Dumplings and Hunan Salmon

Maybe it’s all the years of Chinese food being one of the few vegan options when eating out, but now it generally isn’t my first choice when eating out. I don’t hate it or even dislike it, I guess I’m just not excited by it. I like Thai, Vietnamese and Korean much better.

But we still go out for Chinese and it’s still good. This time we headed to Green Sprout to celebrate J.J.’s graduation. We started off with steamed dumplings. They were okay, but I like Harmony’s and Chinese Buddha’s better.

And I had Hunan Salmon. It’s vegan salmon, duh, lightly battered and deep fried with a nice assortment of vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, it was good and I was happy to eat it and the leftovers. But like most Chinese food I just can’t get excited about it.

Korean broccoli fried rice

Last time I made a batch of brown rice, I froze the extra to use for quick meals. When making out my grocery list for the week, I ran across Korean Broccoli Fried Rice in World Vegan Feast.

The recipe calls for leftover tofu scramble. I was just going to skillet fry tofu, but the tofu I had went bad. So I used some May Wah chicken nuggets I had hanging out in the freezer instead, baked them, then chopped them up. We don’t eat a ton of fake meat products at home, but they are kind of nice every once in a while.

It doesn’t sound like there’s much by way of seasoning in the recipe, but it turns out great. Of course, sesame oil in anything usually pops it into the delicious category for me. Mine is also sprinkled with the gomashio that I keep on hand to sprinkle on whatever I can and a pretty squirt of sriracha. And at about 2 o’clock you’ll see a little pile of “seasoned parched seaweed” I found at Your Dekalb Farmers Market. It’s a little oily so I use it sparingly but it adds a great flavor punch. Oh, and it’s pretty good for you, or something.

Ugandan-style peanut butter stew

With bell peppers and tomatoes in the CSA box, I had everything I needed to make another recipe from World Feast Vegan, Ugandan-Style Peanut Butter Stew. I’m a big fan of peanut flavored foods. Usually they seem to have sweet potatoes. So this was a little different than the African stews I’ve made before.

The flavor was nice, but the bell pepper got kind of mushy. Next time I might cut it bigger or add it in a little later. A bed of brown rice soaked up all the tasty sauce.

On the side, that’s just kale massaged with olive oil and rice vinegar.

Creole Hoppin’ Jean

Holy crap, I cooked again! Some one give me a prize, quick!

Lately I’ve been trying to clean out my freezer a bit, probably just so I can fill it up again. Possibly with larger bottles of vodka. There’s a bag of frozen black-eyed peas in there that’s been languishing for a while. So when thinking about what I could do with them, I picked up my copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen knowing it had some options.

Creole Hoppin’ Jean it is! Or was. It had a long list of spices that sounded tasty and I already had brown rice hanging about. Instead of the usual onions in hoppin’ john recipes, this one called for shallots. Changes, of course I made some. Since I used frozen black-eyed peas instead of dried, I skipped the soaking step. I didn’t soak the rice either. It seemed unnecessary since it was going to simmer for 50 minutes. And it all worked out just fine. More than fine, tasty! The rice broke up in cooking. Seems like it would do that even more if it had been soaked. Not that that was a problem at all. For greenery, I just tossed some green beans on the side. There are a few extra steps than regular hoppin’ john, but the results are worth it if you are a fan of the spicy.

Those nice people from POM Wonderful have sent me two new flavors of their juice to try, Pomegranate Nectarine and Pomegranate Kiwi. I need to crack those open soon and let you know what I think.

Quick, Lazy Lunch

I didn’t have any leftovers today for lunch. Luckily there’s a grocery store nearby that has veggie sushi. It always tastes pretty fresh and is one of the more healthy things you can grab really quickly. And, it just got healthier — they now make some with brown rice! I can hear a certain someone making gag noises as I type this. Quiet, no one is making you eat brown rice! Yet!

Sorry the pic is kind of crappy, but the natural light coming in just isn’t hitting it at the right angle and we refuse to turn on the overhead lights in my office. It’s a web cave tradition. Note my super cool Apple mug in the background that I got way back in 1994 when I worked at Kinko’s in San Francisco. Wow, I just realized how old that mug is. Lalalalalala!