Thursday, July 31, 2008

Five Out of Six Ain't Bad

The past two weeks have kept me busy in the kitchen, especially with my husband being gone for half of that time! It's amazing how many dishes one person can accumulate, and how much house cleaning there is with just one person to do it! I have a new respect for how much my dad did when he stayed home with us.

This post's title is in reference to the five awesome dishes I made this week, and the one that flopped. I'm starting with my favorite and working down to least fav. First up are these scrumptious, utterly yummy "Swallow-it-All Banana Balls," from Dreena's first cookbook, The Everyday Vegan. I have to say, the title really had me laughing (sexual innuendos, anyone?) so I am renaming these simply "Banana Bites." Mine were pretty big, so they were really three bites in one (Schweaty Balls, anyone? NPR and Sat Night Live!). But oh, my god, they really were good. AND... no sweeteners! I really mean it! They mostly contain ripe bananas, dates, apples, and unsweetened, dried coconut, along with some ground oats and nut butter. They were so moist and combined the two flavors I love the most. Plus, they allowed me to use up some cereal crumbs I had laying around. I actually used raisin bran, instead of cornflakes. A great, healthy, filling snack. Four stars!

On we move to the second best... Grilled Yuca Tortillas from Veganomicon. I have been wanting to make these for a while, since I love yuca, which is like a very starchy, sticky potato. I added sliced kalamata olives, as suggested for an add-in, along with the jalapeno and bell pepper already called for. I actually grilled mine on our outdoor grill. The yuca was amazingly cheesy-like and it melted in my mouth..... I ate it later in the week by grilling leftover filling on the stove top and adding some good salsa - even better!! Four stars!

The side dishes pictured here are some grilled okra (nothing like the slimy stuff you might be wary of! Just crunchy and beautiful with olive oil, salt and pepper!) and my third favorite meal of the week...

Edamame Corn Salad. I took inspiration from Veganomicon's Corn-Sesame-Edamame Salad (or something like that) and added some local, organic grape and cherry tomatoes. I also did not cook the corn. I just cut it fresh off of the cobs (also local, not organic)! Soooo good. The sesame oil and rice vinegar just shone through in the flavors and it was as easy as could be to throw together. I could have eaten it just as it was, with nothing else! Four stars!

Fourth in line, but still really, really good, were the Seitan Gyros, from Vegan Express. I made them for my hubby, as he likes seitan and we both like (or used to like, in my case) gyros. Typically, they are lamb (ack!) but the seitan was moist and chewy enough (not in a gross, faux meat way, but in a pleasant, seitan way) and so perfectly flavored, I enjoyed every bite! We ate it whole pitas, just folded in half, with lettuce, tomato, and a cucumber raita (yogurt sauce). My only complaint was that the plain soy yogurt was too sweet and the seitan actually wasn't spicy enough! Still, very quick and very good. Just fry up the seitan, chop the veggies, and you're golden....Three stars!

Unfortunately, we're nearing the bottom of the post. I hate to write anything bad about a recipe, especially one from such an accomplished and yummy cook as Dreena (remember, her Banana Balls/Bites were number one this week!), but this Cashew-Ginger Tofu (from ED&BV), was just not all that great for me. I think I sliced the tofu a little thin, so the pieces were floppy and broke apart in all that sauce. I love, love tofu, but this was only so-so for me. No golden, crunchy crust, no firm bite. It must not be made for any tofu-haters! The creamy sauce was good, but got kind of grayish looking after a couple nights of leftovers. On its own, probably two and a half stars but I decided to lay it atop the real flop of the week....

No recipe this week compared to my own nasty creation. It all started out so innocently. I wanted to use up some red cabbage I had kicking around. I went to the farmer's market and got some fresh beans, carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms. They were so beautiful (see below shots)! But the cabbage leaked red all over my beautiful mushrooms and looked ten times worse than the tofu, especially after sitting around as leftovers this week. I ate it because I cannot waste food, but bleah - don't cook red cabbage in a stir fry!! One and a half stars, maybe.
I leave you with the bounty of last Saturday's farmer's market. Beautiful berries, and such gorgeous, organic mushrooms!!! Four stars for summer produce~ Enjoy the weekend and sorry for the late post!


VeggieGirl said...

ALL six dishes look great to me, haha - you really HAVE been busy in the kitchen!!

Hooray for fresh, farmer's market produce!!

Katy said...

That's so funny to me that you didn't like the cashew ginger tofu! I love that dish! But I agree that the tofu is pretty soft, and not chewy. The next time I make it, I was planning on pan-frying it a little before baking it with the sauce.

I love Farmer's Markets!!!

Anonymous said...

Loving all the farmer's market fresh produce. It's all so gorgeous looking. I also enjoyed those banana balls but when I told my hubby what they were called he told me he couldn't eat them if I kept calling them that.

bazu said...

Oh my- I'm still giggling about the banana/schwetty balls! I'll never look at them the same way again!