Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hello, It's Molly

This is just a random post, so feel free to ignore it. I felt like posting something, but I don't really have anything to post about except for the fact that we adopted Molly the cat. We've been fostering her from the animal shelter since September, and well, she just became part of the family.

At the shelter, it's jokingly referred to as a "foster failure" when a foster parent adopts one of their fosters...and I'm pretty much a foster failure. Last year, we fostered Lucky and ended up adopting him. But in our defense, we have fostered several other kitties that ended up getting adopted by others. It's not safe for me to foster too often though, lest I become a crazy cat know the type who lives in a little house at the end of the road with dozens and dozens of cats around the place.

Anyway, how could we not adopt her...look how sweet she looks sitting amongst the plants.

And check out this kitty snuggling:

Lucky (right) and Molly have become good friends. Molly follows him around like a big brother. And, Lucky's young and playful enough to enjoy playing chase and cat wrestling. Whereas, Cheeky our older cat is really not that interested.

In food news, though I cook everyday, I haven't been too blog-oriented on that front. But, here are a couple dark shots (apologies...these were taken in our bat cave of a kitchen) of a pretty good pizza we had recently:

lot's of herby sauce, green pepper, mushroom, onion, tomato, and black olives

Out of the oven with fresh basil and oregano on top:

It's going to be a short, but busy week. Have a good one! Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thai Curry-Coconut Squash (and other eats)

This is such a simple and tasty dish. It's one of our favorites, and it makes a great side dish or a meal in itself along with a bit of brown rice and tofu or what have you...toss in some greens even. We like to eat it chunky, but you could also puree it into soup if you prefer.

Start with a kabocha squash...butternut would work too, but you want a nice sturdy squash that will hold its shape while gently braising. Cut  the squash into big chunks (if it's organic, I leave the skin on; it really becomes quite soft and palatable with braising, but it's up to you). Whisk together 2 parts unsalted veggie broth, 1 part full-fat coconut milk, and some Thai curry paste to taste. Bring the broth mix to a simmer then add the squash and let it cook gently over low until the squash is nice and soft, but still holding its shape.

Just in passing, I like Chaokoh brand coconut milk; it's good stuff, sumptuously thick and creamy. The only way it could be better is if it were organic...but hey, it's not a perfect world. Of course it's up to you, but, if you're inclined to buy light coconut milk because of fat/calorie concerns, my advice is: don't. Just buy full-fat and dilute it; you get twice as much for your money. (It stores fine in the freezer too.)

Use whatever type of curry paste you prefer. Green curry would be good too, but I prefer  a yellow or red curry paste. Heck, you could use more of an Indian style curry or whatever suits your fancy, so long as it's tasty.

These are rough estimates, but for ~2.5 lbs of chopped squash, I'll use 2 cups veggie broth, 1 cup thick coconut milk and 1 generous Tablespoon curry paste. (Adjust the paste to taste.)  Saltiness of prepared curries differ, so I recommend using unsalted veggie broth and then adding salt to the coconut/broth/curry mix if need be.

Serve with generous amounts of fresh squeezed lime juice, and garnish with chili sauce if you want more heat. Lime rounds out the flavor nicely. 

In other news, I don't blog about everyday eats very often, but here are some recent weeknight meals:

Big salad of lacinato kale, chard, and romaine along with shredded carrot, red cabbage, sweet onion, and cherry tomato, topped with some oven-roasted buffalo-style tofu. I made the buffalo sauce starting with tomato paste, vinegar, and coconut palm sugar, and garlic, then added water and a generous amount of Tapatio sauce. It was spicy!

After the pic, I dressed it with some vegan ranch dressing, (plain soy yogurt, cider vinegar, umeboshi vinegar, a pinch of kala namak salt and lots of garlic and herbs)...don't know whether ranch tastes like that dressing, but it was rich-tasting, garlicky and herby, and I thought it suited the spicy tofu well.

Another pile of greens, this time with roasted apple, brussel's sprouts, and Japanese sweet potato, green beans, pomegranite, hemp seeds, and tomato. Yam would have been nicer visually, but I can't resist Japanese sweet potato, they're so sweet and good. I think this was dressed with nut yeast, Bragg's aminos, and cider vinegar.

Very plain, but delicious nonetheless, lentils with Field Roast Italian-style Vegan sausage and kale. Saute base was celery/onion/ garlic and spiced with fennel seed, bay leaf, chili flakes and oregano.

And the true star of the bunch (in spite of being photographed in the drear of my kitchen) this sandwich was the farthest thing from dreary. It was one of the many sandwich creations sparked by Maud's enticing offering a while back. Seriously, versions of her sandwich did the rounds on the the blogs. My version ended up as balsamic-roasted eggplant, smoky white bean spread (basically hummus made with cannelini beans instead of garbanzos and a few drops of liquid smoke added), sun dried tomato pesto, baby greens, and sweet onion on a wheat/herb/walnut baguette. 

I'm really looking forward to the holiday season this year...(unlike in past few years for various reasons). The time for cozy nights and delicious harvest meals is upon us! What are any US vegans planning for Thanksgiving? I always look forward to seeing the many ingenious, sumptuous creations that end up on the holiday tables and shine at mixed gatherings!

Talk to you soon! 

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