Monday, December 27, 2010

Lucky Ducky

I'm feeling pretty lucky right now.  We had a fantastic Christmas with family we love, delicious food and way too many gifts.  Christmas Eve included a candlelight dinner with homemade tamales and eggnog.  

If you're like us and not drinking dairy eggnog, but not wild about tons of soy either, you'll LOVE this recipe. 

Soy-free, Dairy-free Eggnog

1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened Mimicreme (cashew & almond creme)
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Bigger pinch of ground nutmeg

Blend all this together in a blender or shake it up really good in a sealed jar.  Serve in a frosty cold mug with a pinch of nutmeg on top- Yum!

I knew I wanted to serve cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, so the night before I whipped up some of my favorite gluten free cinnamon rolls and refrigerated them in the pan, ready to go in the oven the next day.  Here's a tip to add to the recipe, though: when rolling up the dough, just put the whole log in the freezer for an hour or so to firm it up nicely. It makes slicing the rolls a breeze!  

I hate to brag, but these were crazy good.  I used the orange glaze from the orange scone recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for a little something special.  But really, these don't need frosting.  But I guess I don't need cinnamon rolls.  

We all got some great presents this year.  My favorites?  A reverse osmosis water filter for the kitchen, CSI game for the Wii, tickets to see Snoop Dogg and tons of my favorite pens!

Billie Cat's favorite (only) present is a new bed.  

Unfortunately for Billie Cat, Hannah Dog also loves this present. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bag 'o Veggies

I can't believe I've never done this before.  This weekend I washed and chopped a variety of vegetables and threw them into a bag to use in a stir fry on Monday night.  I also had leftover rice to incorporate.  But Monday's plans went awry because of more snow and I ended up cooking something else.

Yesterday I arrived home late and decided to cook the stir fry for myself.  About 3 minutes later I was eating- crazy fast dinner!!!

The best news is that I still had more prepped veggies leftover, so I recreated the same thing tonight.  I think I'm going to start prepping a bag full of mixed vegetables to use every week- for a quick stir fry or even to snack on.  This week's bag contained yellow onions, carrots, celery, broccoli and cabbage.

This is especially nice for the nights I eat by myself and think, "hmmm... I could have hot chocolate, baguette and avocado for dinner, right?"  I tend to skimp on the veggies sometimes when I'm by myself.

Here's all that I added to my stir fry tonight besides the bag of veggies and cooked rice: ginger powder, red pepper flakes, the juice of 1 orange and tamari.    And somehow it was totally amazing.

Now I'm sitting back to finish my library book.  I'm a serious binge reader, and I'll do nearly anything to read a mystery book cover to cover.   I'm going to try to finish it tonight so I don't have to call in sick tomorrow (just kidding, coworkers!)  (kind of!).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Beans with Wine!

My pantry challenge is morphing.  I'm not on a total shopping hiatus anymore.  I'm buying fresh foods- veggies, fruit, almond milk, etc.  But I'm trying to cook primarily from the pantry still.  I still have so many dried beans and grains!  Purple barley? I forgot I even bought that!  More millet?  Really?  And those red beans.  I don't even like red beans.  Why did I ever buy them?

I'll be eating them, though.

Here's my new favorite way to cook just about any mix of beans (especially beans with a little barley).  I just toss the soaked beans in the pressure cooker with a chopped onion, a little dried thyme, a couple of cups of red wine and a bouillon cube.  The beans come out amazing!!!  They need a little salt and that's it.  We had beans with biscuits on Saturday and the kids loved this simple meal.  Then I had them again today with toast for a really hearty lunch.

I really enjoyed picking up some veggies this weekend and ate a giant Greek salad with breakfast.  I used up leftover olives, artichoke hearts and the last of the red wine vinegar in the process, so it still sort of helped clean out the pantry.  Mostly it just made me happy, though.

