Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gigantinormous Bowl + Waffles.

About 15 minutes from our house is a charming little shop called Shoppe of Shalom. It is owned and run, interestingly enough, by relatives of some friends I had during my time in Idaho as a child. What a small world.

Anyway, it has been my dream for many years to own a Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl. I have memories of visiting friends during my childhood who had such bowls and watching my friends’ mothers deftly tossing popcorn in these bowls to coat them with the butter and toppings, and I wanted to be such a skilled popcorn genius as this myself. (I love popcorn. I love it best with olive oil, salt, and onion powder.)

So, for our third anniversary, my husband and I went to the Shoppe of Shalom and treated ourselves to a Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl.

The cat was fascinated by his reflection, and my daughter found it to be a wonderful depository for her inflatable beach ball. I didn’t get too many chances to actually use it for popcorn, however, because we didn’t often have popcorn when we had ravenous hordes at our house. It’s even been used as a camping bathtub for my daughter during the summertime.

Then we moved from our deliciously spacious townhouse to this 29-foot travel trailer, as I’ve previously discussed, and I find that in my limited space I’ve actually used the bowl more often than I did in my big kitchen. I’ve mixed granola in it, and filled it with snow during a snowstorm-caused power outage to melt for water, and made quadruple-batches of bread in it.

Or quadruple-batches of waffles.

Here’s the thing. I love waffles, but they’re so time-consuming for the results you get out of them. (Maybe I’m just too impatient.) So I find I’d rather dedicate an entire afternoon to cooking waffles one at a time for 5 minutes each and then putting them in the freezer so that we can get 8 times the breakfasts (or suppers) out of the effort. The Very Large Stainless Steel Popcorn Bowl is perfect for doing gigantic batches of waffles.

This was one of my first successful vegan adaptations, from some recipe I found somewhere. It’s a basic waffle – yummy, healthy, light, and fluffy. You’d never guess it has no eggs. A single recipe makes about 6 ten-inch waffles.

Egg replacer equivalent to 4 eggs (if doing flax eggs, this will be 12 T water+4 T ground flaxseed)
2 c rice or other non-dairy milk
1 1/2 c water
1 c olive or other veggie oil (you can substitute 1 c pumpkin puree for the oil or replace half the oil with applesauce if you want a lower-fat waffle)
2 c white flour
2 c whole wheat flour
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp baking powder
2 T brown sugar or liquid sweetener
1 tsp salt

Get your waffle iron heating.

Beat egg replacer on high speed for 2-5 minutes until fluffy (this is only if using Ener-G, and it’s optional, really. The flax eggs work fine without beating them first.)

Add remaining ingredients and blend just until smooth.

Pour approximately 1 cup of batter onto the waffle iron and let it cook 4-5 minutes. You can eat them hot off the pan, keep them warm in the oven until the batch is done, or let them cool on racks for freezing.

We top it with fresh hot applesauce, or cornstarch-thickened fruit sauce, peanut butter, and sometimes nothing at all.

Categories: around the kitchen, breakfast, freezer meals, Mrs Pine Nut, nut-free, recipes, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Cookbook Review: The Veg-Feasting Cookbook

Today I’m going to share a review for The Veg-Feasting Cookbook. The recipes in it are compiled by Vegetarians of Washington from restaurants and leading chefs in the Pacific Northwest.

I bought this book about a year ago, and while I have made only a handful of the recipes, all but one have been really good. The recipes tend a little more toward the exotic and expensive side as far as procedures and ingredients (this is chefs and restaurants, after all!), so I’d recommend this most for someone who has a well-stocked vegan kitchen where things like tahini are always around, some prior experience with cooking and a local source for things like chayote, jicama, lemongrass, or other unusual foods.

There are several informative chapters at the opening of the book: one about the wisdom and deliciousness of a vegetarian diet; one on the vegetarian scene in the Pacific NW; the four new food groups; and the vegetarian kitchen.

Recipes I’ve tried:

  • Granola: This was really yummy. It’s also a reasonably cheap granola to make, since it mostly consists of oats and other rolled grains, with only a small amount of almonds compared to a lot of other granola recipes. It’s not very sweet; I think it needs more sweetener, honestly. But with the raisins and lovely chocolate rice milk? Very pleasant indeed. I’ve made this several times.
Happy granola is happy.

Happy granola is happy.

