Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pre-Hawaii Post

Yes, we're going to Hawaii for a week! Woo-hoo! To the Big Island and Kauai, because I know you were wondering. I've never been to either island, so I'm really looking forward to it. We're going with my parents, so we'll have a bit of granny-nannying help, which is such a blessing! Since we all anticipate fairly limited vegan options on both islands, we chose to stay in condos with kitchens, so we can at least cook up our own healthy meals and pack them for day trips.

Anyway, back to what we've been eating lately.

Crazy-Good Balsamic Glazed Tomato Sauce, Brown Rice Spirals, and lightly salted Cucumber Slices
Seriously, this tomato sauce was out of this world!!! It's from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison...I think it was supposed to be a tomato side dish, but mine turned completely saucy (which was good since I wanted to toss it with pasta anyway!)

Basically, it's:
1 1/2 lbs tomatoes (ours were half backyard and half CSA tomatoes!)
2 T butter (EB, of course)
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, minced (I subbed 3-4 local cloves garlic)
(I added a handful of torn basil leaves from the backyard for kicks).

Slice/chop tomatoes in wedges. Melt the butter over highish heat until foamy. Add the tomatoes and cook for @ 3 minutes, flipping a few times. Add the shallot/garlic, balsamic and cook for a few minutes, shaking the pan over the heat until glazy. I added the basil at the end and seasoned with s&p to taste. OMGYUM!

Stuffed Eggplant with Salad and Citrus-Mint Vinaigrette
So, this was a major disappointment in flavor. But I will say this: I LOVE my pressure cooker. It is so handy. I cooked the brown rice in it in 12 minutes (probably 20 minutes total with depressurizing). Same with the lentils: 5 minutes of cooking and probably 5-8 more of depressurizing. STILL. So freaking fast, it is the bomb.

This recipe was from Local Bounty, which I've had luck with in the past, so I'm not sure what happened here. It was just totally flavorless. Basically, it was baked eggplant (scraped out of the shell), brown rice, brown lentils, mint, basil, oregano, lemon juice...and I think that's it. I added some salt to try to salvage, but nosuchluck. The leftovers were salvaged by adding balsamic vinegar and some flax oil, so it wasn't a total loss. But it was kind of a lot of work for very little flavor. The salad was great though!

Tempeh Piccata
So I LOVE piccata. And I also love coming home from my meditation group to a dinner of piccata that my husband cooked! So he used green garlic stuffed olives instead of kalamata - who's counting, right?! It was soo good. Local tempeh "breaded" in brown rice flour and fried, served over local mashed yukon gold potatoes (with way too much EB, it was decadent), and steamed local green, purple and wax beans. Oh, and of course with lemony, capery, olivy piccata over the whole thing. OMGLUV.

Oatmeal Pancakes with Celestial Cream and Fresh Local Fruit
This was a yummy summer breakfast treat! The pancake recipe is adapted from Vive Le Vegan and it's so simple: quick oats blended into flour in the food processor, some baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, vanilla soymilk, and canola oil. It needs to stand a bit longer than normal pancake batter, because the oat flour needs a while to soak up the liquid. But they are simple and tasty and cook up just like normal pancakes. The Celestial Cream is out of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and is soooo good and a fun, more protein-filled alternative to just plain maple syrup (since it has silken tofu in it).

A Few Tostadas

I've been loving these tostadas lately! We have them weekly with whatever bean we've pressure cooked that week (chickpeas above) or sometimes leftover tofu scramble (pictured below). I usually use this recipe from Happy Herbivore for chickpea tacos to season the beans, and we top them with homemade guacamole, shredded lettuce, salsa, and my secret ingredient: Hot and Cool Drizzle. All it is is Wildwood Garlic Aioli mixed with some pureed canned Chipotle in adobo! It is so delicious though and kicks up the whole thing (idea stolen from Taco Bell, although theirs wasn't vegan.) Oh, and the whole thing resides on a corn tortilla.

Chickpea Ragout over Brown Rice
I used this recipe as a jumpling off point, and it was really good! I think almost everything (minus the mushrooms and rice) was local for this dish.

CSA Cucumber Salad with Citrus-Mint Vinaigrette

CSA Lettuce and Backyard Tomato Salad

Let me just say that if you have Vive Le Vegan you HAVE to try this vinaigrette! I ate it on everything for a week at least. It's so fabulous and summery.

Crunchy Tempeh Crumbles, Brown Rice and Green Beans with Miso-Walnut Sauce
This was a Mark Bittman bastardization from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. But it was SO good. We ate it on one of the hottest days of this year, when Seattle was over 100F and we all thought we were in hell because no one has a/c? Yeah, then. Thank the pressure cooker for not heating up the kitchen too too much. The green beans are CSA and the tempeh is local. The Miso-Walnut sauce is AWESOME and I will most certainly be making it again (possibly without ginger next time, but it was nice, too).

Backyard Garden Update

We've been kind of bad about our backyard garden, but it's still providing us with some yummy produce, like fresh herbs (basil, oregano, chives, thyme and rosemary) and tomatoes. There's broccoli that's actually flowering and really delicious tiny strawberries.

Cherry Tomatoes
Late Bloomer Basil
Giant Basil
We pulled three other plants just like this and left them at my mom's in a vase.

Tiger-y Tomato
These guys kind of stay dark green on top. They're smallish and tasty!

