Sunday, October 25, 2009

Going on a trip

Sorry I haven't been posting, I do have things to post, just not enough time to post them. I won't be posting for at least another week. We're going on a trip to Washington DC tomorrow morning, and will be coming back Saturday night. But I'll probably need some time to recover from the trip before I post all of the exciting things that happened there and before the trip.
As I understand it DC seems to be a pretty vegan-friendly place, so we shouldn't have too much trouble getting vegan food. But the place we're staying also has a small kitchen and a Whole Foods near it, so I don't think I'll be starving to death.
It'll be the whole family, my mom, my dad, and my brother. And we'll also be taking a friend of mine, and my brothers.

It should be tons of fun, I'll tell you all about it in about a week.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Raw sushi

I like eating raw food occasionally. Not only because of the amazing health benefits, and how good you feel after eating it, but because it's just really tasty, and a new way of cooking to explore.
This is the recipe I mostly used:

I actually think it was easier without a bamboo mat. For regular sushi the mat is very useful, but with these, they came out better with my hands.

I didn't have any Bragg's, so I used tamari instead. So it wasn't totally raw.

Here's some photographic instructions past making the pate and cutting your veggies. Sorry about the horrible yellow lighting, it's getting dark early now and without any sunlight the light made it look less appetizing.

Start with your nori (Seaweed) and your cur collard green. (No need for a mat)

Spread on some sunflower puree/pate.

Add your fillings. (I like lots of carrot, cucumber, green onion, and big slices of avocado)

Start rolling.

Roll some more.

And once you get to the end, wet the edges and press.

Repeat with remaining "rice". I got seven rolls out of it.

I expected the four of us to be able to eat the 8 rolls, even though it said it made six servings, but we were wrong, these are so delicious, but really filling. I could hardly eat one roll.

Chautauqua photos

So I just realized I won't be posting many Chautauqua photos, and they're all from the same spot. I thought I'd be able to post way more, but it turns out almost all of the photos were of people, which I will not post without their permission.
So only thirteen photos, out of the 124 photos that I took. All from the same spot. Luckily a very pretty spot on a mountain though.

A little to the left of the last photo. The view is gorgeous on the top of that mountain. No photos of up there though. :/

The city to the left of the mountain.

That's it. Sorry. I'll be sure to get more scenery photos next year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lots of food

I know, I know, I procrastinated. I have an excuse though. I was REALLY sick on Friday. Even though I slept plenty, when I got home from my friends house I immediately went to bed and slept for five hours, not because I was particularly tired, but because doing anything but sleeping felt so horrible. And after I got up, at nine PM, I had my first meal of the day (I felt so awful I couldn't eat before.). My mom made me lemon-rice soup. and after five hours of being up, I went back to bed for a regular length sleep.
And then I mostly procrastinated on Saturday, and didn't get around to posting until today because I was making a bunch of food and entertaining guests for my mom's birthday yesterday.

But finally, here's some food:
There's kind of a lack of photos, so I looked through old photos to see if I had anything I was meaning to post but never did. And yes, I did. A snack I made for Chautauqua. Roasted pumpkin seeds.
First, you take a BUNCH of pumpkin seeds, drizzle with oil, stir, season, stir, and bake at 350 degrees. (No need to preheat) Stir it fairly often, it'll cook quick. They're done when most of them are brownish, crispy, and some a bit more round than before.
I season them with whatever I have. Seriously, you can season them with anything. I usually do something like garlic powder, pepper, cumin, coriander, basil, oregano, and nutritional yeast. You want everything to be dry, or it'll go bad and probably not stick. Just let these cool and bag them, and they're a delicious, healthy snack. I think maybe if I mix the seasonings with the oil, and then drizzle that on, the seasonings might stick better. I haven't tried it yet though. You don't need much oil, maybe 1-2 tablespoons for two cups of seeds. If that.

On Wednesday night I made this little snack:
Pan-fried tofu sticks.
I had half a block of tofu I had to use up On Wednesday before we left for a couple days and it would go bad, so I cut it into sticks, mixed pepper and cornstarch in a bowl, and rolled the tofu sticks in it. Then I pan-fried them in a little oil, and served them with teriyaki sauce. You could use just about any sauce you want though, these have a very mild flavor, so really need a sauce, and can work with just about any sauce.

