Thursday, December 14, 2006

The ugly side of soyfoods

This morning I read an article titled, "Soy is making kids 'gay'". Here is an except:

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.
I felt compelled to email Mr. Rutz, so here is my letter:

Mr. Rutz,

Your article titled, "Soy is making kids 'gay'" is not only unbalanced and alarmist, but it contains huge generalizations. Soy products should not be lumped into one big category. There are many types, for example:

Edamame - whole, fresh or frozen green soybeans, which are similar to green peas

Yellow or Black soybeans - whole, dried soybeans you cook like other beans such as pinto beans or chick peas

Natto - dried soybeans, cooked and fermented (generally a day or two) with a spore.

Miso - dried soybeans, cooked and fermented (usually three months to three years) with a grain that has been treated with the koji spore.

Soy Sauce, Tamari or Shoyu - traditionally, the liquid that accumulated as a result of fermenting soybeans for miso. Now, most soy sauce is artificially produced by "fermenting" with alcohol. Look for alcohol-free brands, which will be much higher quality and have a milder flavor. Shoyu is (usually) traditionally brewed Japanese soy sauce, the most common brand being Nama Shoyu. Tamari used to be wheat-free, but celiacs should read ingredients carefully, as some contain wheat or barley flour.

Tempeh - dried soybeans, cooked and fermented (usually for a day or two) with a spore.

Soymilk - dried soybeans, soaked in water, then pulverized in blender with boiling water, liquid strained and cooked.

Okara - byproduct of soy milk, the fiber left over from making soy milk.

Tofu, regular - "the cheese of the soy world", tofu is made from curds of soy milk, so after soy milk has been cooked, a coagulant is added, typically nigari, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride or for home producers, even lemon juice. Tofu made with calcium sulfate, and calcium chloride naturally have more calcium than tofu made with other coagulants.

Tofu, silken - I am a little unclear on the exact production of silken tofu, but commercial manufacturers use isolated soy protein or soy isolates, which are heavily refined and NOT whole foods.

Texturized Vegetable Protein - again, I am a little unclear on the exact production of TVP, however, unlike the other soy foods I have mentioned, CANNOT be produced at home because it involves processing soy flour through a machine at extremely high pressure and a high temperature in order take out the fat and compress it.

As a natural and whole foods educator, while I may recommend any of the first six ingredients, which are whole or fermented foods, I would discourage the use of silken tofu and strongly advise against TVP and foods containing isolated soy proteins. All soy foods are not created equal. While it seems you agree with me on this point, you carelessly gloss over this with your post script addendum by basically saying that the only soy foods you're opposed to are tofu and soy formula.

I believe the foundation of a healthy diet should be whole foods, like whole grains, legumes, vegetables, mineral-rich condiments, and expeller-pressed oils. Everything else should be eaten in moderation. Red wine, chocolate and even cake are fine as occasional treats, but shouldn't be the base of your diet, and neither should any refined foods, including tofu.

In traditional eastern cultures, tofu was considered bad for men's virility and cooling to the libido, but even this was useful. Buddhist monks would eat cold tofu almost medicinally since they had taken vows of celibacy.

All foods are more appropriate for certain people and less appropriate for others. Alcohol is not really appropriate for pregnant or nursing women or children, maple syrup and honey are not appropriate for diabetics, and a diet of hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes, while unhealthy for anyone, is especially inappropriate for anyone with high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Soy foods, with their high phyto-estrogen content, are generally more appropriate for women than men, and can even be useful in hormone replacement for menopausal women.

In regard to the headline of your article, your article really only touches on male homosexuality by discussing the "feminization" of males. How would you explain female homosexuality?

Instead of vilifying the lowly soybean and alarming consumers and parents, perhaps you could help educate them. The most commercially used soy foods are high-heat refined soybean oil and texturized vegetable protein, both of which are highly processed and unhealthy. These are usually found in packaged convience foods such as chips and microwavable burritos which, I think everyone can agree, are not recommended for anyone. Perhaps you could advise against these types of foods and encourage simple, home cooked meals and moderation for your readers.

A more thoughtful approach to stories that emphasize "the evils of soy foods" might touch on topics such as soy additives/fillers in foods, overuse of foods such as soy and wheat leading to allergies, subjective research being used to market products as health-promoting and certain industries being ready and willing to jump on any bandwagon that will generate revenue, ie. companies seeing that soy foods are "hot" right now, so using them in everything.

