Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Salad Chocolate Cake- Hurrah for the End of November!




I should note that this cake is good. It isn't great- and I have had great vegan cakes- but it's good. Also, its real name is Six Minute Chocolate Cake, it really takes only six minutes to make, and it uses one whisk, one measuring cup, one spoon, and one pan. I wanted it to be the perfect last minute pantry cake, but it does require an eternity of cooling time. (Here "an eternity" is probably like 30 minutes.) Don't be desperate when making it. Leave the cake in the pan until it is cool. Don't start making a cake at 8 when you want to be asleep by 9. My advice to you.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Go do something else for five minutes so that the oven finishes preheating before the cake goes in. Stir together 1 and 1/2 cups white flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 cup sugar in a 9 inch round baking pan. (You may reduce the sugar as a matter of course in other recipes, but don't do it here. The cake will suffer. Standard Bundt pans seem to work fine with this recipe and if you have a 8 inch square baking pan, you are a kitchen hoarder and you can also use that.)

Fill a large measuring cup with 1 cup water (or cold coffee), 1/3 cup oil (the cake above used olive oil, and while I love olive oil more than kittens, I think another oil would be a better choice. Olive oil cakes are delightful, but what makes them delightful is the combination of egg and olives. Certain combinations are intrinsically good- that's why we eat mayonnaise.), and two teaspoons vanilla extract. (A advises adding a teaspoon of grated ginger here, or half a teaspoon of powdered ginger. She says "Adding ginger to baked goods makes them taste interesting. It disguises the fact that they aren't very good.")

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously until combined. Add two tablespoons cider vinegar (There's the salad reference. Olive oil and vinegar. Gosh, how clever.) The vinegar reacting with the baking soda will leave fizzing tracks during the final lazy mixing.

Pop the cake into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until stabbing it with toothpicks results in clean toothpicks. The end result is a plain and practical cake that is also pretty good.

The ganache in the photo is 4 oz. very dark chocolate melted- in the microwave! in 30 second spurts! stir frequently to prevent burning! mixed with 1/4 cup coconut milk. It makes a dense fudgey topping that I imagine would combine very nicely with a ginger chocolate cake.

I have also discovered that pretty much any cake, no matter how utilitarian or Sandra Lee inspired, can be dramatically improved by a.) stabbing it all over with a long skewer (while it is still in the pan) and b.) sprinkling cooking sherry onto it. Sadly, my kitchen is clean out of cheap cooking sherry. One could use rum, or that suspect bottle of liqueur that lurks in the back of every pantry. (Not ours, because former roommates drank it. But it's totally worth living without these kitchen essentials if you can watch a grown man drink a pint of peppermint schnapps and chase it with half a bottle of Kahlua.) I'd be tempted to make a quick glaze with the chosen liqueur, a dash of powdered sugar, and some lemon juice for when the cake is ultimately removed from the pan. Heck, you could make such a glaze without the EtOH if you didn't want people to become slightly tipsy over cake.

Or Criso based buttercream. Gross.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Baked Sweet Potato with Lime and Cilantro


This is an Alice Waters recipe. And a sign that I'm really tired. Once November is over, I'm going back to the bimonthly post schedule until I'm caught up on sleep.

Wash a sweet potato. Cut off any bits that seem inedible and poke it viciously with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for thirty minutes- or until tender when stabbed forkishly once again. (Or one could microwave it for five. Philistines.) Split it lengthwise and squeeze a wedge of lime over the flesh. Add a teaspoon of chopped cilantro and a dash of salt.

Pretty tasty for such a simple thing, no? Delightful, etc...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antipasto platter



Somewhere in my cold shriveled heart is a belief that a pile of bitter vegetables will make up for about a week of saturated fats, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates. It's like C and the whole cold drink on a hot day causes heart failure superstition. It's not that he believes it, it's that by now room temperature soda tastes better. So yes, after the excesses of the last holiday I am willing to call vegetables dipped in olive oil and garlic healthy and am willing to call bitter root vegetables antipasto. (Where I'm from antipasto is usually pepperoni, the saddest prosciutto, sliced mozzarella, Parmesan, and pickled pepperoncini- I feel like adding a couple of olives is pretty much the first step on a slippery slope to... a pile of bitter vegetables on a plate.)

Bagna cauda is supposed to be just ample olive oil and lots of chopped garlic, warmed gently. As someone who will take the occasional shot of vegetable oil when feeling low, oil and garlic isn't special enough for me. I added lemon and salt. (So exciting. Living the dream here.) So yes, heat one cup really good olive oil gently over a very low flame. Add six to eight cloves garlic, smashed and peeled. After about three minutes the garlic will be soft enough to smash further, if it pleases you to do so. Add the juice of two lemons and a dash of salt.

I used blanched kale, red endive, blanched carrots, sliced boiled beets with a splash of vinegar, thin sliced fennel bulb, and blanched Jerusalem artichokes. I would say to skip the carrots, but I'm pretty sure that it's the only thing everyone else ate. Seasonality is key, chickens- perhaps you are not reading this in the depths of winter and can choose from roasted peppers and ripe tomatoes and sauteed eggplant. Perhaps it is spring, and tiny baby vegetables are making themselves known. Do you wish to add some baked mushrooms? Some sweet onions? Some lovely spinach? Some olives and pickled artichoke hearts? Please do. Put whichever available vegetables that look delightful on a platter, and then dip them into the bagna cauda. (Some things- like blanched kale- require drizzling with the bagna cauda. Please eat blanched kale with a fork. For everyone's sake.)

I can feel my liver growing stronger. Hypothetically. Given holistic medicine isn't a crock.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sushi



Light foods. That's the ticket for the next few days. No cream, no sugar, no butter... Let's allow my intestinal flora to adapt to a lower calorie world.

I love fish, but I don't eat it very often. It's up there with why I don't own diamonds and why I eat only organic pork as my pathetic consumer activism. Woo, my participation in the decline of society is slightly less than average for my social group. I'm such a martyr.

A couple of months ago, I read an article on making fish free sushi at home. I believe they suggested egg and prosciutto as ideal toppings. Not vegan. Happily, their advice on rice making was spot on- sushi rice really does go with most things. And if it doesn't work as sushi, it can quickly be turned into onigiri.

