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Allison_'s Profile

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You've been cursed by the food gods and can only cook 12 recipes the rest of your life! What are they?

1. Good tomato sauce
2. Tomato risotto
3. Corn fritters
4. Scalloped potatoes
5. Roasted brussels sprouts
6. Bean chili (the one from How it All Vegan, plus corn)
7. Sweet corn, boiled is just fine
8. Tomato soup
9. Skillet beans with potatoes and greens
10. Fried egg sandwiches
11. Waffles
12. Raspberry banana bran muffins

Feb 18, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Mango

This would be better with fresh mangoes, but there's a great salad recipe from Veganomicon. Basically mango, quinoa, red bell pepper, black beans, green onion, cilantro and a red wine vinaigrette. Really lovely.

Feb 16, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Budget Meals, no meat

Speaking of soup, one of this year's favourite soups is Bittman's glazed carrot soup - if you google it the Google Books result will come up - though I tried to substitute honey for the maple syrup once, and it didn't come out well. Brown sugar might be a reasonable substitute. Maple syrup is a staple in Canada, I'm not sure where you are! Anyway, a bag of carrots is very cheap, and there's not much else in this soup, but it always feels fancy.

Feb 15, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Budget Meals, no meat

We're also veg and on a tight budget, so I hear you! Soup is about the cheapest meal you can put together, but you don't want things to get boring. Recently I bought a container of red miso. It was pricey at $7, but well worth the investment over time - since then I've thrown together several unconventional miso soups, once with ramen and another time with Italian spaghettini, some stock and whatever beans veggies were lying around. It felt a little fancier than our usual soups. (Also, I know beans might sound odd in a miso soup but chick peas were really yummy and fit right in.)

You might think about adapting your shopping habits to your new budget, without giving up your old recipes. I only use store-bought broth when company is coming over. Otherwise, I use water or bouillon cubes from the local health food store. (Watch out for the supermarket brands - a lot of them contain MSG.) Think about switching from canned beans to dried. Tofu is usually much cheaper at Asian grocery stores, if one is nearby, than at your supermarket. In fact, I'm pretty sure tofu is a more expensive protein source than beans - maybe it's worth using a little less? You can make some fantastic curries with beans.

Feb 15, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Still Hungry ... Late Night ... How about an Fried Egg Sandwich?

This is a real comfort food staple in my mother's kitchen, and now mine. We share an irrational fear of runny eggs (I know, I know) so I break the yolk and cook it through. Bread always toasted, with butter. When I'm feeling fancy I sometimes slice some cheddar thin and add it to the sandwich, and if I'm feeling very elaborate I slice some tomato too. Mmmm. Now I want one....

Feb 15, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

fun/exciting packed lunches?

It's been a busy year, and my partner has been picking up a lot of slack. This week I have some time off, and want to spend it spoiling her. I'm the cook in the house, so one of the things I'd like to do is pack her nice lunches to take to the office. (Usually she throws together PB&J or a cheese sandwich.)

Unfortunately, I'm already out of ideas! I just about always eat at home, so I'm not used to packing lunches. Any suggestions?

Within reason, time isn't really an issue, because I enjoy cooking and have some time. I'm vegetarian, so preparing meat isn't my strength, but some sliced meat in a sandwich isn't out of the question. We've got a thermos, so soup will be on the menu at least one day. My partner can't handle really spicy dishes, and doesn't enjoy things very high in fat. We're also on a pretty tight budget, but I'm pretty handy with a grocery list so I can afford to splurge a little.

Feb 15, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Worst in Toronto

Yes, the flavours at Spring Rolls are always noticeably... off. Like they've been cooking a dish for years, ingredient proportions have drifted naturally, but no one has tasted it in so long that they haven't noticed.

Jan 24, 2009
Allison_ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Worst in Toronto

I gather Frans has gone downhill over the last 30 years or so, but their breakfast food is still edible. (Hard to mess up.) I always appreciate that they have veggie breakfast sausages.

Jan 24, 2009
Allison_ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Vegetarian haggis in Toronto?

I just realized, late, that it's Burns Night tomorrow. Does anyone know a good place to buy vegetarian haggis in Toronto, preferably downtown? I don't have a car, so the Scottish specialty shops in Scarborough are probably out, though we'll see how dedicated I'm feeling.

I know this has been discussed before, and I gather Loblaws carried haggis in the east end a few years ago, but I've love to hear from anyone who has figured out where to buy it recently.

