Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saturday Night Out and Sunday Barbecue Chik’n

Saturday we visited our new Ethiopian restaurant, Aster’s. I took my camera, but the food came to the table so quickly and it was so beautiful that we all just starting eating and didn’t get a picture! I did find a picture on the internet, though, and I promise our food looked exactly like this.

It was so awesome, similar to Indian food, but quite a bit spicier with a few more veggies offered. All nonmeat items are vegan (there are 15!), so the menu was easy. None of us were sure how much we liked the injera. It was a lot more sour than I’m used to in a bread. But we will definitely go back to Aster’s.

Although it was rainy and not exactly an ice cream type of evening, I had already decided it was time to try Oatscreme. We went to Dhaba Joy, a small vegan bakery that also serves Oatscreme.

I couldn’t hold my ice cream cone and snap a picture, but I can say that Oatscreme is smooth and creamy, and the vanilla is better than the chocolate (I got a swirl). We also got 2 to-go items, an Oat and Blueberry coffee cake that was really good….

and a Whoopie Pie that was so sweet it hurt your teeth.

Next time we’ll try a brownie.

For Sunday dinner I made Chik’n Seitan from LDV, then went ahead and baked it in homemade barbecue sauce to be sure it held up on the grill. We put some onions and a yellow pepper on the grill too. The chik’n was a little dense, but really tasty.

On the side was Fattoush.

The recipe I found on the ‘net said it was from Bryanna’s Almost No Fat Cookbook. I couldn’t use purslane a/k/a pigweed because I’m allergic to it when it pollinates in the fall, so I used watercress instead. It was deliciously different, with romaine, arugula, watercress, and mint. And the pita croutons are so good!

We also had the ususal broccoli, this time with cauliflower.

And a beautiful yellow rice with black beans from this recipe. The beans had chipotles in them and this too turned out to be a really good dish.

For dessert I made a revamped version of my recipe for Urban Vegan’s contest, Extreme Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Tart with Caramel Sauce. Instead of tartlets, which I decided was too much pastry, I made a regular size tart. It’s so chocolate-y good!

Yes, I’m now on a diet.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lots of Veggies and 2 Vive Recipes for Father’s Day

Here’s what I’ve made this past very busy week:

Sauteed leftover kabob veggies.

Scarlet runner beans from the farmers market – my favorite (next to broccoli).

Sunny delite squash from the farmers market with broccoli and onions. The squash and skin were soft and delicious!

Asparagus with apricot vinaigrette (apricot all fruit jam, red wine vinegar, garlic, S&P). The vinaigrette was good, but plain ol’ asparagus tastes better to me. I eat them like breadsticks.

I'll call this corny guacamole – it started out to be chowder (avocado, corn, and almond milk - a recipe from Veg Times), but then I decided to just add some chili powder and cumin to the corn and mashed avocado. It was good, cold, spicy, crunchy guacamole.

I spent Father’s Day with my dad, mom, and brother. For dinner, my dad barbecued ribs and corn on the cob. My mom made an excellent fruit salad. I made a family size tossed salad.

It has mixed greens and broccoli slaw, steamed broccoli and onions, avocados, strawberries, and an assortment of chopped nuts. It was really good and even better with my mom’s fruit salad added to it.

I made myself Chickpea Ratatouille from Vive le Vegan.

It’s so easy to put together and tastes great, which is a good thing because it makes a bunch! The mustard seeds in the spice mix really give it a unique flavor. I had it over brown rice.

I made Chase and his dad Pineapple Lemon Bars, also from Vive. I added some lovely organic strawberries to it. I got 2 pounds of organic, perfect strawberries for $2.99!

It smelled so good, but I didn’t get to taste it and Chase forgot to come get it, so it’s in the freezer waiting for someone to eat it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday Grilled Kabobs

We finally got to grill! Grilled kabobs are our favorite and this dinner was so much better than my pictures reflect. We had veggie and tofu kabobs, homemade pinto beans, broccoli and rice casserole, homemade bread, and homemade ice cream. Kind of like you’d have on the 4th of July.

Sunday morning I marinated tofu, onions, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and new potatoes. We each skewered our favorite items to make our own personal kabobs. We threw a couple of poblano peppers on too. Chase manned the grill.

