Monday, November 23, 2009

brussels sprouts deliciousness

I didn't remember to take a picture, but this dish is gorgeous and colorful and was so tasty I'm writing it down so I don't forget what I whipped together.

I will be making this again, and eye-catching is a good way to describe it. There's sauce that's a little brownish, but you hardly notice it between the bright purple potatoes and the bright green sprouts and all the deliciousness. Plus if you don't count pepper as an ingredient (I don't count anything I always have), this comes in at six... and cooked up in a flash.

- 1 single serving carton of vegetable broth (or more if you're making for more than a very light dinner for two people, this is very scalable to larger or smaller, so let your eye be your guide)
- a splash of red wine
- a decent quantity of quality mushrooms (chantrelles were on sale, so this is what I was brainstorming around while shopping, gorgeous delicious yellow mushrooms, MMM)
- a few sprigs of thyme (was on display next to the mushrooms, kudos to whole foods for successful cross-merchandising)
- purple new potatoes cut into smallish cubes (I guess you could use a regular color, but it would be less of a visual show-stopper)
- brussels sprouts chopped into ribbons/bite sized pieces omitting the cores and the very center that's too dense to break into leaves
- black pepper or whatever other seasoning

method: heat the vegetable broth, red wine, mushrooms, and whole sprigs of thyme and some pepper until mix is just starting to simmer. Add the potatoes. Continue simmering until the consistency of gravy (add some water if it looks like that's going to happen before the potatoes are done). Add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat. This should just gently cook the sprouts until they are bright green and only slightly wilted. That's how I prefer them, but you could cook them longer. Take out the thyme sprigs and serve.

Since when was this a vegan cooking blog instead of a knitting blog? Oh well. My friend taught me how to spin using a drop spindle. It's fun and now I am fighting the urge to go buy a ton of spinning fiber. There, now that's quality crafting content!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Collard Green "Doritos"

Seriously... another food dehydrator experiment... and somehow they came out tasting stunningly (and a little disturbingly) like I remember Doritos tasting (it's been a few yeas since I had the "genuine" article).

collard green chips

Collard Greens - raw and cut into squares
raw cashew nut butter
lemon juice and water
nutritional yeast
curry powder
cayenne pepper
black pepper

put some cashew nut butter into the bottom of a small baking pan, add water and lemon juice and stir to dissolve. You're going for something the consistency of whole milk.
Add the yeast, curry, and peppers and mix well (consistency maybe closer to thinnish brown gravy. Drudge the collard squares through the mixture and then use your fingers to wipe them down so they are barely coated and not soggy at all. This reminded me of working with strips of newspaper and paper-mache. Arrange on dehydrator rack. Dehydrate. Mine went in at ~100 degrees, I put them in after dinner and they were ready after being in there overnight.

Delicious, light, and crunchy. Even cheesy tasting. If I were going for the Doritos flavor I got a little too much lemon juice and I might adjust some of the spices a little so it's not quite just straight curry. This convinced me of why folks say nutritional yeast tastes like cheese in that this totally reminds me of fake cheese powder coated stuff. While light and crunchy and similarly flavored, they do have a different mouth feel and kind of disintegrate shortly after hitting the tongue. Still, one of the tastiest and most interesting vegan preparations of collards I've ever had (not that I've had many)

collard green chips

yum yum yum!

Pumpkin Cookies

I've been experimenting on and off with my food dehydrator and was particularly proud of my latest creations. I'm going to try them again to refine the recipes, proportions, and timing. The first are Pumpkin Cookies - with no sugar or flour!

pumpkin "cookies"

canned pumpkin, raw almonds, flax meal, dates, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spices (in this case nutmeg, allspice, clove, cinnamon, and coriander)

Method: pulverize almonds into a meal in the food processor, add other ingredients one at a time (pumpkin last) and incorporate them into a thick mushy paste. Spread into cookie shapes and put in food dehydrator on sheets of parchment or the sheets that come with your dehydrator. Dehydrate until they somewhat resemble chewy cookies and keep their shape.

Results: delicious, but I kept waiting for the sweet sugary taste I associate with pumpkin pie to arrive since everything else was there. Also, someone told me a good way to get the dates to mix better (use water and make a date paste by itself instead of trying to blend them straight into almonds already ground into a meal) so that might help. I also might try adding some very ripe banana.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

no idea what to do with this stuff

Do you ever make things just to see if you can? What do you do with them? Here are some things I'm stuck on... they're neat... they were fun to do... but now what??

I thought... "Hey, I wonder how thin a thread I can crochet with? This sewing thread sure looks like fun. Also, I might as well stiffen it with some fabric stiffener too." Seriously. Now what do I do with it?? I was thinking of buying that resin stuff that you can pour and pour a puddle to encompass this and see if I can turn it into a pendant or something, but I don't think I'd wear it... so I'm stuck with this oddly miniature and completely hard as a rock doily. Made with variegated sewing thread. Woohoo!

teeny crochet
teeny crochet

Here's another one. I made it at the very very beginning of this year, not too long after I got the Inkle loom. I was thinking it could make a neat belt, but it's too thin. Right now I just have it sitting around just like my other inkle loom project, although that one gets more of a pass because it was to figure out how the loom worked and practice. All finished up and nowhere to go. This sucker is about 5 feet long.
inkle loom
inkle loom