Orange Tomato

Have you gathered yet that I have no idea what any of the tomato varieties actually are?! :) These guys are totally orange when ripe and super firm.

3 Broccolis, 3 Strawberries

Quinalt Strawberries
Silas Sampling Strawberries
I think about 5 have made it in the house. We just can't wait to eat them!

Hope everyone is enjoying the fabulous produce that August brings! We are off to pick up a CSA box of Corn, Yukon and Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic, Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes and Collard Greens, along with Blueberries, Strawberries, Purple Plums and Peaches. Yum!!! And we have to eat all of it before Sunday. Wish us luck!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Long Overdue, Super Productive Update!

So, it's been two months and I haven't updated. Nor have I probably commented much on my fellow food bloggers' comings and goings lately. Sorry 'bout that. I have a pretty good excuse this time, though:


Yes, if all goes well, we'll be welcoming our new addition sometime in Mid-February. Woo-hoo!

I'm into the second trimester now, so I'm starting to feel A LOT better. I wasn't terribly sick like some ladies get (I'm lucky, I know) but I had NO interest in cooking or really in eating or looking at food. Which was ironic, since I needed to eat at least every two hours or I would feel nauseated. Fun times. I was also Exhausted with a capital E. I'm sooooo glad to be in the wonderful world of the second trimester. Where I can eat as much as I want (because my stomach isn't the size of a tic tac like it will be in the 3rd trimester). No heartburn yet. It's all golden until November!!!

Silas is very excited about it all and has named the baby "Cheese." Strange, since we're vegan, but hey, 3 year olds have their own logic. He's requested a sister, and we told him we'd see what we could do. (Aside: the boy LOVES older ladies. By that, I'm talking 4 1/2 or so. LOVES THEM. It's so funny/cute/nervewracking - we have to keep talking about personal space. ;) We'll be trying to see the gender at the 18-20 wk ultrasound, probably in late September.

Anyway, now that I actually can look at food again without crying, I should be able to make it on here a little more frequently.

We're in the height of lovely CSA season. I'm really loving our CSA this year - it's one that allows you to choose what's in your box every week, which was seriously a lifesaver the past few months. I can't imagine all the greens I would have wasted from the standard CSA box. Shudder. We also get a small fruit share, which is the bomb! We've been diggin' on fresh local organic blueberries, apricots, peaches, and rainier cherries (the BEST EVER!!!) for the past few weeks. I've also been really into cold cucumber salads lately, and we get some pretty awesome cucumbers from the farm. They make Chad blush, to be honest.

The gardens have done remarkably well for the first year! Our OR garden has produced quite a bit of turnips (who knew?). We thinned them out several weeks ago and enjoyed a huge bumper crop of turnip greens - had to foist some on my grandmother! We also thinned out our heirloom lettuce and had some great salads! We thinned the pac choi, but I was through with greens at that point, and unfortunately those just got composted. Damn pregnancy aversions!

We also got quite a few snap peas and shelling peas and several tomatoes so far! The tomatoes are doing MUCH better than anyone thought; they're not the easiest crop to grow in the Pacific NW, but they've surprised everyone.

Our single most prolific vegetable so far though? You guessed it, zucchini!
We've had a heat wave last week (really, really hot - in Seattle, we had the highest recorded temperature OF ALL TIME. Yeah. And we have no a/c.) Anyway, the zucchini LOVED IT. My mom picked these from 4 plants yesterday!!! I swear they grow a foot a day, it is crazy.

Still coming up: green bush beans, corn (not sure this will actually be productive, but it's growing!), possibly head lettuce, maybe a second sowing of broccoli, possibly cilantro, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Oh, and maybe pumpkin? Oh, and green cabbage! And carrots!!!

We've had our share of failures, including spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, and cucumbers that failed to germinate. Better luck next time, right? And it might not have been too bad of a thing, seeing how I had a total greens aversion for the past 3 months!

Our Seattle soil-bag and container garden is growing pretty well - we were away for 10 days so it suffered a little without water, but still doing remarkably well. I think the lettuce is done (it looks burnt, but it never bolted...weird?). We are actually getting some real broccoli!!! Strawberries are still growing, amazingly. Tomatoes and basil still pretty good, although the basil is trying it's hardest to flower. Must make boatload of pesto SOON!

Our plum tree is also super productive this year and I think the plums are just about ready. I have no idea what to do with them all! I think we might donate some to the food bank. I wish I had my sh*t together enough to can some jam, but I'm not sure I have the motivation now. Fingers crossed!

Here's what's on the menu for the week. I'm not assigning days because I'm not feeling like nailing it down. Note: Chad's been feeling wonky lately and had some allergy testing done (suspected it was wheat/gluten). The test results look kind of inconclusive to us, but he'll discuss them with the naturopath on Wednesday. For now, we're trying to avoid wheat. :)

Bean of the Week: Pinto
Grain of the Week: Brown Jasmine Rice

-Green Beans and Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh with Walnut-Miso Sauce, over brown rice (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)

-Soba Noodle Salad with Ginger Peanut Sauce (current issue of Vegetarian Times)

-Brown Rice Pasta Bake (incorporating leftover ratatouille, cashew ricotta), salad

-Gimme Chimis using the pintos and brown rice tortillas(Eat, Drink and Be Vegan), salad

Hope you all are staying cool and eating well! XO