Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Nine Dollar Veggie Burger

Or, why it is better to eat at home.........

So, three days a week I have two hours to myself for the first time in almost ten years. I generally run my errands since that is much easier than doing it with three kids in tow. Sometimes I walk in the park, browse in the bookstore, or some other fun thing. Sometimes I take myself out to lunch in a place that the kids or the Carnivore would not enjoy.

Such was the case Friday. We have a cafe in town that serves lunch and fancy coffee. I had never been there, thinking it would be a typical omni place with not much for me. However, I recently saw a review in the paper that said they have started serving a tapas menu on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. They listed all sorts of goodies including vegan lentil loaf and other creative things. I figured any place that actually uses the word vegan in its menu might be of interest, so I checked it out for lunch. Sigh. I was right about typical stuff. None of that creative vegan fare in sight on the lunch menu. Just wraps stuffed with meat and cheese. They did have a veggie burger. I asked what kind, because I can't stand those yucky soy based ones (I grew up in the 70's, a time when stretching meat for profit meant adding soy to school lunch hamburgers to make hockey pucks. This is what those vegan burgers taste like to me........). They told me it was a Dr. Praeger's, which is veggie based and tastes pretty good. I can't say it wasn't good - it was on an awesome whole grain sunflower seed roll, had avocado, and fresh sprouts. But I couldn't help thinking that for $9 I could have bought two boxes of those veggie burgers. Should have gone to Aunt Chilada's for the best black bean soup and grilled veggies ever!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Baby is Five!

I can't believe my youngest is five. Time really does go fast, doesn't it?

She wanted vanilla cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday. I made the vanilla cupcakes from VCTOTW, but baked it in a 9 inch round pan. As you can see, it did not rise very much. But it tasted okay, especially with the frosting! IS there anything chocolate frosting can't fix?

Can anyone point me to some basic cake recipes (vanilla, chocolate, white) that they enjoy? I always try to find some that use basic ingredients - sugar and canola oil as opposed to maple syrup and Earth Balance - to try and make the cost reasonable.
The Birthday Girl
Easter Girlies
Me and My Girls
Hope everyone had happy holidays!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Tofu!

Are you sick of seeing me blog about tofu? Why, yes, I do occasionally eat other things, but I love my tofu!
I must share this with you. It is Tofu Veracruz from the first Horizons cookbook. Oh, how I long to go to that restaurant! But for now I must make do with the cookbook.

Their method of cooking tofu is to coat it with a spice mix and sear it in a cast iron pan. I have tried spice rubs on tofu before and they didn't work. But somehow this one did, and it was so delicious! You can see its crusty goldenness under the sauce. This is modeled after a fish dish of the same name. The sauce is olives, capers, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. So totally delicious - I think I will go have the leftovers now!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Magic of Cast Iron

This tofu recipe is an old friend from "Recipes for an Ecological Kitchen" by Lorna Sass. This is an old cookbook (from 1992) that has been republished with a new name. It was my first vegan cookbook, before I even knew what a vegan was! There are lots of great recipes in it - I highly recommend it. Anyway, the recipe is "Oriental Baked Tofu." It is very simple - soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, water, garlic, ginger, Chinese five spice, sesame seeds. I have made it many times, but always in a glass baking dish. No wonder the tofu never browned! This time I baked it in cast iron, and magically it turned brown and chewy. Really delicious with rice, candied sweet potatoes, and broccoli.
Happy weekend!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Food!

One spring food I always think of is artichokes. In particular, baby artichokes. Supposedly they are easier to trim, but I find that even the babies often have fuzzy "chokes." No matter, they are worth it! These are stuffed with bread crumbs and herbs (mint and basil)and baked. The tofu is Greek Marinated Tofu from The Protein Powered Vegetarian. Store bought tabouli, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves complete the meal. Yum!