Archive | Entree RSS feed for this section

Saved by Spinach Seitan Curry

13 Nov

Excessive hunger drives me to eat some rather strange things: a whole bag of Trader Joe’s sweet potato chips, a bag of Garretts caramel/cheddar mixed popcorn, multiple peanut butter snickers, greasy hamburgers with fried egg on top… I get a bit desperate when there’s nothing to eat in my fridge and my stomach starts to growling. It’s sad, and its scary. And no one should have to endure such pain. 

Therefore, at about 3 pm this afternoon, just as I was beginning to feel a bit whoosy and delirious, I decided to save myself from myself. I had to get in the kitchen and grab a damn skillet before things turned serious! A quick scan of my fridge led me to a package of premade curry sieten, an expired pound of tofu and a cupboard full of miscellanous items like artichoke salad, peanut butter-filled pretzels and dried black-eyed peas. Curry it is.

In just under 20 minutes, I ate the most delicious lentil curry I’ve ever had the pleasure of making. To make matters even more delightful, it was easy and contains things we (well, some of us) already have in our cupboards. Bon apetit, hungry monsters!

Spinach Seitan curry

What I Used

2 cups red lentils

3 cups broth

1 cup water

1 red onion, sliced

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp asafetida

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp coriander

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

q tsp liquid smoke

6 tsp curry paste (I realized that I didn’t have any curry powder at the last minute)

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp sea salt

Optional

handful of spinach (Mine was frozen)

1 package of seitan

What I Did

1. I melted one tablespoon of coconut oil in a Dutch oven, and sauteed the onion until it was carmelized, about 15 minutes.

2. While the onions were cooking, I mied all the spices together and, once the onions were tender, mixed them into the pot. I let this cook for a couple of minutes, and then added the garlic, cooking for another couple of minutes. 

3. Add the tomatoes, curry paste and liquid smoke, cook for a couple of minutes, then add the lentils, broth and water. Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes.

4. If you’re using them, add the seitan, cook for another 10 minutes or so, then add spinach and butter. 

20131113-201556.jpg

You can eat this with rice or naan or really whatever you’d like. I just ate mine with a spoon.

Enjoy!

Guess Who’s Back?!

23 Jun

As my buddy Kanye or was it Nas or perhaps P. Diddy once said, “Guess who’s back in the muthf’in house??!”

Yup! ME!

My hiatus has been long, but muy necessary and muy exciting! I decided to quit my job and relocate to the city I love, and I have therefore been eating out of bags, containers and drive-thru windows. My heart is happy, but my guts are ready to mutiny. This past weekend, after celebrating my 33rd birthday, I decided rather than lose my power to something called “entrails” for goodness sakes, I had better get my act together and cook. My wallet will be much happier too.

An adequate amount of shame finally arose to the surface last weekend as I was chowing down on a very delicious barbequed rib when someone said, “Aren’t you vegan?” My answer was, ‘Not when it comes to ribs.”

Which is not entirely true. I’ve just been a hot mess when it comes to meat and eating. I tend to revert to eating meat during highly stressful times. This didn’t happen when I smoked, however, I’d rather live with the pain of inhaling a burger. I do not want to die from inhaling tobacco. So meat it is. Now that I’ve started running regularly and also I’m back at it with yoga, my desire for beef has greatly diminished. Thank goodness!20130623-212200.jpg

All this was the prompt for my trip to Trader Joe’s, which is literally walking distance from my house. It was time to get myself something good to eat. Now normally, I’m anti-too many pre-made meats. But I realize that the reason it’s been so easy for me to eat poorly is that my standards have been too stringent. Either I’ve got to be in the kitchen cooking like I normally do, fancy, most things from scratch, etc. or I’ve got to eat like a dying carnivore. This black and white thinking is neither sustainable nor realistic.

The transition back to healthy eating has to be painless or else I won’t make it. Therefore, I loaded up on seitan sausages, tempeh, polenta, and some other stuff. For tonight’s recipe, I was craving polenta. I paired it with Trader Joe’s Italian sausages, roasted red and yellow peppers, and their delicious Power Greens. I believe even the diced tomatoes I used were from Trader Joe’s. The result was a delicious meal that immediately made me exclaim, “Holy Crap!!” My roommate thought something was wrong, but I clarified, “I’m fine. That’s just really fricking good!” It’s vegan, mostly gluten-free, it’s got carbs, protein, greens and it’ll hold me until my morning smoothie. A good way to start the journey back to good eating. My entrails are happier already.

