side dish

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: June Edition… AND a Six-Month Sum-up!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Vegan With a Vengeance, 10th Anniversary Edition!:

1. Roasted Garlic White Bean Soup – I didn’t have time to roast the garlic, so I did what Veganomicon recommends and subbed 6 fresh minced cloves. I also threw in some rice that I had leftover in the fridge. It was really tasty and I will make it again.

2. Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies – These tasted a bit like slimy wet sugar, and the texture was super weird and not at all looking like in the picture. I was so sad and have no idea what on earth I could have done wrong. 😦 We ate them, but they were just… off. And this made me sad.

3. Tofu Dill Sandwich – YUM!

4. The Best Pumpkin Muffins – Okay, so technically I’ve made these before, but there were apparently some slight changes made to the recipe for this new edition, so I say it counts.

5. Carrot Raisin Muffins – Very nice. Low sugar, low oil, tender and tasty.

From Vegan Casseroles:

6. Cheesy Broccoli Casserole – Today I made the cheesy broccoli casserole from Vegan Casseroles, minus some nooch because I RAN OUT. #vegankitchencrisis Also, I was sick and my brain was in a fog, so I accidentally dumped way  more than 2 cups of rice into the casserole dish and already had added the sauce and stuff before I realised. Dumb. It still tasted good, but I did have to add more salt. I’d make it again too.

7. Regular Cheese Sauce – for the above.

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8. Rice and Beans Casserole – Different from what I expected but it was very good and the girls liked it.

9. Nacho Cheese sauce – for the above.

10. Chickpeas and Rice with Dill – Liked this very much. I think I’d reduce the tahini a bit next time, because the flavour was very strong.

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11. Jambalaya – This was okay but not that exciting.

From Whole Grain Vegan Baking:

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12. Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes – I left the sugar out of the pineapple mixture to make it less sweet, more like a muffin. It was actually perfect that way. They turned out great and I was able to flip them out of the muffin tin after 10 minutes (the recipe says 30, but I didn’t have time to wait). The girls did not like them. They ate all the pineapple off the top and then handed me the rest. Their opinion notwithstanding, I’d make these again.

From Isa Does It:

13. Island Black Bean Burgers – I didn’t do the salsa, just the burgers. They were fairly easy to make. I don’t think I needed to add the broth, though. They were very soft and wet and so I had to bake them longer. They were really tasty though – super rich, deep, but not overpowering flavour!

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14. Cucumber Ranch Bowl – This was good. Not a favourite, but it was fine.

15. Mini Chocolate Cherry Loaves – SO GOOD. I left out the almond extract as per my usual. My mom loved these too!

16. Everyday Pad Thai – I love pad thai but I don’t think I’ve ever had it without eggs. This was fantastic and so easy. I used roasted salted cashews instead of the peanuts so that Lou Who could try it if she wanted. But at the moment I don’t remember if she did try it!

From Vegan Pie in the Sky:

17. Lemon Mousse Pie – This was a crazy, insane amount of work to make. I did it for company so I made a double batch in a 13×9. First I had to bake gingersnaps to make the crust, and then zest and juice approximately five thousand tiny lemons (they were cheaper than the big ones). So I was kind of fretting and complaining and I told that pie IT BETTER BE GOOD.

And you know what, it was. It was absolutely out of this world. Everybody raved about it. So I’d definitely make it again. WIN!

One thing to note though: when pouring the lemon topping layer on, use a spoon and gently drizzle it around. I did that at first with excellent results, and then got impatient and tried to drizzle it from the pan and ended up disturbing the other layer and there wasn’t a clean definition in those spots between layers.

From the interwebs:

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18. Cinnamon-Clove Fresh Cherry Pie – On our way home from the Yakima Valley I stopped at a fruit stand on the spur of the moment and they were selling the last of their Rainier cherries for ONE DOLLAR A POUND. Now, I have to admit Rainier (or any other yellow cherry) are not my favourite, but that’s a sweet deal and everyone else in my family loves any kind of cherry. So I bought a few. 18.2 pounds, to be exact. And then I brought them home and dried about half of them, froze some, and made this pie with some.

