Friday, December 05, 2008

Dark Days Post #2 (week 3)

Yep, I'll be up-front: I've been slacking. Sick. Sick with sick kid. Bitter. Tired. Semi-depressed. And blogging has not been my number one priority. You know how it is.

So I missed last week's Dark Days Challenge, mostly due to the fact that I was with family all week and my dad is the WORLD'S BIGGEST CRYBABY about food. So much so that it's almost impossible to find a place that we can all eat in comfortably. So there was a LOT of eating out at random places and no cooking in, except for T-day, where despite my best efforts, almost nothing we ate was local. I actually kind of missed 4 years of thankgsivings alone, just because then I had total control over the menu. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy being with my family(they went out of their way to veganize a LOT of standards) and everything was delicious, but I made almost none of it (just vegan pumpkin pie and the soy-seitan roast and some mushroom gravy) and none of it was local. Or if it was, it was completely accidental. Arg.

And that's the end of this installment's complaining. I told you I've been in a bad mood! Here's the food.

Dark Days Meal #2:
(Starting at 7 o'clock): Balsamic Roasted Tofu and Veggies, Kale Chips, Yukon Gold and Purple Potato Squashers, and Roasted Acorn Squash with Roasted Garlic

Sorry for the pathetic photo, but I couldn't find our camera and this was taken with the cell phone. Awesome.

So this meal was ok. We have a LOT of local squash left, and I've been looking for innovative ways to eat it, but I'm just not inspired by what I find. And am I the only person on the planet who is 100% bored by squash soup? It's like there's no there there. So, this acorn squash was roasted, mixed with roasted garlic cloves, some Earth Balance and some cinnamon and salt. It needed a LOT more salt, but I for one was too lazy to remedy the situation.

The tofu was good - it was local tofu (from Vashon Island, woo-hoo!) that had been frozen and thawed, rendering it super spongy and meaty. I mixed it with some sliced onion, shallots, garlic and mushrooms and poured over a combo of balsamic vingear, olive oil, sugar, basil and salt. Note to self: when tofu is frozen and thawed it SOAKS UP MARINADE LIKE A SPONGE. So be sure to evenly distribute it, k? I was not so careful last night. That's ok, we gave the blander pieces to the toddler, because we know that toddlers like bland.

The kale chips were salty and oil and crispy and delicious and I had to stop myself from eating them all, as usual.

The squashers were baked for 45 minutes (with the squash/garlic) then squished, drizzled in olive oil and salt, and baked for 15 minutes, flipped and baked an additional 10 minutes. They were good, if a little cold when I got everything else on the table. Silas liked the yukon golds but not the purple potatoes. WTH? What kid doesn't like purple food!?

Anyway, this meal was not a total loss, but nothing I'd necessarily try to replicate. If anyone has any good (vegan) uses for leftover pureed acorn squash, I'm all ears.

Other Random Foods

This was a curry I made several weeks ago using Soy Curls for the first time. I have to say, I'd give them a 2.5/5 stars. I don't know, I may have made too many, but the flavor was just not that great. Any ideas, fellow vegans? Should I have marinated them?

The curry consisted of peas, potatoes, mushrooms and some curry paste from Portland - this was Panang flavored. I like it but I want it to be MORE - I used about 3x the recommended amount and it wasn't even hot. I don't get it. Can being depressed make everything bland? What about boredom? Can that make everything bland?

Ugh, I'm putting this post out of it's misery. I promise to be in a better mood next time. And memes. More memes. Really. Don't forsake me now.


Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Yes, definitely marinate the soy curls in something strong (and salty!)... and even then, I only like them in a few recipes.

That curry really looks good even if it didn't knock you over with it's goodness.

Hope you feel better soon!

livinginalocalzone said...

Sorry you've been feeling sick, sometimes a funk just rolls in there. Hang in there. Hope you are better...

You know I was talking about just the same thing on my blog this week, how to handle being local when still living "in the world" - i.e. with family visits, gatherings, etc. For me, if I'm alunch with a client once in a while, or traveling to a seminar, I try to just roll with it and eat what is there. But often I'll end up bringing my own lunch (like to a seminar), or supplementing with a more satisfying meal later.

I think a lot of people find it hard to explain to others the local mindset, or to sort out how to deal with the preferences of others and have a good gathering while still doing what is possible for local food. I wonder if others have some ideas on this?

