Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

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!

 

I eat at restaurants rather regularly(try saying that five times fast).

So does the majority of the population anymore.  We’re just busier.  We work a lot, there are side projects that we work with, there’s a ton of stuff we do when we aren’t working.

And that can just altogether suck when it comes to healthy eating sometimes.

Think about it–years ago, we’d brown bag lunches to work with an apple and a peanut butter & jelly sandwich instead of taking a quick drive to the fast food restaurant down the street.  We’d eat a good breakfast in the morning & be home for a good dinner more often than not.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you have to admit that the wool has been pulled over our eyes when it comes to the food industry and the ever-growing restaurant business convincing us that they can do better than us in the kitchen.  Which, with every meal we don’t prepare in the kitchen, we start to lose our connection to the food that we eat & we put our health in the hands of people who could care less where their products come from.

If this was my office, I'd be perfectly happy. It IS my pb & j, so there was a moment of happiness.

If this was my office, I’d be perfectly happy. It IS my pb & j, so there was a moment of happiness.

Disclaimer:  there are a LOT of great places that are popping up now that utilize ethical farms & local products.  They know that health is a direct result of what we ingest.  I’m really happy that specific movement has started and that we can rely on these places as a good source for nutritious food & making a connection with the local community, as well as making friends.  I’m more referring to the box restaurants that import everything from a crazy factory halfway across the country because it costs less and they look at the bottom line while they pay no attention to their consumer’s EKG line as it spikes with high blood pressure, obesity, and far too many food-related diseases to mention.

So we go out to eat.  There’s a great amount of ethnic restaurants that have great veg options.  Thai, Indian, Rastafarian, the list goes on & on.  Usually the worse a Thai place looks on the outside, the better it is on the food yumminess & potential to make a good vegan curry in my experience.

You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Unless you’re judging by how bad it looks on the outside & guessing that the food is great, which I just told you was a good rule of thumb.  So judge away in that regard.

Before cooking, eat some sauerkraut. It's good for you & delicious. Photo credit: Katie Delaney

Before cooking, eat some sauerkraut. It’s good for you & delicious. Photo credit: Katie D

Ethiopian food is another great choice for plant-based food & it usually has easy ingredients.  That’s what makes it a great food to research & make in a short amount of time.

Here’s the cabbage dish we made for the class last week.

Take 3 rough chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion & 1/8C of oil and saute that, covered, over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are close to translucent.  I used a red onion for the pretty factor, but you can use any kind.

Oooooh.....pretty. Photo credit: Katie Delaney

Oooooh…..pretty. Photo credit: Katie D

After that, add 1/4t turmeric, 1/2t pepper, 1t salt, & half of a cabbage, chopped up.  Mix that & cover, continuing to saute for another 15 minutes.

Once that’s done, take two potatoes, cut them into small cubes & add them to the mix, covering & lowering the heat to low/medium & letting that cook for another 20 minutes or until the potatoes have gotten fork-tender.  What you should have is this:

This is what you should have. Photo credit: Katie Delaney

This is what you should have. Photo credit: Katie D

Samples are served! Photo credit: Katie Delaney

Samples are served, I might have missed the plate on one or two potatoes.  Photo credit: Katie D

So that was easy, right?  Only a few ingredients that you should have already in the kitchen.  Enjoy that while looking at these pictures of pups:

Katie's pup Abe, about to enjoy a carrot(hint: pups like carrots). Photo credit: Katie D

Katie’s pup Abe, about to enjoy a carrot(hint: pups like carrots). Photo credit: Katie D

Abe, devouring said carrot(who would've thought, considering the look he was giving it in the previous picture?). Photo credit: Katie D

Abe, devouring said carrot(who would’ve thought, considering the look he was giving it in the previous picture?). Photo credit: Katie D

Lil B & Cinder's rap album coming soon.

Lil B & Cinder’s rap album coming soon.

Remind me to never, ever, EVER take these two on a guerrilla cleanup again. Those faces may look innocent, but....

Remind me to never, ever, EVER take these two on a guerrilla cleanup again. Those faces may look innocent, but….

I said the w-a-l-k-i-e word.

