Saturday, February 16, 2008

Flickr is Funny!

For those of you who use Flickr to manage your online photos, you're probably familiar with their greeting feature. When you log in, you are greeted in some random language, and then they tell you what language you now know how to say "hello" in. (For example, "Përshëndetje -- Now you know how to greet people in Albanian!") Last night when I logged in, my greeting was "Ahoy!" but there was no "Now you know how to greet people in . . . " part.

Was Flickr too chicken to say, "Now you know how to greet people in Pirate?"

Tee-hee. Flickr is funny!

On to the food . . .

I've been busy exploring The Joy of Vegan Baking. I made Raspberry Oat Bars Thursday night.
These were so freakin' simple to make, with only a small handfull of ingredients and even less prep, and turned out to be absolutely delicious! Made with all pantry staples, these could be a quick go-to dessert in a pinch. I took a couple to work for my coteachers on Friday, and they loved them. Dan even liked them, which shocked me, since he doesn't like many desserts. (He said they reminded him of apple pie.)

Also from JVB, Ginger Muffins:
First, let me rant about my muffin tins, before I talk about the actual muffins. I love my muffin tins -- they are basically thick, bendy aluminum, and used to belong to my great-grandmother. (She passed away when I was a junior in college.) When she moved out of her apartment into the nursing home near the end of her life, she let me go through her kitchen and take whatever I wanted -- these muffin tins were one of the things I chose. (I also have some fabulous bread pans made out of the same material.) These tins brown beautifully, bake evenly (despite my teensie apartment oven,) and are light as a feather. However, considering their age, they are considerably smaller than standard-size muffin tins you can buy commercially nowadays -- and this screws with my recipes and baking times more than a little bit. I end up getting lazy, overfilling the muffin tins, and the muffins spread out like crazy instead of rising properly. (Notice in the picture above.) Grr. (Also, muffin papers are too large for my tins! Much scrubbing ensues.) I should really just pull out the second muffin tin and fill my muffins accordingly, right?? :) (Or alternately, make a half-recipe, and end up with eight or nine muffins, instead of fourteen or fifteen, right??)

Okay, now that that's out of my system, on to the Ginger Muffins! These were, simply, a LOT of work. As most of you know, muffins are supposed to be simple -- chuck a bunch of ingredients in a bowl, stir six or so times, scoop them into the tins, and bake. Not the case with the ginger muffins . . . after having to make flaxwhip, puree ginger, cook the ginger with some of the sugar, zest a lemon, and juice a lemon, I had a MOUNTAIN of dirty dishes! Ack. All those pots and bowls and gadgets like my microplane and mini-food processor to wash. Grr. I was really hoping the muffins were going to be worth all the effort . . . and they were! Sweet, tender, slightly spicy, with a nice, present ginger flavor, these make a delicious breakfast, snack, or dessert. I'm in ginger heaven -- those of you that know me well, know I have a special relationship with ginger. :) Who knew one could pack so much ginger flavor into a humble muffin? Yum, yum, yum. (P.S. I used white-whole-wheat flour instead of AP flour, with excellent, non-noticeable results. Delish.)

Friday Night Dinner:
I made a Potato and Chickpea Curry from a past issue of Vegetarian Times. I have made several recipes from this article so far, and have loved them all -- the article explored cooking in a Dutch oven, which has been so fun to try out! Layer a bunch of ingredients in the pot, cover, stick in the oven for about and hour, and ta-da! Dinner is served. This recipe was no exception -- Dan and I gobbled this curry down with big gobs of plain yogurt over all. One gripe I have, though -- the recipe called for drained, canned tomatoes, which I found strange. Overall, I thought this curry was kind of dry, and needed a little more liquid, especially since the rice that touched the pan on the bottom and sides acquired a "paella" effect. Next time, I will probably leave the tomato liquid in (and make a half-recipe -- this yielded enough for me to have a big bowlful for dinner -- and Dan to have two bowlfulls -- plus a big container of leftovers for Dan to take home, and an additional FOUR portions of leftovers for me to keep here. Ack! Curry everywhere!) In the end, who doesn't like rice, potatoes, tomatoes, and chickpeas?? YUUUUM.

Saturday Night Dinner:
Dan requested Italian this week, and I'm typically happy to oblige almost any culinary request. :) (Well, as long as it's a vegetarian culinary request -- sometimes Dan teases me when I ask him what he's hungry for -- "steak," he replies. I shake my head, and he laughs.) Anyhow, I made my "classic" spinach and artichoke lasagna. This used to be my go-to dish for parties way back in the day, before I began exploring different genres of cooking, and before I became a vegetarian. I've made several modifications over the years, including adding artichokes, garlic, and nutmeg to the filling, and using real, organic cheeses, as opposed to pre-shredded stuff in plastic bags. It was very good this time, but not as good as it could be. I used homemade sauce, which got kind of watery in the freezer, which I think was half the problem. (The other half of the problem could be attributed to fat-free ricotta. That's what I get for trying to cut a few calories. Alas.) Anyhow, plenty of this leftover to send home with Dan and eat all week long, too.

One more cooking project planned for tonight! Until then . . . .


Anonymous said...

I remember that article in VT--I had wanted to try some of those recipes too, but never did. Thanks for the reminder!

Everything looks great--those bars look delicious, and I am glad the muffins were worth the extra work! Perhaps I should bring my muffin pan and some liners next weekend?!


gc said...

your lasagna looks sooo good! and that chickpea potato dish looks right up my alley as well! mmm!

I'm a first time visitor to your blog, and I want to say that I love looking at your pictures! Keep it up! Makes me hungry! : )