ANyway, your kale chips look so good! I have to try doing that. About the squash, have you tried going savory with it? I have tons stored for the coming months, and have been investigating different ways to eat it and stave off monotony. You can combine different kinds and add in some sweet potato, add things like turmeric, paprika, and a bit of pepper, and roast the veg. Very different taste, and the spices complement the natural sweetness of the squash so well.

Chessa said...

Tami - thanks for the soy curls advice. I should have known, but since it was my first time I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I'll definitely do a marinade next time!

livinginalocalzone - hee hee, until I actually visited your blog a minute ago I was reading your username as "living in a calzone" - both are good names, in my opinion! ;)

Anyway, thanks for the well wishes. It is really hard to sell the local thing to people used to industrial agriculture/grocery store mindset. I actually find it easier to explain why I'm vegan than why I also try to eat local.

I'm dying to try some savory squash dishes - my ultimate dream is squash ravioli, but that ain't happenin' here anytime soon - I can just see my toddler covered in flour with handfuls of dough running around the house screaming. Am I dreaming, or is there such a thing as squash lasagna? If not, there should be. :)

carrie said...

Chessa, I made squash enchiladas once time, they were fantastic!! I'm too lazy to link to the post, but you can search it pretty easily on my blog.

Thanks for the butterfly award, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything new forever!!

jessy said...

sorry you're not feeling too well, Chessa! i hope you had some time to rest up over the weekend! my family & dan's wore me out, too! dan's dad is super picky as well. it get tiresome. that's cool that your family veganized some standards though! mmmmmmmmmm!

i would think that smashed squash might be yummy in a burger of sorts - maybe with some quinoa & black beans?! that sounds pretty yummy! you could totally toss in some ale & mushrooms, too! yummy! kale chips sound so good! i need to make some of them one day - i keep forgetting! argh!

i'm in a bit of a funk myself - so i'm sending you hugs and happy thoughts and we'll pull ourselves outta this soon!

cheers! :D

Jen said...

I hope you guys are feeling better soon! It's hard to be a mama with a sick the cold...trying to actually accomplish something. Your food always looks scrumptious to me, local or not!!

kimberly said...

Sorry I missed your post last night, Chessa. I was expecting it to be at the top of the blog, and didn't scroll down far enough. My bad. I've added your post to the Dark Days recap.

Where did you find the tofu from Vashon? I'd love to try some! I love the texture of frozen tofu, and your balsamic marinade sounds yummy.

Chessa said...

Carrie - Ooh, squash enchiladas sound awesome! Going to have to try that one soon, good call!

jessy - thanks for the well wishes! This is kind of a funky time of year, I'm sure we'll snap out of it soon.

Squash burgers of some kind sounds like a GREAT idea! I haven't made homemade burgers in a while, yum!

Jen - so good to hear from you! I hope you and the boys are doing well and that you are FEELING well! You must be exhausted, mama.

kimberly - no worries at all! I was making up for some blogging slack by posting multiple times in a short time period! :)

The local tofu is called Island Spring Tofu, and we get it at PCC. It's a little more expensive than other brands, but it's great and come in several varieties. I was so stoked to discover tofu made so close!

Bethany said...

you get mega bonus points for using a cell phone to take a pic :) I was dying of laughter when I saw that.

Being sick sucks. Well at least you're not alone. I've been so sick, as you know. ugh. I haven't done one dark days challenge yet because I'm just not cooking except out of a can (of soup).

So you're way more energetic than I am. I would kill for that plate of tofu, kale chips and squash yum.

I did the same thing when I made soy curls. I didn't marinate them and they tasted really bland. I haven't tried them since, but I will at some point. me and my plans...

The Garden Life said...

Sorry about your not so great week!

About the leftover pureed squash.....I've done this with many different veggies like this....Fill ice trays with the pureed squash (or whatever vegetable you may have an excess of) and freeze. When frozen, put cubes into a freezer container. Then throughout the next few months, just pull out a cube or two and add to any soups, stews or sauces you happen to be making... Spaghetti sauce, vegetarian chili, soups, etc.

Maybe the next time someone in your home is ill, plop a couple of cubes into a mixture of sauteed garlic, turmeric, cayenne and water. Then stir in a tablespoon of miso at the end--soothing and healthy!

Hope your next week is better--Donna