Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fire up the grill and throw on those... carrots?

Word has it that 30ish years ago, there was a vegetarian restaurant in downtown Gainesville that served carrot hot dogs. The dish has gone down in Gainesville history. Some thought it divine. Some mocked it as ridiculous. A friend's mom used to wait tables there in the 1970s, and he turned me on to this pre-TofuPup treat from days gone by when veg*ns had to be a bit more creative for their meat replacement options.

Of course it doesn't taste just like a hot dog. Mainly the texture is off-- but the taste comes pretty dang close. Plus, you smother this baby with plenty of mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish... and you won't even miss the wheat gluten, TSP, or whatever else your usual go-to not-dog contains. This is as close as you can come to a dog without processed ingredients!

Using standard sized carrots, slice the ends and boil until tender (leave a bit of bite.) When done, drain and rinse with cold water. (I reserved some of the carrot cooking water for the marinade.)

1.5 cups water
~3 T red wine vinegar
~half tsp liquid smoke 
1 T salt
squirt of soy sauce/tamari/Braggs
1 tsp garlic salt
2 cloves crushed/minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

Put carrots in a jar, pour in marinade, refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 1 week. Longer is obviously better.

Brush with oil and grill it up. (We use stovetop cast iron grill. Any skillet would be OK too.)

Naked dog shown above. After this shot, it got dressed up in fixin's. I made this for myself, gave Kevin a bite, and then headed out to the library. Evidently he was pretty impressed, because while I was gone he made more and spoiled his dinner. I'll take that as a compliment.

ps- The concrete counters will be installed in T minus 48 hours. OMG OMG OMG. No more fiberboard covered in red wine stains! 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My laminated house

During the kitchen reno, we discovered the house was "laminated," meaning renovaters of the past have just slapped new walls over old tile/wall panels/etc. Weird, isn't it? I'm really intrigued by the history of my 130-year-old house, and seeing the layers of owners past is like opening a time capsule.

Today Kevin did some of this:

Which led us to this:

Note: base layer of green tile (maybe 1950's?) then layer of yellow/orange flowered wallpaper (1970s?)

In the office: my robin's egg walls, wood paneling, and some former paneled ceiling with gross water damage.

Found a roof hatch-- suspected culprit of aforementioned water damage. How awesome are these wooden ceilings?!

The robin's egg room in its present state, where you'll frequently spot these two troublemakers.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flexing my buns

Something about the hot weather has us wanting to eat things on buns. Can't you just see how elated Kevin is to be devouring those lil' baby sloppy joes? (Vegan Dad's Red Lentil Sloppy Joe's on homemade burger buns from Adventures in Beanland.) I was taking the KitchenAid for a spin that night, so the buns were kneaded in the 'Aid, though the thickness of the WW dough basically derailed the bowl a couple times. Runaway Train! I also made the garlic whipped red taters in the KA. 

Having had success with these buns, I attempted to re-create a Wisconsin Oktoberfest favorite: beer brats on German dark rye rolls with saurkraut. I'd never seen mass produced dark rye hot dog buns until I lived through an October in Wisconsin. We'd picked up some Tofurkey beer brats, so naturally they HAD to be on rye buns. My attempt crashed and burned. The dough, which never rose, tasted delicious: WW flour, blackstrap molasses, agave, cocoa powder. Yum! Too bad it didn't work out. I was waiting for a rematch with the recipe, but alas... after a morning of eating saurkraut from the jar before breakfast, I decided it was high time I just bought some rolls and did it up! We cooked the brats in foil with beer and red onions (onions soaked in beer- try it.) The result were alright. I think I'm just not a tofurkey girl. Most meat analogs just don't quite feel right. I think I'll take red lentils over fake meat any day.

Here in the Vegan Kitchen, we've had a major development. The drawer pulls are on, which might sound minor but after months of having to leave the drawers open because they were too hard to open otherwise, pulls are a big freakin' deal. And they match the fridge and dee-dubya.

Also, let there be light!

Because we're either:
a. gluttons for punishment
b. clinically insane
c. fond of being strapped for cash
....we are considering more renovation. This project would be Kevin's baby. Not sure if it'll come to fruition, as we're waiting on bids from a few contractors to see if it's plausible. But, for fun, I went to Second Chance today to poke around. It's the series of salvage warehouses where I bought my stove. They have so much cool shit. Today's treasures included some new vintage stoves, set pieces from The Wire, plethora of clawfoot tubs. I snapped a few photos before my pager went off, causing me to abort to puruse-and-photo mission.

Two little Fire Kings sitting in a tree. I think the blue one wants to come home with me. (Wouldn't it make a cute little accept piece?)