Saturday, November 30, 2013

Philly Day 3

Tofu Scramble
I found the photo of the tofu scramble I had for breakfast on Thanksgiving.  It is still steaming in the pan. That was a good meal, but a little heavy.  It is like eating a large omelet stuffed with veggies.  Today I went light and had some toast with persimmon cranberry sauce and pita chips with edamame dip.  I sipped on some Yerba Mate tea. Appropriately for the season, this tea is made from a type of holly.

At lunch I made a Celery Jicama saute.  Garlic, lemon zest and juice, parsley  and salt were added to the veggies to give them a nice twang. This pared well with leftover porcini stuffing and mushroom gravy.
Celery and Jicama

For dinner we went to the Electric Factory see Frank Turner in concert. The venue is only 3 blocks from the lofts we are staying at so we could walk. there.  They had a veggie burger on the menu and seasonal Woodchuck Cider on draft.  Before we left, I made a Sweet Potato Brulee to snack on when we got back.  This dish is typically made with 7 egg yolks.  I used silken tofu, flaxseed, cornstarch, and baking powder as a substitution. The tofu mixture was combined with baked sweet potatoes, brown sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and milk and baked for an hour.  After it had cooled off, the top was coated with turbinado sugar. I used a small blowtorch to crystallized the sugar and leave a crunchy topping.  The resulting dish was very good.  It was not like a regular creme brulee in texture.  I do not know if this was from the use of sweet potatoes or the egg substitution.  However, it is a very tasting dish for a late night dessert.
Sweet Potato Brulee
Our wine of the day was the Oban Rose Champagne.  This is one we have one regular basis and is fantastic.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

It is Thanksgiving Day in Philly.  The recipes for the week are from a Gourmet magazine cookbook.  Our wine for the main meal is a Neyers Merlot which went well with bread and mushroom based dishes.

We started with breakfast.  I made an omelet for Tommy and a tofu scramble for me using smoked tofu, greens beans, broccoli and cauliflower.  I had a piece of the seeded bread spread with the persimmon cranberry sauce. I had detox at breakfast.  I am not sure if it detoxed anything, but it is a good earthy tea with anise, licorice and dandelion root.

For lunch we started with a salad.  It was the same salad mix we have eating the last few days of spinach, carrot, tomato, avocado and cucumber.  I topped it with some of the endamame dip and some olive oil.  We had a piece of seeded bread on the side.
For the main course, I did make a turkey for Tommy.  It was seasoned with a miso butter between the skin and meat.  Tommy pronounced as the best turkey meat he has ever tasted. I am glad he liked it, since he will be having some at every meal for the next few weeks.  I made a basic turkey gravy with the juices from the turkey, a veggie stock I brought from home and some flour.

My main course was a Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart.  The filing was sauteed in a skillet and added to layers of phyllo dough for baking.  The recipe called for 4 individual tarts,  but the lack of cooking utensils led to make one large tart.  The phyllo behaved well, but I did not have a brush to spread olive oil over each layer.  I used a paper towel, which worked okay. For my gravy. I had a barley mushroom gravy.  I roasted a mix of shiitakes, portobellas, and white mushroom with the barley.  The stock was made with the mushroom stems and parsley.  The veggies were removed, then I added the barley. I sautéed some carrots, onion and celery then started adding the stock.  I also added some wine and tomato paste. The stock was continually added and heated until thick.  The pic is the tart with the gravy.

For dinner that night I made an Onion Porcini Stuffing.  The bread was a couple of sourdough loaves. Dried porcini mushrooms were reconstituted in hot water.  White mushrooms, onion, celery, shallots and carrots were sautéed with garlic, thyme and sage.  The veggies were added to the toasted bread, then the mushroom water was added.  All of this was baked together.  We served the stuffing with gravy with a salad and some Pouilly Fume.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Philly Day 1

We started a tradition a few years ago of going out of town for Thanksgiving. We have gone to Toronto, Deep Creek MD, Sylva NC, Front Royal  VA, and Chesapeake City MD in the past. This year our trip is to Philadelphia.  It is close enough to drive to with the dogs, though River still got car sick 5 minutes from our destination, but far enough away to be a unique experience.  The above photo is the dining area of the loft we are staying.  We are in a very Asian area with eating places representing Japan, China, Thailand, Korea and India. 

