Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: April 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Forget Lucy, I Love Laura!

Since I began my adventures in BlogLand, I have "met" a lot of really cool people - I am amazed at some of the relationships I've been able to cultivate. I've met someone who I think is likely to be my best friend for a long time to come, and some very cool folks who just so happen to live in my humble town of Columbia, Missouri. Talk about the hidden perks of blogging!

Anyway, not only have I "met" and actually met cool people, but we've been able to share the best of the place we live. This post is a case in point. The amazingly awesome Laura, of the blog Peace by Pastries, is not only a fellow CoMo dweller (I really owe you a cup of coffee or something!), but she is a chef at the lone vegetarian restaurant in town called Main Squeeze. Main Squeeze used to serve this amazing, I'm talking amazing Southwest Black Bean Burger. Brett and I would go there at least once a week just so I could have the burger. Then they stopped serving it. Sadly, they also stopped serving Brett's dish of choice and my "second option", so we haven't even been there in awhile.

But I never forgot about those burgers. When I first "met" Laura, I indicated that I wanted to weasel that recipe out of her somehow, but I didn't have to do that. She provided it herself. Oh. My. Spicy. Black Bean. Goodness. I love you Laura (and I can't believe we have still never met in person). My mouth and heart are very happy campers right now. I have missed these burgers so much, and now not only can I make them at home, but I was able to tweak the recipe based on what we had on hand and our tastes. We also didn't use canned beans or corn, so I had to adjust the ratios just a bit.

We had these for dinner last night, Brett and I liked them so much, we didn't bother to freeze the extra patties, we're having them for lunch!

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Our Take on L's Black Bean Burgers
2 1/2 cups black beans, cooked ****
1 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 red onion, peeled +
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 jalapenos, stems removed *** (frozen from last year)
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour + (local MO flour!)
1/4 cup regular rolled oats
2 tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 heaping tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. Spanish paprika
1 tbsp. dried cilantro flakes +
2 tbsp sriracha
2 tbsp. shoyu
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour mixed with 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper + (the flour is local)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor, lightly blend beans, corn, and oil. Add the remaining ingredients (except the whole wheat pastry flour/cayenne mixture) and blend well.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Form batter into 1/2-2/3 cup balls and roll in flour mixture.

Press down on the ball to form desired shape and thickness.

Bake for 20 minutes. Flip about half way through the cooking time.

Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes and serve with your choice of fixins'.

We had our burgers with veganaise, organic ketchup, and baby salad greens. These are so easy to make, and so good. I encourage everyone to check out Laura's blog and make these burgers SOON.

Well, I'm off to enjoy a beautiful Mid-Missouri Saturday. Brett and I now officially have a quarter veggie share CSA with Danjo Farms, and I am going to spend the rest of the day starting seed and doing a little apartment clean-up.

I also got the awesome news this morning that the place making Brett and I's wedding cake also makes vegan cake. Selina, that means you and I are getting our very own vegan chocolate layer. w00t!

'Til next time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Yummy Pinto Bean Wrap Pictures and J's "Guilty Pleasure"

I had forgotten to take a picture of the Yummy Pinto Bean Wraps when we had them last week. They were so good, we had them again on Monday, and I made sure to snap pictures of the wraps, so check it out:

Here is mine served with baby salad greens, simple guacamole, and local tomatoes.

Here is Brett's plate, the wrap was served with baby salad greens, simple guacamole, local tomatoes, and organic sour cream.

So, some of you may be wondering about this "guilty pleasure" I mentioned in the title of this post. It is nothing lewd or illegal (although I do have an illegal pleasure, I don't feel guilty about it - come to think of it, I don't feel guilty about this one either...), but I was always a little embarrassed because I consider myself an intelligent person and not at all a girlie-girl. So my guilty pleasure is....chick lit.

