November 2008


Pumpkin Waffles

Don’t forget to feed yourselves breakfast tomorrow!  Maybe a nice batch of pumpkin waffles from Vegan with a Vengeance will do the trick.

Have a good holiday!  And don’t forget to comment to Pay It Forward with me!

Thanksgiving week already?!  I have to admit, I’m going to have a rather quiet holiday this year.  One of my cats, Mistoffelees, took ill last week, and in order to give him his meds and check his bladder to make sure it’s not blocked (he has a urinary tract infection and could die from it if I don’t watch him carefully) I canceled my plans to drive to Richmond and spend the holiday with family.  The poet is also out-of-town, visiting his sister and godparents in Amherst (what a picture-perfect town for Thanksgiving!), and most of my friends are MIA, so I’m going to spend a quiet week in my apartment pretending to write papers and eating only the food in my fridge and pantry.  I’m thankful for this time to work, though.  I need it.  Why I convinced myself that writing a thesis was a good plan…someone should have stopped me!  **If anyone has any good movie suggestions, please let me know!**  I’m going to rent some from the university library to watch at night!

Broccoli Greens (Photo courtesy of Veggie Gardening Tips)

On Sunday I cooked a mini-Thanksgiving meal for my mom and the poet.  At the local farmers market last week, I picked up a bag of broccoli greens for $3.  The farmer convinced me that they were sweeter than collards, but that you cook them the same way.  After deribing the leaves and ripping them into bite sized pieces, I sauteed them with olive oil and garlic for a few minutes, then added water to the pan, covered it with a lid, and let them simmer for 30 minutes until tender.  They were amazing!  Frankly, they tasted just like broccoli.  Only leafy.  I didn’t have my camera with me, so no pictures, but I’m hoping to get some in my Vegetable Husband box soon (fingers crossed)!  Thanks for recommending it Leigh, I can’t wait to get my first box!

Shelly, over at Musings from the Fishbowl, introduced this great exchange idea called Pay It Forward.  I’m stoked to participate, but you get to as well!  I will send 3 of you who comment a handmade gift (it’s true, I can be crafty, who knew!) within the next 365 days.  Don’t worry about where you live because I’m willing to ship internationally.  On Monday, Dec. 1, I will pick three people using a random number generator so that it’s fair.

The catch is that you have to be willing to do it too!  If I pick you, then you have to commit to sending three people a handmade gift in the next 365 days.  You know, pay it forward!  Be sure to specify in your comment that you want to participate–I don’t want to rope you into a commitment you can’t keep!

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving and safe travels if you’re on the road or flying somewhere!

Remember how I said I bought a ton of roastable veggies–and then realized that I’d actually have to roast them?  One of the veggies I had on hand was a fairly large head of cauliflower.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I used to be a bit more bike punkish than I am now and I’d travel all over for alley cats (illegal drunken fixed gear bicycle races through the streets of NYC or Philly–that kind of bike punkness).  Part of that fixation (pun intended) was browsing through city-specific message boards.  NYC FixedGear was (and still is) one of my faves, if only for the variety and hilariousness of posts.  One of the longer ones is vegan food, and someone threw out the idea of fettucine alfredo a la cauliflower.  Being too lazy to sift through pages and pages of posts on the message board, I vaguely remembered Susan posting a no-fredo recipe and crossed my fingers in hope that it involved cauliflower.  Badabing, it did!

Although I trust Susan’s recipes and I think they’re the bomb, I don’t think I would have believed in it if it weren’t for the bike connection.  The bike community, as a whole, tends to be very pro-vegan or anti-vegan (baconites) and to see vegan and non-vegan bike kids (if you can call 30-something-year-olds “kids”) agreeing on the awesomeness of no-fredo via cauliflower convinced me of its power.  That and the relative ease of boiling cauliflower versus roasting it.  The end result was amazing–the poet says it tastes like real alfredo!  It’s not quite as creamy as I remember alfredo being, but it is pretty darn good.  Due to the size of my cauliflower, I’ve frozen a container of the no-fredo and I’ll pull it out again in a week or two and finish it off.

