More cooking from Isa Does It

I’ve been cooking quite a bit from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz lately. It’s such a great cookbook– awesome recipes and gorgeous photos mean I sit there flipping through it over and over all brainwashed like.

I couldn’t go past the Roasted Yellow Beet Salad with Warm Maple-Mustard Dressing, seeing as I bought a bunch of golden beetroot from the Coburg Farmers Market a few days before. The beets are roasted, so there’s no fussing there. The dressing is a simple maple mustard combo and instead of the pecans I went for the tempeh option. The tempeh was marinated in tamari, liquid smoke, thyme and red wine vinegar.  I’m really not a big fan of tempeh so I made sure I came close to incinerating it in the cast iron pan.  I like tempeh bacon but it has to to very thin and very very super burnt. For my salad greens I used baby spinach (I would have preferred a salad mix including rocket/arugula). I liked the simple dressing but I have to confess I’m not really a beetroot fan so I wouldn’t make this for myself.  I would probably make a big bowl if I was having people over but I’d use the pecans instead of tempeh:

golden beet salad
The Tofu Mushroom Stroganoff was super easy to make. A cashew-broth base is added to mushrooms, onions, garlic and tofu that have been cooked with some tomato paste, thyme and white wine.  I bought this wholemeal fettucine in Aldi and I found it a bit too heavy so next time I’ll use a different pasta. DeeW liked the sauce but not the ‘bits’. Husband doesn’t like anything with a cashew base and Arthur won’t eat mushrooms. This would have made a simple, tasty family meal if only the fussypants humans element were removed:

tofu mushroom stroganoff

I’ve been looking for a good quinoa recipe lately and the Smoky Incan Stew was perfect.  I finally got to open my little wee can of chipotles in adobe sauce.  This photo was taken the day after I made the stew, so you can see I could have done with a little more liquid but I’m a chunky-stew girl so this was just right for me:

smoky Incan stew

To finish off the tempeh I had in the fridge, I made the Tempeh Orzilla. This is another simple, easy to make recipe with a saucy part made with broth, white wine, onion, garlic and sundried tomatoes.  For the tempeh crumbles, I chopped them as finely as possible and burnt them as much as possible so they were crispy.  Unfortunately though I had to admit defeat: like leggings-as-pants, tempeh is just not for me. As much as I love the taste of various marinades and dressing, there’s still the texture to deal with.  So long tempeh (though I really want to try chickpea tempeh):

tempeh orzilla

The cookbook photo of the Cast Iron Stir Fry recipe results in a fair bit of drooling.  The sauce is made mostly with tamari, hoi sin and mirin.  Super simple and really delicious.  Instead of rice I used soba noodles and I left out the avocado and peanut sprinkle-over bit at the end:

cast iron stir fry

For breakfast one day, I made the Coconut French Toast.  It’s your basic French toast recipe but you dip the soaked bread slices in coconut before cooking. Arthur and I loved these but DeeW refused to try any as she’s not big on French toast and thinks toast should come out of a toaster (“that’s why it’s called toast”):

coconut French toast

The Marbled Banana Bread has been made a few times. This time, I did the marbling myself.  Arthur and DeeW tend to go a little overboard so the batter goes beyond the marbled stage in to the fully mixed stage:

marbled banana bread

Arthur and DeeW had friends over so I made the Jumbo Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies.  Guess what, these friends hate raisins so I had to eat their share. WAAAAAH:

jumbo oatmeal raisin cookies

I finally got around to making the Strawberry and Cream Bread Pudding.  I threw in some mixed frozen berries as I didn’t have enough strawberries. Plus it was the Fourth of July so I put in a little red, white and blue for my American readers. This pudding is super easy to make and involves briefly soaking some bread in a mixture of coconut milk, a non dairy milk (I used soy), cinnamon, vanilla and lemon juice.  I made half of the optional icing recipe.  Everybody loved this, except Husband who really dislikes coconut in desserts (but he eats coconut based Thai curries). Naturally, I valiantly ate his share:

Berries and cream bread pudding

I really love Isa Does It and count it as a top notch favourite.  Isa’s recipes are straightforward, entertaining and delicious. There’s no stop-yerrrr-fussin-boy fussiness about any of the recipes I’ve looked at and there are so many more dishes I still want to make. Aaand now you all have the voice of Toni Childs stuck in your brains.

