Wednesday, October 01, 2008

VEGANMOFO! It's here!

That's right, I've been having anxiety nightmares about this day, and here it is despite it all! It's VEGANMOFO, the VEGAN MOnth of FOod, where I swear on my firstborn that I will post at least 5 times a week in an attempt to share some more of the vegan food love. I'm excited! I'm scared! Help/Squee!

I'm not really sure what you can expect from me. Maybe some talk about why I am vegan. Maybe about how I first went vegan at 17. Maybe some food writing review. Maybe some stuff about this awesome gardening class I'm taking, which of course relates to the awesome food I will grow to eat. Maybe some restaurant reviews. Maybe about being a vegan mom to a mostly vegan toddler. But definitely a lot of food. That much I know.

I'm going to ease into this by just talking a little bit about what we've been eating lately. This week over at The Post Punk Kitchen Forums, the cookbook challenge is to utilize Veganomicon. The idea is to focus on new-t0-you recipes, which can be hard for me because that book has so many tried and true faves! So we're splitting the difference here.

Hot-Glazed Tempeh
This was a new to me recipe. First of all, I'm an idiot, let's just get that right out there. We don't keep hot sauce in the house - we just don't. For one thing, we have like 5 kinds of hot things that I typically sub for hot sauce, like chiptole tabasco, chili-garlic sambal, pickapeppa sauce, siracha, chipotle in adobo and a variety of hot spices. Second, I was kind of under the impression that hot sauce was less like ketchup (which always tastes pretty much the same no matter what kind you buy) and a lot more like snowflakes - each one is it's own flava/experience. Apparently, this is not so. After reviewing that this recipe was really hot (and we love the spice) - keeping in mind I DID NOT USE HOT SAUCE, but rather a combo of the tabasco, sambal and pickapeppa - I got about 10 comments on the boards that it's not hot at all you idiot, use real hot sauce (including one from Isa herself! I am forever shamed!). So, now I know. Use something that comes out of a bottle labled "hot sauce," you asshole.

So? So. My bastardization of this recipe yielded supa-spicy tempeh, but I have since begun the mending of my ways and have indeed purchased a bottle of "hot sauce" which I am now to understand isn't at all hot, it's just a clever name. Do I have that right? Good. I will be retrying this recipe sometime soon, as it appears to be a fave of the folks on the PPK boards, and I love a good tempeh recipe. Sheesh. I feel like I just came out of confession.

As an aside, we served this wicked hot tempeh with some really freaking awesome grilled corn on the cob and a green salad with leftover tahini garlic dressing (from VWaV). I lubed the corn up with some olive oil and sprinkled on some chili powder pre-grilling, and then after it came off added just a bit of earth balance and a sprinkle of sumac - YUM! Silas, the 2-year-old, was an especially huge fan of the corn, which I don't think he had ever had in cob form before. Now we know. Handles = fun food for toddlers. Duh.

Chickpea Cutlets, Mushroom Gravy and Rutabega Puree

So we are longtime fans of the chickpea cutlets. I love anything salty and savory and chewy and filled with dense protein-substances. I love how quick they come together. And I love the baking option, which requires very little of my attention.

The Mushroom Gravy was good - I think I would add a little more saltiness next time, because my broth powder (Bill's Chick'nish) is very low in salty flavor. I used a bunch of mystery mushrooms from our Mushroom CSA (how wicked is a mushroom csa? very!), I think they might have been baby shiitakes, but seriously, not sure. It came out great, I would definitely make this again. Who doesn't love gravy?!?

The Rutabaga Puree - ok. It was fine. I don't know, it was a little...rutabaga-y. Duh. I guess the thing is, it looks a lot like mashed potatoes, which are like one of my top 5 favorite foods, but they don't taste like mashed potatoes and the mouth feel is different. And with that cutlet and gravy, I guess my palette was kind of like "give me the mashers, you freaking idiot!" and instead I provided a completely non-sequitor, thai-inspired rutabaga puree. Another operator error. I might try it again if I get another rutabaga in my CSA box, but I can't see seeking out another rutabaga just to make this. But it's really fine, and seriously, anything with coconut milk automatically gets 5 extra points. As you can see, I added the cilantro.

Oh and those green beans in the background? Those are the Lemony-Broiled Green Beans from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Practically instant and delicious, yay!

Ok, off to prepare the eggplant for some parmesan tonight. I think we're going to use some fabulous pine-nut creme to top that off with, yay! Until tomorrow then.


carrie said...

Congrats on your first VeganMOFO post!! You are a brave lady, I just couldn't commit to the 5 posts a week (plenty of things to post about, not enough time).

I would have made the same mistake you did about the hot sauce. I've never bought a bottle of the product called hot sauce.....however, I have plenty of hot sauces.

Can't wait for MOFO post number 2....keep 'em comin'.

Bex said...

The Vcon spread looks great. We don't keep hot sauce on hand either. I just sub other spicy condiments knowing that what I have on hand is hotter than hot sauce and to not use much.