And apparently somebody named Crooked I sang “Guess Who’s Back” featuring Snoop Dogg. Who the hell is Crooked I?!

 

Turkish-Inspired Sweet and Savory Tofu

5 May Slice of Dish
First Slice

First slice wasn’t pretty, but it was still delicious.

So I’ve been MIA. Down a rabbit hole. Out of the kitchen and out of commission.

This week, however, I’m on the upswing. Feeling lighter and bouncier and frickin’ hungry! I’m on a mission to resume my vegan ways. I wanted something delectable. Something to make me lick my lips and my fingertips. I wanted sweet AND savory (why has this become a constant dilemma of mine?).

I wanted baklava. But with meat. And not baklava.

This time around, I had no recipes, no input, just memories. I remember a particular date, circa 2003 or so, Chicago, IL. This little spot in Wrigleyville, I believe it was. I just remember how delicious the food was. It had traces of cinnamon and earth. DELICIOUS! And that is what I wanted in my mouth. Cinnamon also happened to be the item for our weekly food challenge this week. So win/win for everyone.

I had originally planned to wrap the phyllo dough or mold it into cups, but when it came down to it, layered just worked better. No complaints when it was in my mouth neither. Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. This dish is heavily spiced and rather simple to make. Unless you make your own dough, but I wouldn’t dare.

Just some of the ingredients

Just a few of the ingredients…

What I Used
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small knob of ginger, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks

1 container of extra firm tofu
1 1/2 cups of no-chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
garlic, to taste
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp Ethiopian spice
1 tsp lemongrass
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 roasted bell pepper
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup mediterranean apricots, chopped
1/4 cup coconut, finely shredded
salt, to taste
2 tbsp melted butter
20 sheets of phyllo dough
Dukkah (I used pre made from Trader Joe’s)

What I Did

First, do that whole drain and marinate thing with the tofu. i let it sit in the no chicken broth for about 30 minutes whole. Next time, I would mash it up and let it sit in the broth. While that is marinating, I put the potatoes, ginger and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan to cook. I didn’t let the potatoes get super cooked, just enough so they aren’t still hard.

Next, I sauteed the onions in oil until translucent and added a ton of garlic. Add the tofu, complete with the broth to the mix and let simmer for about 15 minutes. I then drained the potatoes, ginger and cinnamon sticks. I removed the cinnamon, but added the potatoes and ginger to the tofu along with the nutritional yeast, tamari and all of the spices. By leaving the ginger in slices, you’ll get nice gingery bursts throughout the dish. You can always minced or dice it if you’d prefer. Let that simmer until the liquid soaks up and the yeast fattens the mixture up a bit. Your potatoes will mush a bit. If you want them to remain firm, add them with the fruit at the end. This simmered in total around 40 minutes. No liquid, add the bell pepper, raisins, apricots and coconut.Simmer another 5-10 minutes, taste and salt.

The mixture

Next is the tricky part. Grab your 9X13 baking dish. I only had a 8X11 and my ends were upturned and crispy. Pretty, but a royal mess. Spray the bottom of your pan or oil it, your preference and layer the phyllo spraying after every sheet, just like you’re making baklava. After 10 sheets, layer the mixture until it’s even and covering the bottom. you don’t want too thick a layer, but the amount made should be just right. Finish by layering the remainder of the sheets, continuing to spray after each sheet. Once all the layers have been made, pour melted button on the top and sprinkle with Dukkah. If you don’t have anything that “fancy”, sesame seeds would also look really lovely as would additional coconut!

Bake for 45 minutes (or until browned) at 350 and voila. You’re done.

Upclose Pic of Dish

Finished Product

Los Betos Slumming and the Pantry Cleanse

14 Apr Rice Bake

Rice Bake

Brown Rice Tofu Bake

I have a confession to make: I can’t remember the last time I had a real meal.

