Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cherry Crisp

A few relaxing days off and it is back to work tonight. The closing date on the house got moved back again due to the potato-head appraiser. Annoying but not a big deal. I just made lazy food for much of the week. Nothing noteworthy other then the cherry crisp. Actually, it was going to be cherry turnovers but my fillo dough was dried out and I needed to come up with something on the fly, as I had already done the filling.

Cherry Crisp

The Filling
2 1/2 cups of pitted cherries
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 table spoon of corn starch
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cloves

Bring all ingredients to a simmer in a saute pan. Let the mixture cook down until it darkens in color and begins to thicken. It should take around 5 - 10 mins of a med-low heat. Chill for 30 mins or until cool.

The Crisp

1 cup of oats
1 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of oil
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. You may need to complete some mixing with your hands. The mixture should have some moisture but be crumbling as well. If it is forming into a ball, add more oats and flour. If it is not wet at all, add more syrup.

Pre-heat the oven to 350. In a 9x9 oven pan, evenly spread the cherry filling into the pan. Gently, spread the mixture over the top to cover evenly. You should use your hands for this, a spoon may make a big mess. Bake for about 20 mins, until top begins to darken.

Out of the oven

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vegan Cheesecake

I feel a bit overworked today. Last night I crossed into overtime after only 2/3 of my pay period. It was a long week. I have the next two days off and hope to relax, cook, watch basketball, and play some games.

Sunday Jamie and I went to the house to look at paint colors. We completely grabbed the wrong samples and will need to go back out. Then we got a few items at the store and returned home for a day of cooking.

I started a vegan cheesecake. Interestingly, the oven in our condo is not level and when you bake something like a cheesecake, it comes out lopsided. I will give you the recipe either way, make it in a flat oven.

Vegan Cheesecake

1 graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)
2 1/2 tubs of Tofutti Cream Cheese
4 units of egg replacer

3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350. In a sauce pan, pour water, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and allow the sugar to dissolve. In a food processor, add the tofutti cream cheese, egg replacer, vanilla, and sugar. Puree until smooth and well mixed. Add in 1/2 cup of the water and brown sugar mixture. Puree until well mixed. Add in the lemon juice and puree until smooth and well mixed. Taste. The mixture should have a strong lemon flavor and be richly sweet. Add more water / brown sugar mixture to make sweeter and lemon juice for more lemon flavor until satisfied. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake in the oven for 30 mins. The top should begin to become golden brown and bubble a bit. Chill for 3 hours and top if you wish.

I have been working on this recipe for a long time and am very happy with it. It comes out nice and moist with a sweet flavor. Try it.

Sunday I also made some seitan. I roasted it in the oven with some potatoes and brussel sprouts. The seitan came out really well. It is good to have the oven back.

Lunch on Sat was made by Jamie. Her famous enchiladas! Tato liked the smell and I like the taste! Yum!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lemon Pepper Tofu & Company

For the last two nights Jamie has had company over. Wed it was her brother, fresh off the plane from Iceland. He had pictures to share. I had food to cook. I made Lemon Pepper Tofu. It came out pretty good but the rice took an eternity to cook for some reason. This caused the vegetables to become overcooked. Sad. If you ignore the rice and dark looking veggies the meal looks really nice.It took quite some time to make so I do not recall the recipe. I bet I can make it again and I will report it then. It was a nice flavorful and spicy sauce cook with some tofu. I then made the remaining sauce into a reduction and a glaze-like sauce to spread over the top. I got to use Gugar Gum!

The next night Jamie had her friend Kelly over. She is getting married and they looked at her ring and talked about weddings. Classic stuff. I again made food. A simple Dhal Soup and Marsala was on Jamie's request. No pictures because it is something I have made and posted previously. Look it up.

Lots of work this weekend. Maybe Monday will bring something good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Black Bean Burgers and and general update

I have had an eventful week so far. Monday, some people from work and I went to Hammond Park to play some basketball. About 3 years ago, I was playing at this same park and severed 2 ligaments in my left foot. This was the first time I had been back. There were only three of us, so we played some 21 and then joined with another group of three for a few pick up games. Game two resulted in a collision between my teammate and I. Going for a loose ball I felt his shoulder compact on my jaw, then I hit the ground and everything went black. I was only out for a few seconds, with a split slip and a potentially dislocated jaw. A sip of water and a few spits of blood and we were playing again. Game three was cut short when a friend from work partially ruptured his Achilles tendon. He sat out, we finished the game and left. He will be out of work for 3 weeks and I had to call out yesterday due to stiffness in my jaw. We will see what comes of it.

Today I had to take a math competency test for school. Apparently I am so far from competent that I need to take 2 classes simply to qualify for the "big boy" math class. I guess that is the price you pay for being a non-traditional student. It will be gigantic waste of money but it is what I need to do in order to get a piece of paper. Education should be free.

The closing for the house looks like it will be pushed back until the 3rd of June. Not a big deal as long as that is the final push back. Fees will incur after the 6th.

Sunday Jamie and I went out for lunch and picked up some vegan cupcakes for later. I filled up and wanted a light dinner. Jamie suggested I try my hands at Black Bean Burgers again. This was the best turn out thus far. I will continue to make some small changes but these were great.

