Monday, November 24, 2008

Pizza: A fable (now with giant beans!)

Woohoo! I haven't had a pizza party in a while - I was starting to get sad, until my trusty friend Eiko reminded me how important a pizza party is for one's soul. She came over with her friend Ria and we fixed us up some pizzas (with dead dough! oops, I used hot water - but we used pie pans so it turned out fine). We each did a pizza up on our own -using the same ingredients...

Eiko was first:
Pizza 1

We've got some spinach pesto, eggplant, shiitake mushies, cashew ricotta, red onion, cherry tomato, roasted red peppers, with maitake-mushie-tomato sauce.

Ria did a great job for her first pizza party:

Pizza 2

I got all crazy with mine and added apple cause Eiko and Ria used ALL of the roasted red peppers.... success:

Pizza 3

We also had an awesome salad to go with it. Apples, spinach, lettuce, red onion, raw shiitake, cucumber, hanamame beans with a roasted-red pepper dressing:


So check out those beans! They are huge - each one is like an inch long! Also, they are purple! A ton of the farmers in the area grow them - I bought bags and bags of them. White, purple and black - all from this years crop. They are a little sweet and nutty - seriously, they require no seasoning at all! Check out some action shots:


It is really difficult to take a macro-shot with no flash of something you're holding with chopsticks after drinking a huge cup of coffee! This is Ria and Eiko (in that order) enjoying the (three person) party. Note the forkin' huge bean Ria is holding with her chopsticks:

Ria and Eiko

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Square Fruit

My new favorite fruit... Japanese Persimmon. They are so delicious! Also, they are square! Weird! How many exclamation points do you think I can use?!?! I bought a mini-crate of them. They will probably be gone by the end of the week... I hope to make some of them into ice-cream... kakis and cream! har har.

Also, I discovered that eggplant is really good fried. Wonderful!

Friday, October 24, 2008

VeganMofo: Day 24

Forgive me father, I am a bad blogger. It has been 18 days since my last post.

My cookies bring all the boys to the yard. I am obsessed with cookes. I make this dough and freeze it and give it to people as gifts. I want you to have the recipe. Make these cookies or you will have bad luck for 7 years.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 c (338 g) Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt

1/3 c (71 g) Canola Oil
1/2 c (80g) Shortening or Margarine
1 1/2 c (300g) Granulated Sugar plus 1 T (15 g) Molasses
OR 1/2 c Granulated Sugar plus 1 c Brown Sugar
1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract

1 c (125 g) Chocolate Chips

1 T (5 g) Ground Flax Seeds
3 T (40 g) Water
1/4 c (45 g) Silken Tofu

With a whisk, beat together the Ground Flax Seeds, Water and Silken Tofu in a large bowl. The Tofu will not get completely smooth: a little chunky is alright (better even!) In a smaller bowl, mix the Flour, Baking Soda and Salt together. Cream together the Oil and Shortening/Magarine until smooth then cream in the sugars and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. Fold in Chocolate Chips. Roll dough into balls about the size of quarters. Bake at 350F (180C) for 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, October 6, 2008

VeganMofo Day 6: Akebi Update

My Akebi was ripe today. According to my source (this guy's blog), you know it's ready when it pops open along the seam in the middle. After the seam had popped open a bit on its own, all I had to do was to pull gently at the sides and the fruit opend up, revealing the flesh in the middle. 

Ripe Akebi

This sucker is mostly seeds.  

Akebi Flesh

It was a pain to eat the fruit, I had to take a chunk in my mouth and suck the flesh through my teeth. I kept feeling like I was going to choke. However, it was pretty tasty.

My friend Eiko's parents grew up down south and they were really excited about the fruit being in the store. I can imagine that, as a kid, this would be a lot of fun to eat. I personally enjoyed spitting the seeds into my trash can. It's much more fun than spitting watermelon seeds because there are several times as many: I felt like a sub-machine seed gun.

VeganMofo Day 6

I love cookies. I think most people love cookies. They are kinda hard not to love.

Some of my friends have had birthdays, some have spent all their money on plane tickets to go back to the States, and some are just awesome - so I'm making them cookies. Well, not cookies, cookie dough. More specifically, a homemade version of break-and-bake cookies. This is all part of my new food-saver program. I made a double-batch of my grandma's chocolate chip cookie recipe. To tell the truth, it's not her recipe, she's not vegan and has probably never used tofu in her life. But she was the inspiration.

Any way, this is what they look like. I'm a little excited about the idea of ALWAYS having cookies ready to go in the oven...

Cookie Dough!

... my friends and I are going to have a cookie party tonight. I plan on stealing some dough to squirrel away.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

VeganMoFo Day 4

I was cruising the produce section of my tiny neighborhood market and found this crazy little fruit.


It was so weird looking that I had to buy it. I asked some of my friends what it was but they just laughed and were shocked that I found one here. Akebi only grow down south. Any way, I googled it and found out it's sweet on the inside and bitter on the outside. Once it's ripe, I'll give you a play by play.

Friday, October 3, 2008

VeganMoFo Day 3

Today is day one (for me) of the Vegan Month of food. I'm supposed to post everyday about food, foodism and foodening.

Today, I am so excited, I want to shout it from the mountain tops. Seriously. I got a vacuum-sealer. It is amazing. While I was visiting home (California) for my sister's wedding last month, my step-mom, Deb, casually mentioned her food-saver. I kinda blew up at her: talking about how much I wanted one after I'd seen all the cool things you could do with them. I was gunna get one here in Japan, but my parents, being my parents, pretty much assumed that they'd buy it for me. Listen, I have no issues about being spoiled (also, I brought a big suitcase with me). Deb made me promise to take a picture of the first thing that I thhhhhhhhhhhhhhrp'ed (her word for it) so here it is.
It may not look impressive; but, considering that I'm still finding lentils from the explosion that happened last time I brought food back from America, I'm glad I had it around to help me pack! I shudder to even think about all that quinoa released in my suitcase - I'd still be cleaning!

Since I've been back I've also sealed up some pasta sauce (which was a little tricky) and pureed pumpkin (in 200g packs... exactly how much I need to make pumpkin cupcakes!!!). Look at my freezer!

My Freezer
You can click to follow the link and see what everything is!