It seems that I have been subsisting on burritos and sandwiches and sushi. Oh, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. The kitchen has turned into Beruit, and I am no soldier.

What is going on?

Well, I’ll tell you… I’m stressed. And a little sad. And busy. The last thing I want to do when I’m any of those things is worry about what I put in my mouth. Though I suppose a more accurate statement is that I tend to desire things in my mouth that are utterly, horribly bad for me when I’m any of those things. Like the aforementioned burrito. Bummer.

I am constantly aware of my goals, though. I’ve got an abdominal muscle challenge going on, an impending half-marathon to train for and it’s almost summer, which signifies the upcoming birthday month and the rebirth of the bikini. I need to be prepared. If I’m honest with myself, none of that stuff really matters. The truth is, I just need to take better care of myself. I can’t be too down on myself though because I have been drinking at least a little water, something which is akin to pulling teeth for me, I’ve continued my running/yoga regime, and I’m just trying to stay aware.

This week, I’m making a concerted effort to turn things around. It starts tonight with this week’s food challenge thought up by my fantabulous friend over at a blog I mention often, Create.Snap.Eat. The premise is that we use what’s on hand to create a dish instead of going out and buying an ingredient. Whatever’s in the fridge/pantry/laying around on the kitchen floor. She mentions the waste our society undergoes, and it makes me want to cry. As a society we throw away at least 40% of the food in our kitchens, but I am probably somewhere closer to 80% here lately. Grrr. I want to do better. I need to do better.

So I went rummaging. And here’s what I came up with. Not only do I have a lunch meal for the next few days, I used up quite a few things in the house. And that feels good. Hooray. Here’s the info for my Brown Rice Tofu Bake

What I Used

tofu
1 container of Extra Firm tofu
1/4 cup Braggs
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 cups veggie broth

2 cups water
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 stalks green onion
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup coconut milk

What I Did

To begin, I drained the tofu and patted it dry. I didn’t weigh it because the extra water wasn’t going to hurt my rice which I figured would be short on liquid anyway. I sliced the tofu in half and then into strips and then into bite-sized pieces. Next I mixed up the marinade, the Braggs through the broth, and let that sit in a glass dish underneath foil for a half hour.

About half-way through, I preheated the oven to 350. To the marinading tofu, I added the nutritional yeast, green onion and rice. I boiled the water just slightly, added the coconut oil and then poured this over the heap of rice. Mixed it all up with a wooden spoon and pop in the oven. After an hour and 10 minutes (You may need to adjust cooking time. I would check every 30 minutes), I added the 1/2 cup of coconut milk and popped it back in the over for 15 minutes. The flavor in this dish is kinda awesome! I will be making this again for sure!

Anger, Confidence and Bubble Up Pizza

24 Mar Bubble Up Pizza Dinner

Yoga kicked my ass yesterday. Not in the way that it usually kicks my ass when I’m going on and on about yoga kicking my ass. I mean, I was almost taken down by a yoga workshop. Taken. Down.

Yoga Altar

It was two and a half hours of mostly yoga. We began with meditation and also a writing exercise. In this exercise, we wrote down one thing we wanted to rid ourselves of and one thing we wanted to preserve and/or nurture. Sounds good. I can do this. I started to have my doubts about that midway through the workshop. Why did I sign up for this? How much longer do we have? Why, again? I have to confess. I was angry and frustrated. Two emotions that I have never felt during yoga. It was especially jolting during a workshop that was supposed to be about cleansing and renewal in honor of the Spring Equinox. But, folks, I was not a happy camper.

Why does she keep making us do asanas like this? What about those of us who aren’t as flexible? Does she really think I can do that? And then when the instructor said, “I really just think it’s about your confidence, Elle,” I almost lost it. My WHAT? My…. oh, I’ll show you my confidence, lady, you just…

The inner battle that I was waging was altogether ridiculous. And humbling. And revealing. Here I was fighting to rid myself of the past, to bring forth newness and renewal, and I found myself, instead, wanting to tie the instructor up in pretzel knots  (she’s so bendy, it wouldn’t have phased her) and drip water on her forehead at an excruciatingly slow rate.

