Posts filed under ‘dinner’
I really wanted to MoFo more this month, but things always seem to get in the way. Mainly laziness, but I have at least been taking pictures of the food I’ve been making. Tonight isn’t a real post, except to say that after MoFo is over this time around, I plan on posting regularly, instead of taking another 2 year hiatus. Tonight I leave you with the picture of dinner I took Friday night from this awesome little Vietnamese/Japanese style restaurant called Tao. They make their own tofu, and let me tell you…it is G-O-O-D. They start you off with a mixed green salad topped with roasted almonds and their homemade tofu (on the house!) and then you get a scoop of ice cream for free at the end. Mostly the ice cream isn’t vegan, so instead I get some fresh strawberries and mango slices with fruit sauce on top. Also right next door there is a popsicle shop (Viva Pops) with many vegan flavors (some agave sweetened, even!), so I never feel like I’m missing out.
Aaaannnnyway, Friday I got their string beans with eggplant dish and added braised tofu for 2 bucks. Totally worth it! I mean, look at this beautiful plate of food! The beans are like spaghetti! Pretty sure I will be getting this every time now.
When I had cable, I would pretty much only watch cooking shows, and those mostly on Food Network (surprise!). Giada DeLaurentis was a favorite of mine, as almost all of her recipes were really simple, and therefore easy to veganize. I never saw her make romesco sauce, but whenever I say spaghetti, I either pronounce it spa-ghee-ti out loud or in my head.
Lately I’ve only been buying whole wheat pasta, and while I used to dislike it greatly, I now know that if it’s cooked just right, it can be just as delicious as its less healthy white counterpart. For this recipe I used whole wheat spaghetti (which turned out tasting almost like regular somehow), and based the sauce off the chickpea romesco sauce I made once out of Veganomicon.
I haven’t really looked at the original recipe since then, but this sauce is so versatile it can be made by throwing the basic ingredients in a food processor without measuring too much, then heating it through. I’ve made it with only raw almonds, a mix of roasted and raw almonds, canned plum tomatoes with basil, fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil (added in at the end), dried tarragon (the secret herb my mom always put in her tomato sauce), red pepper flakes, and anywhere from one to three roasted bell peppers. It ALWAYS turns out scrumtrulescently, and can be poured on pretty much anything.
The version pictured above had a higher ratio of almonds to tomatoes than usual, as well as a really big garlic clove that was processed in with everything, so the sauce had to be cooked a bit longer to mellow out the flavor. I LOVE THIS SAUCE!
Next meal plan up: Mexican Chickpea Salad with Coconut Quinoa!
The dressing for this salad is OFF THE HEEZY, folks. Don’t skimp on the adobo, it makes the whole dish! The recipe (man her picture is so much nicer than mine!) calls for jicama, but I sadly couldn’t find any, so I used shaved (then chopped) carrots and cucumber, and LOTS of cilantro. I also doubled the recipe, but take it from me…unless you are a big eater, or are bringing this to a party, don’t double it. The dressing separated after a day and a half and started tasting funky. I really hate throwing food away, especially when it starts out so delicious! Oh, and for the dressing I used thawed frozen mango, a whole bag, which I figured amounted to about two large mangoes, hence the doubling.
The quinoa recipe is simple: 1 cup quinoa, 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk (I used lite), though I would recommend two cups lite coconut milk since the coconut flavor wasn’t very strong.
There is an intruder in this photo named Susu Watari, and though she seems to really love quinoa, I’d say it was more of a casual interest.
This is where I show you my “nerd’s eye view” and tell you how much I love spreadsheets. A lot!
Well, I do…and I have quite a few that are food related. One for restaurants I love and frequent (categorized by distance, price range, ethnicity), one for new restaurants I’d like to try, one for my grocery list, and one for meal planning!
I’ve been cooking a lot more lately, so I decided it would be awesome to have a spreadsheet with a few different categories to help me plan meals. I came up with four basic columns: Protein, Starch, Type of meal, and Ethnicity. I was basing this list off the assumption that I would have a CSA membership and could use whatever produce I had that week, and each week I could use a random number generator to select something from each category for each meal. Each!
