Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween from the B36Bear....and a sad cookie.

Happy Halloween. Peter and I decided to take a Halloween walk around the neighborhood and I decided to wear my bear hat that Peter bought for me at one of his Philly basement shows that he use to play. He bought me a blue and orange one because the Mets are his favorite baseball team. The first thing I said to him when he gave it to me was "you chose this one because of the mets colors right?" He couldn't believe that I knew why he chose this one. Anyway I decided to wear it for our walk around the "rich" neighborhood behind us where kids were being dropped off in cars from neighboring towns thinking they would get whole candy bars..not the little ones. Yesterday I started making Skull cookies from a non vegan recipe that i veganized. It ended with me in tears standing in the middle of our kitchen. I had a very bad day at work and the fact that I really really really messed up the chocolate part of this cookie the tears just came. There are two parts to this recipe. The white cookie which you poke holes into to make it look like a skull and the chocolate cookie which is just skull shaped and you just see it through the holes. Well the vanilla one came out ok.(so i thought) I'm making the chocolate one and I see 4 cups of flour. Now i'm thinking that can't be right the vanilla only had 1 cup. I brush off the recipe of whatever debris is on it and I see 4 cups of flour. So I make it according to the recipe. When I start mixing the dry into the wet and its not forming a dough AND 1/2 the flour mixture is still not mixed in yet I started thinking "what the fuck" I look at the recipe again and it said ONE (1) cup of flour. At that same second I heard Peter's keys in the door and the tears flowed like there was no tomorrow. I was so sad from the cookies and work. When I calmed down I figured at least I had the vanilla cookie. WELL tonight after work..I turn on the oven and take the cookies out to slice. ONLY ONE COOKIE survived the slicing!!! Which you see below and it's not a great one either. At least this time I held back tears. It might have been from the alcohol we had at work for one of the delivery person's birthday and the fact that I had a better day.

Monday, October 30, 2006



Saturday, October 28, 2006

Broccoli Rabe and Abu Ghraib

Tonight I made my Broccoli Rabe and Sundried Tomato Pasta because we went on an unexpected gallery trip to nyc to see Fernando Botero's "Abu Ghraib" exhibit at the Marlborough Gallery on 57th street. By the time we got home and had a chance to go food shopping I had no time to make anything complex that I was planning of making today. This pasta dish is one of our favorites which we havn't had for a very long time. I've been trying to many new recipes that I just needed a break and went with this. I started making this a few years ago when Peter's family insisted on going to the same shit italian restaurant in Rutherford for family birthday's. I ordered this once thinking it wouldn't be gross but it was as gross as everything else i've ever had there so I just started making it myself and it's 100 times better. Here is my version of this dish:

1 bunch of broccoli rabe, chopped and washed real well
4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced marinated sundried tomatoes (use the best you can find)
olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a preheated pan and then add the broccoli rabe.
Saute for a fews minutes until it starts to cook down over meduim heat.
Add garlic and continue to saute.
When the rabe and garlic are almost done add the sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Give it a minute more to mix together and turn heat off.
Season with salt to taste.

While this is all being done cook 1/2 package of angel hair pasta according to package directions.
When pasta is done, drain and combine with the rabe.
Serve with a nice big glass of red wine!!

Now for the exhibit.

It was amazing and disturbing at the same time. It contained over 40 paintings, drawings and watercolors of Botero's work about what had happened at the prison between the american soldiers and the inmates. The paintings were beautiful but the subject matter was just horrifying. What I like about Botero's style of sculpture and paintings are how soft he makes everything look. There are Botero sculptures scattered thru out nyc that are so huge, fat and smooth I just want to hug them. But they are just cold and metal that on a cold incredibly windy day like today it wouldn't be pleasant.

