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.