My husband, also a huge nerd, was really into my idea, and took it even one step further. He decided to write a computer script for me that would generate 5 meals at a time, without using the same ingredient twice. Unfortunately I have yet to start getting a CSA box, but I have started planning and making meals! Here’s what the script chose for me for last week:
Some of these combinations sound pretty weird, I know, but I mostly use them as inspirational guidelines. For instance, my European baked dish ended up as Lentil Shepherd’s Pie using recipes from Appetite for Reduction, and my American Brunch became Chipotle Chili With Sweet Potatoes And Brussel Sprouts.
Over the next few days I’ll go through all the meals I came up with using my awesome spreadsheet/script, but in the meantime, here’s a soy-ginger-garlic broth based soup I made for my sick husband last week. (Finally started using a real camera again, hooray!)
Asian style soup for the sick – with broccoli, sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, and freshly cooked chickpeas! The broth is a mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, veggie broth, and green onions, strained.
I’ll be out of town Saturday – Tuesday, so just in case I don’t get a chance to blog (really don’t think I will), I’m counting this as my second MoFo post. Accept it!
I’ve eaten Mexican-style food at least once a day for the past, oh, I don’t know, 5 days now, but somehow I don’t get sick of it! Here’s what I made for dinner that has also been my lunch this week (boy I really gotta start using a camera that’s NOT my phone):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Chipotle Field Roast sausage links, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups short grain brown rice (uncooked)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can roasted and chopped green chiles
5 cups water
1 vegan bouillon cube or equivalent
1 can pinto beans (or equivalent amount fresh cooked beans)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan, or in my case, dutch oven
Add onion, cook until translucent
Add salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano, cook for about a minute
Add sausage, cook until crispy and browned on one or both sides
Add garlic, cook until soft (a minute or so)
Add rice, mix in and toast for a minute or two
Add tomatoes with juice and chiles, stir to deglaze pan
Add water and bouillon, bring to a low boil
Cook for 15 minutes
Add pinto beans with liquid
Cover pot, simmer for 45 minutes to an hour until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked to your liking. Depending on how long you simmer, it will start off as a really thick stew, and over time become more of a creamy rice dish. If you’d rather have a dryer rice dish, add less water, and you should be good to go.
I topped each bowl with salsa since I had neither lime juice nor cilantro in the house, which I would have added otherwise. I used my favorite salsa in the whole world, locally made La Salsa Chilena. If you get a chance to try this stuff, DO IT!! For added nutrients, I’d throw in some greens or have salad or broccoli on the side next time.
Last week was restaurant week in San Diego, and though most of the menus weren’t very vegan friendly, I did manage to find one place with 3 vegan options. My husband and I went, he got a 3 course meal, I got 2 courses, and we shared his dessert. Oh, you want to know the restaurant? Indigo Grill!
Please excuse my fairly awful cellphone pictures.
My first course was this INSANE beet salad:
Description: orange segments, shaved fennel, lime-caraway dressing, dried beet chips (plus GIGANTIC roasted beet chunks/slices)
This picture may not make the salad look huge, but trust me, it was enough for FOUR people as a first course.
My main course was Good Things Growing
Description from website: Indian corn pudding, baked whole butternut squash with bourbon-pecan butter, caramelized plantain, honey roasted garlic, flatbread, pipan tofu with mole negro
Veganized version (pictured above): Butternut squash, roasted root veggies, grilled tofu (only one piece sadly), stuffed spicy pepper with pickled onions, caramelized plantains, roasted garlic, mixed greens with sliced pear.
Dessert was three types of really good sorbet: strawberry guava, grapefruit, and tangerine.
Overall, the meal was better than average, but nothing to get too excited about. If they actually veganized everything on the normal “Good Things Growing” plate, I have a feeling I would be dwelling on how good it was. In reality, nothing on the plate was especially memorable, and probably not worth $24. The beet salad, however, was only $10, and well worth it! Next time, I’ll ask to add grilled tofu and let that be my whole meal.