You can go to the galleries website and see some of the paintings if you are interested.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dinner out and the ol' Riles

We went out to eat tonight with my sister and our friends Pete and Jenn to Veggie Heaven in Montclair. Which is the only vegetarian restaurant around these parts, there are 3 Veggie Heavens. To me it's just your basic vegan chinese restaurant. They have all the vegan versions of sesame chicken, general tso's etc...etc..tonight I had the orange chicken for the first time which was really good and I already wish I had more. Tonight I noticed a lot of older people eating there which I found a little unusual. When I say older I mean old grandparent old. Not your typical crowd of vegetarian eaters. I didn't think to bring my camera so instead of a food picture I give you a picture of our other cat Riley. This is a classic Riley pose. Slightly annoyed. In his usual spot making a mess of the bed. Peter's italian father found him by the public well as a mischievous kitten in 2001 gave him to us but continues to think that he is his cat and that his name is Felipe Fortunato. Which translates into Philip Lucky. Peter keeps saying he is going to get this photo of ol' Riles tattooed onto him. Riley is a big guy..about 30 pounds. He eats diet food which doesn't work. He plays fetch like a dog. He attacks dog's that mess with my parents dog. His favorite toy is a doll head name poo-rella. His favorite game is called "bite" where is just bites. He also make horrendous noises when he eats. He could give two shits about our girl cat Captain Clearbeard (her life story will come in another post). Peter and I love him to death.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

new pots, chard, romanesco, chimi's.

This is Romanesco! The chef at my job bought it back from the Farmers Market the other day. I had to have one of my own. My cat Captain Clearbeard needed to get involved also. She was purring and rubbing all over it. When I cook it up tomorrow I just have to remember to wash all the clearbeard off of it. Its basically a mix of cauliflower and broccoli I was told. I was also assured that it wasn't some weird science experiment. I think I'll just steam it tomorrow.

These are my NEW All Clad Pots and Pans. First I need to thank anyone who gave us gift cards and whatnot at our wedding in april..it was because of you that I now have this set. They are so pretty and shiny. They heat up so fast I almost burnt my dinner tonight. I have to get use to actually using really good pans. I LOVE THEM!!

Tonight I made us chimi's with guacamole and chard. I don't have too much to say about these tonight. It was a kinda ho hum evening here and a ho hum dinner. The chimi's are filled with my black bean mixture that I use for rice and beans. The best thing about these are that when they are fried up a bit the bean liquid reduces and gets really creamy and good. To top it off I made quacamole with lots of jalapeno, garlic, red onion, lime and cilantro.

The chard.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Whats left in the fridge.

Tonight was one of those use up what is left in the fridge night. I usually end up making one of two things: Vegetable Kofta's in Curry Coconut Sauce or Stirfry Veg. Tonight it was the Stirfry Veg. Just because. I used up my carrots, red onion, green bell pepper (i don't even know why I had a green pepper, i almost never use them) and string beans. I sauteed them up with some raw cashews and then added a tamari-arrowroot sauce at the end so that it got all thick and saucy and delicious. While I was cooking the veggies I discovered some scallions in the fridge and decided to make a giant scallion pancake as a surprise for Peter. When I called him into the kitchen and showed him the surprise he had no idea what it was..he guessed and egg! I gave him an "are you serious?' look. Then he guessed tofu. When I revealed that it was a scallion pancake I received a hug. So sweet. The stir-fry was delicious as usual. The pancakes need some work. They were a little doughy this time for some reason but still good to eat. I hope tomorrow I have a chance after work to go to the union square farmers market or else we will have to eat the rest of my brownies for dinner.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quick post tonight!

We are going to my parents for the weekend so all we had time for was a quick dinner (and a quick post). I made panini's! They are spread with the rest of my pesto and have homemade seitan with zucchini and roasted red peppers. I grilled and pressed them as flat as I could with my panini machine. I served them with a mug of the soup I made the other night. It ended up being to much food for me. It was damn tasty though.
This afternoon I made brownies. These are Chocolate Walnut Coconut Brownies that I use to make in a restaurant that I worked for. I havn't made them in over a year and half. I don't know what was wrong with me because these are delicious. As you can see the recipe makes about 24 very large brownies.

I packed up a few to take to the parents. Froze some. Saved the rest for later.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I MADE SOUP!! and used my pesto from last week.

