Saturday, December 12, 2009

Adjust your bookmarks

Well, despite the rumors, we've been eating pretty well the last few months, we just haven't always had the time to post about it.

In the interest of saving time, we've moved the blog to a short-format tumblr blog here:

See you over there!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet Tooth

In the interest of frugality and out of a sense of DIY-i-tude, I was going to make our bread this weekend. But then I made cupcakes and ice cream instead. Oops.

These are chocolate avocado cupcakes, from Vegetarian Times, sans the glaze they called for (and didn't really need anyway), because I couldn't be bothered. I was too busy making Peanut Butter Chocolate Chile Ice Cream, as inspired by this episode of Everyday Dish.

Neither of these are particularly thrifty or healthy. Those cupcakes call for a full CUP of maple syrup! I got a good deal on a giant jar of the good Vermont stuff at the greenmarket, but holy cow, a cup is a LOT of syrup, and syrup, deal or no deal, is not cheap. They are delicious and moist and perfect, though, so it's worthwhile. Especially if you've been dreaming about them for a week like I have. See how dark and delicious they look? That is some serious chocolate action. They do look disgusting when you're mixing the avocado up, though. It turns out looking a lot like snot or the slime from Double Dare:

The ice cream is in the freezer, and will be ready tomorrow, when I have nothing but cupcakes and ice cream for dinner.
 I made it with hemp milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, cayenne, NM red chile powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Early tastes are promising!

Migas, two ways

While visiting the Porters on the Cape (I promise I will eventually put up the pictures of our delicious meals there, as soon as I get them from Pete), we jotted down this recipe from Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express, which I love because it's organized seasonally, and is written sensibly, which is to say, with no real formal measurements in the recipes. The whole book is full of recipes like the ones I used to get from my mom over the phone, jotted down in a notebook that is now spattered with batter and oil.

The recipe we brought home to test run was nice & simple and combines two things we love: chickpeas and leafy greens. Our go-to quick & healthy dinner is sauteed chickpeas (with or without garlic, depending non our rush & what's on hand) seasoned liberally with turmeric and kale, chard, or spinach steamed on top and stirred in. It's filling, it's good for you, and it's really easy. Migas, a la Bittman are pretty much the same thing, but with fried bread chunks, no turmeric and a dash of cumin. Pete was worried that they would be bland, but he didn't need to. So yum. (I think it also helped that we cooked our own chickpeas with a clove of garlic & a bay leaf in the water, a la Kellie Porter.)
As if I needed another reason to love Mark Bittman.

While I was looking for the recipe online, to see if Bittman said anything else about it online, I came across a bunch of posts about the more traditional TexMex version of migas, made with eggs & torn up stale tortillas, and a bunch of cheese. Not vegan, but delicious, and we did have some stale corn tortillas in the I winged it, subbing black beans for chickpeas, and corn tortillas for bread, and chard for kale and adding a couple of chopped chipotles in adobo (hot!) and a tomato.

These turned out to be equally delicious (Pete didn't like the smokiness of the adobo sauce, but I didn't mind it), and made a huge amount of bean-chard deliciousness, which I had in burritos for breakfast for the next few days. This one's easy, cheap, and yummy!

Also, congrats to Laura on going all-veg! I've been thinking about putting together a post of resources and tips for eating vegetarian on the cheap, and places to find good and simple recipes. Hopefully I'll get that down here in the next week or so!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Laura the Vegetarian

My identity and practice as a vegetarian have now begun. Of course, most people I know ask me why I've decided to forgo meat (others congratulate me), and the reasons are many and varied. There are aspects of politics, the environment, and my own feelings about how animals are treated in the meat industry that have contributed to this lengthy decision. Part of the change is for health (though I've been told to make sure to replace that protein in my diet) as I want to increase my vegetable consumption. It also seems highly practical in a lot of ways. I will save money buying groceries and will cook at home more often, which I enjoy. The main reason for the choice, though, is that I realized I don't need meat on an emotional/intellectual level, so why eat it?

I enjoyed cooking in Costa Rica a lot and below is a photo of sauteed onion and bell pepper over rice made in the villa we stayed at in San Ramon. It's good to be home in my own kitchen with things like cheese graters and an oven. I'm hoping to post a lot more to this blog in my continued adventures of cooking vegetables because they are so tasty and wonderful.

I am a bit worried about how to start this endeavor without spending a lot of money. I know that in the long run I will save money, but starting out getting spices and cooking supplies can be very costly. I have a fairly decent stock of spices and some staples, but things like muffin tins, baking dishes, cast-iron pans, etc., are lacking in my hodge-podge kitchen. Regardless, I've got the means and the know-how and the hunger, so here goes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Turn Over a New Leaf, or, How to eat a bunch of kale every day.

