• Personally speaking….

    Just the thoughts and cookings of a software engineer that likes to make foodstuffs from time to time in the bay area of California.
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Cookbook Challenge: Chickpea Cutlets and Sauteed Collards

2009 Cookbook Challenge: Cook a new recipe at least once a month from one of my currently owned cookbooks. Each new recipe I cook and post from a cookbook in my collection “earns” me $5.

Recipe 1: Chickpea Cutlets and Recipe 2: Sautéed Collards from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook (Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $10

Chickpea Cutlet, Collards and Potatoes

Two recipes means $10 for the reward jar!

It’s amazing how many of my cookbooks I had to flip through to find some simple collard green recipes. I tweaked the collard recipe by adding 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the oil and garlic. I also cooked this in a small stock pot since the large skillet was going to be used for the cutlets. The potatoes are leftover pommes anna from Urban Vegan’s not-yet-published cookbook so doesn’t count for my resolution. Chickpea cutlets were good and I would make this again. The only tweak I did was to leave out the lemon zest.

Recipes can be found online, but I recommend buying the book or at least getting it on loan from your library. Chickpea Cutlets and Sautéed Collards.

I will be making more from this cookbook!

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Acorn Squash with Pecan-Cherry Stuffing

Acorn Squash with Pecan-Cherry Stuffing
Acorn Squash with Pecan-Cherry Stuffing. Recipe test from Urban Vegan’s upcoming cookbook The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes (publish date: late 2009).

This dish wasn’t that hard — once you get the darn acorn squash cut in half — to make but is a lovely presentation. I can definitely see serving this with a Fall meal like Thanksgiving. Also, I wonder since you slice up little serving bowls like this, what it would be like to tweak the stuffing for each “bowl.” Hmmm….

Acorn Squash
Usually I slice my acorn squash length-wise like above, but Dynise’s recipe called for the half-wise so you get a scallop effect. It was easier to cut length-wise. :: grin ::

Tri-color Quinoa

Tri-color Quinoa
Tri-color Quinoa, tester from Urban Vegan’s cookbook

I have discovered something. I am not a huge quinoa fan. It’s too mellow for me. Or maybe this was too mellow. This is the second recipe that has been fine but not a repeat. The texture is fine. It’s pretty enough. I want to add BAM! to it, y’know?

Did the same lighting as the previous tester recipe with a reflector clamp lamp.

Somebody saaaaave me (oh and a couple of dinners)

I think I mentioned my crazy course load this semester. Well, I knew it would be time consuming so planned for it. This means very little time for anything else, unfortunately. That means I missed hitting some local markets, planning meals based on sales and sleep. Ok, I did sleep a little.
Taco soup
Dinner: Taco Soup

  • I love this recipe. I’ve been doing it for a few years now with some experimentation with ingredients here and there. All this is cooked for about as long as I want to wait. I guess it takes about 20 minutes to heat everything over medium.
    • 1ish pound of meat (or not). If ground something, it’s browned with the onion and garlic. If it’s leftover something, then I brown the onion first so that I don’t overcook the leftover something. If I’m vegetarian, then I up the bean count by one can.
    • Garlic and onion. I prefer chopped red onion. I add about 2-4 teaspoons of minced garlic. If I’m cooking without meat, then I brown them together in some heated olive oil.
    • 1-2 cans (rinsed and drained) pinto/black/kidney beans. My favorite combination is two beans. I like the difference in look. I believe this time I had one can of pinto and another of kidney.
    • corn for color. I guess I put in about 1-2 cups. If frozen, then I just have to keep that in mind when cooking. Just cook it a little longer. If canned, drained.
    • Rotel diced tomatoes with chile. Usually run about 2 cans of this. I add it with all its juice. It can get a little spicy but I like spicy. I’ve tried with other diced tomatoes with chile and keep coming back to Rotel.
    • Taco seasoning. I use a packet of low-sodium. I used to have my own taco seasoning mix mixed up but need to get a new jar of it going.
    • Ranch seasoning packet. I only use half of a packet because it’s so salty and stuff. I don’t think it needs a full packet and can save the rest for the next soup.

    With this, I had some homemade tortilla chips. I quartered some corn tortillas and placed them on a baking sheet. I sprayed them with Pam and put them in a 350 oven for about 13 minutes. They got too brown though so maybe 350 for 9 minutes?

Sticky chicken
Dinner: “Sticky” dump chicken, rice and squash

  • Sticky dump chicken: I love the idea of dump chicken but this combination was not good to me. Way too gloppy and the smell as it was cooking was unpleasant. I love peanut butter but this wasn’t what I thought it would be.
  • Brown rice: I used instant brown rice in the bag. I thought I’d have sauce from the dump chicken but didn’t 😦 So I added pepper to it and a pat of butter to moisten it.
  • Squash and onion sauté: Again with the random makeups. I had a half bag of frozen squash in the freezer and wanted it. Over medium, I heated extra-virgin olive oil, added leftover chopped up red onion (probably about half an onion), and stirred it around till the onion started to soften. I then added the frozen squash and covered it for about 10 minutes or more. I took the lid off and added pepper and a little salt. With the lid off, the squash lost a little of the squishy look but not too much.
  • Note: Obviously, the chicken isn’t happening again. But overall, the look was bleh. I was hoping for more punch. Ah well.

DSCN2600 I can really tell when I have natural light in the photos. I held the bowl of soup up against my dining room window to shoot. The plate of squash and chicken was photographed on my dining table without outside light. I’ve included a shot of the squash cooking (at right) where there’s some window light coming in.

Chinese Roasted Chicken, Eggplant with Raw Garlic, Easy Garlic Rice

Local Honey Nom! The muttermutter card reader crapped out again in the middle of import. It then wouldn’t work for the rest of the evening. Muttermutter. I’m buying a new one this weekend, hopefully. Apologies for no photo of the meal but enjoy an older photo of local honey instead!

