Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Gluten Free Vegan Donuts

I had a donut party, where we ordered vegan donuts from vegan treats. But in case anyone with gluten intolerance showed up, I made some gluten free vegan donuts. I got very excited about the glazes, and made strawberry (with actual crushed strawberries!), peanut butter, mexican chocolate, and pineapple. I sort of used bryanna clark grogan's gf flour recipe Gluten Free High Fiber Flour Mix, except that after stressing out my poor seed grinder with just 1 cup of brown rice (to make brown rice flour), I decided it had gotten too hot and so for the rest of the brown rice flour I used Arrowhead Mill's otherwise useless GF baking mix. Its otherwise useless because it is gritty and made gritty brownies. However, as a component of the donuts, along with the other flours (tapioca, potato starch, flax seed, soy flour), it worked really well. They turned out tasting much healthier than a normal donut, but still very tasty and worth eating. They were really best the first day, so if you make something like this, make it on the day of the event. I have extra gf flour which I think would make lovely waffles or muffins. Even though I halved her gf recipe it still was more flour than I needed. I got both a normal and a mini donut pan. Though, the batter was super super thick (even with extra soy milk added), and wasn't going into the pans nicely, so the mini donuts look more like donut holes really. Another note I think is relevant is that I think brown rice flour and tapioca flour might be smoother purchased from the store because I'd imagine they have some sophisticated grinders which do a better job than a seed grinder at home. That's just my guess.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pasta and Lentils

Yesterday evening, due to miss my bus because I waited for the shuttle instead of walking (will I ever learn?), I decided to see what I could pick up at the metro stop farmers market. I had been inspired to make lentils & pasta by the 'seitan is my motor' blog. Interestingly, when I initially read about it, I thought 'how odd to combine lentils and pasta', and had no interest at all in trying it myself.

At the farmers market, I picked up two ripe gorgeous tomatoes labeled as 'dirt grown', and some cucumbers and kale. Once I got home & tried a bit of the tomato, I was immediately filled with questions: why weren't the tomatoes we got last week from the other farmers market this good? what variety is this? Is this frankenfood? Because it wasn't organic and I guess I get a little worried about non-organic tomatoes being some weird hybrid of donkey/algae/tomato. That donkey gene sure added the extra oomf the tomato has always needed, a need which we were unaware of until now. I will have to inquire about it next week. Let's just say the tomato was suspiciously good.


Add water & 2 cups rinsed lentils to pot, add garlic powder, thyme & 1 bay leaf, boil
Boil water & cook rotini (about 3 cups), drain when done
Saute 4 cloves of diced garlic in olive oil, add kale and cook until wilted and more tender
Dice 2 large tomatoes, set aside
Once lentils are done, drain & cool for a few minutes

Mix pasta, lentils, tomatoes, and kale, add salt to taste. Then, add lots of cumin. Yes, it sounds wrong, but it really is delicious!

I took this photo in my new portable photo studio! I am a terrible photographer, but boy does the portable photo studio make me look like less of a terrible photographer! I need the studio, its my special crutch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lentil Soup & Vacation Eats

lentil soup with bread
Lentil Soup with Harissa and Homemade bread. We went on a mini-vacation visiting J.'s relatives and had the opportunity to cook each night - or at least assist. The first night, we assisted in the prep work for a lentil soup which included onions, garlic, herbs & spices, tiny diced carrots, tiny diced zucchini, canned tomato - and a first for me: Harissa. The harissa recipe was from Vegetarian Planet, and included jalapenos, garlic, cumin, caraway and possibly something like roasted red pepper to make it reddish, I don't know if the recipe was followed exactly - but it was red, and delish! It was exactly the perfect thing to add to lentil soup.

I had imagined I would want to make awesome breakfasts each morning, but there were graham crackers in the house, and that pretty much killed any such plans. I just feasted on graham crackers and bananas each morning, and then didn't have the drive to make pancakes or anything. Oddly, graham crackers are one of those things I have little self control around - they are just so sweet and crunchy!

We made black bean + sweet potato chili, basically chili powder, cumin, onions and garlic, canned tomatoes, cinnamon, smoked paprika (now I know why everyone loves smoked paprika), oregano, cocoa powder, canola oil & a bit of maple syrup.

Later that night I decided to make the cornbread biscuits from vegan brunch. Oh dear, these were so good, so, so so good. I was kind of freaking out about them, so that I was being a bit protective of them. Of course, I didn't make a whole recipe, only a half recipe, that was the problem. Picture not exactly stellar, I know.

Nextly, we made homemade pizza with follow your heart cheese. Homemade pizza is good, but we make it frequently, so I'm not going into details.