I made pinto beans, cooked with onions on the stove top.

I made super delicious Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread from Celine’s fabulous recipe. I mixed mine in the bread machine, then baked it in the oven. I think I can get an even better rise next time by mixing the wet ingredients before putting them in my very old machine. Everyone RAVED over this bread. Thanks so much, Celine! (Sorry it's not plated!)

I made a Broccoli Rice Casserole by precooking the rice and broccoli, and using Jess’s low fat version of New Farm Mac n Cheez. It worked out just as I had hoped.

Chase grilled everything perfectly. He even got crispy edges on the tofu, just like he likes. Here’s our table and Chase’s first plate.

How did we eat all this……

…. and still have room for homemade ice cream? I made Cinnamon Ice Cream by adding in a teaspoon of cinnamon to Agnes’ Lazy Vanilla recipe. After 20 minutes I added in a basket of farmers market blueberries and some broken pieces of Anna’s Blueberry Thins. I read that Anna was taking out the trans fats and adding in whey, so I decided to buy some before they become unvegan. (Why can’t they be healthy AND vegan!) I thought I would call this Blueberry Muffin Ice Cream, but actually the cookies are so thin they almost disintegrated. But it was yummy yummy nonetheless. My ice cream maker began to overflow, so the first scoop wasn’t quite as cold as the rest and is melting quickly.

We also put some ice cream into a bowl and topped it with the Peach Syrup I bought at Whole Foods. I’m hoping Amey will post her strawberry peach ice cream recipe soon so I can make that flavor next.

I forgot to get Chase more snack bars for school when I went shopping, so I baked him some. I used the Vegan Lunch Box recipe for Fruit and Nut Bars, using dried cherries, craisins, peanuts, and pistachios. They looked like Christmas bars! Next time I will add some cinnamon and vanilla as the recipe has no spices in it.

Vegan grilling is the best because:

1. You can use the same platter to carry the uncooked food to the grill and the cooked food to the table;

2. You can use any leftover marinade without boiling the heck out of it; and

3. The above two reasons = less dishes, always a good thing!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Nada Moo – When Having a Cow is Out of the Question!

Don’t you love it! Nada Moo is an Austin based vegan ice cream maker on it’s way to going national, mostly via Whole Foods. More on it in a minute, but first can I just reiterate how cool my city is? After a horrible start to the weekend – Chase’s car getting hit, his third time to be a victim of hit and run (I know, totally uncool), and my car having a dead battery – I had the best time on Saturday.

While my dad fixed my car, my mom and I headed out for a trip to the Farmers Market and Whole Foods. The Farmers Market was celebrating its 10th birthday. I learned earlier in the week that it’s ranked in the top ten in the country! The founder and director moved here from Hollywood where she used to hang out with star kids and babysit Charlie Sheen. She also had an organic produce company and sold her goods to top chefs including Wolfgang Puck and Roy Yamaguchi. Last year the market grossed $2 million, and it’s only open on Saturdays! On this Saturday, local chefs set up and served samples from their restaurants. The Lake Austin Spa chef was serving an awesome Tomato Peach Gazpacho, but sadly he wasn’t handing out his recipe. I picked out just a few things, a giant zucchini, blueberries, a beautiful sunny delight squash, and carrots with extra long tops for Smokey.

Next stop Whole Foods. They were having a peach festival and there were samples all over the place. One thing I wanted to get was vegan ice cream cones, which I found. I also got the perfect take-to-class bar for Chase and this awesome peach sauce.

The peach sauce is local and fabulous, but for $5.69 a bottle, I’m sure a homemade version would be just as good. The ingredients are simply peaches, sugar, and almond extract. The peach sauce was served with Nada Moo vanilla.

Nada Moo ice cream is so incredibly good. Why? The base is coconut milk. They have a website, but they were passing out these cards so I shot pics of it to show you their information.

I hope you don’t have to wait too long to try it because you are truly missing out on some seriously good eats!

Later in the day I took to Chase to shop at the Asian market. I picked up this huge bunch of asparagus. The beans shown with it are from the farmers market. They are my favorite green bean – scarlet runner beans. I don’t see them here very often so I was thrilled to find them.

