Monday, November 24, 2008

A Doughy Coupla Days

First up, Coconut Curry Tofu Bake with Mushrooms and Chickpeas, sans mushrooms.
This came from one of my favorite sites, Just the Food.
This was very good, especially with the sauce. The base of the casserole was a dough and tofu mixture and mine came out a little gooey... perhaps next time I'd prebake the bottom a little to crispen it up and then put the toppings on. Another fun idea would be to combine the sauce with the chickpeas right in the casserole. Holy cow this was rich and good, though.
Thanks Joni!!

And next up is Beans 'n' dumplings (scroll down)
This was a good supper, but next time I'll just make my dumplings the way I always do- separately and without the tofu in there.
I think I mismeasured the amount of silken tofu to make the dough for the dumplings (I used 2/3 of a package silken tofu)- I had to add quite a bit of flour (more like 2 C instead of the 1 C called for in the recipe) to get a dough. And then these were chewy, not fluffy. Now, I'm not saying they weren't good, but they were doughy. It's been a doughy coupla days.

Well, I feel like I'm living in a fable or something... you've heard of nursemaid's elbow? well I've got washerwoman's wrist (really it's washerwoman's sprain, but I like the alliteration). Yes, Flylady gave me washerwoman's wrist. Why oh why can I never do things moderately??!?

So of course, now all of a sudden I've got a million knitting projects I want to be working on, plus I still would like to clean my house, plus writing and so forth... but I have to rest my wrist. I'm trying to take the long view, like, not damaging myself and stuff, so moderation here I come.

Finished Good Omens, a lovely book. Really enjoyed it and so, so much fun. Glad I own it, to boot! If you like Ray Bradbury crossed with Douglas Adams, you're in business (just kidding, I hate it when people compare authors to other authors, but there you go).

Not going to finish "Twilight of the Superheroes", could just not figure out where she was going and it was a little too introspective or something...

Started "I Sailed with Magellan" reminds me of "Middlesex" for some reason, maybe it's this plunge into another persons worldview that's so strong. Interesting so far. Characters that are larger than life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Snarky Humour

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Chili Topped Sweet Potatoes
with Mole sauce

This time I just sauteed up a small onion and quite a few cloves of garlic and then added a couple of tablespoons of prepared Mole sauce. And a can of black beans. It was good, and now I know what to do with that jar of Mole sauce in my refrigerator.

Oh, and I also washed and didn't dry the sweet potatoes and placed them in the bottom of my rather large slow cooker and cooked them on low all day. So good. I highly recommend.

This was Cabbage Dal. I used my Fail Proof Dal recipe, plus a little curry powder. Now, it's not real pretty, but it did the trick and somehow, miraculously, the cabbage made it oh so much better without leaving any cabbage taste. Bizarre.

Here we have the lovely Blueberry Muffin. Started making this before I realized I was out of all purpose flour... so I used 1 C whole wheat and 1/2 C some fancy flour I got at the coop like pastry flour or something that I'm never going to use properly. Used the frozen blueberries we picked so late in the season at Cain's Orchard. Very yummy. Ate way too many.

And another repeat, Garbanzo Paprikash with Dumplings. Love. It. Decided to not make the dumplings green by using celery seed powder this time.

So, I started reading "Twilight of the Superheroes" because the author was recommended by Francine Prose who wrote "Reading like a Writer", actually I just took the back section where she has her list of books to read right now and opened it up and just walked the stacks at the library looking for the authors. So I found some books.

BUT THEN when I was at Goodwill yesterday morning I found "Good Omens" which I've been trying to get at the library forever and there it was- it was like a light streamed down from the heavens, yea and I arose from my shopping cart and procured it. Hooray!

And what with my newfound Terry Pratchett love, I find it so fitting to be reading this now.

Lots of snarky humour.

I think the reason I like Gaiman is because he writes the stories that I fantasized that the goth boys I had crushes on in high school lived. And how's that for escapism, huh?

So, Good Omens, very good.

"Twilight of the Superheroes" was about 9/11 and so, there's that. Maybe I will get back to it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Red It Is

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Bread and Soup!

I got this Shepherd's Bread recipe off of a Ravelry forum and in my quest to try lots of different white bread recipes, gave it a shot!

It is very similar to other bread recipes I have tried, just without the butter (read; Earth Balance).

