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Indian Lentils

me
Well I am just terrible at keeping up with this blog, but oh well.
Today I made some lentils that were really, really good.
I have made lentils plenty of times, usually just on-the-fly, without a recipe or anything, but rarely do they turn out as well as they did today.
Fortunately, I remember what ingredients I used and I measured out everything as I went along, so here is the recipe.

Indian Dal
Ingredients:
1 lb lentils, rinsed (any kind)
2-3 potatoes, chopped (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced

Spices:

1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Coriander
2 Tbs Curry powder (I used Hot)
1 tsp Turmeric

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil (canola or olive) in a large pot.
Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.
Mix the spices in a small bowl and add the spice mixture to the onion/garlic.
Stir and cook for a few seconds, then add the lentils and 8 cups of water or broth (I had 2 cups of no-chicken broth floating around, so I added that plus another 6 c H20). (Add the potatoes, if using)
Cover and bring to a boil; let cook for at least 20-30 minutes (to insure lentils get done), but advisably longer if you can wait; it is best if you let it cook for an hour or more.

Enjoy, as a soup or over rice, perhaps with some garam masala added to taste (we didn't have any and it was fantastic as-was, but I think garam masala would go well).

Thai-influenced coconut-pineapple curry

me
The other day me mum had an excellent craving -- she wanted pineapple and a coconut-based curry. She was going to put something together and bring it to me for lunch the next day, but she didnt get a chance to. Instead she brought me a can of pineapple, a can of coconut milk and a tin of red curry paste(mind you don't get one with shrimp and/or fish sauce!!!) I added a can of black beans, a bell pepper, and some soy sauce and came up with something truly excellent!!
Thai-influenced Coconut-pineapple Curry
1 can coconut milk (14.5 oz, or something like that)
1 15-oz can pineapple (more or less, to taste)
1 can black beans
1 4 oz tin or several tablespoons of your favorite thai red curry paste (mind you don't get shrimp and/or fish and/or other seafood nasties!!!!)
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
a couple tablespoons of soy sauce

I made this in the microwave; mum did something very similar on the stove, so either way works. I'll give the micro directions, but i bet you can figure it out for the stove ;-).

Pour the coconut milk in a large microwave-safe bowl and mix in the curry paste. Mix well, until it is homogeneous. Dump in the black beans, pineapple, green pepper, and soy sauce. Mix well.

Stick in the micro for 3 minutes. Stir it; it will probably need a little while longer. Put it back in for an appropriate amount of time (I think I did another minute. Then maybe 30 second increments until it was done to my satisfaction. (sorry, i did this yesterday and didn't write it down...)) Stir and serve over fresh, hot rice. Add extra soy sauce/sriracha as desired. Enjoi!!

ginger ale update

me
Nothing particularly new and exciting today (had pb&j for lunch... I could post a recipe, if you're interested lol) but I realized I never posted results of ginger ale!!!

It turned out.... alright. It was fizzy and sweet, so I'll consider it a success... It was really gingery though... Which wasn't bad, but just different. Also, if you make it, do strain it out... otherwise you have all kinds of bits of ginger and rubbish in your mouth with each drink, and it's really rather unpleasant...

I've read other recipes that are essentially the same, but you just change the flavoring; i.e. instead of ginger sub vanilla extract (for cream soda) or root beer extract (gotta find me some of that; i didn't know such a thing existed!!!)

I'm mainly just excited that I could carbonate something.

Oct. 12th, 2008

me
veganmofo
2 Posts in one day!!! VeganMoFo is surely upon us!

As I have mentioned several times before, peanut sauce is one of my favorite things, and I have several different varieties that I make on a semi-regular basis. Paired with some lovely steamed vegetables, fresh rice, and some tofu, it makes a perfect meal.

I also discovered over the summer the most delightful way of steaming broccoli to perfection: in the microwave! The results were so good that I started regularly cooking my broccoli this way, even with a full kitchen available. This also happens to be incredibly convenient when in the dorm! In general, chop up your broccoli into florets, put 'em in a big (microwaveable) bowl, add 2 tablespoons water (or soy sauce, vinegar, wine, etc), cover well and zap for 3-4 minutes. Ta Da! perfectly stemaed broccoli. Experiment with times to get it just the way you want it and, of course, microwave ovens vary....