Can you believe it! I made soup last night. I declared a week or so ago on Dreena's blog that I was never in the mood for soup. I decided to do something about that and made a soup and I LIKED IT! It wasn't the soup that I had originally planned. I was planning on making a tomato butternut soup with lemongrass and coconut milk. It ended up becoming a Fire Roasted Tomato Butternut Soup w. Coconut Milk and Curry. It was along the same lines of what i originally planned, I guess. I had no intention on adding curry to the soup when I started making it. But while making the soup I started going through my spice cabinet, which is next to the stove, to clean it out and do an inventory and somehow curry and cumin ended up being thrown into the pot. It's a mystery. After everything was done cooking i stuck my immersion blender into the pot and blended the hell out of it. It was so delicious. Peter agreed that it was the best soup I've ever made. (it's one of the only soups that I've ever made) To top it all off I even wrote the recipe down, which I'm trying to get into the habit of doing. I'm organizing my kitchen better so that my table is cleaned of clutter so I can do all my recipe writing and whatnot there and not on the couch after I've eating and forgotten exactly what I've done. Anyway. The coconut milk in the soup made it very rich tasting which I liked very much. I also used Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes which are my new obsession. I froze most of the soup and will use some of it tomorrow with a panini for dinner before we head to my parents. Next week I plan on remaking this soup again to test my recipe and if it's still the same (or better) I will be posting the recipe.

What we actually ate for dinner last night is what you see above. Spaghetti Squash + Linguini with Pesto. It was nice mixing the spaghetti squash with actual pasta. It made a nice change to pesto pasta. My only problem with the dinner was that I roasted the squash to long and it got all mushed up while i was scooping it out. I meant for it to be a bit al dente. Next time.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Potato Pancake's Galore!

These are my ever changing Potato Pancakes. Ever changing because I never write down the recipe while I'm making them and they always come out completely different from before. This time I wish I wrote down exactly what I did. I'll try to remember to write it down next time. I really need a new notebook for the kitchen. Anyway. These are made with regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions shredded in the food processor. Then I mix it all up with some fresh chopped parsley, flour, baking powder, oil, salt and pepper.
Then in the hot frying pan with oil they go! Until nice and crispy brown. I don't get to make these too often because of how fried and oily they are but today was such a rainy cold day that they were perfect. Crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. This time I decided to make a special condiment for the pancakes (because our apple sauce which was in the back of our fridge was frozen!).
Originally I was going to add leeks to the potato mixture but I ended up putting to much of the other stuff that there was actually no room at all for the leeks. So I created a melted leek aioli. I chopped up about 1 1/2 cups of leeks with 4 cloves of garlic and cooked it til soft in a little bit of olive oil. I dumped it into the processor and added salt, pepper, paprika and a few spoonfuls of a vegan canola mayo that I bought and never tried. I blended it all up and stuck it in the back of the fridge to cool down quickly (since stuff is freezing back there, weird). Once it cooled down and the flavors melded together a bit I tested it on a piece of potato pancake and it was delicious. It was nice having it with something else besides applesauce or tofu sour cream.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Seitan Biryani

I went to the Union Square Farmers Market today after work with plans on buying a bunch of vegetables to use through out the week for the dinners I had planned to make. Instead I used most of the vegetables to make this. Originally I was going to make potato pancakes with tofu sour cream but realized on my way home from the market that I had seitan to use up. Somewhere between the market and the subway biryani found its way into my head. Today was also peters first day at a new job and I wanted to make him something nice for dinner Biryani ended up being just the thing (it is one of his favorite dishes to eat when we go out to Indian except he has his with lamb). Tonight he was stuck with Seitan. Which got me asking him all about lamb and what spices I could use to make the seitan biryani to taste like the lamb biryani he loves so much. He gave me very good spice ideas to add to the seitan, which I hopefully will be able to try out next week just to have some different styles of seitan. I'm not really into all the mock meat that's out there or recipes for it that I have seen. I don't even like mock chicken stock or anything like that. But I like the idea of different spices to add different flavors and such to seitan, tofu and tempeh without it turning into mock whatever. Anyway, this turned out really good for me not really knowing what I was doing. (I'm not a Biryani maker or eater) It was actually really fast and easy to make. I just cooked some rice, sauteed some veg with a bunch of Indian inspired spices and in a separate pan seared seitan that was dredged in curry scented chickpea flour and mixed it all up when it was finished and added a little salt. Peter also has nice leftover to take to work tomorrow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Sunday's=lunch at Peter's parents which is almost like lunch and dinner. I really could only eat the pasta today so I ended up eating alot of pasta and bread. Needless to say i'm not too hungry for dinner. But we bought these delicious and crispy fiji apples today at whole foods. So dinner tonight is exactly what you see. Apples and Peanut Butter. Comfort food for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kabocha Ravioli with Seitan Fennel Sauce

This was one of those dishes that evolved through out the evening. It all started on the train home from work today. I didn't know what to make for dinner so I tried to remember what was in our refridgerator. I remembered: Seitan (which I made monday from VwaV), wonton wrappers, kabocha squash, leeks, fennel, garlic. The picture you see above is what happened when I got home. First I roasted the kabocha squash until nice and soft.

