Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another day off?

Several readers of this blog know me well. To them, this story will not surprise them in the least, to the rest, take this as a window into my life.

I was finishing dinner tonight. As I was getting up to take my empty plate to the kitchen, I spilled my water all over my wood floor. Not a crisis but I wanted to get it up off the floor right away. Knowing it was almost time for my PJs, I went ahead and sat in the liquid while someone else got a towel. I figured that my clothes would absorb much of the liquid before it ran all over the floor and I would be changing soon anyway. What harm could the water do? It was then that I realized that it was white grape juice. What a mess.

It was another great day off today. I spent most of the day relaxing at the house. I did a bit of yard work but nothing sever until I decided to pull the trigger on my new hot air popcorn popper. When I mentioned the sadness of the popcorn loss the other day I got many responses letting me know some great stove top options. As a kid, my father and I would often make popcorn on the stove top. It was a great time and one of my first culinary experiences. On a side note, my father was a chef for several years. Now I prefer air popped.

While I was out and about, I decided to stop and get some spray paint for my new thrift store frames. I ended up leaving with 2 large bags of organic soil, several seeded organic herbs and a packet of beet seeds. It was time to garden.

I got all of the seeded planted in the ground, two cilantro plants, 2 yellow summer squash plants, 1 red pepper plant, 1 yellow pepper plant, 1 basil plant, and 1 mint plant. As the sunlight was dwindling, I made a few quick rows and got 12 beet seeds into the soil. Great stuff. I love beets. I must confess that much of desire for beets is very juvenile. Purple poop is funny.

The soil has not grown anything in years., if ever. I dug deep, mixed the organic fertilizer with the actual dug up soil and will give it as much care as I can. I hope for the best.

For dinner I made a stir fry with some of the sketchy mock meat that I got from the equally sketchy christian natural food store. It was decent but nothing to use often. Honestly though, you can make or break a stir fry with the sauce. Everyone has their sauce, here is mine.

Stir Fry Sauce

1 cup of hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of shredded ginger
1 teaspoon of garlic chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour over the stir fry at the end of the cooking process and stir well. Let fry on high heat for an additional 5 minutes.

Popcorn is back!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Outstanding day off

Today was day one of my two days off. It was great. I slept in for the first time in months. It felt great to roll out of bed when I was ready and not when I had to get ready. It is such a nice feeling.

Then I piddled around the house for an hour or so and headed out do some shopping. I love to shop but generally hate buying anything. It is a strange dichotomy. I suppose that I just like to see what my options are if I were interested in spend my money.

I did hit up a thrift store. It has been a bit of a bust recently with regards to thrifting. The last dozen or so stores have resulted nothing worth me opening my wallet for, until today. I got 2 mirrors, a picture frame, and a new baking dish. Exciting!

I got home in time to check my mail before Ashley arrived to begin making dinner. The mailbox is becoming an exciting place day by day. Not only am I (like most people) waiting for the almighty tax returns but I am also looking for an approval letter from the real estate commission so that I can get my license. Today I got two dvds and some junk mail. You can not win them all.

Ashley pulled up shortly after 4pm and we chatted a bit and started cooking. I had soaked some cashews the night before so I threw together some mac and cheese that rivals that of a local vegan spot here in Atlanta. I also made an entree with some red quinoa and black eyed peas. I got to use my new toy that Jamie got my for my birthday to make the plate look even better!
It was another dinner on the patio day.

Spicy Black Eyed Peas and Quinoa

5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
5 pieces of asparagus
2 baby bella mushrooms (chopped)
1 carrot
10 oz of black eyed peas (cooked)
1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
2 tablespoons of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of paprika

Strain and rinse the black eyed peas.

In a saute pan, heat the oil on med - low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, onion, jalapeno, and mushrooms. Let fry for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. In the meantime, chop the tips off the asparagus spears and set aside. With the remaining spears, chop and add the oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, thyme, to the oil and mix well.

