Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Even When the Universe Hates Us...

We still eat well.

This picture of Silas really captures my mood lately:
We have now entered the lovely stage of the spring I like to call "the waiting for him to call nightmare." In this scenario, the "him" refers not to a boyfriend or whatever, but to the imaginary job person who is calling to offer Chad a job. This has nothing at all to do with food or eating, but I thought it might help to explain the surliness that might just come screaming through the computer to eat your faces off, lovely readers. Let's just say we thought we had something in the bag (in SEATTLE!!!) and now it just looks like we are one of 4 lucky candidates who gets to go BACK. Again. For an interview with the president. Because bringing back FOUR of the SIX original candidates interviewed in the first round is perfectly reasonable right? RIGHT!?!???! Who DOESN'T want to bring back 2/3rds of the candidates to interview a THIRD time!?! Not me! Why don't we bring all six back? Why not!

Anyway. We are also waiting to hear back from a Rancho Cucamonga job (I swear to god I didn't make that town up). And there is another interview in San Diego in two weeks. And then we go to Oregon to chew our nails down to the quick and plead with any deity, mineral or vegtable who will give us audience to get us the hell out of this decaying place. Please.

So every time the phone rings we jump. And hope. And every time it's not our ticket out of here we die a little inside. But still, we cook good food and eat it. Because that's what good vegans do!

I will spare you all the rest of my mental breakdown.

Begin Foodiness!

Some catch-up!

Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro-Cashew Cheese, Curried Carrot Dip, Chips and Pickles!So even though I have several bean burger recipes that I like already, I decided to give the black bean burgers out of Vcon a shot. They were good! They didn't change my life, and I think they could have used a hefty pinch of salt, but they were solid. The cashew cheese continues to change my world and is transformed into a magical topping for these burgers by stirring in some minced cilantro. We also had some leftover Curried Carrot Dip out of Vcon - always a crowd pleaser, but it makes a LOT, so sometimes it's hard for us to use it all up in time.

Magical Granola with Sliced Bananas

Chad LOVES some granola. I always want to have made it - the night before. Even though it doesn't take long, I have issues with breakfast recipes that don't require my full attention from start to finish. As in, if it's going to take an hour, I want to be at the stove the whole time doing stuff. I have a problem with stir-it-up-and-wait recipes in the morning. Too hyper I guess! But I made it happen last week. Note to self: double or triple the recipe in the future, because this amount only got us through two days! We are granola hogs.

I got inspiration from Vegan Lunch Box for this granola recipe, but I feel that I've changed it up enough to share with y'all!

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raw pistachios
3/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 300F. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir to coat. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 3o minutes, stirring halfway through.

Let it cool if you can wait that long. Stir in dried fruit if you want (we don't, but up to 1 cup works fine). Serve with vegan milk or yogurt and sliced bananas.

Out of Town Vegan Guest!

We had a friend visit for a few days last week (one reason I'm so behind blogging). She is vegan, too, which made things uber easy. We enjoyed some great food out - Pizza at Amici's and Middle Eastern ood at La Pita (thanks for the tip, Jennifer!) and awesome Ethiopian food at The Blue Nile. La Pita sent our guest into a frenzy looking for a recipe to recreate the amazing garlic dip that we found there (and used to get at La Shish) - it's some magical combo of garlic, olive oil and salt, and some people say potato. And a freezing cold mortar and pestle. Still haven't tried to make it, but someday soon because that stuff is seriously garlic crack!

I also made some food that I forgot to photograph (or maybe just felt too nerdy to do it in front of our guest). One morning I made tofu scramble (VwaV) and diner potatoes (Vcon). The potatoes were tasty, but kind of a pain. Why do potatoes take so darn long to cook?!? Another morning I made a double batch of pinto sausages and a double batch of powerhouse pancakes (it was a double batch kind of day). Another morning I made Drop Biscuits from Joy of Vegan Baking (awesome!) with leftover sausage. And one day our guest cooked lunch for us, and even though there was a sugar-salt confusion, it all turned out fine (I keep containers of both sugar and salt near my stove. You just have to know that the sugar is unrefined and brown, and the salt, though sea salt, is white. And decidedly not sweet!)

Today to try to reign in some of my sanity while Chad took Silas out to play, I whipped up a batch of these Raspberry Oat Bars:

Kind of a shoddy pic, but they are delicious! So few ingredients, but still awesome (basically, quick oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and vegan butter with some raspberry jam layered in the middle. So good!) Perfect with a glass of unsweetened almond milk.

I also made up a batch of Apple-Sage Seitan Sausages, which were really good. They were more involved than the Pinto version, but I wanted to try a new sausage recipe. Next time I would add a little more salt, but otherwise these were a great combo of sweet and savory (and I love the fact that I finally got to bust out the Marmite that's been taking up space in my pantry for a while!). We had them for lunch with steamed broccoli and artichoke hearts topped with a little fresh cashew cheese and leftover tomato-caper couscous (Vcon).

I need advice and/or recipes!!!
So today I went to our local middle eastern grocery (which I always forget is sooooo close) and found myself in the bulk section where I quickly grabbed any random spice that had previously been called for in a recipe that I never had on hand. And this, dear readers, is why I'm looking for recipes that call for ground Sumac or ground Fenugreek. Because now that I have them, I can't remember which recipes called for them! And I know they're out there, and now I have to make them. Because the smallest container I could get for each was huge. So help a vegan out! You will have my undying gratitude.


carrie said...

I hope your hubby gets the job.....Seattle would be an incredible place to live. Whenever I visit I don't want to return home!! I do however love my little piece of Earth with my family nearby to watch my kids grow.

I'm glad that despite it all you've still been eating good!!

Chessa said...

Thanks, Carrie! Seattle would be awesome, and only 3 hours from my parents (who are dying to see more of Silas).

Jenny said...

Hang in there on the job front. :( At least you can make it through the tough times with your great cooking! Your meals all look delicious.

Rural Vegan said...

Good luck on the job front; I'll keep my fingers crossed that Seattle happens for you guys!

The raspberry oat bars are calling my name this morning. Send some over please!

Jen said...

I love the Silas pouty face!

Sorry things are so stressful, mama! Isn't that so typical of academia? I think it would be so awesome if the Rancho Cucamonga thing worked out just so you could say it all the time! :)

Sounds like you are a stress baker too! You can always tell how crazy things are in my house by the number of baked goods lining our counter. Hang in there, BREATHE, things will get better!

Mihl said...

Good luck with the job, both of you!

Cashew cheese has changed my world too! I love to use cashews in anything that calls for cheese/ sour cream, whatever dairy.

Fenugreek can be used for a lot of Indian recipes. My recipes always call for whole seeds but they are very hard, so ground powder sounds like a great alternative!

Chessa said...

Jenny: Thanks for the encouragement!

RV: Please, come on over! I'm having a hard time staying away from the raspberry-oat bars, and would be very willing to share them to save my waistline! ;)

Jen: I am TOTALLY a stress baker! I don't know if I ever even knew that consciously, but you are so right, that is completely my m.o. I've been trying to justify a way to make lemon pudding cake even though we still have rasp-oat bars to eat!

Mihl: Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm going to the library stat to check out a book on indian cooking so I can employ my giant stash of ground fenugreek - thanks for the tip! :D