Friday, May 17, 2013
I have been hearing the praise of Daiya 'cheese' for some time now and have been on a search for a while now. You may think, Well it is not all that hard to find... and you'd be right. But my kind of searching is looking at my local produce shops over and over again until it magically appears... which it did just last week.
I bought the provolone and Swiss flavored slices and immediately had to make a melted 'cheese' sandwich. This sandwich was all I had hoped for. It was nutty due to arugula. It was crunchy and spicy due to pickles. And, most of all it was creamy and melty and sticky ooey gooey. It was perfect.
But was it cheese? Of course it was not. But did it taste like cheese? Again, I would have to say, of course it did not.
But it did hit all those comfort nostalgic notes you look for in a grilled cheese sandwich. I have to wonder why that is, since my mother never let us eat American Cheese, and this was a pretty close approximation to that very thing. With hipster undertones.
Grilled Daiya Sandwich
Two slices crunchy, hearty, whole grained bread
4 -5 slices Daiya 'Cheese'
1 dill pickle, sliced
A handful arugula leaves, halved
2 teaspoons vegan butter
1. Place all ingredients except butter onto one slice of bread. Cover with the other slice. Spread one teaspoon of butter on one side of the outer bread.
2. Heat a frying pan and carefully place the sandwich onto the hot pan, butter side down. Add other teaspoon butter to top outer bread. Cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes intervals, checking each time to see if the cheese is melting. Flip over at some point and brown the other side. When the cheese has melted to your liking remove from pan and enjoy!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It is kind of spectacular, the alchemy of the kitchen. I went into this challenge, posed by Lindsay and Taylor of Love and Olive Oil with reservations. To be honest, I didn't think I would end up with anything but some sweet tasting water. Boy was I wrong!
I used the simple Alton Brown recipe that they posted, and it worked like a charm... in one bottle. You see, I had two one liter plastic bottles so I ended up splitting the ingredients between the two bottles. One bottle ended up the perfect bubbly spicy goodness I demand of a ginger ale. The other ended up flat and sweet, kind of what I'd expected from the whole exercise. I am going to leave the second bottle out of the fridge another day and hopefully it will come around. If not, no worries. I plan to make this again. I love me some spicy ginger ale!
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
I thank my lucky stars that I have never been allergic to anything (as far as I am aware).
My husband has very bad hay fever. Because of this he cut his alone-time vacation short by one day. The pollen is just too intense upstate right now and he couldn't even sleep at night.
Part of me was happy. Selfishly happy. He came home early and I was excited to see him.
I found this soup on Laura's blog, The First Mess. She adorned her soup with violets! Beautiful! And she writes about how ramps have become over harvested of late due to their foodie fame. Interesting.
I made this soup for his return and adorned it with parsley. Not violets, but it'll do. The soup has a real kick - just how my husband likes it. The cayenne really pops out of an otherwise mild melange. Potato is the mild filler with mild ramp and asparagus for flavor. I used white wine vinegar instead of white wine, and omitted the lemon juice, but think it probably is better as written.
Spring brings us wonderful new produce as well as pollen. Here is my celebration of the positive side of new growth.
I am entering this soup in Kahakai Kitchen's Souper Sundays. Check out what other people made on her website.
Monday, May 13, 2013
When I chose this dish for this week's Food Matters Project I didn't take into account that fact that I might not want my oven on in the middle of May. Luckily, it was cool last night and having the oven on didn't matter.
I love roasted beets. Unfortunately this dish is a bit too spicy for my tastes. I also prefer the beet's smooth texture and with all the ground spices on them they become too grainy.
Ah well, it doesn't hurt to try new things.
Japanese Spiced Roasted Beets
from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
(Makes 4 servings. Takes about 1 hour to prepare)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the pan
2 pounds beets (4 large ones), peeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (I didn't have these)
1/2 cup sliced scallions
Parsley for garnish (my own idea)
1. Heat oven t 400F. Smear a large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with a little of the oil. Put the beets in the pan, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the seasame oil, and toss to coat.
2. Roast, undisturbed, for 20 minutes before checking. If the beets release easily from the pan, stir them up a bit or turn them over with tongs. If they look dry and are sticking, drizzle with more oil and toss. Continue roasting, turning every 10 minutes or so, until crisp on the outside and just tender inside, another 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put peppercorns and white sesame seeds in a spice or coffee grinder and pulverize to a coarse powder. Transfer to a small bowl and add orange zest, chili powder, and poppy seeds. When the beets are done, toss them with the spice mixture, a sprinkling of salt and the scallions. Return to the oven for a minute or 2, just long enough to toast the spices. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Mother's Day is a weird holiday. Thought to be created by Hallmark, it has become an imperative.
I say this because my husband took a small vacation from us this weekend. He went upstate to our bungalow for some alone-time - time to rest, write his novel, and just be by himself. A totally healthy endeavor, after caring for a pre-schooler 24/7. But, the first time we've been apart since we met.
Oddly (since I have been inundated with blog posts about that exact day), I had completely forgotten. When I mentioned this to my husband he was mortified (he had also forgotten) and offered to cancel the trip. But, I didn't feel the need. I've never held much weight to the day.
So, I am spending Mother's Day weekend alone with my son, and Mother's Day day with my mother. I think it is fitting.
Besides, I am a sucker for roses.
Oh, and the ice 'cream'... it is the perfect combination of icy treat and super dark chocolatey goodness. I tend to prefer chocolate ices to chocolate ice cream, so this works for me. I suppose if it were blended again after being frozen it would become more creamy. It was super simple to make and perfect for the warm weather we're having.
It is a Food Matters Project challenge, chosen by Meg of Fledgling Foodie. Scheduled for May 20 (I am a little early).
Chocolate Tofu Ice Cream
from Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook
3/4 cup sugar
1 pound silken tofu
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Dissolve sugar with 3/4 cup water in a saucepan over heat. Let cool.
2. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Put in an ice cream maker as per directions or pour into an air tight container and freeze for 4 hours. If frozen overnight break up and blend again for a creamy texture.
Friday, May 10, 2013
It is times like these when I wish I had an immersion blender. That happen to you? A product you have eschewed forever suddenly seems like the best thing in the world.
When I had my son I was determined to make all his food from scratch. No store bought baby food for my baby. If any time was the right time it was then, but I didn't buy an immersion blender to grind all his cooked veggies and fruit into the mush he could eat. I used a food mill, my food processor and even my own two hands before I'd buy one. Why so stubborn, you ask?
Good question. Mostly due to my smaller than small kitchen, my interest in keeping things simple, and my thrifty (er, cheap) sensibilities.
Now that my son's almost four and wont eat anything even slightly resembling baby food, you'd think I was past the moment. But making creamy soups, soups that need to be blended, is a real pain.
You need to transfer all that hot stuff over and back again into the pot to reheat, since it cools off while blending. Making a mess of the kitchen, stove and using more pots and pans than seems necessary.
Even without an immersion blender this soup is delicious. The sweet carrot and orange flavors meld nicely with the sultry spices and chickpeas.
I am entering this in Kahakai Kitchen's Souper Sunday.
It comes to you from Mark Bittman, my hero.