Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Random Eats of Late

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Eats of Late

I have been cooking lately - mostly variations on favorite tried and true recipes, but I have been lazy and too overwhelmed to blog - well not anymore! Not only will I share these variations of tried and true recipe, I hope to post the new chili recipe Brett and I made sometime this week. A new recipe! Wahoo!

First off, our Everything Granola Bars. We have worked with the ratios and nut/seed combinations and I think we have them how we want them. I highly recommend trying these and playing around with the recipe until you find the way you like 'em best. We found a combination so tasty that we have eaten these for breakfast (and even snacks) for a couple of months now. Oh, and check out our "newsed" new plates. A little brightly colored for my taste, but I love the swirly and Southwestern feel to the plates (cups, bowls, etc). My Dad and step-mom Stacey got some new dishes and split the set between Brett and I and my step-brother Zac. We certainly didn't need a whole set when half of the set included four place settings of each. Wahoo for hand-me-downs!

Next up: J. Finally. Baked. Bread. !!!!!

Check out these two gorgeous ciabattas! I followed the recipe provided by the super cool Jessy from Happy Vegan Face, I used all purpose flour for the "sponge" and local, Missouri-grown whole wheat pastry flour for the rest of the recipe.

Check out the air pockets! We had this delicious bread with some pasta and St. Louis-made Zia's pasta sauce.

The verdict on the breadmaking? Why the hell did I wait this long?! This wasn't hard at all and I don't even have a stand mixer, so I just used my hands. Brett and I have agreed that flour tortillas should be the next mission.

I do have to thank Selina (from Vegans Rock!!!) for helpfully dealing with my frantic text message inquiring as to whether my dough should have been as sticky as it was. Selina, you should change the name of your blog to Selina Rocks!!!

And now on to one of our favorite Asian meals in our "rotation", Veggie and Egg Fried Rice.

We originally got this recipe from Leng over at A Fat Cat Who Created A Vegetarian, and have since made it our own.

I love fried rice since you can throw in whatever veggies you have on hand.

To make this version of Veggie Fried Rice, we sautéed about a third of a head of red cabbage (not local, but purchased from the Root Cellar), 2 carrots peeled and chopped, one yellow onion, sliced thick (not local, but purchased from the Root Cellar), 1 head of broccoli florets, chopped, edamame, and green peas in canola oil in a very large skillet over high heat until the veggies begin to char. Then whisk together 2-4 tbsp shoyu (or other soy sauce), 2 tbsp of hot or sweet chili sauce (we use sweet chili sauce), and a pinch of black pepper. Add half to the veggies and stir constantly for about one minute. Add about 3 cups of day old, cooked long grain brown rice and the remainder of the sauce. Mix well.

We also added 2 local eggs to our veggie fried rice for some extra protein and brain food. To add the egg, scooch the rice and veggies to one side of the pan. Crack the eggs and scramble. Cook thoroughly and then combine the eggs, rice, and veggies.

It is a quick, yummy, one pan dish!

This is my bowl with the requisite big 'ol squirt of sriracha.

And for our lunches, we have been digging on lots of homemade hummus and falafel.

My favorite plain old garlicky hummus. The only thing that makes this better is a good couple of dashes of cayenne on top. I would rather have sumac, but I haven't found any in CoMo yet.

A yummy plate of baked falafel. I experimented a little this time and used dried cilantro flakes in place of the ground coriander and added a tablespoon of raw sesame seeds to the mixture. They turned out really, really well this time.

Well, Brett and I are taking a much needed night off together to do something we rarely do - sit in front of the "boob tube" all night. Seriously, I don't think there is anything that Brett and I need more right now than some serious snuggle time. We picked up some "reinforcements" for our evening: a locally made Uprise Bakery baguette, some garlic and herb Boursin cheese for Brett, some local Goatsbeard Farm herbed goat cheese for Brett, some super spicy cracked chili hummus for yours truly, and some olive tapenade for us to share. We've also got massive quantities of fruit waiting to be washed and cut. No dinner for us, just a night of munching - though our choice in snacks wasn't too bad.

We'll probably also work on making newspaper pots while we watch. Nothing likely double-duty, eh?

