Thursday, August 31, 2006

Your hands and feet are mangos…

I’m gonna be a genius anyway, because I made VwaV Mango-Ginger Tofu (p. 153). (Click on the title of this post if you’re confused and think I’ve gone crazy. I did not just make that up, I swear.) Here it is served on a bed of quinoa with a side of edamame.

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I made the marinade last night and let it sit in the fridge for a full day. I liked it, but the sauce is a little too sweet for my taste. Next time I’ll try less maple syrup and OJ and more jalapeno and ginger, maybe even a kick of cayenne. How many VwaV tofu recipes involving tofu can I post in a row? Apparently the answer thus far is at least three. What can I say, I love me some tofu.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Miso in love with tofu

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Vegan with a Vengeance strikes again, this is the Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy from page 147 over some mashed sweet potato. Not much to look at and this isn't really a great picture, but damn it’s good gravy. I am a little confused as to why the recipe suggests you serve this over mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, since there is a heavy potato component to the stew/gravy already. I think if I make this again I will leave the potatoes out if I’m going to put it over mashed potatoes and make it with the potatoes if I’m planning on eating it as a stew with crusty bread. This gravy is dynamite with the sweet potatoes by the way. Also, you will need to cut the potatoes much smaller than the recipe suggests if you want the potatoes to be ready after 25-30 minuets. We had to wait forever to eat because the potatoes were still too hard. Either that or I would just boil them for about 10 minuets before adding them to the stew. I also like the recipe because it calls for a healthy amount of white wine, and you can drink the rest of the bottle with dinner.

VwaV Brooklyn Pad Thai

Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. We had fun at the Knitting Factory on Friday night, good friends and good music. Saturday I made it to the beach for some playtime, sad to think that in a few weeks it will be getting too chilly to go in the water anymore. Oh well, better take advantage while I can!

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We made this pad thai from VwaV for dinner last night. Nothing like a big bowl of refined white carbs now and again, yum! It was pretty tasty, but the recipe disclaimer that it is not authentic pad thai is right. I couldn’t find any flat rice noodles, just the really skinny kind. I even went to the Japanese market to try and find some, but to no avail. I made the recipe pretty much to the letter (half recipe, just the two of us eating), minus the lemon grass and I didn’t use all the oil called for. 3 tablespoons for two servings of noodles just seemed excessive. I took a picture of the noodle packaging because I thought it was cute and I love packaging that I can’t read. Look, it’s 100%...something!

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I’ve been experimenting with making a pear vinaigrette salad dressing and think I’ve come up with a pretty decent one. The first time I made it I used fresh pears and pear juice from a carton, but it can be costly and difficult to find good fresh, ripe pears year-round, so I gave it a go with canned pears and it came out pretty well.

Champagne Pear Vinaigrette:
1 15 oz can pears in juice
2 T Champagne vinegar
2 T oil (any kind you like, I used soybean oil)
1/8 to 1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 t black pepper
Sweeten to taste, I used a few drops of liquid stevia extract

Dump it all in the blender and puree till smooth. I like this on salad with walnuts and mandarin oranges. It would probably go well with many flavors, but I would think primarily with salads involving nuts and fruit.

I was pretty busy in the kitchen yesterday, I also made a batch of VwaV seitan and a big pot of chickpeas for making falafel, hummus, and maybe some chana masala later in the week. I was buying my chickpeas canned, but last week I realized just how many chickpeas we can go through and figured it would be cheaper to buy dried chickpeas and they really don’t take that much effort. Plus you can avoid the added sodium of the canned beans.

Have a good week everyone. Badger football season opener is this Saturday, very exciting! We’ll be creaming Bowling Green at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I love college football season because it means I have an excuse to start drinking beer early on Saturdays.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I heart Russ Feingold


This morning I had the honor of attending the ANGLE (Access Now Gay and Lesbian Equality) breakfast at the Wyndham BelAge Hotel in West Hollywood, with none other than Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold as the key note speaker! Being from Wisconsin and pretty liberal in my politics, Senator Feingold is something of a political hero to me. He also holds the distinction of casting the lone dissenting vote in the Senate against the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act back in 2001. I got to shake his hand and speak with him briefly, mostly we just chatted about Hudson, my home town, and Madison, seeing as we are both Badger alums and his own daughter just graduated from the UW a couple years ago. He comes across as a very genuine and kind person, not something you see often in politicians these days! He inspires and he gets things done. He’s also quite a bit shorter than I imagined.

