food from around the world (ie, internet)

I eat my lunch at my desk at work. Everyone does on my team, but even at my last job, when people would eat their lunches in the little kitchen area, I preferred to eat at my desk. When I eat my lunch, I take a little "break" by reading blogs; mostly food blogs, some design blogs. My lunchtime blog cruising has led to a stockpile or recipes I've built up; vegan ones I want to try, non-vegan ones I want to veganize, etc. Often the recipes I read about during lunch become the recipes I make for dinner.

As with the following recipes! All came from various food blogs, with the exception of the cabbage and the cheesecake, which came from recipe sites. But all came from my lunchtime internet cruising.

For the record, if you like the kinds of recipes I link to here, and if you like what's on my blog in general, you should check out my links page, which I update with my favorite blogs/websites more often than I update my blogroll to the right.
First, Okonomiyaki, large savory Japanese pancakes! Trina of Your Vegan Mom posted a recipe for okonomiyaki and some tasty sauce to put on them, and it looked so delicious (and I love Japanese food so much) I had to try it all.
Because Trina recommended okonomiyaki as a snack, I figured they might be too light for a meal, so I served them with miso soup and roasted squash. Turns out they aren’t too light; even just having one each along with the sides, the boyfriend and I were overstuffed when we finished. But in a good way.

For the record, this recipe is pretty darn foolproof. Not only did I cut my vegetables much larger than I was apparently supposed to, but I’m also one of those people who always burns the first pancake to a crisp when making breakfast—and look! My first attempt was a little brown but looked totally passable.
You can see Trina’s "inauthentic" but addicting sauce in the background. I had to put a cover on it because I was “taste testing” it entirely too much while making the okonomiyaki.

In a similar vein, a couple months ago, I tried the Korean version of okonomiyaki: Savory Tofu Pancakes from Alien’s Day Out. I had to add a couple tablespoons of water to the recipe to get the batter into a workable texture, but I may have just drained my tofu more thoroughly beforehand.
We had them with some seaweed salad and stir-fried rice noodles.
They packed up adorably for lunch the next day, too; they would make for perfect bento lunches.

For those more in favor of continental cuisine, I’ve also been crushing on the "Mastering the Art of French Cooking: the Vegan Version" blog, where Affectioknit is veganizing Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking recipe by recipe. She has some ingenious versions of some very not-vegan food. The boyfriend really likes her omelette recipe and has made it for me twice. The results are tasty. The first time he tried it, he overcooked the first omelette a little, so it’s browner than intended, but I’m posting the picture because it really gives you an idea of how eggy the finished version can look:
After the first omelette, he hit his stride. Here’s mine with fillings (note that I’d already started eating it. I have very little willpower):
Omelette filled with pesto and mixed veggies. Oh and in related non-egg news, I just bought some black salt! Normally when recipes call for it, I improvise by adding a touch of asafetida, which does lend a light sulphury (and therefore eggy) flavor to things, but I’m looking forward to trying the black salt.

What’s that to the left of my omelette, you ask? Why, it is a PANCAKE BAR.
Pancake bars are like granola bars, but made out of pancakes. I encountered the idea for pancake bars on the Kitchn website, where in turn they’d adapted it from a Martha Stewart recipe. I didn’t actually follow that recipe, but I did steal the idea. I made a double batch of “perfect pancakes” from Vegan with a Vengeance. I doubled because the recipe on that site calls for almost twice the amount of flour, so I figured I was making the amount of batter about even this way. I didn’t want to make apple ones, so I opted for cranberries; I added a cup of dried cranberries to the batter. You can't opt out of the streusel, though! If you want to eat these pancake bars on the go, or serve them at a large gathering, you can’t top them with maple syrup; this gives them a sweet topping without the mess. I ended up pouring my batter into a 9x13 baking pan AND into a loaf pan, because the total amount of vegan batter was a little more than the called-for non-vegan batter. Maybe that was still too much, as my baking time was also 10-15 minutes longer than the Kitchn website recommends. Anyway, for a single batch of VwaV pancakes, maybe try a 7x11 pan, or a 9x13 but shorten the baking time a little.

Not only are pancake bars novel and cool, but they’re also tasty and practical. I made them for a large brunch the boyfriend and I hosted, because I wanted to have pancakes but couldn’t serve normal ones because 1.) I hate standing over the stove forever making pancakes, 2.) I didn’t have time to do so with all of the other things I was busy making, and 3.) I didn’t want to have to worry about keeping pancakes warm on our buffet table. They were a giant hit.

Another interesting recipe I found on the Kitchn was for "butter dip biscuits." You know how it can be annoying to make biscuits because you have to cut in all the butter/fat? Not so with these; you melt the butter in your baking pan first, then make a butter-free dough, cut it into strips, and lay them in the butter. As they cook, they soak up the butter. It’s a very straightforward recipe to make and to veganize; substitute butter with earth balance or other vegan margarine, and the liquid milk with water or nondairy milk. They’re cute, and they taste pretty much like normal biscuits. The bottoms were a little too firm, but maybe I overcooked them a bit? The boyfriend called them "biscuit cookies" because he thought they were closer to cookie texture.
I served them as part of a tasty German meal; I made the Veganomicon beanballs with seasonings that were more German than Italian (onions, garlic, caraway seed), and included some sweet-and-sour red cabbage over pasta.

Not to be too dramatic, but I have had a lot of cabbage in my time, and guys, THIS WAS THE BEST CABBAGE RECIPE I HAVE EVER HAD. It’s incredibly simple; the recipe calls only for butter, cabbage, sugar, and balsamic vinegar (with salt and pepper to taste). but the flavors work beautifully together.

The last picture I have for you is of a recipe I made a while ago (I think last summer?), but it’s really relevant right now, since it would be a fantastic Valentine’s Day recipe:
Individual Raw Strawberry Cheesecakes from this recipe at the PPK. The recipe is for a whole cake, but you can divide it up into muffin cups. The components (cashews, coconut oil, strawberries [organic, guys! you should always stick with organic strawberries]) are a little expensive, but if ever there was a reason to splurge, this cheesecake is it. You can see I decided against the strawberry coulis, and no one missed it.

That brings me to the end of my cooking-around-the-internet post! I still owe you guys a "food from literature" post this month; I’ll do that early next week. I’ve read a book for it (Wide Sargasso Sea); now I’m deciding on the recipe. I was also thinking of posting a little house tour sometime this month, or at least a kitchen tour, so you can see where the vegetalion magic happens. What do you think?


affectioknit said... Best Blogger Tips

WOW! That all looks so AWESOME! I love that you like the omelette - it's a favorite of ours too...I've got to try that okonomiyaki - it looks amazing!