Friday, February 02, 2007

friday food round-up

Another week, another couple of feet of snow, another round of food! Is it a little too early to say I'm ready for Spring already?? Looking over my food for this week, there's a little bit of a split personality between hearty, warming dishes and cool, crunchy food more reminiscent of warm weather.

Last Saturday was the anniversary of our first date, and Daiku baked his famous moussaka for the occasion. This time, we decided to bake it more as an eggplant/mushroom casserole, leaving out the bread crumbs. For another photo of the moussaka and the recipe, click here.

A simple salad made by marinating beets and red onions in tarragon vinegar for a few hours.

Ouch! Can you feel that? It's Candi and Gaia poking me--they found out my shameful secret that I've never made the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from Vegan With a Vengeance, and said I must do it a.s.a.p. And I am so glad they poked me, because this gravy truly rocked! (We altered it by using lime juice instead of lemon juice, because that was what we had on hand). I had made the chickpeas at home instead of getting them from a can, so they were a bit harder to mash. Next time, I might consider pureeing them.

These were our yummy little biscuits. I got them from this recipe on Vegweb, since I needed a recipe that used oil instead of margarine or shortening. I increased the whole wheat flour to 1/2 instead of 1/4, and they came out just fine. Daiku loved this meal--and having lived in the south, he knows from biscuits and gravy! (Tempeh sausage recipe here)

Of course, you can't let a meal be all beige like that, so we had a side of steamed broccoli with an avocado sauce (avocado, garlic, soymilk, vinegar). The sauce was a revelation! We bought more broccoli just so we could eat more of this sauce.

A couple of smoothies--the little one, made "ice cream" style for Bazu, the big one, made smoothie style for Daiku. We both used frozen bananas, berries, and soymilk, but Daiku added wheat germ and spirulina to his.

One of my favorite breakfasts this week: plain oatmeal mixed with warm rice milk, topped with chopped date. SO simple yet soothing and satisfying.

Another breakfast: sliced organic Fuji apple, and a slice of Ezekiel toast with almond butter divided into 4 parts, one each with apricot/orange spread, peach butter, raspberry spread, and my favorite Polish plum jam. This stuff is so tart and true to the flavor of plums- mmmm. On the side, a mug of herbal tea. Do you see the almond floating on top of the tea? That's my favorite little treat-- I put almonds in hot beverages when I make them, and by the time I'm done drinking, I have soft, sweet, easily peeled almonds. They taste so good!

Have I mentioned I've been on a chickpea kick this week? I found this intriguing recipe for chickpeas and barley in eggplant and red lentil sauce on the Fatfree Vegan blog. Susan had tinkered with the original Madhur Jaffrey recipe and I ended up tinkering with it some more. In the end, we loved this dish, mint is an herb I love but don't cook with often enough. I agree with Susan though, it could use a little more of a kick- I squeezed lime juice on it. This is something I'd make again.

A salad with mesclun greens, red onions, and more of those raspberry oranges, which turned out to be regular Moro or blood oranges-I'd been deluded into thinking these were something new this whole time! I made the dressing with: orange juice, flax oil, raspberry preserves, and rice vinegar. The sweetness perfectly complemented the tart oranges.

We love buying our spices in bulk. This way, we can buy smaller amounts to use before they lose their flavor, and get higher quality, organic spices at a better price than buying them pre-packaged.

In this photo you see our latest haul from one of our favorite health food stores, Natur-Tyme: chili powder, sassafras root, black peppercorns, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, bay leaves, nettle, and burdock root. Total: under $10. (In comparison, if I wanted to buy a box of nettle or burdock root teabags, I would have spent $5 or more)

My kind of salad: spinach, mixed greens, mushrooms, avocado, carrots, apples, beans, sprouts, tomatoes, and scallions.

This turned out to be my favorite dinner this week. A simple soup made of potatoes, carrots and cabbage in a miso broth, served over some udon noodles and sprinkled with dulse seaweed. It was so simple, and I can not describe exactly how or why it hit the spot, but boy, did it! Today, I had the leftovers with soba noodles instead of udon, and they were just as good.

With the soup we ate this magical avocado. Why magical? Well, it was like sushi in a neat little package. Daiku learned this from a Japanese friend of his: cut an avocado in half, fill with tamari, sprinkle with wasabi powder, and furikake (ours has sesame seeds, nori flakes, salt, and sugar). Take a bite. Be transported to happy land.

Have a great weekend, and keep warm, everybody!



laura jesser said...

I am just LOVING that magical avocado trick! I am also loving the array of spices you picked up--if there is one thing I love to have well-stocked, it is herbs and spices. The salad with the raspberry oranges is just gorgeous, and the chickpea and barley dish from Fatfree Vegan sounds like something I would like to try soon--I've been on a chickpea kick too! And Daiku's moussaka--what a nice way to commemorate the anniversary of your first date! :)

springsandwells said...

ooooh what a fun post!!! So many exciting things... I hardly know where to start. I especially like your delicious looking breakfasts. I've got a few dates in my cupboard, and I'm gonna pop 'em in my oatmeal next time I make oatmeal! Also, the smoothies look great. The avocado sauce looks very delicious. Why o why did I fall in love with an avocado hater!? :) I also love the chickpea dishes, I'm nutso for chickpeas. I've copied susan's recipe to try it myself.
thanks bazu!!

