Showing posts with label Authentic Chinese Cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Authentic Chinese Cooking. Show all posts

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Beautiful Day for a Potluck

We've been having some pretty chilly weather around here lately... with temperatures getting down below freezing at night, and pretty cold during the day too. I know that sounds silly to most of you, but for us Californians, that's a big deal! 

So, when we decided to have our next potluck outside at the park, it was a bit of a daring move. Lucky for us, though - Mother Nature came through just in time. This weekend was sunny, warm, and beautiful. Flip flops and t-shirts! The theme of our potluck was to make something from a cookbook/magazine/website you haven't used before... 

And here's what we made:

 Yummus
from Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen by Talya Lutzker
For starters, I made this really delicious spin on hummus, with some fresh veggies for munching. This recipe is a great contribution to the world of hummus - it's got pumpkin seeds and avocado and fresh herbs and various other things (plus chickpeas, of course!!). It was really fantastic. I tweaked the recipe a bit, I halved the salt, left out the olive oil entirely (and truly didn't miss it one bit), and also left out the agave. You can't really tell from the pic, but this made a TON ~ maybe 5 cups?? I'll definitely make it again, but next time I'll probably make a half batch. 

 Dok Boki
Sophia made these amazing Korean giant rice doodles in spicy-sweet sauce. They were a huge hit with everyone! Apparently everyone else knew all about Dok Boki (and Korean food in general), but I haven't really had much Korean food, so this was a really big treat for me. I loved it! The rice sticks reminded me of giant cheetos and they were really fun to eat, in addition to being very tasty. I also really loved all the festive garnishes - the freshness & bite of the green onions and the crunch of the sesame seeds really added to the flavor, texture AND appearance of the dish.

 Vegan Cob Salad
Alana made this beautiful salad, that we absolutely all agreed was excellent. It was huge and full of colors and flavors. Those Hearts of Palm converted into vegan "hard boiled eggs" were especially fun. Plus, I don't know if you can see over on the right... there was a bunch of rich marinated tempeh bits that went into the salad too. I really want to make this salad again for dinner one night... it was fantastic. I've been making an effort to broaden my salad horizons, so this is definitely on the list!

Chinese Pork Buns
from Authentic Chinese Cuisine (by Bryanna Clark Grogan)
Oh Lordy, these babies were So. Damned. Good. We were pretty much all having heart palpitations and fighting over the (very few) leftovers. Nikki made these, and they were absolutely great. Instead of seitan, she used dry-fried tofu bits in the filling, which worked out just fine as far as I could tell. The filling is pungent and rich and toothsome and the dough was as pillowy and tender as could ever be possible. They were little miracle creations!

Carrot & Parsley Salad
This was a super garlicky and yummy shredded carrot & parsley salad that Rose brought. So fresh and bright! She said it had a whole entire bunch of parsley in it, which is great for me because I am a true lover of parsley. 

Pineapple-Parsley Juice
While we're on the subject of parsley, this is the amazing juice that Kendra brought: Pineapple & Parsley. It deserves to be mentioned that Kendra came to the potluck on her bike, with a giant pitcher of juice (and plastic cups) in her backpack. Well done! I think she said that the recipe was from a vegetarian cookbook she got in Mexico. It was really delicious and refreshing ~ and perfect for our sunny potluck. It turns out that pineapple and parsley are a great pair!


Here's my whole plate, brimming with healthy and delicious goodness. All in all, we were really pleased with how successful all our recipes were - given that every thing was from a previously un-tested resource. We really ate well!!

Peanut Butter "Crispy" Bars
I put "crispy" in quotes because although these contained crisped kamut, they weren't very crispy after all*. Alana, who brought these, seemed to think that meant the recipe was a failure. Clearly, she needs to change her definition of "failure" to include "resounding success," because - crispy or not - these bad boys were SUPER YUM. They got a bit melty in the sun, but no one was complaining. Sweet, naughty, glorious decadence. 

(*plus, if you read the recipe, she warns you that the bars will be more "tender" than "crispy," unless you actually use rice crispies. Just so you know!) 

  Giant Hungarian Poppyseed Spiral Bread
from World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Although I've read through World Vegan Feast many times, I'd never buckled down and made something from it before. But with a name like "Giant Hungarian Poppyseed Spiral Bread," it was pretty obvious to me which recipe I should start with. The dough rose overnight in the fridge, and then was filled with an amazing prune-poppyseed-walnut-lemon zest filling, rolled up in a giant spiral (as promised) and baked! It was really delicious, and we all agreed that we hadn't really ever had anything quite like it before.

Here's the inside of it! It reminded me a lot of making King Cakes with Kittee... except that instead of rolling the tube into a ring-shaped cake, you roll it into a big spiral. However, the very inside of the loaf was still a bit doughy, so next time I make this glorious beast of goodness, I think I'll make it a ring shape for more even cooking. That said, the spiral sure is pretty, isn't it?

I hope you're staying warm, wherever you are!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dumpling Party!

This weekend we had a great little dumpling gathering! The theme was any sort of dumpling or pocket-of-goodness type item (think spring rolls, egg rolls, calzones, samosas, etc). Here's some of what was had... although in hindsight it appears that I didn't photo document a few of the tastiest items! Bad Amey!

