Monday, August 24, 2009

Adventuring and Seitan

Sat was an eventful day. Jamie and I have been wanting to get out to a vegan meet up and introduce ourselves to some new folks. Everyone met at World Peace Cafe. World Peace is a decent place with average eats. The cakes are good but imported, the meals range from fair to good. Nothing to write home about but, a fair afternoon meal. We met some fun people. The owner of Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe was there, as well as the writer of Abracapocus, not to mention the guy that made Jamie a hot dog at the vegan bake sale. It was like the whose-who of Atlanta vegans. It was a nice time filled with good conversation. It will be nice to go out again next month and enjoy another meal. Maybe we will make some new vegan friends.

Jamie and I planned to go to Kennesaw Mountain after the meet up but took a detour to the new Cosmo's location. Jamie got a really awesome shirt and I did not get any really awesome shoes. We got mints, marshmallows and much more. You should see them up here in dishes soon.

Off to the mountain. The hike was on a good incline and we worked up a little sweat (one of us more then the other). It was short but nice. As we get to the top of the mountain, the woods spread open and we step onto a concrete parking lot. What? No joke. Apparently you can drive to the top of the mountain and save yourself the walk. There was even a public bus there. Unreal. Needless to say, our woodsy adventure came to a disappointing halt. Grumpy, we stalked back down the mountain and left. Don't bother to hike this trail, ever.

Home we went. Jamie took a short nap while I began making some dinner. I made seitan fried chickin. I did it differently then I have posted here before. The same basic idea with a few slight changes. The marinade I used was a mixture of nutritional yeast, water, hot sauce, garlic, and onion. I let the seitan soak for about 7 hours. Then I used a season flour based breading to add to the chickin-like flavor. This was amazing. I was so into making it that I forgot to make veggies with it! Jamie quickly steamed some great veggies and we had a very good dinner.

Then it was off to see Inglorious Basterds. This was no where near the caliber film as Pulp Fiction but it was very good. The dialog was great. Go see it, it is worth the 3 hours of your time.

I went kayaking again earlier in the week. We got into the water and it started raining. Sad. Better luck next time.

2 days until New Hampshire.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chickpea Salad and my House

Friday was a busy house day. In fact, there were a few things I wanted to get done that I was forced to skip due to the time occupied by the house. On the brighter side, Jamie and I grabbed some primer and got to work that night. We almost completed both the living room and dining room. Good stuff. Sunday we will be heading to get some faucets and fixtures for the house. Jamie has an amazing design sense and I am going to lean on her a lot during this process. She knows what she is doing and I fully trust her with this.

Before we left for priming on Friday, I pulled some sandwiches together. I made a spin off from this recipe. It came out really well and I am going make it more my own before I post my version of this recipe.

It has been a good week and I can not wait to go to New Hampshire. Here we go New England!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tofu Chicken Nuggets and Honey Mustard Sauce

Last night Jamie and I created a masterpiece that I could not resist sharing. We began with no idea what we would end up with. It started with Jamie pointing out a package of bean curd skin in the pantry and asking what we can do with it. It was off and running with an idea inspired by Cupcake Punk.

Tofu Chickin Nuggets

1/2 package (about 4 oz) of bean curd skin
4 cups of water (or non-chicken broth)
1/2 cup of vegan chickin broth powder
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 cup of corn starch

Try to keep the bean curd skin in sheets. It is very brittle and will crumble easily before hydrated.
In a very large sauce pan, bring the water to a simmer. Add everything but the bean curd skin, corn starch, and oil. Bring back to a simmer. Once it is simmering, add the bean curd skin, cover and let cook for about 5 mins gently stirring frequently. Remove from heat, keep covered, and stir occasionally until the bean curd skin is fully hydrated and wet. There should be no firmness with the skin but if you over hydrate, it will turn to mush. Keep a close eye on it. In a bowl, put the cornstarch in and get a cutting board ready. In a skillet, heat the oil until it boarders on smoking. Carefully reach into the hot water and grab pieces of the bean curd skin, and squeeze most of the liquid out. You want to ball it up a bit. Quickly, cover it in the corn starch and form into a 1 1/2 in nugget and set on your cutting board. You may need to tear the skins to get the proper size if they are too large. Once all of your nuggets are formed, toss them in the hot oil (you may need to do them in two batches depending on how many you made). Fry on each side until they get a nice golden brown color. Take them out of the oil and with a towel, pat out the excess oil.

"Honey" Mustard Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup of veganasise
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon of sugar

In a bowl, mix all ingredients together and mix well.

Earlier yeaterday, we went to the house and saw the people finishing my new roof! It is an exciting thing to see the work as it all happens and I wanted to share with you.

Old Roof

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and dinner

I woke up today to another call from the contractor. He setting up a meeting at the house with the roofer and his crew on Wed. I am happy that I hear from them every couple of days. It is a nice relief. They seem to be on top of their game. It is refreshing since all the rumors you hear about contractors are that they disappear for long periods of time. He said that the entire scope of work should be completed in 3 months. It is going to be an exciting process and I will keep you all up to date.

In a couple of weeks, I will be heading to New Hampshire for a weekend. It will be a nice mini vacation. It will mark the first time I have seen the beach in awhile. I miss New England. I will also get to eat at grasshopper in Boston. Yum! Fungus soup!

Tonight, I made some nice dinner. It was several things that I have made before however, I made variations of them. We had boiled vegetables, potato salad (with a dash of liquid smoke), and marinated smoked tofu steaks. For dessert I also made a chocolate peanut butter pie, there was extra chocolate so I threw in some raisins and ran with it. It looks sketchy but tastes great!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate mixture

8 oz of (vegan) chocolate chips
1/3 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of soy milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a sauce pan, heat the chocolate chips and sugar until they are both fully melted. The mixture may get dry, add the soy milk as it thickens. Once it looks smooth, add the vanilla and mix again. The mixture should be smooth and a bit on the runny side.

Pie filling

12 oz of (firm) silken tofu
1 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of (vegan) cream cheese
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla

In a food processor, blend the tofu, cream cheese, and peanut butter. Process until the mixture is smooth and light brown in color. Add the sugar and blend again. The mixture should be smooth and creamy. Add in the maple syrup and vanilla and blend again.

The construction

Take a graham cracker crust, our a thin layer of the chocolate mixture over the bottom. Be careful not to let the chocolate cool as it will pull the graham cracker apart. Over the top of the chocolate, pour all the peanut mixture. With a spoon, smooth out the mixture. Then drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top in an aesthetically pleasing and delicious manner. Chill for 3 hours and serve cold.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

House Update and Food!

The other night, we made fried watercress potatoes and cilantro tofu. It was a nice and refreshing dish combined with an old favorite. Back when I lived in Portland, OR I used to makes fried watercress potatoes. It has been years since I have made this dish but it came out well and it matched the cilantro tofu well.

Watercress Potatoes

4 red potatoes (cubed)
1 cup of chopped watercress
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of oil
2 teaspoons of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika

Boil the potatoes until almost soft. (about 15-20 mins). In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the clove of garlic (finely chopped) and bring oil to a med - low heat. Add the boiled potatoes to the oil and garlic. Once the potatoes begin to get a golden color, add the remaining spices. At some point you may need to add the remaining oil as the potatoes can dry out. Add the watercress and cook for about 5 mins until watercress has wilted.

I went rock climbing for the first time on Monday. It was a lot of fun. I did fall once. It was from only about 8 feet up so I avoided most injuries. I got a scrap on my arm from the rock but otherwise I am good. I hope to go again.

The house is now officially under constructions. The crew began the demolition last week. There are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.