He spoke of course about marriage equality, given the crowd in attendance and the fact that Wisconsin is in the position to be the first state ever to strike down a ballot measure this November banning civil unions and same sex marriage (read the full press release here). He also touched on alternative energy, campaign finance reform, terrorism and the national security crisis, Katrina, the situations in Lebanon, Iraq, and Africa. A man after my own heart he is. I would love to see him become president, I would vote for him. He has such strong leadership and really makes an effort to get down to the grassroots level and connect with his constituents and their needs and positions. He holds town hall type meetings in every one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties every year to listen to the people and address their concerns, he said that over his tenure he has conducted close to 1,000 of these meetings! I could gush on and on. If you haven’t taken the time to get to know Senator Feingold I would encourage you to do so, he’ll be one to watch for in 2008. It’s not that I don’t like Senator Clinton, I’ve just gotta side with my fellow Badger, you know?

Happy Friday all, I’m off to market to pick up some goodies and heading home early so I can take a nap before the Phix show tonight at the Knitting Factory. Yay!

Monday, August 21, 2006

VwaV (finally) and an LA weekend

I had a pretty busy and productive weekend. Most exciting of all, I finally got my hands on a copy of Vegan with a Vengeance! I don’t know how I lived without it. I started with the chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve been trying to lay off the baking because large amounts of baked goods in the house can only mean trouble, but it was Jason’s dad’s birthday. And it is just rude to let someone’s birthday pass by without baking them something.

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The recipe begins with a disclaimer that these are not healthy in any way. And they aren’t, but damn are they good. The batter was a little too crumbly after it was mixed so I added a couple small splashes of soymilk at the end. There were so many chocolate chips that there were some left in the bowl that the batter just couldn’t hold, so I went and shoved them into the top of any cookies I could find an empty spot on (not easy!). I made some with walnuts and some without, because for some crazy reason some people don’t enjoy walnuts in their cookies. I gave away most of the cookies and kept a small stash.

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For Sunday breakfast we made the tofu scramble. We didn’t have cremini mushrooms, so we just used the few white mushrooms we had as well as some squash and some frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained well. It was very tasty. I’m still having issues with the nutritional yeast, it by no means ruined the dish for me but I just am not fond of the smell.

I can’t wait to make more delicious food, this will be a well used cookbook for sure.

I managed to get plenty of exercise in this weekend. On Saturday I went to the gym for pilates ball and swam laps, and yesterday I went to the beach and boogie boarded and worked on my tan for a couple hours, walked my dog and a friend’s dog, and then practiced rollerblading with my dog. At first it was a little scary to be going so fast, but after a while we got the hang of it and I was feeling a little more in control. Dexter went for a 30 min run this morning while I bladed, hopefully he’s good and tired and being a good boy at home today.

Last night we went out to dinner at California Vegan. I tried a new dish, the California Orange Chicken, it was so good. I love that place. Afterwards our friend Becca came over and brought the L.A. Story DVD with her. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this movie before, if you live in or have spent any time in LA it is especially hilarious. It stars Steve Martin, and also has Sarah Jessica Parker and Marilu Henner.

I thought I’d share this picture of a particularly large and beautiful heirloom tomato, with Buddha for scale.

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Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Farmer’s Market Friday

This week’s booty:

heirloom tomatoes (for $1/lb! unheard of)
1 cantaloupe
1 bag string beans
3 large white nectarines
1 bag yellow squash
1 bunch asparagus
2 pink grapefruit

I didn’t get too much this week, I have plenty of food at home at the moment. I just had one of the tomatoes sliced up on a whole wheat cracker with hickory smoked Tofurky slices. So yummy, I’m going to be very sad when heirlooms disappear from the markets again. Seems like they’re in season for such a short time.

