Posts Tagged stirfry

VeganMoFo: Semi-Wordless Wednesday II

Last week’s Semi-Wordless Wednesday turned out pretty well, so here’s another random assortment of things I have made!

Pad Thai Salad with kelp noodles, adapted from Appetite for Reduction, and orange-glazed tempeh

Avocado Cream Soup (better than it looks) and Zucchini Spaghetti alla Marinara (best raw marinara ever) from Practically Raw

Oh She Glows’ Strawberry Lemonade

Thai Veggie Burgers from Peas & Thank You, topped with pineapple and sriracha mayo

Moroccan Chickpea & Lentil Soup and Cheese Herb Corn Muffins fro Vegan Soups & Hearty Stews for All Seasons

roasted tofu and dry-sauteed cabbage

Reuben salad with roasted chickpeas, sauerkraut, pickles, and Healthy Thousand Island Dressings from Eat to Live

Southwestern Black Bean & Corn Chowder from Vegan on the Cheap

Almond Butter Sesame Kelp Noodles from Practically Raw with Sesame Garlic Marinated Tempeh.  Loved the noodles, not so much the tempeh.

Baigan Bharta and Quick Indian-Style Spinach & Chickpeas

Green bean, tempeh & mushrooms stir fry with brown rice

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31 Before 31

My 29th year was an interesting one.  I had a few normal months, then began the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College.  Afterward, I had plans to finish up my externship hours quickly and get back to reality, but Bell’s Palsy had a different idea and put me out of commission for a while.  I didn’t get to have the big 30th birthday party I wanted since I was still recovering, but I did have a nice dinner with close friends.  Now, exactly halfway through my 30th year, I’ve decided to put some goals down on paper (or on my blog).  Because I’ve given myself only six months, these aren’t lofty “see the Eiffel Tower” goals; these are things that I can realistically accomplish with some hard work.  Some are things that have been on my to do list for too long, some are to move forward on projects I’ve been kicking around in my head, and some are just fun.  Naturally, a few of them are cooking- and blog-related so I figured posting here would be relevant, plus publishing the list will hopefully hold me accountable.  I’m currently recovering from a strained lower back, so some of the health goals seem a little intense from where I’m at right now, which is on the couch with a heating pad.  I’ll update as I cross items off the list.

31 Before 31

  1. Jog 2 miles without feeling like dying afterward.  (I recently jogged one mile without stopping, but I did feel like death at the end.)
  2. Hike to the peak of Mount Tamalpais.
  3. Work up to ten real push ups (not on knees).
  4. Take a kickboxing class.
  5. Try acupuncture.
  6. Borrow a foreign cuisine non-vegan cookbook from the library and try at least three recipes.
  7. Finalize the list of recipes for my zine idea and work on at least five recipes.
  8. Advertise personal chef services at discounted rate.
  9. Enter all of the recipes I have printed into Living Cookbook database.
  10. Read at least chapters 5-7 of On Food and Cooking.
  11. Change blog template.
  12. Update blog roll.
  13. Register for Vida Vegan conference.
  14. Invest in some props for food photography and take more interesting pictures.
  15. Get trumpet cleaned.
  16. Fix and update iTunes library.  (I accidentally deleted a good portion of mine.)
  17. Go to a symphony concert.
  18. Finalize the list of songs for cover album project and start to think about style/arrangements.
  19. Plant herbs in the flower box.
  20. Get a few houseplants and try to keep them alive.
  21. Get a new phone.  (Mine is old.  I don’t even know how many years old.)
  22. Learn some basic conversational Spanish.
  23. Take a day trip up or down highway 1.
  24. Visit a city I’ve never been to.
  25. Go to Millennium and order the Frugal Foodie prix fix menu.
  26. Take an SF City Guide walking tour.
  27. Go to SFMOMA or the de Young.
  28. Host a dinner party.
  29. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.
  30. Watch the eight movies on this list that I haven’t seen.
  31. Go on a picnic.

And, since I can’t post without a food picture…

This is the Spicy Asian Stir-Fry with Whole-Wheat Linguine from Vegetarian Times.  To be honest, it wasn’t very spicy, but it was a good, simple stir-fry, and it used up the bok choy from my CSA delivery.  I tend to make all my stir-fries the same way and serve them over rice, so this was a nice change of pace.

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More Personal Cheffing

For the rest of my externship, I did a few personal cheffing sessions.  I met with the client to assess their needs, planned the menu, grocery shopped, prepared the food in their kitchen, and cleaned up.  All of my “clients” were friends, so it was pretty fun!  Exhausting, but fun.

My first client was Miles.  Miles is a healthy, active guy, so I was sure to include plenty of protein and good fats in his meals.  He is trying to eat low gluten and low soy, so I took that into account as well.  I packaged his meals individually so he could grab them on the way to work.