Also on the menu today was hot chocolate.  I found marshmallows in the pantry buried underneath the seaweed!  I'm super loving my new chocolate Fiesta dishes (a little early Christmas present to myself...).

My big accomplishment for this weekend was finishing this puzzle that was pretty difficult only because the pieces all fit to multiple other pieces.  I kept rearranging the end pieces right up until I put the last dozen pieces in.  I wish I could get paid to work jigsaw puzzles and could just do that all day every day.  

Trouble cat likes working puzzles, too.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Week's Dinners

I'm feeling pretty good about the fact that I haven't done much grocery shopping to speak of since December 9.  Heck yeah!  Using up those pantry foods!  Of course, all that saved money is just going towards Christmas presents and the car insurance that's due this month (seriously?  December must be the worst month to have to pay car insurance).

I did buy some rice milk for the kids and some bread for lunchbox meals.  But it's been pretty strictly pantry food for the last week.  Here's what we've enjoyed:  

On Sunday I made the "Everyday Chipotle Tamales" from Veganomicon with only a few minor changes to the recipe to account for missing ingredients.  Wow!  These were awesome!  I ended up with a ton since I had only used 1/2 of the filling when all the masa was used up.  So I prepped another round of masa and just froze a ton of tamales for another day.  The kids really enjoyed unwrapping the little tamale presents.


On Monday night we enjoyed basmati rice with a crockpot dal.  I threw together a can of coconut milk with all of the rest of our red lentils, carrots, parsnips and lots of frozen kale.  I used a few tablespoons of red curry paste and some extra ginger and just let it cook all day long.  I've been loving this with some mango pickle in my lunch box this week.  And it's super fun to dip papadums into.

Last night I had a hankering for tortilla soup, but didn't have tortillas, cilantro, avocado, corn, zucchini or really any of the fun ingredients I usually add to this dish.  But I went ahead and made the broth with pureed dried New Mexican chiles, onions, garlic, epazote and tomatoes.  Then I added some soaked black beans and pressure cooked it up for a quick dinner.  This has got to be the most flavorful soup base ever!  It definitely felt like it was missing something, but luckily my sweetie showed up with some Whole Grain Milling Co. chips for me to crush in the soup.  That made all the difference!

 It basically looks and tastes like a really rich and flavorful black bean soup.  This is a shot from my desk at work today.  My lunch?  "tortilla" soup, satsuma mandarin, almonds & craisins, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

I'm going to have to purchase some veggies soon here before things get too boring.  We've got a bit of cabbage, a sad little delicata squash, lots of carrots from the garden and frozen kale.  But I'm out of grapefruits and my veggie intake needs to expand beyond pickled okra and green beans, so things are going to get desperate pretty quick here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowed in!

Usually I choose to do a pantry challenge based on overspending on my grocery budget or being bored.  But this weekend's pantry challenge was brought to me by 17 inches of snow.

I thought about pulling the sled and walking to the store yesterday (before the co-op had to close early).  But I got about a block away from the house and turned back.  In case you've never tried it before, walking in snow up to your knees is hard.  Really hard.

The whole family's been snowed in for nearly 2 days and I'm realizing just how much I value my alone time on the weekends.  But I'm taking this opportunity to clean and cook and work puzzles and do lots of laundry.  Mike's doing a fantasmical job of entertaining the kids with games of Risk, football and poker.

So far we've enjoyed: popcorn, 32-bean soup over rice, biscuits with jam, hot tea, hot cocoa, left over mac 'n cheese, peanut butter toast and probably more that I've forgotten.  Shoveling can seriously stimulate my appetite.  I promise some food photos next.  And who knows?  Maybe they'll plow our street and I can leave the house!

Friday, December 10, 2010

2 Quick Meals

On Wednesday and Thursday nights I cook for just myself, so sometimes I go extravagant and other times I go for convenience.  This week was all about convenience!

I picked up some of the Field Roast apple sage sausages and used them 2 ways for very different meals.

