Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busy in the Kitchen!

Oh Yeah, I am really enjoying my new gas stovetop! It's so nice to cook without having to juggle pots and pans around... I had a complicated system of having one burner on high, one on medium, and one on low - and then moving the pots to whichever burner was preset to the needed temperature... now I use the more civilized technique of simply turning the burner up or down. Yeah!
First I made a big batch of Stuffed Bell Peppers, based on the recipe from Vegetarian Suppers by Deborah Madison. This small batch was for my grandparents. They've had a tough week, with my grandmother in the hospital. She's recovering now, but she's really not into cooking so I had a chance to help out a little. They can't eat cumin, or greens, or salt... so that always takes a little adaptation. These peppers have fresh corn, quinoa, broccoli (instead of chard), basil (instead of cumin), and tofu ricotta.
I also made this batch for us. They've got the cumin and the chard, and some salt & pepper too. Mmmm! We've still got a few in the fridge... I love having such tasty and filling leftovers on hand. Plus, if I don't get around to them in the next day or two, I can pop them into my new, larger freezer. Yeah!
Yesterday, I went over to Palo Alto (about an hour away) to visit my very cool new friend Karo. I am working on painting a portrait of her. It's really fun. It's been so many years since I've painted a portrait from life (rather than working from a photograph).... and Karo is a wonderful model. She's so good at sitting still. :) She's also really good at making tasty lunch for me! Karo is a vegetarian, and is very sweet about making tasty vegan lunches. Yesterday she made this lovely veggie fried rice with leeks and red peppers, seasoned with coconut, red pepper flakes, and coriander seeds. It was great! Cute plates too, huh?

Karo & I have a fun little post-painting date, when we head over to "Fraiche." Fraiche is a yogurt place in downtown Palo Alto that has really good frozen yogurt - including a soy vanilla flavor! It's so fun and special to have frozen yogurt again. AND it's really good- 98% fat free, homemade there, and very nice balance of tart and sweet. And you get two toppings. I usually pick fresh fruit (here you see mango & strawberry) - but then I found out you can also get super special dark chocolate shavings and I was overcome with remorse for not having picked that... so they tossed some on for free for me. Smiley face!

This is a recipe that I have wanted to try for so long... It's called "Apple Hazelnut Bread"... and i tore the recipe out of an old issue of New York Times Magazine. The flavor is really wonderful, but it's much too dry. So I think I will try again and fuss with the recipe a bit before I share it. Good news, it used up 3 apples! For those of us with apple trees... every little bit is helpful!

For dinner yesterday I made a wonderful recipe from "Voluptuous Vegan" - Crimson Cabbage Borscht. It's also got a nice dollop of "Tofu Dill Sour Cream" in the middle - a quick and wonderful addition! I was telling Karo that I was planning to make Borscht and she said she would make some for me next time I come over to paint. Karo is from Poland and her husband is Ukranian, so I think she'll make some seriously good borscht! I can't wait to try it. From what she described, this may not be the most traditional recipe, but it's good all the same. Easy, pretty fast, full of nutrients, and very tasty. I definitely recommend it.

Here's my breakfast this morning... the worm-free half of an apple from our tree, the rotten-spot-free half of a nectarine, a banana, and a piece of banana bread. Of course, I ate the banana bread first! I'd hate to fill up on fruit before I ate my special baked yumminess. Isn't it cute how my fruit ended up making a smiley face? I didn't even do that on purpose, but noticed it when I went to take a picture. A little breakfast friend!

Hope all is well!


  1. I love your happy breakfast! Your fruity goodies obviously were pleased that you were eating them. ;-) Perhaps I'm extra vulnerable because I haven't eaten yet today, but all your food is making me very hungry! It all looks amazing, especially that beautiful borscht. And I can't believe the soy frozen yogurt - west coast envy here!

  2. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Adorable breakfast! And I second that jealousy over frozen soy yogurt- Considering how unseasonably hot it's been lately (can you believe it's really October?!) that would sure hit the spot!

  3. aah I KNEW you'd love the gas stove!! I love mine just as much :0)

    The Stuffed Bell Peppers (one of my favorite dishes that I haven't eaten in a while!), Frozen Soy Yogurt (you're SO lucky to have a place like that near you), Apple Hazelnut Bread (sounds fantastic! sorry to hear that it was dry), and that Crimson Cabbage Borscht (so vibrant!) look delicious!! And your breakfast? looks *almost* too cute to eat ;0)

    Oooh that painting that your working on sounds lovely - I do hope you'll share some photographs of your artwork sometime?

  4. Mmm... Stuffed peppers... That looks very yummy.

    The breakfast plate is very cute and healthy too! What a great start to a new day. :)

  5. What a coincidence; we *just* got a gas stove too! (two weeks ago!)

    I LOVE the smiley face breakfast!

    (And we're not so big on vega bars either...)

  6. Your new stove is working out great - I knew you would love cooking with gas! Those peppers sure look yummy.

  7. yum, that apple hazelnut bread makes me happy!

  8. Those stuffed peppers look perfect! And your breakfast is too cute!!

    Hope you are enjoying your new gas range. I love my except for one thing....it always burns rice. Something about the lowest setting is too high for this. Really I just need to figure out how to raise the pot a little higher and the problem would be solved. Otherwise, it's great!

  9. Soy froyo in Palo Alto?! I may have to take a trip! Do you know what brand it is?
    Apple hazelnut bread sounds SO good!

  10. Wow, I never knew about that soy frozen yogurt in Palo Alto! Next time I'm there I'm definitely going to have to check it out! Also, your stuffed peppers look so yummy. Stuffed peppers is one of my very favorite meals!


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