Overall, the meal looked ok. The chicken was a brownish with some darker bits of caramelization. This was one of the .49/lb whole chickens that I cut up. Also on the plate were two other new recipes. The parsley rice was beautiful in white and green flecks and tasted good. Eggplant was not colored like I thought it would be and ended up darker than I hoped even with the parsley sprinkled on top. The plate needed something more colorful. Basically, the plate was brown-ish, brown with green and white bits, and white with green bits. Ah well 🙂

Another note for future self: don’t try to save the garlic. I wanted to use up the sprouting garlic so opened up all the cloves and took out the sprouts. I don’t think I got all of them though because the garlic was bitter. Each of these dishes were new to me but I’m pretty sure it was the garlic that put one “off.”

Dinner: May 20, 2008

  • Chinese Roasted Chicken
    Nom nom! I have a few honey/soy sauce combo chicken recipes in my notebook. I liked this one too. I doubt I could actually taste the five spice since I think that jar had been in my pantry for a few years and the apartment for a few years before that. I’ll have to try this again with a fresh jar! Fantastic dish. I didn’t marinade for 2 hours because that would have put dinner even later than I ended up eating (8:30p.m.) so I cut the soaking time to about 1 hour. Longer would be better, I think. Maybe do it overnight to be quicker? Hmm. The sauce was great. Chicken took longer to cook than written which was frustrating. Maybe I’ll try it at 350 next time for the same time.
  • Eggplant with Raw Garlic
    Here’s the puppy that really shouted “Bad garlic! Bad!” I love garlic but it was hard. I had a lot of eggplant so poured the sauce on half the dish and left the other half sauce free in case I didn’t like it. Good thing too. I didn’t like parsley on eggplant either. I want to try fixing eggplant again though but won’t do this sauce.
  • Easy Garlic Rice
    Another nom nom! I used the last of some plain white rice and eyed longingly the Jasmine bag. I want to try it with Jasmine next time. Or maybe I’ll go for the Basmati brown. Brown rice: mo’ betta for ya. The color combo was pretty with the white and green contrast. I got tired of finely chopping onion and garlic though. I ended up just walking the knife around and around and around…. No, I don’t do the fancy food processor stuff. Usually not a big deal. Like the parsley? I just put some in a measuring cup and used kitchen shears to snip inside of it.

Not a bad meal considering I gathered up the recipes right before starting it. I have a homemade bag of romaine in the fridge that needs to get in my bellah! Grocery store circular came out today. The .49/lb chicken deal is over but I got two rainchecks. I also want to try making some more fresh fish. Sounds like I should be planning out my meals again, eh? Yes. I know. Planning makes things so much easier!

Fish, paprika potatoes, garlic green beans and orange slices

Fish, potatoes, green beans and orange slices

Dinner: May 19, 2008

  • Frozen potato flake crusted fish

    School started today so I need to do quick. And I still haven’t planned ahead well, yet. At least I didn’t have cereal 😉 This baked for about 20ish minutes. It was ok. A little greasier than I wanted since it was baked. I would rather have had spiced baked fish. Must add it to my shopping list!

  • Garlic green beans

    Still have a few cans left of green beans on sale. I love canned green beans. Another item I prefer canned is spinach unless it’s raw. These canned beans were cheaper per pound than fresh or frozen. I really stocked up. I had some garlic that wanted to be used (aka: getting old) so thinly sliced a few heads. After heating extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-ish, I added the garlic and lightly browned it. Then I added the drained can of green beans, some pepper and tossed it around till the green beans were hot. Tasted much better than plain ol’ nuked green beans but I should have used less olive oil. I didn’t use much but guess less next time. I probably used maybe 1 tablespoon.

  • Paprika potatoes

    Had a can of sliced potatoes. Drained. Melted a pat of butter in a skillet. Added potatoes. Sprinkled paprika on it with a heavy hand. Warmed it up. Nom! See a pattern here? Canned stuff. Frozen stuff. Yes, but it tasted good.

  • Orange slices

    My addition of fruit. I bought a couple of navel oranges this past weekend to make a spinach-orange salad. Since I had no fruit today — tsk tsk — I decided to add the orange to my meal. Since I was going to take a photo, I split it into sections. It was good. It seems I forgot how to peel an orange. 🙂 Practice I should!

Chicken strips, fries and green beans/corn

Chicken strips, fries and green beans/corn I’m back from my vacation in Florida. I haven’t had a chance to look through the sales, gather up some recipes to exploit them and unpacking is more on my mind than refilling the fridge with good tidbits. I checked the drop freezer (which is almost empty and ready for some defrosting) and saw an old bag of chicken strips and an old bag of fries. Why not! I mixed together two leftover veggies to make green beans/corn. I’ll be making some ideas for the upcoming week this weekend.

Dinner: May 9, 2008

  • Chicken strips
    Chicken was to be cooked at 400 and the fries wanted 450 so I did them both on the same pan at 450 for 20 minutes. They didn’t mind and it was easy. Yay for easy. Boo for fries and chicken strips. 😉
  • Seasoned fries
  • Mixed green beans and corn

We’re gearing up for weekly farmers’ markets! And so many festivals and whatnot in the area. Decisions, decisions. At least, until it gets too hot. Thankfully, when I was in Florida, it was absolutely perfect weather. Not too hot and not too cold.
Ikea Nom Nom
I visited many places including my first ever visit to an IKEA. I had a drink while there that was lingonberry. I had no idea what a lingonberry was but it was love at first sip. I found a bunch of these jars sitting there crying out to be photographed (and so that I wouldn’t forget what berry it was that whispered sweet nothings to my tongue).