Wednesday I had a sausage on the side of an arugula, grapefruit, cilantro, mint and peanut salad. Fresh and light- just perfect for after a long day.

On Thursday I used the Rising Moon butternut squash ravioli with spinach, sausage and balsamic vinegar/Earth Balance sauce.  I'm pretty sure those packages are meant to serve more than one person...but they just served me :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I was so surprised when I arrived home last night to find brand new homemade risers on my spice shelves.  I knew Mike was planning on making these some day, but I squealed with delight when I saw how great they looked!

Mike's woodworking is almost exclusively with dumpstered reclaimed wood.  I love that the materials are put to good use now, instead of sitting in a landfill or getting burned.  He mostly makes banjos, but now he can say he's made a spice risers, too.  And I had a fantastic time organizing them, #1: by frequency of use and #2: alphabetically.

On another note, I'm a big fan of Microplane graters.  But I was really disappointed when the plastic housing of my box grater broke.  So I wrote them a little note explaining this and they're sending me a brand new one!  I love it when companies stand by their products and know how to make a bad customer experience into a great one.  So good job, Microplane!  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cranberry Cupcakes!

 As soon as I was asked to make cupcakes for this year's Yoga Day celebration with the Iyengar Yoga Association of MN, I knew I wanted to do something with cranberries.  But I don't think I've ever had cranberry cupcakes before.

At first I tried out a cranberry/orange recipe variation... That didn't turn out so hot.  I think I disliked them because of the orange extract that I used.  They tasted kind of like fake orange lollipops with some craisins thrown in.  Not terrible, but not what I was going for.  Unfortunately, I baked off 2 dozen before I decided this (we're still eating plenty of them).

Next I tried a basic vanilla cupcake recipe with a little orange zest and lots of chopped craisins.  Jackpot.  They were light, fluffy and flecked with red cranberries.  The frosting was the best part, though!  I used the cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and added some of my homemade cranberry ginger jam (strained) for color and some pomegranate molasses for tartness.  I'll definitely be doing this again.  It was just enough tartness to get a little pucker in the back of your throat along with the hefty sweetness of the frosting.

Look how adorable they look in their bakery box!  I'm so glad I picked up a bunch of these at Michael's a while back.  They come in handy for transporting all sorts of food.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mmm Mmm Good

I've eaten seitan noodle soup for 2 out of 3 meals today. Luckily Mike hates soup because this is full of gluten-y goodness!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wrap Up

Well, it's my last post of Vegan MoFo and I accomplished my goal of writing 5 days a week for the month.  Hooray!  I was surprised at how much easier it is to write 5 days a week vs. 7 (my goal in past years).  It wasn't too hard to manage.

I thought I'd wrap up Vegan MoFo with a wrap up of my garden for the year.  Really, I still have a bit of  collards and kale out there that I'm harvesting as needed.  But the garden's basically done for the year and I have my final tallies for the harvest!

The big winner for 2010?  Cucumbers!  I harvested 73 pounds of them!  Next up is tomatoes at 67 pounds and green beans at 28 pounds.  Total yield is 202.7 pounds!  That's a lot of food...

I'm pretty disappointed in my tomato harvest- it was about half of last year's yield because of the weird weather this year.  I had my hopes high with that early spring, but then the cold came early, too.  Luckily I was able to get a few cases from the farmers' market for my canning purposes.

The overall harvest was only 9 pounds more than last year's, despite more intense planting.

My canning totals are down from last year, mostly because I was more planful about what I really needed and would use during the year.  I ended up with 134 pints of salsa, pickles, jam, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, soup, onions, okra, etc.  (not all in pint jars- some is actually in quarts and 1/2 pints, of course).

