Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Food Round-up

Hi and welcome to the Friday Food Round-up, everyone! This is where I gather up the notable (or notably strange) cooking and eating adventures of the previous week into one long post. Enjoy!

[click on any photo to enlarge]

The week started off with me coming down with a horrible flu-like sickness on Friday night. To help heal me, Daiku decided to cook me soup, and what he ended up creating would kick any chicken soup's butt.

Here are some of the fixins for Daiku's Thai-style cold buster soup:
  • ginger
  • lemongrass
  • scallions
  • daikon
  • choy sum (an Asian green that almost resembles baby bok choy)
  • carrots
  • baked tofu
  • cilantro
  • dried shittake mushrooms
  • tamari
  • chilli paste
  • fresh red chillis
  • veggie/miso broth
  • noodles
  • and more...
So you take a bowl of noodly goodness

And some hot life-giving broth

And pour the latter over the former

... top with some fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice, and you get one of the best soups ever! It actually worked to soothe my throat and bring me back to life- for a little while that is!

The next day, we took a little harvest from our garden (with the cold weather, its days are numbered).

We got an orange heirloom tomato, 2 large jalapeno peppers, 2 purple bell peppers, a handful of yellow grape tomatoes, a stubby little cucumber, a red chilli and a yellow banana pepper.

With so many peppers, the choice for dinner was obvious: fajitas!

Only one problem, we did not have any tortillas in the house... unless you counted...

Purple corn taco shells! The shells are a total rip-off of the ones Leslie had used a little while back (click here to see) but our filling was different. We call these... fajitacos.

We pressure cooked a big batch of black beans, then used some to make refried beans with a bunch of spices.

For the fajitas, we sauteed purple and jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic, and tomatoes.

We topped these with fresh avocado and cilantro.

Yes, yes, but you went apple-picking- what did you do with the apples? You might be asking yourself right now.

Well on Tuesday, I decided to cook a celebration dinner in honor of the season premiere of the Gilmore Girls. [side note: Daiku and I are Gilmore Girl nerds. This all goes back to the time, in 2001-2002 that we lived in Florida. We knew noone and had nothing to do, so we took a friend's advice and watched the Gilmore Girls. Soon, this became a weekly ritual with us. We started ordering pizzas every Tuesday night while watching this show. Even for the 3 years we lived apart while I was in graduate school, we continued to watch the show religiously. Now that we live together again, the season premiere is something of a celebration. I know, I know, pretty lame, but what are you going to do?]

So for dinner I concocted a pasta dish with whole wheat spaghetti, black beans (the pressure cooker cooked up a huge batch), Swiss chard, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes and lots and lots of garlic and olive oil.

For our salad, I made the sesame orange cole slaw from Fat-free Vegan. This time, unlike last week, I did not mangle her recipe at all! All I changed was using a yellow pepper instead of red, and adding a chopped up APPLE.

Next, for the piece de resistance, I thought it would be really fun to bake an apple upside down cake. This is what I love about the Internet: you search "vegan apple upside down cake recipe" and you get tons of results- yes!

I chose this recipe for caramel-apple upside down cake, which came from a blog I'd never seen before, the Penguin Chef. I made it a lot more rustic than the recipe directed (I cooked the apples with the caramel and baked the whole thing in a cast iron pan instead of a cake pan) but the results were magnificent. Please try this recipe!

Here is the cake when it came out of the oven:

And here it is when I turned it upside down:

FUN!! I'd never made an upside-down anything before, but this was so easy. It tasted very spicy and comforting. It came out of the pan effortlessly. And the cake part stood up so well to the caramel. I thought that it would get soaked and mushy after a while, but it didn't, it had a great texture.

Here are the slices that we ate for dessert on Tuesday

You can see from the top slice that the cake itself has little slices of apple in the batter. I tell you, if you're going to try just one recipe from this post, try this one!

One of my favorite easy dinners involves little Chinese buns. I find these in the Asian grocery store (I used to get them in California, too, so they must be pretty common).

Their texture is doughier than gyoza or potstickers, and that's why they are so comforting for me. (Like little carb pillows of love. ;-)

Daiku and I like to steam these and have them with a side of veggies- this time we had a stir-fry of broccoli, choy sum (a really tasty green, try it if you haven't), carrots, garlic, ginger, and tons of black bean paste.

A great go-to dinner for when you don't have a lot of energy.

Next up, I had a lot of baking to do. This Saturday is my mom's birthday, and I decided to send her cookies. My mom is not a big chocolate person, so I set about choosing cookies with different flavors to make. I decided on

They all turned out great after a test-run or two, and I especially want to thank Dreena for the Chloe cookies. Hazelnut is one of my favorite flavors, but I don't have it very often. Daiku and I both loved these cookies and I'm even going to bake another batch for a party we are going to tonight. I'm also so proud of myself for actually attempting a recipe from the Artful Vegan, but this recipe was honestly very simple.

