Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A long week of uneventful.

After a long week of time off, I am finally able to relax. It seemed that it was one thing after another this week. From an issue at work, to the heat in my apartment going out - it just was never ending. Take it from the top...

Sunday, we went to see the Hawks beat the Pistons. It was a good game and we had a lot of fun. I had seen the Pistons play before but, not since the Billups Iverson trade. I have to admit, I think that Denver got the better of that deal. It is still hard to not like the Pistons though. I got a few good pictures from the game and we went to eat at Soul Vegetarian II after.

Monday began with Jamie's car not starting. Then put me at work several hours before I was scheduled. When I finally got home from what should have been an easy shift, the heat in the apartment was not working. For the next 36 hours, we went through the run around with the leasing office to get the heat back. We ended up having to sleep only one night without heat. We were cold, but made it through okay. I was not motivated to cook due to my numb hands. Tuesday I convinced myself that if I used the stove and oven, it may help heat the house.

I have been rolling in the wheat gluten recently and wanted to make a classic dirty south dish. I made some country fried chickin steaks with the wheat gluten. It is a recipe that I am still working on and am not happy with it yet. It was topped with a baby bella gravy and complimented with a side of sweet potato and apple. I also threw together a classic little mac & cheese dish. Welcome to Atlanta!

Sweet Potato with Apple

1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup of dried apple
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground cloves

Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1 inch chunks. Boil until tender. Strain off all liquid and put into another pot on low heat. Lightly mash most of the potato, leaving some chunks. Add the apple, cinnamon, cloves, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Stir the mixture until the spices are evenly distributed. Add in the water as needed to keep the potato moist until the apple is soft.

After we ate on Tuesday, we went out and got our new roommate a new water dish. He seems to only drink water that is running. Call him spoiled but we got him a water fountain. He is loving it! Sadly, he still does not have a name. The name seems to change about everyday. He may not mind but it has been on Jamie's mind a lot.

Today, Jamie got out of work early and we made some black bean burgers. It was a nice simple lunch that hit the spot. Shortly after, she headed out to visit her family for the weekend and I am going to enjoy the last of my day off. Starting tomorrow, I work 6 days straight, 15 hours tomorrow alone. Yuck. Interestingly, the theatre I worked at before Hollywood needs some help. I am heading over there for the weekend, it should be interesting. Well, my goal for the rest of the day is to ding 80 in Warcraft and watch a horror film! Woot!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cupcakes and Castrations

Yesterday, I made some great light and fluffy cupcakes. There was a bunch of left-over store bought frosting that I wanted to get out of the fridge. I used several varieties on the cupcakes and they are all delicious! I played around a bit with making some designs in the frosting. It has been brought to my attention that although my food has always tasted good, sometimes it is not ascetically pleasing. It is something I have been working on in the last year. I have made leaps and strides but there is still a long way to go.

We got our new, camera curious, roommate neutered. He is very uncomfortable. It is a strange reminder of my vasectomy, I am reliving the pain and discomfort with him. In the end, for me, it was all worth it and I hope he feels the same. We had some strong feelings about taking that kind of medical liberty with our new friend. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that we think he will be safer from human made harm. I hope that when he is feeling better, he will be grateful, fingers-crossed.

It is back to work tonight. Yuck, it is always difficult to go back in after a few days of freedom. Light at the end of the tunnel - I have Sunday off! It looks like I will be heading to my first basketball game in 2 seasons! Hawk vs Pistons. I have always been a Detroit fan but the longer I spend in the ATL, the harder it is not to cheer for the home team. There is something very bizarre about the home team phenomenon. It is like some sort of twisted nationalism that still has its grasp on me. Oh well....go hawks?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chickin' Skewers, Basketball and Top Chef

I will tell a tale of minor tale of thievery, with credit given. Perusing numerous blogs of interest and looking over recipes I want to try, I found Vegan Hot Wings. With full credit to Vegan Dad, I have to announce that these were very flavorful, tasty and a ton of fun. Despite the components of the recipes, they only took about 45mins from start to plating. We threw on some sweet potato fries and a mango / pineapple smoothie. Good times, good food, top chef.

After watching the Atlanta Hawks lose in a nail biter against the Boston Celtics, it was time for the Wednesday night ritual of Top Chef. Admittedly, this season is not as good as last. I miss Richard and Ariane is annoying, regardless, the show still makes me hungry. No popcorn this week, still trying to finish off the red velvet cake.

All in all, a good night. Check out the recipes linked above and make some food for yourself.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The last of Seitan

In an mad attempt to effectively use the last of the seitan, I decided to throw together a sesame sauce and make a stir fry. After realizing that there was not as much remaining seitan as I had though, I threw on some edamame and a mango smoothie. Lets begin with the sesame sauce...

Sesame Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons powdered broth (or 1 cup liquid broth)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chile and garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
First, heat the oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic and all liquid ingredients. Let heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn the burner down and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and alter as you see fit. When it matches your tastes, pour onto your sir-fry and mix evenly.

This came out really well. The sauce was outstanding. I was extremely happy with it. I am sad to see the seitan go, but I will be picking up more vital wheat glutten this week.

On another note, the new roommate is doing well. He likes to bite but we are trying to convince him it is not nice. We got him a scratching post, which he ate. We are real happy to have him in the family. He is a good guy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Well, it has been an interesting few days. Thursday I went to pick our new roommate up at the airport. He is a 7 month old cat, that had been been living with my mother in Maine. She was looking for a new home for him and I thought it would be nice if he came to live with us. It was a birthday present (as much as you can give another living thing to someone) for Jamie. I made a scavenger hunt for her to find the cat. She was thrilled. The cat is a fun little guy. A bit to playful for my taste but, he is fairly mellow when I am around. He loves to sit on the computer desk while I play games.