I was fighting too much of the time. Fighting my muscles. Fighting my teacher’s approach to instruction. Fighting my body’s lack of flexibility.

Needless to say, there was a lot of self-talk on the way home. A lot of self-soothing and self-validation. I had to remind myself that how I was feeling was not the problem. I was angry and frustrated and my job was to investigate, witness and protect my right to those feelings. My job was not to make them go away or judge them or turn them into some other more “yogi-approved” emotion. So I let them be. I watched them. I talked to them. Anger and frustration told me we wanted pizza for dinner. And wine. And, I mean, when anger’s being reasonable, who am I to deny it its wishes?

Pizza and wine it is. Except I didn’t want greasy Papa Johns or Domino’s. I wanted respectable pizza. Pizza whose ingredients were readily identifiable. I wanted fancy pizza. Celebratory pizza (the moon was, after all, in Leo, and Leos are nothing if not full of celebration). In our household, we generally address our cravings by heading to the nearest grocery store, which is exactly what I did.

I ended up with organic tomato basil sauce, crab and smoked salmon, Gouda cheese, and biscuits (the one questionably unhealthy item). Let the pizza making begin.

I’d seen a pin for bubble up pizza on Pinterest a few days ago, and it looked delicious. I have to wonder though, whose idea was it to name this shit bubble up pizza? I mean, at best the name is.… Cute? Despite the crazy name, I worked over some bubble up pizza. Let’s call my creation BUP 2.0. Just go with it, please.

The process of cooking BUP 2.0 also soothed my ruffled feathers. Brought clarity to my state of mind, and helped me to see that I had just had an experience. No different, better or worse than any other experience yesterday or any other day. Was there something to my frustration with the instructor? Perhaps. With time and reflection, I will understand. Those feelings were just my feelings though, and that’s quite alright. Like making the best damn bubble up pizza on a beautiful and peaceful Saturday night. Confidence THAT my friend!

Bubble Up Pizza 2.0

WHAT I USED

1 1/2 cups Organic tomato basil pasta sauce
1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
smoked salmon and crab meat, minced (I didn’t measure, I just threw in “enough”)
1 can Grands home-style biscuits
1/4 – 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato
1/2 red onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic
salt to taste

WHAT I DID

The only labor involved, besides mincing and slicing, revolved around the biscuits. I used the Grands which had 8 large biscuits inside. I cut each biscuit in half and then halved each half lengthwise and then cut that in half. Therefore, each biscuit should yield 8 pieces. Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Toss well to cover, adding more sauce if necessary.

To bake, I used a cast iron skillet coated with olive oil spray. This worked out really well. I cooked it for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. I let it sit for five minutes while I drooled, and then dug in. Alongside a glass of Shiraz, it was just what Dr. Me ordered.

BUP and Salad

And So It Shall Be Named: Mock Tuna Salad

19 Mar

As much as we might not like to admit it, having the right name means everything. There’s a world of difference between the image associated with a name like Olga or Bernice and the one that comes along with something like Angelina or Ryan Gosling (that man is EVERYWHERE!). Would you eat from a restaurant called “Pink Taco” or “Crabby Dick”? Who would admit to working for a company called “Fairtilizer”? Apparently nobody did because it seems they’ve since changed their name. The right name can make or break your career, enhance your life or doom your child to bullying and ridicule for the rest of all eternity. When it comes to names, we must choose wisely, people.

So when I came across the food blog, “Yeah, That ‘Vegan’ Shit” I thought, holy hell, this person has hit on name gold! Why didn’t I think of that?! Well, because I didn’t. Because I’m obsessed with ginger. Because my cutesy side generally outweighs my nerdy badass. And because I save my obscenities for talking about Dick Juice.

Unfortunately, it appears the blog is now defunct, but I came across it one day while craving something, anything, with tuna. I didn’t want to actually eat tuna, though. I’ve always loved tuna sandwiches. When I was a kid, my aunt and I would often trudge home for lunch and be fed tuna salad sandwiches with chicken noodle soup. My mom still makes the best tuna with hard-boiled eggs. On the rare occasions that I decide to get a sandwich, it’s usually tuna (or an Italian. I’m a sucker for sausage, but we won’t address that issue at the moment. tee hee). I love tuna salad, and my cravings led me to “Yeah, That ‘Vegan’ Shit” and mock tuna salad.

