Wednesday, September 24, 2008

is it lunch time yet?

Here's what I've packed for lunch tomorrow, using my nifty new stainless steel lunch kit.
In the main bowl, a whole lot of carrots and grape tomatoes with a drizzle of flax oil, a big shake of nootch, and a pinch of kosher salt. I love having all kinds of raw veggies this way - covers the omega-3 and B-12 bases while adding great flavor. In the top tray, some whole wheat pita bread cut up small. Off to the side, a cup of french lentil soup from a V'con recipe (but of course). I've made this soup so many times now I don't even have to think about it, and it's great to play around with a vary. This time I used brown lentils instead of french, since that's what I had on hand, and it's still awesome. The apple is local - yay for apple season!

I need to find a cuter container for the soup...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Blogger

I've been cooking (and eating, yay!) but not photographing. Oops. Here are some words about food, at least.

For a potluck dinner this past weekend, Omnivorous Boyfriend and I made Veganomicon's eggplant potato moussaka with pine nut cream. It was a huge hit. We both liked it and got lots of complements at the party - even after people knew it was vegan. The whole tray disappeared quickly.

We got all the vegetables that morning from the neighborhood farmer's market, which made it extra good. It's a lot more involved that my standard cooking - roasting tons of vegetables, making sauce, making the cream, then assembling and baking the casserole. I was very glad to have a sous-chef on hand and to be working in a nice big kitchen with lots of counter space. I wouldn't dare make this in my little kitchen. So lot's of effort involved in this one, but worth it, I'd say. It makes an impressive dish to share. The one issue was a lack of eggplant - we used a pound, as directed, but two pounds would be better to cover all the layers evenly.

Next up was Sunday brunch - Veganomicon's (again, I know!) banana walnut waffles. I gave OB a waffle iron for his birthday and am now reaping the rewards. These were fast and easy to put together using mostly stuff we had around. They came out very tasty, and I like that they're not major sugar bombs.

Sunday night dinner was a bit of a fiasco. I had bought some fresh black eyes peas from the farmer's market, intending to boil them and then stir-fry with sweet potatoes and broccoli. I didn't realize how quickly fresh beans spoil! I left them out on the counter and by Sunday night they smelled reallly funky. I ran to the corner store to replace them with the canned variety but the closest thing I could find was Cranberry beans. Whatever.

Trying to stick to the original plan, I diced up the sweet potatoes and roasted them in the oven for about 15 minutes. I toasted some cumin and black mustard seeds in a pot, along with a little ginger.

And then I made a mistake.

One stand at the farmer's market had three bins of hot peppers, with a sign labelling them hot-hotter-hottest. I took two little orange ones from the 'hotter' bin, figuring they'd be a medium-high heat. I've only cooked with jalapeno peppers before, and I've always found the heat level dissapointingly mild. I diced up the two little guys and threw them in the pot with the spices. After sauteeing for a few minutes I added the sweet potatoes, beans and some frozen broccoli.

Now, I like spicy food, but this was just painful. Numbingly, awfully hot. And sadly, the heat masked every other flavor. You could have been eating super-spicy oatmeal; the only sensation was HOT. As luck would have it we checked out My Oraganic Market on Sunday and I grabbed a big tub of Wildwoood plain unsweetened soy yogurt. OB and I doused the stir-fry with the yogurt and made it through dinner without having to resort to take-out. As an aside, Wildwood is very very good. The first soy yogurt I've had that has a tang to it and seems almost like 'real' yogurt.

Fortunately I was very careful when I cut the peppers up and didn't get any on my hands, but I must have been leaning too closely over the pot because the inside of my nose burned for hours. Sheesh! Next time I'll just stick to red pepper flakes.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

back in action

I'm back! Took a long time - a bit longer than I expected - but I am recovered and (98%) back to normal. It seemed like I would never want to eat anything again!

Thankfully, my appetite is back, and my strength is coming back. I'm feeling so happy be living life on my on terms again and the freedom to move around (mostly) as I want. This was a great weekend, including my first venture into the kitchen in months.

For Saturday brunch I made the greek tofu benedict from Veganomicon. Two thumbs way up. Interesting flavors and a nice combination of textures. I made the sauce and roasted the peppers the night before, so all I had to do in the morning was broil the tofu. (A programming note - post surgery, after consulting with my doctors, I am low-soy but not *no* soy. I'm aiming for no more than one serving a day and no soy protein isolate. Another huge relief.) I toasted some whole-wheat english muffins for these and cut up an orange and a grapefruit for the side. Easier morning-of than making pancakes, and more impressive too.
For dinner, continued working through my freezer full of food. Re-heated some chickpea cutlets and put jarred tomato sauce on top, with whole wheat spaghetti and a little vegan parmesan. Roasted tomatoes and eggplants from the farmer's market on the side. They had white eggplant, which I've never seen before. It looked almost identical to the purple one after roasting, but had a little more firmness. Great dinner all around. I really like having the cutlets in the freezer - this came together in about 20 minutes.
In case anyone's still out there, hi! :)