Thursday, December 27, 2012

(893) joyeaux Noël

I hate to say it, but I am relieved that Christmas is over. It came up way too quickly and right in the midst of trying to figure out new health issues that have been occurring. It has been quite some time since something so out-of-the-blue and painful has happened to me. I am trying to be patient until my regular doctor returns from leave so I can talk to her about it. I can only hope it will get better soon. Besides the craziness of Christmas, it was a lovely quiet one. I got to spend a lot of time with my family which was nice. I also ate a ridiculous amount of food! (surprise surprise)

I love stir frys because they are so easy to pull together, and they are especially quick when you prep the vegetables a day or so ahead. I cooked my quinoa two days before and chopped my vegetables one day before. This is probably my favorite stir-fry to date! Crunchy, golden quinoa with edamame, garlicky shiitakes and topped with lots of organic sriracha. This did not last two days in my house before I ate all of it. I love recipes like these because you add anything you want and adjust things to your liking. Next time I would like to add fresh ginger and some kale!
//love + lemons

I am not going to Bikram yoga for a while, until I figure this health stuff out, but this was a lovely post-yoga snack: grapes and avocado toast smothered in paprika/lemon juice/salt.

Sometimes you have leftover quinoa and most of the time you're not sure what to do with it. I was just thumbing through Foodgawker one night when I saw these easy quinoa sriracha bites. It's a great way to use up leftover quinoa and it has eggs! (protein!). I would like to try these sometime with blended tofu to make them vegan. I added extra sriracha, obviously, and really loved the way they soaked up GF soy sauce. Sesame seeds on top add a lovely crunch! //leaf + grain

More avocado toast (for breakfast): what I call "deconstructed guacamole" toast with avocado, lime/lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt and cilantro.

The best tofu/veggie burgers I've ever had! I scarfed this one down in a second. I just wish they were freezer friendly because I would love to always have them on hand.

I learned a little downside about food blog recipes: they are bound to have mistakes (more often, I would say, than cookbooks). That being said, I have seen cookbooks who had to publish an insert to go with the books because there were mistakes (printing errors etc.) but when you have a blog recipe, people try them out and if they don't work out so great, you will hear about it! So I made these little chocolate chip rice krispie treat cookies...and I kept asking myself why some of them spread and some of them didn't. So I checked the recipe and she had updated it two weeks ago (PS I write my recipes very early on if it interests me). The butter sugar: flour ratio was off and that's why they spread so much. Luckily, I have some lovely co-workers and family members who said these were some of the best cookies they've had (hope you guys weren't joking!) and they were pretty damn good. //spoon fork bacon

Beautiful romanesco cauliflower 

Vegetable tofu pad thai from my sister

A lovely english perry cider and my new cookbooks, which I so gratefully gifted to myself. My excuse is that I did pretty well this semester and deserved it, haha. I have finally read all of these and cannot wait to start cooking from them. Pictured: "Veganomicon", "Everyday Happy Herbivore", "Happy Herbivore Abroad", "Vegan Brunch", "Appetite for Reduction", and "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World." (notice a trend? they're all vegan!)

The most amazing with out a doubt deliciousss black bean sweet potato stew with pineapple and fresh avocado. What?!?!?! My family and I (with all the aunties and uncles alike) met up at Blue Corn Cafe this weekend for a holiday get together. This stew is what the restaurant is famous for, apparently, and I can see why. I ate every last drop, along with two GF beers, and it was absolutely DIVINE.

I was so pleased at my options at this Mexican restaurant. While everyone else was chewing on sopapillas and fried ice cream, I had a beautiful glass of the best fresh mango sorbet I've ever had. Still drooling.

So I changed the Christmas dessert last minute to this lovely orange gingerbread with a cream cheese frosting. It was so fluffy, moist, and just the right amount of ginger and orange without being overpowering. I subbed in 1 C sorghum flour, 1 C tapioca flour, and 1/4 C almond meal alongside 2 1/2tsp xanthan gum. I used vegan butter and vegan cream cheese for the frosting and halved the frosting recipe. This is my mom's favorite cake yet, though she says this every time I make a new cake, but it's still really lovely! //joy the baker

I like to make my dad granola every year because he's incredibly hard to find gifts for. Last year I made this holiday granola, festively studded with cranberries and pistachios. I decided to make it again this year, but it was even better this time around! If you enjoy nutmeg, you will love this granola and it's so easy to make (like any granola recipe!). //yummy mummy

My mom made a lot of soup for us growing up, and still does. I think I got her soup making/soup loving gene because it is my favorite thing to make! If you asked me what her best soup is, corn chowder would be at the top of the list. She would make it during the dead of winter, when it was most comforting and heart warming, and it would be just perfect with crackers. I could eat that corn chowder for days. But, we all know I like to switch things I made this roasted poblano pepper corn chowder with red bell peppers and cumin. Let me just say, this is a close second to hers (along with tarragon corn chowder). The amount of heat here is perfect (could even use some minced jalapeno) and it's so comforting. I love variations on classics, and this is my favorite yet! //knead to cook

Christmas French toast with maple syrup, powdered sugar + bananas.