For the first meal, I made the Quick Red Posole with Beans from Viva Vegan, served with Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale (also from Viva Vegan), toasted pumpkin seeds and quinoa with lime juice.  The kale is really great for such a simple recipe.

Since Miles strives to be mostly soy-free, he makes really interesting stuff like hemp tofu and Burmese tofu, made with chickpea flour.  He had prepared a batch of Burmese tofu, so I made Fragrant Burmese Curry with it.  The chickpea tofu held together much better than I expected.  I served the curry with brown basmati rice and roasted broccoli.

This is “tuna”-stuffed tomatoes with Italian pasta salad.  I used this recipe for the tuna, substituting hemp seeds for the sesame seeds and using an adaptation of this cashew mayonnaise recipe instead of prepared vegan mayo.  The pasta salad was based on this recipe, with gluten free pasta and Zesty Italian Dressing.  Miles didn’t care for the pasta salad much, but he said he loved the tomatoes.

My next clients were Alex & Kristin, an awesome couple who, apart from a few allergies and dislikes, aren’t too picky.  I packaged their meals for two, so that they could reheat and eat together.  (I forgot to bring my camera that day, so please enjoy the craptastic cell phone pics!)

Kristin reeeeeeally wanted lasagna, so lasagna she got.  I’m not sure I would make lasagna again for a client becuase it takes me forever to put together, but it was worth it to make her happy!  I based my lasagna on the recipe from Veganomicon, with the VCon marinara, spinach, tempeh sausage, and cashew cream with plenty of nutritional yeast.  I would’ve also added mushrooms, but they don’t like mushrooms.  The horror, I know!

This White Bean Salad with Mint was the side dish for the lasagna.  I’m not huge on fresh mint, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Atrocious picture.  I know.

Alex & Kristin love Indian food (who doesn’t?), so I made the Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and some saffron basmati rice pilaf.  Alex called it biryani, which I guess is what it was.  The slivered almonds totally made the rice.  I also made some kale saag, which tasted nice but photographed so horribly that I can’t bring myself to post it.  It’s unrecognizable as food.

To use some seasonal vegetables, I made succotash from a recipe I printed from Food Network’s website many years ago which doesn’t seem to be there anymore.  Instead of the bacon called for, I add a dash of liquid smoke.  I served the succotash with polenta cakes.  I wanted to do grit cakes, but the grocery store I went to didn’t have grits.

My last clients were Raelene and Wayne, and their adorable 2 1/2 year old daughter.  I packaged their food family style, which basically meant just putting the whole recipe away in the fridge or freezer.  I brought my camera that day but totally forgot to take pictures, and then left my camera there!  They were nice enough to take pictures on my camera when they tried the meals.  They wanted to eat kind of “light”, and they basically like everything, which made it easy to choose recipes.

First up, Quinoa-Corn Chowder and Classic Cabbage with Cilantro-Citrus Vinaigrette, both from Viva Vegan and both tasty and easy.

The next meal was Two-Broccoli Stir-Fry on Soba Noodles from Vegetarian Times, and Fat Free Vegan’s Double Mushroom Miso Soup.  I wanted this meal to be filling yet light, if that makes sense, and I also wanted to sneak in some seaweed 🙂

Lastly, we wanted to try freezing one of the meals, which worked out well since Raelene just had surgery (she’s fine), and they pulled it out of the freezer last night for dinner.

This is Curried Cauliflower Frittata from Vegan Brunch, with added spinach, and Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes from Veganomicon.  Looks like the served it with some chutney – Good call!

A few people have asked me about my experiences with the Natural Chef Program at Bauman College, so I thought I would share a few opinions here.  I enjoyed it overall, and I’m very glad that I did it.  Yes, It was difficult to attend the classes and complete the homework while still working full time, but I basically decided to dedicate my time and forgo a social life for six months.  The program is not vegan, but it is vegan-friendly, and I was never asked to taste or work with any non-vegan ingredients.  My classmates were super-cool about working with me and making sure I had enough to eat at the end of class.  The instructors were educated and experienced, and if they ever didn’t know the answer to a question they would find out before the next class.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian in the program, you do have to be okay with being around meat for a few classes, but you don’t have to work with it.  Also, you may have to listen to some talk about the merits of stuff like the Weston A. Price Foundation that you may not agree with.  Basically, you have to be understanding with your classmates, the same way you would want them to be understanding with you.  Overall, the program is extremely vegan/vegetarian friendly, and very approving of plant-based nutrition.  Also, because the program is a condensed six month program, you have to know going into it that you’re not getting the same education or experience that you would at a three-year culinary school.  In the end, I feel like I still have a lot to learn and to cook, but that I have a better basic understanding of food and nutrition, and a much better foundation in knife skills, cooking techniques, ingredient knowledge and kitchen timing.  Again, I’m very glad that I completed the program.  If you are considering attending Bauman and have any other questions about my experiences, e-mail me at jamboxrock AT hotmail DOT com and I’ll try not to take forever to answer!

