Eating the Internet

OM NOM NOM

"OM NOM NOM" CC BY-NC-SA notemily, flickr

The Internet has been feeding me since my college days when my roommates and I would scour allrecipes.com every week to find new and exciting things to make in our dorm kitchen. I think I was possibly the most well-fed college student ever. Now that the Internet is all grown up, I can spend hours and hours digging through recipe websites trying to find the best version of something to try out (or more likely, the version of this thing that uses ingredients I have in my house). It’s exhilarating/exhausting.

Also exhausting is digging around the web trying to find something I made 5 months ago and am craving again. It’s a precious few recipes I make more than once, so I thought I’d save both you & me some time by rounding up a list of favorites so we don’t have to look all over for them.

Baked Oatmeal with Pecans, Blueberries, & Bananas (ok, I made this for the first time just last weekend, but I already know I’m going to want it again.)

The Moosewood Cookbook’s Thai Salad

Root Beer Cupcakes with Vanilla Malt Frosting (recipe mashups are my favorite kind of mashups)

Basil Hummus

Scrambled Tofu with Greens and Berry Chipotle Sauce

Red Split Lentils With Cabbage and Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

Best Brussels Sprouts

Fall Harvest

My sister has been bugging me for an update on the garden I planted in the spring, so I’ve put together a Harvest 2011 slide show. One thing to note: Those yellow flowers you see everywhere are marigolds. They were meant to be a small border flower, but instead they are giant 4-foot-tall MARIGOLDS FROM SPACE.

Basil Lemonade Scones

This recipe was a big hit at the food swap last weekend. Someone commented that these scones taste like sunshine. I like that. I based them on the orange scone recipe I’ve posted before (from Vegan With a Vengeance.)

Basil Lemonade Scones

Ingredients:
1 1/4 C soy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C vegetable oil
3 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
lemon basil glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (or cover it with parchment paper.)

Combine the soy milk and vinegar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, & salt. Add the milk mixture, oil, orange zest, and basil. Mix until just combined, so that the dough is clumpy (not sticky), and there’s still a some flour dusting the bowl.

Divide the dough into two portions. Form each portion into a 6-inch disk, and cut each disk into 6 wedges. Arrange the wedges on the prepared cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes (until slightly brown & firm on top). While scones are still warm, top each with about 2Tbsp lemon basil glaze.

Lemon Basil Glaze

Ingredients:
1 C confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp nonhydrogenated margarine, melted
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil

Mix together all ingredients in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Super Swap Weekend

One of the memories I can just grasp from my early childhood is watching a cartoon that featured a trading post (in my memory, it was Rabbit’s Trading Post on a Winnie the Pooh show, but the internet has, so far, been unable to confirm that for me.) I loved the idea of a trading post then, and am still a huge fan of the barter economy. This weekend, I had the great good fortune to participate in two Minneapolis swap events: The MPLS Swapper’s Food Swap and the Swap-o-Rama-Rama. I love Minneapolis!

The first event was all about food. This was my first food swap so I was super nervous. I decided to bring root beer cupcakes with vanilla malt frosting and vegan basil lemonade scones (recipes for both coming soon.) I got there early to set up my station. Here’s my very own trading post:

And here’s everything I brought home in exchange for all that sugar:

I traded all of my leftover frosting for that big bunch of kale. Other very exciting items I brought home with me included: chocolate orange zucchini bread, a vast assortment of jams, pickles, cowboy caviar, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, pie pops, and candied sesame walnuts. This event is so full of win. I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the swap is held at Open Arms Minnesota, an organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals to people living with serious and life threatening diseases.

The Swap-o-Rama-Rama was all about clothes. It was much less organized than the food swap, but I brought a garbage bag full of clothes to share and came home with a full bag of new duds, so I consider it a huge success. In addition to a giant pile of clothes to dig through, this swap had sewing machines and an airbrushing station for anyone who wanted to make immediate alterations. I didn’t make use of any of the stations, but I have a whole new Winter wardrobe (huge thanks on this to the friend I attended with who brought great clothes.)

Crepes Two Ways: Chanterelles and Honeyed Apricots

After three weekends of traveling, I finally got to stay home and go to the farmer’s market last week. I was so excited to be back, I wanted to splurge on everything. I got a kohlrabi t-shirt, honey, 12 ears of sweet corn, fingerling potatoes, and chanterelle mushrooms. To round out my bliss, I decided to pick up a beautiful bouquet of pink, yellow, orange, and purple flowers. However, having been raised Lutheran, I couldn’t justify buying flowers just for myself, so I bought them for a friend to enjoy by proxy. Fortunately, Sara decided independently to buy me a bouquet of my own, so I get to enjoy them first-hand, without guilt.

