Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Anna Jones' Spinach and Lemon Polpette

Again, I had a slew of cherry tomatoes, about to wilt to death spinach and some leftover lentils, so this Spinach and Lemon Polpette recipe from Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals was the way to go.

What's a polpette? A meatball.  But in this case, we're talking about a lentil and spinach meatless meatball.  They were...okay.  Kinda of dry.  It said to bake them for 15 to 20 minutes.  Perhaps I should I have tried one at 15 minutes, instead of just letting them go for 20 minutes.  I felt like they either needed more spinach or maybe I should have used The Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk  mixed with the Neat Egg.  The taste were something in between a veggie-meatball and falafel. I am going to try them again with some tweeks.

The sauce seemed odd when I was putting it together, but it was really good.  It was a mix of coarsely chopped almonds, garlic, oilice oil, lemon, basil and cherry tomatoes.  That's one thing I really like about this book.  She uses a lot of weird combos of things that both: don't seem like it would work and are simple ingredients.  I plan on trying this again with a few changes to the polpettes.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Anna Jones' Lemongrass, Peanut, and Herb Noodle Salad

As you know, I'm cooking my way through Anna Jones' new book A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals.  (Not in a Julie & Julia kind of way, I'm just trying out some new recipes.) In an effort to clear out my fridge of items that were destined for a trip to the compost bin, I decided to make her recipe for Lemongrass, peanut, and herb noodle salad.

Well, mostly....I didn't have lemongrass, so I substituted ginger and lemon zest.  I also have a drawer of various types of pasta that I'm sure you've never heard of; yet, not one single package of rice vermicelli.  I wound up using ramen.  I left out the green onions and cilantro (my daughter thinks it tastes like soap) and used Thai basil and mint from my garden instead.  I also used some Honee Bee-Free Plant Based Vegan Honey instead of maple syrup or regular honey.

Again, a simple and unassuming recipe, that is packed full of flavor.  Layer the noodles with the matchstick sliced carrots and cucumbers, shredded lettuce and sliced avocado,  Place a few slices of tofu that were marinated, then fried and coated with a peanut sauce.  Top it all off with some crushed peanuts, herbs, and the lime, soy and honey dressing.  I added a bunch of hot peppers to mine, but I left my tiny human's version pepper-free.  I wasn't sure about this recipe because it seemed too simple, but it turned out amazing!  It also made an equally great cold lunch the next day.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Anna Jones' Sweet Roasted Zucchini with Crispy Chickpeas

I am going to do another recipe review list for Anna Jones' new book A Modern Way to Cook since I've been quickly cooking every recipe from the book.  I'm keeping track so I can see which recipes worked and which ones didn't. In the meantime, I thought I'd start posting some pictures of the food I've made from the book.

I want to help people see, that you don't need to use a dead animal carcass as the main part of your meal, nor do you need to use a plant-based meat.  There are other options!

This recipe was pretty easy.  Grate some zucchini and put them in your broiler.  After twenty minutes add some sauteed onions, then red peppers, tomatoes, and garlic.  Finally, add a layer of crispy chickpeas.  Simple, unassuming, but really good.  She suggests you serve it with lemon dressed greens, but we ate it over pasta.

I hand grated everything..dumb.  Definitely take her suggestion to use a food processor.  This was a great way to use up the five million cherry tomatoes from the garden and my overgrown zucchini. Money saving tip:  don't buy canned beans, people!  Alway buy them dry and cook them in your slow cooker.  You'll save money and they taste better.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What Do Vegans Eat: Sunny Side Up "Eggs" and Potato Hash

 Eggs? WTF?! How am I eating eggs?  Because I am awesome and I can figure stuff out.  You can be awesome too.  Stop eating eggs...and meat...and dairy....and voila!  Awesomeness!

The potato has was simple, fry onions and then add potatoes.  I sometimes microwave or boil the potatoes a bit to cut down on the overall cooking time.).  Season as you like.  If I were a better blogger, I would add some colorful elements or use a prettier bowl plate thing, but what you get with me is the real deal.  Sorry, I'm not willing to embellish my food for the world.