Anonymous said...

Wow - so much good food, where to start? The magical avocado sounds so good - may have to have that for breakfast. Smoothie ice cream - yum. And, I'm especially jealous of your bulk spices. I guess I'll just have to live vicariously through you (lol).

runswithdog said...

I am another one that hasn't made the chickpea gravy yet. The recipe just seemed complicated to me for gravy. How difficult was it?

SusanV said...

I love the avocado sushi idea! And the moussaka looks beyond delicious. Someday soon I will have to try it.
And I'd practically kill for one of your biscuits. Well, not really kill, but they sure do look great!

Ruthie said...

I really love your toast picture. :)

Anonymous said...

bazu..there is just too mouth is watering and I must now go directly to my kitchen and cook something half as good as the amazing stuff you've got here. Hmm...I do have an avocado!

Judy said...

There is too much good stuff for me to remember to comment on, so if I miss something, don't worry, I still loved it!

I have yet to try the punk rock chickpea gravy, but as a non-vegan, I'm a little scared that it will be nothing like gravy (as I do have something to compare it to).

I bought and ate my first blood orange this week, and I was a little disappointed in its' tart flavour. Maybe it was under-ripe?

Can't wait to try the almond in hot drink trick. Where did you learn that?

And lastly, I like your smoothies, and I noticed that you have a Magic Bullet too. Aren't they perfect for smoothies?

kathyF said...

I used to buy stuff in bulk at the HFS and forget to label it. Months later, I'm asking myself "what IS this strange powder?"

I don't think I've seen any bulk food here, sadly.

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

ok, between the simple avacado sauce on the broccoli and the magical avacado, you've managed to do a serious number on my weakness and favorite fruit.

can't wait to try both. everything looks amazing!

Emmy said...

I have to second your request for Spring. I've had it with these sub-zero temps.

Your anniversary casserole sounds and looks delicious. I've never made the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy but I should give it a try since I'm on a chickpea bender and all. LOL

Oh yum! Love the breakfast pics. The oatmeal looks very yummy!

Yay for bulk spice buying. I buy mine at Penzeys.

Thanks for the magical avocado idea. Rob would go crazy for that and I love anything with wasabi.

bazu said...

Laura- I know what you mean, we devote an entire cabinet to herbs, spices, and seasonings. It's insane!

Amey, do try dates in oatmeal. It adds so much flavor and texture (sometimes plain oatmeal bores me!)

Midwest Vegan, if there's every any herb/spice hard-to-find ingredient you need, I'd be happy to send some your way, let me know!

Runs with dog, I'd also avoided the gravy because the recipe seemed so...long. But if you prep everything before you get started, it actually comes together fairly simply and quickly. Consider yourself poked!

Susan, these biscuits were good, and the recipe was different than others I've seen. It does have 6 TB of oil in it (I used olive oil) but that made 15+ full-sized biscuits for us!

Ruthie, thank you!

Megan, that's what I say when I see your blog!

Judy, I don't think I could live without my magic bullet for even one day- I'm seriously dependant on it! The gravy doesn't taste too much like the real stuff, but if you like chickpeas, you would like it- just think of it as a savory sauce. The almonds, I don't really know how/why I started doing it, but now it's my preferred way of eating them!

Kathy, we've learned the hard way that we have to transfer the bulk stuff to labeled containers ASAP!

DGMGV, thank you! Avocados are a serious weakness of mine too, and I bet you get some seriously good ones in Florida.

Emmy, thanks for commiserating- I'm so tired of cold, ice, and snow! Try the gravy, let's keep the chickpea bender going strong! And let me know if you and Rob try the magical avocado trick- it is so fun to eat.

aTxVegn said...

First of all, happy anniversary. Secondly, hooray for more broccoli and finally the chickpea gravy! The breakfasts and all the salads look so colorful and good - yes, like springtime, sigh....

I think I can remember the exact day I discovered bulk spices. It was a happy day!

I just made some guacamole and have one small avocado left. I think it will be eaten Japanese style!

Dori said...

Wow, what a great bunch of Friday Round Up food! Everything is so colorful, even though common I love the toast with different color jellies. Happy first date-iversary. Even though it was your embarrassment about the chickpea gravy, I made it for the first time today. Not to bad, I think I may have added a bit more lemon juice for my preference, but we all liked it okay anyway.

Urban Vegan said...

Bravo. You're the healthiest couple I know--and the best fed.

Susan said...

Just found your blog. Cool recipes.

Susan from Food "Blogga"

Anonymous said...

You have so many great tips here - but being an avocado lover, it's hard not to like all of your avo know I'm making that sauce ASAP). Your breakfast with the 4 different toasts is something I would love and something that would drive Marty batty.

Kati said...

What great food! I have to confess that I have yet to try the Punk Rock Chickpea gravy as well, and I love chickpeas, so I probably need to get on that...

I'm starting to really want a Magic Bullet. Your breakfast ice cream looks so perfect, even if it is the middle of winter! I've been making some for myself the past couple days, but it's a pain to make in my food processor (I always feel like I'm going to break the poor thing with all that frozen fruit, whereas that seems to be what the MB is made for).

Biscuits look delicious, too, especially in this frigid weather. Mmmm!