Friday, November 30, 2007

backyard food chain

Do you see the lump on the fence? That's the hawk that eats the little birds that come to the bird feeder. Well, they used to come to the bird feeder.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

variations on a theme

I figured out that if I open up my Emeril Brand Panini Press so it is flat, I can grill tofu without making it into a waffle fry. Italian-style-ish grilled tofu, Roasted Tomato Couscous with Capers from Veganomicon, brussels sprouts.

Smokey tempeh, Lazy Person Baked Beans, Sauteed Collards, all from Veganomicon. In case you can't tell I am too lazy to go find the book so I just made up the names of the things. They might be right. Also mashed sweet potatoes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

cold weather kayaking

Today I went kayaking even though I usually do not kayak in winter because I am a sissy. At first we planned to go to Buckhorn, which is a swamp on Grand Island, but there was a problem.
buckhorn ice
Which is, that it was frozen solid.

So we went to Tonawanda Creek.
kayaking tonawanda creek
kayaking tonawanda creek vanessa

Here's two unrelated pictures of food so that I don't get kicked out of veganmofo.
lentil soup portabello salad with spicy mustard dressing
Lentil soup, from this recipe, but with vegetable stock (duh) and some bay leaves and red wine added. In the background, pillsbury crescent rolls, the best accidentally vegan food ever. Overnight the soup thickened up so that now it is a big pot of lentils. I seem to generally have that problem with soup. And, portabella mushroom salad with spicy mustard dressing from Veganomicon. My mother declared this The Best Salad Ever. With sweet potato french fries.

Friday, November 23, 2007

thanksgiving recap

I hope you all had a nice thanksgiving.

thanksgiving dinner
My food photography skills buckled under the pressure of thanksgiving. Here's my dinner anyway. I made Veganomicon chickpea cutlets. My dad made gravy. And my mom and I brought little tiny containers of our own private butter-free squash and mashed potatoes and Earth Balance.

thanksgiving dessert
Dessert! Bryanna's pumpkin pie with Cook's Illustrated's pie crust with their ridiculous 1:2 fat:flour ratio. This pie was pretty good for a first attempt at a vegan pumpkin pie. But, it makes enough filling for only a shallow pie plate so next time I would double it. Shallow pies are for sissies. Also, the brown sugar makes it very BROWN. Which is not so attractive. So white sugar next year. When serving pie to non-vegans you don't want them to assume that vegan pies are brown. The texture was pretty good though. I used 3 tablespoons of cornstarch but I would do 4 next time. I went for the low end this time due to my residual trauma from the eraser pie. Oh, then there is apple pie, and a VCTOtW gingerbread cupcake.

Some more pictures.

And now, I have harnessed the power of YouTube to allow you to share in the Thanksgiving after dinner entertainments.

First, Oscar licks the roasting pan.

Don't worry. It gets better.

Next, we go outside and feed the leftovers to the chickens.

My uncle has three kinds of chickens now. The same old red ones from last year. Then some white ones that he rescued from some people who couldn't take care of them. You can see those white ones do not yet know how to eat from a spoon. And the ones all sitting together are Araucanas, the kind that lay blue eggs and have feathers on their legs and no tails. The Araucanas were sleepy for some reason.

Finally we retire indoors to torment Oscar with the model train.

Yay. I am glad my family is the type that finds it hilarious to make the dog bark for twenty solid minutes after dinner... some people might find that annoying. Anyways, happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the demanding lifestyle of a portly dog

the demanding life of a portly dog
Poor Oscar is forced to nap on a pile of pillows. Sometimes more than three times in a single day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


In the background, my current favorite sandwich - a big slab of grilled tofu on a baguette with sauteed onions and red peppers and a lot of fake mayonnaise. I really like the tofu + baguette + mayo combination, it reminds me of that vietnamese sandwich at the restaurant in Berkeley. The one that costs like one dollar. Except that one was fried tofu and it had cilantro. And some other stuff. Hard to remember. Am old now.

Anyways, in the foreground are these really good eggplant things that our Georgian postdoc brought to our Thanksgiving potluck. I bartered her my extra cupcakes for them. They are big slices of eggplant fried and then wrapped in a little packet with some kind of ground up walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. They are spicy and oily and great. My mother says they look like toads. She is cranky because she is on a diet.

Now I gotta make some pies.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

gingerbread cupcakes with lemony cream cheese frosting

gingerbread cupcakes
These are my favorites by far of all the vegan cupcakes that are taking over the world that I have made so far. This is a batch-and-a-half since it's for my lab potluck and my family thanksgiving. But I had to make four big ones since I ran out of little cupcake papers.