Gingery Broccoli with Chinese Peanut Sauce

Chinese Peanut Sauce
1/2 c Peanut butter (I like crunchy, but creamy works well too)
1/2 c boiling, or at least hot, H2O
1-2 Tbs Soy sauce (Today I used a packet I got with takeout, because I forgot to get soy sauce at the grocery)
1-2 Tbs sugar
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
cayenne powder, to taste
dried chili flakes, to taste

Put the peanut butter in a bowl with the minced garlic and pour the hot water over. Mix this well with a fork until it is a uniform mixture. Mix in the soy sauce, sugar, and cayenne, tasting after adding each and adjusting to suit. It's fine to eat this right away, but it's really better if you let it cool down to room temp, it gets a better texture. You can jsut stick it in the fridge, and then heat it up if it gets too cold.

This will probably make more peanut sauce than needed for a single batch of broccoli. Double the broccoli, add tofu or other veggies, or save for later. This is also delicous over noodles, salad, or pretty much anything...

Gingery Broccoli
Broccoli, lots of it.... I think I used just shy of a pound... Pretty much as much as you can fit in your biggest microwaveable bowl.
1-1/2 Tbs soy sauce (I used 2 packets of soy sauce from takeout)
2 tsp mustard (I used 1 packet of mustard from chinese takeout)
1-2 tsp minced fresh ginger (could probably sprinkle some powdered ginger instead... whatever.)
water

Chop the broccoli into florets and put it in a big ol' microwaveable bowl. Toss in your ginger. Mix the soy sauce and mustard together, then pour it over the broccoli. Add another 1 Tbs or so of water to the mix, cover well and stick it in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. Check it; zap for a little longer if you need to.

Serve like this: Rice<Broccoli<Peanut Sauce

Eat.

Be happy. XD

Mock Tuna salad

me
veganmofo

Ok, I hope I've never posted this before, but I'm too lazy to go check... (plus then I wouldn't have anything to blog about ;-) )

One of the things I've missed since becoming vegan is the lack of "salad-sandwiches" You know what I mean, like tuna salad, egg salad, etc... Thankfully I stumbled across a recipe at some point that suggested using canned chickpeas in a faux tuna salad. I wasn't too sure at first, but I went ahead and tried it and you know what? it was really good!! I mean it may not really taste like tuna (or any other of those things) but it sure is good, and it takes care of my cravings. On top of that it is quick, easy, and flexible. I put my basic ingredients I try to always include, but feel free to experiment and if you already have a long loved tuna salad recipe, break it out againa nd try it with canned chick peas! (canned is important; that icky canned taste is what makes it taste like tuna!)

I'd also like to apologize for my lack of exact measurements; as I said I just throw this together with what I have on hand and just eyeball/taste throughout... So whatever tastes good to you.


Mock Tuna Salad

Standard gotta-have ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, drained and maybe rinsed a little.
a few tablespoons of Nayonaisse*
a squirt or two of mustard
a tablespoon or two of chopped dill pickles or pickle relish
generous amounts of pepper

Other things I often add:
a tablespoon or two of capers
finely chopped onion
finely chopped celery
shredded seaweed (gives a fishy taste)
garlic powder
curry powder

Dump the chickpeas in a bowl and smash with a potato masher or fork. Mix in the vegan mayo and check consistency. Here it should kinda look like tuna salad. Mash more if needed and add mayo till it looks good. Add rest of ingredients, mixing and tasting often 'til it's just how you like it.

Serve on your favorite bread with lettuce, tomato, extra pickles, whatever pleases you. I had it today as an open face sandwich on an everything bagel with a nice slice of perfectly ripe tomato on each half. It was delightful!


*or any other vegan mayo; I like Nayonaisse because I think it tastes like Miracle Whip, which was always my favorite...

Ginger Ale

me

VeganMoFo
Well I'm pretty much failing at Vegan MoFo, aren't I? Truth be told I have been busy with school and lazy to boot, so I really have not been cooking much, eating out a lot, and eating PB&J or basic, boring burrito...

Today I started a project that was all new to me though! We decided to try and make Ginger ale! It was pretty easy, although I can't comment on the quality yet (I will post again on Monday, after I've tasted it...) Also, after looking around it seems that it's really easy to make all kinds of beverages I never had thought of making before... Root beer, cream soda, wine, etc... All basically the same process, with different flavorings. The only difference between soda and alcoholic beverages is that the alky drinks require a higher yeast/sugar ratio and a longer fermenting time... and more care taken in sanitizing everything because the longer things ferment, the more likely bacteria will get in the mix and make things nasty... But anyway, I'm sticking to soda... so here's the recipe;

Ginger Ale

1 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbs finely grated ginger
1 lemon (optional)
1/4 tsp regular bakers yeast (NOT quick rise or brewer's yeast...)

Get a clean, dry 2 liter bottle, stick a clean, dry funnel in it and dump in your cup of sugar. Dump in the yeast, and shake around a bit to mix together the sugar and yeast.

