Sunday, December 10, 2006

Food round-up... and snow!

This will probably be the last food round-up for a few weeks. I will be travelling for the holidays, and while I will try to blog, it might not be too frequently. So before I take off (next week, I'm off to New York City, then off to McLean, VA, then to St. Louis), I will share with you the last of the food pics that I have been trying to catch up on. Because of the sheer number of photos, I will keep the wordage to a minimum.

Gingerbread Men: recipe from Laura's blog. I took her advice to increase the spices, and these were so good!

A not-so-good recipe for basil pignoli dressing from the Natural Grocery Company:

I once had a thick, wonderful pine nut dressing at a restaurant that I have always wanted to recreate, but this wasn't quite it. It was so sharp and garlicky! (I left out the honey, that might have had something to do with it?)

We had it on this simple salad which went with an even more simple dinner...

Daiku and I consider ourselves to be serious foodies, so every once in a while, a meal like this comes along to humble us. Whole wheat spaghetti with (gasp!) store-bought marinara sauce and (ack!) frozen peas... c'mon, it's the end of the semester... nah, I don't even buy my own excuse!


Asian week kicked in.

First up, miso soup with tofu, wakame, dulse, scallions, turnip, carrots, and soba noodles. So satisfying.

We had never worked with yam noodles before... and the label instructions were all in Korean... but everything came out great.

To the cooked cooled noodles we added:

A broth made with carrots, turnips, Thai green curry paste and topped with cucumber, avocado, scallions, fresh basil and mint (thank you, container herbs, for surviving so long!), fried marinated tofu and garlic/chili paste (sambal). Spicy and fresh.

Zaru soba inspired by the Vegan Lunchbox. Ice cold soba tossed with flaked nori, dipping sauce made with mushroom broth (rehydrating dried shittakes in hot water), soy sauce, umeboshi vinegar, and hoisin sauce (this needs some work... we just invented it, and it had a surprising lack of flavor), with sides of edamame and carrot/daikon/cucumber salad dressed with rice vinegar.

Daiku and I were both really happy with the string of Asian-style noodle dishes we made, they were refreshing and light, yet comforting and satisfying. And healthy!

We decided to celebrate the end of the semester with a dinner out with our friends Heather and Eric at a new Thai place called AppeTHAIzing. (seriously) Their menu had tofu as an option for all their soups, curries, and noodles, so we were happy.

Tom Kha soup with coconut, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, and all kinds of goodies like mushrooms and tofu. Every time I taste a good version of this soup, I'm amazed at the sheer perfection of Thai cuisine. Damn.

I have been craving Pad Thai for too long, so I ordered it, without egg, with tofu. This was a great version, though Daiku and I both scratched our heads at the number of dishes here that used lemon instead of lime...

Daiku had Pad Prig Pow tofu, which involved red chili paste, veggies, and coconut milk. He asked for it extra extra spicy, and the restaurant delivered- incredibly spicy, but without detracting from the other flavors.

I'm glad to finally have a decent Thai restaurant within delivery distance of the house!! (Good thing we both like tofu though...)

From Asian to Middle-Eastern...

Our recent trip to Jerusalem, our favorite Egyptian grocery, yielded some fun new finds:

We haven't tried this yet, but smoked bulgur sounded exciting and worth a try. Will report on it as soon as we try it!

This tahini advertised itself as "super", so we laughed and decided to give it a try. Well, I like and use tahini often, but I'd never had it taste this incredible! It was full of an astoundingly fresh and strong sesame flavor. It really is super- if you see this brand, do yourself a favor and pick some up.

While we're at it, never buy tahini from health food stores, the difference between that and real Middle-Eastern style tahini is like night and day.

Ha ha- we *finally* found Beaujolais Nouveau. The first bottle of this stuff is always a cause for celebration. We drank this wine with:

Falafel! We always have dried falafel mix on hand, so we ate these with:

Fresh baked pita bread from Jerusalem (whole wheat as well as white), super tahini, sriracha instead of the more traditional harisa (which we ran out of), stuffed full of spinach, red onion, cucumber, olives, pickles, lemon juice and (finally) the last 5 yellow grape tomatoes from our summer garden. SO good!

