Wednesday, October 1, 2008

VeganMoFo day #1

Today is the first day of VeganMoFo, aka Vegan Month of Food. Basically a movement started by the Post Punk Kitchen to blog like crazy about vegan food for a month. There are lots of people doing it, which translates into lots of opportunities for new recipes, new ideas and inspiration to cook and eat great vegan food. Click here for more info.

Before I start on the food, I'm a bit behind on blogging up my classes because I've been really busy lately. I've been staining the deck (with help) with this awesome eco stain by biowash. It looks great and doesn't stink really bad like most stains. Our front porch was done a few weeks ago in more traditional stain and it still smells like a skunk out there. bleah.

This is Stitches, a greyhound that I'm fostering. This is the first time I've fostered a dog. Stitches is not my favorite name because I think that they named her that because she has a huge scar from the stitches that she had. Since I'm fostering, I don't get to change it - even though she doesn't respond to it. On the positive side, she is really friendly and gets along well w/ my dog -- and it's only been a little over 3 days now. The cats don't know what to think, they are used to crawling all over my dog, Kobie, rubbing up against him and kissing him. Stitches is the opposite because she is all over them with kisses.
Onto the food...

I have been meaning to try Rinotta (tofu ricotta) for a while. I first found a link to the recipe on Tasty Turnip, which links to W.A.S.T.E., the recreators of this fantastic recipe. I'm not sure who came up with Rinotta first, W.A.S.T.E. or Pizza Luce, but I can't thank you enough!!! I'm pretty sure we went to Pizza Luce when we were in Minneapolis some years ago and had a vegan pizza. Rinotta is really good super garlic deliciousness, though I think that I piled it on the pizza too thick ;-). I also made a lasagna like noodle dish with it. It was fantastic. A tomato sauce layer on the bottom, then a mix of noodles and rinotta topped off with more tomato sauce mixed with follow your heart mozzarella. I think next time I will add tons of basil to this or just lightly swirl it with pesto.

This pseudo Lasagna looks sort of like a big pile of goo, but it's very very delicious. I still love my tofu ricotta recipe, but I love this one too.

Next up is another meal I've been eyeing for some time now, Seitan Shwarma from Bunnyfoot. Yum... Don't skimp on the tahini sauce. I used Mountain Bread for the wrapper. It's a very very thin wrap. They had some interesting ideas on the back wrapper. you can make bowls out of it and put in stuff for appetizers. I think I will use it to make some of the date filled snacks in the Cantonese Yum Cha (dim sum) class that i took. More on that later.

Andy's made his mac and cheese recipe. I keep out of the kitchen when he cooks, because he is right -- I would rather not know the greasy details. He has an unhealthy relationship with veganaise. He is not shy with it.
  • pasta
  • peas
  • cheddar cheesly
  • follow your heart mozzarella
  • veganaise
  • earth balance? ok, I'm hoping that I didn't hear him correctly. We're talking 4 kinds of grease here.
  • fake parmesan
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic powder - none of the fresh stuff ;-(
  • mustard
  • He won't add any salt or pepper that I can detect

In prep for Thanksgiving, I've started trying out pumpkin pie recipes. I made a good one 2 years back, but I was winging it and didn't write anything down. argh. I don't actually use pumpkin. I use squash, preferably Hubbard. Here is some wikipedia blabbing on Hubbard Squashes. Pumpkin pies are ok, but they are typically too overspiced for my taste and pumpin isn't my favorite like the hubbard. Since that type of squash isn't out yet, I used canned pumpkin. Yeah, lazy. I used Bryanna's filling and the crust from the Nov/Dec 07 issue of Vegetarian Times that have cake will travel recommended. I subbed in 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour for the crust and it was awesome - not to mention really easy. The filling took forever to cook. I probably should have taken it out sooner and chilled it. It tasted best the next day. Funny how the next day rule works out most of the time. I consider this a WIP.

Class #3------

I took a Raw Cooking class at PCC (not hands on) taught by two of the chefs at Chaco Canyon. It was really delicious. I haven't had time to make any of the recipes yet, but I will. They made:

  • a sort of salsa like dish with pluots, curry and garlic. Very delicious.
  • Pesto with Zucchini ribbons. Pretty much the same as the pesto that I make (your regular pesto minus the parm), except I think that they soaked the walnuts first. I will use walnuts or pine nuts depending on what I have.
  • Alfredo with spiralized zucchini. had a walnut base. very light tasting.
  • Avacado and Lime pudding. yum!

Class #4------

I took a Cantonese Yum Cha class at PCC (hands on). Yum Cha is "dim sum" in cantonese.

I have now completed 4 classes out of 10. I'm probalby going to kick myself for taking almost all of the new vegan classes that PCC added. I'm hoping that the next catalog will have more that are new to me or I will go through a dry patch w/ no classes. In the class we learned how to make super strong tea. I watered mine down while nobody was looking.

There were 3 groups of us. Each group made a different type of dumpling. My group made "steamed green leaf-shaped dumplings". They consisted of a spinach dough with a spinach, leek, celery, mushroom, tofu filling. They were steamed. The one on the right is one I made, but my early version. I made a cooler looking crimp in my later dumplings. The other 2 groups made "daikon celery yin dumplings" and "mushroom carrot yang dumplings". They then swapped each other 1/2 of their dumplings and pinched 1 of each kind together to make a yin/yang dumpling. These were pan fried with a lid to achieve a sort of steamed effect. I liked the results of this method over plain steaming.
The dumplings were really good. I learned that it's very important to roll out the dough really thin. and of course, don't over work it. The class was so much fun because we got to sit around and blab to each other. I think it wouldn't be much fun at home unless you could enlist some help.

The instructor also made some oven baked crispy wontons filled with dates, figs and chinese spices. Unfortunately the wonton wrappers that she used were premade and had egg in them. So I took one and ate only the center that didn't touch the wrapper to get an idea if I liked it and would want to try it at home w/ the proper wrapper - perhaps moutain bread (see earlier in this post). They were pretty tasty. I'll definitely try these at home.

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