Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don't Put a Damper on Things!

I made beer bread!! Pretty cool. Thanks to S. who brought Sprecher's Special Amber (not a sessionable beer, although maybe it is, what do I know)(I learned a new word yesterday!)(I think I saw it on "Yeah, That Vegan Shit", but now I can't find the post) I had beer on hand and I've been wanting to try this for a while. It was pretty good, I didn't opt for the 1/2! C of butter (read: Earth Balance) over the top, call me crazy, but it was still good. Fun for a quick bread to go with soup. I could definately see this with a pea soup in the future. The recipe I followed was here, but I decided to go with a reversal on the whole wheat/regular flour ratio. Oh, and I nuked the beer for 45 seconds (as per I read somewhere on the internet) because I didn't have time to wait for it to get to room temperature- the beer should be at room temperature, something about interfering with the yeast and the baking soda, schmana-nana.

I read of a possible variation using coconut milk and shredded coconut, here, and found out about damper, which sounds intriguing for camping...

Whole Wheat Beer Bread

2 C all purpose flour (16)
1 C whole wheat flour (4)
1 T sugar (1)
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
12 oz beer, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan.
Sift together dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Stir in beer and mix until just combined.
Pour into pan and bake 45m or until it tests done.
Cool in pan 10m, then out of pan 10m.
24 points total, 16 slices = 1.5 points a slice

The soup was okay, pretty quick and easy and used up some of that cilantro. It could have been worse. Of course, later I read this quote; "anything with too much ground cumin in it is just gross." from here and immediately got paranoid.

Black Bean Soup

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (7) (reserve 1/4 C)
1 can light coconut milk (7)
1 T cumin
1 T soy sauce
1/2 C coriander leaves, packed
1 clove garlic
few drops of liquid smoke

Blend everything except the 1/4 C beans.
Heat on low.
Garnish with cilantro.
Makes approximately 3 C, 5 points a cup.

Okay, here's the deal with "A Meeting at Corvallis"- I get the feeling that the author is drawing out this book so that he can write another one afterward. This really irritates me. I know there is this whole movement where tonnes and tonnes of novels are written and people breathlessly wait for the next one, so maybe I should just get with the program, but really. Please don't waste my time. There's a difference between being drawn into a book and being drawn out over it. I'm reminded of that torture where they tie up your wrists and ankles and streeetch you out.

I am over halfway through this book that has drawn out and drawn out and drawn out this battle, and while reading about all the strategy etc. etcetera is cool, I know you, Mr. Stirling, were sitting there rubbing your hands together thinking 'I can milk this for another book's worth!'. Maybe I am bored enought to actually finish this, we'll see.

No knitting, although I did work up (in my mind) a little baby blanket pattern to try. We'll see if I get the time to go out and put away the yarn for the baby sweater and pull out a bunch of different yarn.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bread and Soup

Soup! I wanted to use up the baby fennel we got from Ironwood Farms, so I made this soup- it was pretty good, but D. is not a fennel fan, so I placated him with focaccia.
Oregano and thyme, fresh from the backyard, and garlic pressed into the top...
It was really good! I'm guessing that with rosemary it would be even more astounding, but the herbs was from our herb garden, so that was fun. Oh, and of course if I slathered the top more with olive oil... oh, and if I used those kalamata olives I got from the store...

Bean and Fennel Soup

2 cans cannellini beans (7)
2 T vegetable broth powder
2 T olive oil (8)
4 baby fennel, sliced thin
1 T fennel seeds
1 t coriander seeds
6 C water
1/2 t salt

Throw it all into the slow cooker and cook on high 4 hours. Remove as much as you can to the blender and blend. Soup!

Three points a cup.

Focaccia (from Veganomicon)

1 scant T yeast
1 1/4 C warm water
3 T olive oil (12)
3 T chopped fresh oregano
3 C flour (or half white and half whole wheat)
1 t salt
coarse salt and rosemary to top

Combine yeast and water in mixer bowl. Then oil, herbs, flour and salt. Will form a soft dough. If it's too sticky, mix flour in 1 T at a time.
Knead 5 - 6m, toss in oil in bowl and rise 1 hr or refrigerate overnight.
Punch down, knead a little and roll out to 1 1/2" thick.
Transfer to greased baking sheet or onto cornmeal strewn peel (if using a baking stone).
Rise 20m.
Poke holes with fingers, brush with oil and top with toppings and coarse salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (don't forget that baking stone if you're using it) and bake 30 - 35m. Cool 10m.
Makes 12 slices at 3 points a slice.

use baking stone
use rosemary- figure out how much dried rosemary to sub
try with kalamata olives and sauteed onions/shallots

Still reading Stirling, getting rather loooong.
No knitting, v. hot yesterday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Hey!! Last night we had pesto!! Sooooo good. I had been looking forward to this for so long, too! Hooray! And it did not disappoint. The recipe is from Vegan with a Vengeance. You should buy that book (and Veganomicon). Full disclosure; I did not toast/roast the walnuts and I used half a recipe for a full pound of pasta! Tee hee!