I said the w-a-l-k-i-e word.

Just what I see whenever I cook. I need to do this professionally.

Just what I see whenever I cook. I need to do this professionally.

Sure, just lay by the compost bin. On the dirt. Because that's what you do. & you're still really cute at doing that.

Sure, just lay by the compost bin. On the dirt. Because that’s what you do. & you’re still really cute at doing that.

That’s it for this week.  Next week: carrot dogs, though that might be in the archives somewhere here too.  We’ll still play with it & there shall be more pup pics.

Have a groovy day!

If you haven’t heard of farm-to-table dinners yet, start looking around & go to a bunch.  Or start your own, it isn’t too difficult or stressful once you get the hang of it, and the rewards of seeing people enjoying some food fresh from local farms or gardens are tough to beat.

I’ve been involved in catering or cooking for years & years, but this last farm-to-table dinner that I cooked for work was the second one that I’ve headed up.  Both of them were for eighteen people & I did all of the cooking & prep work on this last one(if I can do it, you definitely can do it).

First, establish relationships with local produce vendors & work with them to figure out what exactly you are going to serve.  Get the remaining ingredients from a store if you need to(I can’t stress the point of shopping from local stores here enough too).  Prep, cook, plate & serve.  That’s it!

(Don’t forget to invite guests or distribute flyers for people to RSVP, people are mighty important here too.)

Here are some pictures from this last farm-to-table:

I like aprons.  I like knives.  I like smiling.  Nothing weird about that, right?

I like aprons. I like knives. I like smiling. Nothing weird about that, right?

 

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Prep cold stuff first-this mousse needed to chill, so this was an easy start.

Easy mousse made with chocolate chips, silken tofu, a little maple syrup & vanilla.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it's acids.

You can do salads too at the beginning, just watch out-if it contains vinegar in the dressing, it may start breaking down the salad with it’s acids.

A kale salad massaged with avocado & then I added some diced bell peppers, green onion, a little red onion, walnuts, lime juice and just a splash of pineapple juice.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

I made a gluten-free sunflower seed bread ahead of time too so I could cut & toast it for bruschetta.

In just starting with gluten-free baking not too long ago, I was somewhat stumped on how to make awesome bread in that fashion.  I’m great with regular baking & bread, but just had to jump into this all the way.  I can’t tell you the recipe, though.  I’d have to kill you.  With kindness.  & puppy kisses.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

Lay out all of the plates & that should make it a little easier when plating food instead of the old assembly line/cafeteria style plating.

I didn’t take a picture of the northern white bean basil hummus I made, but putting it in three different bowls & then topping it with different spices is a really great way to get a diverse flavor going for it.

In the picture above, I had made some cultured cashew cheddar cheese(yes, vegan;  yes, AWESOME.), threw some grapes on plates & cut up some apples for a nice appetizer.

One of these things is not like the other....well, actually three of the plates.

One of these things is not like the other….well, actually three of the plates.

I slow cooked some quinoa for a few hours, adding bell peppers, ginger, garlic, & sweet potatoes along the way.  I did add a bit of paprika, but the quinoa itself was nice & sweet, so I didn’t want to mess around with how awesome that would be stuffed inside of the pepper & covered with a little lemon-dill white bean sauce I made last minute.  You saw the kale salad before & the bread for the bruschetta.  I just made some topping for that by chopping up some grape tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon juice, & a bit of salt.  Easy stuff, right?!

Upon closer inspection--AWESOME.

Upon closer inspection–AWESOME.

Dessert.  I could have done this for an appetizer though.  And an entree.  Just the whole meal.

Dessert. I could have done this for an appetizer though. And an entrée. Just the whole meal.

I made some chilled drop oatmeal quinoa chocolate chip peanut butter cookies and threw them in a bowl with some of that awesome mousse you saw in the picture way back.  This was awesome & adding a little coconut bacon to the mix was not a bad idea in the least either.

You knew I had to do a close up, right?  RIGHT??!!

You knew I had to do a close up, right? RIGHT??!!

Are you hungry yet?

Are you hungry yet?

I wore the apron the entire time.  Also, the cheesy smile.

