Posts Tagged ‘Comfort food’

I think we got more rain after Hermine passed than the initial blast.  That made riding the bike around just impossible.

Well, when it rains and is crappy out, you have to find shelter.  Where else better than a kitchen with a gallon of good beer?  Oh yeah, and food.

I was going for Eggplant Parmesan, but I decided to get creative and make it into a chili too.

Start with skinning & dicing two small eggplants.  Throw some salt on it & get it to “sweat” the bitterness out.  You can put it in a colander so that the liquid drains easily.  Let that sit for about twenty minutes and saute it in a pan with a little bit of oil until it’s browned.

In a large pot, take a diced yellow onion, four chopped tomatoes, a minced clove of garlic,1t salt, 2T of oil and set the pot on medium, mixing occasionally.  It will eventually be a base marinara(stop there if you want marinara).

This stuff is going to be marinara soon.  Then chili after.

This stuff is going to be marinara soon. Then chili after.

Mince up a couple of your favorite peppers(I used a Hungarian wax & a datil), grab 2T of Italian spices(oregano, basil, thyme, sage, etc.) and throw those in the pot with the marinara.

Fresh from the garden.  Doesn't get much better.

Fresh from the garden. Doesn’t get much better.

We're getting there.

We’re getting there.

Once everything is incorporated nicely, add 4C water, 3C cooked pinto beans, & 3T chili powder.  Cover it up and let it cook for a long time.

The water will reduce some.

The water will reduce some.

From there, you’ve got a bit of time…probably an hour or so, so just grab a beer and watch the storm roll in on a preferably enclosed porch.  Maybe even look down to see a friend with you in the kitchen.

I looked down.  He looked up.  He also had onion paper on his nose.

I looked down. He looked up. He also had onion paper on his nose.

After you’re finished spending an hour however you’d like, add the sautéed eggplant from before to the mix.  It should be noticeably chunkier now.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

This is noticeably chunkier than before.

Let that simmer for another ten minutes while you cook some noodles or rice or whatever you like with Eggplant Parmesan Chili, not that you’ve had it before, but get creative….that’s what a kitchen’s all about.

Put the mix on top of whatever you’ve decided on & follow-up with some almond Parmesan or just plain ol’ nutritional yeast to get a little veg cheese action going.  It might look like this:

Now that's some storm comfort food there.

Now that’s some storm comfort food there.

Once the storm is over, hug your fur babies and get some incriminating pictures of them.

Okay, it's not incriminating, but it's pretty cute what Cinder's doing here.

Okay, it’s not incriminating, but it’s pretty cute what Cinder’s doing here.

….aaaaand that’s how you enjoy some time in a tropical depression.  Or in this case, a humid sadness.

Just kidding.  Hope everyone’s okay & has electric back and such.  I’m glad it didn’t hit as bad as what a lot of the meteorologists were freaking out about Hermine, but they’re all out there for the big scoop and the exaggeration.  Now, enjoy some Chili.  Or Eggplant Parmesan.  Or whatever you want to call it.

Wow.  It’s been some time since I’ve written here, mainly because I’ve been acclimating to a better life and celebrating how much I’m liking it(trust me, I’ve been celebrating a lot lately).

Both jobs are great, both pups are still awesome, and I’ve been in the kitchen more than I’ve been in my life.  This gives me a lot of time to imagine new recipes and weird food combinations that make what I do so much more fun to me.

There’s waaaay too many “I”‘s in those paragraphs.  Here’s a picture of pups:

He made a shank, and proud of it.  I think he's trying to tell me something.  I better give him more food.

He made a shank, and proud of it. I think he’s trying to tell me something. I better give him more food.

Okay.  Now that is out of the way for now, let’s talk barbecue.

One of my friends had this great idea about using Portobello mushroom stems for barbecue.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try it, so I figured I would give it a go.  It turns out it’s really easy.

Start out with the stems:

You'll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them.  Unless you like gritty BBQ.

You’ll obviously cut & clean them before cooking them. Unless you like gritty BBQ.

Shred them between your hands.  The easiest way is to roll them in between your hands, but you can also just pull them apart.

Shredded!

Shredded!

Add about 2T of oil to the 4C of shredded stems.  Don’t use too much, because the mushrooms will exude liquid too.  Dump a diced onion in there, mix up real good and heat on medium heat.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Okay, I like chopped onion, but if you like it diced, go for it.

