i speak veganese

Hey, I haven’t burned the house down yet!

Archive for January, 2009

Inauguration 2009!

Can you believe it?! I just had to document this day. The day where I could actually say I feel like I’m not just African-American, but an American like any other. Waiting for my mother to come out of surgery…and not sure what I will fix for dinner, but off to celebrate!!

Update: With the recent inauguration, I felt the order of the day was “trying new things”. So, I decided to try some things I hadn’t had before rather than the things that I have learned how to make.

santa-fe-tempeh

This fit the bill for me. This is an Open Faced Santa Fe Sandwich courtesy of the Student Go Vegan Cookbook. It’s made with tempeh and a homemade barbecue sauce (from the same recipe book), with some herbs and a toasted roll (though I only had toasted wheat bread). It tasted pretty good. But I learned after I ate it that I could have used a method called “poaching” to make the tempeh a little more tender. This was good but chewier than I would’ve expected. Not bad for something new though.

The other “something new” I tried was cookies. At 32, I’ve never baked a batch of cookies before. Well, with this recipe I had plenty of practice under my belt when I was finished. From Vegan With a Vengeance, these are Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.

pumpkinoatmealcookie

This recipe made near four dozen cookies! But I ain’t mad at ’em. They are so chewy and moist! I love them. They called for raisins and optional flax seeds. I didn’t have flax seeds on hand at the time. But they came out chewy just the same. Mmmmmmm…so good.

So that’s my “new”s in the kitchen.

Everyone I know is talking about our newly inaugurated president. I’ve never seen so much pride from blacks. It truly is an amazing thing. I didn’t think America had it in her and I know so many others share that same sentiment. I never would have thought I would ever see a black president. This is not the America I thought it was. It’s a better one. One that is trying to live up to it’s reputation. Haven’t seen that ever. I still don’t think that the economic status of the nation will turn around immediately. But I do think the cultural mentality is undergoing major overhaul. It’s an exciting time to be alive!!

And I suppose Biden actually did put D-ware on the map for good! I see their photo everywhere I go now. I wonder if he can get a few vegan restaurants around here…

In very local news, my dad had to move to another plant out of state since Chrysler shut down. My mom is still here and he has to commute on the weekends. It feels like a loss because he’s very close to my son and he and my husband get a long pretty good. He bounces the Doodlebug on the bed everytime he sees her (which come to think of it, is a bad habit, lol). But, now he’s gone and I miss him.

I know it won’t turn around right away. But I’m giving in to the spirit of hope that this inauguration has ushered in.

Yes we can! (If I can cook, anything can happen!)

Body Snatchers

I think that my body got taken over recently. Since we went on break for school, I’ve been in the kitchen practically everyday. That’s really unusual. And before I’ve left the kitchen, there has been food cooked (gasp!!). And it’s not burned (fainting!!). Very strange.

This holiday I promised myself that I would learn some baking. Don’t get too excited because I haven’t memorized any recipes just yet. I really should have called this blog the The Wannabe Cooking Vegan or something like that. But, I think there are a few books out there that are trying to help folks like me. At least that’s why Isa Chandra Moskowitz said she wrote her Vegan with a Vengeance (a mighty good book that I got for Christmas-amongst others). Thank God for books for cooking idiots!! Still, the first recipe that required baking I actually got from a cross of The Students Go Vegan Cookbook by Carole Raymond and Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. I was trying for a basic pizza dough and sauce recipe.

veganpizza

I added some tomato sauce that I seasoned up with some pesto from the Vegan Planet book, and shredded and sauteed some squash. I really don’t know if pesto is supposed to go on a pizza. But it sounded good. Now, the dough was a little tricky (and I’ve since heard that I might have tried one of the most difficult baking tasks trying to make dough). But it came out okay. I figure the next time, I’ll add a little something to sweeten it up though. I like sweet breaded pizza for some reason. Which reminds me that I need to see a dentist….But, on the whole, I found that the recipes that I’ve tried so far from these books are quick and really tasty!! Like the one for Sweet Corn Relish (again, SO need to see the dentist):

phyllo

This was from The Student Go Vegan Cookbook too. I paired the relish with white kidney beans that I had seasoned with the same stuff that I know how to season black beans with (cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, a little salsa). I found some phyllo thingies at the supermarket (I have yet to find one in Delaware with some phyllo wraps). I thought they were pretty cute and they could be heated or not heated so they were no fuss (which is just my kind of food accessory). I really liked this too. Of course, you don’t see the other nine because…I ate those.