It was really good. I cut the sugar in half (these are sweet cherries, for cryin’ out loud – really sweet, like off the charts sweet. Mr Pine Nut tested them with his beloved little brix thingie.) My only complaint was that the cherries were super huge and I really should have chopped them into smaller pieces first just to keep it easier to eat. But flavourwise, it was excellent, and I’d definitely consider making it again.

From Veganomicon:

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19. Mac Daddy – So for some reason when I told the girls this stuff was called “Mac Daddy”, they thought that was the funniest thing they’d ever heard and proceeded to work “Mac Daddy” into every sentence at the lunch table. Better yet, they loved it the first day and loved the leftovers and asked me to make it again.

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20. Tempeh Shepherdess Pie – This was all right. I subbed TVP for the mushrooms. I heartily approved of the potato-to-filling ratio (translation: THICK LAYER of potatoes, yum!) and I got to try my broiler for the first time EVER. I think actually I’ve never broiled anything, ever, at any time.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in June: 7

Did I meet my goal? Only just!

I’m not sure how July is going to pan out. I have grand intentions to share some great recipes with you for camping-appropriate food, but I cannot PROMISE anything, just that I’ll do my best. I don’t have a set goal for July due to its busy-ness, but I’ll still keep track of what new things I make, write a post, and jump back on the challenge in August!

***

And as promised, a sum-up of the first six months of 2015!

Isa Does It, 24
Veganomicon, 18
Interwebs, 13
The Veg Feasting Cookbook, 12
Vegan Brunch, 11
Whole Grain Vegan Baking, 9
Vegan Bowls / Everyday Vegan Eats, 8 each
Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day 7
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar / Vegan Casseroles, 6 each
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World / Vegan With a Vengeance, 5 each
Vegan Diner 4
Appetite for Reduction / More Peas, Thank You / Vegan Simplicity / Ten Talents / Vegan Pie in the Sky, 1 each

141 total

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Categories: challenges, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, side dish, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: March Edition

So I mentioned in this post that I was going to try a monthly meal plan for March, sticking within my budget of $25/week for food. How did it go?

  • Week 1: I spent $19.47 on groceries.
  • Week 2: I spent $24.09 on groceries. Cutting it close! All necessites for my week’s plan.
  • Week 3: I spent $20.30 on groceries. Roughly $10 0f that was absolute necessities for my planned menu, and I got some extra goodies! (okay, it was mostly bell peppers and avocados.) I ended up not doing all the planned meals because I had lots more leftovers than previous weeks, plus I was sick.
  • Week 4: I spent $26.60 on groceries. This included what I needed for the little bit of overlap for the last couple days of March.
  • But I did end up using the rest of my money buying a couple staple/pantry items that I’ll use next month too.

Keep in mind, we do have loads of bulk stuff stored in buckets from More Prosperous (or simply more reckless?) Times of the Past, and we have a separate line item for bulk food (and I spent all but pennies of that $50 this month aside from the above), so the above is strictly fresh veggies and staples like oil and sugar.

Speaking of oil and sugar, I bought a regular bottle of veggie oil and a 4lb bag of sugar for Week 1. As of the end of week 3, the oil had been long gone and another bottle half-used, and the sugar is all but gone. I find this disturbing.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From More Peas, Thank You:

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1. Corn Chowda with Cornbread Croutons – GooGoo has been pestering me to make a potato soup for weeks now. I finally make one, and will she eat it? No. Sigh. She did like the cornbread croutons and the side of broccoli, though.

 From The Veg Feasting Cookbook:

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2. Carrots in the Raw – This salad was very easy, requiring few ingredients, and went great with the burgers we had for lunch. I left out the raisins and just added some extra pumpkin seeds instead, because fruit in a vegetable salad is just weird to me. The following day we had the leftovers on top of lettuce. Yum.

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3. Cumin Carrot Soup – This became steadily more disgusting the more of it that I ate. Mr Pine Nut thought it was good, but I heartily disagreed. I couldn’t taste cumin at all; even though I reduced the pepper it was way too peppery; worst of all the texture was just gross. Will never make again.