In a food processor, add the carrot and chop. Once the carrot is in small pieces, add the saute mixture and process until well mixed (should be about 1 minute). The return to the saute pan, add the black eyed peas and quinoa (i used red) and mix well. Add the vegetable broth and sugar and let the mixture heat up until most of the broth has cooked off, do not let it dry out.

Serve topped with the asparagus spear heads.

After dinner Ashley wanted to show me the vegan ravioli that she had made. We made a few her way and topped them off with some of the remaining "cheese" from the pasta. Then we came up with the idea of taking some fruit as filling, then once the dough was cooked, fry it and toss it in some cinnamon and sugar. They were very good. Almost like a pasta tart.

After dinner, I took the trip to see Jamie and Tato. I shared some leftovers from the outstanding earlier dinner and we settled in to watch a movie. It turned out to be one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time but we made it through by joking and laughing about it. Sometimes it is more about the company than the activity. That is what makes days like this great.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pistachio Cranberry Bread

Recovering from a head cold, I was not up for cooking. It was a rather boring weekend. I called out sick at work on Friday. One of the highlights of the weekend was that Tato came to visit!

I tossed together a small treat for myself tonight. I had some remaining pistachios and cranberries so I made a bread! This was a super quick and easy recipe. I have been hunting down some mini loaf pans and this recipe filled two of them. I am sure you could just pour it all in one larger loaf pan and it would be fine. You may need to add a few more minutes to the baking time.

Pistachio Cranberry Bread

2 cups of flour
1 cup of cold water
1 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of pistachios
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pre heat the oven at 375 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together and mix well. Then add the pistachios and cranberries and mix again. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes.

During a Sunday evening of basketball I was going to make some popcorn. Sadly, I then realized that the popper was broken. It was a sad moment. I guess I know what I am going to have to get tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The anatomy of the salad

Salad is an interesting beast. Typically, when I tell non-vegans that I am vegan they ask what I eat. They assume that all I eat is salad and maybe a veggie burger now and again. I play along and generally tell folks that all I eat is grass and water. Water? True enough. I drink almost two gallons per day. Grass? Yuck. I rarely even eat salads, let alone grass. I have to come up with more creative ways to get myself to eat greens the majority of the time.

I have gone through phases where I try to eat salad more often, as the (often) raw veggies are a great boost to my fried food vegan diet. Getting my food processor was a huge boost to eating better, as now I can make my own dressing with ease. For weeks, the debate raged between getting a food processor and a deep fryer. Luckily the food processor won out.

I never realized that salad making was a skill until recently. Ashley made a salad while I worked on the Shepherd's Pie. It seems that small people cut the veggies smaller than bigger people. The salad tasted great but I felt like I was eating a salad found in a specific level in a Super Mario Brothers video game. It was a great time and we joked constantly about it.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the art of salad making and a quick recipe for making a creamy tangy dressing without your food processor / blender.

Mustard Dill Dressing

1/3 cup of vegan mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of dill weed
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
3 small drops of hot sauce.

In a med sized bowl, mix all ingredients together with a spoon. The dressing should be rather thick and creamy with a yellowish tint and the dill weed should be visible.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring day in Atlanta

Atlanta has been warming up recently. It is a nice feeling since we had what we might consider a brutal winter. It snowed, twice. I hope that does not mean that the summer is going to be more stifling than usual.

I got a chance to get out and play a little basketball and soccer during the afternoon. I brought the basketball and Ashley brought the soccer ball. Apparently, she was quite the soccer star back in high school. Then it was home to cook dinner. Genius struck and I lugged my table outside along with my chairs to eat on the nice brick patio in the backyard. It was a great meal and really nice to eat my first meal outside on the patio.

Tonight was more Seitan Steak and salad. The development of the Seitan Steaks have been precious. It has really given me a lot of pleasure to develop some interesting and fun recipes that use something that I created. There is something satisfying about it. Ashley and I gobbled up over half of what I had made. Then Jamie stopped by later in the evening to finish it off! It was a hit all around. I love making food for the people in my life.

Shepherd's Pie

3 med red potatoes (cubed)
2 large Seitan Steaks (not yet fried)
1 can of cream style corn
1 kale leaf
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of soy milk
1/3 cup of vegan margarine
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of vegan sour cream
2 teaspoons of oil
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder

Pre-heat the oven at 400 degrees.

