August 2008

So. My computer’s dead. I’m typing this from my work laptop, but I can’t import any pictures, so the blog’s on hiatus until I can figure out a better situation.

When it rains, it pours.

But then it’s time to bake!

::edit:: Still waiting for insurance to figure things out with the computer. BUT, on the bright side, when things do get worked out, I have tons of pictures and recipes to post. Give me another week, two at the latest!

We all have our cooking hang-ups. You know, those techniques we can’t master, those ingredients that we just can’t figure out how to cook right (eggplant–do I leave the skin on or off? Seriously.), that vocabulary that all runs together (it’s not like we went to cooking school; why aren’t definitions attached to every French word??). These hang-ups dictate what we cook or don’t cook, what we’re willing to bake and what we shy away from. I’m not saying we don’t try and try and try again to figure out how to master whatever the bane of the kitchen is, but it’s frustrating and, personally, I feel like I fail every time.

Now, brunch/breakfast is my favorite meal. It’s also the poet’s. So I feel like I need to come up with something tasty and innovative every now and then. And who doesn’t love a good pancake?! They’re carby and filling and can be made with lots of different twists. So here’s where the hang-up comes in: I can’t flip a pancake if my life depends on it. Remember that crepe cake? (I can’t post a link, it was deleted with my first blog.) I think I had 20something crepes in it. You know how long that took me?? FIVE hours. FIVE HOURS for TWENTYsomething crepes. And that was all because I couldn’t flip them. Fail.

Kitten Approved

Well, I’d like to announce that thanks to the twenty-step pancake flipping anxiety program, I think I’ve mastered my hang-up. I can now flip with confidence! No, really, I just figured out how to flip pancakes. I’ve been trying for…oh…ten years or so now. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Look at that stack!

So, whatever your food hang-up is, don’t give up. Keep flipping. Or grilling. Or sauteeing. Or using that damned eggplant.

VwaV Banana Pancakes

Changes I made:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

You can probably tell by now (if you check my blog on any kind of semi-regular basis) that I love to stir fry. All of the world’s evils can be corrected with a wok, tofu, vegetables, and some rip-off Chinese sauce. I’m normally pretty boring and make the garlic sauce 5 out of 6 times (it’s just that good! and easy!), but I decided to splurge and cook the poet something different for a celebratory “you just got through your first day back to teaching” meal.

Since I’d been grocery shopping at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market fairly recently, I had a lovely head of organic bok choi on hand, as well as several blocks of tofu, and mushrooms. I thought about the sauces I love at Green Sprout (can anyone say garlic broccoli?!?! It’s so addicting) and remembered a tangy orange sauce they serve on certain dishes. The sauce I made isn’t exactly like the one at Green Sprout, but it’s pretty heavenly. I’m heavy on the spices, so if you don’t like spicy food, I’d definitely cut the crushed red pepper down to 1 tsp or less.

Chinese Orange Tofu & Vegetables

For the sauce:
2/3 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce/Bragg’s Amino Acids
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp crushed red chili peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp powdered ginger

For the stir-fry:
1 16 oz block of extra-firm organic tofu, cut into thin 1×1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 head of organic bok choi, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 oz button mushrooms, halved and quartered (depending on size)
vegetable oil for cooking

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Dry fry the tofu. I divide to tofu into 2 batches to do this. Once cooked to the way you like it, set aside on a plate to add to the stir-fry later.

In a wok, heat up 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the onion, cook for 6-7 minutes or until the onion turns clear and soft. Add the mushrooms and previously cooked tofu. After 3-4 minutes, add the bok choi. Cook everything until tender.

Add the sauce to the wok and cook everything for 1-2 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Sheba & Mistoffelees

Sheba and Mistoffelees didn’t want to be outdone in cuteness by the kitten. I found them curled up like an old married couple this afternoon (and by “curled,” I mean the man is stretched out doing his thing and the lady is tucked in the nook of his stomach–so domestic!).

On to the recipe. Well, the recipe below deserves a better photograph. Like, a good slider would have condiments of sorts, a tomato slice, maybe lettuce–something tasty–but I ate it this way, plain with a crack biscuit. The crack biscuit obviously made up for any lack of anything but burger and biscuit, not gonna lie.

Anarchy Burgers, 2007

I’ve been toying with this recipe for over a year. Above a picture of the last blog post I made about them on the now erased original Cupcake Punk. (sigh) Last summer I was fortunate enough to have a roommate who owned a George Foreman Grill that she used specifically for veggie burgers and the grill was perfect for my avocado burgers. No matter how juicy and not uberly firm the patty was it would still grill like a nasty Boca Burger. Now I have to fry them, which is insanely less healthy, but still delicious. Maybe more falafelish. I’ve been thinking about baking them, but haven’t gotten to that yet.

For this batch I used chipotles instead of jalepenos. I like the smoky flavor, although the jalepenos* give more a kick to the burgers. You can throw in whatever ingredients you think will shine. The real beauty of these is the ease and the freeze. They take ~10 minutes to make and then you can make individual patties, saranwrap them, throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and then pull one out to cook whenever you’re hungry. This is my secret for staying alive in college, actually. One batch makes up to 20 burgers, so that’s a steal for the ~ $10 in ingredients or so.

