Thai Pizza

We don’t make pizza too often, but it is a household favorite. It’s usually his thing. He has his own crust recipe and is often the one who takes charge and makes the whole thing while I try to restrain myself from making little suggestions. This is hard for me, but I know I have to keep my mouth shut because I hate it when people butt in when I’m cooking. Needless to say it’s rare for us to really cook together. Usually one person cooks, the other tells stories and opens the wine. Our collaboration happens more in the planning stage. So when he suggested pizza the other night I said yes. But we didn’t have tomato sauce. I didn’t want either of us to have to run to the grocery store at seven so I came up with an alternative. Someone at work had made a curry pizza and that got my thinking. So instead of tomato sauce I made peanut sauce. Instead of sausagey crumbles we had teriyaki tofu, instead of olives a few broccoli. In the crust we worked in some cilantro, red pepper flakes, and garlic. In the end it was amazing and opens up a whole new realm of pizza ideas. Thanksgiving pizza? tandoori pizza? enchilada pizza?

Testing

I got an awesome email this afternoon telling me I could be a tester for Terry Hope Romero’s new cookbook. After signing in I spent the next forty five minutes going through all the recipes hoping there was something there I could make tonight. I went through dozens of amazing looking descriptions only to get to the ingredient list and realize I didn’t have one thing. I could have still made stuff, but that defeats the point of testing, which is to make things as written to see how they’ll turn out for readers. I almost lost hope and was just going to settle for salad when I came to the Colombian Coconut Lentil Rice. I have that, and that, omg and that too! So I set out for the kitchen and came out with this.

So good, so comforting. I think this is going to be a lot of fun. And lots of pictures.

Chili

Fall means chili. I love chili and eat it year round, but it’s meant to be eaten in fall. That’s when it feels more perfect. Crisp days and the sound of wind blowing through fallen leaves. What’s even better is crock pot chili. Everyone knows the best chili cooks for hours and what better way than the crock pot. I have to admit, I often forget we own a crock pot. I actually can’t even take the credit for this pot of chili since he made it while I was at work. This one was perfectly spiced and had a good amount of liquid. I hate thin chili.

 

I was all set to eat my chili with just bread (don’t worry we had Earth Balance it just wasn’t on the bread yet) when he remembered we had some Daiya cheddar in the fridge and oh my. It made my night. Growing up my mom made lots of chili. Lots of incredibly spicy chili. So spicy I could barely eat it. To counter that my brother and I would load it up with cheddar cheese and saltine crackers until it was so stiff it wasn’t technically ‘chili’ anymore but rather some weird uncooked casserole. Luckily the chili in my life is not one-dimensionally hot. It’s full of spices and complex flavors that don’t need to be muted by add-ins. Though I still can’t resist the cheese-y stuff if I have it.

This doesn’t have much of a recipe. A big can of Mrs. Grimes Chili Beans, a can of tomatoes, some onions and a sweet potato, chili powder plus extra cumin and ancho, salt. I keep meaning to experiment and try other types of chili – white chili, beer chili, chili sin carne, etc. – but I love this and can’t seem to move past it.

Health Food

The other night we ate green. Everything was green. The kale salad, herby quinoa tabbouli, and sumac tofu with baby bok choy and broccoli was delicious and the perfect image of what my dad imagines me eating every day. If only I could eat this every day. Kale salad is one of my favorite things and the tabbouli was a great way to use up lots of fresh herbs from our CSA (maybe a little unconventional with cilantro but it worked really well in contrast to the parsley). I purposefully bought sumac last week to make this tofu after seeing Amey post about it here. All in all an awesome meal.

The tabbouli was based on the one in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, the kale had a golden beet, tahini, soy sauce, and maybe lime juice? Too many kale salads to remember specifics.

Stuffed Pumpkin

Part of my goals for VeganMofo was to cook out of cookbooks and cook French food. Both of which I’ve done a pretty good job of for once. I still have Around My French Table from the library (which I should really just buy) and made this stuffed pumpkin from it. The recipe is also posted on NPR here. Obviously I left out the bacon, cheese, and cream. I had some leftover stuffing mix – you know, the crappy bag of MSG laden bread cubes that sells for $.99 after Thanksgiving and my boyfriend loves so I’ve had a bag in the cupboard for a year now because I hate packaged stuffing. Well it was perfect here. I mixed up half a bag of that with a chopped onion, salt, pepper, garlic, a big handful of Daiya cheddar, and some vegetable stock so moisten everything a bit. I stuffed it into a really pretty blue-green squash. I never found out what type of pumpkin/squash it was but that’s ok because I didn’t love it. It was a little dry and stringy for my tastes, I’ll stick with my preferred kabocha squash. It was still a fun experience though.

Savory Fruit

I’m not usually a fan of fruit in my entree. Raisins and apples can go in salads and citrus gets a pass. At least I thought I didn’t like fruit in things. During my French cookbook obsession I found a recipe for a chicken-sweet potato tagine with prunes. It sounded weird enough that I might like it. I’ve done raisins in tagine before and thought it was ok and I happened to have two pounds of prunes that really needed to be used it. Don’t worry the recipe didn’t call for two pounds, more like eight prunes. The only change I made to the recipe was to swap chickpeas for the chicken. It does call for a lot of saffron which I miraculously had. This was the first time I made something that had a very strong and distinct saffron flavor and I can’t say I loved it. Possibly the mix of saffron and prunes, each very distinctive, might have been overwhelming. It was good that night for dinner but I couldn’t bring myself to eat the leftovers the next afternoon.

I served it with couscous and some sauteed chard and mushrooms. The tagine recipe is from Around My French Table.