The Long Forgotten what-I-ate

It seems ages since I’ve done a What I Ate post.  Either my meals seem too boring to blog about, or I blog about them separately if they’re from a cookbook or restaurant.  Then I don’t seem to end up with enough content for a blog post!  This time, I’ve gone through photos and I’ll try to remember everything I’ve had.

I’ve discovered a super quick and easy way to make cheeze sauce. Recipes like this are probably old news all over the place but I came up with this on a whim and wondered if I could make it in under two minutes. The downside is because it’s so quick and easy, I’ve been making mac and cheeze for myself far too often instead of something with loads of veg and a protein source.  For this cheeze sauce, I mix together the following (though you can do what you like with the measurements, I made this today and measured in case it helps people) 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk, 1/2 tspn Dijon mustard, 1/8th tspn each of garlic powder and onion powder, 1tsp vegan margarine and 1tsp arrowroot for thickening.  Mix and microwave it for about 30 seconds, give it a stir, microwave for 30 seconds again then add a heap of nutritional yeast (I do about 1Tbs).  After I add the nutritional yeast it starts going all stringy-like. This makes a small individual portion size for pasta or as a cheeze sauce for veggies.

mymaccheeze

Here it is again, on another day, with toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs and various Italian style herbs:

maccheezecrumbs

Oven baked polenta (the polenta had been cooked the day before and chilled in the fridge) with tofu pieces coated in a mixture of walnut, nooch and panko:

crumbedtofupolenta

I made the Red Lentil stew from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and will definitely make it again though I would ramp up the flavours a little more:

ohsheglowsredlentilsoup

I found some mock duck in the freezer so I made a simple stir fry based on a Jamie Oliver recipe I found online.  It was quite basic though and boring to be honest, so I added some Chinese BBQ sauce.  It was okay but not something I’d make again.  I prefer my stir fries to have more of a sauce.  This was a bit too dry:

veganporkstirfry

A carrot cake from one of my vegan cookbooks.  I can’t remember which one:

carrot cake

Finally, some roasted chickpeas.  I toss a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas with salt and nooch and roast them until crunchy:

chickypops

 

I’m pleased to admit I am so over mac and cheese since taking those photos up there  🙂

Another veganny goodness lunch

My parents came over again today to help with some work going on at our house.  Which of course means I cook some vegan delights!  I decided on a very light dessert, seeing as we had a double layer chocolate fudge cake two days ago.

todayslunch1

First up was Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Cannelloni, posted by Caeli over at Little Vegan Bear.  I made the sauce and filling last night to make things easier today.  I haven’t had cannelloni in years so I was very happy with this tasty vegan version!  The filling contains tofu, mushrooms, walnut and spinach (plus other flavours) and was very easy to make.  The stuffing-the-tubes bit was the most time consuming part but really, it was only ten minutes.  Put the radio on, rock out to a few Poison songs, deny you did that, and you’re done.  Hey did you know that Rikki Rockett, the drummer from Poison (AS IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW) is vegan?  Anyway, I topped my cannelloni with grated frozen Cheezley:

tofuspinachcannelloni

My second dish was the Creamy Potato and Leek Casserole posted over at James&Matt. I had a leek in the fridge for about, oooh, as long as you can have a leek before it starts sporting mould.  I screwed it up a bit though.  I used less potatoes and used a smaller baking dish but I think I misread the liquid ingredient amounts and didn’t compensate properly.  Although the casserole on top was all nice and thick, the potatoes were swimming in a sea of watery liquid. My silken tofu was also really watery which probably didn’t help. Next time I will adjust properly, because this dish was delicious and I’d like to make it again  😀

leekpotatocasserole

I also made a simple salad with mixed salad greens, tomato, toasted walnuts and the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

todayslunch2

For dessert, I wanted something as light and refreshing as possible so I opted for fruit with some kind of fancy pants element.  I chose the Winter Citrus Salad from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  Fresh mint leaves and (raw in my case) sugar are whizzed up and sprinkled over sliced oranges and grapefruit.  I added strawberries.  I’ve never made mint sugar before, it’s so incredibly tasty for something so incredibly simple:

wintercitrussalad

I gave some cannelloni and potato leek casserole to my sister and brother in law.  They said they tried to leave some for tomorrow’s dinner but caved in and ate it all tonight instead.  So there you go, thumbs up all ’round from my family!

