Monday, September 22, 2008

Class #2 - Bread making

I took my second class from PCC. It was a hands on whole wheat bread making class that was more about technique than recipes. My two objectives were to learn how to make whole wheat bread (white is easy) and to fix my broken yeast bread making mojo. I think the class helped me on both accounts. My mojo issues could be because I wasn't kneading the bread long enough. Probably because I'm lazy.

During the class we made an oatmeal whole wheat bread that was adaped from a Laurel's Kitchen Bread cookbook. We did it all: mixed up dough, kneaded, rising, baking. In between risings and baking, the instructor showed us how to do shaping and slashing with a spicy currant bread dough. She also talked about lots of other stuff. Like why you don't cut a bread right out of the oven - unless you're going to eat the whole thing right away ;-).

Here is my tiny loaf. I only put oats on 1/2 of the outside. This bread is really whole wheaty, but it's good. Right now my favorite bread is Dave's Killer Bread. Sprouted bread is about a million notches above where I'm currently at skill wise on the bread making ladder.

After class I went grocery shopping (PCC is a co-op). The bread was really warm in my knapsack and it made me smell like a bakery. Yum!

Random snackage in cake city

During my Thai cooking fest, I made some other snacks.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. These were great. I could really taste the different flavors of chocolate, almond, cayenne. Andy brought most of them to work and they disappeared quickly. Which to be honest, in his hallway at work, things don't stay around for long. Though this time it was because of the awesomeness of the cupcake. I LOVE this cookbook. Btw, the pic sucks because I was more focused on taking it quickly so I could eat one. Gotta have the right priorities once in a while.

Coffee Cake from the Joy of Vegan Baking. I liked it best the next day. I was tasty, but I still don't think of it as coffee cake. To me, coffee cake is a white cake with sort of hard crumbles of brown sugary goodness. The brown sugar layer has melted part way into the cake, giving the cake flavor. I gotta email my brother for the recipe we grew up with so that I can veganize it.

Class #1 - Thai Cooking

I signed up for 10 cooking classes through PCC. If you live in the seattle area, I recommend trying them out. They recently added a lot more vegan classes. I typically try some of the recipes after the class to see how I compare on my own, so that's what I will post. Unless I get lazy and bring a camera to class.

The first class was Thai Cooking. I have been to a class taught by Pranee before. She is awesome and tells the class lots of tips and tricks about Thai cooking and ingredients. I will totally take a class with her again. Her website has some recipes on it - not the ones from class.

It was a hands on class, with the room split up into 4 groups each making 1 recipe. I was on the summer rolls station. I have made them before, but that was ok because every so often we'd rally around the stove as a group was cooking their items. So on the other recipes, I only missed out on the chopping. The class was really fun.

Here are the other 3 recipes that I have since made at home.

Tom Kha Ja. A soup that is sort of like tom yum - lemongrass/coconut flavor. The bulk of the work is chopping. The actual cooking time is very short. Once the veggies are cooked, the soup is done. I'd say less than 20 minutes of cooking time. The white stuff is extra coconut milk. Other optional toppings were salt and cilantro.

Tod Man Kaopod, a type of corn fritter. They were mainly rice flour and some wheat flour, corn, green onions and I forget the rest. They slightly were better in class, and I'm not sure if that was because I was starving or because the expert was there watching ;-). I made them fried:

and baked (sprayed now and then with oil to prevent sticking and to help get a good crunch). Not much of a difference between fried and baked taste wise.

Por Pia Sod, the dipping sauce for the summer rolls, which I used for the Tod Man. It is AMAZINGLY good. It's best not to make it too often or you will become a dipping sauce addict.

Pad Kee Meo, a stir fry with noodles sort of like Pad See Eew, but less greasy and lots more veggies. This tasted better in class and I think it was because I should have doubled the sauce that you cook the noodles in. My noodles ended up being dry, but I was able to compensate. I will definitely make this again. One tip I learned was to serve this with some toppings:
  • sugar - surprising
  • cayenne pepper or chili powder
  • chopped jalapenos in vinegar

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vegetarian Times cooking fest

I tried 2 recipes from the past couple of Veg Times (Sept/Oct 2008).

Falafels. These were good, but could have used some more flavor. Maybe more tahini. I made some tahini sauce to go with them. It was really good. I based it off this recipe, but kept tweaking it to taste.