Okay, so I basically took this chick’s recipe and torpedoed it. My tuna salad looks nothing like tuna due to how dark and overwhelming my soy sauce is, but let me tell you. MAN. It is delicious! Scratch “delicious,” I overuse that word. It is scrumptious! Seriously. It is reminiscent of tuna, in that way that nothing fake can ever taste “just like ______”, except for maybe frog legs. They really DO taste just like chicken! You must remember, I’m from Flint, Michigan, and we eat everything sweet. Our rice, our grits and even our tuna salad. If you prefer a more salty version, just switch the coconut yogurt for plain soy yogurt and the sweet relish for dill or a chopped pickle. I threw my concoction on some bread (yes, I ate bread!) with sprouts and Power Greens from Trader Joe’s and chowed down! It saved me from devouring all the chocolate in the pantry. And I finished by saying, “Well, that was damn good!”

Open-Faced Sandwich

Next time, I would use a different soy sauce or leave it out all together so that it resembles tuna a little more, but really, I don’t care. The taste was on the money, it was nutritious and filling and packed with protein and yummy goodness. I can make lettuce wraps and tuna salads and tuna and crackers and my favorite, tuna and Lays potato chips!

Hmm, perhaps I should be concerned….

What I Used

1 15 oz can chick peas
1/2 cup coconut yogurt
1 stalk of celery
3 tbsp sweet relish
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp dulse flakes
1 tbsp aioli garlic mustard sauce (you can use plain dijon or whatever)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dill
1 tsp hemp powder (optional)

What I Did

First, I processed 3/4 of the chickpeas with the yogurt, dulse and soy sauce. Then I mashed the remaining 1/4 of chickpeas in a bowl and added the processed chickpeas along with the remainder of the ingredients. Throw all that on your base of choice and chow down!

Green Pea and Smoked Mushroom Pancakes

17 Mar Green Pea Pancakes

I can’t make pancakes to save my life. They come out burnt or too thick or undercooked. I’m what you might call a pancake disaster.

Ironically, then, for about a year and a half, maybe more, I would wake up with this insane desire for pancakes. I would just imagine all that syrupy sweetness and thick, fluffy goodness, and immediately decide, “I need pancakes today.” My partner would be a good sport (and a smart person) and would drive us to the nearest Good Egg for a giant plate of pancakes. I say he was being a good sport because he knew the deal. I never actually ordered pancakes when we got to the restaurant. I would end up with an omelet or a skillet or even a plate of corn beef hash if I had fallen onto the meaty train. Once I even had the nerve to order the giant cinnamon roll of death thing that they sell, but almost never did I actually order pancakes. He never made me feel like a crazy person or fussed at me. He ate the pancakes for me, letting me grab a forkful every now and then.

Our challenge item for this week was mushrooms. I’ll be honest, I don’t actually like mushrooms. Other than portobellos, they are too earthy for me. Which is odd as I’m always going on about inhaling the earth and earthy smelling flavors, but mushrooms are too much for even me. Maybe it’s because they cross over into the fungal earth category. Totally different taste. Anyway, mushrooms. Not my favorite thing to eat. What the hell should I make with mushrooms… I know, PANCAKES!

I’d come across this recipe which featured green pea pancakes.  Not only are her pictures gorgeous, but those pancakes looked like something I wanted in my mouth ASAP. I decided to make a vegan version of these puppies. I thought, why not try adding mushrooms to the mix and see what happens. So that’s exactly what I did. I added crimini mushrooms to my pancakes. Plated, I topped them with sliced beets, the smoked portobellos and a dollop of coconut yogurt. They were divine. Without all the fancy stuff on top, they weren’t kid-approved (I heard she made the most vicious face), but apparently, they were alright with guacamole. Only I ate the entire prepped dish. In my defense, the pancakes by themselves were tried out by folks who don’t typically eat like me. I will consider the fact that there was only one communicated dislike a success. This dish was delicious, and I can’t wait to experiment some more with these using a different blend of flours. They’ve got great potential, and with the weather getting warmer, I can see these going great mixed with many different green vegetables.

