Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Vegetable carnage! (Awesome caption credit to Zoe Dash.)

So, I've been meaning to make a food post for awhile...especially now that I've expended some energy pestering Cam to bring food musings into his primarily-hiking-themed blog. This blog has taken many forms over time - road trip blog, introspective musings, music playlist offerings, coffeeshop reviews, rambling obsessive thoughts about running, a nod to Seattle tourism promotion, Pacific Northwest weather report, sometimes the occasional foodstuffs entry, etc...and it is my hope that it will continue to evolve and adapt over time, and be what it needs to be for writer and audience alike.

But today, I want to celebrate a few more of my successes in the kitchen! Well, not all total successes...but in the vein of my favorite life quote, "Everything is either a good time or a good story", I guess every cooking experiment is either a good dinner or a good blog entry. Hopefully this will be a little of both.

The above vegetable carnage led to another dish I prepared from my favorite vegan cookbook.

Sweet Polenta Pie

6/10 on the yummy scale.

...basically a big casserole dish of cornmeal topped with a bunch of roasted veggies and a homemade tomato/veggie sauce. The sauce, as prepared by the recipe, was a little runny. Nevertheless, the dish was pretty good overall, but in that Wow-this-is-healthy sort of way, rather than the Oh-my-gosh-give-me-seconds sort of way. I think I've lost my vegan palate; I couldn't help but dump some grated cheddar on top of it when it came out of the oven.

Boerenkool Stamppot, i.e. "The Green Stuff"

9/10 on the yummy scale.

So this is a special one, as it was my favorite dish growing up - a traditional Dutch entree involving mashed potatoes infused with kale and sausage. I didn't work from a recipe here, but combined rough advice from my mom in a recent Skype conversation with my limited potato-mashing experience, and utilized my favorite "Smoked Apple and Chardonnay" chicken sausage from Trader Joe's. Very good. Took this one in a thermos with me for lunch on my last hike, and have been working away all week long at the giant vat of it I made.

Dijon Scalloped Potatoes

3/10 on the yummy scale.

Looks decent, right? But, oof; this one was a real bummer. Again, after conversation with Cam, I was inspired to venture out in search of a good scalloped potatoes recipe. This one was from the vegan cookbook, too, but since I was all out of soymilk, I just used regular milk. Maybe that was where I went wrong? I left them in the oven the suggested time, and the potatoes still weren't thoroughly cooked, so I left them in awhile longer, but then the top started getting a bit crusty...but the potatoes were still a bit underdone. And the dijon mustard made for a funky taste in combo with the suggested turmeric. Again, kind of decent with some sour cream and cheese at the end, but otherwise, not a recipe I'll repeat.

Vegan Garden Vegetable Borscht (paired with scalloped potatoes and cornbread)

7/10 on the yummy scale.

Another one of those wow-this-is-healthy dishes. Really great, colorful combo of fresh vegetables, including beets and cabbage and spinach and carrots and tomatoes. Tastes about like you'd imagine it - like V8 in non-blended form. But sooo wonderful to warm up with a big ol' bowl of hot, hearty soup during what's been a pretty intensely cold week here! (It snowed for the all of 20 seconds yesterday...what?!)

Homemade Granola with Cocoa, Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds

9/10 on the yummy scale.

I finally made my own granola! Again, not from a recipe...just combining ideas from probably a half dozen different granola recipes I consulted online and in my cookbooks. I've always thought making granola was really hard, for some reason - but it was a breeze...and lots of room for creativity to play around with different nut and dried fruit varieties, as well as various spices and other fun add-ins like cocoa powder or almond butter or shredded coconut. I did slightly burn my first batch, but not badly enough to deter from taste. Awesome with maple yogurt and a little agave nectar!

And now for the baked goods...

Vegan Applesauce Muffins with Raisins

7/10 on the yummy scale.

Teff Peanut Butter Cookies

8/10 on the yummy scale.

Sweet Potato Cornbread

10/10 on the yummy scale. !!

Mmm, yes, despite the photo not looking as appetizing, perhaps, as some of my other inclusions in this entry, this cornbread has been by far the highlight of all my kitchen adventures. From my vegan cookbook, though with a lot of modifications: gross estimations on all the measurements because all my cups and spoons were dirty at this point in my evening cooking fest, weird sweet potatoes from Madison Market (I had no idea not all sweet potatoes are orange...), 2% milk instead of soymilk, apple cider vinegar in place of regular vinegar, real eggs instead of egg replacer...but holy cow! This is the doughiest, softest, sweetest corn bread ever, without an ounce of butter or margarine or anything, and primarily flavored with the natural sweetness of the potatoes. Wholly awesome.

Now time to clean up my frenzied mess...


  1. Hurray for having a photo caption credit! :)
    Major props for all of your cooking endeavors!
    And I want the recipe for the teff peanut butter cookies. They're gluten-free right?

  2. Wow, Yitka, this food looks amazing! I'm so proud of you for stretching your culinary comfort zone. One of these days I'm going to make some for-real Chinese food and post some pictures of it. I just hope it looks half as good as this stuff does :)