Advertisements

What I Ate: the Healthier Weightlossier edition, part II

Last week I blogged about what I ate, with a weight loss slant.  I continued with my oil-free cooking (ie not using oil from a bottle), no bread/pasta/crappy carbs eating this past week as well as continuing to cut out sugars (apart from fruit), watching my portion sizes and not giving in to my ‘inner Labrador’– that woofy voice that tells to me sniff around the kitchen for tidbits all day long.

So last week I was pretty happy with my loss of  1.5kg/3.3lbs (I’m recording my weight here weekly for interested parties!) but I’m not a person who goes much by numbers on the scale.  I care about how my clothes fit, how I feel and how un-bloated I look!  Scale readings can be dodgy from one day to the next, though I have been weighing daily in case I one day decide to put those numbers up publicly somewhere for some reason.  Truthfully, I don’t care for daily weighing, happy to do weekly but for me monthly is where I would probably get a more accurate idea of how I’m going.  I’m also not counting calories, weighing or measuring food at this point while I do have quite a lot of body fat to lose.  Once my stupid feet injuries are history and I begin training again when I have (hopefully!) lost lotsa fat, that’s when I’ll begin paying more attention to eating for fuel and recovery.  For now, I’m just getting myself back in to healthier eating habits that I can maintain daily long term.

This week I have lost 900g (1.98lbs), making a total weight loss of 2.4kg (5.2lbs) in two weeks.  I’m not doing anything strictly though I do prefer to use fruit in smoothies at breakfast time and not during the day. I’m avoiding using oil and throughout the day I keep a mental note of where I’ve eaten fats. I’m drinking more water too and not eating sweets though as you will see below, going out to dinner is the exception to the rule!

Okay, this week’s foodie goodness!

On Monday we had Easter lunch at my mum and dad’s house.  I’m avoiding things like rice and potatoes at home but I put a little on my plate along with some black pepper tofu.  Look at me having an okay portion size.  In other words, measly. Mum had made some stuffed vine leaves and dip made with roasted red peppers, eggplant, walnut and garlic:

dolmades

easterlunch

Dessert was the Banana Coconut Pie I made from one of Brendan Brazier’s Thrive books:

thrivebananacoconutpie1

thrivebananacoconutpie2

That morning’s early breakfast was a smoothie made with a hemp milk, banana, a few greens, orange and lemon:

breakfastsmoothie1

On Easter Sunday DeeW fell over at a park and broke her arm in one, possibly two places. Husband and I decided that DeeW and I should stay with my parents for a couple of days, just to allow her to chill out a bit more and also be closer to the hospital if she needed to go back for some reason.  This meant I had to go back home and scramble fast, like Goose and Maverick, to get all my gear together for a sleepover.  This included taking one of those big plastic storage tubs on wheels, carrying my blender, meals I’d cooked for the week, nooch, hemp protein, dressings, stuff from the veggie crisper drawers and canned beans.

I had (over) sauteed some kale and pak choy in water then added in a small batch of red quinoa I’d previously cooked and frozen.  I wanted to add this to meals throughout the week.  First up was a variation of the Pizza Bowl from Isa Does It.  I roasted some eggplant using only a little olive oil spray and well, this makes the eggplant turn out all dry and blergh.  I already had a little amount of pasta sauce in the fridge I’d made for DeeW, using an Aldi ‘Just Organic’ pasta sauce with some spinach and lentils added.  To that, I followed the Isa Does It recipe for the sauce and I add a small handful of raw cashews, a bottled roasted red pepper a tablespoon of tomato paste that had been in the fridge for almost-too-long, veggie broth and lemon juice.  I forgot to soak the cashews, because when I use my power blender I don’t have to soak.  But I forgot I was using my food processor when I threw cashews in to the mix, so they didn’t mix well (couldn’t mix them in the blender because there wasn’t enough sauce and it would have gathered under the blender blades).  The Isa Does It recipe uses vegan sausage but I used the roasted eggplant and some of Johanna’s Tomato Nut Roast with Buckwheat that I had frozen.  This was quite a filling meal though next time I’d want to follow the Isa Does It recipe to the letter… because here you can see the bits of cashews that didn’t whizz up well:

pizzabowl

Another Isa Does It recipe was the Citrus Tahini bowl.  Here, I marinated some firmer tofu overnight in sesame oil (less than what the recipe states, a couple of drops were enough for flavour), orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, garlic and ginger (I leave out the sweet stuff like agave or maple syrup). The leftover marinade is mixed with tahini and used as a dressing. I served this over those overcooked greens and the not-very-good roasted eggplant.  Yum!

