Monday, February 23, 2009

Strawberry Salad and Houses

I have not been treating myself very well recently. I have been eating very badly. After a trip to the doctor today, I realized that I need to start eating better. This new conviction works well considering that last nights dinner was along the lines of what I want to be doing more. Jamie made a great salad with spinach, carrot, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, raisins, cranberries, almonds and more. I made some dressing for the salad in the food processor.

Strawberry Lemon Vinaigrette

5-6 med size strawberries
1/2 cup of red vine vinegar
2/3 cup of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon wet mustard
1/3 teaspoon salt

This is very easy with any wide blender or food processor. Take the garlic, and red wine vinegar and blend until garlic is well shredded. Then add in oil and wet mustard and blend until smooth. Then you can add in all the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. The dressing is a little thick.

This made for a nice hearty salad that we topped with some of the extra strawberries. It was a nice evening that was followed by some more decoration in the kitchen. We took the best pictures of the foods from the last year or so and framed them. Then we put them up over the cabinets in the kitchen. It is a bit self-indulgent but nice.

Yesterday afternoon Jamie and I took a trip to the house that is currently #1 on my purchase list. Lucky for us, the back door was ajar and we got to head in. It was really nice to see the place again and realize how nice it is. I am still not committed but it is really nice to have something I like on my list.

My birthday is coming up. A week from tomorrow in fact. I really like my birthday. It has always been a troublesome day for me but I always look forward to it. I will turn 29 and typing this with my back hurting and thinking about buying a house I feel 29 already!

I am going to make some nice foods, may be a lot of raw stuff in the next few weeks so keep your eyes here!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Home Prospects?

A quick post. I have had a busy week. Not only did I get all my stuff set up to transfer my schooling but I looked at homes to buy and contacted a loan broker. I am not committed to buying my own home yet. At this point I have been pre-approved for a nice loan and looked at some nice places. As it stands now, I will likely take a re-hab loan which will allow me to buy a beat up house and spend about 30k to fix it up the way I desire. It will be an interesting process and I am having too much fun with it. That is about it for me today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sushi Night

Last night was sushi night. Long ago, sushi was a staple in my diet. I am not exactly sure why it has now become a rarity. After a great meal last night it may need a resurrection. All day yesterday I was on only 4 hours of sleep due to a long night at work. I maintained and we had a good day. Jamie found a place that had vegan cupcakes on the weekends and so we took a drive. To our dismay, it was closed. Apparently, cupcakes are a big hit on Valentines Day. They had sold out of all of their cupcakes and closed for the day. We then tried to get some lunch, again, no luck. It was back home for plan B.

We made sushi! If you have never made sushi before it is a ton of fun, not to mention incredibly easy. The toughest part is getting your rice to taste correct.


2 cups water
1 cup sushi rice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 dulse flakes (optional)
4 Toasted Nori rolls
Fillings of choice

Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer. Add in the sugar, vinegar and dulse to the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 cup of sushi rice and cover. Cook until water is gone and rice is soft. Spoon all of the rice into a bowl and put into the freezer for 30 minutes. Take the bowl out and stir the rice occasionally. Your rice should not be completely cold but should not be hot either. Stirring the rice helps it to cool evenly and helps to avoid it drying out.

Lay 1 sheet of toasted nori glossy side down on a bamboo sheet (a cutting board works too but is not as easy). Carefully, take a spoon and firmly spread the rice over the nori. On one end of the nori, leave about a 1/2 inch with no rice. If your nori begins to tear, either your rice is too hot or you are being to rough.
Once the rice is evenly spread over the roll, take your fillings (I like carrots, cucumber, and avacado - all matchsticked and raw) and place them is a straight like across the bottom of the rice, lenthwise. Then, simply roll it up like a burrito. This is where a bamboo mat comes in handy.

Once the roll is tightly wrapped up, you will need a sharp serraded knife, and a glass of cold water. Let the knife blade get very wet and gently saw a 1/2 piece of the roll off the end. Take the blade, wipe off the starch, wet it a repeat until the roll is completly cut.

There are a number of other types of rolls that you can make as well. Generally I make an inside out roll. This means that, once I put the rice on the nori, I flip the seaweed so that the rice in face down. The fillings go onto the nori rather the nthe rice and when rolled up the rice is on the outside of the roll. I also like to put seasme seeds on my roll as well. I just sprinke it on the rice before I add my fillings. If you have never made sushi before, get used to the way directed above before you get to fancy.