Black Bean Burger
(makes 3 burgers)

1 can of black beans
4 med cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of corn
1/3 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of diced onion
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of black pepper
1/2 tablespoon of salt
2 teaspoons of diced jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon of celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

In a sauce pan, saute the onion, corn, jalapeno, and onion until the onion is translucent. Meanwhile, in a blender/food processor, pulse the beans and spices until they are semi-smooth. Some chunks are desired. Empty the bean mixture into a bowl and add the onion mixture, flour, and corn starch. Fold all ingredients together, being cautious not to smush all the beans. Once the flour seems to be absorbed, cover and chill for 1 hour. Once the beans are chilled, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan and bring to a high temperature. Do not let it smoke. Form the bean mixture into patties. Once the oil is hot, gently set the burgers into the oil. Fry each side until they begin to brown. Toss on buns, add guacamole and enjoy.

I have been watching a lot of basketball recently. Jamie is not thrilled about having the TV occupied constantly but she has been reading. Tato has developed a taste for the game and like to lounge on the futon and watch the games with me..some times he likes to watch them alone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yellow Cake with Cookies and White Chocolate Chips

Did I mention that my oven is now working again? I have used it everyday since we got it back. Everything from pie to enchiladas to pizza! I love baking cakes. I used to be terrible at it but have put forth a ton of effort. As someone who loves sweets, it is a necessity to be able to bake a good cake. Although, I have yet to find a great yellow cake recipe. I want something extremely moist, I do not mind a dense cake but it mus be moist. Anyway, I made a cake the other day. It is a yellow cake with a vegan cream cheese frosting. I sprinkled the top with the last of my white chocolate chips and smushed some nice chocolate cookies on the sides. It is actually a great cake, I just want it to be a better before I come out with an official recipe. You can still take a look at the picture and tell me what you think.

The house is going well. It looks like we are going to close on the 27th of this month. I have been told it may get pushed back but that is the tentative date. My contractor has all his ducks in a row and is ready to start tearing the place apart. I checked the Zillow website today and saw that my house is already listed at $157k. I am not sure where they get their information but it is encouraging non the less.

Well, I hope to cook something extra special this weekend (I have Sunday off) but we will see. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nana's Pie Crust and More

My nana used to make the best pies in the world. I am sure that most people think that their grandmother made "the best pies". They're wrong. Mine did. No questions. Simple, light and crunchy. For years, my step mother, and both of my older sisters have tried to replicate the crust. Although tasty pies, no one has hit it perfectly. Earlier this week, I tried. I need work. It was fun but the top layer of crust was too crumbly. Part of it may have been that I do not own a rolling pin, I use a glass jar. I may be the only cook on the planet who own only 1 pan, 1 pot, 1 wok, 2 knives, 2 mixing bowls, and no rolling pin. Oh well, I make it work. The pie is still great, strawberry rhubarb is my favorite. I would eat it off the ground, or dipped in sand. Yum!

I also recently made a Strawberry Mango smoothie. Smoothies are such a great summer treat. I do not add any sugar so they are nice and refreshing with loads of fruit. Mangoes were only $0.49 at the farmers market earlier this week. Unless you pick them off a tree, you can not beat that!

For our entree that night I made Vegan Dad's chickin wings and I roasted some fingerling potatoes and other great veggies! It was a nice meal and I have used the oven everyday since we has been back in commission.

Now...what to make for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Potato Salad and Bar-b-que Tofu

A relaxing night of basketball was prompted by a nice day off and a light dinner. I made a potatoes salad and bar-b-que tofu.

Potato Salad

2 med size red potatoes
1/3 cup of oil
1 tablespoon of diced red onion
1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of dill
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon of celery seed

Cube potatoes and boil for 20 mins or until soft, do not let crumble. While potatoes are boiling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl and stir thoroughly. Once the potatoes are done, strain, rinse, and let cool. Once the potatoes are cool, add them to the oil mixture and gently stir until all potatoes are coated. Chill for 2 hours. Serves 2.

Oh....and the oven is back!

Gardening vs Trees, and some food.

Although today was a day off, I had to get up early to meet a government inspector and my contractor at the house. I spend a little time walking around the property after they had both left. Excited about a garden, I was looking for a good area to start planting. Sadly, there are a ton of tree in the back yard, blocking most of my light as well as rooting through the yard. Do not get me wrong, the trees are great, I really like feeling like I live in the woods.

The dilemma is: how can I cut down wild natural trees to forcibly grow domesticated plants for food?

It is something that much thought needs to be put into.

The last few days, we have been over worked and well fed. Sunday Jamie and I made chili. Eventually I will post a recipe but not today. For now, you just get the picture.

That night we were settling in to watch a movie, Life After People. It was very interesting but demanded some of my famous popcorn!

Monday night, before basketball, I made some Blackberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, Dill Potatoes, and Chickin Tofu.

I promise I will get more recipes out here as soon as I bother to write them out. I am a wing-it kind of cook so I just eyeball everything and never have any recipes to show for it. Supposedly, our oven will be back up and running tomorrow, then it will be backed item time! I can not wait for an oven again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Back from Vacation!

A photo re-cap of the Florida trip.

Florida Marsh

Florida Marsh

Florida Pelicans

Lucifer the Hippo (yes, that is really his name) is always a treat when visiting Homosassa Springs.

- - -
Not to mention some nice foods recently.

Tofu Skin Stir Fry

A light afternoon berry snack

I hope to get more active with the blogging when my work load cools off. Currently I am logging nearly 80 hours back to back. Figure in the busy work for the house and it has been very hectic since my vacation ended. I made some nice Seitan Burgers for dinner last night. I will work on the recipe a bit more and post it up, along with the Tofu Skin Stir Fry. How about that Boston / Chicago series? I will be disappointed when it ends. Oh well, more later.