Friday, August 29, 2008

Attempt at Wheat Bread

It actually came out pretty good! I have had this wheat flour sitting around in my kitchen for weeks, without any loaf pans to turn it into wonderful wheat bread goodness. Finally i decided to check if Berkeley Bowl sold loaf pans, that i liked. Answer = yes. Also = "YEA! I get to make bread". The breading was started in the early afternoon. The recipe was easy, kneading was fun, and the bread tastes awesome! I'm really enjoying this new found freedom with baking my own bread. Yummy!

I followed this recipe and changed it to only two loaves. I don't think J and i really needed 3 all to ourselves ; )

Bread Rising

Bread Rising in the spiffy new loaf pans

Bread done!

I only cooked the loaves for 30 minutes. They could have used another 5-10 to get a bit crisper. Next time i'm planning to substitute the honey for some rice syrup, lookin for yummy vegan bread.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Rosemary Peasant Bread | Recipe

Sarah brought some of this over to our house a few weekends ago. It was gone before we got up from the table, delicious!!!

I had never had a good experience making bread. I asked Sarah for a Bread Making class to get me pointed in the right direction. Last weekend she taught, i listened, we made a basic bread recipe. It was super tasty and wonderful! The bread was used all week for toast and sandwiches. I felt it was time to take a crack at the amazing Rosemary bread...

She has shared the recipe, and the bread has been made. It's super yummy! Off to buy cheese to eat all of the bread. Rosemary Peasant Bread

Post Rising - Pre-Cooking


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A little bit of rice and alot of plastic | Onigiri

I love Onigiri. Every time i've been to Japan i love consuming as many rice balls as i can find at convenience stores, grocery markets, and train stations. There is just something supremely awesome about rice, filling, and seaweed. Well i decided to give it a try in my own house, since there aren't a lot of places in the USA that sell fresh Onigiri, expect Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley which usually sells out when they're fresh.

I looked up a few recipes and finally decided to try a super one recipe for plain rice with a bit of Talapia, Tamari, and Salt as a filling. I pulled out all of the plastic trays (from Daiso) and got out the picked vegetables incase there was room/rice left over, wishful thinking.

Step 1: All things cooked and ready for assemblage

Step 2: Packing the rice bottom layer into the plastic molds. Next is carving out a spot in the middle for the filling. and Lastly more rice on top all packed down tightly.

Step 3: All rice and filling used up and dusted with Rice Seasoning and Salt

Step 4: Cutting the Nori to go around the Onigiri

Step 5: Nori wrapped and all done!

And it wouldn't be Japanese Cooking if you didn't have the cutest container to take it somewhere and show it off in. I bought this at Daiso in Union City back in March and this was it's christening. It held two of my GIANT Onigiri and made me smile all day while i looked at it on my desk.

Next is a Vegan Japanese Potato Salad and Veggie Onigiri to go with my new Bento craze... Mmmmm...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tips from "La Dolce Vegan" by Sarah Kramer

Just wanted to share a few tips i thought were AWESOME while trying out "La Dolce Vegan" by Sarah Kramer. There were some tasty recipes that will be tested out and shared through August.


Baking make sure your baking powder still has some umph, in a small bowl combine 1 teaspoon of the baking powder with 1/3 cup of hot water...if it bubbles it's good! test out that yeast you have in the cabinet before starting your favorite recipe, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar with 2 teaspoons of yeast and add 1/4 cup of warm water. Again...if it bubbles it's good!

If wine is spilled on a tablecloth of rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover with a generous amount of salt. Leave until dried. Vacuum up the salt, rinse with cold water, and and stain should be gone. (This is one i'll believe when i see it)

Got extra salt? Make scented bath salts!
1 cup of Epsom Salt
1 cup of Baking Soda
3~4 drops of desired Essential Oil

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Vegan Spiced Banana Pancakes

Vegan Banana Pancakes
Originally uploaded by dre_ah
Super awesome! I made these are a great start to a Saturday with some reservations about how well they could taste being vegan. All doubts proved wrong. These were scrumptious! Originally found in Vegan Planet.

1-1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1-1/4 cups soy milk
3 medium size, ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1) combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
2) in a food processor blend milk and 2 of the bananas
3) fold wet ingredients into dry and add the remaining banana
4) cook on skillet until bubbles appear, and flip to cook underside
5) optional: pre-heat oven to 200 degrees F to place the cooked pancakes in to keep warm while cooking remaining pancakes

Serve with vegan margarine and maple syrup. The bananas keep this just sweet enough and the the spice gives it a kick. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

7 Minute Dinner from the Cabinet | Super Chili and Chips

This is one of my all time favorites. It's super quick and easy, if you know how to use a can opener ; ) And ... with the cilantro and green onions fresh from the garden, the flavor is great!