Grate the ginger finely and put it in a measuring cup. If you have a lemon on hand, juice the lemon into the cup with the ginger and mix them.

Pour the lemon/ginger slurry into the bottle. You may need to use something (I used a chopstick) to help the ginger down the funnel. Rinse the measuring cup, funnel etc into the bottle, getting every bit of gingery goodness you can into the bottle. Cap it and shake to mix well.

Open back up and fill the bottle with cool, clean water to the neck of the bottle, leaving about 1 inch at the top. Cap tightly and put in a warm, dark place for 24-28 hours.

To check if the drink is sufficiently carbonated, pinch the bottle very firmly; if it dimples it is not ready, wait until the bottle feels very hard to your pinch. After it is well carbonated, refrigerate overnight.

Tap the top several times before opening to attempt to prevent an explosion of gingerale, pour carefully and enjoy! (I hope...)

If you don't like the bits of ginger and yeast floating about you can filter this through cheese cloth or a fine strainer to remove the rubbish...

Lemon is optional, and I didn't have any on hand so I ommitted it... We'll see how that works out. Also you may add extra ginger for a spicier drink (I think I actually got a little more than called for, probably almost 2 tbs total...)

Source:[wikihow.com]

i think this post's mostly filler...

me
VeganMoFo
Haha, well I'm all moved in, but do not yet have my fridge (so i guess not all moved in...) so I am trying to refrain from grocery shopping till the fridge is here (tomorrow, hopefully)... But leading up to Vegan MoFo, I need to get in the habit of posting regularly, so a gloriously pointless post!

Well I did cook some oatmeal for breakfast, so I can post about that.

I love oatmeal. I have it for breakfast nearly every day. It's fast, it's easy, there are nearly infinite possibilities for variations, and it's filling enough to tide me over for a while.

And it's one of the only foods I have in the dorm currently...

I made it this morning before realizing that I have no spoons... So I ate it with chopsticks! (which worked ok, actually...)

But anyway, in an attempt to make this post useful, I'd like to share my basic oatmeal method, and my favorite add-ins...

Oatmeal

For one serving: put a generous 1/2c old fashioned oats in a microwaveable bowl, add a scant 1 cup of water. Stick it in the micro and zap it for 2+1/2 minutes. Stir it, stir in the add ins, and let it cool enough that you can eat it without burning yourself.... Yeah, I know, this is essentially the method detailed on the oatmeal box, but nonetheless...

Now, I do occasionally enjoy some plain old oatmeal but normally i like to add stuff. Here are some of my favorite stir-ins:
  • frozen mixed berries (i had blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, i think)(sorry didnt measure, probably 1/4 to 1/2 c or so?) + a tablespoon or so of pure maple syrup (if your berries were, like mine, a tad bit on the tart side. I also often omit the syrup) + walnuts(sometimes)
  • nuts (to be added individually, in combination with each other, or in combination with another add in, i.e. berries and walnuts...): walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc. etc. (and yeah, i will mention specific nuts with other things too)
  • raisins and cinnamon (cinnamon-sugar if you want it sweeter, i've done both), stir in the raisins right away after pulling out of micro, and let it sit for a while so the raisins can rehydrate. also can add the raisins before zapping for the same reasons...
  • bananas and almonds (maybe a little cinnamon too?)
  • spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves; anything that seems like it should be in a pumpkin pie. Add some of each, and maybe a sweetener of your choice ( i tend to omit the sweetener when i do this, but i can definitely see where one would like to have it sweeter...)
  • maple syrup+walnuts
  • peanut butter
  • craisins (see note on raisins; add right after zapping and let sit so they can get plump and juicy)
  • sliced apples, with cinnamon and optionally a little sweetener if your apples are not particularly sweet... Note: if you do this, stir in the apples and stuff before microwaving; this will cook the apples and make them all nummy. You might have to cook a little longer, i.e. 3 minutes instead of 2+1/2...
  • any other fruits, nuts, spices, or anything else you can imagine!!! Let me know if you come across anything particularly good!
 
 

P.S. Super Duper Bonus points if you can identify the source of the title of this post (approximately; to be fair the original line is "i think this line's mostly filler...")

crepes!

me
mmm... Several of my favorite things, together at last. I served this with my new favorite thing, Huy-Fong chile-garlic sauce. This is made by the same people that make sriracha, and it is essentially a chunky sriracha without the sugar. I got a big 18 oz container of it last week and it's already halfway gone... I think next time we get out to the grocery that carries it (about an hour's drive from here...) I'm going to get the super duper restaurant size so I can fill up as I run out... Anyway, here's the recipe.

