Saffron & KFC

A lot of things are different lately. My fiancé and I have been in New York for the last 6+ weeks. Unfortunately some pretty tragic events are happening in my family and we’ve been here trying to…. come to terms with things I suppose. Plus, on top of all the bad things, something AMAZING happened. We finally welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world on January 26th, so you can imagine how stressful and eventful our life has been as of late!

Before we came to NY though, we had really been trying to cook more. We had quite a few recipes we wanted to do and we were only able to do a couple.

The first I want to talk about is a Rachael Ray recipe. Off the top of my head I’m not sure which cookbook of hers it came out of, but I do know that it contained Saffron (which was an awesome gift I received from my fiancé’s mom). Neither of us have ever had saffron and were pretty excited to try it. Unfortunately, I think we chose the wrong recipe to test it out. It was a cream based pasta dish that originally had sausage and eggplant in it, but obviously being vegetarians we subbed the sausage with some steamed tempeh. The cream sauce was pretty darn good, the saffron very light tasting. The boy said he couldn’t place the flavor of the saffron at all, but I think it was just very very light. Annnnnnd, I have come to the realization I HATE eggplant. Unless it’s battered and fried and from Olive Garden, I have never ever ever liked it. So the dish was a flop and we’ve decided to try a risotto next to really accentuate the flavor of saffron.

The picture is pretty yellow, unfortunately that’s the kind of lighting we have in the kitchen when there’s no sunlight. Those breadstick looking things in the background were my favorite part of the meal. Just a simple loaf of store bought Italian bread with butter, Italian seasoning, fresh minced garlic and parmesan cheese.

The next recipe I want to talk about is something of glory. A recipe I can’t wait to try again… A recipe from one of the vegan food gods, Celine Steen. When I got Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day in the mail some odd months ago, I was super excited. There were at least 15+ recipes I couldn’t wait to try. After narrowing it down with help from the boy, we decided to try out the Retro KFC Sandwiches. The boy has always loved KFC and since being a vegetarian that’s all he ever talks about… how he wishes he had had that last KFC stacker, or that last Chick-fil-A sandwich. So when I suggested we make these sandwiches he was pretty excited. He had high hopes of them being just like the KFC stackers and although I have no idea what one tastes like, these sandwiches were divine.

Lookit that crispiness. They’ve got a corn flake crust and at first I was a little iffy about coating them in a breakfast cereal that I remember my father coating in sugar, but these were super tasty and crunchy and crispy and mmmmm.

The recipe had a mayo based sauce and suggested adding shredded lettuce and pickles. I can’t remember if the tomatoes were suggested as well, but either way. Delicious. The only negative comment I can say about this sandwich is the thickness of the “chicken”. The recipe has you making your own chicken style seitan and although I tried getting the pieces as thin as I could, once they were baked they were just a tad too thick. Next time (and there will be a next time!) I will cut the pieces in half horizontally before breading them and that will give me the option of having a thinner sandwich, or if we’re feeling frisky, maybe a double decker.

The last thing I want to talk about it (no, not the blurriness of this photo, I apologize) is this glorious kale and rutabaga mash with chickpea gravy on the right side of the plate. This beauty was found on Pinterest, off the site Vanilla & Spice. Talk about aweeessome. The chickpea gravy was a little eh, I didn’t like it so much with this dish. It has fresh ginger in it and I found it to be a tad to overwhelming, but damn… the mash was great. It really really was. If you’ve never had rutabaga before, this is an awesome first time dish.

Alright, those are the food escapades I’ve got for you for now. Hope ya’ll enjoyed them and I leave this post with a small intimate piece of advice. Enjoy your family, enjoy the ones you love and keep them close to your heart.. turn the tv off, play a board game, order a pizza… enjoy them!! Because you never know what will happen, or when you may not have them to do those things with.

Bon Appetit!!

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last few nights!

So the last few nights I’ve been cooking up a bunch of “in the head” kinda food… Meaning, I don’t necessarily have a recipe, I’m just combining whatever it is I have in the fridge that’s either going bad or is an oddball out or whatever.

So Monday night I combined roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, broccoli and orecchiette pasta (did you know that orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian?! I learned that from Rachael Ray haha I’ve never forgotten it though!) with a balsamic cream sauce. Pretty much I combined an equal amount of half&half and vegetable stock with a bunch of minced garlic and a couple of tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar. I add a bay leaf and some herbes de provence and it was pretty freaking fantastic! I know I always say things are fantastic, but what can I say? I’m cocky about my cooking haha

And of course, we made a big ol’ salad too… for some reason I can’t eat pasta without salad… something about how heavy the pasta is compared to the lightness of a good salad… I don’t know, makes me feel healthier!

