Saturday, February 9, 2013

Music, Winter Blues, and Foodz

Jason posting.

I feel like kind of an idiot but it never occurred to me that you can take your own, like, physical CD's (remember those?) and import them into your iTunes library.

Don't judge.

So I've spent the morning importing all my CD's into iTunes and making this killer playlist.  So far I've been rocking Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men, Nico, Foxygen, Rainer Maria, Karmella's Game, and Blonde Redhead - and the list is growing.

(A note on Foxygen - A very good friend of mine whose musical opinion I hold in very high regard told me about them the other night.  He suggested I listen to their song Shuggie - so I YouTube'd it.  I suggest you do the same - it's a life changer.  Foxygen - Shuggie.  DO IT.  weirdly, the very next day a coworker gave me a copy of the same album.)

Anyway, other than listening to music and trying desperately to survive the cold, arctic tundra that is western Pennsylvania in the wintertime - Gina and I have been cooking up a storm.

Ever since the decision to go vegan, we have really limited our options for eating at restaurants 'round here (although we did discover that Angelia's does, in fact, have a veggie sub that you can get without cheese if you are obnoxiously specific about it) - so Giant Eagle and Shop 'n Save in Kennedy Twp have become our best friends.

We've also been opening the eyes of many a teenage cashier in the checkout line with all the fresh produce we've been buying.  My favorite moment so far was the following exhange at Giant Eagle a week or so ago:

Teenage Cashier #1:  What are these?  (throws a skeptic glance to Teenage Cashier #2 who is standing beside her, in her hand dangle a cluster of large beets with the greens still attached.)

Me:  Beets.

Teenage Cashier #1: (smiling uncertainly and glancing again at Teenage Cashier #2 who makes a face akin to the face one would make had I placed on the checkout counter the rotting corpse of a largely mutated sewer rat.)  I should really learn the vegetables.  What are these, lettuce?

Me:  Kale.  (by now I am smiling really intensely and making a super exerted effort to not seem like I'm "that guy" who buys all the weirdo stuff and publicly calls himself a "foodie" and over pronounces things like arugula.)

Teenage Cashier #2:  (Leaning towards Teenage Cashier #1 conspiratorially)  I've heard that beets are super gross.

Teenage Cashier #1:  (Nodding in agreement, but then glancing back at me)  I'm sure they're probably not too bad... (She is now looking at me with something like sympathy.)

Teenage Cashier #2:  I wouldn't eat them.

It was awesome.

That said, I have failed big time at actually photographing everything.  I'm going to be honest, I've been experiencing the Winter Time Blues recently and ambition has taken a severe blow.

I did catch a couple - like the below pic:

 Please excuse our kind of messy kitchen table.  This was a really great stew of Kale, parsnips, potatoes, carrots and white beans and quinoa - it's from Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Appetite For Reduction cookbook.  Here's a closer look.

 It was really delicious, and really great for the cold weather.  A really warm-you-up stew great for a frigid winter's night.  From the same cookbook (we've been really into that one recently), we also made the below mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas:

This was really savory and comfort-food-ish (to me, anyway) - Mushrooms, red onions, garlic and spices are first cooked in red wine and veggie broth until it reduces a bit.  The cannellini beans are then added, cooked for a bit, and them some of them are mashed into the broth with a fork to thicken it.  You're supposed to add smoked paprika (thus the ending of the recipe title) but we forgot to buy it and didn't feel like going to the store again so we used chili powder instead and it still tasted great. We garnished it with fresh chopped dill and served over couscous.

One night we made marinated portobello steaks (that I don't have a pic of - Gina might.)  The next night we had left over portobellos so I marinated these in olive oil, white wine, soy sauce and grated garlic and balsalmic vinegar and baked them for 20 minutes.  We then sliced 'em up into a salad of mixed greens, left over red onions, celery, carrots and chickpeas.  Thinking this wouldn't be filling enough I cracked open two cans of vegetable soup and we had Soup 'n Salad and left the table unnaturally full.

Gina made the dressing for the aforementioned salad from Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Veganomicon (yeah, we pretty much just recreate the Post Punk Kitchen every night minus the cameras, live punk band in our living room doing prep work, and cameras).  It was dijon mustard, maple syrup, red wine vinegar and grapeseed oil.

Lastly, my absolute fav - I've been making VEGAN SAUSAGES that we eat with english muffins (we've been rocking that Ezekial brand recently, its really good!) for breakfast every morning.  These are from (don't get annoyed) Isa Chandra Moskowitz' Vegan Brunch and are surprisingly simple to make and only take about 45 minutes tops.

They're made from white beans mashed up, vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, olive oil, vegetable broth, oregano, and fennel.  They may not photograph very well but believe me when I say, they are delicious, and meaty, and wonderful - plus, they cost practically nothing to make and last for about a week - a $6 box of Morning Star patties last about 2 days (when I am involved) and have, for no feasible reason, egg whites in them which, as you may know from prior posts, I think is creepy and that's not even from a vegan or vegetarian standpoint.  COME ON!  Its like eating cooked up embryotic fluid.

Anyway, like I said, they may not make a pretty picture, but they are delicious:

I'll try to better at taking pics of stuff we make this upcoming week.  Gina may have some that I dont know about that she took on the sly (she's sneaky like that.)

Stay warm!


  1. They don't look sausage-y at all. I am going to have to try them, though. When I have eaten vegan sausages in the past I end up...well...bloated. This is odd, because I can house seitan wings and have never ever had a problem with tofu. It's only with this brand of vegan sausages (that I really like). I have to try these, though. they look delish

  2. Oh! Hey! Foxygen was really good! I wasn't crazy about Shuggie, but I loved No Destruction and Make it Known.
    I love that they sound Lou Reed/David Bowie-ey.

  3. Crap! Last comment. It was why I originally came here to post a comment. What do you have skewered on your fork in the photo of Gina's salad? Is it an artichoke heart?

  4. It's a marinated slice of portobello, Ry!