1-14.5 oz can | Fire Roasted Tomatoes Diced
1-15 oz can | Chunky Black Bean Vegetarian Chili
1-11 oz can | Corn Niblets
1-7 oz can | Green Chili's Diced
2 tablespoon | Cilantro Fresh Chopped
2 tablespoon | Green Onion Fresh Chopped

1) Place all ingredients into a sauce pan and mix together.
2) Cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes
3) Remove from heat and serve!

Corn Tortilla Chips - Good addition! Just make sure they are not too salty or they will block the flavor of the fresh goodies.
Cheese - a bit of shredded cheese on top...yummy!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shrimp Limey Veggie Kabob's

This week has been insanely hot! When it's nearly 100 degrees in Berkeley you know we have a problem. Well it also gives craving for bbq/grilled food stuffs. J came up with the awesome idea to have kabob's and some nice Russian River beer. We cut cut up some veggies, Orange and Yellow Bell Peppers, Green Chilies, Jalapenos, and some Purple Onion, along with some button brown Mushrooms and the shrimp to form the kabob's.
J is VERY proud that he's got the grill going.
Who knew that marinade would create so much smoke!
Adding some friend Polenta, re-fills on the beers...and here we are! Dinner is served.

It was delicious and perfect for the friday evening kick off to the hot weekend.

Shrimp and Veggie Kabob's:
1 Medium Orange Bell Pepper
1 Medium Red Bell Pepper
20 Small Brown Button Mushrooms
2 Small Green Chilies
2 Large Jalapenos
20 Large Shrimp (Shells removed)
10 Skewers

1 stick Soybean Margarine
5 Cloves of Garlic, Pressed
1-1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

1) Start up grill.
2) Cut all veggies, except Mushrooms, into cubes appx 1-1/2" x 1-1/2".
3) Alternate veggies and shrimp placing onto skewers, appx 2 shrimp per skewer
4) In a small pan, melt butter and combine all marinade ingredients
5) Place skewers directly onto grill and cook, brush half of marinade over skewers
6) Cook for appx 12 minutes, flipping half way through cooking cycle and brushing the rest of the marinade over the skewers.
7) Shrimp will be light pink when fully cooked.
8) Allow to cool down for 3-5 minutes and server immediately. Very tasty over fried Polenta.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast
Originally uploaded by dre_ah
I still remember a little over a year ago how amazing Japanese Breakfast was ... in Japan. Jason and I were lucky enough to stay with some friends for a few days at the end of the Japan trip. The VERY sweet Japanese wife made us this awesome breakfast that i have tried to re-create here:

Miso Soup
Picked Veggies (Cucumber and Radish)
White Sticky Rice
Pan Fried Fish with a hint of Oil, Salt, and Pepper

This is an awesome breakfast perfect for getting you going, filling you up, but not weighing you down. Also everything can be put together in about 30 minutes. Mmmmmm....

Monday, May 12, 2008


Some new seedlings were planted. Jalapenos have been planted on the far left side of the yard, and spaghetti has been made with some garden fresh cilantro this evening. Yummy! Any good recipies for cilantro out there? I've got a bunch. Anyone want some?

This week i need to pick up some seeding from the ever so gracious Inder, who is willing to part with some awesome seedlings. Things to plant, YEA!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Weeding | More home grown foods

I finally managed to get myself outside and into my tiny plot of dirt for some much needed weeding. The cilantro and green onions are looking good! Looks like i can stop buying cilantro from the store now ; )

Since i was out there and the weather has been awesome lately i thought it was time to plant the seeds for the rest of the 2008 veggie good-ness. Seeding finished for cantaloupe, broccoli, onions, squash, oregano, and the 2nd rounds of green onions and sweet basil.

The garage just wasn't pullin it's weight. So now it's hosting some basil, catnip, and the seedlings

Jason planted the lemon tree, in the ground, a few months ago... and it's TONS happier. I've had the dwarf tree for 5 years without ever getting a single lemon. Well this year i have hope. It's so pretty!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Marmalade Tofu and Lemon Pearl Couscous

OMG! So there was the very failed attempt at introducing couscous into my life last week with the Sundried Tomato and Basil Couscous with Aceto Balsamico where the couscous was so bland we barely finished it AND went out for a real meal later. So i think it's safe to say i was a bit hesitant setting out for these recipes (that came from the same website) this evening, but VERY pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The Tofu was sweet and tangy and the couscous was AWESOME, with the perfect hint of lemon. Mmmm...

I skipped the kale, pretty much just using what i had in the house to make this a somewhat quickmeal. I would recommend making sure the dish you are going to put the tofu in will hold ALL of the tofu flat. 14oz's turned out to be a bit more then i had in mind and i ended up having some cook on their sides for part of the time and then be rotated. I used an orange marmalade found at Berkeley Bowl, and the Almonds are a must have to balance the textures.

