Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Daily lunch

Every day lately, I roast veggies from my CSA box from lunch, throw in a Tofurky sausage, and top with nutritional yeast and chipotle powder. It's awesome. This bunch included broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, carrots, and potato. Delish!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vegan "Pulled Pork" Sammie...Food Truck Style

Maximus Minimus has arrived and is rocking it on 2nd and Pike in downtown Seattle almost daily. the the menu is minimal, they do have an awesome vegan sandwich that is a bit like a cross between a sloppy joe and a pulled pork sandwich. It's loaded with cooked grains (I'm pretty sure there's some barley in there...) in delicious spicy (maximus) OR sweet (minimus) sauce and covered with cilantro, and served on a stellar whole grain bun. Add a rosemary lemonade and the day is made! And the truck itself? Well, that's one big-ass pig I would totally kiss!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

OMG! cute posters for the kitchen.

my awesome wife just sent me a link to the cutest minimalist posters ever! I'm getting this one for my kitchen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures in Portland, part one

The wife and I took an impromptu mini vacation and went down to Portland, Oregon for a few days. We saw some friends, walked in the sunshine, and drank Oly on the porch while enjoying books we had bought at at Powell's (city of books). We also ate at quite a few places. One of the treats we enjoyed was a pineapple basil sorbet at Ruby Jewels. Refreshing and subtly earthy, it was a perfect sweet treat to accompany a walk down Mississippi and a browse through Land (where we bought a few Nikki McClure posters and I got this sweet shirt). It was fun to get out of town for a few days, but I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Quilt

Just finished up this little quilt and popped it in the mail. I hope my friend Andrew receives it soon, and his kid is still in that cute baby stage in which they roll around on quilts and the like (I am notoriously bad at finishing projects in a timely manner). This quilt marks the 4th I have completed, and I am stoked about how this one turned out. It may be a little hippie-ish for Andrew, but I wanted to give his kid something to balance all the butt-rock I know he will be subject to as he grows up. At any rate, many belated congrats to my old friend Andrew, and I was so happy to have another excuse to make another quilt.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

An Open Letter to My Blog

Dear Blog,

I am sorry I have been neglectful. I promise I have a few posts coming soon, mostly in the crafty side of things, but nonetheless...

You see, I have been consumed as of late with quite a major undertaking. I am acting quite manic, to tell you the truth, and haven't been cooking or crafting very much, or basically doing anything outside of looking at thousands of negatives, slides, and photographic prints from the last 100 years that have come into my life.

I apologize, and promise I will return in a cooking frenzy in a few weeks, once the initial steps of the project have been laid to rest.

Thank you for understanding,


P.S. It's true, I am slightly cheating on you, but I promise it's for a good reason.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Old School Photos... Like, REALLY Old School

I forgot when I started this little blog, that I was going to aim for 75% recipe posts, and fill the other 25% with craftyness, kitschyness, and bitchiness. Well, that percentage is currently way out of whack, and considering my life has been insanity lately and I've been living off of cheerios, salad, and tofurky brats, I haven't posted much lately because I forgot I could write about stuff other than food.

One of the things that I've been kept busy by in the last few weeks is looking through the one hundred years of photographs that my grandmother has collected in her life. I've looked through hundreds of photographs, slides and negatives in the last week, and that is not a hyperbole. I can now identify what my mother and my aunt looked like at any age in their childhood (though truthfully, that one is kind of easy considering I am the spitting image of my mother). I can also identify what my grandmother, my two great aunts, and my two great uncles looked like at any age, from three years old until they were well into their eighties.

I can tell you my mother and I look like my grandmothers mother, and I can tell you that my grandmother and my aunt take after the women in my grandmothers fathers family. This essentially means I look Norwegian and my grandmother looks English. I could tell you alot of things I have learned in the last week, but that's for another day. Right now I want to share some old school photographs, and when I say old school, I mean one-room school old. I mean walking 20 miles in the snow, uphill, both ways, old.

