Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome back and spaghetti squash recipe

Happy New Year, readers!

Sorry for the long break. You know, post-holiday chill.


Post-holidays extended hours at work. 10 and 11 hour workdays, one on top of the other. I went hoarse from giving so many belay lessons, started getting sick, and my nose piercing is very irritated from the increased dust inhalation. BUT, I have New Year's Eve and New Years Day off! Rest!

Per usual, my kitchen got TRICKED OUT this holiday. Other things as well.

From my sister, the Babycakes cookbook! I've drooled over this cookbook for ages, and finally I will get to make the delicious snacks revealed within.

She also got me a new kickass bonnet.

For those of you who know me, you know I have many, many hats.

Wine. Distilled unicorn tears.

Mitten mittens.

Mom and dad got me all sorts of nice little tools for the cooking trade to keep me thoroughly busy in the kitchen (Immersion blender! Soup!). I'm quite excited about all of it.


I came across this recipe when I was trying to decide what to make with my spaghetti squash. I altered it slightly to suit my tastes and my kitchen's inventory. Time to break out the frozen summer goodies!

For the sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2/3 cup chopped bell peppers of any and all colors
1 1/2 T water
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
Salt to taste
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp lemon pepper
2-3 T nutritional yeast

I prepared my spaghetti squash using the microwave method: Cut in half, place face-down in a dish with some water, cook 10-15 minutes, or until al dente. I scraped it out and put it in a dish.

For the sauce, I began heating the olive oil over medium-low heat, and tossed in the garlic. As the cited recipe suggests, don't cook over too high of heat, as you don't want the garlic to brown or burn. After a minute or so, I added in the peppers. I'm suggesting an addition of 1 1/2 Tablespoons of water because my peppers were frozen from the summer farmer's markets, and as they defrosted some liquid was added to the pan. If you are also using frozen veggies, ignore the addition of water! At this point, I also turned up the heat slightly.
After several minutes, I then added the roasted bell peppers to the mix. Mix in the oregano, salt, and lemon pepper. Cook for a minute or two more, and finally mix in the nutritional yeast. I put on 2 tablespoons here. After pouring the sauce over my squash "noodles" and mixing, I gave it a taste test, and decided I was desiring a bit more nutritional yeast, so I put on another 1/2 tablespoon or more. Done!

Delicious! I had it with some vegan Italian sausage, the recipe from Vegan Brunch.

As for those vegan poptarts I discussed earlier, they were a delicious addition to my trip. The trip, however, ended unfortunately early.

Yay! Fun! Carefree!


We then drove home through sleet storms for 13 hours. So it goes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Veggie Fried Rice and Pond Hockey

Dear friends,

Other food bloggers are frantically baking lots and lots of cookies, crafting homemade granola and busting out long-canned jars of tomatoes for holiday gifts. DIY crafts and holiday cocktail parties* dot the blogscape, but here at Oops!, we're pursuing way more interesting and fun ways of passing the time - POND HOCKEY.


Two weeks of below-freezing temps created the perfect rink upon which the 2010-2011 Frog Holler Pond Hockey season opener was played on Saturday. Skates were laced and fists were thrown, but a fine time was had by all.

Post-game snacks were also had by all! Here, our pal JJ prepares chestnuts, to be roasted over an open fire:


And our butternut-squash curry was re-created over a wood stove:


(Beerdsmith's vacant look can be attributed to post-medical school final exams exhaustion...don't fret, the curry revived him!)

The weekend was fun, but alas, too short. Back to the office this morning, but what vegan meal did I cook up for lunch? A veggie-packed bowl of fried rice. Just because I'm not baking Christmas cookies doesn't mean I'm not eating them - in large quantities - at work. I felt the need to detox, and stuffing as many vegetables as I had on hand into the skillet seemed like the right way to do it.


