Friday, February 26, 2010

vegan trouser leg

vegan calzone recipe from the blooming platter. i made a few alterations:

dough: i used 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup soy flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, and i added about a tablespoon of brown sugar and some italian seasoning. the crust turned out awesome.

cheese: added parsley, tahini, and left out the nutmeg. this did not make good cheese, not at all. the lemon zest was particularly off-putting. if i did it again i would probably want to use a “real” “fake” “cheese” like follow your heart mozzarella, which i haven’t bought in years because it’s too good.

filling: left out the spinach and zucchini and added sliced green olives. i also added balsamic vinegar to the onion/pepper/mushroom/garlic mixture while cooking, and left that separate from the tomato paste, which i just smeared straight onto the dough. i poured some boca meatless crumbles in as filling also.

shaping and baking: the pizza stone worked great, but it didn’t take nearly as long for mine to cook...the recipe said a total of 20 minutes, but mine were done in just a little over 10. i almost burned them.

overall, this recipe made very pretty calzones, but i’d make a lot more alterations if i did it again. i found it kind of lacking in flavor, which is so weird because i put in a ton of seasonings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

vegan pasta sauce 2x: alfredo and cheese

i made up the alfredo recipe, but the cheese sauce mix is an adaptation from the complete idiot’s guide to vegan cooking by beverly lynn bennett. both are rich, creamy and tasty.

super-simple alfredo sauce

3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/3 cup diced onion
1 cup soymilk
2 tablespoons flour
10 cashews
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons minced parsley
salt & pepper to taste

sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil until onions are translucent. let them cool, then pour into the food processor with all the remaining ingredients. process until completely smooth. heat it up on the stove for just a minute or two until it’s the correct temperature and consistency (it thickens quickly). i served it on spinach fettuccine with mushrooms.

vegan cheese sauce mix

1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

process the cashews and rolled oats until finely ground. scrape the sides of the bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and process another minute. the resulting dry mix can be stored in the fridge for two months to be used a bit at a time.

to prepare enough cheese sauce to cover a good-sized bowl of pasta, combine 1/4 cup sauce mix with 1/2 cup soymilk and heat until thickened.

sweet summer sips

the other day i found myself in possession of both a pineapple and an acute craving for warm, tropical weather.

so i put together this tasty snack:
-juice of one grapefruit
-1/8 pineapple, cut into little bites
-1/4 pear, sliced and fanned
-a few slices of lemon

not much of a recipe, more of an excuse to post these pictures so i can stare at them longer and fantasize about hawaii.

earth worms are easy

it rained last night and this morning, so this afternoon i went out and collected stranded worms.

it brought me back to when i was a kid--i had a mudpuppy for a while, and he ate worms, so i would go round them up for his snack. it's much more fun collecting them for my garden.

Monday, February 22, 2010

ice bowl, sorbet and triple-berry trifle

this is my first attempt at an ice bowl. they’re easy to make: use two mixing bowls, one that fits inside the other, and some objects (wads of foil, pieces of cardboard, whatever) to float the small bowl inside the large so there’s even space all around between the two. throw in some leaves, flowers, berries, slices of fruit or any other decorative edible, fill half the space with water and freeze, then take out the spacers, fill it up the rest of the way and freeze again. you can also create a layered look by freezing incrementally, adding more decorative items each time.

i wanted to try a small one first, so i used my littlest mixing bowls, put blueberries at the base and slices of lemon around the sides. i plan to go a lot larger and more artistic this summer, when i can use homegrown edible flowers and greens to make a big salad bowl. i might also try a large layered bowl using these rosehips i collected down by the river...i discovered i really don’t like the taste of rosehips at all, but they would be very pretty in ice.

the lemon blueberry bowl was perfect for holding a serving of my homemade smoothie/sorbet-type-thing. i pour about 1/3 cup soymilk into the food processor, add a scoop of green superfood powder and process for a few seconds, then pour a cup or so of frozen berries in through the chute (with the processor running) and process until smooth but firm and scoopable. it tasted extra delicious in the ice bowl--i don’t know if it was just my imagination but i felt like i could taste a hint of fresh lemon.

i’m not sure whether to call it a sorbet or a smoothie, it’s kind of neither and both. whatever it is it makes a very tasty breakfast. i always eat either my frozen berry blend or a mix of soygurt and grape nuts for breakfast...and one morning i was extra hungry so i combined the two for a trifle:

sorbet on the bottom, a layer of blueberries, a layer of vanilla soygurt, then grape nuts. it was intense.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

good news: DIY compostable seed starter pots

i always dig around in the recycling bin to find good seed starter pots. in the past i’ve used plastic bottles, plastic fruit and vegetable containers, etc. but i never thought of constructing my own pots out of newspaper! i stumbled upon this tutorial:

i like that she mentions you should compost the newspaper after transplanting, rather than trying to plant it as-is, because i’ve had bad luck with seed starter pots that are supposed to degrade in the soil but they don’t.

