Archive | May, 2008

Peanut Butter Banana Soy Ice Cream

29 May

I have a deep, dark secret hiding in my freezer.  Not the collection of severed heads, I kind of like showing those off.    No, I have about half a case of the limited edition Elvis Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  You know, peanut butter and banana.  I was so excited about these things that my friend Brian bought me an entire case when he first spotted them.

But they didn’t quite live up to my expectations and a case of peanut butter cups is a lot to handle, so I started feeding them to anyone that came over to my apartment.  I chopped them up and put them in brownies.  Anything.  Eventually I forgot they were there, and they pretty much just serve as a ledge to put my frozen veggies on.  Maybe someone will eat them someday.

Peanut butter and banana is one of my favorite combinations.  Peanut butter is one of my favorite things to put in ice cream.  Ice cream is one of my favorite foods, period.

So I thought I’d give the soy ice cream another try.  I would really, really like to get a soy ice cream made that doesn’t turn to a rock in my freezer.  I mean, it’s fine, just let it thaw for a little bit and it’s still creamy and good.  But I really like attacking the ice cream in my freezer at random moments, spoon in hand.  I can’t do that if the ice cream is too hard to eat.

There’s two problems with homemade soy ice cream.  1) You need a high fat content to get it creamy.  Soy cream doesn’t quite have the fatty fatness of heavy cream from cows.  2) When making ice cream, it just gets whirred around in the ice cream maker for a half hour or so.  Any longer and it would probably turn back into ice cream liquid.  So you don’t get a bunch of air mixed in.

So I wanted to use half soy cream and half soy milk, and hoped that the peanut butter would add enough fat to make it creamy enough.  The grocery store near me has stopped carrying soy cream (jerks!), so I had to use all soy milk.  To even things out, I decided to add a couple of teaspoons of canola oil to the mixture.  And I hoped for the best.

Fresh out of my ice cream maker, it had the usual soft serve consistency.  It tasted awesome, but I let it get a little more solid in my freezer.  After a few hours it was firm enough to scoop nicely.  Look!

Holy cow, that’s some nice looking ice cream.  Since I really like peanut butter a lot, I would up the amount to maybe 3/4 cup next time.  The banana overpowered it quite a bit.  It’s not an incredibly sweet ice cream, even though there is a lot of banana.

After a whole day in my freezer, it did turn to a brick.  Less of a brick than other soy ice creams have, but still very hard.  Oh well!  I haven’t had a chance to feed some to anyone yet, but I’m bringing a container of it to Bret’s this weekend so hopefully it wont kill him.

 Okay on with the recipe!

Ingredients!

3 ripe bananas

2 cups soy milk or 1 cup soy milk and 1 cup soy cream or any combination you want, I suppose

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter

1 Tbsp. vanilla (or less, I don’t think it needed that much)

1 – 2 tsp. canola oil or flax oil (optional, I’m not actually sure it did much)

Directions!

Put your bananas (peeled!) into a blender and blend with the soy milk/cream until there are no chunks left.  At this point you’ll be tempted to drink your banana soy shake, but resist temptation and pour it into a saucepan.

Add the brown sugar and the peanut butter to the saucepan, and heat it over a medium-low heat.  Stir it all up until the peanut butter and sugar dissolve.  Take it off the heat and add the vanilla and the oil if you’re going to use it.  Go ahead and lick the spoon that you’ve been using, because it’s gonna taste real good.

Let the mixture sit until it’s cool, then transfer to a lidded container and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.  Once it’s cold, process it in your ice cream maker.

Eat it right away or let it harden a bit in the freezer.  Once it’s frozen for more than a day, you’ll need to soften it up in the microwave for like 10 – 15 seconds so it’s scoopable. 

– Ellen

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Breaded Tofu, Refried Beans, and Corn

27 May

Remember when I used to post to a food blog? That was pretty cool. Well, here’s what happened. i turned into a broke person, and so I haven’t really been doing a lot of noteworthy cooking. Mostly I just take some dry pasta in my cupboard, mix it with some tomato sauce, and eat it. Oh and remember how I used to post every week about whatever I ate at Brenna and Lydia’s? I haven’t been over there in awhile. So what I’m saying is I didn’t have a whole lot to post about. That will change soon. Ellen’s visiting again this weekend and we’ll probably go out to eat and cook and maybe I’ll get to fall asleep on her knees again.