Ta-Da! Sushi Night!

As we sat down to eat our great sushi rolls, we realized that it was getting late for the last leg of our day. So we packed those rolls up in some containers, took them to go, and hit the road. It was off to the drive in! Woot.

Friday the 13th at the drive in! How can you beat that? Granted, the film was not great and there were to many disturbances but it was still a lot of fun. Homeade sushi and Jason....what more could a cracker ask for?

Ohh....and Tato had has found a new sleeping spot.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dont buy stuff!

Okay, so I will rarely post pictures and recipes of things that have pre-packaged vegan items. I stand strongly against capitalism and do not want to advertise for a company, however, like most vegans, I occasionally take the easy road. I buy vegan pre-packaged products. If you must buy them, there are some nice things you can do with them. Like....

Vegan Jambalaya (with vegan sausages)

Cookie Soy Milk Shake

Coming back from my tirade, this is Valentine's Day. Another day worth a rant but I digress. It is raining here in Atlanta and I will be at work tonight. It will be an easy day at work except that I am in pain. My back has been hurting for about a week now. That is a big reason there have not been many posts coming. Nor has there been much original cooking. I have not been motivated to do anything but lay around. I feel a bit better today and hope that it continues to improve.
Apparently Jamie has something planned for us today. I hope it is not major as I did not do anything. Not a big holiday guy. I like birthdays and that is about it. Speaking of birthday is only 3 weeks away! Woot! I can not wait for cake!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Food....

It has been too long since my last blog however, I have many nice pictures to share with you. To re-cap the past week, I worked. Jamie and I put a lot of effort into planning our trip to Idaho in the summer. It looks like we have some really good information and it will be a ton of fun. I am looking forward to the trip...when is July coming?

I made a number of new dishes this past week.

I made some Cheesy Potatoes.
I made some pancakes.

I made a Black and White Cake.

That just about re-caps the week. I have the day off and hope to make some fun food tonight. We will see how inspired I feel. This should be a nice relaxing weekend coming up. My work load is light and I have more time off then usual. Good stuff.

Friday, February 6, 2009

As the dust settles

As the dust from the last several hectic months settles I am able to begin working on a few things that I have wanted to put my time into. I am going to begin writing down my recipes so that they are easier to share. My intentions have been to do this for a long time but wiring this blog and seeing all the people who check it inspires me to become more diligent with this task. I have begun hitting up the gym as well. Shape up or ship out! I am also going to watch more film this year. Last year I really slacked off. The film product was extremely poor last year which did not help the matter.

I hit 5 years at my job in Dec. This is both fun and depressing. The fun part is that I have now earned 3 weeks paid vacation. Now....what to do with it.....
Jamie and I are planning a week long hiking trip. We are going to fly out to Salt Lake City, UT and rent a car. We will be doing day hikes through the mountains. Heading north, until we finally reach our destination of Missoula, MT. We will see Yellowstone and a few other major tourist spots but my personal goal is to get the more obscure hiking treasures. The trip should be a great experience for a nice summer trip, it can not be any worse the last summers fiasco to the Dominican.

As for cooking, I mainly cook some lazy foods this week. I made a stir-fry, some seitan chickin, etc. However, I did get some vegan marshmallow and made some Smore Cookie Bars. I am not a big fan but Jamie loved them and ate one at work each day this week. I have some new food ideas I am going to try out this weekend and next week, so keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Marinated Tofu Steaks

I have been taking too much time with seitan recently and have neglected tofu. To rectify the situation, I made some marinated tofu steaks. They turned out great!

Marinated Tofu Steaks

1 pound of extra firm tofu
1 cup of soy sauce
1/3 cup of sesame oil
1/3 cup of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of garlic
1/2 teaspoon of chilly sauce
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

Cut the tofu into lengthwise slices about 1/4 of an inch wide (about 10 slices in a block). The in a flat container or baking sheet combine all other ingredients. Mix well. Set the tofu steaks in the mixture and cover. Let sit for 8 hours. If you can flip the steaks around 4 hours into it that is great but it is not necessary. After the 8 hours, heat some sesame oil in a skillet on med-high heat until the oil is bubbling. Gently set the tofu steaks into the hot oil. Some times I like to add some more garlic and curry to the tofu while they are cooking. Flip the tofu after about 5 minutes and cook until each side it browned.