Saturday, July 19, 2008

SURPRISE!


Before I get to the big surprise, I'm sharing a yummy food shot. My parents were in town for the week (a rare occasion) and I was excited to try out some tried-but-true meals, as well as some newbies. This BBQ Tempeh sandwich with grilled pineapple and Mango Ketchup from the Candle Cafe Cookbook was a big hit all around, even for my meat-loving father. He declared it, "very good!" which is a big complement coming from him, and went back for seconds. We've made it before, with great success, so we knew it would be palatable, to say the least! Four stars!

Now for the surprise... You remember a couple of posts back, when I was sharing pictures of my garden? And how excited I was to watch the bean plants grow? Well, I went out earlier this week to do my daily garden inspection (weeding, watching for pests/mold, etc.) when I noticed that the bean plants didn't look very... beanish. They were just too short and round. I watched them over the next few days when all of a sudden, nestled under the canopy of leaves, I discovered.....




These are DEFINITELY not beans! I thought, maybe they're some kind of squash, or something. When my mother, experienced gardener that she is, came and looked at them, she suggested....







MELONS!

















Now, I know I planted bean seeds. Or at least, they came from a packet labeled "organic bush beans." And they certainly looked like bean seeds when I planted them. I should know, being a Kindergarten teacher for so long (you do lots of fine motor activities with dried beans!). But, as disappointed as I was (I love fresh beans!), I was also ecstatic - MELONS! I also love, love cantaloupe and honeydew melons (of which I think these are the latter). Whatever they turn into (I'll take any guesses!), I'm excited that they are thriving so well and just praying that the resident groundhog doesn't get them first! Either way, I still got a thrill out of planting seeds and getting such great returns with such poor soil and over watering (the garden has been flooded several times with rain). And, it's a great story! Now, onto more food....


This is the Spicy Peanut Tempeh with Cool Cucumber Salad from the most recent Veg News magazine. I have to say, their recipes don't disappoint! The tempeh was marinated and skewered with some red onion and plums. Even my warm-fruit hating husband enjoyed the plums! In fact, he made this dish himself - yay! Unfortunately, I could tell right away by the sweetness in the peanut sauce that he had used Jiff peanut butter (ugh!- with all its added sugar) but I didn't complain and was just happy that he had made the effort to cook while I was at work! I whipped up the cucumber salad while he grilled (it's in the same issue, meant as a side dish for the tempeh) and was only disappointed in the incredible heat! Cool, my ass. The peanut sauce wasn't spicy enough, though, so this kind of balanced the two. Not bad, overall. Maybe three stars for the tempeh and two for the salad.
Continuing the grill-fest on the first night my parents came into town, was this delectable Penne with Grilled Vegetables, from The Vegetarian Grill. It was really very easy (julienne and grill the veggies, cook the pasta, toss with tomato sauce) since we used an organic jarred sauce, instead of grilling the tomatoes for a homemade sauce (although this would have been amazing, I'm sure!). I snuck in whole wheat penne (the men in our family can't abide the grainy texture) and left out the goat cheese from my portion (although everyone else raved about the way the cheese really enhanced the dish). I really must get my hands on some Teese! Three stars for everyone else, two for me, sans goat cheese.

The next night, I had to work, so we all made do with leftovers. But the following night we gorged on vegetarian and vegan pizza. Here is Isa's Pizza from Vegan with a Vengeance, on the homemade crust. We use Rustic Crust, too, when we don't have time for a fresh one. Everyone raved over this pizza. It has tofu ricotta (the white lumps), pesto (the green lumps), kalamata olives (soooo good!) and mushrooms (I think we used cremini). Everything is a little bit salty, so we leave out quite a bit of salt from the pesto. Everyone loves pizza! Four stars!
But wait, there's more!




One night, we were invited over to our neighbor's for dinner (including an incredible rice salad that I have to recreate!) and I brought ED&BV's Lemon Poppy Seed Crackle Cookies. They were pretty, easy, and even chewy (although I think they were chewy because I put them in a Tupperware container shortly after they cooled). A little too "poppseedish" for me, and needed more lemon maybe, but still very good!


On their last night in town, my mother and I whipped up Dreena's Spicoli Burgers from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. They really were pretty easy, especially with a rice cooker to do most of the work. They do have to chill for 30 minutes, so be prepared! There isn't very much prep work, overall. They can be expensive, since they call for one cup of hemp seeds, and they are a little mushy on the inside, but I would make these again just for the flavor! Three stars for sure. We were out of pita bread or hamburger buns (I finally found ones without any high fructose corn syrup- yay!) so we ate them naked, as suggested with her Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette, alongside some salad and....

Grilled Rosemary Potatoes! These were my own recipe (just drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with chopped, fresh rosemary, then grilled on medium heat for about ten minutes each side), so I was very proud of how good they turned out. AND, I worked the grill all by myself! My husband loves the grill, and always takes charge, so much that I didn't even know how to light it! But I did it all by myself this time, and am now queen of the grill :) Three stars for the potatoes.


We finished the night with Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream (vegan, of course!) from the Vegetarian Times, June 2008 issue. I haven't made ice cream (dairy or otherwise) in years, so I was excited to turn on our "vintage" (1970s) ice cream maker! It's electric, so there's not a whole lot of work. And the results? Fantastic! My dad, an ice cream connoisseur, rated it "excellent," although he thought it tasted more like raspberry, especially with the slight grit from the seeds. It really was like sherbet, and I enjoyed every bite. Sweet, but not cloyingly. Fruity, but not too much, either. Four stars! What a great way to end the meal and the week! I plan on making more cool treats with my Vice Cream cookbook that I've had since last summer. My husband has asked for Mint Chocolate Chip!

While they were here, Hobbes entertained us all by climbing into suitcases and also playing "security guard," for my dad's laptop....











But wait, there's more!....
My garden continued to flourish this past week. Here are the zucchini flowers, and then, much to my surprise, a zucchini all of a sudden appeared! I had no idea they grew "upside down," like this! Isn't it cute?















I waited as long as I could, and then picked it, to enjoy with some white bean-rosemary dip (a modification of ED&BV's white bean dip with thyme and basil). So tender and delicious! Why do non-vegans always ask, "So, what do you eat?"

But wait, there's more!...




My gladiolus continued to bloom and surprise me last week as well, with white, purple, and yellow blossoms. The buds looked like ballet slippers, smooth as silk and ready to dance off the stalk!











And I leave you with a shot of "green energy," or our new solar clothes dryer! :) It was the best thing ever when our old one broke. Enjoy the weekend!

5 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

You always showcase the most delicious meals and treats - yum!!!

Ahhh, congratulations on your flourishing garden!!! Mine completely died, so I'm thrilled to see that you're having success with yours :0)

Katy said...

Wow, all of that food looks amazing! I made the spicoli burgers last night and loved them.

Congrats on the garden! That's so exciting about the melons!

Courtney said...

OMG--I am so jealous of your melons! That is so exciting...yum!

It looks like you cooked up some lovely and delicious meals for your visitors :o)

Courtney

Mihl said...

I am glad your parents liked the food!
Everything you made looks wonderful!
Melons instead of beans? That sounds like a real surprise! Now someone lese might have beans instead of melons in their garden...

Shakespere said...

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