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4. Turkish Lentil Soup – SO good. I was a little concerned, because the cinnamon smelled really strong while it was cooking, but as far as taste went, I didn’t even notice it. The flavours were all blended perfectly with nothing overpowering anything else. I was pleased, and would definitely make this again. Way better than the vomitous carrot sludge.

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5. Spicy Yellow Dal – I didn’t have toor dal, but the book suggested subbing yellow split peas, so I used green split peas. It took a lot more than 2 cups of water to cook the peas, but this was overall quite a simple dish to assemble and it was very tasty. It was at the edge of my heat tolerance level, but very good. We ate it with rice and steamed broccoli.

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6. Mexican Black Bean Salad – This was fairly simple to throw together, and it was a meal for Mr Pine Nut and I (with the addition of lettuce, and some bread on the side). It had a good flavour, but the recipe called for no salt. I added a tiny bit, but more wouldn’t have hurt. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but it was fine.

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7. Cabbage Curry – This was SO easy, and very tasty! I added the garbanzo beans to make it a meal, but the flavour was great and the heat level perfect (that is, not very hot. :-)) It’s a dry curry, and you could really use any veggie (or combination thereof) instead of the cabbage – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, &c.

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8. Cream of Veg Soup – This was just okay. Mr Pine Nut and Lou Who loved it; GooGoo wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t finish mine. It was better than cumin-carrot soup, but I found it just too salty even though I’d diluted it considerably.

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9. Chickpea Mash Stew – I really liked this, despite it being totally different from how I envisioned it would be. Lou Who loved it too!

10. Super Noodle Soup – Very basic. The special thing about it seemed to me just that all the veggies get cut up very tiny (1/8″ dice), and I had to add a lot of extra salt and some garlic powder because it just didn’t have much flavour without. It was good, but I don’t think I’ll rush to make it again.

11. Pulao Rice – This was pretty easy. I used brown rice so I changed the water proportion and cooking time, but it came out very nice and I liked it. I wasn’t super fond of the whole idea of having to pick out all the whole cloves, cardamom pods, and other such things though.

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12. Chickpea Curry – I was prepping my ingredients for this and it calls for a 4-oz piece of ginger, thinly sliced. I only have (frozen) grated ginger, so I got it out and the frozen glob I had weighed exactly four ounces. The problem is that four ounces of grated ginger is like… a CUP’S worth. So I called out into the twitterverse and got confirmation that for the amount of curry, that seemed like an awful lot. So I decided to do 2 ounces instead. The end result was a curry with a good flavour… under an intense heat. I burned my entire digestive tract raw and had steam coming out my ears from eating it. So yeah, I doubt I’ll be making this again.

13. Saffron Rice – I made this to go with the abovementioned curry as per the book’s suggestion. It was okay. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it.

From the interwebs:

14. Parmesan Muffins – A friend made these and raved about them, so I decided to try them, because I need to get more savoury muffins into my culinary repertoire. They were excellent! I used flax instead of eggs (so 2T ground flax and 6T warm water), and I was too tired/lazy to make my favourite almond parmesan so I just used some Daiya mozzarella shreds I had in my freezer. And I left out the sugar.

15. Brownie Coco-Nut-Butter Cups – !!!!!!! YUM !!!!!! So, I made these for a potluck and forgot to take them with me. Oops. What a tragedy. 😉

From Vegan Simplicity:

16. Vegan Red Beans and Rice – This was good, but not great, which seems to be (so far) my reaction to most of Mark Anthony’s recipes. I bought this cookbook when he came and did a presentation/cooking class at our church and really haven’t used it much yet, so I definitely want to give it more of a chance before passing judgement. At any rate, this called for 3/4 cup of vegan margarine. O_O It also didn’t *look* super appetising.

17. Sri Lankan Style Mixed-Bean Soup – No picture; it looked sludgy and not super appealing, kind of pooplike, so like the red beans above the visual appeal was nil. But it tasted pretty good.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

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18. Green Monster Bread (made into bagels/rolls) – I used rye flour and caraway seeds in with this and like it a lot! It seems a tad on the sweet side, so I think I’d reduce the sugar next time, but aside from that this was a definite “something I’d make again”. Way to sneak some kale into my girls’ diets (and mine).

