Monday, November 05, 2007

Cookbook Cooking

It’s been a long time between posts, but Chase didn’t get to taste all this food I’ve been cooking until tonight. I’ve been working and reworking this long post for 2 days now, so here goes.

Saturday I was so tired from the work week I could barely get myself to the grocery store. I finally did my shopping, then stayed home most of the day to watch football and when my energy returned I broke out the new cookbooks.

Cumin Lime Tofu from ED&BV

This has a great smoky flavor and Chase really enjoyed it. It paired very nicely with the stirfry I made.

Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup from Veganomicon

I don’t even like eggplant, but this is about the best soup I’ve ever had. Chase said “wow” after every bite. It’s so rich and incredibly flavorful. I had to alter the ingredients just slightly. Since I didn’t have any shallots on hand, I used yellow onions. Then when the recipe later asked me to add onions, I subbed grated carrots. No matter. You really must make this soup!

Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions from Veganomicon

This is a good recipe, but it is definitely a side dish, or rather an “underneath” dish, like good for holding up veggies. The recipe instructions are a little out of whack. You are instructed to add cloves, but cloves are not listed as an ingredient, and also to add the allspice twice. (I was told this was an editorial issue and cloves are NOT an ingredient.) It is a nice change from plain old rice or plain old lentils and I will make it again. Chase and I both agreed the caramelized onions are a nice touch.

On a side note, Sunday Chase and I went to the Lone Star Vegetarian (actually vegan) Chili Festival. It was held at the Austin Zoo. This was the 19th annual state cookoff and most of the offerings were very good. Chase and I had never been to our zoo, which is actually an open air rescue facility. We’ve never enjoyed visiting caged animals, but we did walk along the paths to see lions, leopards, giant turtles, monkeys, etc. It was heartbreaking to read about many of the animals being rescued from research labs. I did take a picture of this colorful, proud rooster, roaming free and not realizing how silly he actually looks when he struts.

One of my favorite finds at the festival was this coloring book – it’s so ME!

And my favorite page from the book.

Another find at the Chili Fest was Vegan Noodle and her new hubby! I recognized her immediately from the wedding pictures she posted. Chase and I went and introduced ourselves and we chatted amidst the humidity and swarming bees. We enjoyed meeting you both, Noodle!

After nibbling on brown mushy (but tasty!) chili in the afternoon, I was ready for some crunchy, colorful, fresh veggies for dinner. I made Coconut Ginger Vegetables from ExtraVeganZa. This is made with purple cabbage, broccoli, red peppers, kale, onions, and carrots in a coconut milk, ginger, and cumin sauce. I left out the cashews and served it over soba noodles instead of udon. Very nicely flavored, and again, it paired well with Dreena’s tofu.

I left the cashews out of my stirfry, because for dessert I made….

Apple Peanut Caramel Bars from Veganomincon.

November 1st was my second veganniversary and I wanted a special treat for the occasion. Graham cracker crust, a layer of apples, and peanut butter caramel sauce topping. Not the prettiest of desserts, but one of the tastiest for any peanut butter lover.

Some suggestions for you if you make these bars:

Peel the apples. It is difficult to cut through the baked apple peels when serving.

Work quickly with the caramel sauce. It cools fast and makes getting a smooth “ribbon” of topping nearly impossible. You may even want to reheat it once or twice to ease the task.

If you are truly a peanut lover, you will use extra chunky peanut butter in the sauce and add some chopped peanuts to the topping.

Lastly, have ice creme on hand. We warmed our servings slightly and wished for a spoonful of vanilla Good Karma alongside it.

I had to put half a pan of leftovers in the freezer because Chase wouldn’t take all of it home with him – for fear of eating it all later tonight. I hope it holds up!

Finally, and especially for Veggie Girl, my own recipe for Gluten Free Carob Cookies. These are cakey little cookies made with brown rice flour, quinoa flakes, and roasted carob powder. This was Chase’s second favorite food of the night, the soup of course taking first place.

Gluten Free Carob Cookies

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together the dry ingredients:
1 ¼ cups brown rice flour
¼ cup roasted carob powder (or raw if that’s what you have)
1 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. xantham gum (optional, but helps the gluten free flour hold together)

Separately whisk together the wet ingredients:
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup sugar free applesauce
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly.

Stir in:
1 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup favorite chopped nuts
1/4 cup carob chips

Use your cookie scoop to drop batter onto the baking sheets. Do not flatten. Bake for 15 minutes or until just set and slightly crisp on the edges. Let cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies. Save some for the next day or two because they keep getting better.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks so much if you read it all the way through!


Anonymous said...

wow, what a beautiful post! did you change your camera? those photos look beautiful - of course, that's because your foods are beautiful... by the way, i like the new layout, too!

Celine said...

I lovelovelove the new banner you chose! and thank you so much for the tips re: the apple PB bars. I've been eyeing them longingly ever since I got the book.