Why keep all these records?  If you have to ask, then you don't know me very well.  I like records for the sake of records.  But, seriously, I like to think that if I wanted to I could compare the price of my seeds and manure to the value of the veggies and fruit that I harvest and find out how much money I saved.  And I love trying to increase my garden yields and remember exactly how many jars of salsa it takes to last us through a year (the answer?  I don't know!  I've never made enough!).  For example, I found out last year that I don't really need 13 quarts of cucumber pickles.  So I made slightly less this year (it was tough to make less, though, because of the bumper crop of cukes!).

Another reason I love these records?  Years ago my friend Morgen shared an old canning cookbook with me that her mom used [Shout out to Sandy!].  In it her mother had recorded the quantities of canned goods she produced- I was in awe!  She had canned so much and kept such careful notes.  And it was so cool for Morgen (also an avid canner) to get to see her mother's notes and carry on her tradition.  I'm keeping notes now in hopes that some day my stepsons might have gardens of their own and crave the pickles that their mean ol' stepmother made.  We'll see...

Monday, November 29, 2010

When I'm Not Cooking

This past weekend I got a lot done.  But that didn't include cooking.  I did a serious deep clean of the kids' room and rearranged the furniture.  Mike and I filled cracks in the house with foam insulation.  We repaired the back of the fridge (don't ask).  We covered all the windows in plastic film to cut down on drafts.  I ordered and picked up our photo holiday cards and a few gifts.

Luckily we had Thanksgiving leftovers so I didn't starve, because I didn't cook at all.

My leftover potatoes and spinach casserole became potato cakes for Saturday morning breakfast and I ate stuffing/dressing for at least 3 more meals.

 Last night I was exhausted and couldn't eat stuffing again.  So I opted for the fruit and nut plate.  Fresh fruit was a nice change!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving- In photos

Cornbread batter poured into hot oil in the cast iron skillet...yum!

Snow works good for cooling down cornbread quickly.

It was a little sad to break apart all that cornbread for dressing. I might have eaten a bite or two.

Appetizers: Homemade cornichons and pickled green beans
(Not pictured: roasted chestnuts)

Cranberry ginger jam (also canned up about 6 half pints for later)

Marinated & roasted portabellos

Super creamy rosemary mashed potatoes by Mike's mom

Cornbread dressing

Spinach casserole

Roasted parsnips, carrots and red onion with balsamic glaze

My plate (pre-cranberry jam)

Mike eyeing the pecan pie truffles

Pumpkin ice cream pie with salted caramel sauce

Hot cider mulled with craisins

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On the Table

Like every year, my Thanksgiving dinner is on Friday.  So today, while all of you are stressing out...I'm enjoying an extra day off work, relaxing and slowly prepping ingredients for tomorrow's meal.  But don't be too jealous.  Having Thanksgiving on Friday means that Thursday is a little lonely.  And that everyone coming to my dinner has already had their fill of Thanksgiving the day before.  Plus, half of my guests are omnivores!

I planned out my meal and then peeked at my post from last year.  Surprise!  I planned nearly the exact same thing that I did the year before.

To start:
Homemade pickles (green bean, cucumber, okra, beet)
Roasted chestnuts
Hot local cider

For the meal:
Cornbread dressing
Mashed potatoes
Spinach casserole
Roasted portabellos
Roasted garden carrots and parsnips
Cranberry sauce

For dessert:
Pumpkin ice cream pie with GF graham crust and a salted caramel sauce
Pecan pie truffles

Mike just asked me if this was going to be enough food.  I had my doubts until I saw it all written out.  This should do it.  I'll get ya'll some photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grapefruit Memories

I am ridiculously excited for grapefruit season to be here again!  The Texas grapefruits started coming in at the co-op last week and they're fantastic.  I'm working my way through a giant bag right now!

