Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert!

As a kid (and even now), my favorite dessert included strawberries and rhubarb.  It was something I would eat until it made me sick and even beyond.  Pie was the most common thing I would find it in.  In my early 20's, I made many pies of my own but I was never able to master the art.  I have never been a baker.

I have done some outside of the box things to make up for my baking disability.  This however, was fairly inside the box.  Strawberry rhubarb cobbler.  It was fantastic.  I will make it another time or two before I share the recipe as I want to change up a few things.  Either way, it was awesome and an excellent way to cap off a fun night of food and play.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

I am stuffed.  Today has been a good day and I have recipes to share!  The morning I just did some relaxing and handled some Real Estate business.  That afternoon I headed out to do some errands.  One of my errands was finding some rhubarb.  Success!  I will share some of the rhubarb with the blogworld soon.

For now, I wanted to share some soup I made.  I have never had a roasted red pepper soup and it has been on my mind for a few weeks.  With the opportunity for a dinner party for three, it seemed a great reason to try it out.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

1 potato (peeled and cubed)
3 large red peppers
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
15 oz of high fat coconut milk
1  1/2 cups of water
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 cup of onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon of dried chipotle peppers
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 teaspoons of black pepper
2 teaspoons of salt

Pre-heat the oven to a high broil.

In a pot, bring the water to a boil and add the potato.  Allow to boil for about 20 minutes until potato is tender.  Strain and set aside.

Place the red peppers, on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes.  The red pepper skin should be getting black.  Flip the peppers and broil for another 8 minutes.  Repeat this process 3 or 4 times until about 1/3 of the pepper has blackening skin.  Remove from the oven and quickly place in a plastic bag for about 15 minutes.  This will steam the peppers and loosen the skin.

Once the peppers have steamed, slice in half and remove the skin.  It should just peel off.  Remove all the seeds and chop the peppers into about 1 inch chunks.

In soup pot, add bring the oil to a low heat.  Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper and allow to fry until the onions are translucent. 

In a blender, add the potato, coconut milk, chipotle peppers, vegetable broth, and salt.  Puree until smooth.  Add the red peppers, garlic, and onions and puree for about 15 seconds.  There should not be whole pieces of red peppers but there would be some texture remaining.  It does not need to be smooth.

Return the mixture to the soup pot that the garlic, onions, and red peppers were fried in.  Heat on low adding the whole sprigs of thyme and the black pepper.  Allow to heat for about 15 minute or until appropriate temperature.  Then remove the thyme and serve.  Another sprig of thyme and some black pepper make a nice garnish.

After the three of us had dinner, it was still light out and the weather was so nice we headed to the park!  There were all sorts of dogs at the park and I got to play with them a bit.  Never to old to play at the park.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The good and the bad.

It is only Wed and it has already been a strange week.  It began with a lot of Real Estate business that has been great.  I have been showing houses everyday that I have not been at work!  It feels like I am working hard and making good progress.

On the other hand, the jobby job has been fairly stressful with a load of changes that we are dealing with.  Also, today, I managed to lock myself out of my own garage.  It was quite a classic move and cost me about $100 and wasted several hours.

There has been little time for food but I have been doing my best.  I spent some time going to 8 different grocery stores looking for rhubarb.  Nothing.  None of them had any.  I was so annoyed that I came home and out of my anger, made a chocolate cake with vegan cream cheese icing!  Take that local grocers!  Next time, stock my rhubarb!

Monday, April 25, 2011


While I can almost hear the groans from the vegan blog world as I write this post, it is something that means something to me and I will post regardless.  Friday night was the first playoff game here in Atlanta.  I have never (that I can recall) been to a Hawks game when they lost.  Friday night was no different. It is fun to root for the home team but far to often, Atlanta makes is difficult to get behind.

Friday I was in full sport of the home town Hawks.  It was so much fun the crowd was going bonkers and Ashley joined me and we collected a lot of silly free stuff.  Enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

400th Post!

This is my 400th post!  I can not believe how far this blog has come.  It surprises me that I still have the drive to do it considering all the changes that have happened in my life since I began.

