Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Thanks Jen for the info on vegan Halloween candy. Unfortunately, my sister picked up Halloween candy yesterday and it is the non-vegan kind. Next year, I will get Twizzlers or something. Though I know Twizzlers have glycerin in them. Glycerin is not always vegan and it doesn't say vegetable glycerin. I assume if they made PETA's list, then they checked out the source.

Anyway, I've cooked quite a bit since I got back. I've been bad about posting. Last weekend I saw Bryanna's Waffle Iron Hash Browns on VeganCyclist's blog. Since my waffle iron has never been used for anything other than waffles, I gave them a try. They were delicious, even Tommy thought so. If you don't have a waffle iron, VC made her's in a panini grill and they came out a-ok.

What else... I had recently picked up Bryanna's Authentic Chinese Cuisine: For the Contemporary Kitchen. Originally, I planned on making soup; however, I saw the recipe for Dan Dan Noodles and tried those. These were awesome. As I was cooking them, I was wondering if the strange mixture of ingredients would work. They totally did. I've got leftovers waiting for dinner tonight! The only change I made to the recipe was adding some broccoli. With the extra veggies, I was able to make three meals out of it, instead of two. Tommy dug these noodles too, though I think she is wondering why I haven't cooked tofu or seitan in awhile.

Lastly, Halloween stuff. I was visiting Yeah, That Vegan Shit and saw these awesome bloody finger cookies that she made. I gave them a try for today's Halloween party at work. The only change I made was using jam instead of red frosting. When I make these again, I'd put the almonds on before baking the cookies. The severed fingers were a bit brittle and a few broke while adding the almond fingernails. I just added more jam and stuck them back together. The almond cookies are actually very tasty and they could be made again as regular cookies in the future.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Checking In and Halloween Question

I've got 2 new recipes two post about later tonight. Hopefully, I'll have cooked up my Halloween cookies by then, so you will have 3 photos to look at.

There is candy all around the office today. I guess they have designated today as a day where every one can bring their kids in and they can trick or treat around to certain cubes that have candy. This is my first year as a vegan on Halloween. I supposed the only thing I really miss is peanut butter cups. I can make some pb squares if I get desperate.

How do you all handle trick or treaters on Halloween? Do you get vegan treats like pretzels or oreos to give out? Just curious as I have not dealt with this issue before and have been wrestling with buying regular Halloween candy or getting some other stuff.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sweet Potato Fries

Tonight is only my second night home and Tommy sure is happy about it! For dinner I made a nice salad, jerk tofu, and sweet potato fries. The jerk sauce on the tofu and the ketchup pictured with the fries came from a shop on Tortola (British Virgin Islands) called Sunny Caribbee. If you are looking for some great Caribbean spices, sauces or teas, then check out their site.

I love sweet potato fries plain, but they were great dipped in Sunny Caribee Spicee Catsup.

So...you already know where I have been. We spent a few days on the island and then the rest of my time in the BVIs was on a boat named Caribbean Dream. Unfortunately, I didn't get many great photos of the 4o foot catamaran, but here is one to the right. After the sailing adventure we took a ferry over to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands for our last two days.

Kelly our captain and Angie our first mate, were great. Angie cooked wonderful vegan food for me on the boat every day. She was rather concerned about cooking for me (the first vegan guest on Caribbean Dream), but we exchanged emails and I gave her a few ideas. She also found some recipes on her own. My favorite meal Angie cooked was this wonderful tofu curry.

Kelly was a great captain. Every time I mentioned that I hadn't gotten to visit somewhere while I was in Tortola this time or last year, our itinerary would magically change. One afternoon there was a large storm and poor Kelly was stuck outside in the rain for at least an hour circling around in the deep water until the weather was clear enough to head through the gap in the reefs to the next bay.

I think my favorite place that we visited was the One Love bar on Jost Van Dyke. We docked in the bay and jumped in the dinghy for a quick ride over the the beach. Kelly and Angie dropped us off and then motored out to sea. I wasn't quite sure why. The next thing I knew, they were flying towards the beach at high speed. The dinghy skidded up on to the sand and stopped just outside the bar. They stepped out of the boat and nonchalantly pulled up a bar stool after their "James Bond" entrance.

One Love is the type of beach bar that I've seen in movies or on tv, but never thought I be visiting. People tack their business cards on the wall. Seddy the owner will pick a number and call, once in awhile. He just taunts them telling them that it is 80 degrees and he looking out at the beach. Kenny Chesney wrote a song that was inspired by this little place called "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem". Signed t-shirts hang on the ceiling. Everybody writes their name on the bar. If you go there, you'll a find a palm tree drawn on the counter that says Jody in the middle!

