I’ve been doing a ton of cooking with friends lately, which I love. There’s something special about gathering around cutting boards and cookbooks, and creating something from scratch. Especially when it means spending time with people who make you laugh and forget all your worries. Nights of food and laughter will always be my favorite.
This month has been filled with lots of those, making it feel as if Christmas came early. Minus all the Christmas cookies. I have yet to bake one holiday treat this year! Gasp. Throw me some ideas, friends. This weekend, I shall bake. And get down with some DIY gifting.
Because all that free time spent cooking lately means I have lots and lots of gifting to catch up on this weekend. Cue morning yoga and evening wine to keep my sanity. And some of this leftover pumpkin coconut curry from an earlier silliness-filled cooking sesh with the help of Louie, my new sous chef. (Every food blogger needs a sous chef, right? My mom likes to think I need a dishwasher, too…but that’s another story.)
Coconut curry holds a sweet spot in my life. As of lately, black rice does too. Combine the two, and you’re in for a treat. Not only does the orange pumpkin in this recipe look beautifully with the rice, but it compliments its nuttiness as well.
Creamy and slightly rich, but packed full of so many healthy ingredients, this is the kind of meal to bring out when dining with company. Want to show the world vegan food can taste great? Make coconut curry. And add pumpkin, cashews, veggies and cilantro.
This is not faint on flavor. Add it to your dinner rotation and it too will feel like Christmas came early, all times of the year.
Yesterday, I put sweatpants over my tights, stuffed my hat inside my helmet, and zipped my coat up above my upper lip. Boots on, I braved the 20 degree weather that waited for me on my 2-wheel ride to work. Morning wake-up call at its best.
This was not, however, before tackling a stubborn frozen bike lock. Running late, I waddled my layered self back up to my apartment to grab a cup of hot water. Luckily, I discovered, that would do the trick. Anyone else ever have this problem with their lock in the winter?
Ten frozen fingers later, I successfully made it to work. Good thing I forgot a change of shoes. I love rocking winter boots with tights and a dress, and all the funny looks that elicits. One of those days.
I’ve expressed before, winter’s not my favorite. But making soup is. There’s something about mindlessly throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan, and knowing that meddling their flavors will produce guaranteed results. Soup-making is pure simplicity. And brings the warmth that I crave after bike rides home from work.
This, I tell you, is one warming bowl of soup. Beans, rice and a kick of spice, it’s like bringing a thermal to the dinner table. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine, and you’ll be good to go.
I have not been creating recipes these past few days because, well, I’ve been creating photos. Of course many of these are food-related because what do I love more than experimenting with my camera, and food, and the friendly faces in my life? Little else.
On a side note, I have been very much enjoying black rice as of lately. One, its color is beautiful. And two, it has a flavor all in its own that begs to be saved with delicate seasoning. Here, I sautéed mustard greens in a bit of olive oil and garlic, then gave them a chop before adding to a big bowl of cooked black rice. I seasoned this with toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and red chili pepper flakes, and cracked a fried egg on top. If you plan to recreate, salt and pepper, to your taste, and throw some cilantro in too, as I did, if you please. Hot sauce would really seal the deal.
When I’m craving meat, I often turn to tempeh. It’s dense, but not dry, with a heartiness that won’t leave your stomach empty. And there’s no antibiotics or hormones ever needed to get it that way. Amen.
As a vegetarian, I’ve found my “craving for meat”, is often actually a hunger for the sauces and marinades that go with it. I could care less about BBQ ribs. Wanting them on my plate is like saying I’d want Mountain Dew in my cup for breakfast. Gross.
So tempeh works for me (and seitan), especially when there’s BBQ involved. The summer nostalgia of BBQ is what I really want, not the meat on the grill that it often coats. I want the slightly sweet but tangy sauciness, grass on my bare feet, and a cup of mint tea or cold IPA in my hands.
If you want all that too, well, we might make a good fit. But seriously, even if you love a smoky brisket or BBQ pulled pork sandwich, this Srirarcha Tempeh recipe could likely make its way to the top of your summer eating list, too. Especially with all the comforts of a warm spring or summer day.
I’ve kept the sauce for this on the not-so-sweet side because I’m not a huge fan of a super sugary BBQ. I’d rather save that sweetness for dessert. However, if BBQ’s your summer sweetheart, simply add an extra spoonful of honey to the mix. The spiciness and color from the Sriracha lends itself well to a nutty, black rice. However, feel free to put this on bread, lather it with slaw, and call it a meal. A good one at that.