Posts Tagged ‘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!

 

Well, hello there!

There’s been quite a bit going on in life, so that might be the reasoning for the short pause for my writing in edible adventures here.

First, I resigned from my corporate job & moved on to work at a vegan restaurant in St. Augustine called Present Moment Cafe.  It’s a pretty awesome place, I’ve got to say.  I also started working at one of the coolest gems in Jacksonville, a movie theater named Sun Ray Cinema, which has been ranked #1 in the country for vegan goodies.  It’s also quite the mecca for movies and documentaries that you could only see in a theater of awesome caliber.

That’s not too bad for a move, I’d say.

I’ve been working on the transition phase of all of that & then had my folks in town from Ohio.  It’s not every day they make it down here, so obviously I wanted to devote as much attention to them as possible.

Devotin' that attention.

Devotin’ that attention.

So that all said, life is pretty awesome.  I do have a recipe for you though.  Got a few pictures(photo cred to Katie D again!), but the recipe is pretty easy.  It’s a sweet potato & rosemary gnocchi, if you didn’t guess by the title of the post.  We made this in one of the introduction to veganism classes I was teaching.

Start out with 3 medium sweet potatoes & 1 russet potato, all peeled, chopped & boiled to fork tender.  While all of that is happening, grab a mixing bowl & throw 1 1/2C of flour, a minced clove of garlic, 1/4C warmed coconut oil, & 1T of minced rosemary together.  If you’re really feeling frisky, add 1/4C of some almond parmesan(basically blend 1C almonds, 1/4C nutritional yeast, a little onion powder, a little lemon juice & salt to taste=you have a bunch of parm!!) into the mix.
image

Mash the potatoes in another bowl & add the other ingredients.  Mix it really well so you get a good doughy consistency going on(you can add more flour if the potatoes are big & the dough isn’t super solid).  It shouldn’t stick too much when you touch it.
image

Make some tablespoon-sized balls of the mix & press down on them with a fork-that should give it a cool ribbed look.

Get a pot of water with some salt boiling & drop the little gnocchi in until it floats(about two or three minutes).  From there, you can pan fry them or bake them, either or.
image

image

Throw some marinara on top and sprinkle some of that parm on top.  Maybe even chiffonade some basil & throw that on if you’re entertaining guests.  Get fancy.  And you can pronounce it nyAWK-ee or NOK-ee, it’s different on each side of that giant pond.
image

That’s it!  I hope everyone is doing great out there & their no meat March went great.  I’ll have a recipe for the gumbo made in the last of the classes I taught coming up in the next couple of weeks, but until then, here’s some pups!

About to hop on the bike with my co-pilot.

About to hop on the bike with my co-pilot.

"Please halp.  He's licking me."

“Please halp. He’s licking me.”

Modeling their bandanas a friend dropped off for St. Patty's Day.  The way Baldwin is looking at me, I may have had food.

Modeling their bandanas a friend dropped off for St. Patty’s Day. The way Baldwin is looking at me, I may have had food.

Turning your head to the side will get you everywhere on the cute level.

Turning your head to the side will get you everywhere on the cute level.

"What the heck are you?!"

“What the heck are you?!”

Until next time!!

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!

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!!!

 

It’s getting hot out.

It’s almost like summer is here already.  That means get bananas, pineapple, mango & other fruits to keep good sugars in you.  I played around making a fruity hot sauce even, but that one is for another post.

For now, we’re going to play with ginger soda.  After all, I’ve been playing around with fermentation for a while now & it is immensely great for your gut & health.  There’s healthy bacteria that are in it, very similar to homemade sauerkraut.

Insanely good for you.

Plus, it’s kind of cool to have something living on your kitchen counter.

That might have sounded weird.  It doesn’t really walk around or anything, but it does have some cool action going on in the jars you put it in.

This is what you start with.

This is what you start with.

Okay.  To start, throw 1/2C of water in a mason jar, add a tablespoon of sugar & tablespoon of minced ginger to that. Make sure to put a lid on the mix.  Every day, add another tablespoon of sugar & minced ginger.  Do that for five days or so.  The mixture should start getting a little bubbly & have a good pressure whenever you open the jar.

I’ve always liked making sun tea.  I’ll throw four bags of green tea into a quart of water & throw that on a windowsill in the morning.  Like this:

The ginger grows after a while.

The ginger grows after a while.  Kind of like a healthy Freddy Krueger.

Next up:  add about 1/4C of the liquid from the ginger bug(that’s the cool kid name for the mix we made earlier) to 2C of the tea, then add a tablespoon of sugar.

Why all of the sugar you ask?

Because bacteria need to eat too.  The little fizzies aren’t going to happen on their own in an environment where they can’t get some sort of energy.  That energy is sugar, & it gets broken down on a molecular level, so it isn’t like you’re drinking maple syrup.

Unless you put maple syrup in your ginger soda.

I won’t judge.  It might taste great.

Here’s what it should look like:

The three amigos.  You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

The three amigos. You can tell which one has more sugar being broken down by the foam at the top.

Give it a couple of days & test it by tapping the top of the jar.  If there’s pressure, you did things right.  Open it up, hear the hiss & pour yourself some of your homemade soda.