We used Airbnb to find a place.  I want a place that I can make a Thanksgiving meal.  This one has a nice kitchen, but had almost nothing to cook with.  I brought a quiche pan, tart pan, roasting pan, immersion blender, thermometer, pastry blender and potato masher.  But we get here and there is a skillet and a soup pan, 2 plates, 2 bowls, 4 mugs and some silverware  and cooking utensils.  There is a cool Asian market a block away, and I had to buy a sauce pan, a disposable roasting pan, and a dutch oven.  The rite aid had some plastic serving pieces and glasses.  The pieces you see in the pitcher I brought or bought.
Living room area
River is making herself at home in the living area.  The kitchen, dining and living area are one big room.  We have internet and tv so we can watch the ravens tomorrow night.  
Jack is making himself at home on the bed.  We did bring their doggie beds.  A couple of dogs will not be happy about that.
Endamame dip
This is an endamame dip I made at home before we left home.  It is made with endamame, roasted garlic, olive oil, parsley, lime juice and pepper.  I used radishes, carrots, celery, and cucumber to dip in it.  The loft has a case of pita chips of top of the refrigerator, so we used some of them as well.
Chestnut soup
For our dinner, we had the dip, a salad and soup with a little bit  of dessert.  The salad was leftovers from home that would go bad if we didn't use them.  It was a basic salad of lettuce, spinach, carrot, tomato, avocado and mung beans.  The dressing was balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The soup was amazing.  The base was chestnuts, carrot, leek, celery and onion that was cooked until soft. The mixture was blended till smooth and I added soy sauce, sherry, parsley and sage.  The soup was topped with sage croutons that I made at home.  A half loaf of seeded bread and chestnuts were roasted in olive oil with sage, salt and pepper.  The croutons were added to the top of the soup.  This was incredible.
cranberry sauce
For dessert I had the Persimmon Cranberry Sauce.  Cranberries, red wine, anise and sugar was heated until the cranberries were soft and mushy.  I mashed the cranberries with a spoon and added diced persimmons.  Tommy had some chocolate for dessert that I found at Asian market.  The milk chocolate with cornflakes was interesting.  Tommy said it bets the Hershey Crunch bar.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


So I pulled a couple of recipes for today from an old microwave cookbook.  The book came with the microwave we had in our condo back in the early 90's.  

I started the day with a fruity oatmeal.  It was not very different than an oatmeal that I would normally make. The oats were cooked with dried apricots and a lot of spices - cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. The difference was that the recipe called for butter, I used Earth Balance.  I really could not tell it was any richer than my regular oats.  It was a good breakfast.
spinach  salad

Lunch was a spinach salad from the Well Seasoned cookbook. This was an old cookbook that had belonged to my mother. It was one of those books that was a fundraiser and the recipes were submissions from people knowledgable of the charity. 
The salad recipe called for spinach, bacon and a hard boiled egg.  I substituted tempeh for the bacon and smoked tofu for the egg.  The salad used a hot dressing made with apple cider vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and pepper. 
One of the items at dinner was a veggie burger.  I made it from peas, cauliflower, sunflower seeds and almonds.  Everything was pulsed in a food processor,then patted into a burger that was broiled in the oven.  I topped it off with some of the pineapple curry sauce.
Also at dinner, was a soup from the microwave cookbook.  This was a traditional vegetable soup.  Carrots, potato, tomato, celery, onion, spinach, basil and parsley were cooked in vegetable broth.  This was a nice hearty soup for a cold day.
The tea for the day is labelled as a detox tea.  It is an earthy tea made with chicory, dandelion and licorice.  I don't know if any detoxing happened, but it has a rich nice taste.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Staying the Course

Blogging two days in a row,  maybe I can keep this up on a regular basis again.  Here is another tea I have sipping.  It is a mix of berries, white tea and little bit of Darjeeling. Good for a cold day.
Lemon hummus

My most recent batch of hummus was made with chickpeas, tahini and lots of lemon. I pulled this recipe from an old weight watchers cookbook. It is definitely a different flavor profile. I ate it with some flaxseed crackers that are high in seeds and whole grains.  I have had these several times.  They have a nice crunch and lots of nuttiness.

Green Smoothie

This time for breakfast I went with the green smoothie.  It does not look very appetizing in the blender.  It was made from an avocado, spinach, soy milk, protein powder and spirulina.  It was not the best tasting of smoothies. Bananas make a much better base.
Lunch was a simple baked sweet potato with a broccoli and pesto topping.  The broccoli was microwaved with garlic powder and lemon juice. 

