Monday, November 30, 2009

the arrival of cookie

hey readers, guess what! i had cookie. she came outta the oven a tad bit early--but she's here and we're doing well. that's why i haven't blogged in 4 eva. i'll try to keep up, but right now my priorities are all about making sure this little gal is getting fed...and that girl is hungry. all. the. time!
long story, but i ended up having a c-section, which means i'm not really doing much cooking right now. and since cookie came right before thanksgiving, my mad plans to whoop it up in the kitchen were foiled and i was a tad depressed about it. i can't lift anything heavy, and i need to take it easy. well, on day two home from the hospital, mr. jewbacca woke me up from a much needed nap to show me how much he loves me: he made THE entire vegan thanksgiving spread you see before you and bought a vegan pumpkin pie from the local food co-op. keep in mind, mr. jewy is an omnivore and didn't have to do this. i was moved to tears.
shown above: mashed sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes with tofurkey giblet gravy, tofurkey, and my favorite--green bean casserole. we didn't have any cranberry sauce so i sprinkled the top with dried cranberries. i know this sounds gross, but it tastes really good.

i hope everyone had a great holiday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

i wail, you wail, we all wail for tasty kale!

okay, i'll agree the title doesn't have the same ring as "i scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" most vegans will agree that kale gets a bad rap. i've come across many a vegetarians and omnivores that won't eat it. but i've found a recipe that will make you fall in love with it.

kale is kind of like spinach. i used lacitano kale which looks all bumpy like a dinosaur. it is packed with vitamins and can be eaten raw, but i don't suggest doing that. most of the time i like sauteing mine in some olive oil and eatin' it with some tahini dressing, but shown above is an african inspired peanut stew with rutabagas and kale.

jewbacca's ground nut stew thangy:

you'll need:

a nice bunch of kale
a big ol' rutabaga
1/4 c. peanut butter--heaping! (any kind will do)
1 container imagine foods brand organic tomato soup
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/4 t. cardamon
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. cinnamon
1T samba oelek

salt or bragg's to taste
olive oil for cookin' onions and kale

peel and dice that rutabaga like a big ol' potato, then boil until tender and drain. set aside. while that rutabaga is boiling, wash your kale and finely chop. chop that onion while yer at it too. saute onion first in the olive oil, then add the kale until nice n' tender. add the p.b. and spices being careful to not burn--then set aside.

in a big saucepan, pour in tomato soup. add cooked rutabagas, and the kale/pb/spice mixture until well blended and warm. serve this over rice or by itself. adjust spices as needed. this stew is a real sinus clearer!

outside of cooking note: no the baby isn't here yet. each day my anxious/tired/lazy combo is reaching its thresh hold! sorry i haven't been posting more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

a tale of two seitans

i made not one, but two batches of seitan this weekend so i could have them handy for thanksgiving. i'm planning on making a vegan version of my late MIL's "thanksgiving casserole" which was an orgy of turkey, taters, stuffing, veggies, and gravy layered lovingly in a casserole dish, the stuff of midwesterners dreams. we all know this can be veganified with no problems, and i'm gonna so do it. the batch above is lord seitan's seitan's recipe, post oven. note: you have to click on his specific bio with the link to see the recipe. most seitan you can just boil and make, but i like to bake it at three-fiddy for about 20 minutes or so (flipping over every 10 minutes) to make it nice, chewy, and meat-like.
here's bianca's recipe from vegan crunk. because this is in her cookbook, i can't disclose the recipe. here are some seitanic strips right outta the oven. you can visit her awesome web site here.
again, we have lord seitan's recipe freshly boiled and cut into strips. i noticed it was much more fluffy and porous than crunk's recipe.
bianca's is much more dense and cuts into better strips.