So I mixed it up yesterday and it made a quite nice loaf, very serviceable for a soup supper. Then, because the loaf baked for 45m and I didn't have enough space on my stone for both loaves, I punched and kneaded down the second loaf, shaped it and put it in a loaf pan to rise for a second rise during that 45 m. Woo! A loaf of sandwich bread which we had for breakfast this morning with almond butter and homemade jam. Nice. This was fun and useful and I may just do it again! Perhaps I will even monkey with it and add margarine and potato flakes and vital wheat gluten...

Then, to go with it, I made Split Pea Soup from the awesome 101 Cookbooks site. Yes, you can see that I made this exactly as she did, even down to the garnish (okay, I did use 1 C yellow split peas for one of the 2 C)!!

I must admit, this recipe inaugurated me into the world of using freshly squeezed lemon. Usually I sort of think it's a bit pretentious to use freshly squeezed lemon but that's a hangup I'm going to hang up. Now to see if I can actually have them at hand when I need them.

This was another quick supper (like the Pasta Alfako dinner) that turned out well. Everyone ate it, even the baby! I was sort of weirded out at how red it was, guess I haven't had Manwich in a while...

1 can Manwich (yes, it is vegan- yay!)
1/2 C TVP
1 C elbow macaroni
1/4 C ketchup (you could use tomato paste if you do not consider ketchup an ingredient as opposed to it's just being a condiment)
2 T HP sauce
2 T oil
1 onion, chopped

Put on your water to boil up the pasta and boil it up when the water boils. Drain. Set aside.
Nuke a 2 C Pyrex measuring cup of water in the microwave for 5m until it boils. Add the 1/2 C TVP and let it hydrate while you saute the onion. Drain.
In a large pot, saute the onions in the oil. Add the drained TVP and macaroni and mix well. Add the Manwich, ketchup and HP sauce. Simmer until thick.

Not much reading.
Left my knitting at a friend's house, d'oh! Finally got the gumption to get out some yarn and needles and then I go and leave it somewhere! Heavens!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking Forward to Leftovers

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

I have had this recipe for Rotini Alfako by the fabulous VeganYumYum for what seems like forever, let's see, posted Dec. 11th 2006- not sure if I got it then or shortly thereafter, but anyway, SERIOUSLY it's been a long time coming. I know I've pulled it out to make and then put it back without having made it. Finally I mentally designated one of our cans of coconut milk for this and this week it finally got made! I am so glad I finally did!!! People, this is good! A quick, rich pasta sauce? Sign me up! I can guarantee that we'll be having this again.

I made it just as written, except I used soy sauce instead of tamari, used ground pepper instead of fresh cracked (I'm so unfancy), and 1 T cornstarch.
Oh, and I also blended everything together instead of just stirring it together in the sauce pan- I'm crazy like that.

Boiled up my spaghetti, tossed in some frozen peas (right into the spaghetti pot! with the spaghetti!), drained it all and slathered with the sauce! Boom! So good!

This makes a fair amount of sauce, I used it over a whole 16 oz box of spaghetti. So it makes a lot, but I'm really looking forward to leftovers!

No reading. Hope you have a great weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

'Kay, So Why Did I Blend the Tomatoes?

What We Had For Dinner Last Night

Nacho Chips!!

Finding this queso recipe (love that Pyrex, btw!)
+ some roasted chilis from our CSA that needed to be used up
+ nacho chips on sale at the coop
+ Boca ground 'beef' in the house
+ a can of black olives
= Nacho Chip Dinner!

Here's how I made my queso, it's mostly the same...

Whizz up your roasted chilis (I think they were jalapeno?) with some water, then decide you're going to add this to the queso.
For some reason add the tomatoes plus everything else excepting the paprika, plus a few cloves of garlic (like, many). Use oil instead of Earth Balance margarine (I'm cheap these days!). Oh heck, I'll just type it out for you...

Queso Why Did I Blend the Tomatoes? (Get it, 'kay, so?, ha ha maybe not)

1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C flour
1 t salt
bunch of chiles, roasted
1 t cumin
4 mild cloves garlic (this is stuff from the grocery store, not the CSA)
1 C water
can diced tomatoes
2 T oil
2 t prepared mustard

Blend all in blender. Cook on stove until thick. Add 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water if you're impatient like me...
Makes a full 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup full.

