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    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: BBQ Black-eyed Pea-Collard Rolls

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 5: BBQ Black-eyed Pea-Collard Rolls from Veganomicon (Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $25

BBQ Black-eyed pea-collard rolls

It was like this:
Snow

So I made this:
BBQ Black-eyed pea-collard rolls

Yep, our first snow of the year! I got to see some snow a month ago when I went up to Chincoteague, though. Since we had a snow day, I used the time to use up the random collards and mushrooms that I had in the fridge. I guess I knew in advance that I would have a random snow day and that I would want to spend a lot of time getting the stove messy.

The recipe is available here on Google books. These were a lot of work, I think, considering. It tasted good and there are plenty rolls and barbecue sauce in the fridge for later. If they heat up well, then I could see doing this again to make them ahead. They make a lovely presentation, at least.

I made the black-eyed peas from a bag in the pantry. I figure I’ll freeze the extra. Or maybe grab another bunch of collard greens and have just the innards of this as a delicious side!

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Cookbook Challenge: Tofu Scramble

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 4: Tofu Scramble from Yellow Rose Recipes (Joanna Vaught)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $20

Tofu Scramble

I made a tofu scramble for the first time last week and, to my surprise, really enjoyed it. I think most of the vegan cookbooks have a recipe for a tofu scramble and I don’t mind giving them a try — now.

I made this in my cast iron pan and thought it went well. Yes, learning still how to cook in cast iron but cleanup was easy with a little salt. I think, though, that I prefer the texture of the other tofu scramble that was crumbled into the pan. Vaught’s (photo above) version called for cubing the tofu, sauteing it for a few minutes, and adding a spice mixture later. There’s not a nutritional yeast flake in sight.

Also, I learned something with the seeding of the tomato before putting it in. Great idea!

I like the options she has listed like Pesto, Savory Mustard,  Greek, and Mexican. Now that I have this jar of this spice mixture, I guess I will have to make more tofu scramble. OK! Fine by me!

I served this with a couple slices of toasted wheat bread (no honey in ingredients… checked) and Earth Balance spread on top. Not necessarily a diet meal, but I was surprised when I learned that this was fewer calories than the 2 scrambled eggs in butter I was eating on weekends.

Not vegan yet, but at least I think I have finally found a replacement for scrambled eggs! Didn’t miss them either time I did a tofu scramble like I thought I would.

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Roti

Roti

I had this aloo gobi, right? So I thought, “What about some Indian bread to go with it?” I saw this and thought I could make that with what I have on hand! And, Manjula made it look so easy. I can’t wait to try more of her recipes!

I used the new cast iron skillet and used a little canola oil on it. The oil smoked at that high heat (medium-high). The first one was puffing some and I did the turn around thing she did. It didn’t puff as much as hers though but I think it was because I was scared to push on the bubbles. I’ll push on them next time like she says to. I didn’t use ghee. Oh, and I used plain white flour because the whole wheat decided to expire on me.

Now, I wasn’t sure how to “serve” it so kinda used it like a tortilla a little bit. I pushed some aloo gobi on it, folded the sides a little and ate the end of the taco. Oh man, was that good! I didn’t miss the ghee at all.

Out and about town: Restaurants

I’ve been lacto-ovo vegetarian, this time, for a few months now.  Four month anniversary is coming up in a few days: February 23.

I don’t know instantly what to get at various restaurants but know that some are more full of choices than others. I also did some traveling lately and found that it was a challenge. If I go vegan, it’ll be more so at some places without proper planning.