The following photos were taken by my great grandmother, on the open prairies of Alberta, Canada, using the Kodak Folding Pocket Camera she bought in approximately 1912 (which is still in working order and on a shelf in my living room). I just had the pictures printed from negatives that are almost 100 years ago, and I thrilled that these records of my grandmothers childhood have survived.

My Grandmother, on the Canadian prairie, in about 1919. She is the 2nd from the left.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Salad with Mango and Blueberries

Yesterday was the first really beautiful day this spring in Seattle. The sun was out, the tide was low, and it hit 66 degrees. It seemed like the whole city came out in full force: dudes were walking around shirtless, small children were donning their swimming suits and splashing in the sound while wishing the Coleman Pool was open for the season, and ladies in short shorts were littering the rocky beaches. I spent the majority of the day laden with 3 cameras, traipsing around the beaches on Vashon Island and hanging out with my best friend from childhood. I even got a little bit of a sunburn on my cheeks. Go figure.

Dinner today was inspired by the glorious weather yesterday. I went outside of my comfort zone and went for the "this isn't local or seasonal by any means, but I want summer!" approach and made an huge salad on baby greens, spinach, mango and blueberries, and topped it with a ginger lemon dressing.

Spring Salad with Mango and Blueberries

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kale and "Sausage" Hash

I've been super busy lately: out shooting from the hip with my holga, taking a painting class at the local community college (gotta love those continuing education classes!), still trying to finish a few quilts (I should probably finish them before the babies I am making them for graduate high school or something), and writing, writing, writing!

But a girls gotta eat, so I've been making simple fast foods like this hash, which there a bazillion different variations on. That's why I love them: chop up some potatoes, add whatever is on hand, saute everything in some oil until heated and crispy and voila: a filling and delicious meal that doesn't break the bank and only takes about 30 minutes to make.

Kale and "Sausage" Hash

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hearty Minestrone

Minestrone is, simply put, a hearty, thick Italian vegetable soup. Usually it includes some beans and often pasta, though I think the inclusion of pasta can be a bit overkill. I suppose it just comes down to an individuals personal taste. Minestrone is diverse, and can include just about anything one can find to throw in a pot, making it pretty much a stone soup, sans the stone.

Minestrone is considered one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine, and has roots stating back to the Roman Empire. The minestrone the Roman soldiers lived on was far from the modern version: they didn't even get to enjoy the more recent additions of tomatoes and potatoes that American cooks started utilizing in the mid 16th century. Other than slight tweaks though the ages, the soup often stays true its roots by using local, season vegetables.

So, now that you are aware of the history of minestrone, here's the recipe for a batch I whipped up while visiting my mother the other day. Have at it.

A Minestrone Recipe:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cashew "Cheese" Spread 2 Ways

I used to love soft, spreadable cheeses before I was vegan. Brie, Camembert, Chevre, Cougar Gold, stinky, tart or smooth, it didn't matter. Basically, if a cheese could be served on a water cracker, I was a fan. The spreadable Sheese is quite good, but when I'm craving something a little different, it's time to break out the probiotics and raw cashews, and make my own. The last time I made spreadable "cheese", I made 2 different versions, a savory herbed version with rosemary and cracked pepper, and a soft light version, with lavender and toasted hazelnuts. They both rocked and every omnivore at the party didn't believe they were eating cashews and not cheese. Be warned though, even though this recipe is pretty simple, the prep time for this dish is about 3 days between the soaking and culturing, so remember to give yourselves ample time to make this dish.

Herbed Cashew "Cheese" Spread with Cracked Black Pepper

Cashew "Cheese" Spreads

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet Potato and Kale Enchiladas

These enchiladas were the star of my birthday dinner extravaganza. They're not exactly traditional by any means, but they sure are tasty!

