Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week one in a (protein-rich) nut shell: Part Two

Day one of the vegan experience was successful, which made it relatively easy to continue the experiment into day two...

Tuesday 1.0 - Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks and Peas (p. 228)/ Baby Bok Choy drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette (p. 264)

It turned out the mushrooms I bought were brown crimini and not oyster. Oops. 

This was the first time I made risotto on water and not broth. It was still flavourful with the stellar combo of mushrooms, leeks and peas, but I wonder if there is a reason I can’t make it on a veggie or mushroom broth. Hmmm...
The ume vinaigrette was one of the most unique things I’ve tasted. Ume vinegar is super salty, and I thought it’d be overwhelming on the bok choy, but it was a really great balance of flavours, and had a very pretty pink colour. I found myself really enjoying the risotto that soaked it up on my plate too. 
Going through Alicia’s recipes, I noticed she seems to use umeboshi vinegar and umebosi plum paste quite a lot. I had never heard of this stuff before, but my first experience with it gets an official thumbs up, as does our day two dinner. 
And for dessert...Mochi Waffles with Lemon Rice Walnut Syrup (p. 286)

Another first this with mochi. This stuff is super super hard, and it softens as you heat it up. I cut up strips of it, put it in the waffle iron, and oddly enough, it kind of puffed up and turned into a waffle. Though the lemon-walnut rice syrup was very tasty, I wasn't super impressed with the waffle. I didn't dig the "ricey" flavour and it was a bit hard to chew. Maybe the flavour and texture is something my non-vegan palate will eventually come to appreciate, as my brain is still used to waffles being soft and fluffy and covered in fruit and whipped cream. Because my Whole Foods Guru really sang mochi's praises, I resolved to try this again, as a waffle, but next time with flavoured mochi...I've seen it in cinnamon I think. I'll also try cooking it for slightly less time, which might help with the tougher texture. A learning curve, for sure. 

The fact that I was actually thinking about "next time" at this point suggested that maybe we would make it through the week's meal plan after all. 

Which brings us to day three...

One of the things I have started doing, which is new to me, is preparing my lunch the night before work. I would normally rarely eat lunch at work (on really busy days I'd barely even notice I was hungry), but it became quickly apparent that a) not eating wasn't really getting on board with the healthy aspect of a kinder and healthier lifestyle and b) purchasing lunch from the school cafeteria in moments of extreme hunger would be seriously limiting in terms of vegan options.

So I made quinoa.

Wendesday 1.0 - Quinoa with Basil and Pine Nuts (p. 224) / Crispy Peanut Butter Treats (p. 184)

I've only had quinoa (which I pronounced as kin-oh-ah until recently) a few times, and I really like it. But I think I've always had it prepared on broth. This version is prepared on water, and while the basil gives it a nice, fresh flavour, the dish isn't super exciting. Rob the husband actually texted me to let me know his thoughts on the quinoa when I packed it for his lunch...

Oh Robert :)

I will try it next time (still thinking there's a next time!) on a veggie or mushroom broth, and perhaps one day my palate will learn to appreciate quinoa for what it is with no bells and whistles.
The crispy peanut butter treats, on the other hand, were delightful.

Mmmm...just like a peanut butter rice krispie treat. Like all Alicia's recipes so far, this was super easy to make. Definitely easier to stir than traditional Rice Krispie treats, as the brown rice syrup is less sticky than marshmallows. I used raisins instead of chocolate chips to make it a bit more superhero. It made a really great snack, and didn't last very long on the kitchen counter between the two of us picking at it. We're not at superhero status yet, and portion control isn't quite factoring into the equation at this point.

The quinoa was for lunch. We had dinner plans that night with friends at their place. When my lovely friend found out we were trying out the vegan thing for the week, she messaged me asking if that meant that dinner needed to be vegan. Since we were just easing into this whole thing, I was happy to eat whatever was the plan for dinner that night, but I offered to bring a vegan dessert. So we had a very un-vegan Wednesday 1.0 dinner (chicken paprika and egg noodles...which were definitely worth breaking the 2.5 day vegan streak for. YUM.) 

But we followed it up with a very vegan dessert...Alicia's chocolate peanut butter cups, of course. I swear those things are spiked with crack. I know there shouldn't be crack in them, because I make them from scratch, but it's like the combination of ingredients somehow causes a chemical reaction that creates a form of crack. Those things are just ridiculously yummy and make me feel ridiculously happy. Kinda like Tylenol 3. 

Was that an inappropriate prescription drug reference? Oh well, I plead new blogger ignorance. I'll be pleading new blogger ignorance as long as I can. 

I have a feeling the peanut butter cup is going to be a recurring character in this blog.

1 comment:

  1. The peanut butter cup can be a recurring character in my life...