Saturday, December 05, 2009

Catching up with some great food

I can't believe it's been so long since I last wrote here...that's how I used to begin all my journal entries. Now, I just am happy that I'm writing at all. Same goes for this blog, I guess. With exhaustion, nausea and all that wonderful stuff that comes with pending motherhood, I'm happy to have gotten to my monthly Veg Group meeting today. With the lovely first snow we're having here in Virginia, it's a fine day to stay inside and ruin my eyes on the computer.

This first photo is what I took to the meeting. Cookie Dough Scoops (chocolate chip variety), from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These are only the second cookies I've made from this cookbook so far, but they are awesome! Freezer cookies - not the best option for a cold almost-winter day, but still...yum....Three and a half stars ***1/2 only because they got "melty" after a few minutes out of the freezer. They're best eaten straight out of the cold - and so amazing, too. Almost too rich! But, that's what you get when you eat raw cookie dough. Great reason to be vegan - no worries!

However, these Magical Coconut Cookie Bars, also from VCIYCJ, were even better. Similar to seven-layer bars (although I can't count seven layers), they start with a graham cracker crust (Nabisco makes vegan ones), baked and topped with a coconut milk-brown sugar mixture that's been pre-boiled (similar to condensed milk), followed by a layer of chocolate chips (Tropical Source are my favs!), then a layer of sweetened coconut and pecans. Oh yum. Coconut and chocolate - what is better than that? Four wonderful stars **** These are also best when chilled but NOT better as dough/batter!

It makes quite a lot. There were extras besides what's on this large platter. Scarfed up at work within a few hours.

A surprising four star **** recipe this week were these Garlicky Black Bean-Broccoli Burritos from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I wanted something quick, easy, and with greens and protein. These fit the bill, especially as I didn't bake them, but ate them like fajitas. With vegan cheddar cheese, they were heaven. The flavors were amazing! The tortillas (gluten-free ones) sucked. They cracked all to pieces. I made this again last night with several modifications: a box of button mushrooms that needed to be eaten (SOON) instead of the broccoli, just threw in whole black beans and corn, and just drizzled the seasonings straight into the frying pan. Mr. PLV tasted the mixture and pronounced - "Hey - I would eat this!" (that's a compliment by the way - but he had already gotten Chinese takeout - something I'm trying to stay away from at the moment).
One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is this Hominy-White Bean Chili from one of Robin Robertson's books that I don't own. I think it's the Vegetarian Slow Cooker one. Anyway, I copied the recipe last year from the book at the library (free!!), and as we were painting the living room one recent weekend, threw this into the pot for an easy dinner. Mr. PLV really liked this, too. I just love the corn smell of hominy. Ummmm.....

As the year draws to a close, I realized that I needed to get cracking on my resolutions list. One of the meals I resolved to try was Samosas. Mr. PLV and I love Indian food, and we especially love samosas. With the 2nd trimester well underway, I finally had the energy to attempt this multi-step dish. I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. First, you peel and boil the potatoes. Then, you fry them with lots of seasonings, carrots, and peas (her recipe called for edamame, but I'm a traditionalist)

Then came the pain in the ass part - well, that's what Isa said, but it wasn't really a pain in the ass. The dough was pretty simple to make (turmeric made the nice yellow hue), but they did take a while to roll out, cut, and fill. They were pretty small, and not really shaped like real ones, but they came out just fine. I'd say, oh, three, maybe three and a half stars ***. A little too much dough for me and not quite as good as the traditional fried kind :) We ate them alongside this Chana Masala from The Vegan Table, but we didn't care for the chana dish. Not spicy enough. Two and a half stars **1/2. (Lots of filling leftover.)

Later in the week, I ate the leftover samosa filling with this nice Indian dish of black beans, chickpeas, and kale, but I can't for the life of me recall where I got the recipe from. Really. I have no idea what is was or anything, except that it was pretty good. And, my boss thought it smelled like crap. But it was really very tasty. Three and a half stars ***1/2.

Thanksgiving was a busy, busy day for me. I was stupid enough to try to make the entire traditional meal myself, when it was just Mr. PLV and me eating this year. But, when there are a few dishes that you each can't imagine the day without...well, let's just say we ate about four hours later than expected.

This Apple Pie from The Vegan Table was the first reason for the lateness of our meal (and my exhaustion). The crust kept sticking to the counter and I had to paste it all together over the filling. Not the prettiest pie in the world, but I haven't made a whole lot of pies...

Then, I burned it a bit when I adjusted the oven. You see, our oven typically runs about 25 degrees higher than what the outside indicator says (we have an oven thermometer inside, so we know this), so I always have to turn it down a little bit. Well....I turned it UP a little bit. So, the first half hour it sizzled. Luckily, I caught it on the second half. The top actually is cinnamon, not burned. The filling collapsed a ton, so there was a large gap between filling and upper crust (I swear I packed those apples in!) but in the end it was very edible. Local apples made it a treat! Three and a half stars ***1/2.

The other reason why we ate late that day was the chestnuts. I have roasted chestnuts before, so I was surprised when I 1) sliced my thumb while scoring them and 2) had such difficulty peeling them. They were just not peeling whole! The insides were all crumbly. It took me a half hour or more to peel these. Luckily, the recipe they were intended for needed them chopped anyway. Just a bad batch of chestnuts, I guess.

This Chestnut-Sausage-Sage Stuffing from Vegetarian Times was a hit last year, and was amazing once again this year. In fact, maybe better! I used less liquid, so it wasn't as mushy AND I found these amazing Smoked Apple Sage sausages from Field Roast at our local Wegman's.

Well, we ate stuffing and streuseled sweet potatoes, and homemade cranberry sauce (all recipes from last year!), along with canned corn, Tofurkey (still good!), mashed potatoes, and that apple pie (oh, and Mr. PLV had that green bean casserole, which I can't eat and don't care for anyway - although I do love those crunchy onion things) all week long. I was pretty done with Thanksgiving by this weekend. But, we have another Field Roast product in the freezer and nothing else to eat (Ok - so that's a lie - I am too tired to cook) until I get to the store, so it's a veggie roast and baked potatoes and canned green beans for tonight. Oh well - we are so incredibly lucky to have the amazing foods that we have and the life that we have here in America - I am blessed. Stay tuned in the next week or two for "The best recipes of 2009" and the conclusion of my resolutions!


VeggieGirl said...

Glad to see you posting again, as always! :)

mysticxian said...

I had the same problem so far this year with chestnuts. I wonder if the crops are different this year from last??? As always your food looks great. Hope the nausea ends soon.

SC said...

Do you have access to vegan wonton wrappers? It's not as traditional, but I did get the idea from an Indian cookbook "The Turmeric Trail"

Personally, I'm not a fan of the Isa recipe, but the one from the Turmeric trail is great. Let me know if you're interested.

JENNA said...

Everything looks so delicious!

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

SC - no, I have not been able to find vegan wonton wrappers, although I hope a trip to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's at some point will result in some success. They are so quick and easy to use! Thanks for the turmeric trail tip!