the 24 days of christmas...and beer.

apparently, i need to go back through all of my posts and update my photos because blogger and google conspired to make returning to this blog a royal PITA. in the meantime...

even though NYC hit a record high of 70° today, i've decided it's time to embark on a monthlong adventure of christmas movies. to make it a real adventure, i'm throwing beer into the mix.

tonight it's bad santa...

...and green flash brewing's imperial IPA.

now that i think about it, this is really not that interesting to read OR write about.


regretsgiving: don't call it a mofo.

wow. i really failed at veganmofo...AGAIN. if i separately posted everything i cooked yesterday, i'd get myself up to 7 total entries. including this one, i'd be up to 8. i can think of a lot of excuses, but i'll blame my kitchen and schedule. i can live with that.

a few years ago, some friends and i decided to gather just after thanksgiving to celebrate together. the holiday was dubbed "regretsgiving." it was a time for us to acknowledge our regrets from the previous eyar at as we, at the same time, created new regrets. generally, our collective regrets have been of the "i can't believe i ate the whole thing" variety. this year was no different.

the spread, clockwise from 12 o'clock: thanksgiving lasagna (!), quinoa tabbouleh, vegan butterflake biscuits, mashed spuds & mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, and roasted brussels sprouts. served with a glass of blackcurrant apple juice and an enthusiastic endorsement from mumbles.

eppy's thanksgiving lasagna was recreated by him and paula and hugely successful. lasagna noodles layered with turkey seitan, sliced sweet potatoes, green beans, and mushroom gravy, all topped off with a truckload of stuffing. it sparked an after-dinner discussion of all the different holiday-themed lasagnas we could make. it was decided that the christmas lasagna should be a dessert-y one, so now i'm on the lookout for a chocolate noodle recipe.

the most regrettable thing about regretsgiving, typically, is that none of us regretted it at all, although we all ate more than was reasonable. too-full bellies were tempered by good company and a screening of the traditional regretsgiving film, strange brew.


veganmofo #4: gravy for breakfast.

isa's punk rock chickpea gravy is the move. i haven't had it in forever and i made a batch a couple of days ago. forethought really paid off for me this morning because i had a late friday night out and i needed some hearty food for breakfast. what's that you say, mashed potatoes and gravy are not typically breakfasty?

no matter, because they are especially delicious and fortifying. i need more ways to incorporate gravy into my life.


veganmofo #3: when in doubt, hash it.

i'm enjoying a rare weekday off today, thanks to my father and countless other veterans, and i've earmarked a good portion of it for cooking and baking. and the requisite cleaning that comes along with it, not to mention a whole list of apartmental to-dos that fall to the wayside normally.

after a kind-of late rise and a little kitchen pre-cleaning, i found myself with a bunch of ingredients in front of me and not a lot of direction or inclination to do anything super ambitious. potatoes and mushrooms that were hinting to me that they were not long for this world were definitely to be included. i just started chopping and before i knew it, i was on the path to hash.

i could bore you with a very wiki breakdown of what hash is, but it's probably what everyone assumes - potatoes and other junk (usually meat, but not always!) chopped up and cooked together. one can get all creative with it, but i was working with motivation today, not inspiration. i wanted to cook some food and be eating it relatively quickly, without a lot of thought or preciseness in the process. gold and red potatoes, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, onion, broccoli, and some oven-roasted grape tomatoes came together in a nice hash that truly fit the bill.

part of my motivation was to get myself out of the no-cooking funk that a minor sickness and stressful week have put me in and to get my mofo back. mission: accomplished.


veganmofo #2: mushroom & artichoke risotto!

i pretty much guilted myself into making some food tonight so i could do a veganmofo post. despite the fact that i have lesson plans to write, quizzes to grade, grad school to study for, and sleep to get, i decided on time- and energy-consuming risotto.

a few months back, i had a lovely french couchsurfer named johann stay with me. he cooked me artichoke risotto, which apparently is the only thing he really knows how to cook, and it was amazing. it took a little coaxing and reassuring to convince him that it would be just fine if he made it vegan - and without wine, which he acted like was a sacrilege - but he admitted that the end result was the best risotto he'd ever made. i'm head-over-heels for mushrooms and i just picked up a few varieties this weekend, so i thought i'd make use of them in my inappropriately late dinner tonight.

i used a tyler florence recipe mainly for fundamental amounts, since i've never made risotto before, veganizing and de-wining (only because i never have wine in my house, as i'm not a fan) it, and made do with what i had in the kitchen. so, green onions, creminis, shiitakes, added artichokes, etc.

i planned a lesson while the risotto was cooking and i ended up with a whole whack of food, which is fantastic because my meals have veered toward the sad side lately. i think my risotto is a little mushy (i guess i cooked it on heat that was too low?) but it's lovely and creamy and comforting. just the kind of thing i need after the day i've had.

now i'm settling in to eat and get a little work done and furiously refresh election 2010 results. i have my fingers crossed for you, harry reid.