I totally adapted this from Veganomicon, the holy bible of vegan cooking. Using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes makes this dish jump off the page, and if you use Okinawan sweet potatoes (which are pretty much the coolest tubers ever) the combo of purple of the yam and the green of the kale looks amazing. If you can't find Okinawan sweet potatoes (and you likely won't be able to unless you live in Asia, Hawaii, or the west coast) regular ol' orange yams will suffice.

My cat kindly took off the top of this enchilada so you could see the filling


Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Simple Curry

One of my favorite things in the entire word is having friends over for dinner. I like sequestering myself in the kitchen for a few hours and tuning into Thelonious Monk, playing mad scientist with spices, and ignoring the rest of the world until friends knock on the door and it's time to set the table. Sometimes I plate and serve full courses, and sometimes I spread all the elements on the table, and let my guests put together their own plates. The following curry works best in the latter format, as people can choose how much rice, vegetables, sauce, and garnish they want. It's a good meal for a smallish (4-6) dinner party.

Cilantro, Coconut Curry Sauce, Cumin Scented Rice, Roaster Cauliflower and Carrots, Steamed Spinach and Choi Sum

Curry Powder:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cherry Creme Tart with Sugar Crust

Yesterday was my birthday, and I am attempting not to feel too old by reminding myself I am still in my 20's. In celebration I did what I do best: spent all day cooking, invited some friends over, ate way too much food, and drank just a little too much Yamayuzu Shibori sake.

I made all sorts of yummy treats: two types of cashew "cheese," sweet potato and kale enchiladas, bean enchiladas, toast points, and a cherry creme tart with pears. Friends brought cupcakes, artichoke dip, fruit and a soysage chard medley that was delish. It all made for a great birthday. I'll post all the recipes, but wanted to start off with the dish that ended the night, the creme tart. I passed on the traditional cake and veganized Julia Child's sugar crust recipe (oh, how she must be spinning in her grave) and modified the ppk's berry creme tart recipe. The result was a filling that was cream and smooth, not to sweet, and a crust that was like a rich buttery, flaky sugar cookie. 

Cherry Creme Tart

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cardamom Scented Banana Bread with Strawberries

Well, Lindsey has been in DC for the last few weeks, and seeing as my cooking slags when she's gone (I am just not motivated to cook for one...) Mostly I've been listening to terrible pop music and rap and quilting (which I will post pics of once they are done... don't fret). There's something about listening to Rihanna and Diddy-Dirty Money* while ironing blocks of fabric that really takes the whole mundane factor out of the routine. 

I have however made a few things, including an awesome coconut curry, which I will get around to posting the recipe for in the next few days, and a totally awesome banana bread. I've made the banana bread recipe from the PPK a few times, and it really is my favorite. The bread is dense, smooth and sweet, but not in a "sugar-shock that sends one into a coma" way. It's da bomb. In fact, this banana bread makes me have love like woe for Isa.

I threw in 1/8 tsp of ground cardamom with the cinnamon and allspice, and once I had mixed the wet ingredients with the dry and the batter was smooth, I added in 1 cup of dried strawberries (sweetened with apple juice). You could, I suppose, add fresh strawberries, but I like adding the dried ones because it keeps the moisture level down and biting into a concentrated strawberry flavor surrounded by warm banana bread is heavenly. 

Ghetto picture of the last bit of banana bread. 
*Actually, I don't consider Puffy terrible (though maybe I should... but that's another rant), but once Usher and Pitbull start coming through the speakers there's no turning back on that road of musical armageddon. At least Cee Lo agrees to ride shotgun and keep me company...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 with Isa's Chocolate Berry Creme Tart

The featured post up over at at the Post Punk Kitchen for the last two weeks or so is the Berry Creme Tart With Cocoa Olive Oil Crust and I have been drooling over the damn thing since it was posted on the 2nd. But I needed an excuse, and I'm really not that into Valentines Day, in fact, the only thing you can count on from me during the holiday is to wear a shirt that has "fuck hallmark" stenciled on it. I also don't have a tart pan, but when I was invited to a pie party (in which I had to bring a pie) the party and the pan became the excuse I needed.

