Posts Tagged pickles

VeganMoFo: Flavor Bible Week – Scandinavian

When I flipped open the Flavor Bible for my third selection, I was surprised to see Scandinavian cuisine.  I know I like the Norway ride at Epcot, but I don’t know a thing about Scandinavian cuisine.  And, I wouldn’t say I know any more about it having made this recipe!

(not easy to get a good picture of a jar of pickled carrots)

In living up to the nature of Flavor Bible Week, I just put some of the flavor matches together and came up with a recipe.  Four of the flavors listed were cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and juniper berries, and to me they just screamed “Pickle something!”.

Sweet & Spicy Scandinavian-ish Quick Pickled Carrots

These carrots were even more tasty than I expected!  They are a bit sweet and very tangy, and there is an strong underlying flavor of spice without any of the spices overpowering another.  They are best straight out of the brine, with a little still clinging to the carrots.

Equipment needed:  quart-sized mason jar or heat-proof bowl.

1 lb carrots, peeled & cut into sticks no more than 1/2-inch wide
1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs salt
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
4 juniper berries
clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1. Place the carrot sticks in the jar or heat-proof bowl.
2. Bring all other ingredients (water through garlic) to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. Carefully and slowly pour the brine over the carrots, and allow to cool to room temperature.  Seal the jar or cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
4. Eat within a month.

Servings: 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 57.4
Calories From Fat (3%) 1.65
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.23g <1%
Saturated Fat 0.04g <1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 913.33mg 38%
Potassium 216.5mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 15.08g 5%
Fiber 2.58g 10%
Sugar 8.94g
Protein 0.63g 1%

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Weeknight Meals, Laptop Lunches & A Meme

I never thought I’d be the type of person who got home from work in the evening and made whatever would get in my belly the fastest for dinner, but that has been my situation lately.  Right now we leave for work at 7:20AM and usually get home around 6:15-6:30PM.  During the day I get it in my head that I’m going to get home, exercise, make a nice dinner, do some chores or poke around on the internet and still maybe have time to watch tv or read before going to bed at 10.  Right.  What happens lately is that I cook up whatever is quick and satisfying and try to check a thing or two off my to do list, and before I know it the night has gone by.  Hopefully in a few months bf and I will be able to align our work schedules and I’ll gain another thirty minutes to an hour which will ease things a bit, but for now it’s all about fast, effective dinners.

Here’s one from last week:  grilled eggplant and zucchini on whole wheat flatbread with hummus, pickles, lettuce and tomato.  The eggplant and zucchini were from the farmers market, and the tomato from my backyard, where the tomato plant is STILL producing new tomatoes.  In November!  This is before I piled on the lettuce.

Rolled up, with cucumbers and tahini dip.

Tuesday night I was planning on a simple stir-fry with leftover veggies and frozen-then-thawed tofu, then while perusing The PPK I saw this post on dry frying tofu with a link to these instructions and became very intrigued.  I also decided I wanted a “real” sauce with my tofu instead of just a plain stir-fry, so I found this recipeon Vegweb and modified it a bit.  I was going to post the recipe because it turned out really good, but I’m not at home right now so I don’t have it.  Will post it next time!

Here’s the dry-fried tofu.  It took just about forever to do because I was using my wok which doesn’t have much flat space so I had to fry the tofu in three batches.  With a griddle or wider pan it would go much quicker.  I really liked the texture of this tofu and will definitely be preparing it this way again.  I also liked that I didn’t have to use any oil!

This orange tofu & broccoli was incredibly good, even served with overcooked, mushy instant brown rice.  The sauce has a very intense flavor, with lots of acidic quality, but it tastes great if you can get past that.  I was kind of afraid my stomach was going to get upset afterwards, but on the contrary:  I got the happy tummy, bigtime.  You know how sometimes you eat and you’re still hungry or unsatisfied, and sometimes you eat and it was a bit too much and you don’t feel so well, but sometimes you eat and it’s just perfect and your tummy is sooooo happy.  That’s what this dish does.