I saw a list a few weeks back about things you do once you start eating vegan.  One thing on the list was that most meals are one dish meals.  That's what I do a lot of know.  Tonight's plan was a mix of rice, broccoli, cauliflower, potato, onion and carrot with some mole sauce.  On the side would be a sautee of greens - kale, collard greens and spinach.  However, I got home from the gym at 8:00 and decided to just mix everything together. That worked. I had already chopped everything up earlier in the day so it was a quick cook in a skillet. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back to winter

Fruit smoothie
For breakfast, I usually have a smoothie. I have been making a lot with spinach, oatmeal, or other super healthy stuff. But sometimes, you just want a simple fruit drink. This one was made with a frozen banana, strawberries  and soy milk.  Just some simple ingredients and a great taste.
I made a large salad and fresh dressing to accompany our meals for the next few days.  The dressing is made with white vinegar, avocado oil, olive oil, dijon mustard, red onion, garlic, salt and pepper.  The salad is butter lettuce with avocado, carrot, tomato and cucumber.  The recipe is from a Mexican cookbook, Pati's Mexican Table which uses simple, fresh ingredients for the recipes.

I had the salad with a burrito made with quinoa, spinach, sauteed veggies consisting of carrot, potato, cabbage and celery.  I topped it with homemade salsa created from a recipe with the same cookbook.  The
tortilla was made with sprouted grains including millet, quinoa, whole wheat, and sesame seeds. It was made by the Engine 2 company.  This one is better than the brown rice version I had tried earlier.  The taste is good, but it is not very bendable and tears when trying to fold into a burrito.
For dinner I combined brown rice, roasted kale, urad beans and a pineapple curry sauce.  The kale was roasted into kale chips with garlic seasonings.  Urad beans are Indian and look a little bit like barley.  The dried beans cook in about the same amount of time as the brown rice so they do not need to be made in advance.  I topped the dish off with a pre made sauce which was a mild curry. The flavors were strong, but not overwhelming.  I recommend it. We also had the green salad and added some sunflower seeds and almonds to it.
Curry sauce

I like trying new tastes, and I found this tea yesterday.  It is roasted dandelion root.  There is definitely a roasted taste to it and it is very earthy in flavor.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Grilling and Roasting

One nice thing about this time of year is that cooking helps warm the house.We haven't used the heat yet because the grill, oven and dishwasher are warming the house.  Trying to save on the utilities seems a lost cause.  We used a little less electricity and a lot less gas than this time last year, but our bill was $11 higher. The amount is not that much, but it is just the principle of the matter. Anyway, I grilled some eggplant and zucchini to go in the Miso Soup at lunch.  Tommy has been taken antibiotics for an infected tooth and I have been trying to make sure he gets some probiotics every day.  The soup used onion, spinach, carrot and sundried tomatoes with a barley miso.  I add the grilled veggies to mine and grilled a chicken thigh for Tommy to add to his soup.
Miso soup
More eggplant and zucchini at dinner.  I roasted a big batch in olive oil with garlic powder and turmeric.

I used this as a topping for the rice dish at dinner.  I sauteed, broccoli, tofu, tomato, cannelini beans and rice for a nice comfort food dinner. The rice has a purplish color because I added a quarter cup of black rice to the brown rice when I cooked up a big batch the other day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November starts

one dish meals
As  the temps drop, comfort food moves in. Lately I have been doing a lot of one dish meals. The one above is  a mix of black beans, roasted corns, Japanese yam (white flesh and is sweet), onion, cilantro and avocado. I baked the potato first, then just sauteed everything together in the skillet.
Blueberry smoothie
This was my breakfast this morning. The smoothie is made with rice milk, pomegranate juice,cocoa, spinach, dates, an lots of frozen blueberries.  I am amazed  at what I put in smoothies, but you do not notice the taste of the spinach.

Another new product for me is this herbal coffee.  I do not drink real coffee, it tastes like an aspirin dissolving in my mouth.  My mother could not stand the taste of coffee either, so it might be genetic. The only way I have ever been able to drink was with lots of hot chocolate and berry syrups which left almost no taste of coffee.  This product is made with chicory and cocoa.  It is prepared like coffee, I used a french press. The taste as nice and very chocolaty. I had to add a cube of sugar for each cup, so it is not the zero calorie beverage like tea. It is caffeine free.
One of my clean out the refrigerator before grocery day creations was this pesto.  It is made with basil, cilantro, mint, and parsley for the herbs.  Some pine nuts, garlic, and nutritional yeast finish out the recipe.  I hate waste and it always feels good to use the produce up.  I spread this on sandwiches or used is pasta or rice dishes, such as the pasta primavera with tomatoes and asparagus.
Pasta Primavera