Let the pancake craving evolve and flourish!

What I Used

Portobello Mushroom Marinade

Mushroom Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tarragon
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 portobello mushrooms

Pancakes

1/2 cup crimini mushrooms
4 oz frozen green peas
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
3 tbsp brown rice flour
1 tbsp chickpea flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp shredded coconut
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

What I Did

For the portobellos, I mixed the marinade ingredients and let them sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 and bake for 30 minutes once the marinating is finished.

For the pancakes, I followed the original directions pretty closely. I cooked the peas and then submerged them in water. Instead of pureeing half and mashing the other half, I pureed all of the peas with the coconut milk. In a separate bowl, I mixed together the remainder of the ingredients. Once this was mixed, I folded in the peas.

Portobellos

Portobellos Post Bake

Submerged Peas

Love the sight of green peas

Now comes the fun part. Cooking the madness. Which should’ve been the scary part, but it came out just fine. I heated up the skillet and instead of using olive oil, I used olive oil spray. I plopped a tablespoon of batter per pancake and let them cook on one side until the bottom had set and the edges started to brown. Waiting for pancakes to set, though not as maddening as stirring roux, is taxing on the patience.

Once these were done, I stacked some of them with beets, and some of them with the portobello mixture and a dollop of coconut yogurt. The portobello yogurt ones were my favorite.

Plain Pancakes

Pancakes sans topping

Pancakes with toppings

The pancakes with all the fixins!

Pancake Closeup

Another view

Beet-topped Pancake

Beet-topped pancake

Orange-Glazed Tempeh and Fighting Fires

12 Mar Orange-Glazed Tempeh

I know my thighs are the topic of discussion way more than they ought to be. For unemployed, inanimate objects, they sure get lots of attention. It’s because they’re always causing trouble. Like busting through my jeans. Or clamping onto necks. Or taking out innocent gym shorts.

Running Shorts

Not gym shorts!! NO!

I hate shorts. I really do. They’re not made for folks with aggressive thighs. My thighs see a pair of shorts and immediately go into attack mode, like a hungry piranha. My thighs gobbles those shorts up until they cry out for mercy! And frankly, it’s just embarrassing.

Today I forgot my running pants and had to wear these little itty bitty gym shorts. Not a pleasant run, I tell ya. Last time I had a run in with gym shorts, I ended up with chaffed thighs for two weeks. SERIOUS I tell you! Anyway, when I got home from my nylon showdown, I was super hungry, even though I’d already scarfed down two of these chocolate cherry muffins on the way home.

A couple of days ago, a coworker passed me a recipe from some cookbook for Orange-glazed tofu, but I wasn’t in the mood for tofu. So I made orange-glazed tempeh. I regret that I didn’t let it marinate. I regret even more that I put in so much crushed red pepper. Now my lips are burning along with my AG thighs. Perhaps it’s time for bed. Put out the fire between my legs and lips with a lovely dream about oceans and really, really cold milk.

Damn thighs.

What I Used
sauce
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

8 oz tempeh
1 tbsp olive oil
A whole mess of garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, slice
1 green pepper, sliced

Peppers and Onions

What I Did

I always steam my tempeh in the microwave before cooking with it. I find it gets rid of that bitter thing tempeh sometimes does in the mouth. It can be disturbing. 10 minutes in the microwave with water and saran wrap and it all goes away. After that, I sliced the block in half longwise, and then sliced the two pieces into 8 sections creating 16 “strips”. Set these aside.

Sliced Tempeh

 

Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce and set aside. Heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook until translucent and tender. Add the tempeh and fry for a bit. If I had been more ambitious, I would’ve friend the tempeh first, then set aside so that it was more browned, but ehhh. It turned out just fine. Add the sauce and cook 10-12 minutes.

Sauce/Marinade

I served it over leftover ride medley from Trader Joe’s. As I said, I should’ve marinated the tempeh first (I would say, a half hour post steaming), but it’s edible and tasty even without marinating. And most importantly, on this day, it was very, very quick.

Orange-Glazed Tempeh

 

Dead Baby Daddies and Failed Food Challenges

3 Mar

Recently I dreamt that I had sex with my dead ex-boyfriend. I know, I know, that’s weird as hell. It gets weirder. We made a baby. Now tell me the subconscious isn’t crazy.

