monochrome meals

AND WE'RE BACK! I have a shiny new laptop, a mac (yay for apples! now my computer reminds me of produce!), and I will be back to posting twice a week. Thanks for sticking with me!

how do I love parsnips? let me count the ways.
one... two... three.

What you are looking at above is my fondness for bizarre-looking produce. Organic Parsnips. I went to reach for one (they are supposed to look like the little guy on the right; he is my "control" parsnip) in the parsnip basket at whole foods - and there was that strange pants-looking one! And directly underneath him: THE MONSTER. I couldn't just leave them in the basket: the next person to buy parsnips might not appreciate them! so they came home.
That's about a quarter of the monster, there, MAYBE half, pan-fried in a small amount of earth balance, for saturday's brunch:
with a banana wheat germ muffin (from veganomicon), and peanut butter and pineapples. An intentionally monochrome morning.

As you may have guessed from my entirely green entry back there, I love playing with colors and food. I've been on an orange-and-yellow kick lately:
cauliflower pakora (battered and fried cauliflower, with a homemade peanut sauce), recipe from vegan planet.

pumpkin ziti bake with homemade sage breadcrumbs and cashew ricotta from the veganomicon. This was realllly tasty, especiall the cashew ricotta, a lot of which I ate before putting it into the recipe because I wanted to taste it... and couldn't stop tasting. I didn't actually have a can of pumpkin, but I didn't know that until I had put together most of the other ingredients, so I used a can of butternut squash puree (another weirdness... who has a can of squash puree but not pumpkin?! me, apparently).

Roasted butternut squash risotto. With brown rice. I made it up, but I'm not sharing a recipe because I'm not entirely content with it yet.

and a roasted tofu "ham" with carrots, pineapple and corn.

It is round because I bought a tube of tofu (I know, weird, that's why I had to do it) at super 88 market a while ago, Yours won't look exactly like this (I was also a bit short on pineapple because I kept snacking on it while I was cooking), but the recipe bears repeating!

Roasted Tofu Ham
(technically should serve 3-4 people, if you follow a package of tofu's serving size, but who does that? So it serves two.)

1 block extra-firm tofu
2 Tbsp nut butter (NO PEANUT! the taste would be too distinctive. I used macadamia, but cashew, tahini, or almond butter would work)
2 Tbsp tamari (or more to taste. ham is supposed to be salty!)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
4 slices pineapple
3-4 cloves (optional)

chopped carrots or other veggies (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425. Drain and press the tofu to get out all excess water. Cut diagonal lines across the top of the tofu in a criss-cross pattern, cuting at least halfway into the block (but not all the way to the bottom). Place the tofu in a baking dish.

Stir together the nut butter, tamari and pineapple juice. Once well mixed, spoon over the tofu, making SURE to get it into all the crevices from the criss-crossing (you can pretend you're giada and grope your food [almost] inappropriately to make sure you're really getting it into the tofu). There should be some extra liquid in the bottom of the baking dish: if not, add a splash more pineapple juice and tamari.

Overlap pineapple rings on top of the tofu, and stick optional cloves in the center of the pineapple circles. Place optional chopped veggies around the sides of the roast.

COVER with foil/a lid and bake for half an hour. Remove from oven, take off cover, use a spoon to stir the veggies/spoon some of the liquid over the tofu. Return to oven, bake uncovered for another half hour, until golden brown.

I've never had liquid smoke but I think a drop or two of it in the tamari/nut butter would be really effective.


going green

In honor of St Patrick's Day and Spring occuring in the same week, I present a spread of green food!

My first homage to my favorite color is this lovely little kohlrabi. I have often passed kohlrabi in the produce department, thinking, I will use you someday when I know how to use you, kohlrabi. Then one day I decided I might as well just try it, because that someday would never come.
I brought him home, peeled him, chopped up him and his greens, and boiled them in a tiny amount of water (I think of this as being like steaming, but with fewer dishes to wash afterwards) until tender, and topped him with a mixture of dijon mustard, black pepper, and olive oil.
Results: Delicious! I thought it tasted like cauliflower, maybe a little sweeter. Kohlrabi = success!

