Thursday, March 24, 2011

Anniversary Dinner!

John and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary with this lovely dinner. I did most of the prep work the day before (Sunday) so I could have it on the table at a decent dinner time (Monday). The meal included:

Cashew Nut Loaf stuffed with Garlic and Mushrooms
Silky Chickpea Gravy
Butternut Coconut Rice
Green Beans with Truffle Oil and Sea Salt
Lemon Macadamia Nut Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

So, the loaf is excellent. My mother-in-law made if for Christmas dinner last year and John specifically requested it for this meal. Instead of making a stuffing (an option in the recipe), there is a layer of sauteed garlic and mushrooms in the middle (assembly process shown below). I have always shied away from nut loafs because of a previous, bad experience. Fortunately, this one has turned me back on to the concept.

I used a combo of almonds, pecans, and cashews. For the bread crumbs, I used a combo of panko and crushed spelt crackers (I didn't realize that I didn't have enough crumbs until it was too late to go buy more! But, it worked out very well.)

The gravy is rich and thick and salty and sage-flavored. It went nicely with the loaf.

I do not have a link to the Butternut Coconut Rice, which is a complete shame because it was the highlight of the meal! I am not a huge fan of rice, but I will make this recipe any and every time I can find a butternut squash at the grocery store! It is a combo of garlic and ginger along with sesame oil, shallot, lime, red pepper flakes, and topped off with creamy coconut milk. We also sprinkled toasted coconut on top. It is addictive stuff! And even better, the recipe is from Appetite for Reduction.

The green beans were sauteed in a touch of truffle oil and sea salt.

And finally, the dessert! I bought new cupcake liners (silicon) and was really excited to try them out. They worked very nicely, left no paper waste, released the cupcakes very easily and in perfect shape, and were easy to clean.

The recipe is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. The cupcakes are tangy and fruity while the macadamia nuts are crunchy and delicious! I did substitute almond meal for the macadamia nut meal and, in the frosting, coconut oil instead of shortening.

We also had Tofutti Strawberry flavored icecream. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. The flavor was so bad we are considering writing the company. John even suggested that we somehow got a 'bad batch' because of how awful it tastes. It is reminds me of some horrible chemical strawberry flavoring. It is organic and I am usually not disappointed with the brand (LOVE the icecream sandwiches). But, in this case, we will never buy this product again!  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pad Thai Salad with Peanut-Lime Dragon Dressing

I strongly believe this salad recipe has potential, but I ruined this potential with bad lettuce and too much hot sauce! First, the lettuce I bought was extremely tough. It was organic romaine but has the consistency of cabbage (for the white part) and kale (for the green). Not appetizing!

The dressing was delicious before I discovered my bottle of Sriracha had a little blockage, which quickly became unblocked when I applied a little pressure. The result was about 4 times the amount I can stand! Even John was struggling with it.

We had spring rolls on the side (not pictured) and they helped immensely by offering a bit of cool relief.  

The recipe is from Appetite for Reduction.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles

One of my new kitchen purchases since finally moving out of furnished housing was a waffle iron! I have wanted one for a long time and am now the happy owner.

I have tried at least 5 recipes for waffles in search of the perfect 'soft on the inside, crisp on the outside' texture that John and I love.

Today, we came VERY close! I followed the recipe in Vegan Brunch but made a slight adjustment. I have been reading that the trick to great waffles is seperating the egg and gently stiring the egg white in last. Since there is no egg or egg replacer in this recipe, I decided to cut a bit of the milk out and try the above steps with an egg replacer. And it worked really well!!! I whisked the replacer into a foamy consistency and lightly stirred only until I couldn't see it anymore.

 The result:

We also included what we refer to as 'Key West Coffee' because this is the way they served it while we were vacationing there. It is coffee brewed normally, then added coconut milk and agave. And, notice the adorable mugs by Bodium that John found at an antique store here in Aarhus!

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

I cleaned out my freezer yesterday and found a batch of cashew cream sauce in there from...who knows when. I also had a box of lasagna noodles in the pantry, also from that time frame! So, I bought a box of garlic flavored tomato sauce (I stopped buying canned since reading this article), a bunch of fresh basil, garlic, spinach, and mushrooms. I topped the lasagna with shredded Mozzerella Sheese.