This was a great intro to a new item - couscous! I'm thinking a lime/cilantro couscous for burritos next week? : )

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fruit Salad for the WEEK

I've been reading "The New Becoming Vegetarian" book to try and figure out how i can balance out my diet better. I've coma across some awesome suggestions that i think will really work, that i can really sign up to follow. Whole grains here i come, sorry bleached flour. Also they mention to prepare a large green and/or fruit salad for the week to have something at hand to snack on. Brilliant! So this shopping trip i picked three fruits to start with:

Strawberries ($1.39)
Cantaloupe ($1.25)
Pineapple ($2.99)

Results... Mmmmm...

Also there is definitely enough for the week to take some to work or just pick at when i get home before dinner is made. All for $5.63! MUCH cheaper then buying at work or on the go.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lunch for the Week | Minestrone

I decided to try and keep up with the being healthy stuff and made a large batch of fruit salad (cantaloupe, pear, banana, tangerine, pineapple, and some lime juice) - AND - some soup for the rest of the week for lunches and the odds and ends meals that occur in this house. For the soup i looked in one of my favorite veggie cook books, A Beautiful Bowl of Soup. Soups are wonderful because they don't have to be heavy and you can cram TONS of veggies and vitamins into them and they taste great! Some at least ; )

I landed on the Minestrone with White Beans recipe (pg 92). Very flavorful. It came out a bit thick, but should be perfect with reheating. I had no idea that it would yield SO much. I used all of the Pyrex Tupperware and STILL had to pull two bowls out like i was getting ready for dinner tomorrow already. I also substituted the plain elbow noodles for some Quiona Elbow Noodles for extra zest and nutrients - AND - Plum tomatoes for a can for fire roasted tomatoes. Yummy!!!

3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
5 cups of Vegetable Stock
1 28-oz can of Tomatoes, Fire Roasted/Diced
10-ozs New Potatoes, diced into 1/2" pieces
8-ozs Green Beans, chopped in 1/2" pieces
2 Carrots, chopped in 1/2" pieces
1 Zucchini, chopped in 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons fresh Oregano, minced
1 15-oz can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6-oz Quinoa Elbow Macaroni
1 6-oz can Tomato Paste
1/4 cup fresh Basil, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Pepper, to taste

1. Place the Oil, Onions, and half of the Garlic into the pan and cook on medium until the onions are translucent (appx 5 minutes)
2. Add the Veggie Stock, diced tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, carrots, zucchini, and oregano; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 25 minutes stirring occasionally
3. Increase heat to high, bringing to a boil; add beans and macaroni, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes
4. Remove from heat; stir in tomato paste, basil, and pepper.
5. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Gardening Progress

3 weeks have passed and i have some sprouts in my yard!!! Go little green onions, you can do it!

And here is the cat enjoying the garden and her awesome new cat house.

Vegan Cupcakes | PB and Green Tea

I love cupcakes! They are my favorite food, especially when they're vegan. Through the wonderful world of Goodreads I was introduced to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. We had a party at the house, which is an awesome opportunity for cupcakes! I decided to try the Peanut Butter recipe and the Green Tea recipe.

Green Tea | Finding the Matcha powder was the hardest part, this stuff ain't cheap! Making the Frosting was fun!

Peanut Butter | The apple cider vinegar really didn't smell good, and having it on the counter wasn't awesome. But the smell was gone once all was blended together.

Final outcome were beautiful, yummy cupcakes that went pretty fast at the party. The PB were my favorite, off to eat my LAST one.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Quick & Easy | Chickpea Potato Curry

I was looking for a fairly easy dish to make on a lazy sunday afternoon and came across this. I've always enjoyed chickpeas, but have been finding new ways to integrate them into my cooking lately. Result = Yummy! This dish was great! Chop up some onions, cube up some potatoes, open some cans, a few spices, boil for half an hour, and serve. I followed the directions and also cooked up some white rice for this to go over, but wished for a bit of naan as time.
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can fire-roasted or stewed tomatoes with chiles
  • 6 baby (new) Yukon Gold potatoes (about 12 ounces), quartered
  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. In a large pot, combine all ingredients. Stir to mix and nestle the potatoes into the liquid.

2. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium heat. Simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Serve the curry in bowls over Jasmine rice.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bento Boxes

I've been thinking about different things i can make myself to take for lunch, other than the basic sandwich (boring!!!). I've been thinking about rice balls and how wonderfully tasty they are...which led me to bento boxes. I can across this awesome website about bento boxes where they post different recipes and other helpful information.

