Monday, September 26, 2011

Israeli Couscous Is So Cute.

I have a huge amount of Israeli couscous, because I really like the stuff and I forgot I already had a huge bag so I bought another huge bag when I went to the coop last week.



I actually make a lot of this stuff because it's really just a form of pasta. It's tiny little balls of pasta. Cute. :)

Veganomicon had a recipe for it, so I decided to try it this past weekend.

Israeli Couscous With Pistachios and Apricots Pg 117


2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots, chopped to the size of raisins
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
Juice from 1/2 lime

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat. Place the garlic and oil in the pan and saute for 1 minute.

Add the couscous, raise the heat to medium, and stir pretty constantly for 4 - 5 minutes; the couscous should start to toast.

(Note: Do you see the smiley face? If you do, I'll give you a cookie...or maybe even a gold star!)

Add the water, cinnamon stick, cumin, cardamom, pepper, salt, and lime zest.

Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat again to as low as possible and cover. (We know, lots of raising and lowering the heat but that's cooking for you.) In about 10 minutes, most of the water should have been absorbed. Add 2 tbsp of the mint, and the apricots, pistachios, and lime juice.

Look at how pretty the pistachios and apricots are! I LOVE GREEN AND ORANGE TOGETHER. They are literally my favorite colors. <3

Stir, cover again, and cook for 5 more minutes. At this point, the water should be thoroughly absorbed.

Remove the cinnamon stick, fluff the couscous with a fork, garnish with remaining mint, and serve.


Deliciousness: 3/5
It was really....sweet. It's a white pasta with fruit and nuts and sweet-ish spices. I don't know what I was expecting, I think if I make this again (only likely because I have SO much Israeli couscous / pistachios) I will add some cayenne pepper or something to give it a boost of spice.

Ease of Preparation: 4/5
It took a surprisingly longish time to make, about 40 minutes. Not terribly long, still, but I expected it to take about 20.

Prettiness: 5/5
It's little cute balls of delightfullness with green pistachios and orange apricots! Favorite colors, so I'm probably biased....SO COOL-LOOKING.

Sweet Jesus! Miso Dressing!

I like salad dressings. They're like, the coolest things ever created.

I also like making my own salad dressings because I can tweak the flavors how I like, and I can see exactly what goes into it, and I can put it in a cool glass bottle and be proud of my home-made dressing that's sitting in the fridge.

In Vegan Yum Yum, I found a delicious-sounding way to use some of the miso that's been hanging out in my fridge for the past few weeks.

Sweet Miso Salad Dressing Pg 271


1 heaping tablespoon sweet white miso
1 heaping tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 pinches salt
fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
2 - 4 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil (your choice)
1 tbsp hot water

Put the miso, mustard, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper into a bowl. Use the whisk to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking constantly, creating an emulsion. the dressing should turn shiny and thick. Taste and reseason if necessary. Whisking hot water to thin, if needed. Let the dressing stand for a few minutes and whisk again before serving.




Deliciousness: 4/5 
This is a really simple, kinda sweet salad dressing. It's not obscenely exciting, but it does really complement the bitter taste of arugula quite well. It's also really reminiscent of a lot of salad dressings I used to eat in Japan...covering deliciously fresh cabbage...*drools*

Ease of Preparation: 5/5
Absurdly easy. Whisking things together can't really get complicated.

Prettiness: 3/5
Nothing super fancy, but it is a nice creamy looking salad dressing (as opposed to just balsamic vinegar) and the color is kind of neutral so aesthetically speaking, it would go well with a variety of different salads.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Corn Salad is Good Stuff.

I like salad-y type things.

They're convenient as leftovers, they're good on bread or by themselves, they usually have a lot of fresh ingredients, and they're easy to get creative with.

That said, they're also my favorite lazy food because they require no cooking - just chopping and mixing! Hell. Yes.

I've never had 'corn salad' before, but it sounded pretty damn I decided to try a recipe from "The Vegan Stoner" - a hella cute blog with all kinds of easy, delicious, cheap vegan recipes.

Corn Salad Sandwich


Whole Kernel Corn
Handful of Fresh Spinach
Two Spoonfuls of Vegenaise
Handful of Nutritional Yeast
A Few Shakes of Garlic Powder
Two Slices of Bread

Now, the blog doesn't specifiy on the amount of each here's the exact measurements that I used:

1/2 lb of tofu
1/2 can of corn
1/4 cup Vegenaise
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1. Drain tofu and canned corn.

