Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Shore Dinner

When I was a kid, my mom used to make shrimp bisque and broiled flounder in lots of butter. This was actually a huge treat for us, because we had steak all the time (my folks barbequed every night, even in winter).

Being in Boston last weekend made me yearn for the seafood I no longer eat. The shrimp bisque was a really easy recipe: 1 can tomato soup, 1 can green pea soup, 1 cup cream, 2 cups milk, 1/2 c sherry, and 1 lb. frozen shrimp. The cream and milk subs were obvious and easy (don't you just love that soy cream? So much better than the cow version with its yucky aftertaste (same for the cream cheese).) Canned tomato soup is vegan, even if it does have HFCS. The green pea soup is not - it contains butter. I cooked some spit peas until really soft and pasty, adding onion and garlic powder, and of course, my favorite Old Bay. For the shrimp, I thought broiled tofu would work well, but I wanted to have that as a sub for the flounder. Instead I made up some seitan chunks, boiled in broth with seaweed, then broiled in EB with (what else) Old Bay. Hey, I think I finally found a way I enjoy seitan! The soup was pretty good - I think it was actually the large amount of sherry that I enjoyed so much in the original!

I didn't love the broiled tofu. It wasn't bad, but not great. The texture was too crispy, which normally I prefer, but not in this case. I remember seeing a recipe once for tofu simmered in a rather large amount of butter. The tofu was supposed to absorb and swell up from the butter. Then you were supposed to add fresh parsley. I think I will try that next time - I do love my EB, after all!
Isn't it awesome that we can get fresh sushi at the supermarket?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Nostalgic Lunch

Once upon a time, we lived in Milwaukee, WS. It was a really fun time in our lives. We made some great friends who happened to live a few doors down from us, and we spent tons of time with them. It is a party town (where else can you walk around with an open beer in the street?), with special festivals all summer. In the winter, we would just walk to the bar when we wanted to go out and there was too much snow to drive (obviously this was before children). We had moved there for my husband's job, and since I couldn't find a job of my own and we basically lived on the campus of UWM, I took classes even though I already had a degree. It was like being 20 all over again.

There was a really great natural foods store called Outpost. They sold a prepared tofu spread that I just loved. I guess it was a local manufacturer because I have never found it since. Once I posted about it on some recipe board, and someone sent back a couple of recipes. One is from Simply Vegan. It sounded like it might be close: tofu, celery, carrot, onion, tahini. I added in tamari and a little Old Bay. Not exact, but it satisfied my craving and was a tasty lunch on rye with some tomatoes and chopped onion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I've Got 'em!

Way back when, I saw a post about butterscotch fudge brownies over at Vegan Dad. I have wanted to make them for so long, but couldn't find any vegan butterscotch chips, even on the internet. Someone had blogged that Price Chopper brand chips were vegan. Price Chopper is a regional supermarket here in the northeast. We don't have any on Long Island, but they have them upstate NY. So I was excited that I would be able to get the chips when we went to Lake George in the summer. Well, the Price Chopper in Lake George is about 5 square feet, and they carry only the basics (why are butterscotch chips not considered basic?) So no chips this summer.

Anyway, this past weekend the Carnivore and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a quick trip to Boston (why, yes, I was a child bride.) On the way home, we stopped for breakfast, and there was a Price Chopper in the same lot! Yay, I scored 5 bags of vegan butterscotch chips! (They are still full of crappy ingredients, but no milk.) I will let you know when I try the brownies.

Boston is a lovely city. I have not been there in many years. We had lots of fun doing touristy things. Our hotel was beautiful but far from everything - we figure we walked about 15 miles in those 2 days! The kids had fun with their cousins and aunt and uncle. How much does my sister-in-law rock? She not only takes on my three kids but sends them home with clean laundry!

Not much to write about food-wise. I should have asked for recommendations before we went!

This pizza place was recommended to us by a friend who grew up in Boston. Look at the line out the door! Apparantly there is always a line regardless of the time of day or night. I had a pizza loaded with veggies that was pretty good, but not worth waiting in line for. The Carnivore had the regular pizza. Not to offend, but I will be an egocentric New Yorker and say the best pizza is right here at home. I have tried many cities, and it is just not as good.

This is what I looked like after walking 10 miles with the Carnivore. He walks so fast that I basically have to jog to keep up. I actually had shin splints after that first night.......

