Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Food for Hibernation

I've been trying to cook my way out of February and the long cold winter. May spring come quickly and without warning. First a few soups, synonymous with cold weather comfort.

Vcon's Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple. Now I love grilled pineapple.

From the same, Tomato-Rice Soup with Garlic and Navy Beans. I was too environmentally conscious to fire up the oven just to roast the garlic, so I used the lazy alternative. But I didn't use canned beans! I made a huge pot of white beans, so we'll be seeing more of them in the near future. This recipe is really, really good and totally blows canned tomato soup out of the pantry.

I'm still working on the Nov/Dec issue of VegNews and tried the Barley Soup with Porcini and Dill from page 79. It was tasty, not stellar, but simple to make.

I love Vcon's Black Bean Burgers and have made them twice so far. This is a lousy photo that does not do them justice. They are super topped with avocado slices and Cilantro Sour Cream.

While we were at Rainbow Foods I bought some pre-made seitan and have been eying the Vietnamese Seitan Baguette with Savory Broth Dip recipe ever since I first got Vcon. My only regret is that I didn't buy two packs to make more sandwiches. I want to try again with a huge batch of homemade seitan because these were awesome. The sauce is kinda reminiscent of St Hubert's dipping sauce from my getting-sketchier-by-the-year childhood memories.

I borrowed La Dolce Vegan! from the library and picked out Portobello Pot Pie because Costco sells portobellos by the boatload. This recipe was easy and really good! Both Pete and Princess raved about it. I sauteed everything in a cast-iron skillet and then placed the crust on top and popped it in the oven.

One recipe in Vcon that has received a lot of press is Eggplant-Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream. So of course, I had to make it. In particular, I chose to make it on a night that Sarah let me bring dinner over for the new parents. So far, it's my absolute favourite thing that I've made out of that book, and there's some pretty stiff competition. Here is the calm unbroken expanse of Pine Nut Cream.

We ate it faster than I could take a good photo of the inside.

In top spot for The Best Vcon Dish That Can Be Thrown Together on a Busy Weeknight - Tangerine Baked Tofu. I took a pic of the ingredients because I can't believe how so few things can taste so good together. Of course, booze helps.

Ya, that's Loblaws tofu. I hate shopping there, but they do have good tofu. And here are the citrusy baked 'fus cavorting with broccoli.

Finally, dessert! I took Dreena's recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and changed up the amounts a bit to yield enough cookies to feed our family for a couple of days. At least a day. They are great for lunches because they don't have any nut-related ingredients.

Healthy Kid-Friendly Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice (omit if using chocolate chips)
½ cup organic sugar
½ cup canola oil
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup soymilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine Dry ingredients in small bowl. Mix Wet ingredients in stand mixer on medium speed or in food processor until sugar is dissolved. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix. Add in Extra ingredients. Scoop onto cookie sheets lined with silicone or parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes then let cool on sheets. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Not Exactly Vegan, But...

Well, my 9-month baking project is now done! There is no more bun in the oven! Kyle and I welcomed our little girl on February 5th. So, Tracy will have to hold down the fort on the blog until I have gotten accustomed to making vegan meals in between breastfeeding and diaper changes!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You know I love this Cookbook

This week brings - you guessed it - more Veganomicon food! But just to prove that I do try other things, there are a few dishes from elsewhere.

Smoky Grilled Tempeh and Sauteed Collards. So good, especially if you like smoky things. I still prefer the Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh.

Grilled Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tortillas. Using mashed sweet potatoes for the traditional cheese is brilliant. I should have done these on the grill pan, but had the skillet out so I used that. I can't wait to try these with yuca.

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Seed Rice Paper Rolls. These were good, but I needed something denser in the middle of the wrap, like tofu. The dipping sauce was AMAZING, with the perfect combo of hot, sour, salty, sweet.

Fat-free Vegan's Ethiopian-Inspired Red Lentil Soup. I've been wanting to try this because the picture on her website is fantastic and kittee has me in an ethiopian food mood. It was really hearty and tasty. Not for kids.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango. This would be perfect in the summer out on the patio. I made this on a freezing cold winter's night which was probably a mistake, but dammit, mangoes are on sale now!

Spaghetti and Bean Balls. Perfect food for a family dinner night. I loved the taste of the beanballs. Next time, I won't bake them with the sauce on top because I would have liked them crisper. Vcon's marinara sauce is superb. It will be my standard go-to tomato sauce from now on.

Israeli Couscous with Pistachios and Apricots and Mediterranean-Style Baked Lima Beans. I screwed something up on this one. The couscous was tough. The beans were tougher. They could have had a gang fight right there on the plate. But, you have to learn from your mistakes. Next time I would cook the couscous in water first, then add to the skillet. The flavours in the recipe worked well together. As for the beans, I might use cannellini or navy next time. Too many of the lima beans split in half during soaking and the split ones never softened.

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stirfry. Really good and fairly easy. Princess liked it.

Skillet Corn Bread. I think anything cooked in a skillet is beautiful. This was super easy and made enough for an army. Or a gaggle of peace-keepers.

Ani Phyo's Raw Japanese Miso-Shiitake Soup. Puke. I should have known better given that this recipe calls for 1 cup of olive oil, but I couldn't eat more than a few spoonfuls. I've come to the realization that I don't like raw garlic.

Luckily my Homemade Kimchee was spicy hot enough to kill the taste from the soup. This was fun to make, letting cabbage rot on the counter intentionally. The recipe is from Maddhur Jaffery's World of the East Vegetarian Cooking.


VWAV's Maple Walnut Cookies. My new favourite not-healthy cookies. Damn, these are good! I eat too many of them though, so they are not-healthy for me.

Dreena's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. My new favourite healthy cookie. The recipe doesn't make enough cookies for our family, so I'm playing with it to make a bigger batch with even more health thrown in. A big bonus for these is that Princess can take them to school in her lunch because they are nut-free.