Monday, April 14, 2008

Yummy Stuff

Well, a lot of you recommended "Quick-Fix Vegetarian" for quick ideas, so I went and picked up a copy. It seems like it uses a lot of processed ingredients, which I'm not so into... but there are also a lot of good-looking recipes and also just good ideas to use as a starting point for quick meals. I made this one, pretty much following the recipe, it's the "Orzo Mediterranean Pasta Salad." I really liked it. It was indeed quick - but was full of great flavors: artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes, cilantro, chickpeas... yum. Plus, I have been looking for an excuse to cook up some orzo lately. How freaking cute are tiny pastas?

also, the requisite orange. I have been eating 10 pounds of oranges a week. They're from the farmers market, and they are great. But I sense that orange season is coming to an end... especially since I've eaten my first few baskets of strawberries.... oooooo yeah! I LOVE strawberries.

I'll admit that I sometimes get cupcake burnout... I get tired of looking at everyone's cupcakes. So, I feel bad even posting this picture. But damn, these were so good. I've made them before, but it had been a while. These are the Chocolate Hazelnut cupcakes from VCTOTW. Good, good, good.

For dinner with my grandpa I made the "Moroccan Tagine" from VWaV. I hadn't ever made it before and it was quite good. I suppose, if I'm gonna be super picky, that it didn't have any special zing or pizzazz - but it was worth making again anyway. A nice mix of flavors, and full of good nutrients. Am I allowed to admit that I saw an Anthony Bourdain show where he was travelling in Morocco, and it got me interested in Moroccan food? Yes, of course he managed to squeeze in a derogatory comment about vegans. I kept watching anyway. I'd like to learn more about Moroccan cooking - it seems like you could make some really great vegan food with their flavors, spices, and techniques.

Last night was another night when I cooked for my Grandpa. I've been wanting to cook up some "jumbo shells" for a while... who knows why. I must have seen a picture on someone's blog or something. The only problem is that I can't find this fun noodle shape around here. So, when I was up visiting my friend JJTWH (hello!), we went to her grocery store, and I pounced on these when I saw them on the shelf. I made up a batch of the "Green Garden Puree" from VwaV. I made a few changes - halved the almonds, added some chopped olives, added about 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary, left out the olive oil, and added about 2 tsp miso paste. I really love that recipe so much.

I also made a 1/2 batch of the pine nut cream from Vcon. I've read good things about that stuff, and I was eager to try it. The picture on the side of the "Jumbo Shells" box showed the stuffed shells ribboned with some sort of cream. That's what gave me the idea. I LOVED the pine nut cream! What a great flavor. I had a half block of silken tofu in the fridge, so that's why I made a half batch, but it turned out perfect. I put the pine nut cream in a frosting bag and piped it onto the shells for effect.

Baked at 350 for 35 minutes covered with foil, and 5 more minutes uncovered. Lucky for me, we've got another small casserole dish of these in the fridge that I'll cook up tomorrow night for dinner. Can't wait! These were a HUGE hit with everyone: Musty, my grandpa, my aunt, auntie's BF, and me!
These are Dreena's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from ED&BV. I'm sad to say, as much as I LOVE her recipes, that these weren't so great. They were quite dry, and I like my oatmeal cookies chewy and moist. Also, the recipe calls for quick oats, which didn't provide the same texture as proper oats. My grandpa told me that Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are his favorite, so now I am on the hunt for the ultimate recipe. Any suggestions? I want to try them all!

I apologize for this bad picture. Sigh. Some of you snazzy bloggers have such lovely pictures. This is so "by the light of the living room and using the flash." ha ha! That's what happens until we don't eat dinner until 9 pm and there's no more natural light. This is the "Mango-Ginger Tofu" from VwaV. It was really good. Musty and I both loved it! I had to broil the slices on High for 5 minutes on each side to get that proper baked tofu texture. The only thing is, next time I'll add another jalepeno or two. This recipe calls out for some heat. I was glad that this turned out so yummy, because it takes quite a bit of faith to cook up two deliciously ripe mangos instead of just eating them as-is!
Obviously, I have a problem! I can't stop making cookies! CAN.NOT.STOP! I especially love Dreena's recipes. She's a whiz. I love that her recipes don't rely on margarine, and that I don't feel like a big grease ball after I've eaten one (or two!). This was my evening treat tonight: a few warm "Chocolate Cherry Pecan Cookies" (recipe here), and a hot mug of "Roma." I really like these barley-type drinks. Usually I get Inka brand, but this big thing of Roma was on sale and I like it as well. This type of drink is a great alternative to coffee - warm and satisfying, a little sweet but mostly savory. Mmm!


  1. Ooh, lots of yummies! I was never in to making cookies until recently. They're so fun, easy, & tasty! Those shells look AWESOME & I loved the pine nut cream as well. Cute cupcakes!

    I'm coming to Santa Cruz this Saturday to hang out & check out some vegan baked good options. Any chance you'll be around?

  2. I own that cookbook, but haven't tried any of the recipes yet - that Orzo Mediterranean Pasta Salad looks worthy though!! Yum!!

    Oh my, ALL the food looks delicious - especially those chocolate-hazelnut cupcakes. LOVELY flavor-combination - reminiscent of Nutella :0)

    PLEASE don't stop baking cookies - they always look fabulous!! :0)

  3. Anonymous6:54 AM

    HI, I'm a new commenter but I thought I'd de-lurk to share two things:

    1. My favorite North African cookbook is called The Vegetarian Table: North Africa, by Kitty Morse (Chronicle Books, 1996). It's not an expensive book, but it's really authentic and lovely. The recipes have all been a huge hit and, again are really authentic - from Morocco, Tunisia, etc.