I am having an awesome week at the gym. I went to yoga class on Sunday and on Monday, did my upper body lifting and 30 min on elliptical on Tuesday, took Wed as a rest day with just walking, and went to spinning last night. I even did abs and push-ups after spinning. I have no idea where all this motivation came from, but I hope it sticks around. Hopefully I’ll hit the pool over the weekend, or maybe just go to the beach for some boogie boarding. If I get really crazy I might go to pilates ball tomorrow.

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This pooch is definitely doing his yoga, look how limber. And getting beauty rest at the same time. That’s talent.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hottie Alert

You know what I do when I have nothing to blog about? That’s right, take a quiz. Thanks Tabs! I love this one because it is about Johnny Depp and well, he’s yummy.

You Are Edward From "Edward Scissorhands."

You are very shy and often misunderstood. Innocent, sweet, and artistic, you like to pass your days by daydreaming and expressing yourself through the arts. You are a truly unique individual. Unfortunately, you are quite lonely, and few people truly understand you.

Take The Johnny Depp Quiz!

And I’m Edward Scissorhands! The very film that sparked my crush on both Mr. Depp and my girl crush on Winona Ryder. Yes, when I was 10 I found an anemic misunderstood freak with sharp objects for hands an ideal love interest. And I don’t care if you steal things, I still love you Winona. Speaking of which, have ya’ll seen Girl, Interrupted? Go Netflix it. Right now. I mean it. I’m not really into girls, but if I were I would be all over the chicks I this film. Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall who kind of looks a little like Claire Danes, who is also hot. If you have not seen My So-Called Life I order you to Netflix that as well immediately. It has Claire Danes and Jared Leto, another hottie. I regret to report that there are only 19 episodes and I curse the faulty Nielsen rating driven corporate network television machine that drove it off the air. Bastards.

That’s all I’ve got today. A report on the celebrities I had a crush on in high school and ordering you to watch DVDs.

Humpday out.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Farmer’s Market Friday

Pretty uneventful week so I’ve been pretty quiet around here. Just work and commute and gym and more work stuff and blah, blah, boring. No wonder produce shopping is the highlight of my week. I got lots at the market today. I could have bought more, but I can only lug so much back to my office.

1 cantaloupe
3 ripe tomatoes on the vine
1 eggplant
3 squashes of a variety I’ve never tried before (mysteriously labeled “white squash”)
1 bag mixed onions
1 bunch asparagus
2 ears corn
1 lb string beans
1 Haas avocado
2 yellow nectarines
2 white nectarines
1 bag mixed bell peppers
1 bunch carrots
Total: $15

I got my shipment from Robert’s American Gourmet this week. I’ve heard such wonderful things about their Pirate’s Booty and other assorted snack foods that I ordered one of these nifty samplers. I paid no shipping yay! I must say the caramel Booty was very good, it’s all gone now. I also received my order from The Better Health Store. I was somewhat less satisfied with the customer service from this place, some of the items I ordered were out of stock so they just sent me an e-mail saying they canceled part of my order. I did get my first bottles of KAL stevia and Bragg’s (which leaked a bit) so I’m pretty excited about that. I also got this product for my dog called “anxiety free” with St. John’s Wort and valerian and some other stuff. I keep hoping there is going to be this magic thing that makes him not crazy so I keep trying, but really after everything we’ve tried I go in with low expectations. If valium didn’t work I don’t see why valerian would, but I try anyway because maybe I am also a little bit of the crazy too.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Dal-licious food + Solstice Canyon

I made the Three-Bean Dal from Vegan Planet as seen on VeganCore last week. It's so good I made it again tonight, but with chickpeas instead of red beans ‘cause I didn’t have any more. I also reduced the oil to 1 T, and I added a handful of fresh chopped cilantro toward the end in addition to the cilantro garnish, and served with a lime wedge to give just a little taste of sweet/sour. I will be making this regularly.

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This is just some baked falafel patties (from box mix) on a bed of whole wheat cous cous, topped with hummus, avocado chunks, diced heirloom tomato, and a couple of olives. Easy and yummy.

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These are the Guatemalan Insanity Peppers I picked up at the market last week.

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Jason and I took Dexter hiking in Solstice Canyon this afternoon before his Canine Good Citizen test. You can see some pictures there. Jason is so happy that the crazy camera lady must take his picture repeatedly.