So I walked my happy ass down to the market and into my most favorite kitchenware store where purchases are far and few between, and picked out an 11" tart pan. Oh, the joy that filled my heart at the prospect of not having to make a tart in a pie pan. Plus, I found little heart shaped sprinkles for a whopping 50% off, so you know those went into the bag.

Isa's recipe was easy to follow and worked like a charm (though, because I was making an 11" tart instead of tartlettes, I upped the Agar Agar powder to 1 Tbs. I also used dutch cocoa powder and the crust was a much richer, dark chocolate). It takes a fair amount of time, and maybe the swirl in the tart isn't as clean as it could be, but it's worth the commitment, and the result is a smooth and creamy berry filling with a rich crust. bar far one of the best things that I have made, dessert-wise, in a long long time. Thanks PPK, for always being totally brilliant and trustworthy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatball Amore

In 1987 a TV special by the name of Frog aired. In my fuzzy brain, Fred Savage starred in what I thought was a full length movie involving frogs falling from the sky over a first kiss while "That's Amore" played in the background. Well, fortunately, someone threw the whole 50 minutes of it up on youtube, and I discovered I was wrong about everything except for the kiss and the song. Oh, there's frogs alright, but not falling from the sky, and there's definitely no Fred Savage. That's ok, I've got Little Monsters and Wizard to get my Fred Savage fix.  

Then, in 1991, when I was in 4th grade,our school performed a "Musical Olympics," in which pairs of students had to dress up in a country's traditional garb and sing the national anthem. Leave it to my father to convince me Italy's national anthem was "That's Amore," resulting in me to making a complete idiot of myself on the first day of rehearsal when I insisted I knew the whole song and broke into "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie..." A rendition that ruined my social status and my classmates eardrums for years to come, but that's ok, 'cause I got to rock a pink shawl, some plastic flowers in my hair, and a kick ass floral apron.

That's about the extent of my history with the 1950's classic. Well, accept that insist on singing it every time I make spaghetti and meatballs (which isn't that often) but I did get a chance to make them last weekend, and what meatballs they were! So throw a red gingham table cloth on your kitchen table, stick some carnations in a vase, put on some accordion music, light some candles, and serve your sweetie a very Americanized vegan version of an Italian classic.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tropical Icey Pops!

I've been on a cooking hiatus lately. This tends to happen when my wife goes a traveling (which she tends to do on a regular basis, fighting the good fight for equality and all) and I tend to get lazy about the whole cooking (and shopping) thing and end up living on rice and beans or lentils for a few weeks. Lindsey returned just in time for our kitchen to get torn up (on the bright side, I now have new granite counter tops. yay!!!) and during the shuffle of the last week I have misplaced my card reader. So, while i have spaghetti and vegan meatball total awesomeness to share, as well a soup featuring my newest favorite vegetable: choy sum, they will all have to wait until I find the damn card reader. Sigh.

But don't fret! In the meantime I wanted to share an awesome product find I stumbled upon yesterday at my favorite northwest Asian market. First of all, I love Uwajimaya: the store is a vegan's dream come true. There's about 20 different kinds of water packed tofu, the best selection of fresh vegetables I have come across at any supermarket in the Seattle area, and a bazillion treats waiting to be found. Ok, that's a hyperbole, but I do love constantly finding treats made with agar agar instead of gelatin.

So, what is my treat of the day? An icey creamy frozen treat called Smooze. Apparently they also sell it at whole foods, so if you don't live near any awesome Asian supermarkets, you could try there... At any rate, Smooze is basically a push pop made of fruit juice, coconut milk, and pectin. They come in 4 flavors: mango, guava, pineapple and passion fruit, which are not only refreshing, but makes one feel like they are sitting on a beach in Hawaii. Plus, they are packaged in those paper triangle type push pop packages that you have to cut open, and those make me feel like I'm a little kid again. All in all, it's a pretty good find.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I seem to not cook when my wife is away...