  • Bodacious Breakfast Scramble: Honestly left me a little cold, though it looked so good on paper.
  • Persian Barley Bean Soup: This was excellent. It’s very thick and delicious. I’ve made it a couple times, once for potluck at church. I didn’t have coriander, so I put in chili powder, and I have left out the cilantro/mint when I didn’t happen to have it.
  • Tofu Piroshki: These were good, but didn’t wow me fresh out of the oven. I didn’t have cilantro and used parsley instead, and I think cilantro would have given it a nice zing. I guess I’m used to the meaty savoury-ness of the pirozhki I’ve made in the past, and I’d like to try to recreate that someday in vegan format. After I cooled them down and popped them in the microwave to rewarm them, they actually were much more interesting. How weird is that?
  • Yellow Split Pea Stew with Tofu and Roasted Potatoes: This was amazingness in a bowl the first time I made it. A lot of work, but totally worth it. The only thing I would do differently next time is not continue to cook the stew after stirring in the potatoes and tofu, because once the roasted potatoes have boiled even a little bit, they lose the roasty feel. The second time I made it I was less impressed, but I’m so picky during this pregnancy, I’m guessing that was the reason.
  • Orange Blackberry Cake: Decadent, absolutely amazing, a huge hit with our Bible study group and potluck. And absolutely gigantic. Next time I make this, I’m doing only 1/3 the recipe!
  • Vegan Carrot Cake: Super yummy, and I’m picky about my carrot cakes.

Pros:

  • Beautiful clean layout, and an excellent index that allows you to look up by food type (say tofu to find all recipes calling for tofu), type of cuisine, or restaurant/chef.

Cons:

  • No photos.

All in all I am really glad I have this book in my collection, because if I want to foray into something a little unusual I’m confident in the delicious factor of most of these recipes.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, you can head over to Amazon.

Categories: Cookbook Review | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Raisin Oat Scones

This is a recipe my husband came up with. He adapted it from another recipe such a long time ago that he doesn’t remember anymore where it came from. They are nice because they’re compact and easier to transport than the regular triangular scones that tend to be more flaky and fragile, but they are really tasty and even addictive, especially fresh out of the oven. They also go together very quickly, which makes it a good breakfast choice.

2 cups regular rolled oats
2 cups soft white wheat flour (or all-purpose, or regular whole wheat)
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp brown sugar, agave, or honey
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins
1 tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup olive oil or other veggie oil
1 cup water

Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly, then stir in liquid ingredients. Mix with a spoon or your hands in the bowl just until combined.

Take small balls of dough and knead in your hands just until it holds its shape. Shape into flat circle and place on sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes.

Categories: bread, breakfast, nut-free, recipes, snacks, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Life With the Pine Nuts

So, I’ve been sick for several weeks (or has it been months?) now. My immune system is basically worthless, it seems. I’ve always dealt with sickness dragging on for way longer than most people, but in the last few months I’ve had one thing after another with no reprieve. I think I’m on the mend now… fingers crossed. Pregnancy may be partly the culprit; I’m getting some bloodwork done to find out if there’s any other issues that may need to be addressed to strengthen my immune system.

I’m not going to share a recipe today. I’m going to invite you into my kitchen and give you a peek at how I live, because I assume I’m not the only nosy person out there who likes to know how other people live.

First of all, let me explain that since about June of last year I’ve been living in a 29-foot travel trailer with my husband, my toddler-human-child, and an adult-cat-child. We’re in the process of building a house, but it’s taking a while. My kitchen space is very cramped and working there is a challenge, but I’ve been able to make it work.

Dishes pile up. They are fruitful and multiply behind my back. All I have to do is make peanut butter toast and the kitchen looks cluttered. It’s ridiculous and frustrating. What you see here is typical morning kitchen: last night’s dishes plus this morning’s dishes.

But when it’s cleaned up, it looks quite presentable (outside of the stupid tile counters with deep grout lines – what WERE they thinking?)

As you can see, I have an AMAZING quantity of counter space. :-X

What appliances do I have? The trailer came with a pretty decent-sized fridge/freezer unit. I have a propane stovetop and oven. I have an electric skillet. I had a convection oven that my toddler ripped the door off. My father-in-law fixed it and then I baked some scones in it at 450 and apparently that was too hot for the adhesive and the door fell off when I opened it. So I am back to my propane oven, which doesn’t bake very well. Something tells me we’ll be eating flat bread for a while rather than loaf bread.

I meet the counter space challenge a couple of different ways. The sink came with two cutting boards that nest perfectly inside, so I can create a little bit more space to set tubs of flour, large bowls, or cooling racks. There is also a slide-out cutting board and the stove has a cover, which I put down to stack my washed dishes on to dry. I also use that stove cover to set my electric skillet on when I’m cooking a meal just in that. Our dining table is extendable as well, so I often use that area for my cooling racks if I’m doing a large batch of baked goods.

We do have a fairly reasonable amount of cupboard space, though, and that has been really nice. While I did have to pack away the majority of my stuff, we have enough dishes and silverware to get by, and room for the toaster, the blender, some pots and pans, and lots and lots of foody stuff.

My spice drawer is pretty much a puzzle that needs to be put back together just right to get the drawer shut, because when I was trying to choose what spices to bring along, I ended up bringing all but maybe one or two. I simply could not get by without my turmeric, curry powder, cayenne, chili powder, taco seasoning, chicken seasoning… and all the others.

It’s not always easy, but I manage. I adapt. I try not to think too much about the big kitchen that’s waiting for me in our new house, because then I’d have to deal with massive discontent.

Do you have any challenges in your kitchen? How do you meet them?

Categories: around the kitchen, Mrs Pine Nut | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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