It was only last year that I started really liking grapefruit.  And if it's not organic Texas grapefruit, I'm not interested (s-n-o-b-b-y).  I remember the first time I had grapefruit as a little girl.  I was in Virginia visiting my Granny Sue and she had some Texas grapefruits (kind of funny that instead of trying Texas grapefruit in Texas, my home state, I tried it in Virginia).  Anyways, it was a little bitter and she sprinkled some sugar over the top.  This opened new doors for me.  I remember spooning the lightly sweetened grapefruit juice out of the rind to get the last bit.  And it felt very civilized and proper to eat grapefruit (a very grown up fruit) alongside my grandmother, probably because my Granny Sue was a very proper lady.

One of my favorite things about grapefruit is that it practically requires its own special spoon.  That just makes it even more fun!  I used to reserve my mom's grapefruit spoons for eating ice cream or weird frozen fruit juice slushy experiments that were too hard.  The sharp sides of the spoon shaved off thin layers to the treats, but it was a little scary to eat with a sharp spoon.  I can't really recommend letting children do this...  Now I have a single grapefruit spoon that I've taken to stashing in my purse after breakfast so that I can have a grapefruit snack at work, too.  Thankfully my mom is mailing a package soon and including a couple of her spoons I so enjoyed using when I was little.

If you're not a grapefruit fan, try the Texas red/pink grapefruits a try- They're sweeter than all the others!  And if you don't like them straight-up, try them in a salad like this.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Favorite Teas

This past weekend I had a bit of an adventure with all the freezing rain and ice in Minnesota. I was at a friend's house in Minneapolis celebrating her birthday until about midnight and then left to go home.  Surprise!  Freezing rain and the iciest conditions I've ever seen!  

That'll teach me to not check the weather before going out.  I scraped the car and tried to drive a couple blocks, but even at about 5 mph I was sliding all over the place.  Not one to risk my life or precious new car, I turned around (very, very slowly) and headed back to the party.  

Luckily several friends offered to put me up for the night.  I opted to walk the 15 blocks to sleep in an actual bed.  It was ridiculous trying to walk there- We were sliding all over the place!  I didn't pick up my feet the entire walk and there were several close calls, shrieks and a little bit of crawling.  But we made it.  

And although it was a little thing, I was so comforted to drink a cup of my favorite tea when we got to my friends' house.  I'm not too picky about tea- it just needs to be decaf.  But to have my very favorite tea after such a cold, wet and slippery night was just delicious.  

This got me thinking about my favorite teas (that and the fact that it's freezing cold in the house right now), so I thought I'd share them with you.  

My favorite tea?  Yogi Tea's Rooibos Chai.  It's my bedtime ritual to enjoy a cup of this.  Sometimes it's my morning ritual, too.  I love that it's calming and spicy and tastes fantastic with a splash of almond milk.  

Other favorites, in order of favorite-ness:

Yogi Lemon Ginger- Other lemon ginger teas are also good, but I think this is the best.  I like to add a little extra lemon and honey.  Perfect for sore throats, upset stomach or just a delightful cup of tea.

Yogi Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut- This is a dessert tea.  It's sweet and has a fantastic vanilla flavor.  It's also really good with some almond milk added, but doesn't need anything!

Peppermint Tea- I really prefer the Traditional Medicines brand, but Yogi Tea peppermint is okay, too.  The TM brand is so refreshing and pure and I can steep it forever and it never gets overpowering.  This tea is great for settling my stomach and also pretty invigorating.  

Choice Organic Decaf Mango Ceylon- This is the only true tea that I drink (from the camellia sinensis plant).  I love the fruity, but not acidic, flavor of this black tea.  I just steep it a couple of minutes and it's perfect.  Right now I have a batch of kombucha brewing that is based on this tea- Yum!  

What are your favorite teas?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Okra and Jackfruit Curry

I believe I've make it pretty darn clear how much I love Everest  in St. Paul for their amazing Nepalese/Tibetan food, especially the okra and the jackfruit dishes.  And since my trip to Dragon Star resulted in a can of jackfruit and some gorgeous okra, it decided to try my hand at combining my two favorite restaurant dishes into one, at home.  

