Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Busy Week

Wow, I really didn't mean to go so long without posting, but it's been a busy week for me.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned, but I work part-time and usually have plenty of free time or at least, time available for other things.  Last weekend was the Lawn and Garden show in town which was fun.  I went to another gardening seminar at the library, this one by Ruell Chappel, which was very inspiring :)  And then I've been working every day this week, so that I can head out of town for a Jazz Festival at Truman State (where I graduated from).  I'm pretty excited.  When I was still living in Kirksville (working at the rehab) I made a point to stay away from campus because I had become so tired of school.  But now that I've been away for awhile and since I haven't seen some of these friends for years now, it will be quite nice I think.  Plus it's always nice to hear some good jazz.  I was a music major and this is kind of an unofficial time for music alum.

I promise there will be more food coming next week.  The posts of Intrigue will no longer be a weekly post because I don't think I can keep up with that, but as I've mentioned before I discover so many wonderful things through other blogs and sites that it is important to me to recognize them.  Actually, that's the reason this isn't a food post because I want to catch up on everyone else's blogs ;)

A few pics for fun (and though I now have an account, none of these are on Flickr - YET!):
Adam & me

Jordan said the hat was too big!

But it looked fine to me :)

Oh well!  It happily belongs to my parents now.  Next time I won't make an expert guess at such a novice level, haha.  I guess that's how we learn, though!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Onion Lentil Snack and Potato Curry (Bangladesh)

First of all I have some great news.  Know that fantastic Peanut Soup I talked about a few days ago?  Well, I have permission to post the recipe!  So, head on back to that entry and make some fantastic Peanut Soup (compliments of the Mennonite Central Committee who publish the fantastic line of World Community Cookbooks)!
Staples in Bangladesh include rice and lentils (dal or daal), especially red lentils (according to Bangladeshi Recipes).  Bangladeshi Recipes, also, states that these are commonly used:  mung beans, ripe coconut, mustard oil and paste.  Fish are a major source of protein.  From Wikipedia: "As a large percentage of the land (over 80% on some occasions) can be under water, either intentionally because of farming practices or due to severe climatological, topographical or geographical conditions, not surprisingly fish features as the major source of protein in the Bangladeshi diet. There is also a saying which goes, "Mach-e-Bhat-e-Bangali" (Fish and rice make a Bengali)."  Beef is also very common.  You might find this 'common to region' information interesting (also from Wikipedia):
South - sea fish and coconut milk
Dhaka - fried rice and lot of meat (biriani)
West and NW - Vegetable curries, heavily spiced food and river fish
NE - lake fish, fruit, and pickles
Most important spices: ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili.
For sweet dishes: cardomom and cinnamon. 

This meal:  I really enjoyed the Potato Curry.  The book recommends serving crisp, brown onions on top, which was a fantastic suggestion!  I would not recommend serving it on rice, however.  It was too dry for that.  I think, like the book recommends, that it would be a good idea to serve it with a juicier dish (which you could serve on rice if you wanted).  I wasn't a huge fan of the Onion Lentil snack, but I haven't really developed a taste for lentils.  Perhaps I will work to develop a lentil treat I like ;)

Potato Curry or Alu Torkari
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 med. onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
12-14 oz. tomatoes
1 t. garam masala
1 t. tumeric
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1 T. dry parsley
1 T. lemon juice (we used lime because we are out of lemon)
4 potatoes, cubed
1/4-1/3 c. water

Fry the thinly sliced onion in oil until brown and crisp, then set aside.  Fry onion and garlic until soft (about 3 min.).  Add tomatoes and spices and fry until tomatoes are soft (3-5 min.).  Add everything else, cover loosely and simmer.  Be sure to stir ovvasionally and continue until sauce is thick and potatoes are tender.  Garnish with onions.