Today was a relaxing day off.  Ashley stopped by for an early dinner.  We had planned to go out to eat but opted to stay in at the last minute.  I had to act quickly so I made some old staples.  Enchilada, Black Beans and Corn Soup with some kale chips.  It was a great meal that got us out of the house early enough to catch the first playoff game in Atlanta this year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Real Fries and Mango!

Rael Estate! Real Estate! Real Estate!  I am sure several of my readers are sick of hearing about this part of my life but it is a big deal.  I have been real working hard on getting new clients and several have been referred to me which feels great.  I see some big things in the future for me!

In the meanwhile, I have been watching the playoffs.  Basketball has been on my mind often.  It is that time of the year.  Food-wise, that mean....french fries!  How can anyone complain about a night on the couch watching a game with a monster plate of fries?

As bad as a big plate of fries are for me, I have been eating well at work.  In fact, I used the leftover beans from my meal last week to make a burrito for work.  Fresh mango was so good!  This ended up being so juicy and filling.  Perfect for work.

I have a few fun plans for this weekend coming up so I hope to share again soon.  I am sure I will be able to get in the habit of consistent blogging in no time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mexican Pinto Beans

As I mentioned before, I wanted to share my Friday night dinner.  In words, it was a basic mexican bean dish but it turned out great and was very hearty and refreshing.

Mexican Pinto Beans

4 cloves of garlic (shopped)
1 lime (quartered)
1 mango (sliced)
1 tomato (diced)
1/2 jalapeno pepper (chopped)
30 oz of pinto beans
1  1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of guacamole
1/2 cup of onion (chopped)
1/3 cup of cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup of tvp
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 tablespoon of oil
2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
2 teaspoons of salt

Bring a sauce pan to med-low heat and add the oil, onion, jalapeno pepper, and garlic.  Cook until aromatic and onions are soft.  Add the pinto beans and gently mix.  Add 1 cup of vegetable broth, tomato, tvp, liquid smoke and cumin.  Gently mix and allow to cook down for about 5 minutes.  Most of the liquid will have evaporated.  Add the remaining vegetable broth, salt, and cilantro and allow most of the liquid to evaporate.  This should take less than 5 minutes.

Serve topped with fresh mango and guacamole, with the lime slices on the side for added flavor once squeezed over the beans.

This was a nice meal that seemed like an appetizer but was plenty for a full meal.  The mango and guacamole added a nice creamy flavor to offset the heat of the dish.  The lime adds a nice bite of citrus to the beans as well.  I was able to use the leftovers for an amazing burrito for my lunch at work on Saturday!

Friday, April 15, 2011

More Whoopie!

This has been a good week.  I have done some great Real Estate business as well as putting n a full schedule at the jobby job.  I am really looking forward to more Real Estate business.  It is something that I really enjoy.

Friday night was a night off from both jobs.  Ashley came over and we made dinner but I will save that post for another day.  For dessert, we got the creative juices flowing again with more whoppie pies!  I had the idea of making a red velvet with a cream cheese icing.  Ashley came up the brilliant idea of chocolate chip whoopies!

We decided to make 2 types, one was a traditional white cake with chocolate chips and chocolate chunks folded into the icing.  The other was a double chocolate.  We made a chocolate cake with chips in it and still folded the chucks into the icing.

All three flavors were awesome and I am close to sharing a recipe.  In the meantime, we have 17 whoopie pies to eat.  That is a lot of bedtime snacks for me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Szechuan Green Beans

Another dish I made on the Friday night Chinese dinner was a Szechuan Green Beans dish.  This is a dish I have really enjoyed for a long time.  As much as I like this dish, it is something I rarely ordered when at a Chinese restaurant.  It was always difficult to rationalize paying $7-8 for a plate of green beans.  Making it at home seemed the perfect solution.

Szechuan Green Beans

2 scallions (chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 pound of green beans
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of ginger (chopped)
1 teaspoon of chili paste
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar

In a frying pan, bring the sesame oil to med heat.  Add the green beans with the ends trimmed.  Allow to fry for about 10 minutes until they begin to brown and wilt.  Remove the green beans from the oil and set aside.  Reduce heat to med-low.

