Monday, May 31, 2004
On Saturday night I got together with Greg, Ben, Eric, and Darin, and went out to a great Vietnamese place. I'm sure other tables were wondering what the hell "invulnerability scrapper" and "bf aggro" meant. I was surrounded by gaymers. Damn it was nice. We then went out dancing. I don't remember the name of the place, but it had danceable music, which is enough for me. I even got to stealth-sandwich Darin with Ben. Good times. Oh, and the club was totally smoke-free, so for once I didn't smell like crap after a night of dancing. Sadly, I forgot my camera, so I didn't get pics of our first Boys' Night Out.
I spent Sunday morning in Chinatown. While searching through the aisles of one market, a surprise visitor made an appearance. At first I thought it was a stray that wandered in, then I saw the collar. The cat was very much at ease in the busy store, and even decided to take a nap on one of the boxes while I finished shopping.
The ingredients for the Sunday dinner of Tofu and Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce, Sweet and Sour Walnuts, Chai Pow Yu Spring Rolls, Vegetarian Goose, and Vegetarian Ham.
Here's some fresh yuba (bean curd skin), the film that is formed on the surface of heated soymilk as it cools. Dried yuba is common, but fresh, pliable yuba is not. If anywhere would have it, it would be San Fran's Chinatown, and I wasn't disappointed. My eyes aren't closed in the picture, I'm just looking down at how big the unwrapped sheet really is.
In Singapore and Taiwan, observant buddhists often abstain from meat on certain holidays. A very popular dish, especially on such days, is Vegetarian Goose. For that reason, it can even be found on the menus of some regular Chinese restaurants in those two countries, though in the US it is only found in specifically vegetarian ones. The "goose" is made first by marinating sheets of fresh bean curd skin, which are then rolled over a filling of chopped and marinated enoki and shiitake mushrooms.
After wrapping tightly, the roll is steamed for 15 minutes, then deep-fried.
Vegetarian Ham is another buddhist dish made from bean curd skin, but in this case dried bean curd skin, also known as bean sticks, are used. Here the sticks are soaking next to shiitake, while walnuts are being boiled to rid them of bitter tannins.
The rehydrated bean sticks are minced and marinated, laid out over a cloth (I used unbleached organic cotton fabric), then rolled into a sausage-like link and tied with twine. The roll is then placed in the steamer for 40 minutes. It's supposed to cool down slowly, but I was in a hurry, so I put it in the freezer for 20 min. Badly backlit and no flash... *sigh*
Chai Pow Yu (braised wheat gluten)
Wrapping a spring roll with a filling of minced carrots, celery, and chai pow yu
2 spring rolls met an untimely end due to unraveling before I wised up and clamped down on the seam when lowering them in.
Walnuts in a batter of glutinous rice flour and whole wheat pastry flour
Deep-frying the tofu before starting up the black bean sauce
Ben jumps in on the action after watching from the sidelines.
I love Chinatown!
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Cutting the shiitake in spirals that were soaked since this morning
Searing the tempeh in the wok first, then stir-frying the garlic and kale separately
Deep-frying the "eels."
After about an hour, here's the finished meal along with brown rice.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
I've been having beans all week, so I decided not to pair the okra with a daal. Instead, I made a vegan version of kadhai paneer, substituting the mild white cheese with tofu. Paneer is made with dairy milk in almost the same way as tofu is made from soy milk, and the two are pretty interchangeable. This handy fact was something I learned here on this very board years ago :).
"Kadhai" is an Indian wok. Kadhai paneer can be made lots of different ways, but coriander and cayenne are the two main spices. Though with the memories of those fiery jerk plantains still in my head, I toned down the amount of cayenne considerably. Here, ground clove, nutmeg, cayenne, and coriander are added to the wok, with a fresh tomato joining soon after.
Tonight I timed myself, just to see exactly how long it would take from start to finish, including tofu pressing, vegetable chopping, and spice assembling. So after 1 hour and 12 minutes, here's Bhindi Masala and Kadhai Paneer, along with basmati rice.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
For baking I prefer plantains with this amount of mottling. When they get black, they're supersweet and taste much more like bananas. To the left of the beans is kneaded sunflower bread dough.
I'm really into sea vegetables. Cutting kombu for boiling beans is one of my favorite ways of including them in my diet. To the right are the plantain slices slathered (a little too generously!) with jerk sauce (scallions, scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, vinegar).
The tongue-blistering meal
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The secret to the success, The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.
In and out of the oven. The house was full of pesto aroma!
Exerting some self-control and only taking two slices. Have to save some for lunch.
I love thick hearty crusts. Look how high this baby got!
Monday, May 17, 2004
The finished Kibbeh paired with Mjaddarah (Lebanese Lentils and Rice)
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
I'm about to smear a *tiny* bit of jerk sauce over the rice and quinoa before rolling the temaki. The Jamaican jerk I have is absolutely incendiary ;).
Jerk Temaki with Mango Nigiri-zushi
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
Cooking the polenta and toasting the almonds. Cashews are always pre-roasted to deactivate a volatile resin. There's no such thing as raw cashews, despite what some labels might say.
Spreading the pesto over the polenta before topping with the broccoli, zucchini, and onions. The polenta has already been baked for 15 min to help it crust before the final baking.
The serious garlic breath was worth it.
Monday, May 03, 2004
Grinding my own tahini from unhulled sesame seeds. 1/4 cup of unhulled sesame seeds has a whopping 350-400mg of calcium (35%-40% of the USRDA). Hulled sesame seeds, which most commercial brands of tahini are made of, only have around 20-40mg for the same quantity.
Sautéing onions and caraway seeds in olive oil for the veggie mix
Stacking the layers, then weighing it all down for the oven
The finished lasagna along with whole wheat garlic bread and salad
Sunday, May 02, 2004
The spice rack
Spices for the Saag Chole (coriander powder, cayenne, curry leaves, fennel, kalonji)
Spices for the Aloo Gobi (cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black pepper, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, clove powder, cayenne)
The finished meal
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Pressing the tofu blocks prior to marinating
Adding the marinade of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, mustard powder, ginger powder, and sugar. I prefer to use brown rice syrup as the sweetener for this, but I ran out.
Shredding dried wakame for the brown rice
Before baking and after
Ready to chow down!