In health,
One of the major problems I have with articles like this (other than the obvious lack of information) is that they offer no solution. He tells us you can hardly escape soy foods anymore, but doesn't tell us what ingredients to avoid on labels, or tell us alternatives. This, in my opinion is very sloppy and alarmist.

Mr. Rutz says not to "even think about" giving children soy formula. Yet he doesn't mention that cow's formula contains hormones like BGH and tons of antibiotics and that the best thing you could do would be to breast feed or join a group like La Leche League to milk-share. He never gives any advice for what you do if you are unable to breastfeed, use cow's milk formula, OR soy formula. What about grain formulas like rice or oat formula? Grains are much easier to digest than beans, so they seem like a perfect choice for babies with digestion problems. You can even find recipes to make your own here.

Mr. Rutz could help our society by encouraging women to breast feed their children. I used to see a billboard that said something along the lines of "Breasts were made for babies", with a picture of a nursing baby. I loved it. It's healthier for both the baby and the mother, it reduces the chances of ear infections, and it may even help brain development, however I have a feeling that Mr. Rutz may feel that promoting breastfeeding would be promoting deviant and immodest behavior.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Quick update..

I have a tons of posts that I need to catch up on, including samosas, Thanksgiving dinner and Thanksgiving leftovers, but I haven't had time! Last week I was inundated with water troubles--no water, toilet that ran all day/wouldn't flush/handle broke clean off. With less than two weeks before I leave to visit my family, I'm going to be a busy, busy girl.....

But! I had to write up a quick post about some of the fabulous finds I made last week:
White Cyprus Salt (looks like pyramids)
Dried Lavender
Essentials of Clove, Lemon, Orange and Peppermint
Unusual natural extracts including Cherry, Raspberry, Mango
Half a pound of organic Tahitian Vanilla Beans for under 12 bucks!
Plus a few rare/hard to find gifts at great prices for loved ones, all via Ebay.

I'm sure these items will give me much to post about.

Tonight I'm going to attempt vegan stuffed naan, maybe a nice pashwari naan.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Almond Bliss Scones

JD decided he wanted to make a 20-pound turkey for Thanksgiving. Since we both live (separately) in apartments with tiny kitchens, we decided that he'd make all the non-vegan essentials--turkey, giblet gravy and stuffing (plus a small batch of vegan dressing), at his place, and I'd make all the other dishes vegan-friendly, at my place. We had agreed on a 6 pm dinner. But the turkey wasn't going to be done by then, so we pushed it back to 7 and I cooked all my dishes at a leisurely pace, watching a movie and relaxing as I prepped so that everything would be fresh and hot when the turkey was ready....when it wasn't done at 7, and I had already cleaned my kitchen, I decided to whip up a quick batch of scones, since the oven was already at the proper tempurature.

These scones feature almonds, coconut, and chocolate (like those candy bars), are a joy to make, but absolutely blissful to eat. I made similar scones for JD's family the first time I met them, and they all loved them. I've never met anyone who didn't like these, and a batch never lasts more than twenty four hours.

Almond Bliss Scones
Christina Terriquez

Yields: 6-9 scones
Baking time: 20-25 minutes

1 cup organic whole wheat or whole spelt flour
1 cup organic unbleached white flour or white spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch unrefined sea salt
1/2 cup safflower oil or vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance or Soy Garden
1/2 cup agave nectar, maple syrup or organic unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/4 cup dairy-free, fair trade dark chocolate chips (or your favorite vegan chocolate bar, chopped)
1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2-1 cup unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a separate large bowl, mix sweetener and oil or margarine with extracts. Add dry ingredients and mix until a sandy texture is reached. Add chocolate, almonds, coconut and mix well. Add 1/2 cup soymilk and stir gently. If dough is too dry add a bit more soymilk, being careful not to overmix.

Scoop by 1/4 cup scoops onto a stainless steel cookie sheet or glass baking dish. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.


I like to use the big coconut flakes, but you could use shredded coconut

This recipe is very easy to change. I like making cranberry coconut walnut scones, or chocolate pecan scones. Simply substitute 1/4 cup of up to three of your favorite ingredients in place of the coconut, almonds and/or the chocolate.