Lunch
Bibimbap without meat. Korean. Dining companion suggested I ask the waitress for help. Glad I did. This was amazing. I added some of the red hot sauce that was on the table after the waitress told me that I’m to stir it around. Ooops! Amazing. I’ve already started looking up how to do this at home! Kyung Sung Restaurant, Newport News, VA

Paneer and Chickpea
Kadai Paneer without bell pepper (left) and Chickpea something (right). Indian. The photo of the second page of vegetarian items was too blurry to read so I don’t know what the chickpea thing was. The Kadai was the winner. Found this place cause Mom gave me a coupon. So glad I did. Nothing against the local favorite Nawab but this was so good. They also have a different regional concentration each Sunday brunch for $10. Agni Indian Restaurant. Newport News, VA

Create Bistro Salads
Salads. American/French. Top is “Boston Bibb Lettuces / Shaved Pears / Dehydrated Tomatoes / Sesame Cashews / Carrots / Black Pepper Vanilla Vinaigrette” and the bottom is “Fresh Fall Salad of Baby Arugula / Strawberries & Blueberries / Pomegranate Vinaigrette / Pistachios / Fried Boursin Cheese.” We had some other appetizers. Basically, we made dinner out of appetizers and salads. Here’s the menu. It was very tasty. It’s an adorable little place and since everything’s so fresh, I’m sure I could get something vegan. Create Bistro. Newport News, VA

Dill dip stuff and Kale salad
We got Menu #3 during a local “Restaurant Week” here. The above is a kale salad and a spinach pastry. As appetizer, I got the hummus. Second was spinach and cheese pastry (above). Next was Anatolian Vegetarian Plate (I think this is a picture of it… forgot already but I didn’t finish this plate, I remember that). Next was Chocolate Mousse Torte. I couldn’t finish the torte. What stood out to me — other than all the vegan selections — was this kale salad. Oh. My. Gosh. Who knew! It’s definitely on my list of things to try at home. Pasha Mezze. Norfolk, VA

General Tso's Bean Curd
General Tso’s Bean Curd. “Chinese.” Most of us know that if we go to a place that serves tofu (or some other meat replacement) we can usually get a simple substitution. Did that here. It was good. Little sweet but good. Great Wall. Chincoteague, VA

Mr. Baldy's Veggie Burger
Veggie Burger. American. The bread was stale. Place was cute. They offered a grilled vegetable sub and a veggie burger. So, had to try it. Very reasonably priced. Mr. Baldy’s. Chincoteague, VA

Greek Salad
Greek Salad. American/Greek. Oh my gosh! This salad was off the chain. It came with dolma! Seriously, this was amazing. I only wish the restaurant I go to for Toastmasters would have this as its Greek salad. So good. The dolma tasted much better than The Castle’s (in Newport News, VA) dolma. Other vegetarian options were pizza and pasta and such. They used tomato sauce so I had a wide option. The place I go to for Toastmasters uses meat sauce for pastas. Maria’s Family Restaurant. Newport News, VA

IMG_0311
Bean Curd Szechuan style. Chinese. I was hungry and in between big places (if you count Chincoteague as a big place) so thought that this would be a good lunch stop. Here’s the menu. See the funny? Yeah. A few of the “vegetable” dishes come with meat! Thank goodness they had descriptions. I usually order from that section with no worries. But this Vg 6 was awesome without ground pork. China Chefs Restaurant. Eastern shore, VA

And those are a few highlights of my restaurant travels! Eating out can be done lacto-ovo and be satisfying — though I’m still working on finding something at Angelo’s where Toastmasters meets — and with some planning/imagination, there are vegan options. Here’s to another 4 months (and many more)!

Aloo Gobi

Aloo Gobi
Aloo Gobi (home version)

Lunch
Aloo Gobi (work version)

At work, they served Aloo Gobi. It wasn’t what I thought it would be, so I decided to make it at home. I don’t think I’ve had it before, otherwise. I liked the home version better.

Now, since I hadn’t had it before in an Indian restaurant, I wasn’t sure what I thought it would be like. I did know I expected something spicier. Not necessarily hotter but spicier. You know? So, I turned to trusty ol’ recipezaar and sorted by rating and found this recipe: Aloo Gobi. It said it was from Bend It Like Beckham. I saw the movie so maybe that’s why the cafeteria version was off to me.

And then there were the tweaks/substitutions….