Vegan_Noodle said...

A long post indeed, but a fun one. Like Celine mentioned, I love the new banner! Definitely fits you :-) I am am trying to find the time to design a new one as well, seems many people are updating their blog look.

Onto the food....I am not and eggplant fan either, so I should try that soup as well! Those Apple PB caramel bars look like quite the treat, what a perfect way to celebrate your second veganniversary!!

It was wonderful to meet you and Chase!!

Anonymous said...

OMG ! That tofu, that soup, your carob cookies!
I have this great big bag of carob chips that I have been eating by the handful (shhh!) so I can try your recipe ! Can't wait!
Thanks !
Superbe pictures !

Judy said...

I hope Chase knows how lucky he is - I'd spend a day in his shoes any time!

It all looks wonderful, and I am totally drooling over those apple caramel bars. Oh, and the carob cookies. And the eggplant soup. Ok, so all of it!

Kayla said...

Happy belated veganniversary! The apple pb bars look soo good. Definately something I could get in to. I can't wait for my book. I wish I would have seen you guys at the festival. I was keeping my eyes peeled for anyone familiar, but never spotted anyone. It was just so crowded.

Emilie said...

Happy veganniversary! I'm caramel crazed at the moment and would have totally chosen some kind of caramel treat to celebrate with as well. Everything looks delectable!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness once again, I am left with my mouth watering after reading one of your fabulous food-filled (how's THAT for alliteration, haha), posts!! The Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup, Lentils & Rice with Caramelized Onions, and the Apple Peanut Caramel Bars look amazing!! BUT, my favorite is of COURSE the gluten-free carob cookies!! yum!! I HAVE to try the recipe for sure!! thank you for posting it :0)

The Austin Zoo sounds great - especially since you got to meet Amanda/Vegan Noodle! And that coloring book is too cute!! :0)

Oh and happy 2nd veganniversary!! I can't wait until I can celebrate mine as well (I've only been vegan for 8 months so far though, so I have a little ways to go - but I know I'll get there!)

Sheree' said...

Hi Diann,
Sounds like you have a great time at the chili fest and getting to meet noodle is so cool. I was jealous when I read about everyone going. On to you food. Yum! I want all the new books that are out. So much to cook and so little time. I love the coconut ginger stirfry. My kind of dish. The rice sounds good too. I cooked up 6 cups of brown rice the other day and I feel like I am brown riced out, but with these added yummies I might be able to eat some more. Hubby will be thrilled with this new cookie recipe. He is on a cookie binge. :o) Brandie just bought some carob so I will send this to her also. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I do appreciate the caring thoughts. How is Smokey?

Ashasarala said...

Everything looks so yummy!

I love that coloring book: 'Animals are my friends. I don't eat my friends.' That line tickled me pink! Classic! ;)

Anonymous said...

Your new banner is great! That cookbook is awesome. I've been on the fence about getting Veganomicon because I rarely cook from the cookbooks I have already. I tend to gravitate toward recipes online that people can rate or write about. But after hearing your review of the soup - I'm thinking I really must get it now.

Anonymous said...

"How in the world did you find time to open Viva Granola?!! "

I have no idea Diann! Seriously ! LOL
Thanks <3

Mihl said...

Thank you for trying my amaranth muffins and a very belated happy 2nd veganniversary!
After seeing your pictures I will definitely try the veganomicon soup. I am so easy to influence by great food pics!
Your veganniversary treat looks like the best treat in the world and sounds even better. I have an eye on those bars, too and thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

I love the new banner you chose!! the food looks great as always, thanks for the tips.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Happy Veganniversary! What a delicious way to celebrate!

I wish I could've made it to the chili cook-off. That coloring book title is hilarious!

Christine said...

oh man, now I'm going to have to make that soup from Veganomicon! I just got my copy this week and don't even know where to start :) I'm not a huge eggplant lover either, so your review has got me intrigued.

bazu said...

Happy veganniversary and lovely new banner! Do you know that I think of you every time I eat broccoli? And sometimes I realize I haven't had broccoli in too long and ask "what would Diann say?" lol!
How cool that you met Vegan Noodle- you Texas bloggers are all cooking up a storm!
I can attest to the wonderfulness of that eggplant soup- my friend made it and shared some with me. Everything is so subtle (it doesn't scream "eggplant!" or "peanut butter!") and yet the flavor is SO strong, assertive, and wonderful. A+

JENNA said...

All the food looks great. I dont care for eggplant much either and have been eyeing that soup recipe ever since I got the book..i'll have to give it a try.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

The Little Chocolate-covered vegan-- I love it :o).

laura k said...

Definitely going to try those carob gluten-free cookies... they sound so yummy!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks great. I've been on a mission to find a great veggie chili so I'm so envious that you got to go to a veg chili cook-off. How cool is that?!

Anonymous said...

whenever i cook with red cabbage, it turns everything i cook it with purple? how did you avoid that?