Friday, April 22, 2011

Catching up with Kind on Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Shining sun, chirping birds, snoring geriatric dog...what a great morning to play catch up.

I have been cooking over the last month, I swear.

This blog hasn't really reflected that lately, what with Spring Break in Banff,  my minor obsession with making Babycakes icing, and a couple of weekends of cheerleading competitions, including one in Anaheim, taking up my focus. I haven't posted any Kind Diet recipe attempts since St. Paddy's Day. Oops.

I'll punish myself with the cheese grater later. For now, time to catch up on noteworthy meals over the last few weeks...

After we returned from Banff, I should have been oatmealed out, as it was one of the only things I could eat at breakfast. 'Twas not the case, however, and I was eager to try Alicia's oatmeal.

This was stupid easy to make. I have no idea why people need instant oatmeal in a packet...I just mixed in the ingredients and added some water. It doesn't get much easier than that, and it was delicious (crispy apples for the win). Why have I never mixed apples into my oatmeal before? Because I was a sad, deprived, uninspired excuse for an oatmeal cook. That has now changed.

The biscuits were ok. I might try them again, but play around with the shape to make them thicker. I dunno...nothing to rave about, anyway. Galahad got to finish off a few, and he was a fan.

Rob's Rating: 
Oatmeal - 4 Happy Tongues
Biscuits - 3 Happy Tongues

My Saturday 9.0 cooking streak continued with Fried Udon Noodles (p. 229).

Just like the Rustic Pasta that I love, these noodles are prepared with cabbage, and I'm still surprised at how well cabbage works in pasta dishes. It just adds a really nice texture, taking away from the heaviness of the pasta to balance out the meal a bit. The flavour here is crazy good...the noodles are seasoned simply with paprika, giving them a really unique, almost sweet character.

No leftovers at the end of this night.

Rob's Rating:
Udon Noodles - 4 Happy Tongues

On Sunday 9.0 I had a hankerin' for risotto, and busted out Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms, Leeks & Peas (p. 228) for dinner. This was my second go at this recipe, and after the first time I made it, I resolved to deviate from the recipe a bit and cook the rice on mushroom broth instead of water.

Good idea.

Holy crap was the risotto incredible this time around. I mean, it was really good the first time we made it (I'd be hard-pressed to find an unpleasant risotto dish), but using the mushroom broth really took the deliciousness factor up a notch and put this dish in a whole other category, approaching the distinction of being one of my favourite Kind Diet recipes (right up there with PB cups, cornbread, and Caesar salad). I think it also helped that this time I used actual oyster mushrooms, as last time I got a bit confused with Whole Foods' abundant mushroom selection and bought the wrong ones.

Rob's Rating: 
Risotto: 4.5 Happy Tongues

Monday 10.0 was back to school after a one week Spring Break while other schools got to enter their second week of Spring Break, so to distract myself from this harsh, brutal unfairness, I made Radicchio Pizza with Truffle Oil (p. 144) for dinner, which also happens to be the first recipe in The Kind Diet.

This was all right, but definitely not one of my faves. The radicchio was quite bitter, which I don't mind in small quantities, but as the basis of the pizza it didn't work for me.

The redeeming factor of this dish, however, was the white truffle oil.

Listen carefully, for what I am about to tell you could change your life forever.

If you are a lover of all things mushroom, you MUST go out and blow $19 on an itty bitty bottle of white truffle oil. This stuff is INSANE. I drizzled it over the pizza, and it had such incredibly intense, amazing flavour, no exaggeration, I think I saw heaven. It was like the taste equivalent of looking into Chris Pine's eyes.

I know, right?

Rob's Rating:
Radicchio Pizza - 2 Happy Tongues

I didn't have to cook on Tuesday 10.0 because Rob so graciously volunteered...poutine with mushrooms and mushroom gravy. The perfect indulgent comfort food.

Monday 11.0 was a Tofurkey Pizza we bought at Karmavore, with salad and fresh squeezed apple juice a la Rob the Husband.

Not quite as good as traditional pizza, but it was definitely a worthy substitute. I'd totally buy it again.  And I realized I am a huge fan of fresh apple juice froth. 

Tuesday 11.0 was my second attempt at Tuna Salad Sandwich (Kinda) (p. 246). The first time I made this I cut up the veggies and tempeh a bit too big, which made it difficult to eat on a sandwich, so this time I cut everything up a lot smaller, which worked better in sandwich form. I liked this better than Rob did, but I think I prefer it with the larger chunks and in salad form instead of on a sandwich. It would be great to take as a salad on a picnic in the summer.