I am actually pretty surprised that vegan food tastes so good. No offense to lifetime vegan-ers. But, I’m a newbie and as an omnivore, folks think that you guys (I mean us now) are a little weird and that all the food from a vegan diet is pretty bland and couldn’t be half as tasty as a diet that includes meat. I was knocked off my feet when my kids actually wound up liking the foods I’ve been making-and that three year old is a tough one to win over. This one was the favorite of all.

shepherdspie

Yes, I got this from The Student Go Vegan Cookbook too. I’ve never had a shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes before. I always thought that pot pie’s and sheperd’s pie were all the same. You know with the crust. But I think the crusted one’s must be the pot pie’s and the mashed taters go with the shepherd’s pie. Whatever, the dish was delicious!! I was so upset when my son wanted more. I only fixed two small casserole dishes (the market had these really cute Corningware and a few other knock-offs on sale). The boy actually looked at the dish that I was about to reheat the next day for another meal and said, “Mom, do you have anymore of that shepherd’s pie thing?” How manipulative is that, right? Oh well, he’s a growing boy. I gave him 49% of it.

I got over the hump of making my first three-course vegan meal. Cauliflower, breaded/baked tofu cutlets with cream sauce and some cocunut rice and beans.

first3course

This was a hodgepodge of a meal and came from a hodgepodge of books. Skinny B*tch and The Students Go Vegan Cookbook being the main players. I guess I felt a like my confidence had grown a little trying all these dishes. So, I decided to try something from one of my more difficult recipe books at the moment. Yes, I tried a treat from Isa Moskowitz’s book called Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.

banana-muffins

Actually, I find that this book has a good mix of easy stuff and things that I might have to work up to…and some things that I still don’t even know how to pronounce just yet. But, do you know how good these banana muffins are? Do you see that space at the top of this pyramid? That’s where a muffin that got curiously scarfed down used to be. They are SO good. And it’s so open to experiments that I figure the next time I’m going to add some nuts and not be a punk about it (no pun intended). Her other book, Vegan with a Vengeance, also had a great recipe for some kale and tahini dressing. It reminded me of a veganized creamed spinach. It was so yummy! Since she had written that she likes to put her greens into her mashed potatoes, I used the kale with the tahini dressing over a baked potato. If heaven was a food….

I don’t know. I’ve tried a lot of things. Pancakes, cauli mash, bean dishes. I even tried some pumpkin scones that were so good that I wanted to smack somebody. I ate them with some vegan buttery spread and some cherry preserves. Mmmmmmm….

In my spare time….well, there actually isn’t much because cooking takes a while. Most of the things I’ve tried have been quick. But not all. I’ve spent full days in a kitchen on some of them. But I was told by my mil that once I get used to cooking, I’ll find my own work arounds-like using frozen veggies rather than fresh. Duh. Why didn’t I think of that? Anyway, I started to say…in my spare time, I’ve bought up just about ever kitchen thingie I could think of for making my cooking life a little easier. I spend endless hours in the cooking and baking sections at just about every department store anymore (what the???). My mom thinks I’m becoming domesticated. Again (what the???). I’ve got silicon mats for dough now….I mentioned the stoneware….more measuring cups and spoons…large and medium glass casserole dishes….more utensils because for some reason, I cook more with those than the large spoons and forks…large cookie sheet and cupcake pan…an ultra small cupcake pan and bread pan (so I could just try it out)….a mandoline (spelling) cutter thingie that I’m still trying to figure out. It just sits on the counter and I stare at it from different angles between sips on my banana-strawberry smoothie. But I used that to shave the veggies on that pizza. I’ll really get it some day, I guess.