What? Am I really updating this blog after 2 years? I guess so! Why? Someone asked for a recipe of something I made for dinner last night! Reason enough for me.
Anyway, I don’t have a picture, but here’s what I made:
Whole-wheat rotelli with ancho-chile cashew cream sauce, kale, grape tomatoes, and chipotle Field Roast sausage
For the cashew cream sauce:
2-3 small ancho chiles
juice of one lime
handful of cilantro
2 or so cups soaked raw cashew pieces (soak raw cashews in hot water for at least an hour, or any temp water overnight)
2.5 – 3 cups veggie broth (I use rapunzel brand vegan bouillon cubes)
4 cloves roasted or sauteed garlic
teaspoon or so of salt
To make the sauce!
1. Roast the chiles. I did this over my open gas burner, but you can do in the oven.
If you want the sauce to be spicy, leave in some seeds! I took them out, but would leave some in next time.
Then roughly chop them.
2. Blend up cashews, lime, and broth until fairly smooth. Add in the garlic, cilantro, and peppers and blend again until totally smooth. (This might take a few minutes!)
3. Transfer the sauce to a pan and cook on medium heat until thickened to your liking (this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes). Transfer the sauce to another container so you can use the same pan to cook the kale. Don’t worry about the pan being clean, you can cook the kale with a little bit of sauce!
For the rest:
1 bag whole wheat rotelli or other small pasta
1 bunch kale, rinsed
a couple large handfuls of grape tomatoes, rinsed
juice of 1 lime
another handful of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
2 field roast chipotle sausages (optional)
1. Start boiling water for pasta.
2. Chop up kale into medium sized pieces (including stalks)
3. Heat pan on high and throw in the kale right away (a little bit of water is fine) making sure any leftover sauce in the pan doesn’t burn
4. Toss kale with lime juice and cook for a minute or two
5. Add grape tomatoes and cilantro, stir, and continue cooking until kale stalks are tender
Whenever water starts boiling, add pasta and cook for 5-7 minutes
In the meantime, pan-fry or grill sausages until crisp on the outside. Tear or chop up into bite-sized pieces.
After everything is done cooking, mix up as much sauce as you want with pasta, kale, and tomatoes. You can also toss in the sausages, but they have a strong flavor, so I ended up serving them on the side with more sauce.
Saturday was my birthday. If you know me well, you’d know that I don’t usually ask for gifts, and if someone is insistent on giving me something, I’ll usually ask for it to be food related. This year all I wanted was an amazing dinner from Madeleine Bistro, my favorite fancy vegan restaurant in southern California.
When I saw they had a six course prix fixe meal available, I knew that would be the best gift my b-fri could give me, aside from driving the three hours to and from (you are the bestest!), and taking pictures of every course. It was very dark in there, so it’s amazing the pictures came out the way they did! Thanks to an excellent photographer and a big fancy camera.
There were six people there altogether, and to my surprise every single one of them got the six course meal, and every single course was DELICIOUS. Insanity!
Ok, ok, enough rambling on. Here are pictures and descriptions!
Soup course: Butternut squash bisque with spiced apple and fried sage leaves
(Other soup was french onion with croutons and “farmer’s cheese,” but I’d had that before so I didn’t get it this time)
Salad course: Tea-smoked tofu over mixed greens and sea lettuces – pardon the half-eaten-ness
(Other salads included Mixed greens with pomegranate and quinoa, and green papaya with ginger and peanuts)
Third course: Kaesespaetzle (German Mac ‘n’ Cheese with bacon bits) – this gets a special mention. I’ve never had vegan mac and cheese that tasted so close to the real thing. And no hint of nutritional yeast!! I will pay a million dollars to get the recipe. Soon as I win the lottery, of course.
Other third course: Artichoke and asparagus risotto with black kale
Fourth course: Gnocchi with creme sauce, black kale, sundried tomatoes, and olives
Fifth course: Red beet tartare with tofu cheese crouton – I’m convinced this is the best thing on earth, so even though I already posted a picture of this, I’m doing it again.
(Other fifth course not pictured was some out of this world grilled king oyster mushroom dish.)
Other fifth course: Chicken-fried seitan with mashed potatoes and gravy – best seitan ever.