For more food from Bangladesh, try these sites:
Bangladeshi Food and Recipes
Bangladeshi Recipes
Sify Food - Indian Food

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tofu Benny and my second hat

If you don't own Vegan Brunch, you should find access!  Try requesting it at your local library if it's not a good time to buy it or borrow it from a friend (if you're lucky enough to live near many vegans).  Every single image looks amazing.  Seriously.  I remember discovering scrambled tofu, VwaV style, and realizing that we could have homestyle vegan breakfasts that matched our omnivore days.  What a delight!  I am a breakfast lover, which means that there is rarely a time that it doesn't sound good :)

Now, let's take it to the next level.  We once made the Greek Tofu Benedict from Veganomicon, which turned out quite nice, served up with a tahini dill sauce, tomato, and olives with a side of fried potatoes.  It was actually my first "benedict" and a good experience.  When I asked Adam what he would like to celebrate his 3rd Veganversary (which was actually in January) he wanted Tofu Benny from Vegan Brunch (one of the incentives for gifting it to me at Christmas) and I was happy to oblige.  We've talked about making English Muffins for sometime and this seemed like the perfect time to start.  We made the English muffins in the book, using spelt flour and they were great.  Just as good as the store and we know all of the ingredients without spending $5 for the "good stuff."  The only other changes to the English muffins that we made were coconut oil instead of margarine and we did not add sugar to the yeast.  For the tofu marinade the only thing I substituted was apple cider vinegar for white wine vinegar, which worked out fine.  For the Hollandaise sauce I used lime juice instead of lemon and apple cider vinegar for white wine vinegar.  All of these changes were made to accommodate what we had on hand.

These babies were served up with Breakfast Sausages that I mentioned in yesterday's post and a little spinach and raisin salad on the side.  Delicious!  I highly recommend this recipe.  The tofu had a wonderful texture and the Hollandaise tasted amazing!  Strangely, the texture of the Hollandaise sauce really reminded me of egg yolk.  Has anyone else had this experience?

And, how about a pic of my second completed hat?
This was meant for Jordan (my brother), but was a bit bigger than he wanted.  For some reason I had decided to add a few stitches misunderstanding what the yarn was capable of!  But, I will say that I am very proud of how smooth the top turned out compared to the last (which you can't really see in this picture).  And my parents were quite happy to receive it, so all is well!

I plan to start a Flickr account soon and then you can see each of us styling it if you choose :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Something Simple

It seems easy to spend hours in the kitchen, especially when trying a new recipe.  You don't want to miss a step and want to put all the pieces together to test out someone else's discovery and learn something new.  Though, I enjoy such things, I feel there is nothing quite like looking at the things you have on hand and putting those to good use.  This could almost be a Pantry Raid-type entry.  The difference is my pantry raids usually start as a frantic "what the hell are we going to eat tonight?" until I open a magical door or two in the kitchen and realize that we will survive.  With these meals I had a vague idea of something I wanted to use and went from there.  All of these were quick and easy, and most likely involved some sort of leftover from another meal (seitan, falafel, rice, etc.).

Creamy Seitan and Rice

2-3 c. seitan
10-12 oz. tomatoes (feel free to use more!)
ground bl. pepper
red pepper flakes

Rice (mixed with margarine and tamari)

 For this dish, I sauteed an onion for about 3 min.  Then tossed in seitan to brown.  Once it was to my liking, I added in the rest of a 28 oz. can of tomatoes (probably 10-12 oz.).  Once the rice was done cooking I mixed in tamari and margarine.  This was then thrown in with the rest and mixed up.  I think I threw on some other spices, like paprika, pepper and red pepper flakes.  But, this is one of those things that will change each time you make it anyway.;)  Top with nutritional yeast and that's it!

Cannellini Sausages, Veggies and Rice 

If you haven't made Vegan Dad's Breakfast Sausages, you should!  He is probably the Master of vegan faux meats.  We have made these numerous times and love them!  Usually I make them the size described in the recipe, ping-pong balls stretched out.  But we decided to make them larger yesterday for some Tofu Bennies (from Vegan Brunch).

