Friday, February 08, 2008

My Early Cooking Days... and more photos

My early days in the kitchen weren't always so pretty:

yep, not one of my brightest moments... placing a cookbook face down on a still hot element. So, before I launch into more photos of my recipes, this pic is for all you young cooks and new vegans: cooking is a journey of learning and experimentation, successes and well, muck-ups! I'm still learning about food and cooking every day. Every day. And, as for kitchen troubles... just ask my kids how often our smoke alarm going off! (seriously, though, it IS a bit sensitive, yeah, that's it) ;)

And one of you 'new' and young vegans is Liz, or as we know her: veggiegirl. As I mentioned before, I have 'adopted' her in an adopt-a-blogger event. So, she will cook one of my recipes and post about it, and I will make one of hers (Liz, I have chosen her "S'mores' Muffins" unless you have another suggestion).

Since Liz has already baked quite a few things from my books, I thought I'd "challenge" her with a new savory recipe from my set. So, Liz, what do you think about either the Walnut-Pecan Balls from my last post, OR... one of these recipes:

Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew. I posted briefly about this stew before, though I don't think my photo does the flavor of this soup any justice. It is creamy, lightly spicy, aromatic, and chock full of veggies... and tofu too. The big thing to note about this recipe is to add the spinach *just* before serving. Keep those greens green! If overcooked, they get gray and the flavor changes and isn't that pleasant. So, add the greens and stir through before serving until just wilted. If you have leftovers, try to scoop out any remaining spinach and eat it before storing the leftovers. Then, when reheating the leftover soup, you can add more fresh spinach again before serving. Really, this bit of effort is worth it!

Next up, Mexican Bean Soup with Chipotle Avocado Cream. This I also posted about before, and again, I just love this soup. It is spicy and flavorful, but without the spicy heaviness that chili sometimes has. It is lighter and fresher, and the dose of lime really livens the mix. Definitely make the Chipotle Avocado Cream (the chipotle flavor is very faint, and not spicy) to serve on top... and have some tortilla chips on the side for dipping too!

And, get your spoons ready! Or veggies. Or chips.... or yes, your fingers. 'Cause this Raw Aioli is that good, you'll be using whatever you can to scoop it up! Here, I've simply baked a yellow-flesh sweet potato whole, then split it down the middle and put on a dollop of the aioli. The sweetness of the potato against the rich, salty aioli is wicked good - good enough for a meal on its own!

Though, I was on a cooking streak and served these potatoes and aioli with a new spiced lentil 'n kidney beans recipe (I don't really have an official name for this dish yet) over brown rice and a hefty salad alongside....

Okay, skedaddle... go cook!... and eat, drink & be vegan!

(and Liz, have you decided yet?) :)


Anonymous said...

This ought to be fun. :-) I've only recently stumbled across VeggieGirl's food blog, but I've been impressed with what I've seen thus far - she's got skills!

Ashasarala said...

Haha How funny! I've done lots of foolish things in the kitchen, but I think I can be confident enough in saying that I've finally reached the next level of chefdom. I think when one can make awesome pizza and bread dough by hand, things are looking up. ;)

But I can't even begin to list how many mistakes I've made and how many more I'm sure I will make. A favourite memory is putting a cup of salt and a tsp of sugar in the mix. Just a *little* gross.

The Adopt-a-Blogger sounds like fun. I should get involved in that. Unless it's too late? I can't wait to see what the two of you make of each other's recipes! :)

The Little Mama said...

Yum! The new recipes all look so yummy, I'm having a hard time deciding what to make first!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

yikes, talk about a challenge - everything looks delicious!! I think I'll go with the Mexican soup; but can I substitute vegetable broth for the vegetable bouillon cube?

urban vegan said...

You have been cooking up a storm, Dreena. I had to laugh at your photo--funny that you documented it.

I'm eyeing that chipotle avocado cream--some of my favorite flavors all bundled up into one.

So nice of you to mentor Liz--isn;t she a sweetie?

Dreena said...

ashasarala, I think you're more than well on your way! and, I still make mistakes - esp when I'm distracted with the kids around... so let's just say I have to 'fix' things from time to time!

Cool, veggiegirl... yes, you can use veg stock. So, instead of 1 cube and 2 cups of water, use 2 cups of veg stock, and then OMIT the 2 cups of water listed in the recipes. Then, are there any other q's you have about the soup or the avocado cream? Are you familiar/comfortable with buying/cutting avocadoes? Be sure to let me know what tips I can give you to make this recipe smooth for you. It's actually not complicated at all, and comes together quite quickly. Oh, and pls remember the edit mentioned in my earlier post that the cumin seed should be 1 1/4 teaspoons - not cups. (YIKES that would be nasty)!!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I'm good on the soup, but would I possibly be able to make it without the cream on top? My family would prefer if I just made the soup.

Dreena said...

Absolutely, Liz, if you want just the soup that's fine with me - this is all for fun, no 'rules' allowed. :) (If you like guacamole, though, you'd probably love the cream - even just for scooping with chips!) The soup is great with some tortilla chips alongside too, btw.