Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New President and Lots of New Recipes

First with the food... I've been wanting to make a white pizza for a while. For vegans, this usually entails a tofu-white-sauce, and then the other ingredients. I followed a recipe from Vegan Express, by Nava Atlas, and added my own toppings: sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, sauteed mushrooms, and steamed spinach. This combination was OK, but the real bummer was the sauce. There just wasn't any flavor to it! Since I made this, I've seen other tofu white sauce recipes that call for lots of different spices to be added to the tofu, and I think I'll try those next time.

Still, it was definitely edible, and I enjoyed knowing that I wasn't ingesting any cholesterol or hormones! ;) The sauce was also a bit too thick, so next time I would use about half. Overall, two and a half stars **1/2. Very filling! This wasn't the cheapest meal so far, as I had to buy the crust, the silken tofu, and the other veggie toppings (except for the sun dried tomatoes - I've still got a huge jar in the cupboard from at least a year ago). Total cost? Probably $15.

My husband had more luck with this Mushroom Barley Soup, by Robin Robertson (from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook). It has leeks and mushrooms and barley and some other spices with veggie broth in it. We found it to be way too thick, but when we ate it as reheats throughout the week, adding some water to it perked it up just fine. We love leeks! Three stars overall *** Total cost? Well, I only had quick-cooking barley, so we had to buy the medium pearled kind, as well as the veggies. About $8. It made a huge amount, though!

I had some old whole wheat tortillas kicking around, and a sweet potato, so I whipped up these super easy Black Bean-Sweet Potato Quesadillas from Veganomicon, in no time at all for dinner one night this past week. I just microwaved the potato, scraped out the innards (and ate the skin!), then added black beans and cumin. Fold, cook and done! Maybe 15 minutes total. I didn't have any salsa, so it was a little dry, but overall, three stars ***! (That is some sauteed kale on the side with a sesame-ginger dressing. We found that lots of garlic really helps mask the bitterness of the kale!). Total cost? $2, or about $4 if you have to buy the tortillas. The beans are under a dollar a can, and the potato, too. Add in the kale, and it only rises to $5-$9, depending on your tortilla stash.

This potato only made about two meals, but then I had extra black beans. So guess what I did? I made up my own recipe! I had just one serving of penne pasta leftover, about a third cup of spaghetti sauce (my husband's) and some baby spinach kicking around. I sauteed some garlic, added the beans, spinach and sauce, and cooked that together while the penne boiled. I didn't take a photo because I didn't think it would be that great, but holy cow! It was good! I think it was the garlic, but yum-yum anyway! Three stars, maybe four ***. I rarely make up my own recipes, so I was really excited about this.

I'd been eying this Broccoli-Pepper Salad since I bought the book (Vegan Express, by Nava Atlas) and at last I got around to making it. Wicked easy. Just barely steam some fresh broccoli (I overdid it- oops), and then add chopped yellow bell pepper, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and a super easy Sesame-Ginger dressing! Wow and yum. Fours stars for this one ****. So glad I finally made it! Cost? Not cheap, mostly because of the pine nuts. About $3 for the broccoli, $2.50 for the whole bag of cranberries (which I didn't use all of), pine nuts I buy in bulk, so I have no idea but maybe .50 cents worth?), and the pepper is about $2 I think. So, about $8 total. And I ate it as part of lunch all week.
Sparkle-Ginger Cookies (or are they Ginger Sparkle Cookies?) from Vegan with a Vengeance were easy to whip up for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day festivities in town. They are a tried and true recipe for me now! Our Veg Group provided some eats (alongside the fried chicken and people's fur coats - blech!). These, along with Isa's awesome Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, were the talk of the night! Several people were so excited, they promised to come to our next meeting -yay! Cost was negligible, due to everything being from my pantry....;)

I tried another new recipe for the MLK event: Date-Nut Diamonds, also from Vegan with a Vengeance. This was another one that I'd been eying for a while, as I love dates, nuts, and coconut (the three main ingredients). Unfortunately, as you can see by the photo here, there wasn't enough crust to cover the bottom of the pan (and it was a slightly smaller pan than called for) so it just burned. However ...

...there is something to be said for experience. I made the crust again, doubling it this time, and it turned out great!

The topping, or main part of the bar, made barely enough (again) to cover the crust. I really was spreading it thin. It isn't burned, though, despite the photo. That's just the darkness of the dates.

Once again, I was disappointed in the crust. Although there was enough this time, it still didn't seem quite right. After I cut the bars out of the pan, this is what was left. The crust was just too...powdery. It never firmed up like I thought it should.

I wasn't sure if I was going to serve these at the MLK event. But I did and everyone kept commenting on them - positively! I guess they were a three or four star, based on their comments, and truth be told, the crumbly base didn't matter when compared to the chewy topping, but I still only give it two and a half stars **1/2. Again, all pantry items!