There’s so many flavors you can incorporate into it too–I threw a pineapple chunk into one of the jars to just have fun & the next day I got a fruity ginger soda.  Hibiscus tea instead of green tea?  That works really well too & it’s almost caffeine free!

So.  Easy.

You just have to have some patience & ferment.

While you’re doing that, you should check out this awesome vegan joint in Jacksonville called the Garden Truck.  It’s been around for nearly a year & they have some fantastic food there.  They do sausage & gravy and blueberry(from an organic farm not too far away) pancakes for brunch, among other meals.  There’s a great selection for lunch & dinner too, ranging from their white bean sausage & peppers on cibatta bread to a delicious gumbo that’s like hanging out in Creole country.  The decor is modern, where there’s a strong influence of city life mixed with some wonderful relaxing living herb centerpieces on the tables.  I love the place & the crew there is so much fun.  I definitely need to get out there more often.  Here’s a couple of pictures:

The brunch.  It is soooo good.

The brunch. It is soooo good. 

It even has an open kitchen.  It has a great ambiance.

It even has an open kitchen. It has a great ambiance.  I love the plants too!

I love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, so I played around & created this quick recipe too.  I put 2C of sunflower seeds, 1/8C sunflower seed oil, 1C pureed strawberries, a banana & 1/8C agave into a blender and made a sort of butter & jelly mix.  Just something fun to play with & you can even eat it on its own.  I chose to have it on some sourdough bread as an open sandwich & that worked out really well.

It's almost like a pate spread.

It’s almost like a pate spread.

That’s all for now, here’s some awesome pictures of the pups:

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

Everyone is happy after a walk/run in the park.

When I'm on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

When I’m on a ladder grabbing kumquats from the tree, this is what I look down to.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze.  Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Vegan pigs in blankets & broccoli mac kimchi-eeze. Kind of tough working around these guys in the kitchen sometimes.

Sometimes, I have no caption.  Feel free to add one.

Sometimes, I have no caption. Feel free to add one.

Have a great week!

Disclaimer:  I don’t really have writer’s block.

On the contrary, I’ve been writing a lot.  Just not on the interwebs.

I’ve been really busy with work and playing around with vegan cheeses & fermentations as of late.  It seems like I’ve always got a science experiment on my kitchen counter at any given time.

Most recently, I found a cool recipe for smoked gouda & started playing around with variations of it to make it more simple & just have fun.  I never really played with coconut milk as the base for a vegan cheese, but it works really well & there’s so many different things you can do with it.

As cheddar was my all-time favorite flavor, that was my starting point.  Again, SO EASY.

Put a can of full fat coconut milk, 1/4C of water, 1/4C of nutritional yeast, 1T sea salt, 1T miso, 1/4C tapioca starch & 2T agar powder into a blender or food processor & blend that until it is completely mixed.  Throw that into a saucepan & cook on medium for about ten minutes or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Put that mix into a glass mold & set it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Take it out of the mold and eat the entire recipe in one sitting.

EASY, RIGHT??

Well, you can save some for grilled cheeses too.  It just so happens that this is perfect for heating back up so it starts to get all melty.  I love it with some sourdough & roasted onions.  Like this.

So many noms.

So many noms.  That’s with olive sourdough, BTW.

If you really want to have fun, you can play around with the recipe and add all kinds of stuff.  Like noodles.  Or vegan sausage.  Or broccoli.  Or all of the things.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I should put this in between some olive sourdough.

I have been talking about it for some time now, and I have a ton of recipes & pictures.  So I’m going to be working on a cookbook to fund a vegan food cart or a food truck.  Hopefully by the end of this year.  I’ve got to do some more research on publishing & fund-raising for it, but the entire premise of the book is to help people convert into a plant-based diet in a healthy manner.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

NOT by eating vegan pizza in front of your dogs on a daily basis.

The issue is that so many people starting on a plant-based diet do so by eating all of the processed junk and nothing else.  Mind, that’s not horrible if you are taking supplements, but if you want to have a smooth, healthy transition, you are going to have to understand what to eat.  And that, sadly makes vegan pizza something you should only have once a week when you first start out on your adventure.

Then you ease yourself into a daily regimen of vegan pizza.

Kidding.  Don’t do that.

So that’s the basis of the book.  I would love for it to be educational, humorous, & full of cool things that are easy for people to try out, even if they aren’t jumping on the veg-wagon.

If anyone has any input on publishing or anything regarding cookbooks, leave me a comment below.  I’d love to learn as much as I can & find out how to do this stuff.

Plus, it will fund a veg-cart/truck/business(these are all long-term goals & aspirations) so hopefully you can go to a ball park here and find some cool vegan food.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently.  I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

I found a salad bar at a stadium recently. I think they serve peanuts somewhere too.

So that’s it.  Let me know if you have any input & I’ll keep everyone updated on the status of the cookbook.

And now, a couple of pictures of pups:

It's Soul-Eater...er...I mean Cinder.

It’s Soul-Eater…er…I mean Cinder.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Not sure why he sits so cute, but he does a great job at it.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture.  Someone else looks like they're expecting food immediately.

Someone has their eyes closed for the family picture. Someone else looks like they’re expecting food immediately.

Have a great week & write you later!!