Tonight Bob and Kat invited me to the upstairs apartment for food and they breaded some tofu for me and made other vegetarian type things! It was an interesting assortment but totally tasty and appreciated, and it beats the crap out of pasta and tomato sauce for the fifth time this week.

That red squirty stuff is some kind of chili and garlic sauce they had. Also there was sweet corn and refried beans that Bob had seasoned with cajun seasoning. Anyways the dinner was super-appreciated. And expect more of me cooking things in a week or so when I get paid!

Bret and Ellen Eat a Bunch: Saturday Edition!

23 May

So Bret came to visit last weekend, and we planned to have a super time. We were successful. There was plenty of garage sales and scrabble and accordions and movies and awesome times. And of course, food. We love food.

Bret came on Friday night and we made hazelnut scones from Vegan with a Vengeance so we would have breakfast to eat before we went out to garage sales. Bret took a picture of the scones he took home with him. I was too busy eating the ones that I kept.

Mm mm scones!

I assure you that they are one more reason to buy this cookbook. Bret’s been cooking things out of it starting from the beginning, and since I want to make everything in it too, I’m thinking of starting at the back and going forward. Which means dessert first! One of the things I like best about being an adult is that I can eat dessert first if I want to. Sometimes I want to.

Our mid-morning snack was ice cream. On the way back towards Saratoga we stopped at The Ice Cream Man. If this place was a bit closer to me, I would eat ice cream there all the time. It’s slightly better than Farmer’s Daughter, but Farmer’s Daughter is closer. Bret took a picture of his ice cream, but I was too busy eating mine. I had the grasshopper brownie, and the girl scooping was very generous. The brownie pieces were real brownie pieces, like you could tell they were baked in a pan and cut into chunks to be put in the ice cream. Mm!

For dinner that night, I suggested we go to Shalimar, which is my favorite Indian restaurant in the area and one that Bret’s friends had also said was pretty awesome. It didn’t live up to his expectations, but it was a good meal even though the waitress didn’t wrap up our leftovers. Sure, we probably should have specified, but we had a lot of food left and well.. oh, it’s okay. I’ll get over it.

I got us lost getting to the restaurant, so by the time we got there Bret was hungry and cranky. I get cranky when my belly’s empty, too. But the place was pretty empty so we got our food quickly.

We shared the vegetable pakora to start. So greasy, so good.

I ordered the baingan burtha because I love me some eggplants and chickpeas. No bread, and no, that’s not weird. It tasted like butter, but I’m not sure if that was because the eggplant was cooked so long that it got really creamy, or if there was a ton of butter in it. Maybe both. Either way, I was satisfied with it. No matter how unimpressed Bret was, Shalimar still remains a favorite.

We washed down a day of food with a bottle of Spanish wine back at my apartment and listened to our belly’s make the noises that they make when Indian food is put into them.

(I’m gonna let Bret add stuff or edit stuff if he wants because I can’t concentrate)

-Ellen

Okay! I can’t really concentrate either but that’s okay! I’m going to try to make this easy on me and make it, like, a list.

Chickpeas and chutney: When I got there Ellen had cooked some chickpeas up with some chutney and man was that a good idea. It was really tasty and maybe Ellen should do all the cooking from now on whenever we hang out. I’ll just lay around and play Katamari and shout, “Ellen! Ellen! I’m hungry! I’m hungry, Ellen!”

Hazelnut scones: These were tasty, but not the tastiest scones that I’ve made yet. They actually turned out kind of bitter. But that’s okay! Scones can be anything you want them to be. I should tell you sometime about the habanero scones I made.

Ice cream: The cone they gave me at the Ice Cream Man made me crap my pants. Look at the size of this thing!

I ordered two scoops. Does that look like two scoops to you? Holy wow! Anyway, I got malt and cherry cheesecake, which is a funny combination but it was really good.

Shalimar’s: I got palak aloo which is spinach and potatoes for those of you who don’t know the lingo.