And here is the happy couple on the big day...........

This dinner was the night before we left - it's called use up all the produce in the fridge that won't last until we get back. Collards with onion and tomato, rice, eggplant with miso sherry veganaise glaze, cukes, tofu with tomatillo sauce. Why eat out - the food is so much better at home!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Dinner From the Freezer

Please excuse another post about convenience foods, but Trader Joe's once again came to my rescue. They have a penne arrabiata that is so good. Straight from the freezer! You don't even have to cook the pasta - just open the bag and heat. A little sauteed corn and zucchini on the side and you have dinner in 10 minutes! (Now if only they could take the milk out of my favorite chocolate raspberry sticks.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What to Make for Dinner?

I have a habit of printing out a gizillion recipes from the internet, throwing them in a drawer, and never making them. I have a whole huge stack that I go through frequently, thinking I will get rid of some of the older ones. I should throw out anything from 3 years ago that I haven't made, right? Then I think "that looks good and this looks good," and put them back in the drawer. Well, I was trying to think of something for dinner, and decided to grab whatever was on top and just make them. Luckily I picked two winners!

I saw this Salt 'n' Pepper Tofu at happy vegan face (originally from PPK) and it is just so good - you must make it! That is sauteed escarole on the side.

This Smoky Chickpea Soup from Bunnyfoot is also wonderful. It has saffron in it, which I got from Trader Joe's at a great price.
Isn't it cute?
I made these seed crackers that I learned at a cooking class to go with the soup. I used my leaf-shaped cookie cutters in honor of the beautiful fall weather we've been having.
The only downside of all this cooking is the dishes!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Comfort Food

What to have when you are totally stressed out and the kids want macaroni again? Trader Joe's Veggie Masala Burgers. These things are awesome! Yes, they are too high in fat and too low in protein. But they taste great and at 120 calories apiece, not too damaging. They are basically Indian-flavored latkes. Great with ketchup!

No pic, because we all know what veggie burgers look like, but how 'bout these cuties?

(The beautiful Lake George in the background.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mango BBQ Tempeh

I am always searching for ways to make me like tempeh. It is so healthy and protein rich that I feel I really should eat it. I always like the first few bites, but then the rest not so much. I find it needs a really strong marinade or sauce, which basically covers up the taste of the tempeh. The boiling before hand doesn't seem to make a difference to me - it still has that slightly bitter taste! (But oddly, when I have been over-indulging in sweets, I crave tempeh, usually in the form of a chicken-style salad (although I never liked chicken salad!))

This tempeh is from Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine (the second book). (Oh, how I envy Urban Vegan and her proximity to this restaurant.) It is tempeh baked with Mango Barbecue Sauce. First, you boil the tempeh in salted water. Then you marinate and bake it with a spice blend mixed with oil. Then you add the barbecue sauce and bake a bit longer. Tempeh lovers would probably enjoy this a lot. I thought it was good for tempeh, good enough to save the leftovers for a sandwich. The kids gagged it down after threats to their Halloween candy stash!

I did enjoy the mashed potatoes with Krys's Easy Cream Gravy. One of my kids refuses to eat mashed potatoes - did you ever hear of such a thing?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Technology and Granola Bar Blues

I have a really ancient computer. So old that the operating system (Windows ME) is no longer supported by most applications. When I go to download pictures from my camera, I can't use the software that came with the camera for this purpose - I have to cut and paste when the camera is connected as an outside storage device. Sometimes this doen't even work - sometimes the computer does not recognize the camera as an additional drive. I have no idea why it works sometimes and not others.

Anyway, today it decided to work so I have some pictures. I was trying to make granola bars since my kids like to take them for snack at school. The good ones (i.e. healthier versions) are $4.29 for a box of six. As you can imagine, this adds up pretty fast for three kids. Sadly, the healthy version of commercial foods are always more expensive than the cheap crap with so many ingredients I can't even read the label. I was excited to find this recipe because it had lots of good stuff and no added oil (fat came from almond butter). Don't they look good in the pan?

Then I took them out.......

Now my kids have some yummy granola for breakfast! (Is it wrong to feed your kids cereal with chocolate chips?)

Look at my messy fridge......that is because we have my food, his food, and their food..............

And here is a picture of my little bakers (non-vegan cupcakes supervised by the Carnivore, but I think it's nice that he bakes with his little girls).