I finessed babies out of a dead guy. Who, for the record, looked very much alive in my dream. It’s just that I knew he was dead. Anyway, I sabotaged the condoms, did desperate and ridiculous things with his, um, deposits; I was pretty much a devious, little crazy person. And it paid off. I had a beautiful little baby girl.

I have no idea what the dream means.  There is no entry in my dream book for “coercion: dead people”. I do know that dreams rarely mean what we think they mean. Quite often, they mean the exact opposite of what they appear to mean. Which in this case is an absolute blessing. This dream was probably telling me that I’m going to lose something dear to me if I don’t fight harder for it, or something like that.

All I know is the dream was a hot mess. Kinda like the sweet potato tamales I cooked for this week’s food challenge.

Roasted Sweet Potato

The item chosen was potato. I don’t usually eat white potatoes, but I do love some sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are well, sweet. And normal and wholesome. And comforting. And tamales remind me of happier times and childhood. So after that crazy dream, of course I’d want to make something that reminded me of goodness and innocence.

Ingredients

Filling

Boy, did that not work out for me. The masa was a mix of masa, roasted sweet potato and nutritional yeast. By itself, the mixture was delicious. I had high hopes after a taste! The inside was sautéed black beans, onions, mexican squash, and garlic, which was roasted with the sweet potatoes. Also delectable. But after steaming the tamales for an hour, they were not firm. After another 20 minutes in the oven, they still weren’t firm. I’d run out of friggin’ ideas! Why wouldn’t they just firm up?!

Steaming the Tamales

Plated Tamales

Eventually I had a brain spark and put them in the dehydrator for 14 hours. I still haven’t had the heart to test them out, though. I stuck them in a ziplock and threw them in the freezer. Some things are perhaps better left  sans resurrection. Things worked out in my dream, but I’m afraid I’m not so optimistic about these doggone tamales.

 

 

Crazy Cravings = Cannellini Gorgonzola pizza

26 Feb Pizza

Man, cravings are no joke. I was craving all kinds of things this evening. Pizza. Beans. Sun dried tomatoes. Pizza. And I was feeling lazy. I didn’t want to slave away in the kitchen. What to do, what to do? Flatbread. Quick and easy dough replacement. What’s in the pantry and the fridge? Everything I was craving. And a pizza is born.

I try not to eat bread too often. I talk about my love/hate with bread a little bit here. I also try not to eat dairy. But I had a $5 chunk of gorgonzola just chilling in my fridge waiting to be eaten. I had to obey. I had no choice but to make a pizza.

Except what came out was only slightly pizzaish. Mildly pizza dough. Not quite flatbread. Whatever it was tasted quite delicious. Not too much pizza sauce, the right blend of cannellini beans and pungent gorgonzola. It may not be Chicago style, but it most certainly was deep dish yumminess. I would definitely make this again. Pizza-ishness and all.

What I Used

* adapted from the flatbread recipe found over at NourishingMeals.com:

Dough

1 cup gluten-free flour

1/2 cup of garbanzo flour

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup arrowroot powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Toppings

1 cup marinara

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup mixed roasted yellow and red bell peppers, chopped

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup basil, chopped

125 g gorgonzola, crumbled

1 cup marinara

What I Did

To prep the crust, I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and sprayed an 8 X 13 pan with olive oil spray as I try to avoid excess oil in my cooking. While the oven heated, I whisked together the dry ingredients through the salt with a fork, I couldn’t find  a whisk. In a separate bowl, said fork whisked together all the wet ingredients. I didn’t make a hole as I normally do, mostly because it’s more fun than just dumping it in there. Today, I just dumped. Dumped and mixed them together with my trusty spatula until all the dry was wet. I threw this concoction into the oven for 15 minutes.

During that 15 minutes, I chopped and crumbled some stuff. I smashed the beans with a fork and then folded in the peppers. When the timer went off, I layered the crust in the following order: marinara, bean mixture, nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and finally gorgonzola. 15 more minutes covered in foil, 10 minutes uncovered, and voila, it was done.

And eating was good.