Later we stopped at Bombay Express and I got this grilled veggie sandwich.

You can’t really tell, but it’s got three pieces of bread, which to me makes it a bread sandwich. One half had onions and peppers and the other half had potatoes. The green sauce must have been jalapeno because it seemed really hot, even for me! I took off one piece of bread and added a Southwest burger, then I had a great sandwich.

I’m looking forward to finally having a grilled dinner tonight. I hope you all have a fantastic Sunday!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Super Slaw, Yummy Raw, Roasted Cabbage, and Muffins

This Chickpea Slaw is fantastic.

Put into a large bowl 1½ cups broccoli slaw (or cabbage), ½ cup grated carrots, some sundried tomatoes, chopped fresh tomato, 1 can chickpeas, one diced avocado, and some chopped fresh chives. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and some salt and pepper and mix altogether. It’s definitely the avocado that makes this slaw so good.

I’m always up for a new way to enjoy broccoli, so I had to give Kati’s raw broccoli a try.

I let it marinate for about three hours and had it for dinner after yoga class. Give it a try – it’s great! I ate it plain, but thought about adding it to a salad.

Raw Banana Ice Cream Treat – not too pretty, but delicious and satisfying.

One frozen banana, ¼ cup oats, a few chopped dates, raw pistachios (my new favorite snack), and raw chocolate nibs. I’ve discovered I don’t need to cook oats anymore. I just let them soak a few seconds in rice milk or the juice of my chopped fruits, and I can get my “cereal before bed” fix. It’s like the opposite of the beer commercial – “Less taste, more filling.”

I found a recipe on the net for Roasted Cabbage.

Apparently it was in Martha’s Everyday Food magazine. I roasted some mushrooms with it. It would probably look better with green cabbage, but I love purple and always buy it instead. Before roasting it’s tossed with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and after roasting, with some balsamic vinegar. I ate it, but I’m not sure how much I liked it. It was in the oven almost an hour and really not worth that much time. Maybe some of you could give it a better flavor and enjoy it.

I also made some Banana and Dried Plum Muffins.

That’s right – I like prunes! When is the last time you had prunes? Do you like them too? I made this batch low fat and low sugar, but I also used gluten free flour mix, and I wasn’t thrilled with the texture. I’ll try it again with whole wheat pastry flour and if it turns out better, I’ll post the recipe.

My second yoga class was better. I didn’t fidget, but I still have trouble letting go at the end of class. See, I never sit at home, unless it’s here at the computer. I always figure there’s something I should be up and doing. That’s why I never watch shows on tv or go to movies. I think it’s great when other people enjoy them. It just seems like a waste of time for me, unless it’s informational like news, health, food, travel. Anyway, when I got bored with relaxing at the end of class, I started to think about what to have for dinner when I got home. I thought of broccoli. A big hunk of broccoli. A hunka chunka broccoli. “A hunka chunka broccoli” played over and over in my head. I have never said that before in my life! My head must be a real mess. (Amey, I think I need help!) I appreciate all of you sharing your yoga experiences and giving me encouragement.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Another Indian Meal and First Yoga Class

Sorry it’s Indian food again, but I promise they aren’t repeats!

As of the last post, Chase and I were in for a long, miserable weekend. He had no a/c in his apartment and his car was in the shop. We got the car back Sunday afternoon and the air conditioning was fixed on Monday evening. Chase and Smokey both came over to stay with me as long as they needed. I made Smokey a place in a bedroom closet. Chase read his textbook to him while I started our Indian dinner.

It was 94 degrees out. We were hot, hungry, tired, and short on time since we didn’t get Chase’s car picked up until around 4:00. I looked through my cookbooks for dishes to fix that required few ingredients and little prep time. I liked most of what I picked out. Chase loved everything and ate like a champ. The entrĂ©e was Madhur Jaffrey’s Aloo Gobi. And just like Bazu said, no onions or garlic in this dish.

For the sides, Indian Veggie Salad from Vegetarian Cuisine from South India – carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, corn, and green pepper, and all the usual spices. This would have been great if the bell pepper hadn’t been bitter. I added balsamic vinegar to the leftovers to made them edible.