Great with coffee, tea or grain coffee as a light breakfast or for dessert.
The last bite

Sugar High Fridays: Pomegranate Truffles, Hazelnut Macadamia Truffles, and Peppermint Truffles

I am participating in my first blog event, Sugar High Fridays. I used a few of my tried and true vegan truffle recipes, and decided to create a new and unexpected recipe using a seasonal fruit, the pomegranate! In case you're unfamiliar, truffles are notoriously hard to veganize (by the way, if you're avoiding refined sugar, I have grain-sweetened truffle recipes, but I didn't have time to make any before the Sugar High Fridays deadline. Post a comment if you're interested).

The pomegranate truffles came out better than I could have imagined. The chocolate covered version is amazing: the center melts as soon as it enters your mouth, so when you take a bite, or press your tongue against it, the tart liquid explodes in your mouth, the coating collapses, and the only tangible thing you have is the rich chocolate coating, slowly melting away. I will definitely use this ganache recipe again for truffles, as a sauce for a simple cake and maybe even as a chocolate fondue. (It reminded me of something from Chocolat, and I told JD I thought it was sinfully sensual and sexy. He said he never understood why people considered chocolate "sexy". I balked. He said I was sexy, then proceeded to lick the ganache from my fingers--after I had finished rolling all the truffles-- and we both agreed that that was sexy.)

The cocoa/powdered sugar covered pomegranate truffles are lovely in a less in-your-face kind of way. The powdered sugar cuts the tartness a bit and makes the ganache a little bit more solid. For these I used Scharffen Berger 99% unsweetened chocolate and Valharona 61% chocolate. Please, use the recommended ingredients and the best quality you can find/afford as it really does make a difference.

I've made a small change to the instructions for the pomegranate truffles. I made them last week and the soymilk and pomegranate mixture curdled and tasted decidely less pomegrante-y. I will be retesting soon, but hopefully these updated instructions will fix that snafu.

Pomegranate Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
2 oz 99% unsweetened chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
1 tablespoon pomegranate pekmez
1 tablespoon organic pomegranate jelly
1/2 cup organic, unsweetened soymilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar

For garnish:
2 oz 60-65% dairy-free chocolate, chopped
1/4 organic unrefined sugar, plus
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

In a double boiler, melt unsweetened chocolate with coconut butter and soymilk.

In a separate bowl, mix pekmez, jelly, salt and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

When chocolate is completely melted, carefully remove from heat and stir chocolate into pomegranate mixture and blend well. Refrigerate or freeze until ganache is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Working quickly, roll ganache into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Place balls on a foil covered plate and freeze for about two minutes.

For chocolate covered truffles:
In a double boiler, melt half of the sweetened chocolate. Remove from heat, add half of the remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Add remaining chocolate and stir until melted. Working quickly, dip chilled ganache balls into melted chocolate and place on a foil covered plate.

For cocoa covered truffles:

Mix sugar and cocoa powder then blend in a food processor or blender.

Roll ganache balls in cocoa powder mix. You will need to roll each ball in cocoa a few times.

Hazelnut Macadamia Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips or 2 oz 60-65%
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
2 tablespoons raw macadamia nut butter
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract

For garnish:
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts or hazelnut meal

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with coconut butter and macadamia nut butter.

When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add salt and extracts. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Working quickly, roll chilled chocolate into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Roll balls, one by one in hazelnuts.

Note: Vary this recipe but using different nut butters and rolling in different nuts. Almond butter and toasted almonds work well.

Peppermint Truffles
Christina Terriquez

For filling:
1/2 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips or 2 oz 60-65%
1 tablespoon organic raw, unrefined coconut butter
pinch of sea salt or drop of ume vinegar
1/2-1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For garnish:
2-3 tablespoons organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs, chopped finely

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with coconut butter.

When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and add salt and extracts. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm enough to be handled (ten to twenty minutes in freezer).

Mix cocoa powder with cacao nibs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Working quickly, roll chilled chocolate into balls by the teaspoon. Balls will be about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. Roll balls, one by one in cocoa powder mixture. Balls may need to be rolled in cocoa powder more than once.

Note: These are great as after dinner mints.

Update on 11-26-2006: The (tempered chocolate covered) pomegranate truffles were definitely the favorite, with the hazelnut macadamia easily sliding in second. I was surprised that JD loved the pomegranate so much, especially considering how much he loves hazelnuts. The hazelnut macadamia truffles are lusciously creamy without being so soft that they need to be kept in the fridge, or covered in chocolate.

