14 August 2010

It's Hot in Here Today!

With record-breaking heat in the Vancouver area today, my fur-coat-wearing room-mates were a tad uncomfortable.

Monkey, intolerant of the heat, lounging on the couch in the wake of the fan.
Don't you just want to scratch that belly? Do so at your own risk...

Monkey doesn't appreciate attention being paid to her unless she's orchestrating the situation.
That's the end of the candid photos today.

06 August 2010

100 Things Every Vegan Should Try

This is old news to lots of people, but I saw it for the first time today and thought it was fun...

This is the vegan list in response to 100 things every omnivore should try, by BitterSweet.
1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten (vegan versions, of course).
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

I got 54/100. Some of these things seem a little silly to be on a vegan list, like creme brulee, ceviche and caviar, but whatever, I'm a good sport. Some things I'd never heard of (like natto, boba tea, stroopwafle), and some things I've had non-vegan versions of, but I didn't count those. Maybe someday I'll get up to 99 (vegan jello shots are not appealing to me at all).

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles

13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi

15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas

32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam

38. Vodka jelly (Jell-o)
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. PiƱa colada

58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain

70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob

75. Whipped cream
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

How about you?

This Week in My Kitchen: Zucchini Two Ways, Green Onion Pancakes, Grilled Bread

Raw Zucchini Slaw
The recipe I followed for this dish (find it here) called it "Raw Zucchini Alfredo". There's not really anything alfredo about it (which is good - I was never a big fan of cream sauce), so I'm going with the more accurate term "slaw". Now, I did not follow the recipe exactly by any means - I used it more like a guide. I do not have a spiralizer (as much as I would like one, I haven't been able to find it), so I made the zucchini strips using a vegetable peeler. I also, for once, didn't have any cherry tomatoes on hand, so I upped the sun-dried tomato content. For the sauce, I left out the agave, since I didn't have any of that either. Overall, I really liked the dish. It was a great summer meal, although I think I'd prefer it as a side dish next time.

Breaded Zucchini Sticks
One night I was craving fried zucchini sticks like you get in pubs. Well, I suck at frying stuff - I make a mess and nothing turns out the way it should, plus it's pretty unhealthy. So instead I breaded some zucchini with almond milk, panko and spices and baked them in the toaster oven. They turned out great! I served them with ranch dip, cherry tomatoes and chopped bell peppers. A very satisfying dinner!

Green Onion Pancakes
I saw green onion pancakes in the deli counter of the supermarket once, and the concept always stuck with me. One evening I googled it and came up with a bunch of recipes. I decided to try this one. I found the dough very difficult to work with, but the green onion/sesame oil filling was divine! I absolutely love the umami quality of sesame oil. The assembled pancakes turned out a little thicker and denser than I would have liked (a more elastic dough would solve that problem), so I ended up having to bake them after grilling them to get them cooked through. I served them with sauteed veggie sausage, miso gravy and a simple salad with goddess dressing. I really want to perfect those pancakes, because even with them being imperfect, this was a pretty tasty and satisfying meal.

Grilled Bread
Now that we have a barbeque, Kirk and I have been cooking a lot of our meals outside. Everything tastes better grilled, right? It seemed to me that there should be some way of grilling a yeast bread dough, so I set upon googling and found this recipe. Oh my lord, it's fantastic! I've never made risen bread before, but it's super easy, and comes off the grill tasting kind of like a soft pretzel. I've been experimenting with it a bit, and found that a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and unbleached flour works well and suits the tastes of our regular dinner guests. I've also started infusing the olive oil with garlic, which is pretty fabulous. The verdict: grilled bread is the food of the gods.
I'm salivating just looking at this photo...

How to Jazz Up Packaged Food

Packaged food. Most of us use it to some degree. I try and avoid it, mostly because of the unpronouncable ingredient lists, but as a sometimes-lazy cook and a full-on sodium hound, I do dabble once in a while. One of the things that makes me feel better about shoveling a fork full of chemicals into my mouth is adding some fresh foods into the mix. Here's an example:

Old El Paso Spanish Rice
I got a coupon for this in the mail, and being the spendthrift that I am, I had to try it. So I cooked it according to package instructions, but added a can of black beans (rinsed - there's enough sodium in the rice!) and some chopped green onions. I served it topped with a bunch of beautiful cherry tomatoes roasted with some garlic and cracked black pepper. It made a great side dish for a Mexican-style feast, or you could add a salad and call it a meal. Either way, it was quick, easy, pretty yummy, and actually had some nutritional value to help cancel out some of the bad stuff. Not everyday fare perhaps, but I'll make it again.

04 August 2010

My Patio Garden

Here's what's going on in my patio garden at the moment...