Saturday, January 22, 2011

curry, burritos, and cookies, oh my!

Happy Friday!  I cannot believe it is already the end of the third week of January.  Next weekend is the last weekend of January, which blows my mind for two reasons: first, I can't believe I blinked this month away already.  Second, something for which I have been preparing since May is finally culminating...or at least, beginning to culminate: my dear student has her first college music audition.  Tomorrow is our last lesson before the audition, our last chance to iron out any last kinks.

Between that and a few other things that are irrelevant to a food blog, I've been a little distracted lately...pondering the meaning of life (why did I marry a philosopher?), what I am doing with mine (why am I so introspective?), and ultimately, how to be happy.  I do want to share some fun food stories, so here's a random selection from the last couple of days.

Last night, since the Spinach Drought finally ended, I finally made Chickpea and Spinach Curry from Vegan With a Vengeance.

I was going to write last night, but I got distracted by the pure incompetence of someone from whom I've been waiting to hear news for at least a week.  I was too pissed off to focus on the relatively calm post I had in my brain - I thought a fun title would be Calming Colors: Chickpea Beige.

I love the color combination of this flavorful curry: bright red tomatoes, emerald green spinach, and golden-beige chickpeas.  Although I appreciate the bold colors of crimson and hunter, it is the subtle, creamy taupe of the garbanzos that pull everything together and make this dish a thing of beauty.  This is no testament to my still-developing photography skills, but if I saw the picture above in a cookbook, I would want to make that dish purely because it is attractive (and appears to be made of food I like).

Even though the Great Spinach Famine of 2011 is coming to an end, we're not back in business quite yet, so I was only able to get half of what I needed.  As a result of forgetting that while mixing the curry spices, the result was a little more intense than it usually is, but it was still very tasty, even if it took Mister three breads to get through his servings.

Tonight, I made Barbecued Black Bean and Tofu Burritos, also from Vegan on the Cheap, which I've made once before.  Although I went back and read that post, in which I commented on wanting to marinate the tofu, here's what I did instead:

I sliced it as thin as I could without tearing it, then laid it on some towels to drain a bit.  After spraying and heating my skillet, I arranged the slices and let them cook a few minutes while I seasoned the "up side" with sea salt and chili powder, then sprayed them with olive oil.  Once the tofu was popping enough to nearly flip itself over, I turned each piece and seasoned the half-cooked sides.  One more flip and I turned off the burner while the tofu finished cooking on the cooling-down skillet.

I will always do it that way - it came out so well.  Also, as the black beans were simmering in my home-made barbecue sauce, it seemed like there was too much liquid, so I looked in the fridge and found what I was looking for: leftover cooked rice.  I tossed that in, stirred it up and let it heat through, then lined each tortilla with 3-4 tofu slices and dumped a healthy bit of beans-n-rice on the tofu and rolled it all up.

Sooo tasty...  Speaking of tasty things, do you know what time of year it is?

That's right, kids - it's Girl Scout Cookie time.  One of my most recently hired and trained employees brought some in to sell for her daughter, but she just straight up gave me these: Shout Outs are brand new to the line up.  Round wafer cookies, embossed with one inspiring word (3 of the 4 I've already eaten said "Lead" and I wonder if I should be taking that as a message), and aside from an undefined "Sugar" in the ingredients, these sweet treats appear to be vegan - no milk, eggs, or other recognizable animal bits to be found in the nutritional label.  Also, I'm a pretty big fan of serving sizes like this: 4 cookies = 130 calories.

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