Sunday, May 15, 2011

Real vegans eat quiche

After the success of the onion pie, I tried my hand at a broccoli quiche from Vegan Brunch. I had the ingredients on hand, nothing exotic, and in less time that I expected, voila:

Broccoli Quiche
I'm taking in to work tomorrow for breakfast. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to feed non-vegans (and have them enjoy it!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dinner for Four-Girls Night In

It is great when you like the people you work with. I happen to work with a number of interesting, talented, diverse women at the vet clinic. And as part of getting my cooking mojo back, I invited them to dinner last night.

The Menu:
Mushroom-Walnut 'Pate' with crudités
Onion Pie
Asparagus wrapped win phyllo tied with chives
and for desert: vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

I actually had a bruschetta planned, but it was obvious there was going to be plenty for food and I gave myself a break.

Jenn brought a chickpea & potato curry  that she found on, which was not only her first foray into vegan food, but delicious (she also brought vodka , which was equally delicious), and fruit. Sadie made what I am sure was an amazing pasta dish, but had an encounter with gravity earlier in the day from which her dogs benefited. Victoria brought a lovely bottle of red.

The onion pie was from Vegan Table, one of my favorite cookbooks, especially for company. I've been wanting to try this kind of recipe for a while (my next adventure will be a broccoli quiche) and I was not disappointed:

Onion Pie
It was sweet and savory all at once and the tofu/almond milk mixture set up very well. The nutmeg is definitely the secret ingredient.

I've shown the paella before, but in case anyone has forgotten, here it is again, from a previous dinner:

The asparagus in phyllo tied with chives is a wonderful presentation and easier to make than you think. The trick is to blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water and then immerse them in ice water to stop cooking. When baked, they don't overcook. Yes, that is a rosemary-tini in the upper left hand corner. I hereby declare it the official drink of the women of the vet clinic. BTW, this is an 'original recipe.'

Asparagus in Phyllo tied with chives
And for desert, with fruit to assuage our guilt, we feasted on a single layer vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. I have been a bit baking challenged at this altitude, but am learning the high altitude modifications and getting better each time. This time I used Earth Balance ('faux butter' and non-hydrogenated), rather than canola oil for the fat, and I really liked the way it came out. It takes a little more effort, but I thought it was worth it. The recipe was from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and I just made the cupcake recipe into a single layer cake. The frosting is from the same book.

Vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream frosting
I'm glad they girls took some home, because as I say "the more you eat, the less I weigh."

And finally, my friends, enjoying it all:

Clockwise from left: Victoria, Sadie, Jenn
A lovely Friday evening.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dinner for One

It's nice to be cooking again. It's like Spring: a sign that life is back. So why is food so much tastier when cooking for someone else? I love cooking, I love making good meals for myself, but the act of feeding someone is the nurturer in action. Everyone needs to eat; but so few really eat well.

Tonight it is un-chicken piccata and broccoli. Wine, lemon juice, Earth Balance, capers, shallots, garlic and parsley. The un-chicken is by Gardein - possibly the most amazing product on the planet; looks and chews like chicken cutlets and tastes amazing.

To add some ambiance, a vodka lemonade with a sprig of rosemary. Use only Simply Natural lemonade, hands down the best on the planet. The rosemary gives it that je ne sais quoi

When I spoke to him last he admitted he missed my cooking and that he'd probably never eat that well again. I don't know how to feel about that. Part of me is glad he appreciated that; and part of my is so sad that that is all that he walked away with.

When you are really good at one thing, does that make you deficient in others? How do I become a chef at love?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Gift of Grace

When traveling through the dark night of the soul, everything that was once comforting seems empty; everything that had meaning is meaningless. There is no visible light leading out of the woods. And when faith seems dead, it takes an act of even deeper faith to "act as if."

There are two things that connect me to the Divine: cooking and music. I had interest in neither 4 weeks ago, and couldn't imagine every having interest again. Then, at a kirtan concert Monday night, during the last chant, something shifted. The dam burst, and sobbing through the song, I saw the light of day again.

The next morning I woke up dry-eyed, clear; happy. I've woken up that way since. I picked up my guitar again and later, started cooking.  Last night for dinner it was Thai Green Curry with Bok Choy; today, Tortilla Soup:

Vegan Tortilla Soup
And, this is the chant that brought me home: Baba Hanuman, interpreted by Shantala:

Thank you Heather & Benjy; Thank you Baba~