Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Vegan Mo Fo begins tomorrow! Oh boy.

Well, things are pretty active on the cooking front: yesterday I made gnocchi from VWAV (Vegan with a Vengeance) and topped it with basil-spinach pesto. The gnocchi turned out really well, and, as expected, took in total, a really long time. I took some photos along the way. I also have a tip for anyone attempting gnocchi: after mixing and rolling out the dough on your counter top, take the time to wipe it down right away, unlike me. I did it today, with a bit of elbow grease.
I even made salad, (salata baladi), with cucumbers, tomatoes, a tiny bit of onion and one grated baby carrot. I dressed it with the works: a pinch each of salt and pepper on top, a dash of vinegar (plain) and olive oil, and a drop of lemon (the kind that comes in a plastic bottle). Not bad.

1. Dough getting rolled out
2 & 3. Getting cut into small bite-size gnocchi pieces
4. Final product
5. Aftermath: extra frozen gnocchi to use later.

Total time: roughly 3 hours, including 45 minutes of baking potatoes in the oven.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vegan Mo Fo

Just signed up for vegan mo fo - the vegan month of food, starting Wednesday October 1st, so exactly a week to go.

Today's left-overs: I made Vegan Dad's Potato Cauliflower Mash, to use up my cauliflower - exactly as the name suggests, potatoes and cauliflower mashed together. It's pretty close to plain mashed potatoes, but the cauliflower adds a nice crunch to the texture. I left out the sweet potatoes because I didn't have any, but I imagine they'd make it even better. I loved this recipe because it was so easy and used so few ingredients, so give it a shot with your left-over potatoes.


In other food news, yesterday I made tomato sauce from scratch! It took a few hours, but it was a good experience. I made great but totally non-adhesive (um, sticking-together-itness) lasagna with it, and that was the end of the sauce (it yielded a huge amount from what would amount to 12 medium-sized tomatoes). The lasagna included vegan sausage, fresh spinach, and button mushrooms.

I had declared this Italian week, and had plans for cooking something new today (especially since I'm planning to check out the farmer's market today), but I think the prevalence of left-overs from yesterday and the day before stop me from doing that in good conscience.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The One Thing

Yesterday the mr. made a few announcements. 1 - that I am good at a lot of things, but not excellent at any. 2 - that I should choose one thing to be excellent at and dedicate my life to it.

He tried to lure it out of me: "What do you enjoy doing the most? What could you do all day?"
"I like doing lots of things. Right now I like cooking and crochet."
"Then you should do that. Go to cooking school. Become really good at it."

Just when I'd pretty much decided to give up this idea of the One Thing and half-heartedly pursue uhm, pretty much everything.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things I am putting off

So, if you scroll down slightly & peek at the left-hand column, you'll find I've gone through my archives and labeled a bunch of old posts, to make my archives more accessible for all (ok, mostly me). I have to say, I like looking through old blog stuff. Currently the mr. is working very hard - he has been for hours.

Here are a bunch of things I "want" to do but...:
1- study for my US driving license test. I've read through the entire pamphlet at this point, now I just need to commit it to memory.
2- read the rest of Naked Lunch. I had a quota of 20 pages a day to just get through it and have it done before it's due date at the library, but I've skipped for the past 3 or 4 days (ok, I only followed it for 2 days...)
3- work on my painting! i went and got a little lamp specially, and came close about an hour ago, but somehow I wound up here working on the blog.


Image: Stolen coaster! Background: the still life I am procrastinating on. Reflection in window: main living area of our flat.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Throwing Yourself

One of my friends advised me, before moving to Seattle from Cairo to join my already-established husband, that I had to find something. That I had to throw myself into something there, anything. Art class starts Monday.

Today: library (the new Oprah magazine is out. I just read the new one two days ago - that's like a whole new magazine) and park?

Yesterday: fettuccine with classic tomato sauce.

Today: Mossakah? Still intimidated. Mother-in-law advised:
Chop eggplants, deep fry in oil with garlic, layer in baking dish and cover with tomato sauce. Sounds simple enough, right? Might still wait for tomorrow and have the mr. make it himself. I don't even like "mossakah."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Birthday food

My original plan for the mr's birthday was to make him homemade gnocchi, but I had to change course because I wasn't feeling too well, so I needed something slightly less time-consuming and labor-intensive. I turned to Vegan Dad's Chickpea Coconut Curry served over rice, with a side of guacamole and a not-quite 'dessert' of Susan V's fat-free blueberry muffins.

So, the first three images are from the birthday dinner; the other two are just random, non-birthday meals.

Random 1: Broccoli florets with pesto and vegan mozzarella.
Random 2: Carrot-celery rice pilaf that turned out way too bland, and loosely based on a recipe I found in a vegan book the mr. has, Vegan Cooking for One or Two.

Today: maybe an attempt at misa2a3a (mosakah?)- he got the recipe from his mom.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Black Bean Burgers

This is what we ate today - recipe here. It made four patties. We topped the burgers with tomatoes, pickles, avocado and vegan mozzarella cheese. Not bad at all. For some reason I got really frustrated in the burger-making process - it started with me asking the mr. if the onions were chopped finely enough, and him saying no - so I kind of made him take over, and I became in charge of picking out pickle slices from the jar and putting them on the burgers.

I'd recommend them and would make them again - they were done pretty fast. Also, I think you could easily use any other kind of bean - say, lentils - instead of black beans, which seem to be a very USian kind of bean (i.e., not widely available elsewhere, I think).

Friday, September 05, 2008

Breathing Apples & more

Yesterday for dinner I did end up making the spinach-tofu, only the spinach shrunk down to about 1/16th of its size so I felt compelled to add a carrot and a few stalks of celery. Learning from previous mistakes (wait - there are no mistakes), I sliced the carrots as thin as I could so they would cook fast. Initially I threw them in with the spinach, but since the spinach was already all wilted, I went ahead and picked out the carrot slices - with my fingers, it wasn't too hot yet - and threw them in another pan on their own to fry at their leisure and not make the spinach evaporate. Seriously, the spinach diminished that much, the next step really would've been for us to have spinach-gas hovering over the stove.

So besides the carrot and celery additions, I did everything else ehow suggested in their how to cook spinach page. Pretty easy. And the peanut sauce recipe I used was one I've done before a few times, from about.com.

Next up, I want to try about's recipe for black bean burgers. It looks so easy, and I even have a can of black beans all ready to go! I'll probably do that tomorrow, although we still have carrots, broccoli, and celery in the fridge, so I need to figure out what I'll do with those.

Also, I found an interesting and very useful web page about storing produce - tells you what produce to refrigerate, and which to leave out, and which you should keep separate (turns out certain fruits, like apples, emit gases which causes non-gas emiters, like, say, broccoli, to ripen/ go bad faster).

Funny side note: my sister had a colleague that thought plucked apples were alive because they 'breathed,' - that is, she noticed if you put them in a lidded container there would be moisture at the top from the supposed breathing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Cauliflower Leftovers

These were the remains of the braised cauliflower I made yesterday; I ate them for lunch today. They look awesome in this picture, and I think the texture ultimately turned out really well, but weren't too flavorful - my fault, I believe, for modifying the recipe too much (left out some spices, reduced others).

Today for dinner: probably a spinach-tofu peanut sauce concoction, as inspired by this (jump down to step 9).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I am braising (Vegan with a Vengeance - my cookbook - describes braising as "sauteeing and steaming in... sauce") cauliflower, unsuccessfully I think. My neighbor just walked over to borrow some salt. I thought those kinds of cliches only happened in the movies. (At least it wasn't sugar).

Occasional art, comics, food, and other things of less interest to the general public.