Monday Afternoon's Veggie Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups leftover brown rice, cooked
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon miso paste
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

Begin by heating some extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onions and carrot, stir, and let cook until they begin to soften. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the mushrooms and a splash of soy sauce - this helps steam the shrooms and lets them cook down a little bit. While things are cooking, scoop a tablespoon or so of miso paste into a separate bowl. Whisk another splash of soy sauce and maybe a bit of water into the paste until it thins a little bit. Add the chopped kale to the pan, then pour the miso over the whole thing and stir until the vegetables are coated. Let everything hang out for a bit in the pan. When the veggies seem almost, but not quite, cooked down to your preferred level of doneness, add the rice and the lemon juice to the pan. Cook until the rice is heated through, then finish with a drizzle of sesame oil. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and eat.


*Pancake and I have been talking about throwing a cocktail party for weeks now, but are afraid that, much like our other failed attempts to socialize with the outside world, no one will show up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm still not packed.

In just a few hours I will be on my way to Chattanooga, TN for a little rocks climbing with my pals. There is ONE HIGHLY NECESSARY component to all climbing trips:


In the morning, when I'm sore and hungry and don't know how I can carry on, all I want is a fucking poptart. Yes, those strange, flat pastries with the gooey fruit middle that stick to the most absurdly hard to reach corners of your mouth, and therefore must always be eaten with about three tall glasses of water. And vegans need not feel left out, here. You, like me, can make your poptarts at home. How? See here. I didn't follow the recipe to a T, and nor should you, because we should all try to be god damn individuals every once in a while, right? I filled mine with my homemade and home-canned apple butter, and instead of mixing jam into the icing I mixed in maple syrup.

Okay, okay, now for the original part of the post.

Chocolate Chip Ridden Almond Kakor (ie CCRAK) (Kakor=Cookies)

1/2 cup salted, roasted almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup oil
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tsp baking powder
2 T water
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
Grind up the almonds and chocolate chips together in a food processor. Don't have a food processor? What the hell is wrong with you? You're a vegan. Get one. Stop processing before the mixture starts turning nut buttery. You just want small chunks.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, combine sugars, oil, soymilk, baking powder, water, and vanilla. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones. If the mixture seems to dry, add a bit more oil and/or soymilk. Finally, add in your chopped up almonds and chocolate. Mix well. Put generous tablespoon full on a prepared cookie sheet, and press down with a fork to flatten. Bake 10-12 minutes.

The end.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Make a new friend.

It's the holidays.

Want to do something grand?

Go adopt a new friend from the local shelter. Some of them have been there for a long, long time. And they're so NICE!

For those of you in Washtenaw county and near...

Humane Society of Huron Valley

Keep in mind that black pets and Pit Bulls don't get homes as quickly. Why? Because of false social stigmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010



Go here and follow the instructions exactly. Except add dried cherries and you're ALL SET.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

Xtina here. Remember when I showed you how I hack apart butternut squashes? I promised you results. And here they are!

I am emerging from a time of transition, but this recipe was there for me when I needed something easy, yet flavorful and nutritious. Easily created out of canned goods from the pantry (or the trunk of your car), it's a good one to have in your bag of culinary tricks.


Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
a dash of cayenne pepper
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 cups fresh cauliflower, chopped
1 24oz can tomatoes
1 15oz can coconut milk
1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed
2 tablespoons curry powder (more or less, to taste)
the juice of half a lemon or lime or orange
cilantro to garnish

Saute the onion in some olive oil over a medium heat source, in a deep skillet or pan. When the onion starts to soften, add the garlic, butternut squash, and chopped cauliflower, and stir. After a few more minutes, add little salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper if you like things spicy. Also add the curry powder, and stir. When the onions become translucent and the garlic is soft, but not yet brown, dump in the can of tomatoes, chickpeas, and coconut milk. Sprinkle in a touch more salt, and bring the whole thing to a simmer.

This is the kind of recipe where you taste often, and add as you see fit. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes, sometimes I add tiny swirl of agave nectar to the pot. Sometimes I add a ton more curry powder, or a dash of soy sauce. Taste mindfully, and get creative!! The important thing is to trust your taste buds. If you think it needs something, it probably does.