    2. I can't remember if you made the Chewy Oatmeal cookies from Veganomicon, but my hubster just made them (w/choc. chips instead of raisins) and they were awesome. Chewy, perfectly balanced (ie, not too sweet, nor too salty), and they even wowed a group of omnis. I thin your grandpa would love them!

    Hope these help!

  4. Anonymous7:16 AM

    Mmmmmm, I would LOVE that wonderful Orzo salad!

    Have you ever tried Teeccino? It's my favorite coffee substitute, the Vanilla Nut one, especially :)

  5. Hi Amey!! Your food looks awesome ~ as always, and I'd love to try your giant shells! You gotta make Liv's favorite cookie (you KNOW that she has a knack for the sweets!! from The Joy of Vegan Baking ~ Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. They really are fab. I don't know what's up with the POrtland VegFest....

  6. Anonymous8:53 AM

    Hi Amey,

    I second Sarah C.'s vote for the Veganomicon oatmeal cookies. They are on the not-too-sweet side, which I like, and they include brown rice syrup which makes them nice and chewy. I'm not a huge allspice fan, so I cut the amount in half with no noticeable effect.

    Also, I recently picked up a book that I had not even heard of called Baking with Agave Nectar. Cody's books recently moved here in Berkeley and had all of their books at least 40% off, so I took a chance on it. It is not completely vegan, but most that aren't are easily adapted. Anyway, I have been eyeing a recipe in there for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Dried Cherry cookies. Hope to make it soon, so I will report back on how it is. Keep an eye out for that cookbook -- it has lots of gluten-free and low-sugar recipes and many of the recipes look unique and interesting.

    :-) jen e.

  7. I don't think there could ever be too many pictures of cupcakes out there... I recently made those hazelnut ones and agree that they are so so so good.
    I haven't made a cookie in awhile (probably a few weeks, which is too long!)... you're making me want one!

  8. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Hey, there's nothing wrong with having a cookie-baking addiction... Think about it, it could be much worse! ;)

  9. Hi!

    I was thinking of coming to your yoga class tonight as it's right up the street.

    I have also thought of going to the class at LMB. That is where I took refuge, but I now sit with a Thich Nhat Hanh group.

    In any case, I will probably add your blog to my instant karma sites, if that's o.k. Since I am really gaining some lbs due to menopause I am attempting to eat more via Joel Fuhrman's Eat To Live plan.

    Nice to find a vegan yoga person so close. I know there are more around these parts, but it's still nice. Probably meet you in a couple of hours.



  10. Ha ha, I had the same cookie making problem around Christmas.... it's so hard to stop!

    10 pounds of oranges a week? That is a lot! I have never been an orange person, maybe I am lazy to peel it, but also here in Canada they are often pulpy and flavourless. I assume that whatever kind you are eating are NOT like that!

    I have been waiting to try the pine nut cream, so I think I will today. Don't know what I will put it on though....

    MMmm, I have made that mango ginger tofu, it is soo good.

  11. Wow - this post is full of goodies!

    I especially like those "jumbo shells." And the pine nut cream sounds delicious! I'll have to give it a try...

    Also, I hear ya about the "light of the living room with the flash" picture-taking!! I end up eating late at night pretty often, & although my pics don't usually turn out great, the food still tastes good :)

    Nice post!

    PS I've never heard of "Roma" before, but it sounds great... Where do you usually find it?

  12. oooh, mediterranean orzo salad... I think I know what I'm making for myself and my mom tonight!

    and I might go through phases of getting cupcake burnout, but I never get tired of seeing other peoples' cupcake photos! I'm either a glutton for punishment, or just a glutton! =)

  13. You really can't miss with stuffed shells. I love them so much. I am also looking for a perfect oatmeal raisin cookie, possibly for use as oatmeal cream pies.

  14. The orzo salad looks so pretty -- especially flanked by that orange!

  15. Anonymous7:16 AM

    I'd love to try the cupcake recipe. You said you got it from VCTOTW--I don't know what that stands for. Thanks.


  16. Hi JD,
    I got "Roma" at the health food store... in the coffee section. There are many different brands that are all good. Someone else mentioned Tecchino, which is nice, and I also like Inka. I really like most of the kinds I've tried. They're billed as coffee substitutes and are made with all sorts of grains, like barley and other things I don't remember off the top of my head!

    Hi Kim,
    Sorry about that! The cupcakes are from a great little cookbook called "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" that came out a year or two ago. It's great fun, check it out!

    :) Amey

  17. Anonymous9:17 AM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Hi, Amey. Everything looks amazing as usual. The orzo salad looks really terrific - orzo is one of the few pastas I really like.

    I bake way too many cookies too, but I don't think we should stop!

  19. I can think of worse problems than compulsive cookie-making, especially when they look that awesome!

  20. i went through a cookie baking phase myself and had to stop buying chocolate chips and that seemed to help (chocolate chip cookies are my fave).

  21. That orzo dish looks so yummy. Ironically, I have a giant bag of orzo I need to use up and have been looking for orzo inspiration myself. Thanks!

  22. Hi there! Your shells look awesome. I just happened to have VwaV sitting next to me and I grabbed it and made some notes about adding olives. Thanks!! Your blog is great :)

  23. Okay when are you going to open up a vegan restaurant in Boise. We so need it. We don't even really have a vegetarian restaurant and I have really been craving one.


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