Tuesday, July 27, 2010

which way is up?

I really want to say that I can't remember to blog and I don't know what happened which day because I'm super busy, but considering I just went back to work today, I might have to just plead insanity.  I'm kind of stressed out and I'm having trouble focusing, but I really want to write, so let's see where this goes (it might be along the lines of my December-January nonsense).  Let's get this party started...

Saturday, I finally made Pomegranate BBQ Tofu with Coconut Rice from VwaV

I'm not quite sure how I've served just the tofu and rice by themselves so many times without it occurring to me that something green probably ought to find its way onto the plate.  I ran up to Superfresh while Mister took a short nap - I figured if there was one food that would make him happy, it was probably roasted asparagus, so I grabbed half a pound, snapped off the ends and tossed them in the oven with the tofu (separate pan, though).

I had created the menu for the "new week" the night before, with every intention of shopping for it before teaching on Saturday...unfortunately, last week exhausted me more than I realized, so I slept just about until the time I had to get ready to leave.  I'll share my menu at this point, so the next couple of dinners make sense:

1. Jerk Seitan from VwaV, served on the leftover Coconut Rice.

2. BBQ-Flavored White Beans with Sausage & Spinach from Vegan Express, left over from last week's menu...because I can't make the BBQ Tofu without making this, also.

3. Pasta Florentine from The 30 Minute Vegan with Roasted Cauliflower with Olives from Vegetarian Times: Fast & Easy

4. Tuscan Vegetable Ragout from Veg. Times: Fast & Easy

5. Warm Chickpea Ragout with Swiss Chard, Carrots, and Harissa, also from VT:F&E (do you like how I shorten the abbreviation each time I type it?)

6. Pasta Jambalaya from Vegan Express.

You may have noticed a trend in the cookbooks.  Every one of the items on my menu, other than the Jerk Seitan, can be prepared quickly and with relatively little effort.  One of the reasons my brain is so scattered is because unless something unforeseen should occur, I anticipate the next three weeks being extremely busy and at least moderately exhausting.  As such, I wanted to craft a menu of items I was a) sure would cook up quickly and b) am familiar enough with that I can "whip them up" without thinking too much.

On Sunday, I dilly-dallied a little too long and missed the FarMar as well as the Italian Market, and just as I was getting ready to pop out the door for a trip to Whole Foods, the sky opened up and poured... just like weather.com said it would and I foolishly ignored.  After the rain, I headed out and got my shopping done so I could let Mister pick his poison for dinner.  He chose...

Pasta Florentine with Roasted Cauliflower and Olives.  I was actually a little worried about the pasta dish after Mister's assertion that "vegan food tastes like marshmallows," because I was certain the taste he was isolating belonged to the soy milk-nooch sauce that was also a part of this dish.  Evidently not, since he polished off a good, healthy portion (or three).

I had never made the side dish before and it was amazing, and for no good reason.  All I did was toss a bunch of cauliflorets with some [very high quality] olive oil and sea salt and black pepper.  In the last ten minutes of cooking, I added the olives.  Mister and I were both trying to figure out what made the cauliflower so outstanding - all I can think of is that I truly did not realize what a difference "best quality" EVOO would make.  Thank you, FIL!

By the way - right now might be a good time to wish my little blog a Happy 1st Birthday!

With all the crazy distracting me, even though I was aware I was coming up on one full year of doing this little blog, I totally missed the actually day.  July 24th was the official day, so I'm a little belated.  It's fun to see how I've grown in this year, not only in my photography ability (which was more or less nonexistent a year ago) as well as my sense of culinary adventure.  Have I fallen flat on my face?  Sure.  Was it fun?  Absolutely.

Anyway, last night we had Jerk Seitan on the leftover coconut rice.  It never ceases to amaze me how flavorful this dish is when I give it some time to marinate...it makes a world of difference from the first time I made it.  No pictures, though, because the lighting situation still sucks and it didn't look any different from last time either.

Tonight's dinner was BBQ-Flavored White Beans with Sausage and Spinach, which I also didn't take pictures of and for the same reasons.  I served it up with a little bowl of huge cherries and a little bowl of mixed olives.  It was a fun combination - I felt bad that there was no side dish after how well I'd been doing!

One last thing - thanks to Mandi at Chic Vegan I came across an incredible article.  It could be a little fruity, but it makes you take a step back and think for at least a moment (I Hope!).  Just the title itself is enough to provoke reflection:  Gratitude - the Grass is Green Where you Water it.  Give it a few minutes to change your outlook - we all need a gentle kick in the behind from time to time.

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