Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crack Beans

The recipe I'm about to share is known on the internets as Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans from Simply Recipes. Here at Oops!, it goes by another name - Crack Beans. They are so good. Once tasted, these beans will control you. You won't be able to stop. You'll spend all the time you're not eating, thinking about eating these beans. Your cilantro and chili powder bills will rise dramatically. You'll spend all your money on beans, and beg your friends and family for loans so you can buy more. You may resort to crime as a way to obtain them. You will not recognize the person you've become. A lean, mean crack bean addict sustained by copious amounts of antioxidants, fiber, iron and heart-healthy protein.

You can't say we didn't warn you.

Crack Beans, adapted from Simply Recipes.

3 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
about 4 cups veggie broth (enough to cover beans in a pot)
1 pinch dried oregano
3 pinches dried sage
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
several larges squirts of hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
lime juice to taste
salt to taste
lots and lots of cilantro, chopped

Put beans in a pot and cover with veggie broth. There should be about a half-inch of broth above the beans. Add the bay leaf, sage and oregano and bring to a simmer. In a separate skillet, saute the onions, garlic and pepper in some olive oil. Add a pinch or two of salt. Add the rest of the spices and cook until onions are soft and the spice smell fills your kitchen and makes you want to eat, NOW. Hold your horses. Gently transfer the flavor mixture from the skillet to the pan with the beans. Simmer until the everything has thickened - this will take about an hour but its totally worth it. Especially if you spend that hour looking at this picture of Michigan musician Josh Davis:

Once things are looking deliciously thick and zesty, add about half the orange juice and taste for seasoning. Don't forget to add more salt. Simmer for another few minutes if you can stand it. If you can't, add the rest of the orange juice, as well as the vinegar and lime juice. Garnish with LOTS of cilantro, and maybe some avocado chunks too.

Nothing is as good as that first spicy, citrusy hit. MMMMM. Feel it coursing through your veins. Enjoy the rush - you'll spend the rest of your life pursuing it. Leftovers - if you miraculously have any - make good tortilla fillings. Vegan nachos anyone?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Aww, but I was going to go in to Toshi's Station to pick up some power converters!

Dearest readers-

I, Pancake (to some of you Jayje/Jorf), will very soon now be relocating to my new apartment box. BORK NO WAY! This is exciting news, but it will likely put a bit of a damper on my contributions to the blog for a while. For some months now, I have lacked a computer (my laptop's screen gave up the ghost), and I have since been plugging my back-up hard drive into my maw's. Until I purchase a new computer for graduate school, I will be without one. This won't be financially quib until a later date.

So, long story short, I plan on blogging a bit before the relocation with today's MUFFIN RECIPE and with this week's later BIRFDAY HAPPENINGS and CAKE STUFF. Wine will also, no doubt, be involved.

I'm going to miss Carly.

In other news, I had a bike race over the weekend with good 'ol team Peartree Pens. It was fun. SHAMELESS PLUG FOR MY CYCLING TEAM.


Chocolate Banana Coconut Muffins

1 large ripe banana (I used 1 1/2 small...maybe that's a medium in total? WTF who knows)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil (canola oil is bad for you, don't use it, the end)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup vanilla non-dairy milk of your choice (I used almond milk this go around)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Delightfus. In a large bowl, mash up the banana. Add the sugar and oil and stir it all together. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix the two flours, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. KA-ZAAM! Add half of this dry mixture to the sugar-oil-banana bowl and mix. Add 1/2 cup of the "milk." Add the other half of the dry stuff, and then the other half of the milk. The resulting batter will be quite thick and DELICIOUS, FUCKERS. Mix in the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Slop your batter into prepared muffin tins, and bake 20 minutes.
They come out looking like THIS:

Oh yeah. They are all kinds of tasty looking, no?

On another note, I got two awesome early-birfday presents over the weekend: A Goofy Movie and We're Back!: A Dinosaur's Story on DVD. These are wonderful memories of my childhood. Amazing films. Xtina and I watched A Goofy Movie last night. TEENS, MAN. TEENS NOT GETTING ALONG WITH THEIR PARENTS. We're wondering if Goofy had an I Am Sam type of thing happen to wind up with Max(I Am Sam-NOT a good movie. More teens, less sap). Thoughts? Banfi.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!!

The best way to honor your mother Gaia??

EAT VEGAN. Even if it's just one day.

If everyone in America gave up meat for 1 day a week, this would have the same positive effect on reducing greenhouse gases as saving 90 million plane tickets from New York to Los Angeles!

Plant a tree while you're at it. We're so proud!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Let's discuss the location of your hidden rebel base.

Yesterday evening I invited Xtina over to build some character with me. This would involve making dinner, eating dinner, making cookies, eating cookies, and watching Star Wars: A New Hope. On VHS. Slammin'.

Before all of this delightfus activity went down, we spent some time lazing in the sun. The weather has been outstanding of late, and we here at Oops have been taking full advantage of that fact. Walking, cycling, long-boarding (we're starting a gang), drinking Ale-81 next to our peaceful but super polluted river...Ahh, spring. We also spent Saturday night at the speakeasy, drinking a Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Riesling and enjoying another performance by the Billy King Band.

Anyhow, for dinner I was totally craving Sloppy Joes. BUT OOPS, WE DONE GONE AND MADE IT VEGAN.

Sloppy 'Fu
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/3-1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
8 oz tofu
1/2 cup tomato sauce or pizza sauce (or ketchup, if you're really in a bind)
2 1/2 Tbs vegan Worcester sauce
1 1/2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the onions. Cook them until translucent, and then add the red pepper and carrot. Cook three minutes or so. Meanwhile, crumble up the tofu with your hands in a small bowl. Mix in the chopped garlic. Throw into the pan and let it cook for a minute or two. Start putting in the goodies! Mix in the tomato product, the Worcester sauce, the maple syrup, mustard, chili powder, and salt and pepper. If you used ketchup, be advised that you might need a little more maple syrup to cut down some of the ketchup-flavor! Cook for another couple of minutes, remove from heat, toast a bun, and assemble! Ha-HA!

I'm going to be making one awesome pie tomorrow to take to work on Thursday. I look forward to sharing my success with all of you fine people.

Looking for apartments is exciting in theory and boring in reality.

"All human wisdom is contained in these words: Wait and hope!" -The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Monday, April 19, 2010

No-brainer Lentil Soup

Dear friends,

Sometimes, even the most joyful cooks fall into trouble. Maybe you're too busy to cook. Maybe you want to avoid your kitchen. Maybe you're just tired. The world may seem bleak, but don't despair! You're not alone, and - more importantly - there are things you can make without trying, so you can still remain nourished and sustained until you pull yourself together. After all, there's nothing like a good homemade meal that makes everything seem a little bit more tolerable.

In times of stress, I turn to the best legume ever - the lentil. The lentil is always there for me. She's flexible, and never complains. The lentil is as low maintenance as I want her to be, but she'll jazz up if I need her to. Plus, she has more protein per calorie than red meat! Lentil, I love you.

When I'm super busy and know that I won't have a lot of time to cook for a few days, I usually make a big batch of lentil soup. The no-brainer recipe equation I made up in my head goes like this:

1 part lentils + 2 parts veggie stock + 1 part canned tomatoes + 2 part greens = yummy meals for days.

That's it! This equation, unlike the ones you may have learned in school, is infinitely adjustable and forgiving. Thank god. Now for the recipe inclined:

1 onion, diced
2 big cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lentils (today I used green cause that's what I had on hand)
3 cups veggie stock or water
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
3 enormous handfuls of fresh greens (today I used spinach. My first choice is always kale, but any kind of green, like chard or turnip greens, will work too. Use what you love.)
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for three minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and stir, cooking until onions are nearly translucent and garlic begins to brown. Dump lentils into the pot and stir. Add veggie stock and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add the can of tomatoes, stir, and continue to simmer. Lentils are relatively quick-cooking, so taste test every 10 minutes or so to monitor their progress - oh lentil, so tender. So loving. Today my lentils took about 35 minutes to get where I wanted them. As your loving legumes reach optimum texture, stir in your greens of choice. Once the greens become bright green and wilted, turn off the heat. Add liberal amounts of salt and pepper to taste, as well as lemon juice. Don't stop seasoning until it tastes amazing.

And voila! You have a tasty and comforting meal. Serve with a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast - the B12 vitamins will help you feel better. Since I'm the only one who eats my cooking - I'm just, you know, cooking for one - this recipe makes enough for me to live off for at least four or five meals. You can adjust amounts according to your needs, of course.

No-brainer lentil soup - because in times of need, you can only eat so many vegan smores. Now stop feeling sorry for yourself, get off your butt and rock it out. Remember what Lady Gaga says - if it's not rough it isn't fun.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lake Michigan Looks Like an Eggplant!

Dark times readers. Dark times in the valley of unhappiness. Only one thing could pull us through. Actually, two things. Wine & Chocolate.

When it comes to wine, we only do local. We chose Lake Effect Winery's Black and Blue. This wine reflected the bruising our souls have suffered. Also, it's made with black currants and blueberries. Delightfus.

Remember now, here at Oops! we're in the process of transforming ourselves into wine snobs. As we savored this delicious brew, we practiced our adjectives.

xtina says: "This wine develops into a bouquet of brawny brightness across the palate. A corked complexity becomes dense with depth as the floral overtones begin to dominate. An earthy harmonious finish!!"

Pancake says: "The structure was supple, like the muscles of a gazelle.  Velvetty, bold, fat, and elegant, like an Italian Opera diva."

Beeardsmith says: "A chewy, pruny mouthfeel, and coarse, yet fleshy. This nutty, nouveau wine had a definite toasty tannin character with subtle elements of spicy structure. Overall, a rustic, robust, round vintage."

As is clearly marked on the above photo, this wine is financially quib, to the utmost.

We know our stuff

Chocolate now, thanks to our "friends" at (never home)maker, came in the form of Vegan S'mores. Complex recipe with fantastic results, totally worth the time and effort. We dare say, ours turned out looking quite a bit better than the photo on the mother blog. The results were greatly enhanced by the presence of the pop-playlist.

Poppin to the playlist

We followed the original recipe pretty exactly, so you can get your instructions from them. If you're lucky, they'll turn out something like this.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sorry, everyone...

We here at Oops are all up to our necks in life right now, and it's keeping us out of the kitchen. Just wanted to let you all know that we have, in fact, NOT disappeared, and will be posting some cool shit soon enough. Two words: Crack Beans.

Until then, Performance! It's the name of the game.

"Humor is an almost physiological response to fear." -Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sorrel-Kale Soup

I've found that if someone doesn't run around in gardening, fresh fooding, or seasonal cooking crowds, they're unlikely to know about sorrel. At least around here, anyway. I myself discovered sorrel last spring when I moved out to the farm for the season. I'm glad I did. The tangy, lemony taste is quite refreshing.

When you work for a farm or at a farmer's market, the number one question* asked of you when presenting an unfamiliar veggie is "how do I use it?" Last spring, I quickly learned a good reply for sorrel: put it in hummus! During my first week at the farm, we started a batch of hummus and halfway through, realized we didn't have any lemons. Why not use sorrel, some smart person asked. Why not indeed? Sorrel hummus, perfectly lemony and snappy green to boot, was just as delicious as the regular kind.

This post, contrary to popular belief, is not about sorrel hummus. It's about soup. Sorrel soup. Because really, when someone asks their farmer how to use sorrel, hummus is an unconventional answer. You're likely to get sorrel soup as a reply - it's a traditional Eastern European dish. Having returned from a visit to said farm with a healthy sorrel plant of my very own, I decided to hack the thing to pieces and make myself some soup for lunch.

After google and food blog searching, I learned that most sorrel soup recipes out there include heavy cream or fresh eggs, and sometimes both. (See a recipe at our new blog, Oops, Sooo Not Vegan! Just kidding). Thus, my recipe creation involved a few adjustments and a little bit of creativity. In other words, I got to feel like a real, live chef!

Sorrel-Kale Soup

1 tablespoon Earth Balance
1 fresh onion, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
2 loosely packed cups sorrel, washed and chopped
four leaves curly kale, washed and chopped (Note: I added this because I had it in the fridge and it needed to go. Totally optional and not usually included in sorrel soup)
3 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
about 1 cup almond milk, more or less to taste

Melt the Earth Balance in a medium pot. Add the potato and onion, as well as some salt and pepper, and saute until the onions are soft. Add the sorrel and kale and stir - watch the greens become bright. Feel healthy. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and whip out your immersion blender. Don't have one? Then simply transfer soup to a blender or food processor, and blend for a few seconds. At this point, stir in the almond milk, and add a little more salt or pepper if it needs it. Blend again, until you reach your desired texture. Eat!

Unfortunately, I executed this mission without the help of my fellow bloggers, and thus have no pictures to post :( HOWEVER, there's a rumor that Pancake may come over tonight. I heard that we might make treats and I even heard there might be a post about it! Should the whispers be true, I will make her photograph my look-mom, I'm a real chef! soup so you can see it. Stay tuned.

*the second most-asked question at the farmer's market is, "is it easy to grow?" Check it out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tales and Maple Sticky Buns

I've heard that there are some people eager for this recipe I'm going to post. I decided to get right on it so you could all bake the afternoon away. It's raining, after all. But before I begin, I want to talk about this morning's would be training ride in brief:

Leave home, light drizzle.
Just dodge crazy flying goose (!!?!?)
Drizzle turns to downpour.
Pinch flat five miles in.
Find out CO2 cartridge brought along is empty.
Get rescued next to Gilbert Lake by best pal and 106.7 The Beat of Detroit.

Anyways, on with the sticky buns! Late last night I realized I still needed to make something for my jewelry class breakfast potluck. It was the last class of the semester, and the teacher likes to end things with treats (a practice I fully support). This is what I made in class, just as a side note:

Anyhow, Maple Pecan Sticky Buns
(Adapted from Maple Syrup Cook Book, Ken Haedrich
(I fell in love with this cookbook when I farmed in Vermont and did all of my baking with maple syrup. Glorious!)

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
1/2 cup vegan margarine (I use the Soy Free Earth Balance)
1 1/4 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat white flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup vanilla soy milk

Preheat yo' oven to 400. In a small bowl, mix up the pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Eat some pecans.

Bring 1/4 cup of the margarine and the 1/2 cup of maple syrup to a bowl over medium heat. At some point, I'd recommend dipping a pecan in it and eating that. You boil it for about 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and pour into a 9 inch square baking pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a big bowl. Now you wants to use the rest of that butter. Cut it in about a tablespoon at a time and mix it in with the flour until it starts clumping into small balls. Then add in the cup of soy milk. Stir it up until things are looking incorporated. If the dough is too wet for the upcoming rolling, just add a little more flour. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead it a bit before rolling out into a 9x12 rectangle. At this point, I took a brush over to my square baking pan, dipped it in the Earth Balance/syrup mixture, and spread some of that over the dough. Then I covered the surface evenly with the pecan mixture. Roll the dough like your sleeping bag, and pinch the seam to seal it off. Cut one-inch slices and arrange them over the syrup mixture in the pan (I think I got 10 buns out of this). Bake for 25 minutes. While waiting, dance to Michigan-made music and read about maple syrup.

As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, carefully flip it over onto a plate, scrape all the ooey gooey goodness out and drizzle it over the buns. DELIGHTFUS.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Roasted Chickpeas

What are your plans for that can of chickpeas in your pantry? Going to get all homemade fancy on us and make...yet another batch of hummus? To eat with some veggie sticks, or pita bread? Don't get me wrong. I love hummus. But it doesn't have to be this way! A boring snack rut is no fun. And eating vegan food should be about fun, AT ALL TIMES.

Chickpeas are a wonderful and nutritious legume - my second favorite legume, in fact (remind me to blog about my first favorite sometime...). Roasting them creates a delightfus crunchy texture that is incredibly addictive, yet still full of protein and fiber! And consider this: chickpeas - just waiting to be roasted - are a blank canvas, waiting to be seasoned in infinite spice combinations exactly to your taste.



Roasted Chickpeas, adapted from Anne's Food:

1 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
5 dashes cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread chickpeas out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for ten minutes. Shake the pan and roast for another ten minutes. Remove sheet from the oven, and toss the chickpeas in a bowl with the oil and spices until everybody is happily coated in deliciousness. Spread the chickpeas back onto the baking sheet and roast until super toasty and brown, between five and fifteen more minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve!

WARNING: You will want to eat these all in one sitting. You may not want to stop. You may want to tell all your friends about this revolutionary way to consume chickpeas, and this amazing blog. These are all perfectly normal, and encouraged, reactions.