Friday, November 4, 2011

corn chowder

Continuing with the "Cook things that start with C" theme, I made the corn chowder from Color Me Vegan. It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, sadly. It was okay tasting, but nothing to write home about (why am I writing about it here?), and not even that pretty, though maybe using a lighter stock would've helped with that. Moreover, I accidentally didn't add an ingredient (a potato) so it's probably my fault. 

I unthinkingly used all my potatoes in the colcannon, so they're left out of the above picture. Still, it's a pretty simple soup.

(Mostly, I want to complain about how uneven my eye is, and also how unfair it is that this pretty cast iron pan has a huge dent-like thing in the middle.) Melt some nondairy butter in a big pan of some sort.

Once the butter is melted, add in the corn (I used frozen, but fresh is undoubtedly better).

In a larger pot (3 qts is big enough, I found out), saute the onions in oil for a bit.

Once the onions are soft, add in the potatoes (whoops!) and the vegetable stock. Let it simmer until the potato is done.

Keep cooking the corn until all the corn bits are a little brown. Transfer into the pot with the onion and potatoes, and puree just enough to leave it chunky.

It's a... really ugly color. This goes in a "worst food porn" post. Unfortunately (Fortunately?) it didn't make a lot. The creamed corn from the same book is a lot better, and fills the same corn-shaped hole in my heart. Maybe it's just the color that affects my opinion, maybe I did something wrong in the recipe? 

I'm still willing to try more from Color Me Vegan; a lot of recipes hit the sweet spot between "raw carrots" and "thing that is so spiced as to no longer be carrot"; healthy and clean-tasting, but still delicious. This one called for a little much vegan butter. If I did try it again, I'd go with a corn stock, I'd add the potato, I would use either olive oil or a neutral oil for the corn, and I wouldn't brown the corn as much. All the same, I'm probably not going to try it again.


Inspired by the chili success, and from the other good recipes from Color Me Vegan, I decided to try making the colcannon.

The potatoes are boiling away in the pot. There aren't too many ingredients in the recipe, which is nice. There is some garlic hidden under the kale.

Step one involves sauteing some onions on med-low until they start turning brown. It takes approximately forever, and involves a lot of checking to be sure they don't burn. 

Once you're afraid that the potatoes will burn if you cook them any longer, add in the kale and garlic.

Cook until the kale starts to get soft, and then cook some more.

The potatoes are done if you started them before anything else, so reserve some of the water, and then mash the carp out of them.

Add in some margarine and a little bit of non-dairy milk.

By the time you finish with the potatoes, the kale and onions are probably done.

Mix the two together, and serve. I stored the kale and potatoes separately in the fridge, but it's probably not necessary. I also ended up eating with some gravy, but... that's because I really, really, really like gravy, and I had some on hand.

chocolate-chipotle chili

Despite having a lot of VWAV chili in the freezer, I decided to make the Urban Vegan chili after noticing I had all the ingredients on hand. It's a little similar, but has a bigger emphasis on vegetables, removing the big hunks of seitan in favor for corn, tvp, carrots, and celery, and is a little sweeter, using agave nectar instead of blackstrap molasses, and chocolate chips instead of cocoa. The end result is very different, from VWAV chili - filling, but not as heavy.

Hidden under the bell peppers: diced carrots and celery. Under the tvp: corn.

Saute the onions and garlic for a bit...

Once they start to soften up and get glossy, add in the peppers, carrots, and celery, and cook until the peppers are getting soft.

Throw in the spices, and stir just until it looks like everything has burnt.

Add in the tomato paste. stir until it's sorta consistent, and let it heat through for a bit.

Add in the corn and tvp, and if there's not enough liquid, add some vegetable stock.

Once it's good and hot, add in the chocolate chips.

The chili gets deliciously dark as the chips melt. Let it simmer for at least 25 minutes before serving.

It's a nice, veggie-ful chili. It's different from the VWAV chili. I like both, and when I've gone without chili a long time, I crave the VWAV version. I could eat this one more often, though.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I have a real-person kitchen now!

Even a few months after moving in (I can't believe it's been so long), I keep being reminded how much I like not living in a dorm. It has taken me a long time to get the kitchen in an order I like it, though.

It's a really small kitchen. I had to take the pictures from the living/dining room. Fortunately, it's an open layout, or else I would hate everything forever. I keep my most often used pots and pans on the stove for convenience. The dutch oven and the cast iron pan are probably the top contenders, despite the decided wobbliness of the pan.

It's actually a little too big for the space. I have to move it every time I open the fridge or put something in the oven, but it's a convenient place for pots and pans and bowls and other things, and also makes a nice place for my laptop when I am using it for recipes, and it's really easy to move so it's okay. It came from Ikea. I tried rolling out some dough on it once time and that was absolutely the wrong idea, so if you get one of these... don't. Other than that, it's really useful, because I don't have much counter space.