2 large cannellini bean sausages, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1/3 head of cabbage, sliced in 2 in. pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 handfuls of spinach
fresh ground black pepper
cayenne pepper

After heating skillet with a little oil, brown sausages.  Remove sausages from the pan and set aside.  Toss in onion, carrot and cabbage.  Saute for about 7 min., tossing in the garlic for the last minute.  Add sausage, spinach and spices.  After mixing, add 1-2 cups of water for cooking and to create a thin sauce.  Allow to simmer for 15 min. or so, until carrots have softened.  Mix in rice and it's ready to serve.

I may have forgotten some spices, so if I think of them I will update.  But throw on whatever sounds good to you! 

DIY Stitch Markers
Today I was determined to finish knitting a hat, but needed stitch markers.  The last ones I cut up from a thin piece of cardboard fell apart and since the yarn shop is closed today (and I didn't want to go to one of the BIG stores), it was up to me.  I've seen some fairly simple looking homemade markers that use jewelry making materials, but I wanted something quick (a bit anxious to finish!).  So, first I posted on Ravelry boards to try to avoid an hour of searching (which is what I do, constantly looking for another idea).  After an hour of no results (impatient), I looked up some ideas.  I found this idea to use leftover yarn pieces and was hooked.  But then, skimming through a craft box I found some metallic pipe cleaners.  These were super easy, a real cut and bend procedure.  One thing about these, though, is that they strip off a bit as you knit, leaving behind little bits of shine in the project.  So, maybe not the best option, but they worked today and I am pleased :)  I will post a pic. soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brazilian Tofu-Chicken, Peanut Vegetable Soup (Bolivia) and Stovetop Muffins (Botswana)

Well, despite my lack of posting them we've been doing a lot of world tasting this week!  So, I thought I would throw a bunch in together.  Once again, my inspiration came from Extending the Table, which I am cooking my way through (along with the challenge).  I may have mentioned, but I am trying to work my way through the alphabet.  Because I am finding so many tasty things I may revisit certain letters, but my goal is to not visit a country until I've reached that letter, every letter previous is fair game.  Sound like fun?  Well, you should try it out yourself!  Feel free to click the link on the side to visit Crafty Kook's entry on the event.

According to the book, this is a typical way to prepare meat in northeast Brazil.  In Northeastern kitchens cumin, coriander, and colorau (red powder that adds color) are essential.  According to Wikipedia colorau is another name for annatto.  Annatto comes from the achiote trees found in tropical regions in the Americas, "used to produce a red food coloring and also as a flavoring.  Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly sweet and peppery"."

Brazilian Tofu (Chicken)
2 1/2 lbs. tofu     
1 onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
16-20 oz. diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
3 potatoes
2 carrots
1-2 t. gr. ginger
1-2 T. tamari
1-2 t. lime juice
2 T. ground cumin
1 T. coriander
3 t. paprika
gr. pepper to taste

Heat a bit of oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) over medium heat.  Add onion and saute for 3-5 min. You want the onion to become soft, but not brown yet.  Add garlic and saute about 1 min.  Add tofu and sprinkle with ginger, ground pepper, tamari, and lime juice to taste (the above are approximations on what I used).  Saute until tofu has browned to your liking (7-10 min).  Remove all from pan and set aside.

Add more oil to the pan and saute tomatoes and green pepper for 5-7 min.  Add tofu, potatoes, carrots and all spices.  Pour in water just until covering (see above picture). Bring to a boil and cook on low until everything is tender, 30-45 min (this will depend on how big your potato and carrot pieces are).  Serve over rice.  Below you will also see this served with a tasty slice of Tomato Basil Bread from Baker Creek!