Once the onions start to get a little translucent, add some spice.  I’ve never been one to settle for a pre-made BBQ sauce if I have some spices on hand, so I used 2T brown sugar, 1T salt, 1T pepper, 1T paprika & then added a minced garlic clove.  It might look like this:

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Chef Cinder supervises most things involving food in the kitchen.

Stir every so often so it mixes well & doesn’t stick to the pan(it shouldn’t with the oil in there).

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

Sous Chef Little Baby Alec Baldwin is always around for cleanup.

That’s it.  Like most of the recipes here, it’s super simple and ultra-tasty.  Throw it on a bun, eat it on its own, or top some mashed potatoes with it(that’s what we did).

That’s all for now, I’ve got to head to this college course I’m leading and then hunker down for the impending storm that’s about to hit Florida.

By hunkering down, I mean grabbing a bunch of beer.  I think some vegan eggplant parmesan is in the forecast too.

Oh yeah, the college course is through Florida State College at Jacksonville.  It’s a continuing education course devoted to a plant-based lifestyle.  This should be a breeze teaching:)

Have a good one!

 

It might not be a mystery that I am a fan of dogs.

My dogs, your dogs, strange people’s dogs.

Pretty much all dogs.

It’s actually a good chance that if I see you on the street with your dog, I’ll greet the dog first.

It’s nothing against you, it’s just that I’ve lived with dogs growing up, and I’ve also had a couple in the past several years.  I’m a giant fan.  They’re just the best in all aspects, even when they get done eating crap in the yard and you don’t know it until they try to lick you with their horrible crap-breath.

So now that you’re thoroughly grossed out, let’s talk about carrot dogs.

These little guys are the tenth wonder of the world with how delicious they are and how easy they are to prepare.  You just boil some peeled carrots for about ten minutes or until fork-tender, drain & fast-cool them with some cold water, and then throw them in a marinade for a day or so.  After that, you can pan fry them, outdoor grill them, even eat them right from the marinade.

The marinade even works if you want to make faux-bacon with thin-sliced carrots, eggplant, tofu, or tempeh.  Just pan fry it after the above process & you have a delicious vegan dish!

The magical marinade you ask?

Mix 1/4C soy sauce(or Bragg’s Aminos), 1/4C water, 1T oil, 1T apple cider vinegar, a dash of liquid smoke, a minced clove of garlic, a pinch of minced ginger, 1/4t pepper, & 1/8t onion powder in a container.  That’s it, just make sure everything is mixed well.

The marinade itself will stay good for a couple of weeks & I’ve reused it for recipes after the initial cooking too.

That will net you this:

There were a couple of modifications like the sauteed peppers & onions, the sauerkraut, some cashew cheese & a homemade roll.

There were a couple of modifications like the sautéed peppers & onions, the sauerkraut, some cashew cheese & a homemade roll.

You can find the recipe for the roll here.  I just did the pizza dough recipe & made it into little bun shapes, which works wonderfully; especially when you top it with a little oil so it will brown a bit.

That’s a fun one to do, enjoy!

This post wouldn’t be a post of mine without a couple of pup pictures and I do suppose that is kind of the theme, so here you go:

 

It's a Baldwinosaurus Rex on the attack.

It’s a Baldwinosaurus Rex on the attack.

Don't ever drop food accidentally or there will be a feeding frenzy.

Don’t ever drop food accidentally or there will be a feeding frenzy.

 

IMG_20160301_002216

Did you ever have that feeling that someone close to you was guilty of chewing up one of your markers?

Pup prison(see above picture).   Not really...he just got under the house while I was gardening in the front yard.

Pup prison(see above picture).
Not really…he just got under the house while I was gardening in the front yard.

The innocent look that you get when you go to work, only to come home to a dual hurricane/typhoon/house on fire.

The innocent look that you get when you go to work, only to come home to a dual hurricane/typhoon/house on fire.

Someone knows how to pose when he's all dressed up.  Two minutes later, he was running around in circles trying to catch the long end of the bandana.

Someone knows how to pose when he’s all dressed up. Two minutes later, he was running around in circles trying to catch the long end of the bandana.

As much Hell as they can raise, you just have to love pups.  Unless you’re a heartless, cold, bitter person that thrives on the pain and suffering in the world.

Totally kidding.  There’s cat people out there too.

