Friday, April 27, 2007

More Simple Meals

Meals without recipes. That's how I normally cook - just throw stuff together that tastes good on it's own and hope it tastes good together with spices.

Buckwheat Noodle Soup:
With veggie broth base, leeks, onions, garlic, miso, chickpeas, buckwheat noodles and diced tomatoes.
Diced tomatoes are one of my new favorite things to add to soups. Drain the juice from a can and throw it in. I use to put the juice in there before but it always made it too tomato-y so just putting the fruit in there helps the other flavors sand out on their own.

Saturday Market Dinner:
Roasted fiddleheads, steamed asparagus, garden salad with purple cabbage.
Fiddleheads - I knew bringing these home was going to raise some eyebrows. I was cruious as well. They look a little too much like bugs to me. I saw them once on one of my blogs I read, so I picked them up. They are very expensive. One small handful for $1.50. I really wasn't excited about the taste. They weren't bad, what roasted with garlic can be bad?! but they just weren't $1.50/handful good. Interesting look though.

Cheesy Cauliflower and Greens with Almond Pate:
We eat a lot of vegetables, can you tell? Steamed cauliflower with that special cheesy sauce I have been trying to perfect. When I perfect it I'll share the recipe.
Steamed greens with a fun almond pate. I soaked almonds for awhile, added sun dried tomatoes, paprika, chili powder, lemon juice, miso, salt and garlic powder. Mixing this into the greens reminded me of a savory cottage cheese. It was very good.

Pickled Protein

There's probably another word for this old recipe but since I heard about it on The Signal podcast I don't have much else to go by. The Signal is a Firefly/Serenity, one of my favorite tv shows/movies, podcast. Other Firefly fans, Browncoats, got together to make a cookbook based on the theme of the show: Big Damn Chefs, and gave the proceeds to charity.

The podcast has been reviewing recipes within the cook book. The directions for this one seemed simple enough:
Cover some tofu with miso paste.
Let it sit on the counter a few days with a damp cloth over it.
Serve with crackers as an ageed cheese.

The reviewer thought this was a much better alternative to the vegan cheeses of the world, so I gave it a shot.
I took 1/2 block of tofu, cut it in half and coated each one with red miso. Set it on the counter for two days with a plate under it and a damp cloth over it.
The miso is supposed to take out the water from the tofu while the tofu absorbs the miso flavor.

Here's what it looked like day two:I tasted the miso and it was flavorless. I wanted to know more about this old recipe, but since I didn't know the name I didn't know what to search for. Do you know about this recipe?

This is what it looked like at day 3:
I cut it open and it did taste like miso on the inside, a lighter miso. Maybe I should have coated it thicker with miso? I don't know. It is a bit creamy on the inside and I do eat it as a spread but it's not something I am really thrilled about. I just feel I've done something wrong. Got any ideas?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stumptown Vegans

Jess and I would like to introduce you to our new project:

Stumptown Vegan Restaurant Reviews are two Portland food bloggers' opinions and adventures with the vegan food they have encountered while eating out around this city. We know everyones' tastes differ and things change in restaurants so visiting once, or even twice, never paints the full picture of a restaurant. We take photos to show you the food we've eaten to help you decide if you also want to visit.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Birthday Cake!

It's birthday week at the Bolsh household. First is my partner's birthday on the 22nd and mine on the 26th.
Here's the first cake requested:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake
I used the Bake and Fill pan. Chocolate Wacky Cake for the main part, filled with chocolate chip cookie dough soy cream and bottom was a big cookie. All topped with ganache!

The birthday boy was so excited he didn't want to wait the entire cake to freeze, but I think it was better this way. So great!

Simple Dinners

So we're getting settled into our new house. After a few weeks of crackers and peanut butter, or eating, I am back to cooking! Yeah!
Here are a few simple meals I've made.

Roasted potatoes with lots of garlic, sauteed chard with some liquid smoke and caramelized onions with a fresh salad with a dill ranch dressing:

More roasted potatoes with cumin and a cheesy sauce (i'm trying to perfect a recipe for my partner) and a side salad with Italian dressing:

I've been trying to buy more things are the farmers market. Here's this weeks loot. For $18 I got kale, elephant garlic, rhubarb, asparagus, lettuce, cauliflower, leek, shallots, cabbage and fiddlehead ferns:

Monday, April 16, 2007


Since we've been in the process of moving and getting the house together not much cooking has been going on. So in the meantime, I will show you an interview done by Secundra, of the Cleavland Library. Maybe you'll learn something new about me.

I also wanted to show off my friend's new food blog: The Conscious Kitchen. Emilie is an amazing cook and great photographer. Her food intimidates and inspires me.