So yes. Cook a cup of short grain rice- since stickiness is not as essential, I sometimes use brown rice. Let's not go halfway when we're debasing the cuisine that brought us the noodle sandwich. Please don't cook the rice in a pressure cooker- it's what my mother does, and it always makes me sad.

Add seasoned rice vinegar- or rice vinegar and sugar and salt. A couple of dashes should be sufficient- frequent tasting is essential.

Now, I either compact the rice into nigiri type blocks or make rolls. I have a spiffy little press for this the nigiri: before they hold together the rice usually must be compacted by almost half. They can be hand shaped, but you must be really awesome.

Not ready to invest in sushi hardware? Buy a few sheets of nori, cut them in half, and put a stripe of seasoned rice down one long edge. Add filling and roll up- dabbing the nori with water at the end. (Some people toast the unfilled nori by waving it over a burner on high. There should be no rational likelihood of the nori catching on fire.) Slice the sushi into bite sized bits with a sharp knife- it may need to be cleaned partway through the process. Serve with soy sauce. If wasabi and gari are available, use those too.

What sort of fillings are delicious? Avocado, of course. And cucumber is traditional. I like to use a little bit of seasoned tofu, or some carrot pickles or mirin pickles. I like fried shiitake mushrooms and bell pepper and cilantro and toasted sesame seeds and dabs of miso and green onions. Kimchi might not be bad. Thin strips of kale might be nice. Shiso leaves would be slightly decadent. I don't like pickled plum paste, but I suspect various ripe fruits might be good. Stand in the produce aisle (or at the market) until something strikes you as a good idea. Don't prepare more than a cup or so of assorted fillings, or there will be all sorts of leftovers.

As concrete advice, I suggest bell pepper strips, cucumber, and a thin layer of red miso.
Or fried shiitake mushrooms and cilantro and sesame seeds. Or avocado. Avocado is always good.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bad Idea Fridays: Vegan Stuffing


Oh, how helpful: a recipe for stuffing after Thanksgiving. You are all probably most grateful.

Oh my goodness, you guys, vegan suggestions for Thanksgiving food are dreary. Garbanzo nut loaf! Lentils and wheat berries! One of the best suggestions is a big old plate of enchiladas. I was going to make one as my bad idea, but they were so sad! Also, the house is full of food, and I am not allowed to cook until some of it goes away.

But here's the thing. Thanksgiving has a lot of great plant based side dishes, and only one ridiculous giant roast. It hearkens back to an earlier era of American cuisine- one which considers squash paste in a crust to be an acceptable vegetable dish. It's back from when meat was a seasoning- that's why one of the dishes is kitchen scraps moistened with bird fat.

Doubtless you wonder how it tastes without bird fat. Allow me to share.

Take one pound of chestnuts. Cut a cross on the flat side of each one, place them into a shallow pan with a little water, and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool, and then peel off the shell and inner skin. If you've fooled around with acorns- another member of the Fagaceae- then this will be startlingly, delightfully easy. And the fruit is delightful. I propose planting chestnut trees as preparations for the inevitable fall of society. Cut the chestnuts into small pieces, discarding any moldy bits.

Make a mirepoix with one chopped onion, one peeled and diced carrot, and two stalks diced celery. (Saute in oil until fragrant.) (Oh, and look, you've generated vegetable ends for the broth you'll need later. Start simmering them in a little water.) Add three cloves smashed garlic and 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms. Add this point, you'll probably need to add what seems like an unreasonable amount of oil.

Here's where most people start to disagree violently. Some use cornbread, or crumbs, or diced bread, or cooked wheat, or polenta, or solid sausage. (The last one is either a marker of my Midwestern family, or a marker of bad culinary decisions in college.) Some season with sage, or thyme, or angry bees... Some add walnuts or currents or dried cranberries or fresh cranberries. Happily, with a flavorfull mirepoix, the creamy nuttiness of chestnuts, and the meatiness of sauteed mushrooms, there's a flavor base that can support whatever you prefer to add. I use about four cups of diced good bread, a dash of thyme, half a cup of currents, two more stalks of chopped celery, and the chestnuts. Moisten slightly with about half a cup of vegetable stock and bake at the temperature the oven is until a little crunchy. Moisten with more vegetable stock if needed.

At this point, I cheated and added a lot of turkey drippings. Bad idea Fridays are important, but the first Thanksgiving with my family and my brand new inlaws is even more important. It was good.

If your family has irreconcilable opinions over what should be in stuffing, I recommend marrying a foreigner who is not nostalgic for an imaginary past Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pie Dough


One of the biggest surprises college held for me was young ladies who did not care a fig about their pastry technique. I was as bamboozled as my brother is by my husband's complete lack of interest in shooting things and throwing himself down precipices. I mean, yes, feminism rah rah rah, but someone must make the pies.

Fortunately, the lovely people at Cook's illustrated have a foolproof pie dough, without any worries about cracking or toughness. It does shrink a bit, so make sure there's a generous half inch margin around the rim of the pie. Makes two crusts.

Process 1 and 1/2 cups flour with 20 tablespoons shortening or butter or a combination of the two- I haven't been able to taste a significant difference, but I loath shortening with great passion. It seems to cover everything with a fine oily scum- I feel like I'm in New Orleans. Not after the oil spill, just in general. Add also a pinch of salt and a dash of sugar. The ingredients will form a paste; forbidden in traditional pastry making because unmixed butter is thought to cause flakiness. It is in fact caused by flour mixed with water, surrounded by hot fat, causing tiny crispy crackers to form within the crust. Thus, when one adds an additional one cup flour, one wants to avoid processing it in completely. Add 1/4 cup cold water and 1/4 cup vodka (gluten can't form in a non polar liquid, so toughness is mitigated) and pulse until there's a delightfully manageable dough. Chill it in two discs for about an hour, and then roll it out between sheets of saran wrap before removing the top sheet and flopping it into the pie dish. (Then remove the other sheet, etc, etc.) Remember to leave generous margins around the edge- scalloping is a good choice here- and bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (You may want to weigh the dough with beans in tin foil or pie weights for the first 15 minutes.) Fill with filling and bake at 300 degrees for eternity.