1 1/2 C fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 C walnuts (5)
3 cloves garlic
1 t salt
1/4 C olive oil (16)
2 T nutritional yeast
1 t lemon juice
1 lb/16 oz angel hair pasta/spaghetti/whatever
up to 1 C pasta water, reserved

Boil water for pasta.
Meanwhile, in large bowl of processor, combine walnuts, basil, garlic and salt, scraping down sides to ensure everything is blended well.
Then add olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape sides again. Pulse again.
Add nutritional yeast and lemon juice, mix well.
Scrape into a large bowl.

When pasta is ready, place one spoonful into bowl, mix well (I just put my bowl with the pesto in it next to the pot of spaghetti and use a pasta spoon to pull out the pasta, keeping the pasta water handy). Add another, along with some of the pasta water if necessary, and mix well, keep adding spoonfuls of the pasta and water and mixing well until it's all in there. Be patient. The end.

This "Meeting at Corvallis" book is sort of taking a long time, not as good as the first, or actually the second, as that's the one I read first. But isn't that always the way... At least now they're finally fighting. I love me a good fight.

No knitting. Boo.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Good morning! Whee! We had a very nice weekend visiting with K. our guest who came all the way from Milwaukee!! We went out in the boat, played on the swings in the backyard, checked out Lumberjack Days... and of course we ate food.

Here's my favorite new recipe that I tried this weekend! It's the Morning Glory Loaf turned into muffins! People, these are gooood! I doubled the recipe and we still have batter in the fridge awaiting deployment (aghlaghlaghlaghl)!

Morning Glory Muffins

3 C all purpose flour (24)
1 C whole wheat flour (4)
1 1/3 C brown sugar (22)
1 T cinnamon
1 T + 1t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C canola oil (32)
1 16 oz can crushed pineapple (reserve 1/2 C juice) (8)
1 T ginger paste
2 t vanilla
2 C carrots, grated
1 C craisins (6)
1 C shredded coconut (16)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin.
Mix dry, then wet.
Makes 2 loaves, bake 50 - 60m or until tests done.
Makes 36 muffins, bake 18 - 22m or until tests done. Cool in pan.
Each muffin is roughly 3 points.
next time add 2 T flax seed meal?

I kept meaning to make the green beans this weekend, but never got to it- here's what we had last night, sauteed green beans with herbs from the back yard! and Susan's Easy Mac and Cheeze reheated (I made this for when K. got in Fri. night) with 1 T oil added. Oh, and some salt and pepper. Yumm...
Bug break! Okay, check out this guy I saw while I was outside taking the seed pods off of my lilies... is it a spider? I Googled yellow spider with orange stripes and came up with nada. Maybe it's one of those bugs that masquerade as another?
I also made Chocolate Chip cookies, and did the whole refrigerate them for 24 hours thing...
I thought the refrigeration time really helped with the consistency of the dough- it was much firmer, and so therefore the cookies themselves baked up really nice, like where you get that crispy edge around the outside and it was all melty chewy in the middle and the tops crack a little bit- super!! Plus the dough got browner (due to saturation of the flour with the water) so they look better. And, it's hard to judge, but I think the taste was better. I did not bake a control batch, so who knows.

Unfortunately, I also think that the extended time that gave the cookies a richer taste also allowed for the baking soda to permeate? the cookie too. D. said they tasted like baking soda. Boo. So next time I'll drop the baking soda and then we'll see if we don't have chocolate chip crackers...

Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance

1 C Earth Balance margarine (2 sticks) (48)
1 1/4 C sugar (20)
1 T molasses (1)
2 t vanilla
2 1/2 C all purpose flour (20)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C chocolate chips (12)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together margarine and sugar until fluffy.
Add molasses and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by teaspoonfulls 2" apart on greased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 - 10m until slightly browned, remove and cool on sheets 5m, then on cooling rack.
Makes 3 dozen.

I got 4 dozen.
better with refrigeration (24 hrs), but reduce baking soda to 1/2 t.
Next up, this Napa Cabbage Salad. This was an amalgamation of several recipes. It was pretty good, but next time I'd double the dressing or something- it didn't really pop like I wanted it to...
I have to admit I'm kind of a sucker for recipes that use things like a package of ramen noodles in a salad. Must be my roots showing...

Napa Cabbage Salad

1 Napa cabbage, julienned
2 C edamame
8 green onions, sliced thin
1 carrot, grated
1 pkg ramen noodles, souop packet reserved and noodles crumbled
1/4 C sliced almonds
2 T sesame seeds

1/4 C olive oil (16)
2 T sesame oil (8)
3 T rice wine vinegar
2 T sugar (2)
packet ramen soup mix

Toast the sesame seeds, almonds and ramen noodles in a large skillet, stirring constantly. Set aside.
Blend dressing.
Chop veggies and toss everything together.
If refrigerating, add toasted noodles, almonds and sesame seeds right before serving.