Peanut Vegetable Soup or Sopa de Mani (Bolivia)
I wish I could post this recipe.  It has been one of our favorite dishes, but the only thing I changed was to substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.  The peanuts created a wonderful, thick and somewhat creamy texture.  We were extremely impressed with how much of a difference they made without the addition of milk or something else to thicken.  I have contacted the company to see if I can post this recipe.  But, just in case, I would recommend trying to locate a copy of this book.  It is traditionally garnished with french fries, so we did!  This is a standard dish served at Bolivian celebrations.  I found another version here.  If you try it, add more peanuts than it suggests (you won't regret it)!
Thanks to the publishers of Extending the Table, I am able to post this wonderful recipe:
2 c. raw peanuts
8 c. broth or water
1 onion,diced
4 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, diced
1/4 c. uncooked rice
1 can peas

Grind peanuts until very fine.  Put broth/water, peanuts, onion, potatoes, and carrot in a large pot and cook for 30 min.  I recommend bringing it to a boil and then allowing it to simmer.  Then add rice and peas and cook for 15 min.  Garnish with parsley and french fries (traditionally made a bit shorter and thinner than North American fries).  I do not think you will be disappointed!

Stove-Top Muffins or Diphaphata (Botswana)
I do not have a picture of the stove-top muffins.  These are very similar to English muffins except extremely dense.  We're talking 4 c. of flour to 1 cup of liquid dense. If you want to try it, it was basically like this recipe.  I decided to have some fun with flours I had on hand: spelt, wheat, garbanzo bean and sorghum.  Those made for an interesting taste as you can imagine.  Me?  I think I'll stick to English Muffins.  Speaking of, I just made some for the first time yesterday and will post results soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weekly Intrigue (4)

In the middle of the week Cassie?  That's right!  As I mentioned in my previous entry I'm working to find that balance between blogging and blog gazing, and other things.  It's so silly, but I don't think I'm alone.  And because I feel that these entries are important because there are too many cool blogs that it's important to recognize ;)  Actually, for that reason, this week I will focus on...
New (to me) and Stumbled Upon Again Blog Spotlight: Some of these I've just recently found and some are blogs I recently rediscovered.  Either way, they're worth a look ;)
Vegan (and Raw)
A Bitt of Raw
...aka Darzy...
Another One Bites the Crust
Blessed Vegan Life
Earth Muffin
Escapades in Cooking
Happy. Healthy. Life
Holistically Heather
I Eat Food
In the Mood for Noodles
Kristen's Raw
Lustrous Musings
The Tropical Vegan
Unpopular Vegan Essays
Veg Health News
Vegan...but not Scary
Vegan Cowgirl
Vegan Parenting
Vegan Soapbox
Vegan Soul Power
Vegan Tickles
Yo Soy!

Other Food Blogs
A Year in Bread
Bread and Honey
Elle's New England Kitchen
Kids Playing with Skulls
Kitchen M
Madhuram's Eggless Cookings
The Ordinary Vegetarian 
Pink Stripes
Wayfaring Chocolate
Where's the beef?

Other Things (Inspiration, Gardening, Frugality, Environmental, Crafts, and more)
Chiot's Run
Civil Eats
Crafting Green World
Crunchy Chicken
Eco Women
Farmgirl Fare
Green as a Thistle
In My Kitchen Garden
The Inadvertent Gardener
Little House in the Suburbs
Living in a Local Zone
Magic: Everyday
Milkweed Diaries
Mo Zone
Plain Old Kristi
(not so) Urban Hennery
Rachel's Tiny Farm 
Simple Green Frugal Co-op
Skippy's Vegetable Garden
You Grow Girl

AND Please welcome my blogging family :)
Hidden Treasures

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Vegetable Seitan Stew - Argentina

Oh baby!  Today I made an awesome trip down to Baker Creek with Bobbie, her kids and friend Tim.  If you haven't made the trip and are ever in the area, you're in for a treat.  I really would have been in a lot of trouble if I hadn't spent hours last night narrowing down lists to focus my spending.  All heirloom seeds, vegan baked goods and treats, it's amazing!  When I stepped into the bakery and asked if the bread contained any egg or dairy, the lady informed me that she was vegan and made sure that there was "no bad stuff" in it.  How cool is that?  I was quite impressed.  (Forgot to mention!  I bought some tomato basil and it was absolutely fantastic!  We will have to make some when we get back to baking breads!)  I promise to list my purchases at some later point and track my gardening progress (if anyone's interested).

