Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vacation Vittles

After two months of studying and practicum work, I was ready for a vaca! We took our usual weeklong tour to visit my big sis and both sets of parents. Thus, the long absence from posts on this blog! That doesn't mean, however, that I wasn't eating up a storm! My thoughtful, sweet mother-in-law (no, I'm not sucking up!) copied several recipes from La Dolce Vegan the last time I was visiting her, and secretly prepared three vegan recipes for me! The first picture here is actually Isa's Tempeh Reuben, which I've made before, and which we had planned on making for her! We brought the ingredients and showed her how to make them. It was her first experience ever with tempeh!
Here she is, cooking those bad boys up for us. She has lots of experience with the real reubens!

Here is the homemade apple crisp, also from La Dolce Vegan. It had raisins in it! I just love raisins.... But very different for an apple crisp! You can tell it was good because of how little is left after one day! She also made spinach tofu lasagna and chili from the same cookbook. Both vegan and both out of this world! Now, she says she wants a vegan cookbook to learn more. It was also her first time working with tofu, and she told us funny stories about working with it! I just can't believe that her meaty, hunting state even
had tofu. Yay vegans!

Meanwhile, in my own home state, vegan and vegetarian food abounds. My mother, gone vegetarian over a year ago, thanks to Erik Marcus's book, was ready to prepare Kung Pao Seitan from Robin Robertson's book, The Vegan Planet. Unfortunately, my father has acid reflux disease and can't stand any spice, so the kung pao was.... well, not spicy at all. But at least the homemade seitan (I showed her how, you can see my previous post) was very juicy and tender! My father kept reaching back to snatch pieces from the pot. The sesame asparagus from Vegan with a Vengeance, and the kale with raisins and pine nuts (from a thousand similar recipes) were both decent, though I think I'm burning them out (those two were my idea for side dishes). We got all the ingredients at my favorite store in the world, Whole Foods Market! Every time I visit, we make a special trip there for me to stock up on specialty items, but it is getting less and less exotic for me as my local Ukrop's has more of the items I need! It's pretty funny that my idea of a vacation excursion is a grocery store, but what do you expect from a vegan foodie?

But the first stop of our trip was really my sister's, in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera on our first meal trip, to Julian's in Providence. Freakin' incredible food, whether or not you eat meat! We had vegan gingerbread pancakes that just melted in my mouth! And, real maple syrup ;) The only kind, of course.

That night, we enjoyed apple martinis (at her home) which I am certain were vegan. We continued on to the Garden Grille in Providence, a bounty of vegan and vegetarian foods that will make anyone drool! I had the sweet potato quesadillas, but unfortunately the vegan cheese just ruined the meal for me. The cheese was greasy and plastic-tasting. Such a shame, since I only get here once every couple of years if I'm lucky!

Speaking of lucky, I did take home a slice of their delicious vegan carrot cake with COCONUT FROSTING... a little on the dry side so it probably wasn't that fresh, but great flavor overall and made up for the quesadillas!

Meanwhile, her non-vegan cats were all saying, "feed us!!"

Here is the Block Island light house that we visited the next day (vegan salad wrap was enjoyed thoroughly and unexpectedly at a take away food stop on the island! Hubby had clam chowder and some fried fish parts - yuck!).

After visiting my mother's and drooling over her Everyday Vegan cookbook that I had been putting off buying, I snatched up my own copy and spent the drive home deciding on my next cooking ventures.

When I returned, I was ready to cook some meals of my own (we also ate out a fair bit). First, I made her pesto sauce, and froze most of it in ice cube trays (I put two tablespoons in each cube spot). This is a great way to save extra pesto without wasting it! The pesto has tofu and pine nuts in it, so it's very heart healthy and protein filled! I kept licking the bowl :)

The pesto sauce was used in the filling for the Thick 'n' Juicy Pesto Portabellas shown here. Unfortunately, the mushrooms at our local grocery store were a little old, so the mushrooms weren't very thick and juicy. But that filling .... oh my! Fresh spinach, marinated artichokes, and that pesto make for a hearty, flavorful stuffing. The breadcrumbs were a little too much, and I had to spritz the tops with olive oil to make them brown. Next time, I'll use less breadcrumbs and mix them with some olive oil for less mess. As you can see, I also used a frozen pesto cube to rub on my grilled corn! On the side, I used the leftover fresh spinach and some grape tomatoes with my own balsamic vinaigrette to round out the meal.
After all that cooking, I was ready to bake! Using a humongous zucchini from my mother-in-law, I made apple zucchini muffins from a Moosewood cookbook (shown here), zucchini bread from La Dolce Vegan (not shown) and ....

Cherry-Almond Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance (these didn't have any zucchini in them, but I wanted to use some fresh cherries up!). Phew! I think that this is the longest post ever in the history of blogging... or at least in my blog! I hope that this makes up for the lack of blogging these past weeks! Inspired by veggiegirl, I will be stocking my pantry with muffins and things for the upcoming school year. Question of the week: what's your favorite kind of muffin?

Slightly blurry close up of the inside of the cherry-almond muffins. Delish!

1 comment:

VeggieGirl said...

wow, sounds like you had a great vacation, and enjoyed lots of great food!! that's so nice that your mother-in-law made that delicious tempeh sandwich for you!!