Sunday, June 29, 2008

White Russian

Hey man, I've got a beverage here. Put a couple of ice cubes in the glass. Add a half shot of coffee liqueur, and a shot of vodka. Fill the rest of the glass with soy milk or (and this is really where it's at) Silk's soy creamer. Stir. The photo is before the stirring, because I think the separation of the booze and soy creamer looks cool.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gemmer (Ginger Beer)

This is a fun, simple, and wonderfully tasty recipe I found in "The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa," by Marcus Samuelsson. It's called gemmer, or ginger beer, and tastes sweet and tangy and spicy - like orange juice plugged into an amplifier. Above is the finished product, and below are some of the ingredients; whole cloves, cardamom pods, some OJ, and lime juice. It is brought to a boil in preparation, and I left if to chill overnight in the fridge. I came back from walking the dogs tonight and poured a glass of this, and was in heaven. This cookbook is very cool too (even has a forward by Desmond Tutu!). Not vegetarian by any means, but there are a number of interesting vegetarian dishes, and gives me lots of ideas for veganizing other things. Beautiful photos, too.

Ginger Beer
Juice of 4 limes
1 cup orange juice
4 cups water
Two 3-inch pieces of ginger, grated
1/2 cup sugar
5 cloves
5 cardamom pods

1. Bring everything to just to a boil and remove from heat. Let cool, and after a couple of hours refrigerate. Strain before serving, and serve chilled.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spring Rolls with Avocado, Carrots, and Seitan

I made a little batch of spring rolls yesterday. I was sick all weekend - boo hoo - but put on some good music and got at it in the kitchen Sunday evening. This was a pretty standard spring roll, so I'm not going to put together a full recipe for posting. Filling includes rice noodles, julienned carrots, scallions, shredded seitan, and an avocado that had seen better days. I'm going on a kayak trip on the Missouri this weekend, so I hope to be back with some camping food. It should be fun.

Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are from The Joy of Vegan Baking, by Colleen Patrick Goudreau. Besides being vegan, they don't contain any oil or margarine, and are still the richest, chewiest brownies around. The trick is apple sauce - they don't have an apple sauce flavor, but there is almost a cup of apple sauce in the recipe. I love these, but tend to eat them way to quickly whenever I make them. And since they're chocolate-heavy, the dogs can't help.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sweet Chili-Lime Tofu with Kale and Quinoa

I try to keep this blog mostly about my own creations, though in cooking we're all deeply indebted to our influences. Here's a recipe I got from, and it's just fabulous. That's one of the 3 or 4 vegan cooking sites I check on a regular basis, with great photos, clear instructions, and step by step preparation shots. It's really well done. I've made this a couple of times since I found the recipe. Especially nummy is the quinoa, which is made with cardamom pods and a cinnamon stick in the cooking liquid. Good stuff.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rhubarb Kuchen (no-bake)

The inspiration for this dessert was the kuchen my Grandma made. Traditionally, the kuchen we knew (and I've seen other types of desserts and sweets called kuchen) was a layer of creamy, custardy filling on top of a pastry crust. I think it was made of cream, eggs, and sugar - that's my assumption. I had a bag of fresh-cut rhubarb in the fridge, and started to think about what kind of vegan analog I could come up with to recreate that kuchen taste. (to be cont.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chili Variations

The days have been flying by, which has been detrimental to my blog postings...excuses, excuses. I have a few ideas I'm looking forward to getting up here, so hopefully I'll find some time soon. Tonight I'm cooking up a big pot of chili.
I've never made chili the same way twice. By it's nature, it is so open to variations of ingredients and spices. The staples for me are beans, tomatoes, and chili powder, and I take it from there. This one features sweet potatoes and pinto beans, with oddballs like cocoa powder, apple sauce, maple syrup, and mustard adding character. It's topped with cilantro and a simple tofu sour cream.

2 cups pinto beans (soaked overnight, cooked, and drained)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 cup cubed seitan (homemade)
2 tbsp. applesauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 pint canned diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. brown mustard

diced green onions (for garnish)
chopped cilantro (same)
1. In a big soup pot, saute onions, garlic, and cubed sweet potato in a little canola oil.
2. Add veggie stock, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or so.
3. Add everything else (except the green onions and cilantro).
4. Continue simmering for 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat, let cool for a few minutes, and add cilantro, onions, and tofu sour cream just before serving.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jazzie Mae's and my garden

So it's been almost two weeks since I last showed up here with a recipe. The problem is, it's the time of year when I don't spend any real time inside until 10 or 11 p.m., between work and the demands of the hounds. I promise, for what that's worth, to get some good new food up here this month - I have a couple of recipes rolling around in the kitchen.

But here's the important news in my veggie world - Fargo has a new vegetarian cafe, called Jazzie Mae's. When I heard a veg place was opening up (and just a couple of blocks from my place), I was excited, but I assumed the place would be ovo-lacto...which is still a vast improvement over Famous Dave's and Perkins and the rest. But check it out - the whole menu at Jazzie Mae's is vegan!

The cafe is just great - one of the many places in Fargo that you can't quite believe are in Fargo. I mean that in the most affectionate way for this town. Their menu has a ton of great looking items - I had a delicious and colorful Mediterranean-themed wrap sandwich - and I am excited to check out the rest of their dishes, including pizzas and ice creams. A veggie shop/boutique shares the store, with lots of interesting odds and ends. I picked up a box of vegan peanut butter dog biscuits for Otter and Maya, which they are loving. I'll bring my camera next time I'm at Jazzie Mae's and get some photos up here - they clearly care about every aspect of their business - the food looks as good as it tastes. Anyway, I'm no restaurant critic, but I wanted to express my gratitude at having a place like Jazzie Mae's in our Fargo. I wish them the best of luck, and I can't wait for my next stop.

In other news, I finally have a garden. This is the first summer since I've been in Fargo when I am reasonably sure I'll be around here most of the time, so I borrowed my neighbor's roto-tiller and dug up a nice little garden plot in the backyard of the big white house here. I'll plant this week, and subject you to endless reports from the garden over the summer. Eggplant, squash, kale and other greens, tomatoes and peppers of all colors, fresh herbs - this is going to be lots of fun. My's been too long since I've been able to say that.