Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's Vegan Month Of Food!

The Vegan Overlords have declared October to be VEGAN MONTH OF FOOD in the blogosphere, and I cannot deny their sway. I will be blogging about vegan food as much as I can this month, and hopefully learning how to post multiple pictures in one blog entry.

I took pictures last night while I was cooking and left the camera in the kitchen, alas!

For most of the past year -- year and a half? I have taken over as primary cook in our house. As Trey has famously said, when we married I "couldn't boil water" and now I have grown into [in my humble opinion] a pretty decent cook. I am very grateful to Trey for his infinite patience through my obsessive phases, because once I get an idea for a recipe or get a craving for a certain dish, we have it many times in a row until I move on to something else. So we had the Vegan Scalloped Potatoes phase and the Pot Pies! phase and the Beer - Battered Seitan phase and Red Cabbage Korean Slaw Fest and the Lolo's Mac - And - Cheeze phase and the Spicy Baked BBQ Tempeh phase and lately it's been the Variations on Piccata Inspired by The Seitan Piccata Recipe In Veganomicon phase because you just cannot, CANNOT go wrong with pan-fried things in a sauce of lemon, capers, herbs and white wine.

The great joy I have discovered in cooking and in cooking vegan is how creative it is and how much like making music. In the same way you hear a chord progression and suddenly "see" where a melody belongs, I'll see poblanos at the farm stand and be able to smell what to do with them in the coming week. Two years ago, this attitude towards food was utterly foreign to me. Now cooking falls in with music, perfumery and wine tasting as Ultimate Synaesthetic Funtimes.

And speaking of synaesthetic funtimes, (which maybe should be the new title of this blog, come to think of it) is discovering the secret ingredients that make something delicious and become the fulcrum for their veganization. Like how chickpea salad is a million times better than tuna salad, because the flaky mashed chickpeas make a better backdrop for a dressing of Veganaise, coarse mustard, diced celery and cornichons. You lose the metallic fish tang in favor of a more velvety creaminess even more comfort-foodish than the tuna salad (or chicken salad) of yore. [I love chickpeas! Love them! I will eat them out of the can with a fork. They are the perfect legume! If the world blows up I will be in my cave eating the bejeezus out of canned chickpeas. There will be more on this blog about chickpeas in the coming days, much, much more. With pictures, I promise you!! NOM NOM NOM! ]

Another secret is celery, celeriac and celery seed. The thing that makes chicken soup taste chicken-y is actually celery seed. Go to your spice rack, open the celery seed, and smell it. See? I told you! So you don't need a dead chicken in every pot, you can make CHICKPEA noodle soup that will kick the ass of every soup you have ever had in your life. Saute in the soup pot a handful of celeriac dice, a diced yellow onion (tennis-ball size,) 5 cloves of garlic and a medium sized carrot, also DICED. Sprinkle the sautee-ing dice with salt and a dash of celery seed and cover to sweat a bit. Add 3 cups of veggie broth (or water and chuck a bullion cube in there) and let come to a boil. Toss in a can of drained chickpeas and let cook for 3 minutes: then add whatever noodles you like best (linguine, alphabets, soba, whatevers) and keep stirring. When the noodles are almost done, toss in some chopped parsley and celery leaves and even some chard if you have it and MMMMMMMMMS!

Best of all, there's no arsenic!


Blogger Bex said...

I love hearing about how much more people enjoy cooking after becoming vegan and how many more food options they have.

2:24 PM  

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