It was pretty good. I’ve had friends telling me for years that Shalimar’s was the best Indian in the history of the world ever, so I think I had a skewed perspective that made me not appreciate it as much as I would have otherwise. But I got to eat tasty pakoras and they had a decent bathroom. I think someday I need to take Ellen to Samrat which is my favorite Indian place. I’m not going to make it out to be the best Indian ever but it’s my favorite place. I used to go to Syracuse all the time, and it got to the point where the people there recognized me when I came in. They don’t anymore, though.

I just wrote a whole bunch about Sunday and then realized that this is the SATURDAY EDITION of Bret and Ellen eat a bunch. Even though it’s Friday now. Whoops. I hope we finish these posts before she visits next weekend or otherwise we’re going to be way confused.

At one point over the weekend I fell asleep on Ellen’s knees. That was like the nicest thing. Ok. That has nothing to do with food. I’m going to post this now. I hope Ellen was done writing!

-Bret

Pasta with Vodka Tomato Sauce

15 May

I like booze so much that when I’m not drinking it, I want to be eating it.

Just kidding. Booze is great, though.

I really, really like pasta with vodka sauce. In most cases it is very fattening. Which is fine, but not good for everyday eatings. So I decided to make my own.

Ingredients!

6 oz. pasta (I used wheat pasta because that’s what I eat)

salt

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

a hearty shake of crushed red pepper flakes

a few fresh basil leaves

3 Tbsp. vodka (which is 1 1/2 oz, which is a jigger! jigger what?!)

14 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained and diced

1/4 – 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond, and closer to a 1/4 cup)

Directions!

Cook the pasta in salted water, and set aside. While it’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan or skillet. Cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add in the basil, pepper flakes and vodka. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add in the diced up tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the pasta with the sauce and serve!

It makes about three pretty huge servings.

So it makes a light and garlicy and spicy sauce. I had some asparagus and grape tomatoes hanging around, so I sauteed those and added them to the sauce. It’s not your regular indulgent vodka sauce, but it was pretty darn good. And looks pretty, too. The asparagus makes it look like Spring.

If you want it creamier, soy cream might work. I mean, as long as you don’t use the French vanilla stuff.

I’m submitting this post to the Presto Pasta Night roundup for this week!  There’s always yummy foods to look at there.

– Ellen

Pizza Night at Mom’s

15 May

Hey, my mom reads this now. Hi mom!

For Mom’s Day I went to mom’s house and made pizza with her and her husband, Colin. If I had known, I would have brought some ingredients, but mom and Colin provided some so I went to work making a veggie pizza on the whole wheat crust they made from scratch. Wow was that good.

We also had a random assortment of veggies and some cheesy stuff on hand so I used that. So hey, here’s what I did.

Once the crust got flattened out I coated it in a layer of olive oil. Next came pizza sauce, minced garlic, diced onion, and some red pepper flakes. After that, sliced tomato, broccoli, and mushrooms, with some chunks of mozzarella and a sprinkling of cheese that comes pre-shredded in the stores.

It turned out pretty awesome and mom and Colin liked it which was really my goal here. Honestly, I used more cheese than I would have liked, but cheese is tasty and I didn’t want mom and Colin to think it was bland. So I used slices of mozzarella a la pizza margharita rather than just shredding a whole bunch and coating the top. It was still more cheese than I’d usually use, but I liked it.

I have to get the recipe for that pizza crust from my mom too. It was good.

-Bret

Tofu Frittata with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Asparagus

12 May

So, the first time that Bret and I met he brought me a batch of blueberry scones.  The recipe came from Vegan with a Vengeance.  Now, I’m sure sometime in my youth I was told not to accept foods from strangers, but he’s really not all that sketchy and I like scones a whole bunch.  He assured me that they weren’t poison.  I believed him.  So I ate the whole batch of scones, and they were mad tasty.  I was pretty sure that this cookbook was a good one to have.

I had a flip through Bret’s copy and found a bunch of recipes that I wanted to make.  One of the first recipes in the book is for a tofu frittata, which Bret has made and said was really good.  It sounded really good.

So I ordered my own copy, and the day it came I had to make something.    Well, I plan on making everything.  But because the frittata sounded awesome and had a good rating from Bret, I decided to go for it.

I checked the Post Punk Kitchen website to see if this is a recipe they’ve posted.  Since it’s not, I feel not right about copying it.  So I’ll talk about it a bit.

