Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Genius Of The Day Award

The genius of the day award goes to Ann at Redacted Recipes for inventing this magnificent apple/cranberry crisp. My crisp isn't much to look at, but it's deliciously tart and spicy; in fact, I just ate two pieces and spoiled my dinner. I followed her recipe almost exactly (using Mutsu apples from Terhune Orchards), but I added about 1 tbsp. lemon zest to the topping, and used allspice instead of cloves (gasp!), because that's what I had on hand. Oh, and I chickened out and peeled the apples. Regardless, it's wonderful, and as an added bonus, my whole apartment smells like heaven now. Thanks Ann!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shepherd's Pot Pie

What happens when you make a pot pie, but instead of a top crust, you use mashed potatoes? It's exactly as delicious (and totally crazy) as it sounds. I didn't write down a recipe, but my filling was leeks, celery, carrots, and peas, with TVP, nutritional yeast, vegetable broth, tamari soy sauce, and some soymilk, seasoned with a few shakes of cayenne and some dried sage. I think any meat sub would have worked, though.

Recent recipe round-up

Butternut squash and kale risotto: I adapted this recipe, using spinach instead of the mysteriously-unavailable kale, and Smart Bacon instead of pancetta (I wanted to use seitan, but we were out). If I had cooked this as directed, the squash would have still been crunchy by the time the rice was done, but I caught it early and cooked the squash much longer before adding the rice. All in all, the risotto was quite nice, though a little sweeter than I had hoped - though I suppose that's inevitable, as it contains an entire squash; using kale instead of the milder spinach might have helped. I might try it again with kale and seitan, and maybe use a bit less squash.

Brussels sprouts with brown butter: I followed this recipe for sauteed Brussels sprouts last night, and to my taste, it was a success. The garlic butter cut the sprouts' bitterness perfectly, and they had a wonderful texture. My photo assistant, on the other hand, wasn't so enthusiastic. I think he has the same problem with Brussels sprouts as he does broccoli. That just meant more of this lovely dish for me, though, so it wasn't so bad.

Chocolate pudding: Okay, it's not vegetables, but this is the best chocolate pudding recipe ever. I tried it with soymilk, using a little less sugar than is called for, and it was perfect. The almond-milk version I made later was weird, but still good.

Ginger cookies: Similarly non-vegetable, but I've been on a baking jag, and I made these ginger cookies yesterday. The texture is perfect, but I would prefer a lot more spice. Next time I'll add more ground ginger, and take the advice of the commenter who recommended adding chopped candied ginger to the dough before baking.

Celeriac and potato soup: I scored a used copy of The Passionate Vegetarian for $12 (!!), and the first recipe I'm planning to try is a creamy celeriac and potato soup with leeks. First, though, I have to find out where I can buy evaporated skim milk.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Slim & Chilly Pickings

It was a freezing and sparsely-populated USG day today. Ice crystals clung to my spinach, lots of vendors were absent (even the stalwart Terhune Orchards), and - worst of all - there wasn't a leaf of kale to be found in the whole place. Brussels sprouts, which I had been avoiding while my stomach healed (since they can be tough to digest), are clearly on their way out, though I managed to find some good-looking ones. Otherwise, not a lot of interesting options, and the chilly air got into my brain and allowed me to forget beets - which means no beet and cheddar risotto, still!

My lightened load:
1 celeriac
1 bunch baby carrots
2 bags spinach
1 head Rocambole garlic
1 butternut squash
1.5 lbs. Brussels sprouts
1 Osage orange (cockroach repellent)
Total spent $28

The celeriac I'll use in risotto, and perhaps make another with the butternut squash; I'll either roast the Brussels sprouts or pan-fry them in butter with sage (along the lines of this recipe - anything to make them soft and caramelized. Perhaps I'll make a quick Dijon mustard sauce for them, like they serve at Westville.

Next time I can get apples, I'm going to make another apple pie. I've got a few recipe adjustments I'd like to try out...and I've quickly become a pie addict.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Breath After (Food) Coma

The only reason I am awake to write this, despite seconds on Tofurkey and three helpings of mashed potatoes and gravy is because I wisely chose to have coffee with my pie. Dinner was great - the potatoes were buttery and abundant, the gravy rich and salty, the carrots tasted almost exactly like candy - but the pie was the real success pie crust notwithstanding, this was some good pie.

