Thursday, July 7, 2011

happy smells like toasted coconut and lime

Earlier today, before I started preparing dinner, I had a strange, out-of-the-blue hankering for cookies.  It was so unlike me that when I told Mister I wanted a cookie, he was truly surprised and had to repeat me: "You want a cookie?"  We then had a conversation about the pros and cons of going out to buy cookies versus me making cookies (all kinds of unnecessary, weird crap in the ingredients vs. big messy kitchen right before dinner).  When I started pulling together dinner ingredients, I noticed I did not have the coconut milk I thought I had until I had a memory flashback to the empty shelf at Superfresh.  So....since I had to stop by Essene for that crucial ingredient (otherwise the Coconut Rice would just be.....Rice, which is not terribly interesting), I picked up some organic, special, not-gonna-kill-ya cookies and felt that was a reasonable middle ground.

The problem starts here, though: before I went over to Essene, I made the marinade for tonight's Jerk Seitan from Vegan With A Vengeance so it could start its hour of marinating time while I went to the store. As I combined the dozen ingredients in a spouted measuring cup that I would use to pour the marinade evenly over the seitan (which was carefully placed in real Gladware this time around... it only takes once for me to learn my lesson), the amazing scent of the two fresh limes I juiced attached to my skin and smelled better than my Mediterranean Fig perfume.  Once everything was all mixed together, the most amazing scent filled my kitchen, thereby shoving out any real desire to eat cookies.  Or anything that was not Jerk Seitan on Coconut Rice for that matter.

The coconut rice has two layers to it, which I hope I've captured with this image - the first "layer" involves cooking Basmati or Jasmine rice in a water + coconut milk + cinnamon mixture which is divine all by itself.  The second layer, however, really cements this rice as more than just a side dish or meal base.  What you see unceremoniously dumped sprinkled gracefully on top is a 1/2 cup of toasted coconut flakes.  Do you know that almost nothing smells better than coconut toasting on your stovetop?

Well... ask me again in October/December and I may have a different answer, usually involving chocolate and my oven or ginger+molasses and my oven, but you know what I mean.  The best part is how the scent lingers in the air even now, even after a thorough searing of the peppers and seitan with leftover marinade.

That looks delicious.  However, I promise you, the picture does not do it justice.  For one thing, you will never understand how amazingly flavorful and tasty this dish is until you go out, buy VwaV and make it (just be sure you won't be sharing with more than one other person or you're going to have to double the recipe).  For another thing, although the marinated seitan and perfectly pan-seared green peppers are unbelievably tasty all by themselves, the level of flavor satisfaction you will reach when you eat these jerked bits over the sweet, fragrant Coconut Rice cannot be described.  I'm not even going to try.

Instead, I'm going to focus my energy on willing you to visit your nearest independent bookstore (or go online, if you must) and get yourself a copy of Vegan with a Vengeance, because if you don't, you will never find true happiness.

I don't want that for you.  I want you to be happy.  Go buy the book.


  1. I haven't made that recipe yet and it looks so darn delicious. In fact, my copy of VwaV is sorely underused as I usually cook out of V'Con. I will change that now!

  2. let me know how it turns out, Corrie - I'm sure you'll love it. There are a lot of amazing recipes in that book - it was pivotal in my "turning" so to speak. For most people it's Veganomicon, which I also love, but VwaV is what got me where I am (well, okay, there was a little help from VeganMoFo and VegNews).