Saturday, June 19, 2010

You wanna know how does my garden grow?

Three quarters of my mint: English mint, spearmint and ginger mint.

This kinda just happened. It's a pot left here by the old tenants. I just decided I had too many bats inside and put this one there.

This one also made itself. Cool moss growing. I put the frog in there and a tiny piece of an aloe plant.

One half of the herb garden.

The other half.

Speedy dwarf beans.


Mesclun mix. Salad drawer.

My herb garden at a glance. I'm growing rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender lady, lady's mantle, alpine strawberries, wormwood, a quince bush, lime mint, english mint, spearmint, ginger mint, lemon balm, chives and parsley. . This is my first time planting a reasonable-sized garden. I'm pretty impressed at how it's doing considering the balcony only gets morning light and a bit in the afternoon. It's sort of windy too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Breakfast Pasta and Compost Broth!

It's a dull, rainy day. I didn't sleep much. I got up before 7. What will remedy my awful situation? Vegetables for breakfast.Inspired by this recipe from Ripe From Around Here and the miso tahini sauce from yesterday's breakfast, I made this. Waiting for the water to boil was the longest part. I blanched the asparagus and spinach. I soaked the rice noodles in the same boiling water for 2 minutes. I added some grated garlic, ginger, lots of turmeric, a splash of sesame oil and Bragg's to yesterday's sauce and voila-- several servings of vegetables before I even (assuming I do) leave the house!

I also made some broth from my refrigerated compost trimmings. It's the first time I've bothered to do it although I've saved my compost probably six times and let it rot instead. I normally don't bother with broth other than the shitake-kombu stock I sometimes make, but I figure I might as well use some of my compost for stock. I added some peppercorns, a bay leaf, a kaffir lime leaf and some curry leaves as well as a bit of sea salt. I needed to add more at the end, but essentially, I have some broth now!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quinoa Bloody Quinoa

Sorry to disappoint the vegetarian zombies out there, but the red is actually beets. I normally don't eat like this anymore. When I was single and didn't have a meaty bf to cook for, I'd eat simple meals of steamed vegetables, grains, beans and tofu. Maybe a little sauce. This morning I threw together a little throwback meal to my bachelorette days. Here's how I made my bloody breakfast:

Quinoa Bloody Quinoa

1/3 c. quinoa
2 baby beets
2/3 c. water or stock*
3 or so swiss chard leaves

Grate beets. Add quinoa to boiling water (I used my rice cooker which was awesome) and stir in the beets. Steam greens atop quinoa near the end of cooking.

Miso Tahini Sauce

1 T. miso
2 T. tahini
shake of sea salt
1 T. lemon juice
almost 1/3 c. water

Whisk together ingredients and decorate bloody quinoa lavishly.

Feed the zombies. They're hungry.

If you have some chives growing in your garden, they would be awesome here. I added some seeds (not pictured) for the crunch factor.

Thanks to Vegan Dance If You Want To for the inspiration for this recipe. She used amaranth greens. So lucky and grand!

Oh, and not to toot my own horn or anything, but it'd be a shame if you didn't view the photo in its large format, the bloody quinoa tails are so cute. I'm an absolute know-nuthin' novice at photography, so the detail excited me more than perhaps it should've.

*I used the shitake-kombu stock mentioned in my last post

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ahhhh! A vegan omelette!

I miss eggs. There, I said it. They were the last animal food to go when I became vegan. I burned my arm on the pan as I fried my last egg ever and I still have the scar ten years later. At the time, I knew it meant something because I'm like that-- a good omen or a bad one. Clearly it was a good one, as I've enjoyed so much more vitality since the transition. I've said many times that there's no vegan egg susbtitute-- you know, for a damned pan-fried egg! We can scramble tofu, replace eggs with flax or whatever in baking, we can pretend soft tofu is eggy all we want--but pan-fried eggs are difficult to replace and a hard-boiled egg is pretty much totally out of the question. When I first heard about the possibility of a vegan omelette, I freaked out, but for some reason it took me a couple of years to bother to try it.

