Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lots of Good Stuff I Have Been Eating

the joys of piles of cookbooks, snuggly pets, and open-ended menu planning.

Between doing lots of fun book review posts and a whole month of MoFo, it seems like it's been a really long time since I could just site back and make whatever the heck I wanted to make for dinner. And I do actually have another fun book review coming soon, but for the last couple of weeks, I've had the joy and luxury of just cooking whatever I'm in the mood for. It's so fun! 

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna from The Abundance Diet

This lasagna recipe from The Abundance Diet is pretty much one of our favorite foods ever and sometimes we discuss the possibility of only ever eating this from here on out. So, as soon as I sensed an opening in my culinary schedule, I knew what to do. Plus, as you shall soon see, I am currently engaged in a manic effort to eat as much eggplant as possible before the season is over. Somewhat by surprise, I am quite into eggplant this year. We got a good solid 8 servings out of this lasagna, and it makes great leftovers and we love it. I already bought more eggplants so I can make it again next week.

imaginary Eggplant PJs
plus Yummers snuggles

Farmers Market Panini from Chef Chloe

When we were in NYC, we ate at Chef Chloe's new restaurant "By Chloe," and we were really impressed. The food there was fantastic! So, inspired by that happy experience, I decided to see what sort of eggplant recipes she might have on her blog... and came upon these panini. The finished sandwiches were super tasty - grilled eggplant, a garlicky white bean spread, fresh avocado and tomatoes... all on a fresh bun. I made Mr VE&T a big sandwich, and a mini for me (plus a bunless all-eggplant version for myself: it was really good!). The recipe as written calls for 1/2 cup oil, but I just lightly sprayed the eggplants, and then reduce the oil in the white bean spread to 1 tbsp and it was great. No problemo. The white bean spread was very good and I used the leftovers as salad dressing, which was really great!

3 Dishes from Vegan Richa's Kitchen:
Eggplant with Cumin & Nigella, Gobi Mutter Masala, Spinach & Black Eyed Peas

I finally got to bust open my copy of Vegan Richa's Kitchen and made a bunch of Indian food. I made 3 dishes and then we had it for dinner for two nights in a row, plus a few lunches for me. (Mr. VE&T likes to go out for lunch). I think our favorite was the Gobi Mutter Masala - a lightly creamy concoction with cauliflower and peas and a deliciously spiced sauce. So good! I jacked up my Spinach and Black Eyed Peas with some hot sauce and loved it that way! So many more promising recipes in this book to explore. Do you have any favorites to recommend?

Quick & Easy: Gardein Fishless Fillets, Frozen peas, Homemade Tartar Sauce

Ha ha, this isn't a dinner you see often on my blog, is it? Well, I've heard so many good things about Gardein products, but I still hadn't tried them -- until I found them on sale at Grocery Outlet. I got the nuggets, the mandarin orange nuggets and the fishless fillets (pictured here). I actually really liked the nuggets a lot, and was excited and curious to try the fishless fillets -- especially since I've heard so many rave reviews about them. Well, I really didn't like them.

Ever since I can remember, I have never liked fishy things. As a kid, I always hated fish. Even now, I have an unfortunate aversion to seaweed that makes it impossible for me to enjoy sushi*. I don't want it to be this way, but it is this way. So, I thought I'd try these fishless fillets and see what i thought... maybe my tastes have evolved? Nope. Mr VE&T was totally impressed with them ("they taste like fish!" "I can't believe this is vegan!") - but then, he likes fish. I ate one, and just could not bring myself to eat another. Alas, Mr. VE&T ate it happily... and I returned to the kitchen and cooked up some of the regular nuggets and enjoyed those just fine. 

*Recently I spent a day in San Francisco with some pals and we had a really great dinner at an all-vegan Japanese place called Shizen. I was excited to try the sushi and see how it went... but I also played it safe and ordered some (delicious!!) non-sushi items as well. The sushi came, and I tried it... and I just wasn't able to enjoy it because of that darned seaweed in there. It ruins everything for me. I am a little sad about this, but also kind of amazed. Isn't it interesting that we don't really get to decide what we like and don't like? 

Tofu Omelettes (from Vegan Brunch) with Cherry Tomato Filling (from Fresh Food Fast)

In addition to copious amounts of eggplant consumption, we have also been diligently eating our tomatoes. This is one of my favorite combos, and I've made it several times before. Everything comes together very quickly, it's fresh and filling and healthy, and fun to eat. A perfect early fall dinner.

Our tomato plants have been working hard and producing so many tomatoes -- especially cherry tomatoes. My frugal nature dictates that nothing must go to waste, so I am always on the lookout for recipes wherein I can include loads of homegrown tomatoes. Happily, just last week, I bought tomatoes at the farmers market for the first time all summer, because our plants are finally getting used up. Phew.

Now, the apple tree is just coming on, so next I will be eating my body weight in apples. If it's not one crop, it's another. :) 


  1. I'm with you on the seaweed. I want to like it, but I just can't stand it! I try some at least once a year, but I still hate it :)

    Have you tried soy paper for your sushi? My mother-in-law introduced me to it and it solved my sushi issue! Most Japanese restaurants have soy paper so if you see a roll you like you can ask that is be made with soy paper rather than nori. The soy paper is similar to a rice wrapper...no real taste and not much texture.