I wore the apron the entire time. Also, the cheesy smile.

So, the dinner was a huge success.  I’d love to do this more often; on days off with friends or maybe even galavant around a grill in a park, there’s so many options here.  If you need some help with dinner(lunch, breakfast, snacks, late-night meals, brunch, desserts, picnics, etc.), I can be of assistance(pay no attention to the first picture, forget you even saw it.  There you go.).  I think, for the most part, all of the dishes were really easy to put together, but if you want to know how to make something specifically, let me know!

Other stuff:

There’s a new meetup in town.

No, really, there is.  LITERALLY.

It’s the Jacksonville Vegan Meetup, and it is going to be a fun one.  The inaugural event is titled “Local, Vegan Mob All Day Long!” & tours many of the local Jacksonville places that offer veg-friendly options.  It starts off with an awesome vegan bakery called Sweet Theory(if you haven’t heard of it yet, stop reading, go to Riverside, and buy everything.  They are that good.) & winds through town, visiting a grocery, pizza place(best in town), & a bookstore/deli before shooting off to the beaches for some farmer’s market fun, coffee, and a bar to finish it all off.  If you have July 12th off and are in the Northeast Florida area, come out & have a great time with us!!

Sometimes I think my canine companions have narcolepsy.  Not really.  They’re just like me-wound so tight sometimes that they burst with energy at every waking moment like a chipmunk on a coffee high.  When we lay down though, we are out.  Until, at least, we hear food in the distance.  Here’s some obligatory pictures.

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping.  (get the pun??  He's a BALL.)

Little Baby Alec Balllllllllldwin just sleeping. (get the pun?? He’s a BALL.)

He's going to hate this picture when he's older.

He’s going to hate this picture when he’s older.

So is Cinder.

So is Cinder.

Wait a second.  That's not a sleeping dog.  That's a wading duck.

Wait a second. That’s not a sleeping dog. That’s a wading duck.

He's walking now.  *sniffle, sniffle*  They just grow up so fast.

He’s walking now. *sniffle, sniffle* They just grow up so fast.

That’s it from me for this time, have a great time, enjoy some outdoors, and have you hugged your dog today?

Seeya!

I’ve always been a fan of reubens, and any time I can find a vegan version anymore, I pretty much have to try it.  The only problem is the that sightings of vegan reubens have long periods of time in between them in my experience.  Not a problem, you just have to get creative & enjoy twists on recipes.

I also enjoy fast & simple recipes, so here is a simple, fast, creative twist on a reuben…That is vegan.

Things you will need:

-Tempeh

-Avocado

-Jalapeno

-Sauerkraut

-Tortilla wraps of your choice

-Soy Sauce

-Pickles

-Salt

-Old Bay Seasoning

-Mustard

-A lemon if you really want to get crazy

Oil a pan & let it get hot while you prepare the tempeh.  I usually cut it into small strips, but it can be crumbled as well.  Toss the tempeh in about 1/2 cup of soy sauce to cover it.  I like to sprinkle a little Old Bay Seasoning on it, just season to taste on that.

Once the pan is hot, throw the marinated tempeh in & flip every so often.  While that is cooking, start mashing the avocado in a bowl.  Mince about a 1/2 cup of pickles, mash them with the blade of your knife, mix them into the mashed avocado and add salt & mustard to taste.  If you have a wedge of lemon, squeezing that into the mix wouldn’t hurt.

Drain the sauerkraut(canned, jarred, or bonus points for home made) & dump onto the browned tempeh.  Put the pan on about medium heat now.  Mince a jalapeno & throw that into the mixture.

Grab whatever wrap you can use & spread the avocado relish on a full half of it.  By now the jalapeno sauerkraut should be browned & should be mixed well with the tempeh.  Just put some of that on the tortilla, pull the end over, one side over, the opposite side over, & enjoy with a good beer.

Pretty easy, right?  I made this in about twenty minutes.  There aren’t any definitive measurements because not one of our tastes are exactly the same, so mix away, be your own Rembrandt in the kitchen.  That is, after all, what this food thing is about when it comes down to it: art.