Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vegan MoFo is Upon Us!

.. and, I am damn excited. October is the ideal month for me for the following reasons: 1) an entire month dedicated to the delicacy that is vegan fewd nomz, 2) my birfday is this month, and 3) HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEEEN. This means that I have thirty one days to cram as many horror movies into one month as humanly possible. From 80's horror to 90's, from 70's exploitation to Universal Monsters, from Japanese horror to.. You get the idea. I admit, I've cheated and already gotten a head start on my horror movie intake. What can I say?

I haven't posted a lot of late and not due to lack of cooking. If you haven't noticed it's late September which means I've been back in school for almost a month. And, it's kind of kicking my ass. Also, when I've been cooking, it's been evening time meals where I'm trying to relax. Taking pictures of my food has been the last thing on my mind when a big plate of tastiness is sitting in front of me. Anyway, without further ado, here is what I've been cooking up.

This was my second illness soup: Asian Mushroom Noodle Soup. It was inspired by a recipe I found in one of my mom's many low-carb cookbooks. One thing I will never submit to is this low-carb craze we find ourselves in. Carbs 'til death! The recipe in the book called for pork, so I subbed seitan. This recipe is really basic and really anyone could make it on the fly. It incorporated cabbage, carrots, button mushrooms, and wheat spaghetti noodles. (Soba noodles would've been MUCH better, though.) This was a really healthy meal and even the sodium content was very mild.

Remember that tempeh stew I made like, a post ago? The left over tempeh was used to make these: Tempeh burritos. I didn't do anything special. I steamed tempeh with some soy sauce and then topped it with some homemade peach mango salsa. Does anything sound more elegant than 'peach mango salsa'? I think not.

This hearty red lentil pasta sauce is one of my favorites that I've made recently. Next time, though, I'd rather make it with a different pasta, one that holds sauce a bit better. This is a great alternative to those fatty fake meat grounds that you usually throw in your pasta sauce to make spaghetti.

About a year ago, I couldn't stand the taste of tahini. I would avoid making homemade hummus just to avoid it. I found it impossible to cook with and even more impossible to scarf down. Tahini is definitely an acquired taste, but once you do acquire it, you're hooked. Using tahini in sauces and such is all about combining it with the proper amount of water. Tahini has a very potent nutty flavor and needs water to counteract it and tone it down. I love love love this recipe for soba noodles with tahini sauce! This was my first time cooking soba noodles and I couldn't stop snacking on them while I waited for the rest of my meal to finish cooking. Such an awesome flavor. A note: I think next time I make an alfredo sauce I will mix equal parts tahinia and water to the garlic, soy milk, margarine mixture. Tahini with the right amount of water has a bit of a cheesy quality that is absolutely delicious.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tempeh Stew

This past week has been utterly horrid due to the fact that I seemed to have caught that cold that's been going around. It's been awful. Sore throat. Sniffles. Hacking cough. The works. Regular customers at my place of employment have even been teasing me and claiming that I have Swine Flu. Jerks. :( So, in an attempt to remedy my illness, I decided to be a little old-fashioned and whip up some hearty soup. And, it was hearty in deed. This soup is very low maintenance and since you cook the tempeh with the broth, you don't have to steam it beforehand. Could this have been more simple? Negative.

Tempeh Stew for the Sickly

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 can chickpeas
2 medium tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. tempeh

In a large pot, hydrate lentils with water through bay leaf on medium heat. Add more water if lentils start to stick. This is soup, after all. Add remaining ingredients, save the tempeh. Before the chickpeas are fully cooked, add tempeh and cover. When tempeh is desired texture, remove from heat and serve.