Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vegan MoFo Days 6-9: This is Not a Spam Blog

Hello again internet! Sorry it's been so long. I haven't given up on Mofo... not one bit! For some reason that still hasn't been explained, my blog got flagged as a potential spam blog on Monday. I haven't been able to post since then. Today I tried my darndest to email Blogger's tech support about this... however, they do an amazing job of obscuring how to actually contact them. I eventually found a post on their help forum with a link to a way to report my flagged blog a SECOND time in a totally different manner than how they originally instructed me to report it... and I did that... and here we are now. Strange, but I'm glad to be back all the same.

What have I been up to the past couple of days? Well, a lot, actually. Here are some awesome things I've cooked this week:

Monday: quinoa sushi rolls. One roll of steamed eggplant, Smart Bacon (or whatever it's called... the one without eggs in), and roasted tomato mayo, and one roll of beer braised tofu with cilantro. Nom nom nom.

Tuesday: DEBATE NIGHT! The debaters may not have satisfied me, but the food did. We had fresh guacamole with tomatoes (have I mentioned that I love tomatoes? because I do) and cilantro from the CSA, and we had salsa from a jar which I don't think I even touched. And beer... lots of delicious vegan beer.

Wednesday: STUFFING! Yes, you'll notice from the capitalization that stuffing is on par with debates in terms of excitement in my life. Dude, I haven't had stuffing in like forever. Someone I know on a non-PPK message board mentioned that she was in the market for a vegan stuffing recipe this Thanksgiving, and was kind of pissed that she couldn't find a boxed brand that's vegan. Actually, there are a lot of vegan brands in a box/bag... but not, of course, that holy grail of bad for you yet delicious prepared stuffings, Stovetop. Anyway, I digress. Point being, she got my brain on the stuffing train, and I carried on from there. Fortunately, we had a loaf (an entire loaf! this is why we only ever buy ONE loaf of bread when we go shopping) of stale sourdough on hand, and I got sage from the farmer's market... ah jeez, it was so good.

Tonight: Pizza! There's no vegan delivery pizza here in Santa Cruz, but there IS totally awesome vegan takeout pizza from Engfer's Pizzaworks. If I could afford the time and money to acquire and consume this pizza every day, I WOULD. They don't pull any sort of shenanigans like drowning the pie in FYH cheeze (for which there is a time and a place, in moderation) or anything... they have an awesome awesome tofu ricotta that I wish I could replicate that they use instead. Their crust is probably the best I've had since leaving Pennsylvania. (That's right, the state I lived in between PA and CA, Massachusetts (what is it with me and the consonant-A states?), had uniformly shitty pizza crusts... though honorable mention goes to Blue Jeans Pizza in Worcester for having the most buttery pastry... PIElike... pizza crust I've ever had... so not vegan! At least, I don't think so.) And their toppings always taste fresh and good. Man, I love Engfer's. Unfortunately, they are a million billion miles away from me... two bus lines or about an hour and a half out from where I'm at. (Maybe 15 minutes in the car, but the car is faster than the bus... I don't personally drive at all, though.) Ah, well.

What else? Well, I've been trying to think of lazy foods to eat. The quinoa sushi was pretty lazy... couple of minutes for steaming the eggplant, couple of minutes for broiling the tomatoes and tofu, couple of minutes of active work in getting the quinoa ready and in making the rolls. But lots and lots of inactive work... and lots of dishes. Damn. I wish I could afford (timewise) to eat quinoa sushi all the day... it is SO filling and SO good. Seriously, fork rice sushi.

I've been falling back into a bad habit that takes a big toll on my blood sugar and general health: eating a minimal breakfast, skipping lunch entirely, then eating something nonsensical for dinner. I mean, stuffing is delicious, don't get me wrong. But nutritionally speaking... what's that got for me? Not a whole lot. Stuffing is sort of a side dish for a reason-- because it's not terribly worthwhile on its own. And yet, despite eating nothing but a piece of toast yesterday morning, I had a BURNING PASSION for eating stuffing for dinner that could not be sated for something else. I tried to sate it by putting in vegan sausage chunks, but they were so freaking salty (and I like my salt, I really do) that I picked them out. Yuckers. So that was nothing but a pile of carbohydrates for me.

Anyway. I need to find time to think about what I'm eating from a nutritional point of view... not just a deliciousness stance... or even just in terms of speed. Ughughughugh. THINKING HURT BRAIN. But nothing's going to change if I don't put the effort into changing it...

Here are two of this week's recipes, in any case:

Broiled Tomato Mayo
2 large tomatoes
1/2c Vegennaise or other vegan mayo
a couple (really, just a few) cilantro leaves

1. Heat the broiler. If you're using a toaster oven, this takes about 30 seconds... but a real oven, you're going to want to turn the broiler on and leave it for at least five minutes first.
2. Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and put them sliced side down in some sort of baking dish. A cookie sheet works well. Lightly brush the outside of said tomatoes with a little olive oil.
3. Put the tomatoes in the oven and broil for 7-10 minutes. You don't want the tomatoes blackened, but their skin should be sort of bubbling when you take them out.
4. Slap the tomatoes in a food processor with the vegennaise and cilantro. Puree.
5. EAT.

You really want just a tiny bit of cilantro here... the flavor travels through the vegennaise verrrrrry strongly, and if you have more than a couple of cilantro leaves in here, the cilantro will overpower the delicious broiled tomatoes.

Sourdough Stuffing
4 1/2 c sourdough bread cubes (about 1 loaf cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/2c Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
6 medium shallots
20-40 fresh sage leaves, chopped
4-8 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
1c almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
vegan sausage (optional)
pepper (black or otherwise) to taste

1. Melt the Earth Balance over medium-low heat.
2. Slice the shallots as thin as you're able to. Chop the slices up so that you have little teeny bits. Toss these bits into the Earth Balance AND the sage AND the thyme and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.
3. If using the sausage, add to the pan now and cook for 3 minutes or so while stirring occasionally, so that sausage is browned on all sides.
4. Turn off the head and add the bread. Stir until bread is coated in Earth Balance.
5. Add the almond milk and pepper. Stir again until everything is coated.
6. Turn the heat back on at low. Cover the pan and let everything simmer for 3-5 minutes. When you take the lid off, everything should be delightfully soft and chewy, but not yet mushy. EAT!

What about the rest of this week/this weekend? Well, I've got a plethora of pumpkins just waiting for cooking. I'm also thinking about some sort of dessert with caramel, oatmeal, and apples... drool. And I've got some bok choy that needs eating that would go wonderfully with some lentils... mmmm, lentils. (Vegans do like some stereotypical foods. At least, some vegans do.) The dishes are piled HIGH in the sink despite my best efforts to fight them back, though. Will the dishes win? Or will I bask in deliciousness? Only time will tell!

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