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Posts Tagged ‘Vegan’

Alright, so it turns out that once you fall off the wagon, it’s hard to get back on. My picture-of-dinner-every-night experiment was really fun for me, maybe not that exciting for you guys, but life got in the way. I will say I have been both cooking more and eating out more than I did in the past (leftovers tend to go for lunch these days), so sometime soon I’ll post a recap of pictures I took in the interim.

But that’s not what today is about. Today is about celebrating a delicious, beautiful, tender leafy green: baby bok choy. Because I don’t grow my own bok choy, I have no idea if Baby Bok Choy is actually the younger version of the grown-up thing, or if it’s a different plant species, but it tastes lemony and wonderful and can be eaten all by itself. Also performs nicely in a quesadilla, if you’re into that. And yesterday I decided to make a soup out of it. Yayyyyyy soup!

I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture while the chicken stock was still IN the jar, but this is what I put into the soup, minus light seasonings.

I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture while the chicken stock was still IN the jar, but this is what I put into the soup, minus light seasonings.

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If you are anything like me, when you hear the words “purple cabbage,” the first image that comes to your mind is coleslaw. Not the delicious, tangy, vinegary kind—no, the yucky kind they serve at chain restaurants. (Don’t look at me like that, mayonnaise. You know we are eternal foes.) Well last night I went through an enlightening transformation, and I hope you will, too. Because purple cabbage isn’t made to be sliced up real thin and mixed with mayo and left to wilt until brought out to your table in a tiny plastic cup. No, my friend. Purple cabbage is meant to be ROASTED!

Crispy, delicious, and nutritious!

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Work Lunch

Before I begin complaining about my lunchtime options and habits at my job, I should start by saying that I am seriously grateful for the cafeteria half a mile down the hall (yes, really). It may not be the highest quality food in the world, or contain the largest variety of options for people with dietary restrictions (vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free eaters, that kind of thing). But it is constant, open 24 hours a day, extremely affordable, and nearby.

Commence complaints: I don’t have a place to really eat at work. I eat at my desk every day, and pretty much keep doing science while I’m eating. Yay. The kitchen options available to me are a microwave and a fridge, which is pretty much open season for everyone else in the department unless your food looks disgusting. This does not stop me from bringing leftovers for lunch a couple times a week and labeling them in hopes of them not getting stolen, especially because there’s really only one restaurant nearby, and it’s expensive and they give you everything—including really hot food—in styrofoam containers. And I’ve heard cancer is lame, so I stopped eating there.

Commence happy thoughts: By having such limited options, I realized that the cheapest and realest food generally available to me during lunch comes from the salad bar. Did you know salad is delicious? I don’t mean salads made of iceberg lettuce with ham, shredded “cheese”, and bacon bits, drenched in disgusting ranch dressing. I mean spring greens with brightly colored veggies and olive oil. Oh my goodness! I had no idea such things could be available in cafeterias, but they are in mine.

This is what I eat for lunch every day, and where I eat it (in front of the keyboard, hunched over my cubicle-like desk), after I've eaten about 1/3 of it - a mountain of salad somehow always improves my day!

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Ode to Sesame Oil

Sesame oil, you are delicately fragrant when used to sauté vegetables. You add a subtle flavor to chicken marinades. You are a little expensive, but I don’t mind very much because your golden hue and mastery of melding with other ingredients in sauces make me blissfully happy. I want us to be together for eternity.

I’m sorry, you were saying? You don’t care how much I love toasted sesame oil? Well, you should, because it’s good for your body (no saturated fat, high in antioxidants if you go for that kind of thing, may lower blood pressure) and might even inspire your poetic brain regions! Following are several EASY suggestions for sesame oil use in quotidian cooking that will add flavor to your dishes while removing saturated fat if you use it as a replacement for, say, butter.

But before that, let’s have a hearty welcome for A Fork and a Bowl’s BRAND NEW PHOTOGRAPHER!! Craig Glick Miller of Lucid Eye Studio will be shooting a picture or two of the cooking process/final product of my recipes when possible. One day he’s going to be a really expensive professional photographer, as evidenced by the outstanding introductory pictures on his site. So thank him for being inspired to try out my crazy ideas, because he will be the one making them look so ridiculously appetizing. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming… food!

About time we got a real photographer up in here, right?

Pan-seared Asparagus

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Gesundheit, you say, because you’re a polite and considerate person. But you don’t need to, because curtido is not a sneeze, but a light, refreshing slaw originally made in El Salvador. At least, that’s what my tamale lady says, and I never question Pilar.

Curtido

1 small or medium head of cabbage
2 medium-sized carrots
3 scallions, diced

2 tsp brown sugar
1/4 C lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 C water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp fresh-ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

I discovered curtido thanks to aforementioned tamale-and-papusa-making exemplar about three years ago, and even though it seemed simple enough, I never considered making it on my own until a dinner party I hosted last year. And there’s a good reason NOT to make it unless you’re having some kind of celebration or gathering: the recipe calls for a head of cabbage. Shredded. That’s a LOT of cabbage. A serving of this is probably about 1/2 a cup, so you’re looking at approximately a thousand servings. (more…)

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