Dessert course: Holiday pie trio with cinnamon ice cream – There was supposed to be apple pie on this plate, but some lucky customer had picked up a whole apple pie, so there are two pieces of pumpkin and one piece of pecan here.
Other dessert course: Chocolate souffle with raw vanilla ice cream – don’t ask me how he makes the souffle without eggs. It’s a miracle!
Alas, it will be a long time before I have a meal like this again. My food budget thanks me, as I’m sure my b-fri’s wallet does.
On another note, my lovely friend Elisa was there and got me a ravioli maker, some mini spatulas, and a few personal deep dish pizza pans as gifts, so expect an Italian themed post to match!
Since the last time I posted (VeganMofo ’09 fail) I’ve made a few pretty awesome meals, and gotten only one good picture from it all. I’ll tell you about the menus anyway!
Homemade “Asian” marinated seitan, pan-fried and served over brown rice with fresh broccoli and peanut sauce. Mango coconut milk smoothie. I think I had half a can of lite coconut milk during this meal. Hello fat!
Chestnut-lentil pate served with tart, thinly sliced apple, and ciabatta toasts,
Cauliflower and garlic stuffed mushrooms, adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance; basically replaced the seitan with cauliflower at Isa’s suggestion (picture follows, sorry for the blurriness!),
Roasted asparagus (olive oil, salt, and freshly cracked pepper),
Broccoli potato soup with fresh herbs, also from VCon. I used Fresh cilantro and parsley instead of dill and mint, and
Pumpkin cake (from VCon without the struesel topping) with Tofutti cream cheese frosting.
Last night’s dinner was:
Bruschetta (fresh tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper) with grilled french bread,
Roasted asparagus, and
A minestrone type soup. I went crazy with the pasta at the end though, so it was more like a pasta stew. Ingredients included:
1 large onion
2 large cloves garlic
1 small stalk celery
1 large roma tomato (no canned tomatoes in the house, otherwise I would have used them!)
2 or so pinches dried oregano, 1 pinch marjoram
Salt and pepper
6 cups veggie broth (made from my favorite no salt bouillon cubes)
Too much farfalle (bowtie, butterfly) pasta
I also received some amazing homemade granola bars for my birthday from my friend Sarah, who is starting Woodside Bakehouse. Everything she touches turns to edible gold! But, you know, like, in a tasty way.
Ok, I know I haven’t had anything fancy to post lately, even with my insufferable insomnia the past couple days (I went to bed at 6am this morning! WTF, mates?) but tonight, with a little help from Ina Garten and the Food Network, I have some beautiful stuff to show you!
Sometimes, when the Barefoot Contessa isn’t filling her food with butter and cheese and meat, she makes some drool-worthy dishes. This roasted butternut squash and arugula salad is one of those. My stomach rumbled when I saw her make it, and it’s a perfect autumn salad, especially for a San Diegan who’s still complaining about the heat (IE me).
I didn’t need to make many substitutions. In fact, I would only have had to leave out the parmesan or make dairy free parmesan to make it vegan in the first place, but I thought some ingredients were a bit unnecessary. And by unnecessary I mean I didn’t have them in my house and I didn’t want to go to the store to get them.
So, as usual, my list of recipe changes:
1. Left out the apple juice/cider in the dressing. The squash was already super sweet, like, caramelized, from roasting with maple syrup. That Ina loves her sugar! I did add a bit more maple syrup to the dressing though.
2. Used garlic instead of shallots.
3. Used candied pecans (that I happened to have lying around from a month or so ago), which were really awesome.
4. I guess I used “good” olive oil? This is one of the things I hate most about Ina Garten. She always says to use “good olive oil” or “good vanilla extract” or “good butter.” Does “good” mean imported? Expensive? Extra fattening?
The sandwich accompanying the salad is a delicious Chickpea-Hijiki sammich, my favorite tuna substitution, courtesy of Vegan with a Vengeance. Since there’s apple cider vinegar in that, too, it complimented the salad nicely. Thanks to the b-fri for the beautiful pic, even with such low lighting!