Friday, 27 February 2009

A tale of two chilis, part one.

Every time I have some left over dinner, I put it in the freezer so that I have a ready stash of dinners for when I am on call at the clinic. Sometimes though, it is nice to reuse leftovers in different ways rather than the old reheat. Vegan Planet (which I seem to be quite into at the moment) has a whole stack of chili recipes, and a whole stack of recipes that use the chili recipes

A couple of weeks ago, I made Backyard BBQ Chili. It was a very tasty chili, with a hint of sweet and smoky from the BBQ sauce. I served it with Mum's Apple Coleslaw (from How It All Vegan), green leaves (because I can't get enough of the green stuff) and some corn chips. It was a great dinner! Fastforward to earlier this week...

Jalapeno Rice and Chili Stuffed Squash, served here with some tasty roasted brussel sprouts. I used butternut pumpkin, as called for in the recipe. But I found the amount of the chili/rice mixture was way too much to fit in the cavities of these cute little guys I found. To get a cavity big enough, you would need to have a HUGE butternut, which would be too much for one to eat. In the suggestions, it mentions trying with a kabocha pumpkin. I think this would work better, as you can get an adorable cute little kabocha and still have a really good space for stuffing.

Earlier this year I had another tasty chili retake experience. I think I have blogged these two recipes randomly at some point previously, but I'm posting the photos again. So ha!

This is East Coast Chili. What makes it East Coast, I have no idea! The book also has a West Coast Chili, which has avodaco (apparently avocado = west coast USA). Anyone have any suggestions as to why this is East Coast? Anyway, it is super yummy. It calls for 2 cups of burger crumbles, but I used 1 1/2 cups of dry TVP, and all was well. The dry TVP absorbs the flavours fabulously. I served it over macaroni (apparently the thing to do on the East Coast) with some steamed carrots.

And here it is reborn as the fantabulous Chili Macaroni Bake. It is SO good. It definitely deserves a repost. Creamy, cheesy macaroni topped with the left over chili and sprinkled with vegan cheese. So fabulous! I could eat it all day!

I am looking forward to future adventures with the many uses of chilis. So stay tuned!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Homemade FTW!

Making stuff from scratch is fun! I've been having lots of fun the last few days in the kitchen with that trusty stand-by Vegan Planet.

My basil plant has several huge bunches on it just screaming to be picked and used before they get too old. Of course, the natural thing to do is to make pesto! I have to say that the Vegan Planet recipe is not my favourite, I found it too salty and a bit too oily, even when I added extra basil to dilute out the salt. It was meant to make 1 1/2 cups I think, but it made closer to half that volume. No pictures of the pesto, but here is a picture of what I did with it...

Here is Pesto-Stuffed Tofu Steaks with Summertime Tomato Sauce! I was a bit worried about the tofu slabs breaking when I tried to stuff them, but there were no problems. The Summertime Tomato Sauce recipe is sensational! Fresh tasting, a little bit sweet, full of flavour. So yummy! It sugested serving the tofu with pasta, so I made the Simple Spaghetti Sicilian Style from The Vegan Gourmet. Really easy to make and full of garlic and chili! I also had some mixed leaves with it. A great dinner!

The pesto made enough for one other recipe, which led me to my next homemade adventure - Basic Vegetable Stock. For some reason, I had never made stock before. I have no idea why. I guess it is like seitan - I didn't make that for ages. And then I did. And now I do. So why did I not make stock before? Easy and tasty and really so little effort involved. The recipe said it made 6 cups, but it ended up making 5 cups.

OK, so it is not the most beautiful looking picture. But it is stock! What I did with it next...