Whole Wheat Crepes
1 c Whole Wheat flour
1 c All-Purpose flour
2 tbs olive oil
warm water*

Mix the two flours and the olive oil in a mixing bowl. (add some herbs here if you like... thyme is good, as is rosemary... prolly 1/4 tsp thyme or 1/2 tsp rosemary... this is more for if you just want the crepes or are using them for some other recipe.. I don't know how well either of those would go with the thai peanut sauce)

Add at least 1 and 1/2 c water. The book I adapted this recipe from called for 1 and 1/2 c water for 2 c flour... this is not nearly enough to make the batter the right consistency, so I keep adding until it looks right... I think it's closer to 2 c, but it may even be more than that... You want something considerably thinner than pancake batter... When you dip your mixing utensil in and pull it out, it should "hang" some, but not much at all... You'll see why soon enough.... Don't sweat if it's not perfect right away; I usually make a couple thick ones first while trying to get the right consistensy... These are good enough for the chef to eat :-)

Let this batter sit for 20-30 minutes or so. This is a good time to prepare your filling..

After your filling is ready to go, get a small, nonstick pan hot hot hot! To test if it is hot enough, toss some water on the skillet -- it should skittle around. (See the Leidenfrost Effect) Once the pan is hot enough, pour about 1/4 c of batter onto the pan, pick up the pan and tilt it to try and cover the whole bottom of the pan with batter... If the batter does not roll around easily in the pan, then it is probably too thick; add more water for the next ones. Let it cook for about 15 seconds; you should see it firm up and dry out some and the edges should start to curl. Carefully flip it over and cook on the other side for about 5 seconds. I have a nice thin, flexible silicone spatula that is just right for getting under the crepe and flipping. Also, if the pan is nice and non-stick and you feel like you have mad skills, you can flip it with just the right flick of the pan... but maybe get your techinique down before doing that ;-)

Ok, I have to admit something: I started this post who-knows-how-long ago; it's been months and months... I just got on to post out of the blue and lo and behold i had a previously started post! and crepes really are a beautiful thing, so I finished up the crepe part, but then I read the beginning and it sounds like I was intending on posting a yummy filling recipe too... I think it might have been some kind of peanut sauce, but I don't know... I'm sorry!!!! But at least you have a crepe recipe now (lets see me pull that one off in the dorm.... hm, maybe in the rice cooker...) and next time I do crepes I'll post a good filling. And since I think it might have been peanut sauce, I will be sure to have a peanut sauce post sometime soon. I could probably have several peanut sauce posts; I have a variety of recipes (chinese, thai, african, probably others...)

Since I'm here anyway, I might as well do the post for which I got on... I am moving back to the dorm tomorrow, which means a return to dorm innovation! And a return to blogging!!

VeganMoFo
Also, October is Vegan MoFo (the vegan month of food!) and in celebration I am going to do my best to post as much as possible!!!!!! So that will be quite exciting :-)


And in November I am (by popular demand!) cooking Thanksgiving for my family again! Last year was a big success (totally surprising my aunt and mom, although my grandma claimed she knew I was a good cook and wasn't surprised at all... sure grandma ;-) ) So I'm doing it again. And hopefully this time I really will blog about it, instead of just thinking about it. But hey, now that I've mentioned it, I have to do it, right?

Here's hoping!

Barbeque Tofu & Rice

me
Growing up, one of most common recipes in my mom's repertoire was Barbeque Chicken and Rice, a recipe she got from my grandma (dad's mum). I thought it was alright as a kid, but she made it a lot, and I quite frankly got sick of it... Fast forward a decade or so. I am vegan and craving... BBQ Chicken&Rice??

I thought it was pretty strange, especially since it was never a favourite or anything, and even mom stopped making it ages ago, since everyone got sick of it (not just me). I then had a burst of inspiration -- I had recently discovered baking tofu and realized that this would make a perfect "chicken" substitute. The result was better than I remember that chicken recipe -- even mom had some and approved.

Although this was a great success at home, I was afraid that baked tofu was outside of my reach while at school, having no oven here in the dorm, but my roommate recently got a toaster oven (technically verboten in the dorm, but oh well) and I tried (tonight) using it, and it turned out perfectly! Baked tofu as described in the recipe below is perfect for just about anything. It's much healthier than frying and still gives a crisp, chewy outside to the tofu cubes. It's great for stirfries (add towards the end, after it's baked), sandwiches, dipping in peanut sauce, or anytime you'd want deep-fried tofu.

