Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Here's the menu of what we had for Thanksgiving! I will add links to new recipes as I have time to post about them. Special thanks to (and for) Zippy and her photography skills.


hors d’oeuvres
caraway-havarti-beercheese spread (new!)
crackers and apple slices
stuffed shrooms

first course
roasted beet and apple soup with coconut creme fraiche (new!)

main course
braised tempeh
mushroom gravy (see notes)
cranberry sauce (see notes)
roasted brussels sprouts with fennel (see notes)
mashed cauliflower by jamie (new!)

pumpkin pie with coconut whipped cream
carrot cake by jamie

A few notes about the recycled recipes: for the gravy, I used a combo of cornstarch and soymilk instead of flour to make it less gluteny for a guest. In the cranberry sauce, I put not only ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla, but also a generous pinch of black pepper for extra zing. Since we were already having stuffed mushrooms and mushroom gravy, I omitted the mushrooms from the roasted brussels sprouts recipe and slightly reduced the dressing-y ingredients accordingly.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving was a blast. Full update coming soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mushroom-Peas Curry

Another hit from the Asian Vegan Kitchen cookbook! This is probably my favorite cookbook, period, though Vegan Planet would be a close second.

This curry was mild but interesting. As it wasn't particularly spicy, sour, or pungent, I worried that this dish would be bland. However, the mixture of spices and especially the combination of textures kept this recipe unique. Green peas are so much fun to have in a dish that is largely creamy; they absorb some of the flavor of the dish, but they burst mischievously in your mouth. I made twice as much of the "almond gravy" and froze half so that next time this recipe will be a cinch.

To go with this, I made a rice pilaf: I sauteed some black mustard seeds in olive oil, then added long grain white rice and cooked a few more minutes until the rice started to brown. I then added water, garlic powder, and smoked salt, and simmered the rice as usual.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Infusions and Chili

I quick-infused some vodka with mint and basil for the best (and easiest) mojito-like beverages I've ever made. Putting chopped herbs in alcohol for as little as minutes imbues a strong flavor. From there, strain the vodka, and mix with lemon juice, simple syrup, club soda, voila!

Basil in vodka

Mint in vodka

Infusing is a piece of cake with oils, too. I put some basil and rosemary in a bit of olive oil (I strained it within a few days), and it made a killer dressing. I'm definitely going to make some chili oil next.

Basil and rosemary olive oil


I've been making a lot of soups based on whatever I have in the fridge. This was my favorite rendition: garlic and leeks, sauteed at a lower temp for longer, made the base, and the finished product contained not only fresh serranos but also dried chipotles. Collards and bulghur rounded out the dish to make it a complete meal (as well as fire-roasted tomatoes, carrots, corn, beans, etc).


Hers and hers coffee cups. Mine's the big one.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Butternut Squash Bisque with Flame-Roasted Chilies and Turnip Chips

This soup is awesome!! Steps one and two can be done ahead of time: this saves time and also heating up the kitchen. Roasting garlic mellows out the flavor a lot, so don't worry about the large number of cloves.

This recipe was born out of my going to the grocery store and picking up whatever produce looked cheap/good. I got home and realized I'd perhaps OD'd on starchy fall vegetables (this was the first time it got cool, not this past 85* weekend). So, I made turnip chips to serve with the soup, which was awesome, but not necessary. The turnips cooked differently and more quickly than the thicker pieces of squash, so be advised. I might even try to do the turnips in the toaster oven next time.

And yes, I know that this isn't 'technically' a bisque, but this use of the name is so prevalent in the US, why not?

Butternut Squash Bisque with Flame-Roasted Chilies and Turnip Chips

olive oil
smoked salt
1 turnip, halved width-wise and then thinly sliced

squash (peel first?), cut into in 90-degree wedges (3/4 in thick)
olive oil
10 cloves garlic
2 large poblano/pasilla chilies
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tsp whole cumin
3 c vegetable stock
salt to taste

1. Heat oven to 450*. Toss turnip slices with olive oil and smoked salt, then spread on a baking sheet. Separately, toss squash chunks and garlic cloves with olive oil, and spread them out on baking sheets. Place in oven, and monitor their cooking: squash should be soft and slightly browned; turnips should be crispy and slightly browned.  This will take somewhere about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, roast the two chilies on gas burners, like so. When they are sufficiently blackened and cooked, remove from heat and set aside until cool. When cooled, scrape off the blackened part, remove stem and seeds, and coarsely chop the remainder. Set aside.
3. Now you're ready to start the soup. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil and saute onion, celery, and cumin seeds until softened (5-10 min). Then, add vegetable stock and roasted squash and garlic. Simmer, cool, puree!
4. Reheat. Add water to thin if necessary. Add cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Serve hot, topped with sriracha, scallions, and turnip chips. Serves 3-4.


Also,"Pimp My Noodle Bowl: Oakland Edition":