The peppermint truffles were just a bit dry, but that was my fault, I accidentally used a bit too much vanilla(the alcohol in most extracts seizes the chocolate a bit, which is essential for these recipes, but if you add too much, the chocolate will seize completely. Adding extra peppermint extract is generally fine because 1) it's so strong you can't really add very much and have the end product still be edible and 2) peppermint extract is usually made from peppermint essence and some kind of oil, so it is alcohol free. Rolling the truffles in cocoa powder without coating in tempered chocolate also dries them out, so I may amend this recipe to always cover in tempered chocolate, then roll in cocoa powder. I love the dark, only slightly sweet flavor you get when you roll directly in unsweetened cocoa powder, but I suppose I could retain that aspect if I used 80% chocolate.

Perfect Vegan Pecan Pie, Part 2: Pie Filling

Christina’s Perfect Vegan Pecan Pie
Christina Terriquez

Yield: One 9-inch pie
Baking time: 50-65 minutes

1 9-inch organic partially baked pie crust
1/4 cup organic unsweetened soymilk
½ cup organic silken or soft tofu
3/4 cup organic steamed or nishimi-style cooked Kabocha (HokaiddoPumpkin) squash
4 teaspoons organic safflower oil
1 ½ cups organic rice syrup, Lundberg Farms Organic recommended
1 pinch of SI sea salt
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 cup organic pecans toasted and finely chopped, plus
1-1 ½ cups organic whole toasted pecans for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Blend soymilk, tofu and squash until smooth using an immersion blender.

3. Boil safflower oil, rice syrup, and sea salt on medium heat until foamy (about 3-5 minutes).

4. Reserve 1/3 cup of rice syrup mixture.

5. Blend rice syrup mixture and squash mixture together.

6. Add chopped pecans and stir to incorporate.

7. Pour mixture into prepared, baked pie crust.

8. Arrange whole pecans on top of pie.

9. Gently use reserved rice syrup to glaze the pecans.

10. Bake pie for 55-85 minutes, until top is bubbly and pie is very aromatic.

11. Let pie cool thoroughly, about two hours or overnight. Enjoy!


Kabocha squash is really the best squash for this recipe since it is sweet and slightly dry but super creamy. I buy organic kabochas, seed and cut off any woody parts of the skin, but leave green skin on for the gorgeous color contrast. The skin melts in your mouth. If you are unable to find kabocha, you can substitute butternut or acorn, but please try kabochas if you ever find any, they are unbelievably good simply steamed with a pinch of sea salt. Canned pumpkin can also be substituted.

Traditional pecan pies are mostly eggs and dark karo syrup. In my adaptation, I've cut the amount of syrup down a bit, and taken out the eggs altogether. I always found pecan pie to be a bit too sweet for me. The squash and soy make up for the egg's absence and add a creamy richness. If you'll notice in the pictures, the glazing step makes all the difference in making this pie look like a pecan pie, and it also adds a nice crunch to the pecans.

Perfect Vegan Pecan Pie, Part 1: Pie Crust

All-Purpose Vegan Pie Crust
Christina Terriquez

Yield: One 9-inch pie shell
Baking time: 10 minutes

1 cup organic whole spelt flour or whole wheat flour
1 cup organic white spelt flour or unbleached white flour
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt
½-3/4 cup cold organic safflower oil
1/4 cup cold organic, unsweetened soymilk

1. Stir flours and salt together in a large bowl with a fork. Add oil, mixing with fork while pouring over dry ingredients. Mixture should resemble pea-sized crumbs when oil has been incorporated.

2. Add 1/4 cup soymilk and gently mix. If dough is too dry, add more soymilk 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Being careful not to knead, as kneading will develop gluten and make crust tough, form dough into a ball with hands.

3. Flatten dough into a 5-inch disk and place on a large sheet of unbleached parchment paper that measures at least 12 inches in diameter. Center a second sheet of paper of equal size, over the dough. Roll dough into 12-inch circle, pressing rolling pin against center of dough and pushing out towards edges. Turn dough and continue rolling until dough reaches desired size.

4. Remove and discard top sheet of paper. Center an inverted 9-inch pie plate over dough. Slide hand under remaining sheet of parchment paper and carefully invert paper, dough, and pie plate in one motion. Remove and discard parchment paper.

Press dough into edges of pie plate. Trim excess dough to within 1/4 inch of rim. Flute edge as desired.

5. The classic pinched flute edge: starting at the 3 o'clock point on the pie, use your right thumb and forefinger to pinch the rim of dough, while using your left thumb to press down the mound created, thus forming a small "v" shape. Rotate pie plate approximately 1 inch and continue until you've reached the end.