Ten Talents (1978 edition):

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19. Carrot Salad – I thought the combo of carrot/pecan/cocoanut seemed a bit odd, but decided to try it anyway, and it was really good! Also very simple. I served it on a bed of lettuce/cabbage just to give it more variety but I would totally make it again.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

20. Cornmeal Poppyseed Biscotti – I hate lemon poppyseed bread. That being said, these were really good! I was surprised. I don’t know that they’ll be something I’ll make really often, but I brought some home from a potluck and know I’ll eat them. 🙂

21. Rocky Roads – I’ve had these before but haven’t made them before, and my suspicion that I’d like them better without the almond extract was completely correct. They are addictive, amazing, and I think the dough would be the perfect chocolate cookie base for a whole bunch of mix-ins. I’d like to try it plain too.

Everyday Vegan Eats:

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22. Chickpeas and Dumplings – A bit too salty but it was really yummy anyway!

23. Black Bean Feijoada – Really, really good!

[ETA: 24. Macaroni Salad – I made this on a whim the last day of March, and it was GOOD]

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in March: 8

Did I meet my goal? Barely! I was worried the last week or so that I wouldn’t hit 20, but I did.

See you next month, with April’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, salads, side dish, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: February Edition

Things that have happened this month:

  • I broke my blender jar – again (SIGH)
  • I ran out of regular sugar, which has forced me to be Creative with Liquid Sweeteners, because I have plenty of those, and also kept me from making cookies, which is good for my body and not good for my sugar-loving mouth
  • We had our annual nonfire and it was fun
  • I tried a bunch of new recipes!

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From Veganomicon:

-1

1 and 2. Chickpeas Romesco with Saffron-Garlic Rice – These were both fantastic and went together great, just as they suggested. Definitely would make again!

3. Chili Cornmeal Crusted Tofu – Failed to get a picture of this one. I liked this just okay. I think my cornmeal wasn’t quite fine enough and I didn’t have lime zest so it lacked that lime punch. The coating stuff was like twice as much as I actually needed though, so I froze the rest of it for later use.

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4. Potato Leek Cassoulet – I wasn’t super duper impressed with this one; it seemed bland. I imagine that more salt would probably have been the answer, but while I can add salt to the stew, it’s hard to add salt to already-cooked biscuits. The leftovers I heated the next day I added some more salt to anyway and it did help a lot. So I may possibly make this again and just keep that in mind.

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5. Beanballs – So I had some kidney beans in the freezer from a while ago and when I saw this called for kidney beans it was an immediate sell. They were really easy and tasty. Neither of my children were impressed, however.

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6. Double Pea Soup with Roasted Red Peppers – I subbed frozen lima beans for well over half the peas called for because I thought I had more frozen peas than I did. Oops. Anyway, I was concerned I wouldn’t like this soup because of all the random seasonings in it that I would never ever use in pea soup. I didn’t really like the soup, but it was actually not to do with the seasonings, I just found it really blah somehow.

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7. Spinach Noodle Kugel – I had such high hopes for this. I subbed kale and collards for the spinach because that’s what I have at the moment, and only about 1/3 the weight called for – and, guys, I just really don’t like collards and kale. There also seemed a tremendous imbalance between the greens and the pasta. I can’t imagine using 30 oz of frozen spinach in here, let alone that much kale.  I would like to try it again, with spinach.

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8. Lemony Potato Wedge Things – (yeah I’m too lazy to go look up the actual recipe name) I had these going for probably about an hour, the last half of which I cranked the oven up to 400. They never really browned like they were supposed to. BUT, they really tasted good!

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9. Soup With a Really Long Name – (see comment on previous recipe’s title) This was SO good! I subbed oregano for the thyme, because I ran out of thyme. Somehow that always happens when I go too crazy making Isa recipes! :-p Anyway, I would definitely make this again.

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10. Rosemary Foccacia Bread – DE. LISH. US. My children adored it as well. We ate it with seasoned pinto beans.