citrustahinibowl

A breakfast smoothie was made with fresh figs, banana, plant milk, cinnamon and hemp protein.  I can’t find my photo but it was delicious.

Mum cooked up some big bean things with carrot and potato.  I wasn’t very hungry when I ate this because I’d just had those dolmades, so this isn’t my usual dinner.  Because there’s not enough of it:

greekbeans

I asked Mum if she could make some of her Greek lentil soup without oil and with all the leftover veggie bits we had.  So this soup is made with brown lentils, onion, a bit of garlic, carrots, broccoli stems and kale. I admit that taste wise, this isn’t that fab because the olive oil is what adds that spark.  But I kinda feel that every now and then I need something that’s just a simple healthy food, without needing loads of flavour.  I need to break out of the mindset I have when it comes to food, I want everything to be fantastic and hate bland boring stuff, even if I know a dish is really good for me.  In other words, I’m a spoilt foodie brat.  As in, if I’m really hungry and whining about having nothing to eat because we’re going shopping the next day, Husband will suggest I eat toast. And then the scene looks like this:

groverblue

Anyway, here’s the soup.  I had this many times:

kalelentilsoup

I’ve been in a quiche craving mood lately so I decided to try these fab looking Mini Crustless Tofu Quiches from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  After reading through the comments I decided to use a packet of the Morinaga tofu that you find in the non-refrigerated aisles.  It seems that using soft or silken tofu that we get here in Australia would not result in a ‘set’ quiche.  I thought I had the same problem when I tried to take a quiche or two (or three…) out of the mould after they’d cooled down to warm, but when I let the rest cool completely they came out of the moulds fine.  I really liked these but predictably, my fussy family didn’t.  I’m going to use the filling recipe as a base for lots of other stuff.  I have some vegan vol au vent cases that may work:

minitofuquiches

This is the non-weight-lossy bit.  Friday was ANZAC Day here in Australia and we usually always make ANZAC biscuits.  Traditionally they contain butter which can be replaced with a vegan alternative, but this year I looked up healthy vegan versions online.  I found one using almonds and coconut oil, but I won’t link to it because it was a bit blergh.  I ended up adding some Nutellex because the amount of coconut oil wasn’t enough and I didn’t want to use up the little bit I have remaining.  This year I used maple extract instead of vanilla, just for something different.  I wouldn’t call them ANZAC biscuits at all, as ANZAC biscuits are something that stand on their own and healthier versions like this are just too different to even call themselves ANZAC biscuits.  I’d say the ones I made should be called coconut almond biscuits:

notquiteanzacs

Another non-weight-lossy bit was dinner at Loving Hut on ANZAC Day.  All healthy bets are off when it comes to meals out!  Though I did factor in what I’d eaten that day and that I had about four meals worth of lentil-veg oil free soup at home to make up for it all a bit!  I had some of the fried entrees (spring roll, crumbed prawns.  I ordered Husband the wrong spring rolls and he had one and didn’t like it much so I had the two leftovers…)  Then for my main I decided on the spicy lemongrass chicken with vermicelli noodles and a lemongrass dressing.  The bowl was loaded with mint and coriander which I love and some some salad ingredients.  The flavours were great but it was pretty spicy.  The ‘chicken’ was layers of (possibly) bean curd sheets and was quite chewy. I only ate a bit because I was already full and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day.  Aaaaand I maaaay have ordered the salted caramel coconut ice cream by Zebra Dream…

lovinghutlemongrasschicken

I saw plantains in a supermarket and decided to try them out.  I’ve never had them before and see so many American recipes using them:

plantains1

I had no idea what to do so I followed instructions for slicing the plantains in to 2mm slices, spraying with a little oil, then a little salt and lemon juice then bake.  They looked nothing like the photos of roasted plantains.  I didn’t like them at all so I think an expert has to prepare them for me next time:

plantains2

Okay, that’s about it.  I’ve just realised I haven’t got any meals prepared in advance for this week and I haven’t sat down to flip through cook books.  Apart from that lentil soup.  I have one plantain left so I guess I should do something with that as well as all the veggies.  I’ll probably end up with a veggie and chickpea/bean curry and I’d love to replicate the meal I had up there at Loving Hut.

Hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

I’ve made a few more recipes by Isa Chandra M. over the past month but have been a bit slack with posting, so here they are all in one go.

Peanut Butter Criss Crosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I won’t ever eat peanut butter on bread or toast but in biscuits I love it:

pbcrisscrosses
The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:

peanutkaletofubowl

After trying the roast veg soba bowl at the Corner Hotel back in March, I had to make it at home.  This time I followed the Isa Does It instructions to the letter and I was rewarded with the same delicious meal.  I used both the lentils in the actual recipe but the next day I went for marinated tofu instead.  I’ve also made this with more veggies added in:

misotahinisobacauli

Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance is a great book but admittedly, not one I have used all that much.  Not because there’s something wrong with it, more because I tend to stick with the latest cookbook purchases.  You know, shiny new toys and stuff.  Last week I decided to break out VWaV and I made the Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.  Deeeelicious!

gingermaccococarrotcake

Some weeks ago I made the Marbled Banana Bread from Isa Does It.  Clearly, my family need more practise with the marbling bit:

marbledcake

marbledcake2

 

As I’ve cleaned up my eating (again) I won’t be doing much baking and I will be adapting recipes I use to be lower in fat, or making substitutions outright.  I like that I can still use Isa’s recipes as a base and end up with something that is still super tasty!

Vegan Black Metal Chef, Isa Chandra M, Terry Hope R and dinner at the Corner Hotel in Richmond!

Plenty of vegans around the country are super pleased right now because we have just been bombarded with vegan chef amazingness.  All in the form of Vegan Black Metal Chef, Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  In fact, some interstate vegans are super pleased enough that they traveled to Melbourne for tonight’s vegan cooking demonstration and Q&A, held at the Corner Hotel in Richmond.

cornerhotel1

cornerhotel2

I rocked up on my own and because I was way early, I decided to get a meal there at the Corner Hotel.  To be honest nothing on their online menu really appealed to me but I grabbed a menu from the bar anyway.  I’m so glad I did (I had been thinking of walking around a bit to find something), because there was this fantastic vegan menu for the night (I think it was just for tonight, that’s what I overheard someone saying).

Straight away, one meal jumped out at me: the roast vegetable soba bowl.  The description to me seemed like they were making Isa’s exact recipe from Isa Does It.  This really appealed to me because I have made it before but mixed up ingredients and it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Purely my fault of course.  Anyway, I figured that if this indeed was Isa’s recipe, then I best try it because it was made by a real live proper chef person.  The other options were a black eyed pea burger with mango salsa and wedges; vegan Southern style fried chicken and a vegan shepherd’s pie.

You guys.  I am SO GLAD I chose this.  The dressing sauce was fantastic and I think… I think I now love the miso-tahini combination.  I neverrrr thought I’d be saying that, not this year at least. Previously, the miso-tahini combination kinda brought on the vommies a little. As soon as I go and buy some cauliflower, I’ll be making this following Isa Does It exactly:

cornerhotelsobabowl

 

After hanging out taking my time reading newspapers and stuff, I noticed people going up to Isa and Terry to sign their books.  Isa and Terry were a few tables away and I talked myself out of asking them to sign.  Because having social anxiety can really suck.  But I had taken along Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, hoping to get them signed for DeeW and Arthur respectively seeing as they looove those books.  When I finally did go up, Terry wasn’t there but Isa kindly signed the books for my vegan cupcake lovin’ cookie scoffin’ kids.  My claim to fame for the night is that I was the only person in the audience to have visited Omaha, where Isa now lives and will be opening her restaurant.

