Friday, November 10, 2006

friday food round-up: sprouts of change

Hello everyone, and welcome to our first post-Republican food round-up! I've appreciated the comments and shared enthusiasm from people here in the U.S. and all over the world. Truly, it's a happy time.

Well, if the country is willing to try something new (FINALLY!) so am I. I had bought a sprouting jar 2 years ago, but had always been too chicken to actually try and sprout something. This past week, I finally took the plunge with mung beans. I had been warned that home-grown mung bean sprouts can never get as fat and crispy as the store-bought variety (grown in giant commercial vats and sprayed with gasses) but I'd say ours came pretty close:

Behold the "sprouts of change"!

I know people had been waiting patiently for this. When I saw Ben's recipe for the "Devilishly Yummy Kabocha Pumpkin Pancakes" I just knew I had to try them, because they looked oh-so-good, and I've been on a real pumpkin kick lately. Even though Ben called for fresh kabocha pumpkins, I couldn't find any, so I used canned pumpkin instead, and added a bit of extra water to the batter.

The result?

Deliciously spicy pancakes that we gobbled up with Earth Balance, maple syrup, and some toasted walnuts on top. (I think pecans would go exceptionally well with these, too.) So good, and SO filling. I love it when a hearty breakfast sees you through a whole day's activities (raking leaves, working on the yard and garden). Thanks, Ben!

Daiku and I loved the Bob's Red Mill bean and barley burgers from last week (you can see them in the previous food round up here ). We had some mix left over (the recipe makes 8 big burgers, but we only ate 4) and Daiku thought it would make a perfect hash. So that's what we made, by adding some potatoes, peas, and rosemary and roasting the whole thing in the oven.

This hash was awesome! I tell you, this recipe has possibilities- add some mashed potatoes to the top, and you have shepard's pie. We ate the hash doused with a liberal amount of malt vinegar and a couple of pints of lager. (I have previously mentioned my unwholesome, obsessive love of vinegar) So this turned into a pseudo-British meal.

This recipe double-play was so successful, that we ended up doing it again. On Sunday, as we were attending to the aforementioned leaves in the yard, our crock-pot was cooking us up another magnificent recipe from the Fatfree Vegan Blog, the Easy Crock-Pot Winter Stew. This recipe came as a life-saver for us, because we were pretty much all out of groceries, and especially produce, but happened to have everything to make this.

A warming, delicious, and unique mixture of tempeh, potatoes, carrots, and leeks in a sauce that mixed tomatoes, peanut butter, tamari, ginger, and a whole bunch of other goodies. Put this in the crock-pot in the morning. You'll thank yourself that night, trust me! For those of you who are undecided about tempeh, the long slow cooking really mellows it out, so give it a chance, you might be surprised.

The recipe made enough for copious left-overs. So once again we decided to make something entirely new out of them. I don't even know what to call this, but it was lovely. We toasted some mustard seeds, red pepper flakes and some curry powder, then added the stew, some crushed tomatoes, peas, black-eyed peas, and pumpkin! The result was so complex and satisfying served with long-grain brown rice.

I'd been eyeing Gaia's recipe for beets with Dijon-dill sauce for a long time. Too long, because they were magnificent, and made a great accompaniment to a meal, especially when you've run out of produce and can't make a regular salad! (Her photo is much prettier than mine, though)

The question at our house is not whether you had pasta, but just exactly what kind of pasta you had. This week, it was penne with a previously-made and frozen sun-dried tomato pesto, broccoli, and pine nuts. I made extra because I had a feeling that we would both go back for seconds, and we SO did.

You know how sometimes you're going about your business baking something, and all seems to be well, but then you realize you did something terribly wrong? Well, I had that kind of "d'oh!" moment this week when baking yet another batch of cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Both Daiku and I had been attracted to the chocolate stout cupcakes, and seeing Jess's yummy photos on her blog sealed the deal. Honestly, I'm going to try all the recipes in this book that don't call for buttercream frosting, because the amounts of sugar called for in the frosting recipes makes me a little faint!