Makes a lot!

In lieu of ramen soup packet, use soy sauce.
Could double dressing.
Finally, here's what we took out on the boat for a picnic- Tofu Dill Salad Sandwiches. This was also from Vegan with a Vengeance! It was a great way to use up that dill from the CSA.

1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and pressed (8)
3 T red onion, diced fine
3 T Vegenaise (9)
1/2 C fresh dill, chopped
2 t Dijon mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Crumble tofu in a bowl, mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Refrigerate before serving.

Okay, still reading through "Meeting at Corvallis" by Stirling, it's good.
No knitting this weekend.
That's all for today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Peel This!

So here we have our csa veggies! We got some old favorites, such as arugula, snap peas and lettuce, and so many good new things... I was particularly excited about the basil!!!

Scallions... going to use this in a salad with the Napa cabbage from last week...
Green beans! Gonna saute these up and have them tonight (well, at least some, we got a big bag full!).

Beets! These are dangerous in a household with children!! Maybe D. and I will have to have them after the kids are down... romantic beets! I will cut them into heart shapes... or maybe not -grin-.
Zukes!! I anticipated soooo many zukes I sort of stocked up on zucchini recipes and so I'm kinda bummed it was a hard year for them! These were so good last night just sauteed in oil with a little pepper and garlic salt! Oh, and I added oregano and some ?thyme?- I'm having problems keeping my herbs straight. Yummm.
Popcorn! Our CSA is so cool! They secretly kept some of the popcorn they grew last year and suprised us with this! We will always remember the first time we made this and D., shall we say, exfoliated his hands right well! If you don't have super callused hands, use gloves to rub the kernels off!!

Garlic! That we pulled on Saturday!! Fresh garlic is fun! Whenever I am peeling garlic, I always imagine Isa saying that you can really tell a lot about a person by how they peel garlic... (I think it was in one of their shows, but I didn't have the patience to look through all the videos!). Well, begone selfconsciousness! Fresh garlic is a breeze to peel compared to dried.

Baby fennel! Salad? I'm not sure. I love it's licoricey taste.
And finally, last night's meal. Said zuchinni and rice with cashew sauce. The sauce is basically Dragonfly's Bulk Dry Uncheeze Mix scaled down and made fresh.

Cashew Sauce

1 C raw unsalted cashews (16)
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, cut into chunks
1/2 t onion powder
1 T cornstarch
1/2 t salt
1 C water

Process all ingredients except water.
Scrape into pot, add water slowly and heat until thick.
It was really good.

Liking the Stirling book.
Started knitting a baby sweater!! Yay, me!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You Loon!

Well, yesterday was a blast, we went to a new park by us and it was really nice!! Can you believe we saw little fish in the water and some loons on the lake while the kids splashed in the water? Sweet, sweet Minnesota!

Last night we had Pumpkin Kibbeh, I found the recipe here. It was pretty good, I'll use less pepper next time, I think. It was pretty peppery. So from 1/2 t it has been changed to 'to taste'- how's that for diplomatic? I thought it was pretty good, but my husband, D., was not a fan. Alas. Perhaps I will search at the coop for fine bulghur to see if that's what I had or not. Also, in googling for this recipe just now, I came across all these ones that were stuffed, and that sounds a lot more fun and good. Maybe I'll try that next time.

1 can pumpkin (2)
1 C fine bulghur (8)
1 t coriander
1 t allspice
1 t cumin
1 t salt
pepper to taste
1 med onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 C flour (4)
1 T olive oil (4)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil 2 C water and pour the 1 C of bulghur in. Let sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Process everything except that last T of oil until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
Pour into a greased 8 - 9" casserole and smooth flat. Pour 1 T olive oil over the top, spreading it so it covers the surface. Bake 20 - 25m until top is dry and deep brown. Alternately, make into patties and fry.

Finished "The Gate to Women's Country"- that was quick! See, I can't figure out if it's just that I don't like the heavy axe she's grinding or if it really is that she has just written a book soley to grind said axe. That, I do not like.

Of course I can think of authors that I love that have wierd themes they always write about- Ray Bradbury, for example, and his love/obsession with small towns and carnivals and so forth. His obsession, shall we say, fuels great ideas and his talent for writing makes for great stories about said obsessions. With Tepper, (this last one was better than "The Visitor" was, btw) I feel like she had this idea- "Women are oppressed" and then she just dragged me along through the whole book for it. Maybe I should go read some Margaret Atwood or something to compare.

Have started Stirling's next book in the series I'm reading through, A Meeting in Corvallis, I think it's called.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Good Dinner

Well, I found this one surfing around, clicking on links from Something Out of Nothing, looked easy, so I thought I'd try it. I was particularly interested if it would taste like hummus. Ha!
So, it didn't, it was pretty good. Basic, but good. Not as bland as other chickpea dishes I've made before. If you made this with fresh herbs it would be so, soooo much better, I'm guessing. Also, I dropped the 1/2 C of oil to 1/4 C and next time I could probably even go down to 2 T if I was really feeling the need.