Chessa said...

Carrie - Thanks! Woo, if I can just keep posting what we ate the night before it should be ok. ;)

And to Carrie and bex - thank you, I really did feel like the dumb kid in class about the hot sauce thing, I'm glad to know it's not a totally uncommon mistake to make. Especially when getting scolded by Isa herself. Yikes. I felt like I came to school with no pants on.

jessy said...

hoooooooooray for VeganMofo! superw00t! and wow - that sounds like some supa-spicy tempeh, indeeds! dan and i looooove us some sriracha (although he loves it the mostest) - but "frank's" is a damn good hot sauce - if you see some in the store you might wanna try it - it's super scrum! mmmmmmm!

your grilled corn looks perfect! and what is sumac? i have no idea! is it a substitute or a flavoring?! i'm curious! and what does it taste like?! i have too many questions! eek!

a mushroom csa = badass, fo 'sho! i'm jealous... oh, and i just ordered ED&BV - omg, i'm so excitedfaced! i can't wait! 'cause your green beans look soooo tasty (& i've heard to many awesome thing about the book!)! yay!

rock on with the mofo - and i can't wait for more rock'n posts!


seitanismymotor said...

Happy mofoing! I know one can never go wrong with Veganomincon, but your chickpea cutlets with gravy look extremely yummy!

allularpunk said...

haha..i saw that attack on the forums. honestly (and maybe i should whisper in an ultra hushed voice here...) i made it with hot sauce and thought it was hella hot. but then again, i didn't use frank's, i used some habenero hot sauce that looked good (but apparently is really, really spicy). so don't feel bad!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Chickpea cutlets rock! They are even better the next day. Why am I afraid to cook tempeh? gotta make it this month and get over my fear. :o)

Chessa said...

jessy - that is the second rec I've had for Franks; I bought some other random stuff at the health food store the other day, because they didn't have Franks. I'm going to keep an eye out for it next time I'm at the more mainstream-y store.

Sumac is awesome! It's often used in Middle Eastern cooking and has a very bright, sour flavor to it - it's often used I think in place of citrus flavors. I loves the sour, and my thinking was people often do lime-butter for corn = sumac. It was good! Next time I would even add more. I got it at the middle eastern grocery back when I lived in Detroit (I bought a ton - it will last through the apocalypse, I think).

And the green beans rock! So does most everything from ED&BV. ;)

seitanismymotor - Thanks! I know, seriously, how can you go wrong with cutlets and gravy?!? It's a no brainer!

allularpunk - Thanks for the hot sauce solidarity. I was kind of like, OMG, I totally didn't mean to pee in everyone's cheerios. It actually made me not feel as free to honestly review recipes there from Vcon. Whatever. The week's almost over and we'll be on to a new book. ;)

veg-a-nut - Do not fear the tempeh! It's wicked easy, I think even easier than tofu. It just absorbs stuff much more readily and there is no pressing involved.

I love the cutlets! Every single time I tell myself to make a double batch and every time I don't for some dumb reason. So we never have any left for the next day. Some day, doubling with actually take place, and then I will know!

Kati said...

Well, not to contradict the PPK, but hot sauce is indeed hot in my opinion. Then again, I'm pretty sensitive. *shrugs* Happy MoFo!

Stephanie said...

I read that thread on the ppk and my heart went out to you, you didn't know Jeez, that is the whole point of the board to learn to make vegan food (Maybe) anyway, your food looks great!

Bethany said...

I guess I have been using hot sauce all along without knowing it. I'm with you in that I substitute all the time. If I don't have hot sauce, I would find something else. I don't think that things get much hotter than chipotles in adobe sauce!

I like Blazing Saddles because it has a nice clean flavor.

Most people don't like mashed rutabegas probably because they are mashed and sitting right next to mashed potatoes most of the time, so they can't help but compare them. I've been eating them my whole life, but only on the holidays - so when they rool around, I will eat more of them than mashed potatoes because they are a rare treat -- because they are hard to cut up and hard to mash -- chalk one up for laziness.

Chessa said...

Kati - never contradict the PPK! They'll hear you, their spies are legion!!!!!!!!!!

Stephanie - Aww, thanks. I thought it was a little harsh for some honest substituting. But whatevs, people can take their bad moods out on unsuspecting vegans sometimes I guess.

Bethany - yeah, I'm definitely willing to re-audition the rutabaga. I just need to cleanse my thoughts of all things potato beforehand. ;) Thanks for the hot sauce rec!

Bethany said...

no problem! I hope to see you at a future seattle vegan meetup - they're fun, I promise.

Anonymous said...

I'm aware I am jumping in on this very late in the game but my husband and I have a a basket full of (what we call at least..) "hot sauces" that included siracha (YUM!) various tabascos, and some other very hot little bottles. If a recipe called for hot sauce that basket is where I would reach as well.

Seems like a simple misunderstanding. But I could be biased because we eat a lot of hot stuff. I looove Chipotles in adobo sauce. They make almost anything very tasty!