So here I am measuring oh-so-carefully, mixing, folding... and it comes time to pour the batter into the cups. Instead of filling all 12 cups perfectly as other recipes from this book did, however, all I got was 9 filled and 1 more semi-filled.

Ok, no biggie, I'm thinking to myself. Maybe I poured too much batter. It happens to the best of us. I stuck the 10 cupcakes (with the yummy crumb topping) into the oven to bake. I turn around to wash the dishes when I realize to my horror that I've used the wrong measuring cup! Instead of a 1/2 cup measuring cup to measure flour and sugar, I've used a smaller cup! I start to freak out- all the other ingredients were measured correctly, so this could seriously screw things up. Oh gosh, oh gosh, what a waste, ack!

Ding! The timer went off 20 minutes later and what do I find but...

10 perfect cupcakes. Amazing! I seriously messed up and they still came out good. Better than good. The chocolate stout that we used added such a fragrance and depth to the flavor of these cupcakes. And since I had used proportionally more cocoa than the recipe called for, these babies were INTENSE. I highly recommend these cupcakes to any chocoholics out there.

And then I realized another thing, as I was biting into these moist, fluffy, insanely good chocolate confections.

Vegan baking has truly come of age. These cupcakes were airy, fluffy, had perfect texture and crumb, looked, smelled, baked, and tasted perfect. Even with a seriously incompetent chef! This just shows what a strong and sophisticated set of recipes we are now armed with! Truly, we will take over the world. Sigh.

Random food shot:

My aunt made me these "nabat" or sugar crystals infused with saffron. They are good with a cup of tea, they soothe an upset tummy, and they just look pretty cool against a black background.


This summer, I was lucky enough to visit my previous home, Southern California, for 6 weeks to teach a class. I managed to eat pretty damn well while I was out there. (I have to give mad props to my dad, who, while not a vegan himself, made sure to stock the house with enough fresh and dried fruit, vegetables and nuts to feed a vegan for decades!)

Here is a photo of a lunch my friend Mary and I enjoyed at the Pain Quotidien cafe in Westwood.

It was July, we were going through a searing heat-wave (I'd never experienced L.A. so humid before! One day in the valley, it was 115 degrees- in the shade) and all I wanted was gazpacho. Well, they had 2 kinds of gazpacho on the menu: the regular tomato kind, and one made with... seaweed! I'd never seen such a thing before, so I just had to try it. And I'm so glad I did, because it was one of the most unique things I'd ever tasted.

A cool and cooling mixture of: 5 different kinds of seaweed (at least) in a miso broth, with parsley, avocado, cucumber, radish, and tomato. Along with these gorgeous carafes of iced green tea and mint lemonade (both freshly made and unsweetened), it helped lower my body temperature and gave me a taste sensation to remember! I'll definitely be going back there next time I'm in California. (They have wonderful fresh bread and vegan treats as well).

Have a great weekend, all! Can you smell the change in the air?



Kati said...

Isn't sprouting so fun? I remember the first time I sprouted lentils and thought that surely, you couldn't just put them in a jar, rinse and drain them, and end up with sprouts. Imagine my excitement when, one day later, they all had little tails!

I was so happy to see your cupcake "mistake" that turned out great! I've had an incident or two where I used the wrong measuring spoon and got some pretty spicy and salty dishes ("d'oh!" is right). It's amazing that the cupcakes turned out so well, though, since baking can be so dependent on specific ratios.

All your food looks great, as usual - I'm ready for dinner now! And I can eat in peace, knowing that our country may be entering a period of greater sanity.

Nikki said...

I am sprout curious... :)

Everything looks awesome. I am always reworking my leftovers into something new, because really, who wants to eat the same darn stew for days on end?

Well, sometimes I do...but still. It's all about changing it up!

I'm not affiliated with either party (independent) but I'm hoping that the big changes will be for the better! I'm very hopeful.

Gaia said...

I just came over to tell you that I ADORE Poppyseed roll cake too !!!!!!! (not sure of the exact name)
I think that Bryanna has a recipe for it in her newsletters, I have to check (I haven't finished looking at all of them).