Chickpea tangine with cinnamon, cumin and carrots. This was good, but I'm thinking it needs tweaking to add more flavor. I haven't tried the leftovers yet. sometimes that improves things. That said, I would make it again. It was quick to make and tasty. The raisins I used were huge.

Kiwi jam. Being a smarty pants, I thought I'd use agave instead of regular sugar. I should have added some pectin because the agave added too much liquid. It took forever to boil down and I got 1 /4 of what I was supposed to and it's not really green. The leftovers that didn't make up enough for a final jar tasted good, though. Very tart. Sort of reminds me of rhubarb marmalade.

Almost there.... random food

I'm almost caught up.

I bought the Joy of Vegan Cooking after seeing it mentioned on so many posts. I made the orange blueberry bundt cake. It was good. I added a simple orange juice and powdered sugar glaze because it looked sort of naked. I also had to add a bunch of oj and soy milk to the batter because it was more sconelike than cakelike. The cake came out great. Nice and moist. I think next time I will add lots more zest and maybe nuts.
This is an old standby in the house. It's a quick no bake key lime pie. I found this recipe on the internet. I use lots more lime juice until it tastes right. As you can see, I didn't let it set long enough and it broke apart. oops. I don't always use mori nu. any soft silken tofu will work well. I also use 2 lemon mori nu mates instead of 1 vanilla and 1 lemon.

I conducted a potato skin experiment. All of them had fake parmesan. One style had just plain fake cheese pieces, while the other (better tasting) had fake cheese and salsa mixed togehter. before putting in the oven, I sprayed them with olive oil. Sounds strange, but they will come out really dry and gross if you don't.
Here is some gnocci from Vegan with a Vengeance. YUMMMM... Very potatoy delicious and the best I've ever had. Probalby because it had real baked potatoes. I don't think restaurants take the time to do that. It freezes really well.

More catch up... Breakfast x 5

I've got a few more blogs to crank out before I'm caught up w/ the pictures I have been harboring on my camera. This one is all about breakfast, mostly breakfast that wasn't eaten in the AM. The AM type is typically nothing or a bowl of cereal and a banana.

Tofu Benedict. I could eat this every day. I use Joanne Stepaniak's "no cook hollandaise sauce" from the Saucy Vegetarian. You throw it all in a blender, then heat it up on the stove. Very easy. Storing in the fridge for a few days doesn't affect the flavor. I also add turmeric for some color, otherwise it's pasty white - even though I put more nutritional yeast in it than what they ask for.

The rest of it is easy. It's a piece of bread, teriyaki tofu, spinach. I sometimes add tomato or asparagus. Really, you can't mess this up.

For the teriyaki, I mix:
  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • agave
  • toasted sesame oil.

I use powdered ginger and garlic if I'm feeling lazy. Also, sometimes I add hot sauce or chili flakes. I pretty much wing the measurements. I make the mixture pretty strong so it will marinate quickly. It basically stains the tofu. Soak the tofu in it for about 10 min per side. I don't make enough sauce to completely cover because I hate wasting things. If I weren't so lazy, I would press the water out of the tofu with a heavy dish, then marinate overnight in a weaker marinate, but this is a fast method. After "marinating", pan fry until browned. To save a step, I typically cook the spinach in the pan before frying the tofu.

Next on my list is Vegan With a Vengeance's Tofu Scramble. This is the best scramble I have ever had. I love it. Of course I dump in way more nutritional yeast because it's so good. Sometimes I make a double batch so I can have it the next day too - it keeps well.

My list of favorites wouldn't be complete without quiche. I have a few recipes that I love. The one pictured here is Isa's Classic Broccoli Quiche, its very very easy to make, foolproof and best of all very tasty. I like to add mushrooms and different veggies.

These chedda cheeze scones were awesome! Thanks, Hannah, for posting them. I used cheesly. I noticed that they disappeared very quickly. I must have a rat in my kitchen because Andy won't fess up. That same rat likes to get into the fridge too.

Last up is the Indian omelette by Global Vegan. I couldn't get it to look as good, but it tasted good. I have also made Susan's omelette which inspired Global Vegan. I love Susan's omelette, but the problem is that I eat it way too fast and forget to take a picture.