From the interwebs:

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11. Cranberry Paleo Muffins – Another recipe I found to try using my Christmas cocoanut flour in. These were the most disgusting things I have ever tasted in my life. Even my husband couldn’t eat them. If he can’t eat them, they really must be bad. Seriously, do paleo people actually EAT this stuff???? I took a tiny bite and gagged, as did both my children. Mr Pine Nut gamely picked out the cranberries from his, but declined to take a second one.

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12. Cranberry Orange Upside-down Cake I had exactly enough cocoanut flour from my Christmas bag left to make this. Of the three recipes I tried, this was easily the best, but it was still weird. I think I should have baked it a little longer, and arrowroot just has a weird texture. The flavour was good. It’s all about texture, which is kind of also a big deal. I won’t be in a rush to make it again, and I have no desire to run out and buy more cocoanut flour, because I’m simply not impressed.

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13. Tofu Mr Pine Nut made tofu once, a very long time ago (when we lived in the trailer). It came out soft, but good. I like, nay, LOVE tofu, and because of our finances right now I was thinking maybe I better learn to make it and save us some money. Well, the process went great until the cold water step at the end, when my blob of tofu decided “Hey, I’ll disentegrate into a bajillion bits!!” Not cool, tofu. Not cool. I’ll definitely try again, but preferably on a day when I’m not also doing a ton of other things like I was this day, and ask around for some input from tofu-making connoisseurs.

14. Okara Crab Cakes I had plenty of perfectly good okara out of the lame tofu deal, though! So I tried this recipe. It was good. Not my favourite thing ever, but good.

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15. Okara “Chicken” Nuggets – These were SO good! This is definitely going to be a go-to with future okara. I did the procedure a bit differently than outlined – I wrapped the mixture directly in foil and dumped it in a steamer basket in a covered pot. I did not do the breading and frying, which I’m sure would be good, but these were good just on their own too! We ate them with carrots and mac and cheese.

From Isa Does It:

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16. Spicy Slurpy Spaghetti Sauce – Oh MAN this was hands down the best sauce EVER I will never make another sauce again! (Yes, crazy Pinterest peeps, I’m mocking you.) Seriously though, this was the best sauce I’ve ever made, and it was so easy. I subbed a combo of paprika/smoked paprika for the pepper flakes, since Mr Pine Nut is not a fan of heat, and I blended it in my food processor to hide the “stuff” (tomato chunks, onions) from GooGoo. GooGoo is not a fan of tomato anything, but she slurped this stuff right down with her linguine. Score!

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17. Classic Baked Tofu – Loved the flavour; didn’t love the texture. I think next time I’ll cut thinner slices and skip the parchment paper; I like my baked tofu to have a bit more of a chewy crust than this one ended up with (even after being in the oven way longer than called for!) But I’ll definitely make it again. I had it with steamed broccoli and chicken rice. It was a super delicious meal.

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18. Meaty Beany Chili – This was okay; I did not add the sweetener and I’m glad I didn’t; I like my savoury food to be savoury, and somehow the cloves made it seem sweet enough already. Not sure I’ll make this again.

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19. Lentil-Quinoa Stew – I had only 3/4 cup of quinoa and I probably used only 1/2 pound of kale. Despite the kale (I am so not a fan) it was very good!

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20. Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings – This was amazing. I forgot to put the navy beans in (I don’t even know, guys) but it was still insanely delicious. When I heated the leftovers the next day I added in some of the navy beans with them. Either way it’s great.

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21. Cheddary Broccoli Soup – Not a huge fan of this, although Lou Who snarfed down three bowls and had the rest tonight for her supper, cold, because she was in too much of a hurry to wait to warm it up! GooGoo was also not a fan. It tasted vaguely vomitlike to me when I first tasted it out of the pot, and when I reheated it for our Friday night supper it at least no longer tasted like vomit. It was, however, ridiculously noochy, and I’m really not a huge fan of nooch. It was worth a shot, but I don’t think I’ll make it again.

