28 November 2012

I win Thanksgiving leftover breakfast!

Thanksgiving leftover scramble with egg, mashed potato, olives, artichoke hearts, parsley, mushroom gravy, and a side salad

For Thanksgiving leftover breakfast, I made an omelet. Okay, really it was a scramble. It consisted of egg, mashed potato, chopped olives, artichoke hearts (not from Thanksgiving but in the fridge) and parsley. I grabbed a handful of lettuce and made myself a little side salad with red wine dijon vinaigrette.

Then I put a lot of hot mushroom gravy on my omelet. (Er, scramble.)

What? It was one of the best breakfasts ever.

25 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had one of these:

pumpkin pie

We had plenty of leftovers. Fortunately, pumpkin pie also makes an excellent breakfast.

The final menu went as follows:
- crackers, pickles, olives, pretzels, and various snacky business
- black bean sweet potato soup
- mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
- green salad with homemade red wine dijon vinaigrette
- coconut oil & cashew pumpkin pie

We were also supposed to have copious roasted veg--two trays--but managed to burn both of them through not paying attention. That's ok, though--there was certainly plenty of everything else.

A good time was had by all.

I hope everyone in the US is having a great holiday weekend!

20 November 2012

Red curry broth with tofu, vegetables, and somen noodles

Red curry broth with tofu, vegetables, and somen noodles

There haven't been a lot of vegetarian recipes around here lately, largely because twenty different "I had another burrito" and "I put some veg dumplings in broth again" posts would be so thoroughly uninteresting as to be almost unbelievable. However, rest assured: we've certainly been eating them.

For instance, we had a block of soft tofu that I bought for instant miso soup purposes. Then we wanted a more substantial dinner than miso soup. A good rifle through the cupboards produced some coconut milk, curry paste, and somen noodles. Okay! Let's make curry broth!

Needless to say, this is not remotely authentic. It is delicious, however. It's also fast and easy, which is great, because I am somehow STILL NOT QUITE DONE with my release, and therefore have no brain or energy left to deal with much of anything else. Um. Hooray?

Red curry broth with tofu, vegetables, and somen noodles

Red curry broth with tofu, vegetables, and somen noodles

olive, peanut, or neutral oil of your choice
green onion
red cabbage
veg broth
Thai red curry paste
coconut milk
soft tofu
somen noodles
rice wine vinegar or lime juice
cilantro & green onion greens to garnish

Okay! If you don't have any veg broth, put a pot of that on to cook first. It should be ready by the time you want to add it.

Get out a large soup pot and soften a handful of minced garlic cloves, a knob of finely chopped ginger, and the whites of a green onion or two in the oil of your choice. Scrub and chop a carrot; add it once the green onion and garlic have had a few minutes to soften. Cook together, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes.

Shred up some cabbage with a sharp knife. I used about a third of a red cabbage, which gave the overall broth some exciting purple overtones, but green would also be fine.

By this point your veg broth should be done, so strain it and add it to your pot of ginger & garlic. I used about three cups.

Bring the pot to a boil and add your cabbage, coconut milk, and red curry paste. The amount of curry paste is totally up to you & your spice preferences. I used a good three tablespoons. Since I don't go for super-creamy coconut broth, I used a small 6-oz can, but you can use more if you prefer. Stir, let the pot come to a boil again, and reduce the heat a bit to simmer. Give it about five minutes for the cabbage to soften.

Cut your tofu into half-inch squares. I don't think I've ever actually worked with soft tofu before. It was a little awkward, but no big deal.

Add your tofu to the pan, stirring gently to incorporate. Cook until hot through, and then add your somen noodles. These will cook in one minute, literally, so don't add them until you're sure everything else is cooked.

When your noodles are done, take the pan off the heat. Stir in a teaspoon or so of rice wine vinegar or the juice of a lime. Serve in big bowls with a garnish of chopped green onion tops and cilantro.

Feel better.

19 November 2012

Sandwiches for breakfast

Turkey on sourdough with romaine, dijon mustard, mushrooms, and pickled peppers and green beans sauteed with sambal oelek

Sometimes you just want a sandwich, even if it is 8 in the morning. What's wrong with that? Nothing.

This was my breakfast several days ago. Turkey on toasted sourdough with romaine, dijon mustard, mushrooms, and pickled peppers; green beans sauteed with sambal oelek. It was entirely delightful.

16 November 2012


Um. You guys? It's just under a week until Thanksgiving, and I for one have not really prepared.

We're having our 3rd vegan Thanksgiving running with our friend Chrissy. Yay! You know there will be Boggle, if nothing else. But otherwise...

