Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet Corn Quinoa Fried Rice

Today's recipe is a bit of a failed attempt that turned out pretty tasty!

I set out wanting to try out these Sweet Corn Quinoa Cakes, but ended up with a fried rice type dish that I'd definitely make again!
  • 1.5 c cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, or 1 ear fresh corn
  • 1 shredded zucchini
  • 3 tbls hummus
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
Simple mix all the ingredients together!
I assume the hummus was meant to hold together all the ingredients enough to be formed into patties, but it was no where near enough, and since it was the bottom of my container, I just did my best to form patties.
The patties fall apart almost as soon as we put them in the heated oil, and definitely were all gone by the time we tried to turn them over, so we ended up just finishing it off like fried rice, and it was delicious
A perfect summery fried rice-esque dish that I'll definitely make again!
Have any of you ever tried out a dish that was headed for disaster and ended up being a success?

Check out more of my vegan recipes here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buffalo Tempeh Wings/Zucchini Sticks

I decided to be a bit crazy and try out a new recipe for Tim.  I like to take his favorite foods and find a vegan version of them, just like when I make him vegan Eggs Benedict.  Another one of his favorites dishes are buffalo wings, so I searched out a recipe and found this one to mimic. 

At the same time, I tried making some zucchini sticks because I had an extra one laying around.  The details on that are down below!  But in the meantime,

Buffalo Tempeh Wings
  • 1 package tempeh
  • 1/3c soy milk
  • 1/3c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste
  • 1c Italian season panko crumbs
  • Wing sauce
First, slice the tempeh into 10ish strips.  In the future, I would also slice these strips in half lengthways as well to make shorter "wings" to work with; they tended to tear in half while working with them post-boiling.

Then, you guessed it: boil the strips for 15 minutes, draining immediately and rinse with cold water.
Meanwhile, prepare 3 bowls for your dunking station.  In the first bowl, pour in the soy milk.
In the second, add the flour,
The salt,
The thyme,
The paprika,
And the garlic powder.
Mix together!
In the last bowl, pour in the panko crumbs.
After the tempeh is done boiling, drain immediately and rinse with cold water.  Start dunking the pieces one by one through the soy milk, then the flour mixture, then the panko crumbs.

Place all the strips on a baking sheet and mist with cooking spray- I use 100% olive oil spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on each side.
Because I was afraid that the "wings" would be too fragile to toss with the sauce, I just smeared some on a place, added the wings, and then poured more sauce on top.  The "wings" seemed to absorb the sauce really well, and we could have used a lot more than we did. 

They were a little too spicy for my taste, but Tim sure seemed to enjoy them!  I really loved the "fried" tempeh with another sauce instead!!  Delish!

Meanwhile, I also prepared zucchini sticks.  An hour before starting the tempeh wings, I sliced the zucchini into 27 strips.

Then I put them in a strainer and sprinkled a little salt on them to draw out the moisture.
I was very surprised to see that it actually works!  See the beads of liquid?
Wash the strips off to get rid of the salt, then pat dry.
The rest of the process is identical to the tempeh above- just dunk in each bowl and bake.  I did 400 degrees for 15 minutes on each side.
They were delicious!! I dipped then in spicy mustard, along with a couple leftover tempeh pieces that didn't get wing sauced. 


Monday, November 28, 2011

Refinishing a Table: Step Three

After the disastrously staining process from Step 2, Tim and I were left with this beauty to work with when we attempted to salvage the table to our liking:
Of course, it looked great in pictures, but it just wasn't a looker in real life- at least to me!  So since our last attempt, I've been brainstorming ideas on how to keep the wood look on the table but even out the color.  My options were pretty much trying to go with a super light application of paint and hoping that it wouldn't cover too much- but with my heavy hands, I wasn't counting on that technique.

Then while we were at Ikea, we noticed their little display of paints colors, demonstrating how translucent each layer is as you apply it.  Then we saw that the paint was actually called paint glaze, and I just knew we had a winner.  

After scouring the internet and trying to find a tutorial for what I had in mind, it wasn't until talking to a co-worker who has experience in glaze that I finally found my answer.  I could buy a can of glaze at the store and mix it with as much paint as I wanted to create a sheer coat of paint.  Sounds perfect, right?  I was still nervous that it wouldn't turn out nicely and that I would just have to re-paint it again, but it was worth a shot, right?
So we gathered a bunch of paint samples, and found a couple that matched both the existing table color and the color we wanted it to be, and then we headed to the store to buy the paint sample and glaze.

And then we had an epiphany.  When we arrived at the store, thinking about the headaches we were about to endure while trying out a new paint technique without knowing if we'd like it, we just stood in the middle of the paint section at Home Depot, looked at each other, and at the same time, went, "Spray paint?"  

So that's how we ended up scraping the whole glaze plan and came back with a couple cans of toxic, disgusting spray paint (that I seem to have no qualms about spray indoors if it gets me the results I want!).  It was almost like we had just came up with this fantastic idea- spray paint?  On old furniture?  Genius!  Why didn't we think of this super cheap and super easy method in the first place?  Of course, we were trying to keep the project in line with the environment and avoiding asthma attacks on my part, but we figured that with our special sealer made of whey and our completely non toxic stripped, the spray paint evened out our carbon footprint on this project. 

Anyway, back to the table, we gave it a light sanding because we applied a thin coat of sealer before we left last time.
Then, we used some spray primer to lightly coat every surface.

We choose Rust-olem's Ultra Cover spray paint in Dark Walnut, because it was the closest match to shelves we have hanging next to where the table will be.  
 It only took a can and a half to cover the entire table in two nice coats.  At only $3.88 a can, what a steal!

It's so incredibly hard to take pictures in the weird lighting of a garage, with multiple lights shining down onto the wet, shiny surface, so forgive the lack of quality pictures on all these table posts!
We ended up taking the table home the same weekend, since it was dry enough to handle in 24 hours.  Because our sealer is completely non toxic, we wanted to apply it at home and save us another trip home.
Here is the table in it's dried glory, next to the shelf that we chose the color from.  Isn't it a perfect match?
The next step was sealing. This particular sealer needed to be applied in three thin coats, and sanded in between each application.  It would then take an entire week to completely cure (which means to heal, seal, harden, be ready for use).

It took three days to finish each application, and tomorrow will be the 7th day of waiting for it to cure, and we can finally start using our table for real!  As soon as we get the dining area set us, I'll post with the final table reveal!