Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh Yeah...College...

So remember when I said that I was going to make time to cook? Well I do! I just don't make enough time to blog! But thank goodness for spring break, because here I am...blogging. So there's a lot to catch up on food wise, and I can't fit it all into one post, or else you'll stop reading. So here's a little bit of what K and I have been up to in our small college New York kitchen. (I'm also going to apologize in advance for the absence of enticing pictures, I didn't have time to shoot them because we were usually starving!)
Recently, one of my friends who is studying abroad in Japan emailed me to ask what he can do to prepare a yummy eggplant dish. (Apparently eggplant is abundant in Japan.) I knew he had busy days so I started thinking of easy, hard to screw up recipes. I remembered that when I was studying abroad in London, and eggplant was cheaper than water at farmer's markets, my roommate and I discovered this simple, fool proof recipe. (It really is so simple, I feel silly calling it a recipe, but it's just so good!)
1) Start by slicing the washed eggplant width-wise about 1/2 in. thick (so the slices are like circles).
2) Then in a pan on the stove warm up (on medium to low heat) some olive oil with some chopped garlic and sliced red oinions.(amounts are really subjective, but i love garlic!)
3) Let that simmer for about 3 minutes, covered
4) Then add as many slices of the eggplant as will fit in the pan, but make sure the slices are completely touching the bottom of the pan so they get that grilling taste. Cover the pan with a top to keep moisture in. Let sit til they brown a little (a tiny bit!) and flip with a spatula til the other side is slightly golden. The olive oil should soak into the eggplant, if it gets too dry you can add more oil.
I like to put these eggplant slices in sandwiches, pitas with some hummus, or even in a stir-fry with rice and other veggies. They are delicious warm right out of the pan or as leftovers cold from the fridge.
Hope you all enjoy this! Let me know what you think!
More to come very soon, and enjoy the increasingly warm weather!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Apparently I Like Pasta...

So lately I've been really into different kinds of pasta. It may due to the sub-zero temperatures, or it may just be that pasta is delicious. Either way, it's easy to make, very satisfying, and any side dish goes. So last night, I was really craving pesto (There's only so much tomato sauce one girl can take), but due to my new year's resolution, a pre-made pesto was out of the question (even though the local co-op has a really good one! So I set out to find a really great vegan pesto recipe. I didn't have to look too far. I got some amazing cookbooks for Christmas (and read them like they're fiction), so I decided to start there. Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (two legendary vegan chefs!) is one of my fvorites to read and fantasize about, but most of the recipes included feel a little complicated and fancy. And as you know (or maybe you don't) New York college kitchens are tiny! Or at least mine is, and also devoid of helpful vegan cooking tools (like a food processor) which would make life so much easier (hint hint: mom and dad).
OK, on with the food talk! So even though I feel the recipes in Veganomicon are pretty invovled, I came across (what seemed to be at first glance) a relatively simple recipe. Unfortunately, I'm in a studio right now (pretending to work) away from home and can not post the recipe that I am about to tell you is pretty amazing, but I promise I will post it ASAP! Ok, so the recipe is basil and cilantro based, which is why I wanted to make it. I have both a small basil and small cilantro plant growing on my window sill, so I figure it would be perfect and fresh. The recipe calls for a food processor, but since you know I don't have one, I used a blender. I'd like to say it didn't make a difference, but it did actually make the sauce less refined. This recipe also calls for almonds instead of pine nuts, which at first I thought was strange, but it ended up being AWESOME. So I made this pesto (whose recipe I will post when I get home) and added it to spinach linguine with sauteed red onion sand artichoke hearts (as per another recipe in Veganomicon). BUT: this recipe said to just toss the artichoke hearts with the finished pasta at the end (to get coated in the pesto), but the artichoke hearts were still a little sour, so next time I would also saute them with the olive oil, onions and garlic. Now for pictures! This was the yummy result:

In other food news, I made a really yummy open-faced sandwich for lunch. I often make open-faced sandwiches because I think too much bread usually get in the way. For sandwich purposed, when I'm in a hurry, I take out all my raw veggies (that are suitable for sandwiches, so that probably excludes things like broccoli) and slice them as thinly as possible. Then I toast whatever bread I have (seriously anything, from sourdough to cinnamon raisin) slather it in hummus, and top with my sliced veggies. Fresh, satisfying, and so easy. Here it is:
Also (don't worry, I'm aware this post is getting really long so I'll wrap it up) my amazing roommate, K, made some of the best pumpkin bread I've ever had! So I harassed her for the recipe until she gave it to me! She is so amazing, that she even changed the recipe to be vegan, eliminating eggs and milk. Here is the result AND the recipe!

K's Pumpkin Bread

1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ Tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 eggs (substitute 8 oz. applesauce, unsweetened, smooth)
1 cup sugar (substitute Splenda Sugar Mix)
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cups canned pumpkin
¾ cup oil

350 degree oven. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and
salt, set aside. Beat Eggs (or applesauce), sugars, and vanilla in large bowl on
high speed for about 30 seconds. Add Dry ingredients and mix
well. Add pumpkin and oil and mix well. Pour batter into
greased loaf pan. Bake approx 70 min. or until toothpick
inserted come out clean. Cool on wire rack.

This bread really is one of the best vegan desserts I've had, you won't be disappointed!

Enjoy, I'm off to Brew Fest to sample some beer in true college fashion!

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Welcome to my blog!
One of my new year's resolutions is to cut out canned sauces and salad dressings. I got the idea from one of my friends, and thought it was simple enough to keep yet just big enough to make a difference in how my food makes me feel. I've always been somewhat of a foodie, and interested in cooking. The problem has always been that I usually don't have the time. That was another one of my resolutions: Make the time to cook your meals and they will taste better! So here I am, documenting my stumbles (and hopefully successes!) in the veggie kitchen. Being a college student (a college senior in fact) doesn't make the resolutions any easier to keep, but I'm committed to them, and this blog is designed to keep me in check! Enjoy!

Since it is bitterly cold in upstate New York right now (I mean bitterly!) we wanted something of the comfort food variety. Italian food is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods and I was feeling like a pasta of some sort. Since we wanted something a bit heavier than the average bow-tie, we decided on some Gnocchi (little potato balls) that are a bit more filling. We made basic tomato sauce: 4 tomatoes (chopped, not pureed), 4 cloves garlic, about 8 fresh basil leaves chopped, some olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Throw it all in a pan on the stove and let the yummy smell fill your kitchen! We also had some brussel sprouts left in the fridge, so we threw them in the oven (well actually more like gently placed) with some garlic, salt and pepper, balsamic, and a few red pepper flakes. Here is more or less what it looked like!

And this is what it looked like when we were finished! Delicious. Off to snuggle up with some bedtime tea and a book.