Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chocolate covered banana bites

I decided to make chocolate covered banana pieces. As you can see, they were kind of a disaster. They tasted really good though. I got one or two that came out kind of okay, you can see the best one there. It's just not possible to get the chocolate on smoothly and keep it on smoothly. Eh, oh well. Now I've started to think about what else I could cover in chocolate...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Green Bean Casserole

Every so often, J and I take a trip to Trader Joes, or also known as, land of the best frozen food. I don't know what it is about that place, but it makes frozen food appetizing. I think it's that TJs doesn't banish their frozen greens to a ice chest with a heavy door and a white plastic bag with birds on it. No, we SEE the beans, flash frozen, glistening with possibility, or the mouthwatering cherries, preserved at it's peak and ready for me to thaw and enjoy.

This often amounts to me buying way too much frozen food, where, when we get home, I banish it to the back of our freezer until a day, like today, when we have returned from vacation and have no food in the house. That is when I am reminded of the possiblities with the green beans, which now, are glistening even more due to freezer burn.

Green Bean Casserole, we meet again.

One thing i hate about green bean casserole: Campells Soup apparently blackmailed Mrs. Joy of Cooking and the rest of the 50s housewife world by insisting that mushroom soup is a necessary ingredient. Even googling "green bean casserole" yields THOUSANDS of recipes, all using mushroom soup. That soppy, half solid/half liquid, salty grey plaster.

Not fabulous.

So, here's where I've looked around and found a vegan casserole

The only things that I would change are:
-skipping the soy creamer
-adding 1-2 tbs butter to make the sauce more of a roux before adding stock, yet then rendering it unvegan.

I also didn't have fresh mushrooms, so i subbed in dried porcini which added a nice nutty/woodsy taste to the entire dish.

Now that there are no green beans in my freezer, I probably will feel compelled to buy them again during my next TJs shop. Maybe next time, I'll find a better use.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

101 Cookbooks

I recently discovered a new food blog with lots of recipe ideas and I love it! It's 101 Cookbooks. A friend at work told me about it and I've been reporting back to her every time I make something from it. It's all vegetarian and is all about whole foods and natural, healthy stuff. Here are a couple things I've made so far, but there are lots more I want to try. I particularly like it because she talks a bunch about each recipe and how she got the idea for it. And she makes it sound so easy to just throw things together from whatever you have in the pantry. Granted, I don't have a pantry, but still.

Garam Masala Tofu Scramble
My tofu doesn't come out scrambled, I think it's too firm. But I love garam masala and with cranberries and pistachios, you can't go wrong. I made this once and then I made it again the very next week. I take leftovers for lunch and I feel like it's even better the next day. Simple and delicious!

Orange Pan-glazed Tempeh
(pictured) Believe it or not, this was my first time having tempeh. I'd been meaning to try it but didn't know what to do with it so when I saw the recipe I knew tempeh time had come. I even squeezed my own oranges because I had time and I wanted to see if it was better than buying orange juice for the recipe. I spilled the orange juice at least twice and it wasn't any better, so just buy a bottle, ok? My tempeh wasn't pretty and triangular like hers, but it was really good! And very filling. But, I took it the next day for lunch and it was not good, it got too dry by then. So just make enough to eat and not more.


It's been a while since I posted anything. I was cooking a bunch a few weeks ago, but then I pretty much stopped because I was insanely busy the last 2 weeks. I'm hoping this week will be a bit calmer and I can get back to it. Since hubby started working full time, I've been trying to do more of the cooking but it's too hard to think of things each day. So I'm trying this super organized thing where I plan a bunch of meals for the week on Sunday and buy all the ingredients (or almost all) so each evening when I get home I'm ready to go. This may sound easy, and lots of blogs say it is, but I assure you it's very difficult.

One thing I've started trying is polenta. I just didn't really know what to do with it before, but I finally tried some polenta recipes and they were great. I'm now an official polenta fan. I didn't take my own pictures but here are some polenta things I made:

Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta (pictured) from Cooking Light, though I made something really similar before from Giada deLaurentiis. It's easy to go overboard with the cheese though I try to control myself. And you can feel good about it because it has greens in it. I despise spinach so I use kale instead.

Mini Meatloaves with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy from Rachael Ray. These are great, not least because you get to make a roux which is a really cool word. The recipe suggests having it with mac and cheese but as I try to avoid that (it's very difficult) I had the genius idea of having it with polenta! I highly recommend it that way.

I'd love to hear anything else you've done with polenta, so start posting people!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

Hello gastrofabulous readers! My name is Angela, and I'm a friend of Uma's. I'm currently living in Finland with my boyfriend Kimmo, and the GF ladies allowed us to do a guest post.

We set out to make the 'Mom's Rhubarb Delight' from the blog Siskot Kokkaa.

The recipe is translated here (bear with us because the measurements are european, so it doesn't convert easily to american measurements):

150g butter (1 stick = 113g)
3 dl wheat flour (1 cup = 2.38 dl)
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar

350g rhubarb (we had 3 big stalks)
4 tbsp sugar (according to taste -- she uses less in the springtime)

2 egg whites
3 to 4 tbsp sugar

serves 6 to 8.

The instructions are long and we don't want to translate everything, but here is a brief summary:

Preheat oven to 220 Celsius (about 425 F).

Whip the butter with a mixer, then add the flour and sugar. Mix until dough is crumbly. Add water, one tablespoon at a time (the recipe here says 'until it feels right', which was irritating, because if we knew what felt right then we wouldn't be using the recipe, right?). Let rest in a cool place for a while so it's easier to handle, then press into the pie pan evenly.

Slice the rhubarb into pieces about 1cm in width and place into the pie crust. Sprinkle a thin coating of sugar over the rhubarb. Place in the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft.

For the meringue, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Then whip in sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Pour onto rhubarb and place pie back into the oven for a few minutes, just long enough to give the meringue a golden brown color.

Peeling the rhubarb -- my first time! Some people don't peel them (which preserves the pinkish color better) but it was really fun:

Here is the chopped rhubarb in the crust, pre-oven:

Here we are making little peaks in the top of the meringue:

All done!

We ate it all in about a day, so I'm guessing that 'serves 8' is a pipe dream.