Tag Archives: asparagus

Valentine’s Day

My man and I have been together for many years now but we have never been really into Valentine’s Day. Actually, on the first one we shared he went all out decorating and buying me The Bodyguard on DVD (some say it is the greatest love story of our time) but since then it has all been kind of meh. This year for whatever reason it hit me that I celebrate all sorts of holidays that I don’t care about like St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day so why not Valentine’s day. Lucky for me my partner played along and got me flowers and fabulous cupcakes from Sugar Mama’s and I made the best meal ever and we watched a movie that was significantly worse than the Bodyguard.

Unfortunately with all the revelry I took really horrible pictures on my phone but I am going to post them anyway because it was so good. We started with the baked brie from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions which was may be my favorite part of the whole meal. Going to four stores to find roasted macadamia nuts for the recipe was totally worth it (whole foods got rid of their nut roasting counter! Central Market had them). Next time I will back off on the agave though because it was really sweet. After that we had a spinach salad with niçoise olives and blood oranges. Then the main course was gnocchi with a creamy mushroom sage sauce, topped with frizzled leeks and roasted asparagus. 

The only problem was this portion was way too filling. See all those gnocchi on my plate? I tried to eat them all. I made the sauce by caramelizing some onions, adding garlic, sage, white beans, earth balance, and a little bit of creamy mushroom soup. The leeks were roasted in the oven with lemon,a little bit of clove and ginger and the asparagus were roasted with salt and lemon because why mess with perfection.

Definitely better than typical Monday night fare.

Summertime

Lazy Smurf’s photo guide to enjoying summer:

First find a hammockIf a hammock can not be found a sleeping bag in a sunny spot will workThen find someone to grill for you, even if he uses too much lighter fluid, do not start an argument

Instead enjoy a fruity cocktail

Find some nostalgic songs about summer to listen too

and remember when you used to spend all summer hangin’ out

If you go somewhere remember in summer that flip flops are the only acceptable alternative to bare feetIf you are by the ocean you can go surfingIf you don’t you can still rock out to the beach boys

You can ride your bike

And find somewhere that you can go swimmingMaybe you will find a magical place that has a  swim up bar AND hammocks so much the better Finally, eat lots of good food outside

We got these little corn holders for Christmas and finally got to bust them out for Memorial Day! I was so excited, the grilled corn was really good, I soaked it first in water for 10 minutes, rubbed it with olive oil, and sealed it back in it’s husk before grilling. I also roasted the asparagus on the grill and made BLT burgers out of seitan with bacon bits and an avocado filling from Just the Food. They were really easy to make and very flavorful!

But DON’T let your dogs enjoy the leftover corn cobs

Even though it was really cute at the time they threw them up the next day. Ew.

And finally, take after Dinger and find a cool spot for a nice nap

Star Trek Feast

I can’t find the picture that I have of the 7th grade version of me dressed in full Star Trek the Next Generation starfleet uniform. I really wanted to post it. I am surround by two Klingons that are dressed so well you would think they stepped out of the future. When I was in 6th grade my best friend, Amanda, and I even reenacted an episode, casting all of our (girl) friends as Picard and Riker etc. I was a very belieable Worf, well as believable as a 6th grade girl can be.

So yeah, I was am a nerd. I don’t go to Sci-fi conventions any more but I did live in my mom’s basement for a while. And you know what? Now I blog about food that I made. So if you see me walking down the street you can yell “NERD” all you want and I will take it as a compliment. There aren’t many people, I would wager, who simultaneously had a crush on Captain Picard AND Wesley Crusher. I can also identify the season of the next generation by the shape of Riker’s beard.

I have been recently revisiting my Star Trek roots in anticipation of the new movie, listening to podcasts, watching the original series on the Roku and Deep Space 9 on DVD from Netflix (why do they have to be so expensive?). I have also been thinking about all the food and how good it would be. I was lucky enough to see the new movie with a glass of Romulan Ale in my hand (thank you Alamo Drafthouse) following this feast.

I made Bajoran Hasperat. It is based on Lolo’s version at Vegan Yum Yum except with the addition of a large sausage shaped chikpea cutlet, some extra spices (sumac & smoked paprika) and golden beets instead of carrots. Everyone really liked them and the guys even had them for breakfast the next day.

I also had gaeta olives on the side that were supposed to be in the wrap. Mmm Gaeta.

I roasted Ferengi Tube Grubs (Fiddlehead Ferns) and Asparagus for the side dish that were made palatable by the addition of Cardassian Yamok Sauce

the sauce was basically white beans sauteed with garlic, onions, tarragon, and lemon and then blended with a few green olives.

We had it on potatoes too, I loved it and it inspired the next night’s meal. I will post the recipe if anyone is interested it was perfect for the season.

Here is Amanda and I forcing her boyfriend to give the Vulcan salute,  it is sad that neither of our boyfriends are Trekkies, they have thier own nerd activities though, I promise.

My favorite part of watching the new movie was that Amanda was sitting next to me and every time someone gave the customary hand greeting Amanda did it too. (NERD!!!!)

The best part of the whole meal, though, was the Earl Grey cupcakes, they are an alteration from the chai cupcakles in Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. I made the frosting from the book that uses Agave and coconut butter instead of sugar and margarine and it was divine. Mr. Smurf doesn’t even like frosting on cakes usually and he was eating the leftovers with a spoon.

It was a good meal.