Pasta with Chickpea Sauce

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (6)
1/4 C olive oil (16)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I just used one, we have fresh garlic, is fresh garlic milder or more garlic-y than the stuff you buy at the store?)
1 onion, chopped
1 T minced parsley/1 t parsley
12 basil leaves, torn/1 t basil
1 tiiiiny, tiny tidge garlic chili sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pasta (32)

Place all but 1/4 C chickpeas in a processor with 1 C of water. Process until completely processed.
In a large pot, saute onions and garlic, add tomatoes, processed and unprocessed chickpeas, spices and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 30m, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, boil up your pasta.
When sauce is ready and pasta is ready, discard the bay leaf, drain the pasta (reserving 1/4 C pasta water) and stir pasta into sauce. Thin with pasta water if needed.

total points, 54. Makes 8 C, 7 points per cup.

Finished "The Sparrow", it was so good I recommended it to my husband, which is high praise indeed! Read it! Read it! Read it! Mary Doria Russell has even more books, I'm so excited! There's a sequel!

At first you are all like, geez, hurry up with the mystery, I just want to know what happened, but then you start getting hints about what it might be and you're all like, "Nooo-ooo! Don't tell me! I'm scared!" and then things take a turn for the better and you're all super invested in these characters and so you're really having fun hearing about what happened. Super interesting thoughts about religion and suffering. Wow. Maybe I am just a sci fi nut, but really, I do think it's good.

Onward to "The Gate to Women's Country" by Sheri Tepper- this was the originally recommended book by her and I thought I'd give her another chance. So far, so good. It's building kind of slowly.

No knitting, the yarn is in the garage and I haven't had a chance to really get out there and get what I need.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Arduous Plethoras

We were in a hurry to get out the door Sunday morning, but I was starving, so I whipped up these babies... it's 1 C Bisquick Heart Healthy mix, 1 scant C soymilk and 1 T flax seeds. They turned out great! Whee! So easy! So fast!
And here we have a riff off of Veganomicon's black bean burgers and the cilantro sauce that's in there. I sort of had the lime to use and had some cilantro left and lo! the sauce was borned!
And right there in the book it tells you that the sauce is good over the bean burgers but I didn't have any buns and so I decided to 'deconstruct' the burgers, and lo, it was good.

Boca and Black Beans with Cilantro Lime Sauce

1 can black beans (4)
1 pkt Boca ground product (2)
1 T oil (4)
1 t cumin
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch cayenne

On med high heat, saute the onion, then garlic, in the oil. Add Boca, beans, and spices, mixing well with each addition.

Makes approx 2 C @ 3 points per 1/2 C.

Meanwhile, the sauce;

1/2 pkg silken tofu (2)
1/4 C cilantro
1 T lime juice (approx 1/2 lime's worth)
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 clove garlic
2 T canola oil (8)

Blend it all up. It will turn green.
Makes approx 1 C @ 3 points per 1/4th C.

Started reading "The Sparrow" and wow! it's good! I'm so excited! A good book! Hooray!

No knitting, feeling distinctly unmotivated. All I want to do is buy some fancy Habu yarn to reknit my scarf in, must see if I have any birthday money left...
Also toying with a baby sweater idea, but getting out yarn and starting seems arduous. I should, because I know a plethora of babies are due like, right now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Ayes Have It

Well, what a wonderful weekend we've had! My friends B. and S. left yesterday morning, and we had such a good time! B. was here to play on his tour with his band, The Del Ripleys! While he was gone S. and I hit the town! We saw a busker playing down by the river, had the antique shop owner whose store we visited follow us all around the store as we looked at cast iron pans, old Pyrex and jewelry, and we stopped at a cafe where the owner's tires had been slashed! Good times! Oh, and the day before we hit a going out of business sale 90 percent off and I scored a pair of pants and a shirt (thanks, S.!). Can't beat shopping with a girlfriend, we had lots of fun.

Oh, can't forget the blueberry picking!! We went to the Blueberry Fields of Stillwater, we were nearly the first people there on this, their first day of their first year!! We will definitely return, they were so great with the kids- had special baskets of books for the kids to look at, which really came in handy! We were there early and so it was nice and cool and we had the pick of the patch. A very fun morning and we will be back.

Anyway, on to the food!

I made Easy Macaroni and Cheeze and boy was it! Thanks, Susan! I was a little nervous when I tasted it at first, but when we sat down and served it up, everyone ate up! But I am just a nervous nellie. It was so easy, did I mention that? Plus, low fat! This will be a regular player in our stable of household recipes.

