Sunday, January 16, 2011

renaming recipes

I like a well-named recipe.  When I'm flipping through my cookbooks, it is the name of the recipe that catches my eye, luring me to the ingredients list and finally to the preparation methods.  The first step, though, is always the recipe - if it has a boring name or lists an ingredient (as a main) that Mister and/or I won't eat, it doesn't get a second glance.

Because of the importance I place on the title of a recipe, it is often difficult for me to come up with my own recipe names: I want them to jump out and say "pick me!"  Every once in a while, though, I come across someone else's recipe that I really feel compelled to give a new name.

Tonight's dinner was appropriately named Corn Chowder.  I think I have at least half a dozen recipes for a chunky, hearty corn and potato-based "chowder," and they're all named similarly.  I'm not in the habit of marking up my cookbooks (I really need to get over that), so sometimes it's difficult to remember which one is which and how I felt about each of them.  More importantly, considering his aversion to soup dinners, I want to remember how Mister felt about each of them.

Tonight's Corn Chowder came to us from Vegan With A Vengeance and I couldn't tell you the last time I made this.  That is a certifiable pity because this chowder is freaking amazing.  Hearty and thick and full of various flavors, it is by far the winner of the multiple other Corn Chowders for which I have recipes.  If I'm ever babbling about corn chowder in the future, would someone please leave me a comment reminding me that this one is the amazing one?

I would like to rename this Corn Chowder: Nothing Left Chowder.  I put it on the table, Mister and I sped through our first bowls as quickly as the heat would allow, still taking the time to savor and appreciate the flavor profile created by combining mainly corn and potatoes with a diced red pepper and a few diced carrots.  I think the thing that really sets this one apart from the others, I think, is that it simmers for nearly an hour with a big, fat Turkish Bay Leaf.  Regardless, Mister had gone back for seconds before I finished my first bowl and then we rose simultaneously to refill (my second helping, his third).  Yes, that's right - Mister had three servings of soup dinner.  Win!

Because it's Sunday and I had plenty of time to start dinner early, I had plenty of time for baking projects after dinner.  Despite Angst's reticence to help, we had us a little bake-a-thon.

here he is, crammed onto Mister's expensive messenger bag,
being grumpy because he knows he has to move when Mister comes in for dinner.

Our first baking project was Banana Coconut Cookies - I was directed to this recipe via a VegNews e-newsletter.  I had been saving two nearly rotten bananas for this and when I removed them from the banana hanger on the fridge to make way for the new bananas I picked up this afternoon, I realized that they were not going to wait another day to be turned into something.  

Not a bad thing to turn into, wouldn't you say?  They are soft and chewy with a little bit of structure provided by the oats.  I made them a little big, so they didn't make the 18 the recipe said they would, but if that means I get to eat share bigger cookies, then that's good enough for me.

Currently, baking project number two is in the oven, smelling up my home something [delightfully] fierce.  While I wait for the Seed Cake I'm testing for the new Urban Vegan cookbook to gestate, let me share the new menu:

1. Chickpea and Spinach Curry from VwaV - I still haven't made this because there still isn't spinach.  Does anyone know something I don't know?  Regarding the Spinach Famine, that is.

2. Chickpea Piccata served on Caulipots, both from Appetite for Reduction.  You thought I was kidding, didn't you?  I had asked Mister, when I first got the cookbook and wanted to make this, if he liked capers.  He didn't remember because he couldn't remember what capers were.  When we were at Horizons, I separated one from my appetizer to show him.  He promptly remembered that he does like them, so this was pretty much fated to be on the menu.

3. Quinoa Bulghur, White Bean, and Kale Stew also from Appetite for Reduction.  Mister doesn't like quinoa, so I'll be substituting bulghur because it cooks nearly as quickly and Mister is ambivalent to it.

4. Salsa Rice and Red Beans from Vegan on the Cheap.

5. Barbecued Black Bean and Tofu Burritos, also from Vegan on the Cheap.  I made this before, but I want to try something different with the tofu.  Besides, it was pretty good the first time around.

6. Farfalle with White Beans and Cabbage, also from Vegan on the Cheap.  I'm really into cabbage right now...if you didn't notice.

Fresh out of the oven, here is Seed Cake from the forthcoming UV2.  As you can imagine, it got its name from the tiny little caraway seeds speckled throughout the inside.  It's a light spice cake and mine has quite a crunch to it.  I could very well have messed up, or maybe I just need to rethink my idea of cake.  This was possibly a little more like a coffee cake, especially with its optional dusting of powdered sugar, which makes a bit of sense since Dynise recommends eating yours with tea.

I think it needs just a little tweaking, but I am fully confident that by the time this new cookbook hits the shelves, this will be one of the recipes people are stumbling over each other to make for a Sunday brunch, elbowing each other in the spice aisles, trying to get the last bottle of caraway seeds.


  1. I also cannot bring myself to mark my books. Instead I stick sticky notes in on each recipe I make with my thoughts. They don't harm the paper of the book. Crazy? Maybe. ;)

  2. ha ha - no, I do that, too - I just didn't have any sticky notes near me. I do have some affixed to various favorite recipes in various books, though.