Friday, May 28, 2010

orange sesame salad

here i go again, eating more rabbit food. you know, if rabbits could reach the stove top. to cook a pot of brown rice. and fry some tofu.

orange sesame salad

i like my salads to have some heft to them. this one is chock full of delicious and hearty things but you still feel really virtuous after eating vast quantities of it, because it's salad. it comprises: a head of romaine lettuce, a block of cubed tofu (dry-fried in a non-stick pan), brown rice, toasted black and white sesame seeds, raisins (not pictured. but i put raisins in mine. so good), orange slices (which max spent a lot of time cutting perfectly so that ALL the pith was banished. this makes them into little explosions of pure orange-ness). and it is dressed by toasted sesame oil (1 Tbsp), soy sauce (1-2 Tbsp), and seasoned rice vinegar (2 Tbsp), a very simple dressing that i first saw in veganomicon (in the corn-edamame salad) and now use all the time.

orange and sesame are a lovely couple. the lettuce and oranges are local and organic and that makes all the difference in a simple prep like this. so tasty.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

aloo saag—five-spice tofu—damn fine pizza

it's almost june! i'm so...damn...close...to the end of my first year of grad school. a summer of peripateticism, lots of reading, and likely unemployment beckons.

here are some recent victuals emerging from my kitchen.

aloo palak

i was so excited to see this aloo saag recipe on vegventures last week! i try not to peruse food blogs too much during the day, when i'm supposed to be hard at work, but sometimes that's what makes me realize exactly what i want for dinner, and this was one of those serendipitous days. the recipe calls for a bunch of interesting things that i have and don't use much (or ever): fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, amchoor (mango powder), and onion seeds (i used kallonji. but apparently they are not actually onion seeds. in any case, they were fragrant and tasty). plus, of course, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and cilantro. it was a heavenly meal: spicy, rich, satisfying.

fivespicetofu salad

this was just a cool salad. tasty organic spinach, toasted walnut pieces, orange slices, cucumber cubes, avocado, and SUPER DELICIOUS five-spice tofu cubes. i marinated (for a good long time) some cubed extra-firm tofu in about 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, and a big pinch of chinese five-spice powder, then baked it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet at 350 F—they got nice and crispy really fast, in about 15 or 20 minutes. really kind of addictive! the salad was served with brown rice and maybe some finishing salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar too.

end of may pizza

i just ate this crazy-good pizza. pizza is usually a crazy-good experience, this one was really top-notch. dough from nonna's italian kitchen; tomato sauce; very thin slices of potato, which i tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil and pre-baked for 15 minutes; dollops of cashew-tofu ricotta; sliced green olives; a scattering of fresh spinach leaves and fresh oregano chiffonade—the oregano is growing like mad in my herb garden!

the pizza is a funny shape because i always make it slightly too big for my cast-iron pan, and then when i put it in the pan one side has to climb up the wall a bit.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

sandwich!

now that i'm vegan, i get really excited about a tasty sandwich. a well-crafted, hearty sandwich is really a magnificent experience and finding vegan sandwiches in a non-vegan world can be needlessly frustrating. they always want to make you pay for the cheese even when you aren't going to eat the damn cheese. bah! we can do better.

ricotta eggplant pepper sandwich with parsley-lemon mash

if i were serving this sandwich to myself at a restaurant, i'd charge myself like ten dollars. it's totally bistro-worthy. components: 1) francese roll, from kelly's french bakery. sliced. 2) perfect tofu-cashew ricotta. 3) roasted eggplant. 4) roasted red pepper. 5) romaine lettuce. 6) toastiness. PERFECT.

tofu-cashew ricotta:

1 lb firm or extra firm tofu
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 Tbsp salt or to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
ground pepper
fresh or dried herbs of your choosing

blend, blend, blend. i use my friend the hand blender. i remember what ricotta tastes like, and this tastes BETTER.

my bistro sandwich comes with a side of parsley-lemon potato-parsnip mash. this is the last of the parsnips from the garden (goodbye parsnips! you are an awesome crop, see you next spring!), plus an equal amount of potatoes, boiled until tender, mashed with soy creamer and the zest and juice of one lovely lemon, mixed with a handful of finely minced italian parsley. yum, so zesty and creamy! good when you want mashed potatoes but don't feel like doing the whole gravy thing because it's hot outside.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

bluffin' with my muffin

peaches! there are peaches! never mind the stacks of papers awaiting grades, never mind the chilly gray skies, never mind that i have approximately 50 pages to write before june 9. it's cool. the peaches are here to make everything all right.

they're small and wrinkled and i cut the first one open with great trepidation: summer's first offering, they had to be perfect. luckily, they were. sweet and juicy and full of promise for the months to come.

i am a summer zealot.

first peach muffins 2010

brown sugar peach muffins, from the ppk blog last year. i cut the oil down even more, to 1/4 cup, and left out the vanilla, and added 1/2 tsp cardamom. go get your mind on your muffins and your muffins on your mind, and if there are peaches tempting you at the farmer's market, don't resist!