Wednesday night I got home with no exact dinner plan and went straight for comfort.  Organic veggie soup from a can and a grilled cheese with pickles and tomato on whole wheat.  Hot, crunchy, slurpy and good.  And I tell you, pickles on grilled cheese is the way to go.

And here’s my Thursday dinner made from what I could find in the house.  Whole wheat spaghetti with broccoli, garlic and some tempeh sausage crumbles that were hiding in the freezer.  It would’ve been better with pine nuts and almond parmesan, but I’m still working on fully stocking my kitchen.

It doesn’t look nearly as nice as I had thought it would, but it did the trick.  And, because I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better:

I think tomorrow when I get back home I might come up with a food plan for the week and get my grocery shopping done.  I was reading yesterday that Jessy from happyveganface plans all her meals for the week ahead of time and I think that’s adorable.

I only took three laptop lunches this week.  Thursday I was in a mega hurry and grabbed some instant pad thai and a salad, and Friday my office held a Thanksgiving potluck for our students which was really interesting because most of them are from other countries and didn’t really get the whole pot luck concept.

11-17 beanie weenies, veggies, homemade ranch, dried apricots

11-18 veggie dogs w/ ketchup & mustard, pasta salad, veggies, dried cherries

11-19 orange tofu & broccoli, brown rice w/ extra sauce, cauliflower, kiwi & blueberries

Last week Miss Bianca of Vegan Crunk tagged me for a meme, and now is the time.

  1. Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
  3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
  4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before on this here blog, but I’m a musician.  I started taking piano lessons when I was five, played flute in middle school band, picked up trumpet in ninth grade, and was a total high school band nerd.  During my third semester in college I switched majors from civil engineering to music (smooth move) and hold a BM.  Seriously, it’s a Bachelors of Music.  I have a BM.  I’ve played trumpet, guitar and sang in ska punk bands, fronted a pop-punk band and switched off on bass and drums in an all girl punk band.  I sang harmony and played trumpet and flute on a couple recordings for local bands when I was in Gainesville, including one release that came out on Epitaph.  I’m kind of a big deal.

2.  I’ve been afraid of sharks for almost as long as I can remember.  I know when I was a little kid I liked the beach and swimming in pools, but somewhere along the way I became terrified of sharks and ocean creatures in general.  I think it came about because there was a science museum my summer camp visited, and there was a stuffed hammerhead shark hanging above the staircase that you had to walk up to get to the exhibits.  I didn’t want to walk under it.  I also think this brought about my phobia of taxidermied animals.  I can’t go to natural history museums.  I don’t much like being around mounted deer heads and things of that nature, but I REALLY can’t do whole big animals like bears or panthers.  At one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. there is a taxidermied elephant in the lobby and it’s kind of my worst nightmare.  Although, in recent years I have been facing my fears and getting better about it.  I’ve gone to a few aquariums and planted myself in front of the shark tanks, and I went to that museum in D.C. and looked at the elephant from the second floor.  I still couldn’t stand right next to it though.

3.  Although it’s not another phobia, I can be very uncomfortable around certain large things.  Like cruise ships for instance.  I don’t mind being on one, but standing next to one in a harbor can get to me.  Airplanes too.  Dinosaur skeletons also freak me way out, but I’m not sure whether they fall under this category or the dead animal fear.

4.  I was kind of obsessed with Alice in Wonderland for a while.  I collected all sorts of memorabilia and books, whatever I could get my hands on.  I had a large collection for a while, and sold it all off a few years ago for the money.  I still have the pictures and the memories though.  If you’ve never actually read Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, do so.  They’re fascinating.

5.  I don’t like olives or licorice.  Disgusting.  Or Jagermeister.  Barf.  Those are pretty much the only flavors I can’t stomach.  I’m coming around on olives, but only if they’re mixed in with other complimentary flavors.