On to the food:  It's been quite a few days since we made this, I've just been offline trying to narrow down my blog time (has anyone else become obsessed with this stuff?).  Liking it is not a problem, but I can spend hours checking new entries on my favorite blogs and visiting every new blog I can find.  And now that I'm writing my own, man, I just have to watch out!  I do plan to continue listing information and links, but tonight it's just the food.  And, though late, there will be a Weekly Intrigue list posted, hopefully tomorrow.
Vegetable Seitan Stew
           (adapted from Extending the Table - Vegetable Beef Stew
  - the original calls for pumpkin or winter squash, but we had none on hand
3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
18-20 oz. tomatoes (or 2-3 fresh)
1 large green pepper
1 1/2 t. parsley
2-3 cups chunky seitan (depending on how "meaty" you want it) -I used the Veganomicon recipe
17 oz. corn
3-4 potatoes
1/4 c. pumpkin  (calls for 2 c. pumpkin or squash)
2 T. rice
stock or water (enough to cover everything) - for this I used 1/2 c. seitan broth and 3-4 cups water
pepper to taste

In a large pot saute garlic until it starts to brown.  Add and saute onion, tomato and green pepper.   Add pepper and parsley, then set aside.  Brown seitan (I like to sprinkle garlic powder and fresh gr. pepper over it).  Add everything else, cover and bring to a boil.  Once it has started to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 min. or until everything is tender.  Feel free to add more liquid if you like.  It is a stew, though, so chunky is good!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chick'n Stew for Couscous - Algeria

About Algerian Food:  Many other cultures have influenced Algerian's cuisine.   A great description from (also check this link out for more Algerian recipes):
"The Berber influence on Algerian cuisine is clearly seen in their use of stews, lamb, vegetables, grains and dried fruits. The Turks and Arabs have added spice to the mix as well as a variety of delicious pastries. French cuisine has contributed greatly to Algerian dishes with the use of tomato puree as well as in their aperitifs and sweets. You will be able to taste the distinct flavors of cumin, caraway, marjoram, coriander and fennel in Algerian cuisine. Typically, lamb and chicken are used in meals as well as fish from the Mediterranean. Algeria's national dish is Couscous, which is steamed and then served with meat, vegetables and sauce.
Coffee is popular in Algeria, but is served extremely strong along with a glass of water. However, the preferred drink in Algeria is tea with a hint of fresh mint. Fruit drinks are also commonly enjoyed."

According to Whats4Eats Algerian meals are often finished off with dates or fresh fruit.

Beginning my venture through Extending the Table, I chose to veganize the Chicken Stew for Couscous.  We were out of couscous, so I actually used rice for this dish.

Chick'n Stew for Couscous (or rice)

Combine the following in a large saucepan:
3 c. vegetable broth
14-16 oz. tofu (see "chicken" marinade below)
1 onion (chopped)
2 c. or 1 can green beans
2 carrots (sliced)
1 t. gr. cumin
1 t. basil
2-3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. parsley
pepper to taste    (and salt if you like, but we prefer not to)

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to cook covered for aprox. 8 min.
Then add:
2 med. tomatoes (chopped) (we used 1/3 of a 28oz. can)
2 small zucchini (sliced)

After that has cooked for a bit, add:
2 c. cooked chickpeas (or 1 can, drained)
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
Cover and heat through.  Serve over couscous (rice, other, or even on it's own).

"Chicken" marinade for tofu:
1 c. vegetable broth
lemon juice
freshly gr. black pepper

I did not measure the rest of the ingredients exactly, so it's up to you.  Also, I used what was left of the marinade for part of the broth in the soup (I think I had about a 1/2 c.).