Farm Stand Vegetable Stew with Basil Pesto. It is loaded with fabulous summertime vegetables - tomatoes, zucchini, squash, green beans, fresh corn - yum! The pest is stirred through at the end of cooking giving a beautiful, creamy and tasty finish. I served it with some grilled turkish bread. Grilled on the George Foreman Grill to give it pretty stripes.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Menu: Summer Harvets Feast from The Vegan Gourmet

Yes, I have been a little menu fiend again. Monday night was family night and I had the day off. I started out the day with a bit of factory outlet shopping in the morning, during which I managed to buy almost nothing of use for my trip to England save a pair of awesome jeans that may not stretch out quite enough (oh, the trauma of buying jeans), and yet I did manage to come home with a set of pastel sundae dishes... well, you know... priorities. The, home to the kitchen! I decided to make the 'Summer Harvest Feast' menu from 'The Vegan Gourmet'

This is Crostini With Greek Eggplant Topping, not assembled at this stage so as not to get soggy. The bread that I used is the delicious Pumpkin and Pepita bread from Sol Breads, which has to be one of my favourite breads. It went really well and added a nice bit of chewy bulk to the meal as opposed to cardboardy white stuff. The Greek Eggplant Topping is quite nice, though being a Baba Ganoush lover I did note the lack of tahini and found it a bit washed out in comparison. But that is just me. Left overs keep well, and are great as a dip or on rice crackers. In fact, I just finished off the last of it while typing this on a nice rice and corn cake. Mmmmm.

Soft Polenta With Corn Kernels and Sage was a bit of a let down. The polenta is cooked with water and was sadly a bit watery even though the texture was right. It just needed a bit more taste to it. Next time I would add some veggie stock to the cooking liquid. The sweet corn kernels and onion were nice additions. I have some of this left over in the freezer. Eventually I plan on slicing it, grilling it and topping it with some sort of fabulous and super tasty sauce.

This was my favourite part of the menu. It is Green Beans with Watercress and Orange-Mint Dressing. It's such a refreshing salad, and the dressing is seriously addictive. it makes a fairly small amount all up, but I had a little bit left over for lunch the next day. I have to admit I love the dressing so much that when I finished the salad for lunch, I drank the rest of the dressing left in the container. Oh. The same. Hee.

And here it is, all plated up and begging to be in your belly.

But where is the food?

*Gasp* A food free blog? Perhaps the bigger surprise is a blog post at all! Yes, I have been quite a bad blogger indeed. It's not intentional, it just kind of happened. There's a new roster at work and I've started a new gym program (so far, so good). Oh yeah, and I am kind of planning a trip to England! Yes, four and a half weeks until I get on a plane for a long haul trip to the old UK. It's pretty exciting, we are doing a mad road trip around England and Scottland. But what else is exciting about the trip? I shall be there just in time to go the the Brighton Vegan Fayre! What excellent timing, and completely not planned. Adding to the vegan joy, apparently I shall be meeting up with a Rabbit, a Tree Hugger and an Alien called Sal. And the fooooood!

I've also been piling up the extra-curricular work. I am working on two papers for work and I am also about to embark on a part time research masters... you know, just for fun! Hee hee. All this work means that I need to find lots of things to do while procrastinating. So I have also begun Project Procrastination 2009. This involves me compiling all the awesome recipes from people's blogs onto my computer so I have the bestest vegan recipe archive when ever I need it and without needing to be connected to the internet. Of course, it means I end up reading everyone's blog from the very beginning as well, because people are interesting! So I have a lot of work ahead with that... oh yeah, and my actual work of course. Tee hee.

Anyway, these are the things that have been occupying my mind and my blogging time. But not my kitchen time, oh no. I have loads and loads of photos of food I have made and bought to share. I just have to share it!

Oh yeah, and I was being a LYING LIAR WHO LIES when I said there was no food in this post.

What is this? It is the BEST tea bread in the WORLD. It goes by the name of Cranberry-Orange-Nut Bread and hails from the great Veganomicon. SO. GOOD.

Here it is all cut up and tempting me. It is fabulous. The flavours... the smell. I wish I could make it into a perfume, it is just perfection.

In other words, I really rather liked it!

Now, I am off to catch up on the bazillion new blog posts that are waiting for me!