Get ready for some seriously good eats, folks! I’ve been a busy little vegan during the past 24 hours, and I have photographic evidence. But before the good must come the bad, alas. Thankfully, the only bad eats I’ve had lately were not made by me. Tonight my aunt I and went out to dinner so we could catch up and I could update her on some Important Life Events (more about those in the future). We decided to forego our standard favorite eateries for a new Thai place nearby; we felt adventurous and willing to give a new business a shot. Unfortunately, I wish we’d stuck to our tried and true restaurants, because this place was just not good. We ordered pad thai and a dish with steamed veggies and fried tofu, hoping to share the two between us. Well… we did share them. We shared the slimy, overcooked pad thai noodles and the flavorless steamed vegetables that probably came right out of the freezer. The only decent part of the meal was the peanut sauce, and even that was nothing to write home about. My aunt is much more assertive than I am and complained about the pad thai, so we didn’t end up paying for it (or eating it, for that matter.) Oh well – at least our conversation was satisfying.
Now we’ll move onto better – and tastier – things! My parents are away for a short vacation, so I’m enjoying having the run of the kitchen. Not that they don’t love it when I cook for them, but I kind of enjoy being able to blast my music while I’m cooking! Plus I can experiment with new recipes and not have to worry about anybody seeing my failure… not that I’ve failed lately. Yet. Anyway, when I filled out that Vegan’s 100 List last week, I was shocked to realize that I’ve never made vegan chocolate chip cookies. Although I’ve only been officially vegan since the beginning of this month, I’ve made exclusively vegan baked goods for almost a year now. So when I saw some dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips on sale at the grocery store, you know I had to snatch up a couple of bags. Last night I decided that I should make some cookies to accompany the new Office episode. I debated between using a chocolate chip cookie recipe I found on the PPK and the Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that has rave reviews on VegWeb. Ultimately I went with the VegWeb recipe. All those laudatory comments left me with pretty high expectations. So how did they turn out? Well… they look pretty!
And they taste pretty good, although I’m not sure these are my holy grail when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I found the dough waaay too dry and ended up adding extra soy milk, so I’m a little skeptical of this recipe. At first I was not impressed at all, but after I ate a couple the taste began to grow on me, and today they taste even better. But I’m definitely going to try another recipe next time I get bitten by the chocolate chip cookie bug! What about you guys? Do you have a tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe?
My next kitchen endeavor occurred this morning when I consulted the wonderful Vegan Brunch in search of a waffle recipe. I ultimately settled on the Chelsea Waffles, since I wanted a pretty neutral flavor that would pair well with my marinated apple topping (chopped apples + cinnamon + turbinado sugar + maple syrup). It turned out to be an excellent choice.
Oh, yum. These were awesome! I didn’t have barley malt syrup, so I substituted a mix of brown rice syrup and blackstrap molasses. This worked really well, although I think it made the waffles sweeter than they should have been. Still utterly delicious, though. But what else should I have expected from this book?! Duhhh.
My final cooking experiment came from Vegan Dad. Although I’ve been a huge fan of his blog for ages now, I’ve never actually tried one of his recipes before today! But I’ve had a box of vital wheat gluten sitting in my pantry for about a month, and I decided it was time to tackle a seitan-based recipe. Now, I’ve only actually eaten seitan twice in my life before today. Both times it was from Whole Foods’ prepared foods bar (the two times I tried it were the only two times I’ve actually eaten there). But I enjoyed it, and since everyone and their mom seems to whip up seitan in their sleep, I knew I had to attempt it.
When I was omni, I was never a huge wings fan, but somehow the idea of vegan wingz really appeals to me. I’ve made the tempeh wingz from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk twice; the first time I didn’t have panko and they were really kinda gross, but the second time I absolutely loved them. So I thought that trying out Vegan Dad’s Ultimate Vegan Hot Wingz would be an appropriate way to attempt seitan. And I was right.
Although wingz aren’t the most photogenic food, I think these lil guys are sorta cute. I ate them with about 3/4 of a red pepper, not because they were spicy at all but because wingz feel like junk food to me, and in my mind I can counter eating junk food by eating straight-up, super-healthy, raw veggies. Whatever. In any case, the wingz were surprisingly yummy! I was a little nervous that they’d be too squishy; a few commenters apparently had that problem and I was concerned that I’d used too much onion and destroyed the delicate liquid/dry balance. But the dough stayed together perfectly well, and I loved the feel of it! Is that weird? I’ve always been a tactile kind of girl; I love polymer clay and Play Dough used to be one of my favorite “toys”. So I got a kick out of the strangely-textured seitan dough, I’m not gonna lie. And the end result was so good. I used the wing sauce recipe from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk instead of Vegan Dad’s, since I really like that one, but other than that I didn’t stray from his recipe at all. And I’m glad I didn’t.
So, all in all, the past 24 hours have been an EPIC SUCCESS. And who knows what the weekend will bring! I’ve got the kitchen to myself for two more days… muahahaha.