In a pot, bring the water to a boil adding the potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Strain and set back into the pot. Add the soy milk, nutritional yeast, vegan margarine, vegan mayonnaise, vegan sour cream, 1/2 of the paprika, 1/2 of the garlic powder and mashed until lumpy.

In a saute pan, heat the oil on med heat. Chop the seitan into very small chunks. Add the seitan to the oil and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining garlic powder, remaining paprika, and onion powder and fry for another 2 minutes.

In a baking pan, lightly sprinkle a little oil on the bottom then add the seitan. Spread the seitan evenly over the bottom. Then pour the can of creamed corn over the layer of seitan. Break the kale into pieces the size of a half dollar coin and evenly make a layer over the corn. Then spread the mashed potato over the top. Sprinkle a little paprika and olive oil on the mashed potato if you would like.

Bake for 25 minutes. Turn to broil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I have been asking people for ideas of what I should make with the Seitan Steaks. I asked my friend Natalie and she recommended Stroganoff. Brilliant! I had wanted to make this for some time and never bothered since Jamie hates (or hated?) mushrooms. Ashley does not like them either but I convinced her to at least let me try it out. She picked out the mushrooms but that just meant more for me! This was an outstanding dish, both Ashley and I were very disappointed when our plates were empty.

I am very excited to think that I could have a cookbook with an entire section that utilizes Seitan Steaks as an ingredient.

Asparagus is in season again. It is one of those foods that is right up there on my list with brussel sprouts. Delicious! Maybe I will post the recipe for my fried asparagus.


2 med Seitan Steaks (not yet fried)
5 baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 pound of fettuccine
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1/4 cup of vegan sour cream
1/4 cup of vegan margarine
2 tablespoons of flour
1 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cumin

Rinse the marinade off from the Seitan Steaks.

In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add the fettuccine. Boil for 15 minutes on med heat until fettuccine is tender. Strain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat the margarine on med-low heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, onion powder, cumin and pepper. Stir well. Cut the Seitan Steaks into cubes slightly less then 1 cubic inch. Add the steaks to the mushrooms and margarine and allow to fry for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, this will cause the mixture to dry our quickly. Add the vegetable broth and stir well. Once the mixture is beginning to heat back up and has regained some moisture, add the tomato paste and sour cream. Stir well. The sauce will have a reddish hue. Pour the sauce and steaks over the noodles and serve topped with chopped chives.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Food on my day off

I made a ton of food on my day off. I did not stop simply with my Chic Pea and Sweet Potato dish. I continued to make 2 batches of Seitan Steaks to share and play around with. I threw together another Chocolate Cake (this time I added chocolate chunks and pecan pieces). I still was not done, I topped it all off with a great green smoothie. I used both spinach and kale alongside the kiwi, and banana and it was delicious! I wish I had the time and consistent schedule to make and drink one of these every morning.

I am super excited, I was able to pick up a package of Irish Moss today for less than $1.00. I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet but it will be awesome and soon. My newest cookbook, Living Raw Food, has many recipes that require this odd looking sea vegetable. There are also a plethora of great raw juices that i am eager to try. I have so many ideas and no one to cook for. What a sad dilemma.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The storied chic pea

Chic peas have been my best friend recently. Struggling with making one player foods they seem to beg to be the perfect solution. I can sit and eat a whole can on my own or make something like I did today and have leftovers or some to share. I have used them more since I have moved into the house then I ever have in my life. Chic peas are rarely a miss. Except that one time, when I ruined my mum's pot because I left them unattended, but that was years ago! Sorry mum.

Chic Peas and Sweet Potato

5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 med sweet potato
1 large kale leaf
15 oz of cooked chic peas
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons of cilantro
2 tablespoons of onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (chopped)
1 teaspoon of salt

Peel and cube the sweet potato. In a pot, bring 1 1/2 cup of water to a boil and add the sweet potato. Simmer for about 12 minutes until sweet potato is slightly undercooked. Strain and remove from heat.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on low-med heat. Once the oil is up to temperature, add the garlic, onion, jalapeno and 2/3 of the total amount of chic peas. Reduce heat to low and stir every few minutes so avoid the chic peas burning. Saute for 6-8 minutes and then mash the chic peas, garlic and onion with a sturdy fork.