For fathers day, we made cashew cream & berry sauce crepes from Vegan Brunch and a sad, sad attempt at hash browns which stuck to the pan super bad. The cashew cream was good..though we should have put more lemon zest in, and the crepes were annoying. I could not get them to come out satisfactorily, and they took exactly forever to cook. I have to say, Vegan Brunch is turning out to be a fantastic investment. Twice already I've done up some 'extra lentils I had cooked & frozen' a la Ethiopian style from that cookbook, and that is such an incredibly quick and satisfying meal (except instead of tomatoes I used a small qty of tomato paste) (I bought the injera though, as we are surrounded by awesome ethiopian restaurants). I should mention that I'm very hard on cookbooks, I am very critical and picky about food. Well, I don't dislike a lot of foods, but there are some people who like just about any dish - even if its low on flavor, or has a flavor combo that isn't quite right, so I'm picky in that sense. One of the best things about the kitchen (aside from all the wonderful space in it - our kitchen is teeny), was the knives. It made cutting so much easier, I felt like cutting was not so bad or hard at all. Usually my knife skills are pretty low.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Mu Shu (or Moo Shoo) Tempeh

I had a major craving for Mushu, so we picked up a small head of green cabbage, shiitakes, some carrots, and we had some tempeh in the freezer. Also purchased some of 'the ginger people's' plum ginger sauce. I consulted the Joy of cooking (yes, the modern version does have vegetarian & vegan recipes), and found they had a mushu tempeh recipe. I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but their reccomendation was equal parts sherry & soy sauce, and some sugar to flavor the veggies & tempeh. That's pretty much what I did, except I used Agave since I didn't want to worry about making sure the sugar was totally dissolved. Basic recipe:

1 small head green cabbage, sliced finely by your handy food processor
4 carrots, thinly sliced also by the food processor (I didn't shred them, b/c texture wise it would have been wrong).
equal parts sherry & soy sauce
4 tsp. chopped ginger
Agave or sugar to taste
1 bunch chopped scallions
tempeh cut into little short strips
shiitakes cut into thin strips
toasted sesame oil

I fried up the tempeh & shrooms & scallions & ginger separately and flavored them separately.

Put some soy sauce & sherry on the cabbage & carrots, but ultimately poured off much of that b/c it had gotten so diluted from the cabbage juice. Then after cooking, I made more sauce separately with the agave, sherry & soy sauce and poured that over the cabbage & carrots. Then I mixed in the mushrooms & tempeh.

We used white flour tortillas; not as good as chinese pancakes, but a time saver, and good enough. J. liked the ginger people plum sauce and I was like 'this doesn't taste like plum sauce'. I was sad about that. It tasted like watery tamarind paste. Very sour in a tamarindy way. Next time, real plum sauce. But I figured we could use the 'plum' sauce from the ginger people as a tofu marinade in the future, for some asian style dish. My mushu craving was indeed satisfied, plus you just gotta feel good about eating that much green stuff and it tasting good. Yeah, sugar, oil and salt, I know, its loaded, but probably a ton less oil than a chinese restaurant would have put in.

Next up: Peanutty/Coconutty/Spicy Chili Saucy Seitan in lettuce wraps. Yum!

I forgot to take a photo, I'm sorry. But you know, as good as it tasted, everything was kind of brown looking from the sauce, so how good would it have looked anyhow?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On Seitan

Since normally seitan doesn't have the best texture in my opinion, I tried the trick of adding 1/4 cup of chickpea flour to make it more tender. It did indeed make it more tender, but nowhere near as awesomely tender and fantastic as the seitan I had at Horizons in Philly. The seitan I had there was so tender, it was freaking me out. It was amazingly tasty, unbelieveably tasty. I want my seitan to be that awesome. Anyhow. This did improve the tenderness, but it was still kinda chewy. Much less spongy though. Perhaps next time I will add oil to the seitan as well, or peanut butter, to see how that affects the texture.

With the seitan, we had a sad Asianesque dish with soba noodles, leftover marinade as sauce, and sparse veggies. With the 2nd half of the seitan, J. made Asian style peanut dish with brocolli and quinoa. We had a jar of peanut sauce. It was actually pretty yummy. You can't go too wrong with peanut sauce though. Peanut butter is just awesome.

