What, you might ask, is “GFBCS2013″? It is:
All of you loyal readers who have been with us from the beginning know that the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is, in a sense, the reason for this blog. Quite simply, i love making cookies and love eating cookies, so i have wanted to participate in this event for a few years. In order to do so, i had to have a food blog, and thus you came to be reading this.
Atlanta Veg Fest is a gathering of Vegetarians and Vegans. On Saturday 9 November 2013 i went to the third annual event, which appeared to be a pretty popular.
It took place at Le Fais Do-Do in the trendy Westside. Despite my aversion to “joining things” and “being part of a group” i went to the event. I know that i would be going there to mingle with people who have an “ideology” and a “group identity”, things which make me profoundly uncomfortble for reasons that would take too long to go into here I went mostly to see what it would be like, but also because Isa Chandra Moskowitz was giving a cooking demonstration. Isa is the lady behind The Post-Punk Kitchen, a blog i have been reading for quite a long time, and so my long familiarity drew me out on a cold, dreary Saturday..
I love cranberry sauce just as it is. But when we were making trade items for the November Food Swap, I figured plain wouldn’t cut it. Researching cranberry relishes, chutneys and sauces is overwhelming! I ended up combining elements from a couple of recipes. Some of the seasoning comes from a chutney recipe. It doesn’t really taste like an Indian chutney, but it has a little bite from ginger and some mellow sour from the balsamic vinegar. The slightly chunky texture that comes from using the food grinder gives it textural interest but leaves the relish spreadable. If you don’t have a food grinder, a food processor would work as long as you don’t overprocess and end up with a paste.
Much vegetarian chili is unsatisfying to me. Maybe it’s beans in vaguely chili flavored tomatoes. Or maybe it’s tvp or seitan, and I’m not absolutely crazy about those. But I didn’t have any alternative, so I kept trying different versions. This one has a chili-like texture provided by the split moong dal. If you can’t find those, French lentils should work as well. Korean black bean paste gives it a depth that spices alone don’t. When I reheated some leftovers, I added a half tablespoon of butter for a little richness. If you don’t mind the calories or fat, give that a try.
Spice blends are so useful, particularly when time is short. Many premixed blends in stores can be bland, too salty or just stale. In any case, it’s nice to customize blends to one’s own taste. One of my recent obsessions is the quest for a good vegetarian chili that has a authentic texture and rich flavor. This chili mix came out of that quest.
When I saw this Fried Egg Kim Chi Sandwich with Bacon on Tasting Table, I knew I had to come up with a vegetarian version. Kim Chi and a fried egg on bread? What’s not to love? Of course, the bacon provides smokiness, so how to do that in a veg makeover? We were getting ready to try the smoked cheeses, so the natural answer was a strong smoked cheddar. We simply layered a slice of that cheddar, a fried egg and strong kim chi on whole grain bread and fried it in a pan until it was melty.
Sublime! The original recipe included a tart mayonnaise. A bit of mayo mixed with lemon zest would be good, if you want to gild the lilly.
Well, now it is three weeks after i made the latest batch of thyme vinegar. Let’s check on it.. Sadly, there really isn’t anything to photograph here that you did not see in the last post. It is just a sealed bottle with a bunch of thyme seeping in vinegar.
The taste, after three weeks, is subtle. The strong taste of the cider vinegar is slowly absorbing the fresh, lemony thyme flavor. It has a long way to go, but hopefully not 4 years!
Cheese. It is surprisingly complex. There is so much of it. And where do you begin learning about it?
Well, Minos and i have decided to learn about cheese. The plan is that we will get a type of good cheese from one of the local markets. We will sample it, think about it, and maybe cook with it some. We will research the history of the cheese, and learn about where it is from, and what it is related to. Then we will post all of that here for you to read.
We have already started this series with the post about Robiola, and here is the second post, and it involves the Palestinian cheese Ackawi.
My research indicates that this is a cheese from the city of Acre, which is on the north end of the bay that the city of Haifa is in. It is usually brined, although non-brined is available as well. We got domestic cheese, the non-brined coming from The Rich Cow in Wisconsin while the brined is from Karoun in California
I love thyme. It has a delightful taste that i liken to lemony oregano. It goes well in so many things.
5 years ago i had a thyme plant living in a flower pot on the front porch of my condo. It grew like crazy, and i was swimming in thyme. Thyme goes bad rather quickly, and since i had more than i could use i decided to try to make a thyme vinegar to use in marinades and salad dressings.
So i stuffed a bunch of thyme into an old, sterilized beer bottle with a flip-top lid and rubber seal, then filled it the rest of the way with cider vinegar. I stuck a label to the bottle listing the date i made it — 17 August 2008 — and set it in the wine rack built into the cabinets of my condo.
And life went on. And i completely forgot about this vinegar.
Blame Bobby Flay. My mother (AKA Mimi) was watching a show in which he smeared a cheese called “ribiella? robiella?” on a pizza crust and topped it with asparagus. From this observation, a mission was born. I needed to find the cheese so that Mimi could make Bobby Flay pizza! A Google search revealed that the cheese is called robiola. Mimi said that Flay had described it as being similar to goat cheese, although it is a blend of different milks. Searches of many markets came up empty. Finally Star Provisions yielded up a $15 block of smething more like brie than what I imagined as goat cheese (a log of white fresh cheese). I had my prize, but how did it compare to similar cheeses? How would it fare on pizza?
In order to make a comparison, I got two soft ripened cheeses made from cow’s and goat’s milk respectively. Then, on the off chance that I’d missed the robiola at Whole Foods (because I’d been looking for a log of goat cheese), I wentback there and found…with no sign and much cheaper…another robiola. Hence we have four soft or mold ripened cheeses.