Starting this week (Week the Sixth), Rob will rate each dish anywhere from 0-5 Happy Tongues...
0 - vomit inducing
1 - barely edible
2 - meh
3 - hmmm....pretty good...pretty good...yup, that was pretty good
4 - daaayum...definitely looking forward to making this again and soon...and my wife is hot.
5 - earth shatteringly-mind blowingly-can't shovel it into my mouth fast enough-holy crap I hear the cherubim singing-Bono/Natalie Portman/Chuck Norris roundhouse kick hybrid level of awesomeness-amazing
Rob doesn't really know what cherubim are, but whatever.
I started Week the Sixth with sushi on Monday. I was planning to go home and cook dinner after play practice that day, but instead went for sushi with cd and elvirus. Is it bad blog etiquette to include inside jokes in a blog? Whatever...awkward laptop.
Sushi is a pretty easy option if you're trying to eat vegan. I do miss the California rolls, but avocado & yam rolls are a decent substitute. And I'm thrilled that my favourite green salad from Yoko seems to be vegan...the ginger dressing is phenomenal.
Tuesday 6.0: Rustic Pasta (p. 147) / Cornbread (p. 163)
This pasta was beyond delicious.
I used shallots instead of onions to make the base for it, and it was super flavourful. Most restaurant pastas have cheese in them, but this one definitely didn't require parmesan or any other cheese to enhance the flavour or make up for anything lacking in the recipe. I made it with Rob's favourite type of pasta, angel hair, and the cabbage in it was insane. I'd never thought to put cabbage in pasta, but it works brilliantly.
I paired the pasta with cornbread muffins, and these are just always good...sweet, crunchy on the outside, crumbly, and best straight out of the oven.
Rustic pasta - 4.5 Happy Tongues
Cornbread - 4 Happy Tongues
Wednesday 6.0: Black Soybean and *Kabocha* Squash Stew (but I used butternut squash) (p. 164) / Braised Daikon in Mirin and Shoyu (p. 271) / Pumpkin Bread (p. 202)
This stew took FOREVER to make.
The beans had to cook for 90 minutes and then longer with the other ingredients. But it was still quite simple. I was surprised to find it was pretty sweet, and I assume that sweetness came from the squash. A really hearty, tasty winter dish, and perfect with brown basmati rice.
I lost my daikon virginity with this meal. I had never cooked with or eaten daikon before this, but Alicia raves about daikon in her book and on her site, so I decided to give it a try.
This cooked for a long time and didn't absorb all the liquid like the recipe said it would, but it was still delicious. It's a really yummy alternative to the conventional veggies I'm used to. Because it cooked with kombu seaweed, this version has a slight ocean-y taste. Rob compared it to an oshinko roll. My daikon didn't turn a pretty pink like in the book, but the pretty yellow worked for me.
I have weird thumb wrinkles.
I still don't think I can say I know what daikon really tastes like because it's marinated and cooked like crazy in this recipe, but I am convinced to give it another go for sure.
The pumpkin bread was a bit of a flop for me, to be honest. All my fault, not Alicia's. My loaf pans were too small and I overfilled them with batter.
Even though it looks quite good, the insides did not bake properly. They were still runny, so in an attempt to salvage the recipe I cut the (properly baked) top off of the loaves and put the rest back in the oven. Didn't really work.
Oh well. We picked away at the top layer, and it was quite good. I might end up cutting up the rest and trying to crisp it up in the oven a couple of pieces at a time. We do have two pans to get through.
Even if I didn't overfill the pans and it came our perfectly, I still likely wouldn't be repeating this recipe. It's EXPENSIVE. I used an entire $12 container of maple sugar and even that wasn't enough! I don't mind splurging on kinder and healthier alternatives for creating these amazing kind dishes, but this pumpkin bread just didn't excite me enough to warrant making it again. Not to worry for me because there are many many other kind and delicious desserts.
Black Soybean and *Butternut* Squash Stew - 3 Happy Tongues
Braised Daikon in Mirin and Shoyu - 4 Happy Tongues
Pumpkin Bread (the top layer that baked up properly anyway) - 3 Happy Tongues
Thursday 6.0: Crispy Tofu Slices with Orange Dipping Sauce (p. 158) / Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Basil, and Tomato (p. 151) / Baby Bok Choy drizzled with Ume Vinaigrette (p. 265)
Rob was really looking forward to the crispy tofu...I didn't buy baked tofu so I just baked some on my own and used that to proceed with the recipe. Fun to make and eat but there was wayyyyyy too much leftover orange dipping sauce.
Alicia recommended adding this rice dish and bok choy to the tofu to make a complete meal, so I took her up on that. She is awesome for creating meal plans to go with the recipes.
You know what else is awesome? This delicious rice dish:
This is TOTALLY yummy. For real.
This recipe didn't stand out to me in the book and I probably wouldn't have been inspired to try it any time soon if Alicia didn't recommend it to go with the Crispy Tofu. I would have never considered grouping tomatoes and rice together, but it works beautifully. I used leftover rice from yesterday's meal, so this was a practically effortless dish with simple, light, refreshing flavours.
As per Alicia's suggestion I finished off the plate with some baby bok choy and we were good to go! I love the salty ume vinaigrette with the bok choy. Yay greens! Rob is less enthused, but that's ok.
Cuz you gotta have the greens.
Crispy Tofu - 3.5 Happy Tongues
Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Basil, and Tomato - 3 Happy Tongues (a travesty!)
Baby Bok Choy with Ume Vinaigrette - 3 Happy Tongues
Now, in honor of Rob the husband's first official ratings post, I present to you Chuck Norris approving of something.
Ima guess he's liking the vegan food.