A frittata is a big open-faced omelet that you cook mostly in the oven, right?  Omelets have eggs, no?  Eggs are kind grody if you ask me.  And while this frittata looks like it has eggs in it, it doesn’t.  Nor does it really taste like eggs.  I don’t eat meat because I don’t really like the taste of it, so I’m not really one to try to make things taste like things that I’d rather not eat (I’ll eat a veggie burger or a veggie dog or whatever, not because I want something that tastes like a hamburger or hotdog, but because I like the way veggie burgers and dogs taste.  Or whatever).

So, this tastes like tasty.  It’s a mix of tofu, nutritional yeast, sun dried tomatoes, onions, asparagus and seasonings to make it taste wonderful.

I don’t own a cast iron skillet, or any kind of oven-proof pan, so I had to bake it in a pie plate.  And that’s just fine, but I think it would have gotten more brown and set up a little nicer if I had one.  I’m in the market for some cast iron, for sure.

I cooked this right before I had to go out on Friday night, so I didn’t even get to try any when it was straight out of the oven.  I had some cold and I had some reheated, and I have to say this tastes wonderful cold or room temperature.  But I’m going to make another one and try it freshly cooked and warm.  There are a few variations in the cookbook, and I think I may try the one with olives next.

I just had it with salad and the rest of Bret’s grandma’s beets (Bret should have his grandma blog about her beets), but hash browns would have gone way awesome with this.

-Ellen

Ellen, Bret, and kitchen assistants Psyduck and Koffing

10 May

Pasta, Sauce, and Tofu Salad

9 May

Lydia was skeptical when I told her that raw tofu was edible. I managed to talk her into putting it into a cold salad with some tomatoes and snap peas and carrots, though the ultimate tasty of the salad came from Lydia’s dressing/marinade that she made. It had lemon juice, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, and some sugar in it, and it was the best. She gave me the measurements which were like:

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon orange juice

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

I think. Then she marinaded the tofu in it. Good.

Oh and the pasta sauce was some tomatoes and some leftover pasta sauce and some peppers and garlic. And get this – almond butter. When Lydia and Brenna cook I get scared. It turned out tasty though. Their ways of cooking are just totally alien and strange to me. Every time I watch them cook my sanity fractures just a little.

But it’s always tasty.

-Bret

Banana Chickpea Curry Mk. II

7 May

I had to try this recipe again. Mainly because it was awesome but also because I wanted to try a few things. One thing I didn’t get to try was cooking it with Thai chili peppers because Brenna was over for dinner and she’s a total wussface, and I also didn’t get to try any Thai basil because it wasn’t available at the grocery stores I checked. But I tried my new lemongrass tactics courtesy of Shreyas, and I tried green curry paste and some minced ginger. It turned out real great. Beyond the two lacking ingredients, the only thing I feel like this recipe missed was browning up the chickpeas before adding the coconut and the curry. But this one was mega tasty and might be close to perfect.

I felt guilty making it without Ellen around though. :/

-Bret

Black Bean Salad and Yellow (Brown) Spanish Rice

6 May

So, while I was visiting Bret, we tried to make enchiladas to celebrate an early Cinco de Mayo.  They were edible, but not something we were going to speak of again.

Still, I was determined to make something Cinco de Mayo-ish.  So I used my brains to come up with a rice and beans recipe.  My brains ended up making something that was a little more Caribbean than Tex-Mex, but it was still super tasty.

Rice Ingredients!

1 cup brown basmati rice

2 cups water

1/4 cup salsa

1 vegetable boullion cube

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 medium tomato

Rice Directions!

So mix everything except for the tomato in a pot and cook it until the rice is almost done.  At the last five minutes or so, chop up the tomato and add it in.  Set the rice aside.

Bean Salad Ingredients!

15oz. can of black beans, drained

juice from two limes

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

Bean Salad Directions!

Uh, mix everything up.  It’s probably best to let it sit in the fridge for a while to let the flavors mix, but I was hungry and ate it right away.

I mixed some pineapple with cilantro from my cilantro plant and had that with it.

After letting the salad sit for a few hours, the lime juice was a lot less jarring.  It made for a simple and quick dinner on a busy day.

If I make rice like this again I’m adding cayenne.  You might also want to add salt and pepper to it but I liked it without.

– Ellen