Friday, June 30, 2006

Taste of Morocco, July 1–7

Whenever I think of (vegan) Moroccan food, I think of light but filling meals stuffed with colourful vegetables in both sweet and spicy flavours. Even though this would be a great winter stew, I think it works pretty well as a light summer lunch or dinner.

From, I've chosen Taste of Morocco for this week's cook-a-long.

For the record, I probably won't add the raisins. I'm not a fan of raisins in stews. And I'm thinking of adding cashews!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

My mouth is burning!

Tonight was the night!

To make things easier for our lazy selves, we bought a pre-peeled and pre-cut squash. Since there was less than the recipe called for, we added a couple of chopped carrots to the mix. And our grocery store was out of jalapeños, so we used a smallish cubanelle pepper.

the sqaush is cooking...

Here, the orange vegetables are playing together nicely.

the stewed vegetables...

As for the garlic, well, we've pretty much established that many of us do not fear the bulb. I added 4 cloves in the beginning, then another clove once the cooking was almost done. I also added 2 teaspoons of thai curry paste instead of 1. And the juice of 1.5 limes.

But then I made a bold move: 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

silly boy...

Silly boy.

adding the noodles...

Before adding the whole wheat linguine, I chopped the whole bunch of cilantro which amounted to almost a full cup, and added it all to the sauce.


The final masterpiece.

I did not have high expectations for this dish after reading some of the comments, but I was intrigued by the possibilities of it.

The verdict: we both loved it!!

The boy said: a little too much cilantro and thai curry sauce and not enough peanut butter. But, overall, he really, really liked it! And so did I! I even love the amount of cilantro I added. I have crept into the kitchen twice since typing this to sneak a couple of forksful from the leftovers in the wok.

I think this recipe is a keeper!

ETA: the boy has just filled his bowl with more spicy saucy noodles! And he also got a glass of chocolate soymilk. Silly boy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I don't really have an appropriate peeler, so I used a big unwieldy and not-very-sharp knife to peel the squash. It got the job done, but seemed to take forever.

I ended up using more garlic and jalapeno peppers than the recipe called for, since people seemed to think that it was too bland. I used two peppers, and left the seeds in.
The coconut milk I usually get was out of stock, so I had to settle for some I hadn't used before, full of stabilizers and whatnot, and with "coconut extract" as ingredient numero deux, between water and cornstarch. It didn't smell great (in that it was pretty much odour-less), and seemed a little thinner than I would have liked.

Adding the red curry paste (I used three teaspoons) turned what was once a sort-of-colourful dish into a one-colour dish.
I cooked some whole grain spaghetti, and then tossed the squash mixture, the chopped cilantro, and the pasta together in a bowl. It was pretty good, but I think that I might have gone a little overboard with the spice.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Better late than never! Broccoli Pesto!

Hi everyone! I'm happy to join in here, even though it's technically Squash curry week. I was intrigued by the idea of the broccoli pesto and although I didn't quite stick to the recipe, it turned out very well.

First I steamed 4 medium heads of broccoli, enough to have extra. I have a Black and Decker electric steamer that I've had for 6 years. It works beautifully.

While it was steaming, I prepared the ingredients for a regular pesto. I didn't stick to measurements but used a bunch of fresh basil, about 5 huge cloves of garlic (cut in half), about 4 TB of olive oil, 3/4 sea salt like in the recipe, and then 2 TB of this wierd brown/green stuff.
What is it? Why, it was featured in a post on my regular blog a few days ago. It's pumpkinseed butter! We usually use roasted pumpkinseeds instead of pinenuts in pesto for its awesome EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), (and sterols which are good for the prostate!), and since we had some pumpkinseed butter that we like to use on toast, I figured it would be easy to put some in here. 2 TB worth.
Here's a shot of the regular pesto when it was done

I then added about 1.5 Cups of broccoli in small pieces, and about 1 tsp of Chreeze powder from Road's End Organics in lieu of nutritional yeast. (It has the yeast in it, along with some spices and lentil flour.) I figured that the smoky roasted taste of the pumpkinseeds would be ok in place of the miso. Here is the new pesto! I reserved a few TB of the regular for the husband.