I honestly don't know why I like it other than it lets me escape to a very different world than my own. In all honesty, I usually really dislike the characters, their lifestyles, and would never want to be friends with any of them, but yet they are light, airy, and fun to read. When you read the type of non-fiction I spend my nights reading, this is a nice change up. And I decided I didn't need to be embarrassed about it any more, so there you go. I am going to update my Books J's Read list to include the chick lit titles I have read this year. You know though, sometimes I am surprised and the books are actually good, they have substance and good characters - not many, but some. You will notice that I am quite hard on the chick lit when it comes to my "rating scale", this is because most of it, well, it simply isn't good - a "beach read" and nothing more. Anyways, you can check that out if you'd like, and feel free to make fun of me all you want.

Now I will say, I DO NOT read bodice-ripping romance novels - no siree, no thank you, I laugh out loud at some of the covers. If there is a Fabio-looking guy on the cover, J isn't interested. :-)

Well, I had an excellent weekend in St. Louis. I surprised myself by really having fun. I can't think my (step) Mom Stacey for all her help, we would NOT have been able to get nearly as much done already without her help.

I've picked out, tried on, bought, and scheduled and alterations appointment for my dress (!!!!!!), I actually decided on my own to wear a veil (it looks really nice) - but it will be clipped to the back of my hair and not over my face or around my shoulders, we have a location, the location has been secured, we have a dinner place, a rehearsal dinner place, flowers, invitations, Selina picked out her dress (she is going to look DAMN good by the way), Brett picked out he and the Best Man's tux, Dad got his tie and "pocket silk" (I had to ask what a "pocket silk" was, apparently it is a fancy handkerchief that men wear in suit pockets), we are working on the ceremony schedule, WHEW. But we still have lots left to do and it has, and I assume will continue to be, lots of fun. Tomorrow we are doing one of the really fun parts. We decided to go with a local jeweler instead of Etsy (to keep it as local as possible) and we are taking a picture of the rings we want in to see if he can make them there.

There is something in mathematics called a mobius strip. It is a one-sided strip that has no true surface and is continuous. It shows a cycle that begins where it ends and ends where it begins - if that makes any sense at all. Brett, being a math nerd, and me, loving the symbolism, decided that we are going to have our rings shaped into mobius bands. Super cool, eh?

Check this out too:

Thank you for the image Wikipedia.

This is one very famous example of a mobius strip.

Maybe I am a bit of a math nerd too, I remember how excited I was when I learned that the St. Louis Gateway Arch is a catenary curve.

I have probably embarrassed myself enough for one day. :-)

'Til next time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yummy Pinto Bean Wraps and a Trip to the Lou!

I made some really flippin' tasty Pinto Bean Wraps the other night, but sadly, I forgot to take a picture of them. I usually end up not blogging about things I forget to photograph - that is, at least until I make it again and can get a picture, but these, they were super tasty, and I just had to share this simple, super easy recipe, picture or not.

This is one of those dinners that can be put together in about 10 minutes, and I love those kinds of meals. The ingredients used can also be made in quantity as they are very versatile and can be used for burritos, taco salads, quesadillas, bowls, etc., with just a few other ingredients.

Without further fanfare, here is the recipe.

The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms

Yummy Pinto Bean Wraps

Bean Mixture:
2 cups pinto beans, cooked ****
1 cup sweet corn, cooked
4 tbsp Salsa Diablo (or other super, super spicy salsa)
dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Cilantro-Lime Rice:
2 cups long grain brown rice, cooked ****
1-2 tbsp dried cilantro flakes +
1 tbsp lime juice
dash of cumin
pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to blend.

Sour Cream (tofu or regular, Brett used organic sour cream)
diced tomatoes + (the first local ones of the year!)

Layer rice and bean mixtures in warmed tortillas, adding any fixin's you desire. Roll up and fry.

