29 September 2012

Vegan Food Swap - September Reveal

I signed up about a month ago to a fun little thing called The Vegan Food Swap sponsored by Cat at The Verdant Life vegan blog. Want to learn more about it? Click here to read all the details, rules and to fill out the registration form.

My sender, Hindy, from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker picked the PERFECT surprises for me. Thank you, Hindy!!

First up: the plantain chips are killer!! They're crispy, tangy, and spicy (all snacks should fit these requirements). I couldn't help but shove them into my face by the handful.

Second: the YumEarth Sour Beans blew my mind. My fella and I had to force ourselves to stop munching them. They're the best jelly beans I've ever had.

Third: the popped apple chips are pretty tasty. A little sweet, pretty flavorful. I'd definitely buy them if I saw them in a store.

Finally, I love almonds. Almonds rule almost as much as cashews. These almonds are nice and salty and tasty. Definitely a winner.

Overall, it was a fun experience and I'll probably do it again next month!

21 September 2012

Smoothie from My Garden

Okay, so the title of this post is a tad misleading. It's not 100% from my garden, but it is mostly stuff I grew. I grew the carrots, kale, and strawberries, but not the orange or banana. Sorry, but the harsh Michigan winters prohibit such fruits. That is your geography/science lesson for the day. This smoothie is seriously awesome. It tastes like magic. Or maybe it's just that I haven't made a smoothie in weeks. Whatever the case, it is still pretty damn yummy...and (gasp) good for you!

What you need:
  • 1 banana
  • 1 small seedless orange, peeled
  • about 6 strawberries (average sized)
  • about 6 smallish kale leaves with the thick stems removed
  • 2 small carrots or 1 medium
  • a few bits of ice

What you do:
  1. Do I really need to tell you how to throw everything in the blender and blend the shit out of it? Nah. I didn't think so.

07 September 2012

Coconutty Potato Lentil Curry

Curry sure isn't pretty, but it tastes kickass.
I've been meaning to make a coconutty curry for ages, but just haven't. Until today, that is. I had asked for inspiration and @greenvegnliving delivered. She recommended a recipe by Mark Bittman for potato lentil curry. It sounded tasty to start with, but I absolutely can't resist altering recipes like a mofo. I know; I'm a badass. You don't have to tell me. I added all sorts of flavor and goodness to the original recipe and it fucking rocks. I can't wait to have leftovers tomorrow. You do know that curries are even better the second day, right?

Serves 4 adults with rice and flatbreads

What you need:
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used full-fat)
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 TB (or more) curry powder of your choice
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed or celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp powdered mustard seed.
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • salt (I used a cool coarse black salt from Hawaii - NOT the sulfurous kala namak salt)
 What you do:
  1. Heat a large-ish sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the lentils, 1 cup water and 1 can of coconut milk and mix well. Now mix in your spices except the salt (adding salt early in cooking lentil can cause them to not soften). Above are the starting measurements for the spices. Add whatever you want. 
  2. Once the liquid starts to bubble, give it another stir, put a lid on the pot (slightly askew to let a tiny bit of steam out), then turn the heat way down to low. Simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Now, add in the onion, potato, and carrot. Here I added another cup of water because it had cooked down so far. Mix everything really well and put the lid on all the way. You'll cook this for about 20 more minutes on low. I set my stove timer to go off every 4 minutes to stir it. I just wanted to make sure it didn't burn to the bottom of the pot. Add more water and/or adjust your spices as needed. Cook until your potatoes are soft and everything tastes KILLER! The longer you simmer over low, the more time the spices have to develop a stellar, delicious sauce.

03 September 2012

Curry-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower

This was my dinner tonight. A massive bowl of roasted curry-spiced cauliflower. It was spectacular. Like, for real. Ever have those days where you don't much feel like cooking? Yeah, me too. That was today. This holiday weekend was busy, busy, busy! I went to a couple Detroit Tigers games and watched them sweep the Chicago White Sox. I suppose you could call me a late bloomer in enjoying baseball, despite growing up with my entire extended family being rabid baseball fans. Speaking of baseball, did you Michigan veggie peeps know that Comerica Park serves vegan and vegetarian goodies at their Brushfire Grill snack bar? Hummus and veggies, veggie dogs, veggie burgers, black bean burgers and vegetarian sausages all make appearances at Brushfire. Kind of cool, if you ask me. So, beside going to a couple games, I've spent a lot of time reading (I'm a librarian after all) and cooking, and reading cookbooks. It was kind of the perfect weekend, if you ask me.

Back to the cauliflower. I got a head of cauliflower a couple days ago at my local farmer's market for $1 and knew I needed to get it used today, so I heated up my oven and started chopping it into large-ish florets. Suddenly, the fucking lightbulb went on in my head; I needed to add some curry powder. I love cauliflower (especially roasted) and I love curry spices, so this couldn't possibly go wrong. Right?

In case you were wondering, I was right. I ate the whole head of it. Don't hate me because I'm hungry.

What you need:
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder of your choosing
  • Oil (I used some melted coconut oil)
  • salt and pepper
What you do with it:
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. 
  2. Put cauliflower into a large bowl, drizzle with  coconut oil and sprinkle with curry powder. Use a serving spoon and stir to coat the cauliflower with oil and curry powder. It should look like this:
  3. Spread cauli on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the veg and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes. 
  4. At the 15 minute mark, remove from the oven and use tongs to flip the florets over. Cook another 12 minutes, or until you're happy with the texture and caramelization.