Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vedgehead 101

My friend decided the other day that he wanted to learn how to cook vegetarian, and asked if I would teach him how (of course!).  For the first "lesson," I wanted to make something that was both a) nom-tastic, and b) unique to vegetarian cuisine, HOWEVER...I wanted to keep things simple as well.  Since I've been stockpiling tofu in my freezer for Idon'tknowhowmany months, baked tofu seemed like the way to go.  It's one of my favorite comfort foods.

We also stir-fried some broccoli and carrots, and topped it with nutritional yeast. 

Baked tofu is superdupereasy to make.  I kind of want to bread mine next time.  =p  Yay for comfort food.

Baked Tofu

You'll need:

1 container of Nasoya firm/extra firm tofu
1/3 cup oil of choice (we used olive oil)
Seasonings of choice (we chose garlic, onion, and basil)
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Drain tofu and press (if you're not sure what I mean by this, just ask; it's really easy) for about ten minutes.  Cut into pieces approx. 1/2 an inch thick.  Spray baking dish -- you could even use a cookie sheet, if you don't have anything else -- and place tofu on it (place the pieces far enough apart so that flipping them won't be too much of a hassle).  Mix seasonings with oil and pour over top.  Bake for 30 min -- flip pieces after the first 15 min.

Tofu doesn't have much flavor on its own -- basically, it's a sponge for other flavors, so what your tofu tastes like depends entirely on how you season it!  The tofu my friend and I made the other night seemed to absorb the flavor from the oil and basil quite well.  The garlic and onion, not so much.  It didn't quite fit the definition of "nom-tastic," but it was still pretty decent!

PS -- Dude, any of you ever seen these before?

Yes, that's really what they're called (this picture was taken at Walmart, and, after seeing the not-so-appetizing state of most of their produce, I thought these were just some poor little reject peaches that no other store would sell...)!  Doughnut peaches were originally grown in China, and were introduced in the US during the late 1800s.  Supposedly, these are sweeter than regular peaches, and have an almond-like taste.  I think I need to try one of these!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm such a s'moron sometimes.

Another epic (-ally delicious) failure of mine:

I reeeeely wanted to make marshmallows the other day.  Seeing as regular marshmallows are made with gelatin, and vegan marshmallows cost about a million dollars a bag, I wanted to try making my own!  Did some extensive research via interwebs -- sadly, I could only find a handful of well-written, non-sketchy recipes for gelatin-free marshmallows, and even those didn't have the greatest reviews.  I tried a recipe that involved using agar in place of gelatin.  The recipe stated that, once covered and placed in the fridge, the marshmallows would set within eight hours.  I didn't have my hopes up.

Sure enough, eight hours later, I still had a dish of goop.  So I left it in the fridge for a few days while I thought of what to do next.  I really wanted to make something that involved chocolate and graham crackers.  It's the middle of summer, and I'm craving s'mores like none other!  Haven't had one in a good six years.

Well, eight days later, I finally had time to do some experimentation and try to make the most out of my epic fail, haha.  Opened up the fridge to see that the silly stuff was finally beginning to set!!  But I had run out of patience.  ;)

I ended up melting an entire jar of Artisana coconut butter (my latest obsession -- thanks, CCK!), mixing it with 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder, pouring it over the goop, and topping it with graham cracker crumbs.  I let it chill for about an hour and, pretty soon, I had what amounted to one gigantic, goopy s'more -- heck yes.  

Don't worry; I didn't eat it all myself.  I took it to a party.  Although there weren't any other vedgeheads there, everyone seemed to enjoy it.  Must have done something right!

If you want to try making this, I would try lining the bottom of a baking dish with vegan marshmallows (...but you'll have to win the lottery before having the required funds to purchase those...).  Just don't try making your own unless you really know what you're doing -- otherwise you'll end up in a sticky mess! 

This would probably taste pretty rad with toasted coconut sprinkled on top, don't you think?  *Ponders*

Hope everyone's summer is going well!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ItalEastern Cuisine.

 Because Manwich is for pansies.  

Saw these in the freezer at Oryana the other day -- they made me lawl so hard.  Naan is just ridiculously delicious.  For those of you who don't know, naan is a type of flatbread served in the Middle East.  I'm a big  
 fan of Mideastern cuisine, and I love pairing it with hummus.  Or raita (a delicious, savory cucumber yogurt that is usually served with uber-spicy foods, like curry), if I have time to make some.  I need to share my Americanized raita recipe with you all sometime...