Sauces with mustard, in them, by the way, are my new favorite way to top anything. Like Kale and peas (and some corn):
This mustard sauce was mustard, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil.

And this yummy-yet-unphotogenic salad was all green!
Ingredients: 1 Green Apple (shredded), a lot of spinach, 1 Tbsp Pepitas, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp olive oil.

Finally, forget the years of abstaining from animal products: I think what REALLY makes me a vegan is that I made this smoothie one day for breakfast and loved it.
Ingredients: 2 big fat kale leaves, 1 over-ripe banana and a handful of frozen mango chunks.

Look, even my smoothie's contemplating going outside to the lovely (though chilly) spring weather...
I'm breaking down and getting a new computer in the next week or two, folks, so expect more from me soon!



...when I said that my computer "works occasionally," my computer apparently took that as a challenge. It doesn't actually do much of anything at the moment. I have my work computer but am also a bit too swamped with actual work to get to this.

I promise, though, that I will have a pretty Spring/St Patrick's Day entry for you later this week, and will try to be get back on track (at LEAST an entry a week) after that.

Stay tuned!


with a little help from my friends

So my brother could not entirely remedy the downward-spiral situation that is my computer, due not to a lack of knowledge on his part but to the age of my computer. BUT the important thing is that it works occasionally. Like now! So in thanks to my brother, my theme for this entry is food items that wouldn't be here without someone else's help!

First up, a gift from Vegan Noodle over at Walking the Vegan Line! It was sort of a condolence prize for completely losing her Guess-the-Number-of-Chocolate Lentils contest.
She sent me a little copy of her Society of PEACE's Vegan Sweets cookbook, homemage "VEGAN" magnets, and AMAZING homemade chocolate truffles! I ate them immediately after taking this... delicious! THANK YOU! <3 <3 <3

Also, I went to my parents' in upstate NY a couple weeks ago and we made a large, tasty brunch in my honor:
Tofu Scramble with swiss chard and shallots, Blueberry Pancakes, and Mango-Apple-Pear Fruit Salad. WITH local maple syrup, produced by my parents' friends.

Remember how much I hate making pancakes? WELL, my mother made the batter and my father fried them, so I didn't have to deal with the pancakes! I made the scramble and the salad, and watched Dad's technique. And I am proud to say: I HAVE MASTERED PANCAKES.
I did these! They did not burn! yessss
topped with yogurt and fruit. mmm.... SO thanks, Dad, for the training (and mom, for making the batter).

FINALLY, an actual recipe. A friend brought me a bottle of organic vegan wine a while ago, but I don't really drink, so I've been trying to think of things to do with it. My roommate uses the bottle as a rolling pin for pie crusts, but I wanted to do something with the contents.

Dried Fruit Compote
(serves 2-4, depending on what you use it for)
1 C chopped dried fruit (use different kinds! apricot, prune, raisin, and cherry are especially recommended, but use anything you've got. Fig would be awesome, date's probably too sweet)
1/2 C red wine
3/4 C water
1 Tbsp crystalized ginger, chopped small, or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cornstrach or arrowroot powder

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the cornstarch in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally (15-20 minutes). Taste: if it's not sweet enough (sweetness depends on what fruit you use, what kind of ginger, and the wine), add a bit of your favorite sweetener and allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

In a small bowl or glass, mix the cornstarch with a tablespoon or two of water (this way you can stir out any lumps before you mix it in with the rest). Add to mixture, stir until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Garnish with chopped nuts. You can eat it straight, but it's even more delicious on top of cake, short bread, ice cream or stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. The result is tasty, healthy, and a BEAUTIFUL garnet color.

Thanks, everyone!