In the remaining oil, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and allow to fry for about 3-4 minutes, until the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add the green beans back to the pan, followed by the sauce sauce, chili paste, salt, and sugar.  Stir well and cook until the soy sauce has evaporated.

Zucchini Lotus and Tofu Stir-fry

Friday was Chinese food day at my house.  I made a few nice dishes that I will share.  The first was simple stir-fry.  This recipe uses a technique that I call "dry fry" for tofu.  I am sure there is another name for it but for now, this will work. By "frying" the tofu without and oil it will dry it out a bit and the edges will get crispy.  A common complain from the tofu critics is that is feels mushy.  This is one way to cook with it and avoid the mushy texture.

If you can not find lotus root, water chestnuts can be substituted.

Zucchini Lotus and Tofu Stir-fry

1 shallot (sliced)
3 cloves of garlic
1 large zucchini (cubed)
1/2 pound of extra firm tofu (cubed)
1  1/2 cup of mushrooms (straw or shiitake)
1/2 cup of lotus root (thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of chili paste
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of sugar

Bring a non-stick pan to med heat.  Place the cubed tofu pieces in the pan and stir.  They should give off a sizzle as they hit the pan.  Allow the tofu too cook for about 5-8 minutes, stir frequently.  Do not allow the tofu to stick to the pan or it will break apart.  Once the tofu has release most of the liquid and had begun to brown on the sides, add the sesame oil.  Reduce heat to med-low and stir, allowing to fry for about 5 minutes.  The oil will soak into the tofu and add some solid flavor and allow a more traditional fried flavor.

Add the vegetable oil, zucchini, lotus root, mushrooms, garlic, shallot, and chili paste and stir well.  Fry for about 5 minute or until the zucchini begins to get soft.  Add the soy sauce, sugar, and hoisin sauce, increase the heat back to med.  Allow to fry for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.

Serve topped with scallions or sesame seeds.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New name and new clients!

I have been doing some great things with my Real Estate career and it is a lot of fun.  I think things are moving in the right direction.  I have several clients and am actively looking for more.  By all means, my Atlanta locals, let me know if you are aware of anyone who may need an Agent.

I have not done much cooking this week and have been gorging on whoopie pies nightly.  Yesterday, while at the jobby job, I was visited by a friend who brought me all sorts of food off a local hot bar.  It was a great lunch and I have enough leftover for tonight as well.

Recently, I have been considering changing the name on this blog.  I want to make it easier to appear in searches and maybe be specific to vegans.  I am open to ideas, give you the thoughts of the blog world.

I gobbled up a few tacos and a banana split a couple of nights ago.  It has been a long time since I had tacos.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Friday evening was spent making some treats with interesting inspiration.  Last week, at the vegan bake sale, Dough Bakery made some amazing whoopie pies.  Recently, the whoopie pie was declared Maine's state treat.  In fact, to celebrate, they made a whoopie pie that was over 1000 pounds.  That would be a crazy bedtime snack!

These two events made me really start to want more whoopies.  I looked up some recipes and found that one of my favorite blogs, Manifest Vegan, had a good whoopie pie recipe.  For one of the first times in my life, I followed the recipe (at least for the first batch) and they came out great.  For the second batch, I began to play around with the ingredients a bit and come up with some new ideas.  I will continue to play around and come up with my own recipe to represent my home state of Maine as a vegan whoopie pie!  Until then, Manifest Vegan's recipe is great!

As a child growing up in Maine, I do recall whoopie pies being everywhere.  Most local sandwich shops had homemade whoopies wrapped on the counter for a couple of dollars.  I  can recall my mum getting the occasional whoopie on the way to the ocean on a hot summer day.  When I moved to the south, the art of the whoopie pie sort of disappeared until recently so making these was a really fun experience and reminded my of something my mum would have enjoyed.

Ashley came over and we made a whole batch of chocolate whoopies, quickly followed by our own Berry Whoopie.  It was a strawberry whoppie cake with blueberry icing.  There were some whole blueberries left in the icing which was really great, it added a lot to the texture.  It was a successful night and I now have bedtime snacks for a few days.