Easy Macaroni and Cheeze

1 lb pasta
1 1/4 C water
1 C soymilk (2)
3/4 C nutritional yeast
3 T cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
1 t salt
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t dry mustard
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t turmeric
pinch cayenne
2 T tahini (5)
1 t miso
pepper to taste

Boil up your pasta.
Blend up everything else.
Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 C. (I didn't do this)
Return pasta to pot, pour sauce over and stir until boiling and thick.
Thin with pasta water if needed. (I didn't need to do this)

use less turmeric
used 1 T miso

Next is just a picture of what we used some of our perfect blueberries for- a crisp made by S. She doesn't use a recipe, but I guess it's pretty simple. Didn't use a lot of sugar 'cause the berries were so sweet and just some oats and brown sugar and Earth Balance to top.

Finally was a cake I made for our csa's garlic harvest party!! Woo! It was a success! I don't know what I did differently (than other vegan cakes I've made), or if it was just the recipe, but it turned out so well (I thought).

Our day at the farm was so fun, as usual, and E. got to hold a chick- Lyle (so named for her rockin' hairstyle). Lyle was the smallest and therefore, easiest, chick to catch. Plus, fresh garlic! that I am so excited to use.

Super Moist Chocolate Cake w/ strawberry frosting

1 1/2 C flour (12)
3 T cocoa
1 t baking soda
1 C white or brown sugar (16)
1/2 t salt
1/4 C + 1 T canola oil (20)
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t vanilla
1 C cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 9" pan.
Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt well with fork or whisk. Do not allow there to be any lumps! If you have a child eager to help, let them help with this part. If you have some inherent drive to mix, mix, mix, do it here, not after you add the wet ingredients. Alternately, use a mesh strainer to sift the dry ingredients- so much more fun!
Add wet ingredients and mix until moistened, DO NOT OVERMIX!, there can be some lumps.
Pour cake batter into pan* and bake 30m or until it tests done.

*if you're not going to frost this, check the top of the cake for any bubbles and if there are any, lightly tap the pan on the counter once to break them before you put it in the oven.

strawberry frosting- modeled after Best Frosting Ever

2 T Earth Balance (6)
1 T soymilk
1 T strawberry jelly (1)
1 C powdered sugar (8)

Nuke the butter (just 11 seconds or so!) in your mixing bowl. Mix in the soymilk and jelly (removing any big pieces of strawberry). Sift in the sugar and mix well. Pour over cake!

All told, if you cut this cake into 16 pieces it's 4 points a piece which is a lot better than most cakes, actually. And it's so, so good!

I used a scant cup of sugar and 2 T brown sugar
you can double this for a 13 x 9" pan but don't double the vinegar
if making cupcakes, bake time is 15m
next time I'll whip the frosting, ooooh, fancy.

Finished "Jewel"- felt like I was hacking through a forest. Must. have. closure. Question: will there be a final reckoning? No. Just namby pamby soft focus stuff. Sometimes I like a good smackdown, but, I guess, like life, things are grey. We do do our best with what life gives us. I guess that is the moral of the story.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Corn and Bean Salad and csa veg

Chinese cabbage- don't know what to do with this yet, our csa gave us a recipe for refrigerator kim chee!! That would be fun!
And we got beautiful flowers!!
Here is some dill I'm pretty excited about! Tofu dill sandwiches, anyone? Maybe those pickles you can make in the sun?
Sweet onions- very cool... I was recently reading through some old recipes from my grandmother and there was this recipe for poached onions where you boil them? and I was thinking that might be fun to try? but probably not with yummy csa onions...
Snow peas! We got snap peas, too! Soooo great for snacking on, just straight. Nom.
These are thumbelina carrots. We'll see what happens with these, if we don't just eat them raw.
We also got scapes (the last of the season) and lettuce. I was hoping for zucchini, but I guess that will come... bug problems.
Our friends B. and S. are here from Milwaukee and so we had a grill out last night- nothing too fancy I am afraid, but the salad was good! There are a million iterations of this on the internet, but I thought this version was quite yummy!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, drained
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 jicama, diced small
1 avacado, diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine approx. 1/2 C
2 T oil
1/2 lime's worth of juice
1 T cumin
1 t salt
1/4 t chili powder

Prep all ingredients and mix together. Tada!
If you're going to refrigerate it for a while, add the onions just before serving (onions get slimy if you leave them in). Oh, and the salt, too.

I thought the lime really made this salad- I've tried it before with balsamic (1 T), but the lime juice was just so much better! Really. And the jicama added a fun crunch. And the chili powder you could up or whatever, but we are mild midwesterners.

No reading yesterday.

Trying to find the perfect yarn for my new design! Having fun looking on Ravelry...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fry 'em up!

Here's what we had for lunch yesterday. I started with the bamboo rice and kind of went from there... so, to be fancy it is bamboo rice on a bed of arugula served with sweet miso salad dressing and craisins. Hmm... adding 'craisins' at the end sort of kills it, don't you think? No matter, it was good! I'll try again, 'Bamboo rice served over a bed of rocket with sweet miso dressing and dried cranberries'. That's better!

Sweet Miso Salad Dressing -thanks lolo!

