Just Because

It’s a weekday. It’s a MoFo weekday. I need to write a post!

*B&R=more likeable the morning after

*My father’s fried potatoes seasoned with celery salt, chili powder, and don’t even know what…soooo crusty, soooo good

laaaaaazy kale…some olive oil, one clove somewhat chopped, fragrantized, roughly chopped kale (in the time it took for the garlic to become odorous), and stir stir, try a few lukewarm bites, oh wait there it is.

now i’m off to go read other people’s non-lazy posts.


Caught Cooking: Terry Hope’s Costa Rican Beans & Rice

Ok, first off, a confession: I do not actually like beans and rice. All that much. I don’t even like beans & rice in my burrito (beans only, ‘k? thx). Too often B&R tastes flat, dull, lifeless, like glue. There. I may have broken some veg*n ten commandment, but there it is.

Tonight I compiled T.Hope’s Costa Rican recipe from that glorious goddess of a cooknbook Viva Vegan. Onions were minced, cursed, abandoned, minced. Garlic was ‘finely chopped’ (into matchsticks). Oil was guesstimated in the pan. Stuff was sauteed. Cold brown rice thrown in. Smush smush stir for ten minutes. Beans, a few secret ingredients (you really should buy the cooknbook). Taste test, and an ‘oh dear God’. Scrounged the produce bins and gave thanks that cilantro really had been bought. Quick chop. More foolhardy shakes of salt.  Stir stir. Scoop out into cute ‘vintage’ (read: my grandmother’s from the seventies) bowl. Admire. Think about taking picture. Clear off one edge of messy table.  Realize I have no idea where my camera cable is, thus negating effect. Shake on hot sauce for all its life and then add a pool of ketchup.

Well…maybe if I’d added the chili and the bell pepper like I was sposed to.

Or maybe it will taste better t’mrra.

Or maybe, no matter if it’s a recipe from the patron saints of veg*n cooking, I really just don’t like beans and rice.


Days of Our Lambs: Praise Jesus for Provamel

My tiny little island brought forth some marvelous, unexpected treasures, none more marvelous, life giving, and utterly delightful than Provamel Single Cream substitute.

The community was quite good at accommodating special diets (everything from gluten free to intricate permutations), but I was sure my first days there that I would be resigned to no scones at coffee break and no luscious creamy desserts. It would be fruit, fruit, and more fruit for my after dinner ‘delight’.

Imagine my shock when they specially announced for me (and the other dairy-frees) that there was a dairy free option to pour all over my pudding! I was pleasantly shocked. The thick, not-sweet creamy consistency drenched the pudding and delighted me and all the other dairy-frees.

In fact, I became quite a Provamel junkie.  I worked in housekeeping so I knew where the stores were kept.  Absolutely any semi-appropriate moment I would take to glug Provamel.  Fruit for dessert? Chop up a banana and swim it in Provamel. Fruit tart with a crumb crust? Provamel. Chocolate sauce over pudding cake cake for the others? Provamel, baby, tons of it (since I learned that it was not calorie dense).

One of my friends and I kept ourselves amused for twenty minutes at the dinner table, mock-playing how we would do our Provamel advertisement.

Hey, if anyone wants to send me a case, I’m up for it. I tried soya creamer after I got back and it was waaay too sweet and thin. Curious about MimicCreme though; has anyone tried it?

Product Review: Raw Blueberry Granola Bar

I got a raw blueberry granola bar by Two Moms in the Raw at an Sbux which is reason number two why I bought it. (Reason 1 is that it’s the best breakfast available there). I paid $3.95. Was the bar worth it? Well…

On the front of the package it advertises that everything (I assume the grainy & nutty ingredients) is soaked, sprouted, and rinsed. Okay, that’s major healthy points from me.

Millet is a main ingredient. I kept on thinking, ‘oh, this is crunchy. this is millet. i’m definitely eating millet.’ I’m not sure if that was a good thing.  In texture and taste, it reminds me more of a Be Kind bar without the way overdone sweetness. Coconut and nut shavings are pressed on top, which is a great idea and a delightful addition. An omnivorous friend liked it too, which is always points.

I’d say it’s a great concept, fairly successful execution, and worthy of a one time purchase if only to show demand for a mainstream outlet.