6. Prick bottom of crust, to keep it from bubbling up during baking, and pre-bake crust in a 350º oven for 10 minutes before adding filling, to keep it from becoming soggy.


The amount of liquid varies based on freshness of flour, humidity, and type of flour. Spelt flour does not absorb liquid as well as wheat flour does, so when you bake with spelt, you may need to reduce flour by as much as 1/4.

To ease rolling and avoid dryness, roll crust out as soon as it is made. I recommend making, rolling and partially baking crust all at once to avoid dry, cracked edges.

Parchment (or waxed paper) is essential to making this crust. Parchment enables you to easily roll the dough without adding more flour to keep the dough from sticking to your counter or cutting board, and it enables you to easily flip the crust into your pie plate. I use unbleached parchment.

The classic pinched flute edge is simple but seems impressive. It looks like you spent hours, but takes less than five minutes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Buy Nothing Day--Austin, TX

JD and I are trying to set up a Buy Nothing Day event.

The idea hatched from Austin's recent obsession with Zombie Flash Mobs. I thought that staging a zombie flashmob at the Arboretum Mall on Buy Nothing Day would be perfect in a sort of Dawn of the Dead-consumerist-metaclusterfuck.

However, when I read a certain article this morning about Austin's newest non-weird Swedish import, I thought Ikea would be a much better place to stage a braindead buyer flashmob....

But then JD suggested serving free food and the idea morphed into free cafe. Free food and drinks, free music, free poetry, free art. Anyone have any input/ideas/want to help out? Suggestions for where to hold it? A park seems ideal...but I do like the idea of giving free stuff away as an alternative to buying on that day.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Impromptu Middle Eastern Feast

A few weeks ago, JD, R and I went to the Sunset Valley Farmer's Market. It was a nice, warm, fall day, and we didn't need anything in particular. I wanted some greens, and JD wanted some of his favorite coffee. I picked up a beautiful mix of seasonal salad greens, R bought an Asian-inspired shirt, and JD got the coffee he wanted. After that, it was a quick stop at Hobby Lobby. Neither R or JD had ever been to one before they met me, and now they both love remains one of the few places we can can shop without JD complaining.

Once we arrived home, we were all hungry, and didn't have anything prepared. Suddenly, I remembered the chickpeas, red onion, dill, mint, parsley, and cucumber I had. I usually keep some Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Pita Bread in the freezer, and R had some super ripe tomatoes. That sounded like the makings for a feast of hummus, tabouli, and Greek salad to me!

Looking through the pantry, I noticed I didn't have any bulghur wheat, but I did have a mixture of red and white quinoa, which is whole grain(bulghur is a cracked grain), but it has a relatively short cooking time and doesn't require soaking or toasting for proper digestion like most larger whole grains. I started boiling water while I washed the quinoa. While that was boiling, I washed the greens I had just bought, plus some arugala that I already had on hand.

The purple parts were slightly iridescent, like the wings of a butterfly. I told you it was beautiful. I set the greens aside to dry, since dressings and sauces stick to greens better if the greens are dry--if greens are wet, the surfaces are already slick, and the dressing will slide right off.

I started chopping veggies, herbs and seasonings like mad. Red onion, cucumber, tomato, assorted Greek olives, dill, parsley, mint, lemon, watermelon radishes, and garlic. Half of the tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, dill, and garlic ended going into the salad, along with the radishes and olives. First I marinated them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar.

By that time, the quinoa was done, so I fluffed it up, and poured it into a serving bowl to cool for a bit while I made the hummus, so that the heat of the quinoa wouldn't cook the raw ingredients. I also put the frozen pitas into a 200 degree pre-heated oven for a few minutes at this point.

To make the hummus, I simply added about 1 1/2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas, 1 tablespoon raw tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, two small cloves of minced garlic and a few springs of chopped parsley to a food processor with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and a bit of sea salt.

I mixed placed the marinated vegetables over the bed of greens.

Then, while R and JD set the table, I mixed the remaining red onion, tomato and cucumber into the cooled quinoa along with some parsley, mint, capers, olive oil, lemon and garlic.

I put out some kalamata olives, green Greek olives, oil-cured black olives (my favorite), with some capers and a small bowl of leftover notcheese because I didn't have any of my homemade tofu feta, but the notcheese is so creamy and smooth it balances out the sharp bitter and pungent flavors of the salad . I cut the warm-from-the-oven pitas into quarters and we sat down to our feast.

