Food Cooked Out of Spite Can Still Taste Pretty Damn Good.
I was so busy whining about restaurants in my last post that I didn’t get a chance to share what I made for dinner last night.
On Saturday, Andrew bought a cookbook for me on the condition that I would actually use it.
“I know what’ll happen…it’ll end up like all the other ones,” he said with a smirk, referring to the large plastic bin full of barely-opened cookbooks that are languishing in my mother’s kitchen.
Of course not, Andy! Ye of little faith…
Yesterday afternoon, I was on a mission to prove him wrong.
I went to four places to get groceries for the recipe and the rest of the week. Sadly enough, grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities.
First, CAM Asia Supermarket for chinese broccoli, rice noodles, and nice chopsticks. I like all the happy-looking packages and misspelled labels and signs and cuteness all around.
CAM is very close to…
My mother’s house! I had only stopped by to get a hug and some clothes but quickly realized that when you’re living somewhere temporarily, shopping in someone else’s house is quite economical. I only needed three tablespoons of peanut butter, five tablespoons of canola oil, a little bit of cornstarch… etc. It would have been so wasteful to buy full-size containers of those ingredients.
In addition to letting me “rent” a large pan and some ramekins, Ma also gave back some of the vegetables I bought for her days ago. I was secretly hoping that seeing all those fresh veggies would inspire her to cook, but ah well. It’s just another excuse for me to visit. :)
Next, Whole Foods. Has Whole Foods in Rookwood replaced the Hyde Park Kroger as the “meet market” since I left Cincinnati? Back in the day I’d feel underdressed at HP Kroger–it seemed as though everyone wore their Sunday best (granted, a lot of them were probably just getting off work, because they had–ahem–jobs), strutting around, feeling on the fruit…it was disgusting, I tell you!
Yesterday at Whole Foods: Was I looking especially cute? Were my pheromones wafting around like the scent of freshly-baked bread?
In the checkout line I had not one, but TWO cute guys–one in front of me, one behind–mildly flirting with me. For a few blissful moments, I was in the middle of a very tasty-looking sandwich.
Speaking of HP Kroger, I went there, too. Most of that place’s sex appeal is in its olive bar. Mmmm samples…
Anyway. Soon after I got home I started cooking the RECIPE OF THE WEEK.
The cookbook was Lauren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum. I love her blog more than I can say (more cuteness!), and have been lurking on it for quite some time. But this is the first time I actually tried one of her recipes–Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale and Carrots. Only with broccoli instead of the kale. Andy seems to think that all vegan recipes (or maybe just the ones I make?) have kale in there somewhere. So, again, I must prove him wrong! Mwahahaaaa!!
This was a crazy-simple “Under 30 Minutes” meal. First, I boiled some water. And while waiting for that miracle of science to occur, I made a peanut sauce out of peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, and minced fresh ginger. The recipe called for ginger powder, but I really enjoy ginger root. Sometimes it looks like a little person.
Then I threw about 10 ounces of rice noodles into the water and chopped up some broccoli and carrots.
The noodles cook up pretty quickly. I drained them, rinsed them with cold water, and–are you ready for some fun?–used kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces. This is not a slurpy-noodle dish, it’s all business.
The broccoli, carrots and broccoli got stir-fried with canola in a large pan (thanks for the rental, Ma!). After the veggies browned, I added the seitan.
Because I was too hungry, lazy and cheap to make my own seitan, I used WestSoy, sold at Whole Foods. NEVER AGAIN!! It just has a store-bought, chemical taste to it. If I get lazy like that again, I’ll just sub tofu or tempeh or crumbled GardenBurgers or dryer lint–anything else.
Once the seitan browned a bit, I added the noodles and gave the whole thing a stir. Then I added most of the caramel-brown peanut sauce, reserving a teaspoon or so and trying not to lick it out of the coffee mug in which it was prepared. Two handfuls of cashews were smothered with the remaining sauce.
Slapped the noodles on two plates, topped it with some saucy cashews, garnished with lime wedges and red pepper flakes and HELL YEAH! ROCK OUT WITH YOUR WOKS OUT!
Aside from the fact that the store-bought seitan I used tasted like Silly Putty, this was delicious. And that says a lot about the tangy, sweet peanut sauce–a good sauce can make anything taste better. In fact, I wish I’d made more sauce, because I’m a sauce and condiment fiend. I eat ketchup like it’s my job. But for normal people, the recipe provided a good sauce-to-noodle ratio.
And I will have you know that Andrew, his chopsticks working overtime, said more than once that he liked what I made with my pretty new cookbook.
Beaming, I told him that I will make notes in the margins–as I always do–rendering the book “used” and therefore ensuring that he won’t ever be able to tease me about it again.
Thanks, Vegan Yum Yum!
What we ate today was not from a cookbook–hey, I can’t be all chef-y every night. But I just wanted to show you something (kind of) simple to prove that you don’t have to use cookbooks every night if you’re a vegan. And I like to take all the foods I’m so used to eating and give them a twist.
The theme of the week is definitely Asian-hybrid foods. Tonight I made GardenBurgers that I braised in a mixture of tamari and soy sauce with sliced mushrooms.
Threw the burger on two pieces of whole-grain bread, served it up with some steamed veggies and microwaved fries topped with Andy’s special sauce. Not too shabby!