1 T miso, heaping (I used the miso in the yellow container? it's yellow?)
1 T sugar
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 t balsamic vinegar
2 pinches salt
pepper to taste

1/4 C vegetable oil
2 T hot water

Whisk together first 6 ingredients, then slowly whisk in oil. Add water to thin if desired.
Makes about 1/2 C dressing, 2 points per T.

next time I would just blend this all in the blender, although it is such a small amount, really, but then I'd probably add more water, maybe 1/2 C water total.
I could eat this with a spoon! I really like it!

And here's what finally transpired with the seitan. I fried it as postulated. Supporting the theory, you can fry anything and it will taste better.
I breaded it, woo!, haven't done that much...
Slice up your seitan.
I got roughly 21 pieces.
Make your breading. Here's what I used;
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1 T corn meal (for crunch!)
1 t garlic granules
1/2 t salt
and I added about 2 T of fresh herbs to it and whizzed it all up in the blender.
Mix up 1 T ener-g egg replacer to 2 T water in a bowl. This will be your 'wet' that you dip first. ?You could also use a flour water mix? I just had ener-g and I never use it for baking so I thought I'd use some up for this.
Then dip your seitan in wet, then dry.
Oh yeah, have a big 'ol skillet going with oil in it (I used 1 T oil for 3 slices at a time).
Fry 'em up!

I read here that you should refrigerate cookie dough for up to 36 hours for better flavor (actually, what I read there was that they vacuum sealed the dough in a plastic bag, I read about the long 'rest' for the dough in their link to the NYTimes). Wonder what difference it would make with vegan cookies (no eggs, so no liquid from there to soak up). In the name of science, I shall try!! Anything for science.

Still enjoying "Jewel".

Finished my scarf finally!!! Oh joy, oh rapturous raptures!
I washed it, and conditioned it (to help with the scratchies) and called it george, no, wait, I washed it and conditioned it and threw it in the drier! I should go check on it, left it to dry the rest of the way airdry.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Garlic Scape Pesto

So here it is, the correct Garlic Scape Pesto! I know you've all been holding your breath to see whether I'd get it right...
Well I did!
when you're cutting your 1" sections and you're starting from the bottom and the knife makes a sound that's like cutting through wood? that means the stems are woody and you shouldn't use those parts...
also, set your dishwasher on 'tough scrub' setting...

Really this just makes me long for basil, basil, BASIL!!!!!! Must. make. pesto. now...

It's pretty tedious pinching off the herb leaves of whatever herb you're using, did you know that?!?

Next time I'll try and just use the tender parts of the scape (this second batch was less tender).
Oh, and I'll try the blender, and if I'm really daring, I'll up the oil to 1/2 C.

Now I'm sucked into that Jewel book, what can I say? SPOILER She has a Down's baby and the book is an exploration of what happens to the family in reaction to this. Pretty gripping. We'll see what happens- no moral smackdown yet.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mysterious Seitan

Good morning!
Well, I finally took the plunge and tried the crockpot seitan. It was not a success.
I used this recipe and was unsure how much water to add to the crockpot, so I just took a tip from some other recipes and put in enough to cover.
I think the taste was fine, actually. But I didn't knead the seitan or anything and I think I should have squashed it flatter into the crockpot instead of in a round loaf.
Doesn't that soup look seitanic, though? I put chard stalks in it so it turned red.
I didn't get the gravy I was hoping for, so I just used the broth for a soup and whatever bits and bobs of the seitan were floating were- tada! in the soup.
Now I've got a big blog of seitan in my fridge, just waiting for whatever I'm going to do to it... mwah-ha-ha -haaaa! Oh, and, I'm storing it not in the broth!! You're always supposed to keep the seitan in the broth, I wonder what will happen, will it develop consciousness and rise up and lead the condiments to justice?
So, maybe it was the conversions into cups from oz or something...

Crockpot Seitan ala Mystery

dry ingredients;
1 1/4 C vital wheat gluten
1/2 C + 2 T chickpea flour
3 T nutritional yeast
1 T brown sugar
1 T garlic granules
1 t salt
1 t oregano, crushed between fingers (I did remember this!)
1 t thyme, cbf
1/2 t tarragon, cbf
pinch celery powder

wet ingredients;
1 C water
1/2 C olive oil
3 T soy sauce
1 T liquid smoke (not three like in the original post)

For in the crockpot;
oil to grease crockpot
a few carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
bay leaf
6 C water or water to cover seitan

Mix dry together in mixer, then add wet. Freak out because dough is waaay wet. Go to chop onion and carrots. Come back and feel relieved that seitan is something I can actually put into a ball shape form now.
Grease crockpot.
Put seitan blob in, dump carrots and onions in, add bay leaf.
Cover with water.
Cook on high for 4 hours.

Well, I'm agonna take that seitan and slice it up reeeel thin like, and then I'm agonna bread it and fry it. Uh huh.

Still reading Jewel, got sucked in by interesting birthing stuff. If it turns out to be one of those dirty laundry/one woman's triumph over adversity books, I'm outtie.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It niggles at me...