Also, the idea of canned haggis kind of grosses me out, though I know it shouldn't be any different in principle from the vacuum-packed stuff I ate in Edinburgh... Really, I'd love to find a health food store or something selling Macsweens...

Jan 24, 2009
Allison_ in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

thai food

Oh look, there's a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massaman...

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

What is the most unusual, but tasty, sandwich you make or have made?

When I lived in residence and ate out of the university cafeteria, fresh sandwiches were the best food going, so we got creative. One of my more unusual favourites was roasted red pepper hummus, thinly sliced red onions, and cucumber on dark rye.

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

thai food

Could it have been beef massaman? I understand that is a Thai curry that you encounter in the UK a bit more than in North America. It's massaman curry paste (different from the red or green, I'm no expert here, but it's often said to be made from "muslim" ingredients, whatever that means) and some coconut milk. It often includes potatoes and comes out looking more like a Western beef stew (gravy-like) than you'd expect from Thai food.

My mother in law makes a great one, I could find the recipe if you're interested.

Here's a representative photo of the dish: http://www.taste.com.au/images/recipe...

Look familiar?

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

What Frozen Vegetables are in your freezer.....

I always have peas (used in just about anything, especially curries, soups, or just on their own, steamed in the microwave) corn (for corn fritters and chili in the months when fresh sweetcorn isn't available) some sort of neutral mix which doesn't contain broccoli (for soup) and an "Asian" mix (for a quick noodle soup/ramen alternative). At the moment I also have quite a bit of cauliflower. I bought it to use in a creamy curried veg dish from either Veganomicon or How it All Vegan, I forget, and it worked really well. I'm not sure what else I'd use it for, though - I'm a bit suspicious of cauliflower in general.

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Your favorite recipes using chevre / goat cheese

Finally, I posted a goat cheese pasta recipe in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5796...

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Your favorite recipes using chevre / goat cheese

Also, we spread cold chevre on bagels rather than cream cheese. It's an excellent lactose-free substitute.

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Your favorite recipes using chevre / goat cheese

There's a twist on baked goat's cheese that is coveted in my household. It's from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (and probably the other one too) - basically, you coat rounds of chevre with bread crumbs, herbs, salt and pepper. Slice a tomato, and place the slices in the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Place the goat's cheese rounds on top. Bake until the tomatoes are soft and the goat's cheese is hot through. Serve with hot baguette, or any toast, in a pinch. Spoon the cheese/tomato mixture onto bread and eat. It's undignified but yummy, and a very quick dinner.

Jan 10, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Canned fried onions as breading

I find TV cooks a little heavier on the salt (and garlic, and onion) than most of us would prefer in our own kitchens. I figure it's a restaurant thing.

Jan 06, 2009
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Lactose-free cream substitutes?

I'm sure it works, but $5 is a lot to spend every time I want to use cream. I saw something on the Food Network yesterday that is probably almost exactly the same, except not soy-free: cashews soaked in soy milk for 20 minutes and then pureed. You'd have to figure out the right proportions, and find some reasonably affordable cashews, but at least it could be made in < 1 litre quantities... Interestingly, there's a popular vegan ice cream book that's based on cashew cream.

Dec 30, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

$100 limit. Nine people. Help.

I'd second chili. But here's a pasta dish that I picked up at some chain Italian place in Edinburgh. It's yummy, simple, and maybe a bit more impressive looking than chili, soup or stew - it doesn't look like it's on a budget, though the bulk is just pasta. Also, the whole thing won't take more than 30 minutes.

plenty of penne - enough to fill up 9 people, so we're talking several bags, maybe not the best time to buy fancy brand-name pasta
at least one large log of plain goat's cheese - this will blow most of your budget, here it would be $6-10 but that's okay, because everything else should be affordable
baby spinach - enough for a generous handful per person
about 2 packages of cherry tomatoes, halved - if I were you, in this case, I'd substitute a cheaper tomato, chopped
the smallest package of pine nuts you can find - this is just a garnish, but I think, unfortunately, it's essential
a touch of nice olive oil - hopefully already in your kitchen

1. Toast pine nuts.

2. Cook the pasta. When it's cooked, drain and turn off the stove, but leave the pot on the element so that the rest of the ingredients will be just warmed through.

3. Add the goat's cheese first, then the tomatoes, and then the spinach. You want everything warm, and the tomatoes just a bit mushy, but you don't want the spinach to actually wilt.