I think I let this simmer for 30 minutes or so. About halfway through, squeeze in some citrus - I used half an orange, but lime is also really good here. The longer it goes, the more flavors have a chance to blend. If you're pressed for time, at least let it hang until the cauliflower and squash get tender. Garnish with cilantro, and you're all set! Serve over rice or couscous, or sop it up with a slice of good bread.
Once again, I'm here to report the results of a Kitchen Lab. There hasn't been any blogging for the past few days because I've been using cookbooks. On Saturday, the ol' mancandy made me dinner, and I used a cookbook to make a vegan pumpkin pie. I wound up making more pie filling than was required, and had probably something like 3/4 cup left. As the pumpkin I used came not from a can but from a lovely Michigan-grown gourd, it felt scandalous to throw out the leftovers. I decided that something simply MUST be done with them.

But what?

The answer took me some time to find, but I ultimately settled on pumpkin-filled chocolate cupcakes. The results were something less than beautiful, but they certainly are delicious and decadent. There are times when Kitchen Lab is a well thought-out process, where it is performed with scrupulous concentration. Then there are times where I just blunder my way through in order to get the damn thing done. That's what happened with these guys. It seems only appropriate that I share this recipe with you in the exact manner in which I created it.

The Ugly:

The Pretty:

Kitchen Lab Pumpkin Pie-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

I preheated my oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, I mixed

1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl, I mixed
2 Tbsp ground flax
3 Tbsp water

In the large bowl of dry ingredients, I made a well in the middle. In the well, I poured

1 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup soymilk

I stirred this together. The batter was too clumpy, but it looked so chocolaty that I had to stick my finger in and lick some. Oops, I had forgotten to mix in sugar. Fuck! In an attempt to fix my error, I threw in 1 cup vegan cane sugar and 1/2 cup water. The consistency, and flavor, quickly improved. Finally, I mixed in the now globular flax. Realizing halfway through this that I didn't have cupcake liners, I spritzed a cupcake pan with coconut oil spray and put down a layer of batter in each tin. Over the bottom layer, I poured a very goopy dollop of pie filling, which immediately spread, thus indicating my cupcakes would be very much like a sandwich. I layered more batter on top. They were filled right to the brim of the cupcake pan, which I knew meant the tops would spread quite a bit. I didn't care. After taking the time to spread the chocolate on top over the pumpkin pie filling seeping up, I put them in the oven. Assuming that they would be tragic failures, I didn't really keep track of exact time and just checked on them here and there with a fork to see if they had cooked through. It probably took between 25 and 30 minutes, but I really can't be sure.

Anyways, they are DELICIOUS. Even if you don't have any leftover pumpkin pie filling, the chocolate part was stellar and you should give it a whirl. Do everything precisely wrong, the way I did, to guarantee success.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hold on to your butts.

I'm really very excited to bring up several things to you readers today:
a)SNOW. Finally. God dammit.
d)Sweet potato spread

All of these things happened this week. With a list like that, I think it's obvious that this has been a pleasant week so far. About a)I woke up tickled to see a gentle December 1st flurry. Anyone else? Anyone? Winter. Love it.

b)Canoeing (With inflatable canoe): Cheap, fun way to spend a few hours in nature's glory.

c)Bunnies: Today, doing some shelter cleaning at the Humane Society, I met a giant bunny named Marvin and a medium sized bunny named Ron Weasely. It was...swell.

And finally,

D)Sweet potato spread

Let me just say, holy shit is this delicious. I found the inspiration for this here. I lacked several ingredients that were mentioned, so I tinkered with it a bit and came to this delightfus rendition.

1 1/2 average sized sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
1/2 cup tahini
1 clove of garlic
2-3 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice. That is, straight from an orange. Got it?
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

The assembly is easy. After I pureed my sweet potatoes in my food processor, I simply threw all of the remaining ingredients in and processed until incorporated. I enjoyed this at work with some homemade naan bread, and intend to enjoy it in some other fashion this evening. On a sandwich, perhaps? Yet to be decided. It will be splendid, of this I have no doubt. No doubt at all.