2.14.2008

I do eat food other than cupcakes

...but this is a valentine's day post, and v-day is a day that MUST be filled with chocolate and pastel pink:
More on this little fellow later. First I need to post a REAL recipe, something without sugar, so you believe me.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine studied abroad in Ghana. She visited many West African countries while she was over there, and spoke pretty highly of many of the dishes she'd tried there. I've since veganized a few - though you haven't seen them (yet), I make mean ghanian groundnut veggies and a decent senegalese stew. I love the spice combinations in North African food: Moroccan, Algerian, and Egyptian dishes are great. Pretty much all of the African cuisine I've tried, I like. But when my roommate's sister spent several months in Tanzania recently, I realized I have no idea what is typical of eastern African cuisine. So I looked ut up! and found a great website called the African Cookbook. It's not very vegan, though. So I veganized and adapted a few of the recipes, and have found one I really like.
Tanzanian Braised Cabbage
(serves at least 4 as an entree, 8 as a side)

1-2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large head of cabbage (2 lbs-ish), roughly chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp salt
cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to taste
3/4 cup veggie broth or water
1/4 cup tamari
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)
1 handful of spinach or other such green, roughly chopped (optional)

In a large pan, saute the onion over medium heat in the oil until transparent. Add the cabbage, spices, and salt. Saute until the cabbage is slightly tender, about 10 minutes. Then add the veggie broth, tamari, and optional carrots. Cook until the cabbage is soft, at least 10 more minutes. Adjust spices to taste. Once the cabbage is at the tenderness you want (I like mine pretty darn soft), remove from heat and stir in the optional spinach.
(Pre-spinach. I made a half-batch because my cabbage was tiny.)

Serve over rice, millet, or, if you want it to be a one-dish meal, add a little extra water and serve it in a bowl with glass noodles! (aka bean threads, starch noodles, vermicelli, worm noodles, or cellophane noodles, available in asian food stores, natural food stores, or the specialty aisle of a normal grocery store)
I love these things because 1) they are made from bean starch (you can also get ones made from sweet potato starch, but they smell awful. Taste okay, smell awful), so they are pretty much free of EVERYTHING and 2.) all you have to do to prepare them is let them sit in hot water for a few minutes.

Okay, healthy food aside: HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! My coworker had a delicious vegan potluck dinner, and my contribution (surprise) was CUPCAKES! I really wanted to try the Red Velvet cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world, but I don't believe in food coloring, and as I made them around midnight last night, I was too tired to bother to make my own. I used a bit of beet juice in the batter, but it wasn't strong enough to cover up the cocoa powder:
Though not red, they were a little paler than chocolate cupcakes would be. These cupcakes had a really light texture and rose quite a bit in the over.
Gorgeous! I made a little Earth Balance, Soymilk (colored with beets), powdered sugar glaze and topped them with pecans, which sort of resemble hearts, right?
OH but do you want to hear a cupcake-related (well, sorta) tragedy? I had a nasty nightshade reaction (ie, a rash)to something I ate in NYC this weekend, but I wasn't sure what. After reading my last entry, my mother asked, "didn't the babycakes desserts make you sick?"
"Of course not," I said. "Why would it?"
"There's potato starch in it."
"No there's not," I told her. "I asked the workers if there was potato starch in anything and they said no."
She pointed me to the babycakes website, where they say all of their frostings have potato starch. On one hand, it was good to know whence my rash came. On the other hand - the spacy hipster babycakes employee BETRAYED ME. So I rescind some of my babycakes review. Really good taste, slightly less allergy-friendly than they advertise, especially because the employees don't actually know what's in their products...

That's why I bake so many cupcakes of my own. Because NO ONE ELSE'S ARE SAFE. : /

6 comments:

Rural Vegan said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh that's a shame about Babycakes. I wish employees (in general) understood the gravity of food allergies and were more knowledgeable about the products they sell. But if this spurs you to make more homemade cupcakes, maybe it's for the best! Can you really ever have too many??

ChocolateCoveredVegan said... Best Blogger Tips

I laughed at your post title, because I always feel like I only post recipes that have to do with chocolate, so I always feel like I need to say, "I eat healthy foods too!"

I love African food (oh my goodness, especially Ethiopian food!), so I'm going to copy down your cabbage recipe and hopefully make it soon :o).

Ruby Red Vegan said... Best Blogger Tips

ugh, NO!!! how can an employee at a VEGAN bakeshop not know what's in their products? i'm sorry that happened to you. :(

your cupcakes look like the perfect valentine's treat! and pink is my favorite color anyway, and the pecan is so cute on top!

african food rocks. i had ethopian tonight, actually - injera is so, so, so amazing. i also recently had an african stew with lots of spinach and lots of peanut butter. so good. the problem is, i got these from restaurants and i really need to add african food to my cooking repertoire. so thanks for the recipe! i heart cabbage!

VeggieGirl said... Best Blogger Tips

I always post about baked goods (and eat them), so you don't have to justify posting treats - ESPECIALLY when they look as scrumptious as YOUR creations!! yum!!

Babycakes has been untruthful before - they wouldn't even give an interview with an allergen-free cooking magazine, to talk about their products!! Sketchy, if you ask me.

Ashasarala said... Best Blogger Tips

I've never had African food, but there's still time to try it. The recipe sounds nummy. The cupcakes sound even nummery, but that's just 'cause I'm a piglet. ;)

Too bad about Babycakes. :( At least you got at least one taste of them, right? If someone asked me if there were certain ingredients in a product and I wasn't sure, I'd have to tell them exactly that: 'I'm not sure.' Then I'd call the manager and have them figure it out. You don't want to be responsible when it comes to allergies! That's why I tell waiters I'm allergic to eggs and dairy when I go to restaurants. They're more likely to make sure there are no animal products in the food. Tee hee...

Speaking of restaurants, is Thursday still in order? I *may* need to cancel. I got some stuff going on this weekend I need to prepare for, but we'll see where I am. I totally want to meet you and check out the raw food so it WILL happen SOON! =)

Vegan_Noodle said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you so much for posting the pic of the cupcake first... I needed that this morning.

What a bummer about the babycakes cupcakes!! It annoys me to no end when people lie about things (or say they know something when they don't). I'd write them a letter if I were you....