Tuesday, May 11, 2010

adventures at the asian market

last thursday afternoon we examined my refrigerator, assessed its contents, and set a menu for dinner: red thai curry. we headed to the local grocery for the missing ingredients. this resulted in frustration: no curry paste. we walked a couple blocks south to the asian market - success. this place was neat. in addition to all the necessary ingredients, we also found some interesting extras: shelves full of colorful asian candies, chopsticks, rice cookers, 50-pound bags of every variety of rice imaginable (including black rice), live crabs and prawns crawling out of wooden crates, fresh produce - the majority of which neither of us could name. two items of particular interest: fried tofu blocks and frozen vegetable spring rolls. we purchased all the ingredients for curry along with the fried tofu and spring rolls.
we cut the blocks of tofu into bite size pieces and threw them and the veggie rolls into a pan with a little olive oil. toasted until golden brown. served with three dipping options: gyoza sauce, red thai chili sauce, and garlic ginger sauce. excellent afternoon snack.
red thai curry for dinner. no images as we didn't want to highlight our geekiness by taking food pictures in front of our dinner guest, punky, who probably wouldn't have minded or even noticed an increase in geek factor.

1 medium onion, diced
1 tbsp oil
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 tsp red curry paste (be certain that it doesn't contain oysters or any other fishy ingredients)
1/4 cup water
1 can coconut milk
1 block firm tofu (not the fried tofu mentioned above, although i suppose you could opt to use it)
several basil leaves (chopped)
vegetables - we used red pepper, orange pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots
salt to taste

cook the onions in a large pot until translucent.
reduce heat, add garlic and curry paste, and cook for about a minute.
stir in coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.
add vegetables and return to a boil.
reduce heat and cover for 2 minutes.
add tofu and basil and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender.

serve over rice - we used jasmine brown rice.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

bbq extravaganza, part 2

this morning we woke up and the fridge was full of delicious leftovers from the bbq.
A's dad showed up to finish the yard work so we decided to put together a bbq, part two.

i grilled the veggie dogs.
A made up some more coleslaw.
and i grilled the fruit that elizabeth brought over yesterday but we didn't get a chance to eat.

fresh pineapple and black plums.

i soaked the fruit in cold water and then drizzled it with balsamic and sprinkled some brown sugar on top.

bbq extravaganza

A scheduled herself for a random saturday off. we decided it would be the ideal time for a bbq.
as A was preoccupied with maid of honor duties and homework, i was put in charge of planning the menu for said bbq. i think i did good work. i may have gotten a little obsessive regarding the planning aspect - i sent A an email complete with recipes, pictures and a grocery list organized by section of the store.

at any rate, the menu:
freshly made guacamole (i make this often. it gets eaten. it's delicious) and salsa with tortilla chips

main course:
chicago style vegan hot dogs (we purchased two varieties from whole foods: "tofu pups" and "good dogs". most preferred the "good dogs" because they were "smokier" but i liked the "tofu pups" for their consistency). in order to cook the dogs we boiled them on the stove in a pot of water and then placed them on a lightly oiled grill and cooked until the skins started to blister.
hot dogs were served with a beautiful array of condiments. being from chicago, i did not allow ketchup (except for punky who whined until she was given ketchup. she even offered to bring her own ketchup - in packets).

a true chicago style hot dog contains:
the dog
poppy seed bun
tomato wedges
diced white onion
dill pickle spear
sport peppers
yellow mustard
celery salt
side dishes:

coleslaw (see sassy joe post for recipe and pictures)

grandma graves's baked calico beans (this recipe is based on the recipe handed down from my great grandma. when i asked my grandma for it, she wrote it out on a nice little recipe card.)
i had to tweak it a bit since the original recipe called for 4 slices of bacon and worchester sauce, which contains anchoives.
i did my best to get an image of the recipe card. it didn't work.
so here's the recipe:
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 cup molasses
1 can pork and beans (vegetarian)
1 can lima beans
1 can butter beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 tsp salt
drain and rinse beans.
saute the onions.
put eveything in a crock pot.
cook 3 hours.
no crock pot? it's cool. bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes. bake uncovered at 325 for 30 minutes.

beet and orange tomato salad:
4 beets (ideally these should be different colors. this is a source of disappointment for me because we struck out at several stores in our attempts to find golden beets) i only used about 1 1/2 beets because the ones we got were rather large.
1 bunch watercress (i opted for 1/2 bunch watercress and combined this with some of the beet greens)
1 orange tomato (this was used for added color due to the fact that we were not able to procure various colors of beets)
1 part real maple syrup
1 part balsamic vinegar
1 part dijon mustard (i used stone ground horseradish mustard)
2 parts extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

i cleaned the beets, cut off the tops (left about 2 inches on), drizzled them with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, wrapped them in tin foil and put them in the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 375. you'll know they're done when they're tender and you can easily stick a knife in them.
peel the beets. slice the beets. slice the tomato. wash and dry greens. arrange salad. drizzle vinaigrette on top.

we invited friends who brought beer (this is the key. if i'm cooking, you're bringing beer).
it was pretty damn good.


friday morning was filled with mowing the lawn, trimming trees and pulling weeds from the garden in hopes of planting vegetables next weekend.

friday lunch (and saturday breakfast)

we made falafel - the box kind (easy)

added mixed greens, red onion and tomato
and then topped it with delicious vegan tzatziki sauce
served on pitas (we accidentally got the flat bread so it was more falafel taco than pita pocket but it worked fine)

vegan tzatziki sauce:

1 1/2 c vegan mayo

1/2 seedless cucumber (diced small)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 tbsp lemon juice

handful of chopped dill

red pepper to taste

salt/pepper to taste