I have however, been out playing with friends and chowing down at the Highline, meeting new people, running into old friends, and going off to catch some shows this weekend (with my boy Joey who just rolled into town! holla!!!). I've been skiing and listening to tons of music and ever since I started taking vitamin D, I have energy! It's been good. Also, I finished a quilt for a friends wee baby that I started a few months ago and I am stoked about the whole thing. It's the third one I've made, and the largest. Not bad, eh? What better way to remind people to eat their veggies? Got two more quilts on my plate right now and I can't wait to start 'em and share 'em!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rice and Beans with Hedgehog Mushrooms

I love hedgehogs. They are just so cute with their little snouts, and prickly quills, and when they yawn it's irresistible. They also belong outside, romping around in the grass and getting into peoples gardens, or sometimes washing hankies and making cups of tea, but only on their own terms. There is another kind of hedgehog though, which I gladly welcome into my kitchen, is luscious orange-brown, has soft little "quills" on the underbelly, is light and peppery and goes excellent with rice and beans, making it a perfect light dinner addition. And that is the hedgehog mushroom, my newest favorite find and a staple of late in my kitchen.

Cook rice, seasoning with chipotle chili pepper, garlic, salt, and cracked black pepper. Cook cranberry beans, seasoning with salt and cracked pepper. In a medium pan, over medium heat, saute 1 cup hedgehog mushrooms in 2 tsp olive oil, salt to taste and 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley until mushrooms are sift and cooked combine 1/2 cup rice with 1/2 cup cooked beans in a bowl and top with mushrooms. a very simple yet satisfying meal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

“Cheesy” Potato Gratin

I finally fed my craving. See, I've been craving scalloped potatoes since Thanksgiving. The warm cheesy bubbles that pop with steam on the way from the oven to the table, the crisp browning edges that crunch, the perfectly laid rows of thin potato slices that are soft when you bite down, yet not mushy... yeah, that's what I've been craving. 

I fought the craving off for a while until Christmas rolled around and we had dinner with my wife's family and my mother-in-law served up a potato gratin, looking like the angels had made it and placed it down right beside me to tantalize my olfactory senses. And it was made with bacon. As quickly as the angels had laid down this dish beside me, the Devil was there to enforce the steadfast law that if you want something done your way, you better just do it yourself. So I begged for the recipe, veganized it, and bestow upon you the holy grail of potato gratin.

“Cheesy” Potato Gratin

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Portuguese Bean Soup

If you wanted to try my linguica seitan "sausage" recipe, but weren't sure what in the world to do with said "sausage," don't fear! you can make this awesome cabbage stew. It's a true "peasant stew" americanized by generations of mothers passing down to their offspring, and it was a favorite of mine when I was small during the winter months.

On a completely different, yet slightly related note, I blame Michael Scott and Ricky Gervais for my 4th grade stifled laughter over the last two days. Trust me, I know it's stupid, and immature, but I can't, for the life of me, read or type the word "sausage" without immediately thinking "that's what she said!" Even if it makes no sense whatsoever. Thanks, pop-culture, for taking over my brain. Again.

Portuguese Bean Soup

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Linguica Sausage Seitan

Sometimes, pre-packaged "sausage" just doesn't cut it. I had a hankering to make Portuguese bean soup yesterday, a throwback to my childhood, which my mum would make a few times a winter as it kept us warm and our tummies filled (and I did! of course, there was so much trial and error throughout the process, when I finally got the consistency and taste right, I had no idea how I ended up at that particular place. Will have to make again and follow my actions more closely so I can share). Running through my memorized list of Field Roast links, I knew Italian style "sausage" wouldn't cut it, chipotle would fall flat, and there was no way apple would work. I couldn't think of a Tofurky style link that would follow through, and couldn't think where to get a chorizo style (which may have worked... we'll see...). At any rate, I ended up making my own wheat meat that was slightly smokey and slightly spicy and worked in the stew just fine.