From Vegan Brunch:

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22. Toasted Cocoanut Chocolate Chip Muffins – I loved the mango ones from last month, so I tried the chocolate chip variation. I had to do a lot of subbing because I’m out of, oh, sugar, and getting low on oil. So I used melted cocoanut oil and instead of the dry sugars used 1/4 cup agave. They turned out nicely and tasted great.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:

23. Carrot Cake Cupcakes – These were really good, despite the fact that I do not believe raisins belong in a carrot cake. I would leave them out next time, but I did very much like the overall flavour! I did a double batch in a 13×9 pan to take to a potluck.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in February: 5

Did I meet my goal? Yes, plus 3. Yay!

See you next month, with March’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, entrees, side dish, soup, tofu, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Chicken Rice

One of the things I ate a lot as a child was that very yellow Lipton chicken rice. I remember having a curious love-hate relationship with it. It was good, and it was pretty, and yet I got sick of it so quickly. Maybe it was too salty for me. Boxed and packaged food usually is.

GooGoo wanted a picture of her food.

GooGoo wanted a picture of her food. I don’t know why she had the grumpface on.

But, I decided it would be fun to try to recreate this in vegan form. So, keep reading for the recipe.

***

Today’s musical selection has nothing to do with chickens, rice, or Lipton. It is, however, nostalgic for me, and that is reason enough.

***

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 clove crushed garlic
2 T oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 T chicken seasoning
1/8 – 1/4 tsp turmeric

Turn on heat and cook rice for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
3 1/3 cups water

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook about 35 minutes. Turn off burner. Let stand 10 minutes before removing lid and fluffing with fork.

_MG_4125

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Categories: dairy-free, gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Spanish Rice

The first five rice recipes I have to share are rice basics, in a variety of flavours. Some of them will get re-used later on in my ricefest in other dishes, but all can be stand-alone side dishes as well. You will notice that all of them are based on the Brasilian rice method, which is why I shared that first.

***

In keeping with today’s Spanish theme, here’s a fine exhibition of tremolo on harp:

***

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
1 1/2 cups brown rice (I use plain long grain brown, but jasmine and basmati work fine too)
1 large clove crushed garlic
2 T oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tsp cumin seed
1 T taco seasoning
2 small tomatoes, chopped (or 1/2 cup canned tomatoes, drained)
1 tsp onion powder

Turn on heat and cook all of the above for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
3 3/4 cups chicken broth (I stirred 4tsp chicken seasoning with 3 3/4 cups water)

Bring to boil, cover tightly, and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes. Then let sit covered 10 minutes (do not remove from heat). Fluff with a fork and serve.

_MG_4059
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Categories: gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: | Leave a comment

Garden Pasta

We have green beans coming on, and I wanted to think of something to do with them besides, ya know, just steaming them. (Not, of course, that there’s anything wrong with just steaming them.)

So here is what I did.

I cooked 1 pound of shell pasta and rinsed it and set it aside.

In my food processor, I ground up:

1 heaping cup green onions
1/4 lb seitan/gluten
1 handful of fresh basil leaves (16 leaves, if you want an exact count)

Then I steamed 3/4 pound of fresh green beans whilst I chopped 2 cups fresh tomatoes.

Then I drained the beans and dumped all of the above components into a big pan, stirred in a little salt and oil and warmed it through.

photo

It was simply delightful and delicious, although neither Lou Who nor GooGoo would touch the green beans.

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Categories: dairy-free, garden, lunch, nut-free, pasta, recipes, side dish, vegan, vegetables | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Basic Brasilian Rice

I was going to take part in Vegan MoFo again this year. I signed up. My theme was going to be Music and Rice, and it was going to be super awesome.

But then I had a reality check. I’m preparing a concert with some friends that we’re intending to have ready by mid-September. I simply don’t have time to commit to MoFo with having to get that much music practise in!

So, I had to un-sign-up. Waaaaaaa. HOWEVER, I’m still planning to do my theme, just not all in one month. And I’m going to start now.

***

Among the various treasures preserved from my childhood is a cassette tape on which I’ve written in ballpoint pen: PIANO AND RICE.