I need a bigger fruit/vegetable bowl, or maybe a stacked one, because I feel kinda weird keeping onions and apples in the same bowl. I also kinda want a breadbox to keep the tortilla and pita chips and other snacky foods in. The teapot in the corner just joined my kitchen; I accidentally rusted the french press I was using for tea, so I got a pot with a plastic insert. I'll probably get some horrible disease from it, but at least I won't have rusty coffee.

The cabinet over the sink is really deep, but it's not a convenient size for turntables, so it's a little hard. The first shelf has a lot of flours and some cornmeal and grits; the second shelf has a lot of beans and grains, and the top shelf is all canned goods. 

This is a much more useful cabinet. The bottom shelf is oils, spices, and other tasty condiments; second shelf is rice, oats, and granola; top shelf has "useful things that I use when cooking" and some kombu. I don't have any spare drawer space, and I hate sorting utensils, so I keep them in a thing on the counter.  

Baking things and some thickeners up above the stove, because I have to keep them in big containers that don't fit in any other cabinet.

I had a cooking spree this weekend. The top shelf has, from left to right, chickpea-broccoli casserole from Veganomicon, the tiniest amount of gravy from Isa's site, a tiny bit of wing sauce left over from the wingz I made from lunch today (Don't Eat off the Sidewalk recipe), some applesauce I made from Yellow Rose Recipes, a peach claufouti (Urban Vegan) and some yogurt and tahini. The bacon drawer has some daiya and tempeh and tofu living it in; next to it is about 4 pounds of assorted green leafy things and snap peas. On the bottom shelf, salad greens, celery, carrots, apple juice, apple cider, and some spare maple syrup. In the crisper drawers are some cooking wine and soymilk (I always forget about vegetables in crisper drawers, so I just stick drinks in them).

The butter drawer holds maple syrup,and the shelf next to it has EB and tomato paste. Below it, a bunch of jams and peanut butter, lemon and lime juice (citrus attracts fruit flies in my place), soy sauces, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and hot sauce. Bottom shelf is all drinks (including pumpkin spice soy milk <3).

This weekend, I decided to cook all the things. Hiding under the loaf of bread are some biscuits and also a bowl of ice. On the right, some chickpea-broccoli casserole, leek and bean cassoulet (veganomicon) and some butternut squash soup (color me vegan). Aside from the black beans and pintos, there's also a container full of gravy, chili (vegan with a vengeance), and some creamed corn (color me vegan).

The only interesting things in the door (aside from the ridiculous excess of corn, I promise I am using half of it this week) are the yeast and the bag of flaxseed meal (I haven't gotten a spice grinder yet).

Because I forgot about mofo, because my life was rather hectic for the last month, I'm going to try to do some sort of cooking challenge involving cooking a lot of things that I normally don't make. This impulse was inspired by a couple of my friends doing a vegetarian challenge for the month. I've got a couple of things lined up for this week, that hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of: sugar & spice snap peas (vegan yum yum), spicy pumpkin soup (vegan comfort food), corn chowder (color me vegan), pumpkin pudding (candle cafe cookbook), kale colcannon (color me vegan), and also a breakfast cereal (30 minute vegan). 

(It seems a little silly to do all that cooking when there's so much in the fridge and freezer, but I made all the freezer meals because I've been having a lot of bad days lately where it's impossible for me to even order take-out. Hopefully having some things on hand will make those days a little better, so I'm not keen on eating them when I'm feeling okay.) 

Friday, August 26, 2011

New York (again!)

My sister is moving from NYC soon, so I decided to visit her before it was too late. 

(I always go to red bamboo and get the same things. I also got a milkshake this time and it was delicious)

 Curry wrap at 'Snice. Technically this was my sister's boyfriend's meal, but I ate most of it.

 Philly Cheesesteak at 'Snice. Bad picture, but really tasty.

 Brownie-Hot Fudge Sundae at Lula's Sweet Apothecary. It's good, but be forewarned that the ice cream is OMG-sweet.

Wall at Lula's.

 What you don't see are the attractive hipsters wearing period-appropriate suspenders.

Cajun Seitan Sandwich, at Candle Cafe. 


I went to Bloomington to visit a friend of mine. I wasn't expecting too much in the way of vegan food, but there was a surprising amount of it (and all of it delicious). Bad pictures, because I forgot to bring my camera and had to use my phone.

Roots on the Square

 (the green one is an avocado smoothie)

fried tofu + dipping sauce

(vegan) nuggets + (nonvegan) dipping sauce

 green curry

I messed up putting it in the oven.

The Owlery (we went twice because it's super cool)
 breaded and fried tofu strips
 vegan coffee float
 poutine (fries and gravy and cheese)

 black bean soup with fresh bread

philly cheesesteak (so good we got it both times we went) and collards

seitan kabobs, rice, and mashed potatoes & gravy