Thursday, September 27, 2007

Plugging Away...

...on my VwaV challenge. I took score: 43 down, 91 to go (based on the recipe list in this thread). A little disheartening, but we'll eat happy trying. I had to try Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Butternut Vindaloo because there is no photo posted in the thread for it.

I know those aren't kabocha squashes (squashes? squice? squashii?) but they are really pretty. I loved the flavour of the vindaloo in all it's mustard-seedy goodness.

And lemon-poppyseed muffins.

I've always been leery of poppyseeds after my sister worked at a grocery store and handed out free samples of poppyseed-filled baked goods. She always knew who was sneaking back for seconds when they eagerly grinned for more. Good muffins, though.

And here are the famous Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

They were frequently mentioned in the addiction thread. Ya, I see why. They are awesome. Really awesome. Like I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner awesome.

And these have been popular for a long time too. Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars.

They are brilliantly simple to make (I used raspberry jam) and fancy enough to put on a Christmas cookie platter.

And finally, this week's CSA haul.

Celery, swiss chard, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, garlic, sage, a white squash of unknown variety, and yummy fresh raspberries. It was the first time we got fruit in our basket. I'm afraid the CSA season may end any week now. It's been great - again, check out Tim and Roshan Aubin if you are in the Ottawa area and looking for a CSA.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This 'n' That

I was on a bit of a cooking spree, and decided to whip out Vegan Planet to try a few of the 400+ recipes. I first made Udon Noodles in Ginger Broth (I'm not around the book now to type the totally correct title). I have to say that I won't make this again - it lacked flavour and with such a runny broth, it was hard to eat the noodles without making a giant mess. If I were to make it again, I would significantly increase the flavouring with something, and would break the noodles up into tiny pieces.

Next, I thought I'd try the Spinach Bread Pudding. Tasty, but there was one thing I'd do differently...note the instructions about the pan prep:
This is the result of 'lightly oiling' the pan:

Despite a messy clean-up, it was quite tasty. I served it with some Roasted Vegetables with Thyme (basically cut up parsnips, white potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic mixed with olive oil and thyme and baked at 450 for 40 mins) and baked tofu.
I've been getting better at planning my meals and going to the grocery store just once during the week. This week, I already made Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms in Mustard Sauce. It was from an old issue of VT, but I modified it to include onions and Yves Chick'n Tenders. I used a grainy dijon mustard so I had mustard seeds caught in my teeth everywhere - use smooth dijon if that would make you self-conscious!
Finally, to coincide with Tracy's VwaV challenge, I made the Apple Pie Muffins. OMG - I was skeptical about just how good they would be, but wow, they are great. It's well worth dropping the streusel topping all over the floor to eat these.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Beet the Clock

I had vowed a while back that I would make every recipe in VwaV before Veganomicon came out. I had said even Orange-Glazed Beets. Well, here they are:

And here they are frolicking on my dinner plate with Marinated Asian Tofu, sauteed swiss chard and roasted spaghetti squash. And they were good! I like beets!

And because wild blueberries were prolific at Farmboy, here are Sunny Blueberry Corn Muffins. I'm on a roll.

Is anyone else up for the challenge??

We had lots of tomatoes in our CSA basket this week, and I needed a meal that would use up a few at once. I didn’t want to make regular boring tomato sauce, as it can be too acidic for my liking. We had an eggplant in the fridge, so I made this dish. Warning: this is not a low-fat recipe! I wanted to make sure the eggplant was soft, and since eggplant absorbs a lot of oil when cooking, I used the minimum that I thought I could get away with.

Fresh Tomato Eggplant Pasta

1 large eggplant
5 large tomatoes
5 tblsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced*
5 white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup red wine
2 tsp organic sugar (if using red wine that isn’t sweet)
2 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tblsp fresh basil, chopped
1 can chickpeas

1 package organic large-shaped pasta, penne or rotini

Peel eggplant with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1” cubes. Submerge eggplant in a bowl of heavily salted water (like 2 heaping teaspoons) by placing a bowl upside-down over the cubes to keep those floaters underwater. Let sit for 30 mins, or as long as possible.

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Make a little X with a knife in bottom of each tomato. When the water is bubbling, drop tomatoes in. Let cook for 45 seconds, then remove tomatoes with slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of cold water. The tomato skins should peel off easily with your hands. Chop naked tomatoes into 1” cubes.

Put the same big pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. That way there will be less dishes to wash. I’m lazy.

Rinse and drain eggplant. Place olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over med heat. Add the eggplant cubes and cook for 15 minutes, or until eggplant is completely brown and soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook for another 3 minutes. This is what it looks like at this point:

Add the red wine, salt, sugar and chickpeas, and simmer for 5 minutes, heating through. Mix vegetables with cooked pasta and serve.

*Since joining our CSA, I’ve learned that fresh garlic kicks butt over the dried up bulbs they sell at the grocery store. Farmer’s markets have huge amounts of garlic at this time of year. The garlic juice should drip out of the press, or it’s not fresh.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Favourite Salad

I really miss my favourite Lebanese restaurant in Ottawa - Kamal's - as it had the best Fattoush Salad ever. I've tried other places, and found that the dressing isn't that great, or the pita crisps are too greasy. I realize I sound very fussy, but I wish that I could go somewhere to experience such a tasty delight instead of having to make it myself.

Fortunately, to satisfy my cravings for this tangy salad, Vegan Planet's version is pretty darn good. I like how it calls for chickpeas for added protein. Although the recipe doesn't contain 'sumac', which I think is a traditional spice in fattoush, it's nice and garlicky.

Since there's alot of chopping involved due to all of the fresh veggies and fresh herbs, I typically buy the pre-cut romaine salads in a bag.