thought, hmmmm, why not just make it into that curry I was thinking about making... and I'll keep the cheeze sauce in there just for kicks. Yay! I'm glad I did! It turned out really good!

Red Lentil Curry

1 C red lentils, rinsed
heaping 1/2 C Dragonfly's bulk dry uncheeze sauce mix
2 T Patak's curry paste
1 can coconut milk

Mix it all up in a sauce pan. Boil until the lentils are tender (maybe 20-30m? I just did it while the rice was cooking). Add water as necessary to keep the lentils from sticking too much and to keep it 'saucy'.
Meanwhile, make your rice.
Serve. Yum- dinner!

I suppose you could add a can of full fat coconut milk to anything and it would taste good! Can you imagine- this dish had the goodness of coconut milk, the cashews in the cheez sauce AND the rich, oily goodness of the curry paste!! How could you go wrong?!? I couldn't.

Still reading "Flora Segunda". Geez, this kid can get away with anything!