Music and I go way back. This tape is a gem, created by my friend Edda and I, on which are some pieces she played from her piano lesson book and a fair number of brilliant original compositions such as “Mother and Me”, “Thunder and Lightning”, and “The Swan”, all of which were made up on the fly whilst our mothers, oblivious to the genius they had managed to gift the world, quietly had a garage sale out front.

Consider the lyrics to “The Swan:”

Gracefully she swims along
Down the Yahtzee river.
Along came a toad and ate her up,
Swimming down the river.
Along came a toad and ate her up,
Swimming down the river.
OH NO! Oh. No.

So, in honour of this ridiculous piece of nostalgia from my childhood, I have a dual, and perhaps wacky, theme this year involving two of my favourite things: music and rice. I will not limit this music to piano, because while I like piano, it’s not my favourite thing in the world any more.

So, to kick things off, here is some Bach, brilliantly executed on two harps, because Bach. And harps.

And why, you may ask, is the tape titled “Piano and Rice”? Well, the end of the tape is a recording I had running one evening when I was hungry for rice, and so it is a real-time chronicle of the making of a pot of rice for yours truly. I was probably 10 or 11. My dad sings a hit song called “Achy Breaky Rice” and one of the tracks is called “Atom Bombs and a Butt Imprint”.

Yes. I had an interesting childhood.

***

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I already used this picture in another post, but hey, rice is rice, and kind of boring to look at on its own.

SO ANYWAY. RICE IS KIND OF AWESOME. I’m kicking things off with my go-to rice recipe. It is super simple – just a few extra steps from regular rice cooking – but tastes like a million bucks, and I can’t really go back to plain old rice anymore! GooGoo and Lou Who both love it, even though GooGoo claims, “I don’t like gar-wick.”

This recipe is adapted from Matthew Locricchio’s The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids (this is *not* a vegan cookbook, but worth it for this recipe alone in my opinion!). My changes: reduce the oil, change the water/rice proportions, and use brown rice. And I’ve tripled it – the original calls for 1 cup of rice, but we go through so much rice in our house that it would be just dumb to not cook enough to last a few days all at once.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, stir together:
3 cups brown rice (I use plain long grain brown, but jasmine and basmati work fine too)
3 T crushed garlic (3 large cloves)
1/4 c oil
2 1/4 tsp salt

Turn on heat and cook rice for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly, to toast rice.

When the oil is beginning to absorb, add:
6 2/3 cups water

Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover pot, and allow to simmer 30-45 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until it looks like the water is almost absorbed.

When the water is absorbed (you will know because there will be steam holes in the rice that are no longer bubbling), turn off the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork and serve.

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Categories: gluten-free, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Corn Bread

When I first met Mr Pine Nut, he was more or less constantly engaged in a determined effort to make Really Good Cornbread. Except he didn’t want to use a recipe.

I tried to convince him that Baking is a Science, and Requires Accurate Measurements, but he wouldn’t believe me.

So we had quite a few pans of rather heavy cornbread together, unless I was cooking, in which case I used the recipe on the cornmeal bag, like my mother had always done. It came out okay, though it never seemed to be as nice as when my mom made it.

Eventually I got the recipe my mother-in-law had used when working in a retirement centre kitchen, and I’ve used it ever since with good success and very few adaptations (the original called for eggs, so that was my main change). It always comes out perfectly, except when I try to use flax eggs in it. Flax eggs do NOT work in this recipe. I don’t know why. I’ve tried a number of times and with varying amounts of water. So I stick with the Ener-G egg replacer for this one.

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The amount in black give you for either a pie pan or 9×9″ square pan. The amount in red gives you a 13×9″ pan batch.

Corn Bread
1 c (2 c) corn meal (sometimes I use a blend of corn flour and corn meal)
1/2 c (1 c) wheat flour
1/2 c (1 c) white flour
2 T (1/4 c) sugar
1/2 T (1 T) baking powder
1/2 tsp (1 tsp) salt
1/2 T (1 T) Ener-G egg replacer
2 T (1/4 c) water
1/3 c (2/3 c) oil (can do half applesauce)
1 c (2 c) non-dairy milk (any will work, and water will do in a pinch)
1/2 c (1 c) frozen corn (optional)

Now here are the SuperComplicated(tm) instructions!