My new 12-qt soup pot. So in love!

New iPad 2 and green case. I am kind of shocked at how well my dad knows me because this case is amazing!

I was going to make a shepard's pie for Christmas but things got turned around and I wanted to cook from things I only had in my pantry; so I made Happy Herbivore's GF hippie loaf. This was the easiest and most flavorful vegan loaf yet! Made with black beans, aromatic vegetables, quinoa and Italian herbs, it was a hit with everyone on Christmas! It was kind of torture to drive to my parents' house with this in the car because it smelled so good. //happy herbivore

Vegan christmas dinner plate: homemade biscuits (same ones I made for Thanksgiving), bourbon pecan sweet potatoes, cornbread dressing, potato salad, and hippie loaf. Yum!

Trying to be more free-handed in the kitchen: Italian mushroom onion scramble, leftover biscuit, grapes and black currant tea for breakfast. Here's a half-ass recipe for the scramble:

Chop up equal amounts of mushrooms and onion. Preheat a small skillet with just enough oil. Throw in vegetables and stir, letting saute for 2 mins. Add a good sprinkle or two of Italian seasoning and stir. Let saute until mushrooms and onions are soft and fragrant. Meanwhile, beat eggs in a bowl with almond milk (I use the ratio of 1 egg:1 T milk, and I used 3 eggs). Season eggs with salt and pepper. Once vegetable mixture is cooked down, pour eggs directly over them. Let sit until the bottom begins to set, then push the eggs around with a spatula, scrambling lightly, until cooked. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

(882) moteurs sainte

It has been a crazy first week off, hence all the photos but lack of recent posting. I have been insanely busy and am enjoying the next few days before Christmas pandemonium sets in. I have been eating pretty well, and cooking as much as I can, but have also been pretty lazy since school is out. The good news is I finished with a 3.56 and I will find out soon if I get into the Disciplinary Honors program! 

I made the most amazing vegan burgers: pumpkin black bean patties. They are definitely better when you let the batter sit in the fridge overnight to help thicken. They form a perfect, golden crust from frying in coconut oil. The flavors are perfect: cumin, chili powder, black beans, pumpkin, and other amazing ingredients. Sooo good! //sprouted kitchen

I also made this massaged kale and roasted garlic dressing salad to eat with these burgers, as well as some polenta croutons. The salad was tender, delicious, and incredibly garlicky. Like REALLY garlicky. Be warned. Polenta croutons are a great way to use up leftover prepared polenta in a tube: cut into even slices and fry over medium high in a thin layer of olive/coconut oil until golden brown. Drain briefly on a paper towel. Easy and a great addition to a meal! //eat this poem

Half-ass pumpkin hummus I made for sandwiches over the weekend: leftover pumpkin puree, a can of chickpeas 3-4 T tahini, spices, fresh rosemary, curry powder, etc. I just added a bunch of stuff and tasted it until it was to my liking! Not my best hummus but I didn't have much time and needed something.

Close up of massaged kale roasted garlic salad: a piece of art.

The best quick vegan lunch: homemade hummus, GF bread, avocado and heirloom tomato.

Trader Joe's haul: the best cider, which is even better than apple cider//not my favorite kale chips but they are kale chips//the BEST prepared salad I've ever had in my life and need to recreate ASAP//my favorite vegan caramel popcorn.

My little Christmas tree!

I had quite an abundance of mirepoix, or aromatic vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, and herbs) so I finally made homemade vegetable stock. It was probably the easiest thing ever and it made over 16 cups, and it's freezer-friendly! I used the following:

16 C water//1 C white wine//4 sprigs fresh herbs (I used rosemary+thyme)//1 onion peeled and halved//1 potato halved//4 carrots//3 stalks of celery with tops//3 C spinach//4 whole cloves garlic//2 T olive oil//mushroom caps//1 tsp pepper//1 T salt

Place in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover, and cook 1.5 hours. Let cool then strain. Place into smaller containers (I recommend by 1 C measurements). Will last 1 week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. 

Cheap wine. 

