Sunday, May 25, 2008

Up up update

He Caught Like Three Feet of Air That Time

Sorry for the lack of posting and food-related photos....Silas and I are still in Portland (well, actually 40 minutes outside of Portland in between the towns of Scappoose and St. Helens, OR for anyone familiar with the area). I've been cooking up a storm, but in the heat of the moment I've been very, very bad about taking my food porn fotos. But we've been making great stuff, rest assured. And visiting Farmer's Markets. I want to go like twice a week here, they are soooo awesome! Greens, strawberries, fresh herbs, breads, much good stuff. Oh, and spam me with your best recipes that use Shiitake mushrooms. I bought some fresh ones, and I don't think I've ever cooked with them before! Weird, I know.

Today I made a Tofu Cutlet Parmesan that was really awesome. I used the Compassionate Cook's recipe for the Tofu Cutlets (it's a recipe you can buy as part of the BBQ, Burgers and Backyard Bites packet), and they were great. Then I layered them with marinara and topped it all off with Vcon's Pine Nut Cream Sauce, except that I substituted cashews for the pine nuts since my mom didn't have any. It was great! I'm super happy we have leftovers. You could totally cheat if you were in a hurry and use a vegan Chick'n patty instead of making your own cutlets.

Did I mention that I bought a copy of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton? I did! So please, everyone out there that uses it, spam me with the awesome recipes to try. There are so many, I need some recommendations to focus my energy!

Yesterday morning I made the Tempeh Hashbrown Casserole for breakfast. YUM! I cheated and microwaved the potatoes instead of baking them, which cut down on the prep time by an hour so I don't really feel bad. I used a mix of red potatoes and a big baker russet instead of the yukon golds called for, and I thought it was great. Oh yeah, and spanish onion filled in for green onion. Anyway, it was hearty and delicious, and if my recommendation doesn't carry enough weight let me just say that my psychotically carnivorous father ate it without complaint. Yeah, seriously! I will say that I felt like it needed something, like a tofu scramble or something, pared with it. Today I had leftovers of the has with sliced avocado on top, and this helped ameliorate the "missing" feeling. But what can't a ripe avocado fix?

I also made the lemon pesto from ED&BV and used it for a homemade pizza last night. It was great. My mom does some awesome stuff with pizza crust, very nicely cooked. It was also topped with rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and some browned Morningstar Chick'n strips and some fresh minced garlic. YUM.

Chad and I used to live a few blocks from this hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant on Burnside in Portland. He used to order so much take out from them that they recognized his voice. Yeah, it was like that. Anyway, they make THE BEST Massaman curry in the entire universe, and we are always always disappointed when we order it from anywhere else. I've always wanted to try to make it myself to see if I could replicate it, but do you know how hard it is to find massaman curry paste?!? Damn near impossible. But I found some! At this tiny little grocery/cafe in St. John's in Portland called Proper Eats. (Which, by the way, has AWESOME food. Go there and order the special, whatever it is.) So I made my mom and I (and Silas) some homemade Massaman curry the other night. It was really good! But it wasn't THE curry. It was missing some pungency...extra lemongrass? Galangal? I'm going to have to experiment, but I'm glad that I have the curry paste to get me started, anyway. Long live massaman.

This past week I also had the distinct pleasure of testing a recipe for Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's new cookbook. It was a peanut sauce pasta dish with green beans and it was awesome! I don't think I've seen Silas clean his plate so fast and ask for more in a long, long time. That kid was a BIG fan, especially of the green beans. I can't wait until it's published so everyone can make it! We had it with oven-roasted kale, which my mom freaked out over.

Oh, and last weekend I made a batch of VCTOTW Peanut Butter Heavencakes: chocolate cupcakes filled with peanut butter frosting, topped with chocolate ganache. Holy flurking snit. They were soooooo good, and my dad was obsessed with them! Go vegan food winning over the toughest critics.

Speaking of which, my mom is very open minded, but I am still so happy that I think I've convinced her to start using unsweetened almond milk instead of cow's and soymilk creamer instead of Coffeemate non-dairy creamer!!!!!!!!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!! She's had breast cancer twice, and I'm just so glad to get her to cut back on dairy, especially after what I've been reading about IGF-I (or watch a video about it here) and it's effects on cancerous cells. And coffeemate is LOADED with chemicals and hydrogenated oils, so, yay!!! Again, yayayayay!

I'm also excited, because my dad, the aforementioned food-wimp, was telling us that he was talking to his co-workers about how he'd been trying all this vegetarian food lately, and it was all pretty good. *sniff* *tear* Who was it that said we just have to win them over with delicious food?! So, so true.

News on the Move
Chad will start driving from Detroit on Tuesday and should make it here by Friday or so. We'll be in Seattle the following Wednesday (6/4) to meet our ABF truck and start moving in. Yay!!!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Seattle Deets

Life and Whatnot
(skip down for you food-only people!)

So, I'm pretty much convinced that Seattle is the enchanted land that can do no wrong. This is my second trip up this week, and it continues to rock my world!

So, Chad got a job at a local community college here as Associate Dean of Academic Programs or something to that effect. It's a new position for both the school and him, so this should be very interesting and very fun. It's in West Seattle, which is where we'll be living, like 3 miles away from his job! And there's a bus (BUS!!!) that takes him there in like 12 minutes. Unless you've lived in Detroit, the excitement about the bus is probably weird, but after living in a city that buried its public transportation decades ago, it is so awesome to live in a civilized place again.

I found us a house to rent that is great, with gorgeous gigantic flowers (seriously, my dad's in the nursery business and he said that every plant on our property is the biggest one he's every seen of the species!) and this crazy knotty tree that is perfect for climbing. I seriously feel like I'm moving to the enchanted forest! There is an outstanding view of the Puget Sound from the end of our street and our place is like 3/4 of a mile from tons of stuff to do - year-round farmer's market, tons of coffee, restaurants and bookstores, a YMCA...I just can't believe how awesome this moving is turning out to be! If I were anymore thankful I think I would spontaneously combust.

Vegan Eats!
Earlier this week I had the distinct pleasure of indulging in some of Mighty-O Donuts for breakfast, and I can safely say that they rock. The French Toast donut may have changed my life forever. Later that day I dragged my mom (such a trooper!) to Squid and Ink in Georgetown, where I gorged myself on vegan chicken-fried steak and hashbrowns while she enjoyed the french toast, tofu scramble and tempeh sausage. It was a little hard to find, but definitely awesome and we will most certainly be back! We also hit up PCC Natural Market a few times where I was thrilled to discover they sell a bunch of vegan sandwiches, such as the tasty SmartLife Club and Vegan BLT, plus a variety of vegan baked goods (great brownie and I also had some outrageously delicious raw raspberry cheesecake! That is, until Silas woke up and devoured almost the whole thing.)

This trip my dad is along and he is, how shall we say....a less than adventurous eater, which means the wholly vegan restaurants are not on the agenda for this trip. But I'm still hoping to check out a bakery at Pike Place that has vegan cinnamon rolls tomorrow, and we're also going to try to get into Blackbird Bistro for Mother's Day breakfast. I'm so psyched!