In bowl #1, combine all dry ingredients.

In bowl #2, combine all wet ingredients.

Transfer contents of bowl #1 to bowl #2 and stir just until combined.

Pour into a sprayed pan and bake at 350. The 8×8″ will take roughly 20-25 minutes, and the 13×9 at least 30 minutes.

The toothpick test works this way for this recipe: at the end of your baking time, if it comes out clean, let it go another couple of minutes.

You can also do this in a cast-iron skillet with excellent results. I’ve been doing it that way a lot lately.

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Categories: bread, dairy-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, side dish, soy-free, vegan | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Vegan Month of Food, Day 18: Fruit Salad

One of my favourite salads growing up was called Five-Cup Salad. It was something my grandma made a lot and involved sour cream and marshmallows… about as un-vegan as you can get. But oh, was it tasty. So I decided I would make a layered salad in tribute to the original Five-Cup Salad. I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, but was sure it would still be really good.

saladtop

I started out by making a batch of this pudding recipe. After sitting to set overnight, it came out rather the texture of congealed beef fat. Just a tad gross. But the flavour was good, so I decided to use it anyway. I took my handmixer to it and mixed it and broke it up until it was about the texture of cottage cheese. I added a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon-ish of soy milk to help it along. It was still lumpy. But I was okay with that.

So, after you’ve made the pudding and let it set, here is the rest of what you do.

Drain thoroughly:
20oz can pineapple chunks
15oz can mandarin oranges

Once the fruit is drained, spread a bit of the pudding on the bottom of your bowl. Layer pineapple, pudding, oranges, pudding, pineapple, pudding, and garnish the top with the remaining fruit and some cocoanut.

So, here’s the thing. I went to take a bite of the salad and it blew my mind. I had, accidentally, replicated Five-Cup Salad to the T. The lumpy pudding had a distinctly marshmallow-y flavour and texture. I think the only thing I’ll change next time I make it is to double it, because everybody snarfed it down and I didn’t get very much.

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Categories: challenges, dessert, recipes, salads, side dish, snacks, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan Month of Food, Day 8: Layered Middle Eastern Dip

You know those things on Facebook where it’s a square with a bunch of squares and it says something like, “How many squares can you find? XYZ said they found 50, but I think they’re lying! Like this if you find more!” So there’s a square, but there are actually 53 squares, or something.

That’s kind of how this recipe is. You’re getting one recipe, but you’re actually getting more than one, and we can argue, er, discuss all you like how many you’re actually getting.

I wanted to do a savoury layered dip, but not a Mexican-flavoured one, because everyone’s already done that. So I decided to go for a Middle Eastern flavoured one.

This is something you’ll want to plan ahead for. All the components should sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, and then you can assemble it right before you actually need it to keep everything from running together. Feel free to experiment with it. I felt the results were a little bland, but Mr Pine Nut really, really liked it. So, take it and run.

middip1

You’ll layer this in a 13×9 pan, or cut the recipe in half for a 9×9. Here are the layers, from bottom to top:

Hummus
4c garbanzo beans, cooked or canned, drained
4 cloves garlic
2 T tahini
2 tsp cumin
4T lemon juice
4T olive or other oil
1/2 tsp salt

Toss everything in a food processor and process until smooth. You can add a little water if needed.

Lentils
1 c dry lentils
4 c water
8 oz tomato paste
1 T dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

Combine all in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then allow to simmer until lentils are very soft, about 2 hours.

Tomato-Cucumber Salsa
2 c chopped tomatoes
2 c chopped cucumber
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 c minced red onion
1 1/2 T fresh minced parsley
3 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 packed tsp fresh minced dill
1/2 tsp California chilli powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine lemon juice, cumin, salt, and herbs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Allow to sit for several hours or overnight for flavours to blend, stirring occasionally. When assembling the dip, use a slotted spoon to get rid of some of the liquid or you’ll have very soggy dip.

Over the top, I drizzled tahini dressing (I used the recipe out of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day) and sprinkled sesame seeds.

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Categories: challenges, gluten-free, recipes, side dish, snacks, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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