A few standards come to mind. We'll have a pan of some mix of root vegetables, winter squash, and/or brussels sprouts tossed in dijon vinaigrette and roasted with stalks of rosemary. We'll make a big bowl of olive oil mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy. We'll definitely have wine.

The main course is kind of up for grabs, however. We've had both a field roast and a tofurky before, and while both were pretty good, I could be convinced to forego them in favor of some large beany something-or-other. I really like our black bean and sweet potato soup, but a soup as a main course is a slightly iffy proposition. Maybe some sort of pan-fried white bean concoction, done with the hugest dried white beans we can possibly find? Or if we want to expend more effort, we might make some befenneled seitan sausage, to be used in a mess of white beany stew.

Cranberry sauce is not high on the list. I, for one, hate it--and I grew up with sauce made from actual cranberries. Still, something cranberry has to happen. I'm thinking about making a batch of Spabettie's spiked cran-raspberry granita. My friend Cookie has also mentioned splitting a batch of her cranberry-orange relish, so that may happen too. WE'LL SEE.

Greens of some sort have to happen. I really have no idea what I want on this one. I mean, a standard garlic-sauteed kale or cabbage braised in red wine would be good. A dark green or mesclun mix salad would work well too. Salad seems reasonable and easy, right?

Making an outstanding vegan pumpkin pie is a real challenge. This year I'm planning to try Gena's vegan pumpkin pie with coconut oil crust and cashew-creamy filling, which looks amazing. I'm not going to test it in advance--we can't possibly eat an entire pumpkin pie a week before Thanksgiving--but I have high hopes.

And now I must clean out the refrigerator in preparation for the most food-centric holiday of the year.

What are you guys planning for your holiday feasts?

14 November 2012

Baked flounder with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon

Baked flounder packets with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon

I'm almost ready for launch! In the meantime: fish and tomato, oh my.

Last weekend--no, actually two weekends ago now--I went to the De Anza Flea Market at 5:50 am to help my friend Gus sell all her US appliances and other bits and bobs before she moves to Europe.

When you're at a flea market for eight hours, it turns out that you find some excellent things.


handthrown pottery bowl

I now have a lovely handthrown pottery serving bowl. It was $2.

This picture doesn't really illustrate the size well. Okay. Behold again!

sungold cherry tomato harvest

It's currently holding a good chunk of the season's last cherry tomatoes (which are finally winding down--I think the plants may come out in about a week) until I can eat them. And I can certainly think of a few ways to eat them.

How about throwing a bunch of them into a foil packet with a filet of flounder, some lemon slices, onions, and olive oil, then baking everything until awesome? That sounds pretty good to me.

You can make one big packet if you have a huge piece of fish for everyone, or make little individual packets if you have smaller filets. I was just cooking for me, so quantities listed are for one.

Baked flounder packets with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon

Baked flounder packets with cherry tomatoes, onion, and lemon

flounder (or other whitefish)
cherry tomatoes
olive oil
thyme, fresh if possible
red pepper flake
salt, pepper
aluminum foil or parchment paper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Get yourself a sheet of foil or parchment big enough to wrap up all your fish and veg. Put your piece of flounder in the middle. Rub it with olive oil and salt and pepper it on both sides. If you're using dried thyme, season the fish with it too. Add a couple shakes of red pepper flake if you like heat.

Wash your tomatoes and pile them around the fish. I used about ten or twelve. They'll shrink, so use more than you think you need.

Finely slice enough onion to cover your fish and tomatoes, and then do the same with a lemon. Layer all your slices into your packet. I used maybe five or six thin slices of both onion and lemon. Needless to say, this is an excellent use for that odd quarter of an onion or half a lemon hiding somewhere in your fridge.

Top with a couple branches of fresh thyme. Drizzle a final bit of olive oil over everything, and add a final dusting of spices.

Close the packet by bringing the top and bottom edges together in the middle and folding them over a couple times. Fold the left and right side. You should end up with a rectangular package with one long seam across the middle, and one on either side.

Put your packet in a baking pan and put it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish. If you have a particularly thin filet, you may find that it's done in a shorter time; if you have a massive filet, you may find that you need more time. When you think it might be done, unfold the packet and check for flakiness. You can always refold it and stick it back into the oven to cook some more.

When you're done, you'll open your packet to find a gout of steam and a lot of delicious tomato-lemon-olive oily juices. Clearly, this would be great over a plate of couscous or mashed potatoes, so you can soak everything up as efficiently as possible. I just ate mine by itself, and it was delicious nonetheless.

