Saturday, February 27, 2010


Nothing says 'celebration' like chocolate beet cake with a purple Hanukkah candle. 

What's so special that I'd make beet cake and break out the pyro? The kitchen is basically operational! I came home the other night, and there was running water. Running water. Have I ever been so excited about running water? The next morning I chucked a half-full glass of stale water out the back door, and Kevin had to remind me that we have a sink now. So now I don't have to do rude things like throw water on my neighbor's air conditioning handler.

So, those are fiberboard make-shift counters. They keep me happy because I can use my kitchen. And what makes me happy, makes Keith the contractor happy.  He's smart that way. He and Kevin made me extra happy Friday evening by moving the Beluga of a stove into place. This is something I never believed would actually happen: the Chambers in the kitchen. You've come a long way, baby!

To go with this new fabulous AlmostKitchen, there are two new things that have made me very excited.

1. Tofu Egg Salad. This may sound gross, but I'll admit that when I look in the Midwife/Doctor lounge on Labor and Delivery at 3AM and see one of the free, freshly prepared Egg Salad on Whole Wheat sandwiches, I'm tempted for a split second. I love egg salad. What I don't love is how the chickens are cruelly mistreated and all that cholesterol. It's been a process of trial and error, but I finally created a vegan version that hits the spot. I didn't measure anything, so I can't tell you a recipe. Just add ingredients until it tastes right. I had to make sure it wasn't poisoned before taking the photo.

(firm tofu, mashed with Veganaise, yellow mustard, tumeric, dill pickle relish, garlic powder, black salt!, minced parsley, and a scallion.)

2. This bombastic camera. It's Kevin's. Obviously. And I'm pretty sure the glass is worth more than his car. I have to stand across the room to try to take photos of food with the bicep-building beast of a lens, but how cool! Thanks, Kev. I promise I won't drop it!

Coming soon: I was gifted two new cookbooks for Valentines Day, Vegan Comfort Food and The Conscious Cook. There will be lots of new recipe experimentation, including cultured cashew cheese! Oh boy...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What do we want? Kitchen! When do we want it? Now!

These are things that have happened lately:

1. Breakfast bar made of reclaimed wood from 100 year-old Ball-mer rowhouses. I believe these are joists and flooring pieces. 

2. Haven't seen the contractor in about 10 days. He's supposed to be making the molds for pouring the concrete counters with the template he created. We made an agreement: I want concrete counters, and he wants to learn how to make concrete counters. I pay for the supplies/tools, and he gets to "learn" on my kitchen. So, he's not charging me for the labor, but come on now! It's time to get this thing dooooone. It's been since October. And while the table saw does make for good cocktail conversation when friends are over, I'd rather be cooking in the kitchen.

3. We had a dinner shindig last night. A few noteworthy tidbits:

Bam! I veganized this bourbon-braised sausage recipe from Emeril. The recipe calls for both beer and bourbon. Oh yeah, baby. I used Field Roast smoked apple sausages. Num Num. We had them on some really fresh French bread from Roots Market.

I made crash hot potatoes. They really crashed hard. This event may or may not have been followed by a little temper tantrum (aka temper tangerine) that may or may not have involved throwing things. Did I mention that I'm ready for the kitchen to be done?


I made Vegan Yum Yum's "blueberry grunt" for dessert. Evidently a grunt is kind of like a cobbler. It's cooked-down blueberries with a biscuit topping. Cobblers need to be a la mode, right? Right. Good excuse to execute some kitchen wizardry. I made ice cream! From one ingredient! It's seriously magical. Step-by-step instructions are here at The Kitchn. It involves slicing and briefly freezing bananas, then food-processing them. What's great is that it seems like a complete flop for the first few minutes until, suddenly, a transformation takes place and your gritty banana substance instantly becomes creamy and fluffy. It's actually very similar to gelato consistency, but made of bananas and much kinder to the waistline.

4. Sunday morning after a long night of "fraternizing" requires strong coffee and good breakfast. I've been wanting to make the omelettes from Vegan Brunch but just never gathered the necessary supplies. Today was the day! These little cuties were whipped up with some slices of rice cheese and veggies. The rice cheese really didn't contribute much. In the future, I'd probably go Daiya or nothing at all cheese-wise. The recipe claimed to make 4 omelettes but made more like seven for me.