Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There Was An Endnote to the Endnote

Good Evening (said in a voice like that Masterpiece Theater guy), no actually, it's morning, but I just wanted to imagine saying "Good Eee-ven-ing" with a deep voice, stuffy English accent and especially with that three syllabic stretch on evening, emphasis on 'Eee'.

Hey, what did you get for Christmas? I got a soapstone deep dish pizza pan (woo!), a clay baker (to make fake turkey in), some Chabon books, a gift certificate for our local kitchen shoppe (again with the woo! I'm torn over 1)many little things or 2)a pressure cooker), a book called "Curly Girl" so I can start to get a handle on the girls curls and Bryanna Clark Grogan's "20 Minutes to Dinner".

So I made a recipe last night from it- cabbage and noodles which is just as it sounds! It was good, although we are not huge cabbage fans. The cookbook has many great recipes and ideas in it, I'm glad to have it for inspiration.

I am of course still reading "Infinite Jest". It's gotten more interesting to me as more characters are added and it's not quite so masculine as the beginning was when it was super focused in on the main character. I will be interested to see if these different plots are ever woven together? And I also must amend a statement I made earlier about footnotes having footnotes- my good husband reminded me that the notes at the end of the book are called ENDnotes and the notes at the bottom of the page, you know, with the asterisk, are footnotes. My apologies. So I was reading an endnote when I discovered there was an endnote to the endnote. Whatever.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Footnote to the Footnote!

Well, it's snowing here- slated to storm, actually. I just got a good night's sleep in who knows how long, we've got most of our Christmas stuff done (did all the cards last night- phew!) and so now we have just a few trips planned today to run errands to the COOP, the library and the Bikery, our local coffeeshop. I hope you and yours have a great Holiday season and get to spend lots of time with loved ones!

Here is some spaghetti with bottled peanut sauce and some of that fake chicken stuff and a bag of frozen vegetables. Yes, we like to live it up here...

But, even better yet, here are Snickerdoodles!!! Whee! I got to use my whisk attachment for my mixer which I hardly ever get to use. Oh, baby, were these good, it was a good thing my husband took them to work and I only got to eat a half of one! Next time I will roll them in the cinnamon sugar, roll them in between my palms to soften them a little and reroll them. Yes, I am AR, thank you very much. Isn't the cracking bee-yoo-ti- ful? I guess that's from the chilling of the dough. What a great thing to know. Go, make these now. They are really simple and really good.
And lastly, inspired by Guava's Shepherd's Pie, I made this! Man, I didn't even get you guys the money shot it was just so good. Imagine some peas and corn and carrots floating around in the gravy. I used some red wine in the gravy and the mashed potatoes mixing with the gravy... mmmmmm... heaven! I used my favorite Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on Top recipe. Maybe I'll have to try Vegan Dad's version next...

Still reading "Infinite Jest"- I got to the part where I quit last time, you wanna know how I knew it? I was filled with the same bafflement, that's how. I was reading a footnote and THERE WAS A FOOTNOTE TO THE FOOTNOTE!!!!! Srsly, folks, this book truly takes a commitment to read, not to mention that it's sort of hard to read in bed when you have to hold up this thing that weighs like a ton. Really, I can read a big book, I'm a big girl now, but when I have to keep flipping to the back to read footnotes, it gets exhausting. I should skip the footnotes, but I'm paranoid I'll miss something crucial and you really can't let things go with this story. Well, anyhow, I'm commited. We'll see if it's fate is better than that of "In the Name of the Rose".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pay More Attention

Ohhh the excitement!
Well, it was good, if not real pretty...

I used Your Vegan Mom's Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix (thanks to her handy dandy widget search box I found that so quickly!). Thanks, Vegan Mom!

Cheesy Vegan Rice and Broccoli Casserole

2 C rice, uncooked
1 C Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix
1/2 bag frozen broccoli

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil your 9 x 13" casserole.
Nuke your broccoli and chop into smaller pieces.
Get your rice started.
Mix 1 C Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix with 2 C water over med high heat, stirring until thick. Remove from heat and mix together with broccoli and rice in a big bowl.
Pour into casserole, cover with foil and bake 30m, last 10 uncovered.

So, nothing fancy, but it was good hot food on a cold, cold night. Plus I have a cold, so, blah. Not much energy for inspiring foods.

Started "Infinite Jest" which I requested from the library...
Okay, I have started this before, I don't know when or how or why, but everything I'm reading is familiar. This time, however, I have a lot more patience and interest. So we'll see how far I get. It is a huge tome. I've told myself that if I bail, I will at least write the page number down somewhere so I can pick it up again later. Now I'm faced with either re-reading what I already read, or trying to skim ahead to find where I left off. I think I'm just going to reread and pay more attention this time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

So Fun!

What We Had For Dinner the Other Night

Again with the chili topped sweet potato! Yes, but it's so good! I must have a vitamin A deficiency or something...

this time with black beans, added some cocoa to the mix...

and served with Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan. Oh, and I've made that cornbread quite a few times, never with the energ egg replacer and it's been juuuuust fine. Make it in a skillet, make it now.