6.  There are a few tv shows of which I refuse to miss an episode:  Top Chef, The Office, Project Runway and The Biggest Loser.  We just got DVR so it’s making my life much easier in this respect.  Other current shows I really like are What Not To Wear, Law & Order (SVU or Criminal Intent – love Vincent D’Onofrio), and Top Design.  I like reruns of Gilmore Girls, King of Queens, Frasier, Full House, Golden Girls, Friends, Seinfeld and Family Guy.  These things comprise most of the tv I watch other than sports.  I know way more about Full House than any person should.

7.  I don’t do scary.  Can’t watch scary movies, especially if it’s about supernatural things like ghosts or monsters.  Real life scary I can sometimes do, such as murder mysteries or thrillers.  Thing is, watching these kinds of movies I get too worked up and my heart beats to fast and I end up with a headache and generally I just don’t enjoy the feeling of being scared like most people do.  I kind of like true crime books though.  I’ve read Helter Skelter and Danny Rolling’s biography and while they were intensely interesting, they scared the living crap out of me.  I thought Charles Manson was hiding in my apartment every day I came home from school during the time I read Helter Skelter.

Huh, that was a lot easier than I thought it would be!  Guess I’m a fairly interesting person.  I tag anyone who hasn’t done this yet and wants to, or better yet, tell me something random or weird about yourself in a comment!

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I like stretching after exercise, and I really like the triangle pose for the way it stretches my whole body.  I was a little overzealous last night though, and stretched my left side a bit too far.  I felt it when it happened.  I thought “Oh boy, that’s going to hurt tomorrow”.  Then when I woke up with some minor pain this morning I knew it was going to hurt much more later in the day.  And it does.  So I type to you from my couch, heating pad wrapped around my mid-section and laptop in my lap.

For this reason, I was pretty happy that the dinner I had planned was super-quick and easy.  Split pea soup and a roll from the freezer, and the aforementioned squash pickles.

soup & pickles

The squash pickles look pretty much exactly like they did yesterday, but they taste much different.

squash pickles

I’ll call this experiment a 75% success.  They’re definitely edible, in fact they taste good, but I think they can be better.  I’m going to try again soon with the additions of pre-salting & draining the squashes, and garlic and some sort of spice or herb in the liquid.  Then I think we’ll have hit the squash jackpot.

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Twice Baked Potatoes & an Experiment

I asked my coworker Lauren today what I could eat on the cheap this week, since I’m kinda low on monies.  She said “potatoes”, and she was right.  I don’t often think to eat potatoes, I think it’s semi-ingrained in me that they’re a “bad” food, but word on the streets is that they can be pretty good for you.

twice baked potatoes

I baked the potatoes, let cool, cut in half and scooped out the flesh, leaving a shell intact.  I mashed the inards with some of my favorite cheesy sauce, steamed kale, kosher salt and pepper.  Stuffed it back in the shells, sprinkled with paprika and baked for another 15 minutes.  Dericious.

I was standing in the produce section this afternoon at the grocery store, searching for inspiration.  Normally I just go for a bunch of produce and figure I’ll eat it, but when I’m broke I just can’t get inspired to buy.  Then all of the sudden I saw the squash and zucchini, thought that I hadn’t eaten squashes in a while, and decided to make squash pickles.  Erin, you might ask, have you made squash pickles before?  No, I haven’t, and that is why this is an experiment.  I’ve made pickled cucumbers before, and cucumbers are kind of like squash…sort of.  So I put it together tonight and put it in the fridge and tomorrow we’ll see what happens.

pickled squash

eta:  Here’s my favorite cheesy sauce recipe.  I’m sure it’s from a cookbook somewhere, but I have no idea which one, as a friend typed it up for me when I first went vegan.  It’s been a fave ever since.

Cheesy Sauce

1 1/2 cups plain soymilk
1/3 cup tamari/soy sauce/bragg’s
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 block tofu (not silken)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
2 Tbs yellow mustard

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  This is good stirred right into cooked pasta for a Velveeta-y mac.  Or baked in a casserole.  Or with drained salsa for a queso dip.  Or any other way, really.

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