4. Some of the goat's cheese will melt and coat the pasta, and some will stay in chunks, but this depends on the cheese. It comes out nicely either way. If the pasta seems dry at all, drizzle with olive oil.

5. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Dec 30, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Need a fabulous, but not trying-too-hard menu for a date

Fondue! At least two kinds, maybe three. Cooperative, goofy, short on prep, the sort of treat most people don't get often...

Dec 28, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Top-5 Cooking Goals for 2009

I'm curious - what do you do with pumpkin in a crock pot?

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Need ideas -- nay, a menu! -- for new year's day meal

Re-reading your post - the advantage of a lasagna, gratin, or something else casserole-ish is that you could do the vast majority of the work at home, assemble and then just bake at their place.

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Need ideas -- nay, a menu! -- for new year's day meal

Okay, this is more than you need, but I'd say the only thing that wasn't perfect about those is that the top layer of pasta got a little too crispy without sauce. A bit of cheese on top would probably do the trick, maintaining some crispiness without making it taste like uncooked pasta. Okay, I'm done. :)

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Need ideas -- nay, a menu! -- for new year's day meal

I usually cook Christmas Eve dinner for my non-veg relatives. Last year I made these individual lasagnas out of a veg cookbook I have that is full of great ideas badly executed. (I always rewrite the recipes in it.)

Sweet potatoes, peppers, mushrooms and zucchini were marinated in olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and capers and then roasted. (I roasted the red peppers separately, did the chilling and peeling thing, and then added them in with the rest of the veg with 10 minutes to go to absorb the marinade.)

I bought fresh lasagna noodles and cut pieces about 4x6 inches in diameter, to make a number of mini-lasagnas. The stack was something like this: pasta, pesto & roasted veg, pasta, fresh tomatoes & a slice of fresh mozzerella, pasta, pesto & roasted veg, pasta. Stacking each one individually made for fancy presentation.

Anyway, my very carnivorous relatives liked them, and I even froze a couple which reheated nicely later in the year.

This year I made two kinds of quiche and risotto (see holiday dinner hit/miss thread) which also went over well, especially the risotto - it's a dish that tends to impress, but is also hard to mess up.

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Family Lost in the Kitchen

My parents boil asparagus to a mushy mess. As a poor student, I'm willing to buy asparagus but very aware of its price, and to see it wrecked just makes me want to cry...

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Not About Food

Family Lost in the Kitchen

That's hilarious. I wonder where he picked up that particular quirk? Misguided parents? Doesn't he notice that everything comes out a little... watery?

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Not About Food

Ravioli fillings

It's not all that creative, but I once used wonton wrappers to make some ravioli with roasted red peppers, wilted spinach and goat's cheese, and they turned out really nicely. A fair amount of work, though. Pumpkin ravioli is nice too.

Dec 27, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Top-5 Cooking Goals for 2009

Honestly, my new year's resolutions should encourage less cooking, not more - I have too many other things to get done this year! That said, I think I'm drifting towards learning how to make good pie crust. I'd also like to rediscover some of my grandmothers' recipes, and resurrect the deserts my father is nostalgic about, like blueberry grunt.

Also, I know this is weird, but I want to come up with some way to approximate the proper, British, Heinz baked beans. They're so expensive in Canada (the imported ones, that is) and and I miss having them handy for breakfast, baked potatoes, etc.

Dec 26, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Lactose-free cream substitutes?

Oh, I don't care much about fat content, just lactose - which would rule out evaporated milk, unless I evaporated it myself. (A possibility?) I'm intrigued by the addition of egg yolk - I wonder if it would do strange textural things when cooked?

Coconut cream is a brilliant idea. I wonder how it holds up under high heat? Must be pretty good, since some people use it as an oil to start Thai curry...

Thanks for all the ideas! :)

Dec 26, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking

Lactose-free cream substitutes?

Thanks, tzurriz. I am flexible and willing to adapt, but perhaps a little less so when baking - in my experience, it's a more exact art, and somehow more upsetting when it goes awry. This post will probably turn into a series of experiments, but I'm still curious to tap into others' experiences.

Here's something I just found in the archives, as a substitute for heavy cream: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/342315

Combine:
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled

I routinely mix milk and melted butter for waffles, and my experience is that they separate almost immediately. Maybe that's because the butter is still hot? Would that matter? I wonder if the separation makes any difference in most recipes?

Dec 26, 2008
Allison_ in Home Cooking