Friday, June 24, 2011

Vegan Chili Rellenos? No Poblano!

Oh, Daiya, how I love thee.

Patrick recently informed me that Chili Rellenos are one of his favorite foods. Being from the Great State of Texas, he knows his stuff. However, being vegan for 15 years, he hasn't had the opportunity to enjoy a cheesy, breaded and fried stuffed chili in awhile.

But guess what?! Daiya came along and solved all my problems!

Credit card debt? THANKS DAIYA!

Leering guy on my walk to work who tried to hand me a dirty sock? THANKS DAIYA!

That Slurpee stain on Patrick's white t-shirt? THANKS DAIYA!

But, really, Daiya is awesome and I use it all the time. And I used it to make Chili Rellenos and they were so good that I am pretty sure I am going to become famous for them.

All right, let's do this.

First and foremost I had to do some Rellenos Research because I am not from Texas and up until very recently was not a big fan of Mexican food. Of course, that was because I was only eating rice and beans at the restaurant down the street. Once I started actually making my OWN Mexican food.... Well, now things are much different. THANKS DAIYA!

I decided to embark on the less healthy version of the relleno; breaded and fried. I also made a Ranchero sauce to top the peppers.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Gardening Ground Rule: Eat Your Greens

My roommate's garden is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Remember Fern Gully? Of course you do.

That is actually a pretty accurate depiction of me, as well. 
This is what my backyard looks like. It's amazing. And because my roommate is not a jerk he lets me have all the kale, collard greens, arugula and bok choy that I want!

With this free grocery store at my fingertips, Patrick and I have been eating a lot of greens, naturally. (Of COURSE pun intended).

Yesterday was long. I wanted dinner to materialize in front of me. I finally pulled myself up off the floor (it was so much more comfortable down there) and surveyed the kitchen trying to decide what to eat with our endless supply of greens. 

In the freezer, like a beacon of light and a choir of angels: Morningstar Hickory BBQ Riblets. 

I love these riblets like I love jerky and we all know how much that is!

Of course, then I started thinking about sides and about picnics and barbecues and summertime and bike rides and all of a sudden I wasn't tired anymore. And then I started making dinner and it turned out just like a picnic!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I may be... In Seine

All right, because it is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE that I am lucky enough to win this stupendous giveaway, I am entering in all possible fashions. One of which includes mentioning said giveaway in the old blog.

There are no recipes here, but the IDEA of French cuisine somehow veganized. Or, just a week full of delicious French wine!

So, I would suggest entering to win, but that's going to lower MY chances of winning. If you decide that you don't care about my feelings and enter anyway, I ask that you AT THE VERY LEAST take me along as your 'plus 1' if you win.

Bonne chance!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mediterranean Travel: Without the Grease

These punny titles are more and more of a stretch with each post but I know you guys LOVE THEM, so don't worry, I won't stop!

All right, so, did you know that I have been known to travel around to different continents (i.e. kitchens in Seattle, sometimes Portland and my hometown of Billings, Montana) and cook food for my friends and family? It's true. Would you like me to come to your house? Just comment below and we'll figure something out.

Last weekend my brother and I decided to have a Mediterranean Extravaganza! Originally we had planned on having a BBQ (also fun) but Seattle hasn't been very summery lately, so looking at the cloudy forecast we decided: Why not use the oven?! (Sorry East Coast, I know that sounds like Hell---pun, pun, pu-un).

A Mediterranean theme was chosen because Jared loves hummus and because I wanted to make The Veganomicon's (feel free to take a moment and purchase if you haven't already) Eggplant-Potato Moussaka. The more we discussed the larger the menu grew until we had the following:

1. Tahini Sauce
2. Black Bean Quinoa Salad (changed from a couscous salad for the added bonus of quinoa being AWESOME)
3. Spanakopita
4. Eggplant/Yam Moussaka (because we didn't have potatoes)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tacos to go BANANAS over!

Have you ever eaten a plantain? Have you tried cooking with plantains?

Several months ago my mom came to visit and we decided to have an enchilada dinner party complete with margaritas and dessert at my brother's place. I decided that I was going to attempt fried plantains. I had never cooked with plantains or even eaten one, but all of the online photos I found looked delicious!

Looks easy enough, right?

Guess what?! NOT THAT EASY.

