Sunday, October 05, 2008

VeganMoFo: Weekend Roundup

A cooking class! Mac and Cheese! Gardening class! Such weekend!

Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh, Take Two

This time I used something labled "hot sauce." Much deliciousness ensued, much less hotness than last time. Still a weensy bit hot for the toddler, but I LOVED it. The moral of the story is to never substitute any ingredients in Veganomicon. Ever.

Grilled corn on the cob was awesome, again.

Cooking Class: Southern Vegan Comfort

So I took this class at our local co-op natural food store, PCC. It was awesome! This was only the second (vegan) cooking class I've ever been to, but I just love them. It wasn't like I'd never made biscuits or vegan sausage gravy or collards before - I had, and I love them. But it's just so great to learn from other cooks. Because I don't get a chance to cook with a lot of people. My mom, my husband, occasionally a grandmother maybe. But you really can learn a lot by just cooking with other people, and in this case, we were watching an actual chef who had a lot of experience, both vegetarian/vegan and omni. Little tips I picked up that were new to me:
  • In the summer when you have bunches of fresh herbs, save the bunch of stems and use it as a pastry brush to baste stuff on the grill or to get oil into a pan. Yummy herby goodness!
  • Save woody stems from thyme or other herbs in a ziploc in the freezer for stock
  • Our instructor also saves scraps from onions, carrots and celery together in a freezer bag, and in a separate bag she saves mushroom stems. Because sometimes she wants all-around veggie stock, but sometimes she just wants a mushroom stock
  • A touch of blackstrap molasses can take collards from good to OMGWOW!
  • Thinly slicing garlic instead of mincing can provide a delicious shake-up to meals and gives more of a surface are to get that delicious bite to garlic in your mouth
One of the best things I came away with from this class was the idea of NOTHING GOING TO WASTE in her kitchen. She really did save everything for another use. She also talked about how she likes to make big batches of food but hates leftovers - and I can so relate. So in her case, she transforms them into something different everytime. So a big batch of collards will get eaten in soups or stews, or thrown in wraps, etc.

Another great thing I came away with from this class? Confidence. I have a tendency to over-rely on recipes, and sometimes you just don't have a recipe for making over the leftovers in your fridge. That's where creativity - and some confidence - come into play. And I put them to play the next morning!

Leftovers + Biscuits = Biscuits and Gravy!

So here we have some leftover hot-sauce glazed tempeh crumbled up and fried in some EVOO, then some rustic white beans with mushrooms thrown in there, and some leftover mushroom gravy from a few nights ago. I thinned it out with a little almond milk and added some fennel for that sausage-y flavor. And you know what? It was freaking awesome. Seriously, some of the best vegan sausage gravy I've ever had. Over really freaking fantastic biscuits (used Yellow Rose Recipes for that one).

So The PPK boards had been all a-chatter a while ago about this recipe, and I LOVE me some mac and cheese, so I had to give it a whirl. Verdict: AWESOME. I can't believe I finally found a nooch-free mac and cheese!!! (I like nooch and all, but come on. Not every single time). The combo of cashews, lemon juice and the cooked veggies was amazing. I tasted it pre-baked and after baking, and I have to say that Chad and I both really liked it better pre-baking. The breadcrumbs were a little much and somehow there was a weird fishy aftertaste post-baking. But I will most certainly be making this recipe again, soon. I might cook just a bit more pasta, because it was pretty saucy pre-baked - maybe bump it up from 8 oz to 10 oz. If you love mac and cheese, try this recipe!!!

Oh you wanted to take a picture of that? Uhhh....
The reason I don't have a pic of the mac and cheese in the baking dish. Thanks, dear.

Rustic White Bean Soup with Rosemary + Southern Lovin' Cornbread

So some more leftovers were magically transformed into something new and delectable last night for dinner after gardening class (which is so awesome! I heart Seattle Tilth!) So I took the remaining Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms, threw it in a pot and put it on low while I cooked me up some fantastic southern style cornbread (veganized the Sour Milk Cornbread recipe from The Gift of Southern Cooking). I used a mix of white cornmeal and yellow (I LOVE real southern style - read: NOT SWEETENED - cornbread, and they tend to be made with white cornmeal). It was sooooooo good! And had so few ingredients. I need to get some more white cornmeal because I want to eat it everyday.

So back to the beans - I pureed them with my immersion blender, added some fresh chopped rosemary and a splash or two of lemon juice and then when it was served I drizzled some olive oil in each bowl. It was SOOOOO GOOOOOD!!! Sorry no pic, I can't find my camera cord and I'm not making too much noise looking for it cuz the dude is sleeping. Thank dog.


Bethany said...

that is so funny. I'm taking that same class at PCC, but at the Redmond location because it's about 10 min from my house.

I didn't read much of this entry because I want the class to be a surprise, but I will read it after I take the class. I can't wait.

they added a lot of new vegan classes this fall. I'm class #4 into 10 of them right now. I've been blogging about them. I got smart and brought my camera to the last one. The instructor was ok w/ me taking pics. Andy was given the option of attending classes w/ me and this is the only one he opted for because they had biscuits.

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Ha! This was hilarious. I'm glad you tried the tempeh again.

Chessa said...

bethany - that's hilarious! I didn't talk tooooo much about the content of the class, more like random takeaway points of cooking classes in general. What other classes have you taken? I was thinking of signing up for the vegetarian holidays one. It's pretty sweet that you get a $10 coupon, it's like they're only $30 as a result. And biscuits? They're good.

monique a.k.a. mo - Thanks! The tempeh was definitley worth trying again. ;)

vijita said...

That VegNews mac and cheese is the best thing to ever happen to...err...vegan mac & cheese. Your other food looks deelish too!

Kati said...

I love taking cooking classes, too - you can get so many great ideas. I'm definitely going to start saving veggie scraps for stock.

That mac and cheese looks awesome, too. I will need to try that recipe since I think nooch can get a little overused.

Chessa said...

vijita - Thanks! It really is the best Mac and cheese I've tried!

Kati - the mac and cheese is awesome. I'm all for nooch, but not every blessed time, you know? This recipe is a great alternative.

ian said...

classic picture!!!!

Bethany said...

I'm taking 10 this fall. I can't even begin to remember all of them. I'm taking them at the redmond location.

I've blogged about all of them so far. though I do owe a post on the autumn detox class. it was great.

The ones I have left are southern vegan comfort, the ethiopian class, veg holidays class that you were thinking of taking, soup simplifies your life, macrobiotics.