Well, I am on a chickpea flour roll. Here's a tidbit- if you add rice flour 1/4 C to 3/4 C chickpea flour, your chickpea pancakes/cakes/crepes whatever will come out crispier!! It really works!
Anyway, I am so enthralled with chickpea flour, I just made up a recipe for lunch yesterday. And I used up some of our kale, too!

Savoury Cakes

1 C flour (8)
1/2 C chickpea/besan/gram flour (4)
1/2 C corn meal (4)
1 C soymilk
1 C water
1/4 C oil
2 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
1 t baking powder
1 C chopped kale

Blend everything except the kale. Allow the batter to rest/develop while you saute the kale in a little oil. When it's pretty well cooked and nothing else seems to be happening to it except that it is starting to brown/burn, add a splash of water and stir, stir, stir, until the kale is a little wilted. Fold the kale into your batter.
Heat your skillet on med-high, add 1 t oil and pour in batter to make 4-5" rounds.
Cook up to 5m on the first side, 3m on the second.
Makes 12 cakes @ 37 points total = 3 points per pancake.

I made split pea soup yesterday for supper, because it was something that could sit on the stove while we ran around and rearranged the livingroom. You will be excited to learn that I am facing a DIFFERENT wall now when I type these posts (actually, it's pretty cool). I based this off of Alison's Famous Easy Pea Soup from but of course I changed the spices. The joy of cooking!

Split Pea Soup

2 C split peas, rinsed (8)
6 - 8 C water
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t celery seed powder
1 T vegetable broth powder
1 t liquid smoke
2 T oil (8)
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t pepper

Saute onion, then garlic in oil. Add peas and spices. Add water (start with 6 C and add more later) and bring to a boil, simmer 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Use an immersion blender or blend in batches until smooth.
Makes 8 C @ 16 points total = 2 points/C

Started the Oprah book club book, it was the next one in the pile, "Jewel" by Bret Lott. So far SPOILER she has found out she is a Native American. It's one of those from a woman's point of view, set in the olden days, looking back upon her life type of dealies. We shall see.

No knitting, got to show off my scarf to a friend who oohed and ahhed over it, so that was nice. I stopped halfway through a row when she showed up at the coffeeshop and now it's bugging me. The incomplete row niggles at the back of my mind... I can feel the stitches stretching out as they sit all askew in their Ziploc bag all scrunched up and forlorn... what?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blow by Blow

Look who came to our house last night!!! We've seen lots of frogs in our yard which I think is pretty cool. I think this one was a gray treefrog or a Cope's gray treefrog. Frogs are pretty amazing creatures! Just think, this frog may have overwintered using antifreeze it makes itself!! Top that!
We were at REI yesterday for most of the afternoon buying stuff, so we didn't get home until 5. What did I whip up? Well, we had some frozen red lentil soup which I heated up and then I decided to make Besan Puda. I thought it was really good! And it used up some more of the cilantro! Very filling and tasty.

Besan Puda

1 C gram flour (8)
1/4 C brown rice flour (2)
1/4 t salt
3/4 C water
1 t cumin seeds
1/4 onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 t oil for each puda

Makes 3 big pudas, roughly 4 points each.

Mix the flours, salt and cumin seeds.
Saute the onions, then garlic in a teaspoon of oil.
Slowly add the water, mixing well each time, until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.
Heat a nonstick skillet on med high, add 1 t oil and 1/2 C of the mixture. Cook 5m, then flip, then 3m or until browned.

could saute the cumin seeds with the onion and garlic
can use grated zucchini/finely chopped spinach/shredded potatoes/finely shredded cabbage
can use more oil
can use up to 1 t salt
next time use 1/4 C measure to measure out batter and use a spoon to spread it more thinly over skillet, also lower heat.

Amongst many other camping related things, including duffel bags for !more organizational power!, we bought these utensils for camping (needed a spatula). I really like guyot designs, we gave out fireflys for Christmas a few years ago and have heard nothing but rave reviews. Hah, now I'm doing product reviews. I'll stop while I'm ahead.

Finished "The Visitor" by Sheri S. Tepper. Parts of it were great and really engaging. I really got into the book in the middle, but at the beginning and end she is a little heavy handed about laying out her philosophy. When authors spell it out blow by blow I feel like I'm being preached at (which is ironic, really, as she is obviously not into organized religion). Not sure I'd wade through another due to this fact.

On to more reading!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Do you know what I do in the morning when I use my french press* and it's going soooo sloooow when I press it down? I pretend I'm a fancy European who is part of the slow food movement and I try and repress my impatient American "I want my coffee nooooww!" response. Okay, so I know my bought-at-Target Yuban Organic ground coffee is not anywhere near their goals, but it's one step closer from my former instant coffee drinking!
We had friends over last night and so I made some fixins! It was pretty hot yesterday so I picked out some cool things to make and then my husband just grilled some Tofurkys on the grill. Oh! And our friends brought marinated Portabellas that we grilled too! And they were so good! I'll have to get that marinade from her...