Sophia brought these beautifully perfect little mochi daifukus! They were so cute and yummy. Very impressive thing to make from scratch (she used kittee's recipe). It was only my second time having a mochi sweetie, and I really like their smooth, velvety texture and understated sweetness. I also especially liked this little ones that Sophia made... not too big, but just a few perfect little nibbles.

Sophia's partner-in-crime Max has just freshly arrived home after two weeks form Germany, so he went with the Germanic theme and made Sommelknodel (best name!) with tomato herb gravy. These dumplings were dense and bready, and perfectly balanced with the sweet acidity of the tomato sauce. I think there were only two left at the end of the day!

I made mini-empanadas. I used a recipe for empanada dough from one of the Spanish cookbooks I got from the library, and free-formed a Spanish-style filling made with caramelized onions, ground up seitan, smoked pimenton, tomato sauce and potato chunks. Pretty yummy, but not my favorite ever. The recipe would need some tweaking before I would bother to share it... we'll see if I ever decide to revisit it.

Next up, I made a big batch of little mini Farmer's Market Tamales. I used the masa from "Voluptuous Vegan" but the filling and concept from "Viva Vegan." This was a great tamale recipe, chock full of fresh veggies and flavors. Also, this turned out to be an especially great tamale recipe for making mini tamales, because in this recipe the filling and masa are mixed together, rolled up, and steamed... rather than first laying out the masa and then spooning in the filling and all that. Why don't we always just mix together the filling and the masa?! It was super easy that way!

My final contribution was mini cherry pies with bing cherries & marzipan. Do I really need to explain to you that these were delicious? I didn't think so. Not necessarily beautiful, but definitely tasty.

Unfortunately, I didn't photograph one of my favorite dishes of the afternoon - Erin's "Chicken" & Dumplings - a totally delicious concoction of seitan and dumplings in a thick, savory gravy. Man, it was crazy good. I was probably too busy rushing back for seconds to reach for my camera. Put it in my pie hole!

Speaking of pie holes, Kylie brought this amazing pie. Wow. It was a mixed berry pie with a vegan cream cheese layer and a lavender crust. Served up with vanilla ice cream. I've never had anything like this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I took one bite and I was totally amazed. The combinations of flavors were so beautiful and unexpected and harmonious. MAN. That lavender crust, with the berries, with the ice cream... ahhh.

Alana brought these Chinese BBQ Seitan Buns with Spicey Soy-Ginger dipping sauce. The dough encasing the filling was just perfect - flavorful enough to be delicious, but mild enough to complement the filling. And the filling was a sweet-salty combo of goodness - especially with that beautiful dipping sauce. I think she said this was from Bryanna Clark Grogan's book "Authentic Chinese Cuisine." These buns even had fermented tofu as one of the ingredients - Alana is a real odd-ingredient connoisseur, which I truly admire!

All of our little doggies were having a great time - they were so stoked for more friendly faces and all the friendly company... but none more so than Snoopy. Snoopy LOVES cuddles. In fact, as I type this, he is all curled up in a little ball on my lap. So, naturally, he was making many friends at the potluck. I know it's not a food shot, but I couldn't resist this cute picture of the Super Duper Snooper Pooper and Alana snuggling together. Look at those little paws!

After all that carby feasting, I was looking for a lot of veggies and plentiful colors for dinner that night. So, I whipped up these three quick dishes, which turned out to be a truly complementary and compelling dinner. First up, Moroccan Carrots (from this recipe on about.com, minus the added olive oil). I love this recipe and I think it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. It takes about 10 minutes to throw together and it's totally delicious.

I also made two wonderful dishes from one of my other library books: Arabesque. Zucchini with Garlic, Mint, and Vinegar ~ I'm not a huge zucchini fan (uhh... so, exactly why did I plant a big, thriving zucchini in my garden?!), but I think this recipe may have single handedly changed my stance on the zucchini issue. I love that it required almost no oil, and the flavor of the dried mint was a new and unexpected pairing with the zucchini... definitely successful, and definitely something I'll make again. I also made Beans with Caramelized Onions and Spinach - except that I used some of the blanched kale from our freezer in place of spinach. I cut the oil dramatically and still this dish was so full of flavor and so fun to eat. Mr. Vegan Eats and Treats was all dressed up to go out for dinner, but took one pass through the kitchen and decided to stay home and eat with me... mwahahaha! evil laughter! Looks like "Arabesque" is another book bound for my wishlist!

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One last little thing... while we're on the topic of dumplings and such, I'll include these pictures from a delicious dinner that we had last week. My Project Freezer efforts are going along quite nicely, and this meal was part of that effort. These are the Pumpkin-Pecan Wonton Ravioli from "The Healthy Hedonist" - and they were so tasty, and pretty easy too. The filling is made with pumpkin, pecans, & caramelized onions and is CRAZY YUMMY.

The author gives two options for serving - either with Sage & Butter Sauce, or with Porcini Broth. I went for the high-flavor & low-fat option of the cooked down Porcini Broth and it was delicious. The broth was light but added moisture and a touch of umami depth. I know this picture isn't the prettiest food porn pic you've ever seen (BRAINZ!), but trust me when I tell you that the flavors were incredible. Back in the freezer, I've still got one more pack of wonton wrappers and a few more cups of frozen pumpkin... so now I think I know what I"ll do with them!