Today was the day! Lord T'underin' Jesus it was amazing! I'm the kind of girl to put ketchup on my mac n' cheese and scrambled eggs, and even though I probably never ate an omelette with ketchup, I did it today just for the thrill of the thing. It's been a while since I've devoured breakfast this excitedly. This omelette from the Vegan Brunch book was incredibly easy and fairly quick to make. As you can see here, I used roasted asparagus (with balamasic, olive oil, salt and pepper) as a filling. I've never actually had an omelette filled with anything in the past-- my dad always just put pieces of vegetables in the batter-- but I opted to do it the way the recipe suggested the first time. Oh, did I say I'd do it as per the recipe the first time? I'm totally full of crap! So, as I was laying the asparagus down in the omelette, I reached for the black salt* to sprinkle some more on for extra flavour, when I realized I didn't have the black salt out at all, and that I'd put slippery elm powder in my omelette! Perhaps I should've finished drinking my greens before making breakfast. *Le sigh* Anyway, this asparagine and sulphur-rich Atkins-friendly (Ha! I HATE the Atkins diet!) breakfast was delicious-- but we'll see how it smells on the other side.

*actually pink in colour, normally found in Indian Grocery stores. It has a really sulphury smell, super-eggy and great for egg salad sandwiches and whatnot.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Not just another tofu stew with vegetables!

We were both sort of grumpy tonight and we hadn't eaten anything all day. Tonight was supposed to be the night where we learned how to make rice-on-the-outside sushi, but in this state, taking on such a project would've proven unwise. Instead, I turned to "Japanese Cooking: Contemporary & Traditional" because it's an amazing book and everything from it so far has been simple, quick and incredible.

Along with some mashed potatoes which turned out delightfully (not pictured), I opted to make the simply named Tofu and Vegetable Stew (Kenchin Jiru sounds awesomer though) which was basically some vegetables-- I used carrot, spinach, asparagus and peas-- simmered in a shitake-kombu stock* with soy sauce, grated ginger and sesame oil added; and a small amount of Cucumber Salad with Wa-Fu Dressing which was a simple cold marinated salad featuring rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, a sweetner, salt and sesame oil. When I was almost finished eating the stew (really a thin-brothed soup) and mashed potatoes separately, I added some mashed potato to my soup with pleasing results. For one, the potato thickened the stew, and the blandness of the potato was totally partied up by the stew. And although Bruce normally eats pretty quickly, he ate this meal with extreme speed and fervour. He even ate the asparagus and pinched one spear from me.

*when I suspect I might be making a Japanese soup, rice, inari pockets, stew, etc. later that day or the next day, I add a few shitake mushrooms and a 2-3 inch piece of kombu to about 3 cups of water in a jar and let it sit until I need it. This makes a nutritious deep stock which can be substituted for dashi stock which is normally fish-based and thusly undesirable to me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Four Green Soups

I made three green pureed soups in one week due to my dietary restrictions after surgery. Today I'm making some fiddlehead soup. That's four green pureed soups and they all look a bit different. How about I show you?

Here's some Asparagus Soup I made on my birthday to balance out all the cake and corn chips I'd have later. It's a thin soup featuring kelp powder, cayenne, Bernard Jensen's broth (not as gross as it sounds), garlic, Bragg's aminos (this potentially sounds grosser), nut milk (no big deal, right?) and that's about it. It didn't compare with the asparagus soup with coconut milk that Sophie made for me early in my recovery, but its purpose was to be healing and simple-- and it was really really good-- just not decadent.

Next is some spinach soup, shown here with me still looking spindly and weak. Into it, we have some green onions, almond milk, maple syrup (a tiny touch), broth, and some ginger powder. Bright green! It was delicious and allowed me to eat $6 worth of spinach in one day and fall all Popeyey.

Third up is some kale soup that I began making after I realized I didn't have much kale left. It's pretty potatoey. Do you think I could've taken a stupider photo? This is actually the best one I took. Perhaps we could chalk it up to having an off day? Anyway, this is a real homey-tasting one into which I put some kale, carrot, potato, onion and summer savoury .I really like homey-tasting soup like this.

The last one is Fiddlehead Soup. The fiddleheads were first spotted the day before I had my surgery, and although I love them a lot, I didn't want them as my "last meal." I was a little late on the draw. This was my second and last feed, as I believe this is the end of the fiddleheads in our region. They're a May crop. Ok, I just ate the soup and along with looking like pudding-- (perhaps photographing it in a pudding bowl doesn't help), it tasted like... fiddlehead glue! The potatoes are old and gummy (last year's Yukon Golds) and I waited quite a while to puree the soup, allowing the soup to... This is the first soup I've ever thrown out in my life. The fiddleheads deserved much better. They're a tasty fern. They were defiled by the old gluey potatoes. Off to Valhalla I send thee!

Which one do you think is the prettiest? I wish I'd had more kale-- it was getting old when I got around to the soup. I will make a prettier kale soup soon when there's lots of big kale for cheap! I'm glad you weren't here to try the fiddlehead soup. GAG!