Tomato Rice with Spinach from Rice and Spice – Basmati rice with diced tomatoes, onions, and fresh spinach – very yummy.

Peas Poriyal from Vegetarian Cuisine from South India – “Poriyal” is a dry curry, so this is just peas, spices, and toasted coconut. This dish was nice on its own, and really good when eaten with the aloo gobi and rice.

We also got some naan bread from “Curry in a Hurry.”

I must admit dessert was my favorite part of this meal – Oatmeal-Peanut Bars from Peanut Butter Planet. I had leftover ground chocolate chips to sprinkle on top.

These bars were moist and peanutty, and if I had made a nice chocolate glaze for the top, they would have been perfection.

Finally, I have to tell you that I had my first yoga class Monday night! I was really looking forward to it after my not so productive or relaxing weekend. I absolutely loved it. I’m taking the Beginner’s Series, and I’ll be going on Monday and Wednesday nights for 4 weeks. I’m still going to my trainer on Tuesday evenings too. At Monday’s class I learned that I am a very tense person and my sister may be right when she says I have ADD. I have such trouble being still. When learning poses, I would get bored and begin to fidget because I was ready to move on. I got really mad at the end of class when we were supposed to be totally relaxed and I realized how tense my face was. I was mad that I had to be told to relax my jaws and my eyes, because I thought they were relaxed. I began to think about all the things I needed to do when I got home at 9:30. I was finally able to relax again, and I promise you I felt my sinuses drain out of their cavities and what seemed like out of the back of my head and right onto the mat. But then I got in traffic on the way home and I was all tense again.

I’m not quite adjusted to getting home late Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. I promise to visit you all soon!


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Salad Daze

This cold salad meal turned out to be the correct call Friday night when Chase found himself without air conditioning in his new apartment. He couldn’t leave Smokey and come over, so I took a sampling of these delicious salads to him. I’ve included my recipes, but they are perfectly suited to adapting to your own tastes. I made them a day ahead and let them sit overnight for maximum flavor.

Sesame Ginger Slaw. This slaw is so easy to put together using store bought ingredients.

Mix together one package broccoli slaw, ½ cup alfalfa sprouts, a handful of grapes, and ¼ cup Litehouse Sesame Ginger Dressing (which as best I can determine is vegan).

Millet Salad. The was my favorite. The key to this flavorful salad is to toast the millet before cooking it in vegetable broth.

Mix together 1 cup cooked and cooled millet, 1 or 2 Roma tomatoes, ½ cup fresh greens, and ¼ cup chopped onion. Make a dressing of equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil (I used 1 tablespoon), and a pinch of salt, and pour over the millet mixture. Top with mashed avocado (or sliced, if yours isn’t too mushy!) and serve over a bed of more greens. I think some olives and tofu feta would be a nice addition. Quinoa instead of millet would work well too.

3 Bean Salad. Another simple recipe that is so filling and flavorful.

Mix together ½ pound steamed green beans, 1 can red beans, 1 can chickpeas, chopped onion, and fresh parsley. Make a dressing of 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons agave nectar, salt and pepper and pour over beans. Serve chilled.

Tofu Salad . Everyone has their own favorite version of this one. Chase and I don’t like celery or mayo, so here’s my spicy version.

Mix together 1 pound crumbled firm tofu, 4 or 5 chopped green onions, and ½ cup grated carrots. For the dressing I mixed together approximately 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon wasabi mustard, 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, salt, and black and crushed red pepper. Serve on bread with lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

I made these into sandwiches on whole grain buns, then made my delivery.

It was 90 degrees today, but Chase’s balcony was nice and cool with a pleasant breeze. Smokey has spent plenty of time out there too. I came home and made myself a salad plate.

Here’s one more salad for you to try. Raw Tabbouleh from Dr. Stonielove. This is seriously good and lends itself to lots of variations as well. I added carrots, and later added cilantro and used it as a green salad topping.

We’re up early this morning for repair work on Chase’s car. Hopefully his apartment a/c will be fixed sometime today. Things aren’t going so well for him, huh? I’ll have to come up with a great Sunday dinner to cheer him up.

Stay cool!