Thursday, May 22, 2008

School + GRE + moving = I need comfort food

I hope everyone is having fun spreading the word about veganism! Just two more days of World Vegetarian Week! Oprah's pledge to go vegan for 21 days couldn't have come during a more appropriate time!

I have been a busy bee lately. One week until I take the GRE, three weeks until I graduate, a month until I go to Germany, and then in August we are moving to Berkeley! From now until then I will be a crazy woman, yes indeedy.

What makes me feel less crazy? Alcohol. Obscene amounts of chocolate. Snuggling. Devious plans to make vegan paleosol cupcakes (Paleo-huh? You'll see...) And FOOD. So, my chickadees, I have much foodpr0nz for you ahead:

I love listening to Colleen of Compassionate Cooks (whom I and JP saw speak at Portland's VegFest a few weeks ago!) talk about her favorite foods. She's done two podcasts about them now and I love that she likes everything that JP and I like (except for brussels sprouts...but I'm open to new things, so one of these days...). One of those foods is dates. I totally agree with her that dates are nature's candy: sweet and sticky and chewy and delicious and omnommy. I had purchased a bunch of dates for 50% off at Sundance Natural Market, and in the podcast she recommended the date-almond butter smoothie from her Joy of Vegan Baking cookbook, so I made it last Monday.

Date-almond butter smoothie (JoVB)
Date-almond butter smoothie

And EVERY DAY THAT WEEK. OMG it's so creamy and dericious, it's like a milkshake for breakfast, but there's so many good things in here for you: we used hempmilk for the nondairy milk, and the dates and almond butter of course, and also banana, cinnnamon, maple syrup, and vanilla. I ended up leaving out the vanilla later in the week because I thought the dates made it sweet enough as it was, but WOW. So good. And a nice change-up from the fruit/kale smoothies we'd been drinking (though I love those too).

Also relating to VegFest: I finally FINALLY got my hands on a copy of Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught of the very near and dear Portland, Oregon. I'd been waiting for this since Christmas. The first recipe I tried was the tofu scramble. I love the fact that the spice measurements make enough for a smallish jar sized supply of tofu scramble spice. I think I'm going to make a huge batch of it and keep it around for when the scramble bug bites me.

Tofu Scramble (YRR)
Tofu scramble with Teese and avocado

It's totally in keeping with the Texas style of the cookbook and the food itself that I added avocado, and the 2nd time we made it (seen here) we added Teese cheese. Very omlicious. Can't wait to try more from this book.

Speaking of Portland, last time I was there I bought these 'shrimp' from Food Fight.

Fake 'shrimp' from Food Fight
Fake shrimpies

Our favorite local Chinese place, Lotus Garden, is all vegan and features yummy little fried 'golden delights' aka fake shrimp. I was hankerin' for something that used these little buggers so I veganized this recipe from Ina Garten. I used to love Ina Garten, before I realized (a) how unhealthy most of her recipes are and (b) how heavily meat & dairy-based her recipes are, in that order. Very annoying. But the recipe (veganized, of course) turned out right fine. I also replaced all the butter with olive oil and cut the total amount of oil in half, and added fresh spinach for some green. It was okay, it actually ended up still being pretty oily. And I think I'm over most meat substitutes. But it would be a great meal for people who are transitioning, I would think.

Speaking of that dinner, I had a bunch of fresh parsley that needed to be used up after I added some to the 'scampi', so I started experimenting with making my own ranch dressing to put on our salads. I used to be addicted to the stuff. I would put it on ANYTHING. What I came up with is a relatively good substitute. It was good enough to put on my salad, but was a little thin and was lacking some bite. I'm thinking I'll add more garlic and onion powder, and maybe some paprika next time, and use more vegenaise. Once it's closer to what I remember, I'll post the recipe here.

Salad with improvised ranch dressing!
Ranch? No...but close!

Alright enough with the 'speaking of's, I got no connection for this one. Sweet and sour chipotle tempeh with sweet potatoes from ED&BV!. Sweet potatoes got excellently with sweet and sour; I never would have come up with that combination by myself, but it works! The sweet and sour tastes way better than that pink stuff in typical American Chinese restaurants, it's lighter, milder, and thicker. We served this with couscous, which was nice, because the couscous stuck to the vegetables and tempeh in a delightfully tasty way!

Sweet and sour chipotle tempeh with sweet potatoes (ED&BV!)
Sweet and sour chipotle tempeh with sweet potatoes

To finish off that meal right, I used the last of the rhubarb JP bought at the Lane County farmer's market (we get to go again tomorrow, yippee!!). I didn't have enough to make a full Rhubarb Crunch (from The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnhard), so I made a mini one in one of my little oven-safe Corningware pans. Since I was basically using 1/6 of the recipe I kind of guesstimated some of the amounts (I don't think I put enough Earth Balance in the crust), but it turned out great, perfect for two smallish servings.

Mini strawberry-rhubarb crunch (GoV)
Rhubarb (and strawberry) Crunch

And last but not least:

Cumin-lime tofu (ED&BV!), steamed mustard greens, and Vcon Broccoli Polenta
Cumin-lime tofu, steam mustard greens, and broccoli polenta

The cumin-lime tofu frm ED&BV! was delicious as always. This was our first time steaming mustard greens - I think I like them better saute├ęd. Now, the polenta: this was my first time making polenta. I'd heard that it requires lots of stirring and attention, but this was quite simple. It's the broccoli polenta from Veganomicon, and we ate it out of the pot, but I saved the rest and put it into a muffin tin to broil later (I love lots of leftovers). It's not unhealthy by itself, and the broccoli (we used almonst a whole head!) makes it even better. I recommend it to anyone who wants comfort food but is tired of mashed potatoes (though I'm not sure how that could ever happen).


ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, it DOES sound like you've been busy... and yet you have managed to cook up lots of yummy foods! I'm so in awe of you-- when I'm stressed, I live out of my microwave :o/

Mihl said...

So many great foods! I am also a big fan of the cumin lime tofu, I have made it so many times now and even took it to a barbecue.

Germany? Where exactly are you going?

herbstsonne said...

Mihl - I'm going to be near Leipzig in a town called Meresburg (sp?), working on an archaeological dig. :)