Anyway, all gooeyness aside, the chanterelles I bought were incredible. I fixed them pretty simply and served with crepes so I could really enjoy their flavor. Such bliss! And I can’t do crepes without something sweet, so I cooked up some apricots and honey, too.

Chanterelle Crepe Filling

1 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
3 Shallots, diced
1 Pint Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 Tsp Fresh Sage, chopped
2-3 Tbsp Marsala cooking wine
1/4 Tsp Salt

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add shallots and sate until soft. Add mushrooms, sage, cooking wine, and salt, and saute until mushrooms are cooked and most liquid is evaporated (about 5-8 minutes.)

Honeyed Apricot Crepe Filling

5 Apricots, peeled, pitted, and sliced
3 Tbsp Honey

Combine apricots and honey in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat until a thick sauce forms (about 10-15 minutes).

Tip: to help get the skins off the apricots, I boil them whole for a couple of minutes, and then put them in cold water

 

Serve with your favorite crepes. I used this recipe from Minnesota Monthly.

Vegan No-Bake Cookies

Gather ’round hippies, this summer has seen the renaissance of my favorite no-bake cookie recipe. There’s no refined sugar, no gluten, and even better, they’re delicious and take about 10 minutes to make. I used to make these for my book club when I first moved to Minneapolis. Today, I made them at the special request of a friend. They’re little gooey dark chocolate blobs of awesomeness. Enjoy!

Vegan No-Bake Cookies

2/3 C Maple syrup
1/4 C Vegetable oil
5 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy is up to you)
1 C Rolled oats
1 Tsp Vanilla

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, rolled oats, and vanilla until well blended.

Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto waxed paper and chill to set (about 30 minutes). Store in the refrigerator.

Savory Corn Griddle Cakes with Spiced Honey Syrup

The first sweet corn of the season has made it to the Kingfield Farmer’s Market! The market has been hyping the arrival of sweet corn all week, so of course I rolled out of bed this morning and made a beeline for the Peter’s Pumpkins stand. I spent the afternoon menu planning while Sara tried to update the very complex set of spreadsheets that is our household budget — both of us think we got the easier task. I wanted to get the corn into a main dish ASAP, and I was fortunate to come across a recipe I haven’t tried — Jack Bishop’s savory corn griddle cakes. I whipped them up while Sara prepared the first of the green beans from our garden. Summer success!

Savory Corn Griddle Cakes

savory corn griddle cakes

(from A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop, with minor adaptations)

Ingredients

4 medium ears corn, husks & silk removed
1/4 Cup shredded pepper jack cheese
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
1/4 Cup milk
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
Spiced Honey Syrup

Grate corn on the large holes of a box grater set inside a large bowl until the cobs are clean. Stir the cheese, basil, milk, and eggs into the corn until smooth.

Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just mixed.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and lightly grease it with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into skillet in 1/4 cup dollops. Cook, flipping the griddle cakes once, until brown on both sides. Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve with Spiced Honey Syrup.

Spiced Honey Syrup

Ingredients

1/3 C Honey
1 Small chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 1 minute, or heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Serve warm.

Chili Lime Mock Duck Tacos with Kohlrabi Slaw

It is the summer of tacos! Why tacos? Tacos are quick and they don’t require turning on the oven, and they can be filled with so many different things. Today I decided to combine my favorite sandwich filling (chili lime mock duck) with a slaw made from my favorite vegetable — kohlrabi! — and some mint from my garden.

Mock Duck Tacos

Chili Lime Mock Duck Tacos

1 Small yellow onion, diced
2 10oz Cans mock duck, drained and chopped
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tsp Sriracha hot sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Sour Cream
Fresh mint
Kohlrabi Slaw
Corn Tortillas

Warm vegetable oil in a medium frying pan. Add onions, and saute until translucent. Add mock duck, tamari, sriracha, and lime juice and simmer for 5 minutes.
Warm tortillas on the stovetop (or in the microwave if you don’t have a gas stove), fill with mock duck, sour cream, kohlrabi slaw, and torn mint leaves.

Kohlrabi Slaw

2 Medium kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
1 Tbsp Canola oil
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Toss with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a cold beer on the front porch.

