Friday, October 04, 2013

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The End

I'll cut to the chase - I won't be updating this blog anymore. I'm finding I just don't have the time or energy to keep writing regularly and more importantly to keep it fresh and interesting. I've had so much fun writing this blog these last 4+ years. There were very few vegan food blogs when we started but now there are hundreds - please go show them some love.

I feel like I've already let this one languish but rather than let it languish any more, it will have a definitive end. A huge thanks to all of you who have stopped by over the years - I've enjoyed reading your comments and getting to know some of you. This site will most certainly stay here as long as Blogger is in existence so I encourage you to browse the archives of over 600 posts (you could start with my top 10 list). I'll probably stay on Twitter so you can follow me there (@eatair) or just check out my updates in the sidebar here.

I don't want to leave you completely empty handed so below is a recipe I took to a Christmas potluck recently. I threw it together very quickly with what we had on hand but it garnered a few compliments so I wanted to share.

cheers,
Chris


Walnut and Barley Salad

1 c. barley
2 c. water
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, diced
1/3 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
2 Tbs. each dried cranberries & dried blueberries
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
pinch each ground cumin and cinnamon
salt & fresh ground pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and add the barley. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Allow the barley to cool for a short time then add it to a large bowl with the carrot, celery, walnuts, cranberries and blueberries. In another small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the barley then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast 2009

Once again, our Thanksgiving feast was not as involved as years past but unlike last year we cooked more from scratch and didn't rely on a Tofurkey. We tried a number of recipes this year from the current edition of Vegetarian Times and they all came out great. For the first time in memory - maybe for the first time ever - their Thanksgiving menu was entirely vegan. We started with the Butternut Squash-Bartlett Pear soup. It was sublime.


The main course was Smothered Seitan in Mixed Mushroom Gravy, which we had over simple mashed Yukon gold potatoes. On the side were Citrus Collards with Raisins and Cranberry Conserve (slightly modified from Emeril's recipe). It wasn't quite as crowded of a plate as we've had in the past but it was all delicious - particularly the seitan.


Finally, dessert was a tried and true recipe from a back issue of Vegetarian Times - one of the first issues we ever bought from 1996. It's a pretty basic veganized pumpkin pie recipe that primarily uses silken tofu as the binder. Basic but yummy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Eat Your Broccoli

This is by far the longest I've gone between posts so my apologies for leaving you hanging. It's a long story that I won't go into here but what I will go into are a couple of great ideas for using broccoli. And we all know broccoli is so good for you, right? We've been getting some great broccoli from our CSA recently and one night I grabbed the first cookbook that caught my eye and flipped to the first broccoli recipe that caught my eye. The book was Nava Atlas' The Vegetarian Family Cookbook and the recipe was the Creamy Tofu and Broccoli Skillet. I went with tempeh instead of tofu and also made a few other changes and I ended up with a scrumptious meal that came together very quickly.

Creamy Broccoli with Tempeh (adapted from Nava Atlas)

4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
2 large heads broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 c. rice milk
2 Tbs. flour
3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
salt & pepper to taste
2 8-oz. packages tempeh, cut into strips
2 Tbs. soy sauce

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a very large skillet over medium heat and saute garlic for about 30 seconds. Add bell pepper, broccoli and 1/2 c. water. Cover and cook over medium heat until broccoli is just getting tender. Whisk flour and nutritional yeast into rice milk, stir into broccoli and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in another skillet over medium-high heat and fry tempeh strips until they're starting to get brown. Stir in soy sauce and cook for another minute or two. Serve broccoli over rice with tempeh on top.


We also got our broccoli fix recently from the Broccoli Quiche recipe from Vegan Brunch. This time we made the recipe as is and it came out great. I'm too lazy to type in another recipe and anyway, you really need to buy this book if you haven't already. And trust me when I tell you this is definitely a recipe you have to try.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Kitchen!

After six and a half years in this house we finally broke down and remodeled our kitchen. The old kitchen had a certain funky charm with its huge cast iron sink and painted cabinets but it dated to when our house was built in 1958 so we figured over 50 years was a good life span for a kitchen. The main issues were the lack of a dishwasher and drawers that slid open on friction so we always had sawdust all over our pots and pans below. Plus the sink cabinet was completely rotten underneath from a long-ago water leak. We couldn't afford the higher-end builder we talked to so we went to Lowe's and made it work by getting middle-of-the-road cabinets and counters and doing some of the work ourselves. We gained some cabinet space and a good bit of counter space and are quite happy with the result.

Here's the "before" picture in all its cluttered glory.

We don't quite have a final "after" picture yet because there was a mistake with the countertop order and the sink counter arrived two inches too short. The short counter was installed temporarily but there's a gap between the counter and wall. Hopefully a new counter will come in any day now and the short one will be replaced. Once that's done we can mount a few things on the wall by the sink, and I'm also planning on building a new spice rack since there's not enough room for our old one anymore.