*The Firefox spell check for “jalepenos” results in a first option of “Pentecostals.” **giggle**

Avocado Burgers

4 ripe avocados
2 medium on the vine tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups frozen corn (or fresh corn off of the cob)
4-5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped finely
2 cups bread crumbs
olive oil/vegetable oil for sauteing

In a frying pan, sauté the onion on medium heat for 6-7 minutes until clear and tender. Add the corn and chipotles, sauté until the corn slightly browns on the edges. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the avocado, black beans, and tomatoes. Mash slightly, but you want to leave most of the black beans and tomato dice whole–just make sure the avocado is mashed to a smooth consistency. You’re going for a smooth guacamole texture.

Add the corn mixture to the avocado mixture bowl, combine. Add the bread crumbs (you may need less or more depending on how moist the mixture is) and mix with a spoon. You may want to use your hands to combine everything together.

Form into individual patties and grill/sauté/freeze them. Serve on buns, biscuits, naan with hummus (my favorite!), however you like!

Miss Dorian Gray on my couch

First off, do I not have the cutest kitten ever? Ever ever?

Now for the best biscuit recipe EVER. I’m going to warn you right now: don’t read this post any further unless you’re willing to make a commitment. A serious commitment. A commitment to carbs. If you’re low-carb, no-carb, anti-everything-that’s-good-in-this-world-carb, then stop. (Anyways, I don’t know why you’d be reading my blog if you hate carbs…) Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

These, these are crack biscuits. I swear there’s got to be MSG or crack slipped in them somehow while I’m not looking. Maybe there’s some major chemical change while they bake. Maybe, just maybe, the southerners did something right.

The problem is, I can’t stop making them. This is my…7th? batch or so in two weeks. Seriously. At first I didn’t have self-rising flour, and even though they were super dense and tiny and probably not that good, I kept making them will all-purpose flour until I went to the grocery store to buy flour specifically for these biscuits. I’ve also used up an entire jar and a half of veganaise on them too.

And why are they so good? Baked in a muffin tin, they get more crispy on more area, leaving a golden satisfying hardness with each bite of the bottom. But on top and in the middle they are so light and so fluffy and so buttery and so satisfying. I’m eating my 3rd one of the morning as I speak. And did I mention they only need three, THREE!, ingredients?

Southern Mayo Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp veganaise
1 cup soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Spray a muffin tin with oil. Spoon the biscuit batter into the muffin tin so that each cup is half-full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden-brown.

VwaV Scrambled Tofu & Baking Powder Biscuits

No time for a real post. But coming up, the world’s best biscuits EVER. Even better the ones above. If you want the recipes and don’t own Vegan with a Vengeance…then you should really buy it. Seriously. That and Veganomicon. Oh, and while you’re at it, go vote for Terry & Isa in the VegNews Awards.

Happy Thursday, all!

The other week when I was out of money and food with only $4 to my name, I popped into the farmer’s market that convenes every Tuesday on Emory’s campus to see what I could grab for a few bucks. For $3 I grabbed a bunch of green beans from one of the farms, walked home, and then tried to figure out what I could make with green beans and one onion and the staples in my pantry. A stir-fry made sense, so I boiled some rice, sauteed the onion with garlic, added the beans, and then topped with Hoisin sauce mix. It was pretty tasty, and somehow even better the longer it sat in my fridge.

The sauce was pretty good. A bit too salty for my taste, but maybe that’s just how hoisin is? I had a bottle in my pantry that I’d picked up from the market a few months ago and this was the first time I used it.

So if you have a few veggies sitting around in your fridge that you need to use up, I would recommend this recipe. It’s simple, tasty, and would work with any summer squash, green beans, tofu, broccoli, etc.

Hoisin Green Beans

1 bunch of green beans, cleaned and halved
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
vegetable oil
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 Tbsp Oriental sesame oil
1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce

Saute the onion for seven minutes (or until soft) in a large wok with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the garlic, saute for one or two more minutes. Add the green beans, saute till tender, approx. 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the hoisin sauce, rice wine, seaseme oil, and tamari in a bowl.

When the beans are soft, pour the sauce on top. Saute for one minute.

Serve over rice.

Sorry it’s taken so long! My money situation is finally worked out, which means that I can afford groceries to make tasty things with, which means that I could renew my flickr, which means that I can get back in the swing of things, etc!

Since coming back from vacation in New York, I’ve been completely broke and living off whatever was left in my fridge and pantry–i.e. lots of pasta with tomato sauce and biscuits. Last week I did manage to buy a bunch of green beans and a giant zucchini at the local farmers market for $4, so I got a little green back into my diet. On the whole though, I’ve been eating terribly. Pasta, biscuits, and coffee. Not good for 50+ hour work weeks on top of class and homework.

I have to admit, as I was making the blog rounds today, I just realized that my favorite Canadian vegan nominated me for the Brilliante Weblog Premio 2008 award. (smile) In the interest of passing it along, I’d like to give it to Hannah at Bittersweet, Celine at Have Cake Will Travel, Shelly from Musings from the Fishbowl, Lori at Pleasantly Plump Vegan, Leigh at Raspberry Swirl (even though she already has it–double the love!), the vegan world’s fave VeggieGirl, and Ashley Nicole at Vegan Invasion. You all inspire me in your cooking and baking!

I’m still working 50 hour weeks, so I’m going to leave you with a super fast and easy broccoli pesto recipe from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks.

Broccoli Pesto

1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To cook the broccoli, salt the boiling water and add the broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds. Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking. Reserve a few of the small broccoli trees and puree the rest in a food processor along with the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while still blending. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Serve over pasta!