Anyway, I'm sure the ones they would sell at a Polish grocery store would not be vegan ;-)

How weird that you sprouted mung beans ! Mine just finished sprouting today ! I sprout a lot of alfafa and stuff but it was my first time sprouting mung beans. I had read you are supposed to put something heavy on them so they will grow in size, not just in lenght. Mine don't look nice compared to yours and they have little roots ! Really bizarre.

Anyway, great great food Bazu !The hash looks particularly delish right now :)

I love vinegar and have many different kinds but I'm not familiar with malt vinegar. I never saw it anywhere.
Have to make more beets ;-) Thank you for the link :)

Anonymous said...

What a delicious post. I'm so happy you finally tried sprouting. I'm nuts about it. I use them very frequently in place of lettuce. I splurged a while back and bought broccoli sprouts. They're so heavenly (and supposedly very good for you also). I've been wanting to make those little pumpkin pancakes also and I happen to have some pumpkin sitting in my fridge so I just might whip these up for a Saturday morning treat tomorrow. Yum!

You and Daiku are so creative in how you re-invigorate your leftovers. I love the fact that you and Daiku cook together. I really wish Marty had an interest in cooking also.

Glad to hear the stout cupcakes turned out good - even with the mistake (don't ya just hate it when that happens). How did you like the Brooklyn vs. Boston cupcakes? I made them a couple of nights ago and think I made the filling incorrect (didnt set right and had a peculiar flavor I didn't like much) so I wound up using a coconut cream pie filling instead and they were just so-so.

aTxVegn said...

You bought the book! Okay, I gotta get it too, but just so I can make cupcakes for OTHER people (sure)....

You are the queen of leftovers! As usual, EVERYTHING looks marvelous! Casseroles and skillet dinners are always winners.

Ben is gonna die when he sees this! Bravo on replicating his pancake photo.

theONLYtania said...

Ahh such a long food round-up.. everything looks good, as usual! Mmm I've been wanting to make pancakes lately, pumpkin sounds good. And that winter stew looks like something I might be interested in.. mostly because I have tempeh that I don't know what to do with. I've never used it before!

Oh yeah.. I love the Halloween cupcake wrappers :-P

Judy said...

Everything looks amazingly delicious. I can't believe the cupcakes still turned out!
I love your blog, but I have to admit that I find it incredibly hard to read because of the black background. It is so hard on my eyes, and I get a bit of a headache from it. Does anyone else have this problem?

Too Fond of Books said...

All of your food looks delicious - the hash and the winter crock pot stew in particular. I think the crock pot stew is definitely going on the menu for this week.

I've never tried reworking my leftovers and they tend to go to waste in the fridge. I have some chili that is about to go bad, I'll have to see what I can do with it to save it from a trip down the disposal.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

This post is fab! I'm glad you to make the cuppers : )
I especially like the pasta/pine nuts deal...

Emmy said...

Your sprouts look great! I still have yet to try sprouting but it's definitely on my to-do list. The pumpkin pancakes sound so yummy. Rob would love that hash (minus the peas for me LOL). Way to find new uses for the bean and barley burgers :)

That's awesome your cupcakes turned out well even with a pre-baking snafu. I've never seen nabat before but I'm intrigued. I'm with you, they look really nifty against the back background.

Seaweed interesting. I've never heard of that before. It sounds fabulous!!!!

Hope you and Daiku have a lovely week :)

Crystal & Ryan - Café Cyan said...

I love that Double Chocolate Stout. I don't like beer in general, but give me a pint of that and I'm all set!


Ben Kaelan said...

I'm so so sorry I didn't have a chance to comment earlier: was on the apple diet and avoiding the blogs for an obvious reason! :)

So happy someone took the plunge and made my pancakes! Yay! Love the "Ben style photo"! Kudos for artistic interpretation. With all the hype about my pancakes I may have to come up with even more pancake recipes! :)

Lots of love,

- Ben