Chile Top Forest

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I was stemming the peppers to put them in the freezer and all I could think of was how great these tops look. Too bad I’m not into claymation because I thought these tops looked so magical. Ah, how I wish I could explore this forest as a miniature.

And I should probably mention that this is gunna be image heavy since I had so much fun and haven’t updated as much as I’ve needed to.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fit everything I want into this post since I’m hoping to grill up some tacos soon and I’m getting hungry. We finally bought a grill, well I actually got it and lugged the thing to the car since Nathan was working. Just a little Weber one since we don’t do much grilling but now that we have one I keep thinking up so many dinners. I was really motivated to get one now since I got my box of New Mexican Chile (Thanks to the grandparents!) and I felt like they needed a real smokey flavor which I didn’t think my oven would give them. Lame excuse but I also figured it would be nice to sit outside with Nathan and just relax with the grill.

Washed them up and Nathan set up the grill…I’ve never grilled anything and Nathan hadn’t done it in years so we were having fun adding lighter fluid.

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We also grilled up some corn and we made Kabobs with my marinaded Seitan Asado recipe, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. The coals died down a bit and we really ought to have put more in since it took a bit longer to cook but it turned out super yummy…

I let the peppers steam for a couple hours in a pot and then plunked down in front of my computer and watched netflix shows to pass the time.

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Yup, still got our handy little plastic chair. He’s super useful now that we have the grill too b/c we can alternate grilling and sitting between the two of us. Oh and my infamous purple running shorts also make a cameo. I’m sure Nathan is also excited that his running outfit is on display….

Anyway, more pictures of peppers

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I didn’t really know what to do with the chiles in terms of freezing so I used my typical wonton way in which I laid out sheets of foil and froze them individually for about an hour before taking them out and wrapping and folding them up. Then I wrapped a bunch of plastic wrap just in case since I didn’t want my precious peppers getting freezerburn. I ended up having about 6oz. of pepper juice which I saved and I’m thinking of putting it into a salsa or maybe using it for a marinade. I only wish I had more peppers since I’m afraid I’ll eat them all up in a week…Oh, and I read that most people seed their peppers but I left them in. I doubt I’ll ever seed them since I personally like as much spicyness but I wonder if there is a notable difference. Well, we’ll see.

I have some more food stuff to write about I suppose. First off, I’m super excited about making tempeh tuna salad. Omg! sounds soo good. Ever since I made those spicy tempeh rolls I’ve been amazed at the texture of mashed tempeh. Plus, I’ve been using some seaweeds in cooking and it really brings out a seafoody taste and smell which works well for substituting and mimicking fish…It’s strange though since I’ve always hated tuna salad but tempeh tuna salad? totally different story. I also really need to try out some enchilada and tamale recipes but they seem so time consuming but I really need to work on some yummy vegan versions.

Anyway, ever since I got back from New Mexico I’ve been recreating this Chinese dish that I had which was basically a stir-fry but with a sesame oil base. My mother asked my we only eat pasta once a week and I had to think about it…well it turns out I think it’s because I suck at making pastas/noodles. Not that they turn out horribly…in fact I think my pesto pasta is uber…but I’ve never really explored pasta since I’m kind of on this whole complete protein kick…eating a veggie pasta just doesn’t seem good enough since I wonder if I should have added beans or tofu….But I’m trying and I have to say this dish is super.

Personally, I like using udon noodles because a lot of the noodles at our market have egg in them and I love that they carry round udon. I cook the noodles and then rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking process. I cut the tofu up and coat them with cornstarch and then fry them up…kind of deep fried but not overly so. Set them on a platter with paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Then I stir-fry some garlic, sliced onion, broccoli, mushrooms, and carrot. The Julienne tool my mom gave me totally works and is really nice for stir-fries and salads…oh how I love these weird cooking tools. Anyway, I soften up the veggies and then add the noodles and sauce.

Oh the sauce is about .25cup soy sauce (I use the reduced sodium tamari), about 1-2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil, and a crap load of chili oil….mix and taste to your liking…then I add about 1-2 tsp. of cornstarch to thicken the sauce and then add it into the stir-fry with the noodles. I add the tofu at the end but it seems to get a bit mushy since it absorbs some of the sauce so ideally I’d like to lightly reheat it again in a separate pan before spooning out the dish. Anyway, it comes out so nicely and I’ve made this a few times since I got back. Gotta love stir-fry.

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The only other thing I’m going to post are my crappy danishes. I used to love my Martha baking book but the more I research the more I feel like her recipes don’t follow through. I’ve used her danish dough recipe twice and I’ve had to use a egg replacer (flaxseed and water) and the dough never comes out nicely and is really hard to work with. After reading other recipes and watching a Julia Child PBS show from years ago featuring a French pastry chef, I now feel like I need to try other dough recipes. The show I saw didn’t use egg at all in the recipe and actually used pastry flour which might help with the overall feel of the dough. Anyway, the ones I made were ‘apricot bowties’ and the show I watched also used apricots but they were basically termed as egg like pastries because when cooked, the apricots look like sunny side-up eggs. I thought I was the only one who thought this until I saw J.Child’s show and now I want to make them again because it’s so funny how eggy they look. Of course mine look like mini burritos whereas hers were more like a platter with eggs on top but the imagery is still the same.

So it took me a few days to make the dough because I didn’t start it early and it needs a bit of resting time. I looked up a vegan pastry cream recipe which I hope to modify since it seemed a bit more like a glaze than a cream. Cut out my dough and wrapped everything up and sprinkled some sugar on top. The end results were not nearly as beautiful as I had hoped but they tasted great which is kind of the most important thing to consider when I make a new dish. Lots of photos….

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Not my best in terms of cooking or photography but I think the ‘bowties’ give some indication of how the fruits could be confused with eggs. Also, my crappy pinwheel….but after seeing that PBS show I really want to try pastries again since I really ought to learn how to make them better. At least I now know that I like apricots but I still don’t like apricot marmalade.

Oh I suppose I should post my spicy tempeh rolls that I remade with regular rice and made them with the nori on the outside. Personally, I think if I make them inside-out again the white rice will totally hold together better than the green rice I used before but I thought I ought to take pictures for those who want to see what it might look like.

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I actually didn’t make as much rice as I should have and the ends of the rolls were a bit swishy because of the lack of rice. Well, at least folks now have an idea of how the rolls look with each style.

Well, I ought to sign off now…I’ve already eaten my tasty tacos and now I’m super tired. I’ll try to post the rest of my photos and experiences later this week. Until then, eat good food and be happy 🙂


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August 2009
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