It came together in under 20 minutes, baked for about 30 and was really delicious!

Scrambled Tortillas

Definitely comfort food! But, also healthy (well, maybe not if you and your husband eat the entire 'serves 4' in one sitting!)

The recipe calls for corn tortillas. I had originally planned to make my own, but I ran out of time and settled for tortilla chips instead. They totally worked!

Isa Chandra Moskowitz describes it as 'little morsels of heaven' and I couldn't agree more! She also says it does not photograph well. Don't let that stop you from trying it though!!!

Courico Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Last time I was in the U.S. I bought two jars of chipotles in adobo sauce (Embasa brand) because they are impossible to find here in DK. Now, I am really stingy about using them because I want them to last! But, this recipe has been one I have wanted to try for a long time.

Here is the recipe.

We do not have a grill, so we just sauted the pineapple for a while, letting the outsides brown a little.

Instead of wrapping it all up in tortillas, we opted for taco salad style with tortilla chips. The courico is very spicy but in a smokey, vinegary, and sweet way. We had a little avocado on the side to cool things down!

Hoison-Mustard Tofu with Unfried Fried Rice

The original recipe for the tofu includes lettuce wraps. That would have been delicious, but we did not have the right lettuce. So, we just served it alongside the rice and were very happy!

Both recipes are from Appetite for Reduction (my other cookbooks have been getting dusty lately!)

The recipe for the tofu is here. I bought a huge jar of hoisin sauce from the Asian market a few weeks ago, so fortunately we really enjoy the flavor!

The Unfried Fried rice is nothing really special, just rice cooked with sesame oil, shallot, garlic, ginger, soy and green onion. We added carrot and snow peas.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Toasted Cumin Seeds

I have made almost half of the salads in Appetite for Reduction. This was good but not my favorite. I had such high expectations for the flavor of toasted cumin seeds. The book says they taste smoky, but I did not get that effect.

At any rate, it was an extremely quick recipe that includes quinoa, toasted cumin seeds, tomatoes, lime juice, agave, black beans, scallions, and mixed greens.

I also made Chickpea cutlets :-)

Trattoria Pasta Salad with White Beans

The salads alone make the cookbook Appetite for Reduction worth the purchase. Everything else is great also, but the salads...yum! They are meals. They do not leave you with the feeling, "All I had for dinner was salad..."

Pasta, northern white beans, arugula, red onion, roasted red pepper, kalamata olives, pepper and a Sun-dried Tomato-Walnut dressing make this meal complete.

The dressing blends the flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, fennel seeds, shallots, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and marjarom.

Catalan Couscous Salad with Pears

John made this salad, from Appetite for Reduction, for dinner one night and it was delicious and filling. The basics include spinach topped with whole wheat couscous, toasted almonds, pear slices, and Romesco dressing.

The dressing is oil-free and addicting! It consists of almonds, shallots, roasted red peppers, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, agave, salt, pepper, and water.

The salad takes very little time to put together and has the combo of sweet (pears) and savory (dressing).

Brussels Sprout-Potato Hash with Silky Chickpea Gravy

Wow. I haven't blogged for a long time! Life has been, as always, busy. We moved into a different apartment in Aarhus, Denmark. Both John and I have permanent contracts here now, and we are settling in to stay for more than 8 months!

For the first time in 2 years, we are in an unfurnished apartment (we were previously in furnished, company housing), meaning we had to buy all new stuff. I was able to pick up some really fun kitchen items. Although I do miss my old stuff (it is still in storage in Portland, Oregon), I am adjusting nicely.

I have actually cooked a lot in the past month, but many of the things I made have already been posted, or the cameral was packed, or I forgot, or I was lazy!

This meal was one of my favorites for a variety of reasons. 1) John did the cooking AND cleaning! 2) Brussels are my fav. 3) Silky Chickpea more words needed.

The recipes are from Appetite for Reduction.

Here is a recipe for the gravy. Also included in this link is a recipe for Caulipots from the same cookbook. I have not tried them yet!

Here is the recipe for the hash. The flavors of garlic, thyme, and lemon are fantastic.