Here's a shot as it first went into the oven (my favorite butter application method is "dotting," by the way):
Why, hello beautiful (if I may quote Pioneer Woman):
And here's your extreme close up:
Man, I can't wait until breakfast so I can eat more pie.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Pile

This homely heap of root and fruit will be transformed, tomorrow, into a multi-coursed Thanksgiving meal for two. It's a bit magical. (Not pictured is Tofurky, which, quite honestly, is round and brown and would have fit right into this shot.)

Our Thanksgiving menu
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Oven-Roasted Tofurky
Mashed Potatoes
Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrot Coins

Apple Pie

Photo assistant isn't a huge beet fan, but I think the improved texture and sweetness of the roasted beets will help turn him on to them - and of course the perfect match with goat cheese.

I'm not doing a separate stuffing this year, because the Tofurky comes stuffed decently, and there are only two of us. Likewise bread: no dinner rolls or biscuits, though I've promised to make some biscuits for a leftovers meal with slices of Tofurky and lots of gravy.

The carrot coins are the main course's token nod to healthfulness, but because it's Thanksgiving, I'm going to nod back toward excess by serving them with a butter and brown sugar glaze (recipe, maybe, after I invent it).

Apple pie will be Dutch style, loosely based on this recipe, using Mutsu apples, but I will omit the allspice, and I may add a twince of lemon to the filling as well as using the called-for zest in the streusel. I had some delicious apple pie at Sweet Farm, and the filling had a zip that I think may have been due to a little lemon. We'll see. I did have to buy a frozen pie crust (my mom made gagging, then retching noises when I told her), due to lack of pie crust-making resources, but I think the filling will make up for it.

If we don't eat it all in seconds after it's done, I'll take photos. Good luck with that, us.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Risotto dreams and white rice reality

Yet another delicious-sounding risotto recipe that I am prevented from trying by my new (temporary, I hope) dietary restrictions. Tonight, instead of risotto with kale and butternut squash (I'd sub seitan for the pancetta, of course), I had white rice with steamed spinach and scrambled eggs, seasoned only with soy sauce.

Though I have been chalking this up to anxiety and hoping I can overcome with the power of my strong will and talent for self-analysis, yesterday's blazingly painful experience post-avocado made me think I'm going to have to embark on a course of gastroenterology (sung to the tune of Firewater's "Psychopharmacology", at least in my brain).

Hence no interesting photos or recipes lately...steamed carrots, steamed spinach, white rice, yogurt, and sourdough bread (the latter two - probiotic!) have constituted most of my diet for the past couple of weeks. It's really not so bad, because I like all those things, but it does get a little boring, especially when confronted by so many delicious recipes I'm yearning to try...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A mild day at USG

Saturday's trip had one goal: procuring a variety of fruits and vegetables that I can eat despite my stomach trouble. Results have been encouraging thus far, though a couple of hard lessons have been learned.

Nothing to see here, folks:
7 Mutsu apples
1 bunch carrots
1 bag spinach
1 bag arugula
3 sweet potatoes
2 lbs. German butterball potatoes
1 butternut squash
1 head Rocambole garlic
Total spent: $30

My trip filled me with ambition, so upon arrival home I made myself a sandwich with the whole wheat sourdough bread I'd bought, Earth Balance, and arugula (from Keith's Organics). Delicious, but fat is a no-no, and the sandwich did me wrong: a few hours later I was in a lot of pain.

More successful were the applesauce I made, and the carrots, which I steamed and served alongside my staple, white rice. This gives me hope that the squash will be gentle to my stomach despite being fibrous...I'm going to try it tonight. I feel a bit like a parent introducing solid foods to her baby for the first time, except I'm the baby too.

In meals for the non-ailing news, I made polenta using this advice from The Amateur Gourmet, and it turned out very well. I'm going to fry up the leftovers and serve with over-easy eggs to the free eater/caretaker of the household. Isn't he lucky?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

There is NOT a party in my tummy

There is, in fact, the opposite of a party. The mysterious and excruciating stomach pain started last Wednesday, and reached its full pain-and-nausea potential over the the moment, I haven't been able to eat anything other than yogurt and plain starches like rice without hurting. I went to the doctor yesterday. Bloodwork has turned out normal, so tomorrow I have an appointment for an ultrasound to check my gallbladder maybe, or at least something gallbladderish.

Not totally vegetable-related, but it does mean I have to wait to try a certain recipe I've really been looking forward to. I also think this will mean no greenmarket trips until I can eat normal food again, though I do think I'll add some plain mashed sweet potato into my neutral dietary mix.