Friday, September 22, 2006

First Fall Friday Food Round-up

Welcome to the first day of Fall!

When it comes to blogging about food, I'm very undisciplined. Even when I remember to photograph the food that we cook and eat, I never get around to blogging about it. So I've decided to create a new feature on this blog called "Friday Food Round-up" where I will share any notable food from the previous week with you guys.

*Warning* Long post ahead!

First, I had a fig frenzy day. Daiku and I had had dried figs sitting around for a long time, and hadn't done anything with them. I know how good dried figs are, with loads of calcium and iron, but I just don't like munching on them the way I like fresh figs. So I soaked them in water for a couple of days to soften them up, and made the following:



1. Moroccan spiced "meatballs" with figs

I saw this recipe on the blog What do Vegans Eat? posted by Shelly. You can see her recipe in the comments section of the post. These came out so good! Not only did the figs and the Moroccan spices give it a fabulous sweet & savory flavor, but the texture was so great. The secret was using wheat gluten, which made them chewy and easy to form. I modified Shelly's recipe by using soaked dried figs instead of fresh, by adding some oats because I didn't have as much TVP as the recipe called for, by using Vegemite instead of Marmite (because otherwise, my Aussie friends wouldn't forgive me!) and by not making the sauce, eating the meatballs with BBQ sauce, instead. I tell you, try this recipe, it's the most successful meatballs I've made yet-thanks, Shelly!

The "secret" ingredient.

What to do with the rest of the figs? I had seen this recipe for skinny fig bars on Fatfree Vegan's blog, and set about making it. Have you ever taken a recipe and mangled it so bad that the end result doesn't really bear any resemblance to the original? This is what I kind of did, but not on purpose. It's just that I didn't read the recipe all the way through, so I'd realize that I didn't have the correct ingredients when I was already in the middle of making it. So I modified the recipe, and it doesn't really qualify as fat-free anymore, but it turned out really delicious! So with thanks to Susan V. for inspiration, here is my recipe for:

2.
Bazu's not too figgy fig bars:



Filling:

8 ounces dried figs (soaked overnight in water to soften)

4 ounces date pieces

1 handful almonds, silvered or chopped

1 tbsp. Just Like Honey (you can find this at Veganessentials.com)(or other vegan liquid sweetener)
2 tbsp. water (use liquid from soaking figs)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ginger

Crust:

1 cup steel-cut oats, ground into flour (I used my Magic Bullet blender)
1/2 cup walnuts, ground into fine meal
handful almonds, roughly ground/chopped
3 TB Earth Balance margarine
2 TB Just Like Honey (or other vegan liquid sweetener)

Icing:

3 TB powdered sugar
1-2 drops vanilla extract
enough water to make a thick paste

Preheat oven to 375. Blend all the ingredients for the filling. Set aside. Blend all the ingredients for the crust, making sure margarine is well incorporated. Take 1/2 of crust and press into the bottom of a lightly oiled baking dish. (I used an oval, but any dish around 8x8 in.) Pour filling over that and smooth down. Pour rest of crust and press down to cover the filling. Bake for 30-35 minutes. You may want to broil for the last 1-2 minuts to brown the top crust. Remove from oven. Wait until completely cooled to spoon swirls of icing on top and cut into bars.



These were great! The cinnamon and ginger are such good counterparts for the fig. I had one bar for breakfast one morning and was full until 3 or 4 p.m. Thanks again to Susan V. for the original recipe which I so badly mangled.

Next, some marinated tofu. I drained extra firm tofu and marinated in a mixture of:

tamari
fresh ginger
fresh garlic
rice vinegar
sesame oil
chilli oil
chilli paste
maple syrup
dry rose wine (any dry wine would do)



After marinating for several hours, I browned them in the cast iron skillet:



We ate these over a bed of grated cucumber, carrots, daikon, and scallions dressed with the tofu marinade. Very light and refreshing dinner.

Here's an interesting sandwich filling I came up with:



I mashed leftover steamed tempeh with chilli paste, avocado, chopped onion and cilantro and ate on whole wheat toast. I loved this, but warning, you have to love tempeh and love cilantro to like this sandwich!

Every week, when I go to the market, I go to the organic section and see which greens look best. This week, the prize definitely went to the gorgeous and enormous bunch of red swiss chard.

Daiku made his famous beans & greans.



This is the red chard in some water with chopped onion, which we ate on a bed of cannelini beans cooked with a lot of garlic and fresh rosemary.



This is one of our all-time favorite dinners, and you can use any bean and any green. Mmmm.

Here's a gratuitous shot of a gorgeous red avocado. I had to have it when I saw it, but I don't know if the red skin means the inside looks or tastes any different.



I'd seen so many bloggers lately post about ice cream, so one morning, I really craved this "breakfast ice cream" made in the magic bullet by combining some frozen banana, frozen mixed berries, flax meal, and a smidge of soymilk:



The texture was so great- surely this is too decadent for brekkie?...

But what I was most proud of this week was my trio of pestos, inspired by Crystal, the Vivacious Vegan and her creativity with pestos.

The weather has been so cold lately, that we moved all our potted herbs inside.


Here are our tree-like Italian and purple basil plants:



From left to right, I made sun-dried tomato pesto with walnuts, cilantro pesto with walnuts and walnut oil (I found a big bunch of organic locally grown cilantro at the food co-op and just couldn't resist!) and Pesto Genoese with pine-nuts and olive oil.



