Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Scumbagz

The Scumbagz were in town to play this concert benefiting Boise Community Radio and the ACLU of Idaho. It was their live debut, and what a success it was! First time listeners were dancing, grooving, and gasping at their outrageousness. How appropriate for a band that explores the extremes of free speech to play in a benefit concert promoting civil liberties and raising funds for Boise Community Radio (locally grown radio...). Thanks to the band for traveling here and helping us out! You have Scumbagz fans here in Boise! S F * F S

The Scumbagz covered a Digable Planets song, and you can listen below, but caution, the lyrics are pretty much meant to offend, which is the whole gag.

There is a lot more than meets the eye. This band is comprised of accomplished, well educated musicians/artists. Originally they were only billed to play one venue, but word spread quickly, and they were invited to play another club the following night.

They are an extreme spin-off of the early 80's style punk rock bands -- hard-driving, anti-establishment rock 'n' roll, characterized by harsh lyrics. "King" the lead singer and front man really plays up the scumbag image, making it total entertainment.
(left to right) Rank Smell, Egdoh Tra, King, Johnny Chowda

Being a band groupie doesn't leave much time for cooking, but I managed to make some 'Chocolate Mint Melties' (from Everyday Dish DVD) pictured in front of the Scumbagz Swag Bags.
I also whipped up some guacamole (Mikaela), cherry turn-overs in puff pastry (Stonielove), and 'Creamy Hummus' (Catherine) from Vive. For good measure, I tossed them Primal Strips, nuts, & Kettle Chips. Thank you all for the "band munchies" advice below -- as you can see, your suggestions really helped.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's Cherry Season!

The G'parents were visiting from California over the Father's Day weekend, and we decided to go pick cherries. This was the first time picking fruit from trees (other than the backyard variety) for my city in-laws, but this brought back fond childhood memories for me. I would hang-out at the top of the ladder, picking & eating all my tummy could hold as a youth in my uncle's orchards. My mother would fill the bathtub with our bounty waiting to be canned, frozen, or dried.

I was only able to get two lame photos before my battery died, which I'll include just because they remind me of the experience. This is when we first arrived, eventually Cliff grabbed a bucket and filled it up, as did Art and myself. Some of the trees were so heavy with fruit the branches hung low enough for the girls to pick, which produced some red faces, hands, and shirts. None of us could resist snacking on the cherries! As one of the few fruits with true seasonality, the cherry's fleeting presence makes it all the more sweet to eat. So don't let cherry season pass you by.

I had to run to Williams-Sonoma to get a cherry pitter to help with the task. It's a handy (& necessary) tool that cost $12 -- well worth it, and it also works on olives. One by one I extracted the pit from 20 pounds of cherries! (they only cost $22)

I froze 10 bags with 3 cups of cherries each, and still had some fresh cherries to use in recipes and just eat plain.

For breakfast, I made 'Mocha Chip Muffins' from Vegan with a Vengeance (p. 51) and simply added about a half cup chopped cherries.

I raised the "chocolate bar" by using Zen Soy chocolate pudding and chocolate Silk.

These muffins were enjoyed by all, and I really love the combo of sweet juicy cherries and semi-sweet chocolate.

I wish you could smell this aroma, which was even more fragrant than the orchard from which they came. I wanted to make something that featured cherries, used few ingredients, and was easy to make. This is the beginning of my
Cherry Pie Filling'
4 c. fresh pitted Cherries
1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Arrowroot Powder

In a saucepan, bring the cherries and water to boil. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and arrowroot powder, add that to boiling cherries until thickened. Cool in the fridge.

I put one tablespoon of the cherry filling in puff pastry squares, folded them over, sealed with water and a fork pinch, & then baked for about 12 minutes.

G'pa enjoyed his Father's Day dessert with a scoop of So Delicious vanilla.

The girls painted t-shirts for dad & g'pa, who wore them to the antique car show downtown.

This weekend, Art's CA band, The Scumbagz, will be in town playing a fundraiser for Boise Community Radio and the ACLU of Idaho. Several other local bands will also be performing and Art will be DJing as well. I plan to prepare some food for the band (one is vegetarian and the others are open minded) and I hope they like it. I'd love to hear your "band munchies" suggestions! and, I have some left-over, frozen cherry filling -- Any ideas? I hope you have a fabulous weekend, and I think I'll have some time to blog hop to your place while the band records in Art's home studio. Until then, keep cooking & sharing vegan food! Happy Summer Solstice! (The first day of summer & longest day of the year)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Raspberry Sauce

A piece of cake (see below) with SO Delicious vanilla, & drizzled with my 'Raspberry Sauce'

2 c. raspberries, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp pomegranate juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Put it all in a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, stir until the raspberries break down. Chill until ready to serve. (It's really yummy!)