Tear the kale away from the stem and rip into pieces about 1 1/2 inch in size. Add 1/2 cup of water, cumin, black pepper, salt, 1 tablespoon of oil, cilantro and kale to the mashed chic pea mixture. Stir frequently, adding more liquid (1 tablespoon at a time) if it begins to dry out. Once the kale has wilted, add the remaining chic peas (whole) and the sweet potato. Mix gently and thoroughly. Do not allow to simmer, cook for 5-8 minutes or until hot. Garnish with kale and cilantro.

This was just a whim and it turned out excellent. The sweet potatoes really threw this over the top. It has a heavy chic pea flavor then you hit a brilliant chunk of sweet potato and it pops in your mouth. Very tasty and a great afternoon, day-off, late lunch.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oddities and Bazaar Events

As I glance back over the last week I can recognize some bazaar events. Last Sunday was a trip to church. I am a staunch atheist but do enjoy a good story. I was even congratulated on an engagement that I have nothing to do with. Then it was a trip to the coffee shop for a circumstance meeting that no one expected and has created a thought provoking chain of events.

A few mundane work days separated another silly albeit enjoyable experience. I went to a cardio kickboxing class with some friends. I could not get the steps down at first but I think I was able to keep up with the workout. It was a fun time and I think I may go again.

Last night I went to charge my phone only to discover that in his most recent visit, Tato (who thinks he is a dog) chewed threw my charger. Not a crisis but I had to run out and get a new one. Tomorrow is an afternoon of thrift stores and walking around town. Sunday will break all the rules.

To add to the oddities of the week, Monday I stopped into the local christian books and natural food store. It is a strange store and they have some weird products. I am a total sucker for off the beaten path mock meats. I picked up a tube of frozen vegan tuna. Sketchy. Very sketchy. Expecting the worst, I was pleasantly suprised with mediocrity. I have not had tuna in nearly 15 years so do not trust my judgment but, I would say that is was similar to my distant memory.

Add some Rosemary French Fries and everything tastes better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Steak Fajita

As promised, I have been using some Seitan Steaks for other fun, unintended purposes. My first thing was what turned out to be an amazing fajita! I struggle coming up with good one player foods but this one is quick, easy and hits the mark.

Steak Fajita

1 large Seitan Steak (not yet fried)
1 tortilla
1/2 of a red pepper
1/2 med onion
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of vegan sour cream
1 tablespoon of Seitan Steak marinade
1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce

In a frying pan, bring the oil to med heat and add the onion and red pepper (copped into slices) Once the onion beings to become aromatic, add the Seitan Steak (also sliced) and hot sauce. Fry until seitan is beginning to get crispy (about 5-8 minutes). Heat a tortilla and smear the vegan sour cream on 1/3 of tortilla. Then place the seitan, onion, and pepper on the sour cream. Pour the tablespoon of marinade over the top of the fajita. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up and roll the rest. This will give you a good bottom that should not break apart while eating.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Two great people, two great meals, one great day.

I ate two home cooked meals yesterday. Two great home cooked meals. I cooked none of them. For lunch, I went to visit Ashley and had some leftover from the night before. She had made Tofu Chicken Fingers, boiled broccoli, and Sweet Potato with Apple. I was thrilled to once again try my own recipes made by someone else. I should be developing a growing concern that Ashley is going to out do me since this was a great lunch!

For dinner, I went to visit Jamie and Tato. Jamie had made a broccoli and potato casserole. It was a nice healthy dinner filled with veggies, rice and tofu. I can not express how fun it is to have a day of home cooked meals that i did not make. I love to cook but there is something to be said for having meals made for you! It was a relaxing day.