Tomorrow: two pies. I've never made a vegan pumpkin pie before. It is for the family so it needs to be as traditional as possible. I am planning on going the cornstarch route rather than the tofu route. Is this a horrible mistake? Discuss.

Monday, November 19, 2007

isa pizza. reduced sodium.

Yesterday I made Isa Pizza from VWaV but I forgot to take a picture of it until this morning. The other thing I forgot was to add salt to the dough. Which, in case you were wondering, is not a good idea... so that was sad.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

tofu + cookie

Last night I used my Emeril brand panini press to make grilled tofu for my leftover veganomicon caesar. It is very easy but it comes out kind of like a waffle fry because the lid is so heavy. Maybe I should read the instructional booklet. Maybe I should also focus the camera before taking pictures. So many regrets.

Also I made these cookies. I'm still not 100% thrilled with earth balance for cookies. It's so dense and greasy. Maybe I need to put a fake egg in there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


vegan caesar
Veganomicon caesar salad, except plain croutons, because I was too lazy to roast a garlic.

Ground almonds for texture = GENIUS.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

maple cupcakes

maple cupcakes
I made the Maple Cupcakes with Creamy Maple Icing and Sugared Walnuts from VCTOtW. Except I left out the maple extract because I didn't have any because, uh, I don't really like maple that much... Anyway, at first I was worried because the major ingredient in the icing is powdered soy milk, with which I had recently had a bad experience (GOOD WORK JEMNIFER!).
creepy soy beverage
Look how white it is! Why is it so white? Ah, remember when I used to think fake milk was weird for NOT being white? Anyway, it has a weird moist powdery texture and it smells like tofu and it is REALLY GROSS in coffee. Maybe the vanilla flavor version would be ok in coffee. I am not going to spend $10.99 to find out though. HOWEVER, it does make a nice fluffy icing as long as you let it sit until all the chunks dissolve, because otherwise they stick to your teeth in a creepy way.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I never get tired of this:
DSC_0001 DSC_0002 DSC_0003 DSC_0004 DSC_0005 DSC_0011
Yeah, anyway, yesterday I went with my mother and her friend and Oscar to Allegany state park. There is snow there. Which would be great if I were impatient for snow. Which I am not.
This is the little road to the stone tower.

Picnic! Roasted eggplant, tomato, and basil sandwich; beets; tomato-rice soup with roasted garlic and navy beans from Veganomicon. I used one can of diced tomatoes and one of those Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, because they didn't have plain crushed tomatoes in the natural foods aka the everything-is-one-dollar-more-expensive-here section of the grocery store and I was too lazy to walk the quarter mile to the regular tomato sauce section. Anyway, that worked out. Usually those fire-roasted tomatoes take over everything but they are good here.

Oscar likes to run around.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

chocolate peanut butter highs and lows

So, I had my first unsalvageable vegan cooking failure.
The peanut butter pie from VWaV... why lord is there so much agar? Maybe it's because I had flakes instead of powder. But it calls for 3 tablespoons, and I used two, because I know from my previous weird fascination with agar jellies that that is a crazy amount of agar. Anyways, after I boiled it I still knew that was going to be way too much but then it was so fun or something to pour it into the blender that I dumped it all in.. and then it set into this horrible gelatinous brick that has the same texture as a cold, wet pencil eraser except a little more chalky. Also contributing to the disgustingness is probably the fact that my grocery store only has firm silken-tofu-in-a-box in the "LITE" form. It makes no sense to me. But anyway. I threw the whole thing out, but it was not that sad, because the pre-made crust I used tasted kind of like cardboard dust mixed with the floor sweepings from the cocoa factory.

In better news...
chocolate peanut butter shells
These are chocolate peanut butter shells and they are great. If you use the weird "special dark" cocoa that I have, then the outside tastes like an Oreo. Someone saw me eating one at work and said that it looked "not home-made," which in knitting is a huge compliment so maybe that is a compliment in vegan baking also. (I overbaked half of these a little though so don't do that. Take them out as soon as they start to crack on top and they will be much better. Also put in more filling than you think is reasonable.)

I had to make a very difficult decision on Friday, so tell me what you would have done. It was especially hard because the decision involved coffee and therefore had to be made BEFORE having coffee.
The choices are:
Silk, the faux cream of choice, except that it has been in the refrigerator for a very, very long time and the sides are suspiciously bloated.
Weird, powdered soy "beverage" mix which is apparently made from ground-up tofu and I only bought in order to make the supernatural agave icing from VCTOtW.
Unopened rice milk, but then what am I going to do with the rest of that rice milk once it's open? Also rice milk = ick.