The CA g'parents were here over the Father's Day weekend and we all went cherry picking. That was fun & rewarding! Soon I'll have time to share that experience, and check in with you. :o)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Everyday Dish DVD Review

I have been enjoying the DVD "Everyday Dish" which features Julie Hasson, Dreena Burton and Bryanna Clark Grogan, along with some of their delicious recipes. The DVD format is great for me because my computer is within sight in the kitchen so I was able to watch and prepare along with the pros! I could see it being done, then watch it while using the printable recipes. I would do the prep work and set out the ingredients, then cue up the DVD, and mise en place I really had fun! I've watched some sections several times and I will eventually try everything in the DVD, but I'm at a point now to show some of the great results I got.

I made Julie's 'Nora's Cake' and 'Chocolate Espresso Frosting' for my mom's birthday. This cake is very easy to make and super-delicious. It's light and very chocolatey. I was so taken with Amey's cake design, that I made my own snowflake stencil to shake powdered sugar over. Mom said she'd only seen this done with doilies, which would be amazing. One tip -- don't use candles (or at least don't blow them out) as my Mom gave us all a surprise accidental dusting of sugar as we finished singing to her. I had to flaten out the frosting for the stencil design, but you should know this frosting is very light and fluffy.
Here's Julie's 'Deli Style Noodle Soup' which is a snap to prepare, and makes the house smell delicious... as if you've been slaving for hours. After prep, it only takes 25 minutes to assemble soup that may remind you of your childhood - warm & comforting. Watching the DVD imparts tons of information you can't glean from a flat cookbook, like: product identification, professional techniques & tips, substitutions, variations, visual step-by-step, quick recipes, and even fun cooking terms. Plus, you get to watch seasoned vegan chefs sharing their trade right in your home.

Dreena's 'Sundried Tomato Humus' is a welcome twist on an old favorite. We enjoyed having this on hand this week for quick snacking, and thought the flavor only improved the next day. Make it the night before your next gathering for some easy & impressive entertaining. Pairs well with a bottle of red wine!

Dreena's 'Chocolate Mint Melties' "Scratch every other cookie off the list. This is the one." were Art's words after eating this cookie. My mouth was too busy chewing, so I just nodded my head in agreement and giggled at Liv's chocolate-smeared face, as we gobbled them all up. I had to reassure Art that I had another endangered species Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest bar. We can & will make more.

Bryanna's 'Vegan Chicken Cutlets' prepared one way she suggests. She shares how she breads the cutlets (w/o egg, of course!) to make them veinerschnitzel style, which is what I did here. I may not have tackled this recipe without the video demonstration, which really clarifies so much. I figured out how to make the patties more uniform, as well as sped up this process considerably -- I formed the patties by placing the cutlet between parchment paper and pressing, unfold the paper and a perfect cutlet is formed and easily removed from the parchment paper. This recipe will replace most of the boxed faux meats that we currently purchase. They're easy to make, quick to prepare, totally delicious, and extremely versatile as you'll see in the next photo...
Here are Bryanna's 'Vegan Chicken Cutlets' made Art's style, which has been dinner the past two nights. (we have gone through 16 cutlets this week!) He slices the cutlets, then grills them in a pan with some light oil, and repeatedly adds bar-b-que sauce and serves on a bun with fresh greens and tomato slices. This sandwich totally rocks. I see no reason to fiddle around with other seitan recipes. The search is over. I'm set. But I guess I shouldn't be too surprised because I've heard Bryanna is the faux meat queen. These cutlets are really that good.

Bryanna's 'Lemon-Lime Bars' are a perfect summertime treat. They're light and similar to cheesecake, with a superb tangy tropical flavor. Make them the night before company arrives. Toast some shaved coconut, top with lime zest, and perhaps a mint sprig. Or, you can sneak bites straight out of the pan at midnight like we've done the past few nights.

If you've ever dreamed of watching a vegan cooking show, then this DVD was made for you; there are more clips to see on the Everyday Dish link.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Oatmeal-Banana-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I veganized, twisted and flipped a recipe from this cookbook that I found for one dollar at a garage sale. I owned this book as a kid and loved it. It brings back memories!