Linguica Sausage Seitan

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shared Plates II: Spinach Salad, Roasted Squash, Swiss Chard on Toast and Sauteed Broccoli

For a minute there, while I was living on the east coast, I seemed to forget a bit about the food politics of the northwest. In this little corner of the world, it really does always seem to be about fresh, local, sustainable. I think here, maybe more than any other place in this country, people are adverse to processed food that come in packages or have been grown with the aid of pesticides. Many take it one step further, and if food was grown by anyone outside of your state (or county) it might as well be toxic sludge. It's pretentious, and a lot of the time we end up sticking our foot in our mouth, (there are more than a few restaurants that, while they tout fresh local ingredients seem to throw the fresh-local-sustainable shtick out the window for a scallop from Maine) to the point I sometimes think we should all say "Fresh, sustainable and local, unless it's exotic, sells well, and I can't get it locally" or "Fresh, sustainable and local but make sure my wine is from Italy!" and I will be the first to admit I indulge in that behavior.

Hypocrisy aside, as my favorite comic book heroine says "It ain't all bad." I've cut down eating processed vegan goodies like Gardien products and Daiya shreds and am opting to eat what is readily available in my area on a regular basis, and trust me when I say my taste buds aren't suffering. I make a good deal of what Anthony Bourdain might deem "Peasant food," and, if Tal Ronnen could see my fridge now he would likely ream me out for making food reminiscent of Angelica Kitchen in the '70's and insist I get with the times. But you know what? I like my hippie peasant food, thank you very much, and I intend to keep it. Sometimes, I think we get so fixated on improving or changing something we forget how good vegetables can be in their natural state. This is the sentiment I kept in mind when I had a few good friends over for dinner the other night, and we had a lovely simple dinner of spinach salad, baked maple Delicata squash, sauteed broccoli, chard on toast and kale crisps.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Shared Plates

Quite a lot has happened in the last few weeks, and as I sit here not-so-patiently waiting for the last of this horrid cold that has consumed my life the last four days to pass, I can finally take a few minutes to reflect on the rapid fire of the last few weeks. Christmas came and went, compacted into 4 days of seeing mine and my wife's family. Managed to see a few friends before I got sick and resigned to hiding in bed, saw a few movies starring Jeff Bridges (True Grit = Cohen brothers brilliance; Tron = old school fun reinvented), broke down and got a 35mm Holga Camera (Yes, I went to Urban Outfitters. Yes, I swore the whole time I was in the store. I may have even managed to bark "I used to be able to get a Holga 120 for $15 before these assholes started carrying them!" at the display of the brilliant Japanese plastic creations), did some laundry, took a few baths, visited the Picasso exhibit at SAM and somehow didn't end up cooking anything new and exciting.

Seriously, somehow, the only thing I have cooked in the last 2 weeks was some stir-fry and some vanilla bean cupcakes with tart cherry filling (ok, those were pretty good...) I did, however, share a few meals with friends, discussed molecular gastronomy, the roles food plays in community and history, read more of the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (which, in fact, predates Julia Child's french cookbook for Americans, and has more pre-war recipes), received and promptly started reading "As Always, Julia: the Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto" which is a truly amazing record of the development of one of the most monumental cookbooks and characters in U.S. history. I dined at a few "acclaimed" northwest restaurants and have a few ideas for some upcoming dinner menus, and shared a wonderful meal of rice, lentils, beets and onions, and beet greens with a few good friends. K, who made the wonderful meal, and I get to talking food and bore everyone else to tears, so we devised a plan to have a food date in the city every two weeks. In a way, that's a new years resolution, and one that I won't mind sticking with.

Lemon scented rice. Beets and Onions. Beet Greens