Thursday, March 31, 2011

Product Review: Gutenfleischer's

Anyone who follows this blog or knows me well knows that I rarely advertise for anyone or anything.  In fact, I typically go out of my way to avoid giving plugs to corporations, "conscious" or not.  Scrolling through the years of blogging, you will not find a post reviewing a product or helping someone sell.

Recently, I have decided to make a few minute exceptions.  Although still in opposition to business and profiting off food, I have opted to support a few local and / or friend based ventures.  Today will be the first of a few.

I was recently given a sample package of vacuum sealed pepperoni slices from a local vegan meat start-up.  I stopped eating pepperoni when I was very young, over half my life has been lived without it.  I have tried the mass produced vegan pepperoni and although they have been decent enough, they were not great by any stretch of the imagination.  This was different.

Since I have not had much experience cooking with pepperoni, I decided the ultimate test was pizza.  Just vegan cheese, the pepperonis and a touch of cilantro.  If these could pass this, they would certainly serve any other peperoni purpose.

I think I must have said about 5 minutes during the eating of my first slice that the peperoni has a great flavor.  A nice subtle heat but not over bearing.  From what little I remember of pepperoni, these are the real deal.  They felt very meaty without crossing the line.  Unlike some of the other mock peperoni I have tried, these even stayed moist even as they got a little crispy.  Bottom line, these were excellent.

Check out the Gutenfleischer's; vegan meats website and pick up some great mock meats!  Make a pizza and watch some basketball.  You will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Agent of Spring Madness

It has been a rainy few days here in Atlanta.  Last week it was hot and the ground was candy coated in yellow pollen, this week it is cold and the rain created yellow rivers through the streets.  Welcome to Georgia in the spring.  I do like the spring time though.

I find that as I get older my appreciation for the budding life of spring increases.  I am still not sure if I will do a garden this year.  I have been fairly busy so far this year and I do not want to neglect it.  I was unable to get a significant amount of food from it last year but I did have fun with it.

While I do not really have a team in the collage world, this is March Madness and I have been keeping up.  One of the best parts of watching basketball is the junk food I get to eat.  This year is no different that last, the fries have been getting a lot of playing time.

I also recently made some new business cards.  They came out really well.  I thought I would share them with my readers and maybe even one or two of my local readers needs a Real Estate Agent!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegan Bale Sale

Saturday was the Atlanta Vegan Bakes Sale to Benefit Japan.  Who am I to pass up vegan baked goods?  Ashley and I had a plan to go but could not stay long since the chains of the jobby job were short that day.  We did pick up some fun items that we split up and I will be eating for my bedtime snacks for a couple of days.

Dough Bakery made a whole cart full of whoppie pies, there were several other vegan bakers there with some amazing spreads.  It was a nice time with some great treats.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bread Bowl and Flat Bread Slices

Today was the last of my three days off.  I mainly relaxed and payed some bills.  Nothing excited with the expection of dinner.  We had some Seitan soup in a bread bowl with a nice flat bread slice with a creamy dressing that turned out really well.

Avocado and Dill Spread

1/2 of one avocado
3/4 cup of vegan mayonnaise
3 teaspoons of dill
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Peel and pit the avocado and mash into a smooth texture.  Add the lemon juice, vegan mayonnaise, and dill.  Mix thoroughly.  Fold in the remaining ingredients.  Best served slightly chilled.

I was fairly sceptically as this was coming together and even as I gave it the finger taste test.  I was wrong.  This was fantastic on a nice flat bread with some sliced vegetables and sprouts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Basil Hummus

Today was an Ashley day.  It has been some time since Ashley and I spent time together one on one and it was a nice relaxing day.  We looked at some houses, ate some lunch and did a few errands.  The lunch was a nice refreshing spring meal.  We made some hummus sandwiches with some sesame sticks on the side.  We also split a couple slices of cake.

Basil Hummus

4 cloves of garlic
30 oz of chipeas
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of basil
1 tablespoon of cumin
1/2 tablespoon of tahini
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of paprika

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  It will have a light green color due to the basil and should be thick.  Optional: Chop some additional basil into small pieces and once the hummus is finished blending, fold it into the mixture.  This will give it some additional aesthetic value while adding some additional potent flavor.

It has been some time since I posted a recipe.  I have been far to occupied to begin in the kitchen and this felt good to create.  The combination of basil and chic peas made it a really nice blend of Mediterranean hummus with Italian pesto.  It was very creamy and refreshing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


It is officially spring here in Atlanta.  I know this because I am in shorts today and the Georgia pollen is killing my throat and sinuses.  Either way, it is a good thing.  If I can get the time today, I will even try to mow the lawn, which sounds like a chore but I actually enjoy it.

With my mum gone, I mainly ate leftovers over the weekend.  I was able to use the remaining seitan for a couple of fajita wraps to take with me to the jobby job.  That was a nice couple of meals to have, otherwise I have been drowning in leftovers and one player foods.  I hope to find the time and motivation to get some more cooking in this week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mum's Visit Part 4, the departure

My mum left on Thursday.  She headed to Florida for the remainder of her vacation.  The few days she was here flew by and the house felt very empty without her here.

Thursday morning we got up and went to some weird petting zoo type farm place.  I have been there before and it is very strange.  There are all kinda of animals that have been injured in the wild and are now living there.  We had a good time and spend several hours there.  We had some long in-depth conversations and then headed home for some lunch.

The last meal my mum wanted me to make was Wild Rice with Portobello Mushrooms and Leeks.  It came out well and she seemed to enjoy it.  I think that some of my flavors might be to heavy handed for her taste so I tried to lighten the fare up slightly.  She had a nice pineapple peach smoothie to go with our late lunch and a nice salad with Mustard Dill Dressing.