🙂

 

I didn’t really care about the Super Bowl.  I usually care because of the commercials, but even then, this year apparently the commercials were pretty tame.  I did see some of the game & that was okay, but we’re not here to talk about the sportsball stuff.

We talk about food here.

And pups.

And various other fun things.

Not sportsball.

The church that I’m doing classes at needed a vegan soup for an option for their Super Bowl party, so I accommodated happily.  It’s cool out here in Florida, so soup is really nice this time of year–specifically chili.  I love making chili because you could throw everything including the kitchen sink into it & that would be just fine.  This one I based around sweet potatoes.

Ready?  Good.

I took a chopped red onion, chopped green pepper, & a diced sweet potato(skin still on) & threw them in a large pot with just a little water in it & cooked that on a medium high heat until the onions were starting to get translucent.

Next, chop two tomatoes & throw that into the pot with the veggies.  Add about four cups of water and let that get up to a simmer over medium heat.  Once it’s simmering, add 1T Chili powder, 1t Cumin, 1/2t Cayenne, 1t Cinnamon, 1/4C tomato paste, & 4 minced cloves of garlic.  Let that simmer until the tomatoes start to break down, about 20 minutes.  Add 3C of your choice in beans(I use pinto for the most part) and let that continue to simmer until everything is nice and hot.  Add some salt & pepper to taste, and your chili is done!

If you like your chili to be more smooth, take an inversion blender & mix it around the soup for just a few pulses.  That should chop up the beans just enough to make it a more “meaty” consistency.

Such an easy recipe & I love that there are almost always leftovers that I can eat on for a week or so.

In other news, we went camping again & I made some garbanzo bean flour fries for some easy foil packets.  They were delicious to the extreme.  I found the recipe here.

FYI, don't use plastic spatulas in the super hot oil. RIP spatula.

FYI, don’t use plastic spatulas in the super hot oil. RIP spatula.

That’s pretty much it here, have a great week & next up is an Ethiopian Cabbage dish!

Here’s some pup pics:

Caught mid-yelling at me.

Caught mid-yelling at me.

 

He sits just like people.

He sits just like people.

Yeah, they seem sweet. Pay no attention to the duck toy on the floor.

Yeah, they seem sweet. Pay no attention to the duck toy on the floor.

 

I have no excuse.

I took some time off.  Working.

Well, mostly working.

Predominantly doing a combination of work, cooking, guerrilla cleanups(I’ll detail that term later), podcasting(I hope that I don’t have to detail that term for you), gardening(It’s an easy term), volunteering, outdoorsing, and hanging out with pups & friends.

See??  Podcasting!  (I totally didn't think that it would be that easy to define the term)

See?? Podcasting! (I totally didn’t think that it would be that easy to define the term)

It's not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that's in your beard.

It’s not hanging out with pups until you have one four inches in front of your face on your lap staring longingly into the crumb of breakfast that’s in your beard.

Outdoorsing(Noun):  doing stuff outdoors.

Outdoorsing(Noun): doing stuff outdoors.

Okay, now that we’ve blown through most of the pictures for this post, let’s get to the Mac & Cheese.

Because plant-based comfort food is AWESOME.

You will need:

1 medium potato, chopped

1/4 red onion, chopped

2 small carrots, chopped

You should put all of that in a pot, adding just enough water to submerge the veggies.  Cover & boil that for about 15 minutes.

While all of that is happening, put this in a blender that you’re close to:

1/2C cashews

1/4C nutritional yeast

2T coconut oil

1 clove of garlic

1/4t mustard seed

1/8t paprika

1/8t pepper

1/8t cayenne(use less if you aren’t the best with heat.  I just like my mac & cheese with a little spice)

By the time you’ve accumulated the ingredients and put the precise amounts into the blender, the veggies should be fork-tender.  Add the veggies & the water it cooked in into the blender.

Then blend.

Blend for a minute or so, that should get the mixture to be pretty smooth.

From there, cook off about half of a box of pasta(around 8oz dry) to an al dente state, drain, & toss in a mixing bowl with the “cheese” mix.

That’s it. Vegan Mac & cheese. Now you can trick all of the kids into eating their veggies. If you want to have extra deliciousness, put the meal in an oven-safe pan, top it with some bread crumbs seasoned with some Italian-style seasoning & bake it until toasty on top.

image

This is what it looks like in a bowl.