On Thursday, my brother really wanted an ice cream cake for his birthday, and we can't really afford to buy that much vegan ice cream, and didn't have enough time or the ingredients to make our own. So it wasn't vegan. But I'll post the process for those of you who want to make it vegan or aren't vegan.

He used this cake recipe, you could either veganize it, or use a different recipe. He wanted four cakes, so he 1.5 batched the recipe, hoping for four 8" cakes. He only got three, but he filled the pans pretty high.
he cut one cake in half to make two layers out of it. One will be the top, and one will be the middle. Then he cut the centers out of two of the other cakes to make rings.

Here's the whole layer of cake with one of the rings on top.

Then he filled the ring with ice cream. He chose mint chocolate chip.

Then the middle layer.

Then messily frosted with over-thawed ice cream...

Then he froze it, added another ring on top, filled the ring with ice cream, and then put the top on, frosted it, and froze it. No photos of the finished product, sorry.

I would have made cupcakes, but one of my vegan friends was planning on making some chocolate ones with peanut butter filling. So it was all good. They were very tasty.

We got Thai takeout for dinner. Which was delicious. A few things had shrimp in them, but the things that didn't, I made sure didn't have fish sauce. I really like the fried tofu at Thai restaurants, it's always so delicious. I can never make it that good. But I don't really like frying my food anyway, so maybe it's for the best.

Last nights dinner, my mom's birthday dinner, was roasted asparagus, quinoa, and sauteed portobellos, just like the other day. And there were also roasted vegetables. And I surprised her with apple pie too. Not sure how she missed the smell, maybe because of all the tasty smells of other foods cooking.
I bought a crust, because for some reason, I hate making crusts. I peeled and sliced ten granny smith apples. I think a dozen would have been better though. (This is for two pies), I added a little lemon juice to keep them from browning, and then I mixed them with lots of cinnamon, and brown sugar. Lots. Then I put them in the pie crusts, and made a brown sugar top. If you make your own crust, you can weave the top with extra crust. But what my mom and I do is we mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little oatmeal up, and then we press it on the top in a fairly thick layer, then we bake it covered in foil for a while, until the apples are almost soft, then we take the foil off and bake until the edges are brown. For some reason my apples produced lots and lots of juice, so I had to drain the juice out of the pie several times so that I wouldn't be boiling the pie. This was probably because I forgot to add margarine, but I'm not sure. It was weird, I got a whole bowl of juice, it tasted a little like apple cider. It was appley, and cinnamony, and sweet. A bit too sweet for drinking, in my opinion though.
Sorry about the lack of photos, I was planning on taking a bunch, because the food was really pretty, but I was expecting one guest and the family, but it turned out that we got three extra people, who showed up before I was done cooking, and started eating everything that was done. Even if I had just taken it out of the oven, or just turned the pan off. They usually come late, and come to the done food that's been sitting out for a while, and can eat immediately, but mom wanted dinner later this time, so they were very hungry and the food was not done.

More later with some Chautauqua photos.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Catering job and new camera!

My mom has a friend, and my mom has told her about my blog, all of my cooking, et cetera. My mom also mentioned that I had made freezer meals (Pre-made meals that I make so you can just microwave them for a quick, healthy meal) for my grandpa before. My mom's friend was interested, and we worked something out so that I could do the same for her. I made her and her husband 4 meals of my untraditional jambalaya, four meals of lemony quinoa-vegetable soup, four meals of minestrone soup, ten small breakfast burritos, and a dozen peanut butter-chocolate chip cookies. I charge $9 an hour for labor, and whatever the groceries cost me. For all of that the grocery cost was $23.80, the labor cost was $58.30 (If I had made more it would have been more efficient, and therefore be a better deal, but she just wanted to test it out) So the grand total was $82.30. I really like doing this. I get practice, job experience, something great to put on my resume, extra money, and a whole day of cooking. Sometimes more. I also get feedback, so I can perfect my recipes. So if any of you live in Oregon, and would be interested in something like this, let me know, and maybe we can work something out!
She's loved what she's tried so far, is going to recommend it to a friend, and will be doing this again for sure. And maybe some catering other than freezer meals.

Also, you all know my camera broke recently. Well, it's the day before my brother's birthday, and we got a package in the mail, I assumed it was for my brother, but I looked at it, and realized it was for me! So I opened it up, and there was a brand new camera for me from my grandpa! He reads my blog, and so knew my camera was broken, and was nice enough to get one for me. It's really nice, and I've taken a couple photos, and will probably post them in a few days, but it's late, I'm leaving early in the morning, and will be gone until Friday. So nothing for now, just this post.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roasted vegetables

My mom and I made this, she chopped the veggies, I made the sauce and baked the veggies.

