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Archive for December, 2010

Gallo Pinto
I live mainly of different combos of rice and beans; Viva Vegan has brought another 20, or so variations on that theme into my life. Also, this cookbook has given me a reason to buy the more obscure types of beans from the supermarket that I’ve previously passed over, not being sure what to do with them. (The beans used here are “Central American red beans.”
I’m currently training for a half marathon and starting to get up there in the mileage on my long runs. I’ve gotten to the point where I can no longer fake my way through by just eating whatever I feel like: I notice I get seriously wiped out after my long run if I don’t do some plan ahead and stock up on carbs before a long run and replenish my stores with plenty of high-quality food after.

I figured Gallo Pinto, a Nicaraguan/ Costa Rican takes on this classic combo would serve me well. And it did. I didn’t cook it quite as long as the recipe indicated, so not sure if it perhaps is less mushy than the traditional should be. I liked it this way though. I think the recipe said this would make 6 servings, I ate about 1/2 of the whole batch in one sitting. Hey, I was hungry.

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Spicy Tortilla Casserole with Roasted Poblanos; Classic Cabbage

I’ve had my eye on this recipe out of Viva Vegan for a while. Mostly due to the fact that I had a perfect amount of somewhat stale tortillas sitting in my fridge, left over from the time I made enchiladas, vast amounts of frozen tomatoes from this summer and a shitload of potatoes, thus having most of things on the ingredient list at my disposal. Things that needed to be used, to boot.

This turned out great. I will say that I made the sauce and pine nut crema, roasted the poblanos, as well as boiled the potatoes the night before, which greatly reduced the cooking time. Had I not done that it would have been early evening and I would have been starving by the time lunch was ready. Also, the recipe says 2-3 jalapeƱo peppers and cautions it can get hot. I used 2, de-seeded and for me, this was not at all spicy. The next time I’ll leave the seeds in at least on of the peppers, and probably use a grand total of 3. I found myself dousing this in hot sauce to up the spice.

Also, while the tortillas were pretty old, they’d lived in my fridge and where thus still kinda moist. I left them out under a kitchen towel over night to dry them out and achieve maximum staleness. I think this was a good thing as they held up well in the casserole, I’ve read that other people had problems with the tortillas disintegrating completely. I may also try making the casserole with beans and/or greens and mushrooms next time.

I paired the casserole with another Viva Vegan recipe. “Classic Cabbage” basically a coleslaw with a lime-cliantro vinaigrette. I made the “Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette” according to the directions in the book (I made the lime only variation). Next time I will up the proportion of citrus significantly as it wasn’t quite zesty enough for me. Still, I like to make a recipe according to instructions the first time I make it, to see if I might learn something new.

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Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew

Have cooked plenty and even taken photos of it, but lately I’ve been remiss with the blogging I’d promised myself to do. Mostly I’ve been too busy just living and cooking and eating and working and all those other things that comprise day-to-day existence. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not quite cut out for this blogging thing. Yet I keep trying. Oh well.

In my quest (which has been ongoing over more than two years) to cook every last recipe in Veganomicon I’m beginning to get to the recipes that come less naturally to me, for one reason or another. Perhaps they have ingredients I don’t have at home often, or stuff I’m less prone to eat/ like.

Anyway. A while back I decided it was time to make the Kabocha-Udon Winter Stew. Seemed to fit the season perfectly, I had some dried shiitakes collecting dust in my spice drawer, and finally freed from the fetters of a bi-weekly CSA haul I was free to shop at will at my local cheap-o Korean greengrocers. This also gave me an excuse to hit Sunrise Mart, a most excellent (and reasonably priced) Japanese grocery store in the East Village. Besides sundry Japanese speciality items, they’re also a great place to pick up tofu at about half the price of any other place I know of. Here’s my loot from there:

Sunrise Mart Loot
As for the stew, it turned out delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I ended up cooking it not once, not twice, but three times over the course of the past month. Keep in mind the recipe makes about 4 servings and I live alone. So that makes it uh… 12 times I’ve eaten Kabocha-Udon Stew in the past month. Ok, moving on…

I tend to get kind of obsessed with certain flavors and eat them like crazy for periods of time. The Kabocha-Udon adventure triggered a Japanese noodle obsession. I’m now running to Sunrise Mart every chance I get and plan to work my way through a few of the recipes in a long-ignored Japanese vegetarian cookbook someone gave me once.

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