Saturday, January 31, 2009

Split Peas 2 Ways

I know. I've been neglecting the blog. But it's been a lot of the same 'ol in our kitchen lately. The best I could come up with for this post is two disparate but delicious uses for the venerable split pea (both of which we've posted about in the past). The first thing that comes to mind when you think split peas is soup right? Last week I made a monster pot of split pea soup. We ate a bunch and froze some for later. I should write down the recipe too because it came out great. It was a fairly standard split pea soup but I added a package of Fakin' Bacon and also a little barley to give it some extra oompf.
We also had an Ethiopian meal again recently. A co-worker is moving and she gave me a barely used package of teff flour that she didn't want to pack. And the only thing I know how to do with teff is make injera. And in this case, three Ethiopian stews to accompany it. The injera and split pea alecha recipes were from Vegan Lunch Box, the collards were mostly following this recipe, and I sort of winged it on a spicy red lentil and tofu stew but it came out good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Charlottesville Restaurant Update

With apologies to those of you who aren't from around here (and that's probably the majority of you), I thought I'd spend some time updating our restaurant post. This was prompted by our first dinner out since before baby was born. The last time we ate out was right before he was born. We went to Mesob, our local Ethiopian place that is sadly no longer in business. That was over 8 months ago and it was high time to head out again, so for Darlene's birthday recently we got a babysitter and headed to the downtown mall.

When Himalayan Fusion first opened we looked at the menu and it didn't really strike our fancy. It looked mostly Indian and though there were a number of vegetarian dishes it didn't seem particularly vegan-friendly. We've walked by there countless times since then and we finally got around to scoping out the menu again over the holidays. To our delight, 6 or 7 of the vegetarian options said "vegan option" next to them so we made it a point to give this place a try. Not only does the menu list what entrees are vegan but our waiter was knowledgeable about what appetizers and breads were vegan (the samosas and pakoras, and only the roti for the breads). Darlene's Aloo Palak (spinach and potatoes) was excellent, as was the Nepali-style dal that I had. We'll definitely be heading back here when time and finances allow (which unfortunately could be months from now).

We also managed to go out to eat recently (with baby in tow) at Eppie's, also on the downtown mall. Again, we had glanced at their menu in the past and not thought much of it, but someone gave us a gift certificate there so we tried it out. This is more of a cafeteria-style place and the main draw for us was their vegetable plates. They have numerous "veggies" that you can get in various combinations. My first thought was, "well we're in the South so all their veggies probably have a ham hock in them", but their menu clearly indicates which veggies are vegan. We each got a 3-veggie plate so we sampled almost everything that was vegan: collard greens, broccoli, sweet potato, cole slaw, black beans and brown rice. It was mostly basic food but tasty and good to get such a variety all at once.

Since I don't have any food pictures for this post will you be satisfied with kitten pictures instead? This is Ginger, the latest addition to our family. (And yes, that's a baby toy she's playing with.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4 meals inspired by 1 recipe

I finally got around to trying another recipe from the Real Food Daily cookbook before it had to go back to the library. Back when I first posted about this book a commenter recommended the Ying and Yang salad so I looked it up and it sounded awful good. It's a big salad with raw red cabbage, napa cabbage, daikon, carrots and green onions and is topped with marinated baked tofu, sesame seeds and an outstanding peanut sauce. Like many other recipes in this book it was a little involved to put together but so worth it.

But what to do with all the leftover veggies? There was definitely a lot of cabbage left over. The first thing I thought about was this salad from a back issue of Vegetarian Times that we go back to on occasion. So I made the same salad from RFD but with the dressing and marinated tempeh from the VT recipe.

I really had a hankering for that peanut sauce again though so for a quick meal the next night we had pasta (whole wheat spaghetti in this case) with broccoli and that luscious peanut sauce.

And finally, I still needed to use up the rest of the cabbage so I made a bit of a German inspired meal - cabbage stewed with plenty of vinegar, and my bratwurst-style seitan patties (still a work in progress but these were petty good).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Another Week of Breakfast

The last week of breakfast post was one of my favorites (and yours too), so I thought it'd be fun to do it again since I took off work for the holidays. I've been off since Christmas day but it took a couple days to get my bearings and I started last Saturday with miso soup. I used leftover mushroom soaking liquid from Christmas dinner, plus miso, silken tofu, brown rice and minced chives.

On Saturday night I made granola using my favorite Alton Brown recipe, so Sunday breakfast was granola with soy yogurt and homemade apple jam.

On Monday I made crepes. My German grandmother used to make me eierkuchen for breakfast when I was growing up (which literally translates into "egg cake"). This is similar to though a little thicker than a crepe, and is often served spread with jam and rolled up. For these I made a maple tofu cream with silken tofu, maple syrup and lime juice, and there was some more apple jam in there too - not exactly authentic but we enjoyed them.

Tuesday was seitan breakfast patties with hash browns and a bagel. The seitan patties were another variation on this recipe and I think I nailed it this time. I left out the apple and went back to using mashed white beans, plus I increased the salt to 1/2 tsp., the sage to 1 1/2 tsp. and the red pepper flakes to 1/2 tsp. After baking I also fried them in a little Earth Balance to get them nice and brown and crispy on the outside. If you want to see how I make my hash browns, it was my first ever attempt at a video.

On Wednesday I made Tangerine-Cinnamon Rolls. The last time we did this was on New Years Day 2007 and we thought about making this a New Years Day tradition but ended up doing it a day early.

On Thursday, New Years Day, we made Darlene's Paula Deen veganized Praline French Toast (I also added some chopped walnuts to the topping). This could easily become a New Years tradition too.

Finally, on Friday we had Sambhar with Idli, a South Indian soup and rice dumpling that can be eaten at any time of day. We've made both of these from scratch in the past but this was from packaged mixes that are available in any Indian market.

No donuts this time but we managed to do something different every day and also keep it different from what we did last time. So now you have 14 scrumptious vegan breakfast ideas.