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Introduction

“My cooking experiments generally end in tragedy for all involved parties.”

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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.

The Recipes

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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.

The Guns

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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.

Miscellanea: Pizza Artistry

I just want everyone to see how beautiful my vegan pizzas are.  This is why I won’t eat anything from Papa Johns & co.   It’s like comparing the Sistine Chapel with a bunch of doodles a bored high schooler scribbled in the margins of their math homework.

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Devour it with your eyes only, because I already ate it.

All right, that’s enough looking for you lot.  Move along.

 

Heavy Meals: Vegan Ricotta/Mushroom Stuffed Pasta Shells

1,425 calories

Despite my better judgement (and the fact that I need to lose 10lbs, STAT), I thought I’d experiment with some pasta.  Overall, the result was okay, but I don’t like pasta enough to not regret the calories.  No matter what you do to it, pasta + tomato sauce + cheese always tastes exactly the same.  Oh well, sometimes you do things just because you can.

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Serves two people.  Preparation Time: About 1 hour.

Approximately 1,426 calories for 1/2 recipe.  Calories in the whole batch: 2,852.

Tools

Mixing Bowls, Spoons, Wooden Spoon, Knife, Cooking Pot, Medium-Sized Square Baking Pan, and an Oven.

Materials

  • 1 Box Large Pasta Shells
    + DaVinci Jumbo: 1,400 calories per container.
  • 1 Jar Pasta Sauce
    + Barilla Traditional Pasta Sauce: 350 for 2-1/2 cups.
  • 1 Tub Vegan Ricotta Cheese
    + Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese: 800 calories for 2 cup.
  • ~1/2 Cup Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
    + Daiya Mozzarella Shreds: 180 calories for 1/4 container.
  • Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese
    + Go Veggie Grated Parmesan Style Topping: 92 calories for 1/5 container.
  • 2 Cups Diced Mushrooms: 30 calories.
  • Italian Seasoning

Preparation

Step 1. Boil the large pasta shells in a pot of water until tender, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.  Drain the pasta and set aside.

Step 2. Dice some stuffer mushrooms, about two or three cups worth.  You could also use spinach instead.

Step 3. In a bowl, mix the tub of ricotta cheese with the Parmesan topping to make the filling.  Stir in the diced mushrooms.

Step 4. Pour half of the pasta sauce into the baking pan.

Step 5. Stuff the pasta shells with the filing.  If you have any shells left over, just eat them separately or throw them in the pan with the stuffed ones.

Step 6. Place the stuffed shells in the sauce.  Pour the rest of the sauce over them and sprinkle with the mozzarella and some Italian seasoning.

Step 7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Eat the World: Gettysburg, PA

When I was a kid, I visited the Gettysburg battlefield site and museum.  Returning as an adult, I realize it’s changed a lot since back then.  The layout of the museum is very modern, and not in a good way.  It’s gone from a well-illuminated, open space to a gloomy winding path.  There’s far too much multimedia, each video played at an excessively high volume; meanwhile, videos from other nearby rooms also compete for your attention.  It’s a disorganized mess.  Furthermore, rather than focusing on the battle and military technology/tactics, the museum is about the social context in which the war occurred.  THAT’S BORING.  Having a history degree myself, I can see the bias of whichever revisionist historian is in charge of the place.  Gettysburg is no longer a story about the tragedy of “brother fighting against brother”, but instead a portrayal of heroic Union soldiers pitted against slave-owning monsters.   Personally, I think the image of siblings finding themselves on opposing sides of a horrible battle is far more compelling, since I’m quite fond of my brother.

Nevertheless, the collection they have is very well-preserved and interesting.  Several pieces of hard tack are available for viewing as a testament to the universal need of humans to ingest biomatter.  One display spoke of a recipe using hard tack which entailed mixing crushed crackers with water and lard.  I guess I’d still recommend going just for the quality and variety of the artifacts.  At the end of the day, The ProFit and I bought a bottle of sarsaparilla from the gift shop because neither of us knew what it was or how it tasted.  Turns out it’s just root beer.  The more you know ~~~*

Here’s a video of someone eating a piece of real Civil War hard tack.  I almost puked while watching–it’s awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga5JrN9DrVI

P.S.  If you want a really good museum experience in Gettysburg, check out the (free) Gettysburg Museum of History.  It’s a small, totally k00ky and eclectic curio museum full of crazy stuff like mummy heads, human skulls, and a ton of other artifacts of questionable provenance.  The shelves were packed from floor to ceiling.  We saw a bra supposedly owned by Marilyn Monroe, “Eva Braun’s Lingerie”, and an entire room dedicated to JFK.  The ProFit and I were surprised that we didn’t come across King Arthur’s sword or a desiccated mermaid in that jumble.  Now that’s the kind of museum experience I like–one that makes for a memorable story.

External Content: Vegan Pumpkin Pie

I’m just never satisfied with vegan pumpkin pie recipes.  Every year I try a new one, and every year I’m unsatisfied with the chunks of tofu or whatever other gloop I use to try and simulate the texture of normal pies.

This recipe, however, is amazing.   I was skeptical at first, especially when I saw that it used cornstarch and maple syrup.  I thought it would turn out to be a maple-flavored mess with globs of cornstarch suspended in it.

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I had to eat my words, and the pie.  Like, the whole thing.

P.S. The recipe says to use a blender–not necessary.  Just stir it vigorously and it’ll be fine.

Miscellanea: Mayday Emergency Food Rations

Apparently, government offices are always looking for ways to spend money on stuff they don’t need in order to pad out their budgets.  I’m sure you’re all shocked.  Anyway, one of the ways they do this is by spending your tax dollars on random, useless garbage.  Emergency buckets, for example.  The ProFit brought home some recently-expired food rations from the emergency buckets sitting around the office.

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Guise, your typical government employee is pretty well-fed.  I doubt they’re going to need food rations even if they’re stuck in the building for a few days for whatever reason.  What I’m saying is, if the government has to keep ordering extra-wide chairs for their staff to sit in, they’re probably not about starve to death.

Whatever.  Always looking for a replacement for Soylent bars, I agreed to try one of these food blocks.  It seems that preppers and the like put a lot of stock in them, so why not?

Let me tell you why not.

  • These things are supposedly optimized for survival, yet have a shelf life of only a few years.  That’s pathetic.  They aren’t optimized for anything but being purchased by paranoiacs.
  • The smell.  Oh gods, the smell.  You open these things up and choke on the odor.  It’s absolutely revolting.
  • Taste.  Tastes like sour chalk with a hint of sweetness (from the corn syrup, which is exactly what I don’t want to eat tyvm).  It was really hard to choke the square of awfulness down, and I’m not all that particular about taste.
  • Texture.  Just because you need to compress the food into an efficient package and minimize the water content, you can still do something better than “crumbly block in impossible to fit into mouth”, where the “food” ends up as shrapnel scattered all over the kitchen table, floor, your lap, your hair, and (least of all) your stomach.
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Not even if I was starving.
  • Nutrition.  If it is going to smell and taste disgusting, it’s at least healthy, right?  Wrong!  It’s missing a lot of vitamins (where are you, molybdenum?) and would be a lousy food replacer.  Basically, you get calories.  Protip: just go eat a chocolate bar instead.
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Might as well just eat a granola bar.

Not sure why the U.S. Coast Guard would approve such a thing.  MREs are much better, and they come with that cute tiny bottle of Tabasco.

Side Dish: Vegan Rice Krispies Treats

260 calories

(Post #100)

Preparation Time: About 10 Minutes.

Approximately 256 calories for 1/7 recipe.  Calories in the whole batch: 1,800.

Additional Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Carbs 40g, Fat 10g, Protein 1g, Sodium 169mg, Sugar 30g

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An efficient way to consume a day’s worth of calories in a few minutes.
  1. Melt a big blob (1/2 cup or so) of a margarine (such as Earth Balance) in a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 full bag of Dandies vegan marshmallows.
  2. Dandies will take a while to melt, but grab a wooden spoon and keep stirring until you have a smooth, sticky paste.
  3. Pour in a few cups of rice cereal, but don’t overdo it.  The mix needs some airiness.
  4. Combine well and quickly form the treats by scooping them into a pan or cupcake tins.  Leave them in the pot too long and they will harden too quickly and burn.
  5. It will be very hot, so use the wooden spoon to scoop out the blobs and a second spoon to scrape the stuff off spoon #1.
  6. Don’t “pack” the rice/marshmallow mix into the container or they will be hard and difficult to bite.
  7. Allow to cool on the counter.
  8. Go on a long walk as penance for eating junk food.