BBQ Tofu & Rice

1 block firm or x-firm tofu
2 c cooked brown rice
1/4 c good barbeque sauce (check to make sure it's vegan.. but i've never had a problem with this...) (also, add more to taste, if you like)

Drain tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and press under a couple heavy cans. Let it press for a half hour, or at least until the oven's preheated. (Now would be a good time to start the rice, if you don't have any made yet.)  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 Celsius).

When the oven is preheated, line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil(can use cooking spray) and cut the tofu into cubes. ( I need to post a diagram for how i usually cut mine.. it's just too hard to describe in words.. But you all know what cubes look like and how you like your tofu) Arrange the cubes on the baking sheet so that they all have a little room to breathe (none are touching one another).

Put it in the oven and bake until the cubes are golden and look delicious. It's been a while, but I think in my oven at home it took like 35-45 minutes. In the toaster oven here it only took 20. Keep an eye on them the first time you do it and find your own time. (Should be at least 20 though..)

When tofu is golden brown and delicious, remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350 F(177 C). Make a layer of rice in the bottom of a square 8x8 or 9x9 glass baking dish. Arrange the tofu on top in an evenly distributed layer. Pour BBQ sauce over all, once more attempting to cover evenly.  My measurements for rice and BBQ sauce may be kind of off; I based my numbers on what I did just now and extrapolating out some... Basically make a layer of rice (however much that takes), a layer of tofu, and then cover it all in barbeque sauce. Toss this in the oven for 20 minutes or so... time to make sure everything gets hot and delicious and for the barbeque to coagulate some. (If you wanted to prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate it, I'd cover it in aluminum foil, bake it for 35-45 mins, remove the al foil, bake for 10-15 min more... or something like that)

Enjoy!

Also, you can skip that whole baking as a casserole part at the end, and just serve the tofu on rice topped with bbq; that's what I did tonight because I don't have a baking dish that fits in the toaster oven...
me
Ahhh.... so it's been months since i've posted... it's not that i haven't been eating or haven't been online.... I have just been busy. I have composed entries in my head numerous times, but just never got to typing them up and posting them... hopefully i'll get back into the habit now:-D


anyway, the featured recipe today is something I call Make-Shift Lasagna... It's something I came up with one day and ended up really liking it... it's certainly nothing fancy, but has become a standby for me... also pretty well balanced nutrition-wise...


Make-shift Lasagna
2 oz dry pasta, preferably whole wheat and preferably something small like penne, bowties or macaroni...
3/4 c of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 block firm silken tofu (i use mori-nu)
miscellaneous optional yummies:
sri racha hot sauce (a.k.a. rooster sauce)(I always use generous amounts of this, on just about everything)
basil, oregano, and the like
a squirt of lemon juice
salt y pepper
Go ahead and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. (As a side note, I did find a nice way to make pasta in the stove-less dorm: Boil water in my electric kettle(what would I do without it?) and immediately pour it into the rice cooker and set it to "cook" it then just takes a few minutes to come to a nice full boil and then the pasta can be cooked as it would be on the stove...) Heat the sauce if you like, while you wait. (usually I just let the hot pasta warm it up, but if you aren't feeling lazy, go ahead and heat it on the stove or in the micro) When the pasta's done, put it in a nice big bowl or some kind of eating trough, plop that block of tofu in there, and pour the sauce over it all. Take your handy-dandy fork and mash the tofu in with the sauce and mix it all around with the noodles (if you have tubular guys like penne, this will get all up in them and be delicious!). Mix in any of the optional yummies(suggested: copious amounts of Sri racha, ~ a tsp each of basil and oregano and a squirt of lemon juice, and generous amounts of S&P) and voila!

This is easy, and filling, has lots of protein, and is delicious. It kind of reminds me of leftover lasagna, which is the reason for the name; the silken tofu reminds me of some melty ricotta or cottage cheese or something. If you add the lemon juice, it gives it a lil tang, and the sriracha gives it an unbeatable zing!

Sri Racha on pasta seemed a little strange to me at first... I loved sri racha, but when I saw my old room mate putting it on pasta with marinara sauce one day, I wasn't sure what to think (well first I was surprised because I had never met anyone other than myself who knew, loved, and regularly used the stuff) but was intrigued. It ended up being FANTASTIC and now I can't help but feel that pasta is a little bland without it...

Also, as a kind of teaser for posts to come, there are several things I can think of off the top of my head that I need to post about that I never got around to: TVP burritos(as if I need any more burritos on here... sheesh), lentil-pumpkin stew/soup/dal, chili, warm beverages(chai, coffee, tea, I am quite the afficianado...)and much more... I'll try to post at least a few times a week, either with new things I think of and try or with something I;ve done in the past and haven't written about yet.