I can’t believe it’s nearing the end of August already! Before we know it it’s going to be Fall again, but before I get all wah wah, woe is me I’m going to enjoy what’s left of these sunny days. We’ve been getting some beautiful weather here lately and I’ve been enjoying time spent at the farmers markets, visiting friends, concerts, running outside and sitting on patios with a nice cold beverage. We recently took a trip out to Saskatchewan and had a nice time visiting my sister and a super cute new addition to her family. We’ve driven out that way a nice few times and you’d think I’d be used to it by now but man is that drive boring, unless you get excited from seeing cows, fields and the occasional tree, there’s not a whole lot going on. Luckily we always plan ahead with lots of entertaining podcasts and reaching our destination always makes it worthwhile This time around we travelled out with a huge cooler full of frozen meals, I was trying to think of something nice to do to make their lives just a little bit easier during a stressful time and the consensus from most people I spoke to who already have kids was either a spa package or pre-made dinners, and since I love to cook, frozen dinners it was. Enchiladas, pot pies, tamale pie, curry, cashew biryani, cinnamon buns, blueberry muffins, hopefully my sister enjoys eating everything as much as I loved making it!
While I was busy making food for everyone else, I did find time to make some pretty tasty meals for myself. With all the testing I’ve been doing I’ve once again been neglecting my cookbooks, so I dug out my copy of Appetite for Reduction and picked out a couple of recipes I’ve been wanting to try.
First I started with Mango BBQ Beans, these were a pretty good but they could have been better if I had planned ahead a little. I really wanted to make them but didn’t have any ripe mangos, so the mangos weren’t as flavourful as they should have been. Either way they still turned out good, slightly tart with a little bit of sweetness, I really liked the creative spin Isa put on one of favourite summer meals. To go with the beans I also made the Mashed Yuca with Cilantro & Lime and Pineapple Collards. I loved the collards but then I also love pineapple! These were super garlicky, a little bit spicy and had great flavour, but you really can’t go wrong when you have big chunks of pan fried pineapple mixed in. Now the yuca, hmmm, how to describe yuca…this was my first time trying it and I thought it was ok. It’s a bit of a pain to make as you have to get rid of all the waxy skin and also remove the core as it’s really fibrous and kind of feels like chewing on softened wood….yeah I forgot to remove the core of mine. The flavour is really hard to explain as besides for being really starchy it doesn’t have a lot of taste. The lime and cilantro really make the dish but I think I’d prefer the same flavour combination mixed into potatoes as the yuca was a little too paste like for me.
I was craving something with a spicy kick, so Buffalo Tempeh it was! This recipe totally relies on what hot sauce you use, there’s only 5 ingredients in the whole recipe! So if you make it, pick a sauce you like. This recipe was a breeze to make and super spicy. Just steam, marinate, fry and go burn your mouth off. To balance out the heat I made the suggested Cool Slaw. It’s nice to finally see a slaw recipe that doesn’t require Veganaise, not that I’m not a fan of the stuff but it can be pretty pricy. The creaminess in this one comes from cashews. Oh cashews, what can’t you do? You really need a decent food processor when using nuts to make sauces otherwise it ends up being all grainy, but mine turned out pretty smooth. The onion in the dressing was a little pungent for my tastes but overall it had a nice flavour. Maybe I just like things drenched but I would have liked to double the dressing recipe as it didn’t seem like it was enough for the amount of coleslaw, but then I guess that would kind of defeat the whole reduction part of the book.
I’ve never tried blackened anything before but I figured now was as good a time as any to try it out. The Broiled Blackened Tofu is coated in a cajun spice blend and then broiled until it looks burnt (hence the blackened, duh). The spice combination and the texture of the tofu was great but I felt that it needed a sauce or something as it was a little dry, I know I’m just nitpicking because it’s kind of hard to broil the shit out of something and keep it really moist at the same time, so maybe I’m just not a huge fan of blackened foods but I still think the flavour was great.
When I was a kid you couldn’t get me to eat asparagus if you dipped it in chocolate and covered it in sprinkles, funny how our tastes change, now I love the stuff! The Jerk Asparagus was a big hit in my books, great seasoning, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and a few spices make for a delicious side dish, squeeze a little bit of lime juice on at the end of cooking to tie all the flavours together. Caulipots are one of those dishes that’s makes you go ‘why didn’t I think of that?’, they’re exactly what they sound like, half cauliflower, half potatoes, mashed into all kinds of yummy. The cauliflower lightens the dish and prevents that heavy gross feeling of eating way too much mashed potato and it’s not like all you can taste is the cauliflower, the potatoes overpower it so that it’s not overly noticeable. I’ve tried both the regular version plus the Cheezy Pots version, I prefer the Cheezy Pots because I like me some nooch and I enjoyed the subtle cheesy flavour, but if you’re a hater of nutritional yeast maybe stick to the original version or one of the other variations, there’s 6 to choose from so I’m sure everyone can find something they like.