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A Tale of Two Recipes

Well, it’s not really a tale, per say…but I liked the title so I’m sticking with it.  I don’t think I’ve posted a recipe in a while – here’s two!

I mentioned my Salad Stir-fry a few posts ago.  I first came up with it because I had about a ton of baby greens from my CSA that I realized needed to be used the day they needed to be used if I were to save them from going in the trash.  I thought they might wilt down nicely in a stir-fry like spinach does, and I thought it might be interesting to make it salad-like, with a combination of hot and cold components and a thickened salad dressing as the sauce.  It turned out so well that I just had to make it again in order to perfect it and post the recipe!

(The sauce is based on the Asian Miracle Dressing from Vegan Lunchbox.  I tried it pretty much straight up the first time and then tweaked it a bit to better suit the stir-fry.)

Salad Stir-fry

2 Tbs peanut oil
1 white onion, diced
2 bulbs of green garlic, bulb minced and shoots sliced, or 2 cloves of regular garlic, minced, plus 3 green onions, green parts only sliced
2 tsp ginger, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 lb mushrooms (whatever kind you like, quartered or sliced)
1/2 lb frozen shelled edamame, thawed
at least 1/2 lb baby greens or spinach, or a combination

sauce:
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2-1 tsp sriracha
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs cornstarch

cooked brown rice
sprouts
sliced cucumber
sesame seeds

Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Carefully add the onion and stir-fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic/green onions and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Add the carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms release their juices. Add the edamame and stir to combine. Add the greens by handfuls, stir-frying each addition and adding more greens as there is room until all the greens are wilted.

Whisk the sauce again and add to the wok. Stir-fry until the sauce coats all the ingredients and thickens.

Serve over brown rice, topped with sprouts, cucumber and sesame seeds.

Serves 3.

Second is a recipe for Swiss Chard Risotto, which I feel like I’ve been working on forever but really have only made three times.  It’s just been very intermitent.  I guess it’s not really chard season anymore, but it should still be available in some areas.

To go with my risotto I made some white bean/corn/red pepper cakes.  To be perfectly honest, this was from a few weeks ago and I have NO idea how I made them.  I know there was flour and breadcrumbs involved, and I baked them, and they didn’t turn out as firm as I wanted but for a thrown together patty accompaniment they were just fine.

This recipe was originally included with my CSA newsletter.  I followed it exactly the first time, but it lacked a little something.  I also had never made risotto, ever, so I was a risotto novice.  Here’s my perfected version!

Chard Risotto

Regular green swiss chard will taste fine, but the risotto will be much prettier with red or rainbow chard.

5 c faux chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbs olive oil
medium white onion, chopped
1 1/2 c arborio rice
bunch of swiss chard, stems sliced and leaves roughly chopped
1/2 c dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 2 Tbs
2-3 Tbs chopped fresh herbs such as dill or parsley, optional
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer, adding a pinch of salt if the broth is not already salted. Turn down the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems and saute until onion is turning translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Add the rice and chard leaves and saute until the chard starts to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and simmer until absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Add the warm broth one ladle-full at a time, simmering until each addition is completely absorbed and stirring almost constantly. Add the herbs, if using, with the last addition of broth. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy; you may not need to use all of the broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Lastly, I mention this only because I think it’s a great tip for those trying to reduce their fat intake.  I ate the leftover white bean patties on a salad, and I had just read a tip that day on Eat’n Veg’n for a great fat-free dressing – mix dijon mustard and apricot jam or preserves.  I’m sure it would be a lot healthier if the preserves were sugar free – mine were not, but I’m at peace with that.  The dressing on it’s own tastes very strong, I was almost worried to put it on my salad.  But combined with the salad ingredients it mellowed and I liked it a lot.  Give it a try!

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CSA Dinners

Another glorious CSA delivery, more glorious meals.

broccoli, collards, brussels sprouts, fennel, celery, baby bok choy & leaf lettuce

beets, a yellow onion, apples, oranges & radicchio

I was supposed to get romanesco, and I was really excited because I’ve never had it before, but they ran out and gave me broccoli instead.  Which is fine, because I like broccoli and I was going to use the romanesco to replace broccoli in a recipe anyway.

This is the Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Casserole from The Uncheese Cookbook.  It is super tasty and super easy to make.  You pretty much mix together five things in a casserole dish and stick it in the oven.  Although if you want to use brown rice instead of white you should precook it a bit first, which I kind of knew beforehand but tried to get away with it anyway.

I served the casserole with shredded raw beets over leaf lettuce.  The beets were dressed with orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and agave nectar.