I made a vegan red velvet cake for Jamie's birthday as well. It came out well, complimented by a nice vegan cream cheese frosting. The frosting was very easy but the cake was a bit unforgiving. One of the layers crumbled. I resembled the layer on the top of the cake and you cant even tell now. Woot for me? Overall it has been a nice week. Back to the grind tonight.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Seitan(ic) News!

A nice relaxing day off. It started a bit shaky with a trip to the leasing office. The potato-heads that work there consistently make substantial errors, generally with my account. This time it was an inaccurate accusation regarding the renters insurance policy that I have. All that was cleared up within a short time. Off to get the rest of the errands completed. Best Buy, Wachovia, etc.

Home by 11:30am for a relaxing day of WoW and cooking. Ding! 76! What chu' kno bout dat? ...that may very well be the saddest thing i have ever written... ***shake it off***

For dinner I decided to dig back into the seitan I made the other night. I wanted to use some quinoa as well and had some brussel sprouts that were going to spoil soon. Roasted brussel sprouts is quick, easy and delicious. Count it.

The quinoa is an easy cook but, I feel that sometimes the flavor is a bit to mild for my taste. Using the greatest acquirement of the year, my food processor, I threw together a pesto-esque sauce.

Pesto-esque Cilantro Sauce

2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
10-12 sprigs of fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons of pine nuts

Put them in a food processor for about 20 seconds. It will be more of a rub then a sauce and that is what we are going for.

I then added some corn and black beans to the quinoa and let it finish cooking. When it was done, I stirred the Pesto-esque Cilantro Sauce into it and let it sit for about 20 minutes. This gave the quinoa a nice mellow flavor. It was a nice balance to the spicy seitan that accompanied it on the plate.

As for the seitan, I decided to use a technique I have been using to make tofu for awhile. It is a time consuming process but hardly labor some.

Spicy Seitan

1 pound of seitan
3 cups of water
1/4 cup of hot sauce
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of marjoram
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of thyme
2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper

Pre-heat the oven on 400. In a sauce pan, bring the water, oil, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, cayenne pepper and thyme to a boil. In a deep baking pan, evenly spread the seitan (you can use tinfoil to avoid a mess or burned pan). Pour the hot sauce and the water mixture over the seitan and bake for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. After 45 minutes, 80% of the water mixture should have cooked off, sprinkle the crushed red pepper over the seitan, stir and add in more black pepper and oregano (if you want). Bake until all the liquid has cooked off. Serve hot.

This came out better then expected. It amazes me that all these years I have been buying seitan instead of making it myself. I am also excited to see that the same seitan was used for two dishes that were extremely different. Blows me away.

More to come soon. Off to watch top chef and eat some popcorn!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Check it off

My 2nd quarter of school is complete. Check it off the list. Honestly, I feel a bit woeful at the completion of my English class. My research paper is handed in, graded and done but, I still feel like there is more work. Granted, I can go back and add more for myself but, there is still a sense of conclusion. I guess I was writing the paper for myself and not a class. I am happy that I feel this way however, I am saddened that I have to let it go, at least for now.

This is a big week for me. I had a few finals, got approved for my raise at work, and Jamie's birthday is Friday. Overwhelmed! What do the god people say? "This too shall pass". Heh, advice from crazy folks is always questionable but, I'll take it this time. Maybe Ill just make some food and relax...tomorrow.

Off to work. Three days off starting at midnight. Big things.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Devils Seitan

I have a disgusting habit of trying new mock meat products. Generally, it has been a bad idea, but the urge goads me every time. In Columbus (Ga), we picked up some heinous looking "Choplets". Canned, (not joking) soy chicken patties in broth. They sat in the cupboard for some time, we were working up the nerve to pop the top. Saturday was the big day! Within minutes I was making a cornmeal breading...too no avail. Soon after, the "Choplets" hit the trash and we were still hungry. However, I got inspired.

Today we snagged some vital wheat gluten and I was going to make my own Seitan. The process was fun and messy but, the end result was better then I expected. You begin with the gluten flour, then add water. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes and let sit. While the dough is sitting, create and bring to a boil your broth. Use a huge pot, they expand! Cut the dough into manageable sizes and place into simmering broth for 1 hour. Strain 90% of the broth off and let cool. Next, batter and fry in hot oil. Done, wheat meat at your finger tips!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Not your mom's soup

Sweet potatoes have been on my mind lately. We were given a bag of them and I would hate for them to go to waste. I threw this soup together with the potatoes I used the other night. It is a very easy soup if you want to try it out.

Sweet Potato Soup

2 (organic) sweet potato
1 teaspoon (organic) oregano
1/2 cup of (organic) brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (organic) maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Cut potato into cube size chucks and boil until tender. Drain excess water and put potato into a food processor (depending on the size of your food processor you may need to do just a little at a time). Add enough water to the potato to cove them and puree. Put the mixture back into a pot and put on low heat. Add all remaining ingredients. Let heat until hot, do not let boil.

This was a nice savory soup on a cold day. I also made some Seitan Chickin', and Cranberry Sauce. It was a nice meal and set us up for a nice night of Top Chef.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In the beginning...

After several encouraging discussions about blogging, I thought I would bite the bullet. Waiting for the sweet potatoes to boil, I decided to start. Not sure what I want to write or who I want to read this, but at this stage it is open for all.
In general news, I recently acquired a nice food processor / blender combo. It has been encouraging me to eat healthier, less fried foods, more raw foods. It has been a lot of fun. I have made a balsamic dressing that I used in a raw salad, a great peanut butter pie, and those sweet potatoes are going to find their way in as well.
Bad time for writing I suppose, my potatoes are soft and need my attention. More later?