THANKSGIVING EXTRAVAGANZA 2014

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Our Thanksgiving last year did not go as planned at all. Our family Thanksgiving dinner is always on Saturday, leaving the actual day of Thanksgiving open for us.  It was supposed to be my first time to host some friends, but because of the plague running through our house we had to pull the plug. But this year, plans for us to host Thanksgiving was back on the table. We were going to have Thanksgiving dinner with some of Aya’s Japanese co-workers, some of which had never experienced Thanksgiving before. And this time it would be completely legit with a roasted turkey, not a chicken, and a kids table. I always saw cooking Thanksgiving dinner to be a crowning achievement in the culinary world. With eight adults and five kids, I had my work cut out for me.

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Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

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I’ve been wanting to use my new grill more, but I’ve also wanted to still keep eating primarily vegetarian. I was having a hard time finding an easy main dish grilled veggie recipe. Our whole house loves cauliflower so when I came across this it looked like it was worth a try, and simple.

I didn’t have any cilantro on hand which I’m sure would add wonders to the taste. But I liked the combination of the cauliflower with the bean salsa. I grilled some zucchini as a side dish as well.

I only cut two “steaks” out of the cauliflower head. I wasn’t sure how thick to make them either. Mine were probably an inch and a half thick. The recipe said to grill them 3-4 minutes on each side, but I did about 10 minutes. I’d probably do a little longer next time because they were a little crunchier than I would have preferred.

I will definitely make these again with a few adjustments. It was just too easy and simple to not want to make it again.

RECIPES:

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Korean BBQ Portobello Burgers

2014_07_04

I am now a proud owner of a grill! Can you believe it? I’ve been a home owner for ten years and have never owned a grill before. But after grilling for the first time at my own house on a real grill, I can finally call myself a “true American.” But once you hear what I grilled, you may take issue with my choices and my “true American-ness.”

Korean BBQ portobello burgers still count, right?

We were having friends over for a BBQ over the fourth of July weekend. And since I’ve never grilled before, I figured I should do a practice run with something just to make sure I got the hang of it.

I made grilled zucchini, grilled corn on the cob, and Koren BBQ portobello burgers. No meat, but that’s what we decided on (I’ve been told if you don’t grill meat that it doesn’t count, which I suppose is a valid argument on some level).

Anyway, I killed it for my first time! The corn was crisp and rich. We didn’t even use butter or salt! The mushrooms were juicy and meaty (as much as a vegetable can be). And the zucchini was, ok, maybe a little overdone, but still delicious.

I think I’m going to love summer time grilling. Next up, Chicago style hot dogs!

RECIPES:

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Korean BBQ Portobello Burgers

Recipe taken from Isa Does It, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. If you enjoy vegan and vegetarian meals, I highly recommend you get this book. It’s my most used recipe source at the moment.

Marinade:

1 cup water
1/4 cup light molasses (I left this out because I couldn’t find it)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 red wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp sriracha
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp onion powder
4 portobello mushroom caps
Olive oil for grill

Toppings:

Hamburger buns (I lightly grilled Kaiser roll buns)
Vegan mayo (I used regular)
1 cup kimchi

Marinate mushrooms for an hour. Grill mushrooms 5 minutes per side or until done. I added the marinade as I grilled them. I wanted as much of the marinade flavor as possible.

Spread mayo on lightly grilled buns. Place mushroom on bun and top with kimchi.

(The book has a lot more details but you get the gist of it)

Bok Choy and Wild Mushroom Miso Soba Bowl

2014_06_11

This had three of Ellie’s favorites: tofu, mushrooms, and noodles. She wouldn’t eat the bok choy, but handled everything else. Not too bad I guess. And Aya said it tasted like Japan so I counted that as a compliment too.

This recipe is only for two, so make adjustments accordingly. I also used 4 tablespoons of miso instead of the 2-3 in the recipe.

RECIPE:

Bok Choy and Wild Mushroom Miso Soba Bowl

“Pulled” Cauliflower BBQ Sandwiches

2014_06_08

I know this sounds weird. I was a little iffy on it too. I like cauliflower, but a cauliflower instead of pulled pork? I’m not so sure. However, I really liked these! Topped with caramelized onions and homemade BBQ sauce, I barely noticed it was cauliflower. Well, you could taste the cauliflower, but in a good way. You have to like cauliflower to like this.

I cut my cauliflower “meat” into squares and stacked them on the bun instead of strips like the recipe said. I also made a double batch using 4 cups of processed cauliflower instead of the 2 like the directions say. That ended up being one decent sized head of cauliflower.

The first time I did these I made them as sliders. The second time I used regular sized buns. The kids ate more and enjoyed it more as a slider size. This recipe definitely made it in the rotation.

RECIPES:

“Pulled” Cauliflower BBQ Sandwiches