Why yes, filling will have to either be a custard (pumpkin) or already cooked before being added. I suppose you could skip the blind baking, fill it to overflowing with apples or apricots and a half cup of sugar, and then cover it with the other half. Bake that at 350 degrees until pretty. After fussing with the absurdly complicated pumpkin pie recipe all morning, I really wish I'd done that instead.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nikujaga



When Europeans first landed in Japan, they brought beef stew with them. The Japanese thought that it could be pretty good if it weren't so patently disgusting. Thus was nikujaga born- a hearty dish with very little meat content.

Serves 4.

Wash 1/2 pound potatoes. I've also used combinations of sweet potatoes and winter squash- go for a half pound total. Traditionally, the potatoes are peeled, but it's just fine if they aren't. Remember to peel the winter squash. Cut into rough chunks- just a little larger than bite sized. Peel one large carrot and one half onion and cut into slices. Slice 6 oz. beef or pork into very thin strips- tritip is a good cut for this, as is a pork chop. Place the above ingredients into a pot.

Add three tablespoons soy sauce. (There are recipes out there that add six or eight. Gross.) Add either three tablespoons of sake and one tablespoon of sugar or three tablespoons of mirin. Add one cup or broth or water.

Simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes. The uncovered part is important, so that the broth can cook down into a salty sweet broth. Stir frequently so that all of the potatoes are stained golden brown. When the potatoes are so tender that they are beginning to fall apart it is done.

Serve over rice, because we love starch beyond reason.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Onigiri: More Fun with the Rice Cooker.


It's the birthday of my favorite sibling, so I'm posting early. I will also be brief. That's why the food is so pretty.

We are in that blissful post wedding state where I have more kitchen appliances than I can use. Still, I adore this rice cooker. It's like a magic food production machine- I put in rice and water, walk away, and find perfectly cooked proof that I am the best wife ever. C is a big fan of rice.

Onigiri is less about the flavor of the filling and more about the flavor of the rice. As such, one needs about a tablespoon of filling for half a dozen rice balls- my suggestions are mashed avocado, chopped green onion, or about a tablespoon of any savory leftover in the fridge. I used nikujaga sauce. (Tomorrow's recipe: nikujaga!)

Cook 3/4 cup short grain white rice according to whatever method you chose. (Rice cooker rice cooker) (I've tried other sorts of rice; short grain brown, long grain brown, sticky rice. They simply do not work. Sushi rice is the way to go here- when I get more adept, I may switch to 50%/50% with short grain brown. Or I may not. All the Japanese expats get a little fraught when people ask them about rice substitutions. Mix in about a teaspoon of seasoned rice vinegar. Or, you know, a good sprinkle of salt, a good sprinkle of sugar, and unseasoned rice vinegar. Taste it to make sure you approve of the flavor.

Get a smallish square of saran wrap and a small bowl or old fashioned tea cup. Line the teacup/bowl with saran wrap. Fill teacup/bowl with about 1/2 cup rice. Stick a very clean finger into the rice and fill the hole halfway with filling. Grab edges of saran wrap and twist/wrap the rice firmly into a ball. Leave the saran wrap on for at least five minutes- though if you're packing a lunch, the saran wrap can stay on indefinitely.

Repeat with remaining rice- this should make about 6 onigiri.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stacked Things in a Rice Cooker


Get a rice cooker already. Put a cupful of brown rice or so in the bottom, along with the suggested amount of water. Put one sliced and peeled yam in the steamer basket. Let cook for fifteen minutes. Add one sliced chicken breast to the top of the rice- the steam will cook it most admirably- or leave the chicken out entirely, and just make some quick tofu. Take a couple of cups of frozen or fresh broccoli and add them to the top of the steamer basket.

Dump everything into serving dishes and eat. Either make a quick sauce- like the miso dressing from the Sarlah Salad- or add soy sauce to taste. Or there's probably something appropriate in the fridge. Season with that

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A tofu dish my husband will eat.


I'm currently visiting C. One might think that cohabiting would lead to me cooking more- and it does- but so little of that food could ever be called vegan. Either I'm trying to give him a heart attack, or I've been methodically trained to cook things that he likes.

So today I made "Stack things in the rice cooker". It's a pretty complex meal; I'm sure sometime in the Thanksgiving week I'll be desperate enough to give it a post. Today, I'm posting about some artisanal tofu I found. (oh, Bay Area- full of things I was not aware existed, but now need to purchase.) I've never been fond of tofu- and fancy tofu is not significantly tastier than non fancy tofu. However, when I worked as a nanny for a very nice family their children ate nothing but Moon rice and this tofu dish. When I made it tonight, C neglected his absurdly large plate of rice and sweet pickles and hogged all the tofu. Then he ate everything else on the table.

Take 4 oz. tofu- any kind that isn't silken. Slice very thinly or cube. Add a healthy coating of soy sauce- I prefer low sodium, but I also prefer what's in the cupboard- and six drops of sesame oil. Stir so that every side of the tofu is exposed to the sauce. Serve.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall Salad, brought to you by the letter P


I like alliterative recipes.

I've stated before that I don't approve of lettuce. Thus, my salads tend to be heavy on non-lactucal ingredients. Serves two.

Cut two fuyu persimmons into sixths, cut off the peel, and slice into thin wedges. Collect the seeds from 1/3 pomegranate. Peel two pears and slice into thin wedges. (See how I sliced the pears lengthwise in the photo? Don't do that. They're much harder to arrange artfully. While we're learning from my mistakes, let's toast 1/4 cup of pecans in a dry pan over medium heat. Let's not burn them.)

One must dress the pears to avoid unsightly discoloration. I figure there's a threefold choice for dressings here- I used a fairly typical three parts balsamic to four parts olive oil, dash of salt, dash of sugar dressing. One could embrace the fallishness of the whole thing, use fresh pressed olive oil, the very first lemons, and a dash of apple cider. One could also make a mirin, rice vinegar, and grapeseed oil dressing. Aim for 1/4 cup total dressing.

Wash one head butter lettuce and 1/2 head escarole. (Or one head leaf lettuce or romaine. I like the bitterness of the escarole, because it reminds me of high school.) Tear into small pieces and dress with half the chosen dressing. Arrange on salad plates. Place persimmon slices and pear slices over the lettuce. Drizzle remaining dressing over the salad. Top with pomegranate seeds and pecans. Or pine nuts. Pistachios. I think the theme is exhausted.