If you haven't used jackfruit before, don't be scared.  It's a fruit, but lends itself very well to savory dishes because of its meaty texture.  And the flavor is pretty much nonexistent.  Be sure you pick up the variety canned in brine, though, not heavy syrup.  That would not be good.  

Now jackfruit has these little bean/seed things inside of it and those are perfectly fine to eat.  But they kind of creep me out, so I remove them.  They look like what I imagine ovaries look like.  Do you agree?

Now for the okra- I think the best way to convert okra haters to okra lovers is through lots and lots of oil.  This recipe doesn't call for deep-frying, but it does use more oil than I usually would both to get a semi-crispy texture in the okra and to carry the flavor from all the spices.  

This all comes together with tons of spices and some home canned tomatoes.  It was really easy and by the time the basmati rice was done cooking, so were the veggies.  

Don't... don't you want this?

Jackfruit and Okra Curry 
I served this up with a cumin papadum and some mango pickle.  Fantastic!

2-3 Tbsp. canola oil
1 onion, diced
1/2 lb. of okra, trimmed and cut into large chunks
1 can jackfruit in brine, drained and cut into chunks
2 tsp. whole coriander, crushed lightly
1 tsp. cumin seed
3/4 tsp. ground fenugreek
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/8 tsp. asafoetida
1/2 tsp. amchur
2 cups canned whole tomatoes
Salt to taste
Crushed red chilies to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until oil ripples.  Add the onion and okra.  Stir frequently and cook (watch out for spattering oil!) until onions are translucent and everything is lightly browned.  Add jackfruit and spices and continue to cook until fragrant (don't let those spices burn!).  Add the tomatoes and lower heat to low.  Simmer until the tomatoes have broken down into a sauce-like consistency and okra is tender.  Add salt and chiles to taste.  I think this tastes great with plenty of salt and chilies in it, but it's very flavorful even without.  Serve with rice and garnish with a healthy handful of fresh cilantro.

This is the closest I've ever come to replicated the amazing flavors of Everest.  But their's is still better.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Squash to Drool Over

There's not much better than squash on a winter day.  Here's my favorite way to serve baked or roasted squash.

This is a red kuri squash dotted with Earth Balance (okay, maybe those are hunks rather than "dots") and drizzled with a sweet, thick balsamic vinegar.  Then just add a little salt and pepper for the best squash ever!  I know it sounds a bit simple.  But it's so good that it's worth mentioning.  


The leftover squash (if there is any) works great for making a roasted squash salad or soup.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Gluten Free Miracle!

I just discovered something that is going to change our lives.  Or, at least our lives as they pertain to pizza.  And that's a pretty significant portion.  

This isn't going to look amazing.  In fact, it looks like a wet sponge.

Let me explain.  Frozen gluten free pizza crusts suck.  Not only are they basically just slightly thick tortillas, they cost like $9 for pure disappointment.  Plus, most of them are all of about 6 inches across.  What, gluten free people don't get to gorge themselves on large pizzas?  Sure, there are some exceptions- I don't want hate comments from anyone for implying that your favorite crust isn't so hot.  But of the ones I've tried (few, since most have eggs), I haven't been impressed.  I mean, this is 2010 and pretty much everyone and their mom wants to eat gluten free.  So what's the hold up on the GF pizza crust technology, folks?!  

I like making and freezing my own GF crusts, but I can only make and freeze 2 at a time since i only have 2 baking sheets to freeze them on.  Then I have to figure out how to seal the frozen crust in an airtight package for the freezer.  I've done foil, plastic wrap, super large baggies, etc.  My sort of oval, sort of square crusts never fit too well.

So this is where I'm coming from.  And now I've found a way to make my own frozen GF crusts at a rate of about 3-4 in 5 minutes.  This is pizza revolution.  