verdict: which is better? i love lord seitan and bianca, so i can't really pick sides. the more appropriate answer is to say that bianca's recipe lends itself to chicken like recipes-(like fake buffalo wings, mock chicken salad, fake chicken strips, or perhaps you could get creative and fashion a nice thanksgiving faust) because of the denser texture. lord seitan's has a bit of a chew to it and is more savory. better for casseroles and stir frys.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

product review: wholly guacamole!

this shit is the bomb. i know, i know--pre-made guac is the epitome of laziness, BUT i'm entitled to be a little lazy every now and then, and you should be too! this stuff is vegan-(i like the pico de gallo flavor best, but i couldn't find a pic). no hidden weird ingredients, just avocados and some spices. you snip open a corner and squeeze it on your favorite food item. simple.

price? i'd never pay full price for this, but mr. jewbacca is the coupon king and we earned $1 off plus got it on sale at kroger and ended up paying 99 centados, nada mas. que ganga!* (*that's yer spanish lesson for "what a bargain!")

verdict? straight up two turntables and a microphone. wholly guacamole company, you'd better send me a care package, damnit.

Monday, November 9, 2009

how to feed a vegan for the clueless

this entry is dedicated to my vegetarian and omnivore friends who have always wanted to help a fellow vegan out by cooking for them, but don't really know what to do. lots of pics, all repeats. why would you want to cook for a vegan? i dunno, out of the kindness of your heart, or perhaps the lovable vegan you know-(cough, cough-hint-hint) might have had a life changing event take place-(the birth of a child, a sudden illness, or the death of a loved one) and might not be in a position to cook for themselves for a few weeks. one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me has been this very act, and i've made a personal commitment to bring hot dishes or tasty treats for those who need them during these life cycle events.

not everyone who reads this blog is vegan, and it is my hope to share the message by letting everyone know 1) being vegan ain't that hard, and 2) even if you don't wanna be vegan--cooking for a vegan in need isn't such a daunting task after all. if you've been called to duty to make something for a vegan, don't freak out. here are some handy dandy tips to keep you from losing your mind, and who knows--maybe you'll even try something and like it!

if you have some basic culinary skills, vegan baking is one of the easiest things to do. pictured above are the banana date walnut scones from veganomicon. you don't have to buy a vegan cookbook to get a recipe either, you can borrow a copy of a popular book from your public library, or conduct a google search for a recipe by typing "vegan_____recipe" and you'll get a ton of recipes or links to some good ones. recipe czar is nice and so is you can even look at my blog or my other buddies blogs and get great recipes there! my favorite source is the post punk kitchen.

if your cookin' skills ain't that grand, you can always buy specialty foods in the natural foods section of your local grocery store or food co-op. pictured above is kashi's sicilian veggie pizza, and it's completely vegan. kashi has many frozen entrees that are pricey, but vegan if you don't know how to cook. most packaging contains a label that clearly states this. if you can't find it, just look at the ingredients. if it says it contains meat, fish, milk, eggs, or any animal by products, then it isn't vegan. trader joe's has gone to great lengths to make sure that the food they sell is clearly labeled with specialty diets in mind. if you're puzzled, go to your local food co-op, find a loveable hippy worker, say "i'm cooking for a vegan and am me find something!" and they'll totally hook you up. if you don't have a food co-op near by, you can always look at this link sponsored by PETA-(i can't believe i'm plugging them, because they annoy me so) called "i can't believe it's vegan!" and they list all of the popular brands of food that are accidentally vegan. note: a large portion of these prepared foods are chemically, but vegan.
again, if you lack the knack in the kitchen, you can always order a pizza with veggies, sauce, and no cheese. pictured above is a shot of me from my 36th birthday eating a slice of pie from max's place, which uses vegan cheese. many places do not, and to be perfectly honest--pizza is so much better without it. you might want to ask a place if they use milk or eggs in the crust if you're ordering a pie for a vegan.
the produce aisle is heaven for vegans. again, if you don't have the know how or the energy to cook--get a bag of baking potatoes, bake 'em all up, and bring them to your recouping vegan buddy with a complete array of vegan toppings: salsa, earth balance-(popular vegan margarine), guacamole, tofutti sour supreme-(a vegan version of sour cream), and bacos brand fakin' bacon bits. most commercial imitation bacon bits are vegan, and made of soy unless the package says "100% bacon bits".
if you asked a vegan, "do you like stir fry?" most would answer, "does a bear shit in the woods?" you just can't go wrong here, either. pictured above is something i threw together at my friend baucco's annual mongolian bbq: tempeh, hoisin sauce, green peppers, red peppers, zukes, and some broccoli. easy peasy. if time is a constraint, go to your local chinese eatery and get a veggie stir fry with some tofu added. watch out for things prepared in fish sauce. my buddy chris says you can avoid this dilemma by telling the waitstaff you're buddhist. who knew.