Tomorrow? Wednesday night is for the worms! We will be starting another working tray for them. We'll also (hopefully) be planting our second round of seeds! We've gathered all the needed materials, what has been missing of late is the time to actually do it. When we start more seeds, we'll also take pictures so I can do a garden update.

I apologize for the sporadic nature of my blog posts and comments on others' blogs, I've been really lazy with the computer lately, it has been the last thing on my mind.

Song of the Day:
Golden Pond - Chris Thile

'Til next time.


Heather @ SGF said...

You've been busy and it ALL looks tasty! Glad to hear you've had success with the bread. It's amazing how easy it is and how much better freshly baked bread truly is. Enjoy!

Kory said...

I would like to take this opportunity to say I told you so on the bread.

Now I must try baked falafel, I love falafel, but have thus far avoided making it myself for lack of a fryer.

jessy said...

i'm so proud of you for making your own ciabatta, Jennifer! that rocks the hardest! and your loaves look absolutely perfect! mmmmmmmmmmm! isn't it great - making bread with your own two hands!?! we don't have a standing mixer either and we do just fine! wahoooo!

totally going to have to try some tasty baked falafel - good call on the sesame seeds 'n cilatro. sounds super yummers! and huzzah for garlicky hummus, too - my fav! your veggie 'n egg stir fry looks mighty tasty! i see all that awesome sriracha on top! yay!

enjoy your snacky evening & relaxing time! making newspaper pots sounds fun. i always try and do something a little productive when we're watching tv or a movie - usually i'll fold laundry or organize recipes. have fun this evening - and huzzah for more worms soon, too! :)

p.s - i keep forgetting to try your everything granola bars. i need to stop forgetting and get off my butt & make some for dan & i! :)

T said...

That bread looks like it turned out great! The few times I've made bread I've had very mixed results... I should really give Jesse's recipe a shot.

And those homemade falafel look awesome! Enjoy your night on the couch!

selina said...

isn't bread making wonderful? and homemade tortillas are pretty awesome too. you need to make them. :)

i hope snuggle time is fun, sounds like your gonna have good food.

selina said...

ooohhh p.s. my granola bars fineally were set so I cut them this morning & ate one. it was SOOOOOOOOO yummy!

Daphne said...

Welcome to the world of bread. Yours turned out wonderful. I only make it occasionally now that the kids are gone. Last week I made a wonderful rosemary bread from Allrecipes. Yummy. I love herbed breads. The one thing I have trouble with when making breads is thinking ahead far enough. Then I found I could just make one and throw it in the fridge for a while and bring it out when I want to bake it. Now I only need to think ahead a couple of hours. LOL.

veggievixen said...

the bread looks awesome! i want to try that recipe now. i love falafel too :)

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

That is a humongous amount of sriracha! And your munchie night sounds fun. I love the idea of snacking for a romantic dinner.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the bread success! Now of course, it'll be hard to go back.... are you hooked yet? :-) Your loaves look great. Tortillas and flatbread in general - seeing how good your bread is, I'm sure you'll be fine with the others too. I love flatbread on the stovetop because it is so quick and easy once the method/rhythm gets going. Plus, the ingredients are very simple, generally flour and water... and then endless variations!
I'm excited to try your granola bar recipe, its one of those things that I'm forever tweaking to find something that just "fits".

VeganCowGirl said...

mmm I don't know which recipe to try first J! They all look so good. I love that you bake your falafel....I always prefer mine like this, and your hummus looks like a pillow of garlic goodness.

Doesn't Happyveganface have the BEST bread recipes?
Be well!!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely bread Jennifer!!! Yay! All of your food looks yummy actually. I am tempted by the granola bars, I think I might make them soon!

If you need sumac, it is available in Portland. I would be happy to send some your way. Let me know!

Lily Girl said...

J - I was unable to find sumac in my immediate area either, until I went to Penzey's. They don't have a huge number of stores, although if you ever go to St. Louis they have one there, but if you are not opposed to making purchases online you can order from their website. And let me tell you, their sumac will knock your socks off.

Anonymous said...

Everything looks great! I am happy to hear you found bread making easier than you thought--I don't have a stand mixer or a bread machine either, and I am always pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to make your own bread :o)

Hummus and I am hungry!


