Friday, June 20, 2014

Les Bouchées Quotidiennes

This is possibly my new favorite cocktail because it tastes like a sweeter version of a Negroni. I've been searching for different ways to use pomegranate molasses and this might be the tastiest way yet! If you've never tried Campari, I highly recommend it, but only if you like slightly bitter, strong alcohols. 

For  Father's Day last weekend, I decided to make dinner for my parents and Mike. I grew up eating lots of Southern food (minus the lard and ham hocks), like collard greens, fried cornbread, BBQ chicken and black-eyed peas. Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry encompasses everything I loved as a child, and more, minus the meat and dairy. If you love Southern/Soul food, I can't recommend this book enough. These are the first recipes I've made from it, but they were so easy and pretty much every recipe does not require "special" ingredients. For this dinner, I made Creole Hoppin'-Jean and Johnny blaze cakes (aka johnny cakes with jalapenos). I think I could eat this meal every single day and never tire of it. The texture of the Johnny blaze cakes were incredible, even though they were a little tedious and took a while to cook (it's totally worth it though).

Whenever I make pie, I always ask myself why I don't make pie more often. For dessert on Father's Day, I made this chilled chocolate pie with an oat-almond crust. I left out the strawberry compote and bought some rice whip instead (mostly because we devoured all of our local strawberries). This is probably the easiest vegan/GF pie I've ever made. The crust held up wonderfully and everything came together smoothly and quickly. My favorite part about this pie? The texture was incredible. Getting the texture right for a vegan pie filling is something I've had trouble with in the past, but this one was creamy, thick, and delicious. 

I made this Tuscan kale + tomato pasta this week, which actually ended up giving us two dinners. The sauce was very "soupy", which I liked in some ways. We omitted the Parmesan rind, which I'm sure would add a lovely flavor to the sauce, so ours turned out slightly bland. If going the vegan route, add some dried Italian herbs/oregano/salt when the sauce is finished and extra fresh thyme and basil leaves for serving. This sauce came together quickly and was very easy to make, but I think I liked it better the second night (see below).

I had a ton of leftover tomato sauce from the Tuscan kale pasta, but did not want to eat pasta again. Two pounds of pasta in two days (for both of us) is not okay with me, as crazy as that sounds. Suddenly I remembered the eggs in tomato sauce that I've been making for weekend breakfasts every now and then, and wondered if I could do the same thing here. Here's the beauty of this recipe: we left the tomato sauce in the pot we cooked it in, with the lid, in the fridge. For dinner, I just put it on the stove to boil, straight from the fridge, lowered the heat to simmer (covered) for 10 minutes. Then I cracked four eggs gently into the tomato sauce and cooked 5-7 minutes until pretty much set, then 2-3 minutes off the heat uncovered. We ate these eggs over buttered toast with extra tomato sauce, fresh thyme and basil. You could also serve this over Italian polenta for an extra delicious dinner!

The most abundant herb in my garden is fennel. I hate licorice candy, but I am a sucker for how fennel smells and tastes. Plus, the big, green fronds are so pretty shooting every which way from the middle of its pot. But what on Earth will I do with all of this fennel? Yes, I can take out the root and eat it, but then I will have to grow fennel all over again. Well I did find one way: potato soup! Fennel fronds are the perfect balance for a creamy, potato-corn soup. I used this recipe with these changes: I omitted the tofu bacon, used 4 fresh corn cobs instead of 1 cup, omitted the nutritional yeast and jalapenos. I also broke my corn cobs in half and added them to the soup while it simmered, then removed them before taking it off the heat to blend it. I think I used about 1/4-1/3 C of torn fennel fronds to stir into the soup. Also, this soup is a cinch to make. There is no sauteing, or oil, and it takes about 30 minutes or less with prep time included. Always a plus!

One thing I am trying to be better about is using leftovers from one dish for a completely different one in the same week. Earlier this week, I made this curry soup with jasmine rice and tofu croutons (not pictured because I have made it before). There was a ton of rice and half a package of tofu leftover. Last night I used both of these to make peanut butter + kale fried rice. I added broiled sesame tofu, Thai basil, sriracha and chopped peanuts. Sadly there are no leftovers because we ate all of it in one sitting. This is definitely going on my "too busy to care" meal rotation during the school year. The ingredients are simple and it takes maybe 10 minutes to pull together. The sesame broiled tofu is something I go back to again and again because of how simple it is. You can find the recipe in this post.

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