Here are the cookies I sent to my mom, who lives in Virginia:

The coconut-lime cookies

Look how you can see little bits of lime zest!

The Chloe cookies with hazelnuts on top

The spicy ginger cookies topped with candied ginger (boy, were they really spicy. The recipe even called for pepper! They are decidedly adult, pretty complex ginger snaps)

Here is how we used up our heirloom tomato, sliced with avocado, drizzled with a modified Caesar dressing from Don't Get Mad Get Vegan. (I didn't have lemon juice, so I used red wine vinegar and left out the worcestershire sauce) This really is a great dressing.

Finally, I leave you with a shot of a typical breakfast from this past week. A fruit salad heavy on the apples, with bananas, raspberries, strawberries, and grapes, mixed with a little bit of orange juice. Instead of baking with the apples, we have pretty much been eating them fresh.

I hope you all enjoyed this week's food round-up!



Emmy said...

Daiku's healing Thai soup sounds delightful :) Glad it made you feel better too. It looks so good. Love the pic of your garden produce. I definitely want to try my hand at some heirloom tomatoes next year.

Oh wow! The carmel apple upside down cake!! Looks scrumptious. I saved that recipe. Thanks for the heads up about it.

Happy birthday wishes to your mom :) Those cookies look wonderful. What a great treat for her :) Also love the arrangment of the heirloom tomatoes and avocado. Very pretty. Hope you have a nice weekend!

Village Mama said...

YUMMERS!!!!! I'm deliciously tipsy from mind-sampling all the delicious photos and descriptions of your past week.

I have a weakness for anything apple, so, I will definitely be a copy cat and try the 'caramel-apple upside down cake' EXACTLY like you did, including baking it in the cast iron pan.

Not only did you work hard at cooking & baking, but you also had to upload pics and write. I'm eternally grateful for all the creative effort. GRACIAS!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I adored this week's food round up! And that you made a meal in celebration of a season premiere - my type of cook! ; )
I have a ton of chard needing to be used - good idea with the sketti.

Anonymous said...

Wow - that healing soup looks so good. We haven't been feeling well around here either so I may have to try the soup. It may be just what the doctor ordered.

Great post - lots of good ideas. Thanks.

aTxVegn said...

I would give anything to be able to go apple picking! I guess I'm stuck with jalapeno and cilantro picking, but I"m not complaining!

The food looks fab, as usual. I had to laugh at the fajitacos, because I've been asked to do a fiesta for family dinner this weekend, and what could ever top the most beautiful tacos ever last week?

PS - PLEASE go to the vegfest and then post like crazy about it.

KleoPatra said...

Oh.My.goodness!! That is quite a post with so much good food. Was that a purple taco i spied?! Fajitacos sound amazing! Your pasta dish is so colourful and healthy, i really love it! Fruit for breakfast is always wonderful, too. Nice bowl there that the bottom photo shows...

And wow!!! on the caramel apple upside down cake. Oh my gosh, can i just tell you how incredible that looks? I am a HUGE caramel fan! Look how GOOD that looks! Ths slices you show... i'm drooling right now! The cookies look fab but i'm all about the cake there, Bazu. Wonderful work, woman!

Mary French said...

The upside down cake looks delicious. I haven't made an upside down cake for a very long time, but you've inspired me to make one.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

wow, everything looks sooo good! with apples in season right now I've been looking for something new to try....think i may have found it! yum!


Theresa said...

Wow, I'm impressed. And hungry. I'm totally trying that caramel apple cake. And the purple peppers are so cool!

One confession: I too love Gilmore Girls. It's one of the things I miss from home... if it's on telly here, it's not on any of the 5 free channels we get. Maybe I'll start a petition!

Eat Peace Please said...

Wow. That's about all I can say right now.

Oh, and I do hope you are feeling a bit better.

Anonymous said...

You two are unbelievable! I am so impressed with your creativity and all the vegan goodness here.

Daiku needs to give Marty some cooking lessons. I asked Marty what he'd to if I got really sick and he said he'd make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Good grief! Hug Daiku and hang on to him girl. He sounds like a terrific man.

Your garden pic is really great. Everything is so colorful and beautiful. I especially like your yellow grape tomatoes. I love them and love eating them like candy!

I'm definitely trying the upside down apple cake. It looks heavenly. I'm also going to check out her blog. Thanks for the heads up!

My grandmother's birthday is coming up and I was going to send her some cookies. I'm waiting for my Kal Stevia to get here so that I can try making some with that for her (she's diabetic).

Jackie said...

You food is wonderful. I have actually picked up 1kg (2.2 lbs) over the last months with all the wonderful recipes everyone is giving. Who says you can't pick up weight on a Vegan diet :)

I went to the Chinese market this morning and managed to get a daikon radish, bok choi, soy beans, oyster mushrooms, ginger and also managed to get some miso that didn't cost the earth. So it's Chinese and Thai food for me for the next few days.

Nikki said...

You aren't the only Gilmore Geek couple out there! I'm very perplexed by this new season...