I may not have a throng of people close to me in my life but, the one I do are pretty special! Two great people, two great meals, one great day.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I have a total sweet tooth. Every night before bed I have to have a sweet snack. It is my bedtime ritual. Completely unhealthy and completely delicious. For years, I have never been happy with any of the chocolate cakes I have made. I have made them from recipes and from my own head. The only thing I have come up with was a great chocolate banana pecan cake. I just wanted a basic chocolate cake...not fancy, just simple.

I think I may have stumbled upon a masterpiece of simplicity. This cake was so simple and basic that I had about zero hope for it as I was throwing the ingredients into the bowl. I even just spread some commercial store bought icing on it out of lazy, uninspired, hopelessness. I just needed a snack for the night, just something to get me threw.

At my first bite, my eyes opened wide, eyebrows popping off my forehead in surprise. This was delicious! I have found my recipe. Just to be sure I had two more pieces after that. I had to be sure, I could not give out a recipe that was not prefect.

Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water (cold)
1/3 cup of cocco powder
1/4 cup of oil
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of vanilla powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9 baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, coco powder, vanilla powder, baking soda, and salt. The dry mixture should be a nice brown color. The add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Mix well until all clumps are gone and it should be very wet and runny. Pour into the baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
This would be easy to make into a double layer circle cake. Just double the recipe and pour into two circular cake pans. This was moist without being dense. Just the great medium for a good vegan cake.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gooey Coffee Cake

The second time is a charm. It an early Saturday morning treat. After really enjoying the remaining donut batter in loaf style the other day, I recreated it in order to have the recipe. I changed a few things and it came out great.

Gooey Coffee Cake


3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of soy milk
2 tablespoons of margarine (melted)
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla powder
1 teaspoon of coffee grounds
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, vanilla powder, baking powder and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl (or the pan you melted the margarine in) add the soy milk, vanilla extract and vinegar. This will cause the soy milk to curdle slightly. Mix well. Then combine the milk mixture with the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour evenly into a greased and floured mini load pan.

Gooey Center

1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tablespoon of oats
1 tablespoon of margarine (melted)
1 teaspoon of coffee grounds

With a fork, gently combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Then with your hands, sprinkle the mixture over the loaf going heavy in the middle. When you bake the cake the brown sugar will sink into the middle. Bake for 45 minutes.

I also had my first ice cream popsicle made from the pina colada ice cream that Jamie and I made the other night. It was great. Very creamy and formed very nicely. This popsicle makes is awesome.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flattery is an great feeling

I know that people make my recipes. I post them, occasionally I get an email or comments telling me what people thought about the creation. Generally the feedback is very positive. There are also a number of people that I have cooked for in recent years that have all told me their thoughts. Still, nothing can quite compare to what might seem like a small event.

Earlier this week, Ashley brought me a canister. I opened it to find 5 familiar looking goodies. Seitan Steaks! She used my recipe and put together the seitan steaks to perfection. She cooked them for her family and friends. She even made a few extras for me to try. It was a fun experience to try my own food for the first time. I was flattered beyond belief that someone would go through all the trouble of making something I created and then bringing it to me to share. It really made many of my recent woes non-existent for a few hours.

I added some Rosemary Fries and Roasted Brussel Sprouts and it was fantastic. With the leftover steaks, I am going to use them in some new recipes. I am excited that someone else did the hard work for me!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not all roller coasters are fun.

These last several days have been a blur, a roller coaster. They have all run together and ended with two days off and much needed conversations. Exhaustion does not even begin to describe it. Ironically, sleep was not readily available. I may have only gotten about 7 hours over the course of 3 days. I contemplated things that may have lasting effects.

Enough with the drama. I was mildly productive with my short bout against insomnia. I got my kitchen painted! I still need to get the cabinets finished but the paint is up. Check it off the list.

I also showed a few houses, and finally got my NCIC report back and mailed (hopefully) the last of the paperwork off to the Real Estate Commission. I could be a licensed agent next month! My hard work may pay off, literally. Fingers crossed.