While the pesto was in the making, I made Bionaturae's whole wheat Rottini pasta, and when it was done, I put about 3 huge spoons of the pesto, along with a handful of broccoli, and some organic, locally grown cherry tomatoes cut in half.

What's the verdict? Well, I liked it very much but I knew I would. The true test came from my husband who poo-pooed the whole operation and opted for a tempeh BLT instead. I have him a piece of my pasta with pesto and he couldn't believe that there was broccoli in it! Then he went into the kitchen and proceeded to slather some fresh whole wheat bread with it. Greedy Guts! This version is the ultimate antioxidant version with the garlic, olive oil, pumpkinseed oil, tomatoes, and of course, the broccoli.

Edited to Add: While this was extremely tasty and healthy, if you put in so much garlic like I did, plan to eat it when no one else is around and you have no plans in the next few hours. Unless you want people to think you are a dragon ::breathes fire and brimstone:: if you know what I mean...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Winter Squash for a Summer Day

I was excited to try this new recipe, Butternut Squash and Noodles with coconut, lime, and cilantro sauce, cause it seemed very thai, and I love all of those thai flavors. Plus, I hardly ever cook with winter squash, and winter squash reminds me of, well, winter. And how nice and cold winter is! Oh, to wrap myself in a scarf and get cozy...

Let's talk about my peeler first. It's quite good. I don't know what the brand of it is cause I think my parents picked it up at a fair or something (in fact, all my peelers come from them=strange), but if you see anything like it, you need to get it cause it really makes peeling quite dreamy. Just zen out and peel. How nice.

I used a grapefruit spoon for getting the seeds and other gook out.

Then I chopped it. Since we needed 4 1/2 cups, I only ended up using about 1 1/2 of the squash. The other half of the squash is in my fridge, and I'm probably going to end up giving it away or throwing it out. You'll find out why.

Ok, here's where I go slightly off topic. If you want to skip something slightly unpleasant, feel free to do so, and skip everything in between the asterisks. That will bring you right back to the cooking...

After I finished chopping, I noticed a tingling sensation in the fingertips of my left hand. Then my fingers, and the palm of my hand, became numb. The skin on the fingers and palm was taut. Then the skin started to break and harden. I had very little feeling in my hand.

I started to panic, wondering how far this allergic reaction was going to go. I used to carry an epipen but I don't anymore, and I was wondering if this was gonna be serious or no big deal, and I tried to calm down. What was bugging me was that AA wasn't taking it seriously, blaming all kinds of other things (airconditioning, drain opener) other than what I knew to be the case. (Take a look at the first two pictures -- each part of that hand that is touching the squash was affected).

So I walked to the store to get the cilantro (I was out), but I also just needed some air. When I came back, AA had come to the conclusion that yes, that was what happened, and he was a lot more concerned. And he kept stopping me to look more closely at it. But now it looked like it was starting to heal. So an hour or so later, it looked like this (we had trouble photographing it, so not sure how clear it is):

and when the skin peeled off, it looked fine underneath, like nothing had happened. Aaron cleaned up the butternut squash, and my board and knife. Took a break and did other stuff. So with about two hours passing since chopping the butternut squash, I felt more relaxed, and I continued on with the cooking.


ream ream! Any of you have the electric kind? I like how this one stores the juice in a container below. I also have one of the retro plastic kinds, but this works a little better (though it's not as pretty). You can see the chopped jalapeno in the foreground, the chopped garlic in the background, and some unrelated dishes from sandwiches we ate in the interim two hours.