This evening, I am off for a trip, all by my lonesome to good 'ol St. Louis, Missouri for a weekend of wedding planning. Brett, lucky for still being in school, is inundated with homework, and I know how it is trying to do homework and traveling, so we decided it would be best for him to stay home. I am really going to miss him though, in the entire six and a half years we have been together, we have only spent a night or two apart, and that was when Brett went to Illinois for something a few years ago. Sigh. But I have left him well prepared, I've made him pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, I seasoned up some lentils for him, defrosted some Super Beany Chili for him, made sure he had tortillas, local colby cheese with hot peppers in it, sour cream, and I baked him two dozen chocolate chip cookies, and a tray of granola bars. Whew! At least we know he will be fed. It is hard to believe Brett is thin, but he is.

Anyway, you may wonder why I am going to St. Louis for wedding planning since we are supposedly having the wedding here in Columbia... Well, plans changed. I don't want to get into all of it, but we are now going to be having our wedding in some garden in St. Louis proper, and selected family members will be invited. From my side, we are inviting my Dad, step-mom Stacey, step-brothers Josh, Zac, and Jordan, my step-grandmother Barb, and my grandparents from my Dad's side (they are coming up from Houston!). Brett will be inviting his Mom, Dad, brother (and his wife and kids I guess), his sister (and her husband and kids I guess), and both his grandmothers. Everyone is a lot happier with this arrangement but it does mean a lot more planning. We are going to try to get our good friend Neil to officiate the ceremony, and now Selina and Matt (Brett's brother) have to be "real" Matron's of Honor/Best Men, including, sadly, a dress which I hope Selina doesn't spend the rest of her days resenting me making her look like some sort of green puff ball (S, this is why I put picking out the gown in you and Stace's hands, I can't be the target of your later resentment. :-))

I feel horrible for poor Selina, she is such a rockin' friend and I don't know what I would do without her, but she has had to field all of my crazy questions including, I kid you not, asking her what a "boudanear" was (yes, I didn't know what it was and I also didn't know how to spell it - but she can be thankful that she wasn't Brett trying to explain to me what a "garter" was, I found out it is some sort of belt that has some really silly symbolism). I never thought about weddings until Brett proposed - ever. I'm also not much of a "girlie girl" flowers, hair, shoes (aside from sneakers, I like sneakers), invitations, all that is beyond me.

I am also thankful for Stacey; she has been Super Mom to me in all this planning. Let me tell you, planning even a small wedding in two months is a lot of work and she has taken the lead. Since I never really imagined a wedding or planned the things I want, all I had to go on are the things I knew I didn't want - Brett has taken to calling me Dr. No after I called my Dad with a list of no's not limited to, but including the following: No Dancing, No Singing, No Speeches, No Flowers (I have been overridden on that one), No Veil (I may be overridden on that one too, but I WILL NOT wear one over my face), No Bachelorette Parties (Brett doesn't want a Bachelor Party either), No Toasts, No Vows (too personal and private), No Pink (at least on me), No Standing Up When Bride Reluctantly (because people will be looking at me) Walks Down the Aisle (the eyes on me is enough as it is, what the hell is the standing up for? It's not like I brought about World Peace.), No Arbor or any weird Arch Type Thing, No St. Charles County (too many "Mom Memories"), and finally No High Heels. I may add to this list as we go along, but surprisingly the things I don't want aren't all that important of details. Stacey has also been very attentive over the years to what I like and who I am, so she has made sure to have Brett and I's personalities and styles in mind when she has been doing to work that I should be doing, or at least paying her to be doing. :-)

So anyways, we will see how I survive this weekend that will include: hair appointments, looking at flowers, looking at invitations, looking at places to hold the wedding, perhaps looking at shoes and undergarments, and who knows what else. Oh, and my Dad's birthday was yesterday, so we will be celebrating that sometime as well. WHEW!

That is the latest, I suppose. I think the biggest "next step" since I found the dress I want is to get Brett a tux (I am SO excited to see him in a tux, I bet he will look really good), is to pick a location, and then a time so we can send out invitations.

Selina, if you are reading this, I may be "blowing up your phone" this weekend, so watch out. You may need a vacation when all this is over, but I love you for it, and will happily begin paying you in mailed baked goods if necessary.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I hope I survive without having a panic attack over the difference between "Fern Green" and "Clover Green".

'Til next time.