And hey, I tried Vegan Mom's Vegan Cheese Sauce Mix, and lo, it was good.

I did not have raw sunflower seeds on hand, so I used 3/4 C rolled oats and it was fine.

Boiled up half a box of elbow mac (2 C worth), mixed it all up, topped with 10 crumbled Ritz crackers (yes, Virginia, they are vegan). Baked at 350 for 30m or so. Verrry nice. Even better the next day, reheated with a little added oil and some broccoli... for lunch, of course!

That's all I gotz for ya today, have given up on "The Name of the Rose" or whatever it's called. Reading another Aubrey-Maturin O'Brien novel, this one's not as good! Boo! It starts out on land, or as seagoing folk say, shore. Booo-ring.

Christmas presents are rrrrrrollin' in!!!! So exciting. Frigid cold here, snowing. Ahh, Winter.

Oooh, oooh! Not least but last, here's my presents for various and sundry people (neighbor who we hope to have watch cats, daughter E.'s teachers).

So fun!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Too Saccharine Sweet


Yes, that perennial favorite, Baked Veggie Stew with Biscuits on top.
Well, I had been trying to get my hands on some wine to use in this gravy (Bryanna suggests port/sherry/Marsala), for example I stopped at a liquor store on the way home from our cut your own tree expedition (St. Croix Valley Tree Farm is really nice), but just came home with a bottle of Merlot mixed with something that starts with "C". Black Opal. I have no idea. It didn't even have a cork in it!! It was a twist off!
But I digress, so we had this last night and this time I used the gravy recipe with nutritional yeast where you toast the flour and nutritional yeast and it came out lumpy and liquidy but that was okay. And I spiced up the veggies and Boca by adding some paprika, pepper, garlic and onion powder.
Next time I will add a T of Earth Balance to the gravy. Sorry Bryanna, but it's got to be done.

1 16 oz bag frozen mixed veg
1 pkt Boca 'ground beef'

2 1/2 C water
1/3 C flour
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 T soy sauce
1/2 t salt
few shakes Kitchen Bouquet

1 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 C water

Oil a 9", round, covered casserole. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Nuke veg and Boca together in microwave safe bowl, covered, for 10m with 1/4 C water.
Prepare gravy; brown flour and nutritional yeast over high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add water, soy sauce, salt and Kitchen Bouquet. Whisk well, return to high heat and whisk until thickening, reduce heat and simmer 5m.
Stir together dumpling ingredients with a fork to make a stiff dough.
Add a dash pepper, salt, paprika, onion and garlic powder to veg and mix well. Pour into casserole. Pour gravy over veg and then top with spoonfulls of biscuit.
Bake uncovered 15m, covered 15m. Yum!

Ain't it purdy.
Here is another repeat, pasta with lentils.
Very yummy, filling and cheap, cheap, CHEAP!!!
I spiced it up with some cumin because I can never leave a recipe alone and it was good. Also some onion and garlic powder, sensing a theme here?

Pasta with lentils

1/2 16 oz package pasta
1 C brown lentils
1 1/4 C water
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C tahini
1/4 C water
1 t cumin
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
dash pepper

Boil pasta.
In a large pot, place lentils with 1 1/4 C water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 30m or until lentils are tender.
Saute onions, garlic in skillet.
Add onions and garlic, tahini, water and spices to lentils in large pot.
Mix well.
Toss in pasta and mix well (it helps if you just spoon out the pasta with a slotted spoon right into the large pot because the extra pasta water makes it easier to mix).
Serve hot.

I made my bread recipe and added some potato flakes which I had read about somewheres. Yo, it was good!!! I get ridiculously excited when I can change a recipe for the better. Note, I also added more oil and sugar. The kind of potato flakes I got at the coop come in these little packs so all I have to do is rip one open and it's so easy! Whee!

My Bread Recipe, the newest incarnation;
4 heaping cups flour
1/3 C sugar
1 pkt potato flakes (about 1/2 C)
1/4 C vital wheat gluten
1 scant T salt
1 scant T yeast
1/4 C oil
2 1/2 C water

Mix it all up, oil a bowl, plop it in there and turn to cover with oil, cover with wet tea towel and place in low oven (170 degrees) turned off for 45m.
Plop onto flour covered countertop, knead a little (10m), cut in half, roll out into rectangle, roll up short side, tuck ends under, plop in greased loaf pans and place back in low oven, turned off, again with the wet tea towel 45m.
When risen, take off towel, turn oven to 400 (you're starting from a cold oven, here) and bake 40m.
If having a really dark top bugs you, cover with foil toward the end.

And here is another repeat (sensing yet another theme here, now I'm repeating my 'sensing a theme here' statements, gah I'm repetitive). Yes, this winter will be the winter of working through the classics, I believe. Quick Tofu Mutter.
Anyway, this time I used more potato and peas to balance out the tofu and more curry paste, soy sauce, garlic.
Make this today!

