Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Flying Vegan...who's that?

Someone just left a comment asking if I was alive and the answer is yes, I'm still here! I'm even updating my personal blog on a semi-regular basis! The main reason I don't update here is because I'm in a sort of loop food-wise. If I pack lunches they consist of some combination of a peanut butter sandwich, cheerios, fruit/veggies, pistachio nuts, and pretzels. The rest of the time I buy a crappy bagel and an apple from my school cafeteria. I don't usually eat breakfast and when I do it's just fruit, microwaved oatmeal, or pancakes. My dinners are almost always ramen, stir fry and rice, pasta, chile, couscous, frozen foods, rice and beans, or soup with random vegetables.

The only baking or cooking I've particularly done is an embarrassing amount of chickpea cutlets (seriously, I make this recipe in a triple batch!) from Veganomicon, pancakes, and occasionally muffins.

Even though I'm pretty uninspired, I'm still reading all your blogs, so keep posting!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Cookies and Pasta

Since today is Christmas, I thought it only fitting to make some sugar cookies. I veganized a recipe from my mom's old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and ended up with the following very unhealthy, but delicious, recipe:

Sugar Cookies
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T water
1 tsp orange juice (you can really use whatever kind of liquid you want in place of water and OJ, the original recipe had milk and eggs, but I didn't have any soymilk or applesauce for substitutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
sprinkles, small candies, or icing for topping (optional)

Cream the shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add the water and orange juice and beat until combined. There may still be a little liquid that doesn't get absorbed, but this is fine. In a separate bowl, sift together the rest of the ingredients. Blend into the creamed mixture. Divide dough in half and refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer you chill the dough the easier it will be to work with.

On a lightly floured surface roll half the dough to about 1/4" thickness. Leave the other half of the dough in the refrigerator to stay cool. Cut rolled dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters. If you are using sprinkles or other toppings put them on top of the cookies now. Bake at 375°F for 7-10 minutes. Remove cookies from trays to cool. Repeat with the other half of the dough. If you are icing the cookies make sure they are completely cool before icing them.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

I'm always taking shortcuts with recipes so my cookies only chilled for about twenty minutes. The dough ended up a little sticky but it was still manageable. I couldn't find any fun cookie cutters so I cut the cookies out with the top of a glass. I didn't feel like rolling out the second half of the dough because it was really sticky so I just shaped the cookies in my hands and they came out fine. The longer these bake the crunchier they will be. I like soft cookies so I only left them in for 7 minutes.

the beauty of a plain sugar cookie (excuse the bad lighting in my kitchen):

Since I ate an embarrassing number of cookies today, I opted to go for a slightly healthier but just as easy dinner.

Pasta with organic kale (which we froze over the summer), bell peppers, diced Chinese eggplant, garlic, frozen peas, and crushed tomatoes. I threw the topping together in a frying pan while the pasta cooked and I was ready to eat in ten minutes.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Asian Food for Christmas Eve

While most people are gathering around the tree with their families and destressing from a crazy month of shopping, cooking, and baking, I'm sitting at home with a week of break and not too much to do. It's a really good feeling. This has given me a little more time for cooking. While most of the Jews I know go out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve, I opted to stay home today. My parents, however, stopped off at the Asian food center today and picked up the following:

(soy puffs, vermicelli, and wonton wrappers, if you can't tell)

One package was mysteriously labeled, "Soy Puffs" and I decided to use it today. As far as I could tell it was some sort of deep fried tofu. Each puff was about 1-1/2" square. I cooked them in a non-stick pan without any additional oil and they browned a little and released a lot of oil. In the meantime I steamed broccoli and sliced carrots and made the sauce that goes with General Tao's Tofu from the ever-popular vegweb recipe. The result was just as good as any dish I've ever ordered at a Chinese restaurant. The soy puffs were chewy and airy and the sauce was perfect, as it had been every time I've used this recipe.

For dinner, my dad and I made the Scallion Flatbread from Veganomicon. It didn't vary much from other flatbreads I've made and basically tasted like a scallion paratha. I misread the recipe and only added 1/4 tsp of salt instead of 3/4 tsp (this is what I get for reading upside down) so it was a little bland. I didn't have the ingredients to make the dipping sauce, so we just had them plain, which was still pretty good.

Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

A moment of self-promotion

I've started up a new personal blog, which is located at I'll hopefully still be posting over here when I start doing a little more cooking, but the new blog will be devoted to me just blogging about my actual life outside the kitchen. I'd love for some new readers, so if you have some time, add it on to your blog roll!


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Veggie Heaven celebration

I've offhandedly mentioned a few times before that I've been in the middle of the long and tedious college admissions process that plagues many high school seniors. Today at noon was the end of the process for me - I've been accepted to MIT! I'm really excited to go to such a great school and to live in the Boston area for the next four years.

To celebrate, my parents and I went out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, Veggie Heaven in Parsippany, NJ. It's a bit of a drive from my house but it's worth it for some of the best American Chinese food I've ever had (and it's all vegan!). Between the three of us we ordered hot and sour soup, scallion pancakes, orange vege chicken, vege chicken with artichokes, and a combination of tofu, vege beef, and vegetables (can't remember what it was called). Everything was delicious, relatively affordable, and the service was great. Overall, it was a delicious end to an amazing day.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Lower fat banana bread, latkes, and chickpea cutlets

This container made me laugh; can you find the typo?

When I'm not eating lots of soy ice cream or crossing my fingers for snow, I've been busy making a few of the less photogenic recipes in Veganomicon. A theme for this entry could probably be brown foods that weren't even worth a photograph.

My first recipe was the Lower Fat Banana Bread made into muffins. My mom and I both agreed that the muffins were a little dense, but I think it would have been a perfect consistency for banana bread, especially smothered in peanut butter.

After that I made the chickpea cutlets. I can say in complete honesty that this recipe was everything I expected and more. I took the baking route and they were perfect in every way. The flavor and texture were both great. I had the chickpea cutlets plain for dinner and then cut one up and had it over salad today. It was better than the Boca chik'n patties that we normally buy, so I'm thinking about making a lot of chickpea cutlets and freezing them for the future.

My dad made the potato latkes from Veganomicon, which were also delicious. So far I love Veganomicon; all of the recipes I've tried and looked at have been amazing.

Happy Chanukkah!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I promise there'll be a real post soon, but right now I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm probably the last person in the vegan cooking world, but I finally got a copy of Veganomicon today and I'm stunned, it's beautiful. I have no idea where to even start. This is where you, the reader, come in: What recipes should I make first? Are there any recipes to stay away from?

I'm already thinking of the chickpea cutlets and potato latkes sometime soon since I've heard some good reviews on the cutlets and it's Channukah starting tonight (happy holiday to those of you who are also celebrating). What else must I absolutely make?