Thursday, April 03, 2008

More Meals with Grandpa

Naturally enough, I've been enjoying cooking meals for my grandpa in the last week or so. I'm still hatching a plan for tomorrow night. Whatever I come up with, I know you'll see it here soon enough! Last week I had a busy day, with a very intense 2 hour yoga class, followed by a 90 minute drive up to San Francisco to drop off some art work for a group exhibit, and then dinne for my sweet Grandpa. I needed something quick and yummy. So, spaghetti to the rescue! Lucky for me, both Musty and my grandpa are crazy about spaghetti, so they're an easy crowd to please. I made up a tomato sauce with some of my friend Jane's special organic, dry farmed tomatoes that she canned up at the end of the season last summer. I threw in some veggies for flavor and nutrients and served it with whole wheat spag. Alongside, a nice green salad with asparagus, and some steamed broc. Yum!

A few nights later, I made a dish that has become a real family favorite "Tempeh Toss." It's from one of Sarah Kramer's books. To be honest, I really don't use those books anymore as I have found the quality of the recipes to be a bit spotty. I guess now that I'm a more experienced cook I'd probably be a better judge of the recipe just from reading it. All that said, however, this is a GREAT and very easy recipe. It is filling, full of neat flavors, packed with nutrition, and comes together in the 15 minutes that it takes me to make a pot of quinoa. And of course, the requisite green salad. And toast! My grandpa loves toast with his meals... and so do I! I don't usually let myself give in, but it's nice to make him some toast every once in a while.

Funny story: Whenever I cook for my grandpa, I always pack him up some leftovers for lunch the next day. We have a family system for him, where we put it in a tupperware, and label it and date it. My grandpa really enjoyed this meal, and when I was labeling it "Tempeh Toss with Quinoa," he said "Is that what we just ate?!" Hee hee. We had a good laugh.

I had a bit more time the other day... so I made this "Thai Pizza" from the Vegan World Fusion Cuisine book. I opted not to use their suggested spelt focaccia recipe though, because it called for 2/3 cup of olive oil... which is more that I can imagine in a loaf of bread. Instead I used the recipe for pizza dough from Peter Berley's Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. This pizza was pretty good, entirely edible. However, Musty and I agreed that the very yummy Thai topping felt a bit incongrous with the pizza crust. I probably will make it again, and just serve it over some rice. It's got very many flavors, all nice together: brocolli, sugar snap peas, red pepper, marinated tofu, peanuts, cilantro, and a delicious coconut-almond butter-lemongrass sauce. Mmm.

And while I had Peter Berley's book open, I made a batch of his delicious Oatmeal cookies. I love this recipe so much. After dinner one night last week, my grandpa happened to mention that his favorite cookie has always been oatmeal raisin. Well, why didn't he say so sooner?? That was all I needed to hear! When I busted these out, he was SO cute "Oh! I LOVE oatmeal cookies!" He had five. Hee hee. I'll try out all the different oatmeal cookie recipes I can find. Any suggestions?

Also, here's another question that I've got for my friends in the blogosphere. I really love cooking, but I often get so wrapped up in it that it becomes a big endeavor. I'd love some suggestions for some seriously quick meals, or cookbooks that have lots of quick (and yet still yummy) meals. Especially with teaching 3 nights a week, and then cooking for my grandpa two other nights... time is becoming ever more valuable. I'd really be grateful for any input!


  1. quick meals for us are almost always tacos.

  2. Fajitas!!! It doesn't get quicker or easier than that.

    It's been a while since I dropped by your blog... but it's good to see that you're still cooking lovely, colorful meals! :) I'm hoping to have more time to blog now that my busy season at work is almost behind me.

  3. Anonymous1:55 AM

    for quick meals i really like anything nava atlas: the vegetarian 5 ingredient gourmet or vegan express.

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  5. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Don't these people know that spam isn't vegan?

    Anyway, I second Vegan Express for quick recipe ideas and also Quick Fix Vegetarian (which is actually all vegan).

  6. Cooking for an appreciative family is always so much nicer. Your Grandpa sounds cool. :)

    As for time-saving tricks, its always a struggle. For me, I love curries and stir-frys for quick meals. One trick I sometimes use is roasting a bunch of vegetables, then using them with different sauces two nights in a row. For ex., the first night you have a curry sauce and brown rice, the next night you have them alongside mashed potatoes and some baked tofu. Or served in a chunky tomato sauce over spaghetti squash. Yum.

    Other than that, its just planning ahead, which i only occasionally accomplish.

  7. Aww, I love the meals with Grandpa! Tempeh toss sounds good.
    I'm bad with quick meals, it's usually just quinoa & steamed veggies for us. I also keep seitan sausages in the freezer (the steamed kind, super easy to make), so we can grill those up to top veg & a grain or throw in a wrap.

  8. How sweet of you to cook for your grandpa! The oatmeal cookies look fantastic.

  9. Try the "Student's Go Vegan" cookbook - those recipes are delicious, quality, and FAST!

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  11. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Hi Amey,

    I've looked at a few of the quick/fact cookbooks and have't been too impressed with what I've seen. Mostly because they either require too many prepared/packaged ingredients or they seem bland/uninteresting.

    I struggle often with what to cook when I have limited time, though, as most of the recipes I like or are on my list to try are quite involved. Here are a couple of suggestions for things that I've done:

    -- Different tofu/seitan/tempeh marinades or seasonings that you can either marinate ahead of time or pull together quickly. Usually I use soba or udon noodles as a base, mixed with some sort of steamed or sauteed veggie (such as kale, asparagus, broccoli) and make it into a more substantial meal.

    -- Dips, spreads, and tapenades. I have tons of these recipes in my "want to try" list using all sorts of ingredients. Make one and then have it with bread or crackers, and then make a big salad to go along with it.

    -- Tofu scrambles. Sometimes the recipes I have require a bunch of spices but otherwise they don't take too long to pull together and can vary greatly in taste. I have a tomatillo sauce based scramble, Italian, Mexican, etc.

    -- Soups. An obvious one, but I particularly like to try soups when I want to prepare something the day before a day when I know I'll be busy at dinner. Soup usually tastes better the second day anyway, so it works out nicely.

    Will let you know as I think of others.

    :-) Jen E.


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