Here's my seriously simple solution to these issues.  After making a double batch of dough (recipe below), I just put the dough in an oiled large baggie and squish it around until it's flat and extends fully to all sides of the bag.  If you've worked with GF dough before, then you know that spreading it can be a nightmare on dough street.  Your hands stay clean with this method!  Then I seal and freeze the bags stacked on a flat surface.  To use the crust, I can peel the baggie back (for reusing the bag again) or just cut it off.*

*I realize that wasting a plastic bag might feel really wrong (It usually does to me).  But I use recycled plastic bags and figure that if I bought a crust it'd be in plastic and a non-recyclable box, too.  So it's still a little better than store-bought.

Crazy Easy GF Pizza Crust
The recipe I use is an adaptation of Mary Frances' recipe on Gluten Free Cooking School.  My adaptations are just because of what ingredients I typically keep on hand rather than anything wrong with her original recipe.  I'll give it to you with my changes because that's how I tested it. I encourage you to make double batches always.

1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 c. brown rice flour
3/4 cup millet flour
1 cup tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthum gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 1/3 c. almond milk (water works in a pinch)
2 tsp. olive oil (Plus 2 Tbsp. for baggie)
2 tsp. cider vinegar

Dough instructions:
Mix together all dry ingredients (everything except milk, olive oil and vinegar) in your mixer with a paddle attachment.  Or use your arm with the whisk attachment.  Mix together the liquids in a big jar and then add the liquids to the dry ingredients.  Mix for about a minute or until everything is evenly distributed and a sticky, soft dough has formed.  

Freezing instructions:
Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to each large sized baggie.  Squish around until oil coats the inside.  Divide the dough between the bags and pat out until dough fully extends to the edges of the bag and is evenly distributed.  Stack the baggies on a baking sheet and freeze overnight.  Then retrieve your baking sheet and store the dough in your freezer until you decide to have a pizza party.

Cooking instructions:
Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut off the plastic bag and place frozen dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Parbake for 8 minutes before topping and baking another 15 minutes or so (this time is dependent on your toppings).  Then you know what to do.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Most Excellent Adventure Stop #4

Last, but not least, on the ethnic market tour last weekend was Little India in northeast Minneapolis.  I was looking forward to visiting this store more than any of the others because I'm a big fan of Indian cooking, cook Indian food at home at least weekly and had never been to an Indian grocer in the Twin Cities.  Shame on me!

Okay, no more shame.  On to the food!

I was mostly interested in the packaged foods here, but they do have a little produce area and a deli counter will a variety of (presumably non-vegan) sweets.  Honestly, I didn't even really look at those areas.  I really focused on the pickles, spices, snacks and beans.  No surprises there, huh?

Look at all this fantastic stuff!  I got tamarind concentrate, mango pickle, super yummy puffed rice and dried fruit snack, amchur (mango) powder, urad dal (black beans that look like mung beans), chora dal (whitish lentils), three kinds of pappadum (masala, cumin and green chili), Tiger Balm for headaches and candy coated fennel seeds.  I'm super excited to make the pappadum!  And even Mike can enjoy these since they're gluten free.  I'm pretty excited for the kids to try them, too.  I'm pretty sure that they'll be fans.

I seem to remember a tons of recipes in my various Indian cookbooks calling for the amchur powder, so it'll be fun to make the recipes with it and see if they are different from when I made them without it.  I don't know what to expect, but mango powder sounds fantastic!

It was really funny to read the Tiger Balm package today and see that in addition to headaches, this particular variety is supposed to be a remedy for flatulence!  Perfect for those headachey, gassy days!  Ha!

I'll definitely be back to Little India- It's great to know where to find some of the more obscure Indian beans and spices!

And so concludes the grand tour of 4 ethnic markets in the Twin Cities.  It's not so exhausting to read it, but after 6 hours of shopping, we were glad to end it and collapse at home!  Be sure to check out Catherine's views on the markets and all the fabulous goodies she got.