This strange looking pancake has totally won me over this week. The Chickpea Flour Pizza from The UnCheese Cookbook is one of the easiest recipes I've ever made. Just a half cup of garbanzo bean flour (very high in protein!) with some pizza-type spices and a half cup of water, and you're ready to go! It is thin, in between a crepe and a pancake, and completely delicious. Cooks in 10 minutes (5 on each side).

Cut into cute triangles, and served with some kalamata spread (tapenade), it was awesome! Four stars, for sure ****. I'm going to try it with some tomato sauce and other spreads in the coming weeks. I've been wanting to try this recipe and use up my chickpea flour for a long time! Cheap, cheap, cheap! And all pantry items.

Of course, all this food pales in comparison with the great event that occurred this past Tuesday! Need I say more??? Wish I had been there, but I'm not one for crowds or the cold...

A friend of mine got me this adorable cookie to celebrate. Not vegan but totally cool. Now, let's let him get to work and hope that good things will come. I'm not much into the celebrity side of all of this but have great hope that the environment and our international relations will improve over the next four years.

And last, happy almost Chinese New Year! The Year of the Ox starts tomorrow. We'll celebrate with some egg rolls and a noodle dish tomorrow night. But first, soup....


VeggieGirl said...

Gorrrrgeous eats and treats!!

Scott Carlson said...

I make the chickpea flour pizza all the time. It's not quite like what I had in Italy, but if my five year old loves it, it goes in heavy recipe rotation.

As for pizza crust. Have you tried making some yourself? I used to always use a bread machine, but it really wasn't worth the hassle, I just do it by hand now.

7-8 oz Water,
¾ t Salt,
2T Olive Oil
2C All-purpose Flour
½C Whole Wheat flour
2t Sugar
2t Active Dry Yeast

knead for a couple of minutes, and rise for an hour. Punch down, roll out, add sauce, toppings, and bake for 8-10 minutes @ 425.

Try it, you'll like it. :)

Raike said...

OMG!! All these recipes are looking delicious...

Lola said...

Obama is portrayed as the HOPE candidate by the corporate controlled media. Please don't buy into the hype.

OBAMA voted FOR the patriot act and the bailout bill. He is for wiretapping phones, regulating the internet, and the creation of a new citizens army- in addition to our military. Obama wants to fight in Afghanistan and is considering waiting longer to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Obama will take away more rights than Bush and you can bet your @ss that he won't repeal any of the previous administration's unlawful policies. Just look at his voting record. Our media only covers Republicans and Democrats, whose policies are controlled by so many special interests and lobbyists that America has become a corporate fascist nation.

It is not the job of the federal government to babysit me and my family. If you do not like how your state is run then you can move to another one far easier than you can move to a different country.

Secondly, welfare programs caused the increase in broken families. 50 years ago 80% of black babies were born to a married couple. Now only 20% of black babies and 60% of white babies are - which can be attributed to America's policies. If our leadership did not want this outcome then the government would change these policies. The more we rely on the government the more power we give up.

Another problem. EVERY WAR WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN WAS COORDINATED by the elites (the real rulers if this country and many others). Case in point: The main purpose of the civil war was to give the government more power over the states.

The Federal Reserve gives campaign contributions and media support to presidential candidates if they support their agenda. The main one? WAR... It is the most costly way to control population and push through "necessary" legislation that takes away our rights. The more money we spend the richer the elites get. The more war we have = the more interest the international bankers earn funding it WHILE FREEDOM slips farther and farther out of our grasp.

Do not believe me? Do your own research. The information is there; you just won't find it in any classroom or on any television program.

The whole media is owned by 5 corporations, one of which is PepsiCo. Do not get your news from CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc. Go out and do your own research. These are not sources of news as they are proponents of what the machine wants us to believe.

Just watch how their is no third party candidate in the debates. News stations constantly calls people who vote for anyone but a Rep or a Dem as "spoilers." I cannot stress enough: Read books. Read SMALL local sources of news, if you can find any.

If the president just laughs about leaving the United Nations and ending the Federal reserve then they do not have the nation's best interests at heart.

Americans need to wake up. Stop buying anything that is made in China. DO NOT SHOP AT WALMART. Everything from Walmart is from China. Buy locally made goods and products. Expect everything to cost more. It is cheaper than devaluing the dollar to nothing and being China's b*tch. Use your money as power and buy from companies that support American workers, the environment, and your health. We all have to work together and we have limitless influence, but not if people refuse to WAKE UP!

There are many free informative movies available online. Please check out "The Zeitgeist" movie. It puts things into perspective. I think Obama may be a good person and will push forward a liberal agenda - which he may actually think is good for the American people. I can guarantee you that he will take away our gun rights, starting with a ban on assault weapons.

Bush already took away our right to privacy and habieous corpus. Obama will continue the legacy.