Note to self: Go on a picnic this summer.

Rob's rating:
Tuna Salad Sandwich (Kinda) - 2 Happy Tongues

Monday 12.0 was Mountain Burgers with Alicia's Caesar Salad (p. 175).

We also had quinoa burgers last week, and with such incredible burger meat alternatives around, I am not missing hamburgers at all. As long as I can slap on some mushrooms and avocado, my burger is good to go, no carcass needed. Definitely looking forward to sparking up the bbq this summer, hells yes.

The salad totally upped the awesomeness factor of the burgers as well. Alicia's Caesar salad has become a Happy Tongue Level 5 staple in our house...Rob even knows how to make it.  

On Tuesday 12.0 we tried what was probably the most unique and unexpected Kind Diet recipe yet: Waffle, Sausage and Cheese Panini (p. 153).

Break out the tambourine, because some celebrating is in order.

I know I'm not the only one out there who celebrates amazing discoveries with a rousing tambourine solo. Who's with me?!

Yes, well, this particular dish, on paper, just looks weird. Rob was actually the one who picked it, and I wouldn't have been trying it any time soon if if wasn't for him. The sauce is apricot jam, vegenaise, thyme, and pepper. Weird, right? You're supposed to slather that on a couple of waffles, and cram in some Italian soy sausage, sun dried tomatoes, arugula and vegan cheese. I repeat, weird. But I suspended disbelief, gave it a go, and was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by the brilliance of this culinary masterpiece.

Think super high quality McGriddle. Minus the heart attack.

Alicia uses the words "decadent" and "scrumpdiliumptious" to describe this panini. I concur. The savory and sweet flavours mingle together in a borderline palate overload of incredible flavours. I couldn't finish mine (Rob was happy to help out with that), and it's definitely something that goes in the once in a while category (and please for the love of Charlie Brown have some greens on the side), but it's one of those fantastic discoveries I'm really excited to have in my arsenal the next time I'm wanting something unconventional and fun just deelishus.

Rob's rating:
Waffle, Sausage & Cheese Panini - 4.5 Happy Tongues

One last Kind Diet meal of note to wrap up this catch up. Sunday 12.0: Mochi Waffles (p. 286)...also my second time making this one, but I used cinnamon-raisin flavoured mochi this time and covered it with apples.

Like my last experience making mochi waffles, I wasn't too thrilled with them. They are extremely hard to bite and chew, and while the flavour is ok, the texture in waffle form doesn't really do much for me. I like mochi better when it's not quite as hard, like the little soft bits that spill out of the waffle iron....those are fun & gooey. I'm thinking I might be overcooking them in the waffle iron, but if I take them out any earlier I don't think they'll be totally formed.

I wish Alicia could just come over and make this for me so I know whether I'm doing it wrong and potentially missing out on something great. I will cook with mochi again to try out different ways of preparing it, especially because Rob really likes it, but I don't think I'll be pursuing it in waffle form again. Alicia's Oatmeal (with apples and raisins this time) was perfect on the side, along with some veggie bacon (which totally tastes like turkey bacon).

Rob's rating:
Mochi Waffles - 3 Happy Tongues

There. Caught up. Sorta. I'm actually already well into Week the Thirteenth and have totally been busting out the Kind Diet recipes this week as well. But those will have to wait, as this Earth Day is already far too lovely to spend blogging indoors. Plus it's Good Friday, which means I'll be treats today; just the basics.

Earth Day agenda:
-Finish blog post with gorgeous pics of Chris Pine.
-Good Friday Mass.
-Epic walk with the dogs.

Well, I've just done my part to make the Earth more beautiful.

You're welcome.


  1. Chris Pine. I concur!
    Yola, what brand is the veggie bacon? And how have you prepared your mountain burger? I didn't love them. My favorite veg burger is at White Spot! You'll have to try it, with sauteed mushrooms, yum!
    I'm on the hunt for the best homemade veggie burger recipe, but a lot of them have lots of ingredients, so lots o' labour.

    We should totally plan a summer weekend day and test a few different recipes! You're place, you've got the big island :)
    Happy Easter!

  2. Veggie bacon is Yves, and we loved the mountain burgers! Just heated them on the frying pan and melted some vegan cheese on top. So good.

    We must definitely do some summer recipe experimenting...looking forward to it!