Alternatively, you could mix everything together in a large bowl and serve it out of that. Or eat directly from the serving bowl. Or just chew on leaves you find on the forest floor.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bad Idea Fridays: Membrillo


Dear readers, you might think that making quince jam does not count as a truly bad idea. Pish, you say, and also tosh- jam is always tasty, unless the fruit is rotten or the jam is burned. Sometimes even under these circumstances, edibility ensues. I say that you have never spoken with my inlaws about making membrillo.

A quick aside on the culture of my beloved: for some reason, jam is fraught with associations. I can't begin to comprehend what they are- but making preserves is not done. Well, of course it's done, because one has all this fruit and no one else can be trusted to can it, but one doesn't spread this fact around. Jam apparates, like horses in Jane Austen novels. There was a bit of teeth sucking when I announced my intentions. Then, there was a certain amount of trepidation in admitting to actually knowing a person who might know a recipe. Long story short, I'm not sure if this is a family secret or not. Even though I link over from Facebook, keep it on the downlow.

Get some quince. I had six, but one of them was the size of a child's head. You will probably want less than six, because there is room for only so much sliceable jam in most people's lives. (Quince are in the same subfamily of Rosaceae as apples and pears, and have a similar pome. The flavor is intensely floral; in fact, the best thing I have ever done with quince is letting them ripen in a bowl on the counter- it always smelled like I was baking pie. The fruit is full of pectin. A raw slice of quince tastes like every surface of your mouth is covered with a thin layer of peanut butter, also cider. Poach quince if you want to eat them for non-novelty reasons.) Peel, core, and slice the quince into 1/4 thick pieces. Poach in water until soft. Strain out the quince bits and puree. (Food processor, or mash them like potatoes, or put them through a ricer.) Measure your quince puree.

Now, for every four units of quince puree, you'll need one unit of water and three units of sugar. Make a simple syrup by simmering the water and sugar together in a large heavy pot until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the quince paste. Simmer gently- either on a burner or in a 300 degree oven- for three hours. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Use a long spoon, because somehow the combination of fruit paste and simple syrup results in a lava-like substance that can leap truly impressive distances when disturbed. Eventually, the magma will cook down enough so that the tracks of the spoon are reluctant to fill, and cooling a teaspoon or so of the mixture results in a bouncy, chewy sort of jam. Remove from heat, place into a lightly oiled loaf pan, and let cool. Slice lengthwise once and wrap tightly.

Slices of membrillo are traditionally served with Manchego cheese as a dessert. It would also be good with this, if you hate hard cheese or are actually a vegan. You could also put it on toast. Please be aware that if made according to instructions, the final product will not be spreadable- it's a slicing jam. It's pretty good, aside from the half-dozen burns on my hands. Also, I have seven cups of jam that no one here knows how to eat.

In the past, I've found liquid from poaching fruit makes an excellent syrup- for enlivening assorted dessert items. I thought to make some with the quince poaching liquid- I added a little tuna juice from a failed experiment with prickly pear jam because I didn't want it to go to waste. I cooked the whole thing down with a minimal amount of sugar and poured it into a gravy boat. It set up into the best jam ever, oh my goodness you guys, I want to marry this jam and Thanksgiving gravy can find another container because this one is mine.

Moon Rice


If you feed your children this rice at every meal, they will be the healthiest and prettiest children. They will also weep all day when you run out of rice. Adults will also become healthy and pretty, and will probably manage to restrain their tears. Recipe serves 2, but you can dodecuple the dry ingredients and store them in a jar for weeks.

Take 1 cup dry short grained brown rice. Add one tablespoon forbidden rice. (Forbidden rice is purple, and smells like heaven.) If you know that the rice will be consumed soon after cooking, add a teaspoon of green lentils.

Put in a rice cooker, add the suggested amount of water, and press the magic button. Wait until the rice is done. Eat your rice.

No rice cooker? Buy a rice cooker. The rice is always perfect.

Fine, yes. You can boil the rice like pasta in 12 cups of water, strain it, and then steam it briefly in a smaller pan. The rice will be almost as good as rice cooker rice.

Fine, yes, basic brown rice stovetop instructions. Bring 1.08333 cups of rice mixture and 2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender- about 25 minutes. Or perhaps your rice is old- in which case you will have to simmer it longer and possibly add additional water.

What if you already know how to make rice? Does this article serve no purpose? Well. Take a cup of cooked Moon rice, add a tablespoon of sugar, 4 oz. of coconut milk, and possibly a dash of vanilla. Simmer together for five minutes, and blammo! Awesome rice pudding.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Salsa Cruda


This is the kind of recipe I post when I have committed to posting every day all month, and I am suddenly switched from a 40 hour week to a 50 hour week. I was going to try to provide a secular contrast to the holy beans, but I can barely keep my eyes open.

Serves 4.

Dice 1/2 onion- I am absolutely mystified why so many recipes specify onion color. Dice the onion finely, because large chunks of onion are not palatable to most people- I learned this through trial and error, no reason you should have to.

Coarsely chop three tomatoes. I'm ambivalent about using tomatoes this time of year. If I had slightly more energy, I'd use something seasonal. Persimmon and pomegranate salsa- Cuervito might forgive me eventually.

Chop a handful of cilantro. If you don't like cilantro, you could use Mexican oregano, or espazote, or rent a kitten and get in some solid positive associations with cilantro so that you can eat it like an adult. Please use significantly less of the dried herbs than a handful- something in the 1/2 tsp. range.

Stir the chopped ingredients together. Add the juice of one lime. Sprinkle on some salt, maybe a little olive oil, maybe a chopped jalapeƱo, maybe some grated garlic. If you wanted to throw in an avocado or some corn, I would understand. In fact, I'll be milking the "chop some sweet vegetable product, add onion and lime and some herbs, call it salsa" recipe cow extensively in the future- but probably not during the persimmon season.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Savory Pumpkin Pie



This is not vegan. It does not contain pumpkin. It is not technically a pie.

Now that your expectations are low, allow me to state that I served this dish to my avowed carnivore parents as part of a plant-based dinner, and they ate it up and did not complain about the lack of giant carbon hoofprints on the table. It's a vegetarian meal you can serve to Midwesterners.

Bacon's a vegetable, right?

