Thursday, April 14, 2011

Breakfast potatoes in nappa cabbage wraps

This is what happens when you get home late, not having thought through a dinner strategy.  We had the cabbage leaves already wrapped and ready to go for whatever I might fill them with, but we also had the potatoes and onions and scallions and fresh herbs, so I ended up chopping the potatoes very small, sauteeing them with onion, garlic, crazy amounts of chili powder and other spices I won't bother to name (many of them Indian combinations, because I'd toasted and ground the spices for another meal and didn't use them all so why not throw them in, too?), first uncovered then covered for a long time until everything was very soft and caramelized and delicious.  That's when you add the fresh herbs and scallions and plop them in lettuce wraps and dip them in sweet chili sauce because that stuff tastes good on anything.  I'm not saying breakfast potatoes in lettuce wraps are a natural combination or recommending you try them, but the potatoes were perfect alone and I do recommend you have lettuce wraps more often and get creative.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The night i outdid myself

I cook a lot of yummy food, a lot of bad food, and a lot of food that falls somewhere in between.  When I cook something - particularly when I create the recipe myself - that comes together exactly as I'd imagined, I get really excited!  I give myself lots of pats on the back and watch Chris's expression to make sure he enjoys it as much as I do and if he doesn't I think he is obviously crazy.
I am sorry if I offend anyone by not featuring strictly vegan foods on this blog, but that wouldn't be honest.  As a marketing person, I know the importance of knowing your audience but the way I see it, I don't have a very big audience and after a quick cost-benefit analysis I don't have much to lose by portraying my diet accurately here (minus the ridiculous amounts of candy I sometimes eat).

Our meal last night was:

Whole wheat shell pasta with caper pesto, roasted fennel, and smoked salmon.

Bibb salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh raspberry vinaigrette.

For the pasta, all you do is roast the sliced fennel with oil, salt and pepper in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the pesto by blending roughly one-third cup capers, one tablespoon white miso, one big handful of parsley, a small handful of walnuts, a big pinch dried oregano, a big pinch red pepper flakes, one tablespoon ume vinegar, and one-fourth cup olive oil.  Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and stir in the pesto, a pat of margarine, roasted fennel slices, and pieces of smoked salmon.  Delicious!!

The raspberry vinaigrette is made by blending one-half cup fresh or frozen raspberries, two tablespoons raspberry vinegar (I have a really high quality one that I could practically drink from here), and one-fourth cup olive oil.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brown rice with peanut sauce and raw crunchy vegetables

I can't always get the the farmers market on a weekday, and Kroger or Sevenanda (our co-op) work most days.

But sometimes when I need inspiration during the week, I really, really appreciate the produce section at Whole Foods.  Everything looks so fresh and colorful and in its place!  I stocked up on bok choy, radishes, baby cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, leeks, fennel, peppers, and nectarines.

Unfortunately, the nectarines turned out to be duds. :-/  This did NOT make me happy.

But dinner tonight was nice and light and full of flavor. :-)  I used this recipe from Orangette, subbing brown rice for soba noodles.  I love that the only cooked part of this dish is the rice, yet it still feels like a hot, comforting meal.  I need to get into the habit of incorporating more raw vegetables into my dinners.

I think hot rice, crunchy vegetables, and nut butter sauces much be one of my very favorite food combinations.

Cajun Cheese Grits (Except it's millet and there's no cheese)

By far, one of the most interesting things about switching to a plant-based diet is learning how easy it is to make food taste rich and creamy without the traditional components: butter, cheese, cream, bacon, etc.

I've been trying to use up all the grains and beans in the house before stocking up on fresh ones, so I used millet instead of grits.

These "grits" turned out creamy and full of flavor.

Start by sauteeing a "holy trinity" base of onion, celery, and bell peppers. Add the grains and vegetable broth and cook until al dente.  Stir in tahini sauce (sesame butter, garlic, lemon juice and water), unsweetened soy milk, nutritional yeast, and a dash of soy sauce to taste.  Use an immersion blender to blend some of the millet mixture to really amp up the creaminess factor.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Mystery Package

Wait... what is that mysterious, paper towel-swathed lump in the silverware drawer?
Oh!  It's the last of the samoas!  Someone hid them here to ensure their safekeeping until he was ready to eat them himself.  Wonder who he was hiding them from...hmm. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Wine

This picture was from about a month ago, when I made red velvet cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday.  Of course I had to try one.  I'm not sure who was drinking red wine from the mason jar and who was drinking it from a brandy sipping glass (which by the way, is way too big for an old-fashioned cocktail glass, I think I'm over the oversized beverage glasses trend).

The blurry guy is Chris, who moves super fast when it's time to eat or go to the pool among other things.

Vegetable Soup

I won't insult anyone by including a recipe (oh, darn, I do so love writing down recipes! :-), because you do not need a recipe to make vegetable soup.

You only need to know the basics of making any soup, which is to start by caramelizing some aromatic vegetables in a pan (think onions, carrots, celery, garlic, peppers, shallots, leeks, etc),
...add vegetable stock or water, then the herbs and vegetables of your choice in the order of their individual cooking times (add potatoes early on, asparagus towards the end, frozen baby peas once the soup is done).