Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zucchini Chickpea Muffins

I pulled this off of Vegan Eating for One, shortly before it disappeared. Come back soon, Romina! I'm very happy I saved it, cause these are great. They taste neither fat-free nor sugar-free, just soft and tasty.
They don't taste like chickpeas either. I never would have thought to make muffins with chickpea flour, but it works perfectly and adds some protein to these (plus uses up something I bet most of us have sitting around). I had everything on hand to make them except the zucchini and they came together super easy. So yeah, these rock. I'd post the recipe, but I figure the archive was removed for a reason. I put some blackberry fruit spread on them from Butler's Orchard, where we picked pounds of berries this past weekend. Mmmmm.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Live Green!

Last night, me and my pissy mood attended the Live Green launch party. From the genius behind the DC vegan mecca Java Green, Live Green is a community you can join to get discounts at green businesses in the DC area. The $13 membership is worth it just for the savings on a Zipcar membership, if you're a car-sharing person like me. It's too soon to tell but I'm hoping this turns out to be a good resource for finding green products and services in the city. But I already get a free Java Green cookie, so I can't lose.
The party featured all vegan food, from Java Green's catering menu. I hope this opened the minds of some people in the *huge* crowd about how delicious and "normal" vegan food can be.

Restaurant Review - Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese

I got some bad medical news this week, and though I feel fine physically I've been too out of sorts to cook or eat properly. Last night I basically had a pint of soy ice cream for dinner, which of course made me feel like crap, and today I ate cereal for breakfast and lunch. Ugh. In an effort to snap myself out of it I ordered delivery from Mr. Chen's, who is proving to be a great go-to dinner option when I don't want to cook for whatever reason.

Even though they use all organic vegetables, their prices are actually a bit cheaper than other Chinese places in my neighborhood. They have a big menu, but all I've tried so far is the steamed bean curd with vegetables. They offer various sauces on the side; I've stayed loyal to the ginger garlic cause it's sweet and flavorful (though if I ever order when I'm not feeling cranky I'll try out the kung pao sauce). It's obviously a very basic dish, but it's done right - the vegetables are fresh and steamed the perfect right amount, and there's a decent amount of tofu without it being overwhelming. I like having the sauce on the side so I can dip pieces in instead of drowning the whole thing in glop. Their vegetarian soups have egg but they leave it out for me. I tried the seaweed and tofu soup but it's a little too, uh, seaweed tasting for me. I know, what did I expect? But I love the tofu and spinach soup, so problem solved.

On a non-food note, I'm also trying to get out of my funk with the new Girl Talk album, Feed the Animals. It's available now for whatever price you want to pay here. Pretty darn awesome.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recipe Reviews and Black Bean Dip

I've been too lazy/hungry to photograph my food lately, but I have to talk about this awesome recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for curried red lentil soup with dandelion greens.

I had some dandelion greens in the fridge and no idea what to do with them, and I got a pressure cooker a couple weeks ago, so this recipe called out to me even though it's a zillion degrees here. I've never had lentils like this before - it was almost like a split pea soup, cause the lentils explode and the whole thing is deliciously creamy. Really simple to make too, I'll definitely be making this again. I had some friends over and it was a big hit, they both went back for seconds.

Less of a hit was the curried tempeh mango salad from VWaV. I liked it, but no one else did. Omnivorous Boyfriend thought it was too sweet (and he's right, it is very sweet) and my brother-in-law said it was "sorta ok." My sister wouldn't even try it. I'm not saying it's my favorite dish ever, but I did enjoy it, and it was nice picnic food. We all went to see R.E.M. last night, a
nd we had beautiful weather for hanging out on the lawn. I also made a quick black bean dip, which everyone liked (yay!):

1 can black beans
2 tbsp water
1 clove garlic
juice from one lemon
1 tbsp tamari
1/2 tsp cumin
big pinch cayenne

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth.

We dipped carrots and spicy blue corn chips in this. Then we had watermelon and cherries for dessert. It was a great show and a great night.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Tale of Three Crepes

Omnivorous Boyfriend has been bugging me to post about our crepe adventures, and since he's doing a load of mostly my laundry right now, I shall oblige.

Crepe's are his signature dish, he's been making basic egg ones for years. He was extremely dubious they could be made vegan, but willing to try. I saw this recipe on Vegan Dad's blog and it sounded good. I made the batter and he took up his station over the miniature stove. He even brought his fancy crepe pan and flipper thing over.
I in no way want to bash on Vegan Dad, as his blog is completely made of awesome and I think he's a great chef, but these were a disaster for us. OB couldn't get the batter to pour well or manage to flip them at all. I tried some of the scraped off dough, and it tasted wonderful, but it was clear that this was not turning into crepes for us. I think it was probably the tofu - I see now that it can be subbed with ground flax seed. Perhaps we shall try it again.

Anyways, I was ready to scrap cooking and go out for bagels, but OB was set on crepes. Enter Veganomicon, stage right. I made another round of batter following the whole wheat variation (half whole wheat pastry flour). Voila! Happy crepe time ensued. I have never made 'normal' crepes, so I do not know how they compare, but I really liked these. I didn't notice a bean taste at all from the chickpea flour and the texture was great. OB was quite satisfied with them and started telling everyone how chickpea flour has amazing, magical properties. We filled them with some chocolate spread I'd gotten as a gift and fresh strawberries. So so so good.
A while later, OB cooked me a birthday dinner (aww) and tried yet another crepe recipe, the one from Vegan With a Vengeance. These are made with water instead of soy milk, so they have less density and flavor, but they cooked up great and went very well with the sweet potato filling. That filling is incredibly good - like if Indian food and Thai food had a party and invited sweet potatoes. Just a great mix of flavors. We agreed that these crepes were well suited to it.

They aren't, however, well suited to being made healthier. We tried to repeat the meal for our parents, and I put half whole wheat flour in. Disaster. The texture was all wrong. I'd like to try again with whole wheat pastry, but maybe I should just stick with the Veganomicon version for that. Ended up having to make a second batch of batter, but the parents were all impressed anyway, so no big deal. We made two fillings that time, the second being the basic potato-mushroom filling accompanying the crepe recipe in Veganomicon. Very simple but really good; it was hard to decide which was better.

Oh, OB wants me to add that all variations of vegan crepes require more oil or earth balance to cook than regular ones. Duly noted. And I'd like to add that all crepes taste better if they are made for you by a handsome man.