2. Chop tofu and handful of spinach.

3. Toss tofu, corn, and spinach with 2 spoonfuls of veganaise.

4. Mix in a handful of nutritional yeast and a few shakes of garlic powder.

5. Spoon onto 2 slices of bread. (Ahem....I did not use bread, so I just spooned this into a bowl.)

6. Munch.


Deliciousness: 5/5
Really delightful! A perfect salad for some toast, or by itself! The nutritional yeast really gives it that oomph, without being overwhelming. I added some ground pepper, which really brought it all together I think.

Ease of Preparation: 5/5
Easy as HAYELL. Just chop stuff and mix it. Favorite. :)

Prettiness: 5/5
Yellow and green and white and all kinds of textures....looks very summery.


Banana bread, anyone?

A friend of mine couldn't imagine baked goods could be made vegan...he thought the idea of baking without eggs / butter / milk would be pretty difficult.

So I made him some banana bread!

Really, banana bread is one of the easiest baking-things to make vegan. Bananas are such a good binder that they really can replace the eggs entirely. So I didn't even have to ponder about using Ener-G or flaxseed or whatever else to replace the eggies.

I chose a recipe from "FatFree Vegan Kitchen" blog.

Blueberry Banana Bread


  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vanilla soymilk (or apple sauce)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) agave nectar
  • 2 cups (240 g) white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) blueberries 

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray or wipe a 9×5-inch loaf pan with oil (I used a silicon loaf pan).

Mix the soymilk with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and let stand until it curdles. (If using apple sauce, skip this step and add the lemon juice to the bananas.)

In a large bowl, mash the bananas.

Add the remaining lemon juice, soymilk, and agave nectar. Stir well to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and stir just until the mixture is well-combined.

Fold in the blueberries.

Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.


Deliciousness: 4/5
It was tasty! I used overripe bananas, but I think next time I'll use EXTREMELY overripe bananas...for more banana-y flavor. I also think I'll use four total bananas - the bread was good but definitely could have been a little more moist. I mean, come on - it's banana bread. It's gotta be insanely moist!

Ease of Preparation: 4/5
Really easy baking recipe. It takes 50 minutes to bake, though, so make sure you have some sort of project you can work on while you're watching the oven.

Prettiness: 5/5
Little blueberry gems inside a banana bread! Cute!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I Am SO Not Italian.

When it comes to food, my family was never very traditionally anything. My mom made a lot of prepared meals and my dad wasn’t really home often enough to make things. My sisters and I DREADED pizza – we ate so much frozen pizza as kids that we grew to hate the stuff.

I always wished I were Italian, or Mexican, or Filipino or something cool likethat. I had so many friends who had such strong connections to their cultural roots through food, and they always came to school with such cool things in their lunchboxes. I remember specifically wishing I were Italian.

I fantasized about going to Catholic mass (even though Catholic churches scared the shit out of me) with an enormous family, with parents who were boisterous and warm. I imagined a huge family gathering at the table for dinner or holiday celebrations, with foods covered in cheese and with fancy sounding names like "salciccia" or "pescatore." I imagined a billion kids running around acting crazy and a billion aunts and uncles laughing and talking about adult-y things inside while the kids played outside until the sun went down.

Keep in mind, I was also definitely a fat kid, so these fantasies were all like 'OH MY GOD CHEESE.'

But alas, since growing up, most of my culinary adventures have been within Asian cuisine, probably because I grew up in Japan and that's what I'm used to / what I like.

So when I eat Italian stuff, I usually have NO FUCKING CLUE what's going on.

I decided to try this recipe from Vegan Comfort Food (Pg 150).

Lemon and Caper Linguine

Now I have absolutely NO idea what capers are. I went to the store and found them by the olives. I'm sure everyone else knows what they are but I was like DUDE what the FUCK are these little briny green ball things?!

They made me imagine caviar, even though I've never had / seen caviar.

According to my phone / wikipedia, capers are little flower buds. Why the FUCK people decided to basically pickle flower buds is beyond me. But people do weird shit to food and it turns out well so hey, who am I to judge?

So first you cook your linguine. Yay!

I almost always make whole wheat pasta. Because I am constantly on a mission to lose a little weight (it's been working lately! yay!) and whole wheat stuff usually keeps me full a hell of a lot longer.