And now that we have a great new kitchen maybe we'll start cooking more in it and get back to posting about food one day soon!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baked Spring Rolls

OK... this is mainly an excuse to re-hash some old content but for those who have only started reading more recently I did want to bring up this old standby. A couple weeks ago we got the largest head of napa cabbage I've ever seen from our CSA. It was still in the back of our fridge tonight and we really needed to use it so we decided to make spring rolls. There are any number of things with which to fill spring rolls but ours usually have cabbage as the main ingredient. If you have an Asian market near you that's where you'll find spring roll wrappers (as opposed to the more common egg roll wrappers which of course are not vegan). You'll usually find them in the frozen section.

One of our recipes, along with step by step instructions for rolling, is here. Most often we fry our spring rolls in a thin layer of oil in a wide flat skillet. If you want to use less oil though you can bake them like we did tonight and they'll still come out quite good. Just brush a thin layer of canola oil on a sheet pan, place the spring rolls on the pan, then brush the tops liberally with more canola oil. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, flip them over, then bake for another 15 minutes or until they're a little brown and crispy. And our first spring roll recipe, along with our go-to apricot dipping sauce recipe is here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Product Review: Cool Cups

Remember Jell-o? If you weren't vegan as a kid you probably ate plenty of it. I can't say I really miss this stuff, what with the artificial flavors and all, but I did jump at the chance to sample Cool Cups recently. In two words: vegan Jell-o. Oh, but so much better! No nasty gelatin for one thing. And no artificial colors or flavors for another. We had great fun snacking on all three flavors (orange, peach mango & black cherry). Our toddler liked them too but they do contain a good bit of sugar so mostly we kept them for ourselves. If there's one drawback it's the packaging. There's only one place I know of around here that will recycle the #5 plastic cups. Hopefully they'll figure out how to package them in something that's more easily recyclable. They're also supposed to be coming out with a powdered mix you can make at home, which will certainly also help reduce the packaging. I wonder if it'll work the same as Jell-o with alcohol. Cool Cups shots anyone?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Calzones with sunflower seed pesto

We were away for a while and we've been neglecting this blog but to get something up, here's basically a copy of something I posted recently over on my mama blog.

Here is my version of a toddler friendly pesto that is made with sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts. I am waiting until Jonas is around 18 months to introduce tree nuts so decided to try a variation that he can also enjoy on his pasta. He seems to really like basil. I made a summer tomato salad with a thai basil dressing and he ate it very quickly. I was surprised since the thai basil has a strong flavor. Maybe he will take after his mama and love basil. I am a big basil fan and cannot get enough of it in the summer time. Here is the recipe.

Sunflower seed pesto

3 cups of basil leaves (I used a mix of thai, globe and purple)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add all of the ingredients except the olive olive oil to a food processor and chop well. Add enough olive oil to form a paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I used the pesto to make calzones. Jonas also really liked them a lot. I used a basic pizza dough recipe and also marinara that I made a while back and froze. Here is the recipe.

Sunflower seed pesto calzones

1 cup pesto
1 cup marinara
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
pizza dough

Mix together the pesto, marinara, olives and capers. Divide the dough into several pieces. Roll out each piece, fill and bake them all for 25 minutes at 375 F. Brush the tops with olive oil after they come out of the oven. We also enjoyed them for dinner one night with a nice heirloom tomato salad.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Raw Stuffed Peppers

The last few weeks from our CSA we've been getting these "snack peppers", which are basically cute little bell peppers. At first I wasn't sure what to make of them (or with them) but they're aptly named because they're super sweet and perfect for snacking on. Last weekend we got a whole pound of them and Darlene had the brilliant idea to stuff them with a raw filling. Normally this might be a tasty appetizer but these days if we do anything remotely involved we make a meal out of it. I don't think the presentation and the picture do them justice because they really were fabulous.

Here's what we did; the filling is adapted from the Garden Pate in Ani's Raw Food Kitchen.

1 lb. small bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 c. raw cashews
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
3 carrots
2 stalks celery
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. raisins

Cover the cashews with water in a small bowl and soak for several hours. Coarsely chop the garlic, carrots and celery and add these to a food processor with everything else except the peppers. Buzz in the food processor until everything is finely copped then spoon into the pepper halves and serve. Simple!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Fresh Salsa


I'm sure many of you out there have made fresh salsa. This is for those who haven't. It's tomato season, what are you waiting for? I often don't use a specific recipe but just keep it simple. This time I diced a nice yellow heirloom tomato from our CSA, along with a little bit of red bell pepper. A minced jalapeƱo went into the mix too. If I would've had an onion, a small minced slice of that would go in there too. Then I added about 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt, a drizzle of sunflower oil and a splash of cider vinegar. Then I mixed everything together and opened a big bag of chips...