 

Once inside, the stage was set up for Black Metal Chef who was up first.  I feel like such a dork now, because I’m not sure if I correctly remember what everyone cooked!  Black Metal Chef made a spinach potato curry, followed by a dish with udon noodles, seitan, mushrooms and capsicum:

vbmc3

Yes, he really does cut with this:

vbmc4

Please forgive the crappy quality of my photos, by the way.

vbmc2

VBMC signed my guitar pick and took a photo with me.  The photo was for Arthur, he really likes watching VBMC’s videos.  Then Arthur walks around in a deep scary voice saying stuff like “Mummy… cook the tofu… be careful not to burn it…”:

vbmc1

Terry Hope Romero was up next, making a lovely sounding cashew dressing for her to-be-released-soon cookbook called Salad Samurai.  She also cooked up some tofu which smelled amazing.  I had a seat front and centre, best spot in the house:

terry1

terry2

terry3

Isa made her red pepper Mac and Cheese recipe, one I am determined to make very very soon.  She also made some breaded tofu which was torture, because by that time I was getting hungry again and the divine smells weren’t helping:

isa3

isa2

isa1

I had a great night, got that ooooh lovely bass-pumping-out-of-your-chest from the live music, and of course I got to meet Isa and Black Metal Chef (not Terry, waaaah).  I’d say I did pretty well!

 

vbmc5

Sliiiight skinnying of the arms…

St. Patrick’s Day Colcannon Puffs and Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings

Every year I try to incorporate days of celebration in to our family life.  Although we do not celebrate based on religion, it’s still a good opportunity to explain to Arthur and DeeW why people celebrate a certain day or occasion and we learn about different cultures, countries and beliefs.  We watched some short clips about Ireland online and borrowed some library books.

Husband and I visited Ireland back in about 2001.  A relative was staying in Howth so we arranged to meet up, as Husband and I were living in Amsterdam at the time.  Unfortunately we didn’t get much time there and we only had two full days in Dublin so we opted for day long bus tours which took us to Newgrange.  Newgrange was built in about 3200BC so it’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids.  Amazing stuff and we really enjoyed the tour.  My photos are all stored on backups somewhere but I found this old-camera-that-was-great-at-the-time picture of the view from our bed and breakfast in Howth.  It’s the St. Mary’s Church and graveyard:

St. Marys church howth

Naturally, green food was on the menu for today.  I didn’t make anything sweet and the shamrock cookie cutter will stay in the drawer for another year.  We’ve had our share of sweet things recently and really didn’t need more cake or biscuits.

Arthur’s breakfast was a banana-sweet potato-spinach smoothie.  Which is simply called ‘banana smoothie’ in our house, for reasons that will be obvious if you were or have a child who hates vegetables:

green banana smoothie


My breakfast was the Cake Batter Smoothie from Eat Raw, Eat Well made with avocado, orange and lemon.  Of course, after drinking it, I realised I forgot to add some leafy greens to really green it up.  But it was still kinda green, though the lighting in the photos is really bad:

cake batter smoothie2

For lunch I made Colcannon Puffs from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  I thought they were great, Arthur rated them 60% but the kale was too much for Husband and DeeW taste and texture wise so next time I’ll use peas instead.  I used the baking option.  I think these would be great samosa style with nice curry-esque spices:

colcannon puffs

I wanted to make something along the lines of an Irish stew.  I used the Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings recipe from Isa Does It as it seemed a perfect fit.  To save time I chopped some of the veggies the day before and got a few things ready in advance.  Then once everything was in the pot, I went off to get a can of white beans but ended up having a total Mother Hubbard moment.  As in, no beans.  Whoops.  Still, it turned out okay and Husband is a bit iffy when it comes to beans in a stew.  I used four cups of broth instead of the stated six cups.  Six was way too much for my pot and would have overflowed with that plus the beans I thought I had.  I think the four cups was a good decision in my case because my stew didn’t thicken enough, so I made a Nutellex-flour roux and whisked it in.  Then it thickened up beautifully. I sorta made the dumplings a bit too big…

dilly stew2

Next time I’ll reduce the amount of potatoes and add more carrot as it seemed I was scooping out lots of potato:

dilly stew1

As always, I’m loving Isa Chandra M’s recipes and am looking forward to seeing her, Terry Hope Romero and Vegan Black Metal Chef at their live show in Melbourne soon.  Are any of you guys going to see them here or Sydney?