For future application, I'm going to keep a variation in mind: lemon, tomato, garlic, olives, and fresh oregano. Why not make my fish the Provençaliest of the Provençal? I might even add in a little bonus Pernod.


12 November 2012

Angel hair pasta with chicken sausage, red bell pepper, and broccoli

angel hair pasta with chicken sausage, red bell pepper, and broccoli

Yeah, things are still pretty busy. We're getting there, though. SOON.

In the meantime, have some pasta.

Emergency pasta
AKA Angel hair pasta with chicken sausage, red bell pepper, and broccoli

chicken sausage
olive oil
green cabbage
red bell pepper
salt, pepper, red pepper flake
angel hair or your choice of pasta

Boil water and cook your pasta at an appropriate time in the cooking process.

Slice up your chicken sausage and sear on both sides in a hot saute pan of your choice. Most sausages will have plenty of fat, but you may want to add a bit of olive oil to the pan anyway.

When your sausage bits are beginning to turn golden brown, reduce the heat to medium and add in some chopped onion or garlic. I honestly have no idea which I used here; either will be fine. Stir it up and let cook while you prep the other veg.

Chop the head of your broccoli into little florets. Peel the stem and dice it up. Finely shred some green cabbage if you happen to have a quarter of a cabbage lying around. Seed and dice a red bell pepper.

When your onion is soft, add your broccoli and cabbage to the pan. Salt, pepper, and red pepper flake it up. Cook, stirring occasionally. until the veg is just barely tender.

Add your red pepper to the pan for the last minute or two of cooking. When it's done, you're done.

Drain your pasta and toss it into the pan of veg and sausage. Stir everything together and serve.

Do you want parmesan cheese? You can have some. Or you cn have some parsley. Whatever you like will be good.

Now collapse on the couch and go to sleep.

06 November 2012

Election day champagne cocktails

It's election day in the US! Go vote if you haven't already!

Those of us who will be watching the results tonight will definitely need some beverages. I imagine that plenty of people wil be drinking El Presidente cocktails--rum, dry vermouth, and orange curaçao--or some variety of honey ale in honor of the White House homebrew.

But the best election night drink is champagne, of course. Champagne means you have won.

I am choosing to be optimistic. As such, let's make some champagne cocktails.

The first choice is the classic original champagne cocktail. We do two variations: one with sugar and one with gin. Both are delicious, adult, and potent.

Champagne cocktail: the classic

Put either a sugar cube or a big pinch of white sugar in the bottom of a champagne flute (or, in our case, bowl). Soak with several drops of bitters. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Champagne cocktail: variation

Pour a little good gin and several drops of bitters into the bottom of a champagne flute (or, again, bowl). Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Of course, if you're feeling fancy, you can branch out and use both sugar and gin. I recommend the French 75.

French 75

1.25 oz gin
.25 oz simple syrup OR 2 tsp powdered sugar
.25 oz lemon juice
dry champagne
twist of lemon

Shake the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a champagne glass. Top with champagne and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Be sure to eat something with this last one, as it's super potent.

Happy election night! What are you guys drinking?

05 November 2012

Fooding, swift and sure

Whose week is not going to be completely crazy? Raise your hand.

Yeah, not me.

I'm going to release my product in T minus one week. Tomorrow I have to go vote. (Note: go vote, everybody in the US!) Wednesday I have to go into San Francisco. It's going to be this busy for a while, let's just say. So here is what I've been eating.

toasting corn tortillas on the gas jet

We made tacos with refried black beans and corn tortillas toasted over the gas jet. Shredded cabbage on top. Maybe some lime. Tacos are always a good emergency dinner.

migas and refried black beans

Then I made migas and ate them with the leftover black beans. MORE MIGAS, PLEASE.

baked penne with marinara, red pepper, and spinach

Pasta is a default food at our house. Baked pasta takes a little more effort, but it's worth it. This one is baked penne with marinara, red pepper, and spinach. There was also a lasagna that somehow escaped without a single picture.

homemade pizza with lavash crust

On an even easier note, we bought a package of lavash and used it to make pizza with all the onions and peppers in the house. Lavash pizza is the ultimate emergency food if you like thin crust. I'm just saying.

toast with labneh and pickled peppers

And of course there is always toast. This time I had toast with labneh and the last of my first batch of pickled peppers--tangy and amazing. Fortunately, pickled peppers are one of the most instant pickles on the planet, so I threw together a new jar after I hit up the farmer's market yesterday. I'm going to have some delicious sandwiches, is what I'm saying.

What do you guys eat when you're too busy to do, um, anything?