Our mother & stepfather live in the charming beachside town of Half Moon Bay, California. I love to visit them for so many reasons (they are fabulous, the beach is nearby and the pelicans fly right along the waves if you sit on the beach early enough in the morning, they live much nearer to my siblings and the all-important nephew), and one of them is the coastal farms all around and the Californian ecological ethos that makes it possible to get good, fresh, local, healthy food.

A fairly recent addition to the area, and the list of places I like to visit when I'm out there, is a local chain of grocery stores (pardon me--community markets) called The New Leaf. The store seems kind of like Whole Foods at first, and it is, but if Whole Foods weren't evil and corporate, but actually what they present themselves to be: committed to sustainable agriculture, commerce and community. They source as much as they can locally, produce-wise, and tell you where stuff comes from and the staff is super friendly and like to let you taste things and make conversation. It's probably a lot like what Whole Foods was like when it was a whippersnapper.

Last time we were out there, my mom pointed out, in the deli case, a kale salad that she & Mike had been enjoying a lot lately, and knowing how I feel about kale (and worried that vegan me will starve if she doesn't get tons of special food for me), she got two big containers of it. You guys, I lived on that stuff for the week I was there, and I never ever got sick of it even a little bit. It was good on its own, and it was good with avocado on top and it was good for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ended up going back to get more, I ate so much of it. So of course when I left, I wrote down the ingredients listed on the label and promised myself that I would try to duplicate it at home because I really need to eat more green leafies.

Here's the list:
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
sesame seeds
red onion
liquid aminos (Bragg's)
lemon juice
olive oil

So here's what I did tonight, when I finally made this salad at home, and it turned out to be just as good as the New Leaf's version:
  • Wash and stem two bunches of farmer's market kale, then tear or chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • Put the kale in a mixing bowl with a half teaspoon of salt and massage the kale until it wilted down and turned emerald green and was stewing in its own sweet juices.
  • Chop half a red onion into dicey pieces, add to bowl.
  • Add a handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Mine were raw, but you could toast them, I suppose.
  • Add another big handful of sunflower seeds. Again, mine were raw, but this is optional.
  • Add a generous pile of sesame seeds. These were toasted, because that's what I've got and that's how I like them.
  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into small bowl.
  • Add a generous squirt of Bragg's Liquid Aminos. (Maybe I'll measure next time, but I think it would be hard to go wrong here.)
  • Add a couple of generous squirts of flax oil. (I know it's not on the list, but if you're going to eat healthy, you might as well go all the way. Also, flax oil has a really lovely nutty flavor that I have grown quite fond of.)
  • Add a little olive oil, because you can't go wrong with olive oil. Probably not necessary, what with the flax oil, but it was on the list, so I added some.
  • Whisk to emulsify and pour into the salad bowl.
  • Toss that salad up and you're ready to eat!
This is a recipe that will keep in the fridge for a while. Make a whole bunch and take it for lunch every day! Mix it up by adding apple slices and raisins, or topping it with baked tofu, or tempeh cooked in some delicious manner, or add home made croutons just before eating or eat it over rice or other cooked grains. It's great in the summer, because you don't cook anything, and great in the winter because there's only kale and onions at the farmer's market in the winter. It's great nutritionally because between the kale and the seeds you get a ton of calcium and proteins and other good stuff. It's cheap, too, and it feels like a real meal. I'm full right now. So full. And I have lunch for tomorrow. Did I mention that the whole thing only took me about half an hour?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


As we all know, Pete loves potatoes. No brunch is complete without some kind of home fries. Since making the Lemon Roasted Potatoes (minus lemons) from Veganomicon for dinner with Reed & Courtney, he'd decided that this dish is It. The Potatoes. So we had them again for brunch this morning.
Along with the Tofu Rancheros from the September issue of Vegetarian Times. The recipe is pretty quick, and the ingredients are simple. The potatoes take forever, though, so we started those first, and everything was done almost exactly on time.

It's too bad I didn't notice that the recipe made enough for 6 people. We were starving by the time everything was ready, so our eyes may have been a bit bigger than our tummies.
But we have leftovers to last us pretty much the whole week.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chickpea Fried Rice: Fast, Furious

We got home from a weekend of fresh, delicious food with the Porters at the Cape (about which more later) to a home devoid of fresh vegetables. And we were tired. And it was hot. The solution? A quick, cheap, easy and nutritious meal of fried rice with chickpeas. It's not ideal, but we had all the ingredients, and it was fast. Plus, it made enough that we don't have to worry about lunch for tomorrow!
Start 1 & a half c. rice cooking in stock or broth. When it's about halfway done, start the chickpeas frying in the wok/pan. Add frozen corn & peas to the rice when it's nearly finished, stirring it all together. When the chickpeas are beginning to brown, and the rice is finished, mix it all together and stir fry in a wok or large pan.

I added a squirt of liquid aminos right at the end. A touch of soy or tamari sauce would also be good. I also topped this with hoisin sauce because I love that on everything, and we have a jar of it from our Pet Cemetary dinners/band practices.