New game show idea

New game show idea:

Cooking/dance competition

Contestants must cook a meal (think Iron Chef) while their favorite music is playing. Music must be danceable, and contestants are expected to dance while cooking. A panel of judges scores the contestants based on their dancing as well as the quality of the food. Contestants lose points if they spill, burn themselves or their food.

Easy-peasy Curry Sauce

We had some leftover basmati rice from Indian food the other night. My daughter didn’t want it, so I decided to whip up a quick curry sauce and serve it over the rice with some tofu. Having had a small breakfast, this recipe scores points for being fast and simple enough that a geek like me can make it. It owes a lot of credit to the Thai Tofu and Winter Squash Stew recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone but much less watery.

2 garlic cloves (or equivalent in minced garlic)
2-3 chile peppers (to taste)
1 Tbsp ginger, minced finely
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
juice of 1 lime (I forgot this, so I’m considering it optional)
¼ c cilantro (optional)
⅓ c chopped peanuts (optional)

Add a small amount of peanut oil to a pot and heat at medium low. Add the garlic, chiles & ginger & cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Add the curry, sugar, turmeric & soy sauce & cook a few minutes more. Then add coconut milk & add approximately half the can worth of water. Bring to a boil. Add in any veggies, tofu, or anything else you want to add (or not). If using cilantro and/or peanuts, add those right before serving.

Serve over rice, tofu, with veggies, etc.

Awesome, simple and fast stir fry

I just made a really awesome stir fry with some ingredients we just had lying around the house. I don’t consider myself a good cook (or, really, much of a cook at all), so I was surprised at how good this came out, considering it was sort of a “well, this sounds good” process of throwing things in the frying pan (I guess most good recipes fall into that category). I didn’t measure anything and it’s all to taste anyway, so I’m not going to include amounts of anything, just what I used (which is also to taste).

  • Tofu
  • Bell peppers (I used frozen bell peppers that were cut into strips — would be even more tasty with fresh bell peppers)
  • Tomatos (I used what we had — grape tomatoes, cut in halves)
  • Corn (again, frozen, but fresh would be more awesome)
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar (a small splash)
  • Chile oil (small amount or to taste)
  • Garlic (minced or freshly pressed — I used minced from a squeezy tube)
  • Ginger (minced or fresh, grated — I used fresh, grated with a cheese grater)
  • Brown sugar
  • Peanut oil

With the frozen ingredients and literally no prep time (other than cutting the tofu into bite-size pieces), the whole thing took about 15 minutes to cook.

Fry the tofu in the peanut oil until golden. (I could have let mine go for a bit longer, but I was hungry and started adding in the other ingredients before the tofu was fully golden, which would have added a few minutes to my time, but it wasn’t a problem at all.) Add the soy sauce (enough to coat the tofu). Add the bell peppers. Add the tomatoes. Add garlic. Add ginger (I just grated it over the frying pan). Mix it all up. Add brown sugar (I used maybe 1Tbsp for one bowl of awesomeness). Add the rice vinegar and a little more soy sauce.  Add the corn and mix everything up. Serve when the corn is cooked through.

 

Veganaise

I am not vegan.  Or, at least, I never considered myself to be.  Even when, a few years ago, we were forswearing just about all forms of food that you can generally buy at an average grocery store for the sake of our son’s digestive issues when he was a baby (this included no eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts and anything else that tastes good), I didn’t consider myself vegan — at the time I would still, occasionally, eat fish or other things off the restricted menu when we went out to eat.

Things have shifted more into the being-a-crazy-vegan department of late.

It all started when I tasted some amazing homemade vegan sausages at some event at my son’s school that were made by one of the parents in his class.  That made me think well, if he can do that, I’m sure I can find a similar recipe and do it, too.  This led me to finding an awesome vegan sausage recipe.  Then came the fantastic black bean burger recipe from the Veganomicon.  Later, we tried the chickpea cutlets, also from the Veganomicon.  Pretty soon, I was making some kind of vegan meat thing on a regular basis.  This coming from the guy who insists he can’t cook and blows something up when he’s in the kitchen (although, I still succeed in getting at least some of the ingredients all over the front of my shirt when I’m making one of these items).

Lately, we’ve made some of the breakfast recipes from the Rabbit Food Cookbook, which has a surprisingly normal-tasting French Toast (considering it’s made without eggs), and actually-pretty-good eggless waffle and muffin recipes.  If we don’t need eggs for cooking, that led to the concept, well, do we need eggs at all?  Sure, you can’t make scrambled eggs without eggs, but with tofu you can at least make scrambled something.  So out eggs went.

That leaves cheese as the only thing left on the vegan no-no list.  Having formerly been employed as a cheese cutter at Whole Foods, giving up cheese is not an easy task.  Certainly on the list of foods that are procured through inhumane means, cheese probably ranks low on the list.  Lately, we’ve been eating a lot of goat cheese, not because it’s any less dairy than cow cheese, but because goat cheese does not contain lactose.  The problem with giving up cheese is that vegan alternatives to cheese are uniformly horrible, and often aren’t strictly vegan either.  Many “vegan” cheeses contain casein (a protein that comes from milk) or rennet (an enzyme produced in a mammal’s stomach).  I don’t imagine that cheese will be completely leaving our diet anytime soon, but, even so, the amount of food we make that has cheese in it, these days, is much less than it was maybe 5 or 6 years ago.

However, the real sign that we may be turning to the vegan Dark Side is the subject of this post’s title.  For years, even when making vegetarian dishes, we only used mayonnaise when mayonnaise was called for.  Vegenaise just sounds weird.  And certainly not very appetizing.    (Also, as it turns out, it seems to be spelled wrong — when I started writing this post, I assumed it was spelled Veganaise — you know, like the vegans.  Turns out it’s Vegenaise.  I’m not sure what a vegen is, but I’m keeping my original post title because Veganaise is more descriptive…)  However, with the last empty carton of eggs tossed dutifully into the recycling — and with it, the vow to never get eggs again…probably — came the first appearance of a new vegan condiment in our refrigerator: Vegenaise.  Is it edible?  Well, we will see…

amano chocolate: guess the country of origin

My absolute favorite chocolate maker in the world (and I mean that literally) is getting a new bar ready for production.  To celebrate, they’re offering up a year’s supply of chocolate for someone who can guess the country of origin.  Amano does amazing things with single-origin chocolate that really bring out the flavor of the region — just having a new chocolate is exciting enough, but trying to guess makes it even more fun.  To make things interesting (or less interesting, depending on your perspective), they’ve provided a picture of the beans — if you can recognize where the beans are from, you might have an edge in the contest.

Amano Chocolate — Guess the Country of Origin Contest