Brown your Boca in a Tablespoon of oil and add taco seasoning;

Homemade Taco Seasoning (couldn't find the original recipe to cite, but there are many)

2 T dried minced onion
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t oregano
salt to taste
1 C water

I didn't have chili powder (what's wrong with me?!?) so I subbed some cayenne powder and ancho chile powder and WHOO! was that hot!!!

Then slice up your can of black olives and serve.

Next time, use RoTel tomatoes with chiles, and don't add the tomatoes, or maybe I will...

Then, the other night we had soup. I am on a soup kick, hey?

This made a lot of soup, like, 14 C. The original recipe calls for a 4 quart soup pot, but, ah, I used my giant soup pot when it didn't all fit into my 6 qt. slow cooker.

Cranberry Bean and Root Vegetable Soup
loosely based off of Cranberry bean, lacinato kale and pasta soup

13 C turnips, parsnips and rutabegas, chopped into 1/2" dice (this was about 2 large rutabegas, 6 parsnips and 5 turnips, your mileage may vary)
3 C dried cranberry beans
14 C water
1/4 C oil
4 T paprika paste
6 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 T parsley
1 t sage
salt to taste

Saute the garlic, then add the paprika and spices. Stir in the cranberry beans, then the root vegetables and then add the water. Simmer all afternoon until the beans are tender and the veggies are mushy. Add salt to taste. The end.

Still reading "The Steppe" by Chekov. Verrrry interesting. Stopped at the bookstore to look at "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" to see how many of the recipes are vegan to decide if I should get it, will put it on my wishlist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Good evening!

So here is a good soup we had last night. I was pretty impressed.
I had some wild rice that needed to be used up and all I could think of was cream of wild rice soup or whatever that's called. Well, poof! into my brain came Lachesis' Alfredo Stroganoff sauce, begging to be made into the base for this soup... who was I to argue? And, boy, was that a good call!! If you are a fan of the cream based wild rice soup, do give this a try.

Vegan Wild Rice Soup

2 C cooked wild rice
1/2 pkg soft silken tofu
4 C water
4 cloves garlic
2 T Earth Balance
2 T oil
1 C soymilk
splash white wine
1 T onion powder
2 t garlic powder
2 t salt
dash pepper
pinch nutmeg

Place into the blender everything except the wild rice.
Pour sauce into soup pot, add wild rice and bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer until it's thick how you like it.
If it's taking to long to thicken, add 1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T water to simmering soup and mix well, bring up heat a little and stir until thickened.

And here is a tamale pie type thing. I was so excited to make this!!! Finally, a way to use up my masa flour! Whee! Well, I must admit, I do believe this casserole should be baked COVERED because my tamale pie came out all dry! Boo hoo!
Also, I would double the filling next time by adding another can of black beans and another can of pinto beans and maybe even another can of tomatoes.

Tamale Pie, recipe based off of this.

For the dough;
1/2 C vegetable shortening
3 C masa harina
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 C water

2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 t salt
1 t cumin
1 t ancho chile powder reserved to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9 x 13" casserole.
Beat shortening in mixer, add masa, baking powder, salt and water gradually until like a paste (when I added the 1 C water it just got where it was little pea sized balls so I added about another 1/2 C water to get the 'paste' consistency).
Press half into the bottom of the casserole and set aside the other half.

In your big pot, saute the onion and garlic, add the cumin and salt and beans and tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid is gone (again, my tamale pie turned out really dry, so next time I might leave some of that liquid). Pour on top of the masa in the casserole and top with the other half of the dough (again, I might add more liquid to the second half of the masa dough to make it 1) more spreadable and 2) again with the not dry thing.

Bake 1 hour, covered.
Boy howdy there are a lot of tamale pie recipes out there! Some have pimentos, some have olives, some have corn, some have paprika, some have peppers... whoa! Pick yer poison!

On the reading front, instead of edumacating myself with Proust (ha! I lied, I set it aside and did nary pick it up again!), I will now proceed to tell the internets how I am frittering my time away... with THIS! Ha-hah! It's the first 12 chapters of Midnight Sun, the story of "Twilight" told from the vampire's point of view. Okay, I just had to know what all the hubbub was about these books. So I thought that the first 12 chapters of Midnight Sun were great fun. Fast driving, clumsy girl, vegetarian vampires, near death escapes, first love... lots of fun. Maybe a little patriarchal, a little contrived, but I thought it was a great story. Here's a little history on why you can read this online. I must say that I smell a publicity stunt. That is all.