Raquel the bar tender makes a great Bushwacker with coco loco, but no milk. Yay, vegan beverages! While we were there, the producer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was there with one of the families that will be on a future show. Two more views for you, looking further down the beach and also out at sea.

When I wasn't eating, drinking, sleeping, or hiking on one of the islands...we went snorkeling off the side of the boat. The reefs made me sad as many were dead, but there were a few pockets that seemed to be thriving. There were many beautiful fish and we saw some sea turtles and rays.

A sailing trip is much more personalized than a cruise ship. Kelly and Angie went out of their way to make our adventure wonderful. Angie actually cooked two meals (one vegan and one not) each time we sat down to eat. They were incredibly accommodating and I can't say enough good things about them. One last photo of Kelly and Angie, to end this entry. I'll be scoping out what I missed on everyone's blogs over the past week or so.

Thanks Kelly and Angie!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Back in a bit...

I'll be without Internet access for the next 10 days or so. Hope I don't go through withdrawal, lol! Once I am back online I will be checking everyone's blogs and making some new posts of my own. Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mojito Marinade, Cabbage,and Plantains

This will be a quick post. I've got to make some guacamole and head to a friend's house for the football game.

Last week, I was at someones blog and they talked about mojito marinade. Unfortunately I can't remember who, so I can't give credit. Since I had left over seitan, I made that recipe. I let the seitan marinate for a few hours while I mowed the lawn in the afternoon yesterday and then pan seared it. This marinade is awesome! The author on Epicurious is a restaurant owner. It is a roadhouse and I suspect not very veg friendly, but boy is this recipe good. It also makes a good dressing for salads and cooking veggies. I'll likely make this often and keep it on hand in the fridge. Also on the plate is cabbage apple dish that my aunt introduced me to. Saute onions, chopped red cabbage, and chopped apples with some olive oil. At the end add some caraway seeds.

A few days ago, I also cooked up a plantain. I sliced it, dipped it in unsweetened coconut and cooked it in a pan that had been sprayed with a little oil. I didn't let the plantain ripen enough, so it wasn't as sweet as usual. I did sprinkle a little agave nectar on some of the pieces.

Hope you are all having a nice weekend!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mustard Crusted Seitan & More

This weekend was filled up as usual. Saturday I stopped in at my aunt's and helped her shop for the holidays. Sunday, I had to get my cooking done before heading to my father's house. We had a family dinner before Yom Kippur started. Then we fasted from Sunday evening until sundown today (Monday).

Tonight, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. I'd thought about tortilla espanola from VwaV with some leftover pimientos de padron, but I was tired and wanted something quick.

Since I had left over seitan, I decided to attempt something I missed from my non-veg days. I used to love the mustard crusted chicken at funky restaurant not too far from my house. Now I've learned that the chicken/meats are really not what I loved, it is the tastes that they are cooked in.

How do you make mustard crusted seitan? Well, I spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on each fillet of seitan, dipped it into breadcrumbs and then pan fried it. The verdict? 9 out of 10 stars! If I had homemade bread crumbs rather than canned, the coating would have been crunchier because crumbs would not be as fine. I might also add some mustard seeds to the bread crumbs before dipping in the future. I'm getting braver about just trying things in the kitchen.

Where did the seitan come from? Well, yesterday I made seitan from VwaV to use with the entree, I cooked to bring to the family dinner. Note: Not a huge fan of VwaV seitan, it is a little spongier than I prefer. Last week I had picked up an acorn squash and a celebration squash and I decided to stuff them. First I steamed the squashes. Then I made some vegan cornbread from The Angelica Home Kitchen.

Once the bread was done, I crumbled half of it into a bowl. Then I went to work on the rest of the stuffing. I sauteed chopped onions, celery, carrot, and garlic. Next I mixed the veggies with the bread, cubed seitan, chopped up squash and sage/thyme. After that, I stuffed the squashes with the mixture and baked them. At dinner, I served the squashes with mushroom gravy.

My aunt made two desserts for Sunday's dinner. She was nice enough to experiment with egg replacer and use margarine, so I could partake. She made mun cookies. Mun is a Yiddish word for poppy seeds. They were tasty. The second dish she brought was cranberry walnut tart. It was also very good. Behold my aunt's vegan desserts!

I also brought coconut lime cookies from Vive le Vegan, but no photo as I have baked those tasty buggers before.