Anonymous said...

Glad you and Brett finally get to spend some quality time together!

Great and Healthy looking falafels! I never liked the super greasy flavor deep fried ones came with.

Your veggie fried rice looks fantastic!I love that it's so versatile and there's absolutely no ONE way to make it. It's basically whatever you want it to be. :-)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Heather - I wish I could say I have been busy, in some ways yes, but in others, I am trying to be as lazy as possible. :-)

I was amazed at how easy it was, and I don't have to describe to you the AMAZING way baking bread makes one's house smell.

Kory - Fair enough, fair enough. I should have trusted everyone who told me it wasn't that hard.

I am a horrible fryer, I always make a mess, burn myself, and the food tends to be a bit too greasy for my taste, so I try to bake things where I can.

Jessy - Thank you for continuing to encourage me and providing the recipe! I was a bit worried when I saw that the recipe called for a standing mixer, but I figured it would be worth a shot. I think I like working with the dough with my hands more than I would like using a mixer anyway.

The sesame seeds added a bit more flavor and they were super tasty. Simple garlicky hummus is the best!

I am in love with sriracha! It can get a little out of hand at times. :-)

It helps to keep your hands active even when you are being idle. It was a super fun night!

Haha, vary up the ingredients, make them your own, the ratios of wet to dry is what is most important.

T - Well this was my first time making it and it was amazing. You really should, it is simple and delicious.

I did, thanks!

Selina - It is, I should have just listened to you to begin with. I am going to make tortillas as soon as the bag we have runs out.

The food was really tasty! Brett really dug the Boursin/

I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED THE GRANOLA BARS! I was worried that you wouldn't like them!

Daphne - We don't eat a whole lot of bread beyond tortillas, so I imagine that is the thing I will be making with the most regularity. Rosemary bread, that sounds like it could be pretty good. Yeah, planning ahead and sticking to plans...I'm not always the best with that either.

Veggie Vixen - You really should, it was so easy to make! The falafel are easy too, and super tasty!

Lisa - I have a slight "problem" with sriracha and spicy food in general, I must admit, I just love it. It was a lot of fun to snack all night.

Living in a Local Zone - I won't be buying many types of already made bread, if that tells you anything.

Aw, I hope I can do alright with the tortillas and flatbread, thank you for telling me how easy it is. I think it will be fun to tweak the recipes and make something Brett and I really like.

Check out the granola bar recipe, get some ideas and make it your own.

Vegan Cow Girl - Thank you. Baked falafel seems to have a better texture, and you don't have all the icky grease.

Jessy has some of the best recipes period!

Tahini Too - Thank you! You really should try the granola bars, they are like a super breakfast, they keep you full for a LONG time.

Thank you for letting me know about the sumac, I have a couple more local sources I want to explore, but if I don't have any luck there, perhaps we could set up some sort of exchange, I could send you some MO peanut butter or something.

Lily Girl - My Dad lives in St. Louis, this is great news, I could probably have him pick some up for me and this just bring it next time he visits. Thank you so much for the tip!

Courtney - Thank you! I was a bit worried about not having the mixer, but it turned out just fine, and I had more fun kneading the bread myself anyway.

Me too!

Leng - It has been nice to spend more time together.

Me neither, falafels especially seem to soak up lots of oil and it can be pretty gross to bite into an oil laden falafel.

I still cannot thank you enough for posting that recipe. We have had it so many times in so many different ways, we love it! It has become a "regular" in our rotation, and a life saver when you want a quick, but tasty and healthy meal. And there are so many variations!

Anonymous said...

gosh you're making me blush. haha. Well, I just wanted to stop by and let cha know that I recently made your enchilada sauce, but this time I took off the jalapeno seeds. LOL Last time I forgot and Long's mouth was blazing with fire. Well, I'm lookin' to freeze 'em so that they'll be readily on hand. The last time we had burritos/pupusas, I really wished we had some. Now, we're prepared.

OH and Congrats on getting engaged! That's so exciting!! If you ever need any advice. let me know Long and I were married last January. You have my email, don't hesitate to ask any questions. for sure you'll need help anyway you can.

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