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Archive for May, 2010

This week I got a whole bunch of daikon radishes in my CSA share.  Fantastic.  Now, just what the hell are daikon radishes?  I had no clue, so I wiki’d them.  They look like huge albino carrots, but they don’t taste like carrots.  I’m actually not sure how to describe their flavor and texture.  They’re crunchiness reminded me of celery, but I hate celery.  The flavor wasn’t celeryish though, so that was good.  I’m not really sure what flavor they have actually.  They’re good in soup at least as they didn’t get all mushy after bubbling for close to an hour.  I’ll have to get back to you on the whole flavor thing…

Anyway, chances are you’ve had them in some dish at a Chinese, Korean or Japanese restaurant, but they aren’t something you’ve probably taken any notice of (at least I hadn’t noticed them before – which isn’t really saying much).  I also got some bok choy in my CSA share so I went recipe shopping for some sort of soup I could throw them in.  I decided upon Susan’s Thai Coconut Soup.  The only problem was that I didn’t have any lemongrass, or tofu, or straw mushrooms, so I just threw whatever I found in the pot, wiggled my nose, clicked my ruby red heels together and hoped for the best.

I’m guessing the original version tasted pretty damn good.  Mine was, well… it was good but not really good enough to bother remembering the various 7.4 extra ingredients I added to the soup so as to share the recipe with my readership (small though it may be).  I suggest just trying Susan’s version (she’s actually knows how to cook as to where I just pretend to).

On a side note, if you’re putting noddles in a soup, cut them up.  I’m an idiot from time to time and don’t think about things like this.  It took a spoon, a fork and a pair of chopsticks to eat this soup.  And I still splattered it all over me.

If you have a favorite way to prepare a daikon radish, what is it?

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For some reason every time I have a lot of writing to do for school I find it utterly imperative that I go and bake something. Like, right that minute. I have absolutely no idea why. In fact, even now, when I should be doing some mandatory reading, I am here, typing up this blog post instead. Strange.

Anyway, about 9:42 yesterday morning, when I was supposed to be writing an essay, I found myself scouring my cabinets for flours. I keep a random supply of gluten-free baking essentials in my kitchen, but it’s been awhile since they’ve been replenished. I was a wee bit short of the necessary flours to create Isa and Terry’s suggested gluten-free flour blend from VCIYCJ, so I winged it and hoped for the best.

My only complaint about these cookies is that they could have been just a tad sweeter, but that was my fault as I refrained from using as much sugar as I probably should have. Otherwise, they were damn tasty!

In my never ending battle to make desserts healthy, I am always looking for a way to sub out some of the necessary butter or oil that undoubtedly accompanies baked goods. While bananas and applesauce are good subs for cakes and waffles, they make cookies, well, kind of suck. If you wanted something light and fluffy you’d make angel food cake – not a cookie. So I’ve now come to the conclusion that, if you want to make your cookie healthier, you just have to leave out some of the oil. So I did. I usually add some soy milk or water just to ensure there’s enough wet ingredients to handle the dry, but today I whisked some ground flaxseed together with some hot water because I was wary of my cookies crumbling apart before reaching my mouth (GF stuff doesn’t always stay together very well without xanthan gum).

I’m sure the missing oil accounts for a little bit of taste deficiency, but not enough to notice really. I think the best part about these cookies was the texture. They were slightly chewy on the onset but had a satisfying crunchiness to them in the end. And the best part is I only used two tablespoons of oil (for 17 cookies or something like that)! The picture doesn’t honestly convey the texture of these cookies so you’ll just have to trust me, or go make your own.

So, here’s the scoop:

Flour mixture (based off VCIYCJ):

  • 1/3 C quinoa flour
  • ¼ C almond meal
  • 1/3 C brown rice flour
  • 3 T potato starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 T white rice flour (added at the end because it appeared too moist)

Recipe (adapted from Novel Eats):

  • 1/3 C brown sugar
  • ¼ C agave or honey
  • 1½ t vanilla
  • ½ t molasses
  • 2 t ground flaxseed pre-whisked with 2 T hot water
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ¼ t salt
  • 1 C flour (or GF flour mixture above)
  • ¼ C chocolate chips
  • ¼ C white chocolate chips*

Method:

  • Preheat the ole oven to 350.
  • Line a couple cookie sheets with a Silpat mat or baking parchment.
  • Whisk together brown sugar through the canola oil.
  • Mix together baking powder through flour and then add to wet ingredients.
  • Mix until everything is incorporated.
  • Fold in chocolate and white chocolate chips.
  • Spoon out little dollops of dough onto prepared cookie sheets an inch or so apart (a wet spoon helps here).
  • Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Let cool.
  • Eat.

*Note: I’m not entirely sure the white chocolate chips were gluten-free, so be sure to check before buying and baking.

P.S. These are best just a few minutes out of the oven. If you’re eating them the next day, toss them in the toaster oven for a bit to get them warm and slightly crunchy again.

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wasn’t green either.  But at least it wasn’t brown.  I like this whole idea of drinking your greens.  If you’re going to have something cold and sweet anyway, why not get some extra nutrition out of it?  I’m sure a lot of these concoctions taste quite dandy, without any noticeable hint of leafy veggies in them.  The two I’ve made have been ok, but I’m not dressing them up at all or really adding any sugar or fat.  They’re good enough to drink, but I wouldn’t give one to somebody craving a chocolate milkshake or anything like that.

Anyway, here’s what I had today:

  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 bunch of salad greens (spinach, etc.)
  • 2 tsp ground flax-seed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (plus a wee bit more)

I think the banana yesterday gave it a creamier taste.  Also, yogurt would be good instead of all milk, or even some coconut milk if you can find the lower fat stuff.  A scoop of peanut butter would probably be a good addition as well.