Okay, I did start reading some Chekov, short stories, so good so far.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Steam Leavened

What We Had Last Night

Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on top

Yum! This was good! Nice and easy and quick and and and... you'll just have to try it yourself. Have a mournful can of mixed veggies stuck back in your pantry somewhere? Got flour? Soy sauce? Then you're in bizness. Add some Boca 'ground beef' and it's even better (actual preference may vary)!

So I did try to find this online, but couldn't. Innernet, you have failed me. But I did have some info on my printout, so... thanks Jan Tz! Is the website down or something? I think that's where I got it from...

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Oil a 9" round, covered casserole dish (I used a 9" square baking dish, but then I didn't have a cover and so I used tinfoil, but something with a cover would have been better). I digress.
Nuke a bag/open a can of mixed veg- I used a 16oz bag of frozen veggies (you can also nuke the packet of Boca in the same dish at the same time).
Oil your casserole dish.
Pour the veg and Boca into the casserole dish.

Prepare the gravy;
2 C water
1/4 C flour
1 T + 1 t soy sauce

Find an old spaghetti jar with a lid and put everything in there and shake, shake, shake. Or, just add a little liquid at a time and whisk it together so there's no lumps. Put on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper and spices (I used a tee-tiny pinch of every single savory spice I could find- sage, thyme, mustard, oregano, Italian seasoning, basil, rosemary etc., also onion and garlic granules).

Pour the gravy over the vegetables.

Now at this point on my printout, the author says 'this recipe is from Bryanna Clark Grogan's book, "The Almost No-Fat Cookbook" p75'. But the 'this' is unclear... is it the gravy or the biscuit recipe to follow? Anyway, the biscuits or the gravy are from Bryanna, I'm hazarding a guess here and saying it's the gravy. If you go to her page here and scroll down, you'll find a more highly evolved version of this recipe, Bryanna's Rich Brown (fat free) Yeast Gravy (note to self; use this next time).

Prepare your biscuits

Featherlight Dumplings

1 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C plain soymilk or water

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add water/soymilk until a stiff dough forms.

Drop dumplings by the spoonful on top of the gravy soaked vegetables.

Bake uncovered 15m, then covered another 15m.


Reading "Swann's Way" by Proust. Man alive, I'm in X pages and really, not much has happened. I sure know a lot about the town he grew up in, though. Honestly it's not too bad, because I can put this down and pick it up at will and it's not too hard to get back into the swing of things. Unlike some other long-winded books, I'm still interested and I'm enjoying the ride.

I found some funny threads when I was trying to locate the above recipe online. I somehow stumbled across this. Hilarious! My favorite line was "It tastes a little like strawberries, and a little like failure.". Also the people at MetaFilter tried the microwave cake, with mixed results. I learned that said microwave cake is 'steam leavened'. Cool.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I Forsee Soup


Lentil soup with cabbage and kielbasa

Man, I had a craving for lentil soup yesterday! I was planning on making soup with the rest of my wild rice and the sauce from this recipe (scroll down) but then I just kept wanting lentils! How weird is that? Lentils must have iron in them or something I need.

Anyway, this soup wasn't as good as the other lentil soup* I've been making lately, but it was pretty good. And it satisfied my lentil soup craving.

I was going to be awesome and serve it with 5 Minute Artisan Bread, but then that took too long so we just had it with Triscuits. I forsee other soups in our future with this bread.

On to the recipe;

2 C lentils
8 C water
1 small cabbage, sliced thin (about 2 C)
1 Tofurky kielbasa sausage, sliced in half longways and then into rounds
2 T oil
2 T vegetable broth powder
1 t thyme
1 t salt or to taste
1 t onion granules (I used this because I was out of onions, can you imagine?)
1/2 t garlic granules (ditto on the using it because I was out of garlic)
pepper to taste
2 bay leaves
few drops liquid smoke

Maybe the reason it wasn't so great was because I used onion and garlic granules as well as vegetable broth POWDER as opposed to using let's say, real things. Hmmm.

*hey guys, give me a break about the soup, yes? it's Fall. Of course now that snow is falling outside my window I'll be all like, 'hey, it's Winter, time for soup!'