Now, in keeping up with tradition, here’s some pup pics:

image

"That little son-of-a....He's right behind me, isn't he?"

image

On their tanning bed.

Oh yeah, I was going to explain guerrilla cleanups.
Basically, it’s a quick one or two bag trash cleanup wherever it needs it(which is more often than not if you live in an urban area). I’ll break out the bike, find a site within a mile from my place(further if in a car), throw some gloves on & pick up debris. It usually takes about a half an hour to clean up an area where it’s taken months for people to trash. It’s become one of my many hobbies & I try to do these at least once a week. It beautifies the area and the trash won’t make it to the waterways, which are also cleanup sites on some days.

Because let’s face it, water is kind of an important thing.

Have a great week & I’ll try to post recipes from the classes I’ve been teaching on here!

image

See?? I'm a bona fide teacher!! Also, a flyer designer!

I have been slacking.

A lot.

I’ve been working a lot, and then occupying my time with making artisan vegan cheese, volunteering, kayaking, and walking the pups a decent bit.

It doesn’t seem like a lot until you factor in the fifty-five hours a week I spend at my day job.  That’s the minimum too.

And it’s salary.

And I still can’t afford to pay attention. (hehe, had to throw that in there)

In any case, I’m working on getting time off of work to go on vacation to Ohio.  This means there will be some hotel down time, which I will chronicle the vegan joints we cruise through & hopefully a few dog parks or hiking adventures.

Also, bourbon.

This is the Bourbon Trail, right??

This is the Bourbon Trail, right??

As it’s been a while, I’ve been stockpiling recipes, so there should be one or two coming up with the adventure tales.

This particular post, we’re going to talk pita.  It’s reaaaaaaaaalllly easy to make.  Like, slap the ingredients together, roll out, flop on a hot plate in the oven, and you’re good.

Well, not that easy.

The ingredients you slap together are 2t yeast & 1C of warm water to start.  Let that get all assimilated, like 5-10 minutes.

Yeasty water.

Yeasty water.

Mix in 1t olive oil, 2t sea salt, & 2 1/2C of flour & knead that until it’s really doughy.  Let that rise in a greased airtight container for an hour.

I mean, it's dough.

I mean, it’s dough.

In the meantime, throw half of a cup of flour into the air so that it’s on absolutely all of your kitchen counter.  Or just the area you’re working on.  The part where it’s everywhere comes later anyway.

Get out your rolling-pin or something to make this dough really flat & get it covered in flour.  You want everything covered in flour to prevent sticking.  Preheat the oven to 450F with a metal hot plate or baking stone inside.

That dough should have risen some & now you can pinch off pieces of it, roll that in your hands into little dough balls.  Then, put them on the floury counter & roll them into large, flat discs.

Dough ball.

Dough balls.

DOUGH DISCS!!!

DOUGH DISCS!!!

Hopefully you’ve read this to this point & haven’t forgotten to turn on the oven.  If you have the oven already on, throw the discs on the hot plate or baking stone, turn on the oven light, and sit there like it’s a holiday movie on the television.

Because this happens.  It's really cool to watch.

Because this happens. It’s really cool to watch.  Like, they puff up. 

When they do expand, they can be pulled from the oven, unless you like them a bit more toasty.  Feel free to leave them in for a couple extra minutes if you want.  Just make sure you eventually pull them out.

They look like pita.  Now we need dip.

They look like pita. Now we need dip.

BONUS!!!!!!

Hummus recipe:  throw 2C chick peas, 1/4C tahini, 1/2C water, juice from one lemon, 1 clove of garlic, 1/8t cumin, 1/8t chili, & 1T oil into a blender or food processor & puree that stuff.  Add salt to taste, as well as any other cool ingredients you might like(I enjoy ghost pepper powder, but just a little–no need to burn the face off).  Finish by sprinkling paprika & additional oil on top, then by dipping pita bread into it.

Very easy.

Very easy.  Note the flour is still EVERYWHERE.

That’s it for me.  I’ve got a birthday to kick off the trip to Ohio, so wish us luck.  I love working in the kitchen with a hangover, but driving is a completely different story.  Especially over 1,000 miles.  I’ll tell you about it later.

Here’s some pup pictures to keep you busy:

 

I just made a really bad joke.  No, seriously.  He looks at me like that all of the time, so you know my jokes are horrible.