Cooking with plantains was not as intuitive as I had imagined. I had an image in my head that involved a house full of people enjoying homemade enchiladas in front of the fireplace while I sneaked (it sounds weird to me too) away to the kitchen to whip up a dessert that would look painstaking and time consuming, but couldn't possibly take longer than 10 minutes to prepare.

In reality, I slaved away in the kitchen trying to make the plantains NOT taste like poison.  A raw plantain is what I imagine biting into a piece of chalk would taste like. A piece of chalk dipped in gasoline. I spent the better part of the evening experimenting with the plantain frying process and deciding how much sugar was too much sugar when trying to mask the taste of guano. (The answer? There will never be enough sugar.)

So, imagine my surprise when my brother forwarded me this recipe with a request to make it. And then imagine my (our) surprise when I made them on Saturday and they were FANTASTIC!

Not disgusting!

I would like to apologize in advance for the lack of brilliant photography. These were all taken on my cell phone and thus are not the highest quality.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy Hours that De-Liver!

There is something about sunshine and warm weather that makes me crave Happy Hour. I tend to gaze out the window at work, watching everyone below me hurry off to fancy luncheons and mid-afternoon shopping sprees at Barney's and I decide I need a drink.

As I am no stranger to Seattle Happy Hours, I have compiled a list of my three favorites. They are my favorite places for many reasons---it is so HARD to pick just one!

1. Shorty's
    2222 2nd Avenue # A
    Seattle, WA 98121-2038

    Price: Cheap pitchers of PBR and Rainier

Once upon a time I worked at a lovely job where I was done for the day by 1:00 PM. It was a high stress job and it led to MANY Happy Hour excursions. The place that I most often frequented was Shorty's.

Nothing boosts a mood like a bar that could be mistaken for a carnival. Yes, clowns are creepy---terrifying, really---but, 2 rooms of pinball, a juke box, alcoholic slurpees, Buck Hunter and veggie dogs make the clowns seem almost friendly.

Another high five to Shorty's for having the bartender who came and sat down with me and my friend to ask why we hadn't left him a tip. BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME: we hadn't finished ordering - of COURSE we were going to leave him a tip. For those of us who have worked in the service industry it is understood that the majority of time is spent biting your tongue, but not at Shorty's which makes me love it even more!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Brownie Cup? Piece of cake.

I have been on a dessert kick lately and let me tell you it is not a bad kick to be on. Unless of course you are dieting or trying to lose weight, but PLEASE--diets are SO 1963.

Instead of worrying about your weight, eat one of these scrumptious, toothsome (best word ever) Rolo Brownie Cups. What's a brownie cup?!!?! Well, it happens when you try to make cupcakes with brownie mix EVEN THOUGH the box says that it is a cake mix. So, your "cupcakes" come out all cupcake-shaped, but with the delectable taste of a chewy, fudge brownie. Only these are extra spectacular because I put caramel in the middle. Talk about a mind-sticker!

I used Trader Joe's Truffle Baking Mix. I had never used it before, but was not deterred. I had the feeling that it would taste just GREAT. It was also really easy to mix. I won't go into detail. Just read the instructions on the box and follow them. 

I also had leftover caramel from when I made vegan Twix bars. No, I haven't posted it yet. I need to make MORE and actually take pictures. They were fantastic, by the way. Anyway, so this caramel had been sitting in the fridge, taunting me, "Heat me up! Or don't! Eat me with your bare hands right out of the Tupperware. Take me upstairs and gnaw on me in bed and start that Lifetime movie on Netflix you've been itching to watch....". Instead, I popped open a Tab and decided to bake these Brownie Cups with a dollop of homemade caramel in the middle. (Although, at the time I thought I was still making cupcakes. Details, details.)

I filled each cup with a spoonful of batter (after spraying it with Pam of course), a spoonful of caramel and then another spoonful of batter. And then I baked them for 35 minutes. Actually, I baked them for 20 minutes, checked them and baked them in 5 minute increments after that. The caramel caused them to bake a little longer, but it was well worth it. 

Not the BEST picture, but that's okay. I'd still eat 4.
Sadly, the recipe only made 12 and they were gone like that (I'm snapping my fingers). I will definitely revisit these treats and, yes, the Twix bars too! Until then, gaze lovingly at these photos and peruse this awesome site (which I found today while searching for Rolo Cupcakes) for inspiration. I love the internet.