OH HAI, my latest butter recipe would be pretty dandy slathered on a piece of naan, too!  Whipped up my first batch of  savory nut butter the other day.  Seeing as nearly all of my nut butters are so sweet that they could probably be topped with whipped cream and eaten for dessert, this was quite a change of pace.  My inspiration came from a big bag of pine nuts and a container of basil I found in the spice cupboard.  Seeing the two sitting next to each other gave me an I busted out the food processor and, five minutes later, I had a batch of savory, melt-in-your-mouth creamy, completely un-photogenic (I know, I know -- it looks like I stuck the end of the spatula into a hairball.  Ick.) pine nut butter!  Like peanut butter, this stuff is packed with protein and unsaturated fat ("good" fat).  I think it would be good on toasted sliced of white bread with some fresh tomato (hm, maybe a bruschetta imposter?), as an appetizer before a fancy-shmancy Italian dinner.

Pesto Butter

You'll Need:.
3/4 cup pine nuts
 1 Heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 Heaping 1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried basil (but if you absolutely love the heck out of basil, you could probably add a tsp or two more)
*Optional* Oil for toasting pine nuts -- they're lovely toasted, but they're nommy raw as well!

Pour pine nuts into food processor and blllllennnnd...until butter forms.  This should take 2-3 minutes.  Then add seasonings and blend again, this time for 10-15 seconds.  Aaaand that's all, folks!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ramblings of the Edible Variety

...I think every post I make here can be classed as that, actually!

I think I'm gonna stop writing as if I'm writing for a ginormous audience of vedgie-loving, peanutbutterphilic vegetarians and just post whatever I want -- which is usually a couple random (ie completely unrelated) recipes, and maybe a few photos as well.  Maybe more than a few -- I seriously have enough foodie photos to start an EdgeofVedge tumblr, but I'm not the biggest fan of that site.  Like, every time I end up going on there for whatever reason, it feels like I'm just assailed with photos and assorted random crap from all sides.  I'd probably have a seizure if I was on there for more than a few minutes.  X_x

So!  Random food piccies of the day!

This colorful little number is a vedgie/bean soup I made the other day. many of my other recipes, this was born out of what turned out to be a serendipitous mistake!   I had made myself some plain vedgie soup and, in an effort to make some leftovers disappear, I cut up and tossed in my last failburger (remember those?  Ha.).  Well, that burger had itself one final fail as it, within minutes, completely dissolved in my soup.  But hey, it was still pretty good.  =p  When life throws you burgers...make soup?  Um, I'll just shut up now.

I've also been obsessed with this stuff, as of late.
So, what exactly is this?
It looks just like every other so-called recipe of mine, you say (something gloppy, covered in either fruit or vedgies)?
Shaddup.  ;D

This is what I've been bringing to work for the last few nights.  I usually work from about four in the afternoon until midnight, and it really keeps me going as the night wears on.

Would you believe that's oatmeal hiding under all the vedgies?

Indeed -- this, my friends (ie, the one or two people who will read this post...) is savory oatmeal.

I absolutely adore oatmeal.  It provides you with boatloads of energy without an insane amount of sugar or Calories.  It keeps you full for hours without weighing you down.  Oh, and it goes well with...pretty much anything!  See, for the longest time, I had the same mindset as nearly everyone else when it came to oatmeal -- oatmeal is a breakfast food; therefore, it would just be WEIRD if it was doctored up with something that wasn't sweet.  Don't get me wrong, I love the heck out of oatmeal with a touch of brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped dates.  However, as I was getting ready for work the other night, I had a craving for the oats, sweet tooth had taken the night off?  Weird.

I remembered how, when I was down south, I saw "cheesy grits" as a side on many a restaurant menu.  Hey -- why the heck do we not do that up here with oatmeal??  In fact, I've had cheesy grits before, and they were amazing.  So I thought I'd give this a try!  I kind of Italian-ized it, but the possibilities are endless here!  If you're vegan, why not try soy yogurt and nutritional yeast?  Or maybe cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a touch of salsa? 

Savory Oatmeal

You'll need:

1/3 cup quick oats
2/3 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp Parmesan Cheese
2 tsp basil (I just used dried basil)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp minced onion (again, I just used the dried stuff)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Combine oats and water and microwave for 1 min, 15 sec.  Stir and add salt, pepper (just a dash), 1 tsp basil and 1 tsp Parmesan.  In a measuring cup, combine yogurt, garlic powder, minced onion, and the remaining basil and Parmesan; mix well.  Combine with oatmeal.  Oh, and add some sauteed vedgies, if you want!  Bell peppers and onions are a good combination.

While the oatmeal is packed with complex carbs -- ie *energy,* Greek yogurt contains a crazy amount of protein, which also helps you stay alert and energized. 

This oatmeal will make you powerful.  UNNECESSARILY POWERFUL.  [Hey, has anyone seen Gnomeo and Juliet?  Adorable movie...ehehehe]