Monday, February 22, 2010

My Adventurous Palette & Resulting Backlash

Recently I ordered a new cookbook "Silk Road Cooking, a vegetarian journey." Few books have gotten me as excited to cook as this book has. It's full of wonderful and enticing recipes with flavor combos and spices that are new to me. So, finally, I got myself together and made something from it - "Azerbaijani Pomegranate and Spinach Soup." YES. It is as crazy and interesting as it sounds. It's got onions, garlic, lentils, split peas, cups and cups of fresh herbs, and 1 entire pound of spinach.... oh, and 4 cups of pomegranate juice. Luckily, we have a pomegranate juice vendor at our farmers market - so the juice was really top quality. The soup has a tangy, sweet, sour and yet somehow savory combination of flavors ... Totally interesting. The flavor profile is quite unfamiliar to me, but I can sense that it's all quite harmonious somehow, and that this is comfort food somewhere in the world. Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats had a (small) serving and then ordered some takeout... but I, of course, persevered. Perhaps unwisely, I failed to notice that this recipe would make about 4,000 servings, so I had it for dinner and have been dutifully eating it for lunch for the last few days as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's even better with each passing day. I guess that's a universal principle of soup. Soon enough I'll pop the rest of it into the freezer and plug away at it from there.

After being so adventurous, I was in the mood for some old favorites... like the always-a-hit Tofu Omelette from Vegan Brunch. I cooked up chard and sauteed some Tofurky Italian sausages for the filling. Mmmm. Mr.VE&T did not need to call for take out.

Polenta Rancheros - another Vegan Brunch favorite. So fast, so easy, so tasty. I made a half-batch, which is about 2 servings, and made a very nice dinner on a busy night. Vegan Brunch is such a great book, I think it has become one of my most favorites of all.

And a few bonus pics that I've been meaning to post separately, but will instead lump into this one massive post:

Valentine's Day! Beet Risotto in a heart-shaped dish, of course... It really is that red.

... accompanied by a salad with red & green lettuce, cukes, raw beets, and tomatoes. Mmm. Healthy and yummy!

Pancakes!! My mom and my little nephew came over for a breakfast party this weekend. We ate pancakes, played board games, and watched the Olympics. I made the "Perfect Pancakes" from Vegan Brunch... but I healthified them a bit - used half white whole wheat flour, and subbed out some of the flour with wheat bran and soy protein powder. Such a versatile recipe, it withstood my tweaks with flying colors. Mmmmm.

I also made a batch of homemade sausage patties to go with the pancakes -spicy and perfect. I like some savory with my breakfast sweets. And, of course there was fruit... don't worry, I'm a good auntie.

Finally, let's end with dessert... I did some baking for a bake sale last weekend... the folks putting it on wanted some vegan goodies and they knew who to call! I made some lemon cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) - not pictured - and some vanilla cake squares, with a layer of raspberry jam, and covered in chocolate ganache. I really like this ganache recipe from "Simple Treats" - it's so easy and foolproof. I used warm almond milk instead of dissolving coffee granules in water (since I didn't think coffee + raspberry would be so great) - the ganache pours perfectly and firms up glossy & beauteous. Mmmmmmmmmm.

18 comments:

  1. I have that book! I'm intimidated to cook much out of it, but have loved the recipes I've tried. (never this soup, though.) Daiku veganized the lima bean/dill fritata and we love it.

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  2. Wow! Everything looks brilliant! I seriously want a bite of all your food!!!! YUM!

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  3. That ganache does look fantastic! I'll have to see if they have that book at the library. The soup sounds so interesting!

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  4. cool! i think your crazy soup sounds fantastic, i'm glad it came out well for your tastes at least. also, i can't believe i haven't made polenta rancheros yet, considering i am a polenta superfreak and max warns me that i'm turning into a giant cornstalk.

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  5. Your cake squares (petit fours?) sound and look delicious! That soup sounds really interesting, too... I wonder if you could substitute pomegranate molasses for the juice to make things a little cheaper.

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  6. I always make WAY too much of everything for my single person household and end up eating, like, rice and beans for 5 days. But still, that soup sounds like it held up.

    Love the vegan brunch recipes! That polenta rancheros is especially calling my name.

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  7. Wow, that omelet is gorgeous! I still haven't made that recipe, and I need to SOON!

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  8. Very precious feast! Quite a chef you are. I love using polenta... Looks great!

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  9. Mmmmm...everything looks so tasty! I think I'd even like the crazy pom soup, though I'd never be able to afford 4 cups of pom juice! I love Vegan Brunch too. I think I need to re-visit it (and that omelet) again real soon.

    BTW, I keep meaning to ask but keep forgetting — did the bacon salt make it in time for Xmas?

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  10. Yum! Love the brunch/breakfast food! :-)

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  11. I've heard so many good things about that book.I need to order it.

    The omelette looks perfect, I want some now.

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  12. That soup sounds pretty tasty & your ganache IS beautiful!

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  13. What an interesting soup! I think it sounds delicious - I love spinach in soups.

    Your breakfast looks fabulous as do those cake sqaures!

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  14. I love Silk Road Cooking! Check out my veganization of the fava bean pie, it was delicious! I really want a bite of everything in this post, especially the chocolate bites at the end. YUM!

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  15. pancakes! I never make pancakes. I'm too lazy for them. clearly, I need therapy. I love the deco on your ganache-y dessert. there's nothing chocolate ganache (or you) can't do!

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  16. Your pancakes look perfect! I don't have Vegan Brunch (I always eat smoothies for breakfast and I'm just not that into brunch foods), but I do love black beans on polenta! Your soup sounds wild--I can't wait to see what else you make from that cookbook.

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  17. The polenta rancheros really caught my eye. The colours from your camera make the dish look really bright and fresh. I wanted to dive right in.
    Yummm

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  18. Everything looks amazing especially your tofu omlette. I keep meaning to give it a go but yours looks so perfect! Love the heart-shapped bowl too.

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