My mother states that this first bit is unnecessarily finicky and without benefit. I'm willing to accept that it's coincidence that every squash I've roasted turned out to be delicious while those cooked near liquids turned into insipid yellow things, so leave this out if you're pressed for time. And hate rainbows. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a winter squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Brush with oil, if you're fancy. Bake for 30 minutes- 1 hour, until the squash is soft. (I used a Delicata, but acorn, Hubbard, or even a pumpkin would also work. If you're leaving out the pre-roasting, use the frozen bagged kind, since you're clearly in some sort of rush. Also because the amount of effort it takes to peel a raw acorn squash is greater than the amount of effort it takes to abandon your standards.)

Obtain a pie crust. There will be no veiled snark if you obtain one from a store, with money. Once your skill with pastry making is great enough so that it's not a huge pain, you will make pie at all times and have moderately elevated cholesterol at an unusually young age. (Quick recipe: 10 parts flour, 5 parts shortening, pinch of salt, one part cold water, one part vodka. Mix half the flour with the shortening, then blitz in the other half (and the salt). Add the liquids, chill briefly, and then smash the Play-doh like substance with a rolling pin until it resembles a crust. It's sticky, so do this on saran wrap. Oh, and use about 20 tbs of flour for one crust.)

Dice an onion. Saute in oil, or perhaps the rendered fat of a solitary strip of bacon. Crumble said bacon into tiny bits.

Peel the squash. Cut into bite sized chunks. Place within crust. Dot with onion and possible bacon.

Make a roux with 1 tbs. white flour and 1 tsp. oil. (Look, the shortening's already out, and we can't pretend this recipe is healthy, so...) Add about 1/2 cup vegetable broth or milk. Stir vigorously, until there are no more lumps. Add 1/4 cup grated jack cheese and 1/2 tsp thyme. (I'll bet it would be entirely edible with just a white sauce, no cheese. However, I was aiming for something my father would eat.) Pour the sauce over the squash. There won't be quite enough, and you will feel virtuous about not being decadent.

If your pie crust is very generous around the edges, fold it in for a nice tart appearance. Otherwise, fine. It is actually a pie. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet Sweet Failure


I found this recipe while bumping around other, better food blogs. I was about two thirds done with the process when I realized that it was my cowboy caviar, mixed 50/50 with quinoa. Quinoa is more expensive than all the other ingredients, no healthier, and less tasty. Fie! Fie!

Still, needs must post. Cook one cup quinoa until the cotyledons unspool and look like toenail clippings. Stir in one cup cooked black beans- let's not lie here, you're going to put in 12 or 16 oz, because who wants to have half a can of black beans hanging around? Add one cup frozen corn- possibly toast it in the oven for five minutes- and a chopped bell pepper and a handful of chopped cilantro and a diced onion. Sprinkle with salt. Lots of salt. Grab like four limes, and squeeze them onto the salad until it's appropriately sour. Add a dash of olive oil. Stir. Hey, it tastes like cowboy caviar and quinoa! Delightful. That is what you were hoping for.

Really, I think of lettuce as an herb I don't particularly care for. And avocados get sad in backpacks, and sad avocados are a sin.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sick Person Soup



I further desecrate Japanese cuisine.

One of the best things about miso is the ability to make a single serving of soup in five minutes. You might say that's one of the nice things about canned soup, but I affirm that miso is slightly cheaper, slightly lower in sodium, and has never been consumed cold out of the can while standing outside in a downpour. That is to say, miso does not taste like sadness and poor career decisions.

As I stated earlier, I am currently ill. This soup contains several ingredients that holistic medicine proscribes for colds, and three that evidence based science suggests have merit. Why yes, I did go to the health food store in a small town with an obvious cold. Why yes, I did get advice. The pseudoscience will be scattered throughout, the evidence will be at the end. Think of it as a treasure hunt.

Take two cups of water. Simmer over medium heat and add the following ingredients.
Two sliced shiitake mushrooms. Chinese medicine suggests this as a remedy for upper respiratory disease.
One tbs cilantro leaves- used as a cold remedy in India.
(The goal is for the mushrooms to get cooked through, as twelve units of mycology have made me terrified of uncooked mushrooms. Prepare the following ingredients, and then add them just before removing the broth from heat.)
Three cloves garlic, smashed and chopped. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans suggest this as an antibiotic and as a gentle way to lay waste to disobedient bacteria and virii colonizing your body. And it's supposed to sooth sore throats.
1/2 inch grated ginger The entire western world and China suggests ginger for colds and coughing.
Juice of 1/2 lemon. Vitamin C, need I say more?
Blend in 2 tbs. red miso. I'm kinda reaching here- it's supposed to rebalance the hormones and suchlike. Reduces the risk for breast cancer- always a good plan. Salty, so my reduced tasting ability is sated.
Drink very hot. If you feel less abraded and lazy than I do, you might consider adding some red pepper flakes- also a holy rain on your internal fauna- or black pepper, or a grated chile.

What does science suggest reduces the duration and severity of a cold? Drinking lots of water, drinking hot liquids, and getting adequate electrolytes. Which is lame, and does not allow me to imaging thousands of viruses writhing in terror. "No, no, increased hydration! Aiiiiii, soothed mucus membrane tissue! Anything but that!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Idea Saturday: Acorn Bread.


Sarlah dared me to do this, and I am apparently seven years old.

So some time ago, Sarlah sent me an article about eating acorns. The article had no recipes, a few tips, and a general message that I should cook with acorns, because I deserved it!

"Goodness," I thought, "Have I been unusually unpleasant lately?"

I have long suspected that acorns simply aren't very tasty. If they were, we would have domesticated them like almonds and walnuts. If they were, some of the hundreds of cultures that used to eat them wouldn't have happily turned to wheat in all of its beautiful forms at the very first opportunity. If acorns were tasty, hogs would eat the ones that fall into their pens before they ate hog food.

But because I can't resist a dare, I shelled a whole bunch of acorns, poured them into a cloth bag, and suspended them in the toilet tank. This is the sole practical tip in that article: replace the endless rinsing that used to be found in streams with the sterile toilet tank. Every time you flush, the acorns leech out a little bit of their bitterness. (The acorns will stain the water in the bowl a weak-tea brown. If you leave part of the bag outside of the tank, water will drip all over the floor. You will then have to explain that there are acorns in the toilet. It will go about as well as you might expect.)