Next I sauteed leeks and garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft and translucent and put them in the food processor. When the squash was done cooking and cooled down I just scooped it into the processor with the leek mixture, salt and pepper, tamari, maple syrup and water and blended until smooth. At this point I wasn't thrilled with the mixture. Peter liked it. The taste wasn't what I was expecting. It was alittle harsh but good at the same time. I decided to leave it as it was and just to wait and see what happened in the end. I then proceeded to fill the wontons which was very quick and easy to do. I did nine at a time. (and only made 18, some ripped). I folded up the corners for some reason because I was alittle paranoid that they would open up (even though they never have for me)

After all the "ravioli" making. I chopped a couple of cloves of garlic and about 1/2 a cup of fennel chopped up small. I sauteed 1/2 of each in the same pan that I cooked the leeks in. Then I threw in the homemade seitan(which I crumbled to look like sausage bits) and cooked it all into brown and sticky and removed it from the pan. Next I threw in the rest of the garlic and fennel cooked til soft and added veg stock which immediatly reduced and got thick and good. I threw in the seitan mixture and heated threw and just seasoned with salt and pepper. Then I cooked the ravioli, steamed some broccoli and topped it all off with the seitan sausage sauce. My first bite of this dinner produced the word "yummm" out of my mouth. Peter agreed. I am definitly going to make this again and already have a few ideas for different versions of it that I can't wait to try. Although I might not make it again after work. It wasn't that time consuming for me but it was at the same time. I would rather make it on a day where either I get home early or am off.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Basil Excess!

I went basil crazy the other day at whole foods and bought way to much then i needed which was a very good thing. I ended up not making what I originally intended which was seared seitan with tomato leeks and basil. What I did make was a trio of sauces for later use, which means for when I don't feel like cooking and don't want to go out to eat. I made Peter's "nonna's tomato sauce" with much success, my own basil pesto, and my own sun-dried tomato pesto. First up is the tomato sauce which i haven't eaten in sooooooooooo long. It's heavy on onion, light on the garlic with a secret pinch on paprika! And of course basil...cooked for a really really long time and then blended to goodness. The paprika really makes a difference. This is one of those sauces that you can just dip bread into it all day and eat it up. Luckily I didn't have any bread and froze 1/2 of it and put the rest in the fridge after it cooled down.
Here is a pic of my pesto. I use Miso paste instead of cheese which has fooled people in the past and I actually refer it to the cheese pesto version. I don't have an exact recipe for my pesto I just throw it all in the blender and adjust as I go. This was the first time that I threw it all together and didn't have to adjust a thing. I'm going to start keeping my notebook in the kitchen and just write down everything I do from now on right when I do it. Not after when i don't exactly remember what i did. I froze all of the pesto to use later this week as a spread for a panini and for pasta. As for the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto no picture because blogger was refusing to upload it. Its a simple Pesto to make. I dump a jar of oil marinated sundried tomatoes in a blender and add basil, raw almonds, salt and pepper and that's about it. Sometimes I add a little water to sauce it a bit a little more. Its good. After I made it Peter tells me he doesn't like it. He should have said he doesn't like it as a pasta sauce. So it will all be used on pizza's, panini's and polenta!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happiness in Peter's mouth!

These are Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Sunny Blueberry-Corn Muffins" from Vegan with a Vengeance. I've had her book for awhile now and never baked out of it (mainly because I didn't have the time). So I decided to make the time this past Saturday and bake muffins for Peter and I for breakfast. They were soooooo good and sooooooo easy to prepare and bake. Peter said that they tasted like "happiness in his mouth"! He ate about 8 of them throughout the day! They are on the small side so I don't think its that big a deal to eat that many plus they are vegan, they are cholesterol free and full of good stuff. I plan on using this recipe often this winter especially with cranberries instead of the blueberries and whatever other
good stuff I can find to put in them. These muffins will make a great addition to any breakfast party you have for friends or for just yourself if you don't want to share (I told my friend at work that I was planning on making them over the weekend and he asked that I bring one in for him..he'll have to wait until I make a double batch because I didn't want to share this batch)