Fettuccine No-Fredo a la Susan V

1 head cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
4 cups water
4-6 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp. basil
1/2-2 tsp. oregano
pinch cayenne pepper
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast

3 cloves garlic, diced
5 kale leaves, de-ribbed and chopped into smaller pieces
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 lb fettuccine

Using the lesser amounts of each seasoning, place all the sauce ingredients except nutritional yeast into a large saucepan and cook, covered, until the cauliflower is very soft, about 15 minutes. When it’s completely tender, use a blender/food processor to puree the cauliflower to a smooth sauce.

Check the seasoning of the sauce, and add more to taste; add the nutritional yeast. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken while you prepare the mushrooms and pasta.

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta until done.

Sauté the kale, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic in olive oil until tender.  I steamed the vegetables for a few minutes after I sautéed them in order to get the kale tender.  When finished cooking, set aside.

Combine the pasta, vegetables, and some sauce together in a suace pan and cook for 1-3 minutes until the vegetables and pasta are well coated.  Serve!

Waking up in one’s own bed after an amazing weekend of drinks, hot tubs, great conversations, the roaring surf, and good good good food is never fun.  The weather was perfect (in my opinion): one night rainy, the next day foggy, the next day sunny and the temperature hovered in the mid-sixties during the day (and was deliciously cooler at night).  At one point, the poet and I walked out into the fog on the beach at night and the tide was so far out that we didn’t find the waves before we’d lost all sight of the house and its lights.  Uber creepy.  But great fun!

One of the things I don’t like so much about Fripp Island, SC is that the houses were built on top of the dunes, so development killed the island.  The rate of erosion is scary fast, as you can see by the waves meeting the houses tucked behind a seawall (a jetty is farther to the right of the frame).  Jetties and seawalls actually speed up the rate of erosion, and farther down the beach, where dunes (albeit tiny dunes) exist, the water comes right up and washes them away.  Picturesque, but deadly.

Luckily, I found some life on the beach!  A few sanddollars were brown and kicking, so I scooped them up and put them back in the water, and I also found a little conch that begged me to be tossed back.  Too many horseshoe crabs were washed up though…which is disturbing because they were all adolescents.  But maybe that was just because of the storms.  Who knows.

As for a food wrap-up, I prepared most of the food before I left.  Thankfully, vegan food doesn’t spoil after a few hours in a cooler, so all of it survived.

Vegan Crab Cake with chipotle tartar sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts

I toted along split pea soup, vegan crab cake mix, chipotle tartar sauce, avocado burgers, pumpkin cookie dough, biscuit supplies, hot chocolate stuff, pumpkin hummus, and various odds and ends.  The pumpkin hummus was a rip-roarin’ success and I’ll post the recipe soon.

All in all, a wonderful and relaxing trip!  Now it’s back to the grind of paper writing, working, and all the usual trappings.

I’m headed to the beach for a long and hopefully restful weekend.  See you all Monday!

Jekyll Island, GA

Pardon the lack of posts with more than a picture as of late.  I’ve been a bit stressed out with deadlines (as always, it seems), but I have been cooking!  I’m working on catching up on everyone’s posts, never fear!

When I went to the Farmer’s Market last time I bought a bunch of wintery veggies to roast: butternut squash, acorn squash, a sugar pumpkin, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, etc.  The part I didn’t think about was how much time roasting requires, and being a student, I’m always a bit crunched on time.  The wait is always worth it though.

When I saw Jessy’s recipe for stuffed acorn squash, I knew I had to try it.  I had bought one acorn squash to try, since I’d never had it before, and I already had kale and cooked quinoa on hand–voila, one stuffed squash!  I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor–I’ve only tried butternut and pumpkin before–and the walnuts added depth of flavor.  Thanks for the idea/recipe Jessy!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
5 kale leaves, well chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup
olive oil

Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place it face down in a baking pan filled with 1/4 inch of water. Bake the squash at 350 for about 30-40 minutes (or until tender).  Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool.

