Passover Seder

I went to a seder at my church tonight and it was awesome and beautiful in so many ways. I made my first vegan matzo ball soup with this recipe and it turned out really nicely. I wanted the balls kind of dense, and they turned out great, but I might let them fluff out a little bit more next time. Here's the one I made for my mom with rosemary instead of dill, because she thinks dill tastes metallic. I thought the dill tasted lovely.

I have to admit, doing a seder with twenty or so people and only five Jews in the room was a unique experience, but it turned out really great. In a lot of ways it reminded me of my vegan cooking class, where there weren't that many vegans present but a lot of people who were interested and wanted to learn more. Which is great because, in my opinion, most Jewish holidays are all about learning. They're filled with stories and history, and traditions that echo those.


Portuguese Flor de Sal

Some girls have a few beers and realize, when they sober up, that he was neither cute nor an actual music video producer. I have a few beers and realize, when I sober up, that I spent $12 on salt. Fortunately, expensive salt is less shameful than skeezy hook ups and, as it turns out, it's really good! I've been using it since I got it on salads and pastas and roasted eggplant. It's got kind of a tangy spicy thing going on that reminds me of these mangoes they sell on the beach in Thailand. They're little slices of sour green mango and in the bottom of the little plastic bag there's some mixture of spicy chili and sugar. In American cooking we tend to separate our flavors more than I've noticed elsewhere: something is either sweet or spicy or savory. While this is definitely still predominantly a savory flavoring, it's a nice twist on plain salt and a good way to challenge your palate.


Spinach Dip

So, here comes another admission that I've succumbed to the ease of a canned vegetable. Again, it's the kind of vegetable that in some ways is best when it's cooked until it's beyond soggy and well into the territory of almost-disintegrating. Spinach is, of course, also great fresh or steamed, but for purposes of a dip I like it easy to mix. Frozen spinach, the cut up kind not the whole leaf kind, would probably also work here. To the drained can of spinach I added about 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) Vegenaise and 1/4 cup Tofutti cream cheese, then added a chopped up tomato as an afterthought (which is helpful because the vitamin C makes you more able to absorb the iron in the spinach). I've been going crazy with the Vegenaise lately. I saw an episode of PPK where they talk about the grapeseed kind being superior and I finally got around to trying it. It's AMAZING. I don't even like mayonnaise really but I could eat this stuff straight. The spinach dip is pictured with some pita flat bread that has an alarming number of calories but is so worth it when you toast it a little.



I got to craving a BLT. I know there are a lot of great recipes for bacon out there, but I just wasn't feeling up to it. I got the bright idea to take some vegan pepperoni, sprinkle it all over with bacon salt, and stick it in a 400 degree oven until it got a little chewy and crispy. It worked surprisingly well! I threw it on some toasted whole wheat with red leaf lettuce, beautiful organic Arkansas tomatoes, and a smear of Vegenaise. Really, it was heavenly. I don't think this would work as a bacon substitute for other purposes because it was still pretty spicy, but with the combination of flavors it was really great.

I know I promised baked goods. I still haven't found time to make them but I will soon. Also look for a couple of product reviews of my favorite things, and a nice creamy spinach dip.


Another Pasta Salad

It's boring lunch time! I'm sorry, I've neglected posting, but starting work and adjusting to a new schedule has taken a lot of time away from cooking and putzing about in the kitchen. I did make a big pot of pasta shells last night and took half of it for a pasta salad. Here is it on my desk. It's got sliced almonds, golden raisins, peas, celery, and some vegenaise.

This morning at my gym some people presented me with a cookbook and a card they'd chipped in for to celebrate me passing the bar exam. How adorable is that? It's the Designing Women Cookbook: lots of great traditional southern food. This link mentions the cookbook at the bottom, and on the left you'll find a link to Designing Women Fanfiction. Now I've seen it all.

I think I'm going to make something Thursday morning to share with the people who got it for me, so I'll post about that when it happens.


Red Beans

My mom loved these, and told me a story about the first time she made red beans and rice. The funny part was that all she did was heat up some red beans and make some rice. Yeah, that's not so much how it works. It was funny though, because I was feeling lazy when I made these and started by dumping a can of red beans and a can of diced tomatoes in a pot. I quickly thought better of it and dumped them into a bowl, rinsed out the pot, and sauteed some onions and garlic. Then I put the beans and tomatoes back in, heated it all up, and added tons of chili powder, some kind of salty cajun seasoning, and a little cayenne. I ate it with some cornbread leftover from the cooking class, but you could just as easily serve it over rice.