The website doesn’t have the exact product I bought. This is the closest I found.

Days of Our Lambs: Vegan on a Small, Isolated Island

This spring I spent two months living in a community on a small island hours and hours from the nearest city.  I thought about calling this ‘At Their Mercy’ since I, as a vegan, was at the mercy of the cooks for all my eating needs.  This series is about what happens when people keep being polite and making you special meals…with a once every two weeks grocery delivery, a teensy tiny convenience store, and the largest wall of specialty cookies in a general store known to humankind.  We’ll talk ‘where do you get your protein?’, ‘praise Jesus for…’ and much, much more.

Be forewarned: you may need a snacking jar of nuts.

Caught Cooking: Lazy Ancho-K Soup

I hate chopping. An onion? That’s more than enough. The other night I attempted to make a chili, but got really lazy. This is what happened.

First, I quick soaked kidney beans. Picked them over, covered them with water in the pot, boiled, and left to sit for about an hour or when Oprah was done. So maybe fifty minutes at that point.

Next realize that I don’t have enough clean pans to start an onion saute while the beans are cooking. Then realize I have no onions.

Okay, Plan B. Drain kidney beans, rinse, put them back into pot, cover with water (maybe 2-3 extra inches), and set them cooking.

Now for seasoning. Fish out the dried ancho chiles that I meant to make Terry’s Ancho Chile Dressing with. Pop one in the pot o’beans. Then three Rapunzel bouillion cubes (or what will season 6 cups of water, which I figured would be left). Then douse the pan with cumin. Stir. Taste. Then cayenne pepper…enough so you’re like, oh crap that’s gonna be too much.

Then, since I am lazy, and maybe you are too, peel (half-heartedly) two massive cloves of garlic or whatever. Cut slits in the garlic and pop them in there. Make mental note to tell people not to eat the chiles and garlic.

Simmer, simmer, simmer. Ok, boil. Remove lid every five minutes and taste beans. Enjoy watching their little skins curl off. Get really hungry. Corral someone into cubing butternut squash for you. Throw that in a roasting pan at about 400, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Try after about twenty minutes. Realize that you need to cover it with foil cos you are getting hungry and want to eat soon. Continue to steal tastes from both pots now every five minutes. Maybe worry about the ancho a little bit and shred it just a touch.

Then decide that you don’t care about verb tenses or subject verb agreement when you will write the inevitable blog post. Get super, super lazy with grammar too. Half-heartedly mince (or what passes for mincing to you) two big cloves of garlic.  Preheat a skillet. Pour olive oil in the pan, so much that you think you might have just a bit too much. Throw garlic in.  Try not to burn them. Burn them as you open a bag of collard greens (frozen) and throw them in.

Hey, soup’s almost done. So I added a can of diced tomatoes and half a bag of leftover frozen corn. And a bit of cumin. Then the collard greens were done and the squash was perfectly steamed/roasted.

And even though I told them not to, one person still ate the chiles and garlic. Don’t do it!

Terry Hope at Boston Veg Fest!!

I’ve been waiting to write about this all weekend! My ever cool auntie tipped me off that T. Romero was the first speaker on Saturday, whippin’ out Black Bean Sweet Potato Tamales. So we carpooled-it up. I held it down for thirty minutes before the presentation even started. That baby was jam packed.

You know, I titled this blog ‘Church of Isa Chandra and Terry Hope’ and I meant that somewhat ironically. Yes, it’s true that all the pages of ‘Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar’ are stuck together because I’ve tried half the recipes. And, yes, I have made over thirty recipes from the Veganomicon and generally scoff at other cookbook authors (‘xcept for the Urban Vegan).  But, man, when Terry mock-football ran into that room, it was like seeing the Pope.

(Who I have seen, btw. If by seen, you mean a white dot in St. Peter’s.)

ZOMG! First off, totally self-deprecating in an awesome way. She constantly joked about how she could’ve been better prepared and how we didn’t want to see her chopping an onion (of course, we did). And she really wanted the crowd’s input.  I asked the question everyone’s been dying to know the answer to, ‘what’s the diff between shortening and margarine?’. she said shortening has more structure and margarine is flavoured.

and the tamales were awesome. okay, more later.