Hello, all my nonexistent readers! :P I returned from spring break and was promptly thrown right back into the crazy world of compsing. I took my big annoying exam first weekend, so I am now done with my comprehensive senior integrative exercise (if we're going to get fancy with titles here) and, barring failure of my exam, am free and clear to graduate college in June! Yikes/yay!
But now back to your regularly scheduled programming... food! But not really. In case you haven't heard, Katie, AKA CCV, over at Chocolate Covered Katie is giving away an amazingly awesome "CCV in a Box" - basically, it's all her favorite stuff combined in a package of tasty delight. You can enter to win by sending Katie an email with the answers to her fun little bloggy scavenger hunt, and if you have a blog you can earn extra entries by linking to the contest and/or making a CCV recipe and blogging about it. Fun, no? So head right on over to this page and enter!
I'm just popping by to say that I'm on a brief hiatus. It's spring break, and I'll be home in RI for a week before heading to Chicago to visit friends during the last week of my break. I didn't bring my laptop home so that I can get lots of studying done for my comps exam, so I'm trying not to waste too much time on the internet. I will catch up with blogs eventually though!
A few years ago, a certain sibling of mine decided it would be hilarious to start calling me "Cauliflower." Apparently, "Kelly" and the "Cauli" part of cauliflower just sound sooo much alike. I still think "Kellyflower" would've been cuter, but I guess you can't pick and choose the nicknames your siblings give you - and hey, it could've been a lot worse! Smelly Kelly, Kelly Belly... my name lends itself to some unfortunate rhymes. Oh well! Cauliflower really isn't so bad, especially since I happen to be a cauliflower fan.
Cauliflower isn't (just) broccoli's albino cousin - it's a healthy cruciferous vegetable in its own right, loaded with vitamin C and respectable amounts of vitamin K and fiber. And it's downright delicious when roasted, covered in "Indian Barbecue Sauce" from VegWeb, and paired with cumin-y pan fried tofu and baby carrots.
Do I really need to say anything else? That all tasted as good as it looked. I halved the recipe for the barbecue sauce and further lessened the amount of oil, and there was more than enough for me, but I don't like lots of sauce on my food, so take that as you will. Oh, and I omitted the ginger just because I, um, don't have any. :P Anyway, I highly recommend that recipe and think you should all go out and stock your veggie drawer with cauliflower if you haven't done so already. Now go!
I've never considered myself a picky eater. I like to think that if someone were to make me a meal, no matter what was on the plate (well, y'know, as long as it wasn't a big bloody steak or something, obviously!), I'd eat it willingly and gratefully. And I suppose that's true. But then I realized that there are certain foods that I just won't purchase or cook on my own because, well, I don't really like them! So I've decided that I'm going to try and overcome these food aversions - thus, the Crinkly Nose Chronicles were born. Why the name, you ask? Well, what facial expression does a child make when you ask her to eat a food she doesn't like? Yup - she crinkles her nose and pairs it with a disdainful look that leave no confusion as to her meaning. And the questionable food I'm dealing with today is the humble yam.
Now, the food I really have an issue with here is the sweet potato. I know that's weird, and I know that yams and sweet potatoes are not exactly the same thing, but my local grocery store had yams on sale last week - with no sweet potatoes in sight - so I decided to just pretend that once I learn to like yams, sweet potatoes will naturally follow.
I think my dislike of sweet potatoes stems from childhood. I've always had an issue with tastes - I don't like my dinner to taste sweet, and as I've mentioned before, I am not a huge fan of the savory breakfast. So, while regular ol' potatoes are just fine with me, the sweet ones have always tripped me up. As a kid, I'd watch the rest of my family enjoying baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar and wistfully wish I could learn to like them, but I just couldn't. Not only did their taste not fit with my conceptions of what dinner should entail, but their general flavor, quite honestly, just did not do it for me. I also have issues with texture - I hated yogurt as a kid and bananas still make me gag - and the texture of sweet potatoes was always slightly off-putting to me. As I've gotten older, I've grown more tolerant; if yams or sweet potatoes are part of a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas, I'll force down a small helping. But buying them and cooking them of my own volition? Not on your life!