Okay, confession time.
The reasons I'm not knitting are;
1. I'm pretty sure that as a vegan, I need to at least make sure that the wool I'm working with comes from a humane farm. And I have a lot of stash that isn't.
2. I had moths and used moth balls to ensure there wouldn't be any in my stash and now my stash reeks of chemicals and it's kind of freaking me out.
3. I was rejected from Knitty.

We'll see what transpires. Maybe I just need a break.

So I went to the library to find some Proust, Henry Green and Chekov. Found the first and last aaaaand picked up one of Francine Prose's fiction novels. Now, I don't think Francine is this tricky, but I did think it was an interesting coincidence that when I went to look for Proust, RIGHT THERE was Prose. I'm just sayin'.

I kind of blew through "A Changed Man" but it was really interesing and fun. I had a big chunk of time to myself to read and I was so glad I had a good novel to spend, as it were.

I thought the book did a good job exploring the somewhat banality of evil and human nature. I appreciated that the author did not decide to rub it in your face how awful people are but rather gave us a gripping, good story that had a nice ending.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Heavens they're tasty!


Acorn Squash with wild rice and cranberry sauce

This turned out nicely! What a great Fall dinner... and the squash, wild rice, cranberries and maple syrup were local!


2 acorn squash

Cut in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place in 6 qt. slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Cranberry Relish based off of the recipe in Vegan With A Vengeance

2 C fresh cranberries
1/2 C maple syrup
1/2 C water
1/4 C apple juice

In the small bowl of your food processor, pulse the cranberries until chopped but not pureed.
Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until liquid is almost gone and relish is thick.


1/4 C apple juice
1/4 C canola oil
1 T brown sugar
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cardamom

Whisk together well.


2 C white rice, cooked
2 C broken wild rice, cooked
1 T canola oil
1 t salt
1 t onion granules
1/2 t garlic granules
2 C fresh cranberries

Mix all ingredients well.

Plate up by placing the squash half on the plate, then filling to overflowing with the rice mixture, then a spoonful of cranberry relish and then drizzle some of the sauce over the top of that.

This recipe has a lot going on, but really all of it is pretty easy and the end result is so good and filling that it's worth it! Maybe next time I'll try a different squash and mix the dressing with the cranberry relish.

Found Proust and Chekov online at Project Gutenberg, but I think I'll see what the library has 'cause reading online is not always convenient.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Liked It So Much, I Made It Twice

WWHFDLN (What We Had For Dinner Last Night)

Middle Eastern Lentil Soup

Just like we had the other night, except with Moong Dal and I 'smoked' the paprika (read: it burned a little before I could swoop in and add some water). Still, very good and I used up the last of our parsley. I liked it so much, I made it twice.

WWHFDTON (What We Had For Dinner The Other Night)

This was borne out of desperation and fortunately, everyone liked it! Yea!

Beany Pasta with Kielbasa

1 Tofurkey Kielbasa cut in half long wise and sliced
1 can cannellini beans
1/2 pkg soft silken tofu
1/2 16oz pkg pasta
2 T nutritional yeast
1 T oil
fresh oregano to taste or 1 t dried, crumbled
1 t salt

Boil your pasta.
Dump half of the beans in your blender or food processor and add the tofu, salt, oregano and nutritional yeast. Blend.
Drain and rinse the other half of the can of cannellini beans and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet, brown your sausage in 1 T of oil. Add the beans and sauce and mix well. When pasta is done, add the pasta and mix well. Serve.

Finally, this curry. I made it a little different but not much.

1/2 block firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1/2 C maple roasted cashews
1 C pineapple chunks
1/2 pkg frozen broccoli
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 T curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 T brown sugar

Toast your cashews; in a large cast iron skillet, toast the raw cashews on high, stirring constantly, until browned (skip this step if your cashews are already roasted). Stir in 1 T maple syrup and stir and stir until the cashews are mostly dry and before all the maple coating clumps off. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a large pot on med high heat, mix the shallot with the curry paste and cook until shallot is tender. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the tofu and stir until tofu is well coated and hot. Add the coconut milk and mix well. Gently mix in the pineapple and broccoli and heat through. Simmer until desired thickness (now that I think about it I think I stirred in a T of cornstarch) and serve over rice.

Finished the Francine Prose book (Reading Like A Writer). Thought it was really meaty and great. Lots to sink your proverbial teeth into. Would like to own it. Am interested in reading Chekov now. And this Green guy. And Proust?

Started Monster Island, but the gore got to me. I am a wuss.