Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: What an Omni Requests for Birthday Food

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What an Omni Requests for Birthday Food

So yesterday was Brett’s 29th birthday, and I took the day off of work so that we could spend it together. I had gotten him a birthday present, but had already given it to him. You see, I was trying to be sneaky (which I have never been very good at), so I listened carefully over the year, trying to infer something I could get him for his birthday, without having to come right out and ask. Well he loves video games (is this something all men love regardless of age?), and his wireless controller for his Playstation broke. Now I knew what to get him.

I ordered a nice controller off of Amazon, and had it shipped to my office, sneaky right? Well the thing came and it was in a giant box. I mean this little controller was in this huge box. I was trying to figure out a way to get it home and hidden without Brett knowing, since he’s usually home when I get home. So I decided to just take it out of the box and put the controller in my book bag and get it home that way. Well wouldn’t you know that Amazon decided to glue a giant piece of cardboard to the back of the controller box, not really alleviating the size issue, and creating another, the fact that when I put it in my book bag, well, it was noticeable. It gave my book bag a rather triangular shape. In order to get the packaging for the controller separated from the cardboard would have required me to pretty much rip the whole thing apart, which I didn’t want to do in case he didn’t like it. Long story short, when I got home, I just gave it to Brett, ‘cause, well he could tell there was something up with my book bag. But he really liked it, so all was well in the end.

For breakfast I made Brett the Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance and my modified version of the strawberry sauce recipe in the book. We prefer our fruit sauces, at least for use in this type of situation, to be pretty pulverized and thick, so, as usual, I had to go a different way with this. I just noticed that I was still in keeping with my pink pancake motif, so I guess I really do have a thing for pink breakfast foods. :-)

And you know, he was sweet enough to play guitar for me while I cooked, on his birthday. I know he enjoys it, but I think I enjoy it more. I even snapped a couple of pics of him jamming.

Back to the food.

You know, I like these plates more now that I have this blog. I think I am finally starting to appreciate the full breadth of their ugliness and novelty. :-)

J’s VwaV Inspired Strawberry Sauce

½ bag frozen strawberries
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 cup organic sugar
¼ cup water
1-2 tsp. arrowroot starch/flour mixed with a tbsp or so water

In a sauce pan mix all ingredients and warm at medium heat. Once fruit mixture has gotten warm, use the side of a kitchen utensil or potato smasher to pulverize the fruit. Bring to a boil and add the arrowroot mixture, stirring frequently until desired consistency.

These pancakes are good. I mean they are chocolate and more chocolate and if you like that – well, I think you’d be in love. These are also VERY sweet, so I would recommend this as more of a dessert unless you can handle really sweet food in the morning. Both of us tend to prefer nothing really much sweeter than a granola bar, so we’ll save these for dessert next time.

When I had asked Brett what he wanted me to make him for his birthday food wise, he said he wanted the Vegan Chocolate Chip Fudgy Brownies I make as well as a Black Bean Quesadilla, he didn’t really care about breakfast. So thats what he got.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Fudgy Brownies
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I use Green & Black's Organic Cocoa Powder)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups organic sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds (optional)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 cup canola oil for higher fat baking, or 1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup applesauce for somewhere in the middle)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup water
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (we like Tropical Source)(optional)
confectioner's sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in the wet ingredients. If desired, add chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into a greased 9"- x 13"-inch baking pan, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar when it comes out of the oven.

Let the brownies cool slightly before serving.

Brett and I ended up with slightly different things for dinner as quesadillas and burritos can be very ‘mix-and-match’ and I had some pinto beans in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so I made a burrito for myself and a Black Bean Quesadilla for Brett. We usually use plain old Spanish rice in this recipe, but both of us thought it would be good to try subbing in Veganomicon’s Mexican Millet to see how that worked. Well of course, when I looked at the recipe, there were things I didn’t have or we don’t like and things I had that I usually add to my Spanish Rice that I thought would make good additions, so I ended up doing it a bit differently. I left the fresh tomato and cilantro out, and I didn’t have any tomato paste. So instead of using 2 cups of veggie broth, I used a cup and a half of veggie broth and a half cup of tomato juice. I also cut down on the onion called for and added sautéed red bell pepper. It was so good! Brett said he thought our Mexican food might be better with millet than rice. This stuff is really good so we highly recommend it to anyone who loves Mexican food like we do.

