Thursday, August 26, 2010

4 Pots, 3 Bowls, 3 Knives, 2 Cutting Boards, 1 Skillet, and the Food Processor!

That's what it took to prepare this meal! First the bread - I used Jim Lahey's recipe again from My Bread. This time I made the whole grain loaf, which is about 25% whole grain flour and 75% white flour. This loaf had much better flavor. You can see it still has excellent crust and large air holes. Of course it was not as light as the all white flour bread, but it tasted really good and the texture was excellent!

The rest of the meal came from Vegan Brunch. On the right is Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes. They were good - no bitter tempeh taste. But I prefer the ones made from tofu.

On the left is the guacamole potato salad - can't remember the exact name of the recipe. Wow! This was incredible. I remember reading on another blog that they didn't love this recipe, but I thought it was outstanding. The dressing was delicious, and the surprise hit is the addition of cucumber chunks. They really made the salad. The string beans were so fresh (out of the supermarket, no less!) that they didn't need any adornment. My kids like their veggies plain, and I have come to appreciate them this way as well. You can really taste the veggies when they are not covered in sauce (although I still really like broccoli in garlic oil!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Panzanella is the Italian way to use up stale bread. I have never tried it, but had my leftover bread from the last post to use up. You soak the bread in water to re-hydrate it. Then add tomatoes, onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt & pepper. Sounds like a good idea, but I didn't love it. Maybe because I didn't like the bread to begin with? Tonight I am trying the bread with some whole wheat and rye flour added in - we'll see if it's better.

First day of school! We start early in the mid-west.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Tofu and Beet Dishes

I went to the farm stand for some tomatoes, and also got a gorgeous bunch of beets. We only had the jarred, pickled kind when I was a child. I don't know why - they are so easy to cook and they taste so good - sweet and earthy. My favorite way is to bake them - just wash, wrap in foil and throw in the oven for an hour or so (1 1/2 hours for large beets). The peels just slip off when cool.

There was a lady at the farm stand who told me that she had beet and hard boiled egg sandwiches (with lots of butter) as a girl, because her parents were from England. I never heard of that, but it sounded good, so I thought I'd veganize it. My "eggs" were tofu slices fried in Earth Balance. I had intended to sprinkle them with Indian black salt, but I couldn't find my stash. So I used the very un-English Goya Adobo, a mix of salt, turmeric, garlic and oregano. I added extra EB on the bread and raw onion slices along with the tofu and beets. It was quite delicious. I think the hot tofu and cold beet slices were an especially nice contrast.

The next dish is the tofu "salmon" from the Horizons cookbook. The tofu is marinated in olive oil, beet juice, and seasonings and then grilled. Fortunately it does not taste like salmon! It is tender and juicy. Plus it is pink! It's hard to see in the photo, but the tofu is sitting in a pool of dill sauce. This was mayo, EB, a splash of vinegar, dill, salt & pepper. I would have liked more sauce, but since it is almost all fat it is quite caloric.

The beets were pickled with balsamic cherry vinegar. We have a store here that sells all different flavors of olive oil and vinegar. You can taste before you buy! The fruit vinegars are delicious but not always right for salad. The cherry worked very nicely with the sweet beets.

You may have read about Jim Lahey's Sullivan St. bakery and his no-knead bread recipes. He has a book and I found it at the library. You mix the dough, leave it to ferment for 18 hours, and bake it in a covered pot (you can Google it for the recipe). The "oven within an oven" is supposed to simulate cooking in a brick oven, and produce an artisan quality crust and crumb. I really loved the crumb - I have not been able to produce this with other bread recipes. See how large the air holes are? The crust was also good, although not as crunchy as a bakery bread. I thought the flavor was kind of bland, considering the long fermentation. But I will definitely try some of the other recipes that use different flours. It really was so easy and had such great texture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Corny Dinner

'Tis the season - corn season, that is. Oddly, although my house is surrounded by cornfields, I have to drive 10 miles to the farm stand. Likewise, the farm stand is surrounded by cornfields, but the corn comes from a farm another 20 miles out!

Anywhoo, we had some cooked corn and some raw corn in this meal. The cooked is sliced polenta (from the tube!), sauteed in a little olive oil. Very simple, but quite delicious, with a crispy exterior and creamy interior. The raw corn is in the salad, with pickled jalapenos and a citrus dressing. With some New Mexico seasoned pinto beans and a simple guacamole, it was a quick and delicious meal. By the way, the Carnivore took one look and pulled some TGI Fridays chicken wings out of the freezer! And I have gout.

Corn Salad with Citrus Dressing

2 ears corn
pickled jalapenos to taste, chopped
3 T orange juice
2 T lime juice
2 T olive oil
1/2 t garlic salt

Remove kernels from ears of corn. Mix with jalapenos. Whisk dressing ingredients till emulsified and add to corn.

Pinto Beans

1/2 small onion, chopped
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can pintos
1/2 t ground cumin
1/4 t oregano
pure chile powder* to taste
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Sautee onion until soft. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add all other ingredients (add enough water to almost cover beans). Smash some of the beans against the side of the pot so the broth thicken. Simmer 20 minutes.

*This is not the kind from the supermarket, which has other spices added. It is simply ground chiles.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


What do you think of when you think of gout? I think of old kings from the 15th century who ate nothing but tons of meat and drank gallons of wine. I remember seeing some artwork once depicting just that scene, with the guy's bandaged leg propped up as he's stuffing his face.

So, how does a someone who's been a vegetarian for 30 years and who doesn't drink get gout? Inquiring minds want to know.