I didn’t have cumin seed, so I used ground cumin. I wasn’t sure of the ginger or garlic measurements, so I used 1″ of ginger and 5 cloves of garlic. I wasn’t sure of can size, so I used 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes that was on sale. I didn’t have chili powder — thought I did — so used ground red cayenne pepper. I wasn’t sure about the stem/leaf thing on the cilantro and got tired of ripping off the leaves so think I ended up using just 1/2 a bunch. Was tasty still. Also, didn’t use 1/4 cup oil. Used more like 1.5 T canola oil. The potatoes cooked up in 20 minutes because I chopped them bite-sized. I also cut the cauliflower bite sized and it kinda went fall-aparty at the end. Still good though. I didn’t wait as long as possible — ok, maybe I did. The length of time was as soon as the beeper went off that it was done. Very tasty! Spicy but not hot, until I dumped more cayenne in it.

I need a bigger saucepan. I need that in between larger than the saucepan size I have but smaller than the small stockpot. It was pretty full but cooked OK. Stirring was a challenge. I liked that it was one pot meal though! Lots of compost/stock waste generated too.

I was cooking for one so let it cool then put most of it in a large freezer bag. Laid it flat, got the extra air out, cooled more in the fridge — just to be sure — then put it in the freezer flat.

Cookbook Challenge: Cast iron story time

I got distracted by this that and the other thing but I was still doing various whatnots. I know. I’m so specific. School starts this week too. Hey, want to hear a story of a girl’s first use of cast iron?

Gather ’round now.

Once upon a time, a mother used cast iron to cook. Her daughter watched and learned how to clean it after use. This was the same mother who made fried chicken, hamburger helper, tacos, and bacon.

The girl grew up — chronologically, at least.

One day, she stopped her mother from donating the cast iron and kept them. “Ok, now what?” she asked herself. You see, she’d become vegetarian again so wasn’t sure if she wanted to use the pans as is.

IMG_2022

She researched and researched but got lazy. She bought a combo pot from Lodge. Well, she figured if she’s going to ‘ruin’ something, she’s going to do it with cheap Lodge pan and not pans that are older than she is.

The new cast iron

In the research, she read that the first few times should be frying things like chicken, hamburger or bacon. Well, that was out but she could do pancakes with a heavy hand on the oil. After finding a recipe in a cookbook — yay for the challenge (see end of post for status) — she set to work.

Cast iron "fun"

The first batch was not a success. Even though the recipe said medium-high, she found that way too hot. The next batch was on medium and still too hot.

Final heat

She then found the right heat (above), just in time.

Pancakes

The pancakes were good. She ended up getting two at the end for her breakfast. But what about eggs? Will they be a mess to clean up? (Lovely progressive shot of burned to not so burned.)

Pancakes and eggs

Nope. They were wonderful and fluffy. So odd how fluffy they were.

She cleaned the pan like her mother did with hot water, brush and then oil when it was dry. She stored the top on the bottom with a folded kitchen towel between, to allow air to circulate.

The End…. (or is it?)


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 3: Pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance (Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

2009 Cookbook Challenge Total: $15

The recipe was from Vegan with a Vengeance. My change: I folded in 1 cup of drained, canned corn. I let it rest in the fridge for 10 minutes as she suggested and I think that really did help!

Other Cookbook Challenge entries »

Flog it good!

Magazines I got on the scale this morning. It was disappointed in me again. 4 pounds up since Thanksgiving.

It’s possible to gain weight as a vegan or vegetarian. I’ve proven to my mother that just cause something’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s automatically healthier.

I can pile on Earth Balance — which is amazingly butter-like — on my vegetables and be 100% vegan. I can eat a triple cheese pizza and be lacto-ovo vegetarian. With all the recipe testing and “Oh this looks good” type of cooking, maybe it’s time to step back — counts as exercise, right? — and start food blogging again. I love reading others’ “what I ate today” posts cause I can get some ideas — or feel better about that huge bowl of vegan bread pudding. I am interested in the new program at Weight Watchers but have no time in a few weeks since school starts back up.

There are lots of words of wisdom out there in the interwebs:

We’ll see. I don’t like those 4 pounds. I have more to lose but was taking a break by maintaining for a bit. Meh.