Archive for February, 2012

More Cooking Success!

So I’ve had more success the past week with two new recipes! Honestly, it’s a miracle that these recipes are working out for me. And not only do I like them, but other people do, too!

On Tuesday, I made Spinach & Artichoke White Bean Chili. You can’t go wrong with artichokes. If a recipe has artichoke in it, I’m probably going to make it. I love artichokes. Every Thanksgiving, my grandmother would make stuffed artichokes. I would scoop off the stuffing and just eat the leaves – well, not eat, but whatever you do with the leaves of an artichoke. And basically, that would be my Thanksgiving. SO GOOD! And this chili? Wicked, crazy delicious. And spicy. Spicy to the point where I microwaved it for lunch at work, brought it back to my desk, and my boss asked, “What IS that?! It’s burning my nose!” I think the smell was more intense than the actual level of spiciness because I didn’t find it uncomfortable to eat. I HATE eating overly spicy foods that just burn off my tongue. This also had quite a lot of cumin. Kind of stunk up the house a bit. I might use a tad less cumin next time. Other than that, it was perfect.

On Wednesday night, I made Sweet Potato White Bean Veggie Burgers with a side of Blistered Ginger & Garlic String Beans. Apparently, I was on a white bean kick this past week.

Anyway, the burgers came out pretty good. My little sister liked the taste of these burgers more than the burgers I had made the previous week. I favored the previous burgers, though, because they had more flavor. The good thing about making your own burgers, though, is that you can add as much flavor as you want, so next time I’ll spice it up a bit more. Sweet potatoes are SO good for you, so they’re worth another shot. AND they freeze well. The recipe made nine burgers, so I froze the rest. You have to have patience making your own veggie burgers, though. They break apart very easily and I find that I need a LOT of oil to cook them. I have to pour in a fresh tablespoon every time I put a couple more into the pan. If anyone knows any secrets to cooking your own, please let me know! Still, knowing exactly what is in the burgers is worth it. There’s no preservatives or anything fake when you make it yourself.

Now, the string beans. SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. If you like garlic (um hi, I would marry garlic) then you will LOVE this recipe. My sister described the flavor as “like Auntie’s chicken wings.” My aunt is Korean and she makes these really good chicken wings. They’re so good that when I decided to go veg, I thought “Dear wings, I’m really going to miss you.” They’re killer. Man. Somehow, these very simple to make string beans mimic that flavor. SCORE! I cannot wait to make them again.


February 26, 2012 at 5:08 am Leave a comment

Discovering a liking for tofu

Since the beginning of my vegan journey, I have seen tofu as a necessary evil. It would be something that I would have to try very hard to like. And man, have I tried hard to be besties with this veg staple, but our relationship wasn’t very friendly until I discovered a recipe for Bulgogi-style tofu.

The only thing I know about actual Bulgogi is that it is Korean and some kind of meat. And it’s probably really good, considering I found the tofu recipe DELICIOUS. Can you even believe it? It is flavor packed; it’s supposed to marinate for at least 8 hours, but I had it marinating for much longer…much, much longer. But as far as I’m concerned, there is nothing wrong with that!

So apparently, tofu is something that needs to be pressed. I learned that from the recipe, but I pressed mine for way longer than necessary (because I suck at reading directions) and it was still not completely dry. So, I REALLY want (read: need) one of these – TofuXpress. It smushes the crap out of the tofu without stacking books on top of tofu and waiting an hour for it to smush. And without wasting approximately seventeen paper towels.

The other issue was that I didn’t slice the tofu thin enough, but this only excites me about making it again. This was so good on the first, clearly imperfect attempt that I can only imagine it getting tastier and tastier with each try. I enjoyed it with brown rice and a side of garlic kale.

Kale is bitter when raw. It’s so bitter that when I ate it in a salad once, I couldn’t finish the salad. Cooked, however, kale is ah-maz-ing. Smothered in garlic? To. Die. For. Plus, garlic and I are total bffs. I am in LOVE

with garlic. The only change I plan to make to this recipe is to use less Earth Balance. The recipe calls for vegan butter and olive oil, but I’m pretty sure I will be happy with using much less of both ingredients. The garlic and soy sauce flavor is plenty! A bite of tofu and kale together? Divine.

Needless to say, both of these recipes have excited me about going vegan. And both of these pictures have shown me that I really need to work on my food photography skills.

February 20, 2012 at 2:36 am 2 comments

And we’re back

Okay, this is about the bazillionith go-around, I know, but I guess the point is I never stop trying. I get points for that, right? I’m taking a different approach this time, and there are multiple reasons.

My approach is to find vegan recipes that sound delish and make them. How simple! At the same time, I am still eating meat, though I have cut out a lot of dairy. For the most part, I no longer drink milk or eat yogurt or ice cream. I haven’t had eggs either. Then again, I have had foods that contain these ingredients.  I’m easing myself into this, which I think is the best way to do it. Obviously cold turkey didn’t work out for me. Plus, my current financial state is unfortunate and I can’t afford to go shopping for food all the time.

This week I made a quinoa salad with red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, and a cumin-lime dressing. It was DELICIOUS. I’m in love with quinoa. I’m not really in love with red onion, so I think I will cut back on the amount the recipe calls for, because it’s just such an overpowering flavor that stays in my mouth for hours and hours.

I also made bulgogi style tofu, which is a Korean dish. It smells good, and I tasted a tiny piece. My immediate reaction was, “Wow! A recipe with tofu that I might actually like!” So, that’s promising. We’ll see tomorrow at lunch time. I cut my tofu too thick, and it certainly doesn’t look like the picture from the blog where I got the recipe.

Pinterest is kind of what sprang my renewed interest. There is SO MUCH great stuff (vegan and not) on Pinterest. And, I’m completely obsessed.

I’m getting in to cooking, and by that I mean really trying to follow recipes. No more short cuts and if I don’t have all the ingredients, I’m not attempting the dish. Doing this has led to disappoints, so it’s not worth it. I will attempt to take pictures as I go, but usually by the time I remember to do that, it’s already too late. Plus, the food I make doesn’t look as..picturesque as what I see around the internet. Perhaps with practice, it will beautify.

February 16, 2012 at 4:01 am Leave a comment

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