Today was a cooking day. Ashley came over for a bit early in the afternoon with her coffee grinder. She ground up some of the beans that Krys sent me. Gosh, they smell so good. Then we made donuts. I need to work on the more as they were a little hard. I will get it. However, i did stumble upon something amazing! I had left over donut batter so we poured it into a mini loaf pan and add a crumb topping that ended up being to wet and sinking into the middle. The crumb topping gave it almost a gooey syrup inside. It was amazing! I will replicate this and post the recipe.

Until then, all I will give is dinner. Jamie and I had a great meal that was topped by another great dessert!

Green Curry with Tofu and Red Pepper

The Curry

5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
3 small green chili peppers (chopped)
1 shallot (chopped)
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 1/2 cups of (tightly packed) Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of shredded ginger
1 teaspoon of curry powder

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until all basil leaves are liquefied. If you want, you can fry the garlic, peppers, and shallot with the spices before hand but it is not necessary.

The Veggies

1 pound of firm tofu
1 red pepper
1 onion
1 tablespoon of oil

In a saute pan, bring the oil to a med heat. Add the red pepper (cut into thin length-wise slices) and onions and fry until the onion is translucent.
In a non-stick pan set for med heat, place the tofu (cut into small pieces) evenly. Flip it every few minutes and allow to "fry" for about 15 minutes or until the sides are a nice golden color. This is a great way to get a crunchy piece of tofu without using oil.

Then add the onions and peppers into the tofu and reduce heat to med-low. Add the curry liquid and bring to a simmer. Allow simmering to occur for 8-10 minutes stirring regularly to avoid burning. Serve over rice.

I also made some pina colada ice cream! I like having an ice cream maker in the house. We had a bunch of left over ice cream so we let it melt and made it into popsicle with my new pop maker!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Thanks to everyone for all the pleasant birthday wishes! It is much appreciated. My birthday is a big deal to me and it was nice to get the attention.

I have been 30 now for several days. I am sure it is purely coincidence but there has been many changes in the last week. A few fun things happened. I received a Pay if Forward package from Krys at Two Vegan Boys. It was great! Some nice snacks (which I am a total sucker for!) and some coffee beans. I foresee the beans and the new ice cream maker having a solid relationship! It is always a very fun thing to open a package and Jamie was here at the time to enjoy the fun as well. Thank you so much Krys!

This is not the only package I received this week. My mother sent me a nice card with some pictures. Also, my good friend Neil sent me a copy of Living Raw Food. This is a cookbook that highlights many recipes from Pure Food and Wine restaurant in New York City, where he is the executive chef. I have not looked it over thoroughly yet but I am excited and am very interested in getting some more raw foods going.

It has been a busy weekend and I have not done much of my own new cooking. I will get my motivation back very soon. I am confident. I did touch on a few classics in the kitchen.

like banana bread

Thursday, March 4, 2010

30th Birthday

My birthday has come and gone. I am officially 30 years old. I never thought it would happen but here I am, past my twenties. So much for the punk rock mantra, "Live Fast, Die Young." That window has certainly been closed at this stage. Now it is on to new adventures. The twenties brought more stories than I can even recall, from stints of voluntary homelessness to buying my first home and everything in between.

My birthday turned out to be a great day. Two of the major players in my life transformed a day that was filled with anxiety to a day of humor and relaxation. A big thank you to them for all their effort and patients with me over the last several weeks. I am sure it was not an easy task.

Early in the morning, Ashley arrived and we headed into the mountains for a cold weather hike. Two hours later, we were confronted with closed gates and signs warning of citations for trespassing. Apparently, the roads that lead to the trail heads were closed due to the off-season or maybe even the snow. Eventually we found a small trail that we walked. It was more of a walking path than an actual hike though. It took about 20 minutes to go round trip. Back to the car and headed home. It was a really nice drive so we remained in good spirits. Ashley also saw her first rural mail person. She did not realize that they drove their own vehicle and she laughed for a good ten minutes, one of the highlights of the drive.
On the way back to Atlanta, we spotted a huge chair in the middle of a field. Needless to say, we stopped and took funny photos.