Soon after lunch, my mum packed up and headed out.  She brought a box of old memories that I will go through in the next few days.  Overall, it was a nice visit and I was happy she was able to see my house.  I hope that more of my family come to visit soon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mum's Visit Part 3

Day two with my mum was a lot of fun.  After lingering around the house a bit in the morning we went to get a few random things done.  We ended up going to a book store, getting some nice vegan cake, and a few others.  We got some lunch off a hot bar and headed to the zoo.  I have some very unpleasant feelings about the zoo but really like to see all the animal so I repeatedly get sucked into going.

Ashley finished with her classes today and she met my mum and I at the zoo.  We had a really nice time and saw some crazy animals doing some crazy things.  We ate some cake to celebrate Ashley finishing a tough class and spent significant time in the reptile room.

My mum and I headed home to make meal number two.  She wanted the Scalloped King Oyster Mushrooms in a Garlic Cream Sauce.  This dish was much more her speed\ and comfort zone.  I did not force a smoothie on her tonight because I used the blender to make a nice salad dressing.  This was a very nice, light, refreshing, refined dish that was great for my mum's palate.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mum's Visit Part 2

After an early dinner, my mum and I headed out to see a basketball game.  Growing up in Maine, the closest team is in Boston.  Boston is such a sports town that the tickets are fairly pricey and the drive is a solid 3 hours.  I may have gone to see a Celtics game as a child but I do not really remember.  Since I have lived in Atlanta, I have gone to at least one game each year.

Tonight was the night.  Since both my mum and I like basketball, we decided to go to the game, a rarity for her.  I took her to a game a few years back but it has been a long time.  The game was a blow out but the experience is fun regardless.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mum's Visit Part 1

My mum is here visiting!  It has been really nice to have someone here.  I have been really enjoying the company and the opportunity to cook.  She came down with a list of foods from my blog that she wanted to try, which is fun.

Today we took a trip to the farmers market and picked up some needed ingredients.  For an early dinner, Ashley came over and the three of us had Pineapple Sesame Seitan and Cream of Cauliflower Soup.  I also introduced my mum to my Spinach Smoothie.

I was surprised that my mum wanted to try the Pineapple Sesame Seitan, since she cane be a picky eater and has never had seitan and has very rarely tried a "mock meat" and has not had "red" meat since she was about 16 years old.  She thought the flavor was good but had trouble setting used to the texture of the seitan.  I was empathetic and we moved on to the cream of cauliflower soup.  I think she liked this dish much more.  It came out very smooth and creamy with a nice robust flavor.

She fought me on the Spinach Smoothie a bit.  She had some concerns about the combination of spinach and bananas.  I insisted and she gave it a try.  She seemed to be surprised with the taste and how it all blended together.  Unfortunately, it was not cold enough but it was still good.  I do not generally mind room temperature drinks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Recipe Update: Portobello Chowder

I have been completely neglectful of my blog and my kitchen.  My time has been filled with heavy thoughts and hard work.  I feel like some upcoming events will get me back on track though.

My mum is coming for a few days next week.  She has not seen my house yet and it means a lot to me that she will be here.  She even went through my recipes and picked out a few she would like to try when she is here.  That makes me feel good, it is nice to have someone excited about my cooking.

Tonight was a nice evening with a friend.  We both like mushrooms but due to circumstances, rarely eat them as often as we would like.  We took advantage of our time together and I updated my portobello chowder recipe while we watched Secrets of Nimh.

Portobello Chowder

3 large portobello mushroom caps (cubed)
2 cloves of garlic
15 oz of high fat coconut milk
1  1/2 cup of vegetable broth
2 tablespoon of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
3/4 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons of turmeric

In pot, heat the oil on med heat. Add the onions and garlic and let simmer for about 5-8 minutes, until the onions are not quite tender. Meanwhile, cut the mushrooms lengthwise twice, resulting in chunks on the cap about a 1/4 on an inch in size. Add the mushrooms to the oil and let simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and have released some liquid. Add half of the pepper and stir well. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth.  Add the remaining pepper, turmeric, and the salt and bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes.

This is a very simple recipe that I learned from my sister Nomi.  I remember being in her rented house in Portland Maine when I was about 17 or so and we whipped this up for a lunch time meal before heading out for my first vegan sushi experience. Those were some good memories.  It amazes me to think about how many people inspired so many of my dishes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A forced hand is not often creative

I have been emotionally busy recently.  I have been very uninspired in the kitchen because of it.  I hope for some change soon.  I forced out some food today.  It came out very good and is an old classic of mine.  Spanish rice.

I changed it a bit.  When I went to get out the jalapeno peppers, they had rotted due to lack of culinary inspiration.  I guess it was my karmic punishment for the neglect in my favorite room in the house.  As a substitute for the jalapeno, I used chipolte peppers and it was amazing.  I may re-work the recipe a bit to include the great smokey pepper.  We shall see.

This will be another long weekend at the jobby job.  The Spanish rice will help me get through the night.  I am hoping to get outside some this week if it is nice.  I think it might help my recently sour demeanor.

Since my birthday, I had a few other cards trickle in which has made me feel very nice.  I also got a nice phone call from my dad, my mum, and my brother.  It was a nice day, albeit slightly lonely.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I turned 31 today.

I am 31 today.  I have mixed feeling about it and the day is much less eventful then my past birthdays.  Ashley came over and she and I had some morning pancakes, did some thrifting, and eating.  Now I am sitting at my house with no real plan for the remainder of the evening.

One of the highlights was a package from my Priscilla!  She sent me a book on gardening and a nice card.  She is one of the sweetest people I know.