Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy birthday to Kevin! And also more food.

Today is Kevin's birthday! He is 111 years old.

I have been cooking-obsessed this week. It's awesome. On Sunday, I made the quinoa and black-eyed pea croquettes from Vegan with a Vengeance again, this time with the accompanying mushroom sauce. These turned out really well (as opposed to last time, when they were dry and not all that flavorful), probably in part because I actually had more of the correct ingredients this time and in part because half the quinoa allotment was actually bulghur. I also make Sicilian-style broccoli from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, which is pan-steamed with red pepper flakes, garlic, and crushed capers, and a nice side of barley and wild rice pilaf. Monday night featured some lightly creative reworking of the previous night's meal, mostly in the form of the mushroom sauce over whote wheat rotini, which was a nice combination.

Tuesday I felt ambitious and made the Lebanese stuffed swiss chard that was abandoned from my Thanksgiving menu due to its complexity. It was the right decision, but damn, the dish was tasty. Like a more tender dolma with fresher, brighter flavors, surrounded by a nice broth. For protein, I accompanied it with a simple lentil soup (green lentils, browned onion, cumin).

Last night I tested this Ethiopian lentil stew recipe with a few minor adjustments -- I used red lentils and cooked them with the sauce, and instead of 10 plum tomatoes and tomato paste, I used a big can of whole fire-roasted tomatoes, both liquid and fruit, chopping the tomatoes before adding them. It turned out pretty well indeed, so I think it will be my office potluck contribution next week. But I am not so ambitious as to make injera; no, I stuck with a simple polenta (made according to Cook's Illustrated). The potluckers will get basmati rice, though. Polenta is a pain in the ass and doesn't really travel well.

Friday night the Editor and his fiancee are coming over for dinner, hooray! So you know I'm going to be a menu-planning freak about it. Real Vegetarian Thai had a "winter menu" suggestion that sounded ideal, considering I already bought some of the main ingredients at the farmers' market. It's a Burmese-style red curry (no coconut milk) with ginger, yams, and button mushrooms with a side of vegetables (in this case, I think red cabbage and orange cauliflower) sauteed in vegetarian "oyster" (a.k.a. shiitake mushroom) sauce and garlic, brown jasmine rice, and sweet and spicy nuts for dessert. I think I'll also make a very simple tofu and greens soup. The curry has to be made the night before (with curry paste I made last night) to let the flavors fully develop.

It's 8 a.m. and I am writing about food. Good lord.

Speaking of, time to go make breakfast. What says "happy birthday, now seriously, get up and go to work before noon" more than a hot bowl of dubiously prepared amaranth porridge, sliced apple, and spearmint tea?


Anonymous said...

I'm totally trying both of these recipes! I just bought a bunch of lentils and I only have one recipe so far with quinoa, so I'm glad to have another one (using my favorite bean, no less). I, too, have been on a cooking binge, although I'm broke, so I'm doing a lot of simple bean/rice dishes.

Julie said...


emily said...

thanks, julie!

josie, i didn't actually post the croquette recipe -- do you have that cookbook, or do you want me to send you the recipe?

i have cookbooks full of lentil recipes. quinoa recipes are a little harder to come by, but you could just eat them instead of rice or couscous or something. instantly pumps up the health value and is delicious!