Back home, napping until Jamie got out of work. She brought Tato over to wish me a happy birthday. She was also toting several presents, dinner, a cake, and her old ice cream maker! We quickly started to make strawberry ice cream which despite the difficulty with the ice cream maker was incredibly easy and amazingly delicious. Jamie also made me hide in my room with Tato while she did some fun decorating in the basement room. She put a lot of effort into this and I thought it was very cool and innovative.

Then we ate dinner, opened presents, and dug into the cake and ice cream! One of the very cool things she got for me was a Popsicle maker. It has all kinds of really cool ideas for fun pops! Expect to see some here in the near future.

Bye Bye twenties. I am told that the best has yet to come.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trumpets of the Dead

I made this soup recently for Ashley. She has been having a brutal cough and has been very congested. I did some home research and found that trumpt mushrooms are good for the lungs and of course ginger is always great for what ails you. She was to sick to even eat but she was able to stop by and pick a bowl up. I am thrilled to try and make a nice soup to make her feel better. I swiped a bowl for myself and gave her the rest. Less than an hour later she sent me a text with an image of the empty container I gave her the soup in with the caption, "I really like the soup." It made me feel good to be able to help her out without yucky western medicine.

Over the years, I have found a trick to keeping my ginger fresh and getting a nice easy shred on it, which is something you will need for this recipe. When you have the whole root, peel and freeze it. This will stay good for month and you can simply take a chunk out and use it on a cheese grater to get a nice shred. I hated opening my refrigerator to find my ginger wilted and soft. Got to love an easy fix.

Trumpets of the Dead Soup

1 shallot (chopped)
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of black trumpt mushrooms (chopped)
1/3 cup of oyster mushrooms (chopped)
2 tablespoons of soybeans
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon of miso paste
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of ginger (shredded)
2 teaspoons of dulse flakes
2 teaspoons of ginger (chopped)
1 teaspoon of dark sesame oil

In a saute pan, heat the sesame oil and vegetable oil. Add the shallots, garlic, shredded ginger, dulse flakes and both mushrooms. Cook until the garlic is just shy of browning, then remove from heat.

In the meantime, bring the water to a simmer and add the miso paste. Add the soybeans and chopped ginger and simmer for about 5 minutes, do not let it boil. Add the mushroom mixture and soy sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, Serve hot.

In case you were wondering, black trumpt mushrooms are also called "Trumpets of the Dead". Ashley felt this should be called "get well soon soup" but I wanted to be able to say "Trumpets of the Dead". It is very dramatic.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beet Chips

This is a very nice addition to the meal I made the other night. I almost took it in a totally different direction and went raw but decided it would have been to contrasting to the rest of the meal. This came out really well and was incredibly simple. I love the grain of the beets and it really comes though with these chips.

Beet Chips

1 large beet
1 tablespoon of oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425. Peel the beet and slice length-wise into thin slices. On a non-stick baking sheet, spread the oil, salt and pepper evenly around. Take the beet slices, individually, and lay them all on the baking sheet. Before putting them into the oven, flip them over so that both the top and bottom on the slices have some of the oil mixture. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The beets should be dark in color and beginning to wilt.

Today is my birthday Eve!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oyster Mushroom Beurre Blanc

Well, this is not exactly a Beurre Blanc since it has no wine but it still tastes great and very similar to a traditional Beurre Blanc.

This recipe uses cashew cream which is incredibly easy to make. Simply take 2 cups of raw whole cashews, rinse, and soak in cold water overnight in the refrigerator. The cashews will be soft, strain and place in a blender. Cover with water (about 1/2 inch above the cashews) and puree for several minutes. This cream will last for several days.

Oyster Mushroom Beurre Blanc
2 shallots (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 1/2 cups of oyster mushroom (chopped)
3/4 cup of cashew cream
1/2 cup of vegetable stock
5 tablespoons of vegan margarine
1 1/2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
2 teaspoons of dulse flakes

In a sauce pan, melt the margarine on low heat. Saute the shallots and garlic for about 2 minutes until translucent, do not allow to brown. Add the oyster mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Once the mushrooms are softened, add the cashew cream and allow it to simmer. Add the vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, pepper and dulse and let simmer for about 8 minutes. Serve hot.