Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
I shall. Eat, Drink & Be Vegan is my favorite cookbook. 99% of the recipes I’ve made from it have been awesome and fool-proof and easy and just darned tasty. That’s the kind of cookbook I can get behind. Also, I can find most of the ingredients at the grocery store (read: Kroger, not Whole Foods, here in West Virginia). Dreena Burton is a bit of a genius, in my opinion. I use this book way more than her previous ones, because honestly, it’s a bit less…crunchy. The recipes are modern and rely on modern conveniences, like canned beans. Yeah, canned beans, guys! I’m that vegan who has never cooked dried beans before! I love canned beans! Anywho, it was difficult to not make my tried and true favorites, but I had plenty of new recipes to choose from.
Cocoa Coconut Chili was a good alternative to an old favorite. The whole chili recipe is basically like how I make my own chili (lots of beans, tomatoes, corn, spices), but with the addition of coconut milk and cocoa powder. I couldn’t find Dutch processed cocoa powder to save my life (though I know I’ve seen it somewhere…I was crazy sick for 2 weeks and didn’t have the energy to shop around for it), so I had to use regular old cocoa powder. Basically, the flavor of this chili isn’t that different from the chili I’m used to making, but it had this mellow coconut undertone that I really, really enjoyed. And I think the cocoa powder added some richness, but I definitely couldn’t taste chocolate or anything (which is good, for me). Final verdict? I’ll be tossing coconut milk into my chili more often from now on.
This blackened tofu was excellent. The spice mixture tasted just like the blackened…other things…of my omni past. It was spicy and salty and way easier to make than I thought it would be. I was worried that the mix would fall off the tofu before I got it into the pan, but no! It stayed put and turned a lovely dark color. It was especially delicious with some hot sauce drizzled on top. And it was really great cold as a sandwich filling with some spicy mustard. I will most certainly be making this again!
Cinnamon Lime Quinoa with Almond and Apricots (is a really long title). This was just ok…I liked that I could cook it in my rice cooker (grains are doomed for me otherwise), but it smelled weird to me. I’m not sure why. Maybe I don’t love the combination of cinnamon and lime. I liked the crunch of the almonds, but I found the apricots to be too sweet. I’m not exactly sure what I would change. But I will say that it was an easy side dish to make (remember, I was stupid sick, and it turned out fine), and I didn’t hate it or anything. I guess that’s not really a compliment.
Olive Oyl Pasta! So cleverly named, so hopeful! So sort of bland…though that may be my fault. I think I made too much pasta for the amount of sauce. I don’t have a scale in my kitchen (I wish I did!), so when a recipe calls for a weight of something, I have to just guess at it, and I’m sooooo terrible at guessing weight by feel. I mean, I suppose if I had just had a single one pound box of pasta, that would be one thing, but I had two, half-ish full boxes of pasta. Anyway, I think it was too much. I love olives and garlic and tomatoes though. Next time I would cut the olives up a little smaller, though, and maybe use a short, chunky pasta, so the bits could all be incorporated. With long pasta, all the good stuff fell to the bottom and it was sort of hard to eat. I’m complaining a lot today.
Fried burritos. Oh hell yes. Gimme Chimis was one I was really pumped about it. And it was mighty tasty! It would have been tastier had I not screwed it up, though. (You see how it’s me that’s screwing up most of the recipes I was ‘meh’ about…I had a tough cooking week.) I didn’t realize that I was out of chili powder. So I just kind of…made my own on the fly. What’s chili powder anyway? Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne…right? Anyway, that might have been part of the problem, because I found the filling to be just a teensy bit bland. Also, I used healthy wraps for this and I should have just used regular old unhealthy ones, because it kind of defeats the purpose of healthy when you’re frying a burrito anyway. My healthy, low carb, low fat, low calorie wraps (that are awesome for normal wrap uses) tasted really odd cooked in this manner.
But doused in hot sauce and lime juice and liberally sprinkled with fresh cilantro, it really wasn’t all bad. Nor was it difficult, except for the rolling part (the sort of thing that always hangs me up…I have zero finesse). I will definitely make these again, once I get some chili powder and normal burrito skins.
I should just start telling you I ate kale instead of photographing it. It really all looks the same, doesn’t it? This is kale subbed in for the Simple Swiss Chard recipe. Swiss chard is gross here this time of year, and kale is always awesome. And honestly, this recipe rocks. It is simple, but it’s damned tasty as well. I’d recommend cooking any greens using this recipe. Man. I could eat an entire pan full of kale right now.
This is one of those nights where everything took a million years to cook and by the time it was all ready to eat and I had my camera out, I just didn’t give a flying fork what it looked like. Which I then regret, obviously, when it comes time to blog. Oh well. Suffice to say that the Chickpea Sensation Patties are delicious. They taste a little like stuffing patties, and they’re super easy to throw together, but they’d take a helluva lot less time if you already had brown rice cooked, which I did not. Foresight, folks. I don’t have it. Anyway, this recipe also makes about a zillion patties, so you can totally freeze a bunch of them, if you’re cooking for just one or two people, like me. (Unless you’re out of freezer bags, which I currently am.)
I ate the patties with Potato Squashers. These take over an hour to cook and I didn’t even like them that much, although the omnivore boyfriend did. I found them to be rather dry, tough, and not that flavorful. Even eaten with ketchup the next day, they were just sort of edible. Potatoes really have to be super awesome for me to like them, though. And no, I didn’t eat any green veggies that night, because I needed to go to the grocery store.
I also made the Warm and Cheezy White Bean Spread (or is it dip?), and that is crazy yummy. I whipped it up when I was in desperate need for a snack and it was ready to eat before I felt the need to kill anyone (blood sugar crashes are the worst, eh?). But because I was on the brink, and because it really wasn’t that photogenic, I didn’t photograph it. It’s so so good, though, guys. Make it. Noochy, lemon-y, just a hint of rosemary (I used dried instead of fresh and it turned out fine), it’s just as good with carrot sticks as it is with tortilla chips. So you can health it up, or health it down, depending on your mood.
Sorry it took so long to get this post up. Like I said, I was sick for two weeks, and it took a full two weeks to cook all this food (I survived most nights on hummus and crackers). As a conciliatory gesture, here’s some photos of sushi that the omnivore boyfriend and I made on Valentine’s Day. (It was awesome, it was easy, I always thought sushi was mega hard to make, but the secret is in the rice, and I will make it all the time forever and ever, the end.)
I’m cooking from 500 Vegan Recipes this week, so come back next week to see if I ate anything yummy (or not). Mysterious!