While the squash is roasting, saute the kale in a olive oil on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tbsp water into the pan and cover with a lid to steam.  Steam for 2 more minutes (or until tender).  Remove from heat.

Once the squash halves have cooled, scoop out the squash, leaveing about 1/4 inch on the edges.  Place the squash flesh in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.  Add the kale, walnuts, maple syrup, and quinoa– combine well.

Scoop the stuffing into the empty squash halves and bake for 10 minutes at 350.  Remove from heat, allow to cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!

At Fernbank Science Center

If you live in Atlanta and are into baking and fun recipe related events, you might want to check this out on Monday!

From A Cappella Books:

Shirley Corriher, the James Beard-award-winning author of CookWise is back with her long-awaited sequel: BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes.

And to celebrate, her good friend, and Food Network Superstar, Alton Brown will join her onstage at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta on Monday, November 10 to discuss their shared passion for chemistry and all things culinary.

We are thrilled to be presenting this exciting event. It is our first–hopefully of many–joint production with the Literary Center of the Margaret Mitchell House.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with refreshments prepared from BakeWise and the Mitchell House’s cash bar. At 7 p.m., Alton & Shirley will begin the program, with a booksigning to follow. A Cappella will have both of Shirley’s books for sale as well as a number of Alton’s titles.

Tickets for this very special evening are just $10 each. Mention A Cappella Books when you call for reservations at 770-578-3502, however, and you’ll save $5 on each ticket.

Or, if you order BakeWise using the shopping cart or by calling A Cappella Books at 404-681-5128, your ticket is absolutely FREE.

Details in a Nutshell:
Monday, November 10, 6:00pm
Shirley Corriher with Alton Brown
BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes
The Margaret Mitchell House
990 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30309

her onstage at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown Atlanta on Monday, November 10 to discuss their shared passion for chemistry and all things culinary.

The last time I went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market I did something outrageous–insane even.  I didn’t buy any bread.  This wasn’t a mistake.  It wasn’t a slip-up.  I did it on purpose.  Because…well…because I have this insane idea to stop buying bread and to start baking it myself.  You have to understand something though, the Dekalb Farmer’s Market Bread is the best in Atlanta for that price.  Their golden pecan bread keeps me alive.  And I didn’t buy a loaf.

So I’ve been frantically (well, how frantically can you make bread sans bread machine?) kneading and baking, trying to make something satisfying.  Unfortunately, I’m a big believer in the idea that one’s energy determines how good the baked goods will be, and since I was sick on Monday for the first loaf attempt (oatmeal bread) and in a self-induced selfish funk last night (whole wheat loaf), neither turned out very well.  But the whole wheat loaf was the better of the two (thank god).

As you can tell from the picture, the crumb is a bit dense (can the crumb be dense?  I never know how to talk about bread).  The entire loaf is dense.  BUT not inedible!  I like the whole wheatyness of it and it seems to work well with sandwiches thus far.

Eh, I’ll get a good loaf one of these days.  And I do love making bread, so it’s a nice challenge in between thesis writing and work.

Whole Wheat Bread

From Epicurean.com

1 packet dried yeast
1.5 cups warm water
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 cup white flour
3.5 cups wholewheat flour
3 tbsps safflower oil
1 tbsp salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Add honey, white flour and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour.  Beat vigorously with a spoon to form a smooth batter. Cover and set aside to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.

Stir in the oil and the salt then fold in about 2.5 cups wholewheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, turning the bowl a quarter of a turn between folds. When the dough is too thick to add any more flour turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes, adding only enough flour to make a smooth elastic dough.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl.  Cover and rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and leave for a further 35 mins or so to rise again.

Shape the dough into 1 loaf and let it rise in the oiled pan for a further 30 minutes until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake for about 1 hour or until browned. Remove from oven and turn onto rack to cool.

Ebenezer Baptist Church after Obama was announced the winner (photo courtesy of the AJC)

For the first time ever, I’m proud to be an American and proud to be an Atlantan.