I started looking for acorn bread recipes. An ethnobotany guide explained that 3/4 of the calories consumed in Pre-Columbian California were from acorns. It noted that the indigenous peoples of California were blessed with the ability to gather most of their food for the coming year in four or five days. It notes that preparing enough acorn gruel for the daily meals took at most one or two hours a day, leaving the people of California with copious free time. It also notes that they spent most of this free time searching for foods that were not acorns. Because acorns suck.

I found several recipes online, but they all seem to suffer from the "lotta butter, lotta eggs, lotta flour" problem. Those things taste good on their own! There's no reason to add acorns except as some bizarre ecological cachet! What's the point?

Huh. While I was complaining about that last bit, my mother wandered by and shared anecdotes. Apparently, my opinions about cooking with acorns have not changed much over the last twenty years, and are the long lost reason that I was... mutually agreed to not be the best fit with the local Girl Scout troop. I must have been really obnoxious about native peoples and their access to sugar, wheat, and baking soda. And they say we mature as we age.

The Internet recipes also rely heavily on common names for oaks. Several sites (and Cuervito) suggest eating only the seeds of the white oaks. The ethnobotany guide suggests that the preferred species were black oaks. There is a local species known as the Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) which is closely related to the California Black Oak (Q. kelloggii). Both species are technically classified as red oaks. There's a sister clade known as the white oaks, and it contains the Blue Oak, (Q. douglasii) the Golden Oak (Q. chrysolepis) and a whole bunch of other oaks that do not have color related names. All the records I can find are iffy, because anthropologists are terrible botanists. This is a pet peeve of mine; I had to take a quick break from researching this article to spam my anthropologist cousin with information on oak identification.

I ultimately went with the Q. kelloggii growing in my back yard. Lazy...

But what of those acorns, sitting patiently in my toilet tank for... about a month now? I tasted them every week or so, and they never got less bitter. Today, I took them out, rinsed them off, and nibbled on one for a while. Then I spat it out and drank three glasses of water. Then I tried another: still bitter. Then I shelled a fresh acorn and tasted it: less bitter than the prepared ones.

But what is this? One of my friends just returned from a reskilling fair, where there was a workshop on acorn cuisine. She suggests boiling acorns for 90 minutes to remove bitterness. The part of me that objects to using quickbread ingredients objects to boiling things in a pot for a very long time. At the very least, the energy going into making the nuts edible is probably greater than what is strictly reasonable. But still- I now have a viable plan to make an acorn food product, it's already Saturday afternoon, and my cold leads to poor decisions.

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(Makes like four tiny biscuits, because why would you want more?)

Take two handfuls of acorns. Crack them with a meat tenderizer or a nutcracker, and remove the shells. At this point my father will wander into the room, shake his head, and say "Somehow I thought that you would have outgrown doing inexplicable things in the kitchen by now." He will then go outside so that he doesn't have to observe the devastation being wreaked.

Take said acorns and boil for one and a half hours. Change the water three times. Peel off as much of the skin over the acorns as possible- Internet sites say that it's richer in tannins, though my tongue cannot detect a difference.*

*I do have a cold, and it was cook things with tannins in them day, (quince, unripe persimmons) so I may be absolutely wrong.

Remove acorns from heat and drain water. Pulse in food processor (sorry Cuervito!) until it resembles some sort of meal. Frequent scraping of sides will be necessary. (I suppose food processors technically violate the reskilling/native foods part of this exercise, but I purposely cooked without appliances for three years, and am confident I could do so again in a pinch. I could also live on oranges and potatoes and dumpster olive oil again. Part of some experiences is proving that it was a bad idea. Like eating acorns.)

Mix with a bit of water and notice that the dough is not at all cohesive. Grudgingly add a couple tablespoons of wheat flour to harness the glory of gluten. Perhaps a dash of salt? Does that offend delicate sensibilities? And a clove of minced garlic- interesting choice. Form into small oblong biscuits, attempt to wrap in oak leaves, fail, wrap in chestnut leaves, succeed, but only until the biscuits have gone into the oven. Bake for twenty minutes. Remove. Clean the kitchen to make future Bad Idea Fridays possible.

Okay guys. Guys. Everything tasty about this is based on wheat and garlic and salt, but I would totally eat these to survive. It's got a little bitter aftertaste, and I ate only one, and that one was eaten with about an equal volume of bad idea jam- but they aren't awful. They just aren't very good.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Too Sick For Bad Ideas


Instead, here's some almonds.

Almonds made up an absurd percentage of my total calories consumed in the two month rare plant/wedding sprint. It is only now that they sound at all appealing again. Of course, before I'd just poke them into my mouth until I could concentrate again, whereas now there must be preparation.

Take 1/4 cup almonds. Toast over medium heat in 1/2 tsp olive oil for about one minute. Stir frequently. Add 1/4 cup good raisins, a dash of salt and 1/2 tsp thyme. Cook, stirring all the freaking time, for 2-3 more minutes until the almonds are toasted. Serve warm.

Is pretty good, and if you've badly misjudged how long it takes to make mujadarah you can whip this up to distract your guests. Also, I have such strong associations between thyme and beef flavors that I am convinced this contains steak.

(Bad ideas return tomorrow.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holy Bean Recipe

Cuervito gave this to me some time ago- all credit is to go to him.

Ingredients
1 and 1/2 cups beans
1/2 small onion
4 cloves garlic
3 leaves epazote (He has some seeds, if you desire this herb.)


Directions:
1. Rinse beans well in a colander to rid them of dust, as the Lord may rinds the human spirit of sin through grace. Soak them overnight in a bowl (such that the water completely covers the beans) in like ways as the mortal soul should soak in the teachings of the One True Faith.
2.) When the beans have soaked for as long as they should, then drain and rinse them again. Place them in a pot and add enough water to just cover them, in acknowledgement of the great divine Plan.
3.) Dice the onion and the garlic into pieces in commemoration of the cooking skills of the maidservants of Solomon.
4.) Add the garlic and onion into the pot, thus infusing the beans with spice in similar manner as the wisdom of the Church is to diffuse through the ignorant population, and add salt and pepper and other spices to taste, and the three leaves of epazote, in honour of the triune God.
5.) Bring the beans to a boil, as Satan does with the iron-bound souls of the damned. When it achieves a boil, cover the pot as the curse of Hell might cover the sanctity of the pure human soul, and turn the heat to "low". Keep thus for an hour, checking occasionally to insure that the beans do not dry out.
6.) Taste, cook or not as needed, and serve in whichever way might make you happy. There is a note here to avoid overcooking. Become religions through the metaphysical experience of beans.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sammiches


The sandwich is moodily lit to represent my ambivalence about enveganating something that was invented to be a meat delivery tool.