I just made a really bad joke. No, seriously. He looks at me like that all of the time, so you know my jokes are horrible.  Also, I don’t have that ugly of a chin in real life.  It’s the way I’m crunched up laying.

He did something wrong.  I don't know what it is, but he did someth........oh, come here you little cutelord!!!

He did something wrong. I don’t know what it is, but he did someth……..oh, come here you little cutelord!!!

If you even utter the word "walk" in my house, this happens.

If you even utter the word “walk” in my house, this happens.

That’s all for now, you all have a great week or two!!!

 

Who would’ve thought going on vacation(or just taking a few days off of the ol’ day gig) would have kept me so busy?  I really didn’t.

I rode about forty or fifty miles on a beach cruiser bike around town, visited One Spark a handful of times, finished a design for a shirt that I’m pedaling for a few bucks, caught a lot of cool music shows, went to St. Augustine with my family & today kind of relaxing or catching up from the residual hangover from the week of insanity.

The shameless plug for the shirt.  I designed it because the governor likes to ban the topic of climate change among government officials.  Bans.  The.  Entire.  Topic.

The shameless plug for the shirt. I designed it because the governor likes to ban the topic of climate change among government officials. Bans. The. Entire. Topic.

I’m pretty sure I’m leaving something out, but it’s fine.

There were a lot of beers drank.

A LOT.

But this is a food/pup blog, so let’s get on with that.

Lately I’ve been playing in the kitchen with fermenting, whether it’s rejuvelac for culturing vegan cheese, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

I’ve always been a fan of kimchi & trying to get people to enjoy it.  It is, unfortunately, something that people either like or despise, and trying to figure out a delicious non-traditional way to make it considering there is fish paste in it most of the time is a daunting task.

But I did it.

And it’s really easy.

Take a head of cabbage(napa if you’re trying to go traditional) & shred it to about 1/8″ strips.  Add 2T of sea salt, 2t of red pepper flakes, 2t of minced ginger, a cup of sliced green onions, & 2t of sugar to the shredded cabbage in a bowl.  The cabbage should start sweating almost immediately.  Cover it with another bowl with a little weight to it & it should look a little like this:

I press the cabbage with multiple bowls to get things going efficiently.

I press the cabbage with multiple bowls to get things going efficiently.

From there, cover the bowl & let it sit for about 24 hours.  Take a peek at it & make sure that the liquid that is being pulled from the cabbage is now covering all of the mix.  If it isn’t, press it a bit harder until it does, which shouldn’t take too much effort if the cabbage is fresh.

Let that sit covered for four to five days at room temperature away from sunlight.  After that, it should have a pickled scent to it.  Throw it in a jar, press it under the liquid(save all the liquid) with a fork & put it in the refrigerator to enjoy whenever.  This usually lasts around three months if I don’t go crazy & eat it all on a bed of jasmine rice first.

MMMMMMMkimchi.

MMMMMMMkimchi.

Like I said, it isn’t really traditional, so it isn’t going to look like the stuff you’ll buy in the store.  But it’s damned tasty.

We’ve been setting up the #NachoBar at some green events around town & are going to be at Welcome to Rockville, a giant two-day concert in the heart of Jacksonville.  We’re going to be popping up at other events soon as well & should be having a blast with the vegan nachos.  We had some high-profile characters at our last endeavor:

The mayor is back!  This time, his eyes are open for the photo!!

The mayor is back! This time, his eyes are open for the photo!!  Actually, everyone’s eyes are.  & we’re all creepy with the red eyes.  Except for my photobombing friend in the back.  He’s hilarious.

I mean, craft beer & vegan nachos, how can you go wrong?

I mean, craft beer & vegan nachos, how can you go wrong?

Other than that, I think life has been a little busy(albeit fun) recently.  Here are the puppy pics for the post, enjoy!

SO HAPPY.  They just got back from a walk.

SO HAPPY. They just got back from a walk.

They get tired shortly after.  And they mock each other.

They get tired shortly after. And they mock each other.

It almost looks like the ball is screaming.

It almost looks like the ball is screaming.

SEE??!!  They love kumquats!!

SEE??!! They love kumquats!!

They also like my Southwest tofu scramble.  Well, just looking at it.  Because I gotta eat too.

They also like my Southwest tofu scramble. Well, just looking at it. Because I gotta eat too.

That’s it this time around, get in the kitchen & have some fun!!