Croquette City - about a year late ;-)

I tried 2 recipes from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen's challenge last year. Yeah, I'm a bit behind the times at reading blogs and taking action. Better late than never. I tried Vineet Aggarwal's Thai "fish" croquettes:

and Jule J's sundried tomato hummus croquettes.

Both recipes were good and the outside baked up really crispy - just like if you had deep fried them but without all the grease. I reduced the thai red curry paste a bit in the recipe because it was a bit overwhelming. I thought they tasted best the second day when I baked them in the oven a second time. A note about the hummus recipe - make sure it's really thick or you will get a soft (but still tasty) inside to your croquettes. I am really looking forward to trying more and making my own version. Great idea for a post, Susan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vegan 100

Bittersweet's blog posted the vegan's 100.

Here are the rules:
1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment (on bittersweet's blog) once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

Here are my results. 64/100.

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis

5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos

12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi

15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish

26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi

53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. PiƱa colada
58. Birch beer

59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry

65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies

73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate

77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky

80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi

93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti

97. Potato milk
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

Monday, September 15, 2008

Vermont in August

After Nebraska we went to Vermont to visit my family. All of my brothers and sisters were there. It was really fun hanging out. Here is where we ate. Burlington area. Unfortunately there isn't a purely vegan place in either state.

A Single Pebble is a chinese restaurant that has some vegan dishes (duh, I don't know why I wrote that, why else would I go there?). They had the BEST lightly battered and deep fried seitan in a mongolian type sesame sauce. I have been dreaming of it, but a 10 hour flight seems like a bit far for dinner. We also had some soup that was ok, but they gave us a cauldron of it so it wasn't as satisfying since we had too much of it. We had puffy white scallion rolls sort of like the dough used for steamed buns. The kung pao sauce was good, but they used that super hard tofu that is like vulcanized rubber.

We got pizza from Leonardo's pizza. The web (not their site) said that they had vegan cheese options. Well they didn't. It was non vegan soy cheese. So here is what we got. As far as the vegan cheeseless pizza scene goes, it sort of sucked.
Sakura's is a Japanese restaurant that has been around forever. Last time I was here, I noticed that they were very vegan savvy and accomodating, so we went again. It was very good. We got tons of food. Here is the stuff that we took pics of. There was also teriyaki tofu, seaweed salad and miso.

Age Dofu

Sushi Rolls. The roll on the far right has 2 brown bean like things in it. It is super disgusting natto.

Edamame, how I love thee.

We had a picnic at a state park w/ my dad. I made carrot cake from Vegan With a Vengeance (VWAV). It was excellent. Not really surprising since that book is so wonderful.

This is a label of some takeout from City Market, a health food store in Burlington. We wolfed it down before we took a picture. I love this stuff. Mmmmmm....
Stone Soup is a restaurant that has lots of vegan options. Their sandwiches are really awesome.

Seitan Reuben

Pepper Seitan
BLT Type thing
forgot the name of this one
Fruit Crisp
Thumbprint cookie (sort of dry)
Scenes of their hot and cold bars and their desserts. They typically have 1 or 2 vegan desserts.

The Daily Planet doesn't have vegan items on their menu, but they can make substitutions - but you have to ask the server to check if everything is vegan - like the bread that they served with butter, the mayo based dipping sauce that they served w/ the appetizer, etc. The portabello burger was really good. The rest of the food was not anything super special. The was an onion based tomato dish that was really sweet. The 3rd dish was a bunch of grilled veggies and a crispy thing to eat it with. Luckily we all rotated plates. I would have been really bummed if I had to eat a full portion of some of it.

We celebrated my mother's 70th bday this summer instead of in December. I made 4 different kinds of cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World. Everybody loved them. I sent my brother the cookbook since he was really loving the maple cupcakes and asked for the recipes. I made maple, marble, s'mores. I also made lemon gems from VWAV. The frosting is messed up because I had the shortening too close to the stove and the kitchen was super hot. So it didn't turn out all fluffy and perfect like it normally does.

Nebraska in August

I'm still playing catch up with the blog... We went to Nebraska for Andy's brother's wedding at the beginning of August. We had a really good time. It was blazing hot. Here are the places we ate at.

McFoster's Natural Kind restaurant. We've been before, but this time wasn't as good. The chocolate date shake was still awesome. We ate in and had falafels and something I can't remember. We didn't take pics of that. We got takeout to eat at the wedding rehearsal dinner. The Thai tempeh dish was very plain. The tempeh part was tasty.

