Friday, September 5, 2008

Invasion of my Wok

It was just like any other ordinary evening. After prepping the veggies I got out my wok to start stir frying. I casually grabbed the bottle of olive oil and drizzled a bit in the pan, turned my back to grab a spatula for only a moment, then returned to my wok to find this weird little guy looking back up at me.
You know how sometimes you see produce that is just so beautiful that you put it in your basket and forget to check the price until you see it flash on the computer screen at check-out? This happened to me with some gorgeous graffiti eggplants (not sure why I didn't photograph it), now forever known as the $7 eggplant. I kept it simple and served the eggplant napoletana style with artichokes, tomatoes, and capers from VWAV. Being a somewhat picky eggplant eater, I thought the graffiti eggplant had a milder flavor, but probably not quite worth the high price!

I recently picked up a copy of Vegan Express and have been meaning to try out a recipe from it. Wow, do I love how fast this meal got cranked out... grilled polenta with spinach, black beans, and sun-dried tomatoes (I also added a few chipotles in adobe sauce). This meal also reminded me how much I love my grill pan!
And after dining at the real Candle Cafe in NYC back in July, I dusted off my Candle Cafe Cookbook to make the tempeh scallopini. You honestly can't go wrong with a mushroom sauce made with wine. This sauce theme was continued later in the week when I made purple hull pea and quinoa croquettes with mushroom sauce from VWAV (but the picture turned out kind yucky).
I am so ready for the weekend! We have our first Houston Vegan Knitters meeting on Sunday at Field of Greens, and I think I'm going to attempt veganyumyum's knit cupcakes for the occasion! Oh yeah, and I turn 29 on Monday....

41 comments:

Ricki said...

Hmmm, that wok creature is quite extra-terrestrial looking!! Hope you made friends before you ate him ;) .

Can't believe I've got Vegan Express and never tried that polenta--must go look it up as well!

Leigh said...

Aaah! Wok Monster!!

Stacey and Sergio said...

That wok man is so cute! Where did you get the eggplant? I wanted to pick some up this weekend to make some sub sammiches w/ eggplant & marinara sauce.

We made polenta a few times last month but we didn't use a recipe. I found after it sat in the fridge it was real nice to slice up and pan fry - but super greasy! We gotta get one of those grill pans!

I've been secretly calling the knitting group HVK. Seems like everything I'm into at the moment has a 3-letter acronym. And OMG! CUPCAKES!! I bet if you put that there'd be cupcakes on the sign-up sheet we’d have 100 people at FOG on Sunday! Awesome! I’m really REALLY looking forward to it now! =)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

LOL times 1000! I cannot believe how much that oil looks like the devil! And to think that it happened to one of the most angelic people I know!

You've reminded me that I really really need to make some polenta.

Katy said...

Aw, what a cute little monster!

That polenta looks fabulous! Reminds me that I have some just begging to be used!

Happy Birthday!!!

VeggieGirl said...

That "monster" is SOOOO CREEPY!!!! Haha - yet fun :0)

I neeeeed that grilled polenta dish - yum!!

Wishing you an early happy birthday!!!

jennycestcake said...

That polenta dish is the one recipe from Vegan Express that I most want to make! I never seem to have all the ingredients on hand at the same time, but I should make a trip to the grocery store to get them because it looks so delicious!

Ruby Red Vegan said...

happy early birthday! make sure to have a lot of fun this weekend, then. and you sooo do not look 29 -- you are going to love this young-looking quality you have once you get to your 40's, i'm sure!!!

oh my gosh, the alien in the wok! that is the coolest ever!

vegan express looks like a great cookbook. your grilled polenta is so beyootiful. i'm heard great things about candle's chocolate mousse pie/cake (?) -- i bet it's nice that you have the recipe for their amazing restaurant dishes!

jessy said...

i love the alien-like oil robot monster in your wok. he's too cute! a $7.00 eggplant - yeah, i've done stuff like that before! i once rang up $22.00 worth of organic tomatoes! still baffles me to this day! eek! but the eggplant dish looks divine! and your grilled polenta looks PERFECT! i really need to invest in a grilling pan...

i've heard a lot about the Candle Cafe Cookboook lately - i'm gonna see if my library has a copy i can check out! oh, and your asparagus is tempting me! mmmmmmmmmm!

Cody said...

Wok Monster is awesome. Way cooler than Toast Jesus.

Carrie™ said...

Hahaha!! Cody's comment is hilarious!
As usual, your food looks great and very delicious! The grilled polenta looks and sounds amazing. Question for you...I bought a can of Herdez chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, but obviously didn't use all of it in the dish I was making. How long will these things keep in a Tupperware container?

shellyfish said...

I think it looks like Shrek!

That happend to me once with a mango...8 Euros, but I was so befuddled I just had to pay for it, cursing myself the entire way home!

Happy pre-birthday! And I'm so jealous, I wish I could join a vegan knitting group!

Cookiemouse said...

The Wok monsters are coming, ha, ha! Looks like a sort of creepy Tellytubby.