another thing i love about these pots is that you can write on them!

i also realized my soygurt cups are the perfect size for seed starting.

here’s another tutorial that i intend to try, using toilet paper rolls. egg cartons work too (though they’re quite small), and some people even use eggshells.

today i found this cute coffee mug at the thrift’s so appropriate, since i plant in teapots, i should drink out of a planter:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

crocus pocus

i found this little purple surprise in my front yard today. first crocus of the year! amazing, it’s not even march yet. spring officially starts a month from now.

i found a few other flowers getting ready to bloom also...

and the bleeding heart plant is sending up shoots:

they look like creatures you’d find on the sea floor.

daffodil bulbs have caught up with their tulip friends.

and one of the morning glory seeds i planted a few days ago (indoors, of course) is sprouting already.

i planted them in a thrifted teapot.

i love growing things in teapots, especially when it’s something like wheatgrass that can sprout out of the spout.

i’m excited for tomorrow afternoon--i’m going with my friends laura and andrea to see the vagina monologues! it’s tradition for laura and me, i think this is our fourth time going, but andrea’s never been before. i dug out all my vag-happy buttons to wear. "it's 10 o' you know where your clitoris is?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

women's bean project golden cornbread

last night i baked delicious golden cornbread with help from a woman named michelle. the women’s bean project is a denver-based nonprofit that “employs women who have experienced chronic unemployment, poverty, or difficult life situations.” they put together pre-measured mixes to make soup, cornbread, brownies, dips, and lots of other comestibles; each package is signed by the woman who assembled it.

of course it would be simple enough (and extremely cheap) to whip up a batch of cornbread from scratch, or to put together a bean soup; but like their website says, “it’s not about the beans.” i think it’s a great cause. and many of the mixes are vegan--they might call for eggs or milk to be added, which can easily be substituted, but the mix itself often has no animal products. as far as i know they’re not organic, though, which might be a problem for some people, especially these days when it’s safe to assume any wheat you buy that isn’t labeled organic is genetically modified.

in boise, a variety of women’s bean project items are available at dunia marketplace (formerly ten thousand villages) in hyde park. you can also order from their website.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

avocado sweet pepper tartare with baked tortilla chips

this is sort of a play on chips and guacamole--it’s way fancier looking, but just as easy to make. start with a few sliced-up tortillas. i made three different flavors: plain, carrot/tomato (orange), and spinach (green). for the two colorful tortilla batches i added puréed veggies instead of water. for spinach i also added cumin, garlic powder and lime juice, and for carrot/tomato i added chili powder, turmeric, garlic powder and lime juice.

the spinach tortillas were somewhat underwhelming in flavor because i under-seasoned the dough. but the carrot/tomato, my goodness, amazing! even the texture was different; they’re much moister and chewier than normal tortillas. and the spices are phenomenal.

making chips would be a great way to use up some stale tortillas. just heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 400, cut up your tortillas, brush them with a mixture of lime juice, chili powder and garlic salt (or any seasonings you want) and bake for about 10 minutes, or until brown and crisp. i find them visually unappealing but very tasty.

for the avocado sweet pepper tartare, slice a medium-sized avocado and dice half of a sweet bell pepper. in a bowl, mix together about a tablespoon of lime juice, a couple teaspoons each of fresh minced parsley (or cilantro) and sesame seeds, and a bit of garlic salt. add the avocado and sweet pepper and mix it all around. then, line a ramekin with plastic wrap and stuff it tight with the mixture. turn it upside down on a plate, dislodge the ramekin then peel off the plastic wrap. i garnished with sliced cherry tomatoes and a parsley leaf. if i did it over i would definitely use black sesame seeds, or at least toast them--white looks really blah.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

mardi gras @ neurolux: red light variety show

boise’s red light variety show performing downtown at neurolux on fat tuesday. the cover of this month’s diversity magazine features a photo i shot of the group performing at curb cup last summer, and the woman in the photo (anne) said she loved it and that she would comp my ticket if i came and took some more. unfortunately i severely sprained my toe earlier the day of the performance, and was not in the best mood, but i hobbled in there anyway and got some good photos.

it seemed like there were more photographers than audience members. the extra weird thing, though, was that everyone brought their huge, expensive penises (i mean, lenses...) and FLASHES. why the fuck would you use flash when the available light is so cool? and it is literally impossible to get a decent UV/blacklight shot with a flash...anyway, these guys all looked very serious and professional shooting, and i’m sure they impressed each other, but i would be willing to bet their photos don’t look so great.