Friday, April 30, 2010

Melty, Stringy, Awesome.

At first, the blog post was going chatter on about the Indian feast I made for some buddies. But first, I must talk about Daiya vegan cheese. I tossed some Cheddar shreds into Jess' vegan mac and it was creamy and awesome. But nothing, NOTHING beats dinner tonight. I whipped up some impromptu pesto (cashews, nooch, oil, basil, water, s &p) and layered thinly sliced potatoes and small broccoli florets on top. I then proceeded to drown it in mozzarella Daiya. You see, guys, it's been awhile since I've had a true, "cheesy" slice. It's been a long week, so I indulged.

YOU GUYS. My husband, the omni and discerning cheese eater, says this the best pizza I have made in the history of us, vegan or not. That's a huge nod to Daiya. It's creamy and rich and cheesy....sigh. And without all the bellyachin' on my end.

Now, the feast. I love making people food, especially if they're not vegan. Which is admittedly 95% of the people I know in real life (in Portland even!). I bought Robin Robertson's Vegan Fire & Spice due to my husband's urging and decided to cook all my feast out of that. Many hours and pages later, I managed to pull it off and have 3 dishes finish right at 7pm. Here's what I made:

Spiced Potato Salad - this will definitely be making potluck rounds.

Spicy Indian Green Beans - healthiest dish that night

Curried Mushrooms - Crowd Favorite

Lentils in Onion Gravy - very last minute contender, awesome add.

That, my friends, is a lot of food. I fed 5 people that night, two of them being boys with enormous appetites and STILL had leftovers for some partners that couldn't be with us. All involved love the dishes and I highly recommend this book. Everything I've made out of it has been a hit.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Know Your Onion!

The first book in my self-imposed cookbook challenge was Christina Cooks by Christina Pirello. Christina has a cooking show on PBS's Create Channel and focuses on whole, natural foods. As a matter of fact, I have heard her say the word "vegan" only once in the many times I've watched the show, but that's exactly what she cooks! She also introduced me to a family favorite: bok choy. As the blog title (lovingly hand-picked by the Shins) suggests, the recipes I chose were pretty onion-rrific. Not a problem 'round here, at least not usually.

The recipes I chose were exactly what I've been needing since this school quarter started: not full of processed foods (hello, Tofurkey slices!) and full of color. Yum. I also cooked the last recipe up with a special nostalgic dish that I will share at the end of the post. I should also add that while she says the recipes make 4-5 servings, I have a endless appetite as of late and the foods have not lasted more than one day.

#1 - Lentil, Red Pepper and Basil Saute.

I've mentioned before that mushy lentils creep me the hell out. I think I've gotten over that. As you can tell by the photo, these lentils are past the point of mushy and the overall dish was incredibly delicious. The pepper is roasted, but you can't really tell once everything is incorporated, which made me sad. Oh well.

#2 - Asparagus with Blood Oranges and Shallots.

AKA the dish of a million shallots. Seriously, it calls for eight. And if you haven't noticed, those are definitely not blood oranges. Silly me for not grabbing them. Sweet lemons slipped in unnoticed and filled the citrusy gap. The asparagus took a little while longer to get past the "raw" stage but this was so quick and easy to make it didn't really matter. But, you'd better like shallots.

#3 - Baked Onion Slices.

The reason I picked this is for Jeff. The boy is an onion fanatic. Annnnnnd, guess who didn't like it. He thinks it was too sweet and the onions got too soft. I personally loved it and I normally avoid red onions like the plague. We paired this with MYSTERY DISH #1.

MYSTERY DISH #1 - Peachy Not-Chops, adapted from my mother.

My mother is a fantastic cook. Peachy pork-chops is something that was made on very special occasions due to the very high amount of oil called for. I have made the original a handful of times but it's been at least 8 years since I've had it. Since Mommy will be thrilled that I shared this with the world, here you go.

Peachy Not-Chops

4 seitan cutlets (I used the V'CON recipe and while I had an incredibly difficult time getting the damn cutlets to flatten out, it still turned out fine)
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp canola oil
s & p to taste
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp lime juice
1 lime, sliced (yep, forgot this too...)
1 16oz can sliced peaches (save liquid)

Dredge cutlets in flour and saute in oil in skillet over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes each side. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove cutlets from pan and add curry powder and lime juice. Saute 30 seconds. Pour peach liquid into pan and reduce over high heat 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add cutlets to pan and cook 5 minutes. Dump in peach and lime slices and cook 5 more minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

If you see a dish you'd like the recipe too, it's probably on here. If it's not, I will happily email it all over the world.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I've decided to impose a cookbook challenge of my own to up my blogging rate and use books that I don't normally cook out of. I made a list of 5 books that rarely see the light and will cook out of a sixth that will be chosen by random. By random, I mean I will line the books up and see which one the big cat steps on.

My list, as follows:

Christina Cooks by Christina Pirello. When we were forced to switch to digital, I discovered we had 3 OPB channels, one of which carries Christina's cooking show. I haven't been able to catch it lately but watching someone cook vegetables and not much more....sigh.

Take 5, Weight Watcher. Yeah, I bought this the first time I went through the program and I've cooked out of it once? Twice? Anyways, both times have been lovely and most of it is easy to veganize. Well, the stuff that doesn't revolve around meat, but I'll probably veganize one of those!

The (Almost) No Fat Cookbook by Bryanna Clark Grogan. What, you think I should lose weight? 'Cause that's totally not why I picked this one.

The Vegetarian Cookbook. It's Reader's Digest, has pretty pictures and lots of dairy. BRING IT ON.

The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook. Circa 1995, this thing is HUGE. I haven't cracked it open since scoring it at a vintage shop for $5....

Stay tuned.....