Mission One: To make it out to the Tokyo Fish Market for yummy Japanese cooking supplies
Mission Two: To procure an awesome, totally perfect for lunch, adorable, bento box for use
Mission Three: To make one bento box a week starting next week for a month to give it a try

Springtime Shrimp Veggie Medly

Spring time is in the air, the back door is open so the cat can come and go as she pleases, and i've caught the cooking bug! Lookin for something seafood~ish i decided to give my experimentation skills a whirl and concocted what you see to the left. Some squash lightly cooked in oil along with cooked shrimp. I added a dash of butter at the end to help keep the shrimp moist and rich. Also the default side of a box of risotto. Yummy! Now i just need to learn to make the risotto from scratch.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Easy Lunches | Lentil Burgers

Lentil Burgers are one of my very favorite things to make. You can put all kinds of different veggies in them, and skip the icky non-exciting celery for more interesting and tasty veggies. I first found them in my favorite veggie cook book - pg 368. Tonights recipe was sun-dried tomatoes and jalapeƱos. Great for batch cooking at the beginning of the week for easy lunches and quick dinners. They also travel great since there is no liquid, unless you're like me and can't live without the barbecue sauce. Mine also must include cheese (white sharp cheddar in picture) and yummy bread. But the real best thing is each patty has less then 200 calories!!! I make each patty twice the size as the recipe, but the recipe is for kids so i gottsa ta grow it up ; ) Super yummy with Strawberry Lemonade. Mmmmm...

I usually omit the celery and add bell peppers or more onions, jalapeƱos, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Something that has a kick and a yummy taste. Just stay away from runny veggies like fire roaster green chilies or tomatoes. They have too much pater and are better as a topping then inside the mix. ***Tip: do not let the lentils loose ALL of their water while boiling. If you find when you start to mix all of the ingredients, too much of the water has left the lentils...just add a small amount of water (usually in tablespoon amounts) to the mixture and mix in. The mixture should be pretty dry so you will need to try forming the patties to get a feel for how much you might need to add. Perfect lentils = no additional water needed.***

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Conservatory of Flowers, SF

Water with White
Originally uploaded by dre_ah
Awesome sunny morning for a stroll in the Conservatory of Flowers. Tracey and I set off early this morning, in human terms 9:30am. First trip inside after a few months ago passing the crazy flowers clock on the hill in front of the place on my way to the de Young. It was beautiful!!! I was a smidgen unhappy about all of the humidity, but it was okie as i was able to escape after a few hours.

Inside there were TONS of orchids and lilies. Beautiful groups of colors in the special exhibit hall, along with some carnival ride friends. Also there was tons of ripe fruit. Inspiration to get up, out of bed, and water the damn plants every day to ensure i get to eat home grown cilantro in a few months.

Definitely a: go back for the next exhibit and round 2+ of pictures using the macro setting ; )

Sunday Evening Meal | Chickpea Stew with Fried Polenta

I found this recipe a few weeks ago flipping through my favorite Vegetarian Cook Book ... Vegetarian Times: Complete Cookbook ... i came across this recipe and thought it'd be a great opportunity to cook up chickpeas for the first time. pg 363

Damn do Chickpeas take for - EVAR. After the allotted 3.5 hours they were finally done, and yummy. I substituted the stewed tomatoes for two cans of diced fire roasted tomatoes. Things were going good until i realized i was on top of everything, but frying up the polenta. Started the polenta and had to set everything else aside while it cooked. Luckily that was relatively quick.

Got everything back together. Cut up some White Sharp Cheddar Cheese, warmed some sliced rosemary-potato bread, a decent bottle of pinot noir, and voila ... dinner!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Saturday Late Lunch | Mushroom Quiche

I've been CRAVING mushrooms...and you really can't go wrong with quiche. I found this recipe and decided to give it a shot.
(The pic is from the website)

Mushrooms used:
1/4 lb ~ Lions Mane
1/4 lb ~ Large Shitake
1/2 lb ~ Brown Buttons

I didn't have any nutmeg, so we managed without. I bought a pack of two deep dish pie crusts, 9" each. I made the recipe over by about 15% to fill up both of the pie tins. Cut the guyere with about 2 oz's of smoked mozzarella. Definitely going to have to get more of that. Mmmm...

After the 30 minutes listed cooking time, they needed 1o more to truly brown and have the center well set. I left them a little undone for the re-heating to come over the week as they fill the void on the non-sit down to the table together nights.

These were great!!! da Man ate half a pie tin! Totally on the make again list. Yummy!!!

My Garden | Day 1: First Round Planting

Today i got out into the yard and picked up with the man left off with some light weeding. I thought about sunlight and all of the fantabulous plants i bought seeds for. This is totally going to be an awesome year as i start my first in ground garden!!!

Seeds purchased:
Green Onions (Planted 3/1)
Cilantro (Planted 3/1)
Sweet Basil (Planted 3/1)
Mixed Cucumbers/Squash
Yellow Onions

Here are before and after pictures of the first planting grounds.

Blocking out where:

The finished product!!!