What’s been going in your blender lately?

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What the hell is that?!” you might ask.  No, it’s not mud.  Tammy’s recommendation to try green smoothies got my curiosity going.  So I grabbed a handful of greens and some fruit and went to work.

As you can tell, it’s not really green.  I probably didn’t do it right, since instead of looking at Tammy’s recipe I just went into the kitchen and did my own thing…  In all fairness the actual product does appear much greener than in the photo.  Oh well.

While at first I could still taste the “greens,” I can’t honestly tell that they’re in there now having drank a little more than half of the smoothie.  It’s not bad (and obviously much healthier than, say, a strawberry shake from Burger King).  I think the smell of the greens may actually be the reason I could “taste” them at the beginning, but I guess you can’t let your nose deceive you.

Anyway, here’s what I did:

  • Handful of mixed salad green
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 lonely banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 squirt of honey (or agave to be an honest vegan)

Throw it all in the blender.  Blend.  Pour.  Drink.

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Last Sunday when I received my first CSA share I was almost in panic mode – I had no idea how I was going to use so much cabbage, and then two bags of salad and braising greens.  Now, one week later, I’m happy to report that the only thing that got wasted were the radishes, and that’s only because they were hidden under my housemate’s cheese and I totally forgot they were there.

I picked up week two today, which seems to be a smaller portion than what I received last week (though I’m not really complaining about that).  I think it’s highly likely that the schizophrenic weather we had here in Portland this past week did some damage to the crop production.  Anyway, I’m the proud owner of some tasty rapini (pasta recipe in Veganomicon – check it out), kale, radishes (to redeem myself with), purple/ green onion thingys, and some more salad greens.  See for yourself.

Also, I went scavenging for some radish recipes – last Friday when I realized I had completely forgotten their existence in my overcrowded fridge – and came across the radish toast idea, which calls for French bread.  I was just about to go buy some bread when I thought, “What the hell, I’ll just make my own.”  I won’t be buying anymore French bread in the future.  It was extremely easy to make, and it tastes superb.  I followed this recipe.  Mine didn’t look as pretty as his because I’m lacking a decent oven and also a baking stone, but I’m not complaining about the results.

I did end up making a piece of radish toast, but I didn’t photograph it.  What I did photograph was Gary’s cucumber bruschetta (cucumber because we didn’t have any tomatoes on hand).  It might seem odd to make bruschetta out of cucumber, but garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a fairly safe combination for just about anything.

And here’s me being harassed while I try to clean up the mess we made in the kitchen.

Have a good week.

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you just have to veganize them.

In all my random perusal of food blogs and various food sites on this big ole web, I somehow managed to never stumble upon .  Until I saw a coworker looking at it.  Now I’m addicted to it.  The site constantly streams all sorts of food pictures from blogs and websites all over the internet.  It’s a superb way to procrastinate, or find something to cook for dinner.  Or dessert.

One of the many pics I “gawked” at was from The Sweet Spot blog.  I don’t think anything on this blog is even close to being vegan, but the woman knows how to bake, evidently.  What caught my eye was this chocolatey, creamy, peanut buttery goodness all wrapped into one scrumptious looking dessert.  I was in love.  But not with all the dairy that’s in it.  I had been thinking about making an ice cream cake lately so I thought this a lovely opportunity to try it out.  I subbed the “cream” layer with some homemade vegan ice cream from Veganomicon.  For the peanut butter layer I made vegan peanut butter pie.  I used the chocolate cupcake recipe from VCTOTW, and the rest was an easy sub.

The result…..

If I were to do it all over again I’d go with ganache on top instead of butter-cream icing.  I’d also wait a wee bit longer before putting the cake together as my ice cream was a tad too soft and therefore didn’t stay put quite as well as I had hoped.  The flavors go well together though.  I’d give it a 9.2 on the Pretty Damn Tasty scale.

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Today I received my first weekly share of veggies from 15 Miles Farm.  As you can see from the picture below, I have quite of bit of greens to devour… half of which are cabbage.

I’m sure seasonal eating gets easier with experience, but right now I’m feeling almost panicky with all these greens!  Whatever will I do with them?  Somebody told me to make sauerkraut with the cabbage, but in all honesty I don’t really think I like sauerkraut.  I think.  Do I?  Nope.  I’m fairly positive.  I mean, I could probably eat some here or there, but I have like 4 heads of Napa Cabbage to consume (and who knows what I’ll be getting in my share next Sunday).  I think there are some soba noodles in my future.

According to the email from 15 Miles (I say this because I’ve yet to positively identify half of the various types of green leafy things that are currently residing in my fridge) the following is what I got in my share this week:

  • Napa cabbage
  • Braising Mix – stir fry vegetables including Morris Heading Collard Greens (heirloom), White Russian Kale (heirloom), Tatsoi, and Mizuna.
  • Salad mix – includes Rouge d’Hiver (heirloom), amaranth,pea shoots, lambs quarters, arugula, and Nevada lettuce.
  • French breakfast radishes
  • Assorted herbs  – oregano, sage, or mint
  • Parsely, Italian flatleaf
  • and 1 tomato plant

So all of this costs about $25/ week (for me it’s $12.50 because I happened to come upon a half off deal).  $25 may seem a little steep, but it’s all organic.  PLUS, supporting local agriculture is hugely important for our environment and local economy, among other things.  So it’s not that bad of a deal, especially if you can manage to eat what you get without buying many additional items every week.

If anybody has any cabbage ideas…. I need some.

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