As for the test, well, Dexter got 8 out of 10 which I think is pretty respectable. Sadly, you need 10 out of 10 to pass. Good news is you can re-test as many times as you want. I think with a little work Dexter will nail it the second time around. We still love him anyways.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

The unthinkable

I got an e-mail from Care2, one of those activist lists I subscribe to telling me to sign petitions to stop horrible things going on all over the world. Today’s message centered on a supremely disturbing story.

This is sick. I mean really, really sick. I know some cultures are less sensitive to non-human beings than others, but this just goes beyond. How would you feel is someone offered you $.63 to kill your own dog, otherwise you would have to wait for the “killing team” to come and beat your dog to death? This should never happen. Sign the petition if you want. I did, but I am pessimistic as to how much good it will actually do.

So, where were we? Oh yes, all is wrong in the world and how can humans be so cruel, poverty, war, global warming, discrimination and hate, I’ve been on hold for 18 minutes waiting to talk to a representative…and oh yeah, produce!

As much as it seems like the whole planet is headed down the tubes, I managed to have another pleasant trip to the Koreatown farmers market today.

Farmer’s Market Friday

2 medium Haas avocados
1 large Green avocado
1 bunch asparagus
2 ears corn
3 uniquely colored bell peppers (I may even post a picture later, they’re pretty)
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch sweet basil
1 cantaloupe
3 ripe on the vine tomatoes
4 large nectarines

I made some really yummy roasted eggplant last night. I used one of those long skinny Japanese eggplants, sliced, salted, sweated for about 45 minutes then rinsed and patted dry. Then I tossed the eggplant in a bowl with the juice of ½ a lemon, some soy sauce, a little olive oil, black pepper, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute blend, and I added some bread crumbs to soak up the extra liquid and coat the eggplant a bit. I roasted the slices on a baking sheet alongside red pepper strips in a hot oven (400-450) for 20 min, turning halfway through. I ate the veggies over some leftover whole wheat couscous and pre-packaged “Madras lentils” (TJ’s strikes again). End result is very tasty, I just had leftovers for lunch. However, deemed not pretty enough to photograph.

Hope everyone has a smashing weekend.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

In case you hadn’t noticed

I’ve organized and updated my links. If you are a reader/commenter that I have inadvertently left out, please let me know and I will link you. Maybe someday I will even get around to updating my music links as well.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Looky-loo links

I ain’t got much to say here, so I thought I’d share some fun links and nutritional research. Wee, fun!

Breakfast From HELL
I just don’t know what to say. I mean, can you imagine someone actually eating this? These people need help.

The Gallery of Regrettable Food
The anti-food-porn.

In the spirit of funwithyourfood, I thought I’d share a few things that I learned about my good friend xylitol. I’ve been using xylitol as a sugar replacement for some time because it’s natural, lower in calories than sugar, and has a low glycemic index score. Thanks to Harmonia’s link to this article I am now aware that GI isn’t everything, and thought maybe I should read up on this xylitol stuff to see if there’s really any benefit. (all these tidbits are just stolen from the Wiki article, so if you read the whole article just skip this)

Well, it turns out there is. First of all Finland is considered the “home country” of xylitol, so hey, sisu! This stuff must be good for you.

Xylitol can be produced from birch, raspberries, plums, and corn.

Xylitol, gram for gram, is roughly as sweet as sucrose, but contains 40% less food energy. (I think food energy is a fancy name for calories. Yay, less calories!)

It also turns out that xylitol is good for your teeth, for use by diabetics, may be a potential treatment for osteoporosis, may abate ear and upper respiratory infections, and may help control oral infections of Candida yeast.

Negative side effects: can have a mild laxative effect at high doses. Also very toxic and potentially fatal to dogs, so keep this stuff safely away from the pups!

I use xylitol to sweeten my coffee every day and have used it as sweetener in cake and quickbread recipes. However, since it interferes with the yeast micro-organism and others, xylitol is not useful for making bread, for instance.

Wow, wasn’t that so much more than you ever hoped to know about xylitol?

In other wikipedia news, it seems that their article relating to elephants has been locked for editing due to its mention in the Colbert Report’s “WØRD” segment last night. How are we to impart the Wiki with truthiness with this kind of censorship?

Good Tuesday to all.