We got cilantro from our CSA, like a big bunch, so I have a lot for more salads or whatever...
I just chopped up a few strawberries, half a jicama, one orange and yellow pepper and half a red onion and then tossed them with 1/2 C chopped cilantro, 1 T balsamic vinegar and 2 T olive oil. It was pretty good, but next time I'd double the balsamic and olive oil and add lettuce. Without lettuce it was kind of like a slaw, kind of like a salsa but neither, really. It was saslaw! Anyway, it was very light and summery and good, whatever you choose to call it.
Next up was this deliciously rich Tofu Chocolate Pie! I ran out of vanilla extract so I subbed in almond and thus the almonds on top! It was quite serendipitous that I had sliced almonds to decorate! I feel so fancy! I was actually debating the almond extract, but then I caved and thought, 'no, better go with what I know' and then I started pouring the vanilla into the teaspoon measure and drip, drip, drip and suddenly I was like 'well, I guess we're going with the almond, then!'. I'm not sure you could really taste the almond except that maybe it made it taste richer somehow.

Chocolate Tofu Pie

1 box soft silken tofu (5)
1 C vegan chocolate chips (16)
1 C powdered sugar (16)
1 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
graham cracker crust (24)
a few sliced almonds (you didn't actually expect me to count them, did you?)

8! points per 8th

Blend tofu and extracts in food processor until smooth.
Pour chips into a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup or other microwave safe vessel and nuke 1m. Remove and stir until chips are melted. Pour into tofu mixture and process well, scraping down sides. Add powdered sugar (sort of fold this in before you process it, thus avoiding a powdered sugar mushroom cloud) and process well, scraping down sides periodically.
Pour into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.

Okay, I take it back on the Shari T. book, "The Visitor". I stayed up last night reading. So it's good. I have been drawn in. Now my only worry is that I'll be dragged into some long series of books and be thwarted by the library's missing one of them. I don't think she can wrap up what she's started with how many pages she has left. Curses!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nothing if not thorough.

Close up of cilantro!
And arugula, snap peas, lettuce and garlic scapes (time to try that pesto recipe out again!).
Vegan Dad's Perfect Tempeh Burger with Browned Chickpea Flour Gravy! These were good! I even went to 'the big store' (Cub) to get the HP sauce and the browning sauce it called for! Wow, browning sauce iz teh cool! I feel like I'm learning so many things lately with food! Like, also at Cub, I got gram flour and then when I was reading that Chickpea Flour Pizza recipe, it said to crush the dried herbs between your fingers and I did that and I think it helped (of course I promptly forgot and didn't do it on this recipe)! And I've never done that before! And I got Paprika paste, so that will be fun to try out... and some moong dal... well, anyway, on to the recipe!

Perfect Tempeh Burgers

1 pkg tempeh (9)*
1/2 C bread crumbs (2)
1/2 C vital wheat gluten (2)
2 t ground fennel seed**
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
1/2 t parsley
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
2 T soy sauce
2 T HP sauce
1/4 t browning sauce
1/4 C water
1 T oil

13 points total, divided by 6 = 2 points per pattie plus ?2? for the oil = 4 points per pattie

Crumble the tempeh into a small skillet and add water with 2 T soy sauce to cover. Simmer 10m. Remove from heat and drain and cool.
Mix tempeh with bread crumbs, vital wheat gluten and spices. Add soy sauce, HP sauce and browning sauce, mixing well. Slowly add water until it makes a dough. Knead a few times and roll into a thick cylinder and divide into 6ths. Using your palms, press each into a pattie and fry in oil in a large skillet 5m each side.

*Vegan Dad said that after simmering the tempeh, you might have to use less or no water or more vital wheat gluten, but I didn't find this to be the case. It could have been my bread crumbs, I used storebought, and those things are as dry as the dickens.
**I got to be all knarly and used my rolling pin to crush the fennel seeds!

Browned Chickpea Flour Gravy (adapted from Killer Brown Gravy from Vegan Lunchcast)

1/4 C chickpea flour (2)
1/2 C plain soymilk (1)
1 T Earth Balance (3)
1/4 t salt
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
pinch black pepper or to taste
1/2 C water

5 points makes approximately 1 C gravy

In a small skillet over med high heat, brown the chickpea flour, stirring constantly. Don't worry if it gets lumpy.
Add flour to blender with soymilk and blend until smooth.*
Meanwhile, melt Earth Balance in heavy bottomed pot and remove from heat. Pour flour mixture in and add salt and spices. Mix well and return to low heat, stirring constantly. Slowly add water until it is the consistency you want. Serve quickly (the chickpea flour really soaks up the water, so it gets thick quick!).
*to avoid use of blender, you could try and sieve your flour first, then brown it, then mix it with the butter (no liquid yet) and then add the milk and water SLOWLY (as you would a roux).

Still reading the Sheri T. book, it's at least interesting.
No knitting, temps forecast to be in the 90's today! Will have to finally break down and turn on the air conditioner.

P. S. Do not tell me what that gravy looks like. I told you it thickens up quickly!