And finally,

Thanks to Leslie's post, we just had to have the African-inspired Quinoa Peanut soup by Nava Atlas. We stuck pretty close to the recipe, but left out the zucchini, adding more green pepper, and followed Leslie's advice to add some chili and paprika. This soup was amazing- and very filling.

I will leave you with some of the snow that we got last week. Most of it is already gone, but it was a mess for a few days!

I'm off to New York City on Tuesday, and I'm really looking forward to it. Have a great week, everyone!



Anonymous said...

i will be missing you! have a great holidays :)

Anonymous said...

I have plenty of those humbling meals. I almost never make my own spaghetti sauce (gasp!). It's just too convenient out of the jar. Luckily, there are some that taste pretty good. And if you throw in a few chunky veggies, they're even better.

Asian week looks amazing! I'm so impressed. I wouldn't even know where to begin to create such delicious meals like you did although you make them sound so simple. And Tom Kha soup has to be my favorite soup of all time. There is nothing more satisfying!

Ok, so I'll admit, I've only purchased health food store tahini. I just found a "world" market about 45 minutes away and am planning a trip. It could be a total bomb but I'm hoping that I'm pleasantly surprised. Maybe I'll find some of this super tahini!

Have a great vacation. I wish you very safe travels.


aTxVegn said...

Bazu - everything looks just wonderful! I can't wait to bake vegan gingerpeople! And your asian food and pita dinner look fantastic. Thanks for the tahini tip. I've never seen "healthfood store" tahini, but Austin has such a large asian population, we're very well stocked with authentic brands.

Have a wonderful holiday break. Enjoy your time off and be safe!

- Diann

Nikki said...

I've never met a tahini I didn't like. It's too good!

I was hungry when I started reading, and I'm hungrier now as a result.

Have fun travelling. I love NYC this time of year. Well, I really love it any time of year really, but there's something about NYC around the holidays...

Kati said...

Aww, thanks for the snow pictures! I remember traversing those snowy roads all too well (81 is the worst in the winter!). I guess I shouldn't be too sentimental - we've got enough snow here to satisfy me, but it will never compare to winters in upstate NY (the windy city really is WAY too windy).

Anyway, the food looks great. We've been eating a lot of Asian-inspired meals lately, too. I admit to only buying healthfood store tahini (because it's organic), but maybe that's why I never like it plain (too bitter).

I wish you safe and happy travels! Have fun in the Big [Snowy] Apple!

Kati said...

And hey - by the way, I have a really awesome pine nut salad dressing recipe that I would be willing to pass on, if you're interested. It's raw and it's meant to taste a bit like caesar dressing. I tend to put a lot of garlic in it, because I love garlic, but you could adjust that to your taste. It's by far my favorite salad dressing of all time.

Village Mama said...

Simple dinners have been on the menu around here too. We strive for no canned, no prepackaged, but, lately even Amy (frozen pizzas) has been showing her face alot ;-) !!!

I fully agree about real imported tahini vs the health store versions.

Thanks for the gingerbread recipe, it was on my to do/search for list this week.

Wishing you safe, fun and laughter filled days away.


Pixie said...

Heehee, I'm trying to do more simple myself, too. I also am like you and try to make excuses...I was tired, I was running late, we had to get out that door. But hey, as long as we all enjoy it, right? Geez I miss living up in New York. It doesn't snow here in Texas, it's a different world. Have yourself a great vacation! Happy Holidays!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

BEST food round up ever!

My favorite shot are the snow scenes and miso soup. I would never even think to put turnip in it! I am so impressed with this post, bazu! Enjoy the holidays~ Say hi to my family in NY for me?

Paulie said...

Love the gingerbread men! If it was me though, I'd have the icing bag out and be painting little faces on them.. :-P

And OMG it looks cold there! Just got back from Poland - Saturday I was in a T-shirt, Sunday I was in thermals. Climate change is definitely for real.


b36Kitchen said...

what a fun post to read! have a great time travelling during the holidays!


Chris said...

McLean, VA huh? That's not too far from my neck 'o the woods. No snow here yet ;-) If you're passing through the Northern VA/DC area definitely check out Sunflower.

