Cape Codding

Early this summer I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Cape Cod, which has quickly become one of my favorite places.  There is something so exhilarating and relaxing about spending time in a place so filled with natural beauty and simple charm.  A few weeks back, a group of my friends from law school headed out to H’s house on the Cape for a weekend of baseball and beaching. 

I took it upon myself to be the food provider for the 10 of us for the weekend, and spent several days prior to it preparing for this.  Here is what I made:

1) Lower Fat Banana Bread (with chocolate chips!) from Veganomicon

2) Five-Spice Almond Cookies (which we made into Five-Star Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, natch) from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

Fresh out of the oven (sorry for the craptastic picture)


Best ice cream sandwich ever (P.S.-that is not my arm!)

3) Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured, but see a batch I made last year here)

4) Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette from ED&BV (not pictured)…I chopped some cucumbers and tossed them with this dressing and a little oregano for a really delish salad

5) The spice mixture from ED&BV’s Blackened Tofu recipe, which I used to make cajun scallops** (not pictured, but see the results of this mixture on tofu here)
**please see my note below

6) A variation of the stuffing from Self magazine’s Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers recipe (not pictured)

All of the food was very well-received and appreciated, and we had a wonderful weekend!

So, about those scallops…

On the Cape the emphasis is heavily on seafood.  While I know this might be controversial to many vegetarians and vegans, I have no problem cooking non-veg options for others.  In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, that day I also made broiled haddock for the company.  My food preferences are solely mine, and I wouldn’t presume to prepare an entirely vegan menu for 9 omnivores and expect them to enjoy it as much as I would.  I feel that trying to impose my points of view on any topic (be it diet or things like politics, religion, etc.) on others can only backfire; people don’t like to be told what to do or made to feel that they are wrong…each person needs to come to his or her own decision about how he or she wants to live by making their own personal judgments.  That being said, I think it’s very important to show non-veg*ns how enjoyable vegan cuisine can be, which, if I may say, I think I did very effectively with the breakfast bread and desserts, as well as the couscous and salad.  I think every little bit counts, and each time I prepare veg food for non-veg*ns that they actually enjoy, I hope that the next time they will be slightly less surprised by the fact that they actually enjoyed it. 

Anyway, I just needed to put that out there.  I know not everyone agrees with me, and I would definitely be interested to hear the points of view of others. 

I have a ton of pictures of meals to post from the last few weeks and hope to do so soon!

A Mega-Post for the Greater Good

Ooookay!  It’s time to put up all the pics I have from the last few weeks in one big post.  I’ll understand if no one reads it, but I really really want to get on a regular posting schedule and blog about what I cook when I actually cook it, like the rest of the food blogging world does!  Honestly I admire all of you–I am still relatively new to this so bear with me this one time and hopefully after this I can maintain a regular schedule! 

Enough of that…on to the food!  I made a couple of recipes that I’ve seen used frequently in the vegan food blogosphere, which I had been dying to try out!

First up was Blackened Tofu from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. 

I made mine with tofu that had been pressed, frozen, and then defrosted (because I always prefer the texture of tofu that has been frozen!).  I served it up with some couscous tossed with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and some chopped cucumber from our garden (which I will miss so much now that I’m in Boston!).


Couscous Closeup


A Perfect Little Meal

So simple and soooo delicious!  Definitely something I will be making often during the semester. 

I have also now successfully made the Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas, also from ED&BV, that I have seen on so many people’s blogs, and that have made my mouth water every time I’ve seen them!  Actually my mouth is watering now just thinking about them…


Made with fresh rosemary, which I highly recommend

For a really fantastic, light summery meal, I made the Chickpeas along with Kalamata Walnut Tapenade from Vive Le Vegan by Ms. Burton.  It kind of has the look of used coffee grounds, but if you are anywhere near it you can smell the delicious olive-y aroma and you will know that it’s more than edible! 🙂

I served this to Dad and M, with some crackers to go with the tapenade.  I ate my tapenade with a whole-wheat mini-bagel, and my chickpeas over a spinach salad, which contained the chopped remnants of one of the largest white mushrooms I’ve ever seen:


Apologies for the slightly horrifying no-makeup pic, but this mushroom was intense

I loved loved loved the chickpeas, and I liked the tapenade alot.  The only issue I had with the tapenade was that it was incredibly salty.  I think this is due to the olives I used, not to the recipe.  The recipe actually calls for “sea salt to taste”, but I don’t even think I added any, and it was still super-salty!  I would definitely make the recipe again though.  And as for the chickpeas, I’m pretty sure they will be made weekly here in my Beantown (how appropriate!) kitchen 🙂

Here is a pic of my little spread (a little went a long way!):

Last night, I got around to making Snobby Joes from Veganomicon. 

I love this recipe!  My roommate (not vegan but very veg-friendly–hi K!) liked it too.  I actually ate it with tortilla chips (as seen above)–maybe that’s weird but it was delicious!  I’m planning to freeze the leftovers to use all semester long. 

Actually I spent alot of the week cooking freezer-bound meals, including the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, which I’ve posted about before.  I also made Veggie Burger Patties, from Josh at My Vegan Cookbook.  I actually made these last week for a barbecue at my parents’ house, and this week while being industrious I doubled the recipe and froze eight of these beauties to eat when I will be too busy with Civil Procedure reading to even boil water for pasta!  Here is a piccie:


Do you love my mom’s little fish plate? I do!


Closeup

This recipe is a great find.  They are quite hamburger-like, insofar as I enjoy them best on a big ol’ bun with lots of ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomato.  I’ve also eaten them on an English muffin with salsa and that was very enjoyable too 🙂 

During my last week at home, there was another fun, simple little meal that I’d like to share. This one did not from books but consisted of one recipe-in-the-head and one recipe-from-Panama. Fresh Herb and Tomato Pasta Saladand Patacones (aka “Tostones”).

For the pasta salad, I first went a-picking:


Beautiful garden tomatoes, with some cucs thrown in for good measure


The finished product

It contained fresh chopped basil, cilantro, and fenugreek, the chopped tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic. It tasted so fresh and delicious and was great served cold.



Plus patacones!

These are patacones con ajo. Basically you wash, slice, and salt a plaintain, then deep fry it until it gets a little darker in color. You then flatten it (in Panama they use an authentic volcanic rock for the smashing but we used the side of a cleaver). In this case, we slapped on some crushed garlic before smashing. Then you fry them again until crispy. Totally unhealthy but totally delicious 🙂 Something we all need once in a while!

Finally, on to the soups!!  On one of my last nights at home, Dad and I whipped up the Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple from Veganomicon, a recipe which I had been eyeing from the first time I ever cracked open the book!


First we made the ancho chile powder!


The finished product

Heaven.  That is all there is to say about that.

And finally, Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans, also from Veganomicon, which I made this week and which is happily chillin out (pun intended) in my freezer as we speak 🙂

Oven-roasting garlic was a new experience for me, and squeezing the soft goo out of the cloves was slightly disgusting but oddly satisfying. This soup is just delicious, filling and satisfying. And pretty easy to make too! I pretty much am gunning to make every soup recipe featured in this book, because these ladies know their soups and it is well worth the effort!

Okay I’m done! Congratulations if you’ve reached the end of this monster post!!!