Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Back!

Oh, man. It's been a pretty hectic month this past month, but I think all that stuff is behind me. I can finally start to relax and settle into my new home. I start school June 4th, but I still have a couple more weeks of relaxation!

My apartment is almost completely in order. I will show you guys what it looks like when I'm done. Right now I have half-assembled pieces of furniture all over the place. I'm not very motivated, lol. I have been doing a little bit of cooking but it's kinda hard since I have to completely rebuild my kitchen from scratch. Most of my ingredients got left back in Missouri since I couldn't take it all with me, though I did try and bring some of my more expensive and hard-to-find items (like vanilla beans and my gluten-free flours). But now that I have a few staples (sea salt, olive oil, curry powder, tahini) I feel like I'm starting to get my groove on again.

I don't know if I've mentioned this (I think I have) but I live on an organic vegetable farm. Their main income comes from their CSA, but they also sell extras at the local farmer's market (I can't believe I live in a place now that has both of these things! Lol). I've been helping them harvest on the farm, just for fun and to give me something to do, and in return I've been given some produce. The other day I was given a bunch of dinosaur kale, some savoy cabbage, and some garlic scapes. Since I wanted something like a stir fry, I simply sauteed it all together with an onion in some olive oil and then finished it off with a little balsamic vinegar.

It was good, especially cold the next day when I ate it as a side dish, but I think I would have preferred it with rice vinegar and maybe some Asian-style seasonings. I will play around with this some more. I ate this with a dal that I made. It was basically yellow lentils (toor dal?) simmered with 2-3 times extra water to make it thick and creamy, and then I added curry powder and salt to taste. Oh, and I put a box of frozen butternut squash puree in there too to give it a boost of nutrition. It was actually really good. It was simple and comforting and it hit the spot!

I've also tried out a couple of the local restaurants. The first day here I was super hungry, and I stopped at pretty much the first place I saw that I knew would have something for me. What I got was a hummus and vegetable pita wrap. It was good, but definitely overpriced. Since I've been on a hummus kick lately, I decided to make my own version. I then smeared it on a flatbread wrap and rolled it up with some veggies to make a cheaper (and I dare say, tastier) version at home. Normally, I jazz up my homemade hummus with some roasted garlic or roasted red bell peppers or cumin, but I'm on a tight budget, so I went with the basics here (and it's still delicious!):
Jess's Lazy Hummus:
"Lazy" because I don't really measure anything,
2 cans chickpeas, liquid from one can reserved, but the rest drained
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. olive oil
3/4 tsp. salt (or more or less to taste)
juice from two lemons

1. Toss the onion in the food processor to mince.

2. Add the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice to the food processor and puree. Add just enough of the reserved chickpea liquid to give the hummus a thick and creamy consistency (you could also use water, I suppose). Blend until completely smooth.

3. Cover and chill for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.

Once, the hummus is ready, simply spread your flatbread/wrap with hummus, layer on some cucumber, tomato, lettuce, black olives, and sprouts (gotta have the sprouts), roll it up tight and you're good to go! I wanted to make a vegan yogurt sauce to put on it as well, but I'm currently out of spices at the moment. I'll have to do that the next time around.

That's mostly what I've been doing for now, though I'll post later about the Green Posole Seitan Stew from Vive Vegan next time. That was the last thing I cooked before I left, but I never got around to blogging about it. Anywho, more food to come. I've got new pans and bakeware and I know how to use them!

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