New favorite side dish: spicy paprika roasted carrots. I added a hint too much of cayenne but they are still lovely. I paired them with the spaghetti squash below. They would be great with a warm quinoa salad or even veggie burgers. //mince + type

I finally made spaghetti squash, after seeing it all over food blogs this fall. It was delicious but quite a pain to shred after baking in the oven. I made Deb's moroccan spiced spaghetti squash, which I have been eyeing for quite a while since it's so simple. This was probably the easiest spaghetti squash recipe out there and the flavors are amazing: coriander, cumin, cayenne and butter. The sauce was easy and satisfying. It was lovely topped with toasted almonds, with a side of a white balsamic + greens salad and roasted carrots. //smitten kitchen

Vegan tacos from Crafted downtown + GF beer. Wayfarer tacos include chofu (tofu chorizo), pico, vegan jalapeno havarti, french fries, and avocado spread. Dying.

The best vegan lunch after being slammed at work and hungry: organic grapes, loaded avocado and hummus paprika sandwich and kale chips. Soooo good. Better than any non-vegan lunch I've ever had.

I always talk myself into getting Sticks + Stones vegan pizza with swiss chard, potaotes, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, spinach and onions. It may be expensive but it's hard to resist this after a few ciders!

My new favorite English dry cider! 

This wraps up the week and I will hopefully be back soon. I am going to try and make a small post about hot/Bikram yoga tomorrow (which will mark my second class!). I tried it out Friday and am really trying to stick with it. It's great! :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

(871) le semaine d'examens

That's right...I somehow made it to exam week and I'm still alive! I also have more things going on right now than I have had during the entire semester, not including school. Not sure how that happened, but I am ready for classes to be done so I can focus on them. I am also *slowly* preparing for my trip to France next year, which means getting a passport, and hopefully an honors grant too! 

Trying to do DIY/homemade gifts for everyone this year. This is the only one I've started because it requires no attention and needs to sit for 3 weeks: homemade vanilla extract. //baked bree

I still eat snacks like a five-year old: bugs in the bed/ants on a log.

I am not very confident about cooking things that aren't by a recipe, but there are a few things that I know how to cook easily; oven fries is one of them. Cut sweet potatoes into uniform pieces (peel if desired but I dont think its necessary). Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, smoked paprika, etc. There are many ways to dress these! Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until soft and crunchy on the outside. 

This tofu scramble certainly helped me do a bit of improvisation, which I never do. I have also been searching for the perfect tofu scramble, like the one I used to get at a restaurant in High Point which is not only closed, but used to be so cross-contaminated that I was always sick from it. It was delicious though, and this is the closest thing I can find. Use any vegetables in your fridge for this and any spices you desired. This batch was: curry, cumin, paprika, cayenne, dried oregano and lots of nutritional yeast (which helps browning) and for vegetables: carrots, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. This is why I like to keep a package of tofu in my fridge because this was easy to pull together! //chickpea magazine

A little more improvising was done with this dish (yay!). It's hard to find a good, creamy vegan pasta that isn't loaded down with vegan cheese or soy milk. This vegan pumpkin pasta was perfect. I was quite hesitant about the nutmeg added to the sauce, but it compliments the salt and pumpkin perfectly. I added some white wine, vegan butter sauteed mushrooms and shallots to the sauce and it was amaaaazing. Definitely tasted better the first day but was still lovely. //chickpea magazine

Couldn't resist. Hot toddys are in my near future.

My latest meal goal is to eat something green with every meal, which doesn't necessarily mean a salad (as you can see by this post and the one below). This wonderful side dish, which didn't last in my kitchen for 10 minutes, was a lovely roasted broccolini with a smoked paprika vinaigrette and sunflower seeds for crunch. I may have to make this again next week. The flavors are just fantastic. //the year in food

I can't honestly say that I have ever had a brussel sprout. I just remember them being the butt of every vegetable/child related joke. They got picked on, as a vegetable, which I never understood. They couldn't be that bad. I mean, they weren't the stewed cabbage that was eaten in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Anyways...I have had my blog roll blown up about brussel sprout recipes in the past two weeks. So finally I roast the damn things and good lord. What have I been missing this whole time? They are perfect. I made these as one of my green sides but they are phenomenal. I would like to have them at the Christmas dinner table. So yeah. Don't hate on them, just go roast them! //oh, ladycakes!

I have been stalking this traditional Israeli breakfast dish ever since I started reading Deb's blog and seeing this pop up everywhere. What makes it so popular? Well, first of all, one of its alternative names is "eggs in purgatory" (clearly Dante would eat this) and not only is it easy to make, but it's cheap too. It consists of a spicy, anaheim chile laced tomato sauce (use San Mazrano tomatoes on this trussst me) topped with poached eggs which are directly cooked into the tomato sauce. I have never poached an egg, and didn't really poach these, but they are still edible and that's what is important. This would be great to serve a crowd at brunch because it makes a ton, haha. I served mine with garlic basil polenta rounds and brussels sprouts. //smitten kitchen