So then last night, my brother and I decided we were going to make dinner and then go see The Artist. We needed something quick and easy and that we could run to the grocery store, make, devour and get to the theatre in 2 hours. He’s been on a wicked kale kick lately so we brainstormed and decided to make a kale pasta dish.

Soooo what we did was, minced a bunch of garlic, sauteed the kale, added a can of cannellini beans and a added a whole jar of Prego (ugh, I know! but he loves it! and it was actually really good) chunky marinara sauce. We boiled some spiral shaped noodles and threw them into the pan and called it dinner. It was A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Also paired with leftover salad and big huge honkin’ pieces of bread (my brother is the king of everything Italian bread… choosing the loaf, slicing it, eating it, devouring it and finishing it off).

the sauce!

the whole dish!

the whole shebang!

So anyways, like I said, my bro and I went and saw the Artist last night… It was phenomenal! It was so strange seeing a silent film, it took a little getting used to.. their facial expressions were so exaggerated… I like going to the movies with him though, who else is going to smuggle in two very large pieces of Italian bread and a ziploc baggy of dried cherries for a snack?!

Annnnd then tonight, the boy and I made some sort of asian style noodle dish that I made up. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of it, but I can promise you it was delicious. Marinated some tofu in an asian style marinade and sauteed broccoli, snow peas, carrots and scallions. Used some of those thai style rice noodles and combined it all together. We also boiled a bag of edamame in the pod and salted them a ton. Between the two of us, we finished off the whole bag. yum yum.

I’ve been wicked craving chocolate lately, been scouring the internet for a simple one serving brownie recipe (I don’t need a whole pan of brownies sitting around!). Any suggestions on a single serving brownie or chocolate cake recipe?!

kale!

So I’ve got a garden in my backyard, a magnificent glorious bountiful garden that I absolutely adore. This year I grew some veggies that I’ve never done before… like kale and celery and red leafed lettuce. I also grew you know, the usual… green peppers, green beans, lettuce, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, jalapenos and tomatoes.  Unfortunately, my tomatoes developed some sort of disease this year and I wasn’t able to salvage any of them. BUT, the other things?! BOUNTIES. TONS. I had an over flow of beans and cucumbers and right now, KALE.

So this was in August, imagine MORE. Like a TON MORE.

What do I do with all this kale?! I mean seriously, I’ve made soup, soup and more soup. I’ve made stir fries, dips, I’ve mixed it into rice and pilafs and eaten it just straight up outta the garden. I’ve given a ton away, I’ve made little salads. I’ve devoured so much kale I think it’ll probably start sprouting out my ears!

So anyways, I also receive a kind of embarrassing amount of food/cooking/gardening magazines in the mail each month and tonight I decided to concoct something out of Vegetarian Times that uses KALE. This recipe came out of the October 2011 issue on page 44.

Autumn Vegetable Roast with Orzo via Vegetarian Times, October 2011 page 44

1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved

1 pound cauliflower, cut into florets

2 medium onions, thickly sliced

8 oz celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 small fennel bulbs, cut into 1 inch pieces

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 12 oz bunch kale, coarsely chopped

1 ½ cups orzo

¾ cup cooked or canned chick peas

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400, spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Toss all veggies, excluding kale, with 3 tbsp olive oil and the Herbes de Provence. Arrange on the baking sheets. Roast for 1 hour, mixing and rotating pans half way through.

Stir kale into the vegetable mixture about 5 minutes before you pull the roasted vegetables out.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in a pot according to directions… about 2 minutes before final cooking time, throw in the chickpeas to heat through. Drain and stir in parsley and remaining olive oil.

Serve vegetables over orzo, drizzling lusciously with balsamic vinegar.

I made a few changes… the directions told me to boil the kale before roasting. HOG WASH. Why? Waste of time and a pot and blech, I don’t like boiled kale. Also, I didn’t have orzo (shame on me!) so I used baby tiny wittle shells, they’re so cute! I also couldn’t find celery root, so I substituted carrots because roasted carrots are tasty. Oh yeah, and, I halved the recipe since there’s only 2 of us!

ps: there’s a friend in my salad!!!!!!