My Backyard Farm

KohlrabiThe past two years have been the first in my life that I have gone without a garden, and that’s been very hard for me. Growing up, my family planted a huge garden every year. I have great memories of spending a whole day planting vegetables with my family, squishing bugs on my sister, & then jumping into Grandma’s pool at the end of the day. As a kid, I would eat tomatoes and spinach in the garden without even bothering to bring them inside and wash them off. My brother was known to be found between the rows, eating jalapenos. Even when I was in college and didn’t come home during the summer, I would make sure to be there to plant the garden. When I had my first apartment in Minneapolis, I joined a community garden with a communal strawberry patch.

When Sara and I bought this house, I underestimated the amount of time and work it would take to wrangle our jungle of a back yard into my dream garden, but we’ve made progress. Sara and I built three raised bed gardens this Spring, and I finally feel like this place is really mine.

Here’s a before-and-after shot:

Garden Before & After

So, what did I get in the ground this year?

Tomatoes, sunflowers, marigolds, pie pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon, kohlrabi, green beans, white beans, peas, carrots, a bunch of herbs, strawberries, and some purple flowers from my friend, Meleah (who has an awesome blog, btw.)

I am content.

Tempeh Reuben Roundup

Hey, look the blog got a fancy new layout. To go along with the new look, I’ve got big plans to add more content in the near future. Three cheers for being done with school!

To kick this off, I want to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart: tempeh reubens. You may not have known this, but I consider myself to be the foremost expert on tempeh reubens in Minneapolis. I love them. I consider it my mission to try one anywhere I find it on a menu. So, when a coworker asked me last week if I knew of anywhere to get a good tempeh sandwich, he sure got an earful. Here’s the condensed version for you all.

Favorites

1. The Lowbrow

The Lowbrow

CC BY-NC-ND massdistraction, Flickr

The Lowbrow is a new-ish bar on 42nd and Nicollet in South Minneapolis, and they serve my current favorite tempeh reuben in Minneapolis. I’ve eaten the tempeh reuben at The Lowbrow at least four times since it’s opened and each time, it’s gotten better. The tempeh isn’t dry, there’s plenty of melty cheese and kraut, and the thousand island dressing comes on the side so you can make sure that each bite has the perfect amount (I’m a sucker for that kind of thing). My one complaint is the bread. The Lowbrow’s reuben is served on sourdough instead of the traditional rye. That said, the sourdough is toasted to perfection.

 

2. Hampden Park Co-op

Hampden Park is a tiny food co-op over in St. Paul. They don’t have a full deli counter, but they do have a deli case with sandwiches and sodas, as well as some kick-ass soups, and I’ll let you in on a secret: Monday is tempeh day at Hampden Park. Their sandwich selection rotates throughout the week, but every Monday, you can find their towering tempeh reuben with it’s plastic container of sauerkraut taped to the top, as well as another favorite of mine, the wasabi tempeh sandwich (great if you’re vegan and/or a little less hungry). The Hampden Park reuben is served cold, so it’s not where you should go if you like your swiss nice and bubbly. That said, the tempeh is perfectly flavored and piled on. They don’t skimp on the toppings either. This sandwich is served on pumpernickel bread from the New French Bakery, another favorite place of mine. If you happen to stop by Hampden Park on a Tuesday and see one of these still hanging around the cooler, be warned that the bread may have gotten a little soggy from sitting for a day. On Monday, though, its just right.

3. The Wedge Co-op

The Wedge makes a solid tempeh reuben. It’s not the most amazing tempeh reuben I’ve ever had, but they get everything right. It’s a good sandwich to get if the mood strikes you while you’re out getting groceries. You can choose your bread, and your side. I’d recommend grabbing a maple caramel for dessert while you’re there, too.

Honorable Mention

1. The Seward Co-op

The Seward Co-op Deli serves a vegetarian Ruby — their version of the tempeh reuben. It comes topped with purple cabbage instead of sauerkraut, which is a nice touch if you’re in the mood for it.

Not Recommended

1. French Meadow Bakery & Cafe

I’ve got nothing against French Meadow. They make fantastic salads and sweet corn arepas, as well as killer desserts, but they just shouldn’t call their tempeh sandwich a reuben. It only leads to disappointment for all of us. French Meadow serves a vegan “tempeh reuben” with a tomato soy aioli instead of thousand island or Russian dressing, and no cheese. It does have a little bit of kraut & it’s served on rye, so it does get points there, but if you’re hankering for a reuben, this sandwich will leave you hanging. If you’re looking for a nice vegan tempeh sandwich on the other hand, you may want to try it out.