Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vacation Over... A New Beginning

Sorry for not posting in a while! Here's a random picture of Pear from the other day.

Well, the month is up. We've decided (actually, we probably made the decision before we really started the month-long "trial") to continue eating vegan. And living vegan as much as possible. It's been a fun month, trying all sorts of new things. It's also been a month of some pretty spectacular fails in cooking (hello brownies, burgers, chocolate pie...).

But fear not! I am putting together a new yet-to-be-named blog. This one will cover eating and living vegan, baby Pear (year 2!) and all the crafty stuff I like to make--life in general for the most part.

Thanks for following along! Will post other blog soon...ish.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Squash-filled Ravioli Ultimate Dinner

After having a delicious dinner at the neighbor's the other night (you know who you are!), Mr S and I were inspired to make our own ravioli. Please excuse the awful photography :(

And I tell you, we were successful! They turned out delicious, and luckily we made a double batch and froze a whole bunch of them. We used this recipe. And yes, you really do cook them for almost 15 minutes! We cooked ours for about 11-12 minutes, and while they were plenty tender, I probably would have been okay to cook them just a tad longer. Of course, this could depend on how large you choose to make the raviolis.

By the way, rolling out pasta dough without a machine is hard. Not mentally difficult, but physically tiring!

The ravioli got drizzled with a glaze made from fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice, rosemary, olive oil and corn starch. A side of sesame kale (from Vegan Cooking), some french bead, a bowl of french onion soup and a green salad completed the meal.

Vegan french onion soup is super easy. I just thinly sliced an entire medium onion, saute in vegan margarine until nice and brown, then add vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Done!

Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake

After having a  big meal of chili the other night, the Mr and I were hankering for something sweet. Enter: coffee cake for dessert. In no time at all, I had this baby whipped up and in the oven. Takes only ~30 minutes to bake, and it was promptly devoured for dessert and breakfast.

The recipe comes from our old standby, Vegan Cooking. The only substitution I made was with the apple sauce--I used plum jam instead. I also went ahead with the little suggestion box by the recipe, and added 1/3 cup of finely chopped candied pecans.

Phad Thai

This noodle dish is an old standby, if I can ever remember to get the noodles out and soaking before dinner time actually rolls around. Luckily, the other day when I made this, I had the forethought to get the noodles out and soaking in cold water. I have tried the whole, wait-until-5-minutes-before-I-need-them-put-them-in-hot-water thing... with disastrously gummy results.

So, soak noodles for 2-3 hours (at least) before cooking.

  • 1 pkg. rice noodles
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bunches of green onions, chopped
  • 1 pkg mung bean sprouts
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste, dissolved into 1/4 C water (use AS NEEDED)
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • scant 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 TB peanut butter
  • 1+ TB paprika
  • chopped peanut

I don't have a recipe for the exact amounts of flavorings I add to the noodles, but I will outline the basic idea and give some rough amounts. This is for an entire package of noodles, which will feed, on it's own, 2-3 people. Some coconut or even plain rice would go really well with this dish.

First, garlic is sauteed in veg oil for a couple minutes, then the wet noodles are added. Saute the noodles until they are soft, adding a little water as needed. Crank up the heat to med-high at this point to give everything a little smoky flavor.

Add green onions and some deep-fried tofu chunks (we get ours at Uwajimaya), or plain or flavored tofu. Add the flavorings--soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, paprika, peanut butter, sugar and tamarind water (1-2 TB at a time). Adjust other flavors as needed--predominantly the sugar (sweet), lime (sour) and soy sauce (salty). The perfect phad thai is the right balance between these three.

Fry just until everything is combined, then add sprouts and cook for 1-3 minutes. Top with chopped roasted peanuts. Sometimes I like a little shredded cabbage and carrot, too.

Chili Bowl

The inspiration for this meal comes from a dish by the same name at the vegan cafe Prasad. With the exception of the special sauces Prasad drizzles over the top (I have been much too lazy to experiment with sauces, and the dish is fine without them), this "chili bowl" is pretty much exactly the same.

The main components of the dish are a sweet vegetable/roasted garlic chili, poured over rice (the restaurant uses red rice, but basic brown will suffice) and topped with steamed kale and avocado slices.

Basically, I make regular chili, no TVP or meaty stuff in it, and add more sweetener (in this case, some evaporated cane juice we just got from Bob's) and some celery. A little extra cumin and coriander, less paprika/chili powder, and a nice sprinkle of cardamom seeds gives it a different taste "profile" that I think better suits the dish.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Enchiladas with Spanish Rice

Short update post for today. We made some fabulous enchiladas last week. For fillings, we used black refried beans, corn, TVP, onions and mushrooms. For a side dish, I made Spanish rice using some extra enchilada sauce and veggie broth. The trick for tasty Spanish rice is to use veg broth instead of water to cook the rice, and add garlic powder and enchilada sauce (or tomato paste with some seasonings). Overall, enchiladas have been really easy to veganize. In the past, we've also used the pre-made veggie crumbles or faux chicken strips as fillings, too.

A little Daiya cheese and avocado slices over the top makes a hearty dinner (and lunch the next day...).

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Vegetable Medley

After a trip to Sauvie Island's Pumpkin Patch, I had some corn on the cob that needed to be eaten, stat! This dinner was sort of a random collection of vegetable-based dishes, but it worked well and was a hearty meal.

My favorite was a hot pasta salad made with orzo. I chopped a few leaves of kale and some asparagus into small pieces, and lightly sauteed them with some olive oil. I tossed them with the orzo, plus some salt, pepper, garlic powder, more olive oil, and a few drops of both balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. It was so good I had it for breakfast the next day!

A baked acorn squash (from the Eugene farmer's market, of all places) drizzled with melted vegan butter and agave nectar made a good side dish, plus I made a quick soup for protein. The soup was yellow split peas and chopped chanterelle mushrooms cooked in veggie broth for about 30 minutes. Simple, but very flavorful.