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

You reminded me that I'd like to pull out my Candle Cafe cookbook to try out some recipes too. And hope you have a great birthday!

Amey said...

hee hee,
love your cute little wok friend. glad you snapped a picture in time!

YES, I can totally relate to the surprise $7 eggplant. I had some $15 mango or something once, but luckily the check out lady caught it and said "you know that this is going to cost you $15?!" so I passed it up.

All the food looks great. I don't have vegan express, but that polenta dish sounds and looks right up my alley. yumola!

good luck with the knitty cuppers!

oh, and Happy Birthday!!!!

Holler said...

Your olive oil monster is so funny, LOL :)

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I'm going to come at at your house! Also, I have similar produce stories like the $9 pineapple & $8 avocados, ugh!

Vegetation said...

Happy Birthday for Monday!!! (I have a birthday coming up in a week, mine's a little dreaded however given I'm turning the big 30, don't quite know how that happened :P).

I hear you on the expensive produce! I usually check too but got to the checkout the other week with a single lime that is known around here as the $5 lime (yes it was large and limes were $30 something a kilo but still.....sheesh!).

Mmm the tempeh scallopine looks great! I have that cookbook...I wonder if it will work with seitan?

Kristen4peace said...

Happy Birthday to YOU!!!

BTW, how did John's attempt at making your cake go???

Have fun at the HVK on Sunday. I promise to attend one in the near future! : )

mad about udon said...

Ooooh, everything likes amazing. You reminded me that I haven't been eating enough asparagus this summer. And OH POLENTA MY FAVOURITE!!

Veronica said...

Cute alien! I love it. Too bad it wasn't the Virgin Mother Mary. Could've stirred up some media attention to the vegan circuit here.

I've never been to Candle Cafe, but I've been holding on to the cookbook from the library for the longest time. That scallopini looks like something I need to make from it! And it's making me crave some asparagus... I've only had asparagus in restaurants (served with some buttery sauce no doubt, and haven't had it since becoming vegan) and with my lazy streak can't bring myself to pay so much for it at the farmer's market. Nor do I bother to look up the season... is it seasonal? Ah, well, I'm rambling :) (I love those vegan plates by the way!)

Good luck with the cupcakes!

Animal-Friendly said...

Wok aliens must be invading your kitchen! Good thing he's a cute lil guy.

Mmmmmm.....grilled polenta! All of your meals look delicious and so full of fresh produce.

Animal-Friendly said...

Oh, I almost forgot- Happy Birthday (as of tomorrow)!!!!

The Vegan Snorkeler said...

Happy Birthday! I love the wok monster!!!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Happy Birthday!

Your food always looks so great and I love the wok monster!

Looks like I need to add that Vegan Express cookbook to my never-ending list.

VeganCowGirl said...

Happy Birthday tomorrow.

My favourit - even better than the 7 dollar eggplant is by far the creature in your wok. I am introducing him to my kids tomorrow morning.

I love that croquettes. They look great! Let us know how the knitting meeting goes.

Veg-a-Nut said...

E.T. phoned home and sent you a friend. Your meals look wonderful. I can't wait to see your knit cupcakes! You are awesome! Was the polenta made from the pre-cooked or did you make homemade. It really makes your mouth water. YUM!

Vaala said...

The creature in the oil looks awesome! Looks like something from Where the Wild Things Are!

Bianca said...

OMG! That alien in your wok is crazy! You should have found a way to sell it on eBay...like the Virgin Mary grill cheese!

And that polenta dish looks terrific. I need to buy Vegan Express!

tofufreak said...

haha i love that design on the wok! lol

and $7 for eggplant?!!? wow. at least your dish looks yummy :)

Lenora said...

Awesome shot of the Alien invasion! Cool!!! I'll have to start "reading" my oil too! Thanks for the other cool pix too :D Nice Blog.

twoveganboys said...

Happy Birthday. And the wok monster is awesome.

Krys

vegan addict said...

Happiest wishes to you on your birthday! Eat some cake and have lots of fun!

julie hasson said...

Happy birthday!! I hope that someone is surprising you with a special vegan birthday cake.

I love the little wok monster. Too funny!

I look forward to hearing more about Vegan Express. I really like Nava's books, but haven't picked that one up yet.

Ruthie said...

Love the wok monster. LOL

Happy birthday. Sorry I missed the meeting, I am such a dummy!!!

Ruthie

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Happy Birthday, my almost twin! (give or take a few days... and a few years)

I hope your birthday is awesome... just like you!

the little one said...

Happy Birthday!

Erin said...

That oil wok monster is crazy! Id've been scared.

Happy Birthday!

Veg-a-Nut said...

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to Vegan Noodle, Happy Birthday to you! I hope today was fantastic for you! Guess what? I just joined the Daring Bakers Challenge. October will be my first challenge. Excited and nervous!

Urban Vegan said...

That's one scary wok monster...and some beautious food. I love the Candle Cafe Cookbook. To me, it's much better than the restaurant.

Lauren said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you had a great one! Everything looks so amazing. I love The Candle Cafe/79and I have made the Scallopini from the cookbook! YUM!!!