Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peanut Noodles, and other things the government doesn't want you to know.

Tonight's dinner was epic. I know I over use this phrase but this time I really, really mean it. I also over use punctuation of all kinds-deal with it, it's my blog and I'll dash if I want to. Dinner was so awesome because it was yummy for mummy, uber picky child approved and didn't contain any 'weird' vegan additives like nutritional yeast, tofu or kelp-so I could serve it to sceptical omnis too. These spicy peanut noodles are what some new age cooks like to call "Asian Fusion". This really just means that it's not really from anywhere specifically, but it looks and smells Asian-ish. Then you add some of your own magic (which for me is always something spicy) and bam, you have yourself some fusion. This recipe is pretty much my own, so I can give it to you without a copyright lawsuit-awesome! This makes a huge batch, enough for 4 people, two lunches and leftovers-just how I likes it.

You'll need:

2 400 gram boxes whole wheat Spaghetti, cooked

3/4 cup natural peanut butter

2 tbs vegan sugar (plus a little extra for later)

1/2 cup rice vinegar

6 tbs soy sauce (tamari or Braggs liquid aminos work just fine)

1/4 cup water

1 tbs sesame oil

3 tbs chopped peeled ginger

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cucumber

large handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

3 tbs olive oil

1 eggplant

2 bunches broccoli


To make:
1.Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds and set out on a cutting board, lightly salt and set aside while oven preheats (400c). Salting eggplants helps to draw out bitter flavors. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets into bite sized pieces and place on baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and salt to taste. ( Broccoli and other veggies roasted in this manner are a staple in our household-absolutely perfect every time. Even a little burnt is still lovely) After having a few minutes to rest, dab the tops of your eggplant with a clean kitchen towel to remove excess salt and bitterness. Cut into bite sized pieces. Place eggplant on a baking sheet and brush with oil. You won't have to add salt to them as some will have been absorbed. Stick these bad boys in the oven for about 15 minutes but keep an eye on them as it isn't an exact science. Remove when they look brown and are cooked through. Set aside.

2. Cook and set aside spaghetti.

3. In a blender, throw in ginger, garlic and water- pulse for a few seconds. Add peanut butter, 2 tbs sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, 6 tbs vinegar.

4. In a large bowl, put roasted veggies, noodles and your fab peanut sauce.

5. In a separate smaller bowl, add cukes and cilantro, the remaining vinegar and a smidge of sugar.

6. To plate, top noodles with cilantro/cucumber mixture and garnish with lime and red chili flakes.

7. Enjoy and try not to lick your plate.

8. Write me a thank you note for the great recipe (if you feel the need to include cash as well, who am I to stop you?)

This is what it Little thinks of peanut noodles:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Vegan cupcakes take over this blog

This blog seems to be as good a time as any to profess my deep and obsessive love for all things Isa Chandra Moskowitz. If I had a vegan guru, Isa would be it. She authored a group of cookbooks that combined amazing vegan food, cooking lessons, sharp dialogue and general bad ass-ery. I first fell in love with "Vegan with a Vengeance" and have bought every cookbook of hers since (a tip for all you cookbook collectors-check Amazon first, amazing deals!). People often think that being a vegan must be very restrictive. Turns out that instead of eating less kinds of foods, I eat way more! Things like leeks, mustard greens, beets, tempeh and the list goes on and on.( I know that might not seem appealing AT ALL to the masses, but you don't know what you're missing!) I wouldn't know the first thing to do with them if it weren't for this creative cook. Plus, it all just tastes so freakin' good. Isa, if you are ever directed to this blog while randomly Googling your own name-you complete me (in the kitchen). Thank you for making me want many random food themed tattoos (which I won't get because I am too yellow bellied), for teaching me how to freestyle, for helping me not wreck my kid's birthday celebration with weird hippie food, and for Punk Rock chickpea gravy. Since this blog was supposed to be about cupcakes I won't go into the gravy today, but even writing about it means I must have it for dinner. So back to cupcakes. Who doesn't love a fancy, cakey, individual cups of perfection? Being a vegan doesn't mean having to give up decadence and treats, it just means finding other ingredients to get the job done. Vegan baking tends to have a bad rap, as one of my favorite people once said "That shit is dense." I've made three different kinds now from "Vegan Cupcakes take over the world" with mixed results. Vanilla agave with chocolate buttercream frosting were meh. The frosting was out of this world, but the cupcake part was no good. It all worked out though, since this kind was for the kids and I have yet to see a child eat the cakey part regardless of what it's made of. Red Velvet however were super-hyper-mega yum. I think the difference was that this kind used oil. I've said it before and since I'm a one trick pony I'll say it again, fat=taste. The last type were maple cupcakes with maple brown sugar glazed walnuts. The walnuts alone made me want to cry with happiness. That last batch weren't for an occasion like the birthday cupcakes, but cupcakes make any day celebratory. Since they were maple, they are automatically an old Canadian family recipe and needed flags. So, try your hand at vegan cupcakes and please invite me over!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Adventures in rolling (sushi that is)

So first off, I must apologize for my epic fail in blog updates. Turns out that people were actually reading my musings and missed me-so I'm back, with 17 albums of backlogged food porn! Today sushi, tomorrow cupcakes, the next day the world. I could blame it on real life, trips to the motherland (Canada represent!), general computer lameness or rampant venereal disease- but they are all just excuses for being lazy. So here I am, back with a dream in my heart and some wine in my hand. Today's blog brings you my first guest chef-Frank! Frank has been a very dear friend of mine for quite some time. We met through La Leche League and hypnobirthing classes and have seen each other almost weekly for going on years. While we let our kids rip the house apart and sword fight with plastic golf clubs, we often manage to accomplish both dinner and tete a tetes. On the menu tonight-vegan sushi! People often assume vegetarians eat fish, because fish are plants right? I can't think of many upsides, but recent activity in the Gulf of Mexico has made it easier for people to understand why one would want to abstain from eating oceanic life. In light of that, the menu was carrot, avocado (top 5 favorite food eva) and cucumber sushi.

Having never made sushi before, I never realized what a pain in the ass it is to slice vegetables paper thin. In that moment, I was filled with nothing but regret over trading my fancy veggie slicer for a bag of used cloth diapers (if that's not hippie, I don't know what is :D). After slicing the world's thinnest veggies, we added secret recipe sushi rice and rolled those bitches in nori. The results were epic yum. We served 'em up with garlic tamari green beans and kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage heaven).

Thank you Frank for passing on your ancient Japanese-ish wisdom, and for being such a special person in my life.