Now for the egg.  I haven't perfected the method yet since this was my first try and I was winging it. I blended some silken tofu with nutritional yeast and black salt (kala namak...don't be scared to walk into your local Asian-Indian market.  Nine times out of ten, they're nicer to Caucasians than to other Asian people.)  I spooned it on top of the hash as it cooked.  It was still a little too soft for me when I took it off the stove.  I should have either added a little arrowroot powder or left the lid on top so it would firm up a bit.  Or maybe I should have used a firm tofu....I'll try again and keep you posted.

The yolk....I have definitely not mastered this technique yet.  The video directions and the written directions for the Vegg are different.  I winged it, but next time I'll try both sets of directions.

I bought The Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk and the Calcium Chloride on Amazon (these are affiliate links, don't use it if you don't want to, whatever...).  Not to state the obvious, but make sure you're using food grade calcium chloride.

For those of you who are thinking this seems like too much work have obviously never made potato hash.  It takes 5 million years to get nicely browned and crispy.  I did the dishes and made a batch of ice tea and they still weren't done. Thirty seconds to blend the tofu and then another 3 minutes to make the yolks....yeah, not such a big deal.

How did it taste?  Like potato hash with a sunny side up egg.  No crispy edges on the "egg white" but I'm working on that.  Even my husband, who hasn't officially given up eggs or dairy when he's out and about getting lunch with the guys from work, approved of this dish.  Heck, even my daughter who was never a big runny egg person thought it was really good.

What do vegans eat?  All the same stuff you do, just healthier and without all the death and torture. Just saying.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Book Review: A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones

April 2015, I was lucky enough to receive a copy from of Anna Jones' cookbook A Modern Way to Eat.  I wrote a review on my other blog, Apparently, I've Been Domesticatedtalking about how great the recipes looked, with easy to find ingredients, and how excited I was to cook from it.  Then, I loved the book so much, I did a follow up on this blog, with a Recipe Review List, detailing my experiences with the recipes.  While a couple of things were just okay, I absolutely loved just about every recipe in that book.

When I got the opportunity to review her second book A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals, I was ecstatic!

Much like her last book, it's put together beautifully.  Nice thick paper and beautiful photography. This time, her book is broken up into quick 15 minute meals, 20 minutes, half hour and 45 minutes.  Then into what she calls investment cooking; things you can make a big batch of and use through the week like nut butter or beans.  This is followed by chapters on super-fast breakfasts and quick desserts and sweet treats.

I sat with a glass of wine last night and perused through the book.  I have a slew of pages marked with post-its of recipes I could make this week with ingredients I currently have at home.  Last night, I made the Lentil Ragu Agrodolce.  Like most of her recipes, it's rather unassuming.  Lentils and carrots cooked forever with some balsamic.  It seems so simple that it can't be good.  I was so wrong, it was amazing.  My daughter declared it is her favorite recipe out of Anna Jones' two cookbooks.

I have so many plans of things to make out of this book, that I will have to start another recipe review list just to keep track of what worked.  This week, a modern moussaka; kale, tomato, and lemon magic one-pot spaghetti and a feast of mushrooms.

I'll keep you posted.

IS IT VEGAN-FRIENDLY:  Yes.  She gives you lots of non-dairy substitution options.  I will say, I felt like this book had more cheese and eggs than the last, but I can't say that for certain.  Thankfully, both are easy to replace with vegan-friendly ingredients.

WOULD I BUY IT:  I think that's pretty obvious.  I would buy A Modern Way to Cook: 150+ Vegetarian Recipes for Quick, Flavor-Packed Meals and if you don't already own A Modern Way to Eat you should go out and buy that one too.  If you're a meat eater, don't think of this as a vegetarian cookbook.  I mean really, aren't you sick of meat-based dinner with random mediocre sides?  Think of these recipes as a way to expand your horizons, using ingredients you either have in your pantries or are easy to find.  I highly recommend both of her books.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.