Quick Tofu Mutter (I think I found this on vegweb or somewheres, but I can't find it again)

1 pkt extra firm tofu, chopped
1 C frozen peas
3 potatoes, cubed
2 T Patak's curry paste
2 T soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced

Start rice.
Start water to boil for potatoes.
Dice tofu, place in 9x9" microwave safe dish and nuke 1 1/2 m.
In a small bowl, mix curry paste, soy sauce and garlic.
Pour over tofu and mix well.
Cook potatoes until tender (10m?), remove from heat, do not drain and add frozen peas to thaw.
Nuke tofu 1 1/2m, stir, then nuke another 1 1/2 m.
Pour tofu into serving bowl, drain potatoes and peas and add to tofu and mix well.
Serve over rice.

Reading "The Name of the Rose" or whatever that Umberto Eco book is called, man is it tedious. Sorry, literary people. There's a lot of talk and theology which is very interesting and all, but man is it slow!
So, to reassure myself that, yes, I can actually read quickly, I guess, somehow I ended up getting "Bridget Jones Diary" and and Elizabeth Berg book from the library yesterday and read them both in one day!!!! Bridget Jones Diary was fun in a fluffy way, the format got sort of ridiculous after a while. Then the Berg book I really super enjoyed, it was the third in a series, "True to Form". I liked what she had to say, her insights into life, didn't think it was too saccharine sweet etc. etc. Feel like I'm wildly vaccilating in my choices of reading material.

Oh, P.S. thanks for all the great feedback about the tater tot hot dish... was kind of embarrased to post it, but so pleased with the reaction!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hooray For Food!

Hokay, lotta catch up to do here...

I made a Tater Tot Casserole, and lo! it was good.

1 pkg tater tots
1 can green beans
1 pkt Boca crumbles
1 T oil
1/2 onion, chopped
dashes chili powder, pepper and paprika
salt to taste

1 can pinto/northern/cannellini beans, undrained
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C (half a small jar) pimentos
6 green olives
1 t garlic powder

Blend sauce ingredients. Mix with green beans in a med. saucepan over med high heat.
Bake tater tots as directed (yes, they're vegan).
In a large skillet, saute onion, then Boca. Season with spices and salt to taste.
Place tater tots in casserole dish (I think mine's 3qt), pour sauce with green beans over and top with Boca.

This is a variation of a sauce I use pretty often, it's nice because it's lowfat and so then the tater tots aren't so bad, right?, right?!? Anyway, I didn't have any lemon juice so I thought I'd try olives and it worked!! I am also sick of hunting down jars of pimentos so I think I'll just use green olives and if it turns a weird color I'll just add some paprika. Hoorah.

Yo, I am fancying it up 'round here! I made French Lentil Soup from Veganomicon with 2 C Merlot and it was good! This was my first venture into cooking with wine land, so that was fun. It was some cheap brand called Barefoot. Next up in Cooking With Wine, Marsala/Port/Sherry in my new favorite gravy recipe.

I made some Cheezy Quackers to go with some veggie soup. I thought they were great, but my husband did not, boo!
Oh, and soooo long overdue, I won! I won!!!
Thank you For The Love Of Guava!!!!! You are too sweet!
I felt so warm and fuzzy when I found out she had nominated me, so I love to pass on the love by nom-nom-nominating these fine bloggers...

I nominate
Cooking For A Vegan Lover because she has a cute cat and she posts great recipes (she actually made VeganYumYum's Seitan Roulade! Kudos!). Check out her Holiday Menu- drooool!

I nominate
The Pink Apron because she ate vegan for November, and because she needed some cheering up, plus I love her recipes and funny anecdotes (gosh that sounds weird, but it's true!)!

I love
That Pain In The Ass Vegan (already nominated, d'oh!) because her posts are informative and funny and personal and righteous.

I nominate
Adventures in Vegetarianism becuase she has a well stocked freezer, she introduced me to Hummus en Fuego and because she made the effort to travel vegan stylee!

I love
I Am Not A Rabbit (already nominated too! Geez!) because her household is now completely vegan!! And because her cat is cute! And because I like to read her posts and she photoshops turkeys for American visitors!

In reading news, I finished "Master and Commander" (you know, the book the movie was based on?) and it. was. teh. awesome. No, really, I did really enjoy it and I even made a special trip to the library to get the next one in the (16 BOOK) series, but of course they did not have it. Boo. So I think I have the 9th one or something. We'll see if they're stand alone books or not. You cannot beat a book about sailing, I mean, it's practically pirates, and the author really makes you love the main characters.

Currently I am reading "In The Name of the Rose" by Umberto Eco, I have heard lots about this author and I saw it at my library run, so I grabbed it and so far so good, although it is quite long, it's turning into a whodunit which is not usually my usual thing, but hey! why not, right? Lots of interesting theology details and so forth and crazy characters. So far it's working.