I’m still not a huge fan of radicchio, but I’m finding I like it cooked and paired with something sweet.  I was happy to find this recipe for Sausages with Caramelized Red Onions & Radicchio.  I envisioned making it with homemade seitan sausages, but that just wasn’t in the cards for a weeknight meal.

I halved the recipe but followed it almost exactly, subbing Earth Balance for butter and Tofurkey Italian Sausages for sausage  I also added a bit of sesame parmesan.  This dish was very tasty, but the caramelized onions were so good and sweet that they overshadowed the other ingredients.  Which meant I couldn’t taste the radicchio, so I guess it was okay.

The sausages were served atop polenta with beet greens.  The polenta was jut okay.  It’s the first time I’ve made polenta not from a recipe, so hopefully I’ll be better at flavoring it next time.

I used the bok choy, as per usual, in a stirfry.  A fancy, tasty stirfry based on a recipe.  I loosely followed the Curried Udon Stirfry from Veganomicon, and the sauce totally made the stirfry.

I am definitely interested in making the recipe as is sometime.  I was nervous about the roux not working, but it worked perfectly.

Some friends moved into a new house a few weeks ago, and they are now lucky enough to have a lemon tree, flowers, herbs, and among other things, a kaffir lime bush.  With kaffir lime leaves!  They smelled so good that I felt the need to steal some and make green curry.  So I did.

I used this recipe from Food Network, subbing extra firm tofu for the chicken.  I added steamed broccoli, cauliflower & sweet potatoes, and just a bit of sugar toward the end of cooking.  And I couldn’t find Thai basil, so regular basil was a fine stand in.  It doesn’t look like a green curry, but the sauce is under there somewhere, I promise.  The only change I would make next time is to not add the extra 3/4 cup of liquid with the coconut milk, as the sauce wasn’t as thick as I would’ve liked.

And because a new CSA delivery came today, a clean-out-the-fridge stew for dinner tonight.

Ingredients:  onion, leek, carrot, celery, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaf, liquid smoke, cooking wine, tomatoes, black eyed peas, lentils, collards and wild rice blend.  Perfect except that I added a wee bit too much liquid smoke.

I’m all caught up on posting!  Finally.  I may try to go back to more singular posts, as opposed to throwing five meals together in one.  Or I’ll get way behind again.  We shall see.

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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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Clean-Out-The-Fridge Stirfry with Sweet & Sour Peanut Sauce

I don’t want to buy any more food until the farmers market tomorrow, so today I mulled over the assortment of stray veggies in the fridge.  I had an idea for a sauce that I thought could pull together the eggplant, carrot, celery, kale and basil, and it worked out nicely.

First I dragged out the crinkle cutter and got all fancy.

veggies

I served the stirfry over white rice (was out of brown) and topped it with the peanut sauce, basil and toasted peanuts.  Be careful if you try to toast peanuts, people!  They burn quickly.

stirfry

Granted, the flavor combo of this meal was interesting.  I probably wouldn’t make it again unless faced with the same ingredients.  The whole point was to coat everything in the sauce, which was really tasty.

Sweet & Sour Peanut Sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tbs peach or apricot jam
2 Tbs rice vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce
2 Tbs water

Whisk together all ingredients.

Makes 2-3 servings.

 

I almost forgot!  Most of the blogosphere has done the “share 5 things about yourself” taggy thing, so I figure I’ll tell you fine readers a bit about me.  My one passion other than food is music.  I was the highest ranking officer in the high school band (nerd alert!) and I have a bachelor’s degree in music performance.  I’ve sang and played in a few punk and ska bands – trumpet, guitar, bass and even a little drumming.  I took a year of drum lessons in college as my “minor” instrument and that was pretty awesome.  I even performed a four mallet marimba solo in front of the whole percussion studio!

In the past couple years I haven’t done much musically.  I’m the kind of writer that music has to “come to”.  I can’t just sit down and write.  So when it’s not coming, I’m not writing.  It also doesn’t help me musically that I’m in a happy relationship, I’m much more prolific when sad and lonely.  Although that’s a trade I’m willing to take.  I’m technically still in a band, but two members live down in Tampa and have busy adult jobs so we don’t get together very often.

Today while walking home from the bus stop I was reading Diary by Chuck Palahniuk, a part about how artists are inspired and how each piece of work regardless of the subject is a representation of the artist themself.  Being Palahniuk, the inspirations were pain and disease and other weird stuff, but it got me to thinking that I’d like to get creative and put out a representation of myself.  I then decided to try to compose a piece for piano, which is not my standard medium.  I took many years of piano lessons as a child, but am currently a very mediocre player at best.  I stopped reading and just walked for a moment, and a tune popped into my head, so when I got home I sat down, worked out the chords and notated it.  I worked on it a bit more after dinner, and took a picture to commemorate how nice it is to be creative.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with this piece if I finish it, but for now it’s good to have a new project.

piano

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