This will be less of a recipe, and more sandwich theory. First, it helps to think "Bahn Mi" instead of "BLT". Second, it helps to have really good bread. Third, it's important to spread something unctuous on said bread- probably avocado, possibly some mushroom pate, (note to self: make mushroom pate.) and in a pinch, vegenaise or whatever watered down Crisco is the thing of the moment. Fourth, use tasty things you made in advance. Lastly, red peppers and cucumbers are all kinds of tasty together, particularly so when combined with bread.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cabbage Salad



This is totally different from my kale salad recipe.

Chop 1 head cabbage into thin strips/squares. Add a good handful of chopped cilantro. Dress with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbs sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and the juice of two lemons.

The citrus based quasi-vinaigrette is sort of Chilean- it's what C's nanny used to do, so it's the equivalent of mac'n'cheese for him. I will resort to nostalgia to turn someone solidly on team starch to team vegetables.

The deep love he holds for man'n'cheese is of more recent provenience.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Stuff That's Not Sushi


I love this meal because it solves a small problem with vegan food- the lack of a William Tell option. Leftovers from various meals tend to molder in the fridge: It's a rare person who grabs some kale salad as a snack, and the typical chili/hash/frittata path is not an option.

So- this is my adaptation of a traditional Japanese dinner. We had some brown rice, some miso soup, some quick pickles from the cucumbers hanging around the fridge, some of the ever-present greens that I put in a steam basket over the rice (with toasted sesame seeds), and I believe the tail end of some take-out Chinese eggplant. It's a great way to use all the odds and ends around the house.

I do feel bad about treating Chinese take out as Japanese food. And for taking a cuisine known for an obsession with fresh ingredients and using it to dispose of leftovers.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mirin Pickles



Wash two pickling cucumbers or one English cucumber or one Japanese cucumber. If the cucumber has been waxed, consider peeling it or scoring the skin with a zester. Slice into rounds.

Mix two tbs rice vinegar with one tbs mirin and a healthy pinch of salt. Pour over the cucumber slices. If at this point you think "aha, Jane, you have underestimated the amount of liquid required to cover these slices", add more of both in the appropriate ratio. Let sit for at least an hour- although they'll remain happy in their pickling liquid for at least three days.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Californicated Miso Soup- Traditional Style


It's not quite the same without the shaved dried fish.

Although I've had only one kind of miso soup ever, there's apparently a theory of appropriate ingredients. You should have one ingredient that floats and one that sinks, one with a strong flavor and one with a mild flavor. I've been happily thinking of combinations ever since.

Serves one.

Heat 12 oz water in a small pan. Add two chopped scallions, about 2 oz. sliced silken tofu and 1 tsp dried wakame broken into tiny little pieces. (The things that make this recipe Californicated are leaving out the large fish flakes because of overfishing and feeling guilty when one realizes one has purchased California grown wakame- one of the top 100 invasive species in the world in your own precious ecosystem.) Simmer for five odd minutes, until the wakame is unfurled and edible. Take two tbs. fresh red miso. (Most packages have serving sizes neatly delineated. Trust them in case I'm wrong.) In a separate bowl, blend miso with some of the pathetic excuse for broth you made. Remove the rest of the broth from the heat, and gradually blend in the miso mixture. Never ever let the soup boil after you've added the miso- it'll make everything gross. Put into a bowl and consume.

If you have personal objections to wakame, or cannot procure it, cilantro is a reasonable and tasty alternative.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Cure for "Eating Locally Fridge"


Yeah, I don't know why all my pictures look like poop lately.

About a week after most people commit to eating more local food, their fridge is full of more greens than they can reasonably eat. Boiled greens, stir fried greens, sauteed greens, raw greens... a person gets tired. Thus, here's my recipe for "I SAY IT'S PESTO"- which is probably very much like the original form of pesto.

Peel six cloves of garlic. Chop coarsely in food processor with 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. (Or puree, I don't care.) Destem one bunch cilantro or parsley (which you might conveniently have left from your idiocy with chimp food). Add to food processor. Also destem an unreasonable amount of kale, spinach, arugula, mint, or more cilantro or parsley Put it all in the food processor. Puree, adding olive oil as needed to maintain goopiness. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon.

This is good on pasta, I will grant you. It's divine on green beans. It's also pretty good on greens that might not be so good in a pesto; blanched chard, turnip greens, or kale, chopped cabbage, maybe thinned with a little more lemon juice and use as a dressing for lettuce...

If you add 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp thyme, and use 2 tbs of wine vinegar instead of lemon juice and just parsley and cilantro, you have chimichuri. Which you should try on potatoes, fish, grilled meat, or vegetables. (Worst vegan ever.)

If you don't like cilantro but want to start, this is a good recipe. The anethole vaporizes, so the delightful soapy taste is absent. If you really want to trick your brain, eat this in circumstances that make you unusually happy. Then do it again. Soon, your brain will think that you like cilantro.

Bad Idea Fridays: Bonobo Diet


I was raised by former hippies, so when I have a bad idea, I don't stifle it like a normal person. I do science to it, and C comes home to find a terrible mess and a wife with a slightly perplexed expression. How do you know that it's a bad idea until you try it? Common sense is just an excuse for laziness.

But since I'm getting older and wiser, I will recognize that some of these ideas are likely to be... unwise. Then, I will do them anyways. I will write a post about them. Who doesn't read blogs for the schadenfreude?

Onward.

In recent years, there's been a rash of dietary nostalgia. Michael Pollan- who I am somewhat ambivalent about, despite naming my blog after one of his ideas- says you shouldn't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't eat. My family already had that policy, but that's because she possibly poisoned her first husband. Before that, there was the What Would Jesus Eat diet- basically a Mediterranean thing, looting the moldering WWJD corpse for one more dollar. And now, now there's the Caveman diet. It's based on a very 1960s version of Paleolithic life, interestingly enough. I would have expected more quail and rabbit and partially mature eggs- possibly the odd lizard- and an absurd emphasis on radical shifts in food based on the season. They seem to eat a lot of ground beef. But the principle- that your body evolved eating certain things, so possibly you should eat like that now- that seems interesting.