Links for your World exploration:
Algerian Cuisine
Algerian Recipes at Whats4Eats
African Cooking
Around the World in 80 dishes (Epicurious)
Culinary World Tour
World Hearth - Circle of International Cooking

Feel free to share any sites that you have discovered in your World foods search ;)

Here's a funny thought:  I'm working with recipes from around the world, while taking a stronger interest in local foods and activities.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ethiopia and Kenya (sort of)

This is my first E.A.T World entry.  I am super excited about this project!  For this entry I made two African dishes listed at The Fairest Feed.  For many subsequent entries I will be working my way through Extending the Table compiled by Joetta Handrich Schlabach.  I have hardly cracked this open, so I'm excited for this opportunity!  Not to mention there is a wonderful Index that lists recipes by country!  For the most part I want to go alphabetically (by country), but I was already planning to make these and excused it since the continent starts with an A (just this once).  From here on, however, my personal rules for this event will be A-Z.  I will allow myself to make something out of order ONLY if it is a letter I have passed.  Let the games begin!

Shiri Wat is an Ethiopian Pea Stew.  After looking at other Shiri Wat recipes, I think this may qualify more as an African Peanut Stew which seems to be popular in the West.  Here is a bit of info. I found on the Recipes Wiki, "In Ethiopia every family keeps a supply of powered, spiced, hot ground peas known as Mit'in Shiro. You can buy it at an Ethiopian grocery or make it from scratch...", hence the Shiro in the name.  On this blog it says, "Shiro is a flour made from ground legumes. It is not entirely clear what kind of legumes- I have heard chickpeas, fava beans, and split peas are all possible ingredients, although it seems like the menus at the Ethiopian restaurants we frequent say it’s made from chickpeas. Mit’in shiro is just like plain shiro except it already has spices added and thus has an orange color. Mit’in shiro (used to make shiro wat) is hot, but shiro alecha is mild."

Regardless, we made this dish and it was good.  We used cashew butter instead of peanut butter and cannellini beans because I forgot to soak the black-eyed peas we bought. It was wonderfully think and creamy :)

Maharagwe is a spicy bean stew from Kenya.  Most recipes I found chose Red beans, but according to this site maharagwe means 'beans' in Kiswahili.  Traditionally, it includes coconut milk and curry spices.  Once again we followed a recipe from The Fairest Seed.  Though we did have the black-eyed peas this time, I realized that I was all out of chili powder.  So I threw in paprika and cayenne pepper.  We were pleased with the results :)  (For some extra spice throw on some red pepper flakes!)
  Be sure to check the above recipes out.  If you want to try out some African cooking yourself, you might be interested in these links:
The Congo Cookbook
Ethiopian Recipes
Maharagwe (another version)
West African Peanut Stew

Also, this seems like a good site for many around the world recipes: Whats4Eats.  I encourage everyone to try out some world cuisine soon and maybe jump on the train and take the E.A.T. World challenge yourself ;)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pantry Raid Mash-up

For last night it was a pantry raid for a meal to toss together.  Here's what I ended up with:                                 
Pantry Raid Mash-up

leftover falafel
28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 carrot (thinly sliced)
sm. head of broccoli (chopped up)
1 1/2 - 2c. black beans
1 onion (diced)
1 c. cooked rice
2-3 cloves garlic
7-8 mushrooms (sliced)
1 1/2 - 2 c. water

Saute onion for 3-4 min.  Add carrots and mushrooms and saute for 5-7 min.  Add garlic and saute for a min. or so longer.  Then add falafel, broccoli, tomato, water, black beans, rice and spices.  Heat through and serve!

Served up with cornbread from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  The only changes I made with the cornbread recipe were: 2 Tbs. agave to replace sugar and 1/4 c. sorghum flour in place of 1/4 of the AP flour.  I picked the sorghum flour up on sale (yeah freight store!) and have added it here and there to baked goods for fun ;)

Something exciting to mention:  Saturday I went to a Kitchen Garden program at the library and I am so psyched to get started this year!  Adam and I have dreams of growing most of our food some day and I'm hoping to expand this year (last year we only grew tomatoes and peppers).  Sunday, Bobbie (fellow librarian and friend) and I are off to hunt for seeds at nearby Baker Creek :)