(p.s. suck it, christine o'donnell.)


veganmofo #1: what a goddamn failure.

i had grand plans, i think, floating around in my head.

and then i got super tired and had a crummy yoga class and came home and was FAMISHED, so i threw some whole wheat bowties in a pot of boiling water and set to mixing up a bunch of junk to toss it with. having just recently made a fairway trip, i had a one-pound container of some artichokes (and garlic), sundried tomatoes (and garlic), and spicy olives (without garlic). i pulsed it a little bit and left it kind of chunky, then tossed the pasta with it.

i might have been bitter from my shitty workday ending, but it tasted like crap. i feel like i need to make up for it tonight, but first i've got to sleep on it.


denver: i went. i ate. i left, albeit begrudgingly.

denver is such an awesome city. i truly fell in love with it when i visited. and i feel like there is a real sense of historic pride in lots of denver merchants, which i found really endearing. lots of pictures and postcards of old denver and even (at watercourse) murals depicting colorado folk tales acted out by animals. i can't wait to go back.

the first restaurant i visited was watercourse foods, where i shared a meal with lots of lovely friends, new and old. isa, john & i shared the blackened tofu caesar salad:

and then i tucked into the fried artichoke hearts po'boy, with sides of steamed greens and onion rings that were otherworldly good:

after lunch, SWEET ACTION! the creamiest, best vegan ice cream i've ever had. they always have a couple of vegan flavors and i tried both - colorado peach and chocolate:

i attended a superfun wedding with tons of great vegan food and the next day went to watercourse's southwest counterpart, city, o' city. i had a few seitan wings:

and the sherman, a great sandwich made with dry-rubbed bbq tofu, cole slaw, and pickle relish. also, perfectly salty and kind of greasy fries.

wolfe's barbeque is something of a denver institution, i gather, and although it's mostly meaty bbq, wolfe (who singlehandedly runs the place) also serves bbq tofu and vegetarian bbq beans. so i tried both:

i went back to watercourse for dinner. country-fried seitan, mashed potatoes, and mixed veg make for the perfect comfort food. i only wish the seitan had been fried in a pan, not a fryer. but who am i to complain?

finally, my last and most favorite food in all of denver (thus far) - the vegan bánh mì from the steamin' demon, watercourse/city, o' city's food cart. tempeh bacon, chipotle aioli, jalapeño, cucumber, sprouts, pickled daikon & carrots, and cilantro = a recipe for satisfaction. i ate this right before driving out to the rockies, where my love for colorado was cemented.

i'll be back, colorado. you can bank on it.



i am convinced that the uglier food is the better it tastes.

case in point: this quickly-throw-together mix of marinated artichokes, kalamata olives, shiitake & maitake mushrooms, lemon, garlic & red chili flakes over spaghetti. it was salty and slightly spicy and mouthwatery, plus a little tart and bright from the lemon, and it was just what i needed after a less-than-wonderful day at work. (turns out when i don't get enough sleep, i'm super cranky - and neither i nor my students really have a good time with that.)

i love pasta dishes where the prep time is no more than the time needed for the noodles to cook, like this one.
and it still strikes me as really funny that i love to eat this kind of stuff, since i used to be so olive- and mushroom-phobic. i'm actually more likely to order EXTRA mushrooms when i'm eating out now instead of asking for them to be withheld. i sometimes think about the time i wasted not eating those briny and earthy treats, respectively, but i probably wouldn't have the appreciation for them i do now had i always been a fan.

at least i came around, right?


post-new year's day prosperity induction

so, i know you're supposed to eat beans & greens on new year's day, but i was feeling all kinds of self-loathy and lame yesterday and could only muster up the energy to eat my leftover new year's eve burrito. (i rang in the new year at harry's burritos after walking around central park in the snow and sleet, lamenting that i'd never been to tavern on the green, which is now closed.)

so today, in addition to getting some errands run, i managed to cram in some spicy and garlicky kale and black-eyed peas. continuing the self-loathing bent, i unthinkingly skipped breakfast and then ended up eating this stuff so late that i missed the yoga class i was going to attend.

so, self-loathing: 2, self-loving: 0.


things i love this summer #4

corn is one of my favorite foodstuffs and i'll eat it prepared just about every way i can think of. lately, i've just been typewritering it off the cob, raw. when it's sweet corn, it's a super-delicious treat on a hot day.

today was my first day back at work after a long, lovely summer off and i thought it'd be a good idea to make up a batch of soup to take for lunches. so i resorted to my favorite standby: isa's corn chowder from vegan with a vengeance. unfortunately, i only had purple carrots to use, so i wound up with this kind of maroonish dark mess. fortunately, this chowder is THE BOMB, so it doesn't matter what it looks like.

choosing to make corn chowder ranks as one of my better decisions today, right up there with taking a load of dirty underwear to the laundromat. and, you know, actually laundering it. now i can greet my kiddos for their first day of 10th grade nourished and not-too-skanky. i have work to do before bed still, so i might be a little cranky when i initially greet the kids, but i'm sure they're going to appreciate the fact that their teacher isn't rustling up dust clouds like pigpen.