On to the interview:

1) What drew you to a vegan diet?

Feminism.The idea, veganism, had been rattling around my brain for a few years. I was vegetarian for 5 years before and during my first year of college in 1998 a "Why Vegan" found it's way into my hands and lit the flame. I thought about the animals and was able to relate to them more being female animals, putting myself in their place. If I was pumped full of chemicals and not able to stand or move because my breasts were too large like the cows. Or, if I was frequently force ovulated similar to a chicken I would hate life and I was unwilling to support that suffering. So it was a combination of compassion and feminism that lead me to remove all animal products from my life.

2) What was the first vegan meal you made and how did it turn out?

I was lucky enough to go to a college, University of Oregon, that had decent vegan food in the cafeteria. The one time I strayed away from the normal vegan food options was a "recipe" from an omni friend: Take a slab of (cold) tofu from the salad bar and cover it with marinara sauce from the pasta station. Sure! I wasn't yet versed in the blandness of plain, uncooked tofu, but I learned quickly.

3) Was the Kitchen Calendar something that you were doing for your own use?

It was. I was trying to develop my meal planning skills to help with grocery shopping. I hope it worked for others, because it didn't help me! I am the type of person, and cook, that gets inspiration on the spot. Planning my meals a week in advance wasn't helpful. I would buy the ingredients to make tofu spinach lasagna, then use the spinach up in an chickpea dish earlier in the week.
One thing the calendar did work for was for scheduling kitchen use. I had a roommate who was working on a candy and chocolate cook book, another one was a beer brewer, and I just liked to mess around. It worked out well for each of us to set aside the whole kitchen for an afternoon without interruption.

4) When did you decide to turn the Kitchen Calendar into a zine?

I had been tossing around the idea of doing a cook zine for a long time but decided to turn it into something more useful - a meal planning calendar. I'm not sure how many people have kept the recipes contained inside because some saw it as a zine, others just as a calendar.

5) For those who have not seen the Kitchen Calendar zine, could you describe what is it?

The Kitchen Calendar is like any average wall-hanging calendar: a monthly grid layout of days on the bottom half, and text and images on the top half. The Kitchen Calendar is a bit different from a normal calendar in that instead of a monthly image you get a monthly recipe, or two and maybe some helpful kitchen tips. Then there was space for writing. A note section for how you would change the recipe to suit your own tastes. Each daily square also contained space for writing. It was broken down into breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. The calendar owner could use it as a meal planner - writing what meals to make and when, or as a meal tracker - to know what you ate and when. If done the way I intended to do it, your calendar would be filled with writing at the end of the year.

6) How did you get the word out about the zine once it was published?

Once it was published I approached a few distros, providing a sample copy for review. I also posted information about it on vegan cooking communities I am apart of at Livejournal, The Post Punk Kitchen Forms and at Food Fight!

7) What was the response to the zine?

It was a big hit for many of the end of the year holidays. People were excited to give their parents something useful with vegan recipes in it, or start their resolutions to prepare meals. After February there wasn't much interest. It was difficult to get distros to carry it since it was a calendar and not just a food zine. And now, who would want an old 2006 calendar?

8) What motivated you to take your vegan cooking experiences and put them into a blog format?

My experiences with cooking became my craft. I was already posting images of my stained glass work, quilting and other sewing projects - why not my food creations? My friends started asking for the recipes, which means I actually had to have them! I started by taking photos and typing out the recipes as soon as I cooked them and put them on my livejournal. It didn't seem serious enough so I created a food blog: Fueled by Popcorn, after my love of the confusing grain/vegetable.

9) What challanges have you encountered creating a vegan cooking blog?

Writing recipes! It has been so difficult to remember exactly how I created a dish. Those times I am too hungry to write anything down, or measure properly always come back to haunt me when I am uploading photos.

10) Do you prefer blogging over creating a zine?

That's a tough question. I love that blogging allows for instant gratification, quality photos and easy communication with those have tried my recipes or share the same problem creating a vegan meringue. I love creating zines because it's physical, tradable and much more permanent. I think the two work out well together for me because I am able to take the best of my recipes I've created for my blog and create a cook zine out of it, which is what I am working on now. Sorry, I can't answer your question properly, maybe I like blogging better because it's free.

11) Have you communicated with other vegan cooking bloggers?

Yes, a few of my good friends are vegan food blogger. I feel that blogging has a great community surrounding it. If you have a question about a recipe you're trying to prepare from someone's blog you can always ask questions and get a reply quickly.

12) What is the future for your blog?

The future of my blog is to continue doing what I am doing while periodically turning it into a cook zine. Maybe sometime soon I'll buy the domain name fueledbypopcorn and create a real website.