Tomato Overload

26 08 2010

It’s nearing the end of summer, and that means tomato overload.  My garden is pumping them out faster than myself or my neighbors can eat them.  So, what does one do?  We could make gallons of marinara sauce, can it and put it away for later.  We could dry them, store them and save them for dinner, or we could dive in and eat them NOW!  And that’s exactly what Jason and I have been doing.  Today we had one of my favorite dishes – Foccacia with fresh tomato, olive oil and basil.  Paired with a simple salad of Romain lettuce tomato and an olive oil dressing.  Delicious!  The foccacia was made from scratch, so it was fresh and hot right out of the oven.  Wow your friends and family and go make this now.

2 1/4 tsp yeast

3/4 cup warm water

2 1/4 cup flour

1 TBSP kosher sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp fresh cracked pepper

combine the warm water and yeast, give a quick mix and let sit for 5 minutes.  add the olive oil, salt and 1 cup of flour and mix, continue adding flour until combined and a dough has formed.  Let rise for 1 hour.  Roll out into a rectangle, using the blunt end of a wooden spoon, make indentations in the dough, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.  Serve immediately garnished with a slice of tomato, fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Garlic!!!

19 08 2010

So, I came home from work the other night, took the dogs for a walk and then had to make dinner.  At this point it’s 7pm, I’ve been going all day and I’m not really in the mood to spend an hour making dinner.  Sadly, Jason isn’t very creative in the kitchen – unless you want buttered noodles or a sandwich, neither of which I was in the mood for – so the pressure was all on me.  I went through some of my cookbooks and settled on a little recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks by my favorite cookbook author, How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard.  The recipe is “Spicy Garlic Toss for Noodles.”  Damn.  I modified it a bit because I didn’t have cayenne pepper or paprika on hand (shame on me!) but it still came out amazing.  So amazing in fact, that I ate 2 nights in a row!  And, I have leftovers chilling in the fridge as I write this; which I plan on eating shortly.

4-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup water

2tsp Braggs or soy sauce

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried pepper

1/4tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

I omitted the cayenne and paprika, and substituted crushed red pepper and I have this nifty “maple garlic pepper” i bought in Vermont, so I used that instead of the pepper

Saute the garlic in1tbsp oil until translucent.  Add everything else and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Now, at this point in her recipe it says to just toss with pasta.  But, I hate chopping my garlic into tiny cubes so I roughly chopped mine and then threw this whole mess into the blender and then tossed with pasta.   Or, if you can chop up your garlic nice and fine, you can pour it as is right from the pot onto the pasta.  YUM!  It’s amazing.  I served mine with some fresh sliced tomato I picked from the garden while the pasta was boiling.





SoapBox

16 08 2010

Okay, so I realize this has nothing to do with food.  Well it does, but its not pictures of delicious food, or recipes or what not.  But anyway…. I’m 25 years old.  I live in the upstairs apartment of a duplex with my boyfriend and our 2 dogs.  Its a 2 bedroom.  We both have our own cars we make payments on.  I have student loans.  I have car insurance.  I have rent and utilities.  I also have a cell phone and a credit card I am paying down and haven’t used in almost a year.   I am vegan – which, according to some, is an expensive diet.  I work at a used book store making $8.82 an hour.  My point?  I eat well, I pay my bills ON TIME, I have a savings account, I have a fully furnished apartment with anything I could possibly need to survive.  I don’t complain about never having money.  Why?  Because I live WITHIN MY MEANS.  I recycle.  That means reusing, shopping at thrift stores, utilizing freecycle.com and craigslist.  I check out garage sales and flea markets.  I learned how to sew so I could fix up the little hole in my jeans.  I got creative with my clothes and found I enjoy the thrift store more.  I learned to cook so I could prepare food at home, using fresh and bulk ingredients -which is not only much better for me, but also much more cost effective.  I pay for everything in cash.  I put money away every month so I have savings – that way when the shit hits the fan I’m not f*cked.  I swap clothing, books, CD’s, baked goodies, movies, etc.. with friends.  We got neflix and the internet so we always have something to watch.  I utilize the library, CSA’s and farmer’s market.  I have a garden in my backyard.  I hang my clothes up to dry outside.  I could keep going, but my point is, I’ve made adjustments in my life and I’m doing OK.  Jason and I went on a 14 day road trip through New England in April.  Guess what?  It was paid for in cash.  I’m paying off my debt, putting money away and not going with out.  And you know the most amazing part?  You can do it too!

