Showing posts with label vinegar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vinegar. Show all posts

Sep 21, 2015

veganmofo - island trip

Here is a twist - vegans are putting vegans on a deserted island! #vgnmf15 has stranded us on this proverbial island most vegans have already been relegated to at one time or another in their veganism. Have I mentioned how much vegans love irony?

The prompt indicates that while we are indeed abandoned on this island (mine is a paradise, thank you very much, with hardly any bugs, a nice mosquito net and other sundry luxuries), all of our nutritional needs are met and therefore we won't need to bring such items as legumes, fruits, grains or veggies.

Now they beg the question, what three food supplies would you bring? I am ubber pleased that we will be well fed, however, the prompt does not say that the food will be tasty.

As a cook, I can immediately see the need for flavorings. Therefore, my three unlimited supply of ingredients are:


I hate to be so basic about it, but let's be real. If I bring chocolate or soda or something luxurious like that, then I'll have yummy snacks but bland food.

I'll risk trying to find a cocoa tree and harvesting my own chocolate or searching for sugar cane or a maple tree; yes, on my island, there will be all these plants just growing naturally - haven't you read Swiss Family Robinson - they had everything on that island!

That would, of course, mean that I can also harvest salt from the ocean, grow hot peppers and distill my own vinegar, but let's just say I'm a lazy vegan and will be stuck without chocolate or sugar! Wah! My scenario is falling apart at the logical seams!

In any case, given that my optimal island scenario won't pan out, all three of my ingredients will help make bland food taste great and unique.

Salt enhances the flavor of the food, spice complements flavors (even if it just a little bit) and vinegar brings a brightness to dishes or balances rich tasting dishes. All three provide a variety of uses and therefore, they are my Island Choices.

I did have a pleasant photo bomb courtesy of Jiji. She wouldn't sit still log enough for a better pic, but she managed to inch just a bit into the shot.

Dec 21, 2011

hungarina potato soup with bay leaves

I remember this soup vividly growing up. My mother would make it after getting off of her work shift of 12 hours. Having nothing in the house to cook but potatoes and apples, this was one of her go-tos. Have I mentioned what a fantastic woman she was? While the taste of this soup is just as clear to me as if I was still that little girl supping on it, unfortunately, thanks to my stubbornness and refusing to learn how to cook until it was way too late to ask the chef herself how it was done, I never learned the intricacies of this soup. Which left me with having to piece together this dish using a combination of memory, blogs and cookbooks. None of the written words I read spoke the exact recipe to me, but according to my palate, this here recipe that I came up with is as close as I will likely get.

My mom did not have nutritional yeast, and it is not an authentic part of the soup, but it does help to add another dimension that the original soup acquires using sour cream.

The kids love this soup. I love this soup. You, too, will love this soup as long as you don't overdo the vinegar. While the subtle flavor of it is essential, along with the bay leaves, overdoing either one will lead to disaster. Add a little vinegar at a time, but make sure not to taste the soup too often. Tasting the same dish more than 4 or 5 times will overwhelm your taste buds and render them useless.

Cost Breakdown
potatoes: $2.50
bay, pepper, parsley: $.75
celery, onion, nutritional yeast: $2.50
vinegar, sour cream: $2
Total to make 8 servings:

Dec 15, 2011

tofu escabeche over escarole

How many times have we heard of some Top Chef or Iron Chef describe his dish as an Escabeche? Doesn't it sound exotic and unattainable for us on the side-lines of the kitchen? As with most culinary terms, this too is deceptive in its simplicity. It is a fried or cooked meat or vegetable that is then marinated in a liquid containing such acids as citrus juice or vinegar. It is typically served cold, right from the marinade.

I used tofu in this dish, but seitan, eggplant or zucchini would be ideal choices as well. Although marinating helps tofu (and please correct me if I am wrong), I have never found it to be like the proverbial sponge. I have used the Tofu Express on a slab, cut it into cutlets and marinated it for days, and still the inside turned out just as white as the day it was first pressed. That isn't to say that it is all for naught, but I have personally given up on infusing the tofu completely. The tofu picks up enough of the soaking liquid to add the flavor dimension you are trying for, but for me at least, a day of marinating is all the time I am willing to devote to food down-time. Serve the darned thing already!

I did wind up reheating my Tofu Escabeche, mainly because David would have most likely asked me to, but this is totally optional. I served it over brown rice tossed with sauteed escarole and garlic. The escarole was nicely bitter, the brown rice delightfully sweet and the escabeche wonderfully acidic. 
It was decidedly a grown-up meal.    

Cost Breakdown
tofu: $4
escarole: $3
brown rice: $1
garlic, vinegar, wine, flour, olive oil: $2
garlic, herbs, stock: $2
Total to make 6 servings: