“My cooking experiments generally end in tragedy for all involved parties.”
Why the Cookbook?
There are a lot of food blogs out there by people with a far greater talent for cooking and food photography than I’ll ever have. I’m probably the last person from whom you should take cooking advice, actually. This blog exists because I decided to convert paper records of recipes I regularly use into a digital format. If this process benefits someone else, then great. Being able to prepare your own food is a necessary skill if you care at all about living economically and healthily.
Many of the recipes here are “experiments,” meaning that, sometimes, they’re terrible failures. Others started out as experiments, but have been tweaked and developed over the years. All are vegetarian or vegan. Breads and baked goods are my particular interest, but there are savory dishes as well.
I usually make a best-effort attempt to calculate the calories in each recipe. These are rough estimates, so don’t be surprised if I make mistakes. I do this solely for my own interest. If you are particularly worried about the nutrition facts in a given recipe, you should calculate them yourself.
Both my brother and I have an interest in militaria. The featured guns are mostly American or German antiques from the WWI to WWII era, although sometimes I’ll throw in something else from the collection.
Having recently moved out of the big city to a small town in the middle of nowhere (no, I don’t miss city life at all), The ProFit and I have finally had a chance to start growing our own food–thus being one step closer to self-sufficiency.
I guess taking credit for anything that comes out of the berry patch is technically cheating, since they were already there, but I did pick them.
SO, how do they compare to the store-bought, GMOWTFBBQ version? The answer is: they taste exactly the same, but they’re microscopic. The price tag for these, however, is hard to beat.
The wild onions growing on our property, on the other hand, are excellent.
One of my former classmates from grad school invites me over to her place now and then. She’s Kuwaiti and a wonderful cook. Last time, she kindly gave me some of her homemade hummus to take home, which my brother and I ate with naan. Because I always forget how to cook naan, I’m writing it down here to consult with later.
1/2 packet of yeast
1/2 CUPS warm water
3 TSP almond milk
1 TSP salt
1 TBSP sugar
2 CUPS all-purpose flour
A few TBSP oil
Step 1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for ten minutes.
Step 2. Add the almond milk, sugar, and salt.
Step 3. Mix in the flour and knead the dough, adding a little more water if it seems dry.
Step 4. Cover and allow to sit for an hour in an oiled bowl.
Step 5. Divide the dough into six pieces and roll them out with a rolling pin, about 1/3 of a centimeter thick.
Step 6. Oil a skillet and turn on to high heat. Be sure to turn on the fan because cooking naan produces a lot of smoke and no one likes setting off the stupid fire alarm. Fire alarms are so worthless. When is the last time a fire alarm actually alerted someone to a fire? The only thing I’ve ever seen a fire alarm do is randomly go off at 3 am and annoy everyone in the apartment building for half an hour until someone finally decides to get around to turning it off. I swear, when I move into my own house, I’m ripping all the batteries out of every single smoke detector. AND, I know they use americium as a component, which means that smoke detectors are radioactive. Why would I voluntarily install radioactive, useless, ear-splitting sound generators in my house? AND, it isn’t like I ever deal with open flames–I have an unending hatred of scented candles and gas stoves. AND, I’m a light sleeper, so I’ll take my chances thank YOU very much.
Step 7. Toss the naan dough patties in, one at a time. When the dough starts to bubble and brown spots develop, flip and do the other side.
Don’t try and get an even brown on both sides because you’ll burn them.
In addition to the hummus, my Kuwaiti buddy also gave me a container full of her homemade yogurt, as well as a drink she prepared from it. Where she finds the time, what with her working on her PhD in computer science, raising her kids, and throwing parties for her friends all the time, I have no idea. I guess she doesn’t sleep, because she always text messages me at odd hours in the morning. That’s cool with me, because I never go to bed before 6am–not because I’m doing anything productive, but because I turn to ash in the sunlight.
The yogurt drink is made as follows:
Take unsweetened yogurt and mix with water in a 1:3 ratio. Add a bit of salt and powdered mint leaves. Use a blender to combine ingredients. For a thicker drink, add sour cream to your liking.
The ProFit and I are guilty of eating too many single-component meals, which we’ve realized is making it hard to lose weight. It seems obvious, but we had to independently discover this. My mother almost never cooked when I was younger, so I got into the habit of eating mono-diets. One meal = one ingredient + seasoning. The thing with only consuming “main dishes”, however, is that they are usually the most calorie-dense portion of a meal. Instead of simply scorfing down a bag of vegan chicken nuggets for dinner, we need to get over our learned laziness and instead eat half a bag + low calorie side dishes. Mashed potatoes are a good choice because potatoes are cheap to buy, easy to grow, and keep for a long time if stored properly.
Therefore, for future reference, here are a few tips for tasty vegan mashed potatoes:
You don’t need a food processor for small portions. Think about how long it takes to clean a food processor vs. how long it takes to mash the potatoes yourself with a fork. I really dislike involving appliances when a bit of elbow grease will do just fine. Plus, you’ll burn a calorie.
For about 3 large Idaho potatoes, add about 1/2 cup unflavored almond milk to make them creamier.
Add a few tablespoons of margarine for some extra flavor.
Add a dash of salt and pepper.
I’ve found vegan gravy from various brands to be consistently watery and thin. Adding some cornstarch will help thicken it, but stir well or you’ll have lumps.