...until last week, that is. I came home from the grocery store with two big ol' yams last Monday, and decided that the best way to trick my taste buds into enjoying them was to make baked yam fries - and yes, that's probably the same approach I'd take with a child, hehe! In search of some appropriate seasoning, the very first result from Googling "sweet potato fries" led me here. Hmm - her husband hates sweet potatoes but loved these fries?! Sounds good to me! So I chopped up my yam into some strangely shaped pieces, mixed up some olive oil (way less than the 1/4 cup in the recipe, goodness!) with some paprika and cinnamon (a spice mixture that sounded just crazy enough to work) and popped 'em in the oven.
Um, consider me chastened! These fries were delicious! I liked the ones where the skin had gone all crispy, but I was even able to eat the ones with mooshy insides without having texture OR flavor issues! In fact, I actually enjoyed the yammish flavor. I liked these fries so much that I made them again last night when I wasn't particularly hungry for a big dinner.
As you can see, I had the fries with some asparagus I needed to use up. The asparagus looks really shiny, but it's just flavored with a little Earth Balance and some squeezes of fresh lemon juice. Yum all around.
I've made progress, I think, in my journey towards becoming a yam/sweet potato fan. But I still have a ways to go. I've got to graduate to actual sweet potatoes, and I need to stop eating my yams as fries (or do I?) and try another way of eating them. In fact, I bought two more yams at the store today, and I promise that the next time I see a sweet potato, I will purchase it and try to enjoy it!
So - what's YOUR favorite way of eating yams/sweet potatoes?
My cooking rut has ended, but my time crunch has begun, giving me a new reason not to post, alas! Carleton has a trimester system, so we have three 10-week terms per year. It's eighth week of winter term right now, and things are getting hectic. I've got all my regular work to finish, plus my huuuge comprehensive exercise exam for which to prepare. So that's my excuse for this boring, mostly picture-less post!
I tried the VWAV recipe for pancakes last week, and they were yummy! I added lots of cinnamon to the batter, because I love a little spice in my pancakes, and ate them with maple syrup and the applesauce and apples topping I blogged about here.
After picking up some canned pumpkin at the store, I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from VCTOTW. Mmm! They were like a cross between cupcakes and muffins, though the chocolate chips definitely pushed them towards cupcakedom. I thought they were *slightly* bland, but that might be because I'm so used to eating pumpkin based baked goods that use lots of pumpkin pie inspired spices.
This weekend, I made a big ol' pot of the Curried Split Pea Soup from VWAV. I'd had a bag of split peas sitting in my cupboard for weeks, so I was glad to finally use them up. I've never had curried split pea soup before; in fact, I'm not sure I've had split pea soup at all since going vegetarian just about four years ago! Weird, huh? I altered Isa's recipe slightly for lack of certain ingredients, namely onions, ginger, and cardamom. If I'd had them, I bet the soup would've been even tastier, but I really loved it as it was, especially since I chopped up a couple of baby carrots and added them. The curry flavor was mild, but I thought it worked well that way; the soup wasn't overpowering at all. I froze about half the batch, and tonight I ate my last not-frozen leftover bowl with some "sweet potato" (read: yam!) fries that might show up in a post soon. It was the perfect comfort meal on a cold night when I had a headache and generally didn't feel too well.
I did make one recipe from VWAV that wasn't a success, however. I decided to depart from my standby burger recipe - a variation of the Black Bean Burgers from Fatfree Vegan Kitchen - and try the TVP-based Veggie Burgers instead. I was not impressed. Granted, my substitution of chopped olives for the recipe's chopped mushrooms could have altered the taste, but I thought the flavor overall was just not good. I find that many of the recipes from VWAV are really salty, and this one was no exception, especially if you cook the TVP in vegetable broth, which is loaded with sodium. That plus the 3 T soy sauce, the Dijon mustard, and the optional liquid smoke (I didn't have any) equals waaay too much salt for my tastes - and I even halved the amount of soy sauce! I just wasn't impressed with the taste; there were too many flavors going on - Dijon mustard, peanut butter, soy sauce, and all the spices... bleh. I like the idea of a TVP-based burger, but I won't be making this particular recipe again.
That's all I have for now on the food-related front! I will leave you with a cute photo of my little Mistletoe as a thank-you for reading all this boring, picture-less food blather. This is one of her favorite positions, with her head resting between someone's legs - mine, in this case. Enjoy the doggie cuteness, and check out this post for a photo of my other baby.