If you were curious here is a rough run-down of what went in Brett’s Quesadilla: Lots of black beans tossed with a bit of Simply Organics Southwest Taco Seasoning, some sweet corn, our variation of Mexican Millet, and cheese, real cheese, but it was his birthday, and this is what he wanted. It was topped with guacamole, tofu sour cream and salsa (not pictured here).

For my burrito I layered some Mexican Millet, and took a mixture of black and pinto beans, tossed them with a bit of the Southwest Taco Seasoning, then added a bit of sweet corn and some Follow Your Heart vegan Monterey Jack. I also topped mine with guacamole, tofu sour cream and salsa (again, not pictured). I had a bit of Mexican Millet on the side as my burrito ‘seemed’ small, but I didn’t end up eating it. The burrito was too filling.

You know, I don’t think I’ve had enough spicy food and guacamole yet :-), so I think I will concoct a breakfast around that. (Maybe I should turn off the Spanish guitar music.) Tonight I am also planning on making a more ‘Jen-Style’ meal, meaning more veggies, far more veggies than the types of things Brett picks out, but I think I have ways of dressing them up that will be pleasing even to the omni.

‘Til next time.


Lizzy said...

Aww, I wish someone would play the guitar to me while I was cooking! So sweet!
Awesome idea with the controller. Hendrik is totally into my Wii, I hardly use it. For his birthday I got him copix pens and sketchbooks and stuff (he draws a LOT, whenever there's a piece of paper and a pen he'll be distracted for a while).

Your burritos always looks so goddamn good and I still haven't made them.
I thought about making the chocolate chip pancakes, too, but ended up with the banana ones.
The brownies look lovely. Oh man, I wish we were neighbours. I'd probably always knock in time when the food is about to get served "Hey there... do I smell mexican food?" Ha ha!

Jennifer said...

You know what is pretty funny, I have always loved Mexican food, but didn't actually start making it at home until a couple of years or so ago. You see, my next door neighbors are Mexican, and I would always smell their food and be so jealous, it smelled so good and authentic.

So I decided I would learn how to make it myself so I wouldn't have to learn Spanish and con my neighbors into letting me eat at their house every night :-). Now we have dueling smells in the hallway.

Between the real Mexicans' Mexican food and the American cooking Mexican, our food smells overpower my Russian neighbors’ odd smelling food - smells reminiscent of potatoes and dull meat.

selina said...

everything looks delicious! im sure he had a wonderful birthday with all the wonderful food you made.

making bread is quite easy, just time consuming. most of it is just waiting for the bread to rise. making a loaf usually takes about 2-3 hours from start to finish. unless of course you make like zucchini bread or some kind of bread that doesnt have to rise. and thats just kinda like making a regular cake.

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

yeah! Happy Birthday to Brett! I turn 29 this year as well! Yikes!!! those brownies look and sound wonderful.

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Mexican Millet! Pretty! I've never liked Spanish rice - that millet looks a bazillion times more appealing!

Yeah, the chocolate-chocolate chip pancakes are pretty decadent (they're great as carob-carob chip, too). i think they're so good, i just eat them plain, with nothing on them - not even maple syrup!

Jennifer said...

Selina - Thank you, that is very nice. He seemed to enjoy his food, but also seemed to enjoy the fact that I played his Playstation with him better. :-)

Nice to know that bread making isn't as scary as it seems. I guess waiting for bread to rise is a good excuse to read for a couple of hours, as if I needed an excuse.

Pleasantly - Happy Early Birthday! Brett said the other day that this is his last birthday, we will ingore February 8th from here on out. :-)

The brownies are good, but very rice, I can only eat about one per day and my chocolate quota is met and then some. If you want less rich brownies, I would leave the chocolate chips out of this recipe. Tropical Source chocolate chips are very rich.

Ruby Red - This had a much nuttier flavor and a MUCH better texture than regular Spanish rice has, it might be a good way to go if you are on the fence about it.

You know, I have only had carob a time or two and was never to sent by it, though I doubt I had it done right. There just seemed to be a bit of an aftertaste to it. I should try it again, any suggestions?

Jennifer said...

Pleasantly - Oh, and I meant 'rich' not 'rice' :-)

T said...

Its much more fun to cook for someone who's appreciative enough to serenade you. That is way too cute.

And I love those pancakes- must taste like chocolate covered strawberries!

I've been having a lot of fun with Mexican food lately- its surprising what a crowd pleaser even the healthiest dish can be with an omni crowd if ou add some mexican spices and accoutrements.

Everything just looks fab!

Veggie said...

Mexican millet, that sounds like a great idea. I'll have to try that.