I used 1 tbsp vogue vege base added to 1 cup water for the broth, and I used maesri brand for the thai curry paste. Chopped the cilantro with my wimpy knife, and I was ready to cook.

cooked in 2tbs olive oil first (cause 1 seemed like too little), then with broth, jalapeno, and garlic. look how deceptively innocent and orange it looks.

cooking up with coconut milk, lime juice, curry paste, and a celtic sea salt, it's kinda soupy so far, but I'm not worried yet.

Cooked the noodles (i mixed kamut udon and soba together) in boiling salt water

and added them to the dish with the chopped cilantro

mix it up! gotta love my new(ish) spaghetti tongs!

It was yummy, but the comments on the recipe were right. It needed more spice and more salt. So more were added: double the jalapeno, triple the curry paste, added black pepper, cayenne, thai chili powder. Then more lime juice, some lemon (ran out of lime), and some extra thai spices: lemongrass, galangal, and holy basil. That, my friends, did the trick. Hooray!

*And my fingers and hand are all better.*

Friday, June 23, 2006

Butternut Squash and Noodles with Coconut, Lime, and Cilantro Sauce (June 23-June 30)

Ok, so I'm here to announce the challenge for this week: Butternut Squash and Noodles with Coconut, Lime, and Cilantro Sauce!

I learned about this recipe from another blog and was excited to check it out!

Enjoy, have a great weekend and happy cooking!

Green Teeth and Garlic Breath

My turn! I dutifully acquired the lovely heads:

I used a little fresh basil and a little dried, because I was too cheap to buy a full head of basil at the store. As a consequence, I gutted this poor plant:

It was kind of hard to take care of anyway. I'll keep watering it, and if it grows back, more power to it. I think I need to try again with the fresh herb cultivation.

Check out the steamy goodness!

This was really easy to make, so much so that I also made Tabbouleh and a strawberry dessert at the same time, not because I wanted them all to go together but because I am new to buying produce and I totally overbought a bunch of things I didn't want to go to waste.

Here is the finished product over whole wheat linguine:

I admit it didn't look like much in anyone's pictures, and it doesn't look that thrilling here, but it is OH SO GOOD. I put two cloves of garlic, some ground flax seeds, and plenty of olive oil in mine, and this was gobbled up fast. I had enough left over to fill a pesto-style container from the store. I am looking forward to sharing this with my roommates, who I think will enjoy it.

UPDATE: I used pine nuts. They really give it a nice kick. Doesn't it look like other "herbs" could easily be mingled in to this dish? (joke.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yummy in my Tummy

Well, after a few days of uninspiring dinners, J and i trucked down to Kensington and bought the needed groceries for this week's challenge. While there, we picked up other goodies like fresh fiddleheads, good bread, vintage tops, gifts for friends, and raspberries. But, i digress.

This was a team effort by the two of us - which doesn't happen often. One thing i learned while mashing up all the broccoli, is that i need a much bigger food processor (good thing i asked for one on my wish list!), but otherwise this recipe really worked for us. Of course, we tweaked it a bit. Like, instead of the just almonds, we used cashews and almonds. And, like Mishka, we only have red miso here, but i love miso and was happy to put it in my pesto!

I liked the pesto so much that i can't wait to play with my leftovers - this recipe does call for way too much sauce for 2 people. But, tomorrow we're having pesto pizzas and i'm having pesto sandwiches for lunch. The other thing is, and this is probably just how it turned out for me, but i liked the sauce way better on it's own than with the rotini noodles we paired it with - took away the zappy flavour.

All in all, a good meal - see we vegans can have tasty food!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

someone's in the kitchen with broccoli

I whipped up the Broccoli Pesto last night, love it! The miso is a nice touch, so are the almonds. I used a lot more basil than it called for, because I love basil. I tossed in some TVP chunks and stirred it into some Mr. Noodles. Will definitely make it again!

I do have a bamboo steamer, but I want the electric kind with a rice cooker like Mishka has. Yes, my pan is pink and so are my placemats. I didn't document my whole cooking process, I'm much messier in the kitchen than M + M are, plus I was in a hurry to catch a bandwagon last night, Lord Stanley's Cup was on the line.