Hair vegan.

Hair vegan.

My vegan kritharaki

Kritharaki is a dish common to many a Greek home.  It is made using risoni, also known as orzo.  This is pasta in the shape of a large rice grain.  Lots of people assume it’s rice but don’t be fooled!

Husband likes kritharaki and was quite pleased when I sent him email telling him I was making it for dinner:

herc1

Growing up, mum’s kritharaki was one of my favourite meals.  My dad says it’s in his top 5 meals and probably in first place.   For such a simple, humble little dish that only uses stock as flavouring, that’s a pretty big thing.

Mum’s kritharaki is non-vegan most of the time so today I decided to veganise it.  The measurements are ‘rough’ in that I added a bit more-or-less here and there.  You may need to add more or less water for instance, it just all depends.  Sorry, that’s as useless as this attempt to light the stove tonight:

herc3

No, there are no fresh or dried herbs.  This is plain plain plain but for me it’s comfort food.  And don’t forget that if you have fifty Greek yiayias (grandmothers) in the room, you’ll probably have fifty different ways of making kritharaki 🙂

Okay so this is what I did.  Measurements are metric so 1 cup is 250ml.

You will need olive oil, a 500g packet of risoni/orzo pasta, tomato paste, mild paprika (optional), boiling water, vegan chicken or beef stock flavour, nutritional yeast (optional), salt and pepper to taste.

* have a full kettle boiled and ready to go.  Boil it again until right before adding the water.  Boil about 8 cups worth at least.

* heat 2Tbs olive oil in a medium to large pot.

* add in 1 1/2 cups of uncooked risoni/orzo and sautee it for about 5 minutes on medium heat:

kritharaki1

* add in 2 heaped Tbs of tomato paste (add 4 heaped Tbs for a more tomatoey flavour), stir it around for about a minute:

kritharaki1b

* optional: add a teaspoon of a mild paprika (more or less if you like).

* add in 6 cups of boiling water.  It should look like a really runny soup:

kritharaki2

* add in the vegan beef or chicken stock powder according to your packet instructions.  Stir well.

* Bring to the boil over high heat, stir, put the lid on and simmer until the risoni is tender.  During this cooking period, stir now and then to make sure things aren’t clumping together. Then turn off the heat when you feel it’s done:

kritharaki3

* Add about 1Tbs nutritional yeast (optional, or add more/less according to your liking), add salt to taste.  Stir well (obviously).  * OR leave out the nutritional yeast and add it to the individual bowls when you’re serving

* Put the lid back on and let it sit about ten minutes before dishing it out:

kritharaki4

* Season with pepper:

kritharaki5

When this cools down and is ready for the fridge, it will have thickened up a bit.  It shouldn’t be runny-soupy but it shouldn’t be dry.

And that’s it!  Extremely simple!  Sure you could add in herbs if you like or some veg but my personal preference is to leave this as is.  I won’t even add onion or garlic because this is the only way I ever ate kritharaki (well, I had vegan and non-vegan versions growing up) and for me to add something like garlic just changes the recipe completely.  I do understand that this would easily be considered a horribly bland boring dish by some, but I find it a welcome relief now and then.  This is a dish that is sentimental to me, hence my reluctance in changing it at all.  My grandmother used to say that with enough pepper  it will put hair on your face:

herc4

Review:

Me: “Quick, easy, cheap comfort food.  Pepper pepper pepper.”

Arthur: “this is 90% yuck.  Actually make that 75% yuck.”

DeeW: “yayyy did someone say kritharaki?  Oh I’m so happy!”

Husband: “This is my third bowl.  Oh poop, I just dropped some on my shirt. I’m so silly!”:

herc5

Enjoy!