The veg enchiladas were tasteless. In fact, this pic barely looks like an enchilada. Granted, it is half eaten ;-).
At the wedding we had stuffed peppers. They were really good. Your typical rice and veggie filled pepper with spaghetti sauce. Yum.

We had to check out Night Flight Pizza because they have a vegan pizza. It was really really great. It even rivaled Juliano's Pizza in Seattle. And I LOVE that place.

Hu-Hot Mongolian Grill was ok. I think the key is to ask them to use different utensils for vegan food on the grill and to make them grill it longer so it gets charred.

Mia's Bongo Room's tofu scramble was really watery and didn't have much of a taste. The tofu benedict was pretty good. I forgot to take pictures.

catch up time

I've been a slacker. not at making or eating food, but at posting. so I'm cranking out this mega post w/ pics.

Millenium Thai Stack featured in Vegetarian Times. It was good, but I'm not sure if it was worth the ton of work it took. I will have to tweak it in the future to amp up the flavor. I also couldn't stop thinking that the base sauce should have pineapple in it. Probably because I took a cooking class at PCC where they had an almost identical soup with pineapple in it. It was really really good and simple to make.
Lemony Potatoes and Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon. Both of these recipes were tasty. I like baking the cutlets in the oven. For some reason the frying pan method didn't work out so well for me. The prep time on the cutlets is really fast.

Chickpea Romescu from Veganomicon. I liked it, but not one of my faves. Maybe adding tabasco would help. I love spicy chickpeas. This photo was taken on a pot lid because I forgot to take a pic of our plates before we ate ;-).

Dreena's Chocolate Cake. Yummmm! This was a really good cake. It was moist and the frosting wasn't too chocolately. Though I also think it would be great if the frosting were that dense tofu ganache type. I put on so much frosting that the cake is sliding apart in the pic.
Southwestern Burgers from VT. That issue had a bunch of different burger recipes. I can't remember how many I have tried. I liked these burgers, they had a nice corn taste to them. A bit crumbly.

Anise Fig Smushed Cookies from Veganomicon. I liked these though they were hard and didn't really brown very well. Maybe next time I will make them thinner and use some sucanat.

I can't remember where I got this recipe from. Maybe VT. It's a salad with avacado and lemon. I do remember that it wasn't that good. Maybe I knew it deep down when I was chopping the onions because they are not even close to being uniform ;-). and yeah, that is a lake of dressing (which was the gross part).
Crispy Orange Soy Curls from Don't get mad, get vegan. This recipe was good, but I found out that I'm not a fan of soy curls. I think that I should have marinated them. At some point, I'll try them again. Don't use the whole bag at once unless you want a huge amount because they expand like crazy. One bag filled up a normal sized pyrex glass pie pan. I will totally use the recipe w/ tofu or seitan. Recipe:
Sweet Chili Lime Tofu from yumyum. This was good. I need practice with my dry tofu frying technique. Next time maybe less lime, and try adding pineapple. I guess I'm a pineapple loving freak.

Apple Galettes from Veganomicon. Very good. You can use pretty much any jam or fruit with these. I like them best on the first day. Also earth balance is a must if you want a crust w/ flavor.

Chocolate Chip Cookies by Dreena. I've made these 3 times now. Once following recipe and there wasn't enough molasses so they turned out white. Then with 1 tbs of molassess, then with 2 tsp. I think 1 tbs is the perfect amount. It has a strong molassess taste, but they are awesome. No matter how much you use, the cookie is chewy with a great consistency. And that lasts no matter how many days you keep them. It makes about 6 big cookies that fit on 1 sheet.

A fruit salad that I made. Pineapple, mango, and strawberries. Simple but delicious.

Creamy Pasta Sauce by Just the Food. This sauce is very creamy, just like it's name. I'd say that it's one of my favorite mac 'n fake cheese recipes.

Combo of Fronch Toast from Vegan with a Vengeance (VWAV) and Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast from Eat Air. Really good. Beware of using too much pb.

Orange Scones from VWAV. These are really really really good. I did make one mistake. The icing came out really thin and I used it. It made the outside of the scone really sticky. You can see the stickiness in the pic under the thicker icing that I made later on that day. The texture of the scone was perfect. Not super dry and not too dense. Definitely going to make these again.