Monday, March 28, 2011

Cookbook Challenge 2: The Great Valley Adventure

Dudes.  A weird thing happened on my way to the store.  Not really, but my laptop broke (and is still broken) so it's been hell trying to blog.  I have about 5 weeks of cooking to show you.  I hope you're ready for this one.

First up, week 3 was Urban Vegan.  I tried a few new things from this book and loved most of them.  I really like the layout of the book.  Every recipe seems to be on a single page, which is something I like in a cookbook.  I also love that the steps aren't incredibly difficult to follow.

fettucine alfredo
1. Fettucine Alfredo: Absolutely amazing.  I loved this.  It was one of the simplest alfredos I've ever made.  Plus, I love that it wasn't super thick or heavy.  I threw in some sundried tomatoes and fresh basil before topping with homemade parm.  Damn good food.
2. Chickpea Paprikash: This really doesn't photograph well, but it was so creamy and delicious that none of that matters.  I have never had or even heard of paprikash until fairly recently.  I was super freaked about using so much paprika, but it really went well with the dish.  Plus, I love how smooth the yogurt made everything.
3. Lemon Poppyseed Tempeh: I really felt like a dish like this could have used exact measurements.  I used 4 lemons fresh from our tree, but I guess they were super juicy because all I tasted was lemon.  There wasn't enough of a rounded flavor for me.  However, I would try this again to make sure it wasn't user error on my part.

Havana beans and rice and pan-fried plantains
4. Confetti Quinoa: This was another dish I didn't really like.  It was too moist for me even after cooking for an extra 10 minutes or so.
5. Havana Beans and Rice: Absolutely lovely.  It makes a ridiculous amount of food, too!  Plus it is really simple.
6. Pan-Fried Plantains: I had never seen sweet plantains fried this way.  The sugar gave them a nice crunch.  Went super well paired with the rice and beans.

potato and tempeh sausage pizza
Week 4 was a cookbook near and dear to my heart, Vegan with a Vengeance.  This was the first vegan cookbook that got me excited about food.  It taught me how to cook, and really sparked a passion for food that I never had growing up.

sweet potato crepes w/ cilantro-tamarind sauce
1. Fresh Mango Summer Rolls: My first time ever rolling out fresh spring rolls.  Truth be told, Era is the one that reaches for fresh spring rolls.  I always get that deep fried ish, but these were SO GOOD.  Really fantastic.  I can't wait until mango season because I'm stuffing those biznootches with some Ataulfos, yo.
2. Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza: This was a recipe I've been checking out for years, but I never have fresh fennel in the house.  So glad I finally made it.  Love the way potatoes taste on pizza!

fresh mango summer rolls
3. Horseradish-and-Coriander-Crusted Tofu: This was a little spicy and a lot awesome!  It was really reminiscent of fish when dipped in the tartar sauce.  I hate fresh mint so I just substituted green onions.
4. Wasabi Mashed Potatoes: These were so damn good.  Super creamy and the wasabi really gave it a great kick.  Era was visibly surprised when he took a bite because I forgot to tell him about the wasabi.  Haha.

horseradish-and-coriander-crusted tofu
wasabi mashed potatoes
5. Sweet Potato Crepes w/ Cilantro-Tamarind Sauce: I always stared longingly at this recipe in the past.  There are so many ingredients that I never felt I had the time to make it.  However, everything comes together super fast and I was left with a wonderfully spiced filling, chewy crepe, and the bomb ass sauce.  The sauce is creamy, tangy and a little bit bright.  I loved this dish so hard.

butternut squash lasagna
I skipped a lot of weeks because I didn't have some books, but I jumped back in with week 9, Yellow Rose Recipes.  I had heard so many great things about this book over the years and finally purchased it back in December.  Gotta show that Texas love!

lemon tahini dressing
1. Tofu Scramble: This was super quick and easy.  Plus, I'm totally in love with the seasoning mix.  Anything that tastes of cumin has a place in my heart.
2. Lemon Tahini Dressing: So simple SO GOOD.  I made this and ate bowls for at least three days using this sauce.  Every bowl I had was absolutely amazing.  If I kept a supply of this and the goddess dressing from AFR, I'd never leave my house again.
3. Butternut Squash Lasagna: Super good and really filling.  I could easily see playing around with this and doing some add ons.  I was thinking how wonderful it would be with sausage and crushed red pepper flakes.

portobello feijoada, savory orange rice, and braised Brazilian shredded kale
Week 10 was Viva Vegan, my favorite cookbook ever!  I just love how every time I go back, I find something new and delicious that I've never had before.  I made a lot of stuff prior to and during this week, so I'll only leave my thoughts on the newly tried recipes.

1. Portobello Feijoada: This dish was amazing!  Meaty, mushroomy, filling.  Words cannot express how good this stew is.  And it made a ridiculous amount of food.  We were eating leftovers for days.
2. Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale: Really easy.  Super delicious.  And a great option to make because Era hates raisins so I don't make the chard w/ capers and raisins often.

vanilla-coconut flan
3. Vanilla-Coconut Flan: Perfect!  Just like I remember during Spanish class in high school.  I am definitely going to try the cafe con leche one next.
4. Peruvian Seitan:  I didn't make the skewers, but I took Terry's burrito advice and made a burrito that rocked my pants off.  I made the refried black beans and yellow rice.  Then I added the seitan to the burrito along with lettuce, tomato, and guacamole.  Greatness.

creamy corn-filled empanadas
5. Creamy Corn-Filled Empanadas: I have never made empanadas before because I hate working with dough and they seem pretty time consuming.  These were so good, I just have to make some other ones from the book.  Served these with the Green Onion Salsa.

mom's morning casserole
Finally, this past week was Vegan Brunch.  I mean, this book totally sparked my love of brinner.  I was obsessed with Isa's pancakes since VWAV, but when you are throwing omelets and muffins and motherforking coffee cake my's a miracle that I actually eat anything other than breakfast all day.  I didn't make nearly as much as I wanted to, but what I did make was gooood.

1. Mom's Morning Casserole: I have always skipped over this one because we never kept tempeh in the house until recently.  So I halved the recipe and got to it.  So much awesomeness.  I really wanted to eat this with a side of biscuits and gravy, but I forced myself to eat some steamed broccoli instead.  Delicious!
2. Basic Scrambled Tempeh: I made this with tofu because I didn't feel like going to Trader Joe's for tempeh. This was unbelievably simple (maybe 5 ingredients) and so good!  I love any time I get to use chard.
3. Fried Plantains: Easy and delicious.  I don't think you can ever go wrong with fried plantains.

basic scrambled tempeh tofu w/ fried plantains
Whew.  That's all for now.  I have so many blogs to read.  I'll do at least one more blog this week...maybe two.  Anybody else stoked that Spring has arrived?!