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!!!!!


Marielle said...

Congrats on moving to Seattle!

When I took a vegetarian cooking course in Thailand we didn't use Massaman curry paste, because it's the Thai take on a Muslim curry. I don't know how authentic it was, but we used ground chili paste, galangal, lemon grass and a ton of Madras curry powder, thai fermented soy bean sauce, light and dark soy sauce, palm sugar and coconut milk. All the usual suspects in a vegetarian curry, but I think it is Indian curry powder that makes the difference.

My favorite shiitake recipe is the very simple gravy I make every Thanksgiving.

2 T olive oil
2-3 T flour
6 large shiitake mushrooms (or as many as you can afford)
3 1/2 cups warm vegetable broth
1/4 Tamari
Rosemary and Thyme to taste (or use sage or whatever sounds good)
1-2 t apple cider vinegar
Fresh ground white pepper

Thinly slice the mushrooms. Make a roux with flour and oil, stir in the mushrooms until they look like they're coated with sand and start to sweat. Slowly whisk in the warm broth, being careful not to create lumps. Add tamari and herbs. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (it takes a lot of patience, but it does cook down). Finish with the vinegar and pepper to taste. I know the vinegar sounds weird, but it makes it awesome. I just made it for my parents and they tasted it before the vinegar, and then freaked out when they saw me add it, but afterwards they agreed that it upgraded the gravy to addictive. I made it with biscuits and the steamed seitan sausage that you introduced me to.

Jen said...

That's so cool that you are testing Colleen's recipes! I can't wait until that book comes out!

Rural Vegan said...

All of your food sounds great, even without the porn photos. I have to get ED&BV already too, everyone gives it such rave reviews.

Congrats on enjoying those farmer's markets - that's what I'd be doing too!

Chessa said...

Thanks Marielle! I made the gravy yesterday and it was really good. I think I might add some cornstarch next time, it was a little thin for my preference even after a long simmer. But the flavor was GREAT! And I'm definitely taking notes on your massaman ingredients for my next experiment.

Jen - I know! I can't wait to see what all Colleen comes up with next. Everything I've made by her has been delicious.

RV - Thanks! I'm feeling the lack of photos but now that Chad is here, I have my own camera back and will try to be better about it. Of course, this next week might be a lot of take-out since we're moving...

jeni said...

hi Chessa! you might not remember me because somehow even though our time at SI overlapped i don't think we properly met. erin matas didn't really believe me when i told her that, so maybe i'm the one who doesn't remember? but i've occasionally read your blog[s] for a while and i'm excited you moved to seattle because i recently moved here too! and i have two words for you regarding vegan food: Hillside Quickies. the one in the U district seems a little cheaper than in capitol hill (where i live), and it's very much *slow* food, but holy moly it's got some of the most delicious vegan sandwiches i've ever tasted. anyway, i hope we can meet up sometime! email me and i'll send you my phone #. also, i'm "adaenn" on flickr.

The Dalai Mama said...

Some of my faves from ED&BV:

Popeye Pasta and Olive Oyl Pasta.

Spicoli Burgers (Almost like a vegan

Cashew-Ginger tofu

Cumin-Lime tofu

Sarah said...

from ed&bv, which we bought today, we tried the orange sesame tofu, the lime coconut basmati rice and the greens - see my blog - it was enjoyed :)