Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fun with Products

In all my pizza-making madness this summer, no experiment has surpassed the TACO PIZZA in magnificence or ease.  No pizza I have had from mohawk bend or cruzer compares.  So, although I typically shun pre-made anything, this pizza--which I only made because I was entertaining and had no time to cook--deserves to be recorded here.  And anyway, a purist could make all the components from scratch...

Taco Pizza

1 pre-made pizza dough
chipotle salsa
1/2 package Trader Joe's soyrizo (or similar--)
guacamole, homemade or otherwise
cilantro (optional)

1. Preheat oven and roll out pizza dough according to directions.  Spread generously with salsa, and then chorizo.  Bake according to directions.
2. When pizza is done baking and slightly cooler, top with a layer of guacamole and then a layer of chili corn salsa.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired, and serve hot.


Secondly!  In the same neighborhood where you can find tacos and pizza (though not, I think? taco pizza), there is this.

So mysterious, and at $1.99, I had to give it a try.  "Pepper, herbs, & spices" indeed make for a tasty combination, and I love that it's "BEST WITH MEATS, CHICKEN, SEAFOOD, AND VEGETABLE."  I'm pretty curious what that leaves as second-best.

It's really interesting that Jon's also sells something called ajvar, which has to be related, right?  But the ajvar I've bought is much bulkier--with eggplant, peppers, etc--more like a spread or a relish or a dip, whereas this ajika is more of a spice paste, like the harissa recipe I've been using.  In any case, I've tasted this stuff, and it's very good, but I'm not sure what to do with it.  It's spicy and savory, but also rather sour.  It's sort of half way in between harissa and sumac.  I feel like it might be really good in a variation on this recipe for carrots and green beans with caraway, harissa, and pistachios, or in one of these carrot salads.

Green Curry with Eggplant and Tofu

One of the last items in the bounty I picked up at a grocery warehouse was a can of green Thai curry paste.  I've never really ventured into making Thai food because of the ingredients I'd have to go out of my way to get, but buying a pre-made curry paste was certainly a helpful shortcut.

Green Curry with Eggplant and Tofu

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano chili, minced and (if you like some heat) not de-seeded
2-in piece ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 small eggplants, 1/2-in cubes
pinch salt
1 block tofu, cubed
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 small bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 c coconut milk/water
50 g (about 1/4 c) green curry paste

1. Mix together coconut milk (thinned with water if desired) and curry paste.  Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Saute onion a few minutes, then add garlic, chili, ginger, eggplants, and a pinch of salt.  Fry, stirring only infrequently, until the eggplant is softer and slightly brown.
3. Add tofu, carrot, and pepper, and saute a few more minutes.  Then add liquid and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook 5-10 minutes, until veggies are cooked but not mushy.  Serves about 3.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Of Flaming Oreos and Bigoted Chickens

Lacking the time to write a real post, I did want to at least make note here of some of the interesting food politics things that have been going on...

In the wake of the fuss about Chick-Fil-A's anti-LGBT politics, Autostraddle published the hilariously-entitled Gays Fight To Enjoy Shitty Fast Food In Good Conscience, Which Is Impossible:
... part of what distinguishes queer politics from mainstream politics is our position outside of the mainstream, a position which enables us to question dominant culture and fight for the rights of all outsiders and disenfranchised or mistreated citizens. The fast food industry is an inexorable element of that dominant culture. For many of us, giving up fast food altogether is impractical and expensive, but it's silly to act like there's anything exalted about patronizing fast food restaurants in the first place. If Chick-fil-A does back down from its anti-gay stance, there's still plenty of issues for it to reckon with, and although I'm ambivalent about anybody's choice to eat there, I'd be disappointed to see the restaurant applauded by Gay Inc in any context. Fast food will never be ripe for the queering.
It's a bit like the flurry of activity that hit my facebook wall after Kraft/Nabisco released an ad with photo of a rainbow Oreo in time for Pride: mostly comments like "I CANT WAIT TO STUFF MY FACE WITH GAY OREOS!!!!"  I'm glad that Kraft is receiving positive public feedback about their gay-friendly policies, but at the end of the day, they're still the second-largest food corporation in the U.S., and you're still eating a cookie full o'corn syrup.  
Now, I will continue to indulge in some Oreo ice cream at Scoops from time to time, and I may even roll down to the Hollywood Chick-Fil-A next week to make out with my girlfriend... but I guess what I'm thinking is: the easier and "cooler" it is to be an "activist," the easier it is to have the same kind of knee-jerk reactions that characterize, well, you know, the other guys.  And I'm never going to eat Chick-Fil-A, no matter how many rainbow chicken sandwiches they offer to their angry gay customers.

Um, and here are some pickles I made out of cucumbers from Sina's garden.  Water, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and a little salt, sugar, and cayenne.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Catching Up

I'm still cooking plenty, but recently I've been going for what's fast and reliable--i.e., things I've already blogged about.  Here are a few snapshots.

Marinated veggies recently blogged about went well with pasta, pesto, and sauteed kale.

Found this leafy green at the supermarket and can't figure out what it is... smooth leaves, like arugula, but larger and more bitter-- awesome, but I couldn't figure out what to do with it....

I've been rocking the tofu scrambles recently... turns out that Trader Joe's soyrizo is a great addition to them.

And finally: a long while ago I made the hot dogs from my vegan cookbook.  The flavor was spot on, but the texture was too soft and gummy.  Then again, I'm pretty unskilled when it comes to wheat gluten, so I'm willing to bet that I messed something up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pizza Prep

Serrano chilies and fried garlic slices in prep for recreating the awesome pizza we had at Birba this weekend in Palm Springs.  Probably should have picked a cooler month to get obsessed with pizza...