Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An s'load of cooking, plus actual recipes!

Some of this is from a series of days, and then there was Sunday, where I cooked THE ENTIRE DAY. I cooked a lot of different dishes. My response to stress, I guess. So, back in time, we will observe: Root Vegetable Dal from Appetite for Reduction from last week or so.

Root Veggie Dal

Sigh. This was just kind of blah. We used Muchi Curry powder from WF, and it just isn't that good. This dish relies on curry powder for much of the flavor, and if you aren't feeling the curry powder, you won't be that into the end result. I wonder though if its the lack of oil too, because I'm starting to wonder if you can make delicious low fat things. Except we do love the phanch phoran cauliflower dal from Fat Free Vegan (we double the spices in that recipe) - which has even less fat. Maybe we just aren't curry powder people? I liked the rutabega though, its my first time eating rutabega. Very sweet, kind of like a sweet potato but more juicy. Or like a white carrot but more potatoey. Also, who doesn't love parsnips?

This is recipe maybe #2 or #3 from AFR, Jon loved the onion rings, I didn't think they were oniony enough. We will keep trying both LOVE sweets so much its nice to eat healthy things when you aren't stuffing your face with cupcakes and cookies, so you can feel like you are getting nutrition.

So excited, tonight, I'm making the ratatouille stew from Lorna Sass's pressure cooker cookbook. Plus the pressure cooker mushroom olive polenta to go with it.

Okay, I did promise you recipes. Jon got two Indian recipes from his Mom recently, and one was Lamb Biryani, which he decided to veganize. They were recipes from his childhood which he misses, though his Mom never followed recipes really, so who knows how the Lamb Biryani really was. The original recipe calls for and ENTIRE CUP OF GHEE. Yes, for only 2 lbs of lamb and maybe 1-2 cups rice, a cup of ghee. No wonder the boy had freakishly high cholesterol in High School (okay, probably that was from eggs & bacon for breakfast every day of his life, but the cup of ghee couldn't have helped). He reduced the fat to 1/2 cup and used earth balance. (will post recipe when I figure out where Jon stashed it).

Seitan Lamb Biryani

The seitan turned out really awesome, we were quite impressed with its tenderness. Jon said it was as tender as veal, which of course creeped me out. We will totaly use that seitan recipe again. The recipe itself though, was too sour for my preference. I added agave nectar to the end product, which made it better. I felt it was kind of greasy with not that much other flavor besides the sourness, or maybe the sourness was so dominant I couldn't taste the other stuff. Jon disagreed.

Sunday morning, I made Matt of My Veggie Kitchen's chick'n burgers

Chickn Patties which we liked a lot. We used Appetite for Reduction's cashew-miso mayo (at the back of the book), but I added extra water till the flavor was less strong because it was initially too strong for us. But thank the FSM we finally found a non-mayo-esque mayo replacement, for Jon is a mayo-hater. I also made Robin Robertsons' herb sandwich bread from Vegan Planet, but, due to my uncontrollable desire to eat more whole wheat, I put in a lot more WW flour than was called for and in addition to it being super hard to knead, the crust turned out tough and the bread was too dry unless you toast it, in which case its quite tasty - though next time I'll surely double up on the herbs. I really just need to bite the bullet and get Peter Reinharts book about WW breads and get baking. Just imagine Jon, delicous, healthy, fresh made bread EVERY WEEKEND! Isn't that worth having one or two more measely little* cookbooks on the shelf?

Back to cooking. So after the chick'n sanwiches and non-mayo, and sandwich bread, I made Taymer Masons vegan holiday ham. However, instead of steaming it for 40 mins I did it in the pressure cooker for 20. I guess that was wrong, because it was totally raw - even after baking 20 mins in the oven afterward. seitan ham The flavors were really awesome, if, according to Jon, not ham-like. I used low sodium soy sauce and so that was probably an issue, and I reduced the smoke flavor out of fear, that was another mistake. I really want to try this again, but with a longer cooking time. Its a great flavor combo. In our Carribean theme, I also made 2 bunches lacinato kale with bajan sauce (from except with some changes:

Bajan Spiced Lacinato Kale

4 large garlic cloves peeled
4 scallions (white and tender green parts), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (didn't have fresh so used 2 tsp dry thyme instead)
1 Scotch bonnet chile, seeded (I didn't have this so instead used 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1 tsp sriracha chili sauce)
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped (we keep peeled diced frozen ginger in our freezer, so I used that)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
salt to taste
Combine all except salt in food processor and pulse into a fine paste. Season with salt.
Then I put some oil in the pan, added half the paste, and then added the kale...cooked a few mins, added the rest of the paste.

We loved it, and I can't wait to make it again! Also, since I had the oven on so much, I plopped some sweet potatoes in a baking dish in there and let them roast until done (oven was around 350-400 during various times). I just waited till I poked them with a fork and they were super soft. I took:

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
2-4 tbs dark rum
2-4 tbs maple syrup

soaked that for 1 hr, then heated up on the stove till some evaporation occured (not until it was dry - just moist). I added 1/4-1/2 cup soymilk to the sweet potatoes, mashed them, and topped them with the coconut and some candied pecans I'd made. We really liked that a lot! We'll certainly have Caribbean night again - and if you haven't made the jerk seitan from Vegan w. Vengeance and coconut rice, (which you must make your seitan from scratch for that its a million times better), its awesome, and that would be an excellent sub for the faux ham should you want to have your own Caribbean night.

Finally, I made some coconut cookies, just made up a recipe. They turned out super crispy. I think too greasy for my tastes though. However, we still have a ton of coconut shreds in our house, so gotta do somethin' with em. Not posting the recipe because they were okay but not really share-worthy.
Coconut Cookies

*size of little cookbooks may vary, and may indeed weigh up to 5 lbs, and contain up to 500 pages.