Heat oven to 375* & Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Stir together in bowl:
1 C. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger

1 C. brown sugar (packed)
1 C. rolled oats

Mix in thoroughly:
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp vanilla soy milk
1/4 C. mashed banana

Stir in:
1/4 C. chocolate chips

Bake for about 12 minutes, then cool on the sheet a minute before transferring to a rack. These taste better the next day, if they last that long! I got 16 cookies.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Planting Trees

I'm really going to miss these six little trees. I found them about a year ago - volunteers sprouting around the yard. I knew they had to be pulled, but wanted them to live, so I transplanted them to terra cotta pots, and babied them all year long. They've grown so much, but the pots had become root bound. Mom said they'd take them on their property. My mom is a tree freak, I guess that's where I get it. Here they are ready to go.

Each of the six trees we planted represented each of us: Mom, Bill, Liv, Abi, Art, & I. Here I am holding my tree, which was planted East of Arts, and North of the girls.

Trees are green machines that act as natural filters of our air. Through the process of photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide (principle contributor to global warming) from the atmosphere and store it in their trunk, branches, leaves, roots, soil and foliage, while releasing oxygen back out - like magic.

Here's Mom holding her tree. She was pretty excited about it all! lol!

But, "First", she said, "we'll need energy, so I'll make lunch -- and I even have something that you'll like, Vicki!"

I admit to being very skeptical about that.

We went in the kitchen, and she pulls this box from the garage freezer all secretive. "Shhh, don't tell Bill, he doesn't know they aren't meat hamburgers. He likes a more manly meal, you know."

I didn't ask her to explain, I just sliced avocado, tomato, and pickles while she leafed the lettuce and toasted the whole wheat bread.
She was right, I really liked that lunch a lot. You know, I think she's getting it!

A "non-manly" meal didn't seem to hold Bill back from digging 6 holes in the ground! He never mentioned the switch-a-roo. Maybe he can't tell the difference? Maybe he knows, but won't let on because he prefers Boca? Who knows who has the other one fooled, but it's a funny game they play!

See Jolie back there running around?

Both girls helped plant their trees, and theirs are directly South of mine.

The brown paper bag was planted along with each tree. We were all quite proud of ourselves for being so green, and I can't wait to go back and see how our trees are fairing.

The Nez Perce reservation in Lapwai, Idaho, have begun a very cool program. The native people are creating jobs and restoring their lands by planting trees as carbon offsets.

Love Trees is another cool carbon offsetting tree program. Give a tree. Plant a tree. Hug a tree.

He who plants a tree
Plants a hope.
~Lucy Larcom, "Plant a Tree"

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Soup, Salad, & Bread

This 'Banana Carob Almond Coconut Loaf' from ExtraVeganZa (pg. 125) was delicious! I used equal amounts of whole wheat pasty flour and spelt flour, and the recipe is actually for muffins, but I decided to just dump the mix in a loaf pan and it baked through nicely. The recipe also calls for chopped almonds inside the batter, but I knew the girls wouldn't go for it that way, so I put sliced almonds on top, which is easy to remove. Art and I ate several slices, and this is a yummy recipe with several flavors that compliment each other perfectly.

Here is a bread bowl of 'Potato-Asparagus Soup' from Vegan with a Vengeance (p. 99) I had an abundance of potatoes and asparagus to use up, and like magic, I found this recipe. Isa admits to not spicing up this recipe much because asparagus is her favorite vegetable and she wanted its flavor to shine through. It shined a little too much for us, and we added several shakes of chili powder and sea salt, which kicked it up a notch. I'm a huge fan of this cookbook, but this recipe turned out just OK. Look at the fresh lacy dill from my herb barrel!

For Memorial Day we went to a barbecue at Fred & Wendy's house. She asked me to bring a salad, and my standby is 'Quinoa Spring Salad' from Vive le Vegan! (pg. 71) Art took this photo right before leaving, and the wind blew off, and took away the fresh cilantro garnish! I LOVE this salad, and this is a double recipe. Fred thoughtfully grilled some portobello mushrooms for us on the grill knowing we are veggie. Thanks for a fun party!

There was left-over salad from the party, so Art and I ate cups of salad the next day. Nasturtiums are growing like weeds in my herb barrel, so I dressed them up Hawaiian style!

More cups of salad! This time, I made a 'Simple Slaw' which had shredded cabbage, carrots, and green onion. It's tossed with Brianna's Real French Vinaigrette, which is a light dressing. I also added some sunflower seeds to mine after the photo - I like crunchy food!

Stay cool this summer! Looks like another hot one - we are already breaking records here in Idaho (yesterday was 20 degrees higher than the record!), and our power bill went up 20% because of the lack of moisture over the winter. Is it 2008 yet?