Tuesday, August 3, 2010

8/3/10: Veggie Noodle Soup 8/4/10: Salad Roll

On Tuesday, we ran out of rice so Chef J improvised and made noodle soup with Monday's leftovers, plus some fresh chopped veggies (cabbage, napa cabbage, zucchini strips) and a bit of thinly sliced seitan.

Today is farmer's market day so we got a bunch of fresh herbs for salad rolls with seitan. It was devoured before I could take any pictures but it was all the different herbs that made it special.

Cost for 5 people:
basil, $0.50
mint, $0.50
cilantro, $0.50
perilla, $0.50
lettuce, $1
tomato, $1
seitan, $6
rice paper, $1
Total: $11 or $2.20/per person

During lunch, news came in that a federal judge struck down the ban on gay marriages (Prop 8). Big celebration will ensue in the city tonight!

Monday, August 2, 2010

8/2/10: Bok Choy, Steamed "Eggs", Winter Melon Claypot

Much like the VegNews headquarters, I'm lucky to work at a place where it's tradition to have a freshly prepared vegan lunch since the management at the company are vegan. One of our colleagues does the cooking on most days (he's the only one that can cook, really), though lately I've been trying to contribute a dish or two when I have time to prepare it at home the night before. And of course whoever doesn't cook take turns with the dish-washing duties. :-)

What was on the menu today?

Bok Choy quickly blanched to retained crunchiness mixed with a light sauce.

Winter Melon Claypot with bean thread and shiitake mushroom.

Vegan Chinese Steamed "Egg" using silken tofu from ChowVegan's recipe. I doubled the recipe to feed 4, and left out the tempeh/mushroom part. J topped it with soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion, cilantro, and black pepper. This recipe is a keeper!

All of the above is served with white rice (colleagues have difficulty consuming brown rice on a daily basis!).

Since there were only three of us eating today, we had some leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

VeganHope had an excellent post today about food and poverty entitled "21 dollar week challenge" which is the amount you have to spend on a food stamp budget. While I won't be going up for the challenge, it did make me wonder just how much we spend on food, so I'll also include a breakdown of the cost of the main ingredients in our meals, much like EverydayVegan does.

So for today's lunch for 3 people:
bok choy, $0.68
winter melon, $1.79
organic silken tofu (2 boxes), $3.38
cilantro, $0.49
green onion, $0.39
white rice (3 cups), $0.56
Total: $7.29 or $2.43/person

For the white rice, my calculation was:
1 50-lb bag of rice = $30
1 cup of uncooked rice = 5 oz
50 lb = 800 oz = 160 cups of rice = $0.1875/cup of rice

Wow, even I didn't realize how much we save by eating in! Of course it would not be possible if we didn't have J to cook all the time. :-) Thanks, J!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We're trying to start an organic garden this year. Hubby is building a wooden container for square foot gardening. We planted some basil, tomato, lettuce seeds a few months ago that are ready for their new home.



We also bought a small cherry tomato plant and a regular tomato plant at the local nursery a few months ago that are now growing really well. The tomato plant has one red tomato already:

The cherry tomato plant is growing out of control! We've enjoyed picking a batch every weekend. So sweet and delicious!

We added some to an avocado pesto pasta using Chef Chloe's recipe with a side of vegan nuggets.
We thought growing fruits would be fun as well!

This is a dwarf orange tree, still in its container, that has flowered a lot. It's starting to be draped by the cherry tomato.

This dwarf apple tree handled the transplant from container into ground pretty well. We'll have to wait until next season to see how well it fruits.

The Bing cherry tree on the other hand is struggling. The leaves have yellowed and wilted. We're not sure if it's not getting enough sun, getting too much water, or not enough water. Let's see how it fares over the next few weeks. Keeping our fingers crossed and sending loving thoughts its way.

What's growing in your neighborhood?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

July Baking Extravaganza

Hallo! How have you been? I've been baking up a storm in the kitchen, trying out new recipes.

UFO Choco Chip Cookies

This is my first attempt at making chocolate chip cookies using the recipe from "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar." Instead of the white and brown sugar that the recipe called for, which I didn't have, I used 'Sugar in the Raw'. I also missed the fact that it was supposed to make 2 dozen or 16 cookies, which explains how I ended up with 12 jumbo pieces, hence the name "UFO Cookies." I used a mint chocolate chip that I got from Trader Joe's as the centerpiece. The texture of the cookies came out soft, more brownie like than cookie like. Must have been the sugar or the size of the cookie!

The following weekend I was determined to try again so I got the correct type of sugar and made the pieces smaller. It came out crunchy, or at least for the first day! Still not happy with it though but I've had enough chocolate chip cookie for now so I'll wait to try again a while later. :-)

This is the result of my "Saturday Bake Day" where I spent a whole afternoon/evening making what you see above. At the top left is the Chocolate Chip Cookie v.2. Next to it is Lemon Almond Cupcake (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World Lemon Macadamia Cupcakes - I didn't have macadamia so I used almond). Below that is the typical chocolate cupcake from VCTOW but I added a bit of peppermint extract for a change. (And yeah, my cupcakes don't have frosting because of my disastrous first attempt which discouraged me from ever making it again...and also the fact that it uses so much margarine and shortening!) Lastly is a biscuit recipe from Veganomicon because I had a sudden craving for biscuits. Yum!

And for the pièce de résistance, homemade vegan burger buns!

It's so hard to find vegan burger buns in the stores. We found a brand at Trader Joe's, but we don't go there often. So I was determined to try making my own when I saw a recipe for Burger Buns at I used 5 cups of flour and 1.5 tablespoons of yeast. I sprinkled sesame on top so it looked like store bought buns. It came out really well! No more store bought buns for me!

So what's been cooking in your kitchen?