This was great tasting, not too complex and loaded with calcium. Perfect!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Green mush of goodness

I had decided on Friday that this would be Sunday night's dinner. So I bought the ingredients I needed on Friday and patiently awaited Sunday evening to give 'er a go.


I *do* have a bamboo steamer, which I whined for a few years ago until I got it. And I've never used it. Instead, I used my electric rice/vegetable steamer.


While the broccoli steamed, I placed the rest of the ingredients into the processor. Since I don't have light miso, I used the red type that I have in the fridge. Also, I used 2 cloves of garlic but, in hindsight, I should have used 3. Everything else was as the instructions stated. Which is odd for me because I usually mess with recipes.




I asked the boy if he wanted the pesto as crostini on sourdough or on pasta. He chose pasta, so when the world cooled down at about 8:30 I cooked up some whole wheat rotini with sun-dried tomatoes, more broccoli and baby spinach, and tossed it with the pesto.

I liked it. It needed more garlic. The boy had an "it's okay" response. Perhaps it would have been better if I used that "love" ingredient that Michelle used.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

And my lady, she went downtown... (Broccoli Pesto)

She bought some broccoli
She brought it home.
She was chopping broccoli
Chopping broccoli...

So I'm first at the first vegancookalong dish: Broccoli Pesto! I love pesto, and I rarely make it with just basil, so a new pesto is a cool thing with me. And leave it to me to not follow the recipe much. I waited till 3:30pm to think of making lunch, and by then, I was hungry, and I had a head of broccoli in the fridge and not much else. So I had at it, and began chopping...

Here it is in the steamer basket/pot we have. Do any of you fancy ladies have the bamboo steamer type?

It said to add 1/2 to 2 garlic cloves "depending on how garlicky you like your food." So I added 4, and I'm paying for it now. Well, not me so much, but the world around me!

Just finished our bottle of olive oil, but I had a small bottle of garlic olive oil (2tbsp worth), then added 1 tbsp of safflower.

Calls for pinenuts or almonds. I love pinenuts, but I didn't have them around nor almonds nor pistachios (another choice I've used before). I did, however, have walnuts

You must see where this is going, right? Of course I didn't have basil, but I did have parsley (something I often add to pesto in addition to basil to make it greener) so I used that. I was prepared to use kale, too, but I had just enough parsley.

Nope. Out of nutritional yeast. What kind of vegan has no nutritional yeast? Me.

The amount of chickpea miso I had was half of what was called for, so I added a generous amount of nama shoyu and celtic sea salt to the mixture before I processed it.

After the first process, it wasn't sticking together enough, so I added one more tbsp of safflower and one tbsp of roasted chili oil (also from one of my little bottles -- we take these camping!) And more nama shoyu and more salt...

And here it is, made with love!

And what goes best with pesto? Why, did you say wild yam soba? What a coincidence -- that's what I had!

mixing it up

It was good!

I can't wait to hear and see and imagine tasting what you guys come up with! And I'll (try to) follow the recipe next time...

Michelle C.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Broccoli Pesto - June 16-25

How about we start with Broccoli Pesto from SPUN? Scroll down that link a bit, it's the first recipe after the nutritional info. The ingredients should be easy enough to procure, there are big bunches of basil in the farmers markets this time of year at sensible prices and the rest of the ingredients are pretty much vegan staples. It's snacky and she offers some adaptations, like dip and salad dressing. Sound good?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

cook-a-long with me!

Hey foodies! Want to take turns picking a vegan recipe each week, and cook it sometime before the next week? It might be a good motivation to try new things, and we can review and show off here! What say? I put links to free recipe sites on the sidebar, check 'em out, add some more. It'll be fun!

p.s. if you want to be a member email me: pink.vegan at gmail, and I'll send you an invite!