I haven't got a memory card installed in the camera. That's my current excuse for no pictures.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Faux Cookie Dough

Okay, so I saw someone else's post to a glamour mag. recipe for faux cookie dough, consisting of peanut butter, old fashioned rolled oats, wheat germ, and a mashed banana. So I made that for my breakfast this morning. Folks, this did not taste even remotely like cookie dough. It tasted like banana with peanut butter and dry flakes of oats mixed in. The only thing I can say in this breakfast's favor, is that it had major staying power. Probably won't eat that again though.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sorrel-Caper Tofu

One of the farmers at the farmers market grows sorrel. Its quite good in potato soup, has kind of a lemony tartness to it. J. looked it up in the Joy of Cooking, and lo and behold, due to its high oxalic acid content, its toxic in large doses. Lovely. No mention of how much one would have to consume for it to hurt you though, thanks Joy. Though apparently spinach has the same stuff in it, and Popeye is healthy as a horse, so let's not worry about it.

J. made a variation on one of my favorite ever recipes, lemon-caper tofu, which contained the following:

Nut Yeast
Soy sauce
finely chopped sorrel

It was a very simple recipe, made to taste, which is why no quantities. The tofu was cubed. Would go well over couscous, but being lazy, I ate it on crackers.

I'm in the process of reading my camera's instruction manual. Soon there will be photos!

In other food news, I brought an avocado to work because I purchased it on impulse on Sunday. I read about a pudding made with avocado, raw cacao and raw agave, and thought, hey, I have cocoa pwdr and sugar, I can make that! So I mixed sugar with a teeny bit of hot water to make a simple syrup, then added cocoa powder and half of the avocado. It was super rich and quite yum. Then, against proper common sense, I did the same with the other half. Really, that is way way too much fat to eat in such a short time. My belly was hurting a lot. Plus, the 2nd half tasted much more avocadoey, and I'm not sure if it was the proportions, or just I was getting kind of sick of the pudding. Ugh. Anyhow, I'm over it now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mexican Food Weekend

This weekend we made some salsa fresca (the hothouse tomatoes weren't exactly up to snuff, but it was still good). Salsa fresca is just

2.5 lbs de-seeded tomatoes,
1 cup white onion,
2 jalapenos,
1/2 tsp salt, and
2 cloves of garlic.

If you want, you can add a bit of sugar esp. if tomatoes aren't the best. We got some tortillas from the local latino grocery store (not awesome, but way better than WF corn tortillas which are like leather). We threw some Amy's Organic vegetarian refried beans with some fried onions and chayote squash, some spices (cumin, probably something else), and ate that for a few meals.

Then we made zuchini-corn hominy soup, (
2 zuchini,
1 can diced tomatoes,
1 7oz can herdez salsa,
2 cups veggie broth,
1 can golden or white hominy,
1 yellow onion fried up with 2 tsp mexican oregano,
and salt n pepper to taste.) Its a surprisingly good soup given how simple it is (so easy!), but next time I'll add pinto beans because the soup has hardly any calories in it. Plus we eat the soup with corn tortillas and that would make it a complete protein.

Our final Mexican-themed food item this weekend was Mexican salad. It rocks. It calls for lettuce, chipotle-lime-date dressing, lots of cilantro, mexican-fried tofu, and most importantly, the Garden of Eatin' Red Hot Blues Chips, crushed up, added at the last minute. You can add sliced avocado to this (yum!), you can add diced red bell pepper or cucumber, we even added salad turnips once. No problem. The Chips and the tofu and the dressing really carry the salad, so you can add things that maybe don't match exactly and its still fine.

For the dressing:

3 tbs lime juice
2 dates
oil to your liking
agave nectar to taste
balsalmic vinegar to taste
chipotle chili powder to taste
cayenne pepper to taste

For the tofu:

2-3 tsp mexican oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder or to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder or to taste
1/2-1 tsp paprika

blend those up together in a spice grinder or with mortar & pestle
Set in a bowl. Dredge tofu till lots of the spice sticks to the tofu (lots of spice should be on the tofu). Fry in hot oil a few mins each side.

The only downside was that we got the lettuce at the farmers mkt. I don't know why I never learn. In addition to numerous minute slugs and little flying type bugs, I discovered a red centipede, and a scary, scary spider amongst the leaves of this lettuce. Frighteningly, I discovered the centipede and spider on the THIRD wash of these leaves. When I save enough money to buy a home where I can have a garden, will my garden have that many bugs in it? I sure hope not, otherwise I'll have to move all lettuce production into a sun-room or a greenhouse, because I'm not spending 45 obsessive minutes on debugging lettuce every time I want a salad.

Got a new camera! Has a large book I am reading. Haven't gotten to the 'how to charge your camera part' yet, so it lies dormant. However, that means, blog will soon have photos and be worth reading!!!!! So, so, so excited.