She cut some carrots in thirds, chopped yams into big chunks, some squash from the garden, which I believe is pattypan into large pieces, and eggplant in large pieces.

I'm really liking the combination of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup. They go really well together. So I made a sauce with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, plenty of herbs and garlic, and a tiny bit of soy sauce to kind of mellow out the vinegar a little, but not just water down the sauce.
I put all the veggies on a cookie sheet, brushed them with the sauce, and put them in a 400 degree oven. I flipped them a few times while they cooked, and basted them with the extra sauce once, and they were done when they were tender. They were all wonderful, except the eggplant I don't think did too well. I think next time we won't use eggplant, and maybe we'll add some whole mushrooms and some onion chunks. The yams were especially good, I think they went especially well with the sauce.

Balsamic-maple tofu sandiwich

I marinated some tofu in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup (The real stuff), garlic, and a little soy sauce for an hour or so, then panfried it, basting it occasionally, while also sauteing some mushrooms and onions. Once the tofu was cooked and a little browned, and the mushrooms and onions caramelized, I put them on a toasted whole wheat hoagie roll spread with mustard and vegennaise, with slices of garden beefsteak tomato. It was wonderful! The sweetness of the maple syrup really complimented the acidity of the vinegar, and the flavors also went together really well.

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Without my camera I don't feel really motivated to post.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Very untraditional jambalaya

Most jambalaya recipes are pretty complicated, and dirty up more pans than I want to wash, so what I was going for today was to make a jambalaya, that only dirtied one pan, was pretty simple, and was made with brown rice. And of course vegan. I'm probably breaking jambalaya laws right now, but I don't really care, because this stuff is delicious.

1/2 a large onion
1 small zucchini
1/2 a red bell pepper
small drizzle of oil
1 1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
about 1 cup pasta sauce
2 1/2 cup water (Or more)
2 cups worth of vegetable bullion (Or replace 2 cups of water with vegetable broth)
Various seasonings, to taste (I used Cajun Blackened Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, cumin, dried oregano, and dried basil)
1 roma tomato
2-3 bay leaves

Chop your onion, zucchini, and bell pepper into fairly large chunks, heat up a medium sized pot to medium high heat, and add the small drizzle of oil.
Once the pan is heated, add your chopped veggies, and saute until slightly tender.
Once the veggies are slightly tender, add your brown rice, and mix it up, then add your pasta sauce, stir, and then add your water (Just the 2 1/2 cups) and bullion or vegetable broth.
Add in some seasonings, but don't add to much, because you can always add more, but you can't take it out.
Bring to a boil, and once it's boiling, bring it down to a simmer.
Meanwhile, chop your tomato into large chunks.
Stir the pot occasionally, and let it simmer until most of the water is absorbed. Add you tomatoes, check if it needs more seasoning, and check how tender the rice is, and see if it needs more water. I didn't add enough water to begin with, so I kept adding a little more, so I'm not positive how much I added. Once the seasonings are right, the rice is tender, and the water is absorbed, serve. Some chopped parsley would make a nice garnish. It doesn't taste like traditional jambalaya, but it definitely tasted good. Mmmm. It was good.

Photo from Google Images.

Monday, October 5, 2009


Today I made some curry. I used my purple cauliflower from the Farmer's Market, carrots, green onions (Red onions would probably work better), zucchini, tofu, and basil. (From the Farmer's Market)
The curry was really pretty, with the dark purple from the cauliflower, the white tofu, the bright orange carrots, and the green zucchini and green onions. It made it really pretty, and the broth, or sauce, or whatever you'd like to call the liquid part of the curry was slightly yellow, adding even more color contrast, but it wasn't strong enough to change the colors of the veggies in the curry. The color was really pretty. And of course the curry was delicious over some brown rice.

The purple cauliflower as far as I could tell tasted about the same as regular cauliflower, but was bright purple. I expected it to be one of those things, where raw, it would be a beautiful color, but then you'd cook it, and it would be grayed, and faded, and just look kind of sad. But actually, when I cooked it, it did gray slightly, but it also got darker, and it was still really pretty, even if a slightly different color. So I think, if I'm given the choice, I would choose a purple cauliflower over a white one.