  2. I have a similar aversion to fishiness. Growing up, I hated seafood. BUT I did like Captain D's fried fish. So because of that, I actually do love the Gardein filets bc they remind me of Captain D's. And I seem to be cool with any fried vegan fish items — Sophie's Kitchen shrimp and calimari, for example. And I can do seaweed but only when my sushi is doused in copious amounts of soy sauce to mask the fishiness. I can't do kelp (blech) or most other sea veggies. And only dulse in tiny amounts.

    Oh, and that soy paper VeganGretchen mentioned is the BEST!!!

  3. I'm with you on the seaweed. It's my #1 most hated food. One time non-vegan neighbors invited us over for dinner. They were so thoughtful to make a full vegan meal, including appetizers of nori maki. I felt obligated to push my way through it, because they'd been so kind to accommodate us. However, even the seaweed I pushed away from the rice still tasted like it. It's the one food that causes a gag response in me. I have tried so many different vegan sushi places, and I just can't get into it. That said, I love those Gardein fishless filets. Long John Silver's was my favorite "restaurant" when I was in junior high, and they really take me back.

    That's good to know about Somer's lasagna! I need to break into that cookbook!

  4. Amey, I'm the same way about fish... I never ate it when I was a child (I just couldn't handle the flavor/smell). I've seen rave reviews about the Gardein filets, but was leery of trying them - you have confirmed my suspicion that they are a great product that is just not for me!

  5. That's so sad you didn't like the filets, but maybe that's good because that means they actually taste like fish. Everyone asks me if I ever miss meat. And honestly, I really don't, mostly because there are plenty of great substitutes. But one meat that I have been missing is fish. I used to love fish as a kid and I was really bummed I couldn't find a good substitute. I also heard great things about the Gardein fishless filets so I gave them a try. Let me just tell you, I dunked one in lemon juice and took a bite, and I was instantly brought right back to my childhood eating fish sticks. It was an amazing feeling, I will filled with so much joy!

  6. I LOVE Vegan Richa's book. Love love love everything I've tried but I haven't made the dishes you have. I'd love to visit Chloe's restaurant one day but the other day I made the cauliflower and chickpea with mango chutney panini from her cookbook and it was great :)

  7. I also hate seaweed. I had SUCH a hard time when I went to Japan this summer. The few Veggie options available often had seaweed in them. And I couldn't stand the smell of the seaweed wrapped rice balls my husband kept getting!

    I wish I liked it since its so darn healthy. I do like the garden fishless filets and fake tuna salad etc so I guess my aversion isn't quite as strong as yours though!

  8. Thankfully I love seaweed so can happily munch my way through all sorts of sushi delights.
    I also love that beautiful lasagna, it is such a good recipe!

  9. I was a tester for Richa's book and I loved EVERYTHING I tried! This book is the best!! My favourites are: Everything! But seriously, if I had to recommend a few things in particular, definitely the Palak Tofu, the Butter Curry (but I use tofu or chickpeas rather than seitan), Puffy Naan, my favourite dal is the "Red Lentil Soup". the Dosas with Masala Potatoes and Coconut Chutney (the 2-day dosas are probably the best but the quick version work really well too), Sweet and Sour Pumpkin, the Pakora with Tamarind Date Chutney... I could go on! For breakfast the Savory Oats Hash is delicious, especially with a cup of Richa's Chai. I use this book all the time. It is my most used and most loved cookbook. Luckily my husband is a big fan of Indian food :)

  10. Can you share your Homemade Tartar Sauce recipe please?

  11. Everything looks and sounds TOP NOTCH! Yummo!

  12. A friend of mine has that issue with seaweed. Despite all our cheering, she absolutely can't appreciate sushi.

    All the food you cooked and ate looks stunning. Everything! The only thing I've made before is the omelet from Vegan Brunch. It is so good.

    I've heard of By Chloe before, but I had no idea it had anything to do with Chloe Coscarelli!

  13. All that food can make anyone hungry, beautiful presentation...Millie

  14. There's so much deliciousness in this post that I'm seriously wishing I had a kitchen right now! I love, love, love aubergine (or eggplant if you must!) so both the lasagne and the sandwiches look perfect to me. I also loooove a tofu omelette and your cherry tomato filled ones look completely perfect. Also, I adore those fishless fillets but I'm a huge faux fish and seaweed fan... in fact I'm snacking on some nori right now! It is weird that we don't get to choose what we like!

  15. Everything looks amazing! You should link up to MWM - MidWeek Munchies for this!!!

  16. That lasagna looks so good!! And the tofu omelettes. It's so nice to have your own tomatoes that you grew.
    "*Recently I spent a day in San Francisco with some pals and we had a really great dinner at an all-vegan Japanese place called Shizen."
    Mmmmm I love Shizen!!! It's so good. I like seaweed though... so I think I may have enjoyed it more. Next time you're in that area, maybe you would like Gracias Madre more.

  17. I can do seaweed in limited amounts. But agar ... which is made from seaweed too ... omg ... even a granule of it in something will make me literally gag!

    Those tofu omelets look great!


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