Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the awesome, the awful, the so-so

I haven't felt very hungry lately and so, I haven't been super inspired to cook or bake. I think this may be a good time to thumb through my many cookbooks for ideas and inspiration. This week especially, it seems more often than not, I just haven't been very satisfied by anything I eat . . . even stuff I normally love.
I'll start with something I wasn't even in the mood for (but Jared was) that ended up being really awesome. Keeping in line with my plan to get rid of aging pantry/fridge/freezer items, I made a tofu potato skillet type breakfast with red potatoes, firm tofu, red and orange bell peppers (sliced and frozen), a part of a red onion from the fridge and a ton of dried spices and spice blends. In one big frying pan I steamed then fried red potatoes in canola oil with salt, black pepper and a healthy dose of Sarah Kramer's "Needs a Little Extra" spice blend out of La Dolce Vegan! Once the potatoes were cooked through, I added the slightly thawed bell peppers that I ran my knife through along with the diced red onion. In a smaller separate pan, I fried up diced and then slightly smashed tofu in a little canola oil with yet another spice blend, the tofu scramble seasoning mix out of Yellow Rose Recipes. Once the veggies were cooked and the tofu was crisp, I combined the two in the big frying pan and added a touch of maple syrup. The two spice blends married perfectly and of course everything taste better with a little maple syrup.
Photobucket
Now, the awful. I never thought a salad could be bad, but I was wrong. I cut up a head of Romaine (that was a bit bitter), sliced grape tomatoes, shredded carrot, a couple green onions, half an avocado, a few crunched up crackers, a shake of Bacos and my favorite homemade house dressing. I was going for a Chopped Cobb Salad. Besides the lettuce being bitter, the grape tomatoes weren't sweet at all, the avocado was funky, the Bacos overpowered everything and I used way too much dressing.
Photobucket
And the so-so . . . Jared personally loved these nuts, but I thought they were just okay. I have been munching on nuts lately and was in the mood for a candied spice mixed nut blend. So, last night for a sweet snack, I melted Earth Balance with corn syrup (another pantry item I want out of my kitchen, for good), sugar, cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, vanilla, salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. I mixed in raw cashews, roasted almonds and raw pecan pieces (all from the freezer), placed the sticky mixture on a cookie sheet and baked for about 13 minutes. I let these cool on parchment paper. After about an hour of cooling, I was able to break apart the pieces. These kinda tasted like brittle that was assaulted by Christmas. I could barely taste the cinnamon because the fresh nutmeg overwhelmed all the other flavors, even the natural roasted nut flavor. Next time I'll leave out the nutmeg and add some chili powder instead. Thank goodness Jared digs it, because I'm not a huge fan.
Photobucket

17 comments:

stonielove said...

it's funny that you mention - i haven't been really hungry either. i think it's the heat. i'm sorry to hear that the veggies didn't taste right :( i hope you get your appetite back soon! (eat something spicy or garlic!)

Happy Herbivore! said...

my stomach has been a bottomless pit lately - i cant seem to satisfy my hunger! I must be hungry for the both of us!

Animal-Friendly said...

Sorry to hear about your salad.....it seems bad produce can mess up any dish.

I also haven't really been hungry to make too many great meals. I've only recently gotten my appetitive back. I think it was allergies for me.....

I hope you get your appetite back and continue making yummy food!

aTxVegn said...

Too bad about the salad. I ruined one once with a bitter cucumber. I think the warmer weather reduces our appetite and calls for more simple food prep.

VeggieGirl said...

Yeah, my appetite's been lacking lately as well :0(

So sorry about that salad - you win some, you lose some.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

"everything tastes better with a little maple syrup"

I am in complete agreement!

Leigh said...

My taste for things gets all out of whack when I'm stressed, too. At least you got an awesome breakfast style meal out of all that.

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I've had some "good, bad, & ugly" kitchen days lately as well! Glad to see at least a few things turned out alright or good! I hope you feel like eating soon, hehe.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Yes, salads can be bad and evil. You should see the salad bar in my canteen at work... Very nasty salads! Even plain carrots taste bad sometimes!
I hope you feel hungrier soon, maybe it's the spring?

bazu said...

I'm sorry you had some so-so experiences! That's how you get to really know what you like and what you don't, though. It's interesting that our time in the kitchen and desire to cook/eat definitelly waxes and wanes.

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Aw too bad about the salad - it looks delicious though!

Liz² said...

I love that, "assaulted by christmas"!

and isn't it awful when salads suck? I always feel obliged to eat them anyway because it's vegetables, but I dunno... maybe off-tasting stuff isn't great for us anyway and we can be excused for avoiding greens in that case?

I've been mostly hungry for cakes and cookies and plain steamed vegetables lately. oops. :)

Sam said...

I love the skillet/scramble idea. I'm always up for a good "breakfast for dinner" type meal. The nuts look good, I'm a sweets lover, so I'd love them! So sorry your salad disappointed. I'm currently on a salad with ginger sesame dressing kick...

pavotrouge said...

that sucks about the salad. I hope your apetite returns soon!

Erin said...

A salad gone wrong? So sad. It sounds like it should've been a really good salad too.

The Vegan Countess said...

I just discovered this blog. How wonderful!

Heather said...

The skillet scramble sounds very satisfying. I need a good recipe too to clean up my pantry. For a good one to clean out the vegetable bin, check out any of the stew recipes in The Passionate Vegetarian. Crescent Dragonwagon calls for everything but the kitchen sink. Add some tamari, some vegetable broth, a few cloves of garlic, and a can of diced tomatoes and you're eating well for several days. And all those veggies are used up! When I don't feel like eating, I can always eat a bowl of homemade soup or stew.