And I froze them so here are at least 3 nights worth of dinners-hooray!

Here is just one last recent meal that I haven't gotten around to blogging about:



Possibly my all-time favorite meal: black-eyed peas warmed up with cumin and coriander, roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary, collard greens topped with a garden heirloom tomato and onions, and a corn muffin topped with Earth Balance. I could eat this every single night.

I hope some of these things inspired you, because reading all of your blogs inspires us to cook almost every day!

Have a great first day of Fall, everyone!

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14 comments:

Jackie said...

They did inspire me and made me very hungry at the same time:)

Glad you and Shelly posted about what to do with dry figs as I have always wondered.

I love Avo with onions and cilantro on my sandwiches but haven't thought of adding tempeh as I am still a newbie with it and it's uses.

Nikki said...

What a post! :) Everything looks awesome! That cilantro-tempeh sandwich looks great...

Emmy said...

Those Moroccan "meatballs" sound tasty and intriguing. The fig bars looks great. You'd never know that you mangled the recipe ;) I've done that too, it just seems to happen from time to time. When I first went vegetarian back in 1994, I tried to make a lentil loaf. Well, the difference is I mangled the recipe and the results were terrible. I knew it wasn't going to be edible when my dad got home from work and said "What's that smell?" in a questioning tone. LOL He wasn't very happy to find out that smell was "dinner". Thankfully, I've been able to hone my cooking skills over the past 12 years.

I love the cast iron skillet. Definitely something everyone should have in their kitchen. Daiku's greens and beans looks yummy! I've never seen a red avocado before. Cool! And look at all that pesto! WTG on having three meals ready to go in the freezer :) Your black eyed pea dinner sounds delicious. I love roasted sweet potatoes. Thanks for making all of us bloggers hungry with your tasty food post!!!

Urban Vegan said...

Yum.
Yum.
And more yum.

Those spicy un-meatballs looks fab.

Village Mama said...

I am sooo looking forward to your ongoing Friday Food Round-ups! This first chapter is mouthwatering!!

The pic of tofu browning in the skillet is so creative - oh yeah, of course, you're an art teacher. Duh! I love how your creativity inspires your food creations.

You are such a fancy pants with the 'secret ingredient' icon trick...

Happy weekend to you and Daiku!

Melody said...

Everything looks awesome! I am impressed that even in cooking, you are artistic.. the way the tofu was arranged in the pan. I'm impressed!
I would love that sandwich too.. and the smoothie and the black eyed pea dinner. It all looks great!

SusanV said...

Wow, that's a lot of food! The blackeyed pea dinner in particular is making me hungry.

I'm glad the fig bars worked out for you. Your adapted recipe is a lot like my original, not-fat-free version--the one I based my fat-free version on. (Did that make any sense?)

Vicki said...

holy guacamole! that's a lot of yummy looking food & i love the friday food round-up -- something to look forward to all week. :o)

islandgirlshell said...

A long post but a good one. Look at all that amazing food!! Yay! I'm so glad you tried the "meatballs" and liked them! Your version sounds wonderful! You have to try the original sauce some time - it was really good, too :)

Candi said...

Bazooooo! hello! I love your week in review here!! Lol!

I saved that Moroccan Meatball recipe! Wow, that looks SO good and different!!

I also made a bunch of pesto and had Crystal's blog in my mind the whole time!

Funny, that I craved black eyed peas tonight! I wanted them just plain and not even heated up. Weird craving, huh? I like your cumin and corriander recipe and with the sweet potatoes and collard greens and can totally see why you could eat that every night!

Thanks for sharing all the photos and food ideas!!

aTxVegn said...

Excellent post! I lament the end of summer, but look forward to a new season of fruits and veggies at the farmers markets. Your tofu marinade looks similar to mine. I have 2 pounds of "steaks" marinating right now for grilling later today.

Looking forward to next Friday's food pics!

Theresa said...

I'm loving the Friday food round up. So much food porn in one place... mmmmm....

You have a magic bullet! I had one in the US and *loved* it, and whenever I see the infomercials for Aussie versions, I get really nostalgic

and woohoo! Vegemite kicks Marmite ass!

KleoPatra said...

Wow, Bazu, every single thing looks so good! Love the "meat"balls the best! And those fig bars... Wow, about that red avocado... so cool! Never seen anything quite like that! Beautiful cast iron skillet as well. Such good stuff there as well as the tempeh mashed up with onion and the rest on toast. I *heart* toast! Wonderful post!!

Vivacious Vegan said...

I love the idea of a Friday Food Round-Up! Great way to use up all of those figs. We have two fig trees here that the previous owners planted but the didn't produce anything this year. Someone was briefly telling me they have off and on years. Not sure, but I'm going to have to look it up. I'd love to have fresh figs!

Your meal with cannelini beans, greens, garlic and rosemary is very similar to a staple dish I make. So good, so simple, and so healthy.

I can't wait to see pics of and hear about the red avo. I've never seen one before.

Your the second post I've read tonight about the black-eyed peas. I've never eaten them before but now, I must try them.

So glad the pesto worked out for you! It looks fabulous. I'm glad I was able to inspire you a bit.

I just love blogging because everyone else always ispires me. It's such a great community of welcoming, creative, and talented people. I wish you were all my neighbors!