so there you go. next time you encounter an ailing vegan in need, you'll know what to do. thanks for reading and good luck.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

MOFO conclusions and a late Halloween post

NOTE: this isn't a food post, but i will discuss some MOFO musings, a skeleton baking pan, and post some gnawdorable pics of my son trick or treating.

first off, i didn't end MOFO with a bang like i had wanted to. i believe i made the 20 post minimum. i didn't even count. i followed mo's instructions, pacing myself with posts, and reading other people's blogs. it was a struggle, but i did it. i'd give myself a grade of a "B". next year will be better.

secondly, let me tell you the story about how i acquired this rad skeleton muffin tin. i had been eyeballing it since october 1st at target-(much like wayne from wayne's world eyeballed that axe he desired--telling the muffin pan "oh yes, you will be mine"), but being the bargain gal i am, i refused to pay full price for the pan and knew it would go on clearance one month later. sure enough, during our weekly shopping i noticed they weren't moving. we had mad plans to go to target first thing this a.m. so i could get that baking pan half off. i didn't really want anything else!

so we get to the store at 8:10 and there are gaggles of peeps with their carts piled high-(can you say mountainous?) around the halloween stuff. i had no idea that people could be so passionate about holiday clearance items: they were like zombies dismembering racks of costumes and boxes of lights. who really needs 4 french maid dog costumes? i suppose someone with four dogs, but the consumerism scared me a little. my heart sank as i saw three or four people who had cleared all of the baking stuff with multiple pumpkin shaped cake pans, batty cookie cutters, and the muffin tins i had been yearning so desperately for and well-- i snapped. in a pregnancy hormone induced rage i audibly-(not yelled, but said aloud to myself) "you have to be KIDDING me! all i wanted was a skeleton muffin tin, and i can't get one because people are too fucking greedy!" not two seconds later, a woman came around the corner--looking down at the floor as knowing what she had done was wrong and said, "um, you know--i accidentally grabbed a few of these. why don't you take this one?" and handed me the skull muffin tin.

now kids, i know that wasn't very mature, boy howdy it wasn't. was that my best jewbacca moment? hardly. am i really proud of myself for behaving that way? i don't know just yet--perhaps i'll suffer some sort of weird karmic baking retribution and never get the results i want from these said tins. i will selfishly disclose this to you my passionate gaggle o ' vegan baking readers: for once my ability to induce jewish guilt and publicly utter profanity at the same time paid off.

post MOFO question: how do you think you did? have you ever had a temper tantrum over buying a cooking instrument or ingredient? what was it?
about my son's halloween excursion--doesn't look like a very happy yoda, now does he? he was petrified at the first house we visited because the yard was all decked out like a haunted house. after two more houses, he made the candy connection and by the fourth house we visited--he was running up with all his jedi powers, pressing his face against the door. we never got him to say "trick or treat!" even once. he did say, "fank you, bye-bye" before he returned to the swamp of dagoba.

happy belated halloween. i think i might take a few nights off blogging. i know i don't look very prego in that picture, but trust me--the belly sticks out and i'm very uncomfortable. i'll make sure to post a few good entries before ms. cookie gets here.