I’m tired of hearing people complain about being broke all the time – while they smoke a cigarette, downing their Monster energy drink and a bag of chips they got at the gas station because they needed breakfast.  Or that they have credit collectors calling them, freak out because they can’t pay the bills, but then stop at Starbucks on their way to work everyday.  Don’t tell me you can’t get a job.  You can.  There are jobs out there, you just don’t want to work for $7.5 an hour at McDonalds.  Or WalMart.  Or the gas station.  Or even at a factory making $10 an hour.  You want the $20 an hour job you used to have.  You’d rather me keep paying your unemployment, making $8.82 an hour because your to proud to accept anything less than $15/hour.  Well F*CK YOU.  If I can do it, and I’m happy with what I am doing, then so can you.





EggPlant

15 08 2010

I’ve not had much experience with eggplant other than breaded and friend and served with marinara – I’m sure I’m not alone in that either.  My neighbor gave me an eggplant from the market the other day, I said “thank you” put it in my fridge and forgot it was there.  Today, I needed to make some food for lunch, dinner at work tonight and lunch tomorrow.  *Note: its super cheap and easy to make lots of something, portion it out and take it for lunches to work.  It saves money and its better for you!*  So, I was rooting around in my fridge and found the eggplant I had forgotten about.  “Hey!  I should eat this!”  I thought.  Well, its getting down to the wire as far as food goes – we desperately need to go grocery shopping – so I didn’t have a lot to work with.  I settled on some garlic, pasta, olive oil, tofu and eggplant.  It was yummy, quick and easy.  Considering I’ve never cooked an eggplant before, I’m sure this isn’t the greatest way to make it, but it tasted good and that is what counts.  So here is my ‘Eggplant and Tofu Pasta” dish.

Dinner was pizza.  After I made lunch, I ended up having to call of work because my boyfriend, Jason had to go the ER for back pain.  We thought it was kidney stones, but after running tests the doctors found nothing.  Yeah, okay.  He’s had crippling back pain for 6 days and its nothing.  Anyway, we came home with some muscle relaxers, ate some pizza and now he’s sleeping while I write this and watch America’s Most Wanted.  The pizza was from Papa Johns – just order whatever you want sans pizza and it’s VEGAN!  I also make my own garlic dipping sauce, which I’ve included with this post as well.  Enjoy!

Eggplant Pasta

1/2 of a large eggplant or a whole small one, cubed

1 block of tofu, cubed

1-2 cloves of garlic, finely choped

enough pasta for 1-2 people (or portions if you are making leftovers)

salt and pepper to taste

6-10 TBSP olive oil

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the tofu and eggplant.  Season with salt and pepper (I also added some dried basil.)  Add the chopped garlic when the pasta is almost done – this prevents the garlic from burning.

When the pasta is done, drain and toss the eggplant/tofu mixture with the pasta.  Serve immediately.  I garnished with some breadcrumbs as well.

Garlic Dipping Sauce

*This doesn’t really have “measured” ingredients.  So, prepare it to taste how you like it.*

1-3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

a few tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

dried basil

soy or almond milk

heat the oil in a sauce pan, add garlic, salt, pepper and basil.  Heat until the garlic starts to sizzle.  Remove from heat.  Pour into a blender or food processor ***careful with hot liquids and blending devices!!****  Add a few tbsp almond/soy milk and blend until smooth.  Serve warm with pizza, bread sticks, or make lots and pour over pasta, steamed veggies, potatoes.  You can really do anything with this.





