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so over summer.

August 31, 2010

hello, babies.

All I want to eat right now is easy stuff.  And pickles.  And fruit.  It’s still too damned hot here to really bother with cooking much.  I’m longing for the days of casseroles and pasta bakes and roasted veggies and potatoes.  But for now, I just cannot do it.  Still, I’ve thrown together a few things that were easy that are worth sharing.  Not as easy as grabbing pickles out of the fridge or making a gigantic salad (hello, did you know that apples and green olives are a very nice pairing in a salad?), but still relatively easy and brainless.

pot of awesome.

Beans and greens.  Actually, I started out wanting this to be mushrooms and kale, and that is how it began its life.  But I always forget that mushrooms shrink a lot when you cook them, and they just weren’t substantial enough for dinner.  So I added some red beans.  White would have been nicer with the kale, but whatever.  It was red beans or black beans.  Red won, because black beans are only for Mexican food, in my mind.

small portions are for kittens.

Basically, this is just a ridiculous amount of garlic cooked with crimini and oyster mushrooms, oh and some olives and tomatoes, and then the kale and some lemon juice.  Atop a bed of fluffy couscous (absorbs the juices, oh my), it was sort of plain, to be honest, but delicious all the same.  Sometimes just allowing the flavors of various components to shine can be simple, but yummy.  And I like the flavors of kale, mushrooms, garlic, and olives.  This is definitely the sort of thing that I would not cook for anyone else unless I was really not trying to impress them at all.  I might cook it for someone who I was trying to scare off.  I mean, how much more ‘boring vegan’ can you get?  Mushrooms, beans, and kale?  I wouldn’t admit to a bunch of omnivores that this is what we eat.  Unless I wanted them to hate me.

Speaking of things I wouldn’t serve to an omnivore that didn’t love me (or wasn’t very open-minded [there are a  lot of double negatives in this sentence])…

mmmm raw tofu.

And not only raw tofu, but raw tofu on fancy sprouted bread!  Wow.  I’m really making omnivores click away from my page left and right with this post.  But it really is delicious!  This is my basic curried tofu salad.  This particular batch was made with the lovely Becca on Saturday afternoon.  Becca likes tofu, and she likes my curried tofu salad and it was hot outside and this was easy peasy to throw together.  I was nervous at first because we were at her house so I had no nutritional yeast or tahini to toss into the mix, but we totally made it work.  My recipe changes every time I make it, depending on what I’ve got on hand, but this one has: crumbled extra firm tofu, a scallion (minced), celery (minced), a carrot (grated), garlic powder, loads of curry powder, paprika, parsley, lime juice, soy mayo, cumin, white miso (thanks for the reminder, Becca), and some red wine vinegar to brighten it up.  We loaded it up on toast (Ezekiel bread yum yum) with some green leaf lettuce.  Becca made a sandwich, but I preferred open-faced so that I could hog up more of the salad.

Next up is something that seems really counterintuitive since I’ve been complaining about how hot it is outside.  Yeah, soup.

prepping like a pro.

Usually, I just pull things out of my fridge as I cook and think what would be nice to throw in, but I had a very specific vision for this Asian-style soup because I found some baby bok choy (a rare find here!) and even a lovely assortment of mushrooms in the same grocery trip.  I already had some discount baby corn, carrots, garlic, and scallions (plus the usual Asian ingredients – shoyu, sesame seed oil, ginger, extra firm silken tofu, and i wish i’d had some sriracha).

Basically, I made a stir fry and then added veggie broth and water with some bouillon cubes and lots of cayenne.  It was nice.  Very nice, actually.

And it’s really pretty.

And I took a ton of photographs while I was cooking it because it was the golden hour (that hour or two before sunset) and that is my favorite time of day, especially to cook and take photos because the light, which is perfect on its own, comes right in my west-facing kitchen window.  Lovely.  Ahem.  Anyway, there’s a little insight to my life and how I work, eh?  It helps that I prepped like I did, because usually I don’t take as many photos while I cook…because nothing looks nice or organized.


Anyhow, I have air conditioning, so soup isn’t too ridiculous.  This soup also tastes just as good lukewarm.  And since it’s all chunky-like, I got to use chopsticks to eat the big bits, then slurp up the garlic filled, spicy broth with the mushrooms and tofu afterward.  I will admit that after my first bowl (this one), I went back and added some soba noodles because I felt like it was lacking some substance.  Plus, I just really enjoy noodles in soup.  They’re fun.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to.  Not a load of cooking, but there is some.  I keep meaning to take a picture of my basic monster salad, since that’s what I’ve been eating the most, but then I think it’s not that pretty and now I’m out of lettuce (uh oh).   So, for the time being, back to more of these:

WordPress spellcheck fun: it doesn’t recognize tahini and dislikes my use of the phrase ‘easy peasy’.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Becca permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:02 pm

    Don’t forget we used white miso in the tofu salad!

    • August 31, 2010 8:07 pm

      oh, right. we also used white miso in the tofu salad, everyone! (i don’t feel like editing right now, sue me.)

  2. Chris permalink
    August 31, 2010 9:00 pm

    Awesome pics! I love soup enough that I could eat it in the desert.

  3. August 31, 2010 11:03 pm

    Whoa! The soup! I want the soup! I love all the prep pictures. It’s so hard to cook and take pictures at the same time, but you’ve masterered it here. And everything does look nice and organized! 😀

    • September 1, 2010 3:34 am

      it’s so rare that i have to take advantage when it actually happens!

  4. September 2, 2010 9:25 pm

    DAMN, I want to eat all of this.. yes, even raw tofu.

  5. September 3, 2010 3:33 am

    The food looks great! Are you the next Food Network Star?

  6. September 4, 2010 6:53 pm

    gosh, i haven’t had a tofu salad in a long ass time, i need to get on that!
    and, perhaps b/c i’m vegan as well, but i would totally eat the shit out of greens and beans!

  7. September 10, 2010 3:58 am

    That asian soup sounds like a wonderful idea, and definitely up my alley; I’m all about easy meals lately, especially when they’re pretty, as well!

  8. September 13, 2010 6:26 pm

    I have yet to make perfectly crunchy pickles, but your photos are inspiring me to give it another try- They look so good!

    And while I will lament the passing of summer, I’m happy to be re-entering soup season… There are so many tasty options to try.

  9. September 26, 2010 7:06 pm

    Can’t go wrong with pickled food!
    Onions, gherkins, cabbage mmmmm
    But have you seen those picklled eggs?

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