Jeff said...

Have a blast on your travels cool kid!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks AppeTHAIzing !
LOL Love the name !

I can't wait to hear about the smoked bulghur ! That sounds so great :)

Have the best of time Bazu :)

Emmy said...

Hi Bazu (& Daiku too!)...I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and safe travels. Sounds like you will be quite the busy traveler!!

The gingerbread men cookies look terrific. I love those cookies!!! What a bummer about the dressing. Oh no, pasta with peas!!!! Well you know me, minus the peas and I'm there :)

I could sure go for a bowl of that miso soup right now. MMMMM, looks so good and hearty!!! The Zaru Soba meal looks tasty. Love the color combination in the carrot/daikon/cuke salad.

That's wonderful you have a local Thai place with tofu as a option. Love the restaurant name!!! All the food looks amazing. Yum!!! Now you've made me hungry for Pad Thai :P

I couldn't agree more about buying Tahini from a Middle Eastern place. I haven't found a Middle Eastern place here that sells it yet but I'm going to pick some up next time I go back and visit my parents.

Yum - Falafel. One of my favorite things. We're ordered falafel plates a few times over the past week while we were moving in. It's like comfort food to us :)

What pretty snow pictures too!! Happy Holidays and I look forward to your blogging return. Stay safe and have a great time :)

Urban Vegan said...

And what a food round-up it is! I feel so lazy when I look at your posts. (WHat cute little gingermen)

Snow is so gorgeous.

Have a wonderful trip. We'll miss you. Happy holidays!

Caroline said...

wow - all of your food looks delicious! i love tofu pad thai!!! there is a place called Bahn Thai here in gainesville, fl that i think has the best pad thai ever...
your asian week looks great. thta reminds me - i have like 5 different varieties of miso in my fridge that i have been neglecting lately. if you like miso, you should try they have amazing miso!
yeah for falafels! we have to go to the other side of town on thursday after work, conveniently located next to the Falafel King...i bet you can guess what i am having for dinner that night!
safe travels to you, and have fun with all your friends and family!

Kati said...

Here is the pine nut dressing recipe - AKA Caesar Salad Dressing (from Living on Live Food by Alissa Cohen):

1 cup pine nuts
1 Tbsp flax oil
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 date, pitted and soaked
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
1/2 Tbsp white miso (I always leave this out because it tends to make it taste funny the next day)

I blend it all at once until it's dressing-like (it will be VERY thick), but the original recipe instructs you to pulse together just the sea salt, flax oil, and pine nuts first. Then, you're supposed to take them out and blend the rest of the ingredients separately. This is supposed to help the pine nuts achieve a chunky, parmesan-type texture, but who needs the extra step? Unless you have a vitamix, the dressing will have little chunks in it anyway.

Hope you like it!

Theresa said...

I'm back from PNG, though I haven't really blogged properly yet... your food photos look amazing. Snow?! I guess I can believe it, since it is nearly xmas, but it's so abstract to think about snow when you're in the tropics! Happy gift-mas!

Jody from VegChic said...

Holy smokes, that is one long post. So many great recipes ideas.

Bean thread noodles are one of my favorite quick dishes.

Looks like I have another new blog to watch!

laura jesser said...

First of all, I really love the look of the snow. At this very moment, here in Georgia four days before Christmas, it is humid and raining! Sigh...

All your food looks fantastic. The soba spread looks particularly delish to me! I wish we had a Middle Eastern market here--I am sure that tahini, among other things, really would truly be more worthwhile there.

And I have never had pad thai... I will have to try my hand at making it sometime soon, because I've been thinking about it for awhile now!

I'm glad the cookies worked out for you! I just made a batch yesterday and I took some over to Bob's family's house, and they're already half gone! :)

Dori said...

What a pretty picture of the snow ... you have our snow. We typically have some by this time of year, but oddly we have none. Love the Asian week photos! Hope your travel time is safe and satisfying.

Candi said...

Oooh! I was catching up on your blog posts and love these photos in the snow!! :) We have none yet here in MA, but I look forward to it.

I really want to make that African Peanut Soup this weekend! Looks great!