You then will chop up some garlic and throw it in a pan of olive oil (or walnut oil in my case) and sautee it; after it's sauteed for about 30 seconds, throw in some capers and sautee for a little longer. Then remove it from the heat, throw in some lemon juice, and steamed broccoli.

That's all there is to it.

When I was eating it, I swear I could feel the aura of a huge Italian family judging me for my tattoos and wishing I would go to mass and pissed that I used bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice.

But the linguine was good. :)


Deliciousness: 3/5 
Nothing particularly special, but it was good. I liked that it was so light; there was no sauce except for the oil and lemon juice, so it didn't weigh me down that much. And I could go to the gym about 45 minutes later! If I want to make it a little more special next time, I think I'll roast some pine nuts and throw those in, too. And a little oregano. Just a sprinkling.

Ease of Preparation: 6/5 
This is literally the easiest meal I've EVER made. Freaking insanely easy. Like, INSANE.

Prettiness: 2/5 
Nothing special.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tabbouleh, Quinoa-Style

Middle Eastern food is notoriously vegan-friendly. Tahini, chickpeas, lots of veggies, etc.

Tabbouleh is my FREAKING FAVORITE. It's a bulgur-wheat salad, with lots of veggies and a burst of lemony goodness.

In The Vegan Table, (pg 150) I found a recipe for tabbouleh made with quinoa. I have a ton of quinoa at home, so I figured I would try this.

1 cup quiona
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Rinse the quinoa. Cook, then let cool.

Mix all the veggies / oil / spices together in a huge bowl.

I had previously written a post about the glorious color of grapeseed oil (my oil of choice for this tabbouleh). LOOK AT HOW GREEN IT IS!

So mix all your stuff together, then eat it.



Deliciousness: 4/5 
A little too lemony, I think next time I'll use lime juice. But it's still delicious!

Ease of Preparation: 5/5
The hardest part was chopping things.

Prettiness: 5/5
The combination of textures, with the bright green / bright red contrast makes for a fancy lookin' little dish. CUTE.

The Perfect Vegan Brownie! It's REAL!

So for the past three weeks, I have been making a million brownies. I have been on the hunt for the PERFECT vegan brownie recipe.

I tried a million different recipes, I tried a million different methods.

I tried using bananas as an egg replacer.

I tried using Ener-G Egg Replacer

I used different flours (whole wheat pastry, all purpose, spelt, etc).

I tried using a bar of chocolate instead of cocoa powder.

There was a plethora of different colored / textured batters.

Anyways, my point is that I did all kinds of weird shit. And most of the recipes I made were just either really blah, or really disgusting, or didn't cook right.

So yesterday, I made some brownies for the 11th time. I didn't expect these to taste awesome, I didn't even expect them to taste GOOD. The recipe called for more cocoa powder than flour (what the hell?) and 1 1/4 cup of OIL. Jesus christ. The proportions seemed so off. But I figured that I've tried making brownies with black beans, I may as well just try a recipe that calls for unusual proportions.

This recipe came from You Won't Believe It's Vegan! Pg 178

3 tbsp egg replacer (Ener-G)
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups Sucanat
2 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts

Now, I changed a few things (because I always freaking do).

I used vanilla soy milk, so it was a little sweeter.
I used 3/4 cup walnut oil and 3/4 cup canola oil.
I used whole-wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose.
I simply used organic unbleached cane sugar instead of Sucanat.
I didn't use nuts. I don't love nuts.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan and line with baking parchment.

1. Whisk together the water and egg replacer...

then mix with the rext of the wet ingredients and Sucanat.

2. In a seperate bowl, stir together the cocoa, flour, baking powder, salt and nuts.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together.

When the batter was made, I had a REALLLLLLY hard time not eating it all.

So I pulled out some celery and forced myself to eat that instead. I wasn't particularly pleased about it.

4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack to room temperature. When cool, cut into twenty-four squares.

And, my friends, there was born a perfect vegan brownie.

:) :) :) :)


Deliciousness: 5/5
Moist on the inside, a sweet, flaky top, SUPER chocolatey....this is definitely a damn good brownie. Rich and decadent, not weirdly burnt on the sides, not overly mushy on the inside. It's perfect. It's not a cakey brownie,and not a particularly fudgey's a freaking moist, delicious, chocolate fest.

Ease of Preparation: 4/5
One of the easier brownie recipes I tried. I didn't have to mash up any bananas, I didn't have to melt a chocolate bar, and I didn't have to chop up any nuts (because I didn't freaking want to).

Prettiness: 5/5