The Fair

13 08 2010

I love the fair.  It brings back all kinds of warm and fuzzy childhood memories.  I love the “down home” feel of the fair.  I love seeing all of the animals.  I realize to some that doesn’t sound very vegan; but to me, being close to the earth, farming, getting to know your neighbors and your community – that’s very vegan.  I’m vegan because I want to tread as lightly on the earth as possible.  I’m vegan because I care about the animals, the plants and the future.  I’m vegan because everything is connected and important.  As a vegan, I see nothing wrong with keeping a few chickens and eating eggs.  They get free reign of your yard, a warm home/bed in the evening and all the insects they could possibly want – in turn they give you some eggs.  Or keeping some bees and making honey.  It’s Mother Nature’s natural sweetener.  I  used to keep bees.  There are plenty of easy, humane, vegan ways to keep bees and eat some honey.  I see nothing wrong with having a few sheep, getting them sheared (or doing it yourself) and then spinning the wool and knitting yourself a sweater or hat to keep warm in the winter.  The sheep need to be sheared (would you want to be walking around with that much wool on your 365?)  So yes, I think farming is vegan.  I look forward to having a farm and knitting a wool cap, drinking some fresh goats milk with my eggs and biscuits covered in honey.  Will I still be vegan?  I think so.  I’ll still be living within my vegan ideals “stepping as lightly on the earth as possible.”

With that said, YES!  I went to the fair.  And boy did I eat some AMAZING food.  Deep fried sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower.  French fries.  It was good.  I also had the most adorable goat in the world lick my face.  It was a grand time.

**** ignore the fact that the pix posted 3 times, I’m still new at this…****





Summer Heat

12 08 2010

I don’t know about you, but I live in the second floor apartment and its been 90 degrees almost every day this week.  That translates to – “F*ck being in the kitchen and cooking something.”  So we haven’t really done anything in the realm of making food.  Jason was brave enough to wrangle the oven on Monday and whipped up some roasted potatoes with Morningstar BBQ Riblets.

Roasted Potatoes

As many potatoes as you deem necessary, cubed, or sliced, depending on how you like them

Put them in an oven proof dish and toss with whatever seasonings tickle your fancy,  Jason used:

applewood smoked salt

garlic

dill

pepper

toss with seasonings and enough olive oil to coat and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – until tender.  serve and enjoy.

Tuesday night was sandwiches and chips and yesterday, Wednesday, we went crazy and ordered Chinese food.  I did the MaPo Tofu, which translates to FIRE.  But maybe that is just how they make it?  Either way, I still have 2/3 of the container left to nibble on throughout the rest of the week.  I don’t know, but when its 95 outside, disgustingly hot food just doesn’t seem like a smart idea.

Tonight, my friend Marlo is in town from Maryland, so I’ll be partaking of some county fair “fare.”  I’ll have photos for that one.  Thanks for reading this!





AHHH!

9 08 2010

Hello everyone.  So, I apologize immensely, but apparently my life is more hectic than I actually realized.  What was supposed to be a recipe a day is now quickly becoming a recipe a week.  That sucks!  However, this week has not left me much time to do proper cooking/baking in the kitchen.  A quick recap, my crafting group, the Cleveland Craft Coalition, had a show yesterday, so that ate up (no pun intended…) my entire day.  Thankfully we had a vegan BBQ, and I had copious amounts of delicious vegan goodness.  Menu: Tofurky brats, Yves “not dogs”, potato salad, macaroni salad, cucumber and tomato salad featuring the veggies from the lovely Kristen’s garden and lots and lots of Newman-O’s.  It was delicious!

For dinner my boyfriend (the best! but I think everybody thinks that about their BF) took me to Brown Bag Burger.  One of my favorite food joints.  I had the all veggie burger (made in-house) with onion straws, BBQ sauce, extra pickles, tomato and lettuce.  I know their are a million build your own burger places, but this place is #1 in my book.  Plus, they have killer fries.

I then went home, exhausted, and that was my day.  Today (Sunday), I had a Tofurky brat wrapped in a tortilla with mustard.  A veggie sub (sans cheese) from Subway and some spaghetti.

Nothing exciting.  But, as I’m typing this, I guess I am still conveying my message: it’s super easy to be vegan, you don’t always need a recipe and you can eat pretty much whatever you want.  Which I did this weekend.  As I type this I’m eating a homemade chocolate chip cookie the size of my head.

In addition to the BBQ/Craft show yesterday, I’ve had to work all week, make awesome sock creatures (www.zombiesocks.etsy.com), take my pup to the vet, get my hair cut, go grocery shopping, help my friend out at the office and I’m working on ripping all of my cd’s to my computer so I can get rid of them.  Thanks for reading this!

~nicki~