But come on, the stuff they're referring to is 100,000 years old, tops. You might grab a couple of extra enzymes to break down gluten and lactose, but you still have the intestines- and general biochemistry- of a chimp. Thus, the bonobo diet.

My goal- to spend one day eating a reasonable approximation of a chimp- or bonobo's- natural diet. This is probably a bad idea.

First things first- I am bad at finding termites. Even when I'm getting paid to look under rocks, I don't find many. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not willing to eat them without someone telling me that they are cuisine. Dried shrimp though- they're in the same... Phylum. I don't think I can do any better on short notice. I will also not hunt bush babies. Dialium is closely related to Phaseolus- so, I'll eat some dry turtle beans. (Don't worry about my teeth- the preferred method is to let them sit in the cheek until they disintegrate.) Ficus is easy- I bought some figs. I'll bet that will be the tastiest part of this experiment. Chimps apparently extract moisture from a whole range of herbs in families I don't know- but there's a fleshy Brassicaceae in there, and an honest to goodness wild parsley. No drinking water. As for the other fruits that are the backbone of the chimpanzee diet- Lost Crops of Africa calls Pancovia laurentii "so delicious in its native state that there was no reason to domesticate it." All the other fruits are apparently not eaten by humans. I've found some polite treatises on not buying these rain forest woods- but that's all. Double figs, then.

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I didn't make it past lunch.

I started off well enough. I ate a couple of figs, (it's kinda past the best part of fig season) a couple of dried shrimp (Not bad, and made me popular with the cats. Odoriferous though.) I finished with a couple of kale stems (very chewy) and a large handful of parsley (good for shrimp breath). Apparently chimps hold a wad of vegetation in one cheek, masticate it slowly, and suck out the resulting moisture. This is as disgusting as it sounds. I tried it at work- after one minute, I realized that I couldn't continue to do this once my coworkers arrived- green drool is not professional. After three, I spat out my cud and made myself some tea. My jaw muscles ached.

Fine, yes, chimps have significantly larger and stronger jaw muscles. I knew that. And the huge cheeks are apparent from pictures. I didn't know there was a reason. All my reading about primates covers how they are just like us. Freaking deceptive evolutionary biologists.

So I figured I'd try sucking on two or three beans with my tiny cheeks. Let me tell you- raw beans taste gross. And there's a point where you can crunch them with your teeth or swallow them whole- my saliva enzymes never get them soft enough to chew safely. Or not after 45 minutes.

I ate some more figs. They're kinda tasteless in November. Also they make my tongue swell. I don't know if that's a me thing. Eventually- in a point familiar to anyone who's ever been on a "Eat all the X you like and lose weight"- I was desperately hungry and completely unwilling to eat a fig.

I went home for lunch. I ate a couple of dried shrimp. Then the cat explained- through interpretive dance- that he could eat those shrimp, and I could eat something else. So I did. I had a grilled cheese sandwich on wheat bread with a glass of Coke. Haha, evolutionary biology.

This diet was definitely a bad idea. I may have the intestines of a chimp, but I have a puny human jaw and weak human teeth and itty-bitty human cheeks. Also, I grew up in a world with ample calories. Eating no calorie dense foods makes me very very cross. I can't think of one good aspect of this idea.

Oh, apparently I now have the perfect cat treat.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planthead's Chocolate Pudding



This is not exactly as tasty as non-vegan pudding. It is vastly better for you, and it is really easy to make. It helps if you don't try to paste pudding flavor onto it- think of it as a delightful dessert that superficially resembles pudding. And it's good, it's good, I swear.

Take 1/2 container silken tofu (7 oz.). Puree in a food processor with 1/4-1/3 cup cocoa and 2-4 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, or, you know, sugar. Add a dash of vanilla extract or rum or orange liqueur. (I'm just guessing about those measurements- add stuff until it tastes good. It's a very forgiving recipe.)

For added richness, melt some chocolate in the microwave (in 15-30 second bursts), temper by stirring in a little pureed tofu, and then add the whole thing back to the food processor and blitz.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Roasted things.


It's just after the election- regardless of your political alignment, you're almost certainly unhappy. What you need is my mother's "I will take a sick day and spend all daylight hours reading political blogs also here is some dinner go do your homework." roast vegetables.

Take one head cauliflower and two pounds sweet potatoes. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Put in a plastic bag. Add salt and ample olive oil, shake like it's a non-voter from Wisconsin's 7th district. Put on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven and roast for twenty minutes.

Cut the cauliflower into slices. Put into a plastic bag, add salt and what appears to be half the bottle of olive oil, shake like your favorite governor ever is back in office and you're pretty sure it's a dream. Put the cauliflower on a cookie sheet. When the timer for the sweet potatoes goes off, add the cauliflower to the oven. Bake both vegetables for an additional 25 minutes, then gesture vaguely towards the oven whenever someone asks you a non-election related question.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Kale/Quinoa Tabouli


This post title reads like a parody of vegan cooking.

Rinse 1 cup white quinoa three times. Simmer in two or three cups of water until tender and the seed embryos pop out.

Chiffonade the heck out of two cups of (destemmed) dinosaur kale, one cup of Italian parsley, and 1/2 cup mint leaves.

Drain and cool the quinoa. Mix the chopped greens and the quinoa with two cloves diced garlic, the juice of two lemons, a healthy dash of salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Aren't You Eating More Kale?


Kale is pretty awesome.

Take one bunch kale and strip the leaf off of the stems. Tear or chop it into bite sized pieces. Taste a couple- is this something you would eat without further cooking? If so, go ahead and eat it raw. Otherwise, blanch the kale in boiling water- let it cook for three minutes, and then start testing it for edibility. When the kale is sufficiently done, drain it.

Crush 2 cloves garlic. Juice two lemons. Add 1/ cup olive oil and 1/8-1/4 tsp Braggs. Beat together and pour over kale. Eat hot or cold. Hey, leafy greens! Now you will live forever.

Apparently kale is tastiest if you serve it with glutamines. If you're not ready to commit to a bottle of vegan glutamine source, try using a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmasan.