Saturday, June 26, 2010


It has been an industrious afternoon. Got some deep cleaning done in the 'ol bathroom and kitchen. Good times.

Light, short work-day at the climbing gym, folks, so I had a lot of time to play around in the kitchen this afternoon...And a big new box of CSA goodies, too! Delicious things happened, and they happened with gusto.

First, let's talk SCAPES. Wonderful, delightful garlic scapes. A tastydactyl that I was introduced to last year working in Vermont. What a treat! Today, I took the advice from my Frog Holler friends (pressed to me via my CSA newsletter) to make garlic scape pesto. Here's the recipe, folks! It's delightfus!

Garlic Scape Pesto

9 garlic scapes, chopped up
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup safflower oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the scapes and walnuts into a food processor and process until smooth and blended. While processing, add in a little oil at a time until entirely incorporated. Stir in salt and pepper!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I have also taken their advice to put some of the pesto into an ice cube tray to freeze for future individual servings of pesto when the season is over. Hurray!

I did get to use the pesto immediately, as well. I made a WONDERFUL sandwich. This sandwich was made wonderful by another special surprise in this week's CSA box.



This marvelous little green took my sandwich to the next level. I did nothing to it (although there are plenty of options). I just put it on my sandwich, straight up. Friends, purslane is new to me, and I am already SOLD.

What else was on this sandwich? Well, I toasted a piece of bread, spread it with Earth Balance, Veganaise, and my scape pesto. On top of this went the purslane. Next, two pieces of baked tofu, which I had pressed and soaked in a marinade composed of safflower oil, maple syrup, tamari, and liquid smoke (I like to keep a bag of this mixture on-hand in my fridge whenever I want a tofu sandwich). Finally, I buried the whole thing in Frog Holler lettuce. Bliss.


I had some bananas on their way out. Naturally, I made banana muffins.

Banana Nut Muffins

2 medium ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (I don't know if this is actually necessary, I put it in mindlessly)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
A handful or so of chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Mash the bananas in a medium bowl, and mix with the sugar, oil, and soy milk. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until totally incorporated. Finally, throw in the walnuts! Prepare a muffin pan, and start filling it up. For me, this made exactly enough batter for 12 muffins. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before you go letting them cool on a rack.

Enjoy, kids! I sure did. Now, off for some night riding in town. Use lights. Wear helmets.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Junk Food Veganism, Part One: Ginger Ice Cream

It is a myth among clueless omnivores (and vegetarians who should know better) that all vegan food is healthy. Veganland is a place filled with sprouted whole-grain bread, enormous locally-sourced salads and steamed tofu rolls right? Don't forget dessert - a bowl of seasonal fruit!! Raw fruit.

Wrong. Even though I'm eating some summer raspberries fresh from the bush in the backyard.

I have to make a confession: During the past week or so, I have become a junk food vegan. Instead of making the time to prepare nourishing food from the bountiful plant kingdom, in my busy week I've turned to kingdom of highly-processed vegetable oils and starch.

At least it's vegan starch?

Eating vegan junk food for a week straight hasn't left me feeling very good. Trouble sleeping at night, perpetual dehydration - from all those salty potato chips no doubt - and general sluggishness makes all my excuses seem like, well, excuses. I'm here to emphasize that eating junk food, even if its vegan, for an extended amount of time is detrimental!

That being said, I made some awesome dairy-free ice cream. Please incorporate this into a balanced diet and only after you've eaten your veggies and plant-based protein.

Ginger Lemongrass Ice Cream

3 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons grated ginger
1/2 cup candied ginger pieces, chopped
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Make sure your ice cream maker's frozen bowl part is frozen. Prepare the lemongrass - remove the green leaves from the pale stalk and discard. Peel the outer layer or two of the stalk, and chop into small pieces. Tie a square of cheesecloth around the lemongrass and set aside. Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan over medium heat and bring just below a boil. Stir in the grated ginger and drop the lemongrass-laden cheesecloth into the milk, sort of like a tea bag! Turn off the heat and let steep for twenty minutes or so. This process infuses the milk with lots of flavor-flav.

Has it been twenty minutes? Good! Turn the heat back on under the pan and remove the cheesecloth. The ginger stays. Give it a good stir and get ready to prepare your cornstarch slurry. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with a few tablespoons more coconut milk. Once that's taken care of, add to the just-below-boiling milk and stir, baby, stir, until the mixture is thick. Do the spoon test: if you can coat your spoon with milk, draw a line on the back with your finger, and the line remains intact? It's thick enough.

Remove from heat and cool. This part sadly takes an hour or two in the fridge. Try to be patient, and maybe eat some potato chips while you're waiting. Oreos would work too.

Once the mixture is cool, freeze in your ice cream maker according to directions. At the very end, stir in your candied ginger pieces - or if you don't have any of those, some more chopped ginger. Transfer the ice cream to a container and keep in the freezer.

YUM THAT WAS FUN! Southeast Michigan is getting steamy outside, so expect more ice cream posts soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vos Tot Lot. And Oatmeal.

Hello, hello, hello. Who wants oatmeal?


I had some leftover grated carrots from another recipe that needed using, so I went with a breakfast staple that I often made working on the farm last year.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, depending on whether you like your oatmeal sweet or not
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup grated carrot
Small handful chopped walnuts
Small handful raisins and/or dried pineapple

Cook the rolled oats up all normal-like, and proceed to mix in all the fix-ins!

Yeah. That wasn't too exciting, was it? WHATEVER IT'S A SUPER DELICIOUS BREAKFAST!

In other news, the Oops! Team went to a wedding. We boogied. We sat in an awkward sitting room. We discovered "Bongzilla" at a gas station. We saw the TARDIS cake. And then, there was Vos Tot Lot. The playground.

Congratulations to our wonderful pals for making the leap!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


For those of you who have grown up in the midwest, and who have traveled South through Ohio to visit family, go on vacay, or to climb in the Red River Gorge, you know of Big Butter/Touchdown Jesus. A landmark. A legend. Folks, he's gone.

Xtina (Text): Touchdown jesus got struck by lightening and burned down!
Pancake (text); WHAT
Xtina: Apparently the adult bookstore across the street remains untouched.
Pancake: Thank jebus.

Jesus took one for the team.

Don't worry. He'll be back in three days, right?

Anyhow, the pals came to visit again, and once more we made lunch. And once again, it was a lunch that I could smother in condiments. I love condiments at lunch time.

Bean Burgers!
3 leaves kale, washed, torn up
1/6 block of tofu
15 oz can navy beans, drained
2 cups rolled oats
A few dashes of cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
Water, if needed

I pressed my tofu for about 20 minutes. It was just enough. After washing and pulling my kale (I used Red Russian), I put it in my small cast iron skillet along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Cook the kale down for 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, put all of the ingredients into a food processor. Then put in the kale as well. Process until everything is sticking together. Add water, if it's too dry.

Heat some safflower oil in a large skillet. Form patties, and cook over medium-high heat. Cover with a lid (or a cookie sheet if you're poor). After a few minutes of cooking the patties, throw in a little water to steam 'em. Cook each side until golden brown. Yay.

I wanted some sort of dilly topping, because I love dill. So, I made one.

3 T Veganaise
1 1/2 tsp mustard
Fresh chopped dill (to your taste)
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together. Done! Then just spread it on top of a burger. Hooray!

We did some fun and exciting stuff later in the afternoon, too. Blog post to follow!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Grilling is Nice

It seemed like the perfect day. The sun was shining, the breeze was cool, everything was perfect.

I've wanted to make a chimichurri sauce for quite some time, and it's time had finally come. Another feast was about to come into being.


Grilled Tempeh with Scape Chimichurri & Miso-Ginger Dressing on a Quinoa-Bean Salad

First thing to do is prep the temp. Eh? Prep? Yes. Do this a few hours ahead of time so it has time to marinate. As may have been mentioned previously on Oops, tempeh can sometimes have a slight bitterness to it, which a thorough steaming should take care of while simultaneously making the tempeh nice, creamy, and mellow.


Tempeh, 2 bricks
1 1/2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Hot sauce of your choice
Steaming apparatus (pot + colander, bamboo steamer, metal foldable tray, etc)

So! First, get your steamer started up. While it's heating, cut up tempeh into sizes you like that would work for grilling (broiling is another good option!), we left ours in pretty large chunks so they wouldn't fall through the grill rack. Place into the steamer and let them go for ~15-20 minutes. When that's done, turn off the heat, and get read to open it up, CAREFULLY. Steam burns are quite nasty, and an absent-minded opening of a steamer can send a jet of steamy pain right to your face. So either wait for it to cool down before opening, or remove the lid by opening it away from you, letting the steam escape first. Just please don't burn yourself, we'd feel really bad. Once cooled a bit, toss tempeh into a plastic container or zip bag and add the marinating ingredients and set it in the fridge for a few hours. I prefer the bag method since you can squeeze the air out and maximize food-to-marinade contact.

So, when the time is right for cooking the meal, here's what to do.

First, the Scape Chimichurri. Scape? Garlic Scapes. The flower stalks of growing garlic plants that are hyper-good and come about this time. They get cut so that the garlic bulb gets larger, or so they say. In any case, if you imagine a fresh green bean infused to its very core with a fresh garlic twang, you have imagined scapes. Also, they curl in a fun way that makes them useful for many non-eating purposes.
Go! Super Scape Vision!

Note: When I was hunting for a reliable traditional chimichurri recipe, I found it mostly hopeless. Every recipe was significantly different, which in many ways was good, reassuring us that we probably couldn't mess it up. So, to further muddy the waters, I offer our own, different, recipe.

Garlic Scape Chimichurri

Parsley, flat or curly (though most suggest flat), two large handfuls.
Scapes, 3-4, chopped roughly
Lemon juice, from 1 large lemon, OR Vinegar - apple cider, red wine, or white - ~1/4 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/3-1/2 cup (or to preference)
Red Wine, 2 Tablespoons
Red Chili Flakes, to taste
Salt + Pepper to taste

Using a food processor, blitz the parsley, scapes, and souring agent of choice until the greens are chopped up pretty well. Add in the wine, then dribble in the olive oil (like the fancy cooks do on TV) while the machine is running. Then add a good shake of chili flakes and a good pinch of salt of pepper with the machine off, giving it a few quick pulses to mix. Taste, adjust for heat, salt, and sour, and it should be pretty darn good. We were pretty happy with this recipe, though next time we might up the number of scapes for a more garlicky taste (or just add garlic). Also maybe pass on the wine simply for color, though it did add a nice layer of yum-ness. Let it sit in the fridge while you do other things

Now to get the salad going.

Quinoa-Bean Salad
1 1/2 c Cooked quinoa
1 large can red kidney beans
1/2 cup chopped chives
2 large (surprise!) garlic scapes, diced

Ginger Miso Dressing (adapted from The Perfect Pantry)
1 generous tablespoon miso (something mild)
2 tablespoons vinegar (we only had white distilled at the time)
1 tablespoon maple syrup (from our own trees even! Remember?)
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons water

For the dressing, combine the miso, vinegar, syrup, and ginger in a small bowl, mushing the miso into the liquid until it's dispersed. Add the oils and give it a whisking. Add the water little by little until the dressing reaches a consistency you like. Set aside.

Salad now, combine the components in a medium/large bowl, taking care to drain and rinse the beans (their extra liquid is unnecessary, and often high in sodium. If you cooked your own from dry, still remove the liquid). Add the dressing in small amounts to the bowl and toss, tasting for the appropriate amount of dressing. When it's to your liking, toss it in the fridge until everything else is finished.

So, that's almost everything! Chop some veggies of your choice to throw on the fire with the tempeh and toss them with a little oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. Even the chimichurri if you like. We didn't since the tempeh was going to get it.

Turn on your grill, lay down some foil on one side for the veggies (so they don't fall through the grate), and when it's good and hot, put the veggies and tempeh on. Spoon or brush some chimichurri onto the tempeh, and close the lid. Check it every so often to toss the veggies and flip the tempeh when you have nice grill lines on the bottom. Add some chimichurri to the other side too! When it's all done, stick everything on a plate and enjoy!

This chimichurri sauce is good for lots of things. Using the leftovers to marinade some tofu and sticking it under the broiler was a tasty follow up the next day. See?

Living just to keep going, going just to keep sane.

Old injuries resurface, and the troubles keep me from my wheels.

What is a Roadie to do when a Roadie can't race? Train anyways. What is a Roadie to do when a Roadie can't train?

Pine. Pine. Pine.


Lately I've been nomming on a crap ton of sweet things, and then when it seemed like I didn't want them anymore I went out and guzzled some sweet Select Riesling. So today I wanted muffins, but I wanted muffins that weren't real sweet because I feel myself getting the diabeetus (diabetes). I'm sorry if you actually have it. I'm not trying to make fun of you or anything. I mean, diabeetus is a real serious issue and we should all try to make less sugary muffins and cookies and stuff. Am I just making this worse? I am. Okay.

Um, here's the deal. I went to the farmer's market some days ago to score some strawberries from Frog Holler Farm, and found one table selling squash. I almost pissed myself. I was so excited. I love zucchini and patty pan and all that. So I picked myself up some green and gold zucchinis. And now, I have made myself muffins.

Ok, so the recipe:
Golden Green Zucchini Muffins

Preheat oven to 375

1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. It's pretty good. Like Eden Soymilk better.)
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix these in a mug together and let it curdle.

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all of these dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Grate enough gold and green zucchinis to make 2 cups worth. I used 3 small ones total.

Mix the milk/vinegar concoction into the dries, as well as
1/3 cup safflower oil
1 T real maple syrup

Finally, mix in the zucchini. You could also add chopped walnuts. I just didn't have any because I'm too damn cheap. Grease up a muffin tin, and start filling. I made 12 muffins exactly. Bake about 25 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in and it doesn't come out battered.

They tasty. Soooo tasty.

My seedlings...They want the sun...We should all try this hard.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We Love High-Fructose Corn Peas!

Oops! We're farming.

Today was a great day for the Oops! team, dear friends. Not only did we reunite (a feat that has become somewhat rare due to distance between the lame suburbs and the not-so-lame Ann Arbor), we reunited in the name of farming. Organic farming. Sustainable farming. Urban farming.

That's right. Today we got to play in the dirt.

One of the many wonderful and deserving local food organizations that we support is Growing Hope in Ypsilanti. Volunteering around their gardens or in the hoop house is always a fun and enriching experience - particularly when it's been too long since your last farming fix. Tuesdays are for market preparation, so we met up bright and early to see how we could help out.

Joy of joys! The first thing we did was harvest that springtime delight, the beautiful and ever-bountiful pea. So crisp, so delicious, so sweet - and with no sugar added! These peas were better than candy. It was hard not to eat every last pod, but the guilt of taking from the food bank donation row helped a little bit.

Next we moved on to the hoop house, where several rows of raised beds produced hundreds of pounds of fresh greens, herbs, and vegetables each season. Being around all the plants makes me giddy. Me and Pancake helped clear a few beds of spinach gone to seed, and enjoyed making Beerdsmith be our personal wheelbarrow servant - every good farm has a compost pile, and our dearly departed spinach friends were retired there to decompose. I'll see you again, my vegetable friend. I'll see you again.

Other tasks of the day included harvesting chard and turning garden beds. We transplanted some little chard seedlings too. The glorious thing that comes with caring about food and gardening is the cycle of interconnection between the two - where does one end and the other begin? Does the superior quality of freshly grown ingredients inspire a cook to plant a garden? Is the first step of any recipe simply to plant some seeds? Do we garden because we cook, or cook because we garden?

All I know is, our morning of farming worked up a mighty fine appetite. After we helped load the truck, we wished the GH staff good luck at market and proceeded to Pancake's fine apartment, where we created an EPIC LUNCH OF AWESOME SEASONAL INGREDIENTS.

Here, Beerdsmith displays the fierce attitude necessary to execute our main dish, Garlic-Dill Polenta. It was his creation.

1/2 cup dry corn grits
1 1/2 cups water
1 extra large garlic clove, minced
1 large handful dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fake butter
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Brown the garlic in some oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove and set aside. Add the water to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Salt the water, then add the grits and cook, stirring often, until soft. The cook time will vary depending on the type of grits you use - ours took about 14 minutes. Stir in the dill, garlic, fake butter and a little more salt, then taste for seasoning. Once it's where you like it, pour into a pan and chill in the fridge while you prepare our next creation, the Broiled Veggie Topping.

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 or 3 small tomatoes, about 1 cup chopped
2 generous drizzled of extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything on a baking sheet and broil until asparagus is cooked and tomatoes are soft. This took us about 7 minutes, more or less. Once that's done, you can get the polenta out of its pan by flipping it upside down and if you're lucky, it will make a really funny noise as it leaves. Heh. Anyway if you're like us - and it's ok if you're not! - you'll end up with something like this:

Oh yes.

The awesome-ness doesn't even stop there! The meal was rounded out by the third and final creation, a seasonally epic Strawberry Spinich Salad, with toasted hazelnuts and a maple-balsamic dressing (I refuse to call it a vinaigrette). The great thing about community farmers is that, on the whole, they are an exceedingly generous group. Not only did we walk away from Growing Hope with joy in our hearts from the nourishing work, we also scored a bag of fresh spinach!! These perfect leaves formed the base of our simple salad. Oops! tip: when using few ingredients, make sure they're really, really good.

1 bag freshly harvested spinach, rinsed

1 handful hazelnuts, chopped and toasted

6 strawberries, sliced

Assemble ingredients in a bowl. While assembling, eat a strawberry before anyone sees you.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

You can Round-up nature all into one place...Dee-ad.

Friends, cheap fun! Cheap fun galore!

This morning I journeyed back to the burbs of Detroit for some nature-loving fun. Oops, I'm a GD hippie. The musketeers were down one today, but Beeardsmith and I somehow managed to carry on. Somehow. Xtina, how my fool heart aches for you.

ANYCRAP, the morning started at 9am at the Douglas Evans Nature Preserve in Beverly Hills, 48025. I grew up my whole life in Beverly Hills, and never once stepped foot in this place until today! SO SAD. It is a lovely little natural area on the Rouge River. The Friends of the Rouge were putting on a number of weed-out and clean-up events along the river today. Douglas Evans was quite infested with our nemesis, garlic mustard. But Beeardsmith and I charged into the woods with our gloves, bags, and new t-shirts to wage war! With keen eyes and quick hands, we annihilated that mother fustard, all while taking a beating from the mosquitoes and dodging the dreaded three leaves. If you ever are having a rough day and feel like killing something, GO DESTROY SOME INVASIVES. It's cheap, it's fun, it's satisfying. Also, you can cook some pretty tasty things with garlic mustard, including salsa and pesto. We would demonstrate for you, but ours was in such close contact with poison ivy that it didn't seem worth the risk.

We stayed but an hour at the weed-out, however, because we wanted to be off to the Native Plant Fair in Rochester Hills. Beeardsmith had many a plant and tree in his mind's garden, and he came away with a bounty.

I myself have been longing for native low-bush blueberry, a special treat that could easily be grown in my balcony Eden. Victory abound. So much victory. My blueberry is potted an happy, and I imagine that Beeardsmith's new plants are finding similar joy in his expansive yard!

Also exciting about the fair: PONIES.

OTHER CHEAP FUN? Well, after the fair, we made a quick stop at Bordine Nursery to pick up espoma for our blueberries (they likes the acid). Ok, buying things is not cheap fun, but fucking around in the garden center? Absolutely IS.

And finally, I found this raccoon in a gutter the other day.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Social Media Takeover!!


As you may have noticed on the right-hand side of the blog, the Oops! team is now on twitter! Check us out, follow us, tweet at us! We'll tweet you back. Promise.

Do it here:

Also, should you feel the need to contact us, we have a nifty new email address! Drum roll please...

oopsitsvegan at gmail dot com !!!

Thanks ya'll. We hope you have a wonderful weekend.