What are you a nerd about?

PS- the cupcake background is from http://hubblesite.org/gallery/wallpaper/ they have lots of great images

Asparagus with Peanut Sauce

I was not really able to stick to my menu plan starting almost immediately after I got home from the store. I was scheduled to make a tofu dish but I was really feeling noodles and I also didn’t feel like following a recipe so this is what I came up with. It was so delicious! I used the peanut sauce from Get it Ripe which was delicious, maybe the best creamy peanut sauce recipe that I have tried. Unfortunately, it used coconut milk and a lot of peanut butter so it was probably very fattening.

All I did was stir fry some onions, garlic, and asparagus while I cooked the udon noodles. When the noodles were done I mixed them with the peanut sauce, topped with the asparagus stir fry, cilantro, lime, and spring onions. It was a great fast meal.

Vegetable Love – You sexy mother dumpling

Is food sexy? Should food be sexy? If cooking for someone is love and love is sex does that mean that cooking for someone is seduction? Here is what prince has to say about it:
(you should listen to the song while you read this post, but I didn’t want to force you to)

We need to talk about things
Tell me what cha do, tell me what cha eat
I might cook for you
See it really don’t matter ’cause it’s all about me and you
Ain’t no one else around
I’m even with the blindfold, gagged and bound
I don’t mind
See this ain’t about sex
It’s all about love being in charge of this life
And the next
Why all the cosmic talk?
I just want you smarter than I’ll ever be
When we take that walk

Come here baby, yeah
You sexy motherfucker

These are the questions that were circling my mind last night as I made the sexiest food I could think of.  Susan over at Fat Free Vegan is having a Vegetable Love contest. The idea was to make a sexy dish for Valentine’s day and just the idea of it sent my head spinning. My first thought was asparagus and then quickly followed by mangoes. I thought about Oysters, I remember Dan Fielding was always seducing his conquests with oysters on Night Court but obviously they fall into the not vegan category. I knew I wanted to make some sort of dumpling as well so that the meal would be squishy and bursting with flavor but it also had to be spicy so I decided to stuff my dumplings with some sort of mango Thai fry. I thought about making a seitan sausage but I quickly decided that would be too much work and it would overpower the filling. I didn’t want to use tofu because that is such an easy way out! Then, inspiration hit me in such a way that if I were a cartoon a light bulb would have burst over my head: Oyster Mushrooms! It occurred to me to wrap the dumpling like a giant tortellini around an asparagus and finish them off on a bed of coconut rice. I went to the store thinking about how I was going to create something that could truly be called food porn. 

Making the meal was certainly a labor of love but once I tasted it and Dan said, “I can’t believe you came up with this whole dish” I knew it was all worth it. This was one of the best meals I have ever made.

Asparagus Mango Dumplings with Coconut Basil Rice

For the Dumpling Wrappers:
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of boiling water

Add the water to a bowl with the flour and mix together with a wooden spoon. If it is too sticky you can add more flour a tablespoon at a time. If it is too dry you can add more water a tablespoon at a time. Knead for 10 minutes until a hole poked in the dough fills back in. Let it rest in a covered bowl for 30 minutes.

For the Filling:
*save your onion, garlic, scallion, and cilantro scraps for the steaming water
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, chopped
2 red chili peppers, chopped
1/2 lbs of oyster mushrooms, separated into smaller pieces
1/2 cup of mango pineapple juice (or one or the other)
1 mango, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a bit of oil or broth in a large skillet or wok on high heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for about three minutes. Add the spices wait a minute, stir, and then add garlic, chilies, and ginger. Stir for another minute then add the mushrooms and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the juice and add the mango. Sauté for another minute or two then add the scallions and cilantro and remove from the heat.

For the Rice
1 teaspoon of coconut butter
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of basil, reserve some for plating and chop the rest
1 cup of rice
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of Vegeta or broth powder

Melt the coconut butter over medium heat making sure that it doesn’t burn. Add the garlic and scallion and sauté for about three minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, the rice, and the basil and cook another minute. Finally, add the water and the broth powder, mix well, reduce heat to low, cover and steam rice for about 30 minutes.

To Assemble
6 asparagus, end removed
red cabbage leaves to line the steamer
2 limes, quartered

Fill your steamer pot with water, the leftover trimmings, and the limes. Line your steamer tray with red cabbage leaves. I have a bamboo steamer that has two layers, you could use a steamer insert though and just do three at a time putting them upright and then keeping them warm in the oven. Roll out your dough into a rope and tear of fist sized portion. Roll the dough into a ball and then press it together between to parchment sheet. Roll it into a thin flat disc, about 7 inches in diameter. Scoop two tablespoons of filling into the middle of the disc and then seal into a half moon shape. Place the asparagus with the bottom in the middle of the dumpling and fold the two corners over it and seal the edges with water if necessary. Repeat until you have 6 for two people. I made extra dumplings with the leftover filling for later and just folded them into half moons without the asparagus. Bring the steamer water to a boil and place the dumpling in the tray. Alternate the trays after about 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the dumpling with tongs and if the rice isn’t ready put them in a warmed oven until you are ready. For plating I put the steamed red cabbage leaves and some basil leaves on the bottom of the bowl, I molded the rice into a smaller bowl and inverted it in the center of the dish. I topped arranged the dumplings on top, and sprinkled some sesame seeds and a mix of soy sauce, lime, and siracha. Enjoy!