Thursday, May 24, 2007

Too Much Time in the Kitchen

This week I tried several new recipes, and also rediscovered some that were tried and true.

First up, last night we dined at a friend's house on homemade pizza and a yummy salad with fresh tomatoes and pecans. I brought along some Chocolate Mint Melties, a cookie recipe from Dreena Burton on the Everyday Dish Cooking DVD (which I'll review shortly I promise!). I am a huge fan of the mint and chocolate combination, if you are too, these cookies are for you! They are firm but moist at the same time and the melted mint chocolate on top is a special treat. These are perfect with a big glass of cold vanilla soy milk (I like Soy Dream). The best part is that we brought some cookies to dinner and I saved a few, so I have them for an afternoon snack at work today when I get my chocolate craving.

Tuesday night was Indian food (or my milder version, my boyfriend always seems to want it hotter no matter how much spice I add!). I love the tofu mattar recipe from vegweb. I usually serve it over brown rice, but not this time. I had forgotten to buy green chiles so instead I spiced it up curry powder and red pepper flakes. Also, be sure to add plenty of fresh ginger, it is so yum! The tofu was frozen and then browned in a little oil (not deep fried as the recipe suggests). Luckily this is a quick meal, because I totally underestimated how much time it would take to make the potato and edamame samosas from VWAV. It took several hours, which on a weeknight is never ideal. But on the brightside it made a ton of samosas which I popped in the freezer so it will be a quick addition to any meal. Couldn't have finished these without the help of my boyfriend, who came home from work and rolled out dough in a button-down shirt and tie! The samosas are really tasty though, a wonderfully aromatic blend of spices. My favorite bites are the ones when I got plenty of edamame, I will add more to the recipe next time. Also, the dough would be great for other fillings as well, since it is light and crispy. Fresh mango topped with toasted coconut complemented the meal nicely.

Monday night we had red peppers stuffed with grated zucchini and yellow squash, mushroom, spinach, pine nuts, and basil pesto. I just stuffed the filling in (no pre-cooking of veggies needed), poked a few holes in the bottom to release some of the moisture, and baked at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. On the side, we split the last of our Gardenburger riblets and had some sweet strawberries. I wish all dinners were this easy to throw together!

And finally, Sunday night we met my mom for Ethiopian food at the Blue Nile Restaurant in west Houston. After calling them and talking to several people about the vegan-ness of their injera bread, I felt comfortable enough to give it a shot (refer to my post on "A Vegan Nightmare"). Both my mom and I got the vegetable plate, which included a fresh salad, three different kinds of lentils, kale (pretty bitter, I've had much better sauteed kale), split peas, and a cabbage and potato salad. I enjoyed all the lentils, and it was kind of fun to scoop them up with the injera bread instead of a fork. The salad was a bit tougher without utensils. Overall it was a reasonable meal. Not sure we will be frequenting this restaurant often since it is a bit of a drive from our place and we have a zillion other restaurants on our list to try. But still, something fun and new is always welcomed!

We leave for Portland, Oregon for a quick weekend getaway tomorrow. I am so excited to try out some of the vegan eateries, visit the Food Fight grocery store, and see all the gardens and markets this "green" city has to offer! We also plan on hiking up along the Columbia River Gorge somewhere, hopefully the weather will cooperate. I'll return on Monday with a full report and pictures! Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and remember those that gave their lives serving our country as well as those that are fighting for it today.


Tamara said...

Those cookies look great! And I'm jealous of your Ethiopian food. The nearest Ethiopian restaurant to where I live is 5 hours away. Enjoy Portland, it's a great place!

mvegan said...

mmm the ethiopian food sounds great! I get the same thing, a vegetarian plate, at a small awesome place near my family's house in Oakland, CA, going soon for the summer, will have to go there :) mmmm! Thank you for your order! Michele

Vegan*asm said...

Oh yay! I'm glad to hear that the injera bread at Blue Nile is vegan. I had read in some ethiopian cooking it isnt, so I was a little leary. Now I will definately have to go try it. The rest of the food looks yummy, too. I hope you have a great time in Portland. You will have to tell us all about it at the next meetup!

Carrie™ said...

I got to test those cookies for Dreena's upcoming book and they were a huge hit with everyone that tried them. I'm loving those stuffed peppers! And riblets! We drive to the States a few times a year to stock up.