This is my plate up close:

JD didn't eat any salad of course, but he stuffed himself full of pita, hummus and olives. I think that's kind of a perfect meal for him.

Create-Your-Own-Pizza and Chocolate Fondue

JD and I had been having pizza quite often. It's pretty easy if you use a few pre-made ingredients, it's super satisfying, and it can be really fun if everyone makes their own.

This particular time, R, my roommate was home, and so we invited her to eat with us. We had a make a "quick run" to Whole Foods for the crusts and my vegan notcheese. While we were there, I picked up some lacinto kale and we decided we wanted a decadent but simple fruit dessert. Thinking back to Valentine's Day, I suggested chocolate fondue, and JD heartily agreed.

We bought French Meadow's Yeast-Free Sourdough Crusts, Follow Your Heart's Montery Jack Flavored notcheese (they make a mozzarella version, but I like the mild, buttery flavor of the M. Jack although I don't know if it really tastes anything like jack, as I never tried it before going vegan) artichoke hearts, pine nuts, fresh basil, garlic, fresh shiitakes, unsweetened chocolate, hazelnut milk and an assortment of fresh fruit.

We already had some pizza sauce, black oil-cured olives, assorted greek olives, pepperoni, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano and olive oil.

This was my pizza before baking:

This was my pizza before adding basil and baking. I took one crust, spread on tomato-based pizza sauce, plus some fresh minced garlic, crumbled the notcheese all over, then added artichoke heart quarters, shiitakes tossed with a little shoyu, pine nuts and oil-cured black olives.

JD and R made their own pizzas, and I swear I took pictures, but I think my camera's more vegan than I am, because they didn't save. They used the non-vegan items I mentioned, as well as the ingredients I used.

While the pizzas were baking, I blanched some kale for myself (they didn't want any), cut the fruit, and made the chocolate fondue. We had pineapple, raspberries, braeburn apples, and strawberries:

For the chocolate fondue, I melted the chocolate in a makeshift double boiler and added a touch of vanilla extract and agave nectar and hazelnut milk until it was sweet and creamy enough for our tastes. The hazelnut milk added a subtle but recognizable nutty flavor that JD loved, but it wasn't as creamy as soymilk, and the end result was a bit thinner than I would have liked. JD has discovered that he loves hazelnut milk, though, and I think he'd use it on cereal instead of cow's milk.

Here's a picture of my dinner from that evening:

R had a lovely bottle of wine which she and I shared. The create-your-own pizzas were a hit, of course, and the pineapple was the favorite dipper for the chocolate fondue.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Stir fried vegetables, fried tofu and soba noodles.

Stir fried vegetables, fried tofu and soba noodles.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The beginning....

Lately, I've been craving time to cook in my own kitchen. I had lost my inspiration sometime at the beginning of the summer mostly just because I was so busy with things I had to do, that I felt like there was no time for the things I wanted to do. Now that fall is rapidly approaching, I feel tremendous inspiration. I can't wait to cook the first kabocha squash of the season, or to make the first vegetable bake of the fall. My inspiration is not just limited to the new fall flavors, but to the summer bounty as well.

We stopped by Boggy Creek Farm on Saturday, but arrived late so the selection was rather limited. I bought sourdough from Sweetish Hill, fresh arugala and while I was debating over whether or not to get basil--I had some, but did I have enough? CAN you have enough?--Jeremy took a fancy to some very pretty little bell peppers and since it's so rare that he shows an interest in any vegetable, I bought one green bell pepper and one yellow and green bell pepper.

Once we got home, I made some Pesto Arugala Couscous by bringing water to a boil, then adding whole wheat couscous, stirring in some of the fresh, chopped arugala while the couscous was still hot so it could slightly wilt and finally adding about two tablespoons of leftover pesto and garnishing with toasted pine nuts. Yum!

I also made an Avocado-Grapefruit Salad. I'm not a huge grapefruit fan, but the creamy richness of the avocado balances their tart sweetness in this dish. For the bulk, I used some green leaf lettuce (but any green lettuce would work well) some shredded radicchio trevisano, half a supremed grapefruit, and half an avocado, sliced. I made a vinagrette with balsamic vinegar, juice from the grapefruit, minced garlic, sea salt, a few drops of agave nectar and some hemp oil.

Sunday evening, I soaked and Monday afternoon cooked two very plain-but-full-of potential staples, black eyed peas and medium grain brown rice. I was thinking of making sushi, but haven't really figured out what to do with the black eyed peas.