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Catching the Blog Up

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's been awhile since I've written about anything I've cooked - doesn't mean I haven't been cooking, but just haven't had time to write. I won't go into the past couple of months, but they've been more than a little hectic. One of the things I learned throughout it was that cooking is truly a stress release for me. I'd like to write about each of these individually, but I figure if I waited til I had time to do that, I might never get caught up, so I'm going for a buffet size blog.

The first actually had 2 recipes...Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe with Rotelle (from Veganomicon) and a salad with Sun-dried Tomato-Walnut Dressing (from Appetite for Reduction). I actually paired these two together because they both shared some similar ingredients, in particular fennel. It was actually my first time using fennel, so I had hoped that the similarities would help compliment each other. Sadly, 4 months later my only real recollection of this meal is the overpowering taste of fennel. oh and that it wasn't actually spicy, and that the dressing (made exactly as the recipe stated) was more of the consistency of tartar sauce than of an actual dressing. Fennel-y tartar sauce.

The next one is a Red Lentil & Root Veggie Dal soup (Appetite for Reduction). I had never cooked with red lentils before, so I was uber excited at the chance to add a new lentil to my little stash of lentil family in my pantry. If you've read this blog, you might recall my first experience with another lentil - the French Lentil - and that because I didn't do my homework first, I didn't realize that these particular lentils hold firm even when cooked (and so i cooked those poor little guys to death because they never seemed done). Well, obviously if one lentil could be so different, then maybe another would be as well, right? and obviously a smart person would learn from that experience, and be more prepared should a similar situation arise again, right? yeeeeah...well...third time will hopefully be a charm. So I didn't know that the red lentil all but disintigrates when cooked. So imagine my surprise when I open the lid of the pot to find a redish root veggie soup with nary a trace of an actual lentil. I want to say this was good, but since I can't remember at all how it tasted, I'm going to lean towards it not being outstanding.

Next up are Grilled Yuca Tortillas from Veganomicon. I had never cooked with Yuca before, and it was an interesting experience. I made these for a pot luck and made pretty much all of the suggested alternative fillings mentioned in the book, brought everything over and made individual ones based on what people felt like. They turned out pretty good, although i'm not entirely convinced the yuca really made that much of a difference to justify the time it took to make. These were really just unnecessarily fancy quesedillas.

To explain the next choices, I should first take a second to explain a very odd phenominon. So in my last entry, I mentioned my fast and furious olive obsession. Well, that wasn't the only tastebud change that happened literally over night. I also developed a very weird sudden tolerance for spice. Things that would have literally put me on the floor only a few months ago, now I could handle with no problem. Since my inability to handle anything from black pepper on has been somewhat of a bane to my culinary existance, I've been dabbling a little.

So one day i was flipping through my cookbooks looking for something to guide me in the right direction (since i know nothing at all about how to use hot spice in a recipe), and finally settled on the Red Thai Tofu from Appetite for Reduction. I went out and got my very first little jar of thai chili paste (red), and added heaping amounts of whatever was called for. To say the results were underwhelming is being generous. It tasted like tofu, red peppers, green beans and mushrooms...and nothing more.

The final new recipe I made in these past few months was 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma from Appetite for Reduction. I first tried Korma a few years ago at a wine show...now this was near the end of the event, so I'll never really be sure if it was really as mind-blowingly amazing as I remember, or if the wine had a hand in that perception...but I have honestly been craving a really good bowl of veggie Korma ever since. So this looked easy enough (and it actually was very straight-forward). I didn't hold back on the spices, hoping to add a bit of heat to overcome the creamy coconut milk. I even let it sit for awhile to try and help develop the flavours. At the end of the day though, I think the real problem was that I didn't drink enough wine. It was almost neutral in flavour and overall just not very interesting. And so, my quest for that amazing Korma continues.

Hopefully I'll be a little better about keeping up to date on this moving forward!


Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe with Rotelle - it was ok, but nothing crazy. I'm all about the tempeh these days, so I have nothing bad to say about it, but might ease up on the fennel called for if I were going to make this again. 3 1/2 mullet men.
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Sun-dried Tomato-Walnut Dressing - unappetizingly thick and way too much fennel called for. Not sure what went wrong, since I followed the recipe to a T, but definitely not a fan favourite. No mullet men.

Red Lentil & Root Veggie Dal soup - I'm going to call this a competent soup. It didn't really make much of an impression on me as either good or bad. I guess if I was in the mood for some sort of lentil soup but didn't want to actually have whole lentils in it, this might be a good go-to. 4 mullet men
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Grilled Yuca Tortillas - I liked the flavour combinations and everyone at the potluck really enjoyed them. Interesting way to get to know yuca, but not sure of its necessity in this recipe. 4 out of 5 mullet men
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Red Thai Tofu - disappointing. I might try the sauce again with something that absorbs the flavours a little better, and might kick the heat up a notch, but as is, this wasn't very interesting. 2 out of 5 mullet men
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2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma - Not having any sober Korma experience to go from, it's hard to say if this was not a good Korma recipe, or if I have just have completely unreleastic memories and expectations that could never be lived up to. I'm going to give Isa Chandra Moskowitz the benefit of the doubt and say the latter. but either way, it just wasn't really yummy enough to make again. 3 out of 5 mullet men
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Veganomicon CTACC Standing:

Recipes Completed: 54
Recipes Remaining: 196

Photo Time!

Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe with Rotelle & Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato-Walnut Dressing:

Red Lentil & Root Veggie Dal soup:

Grilled Yuca Tortillas:

Red Thai Tofu:

2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma:

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