28 February 2011

Some Easy Meals

Some days, I feel like cooking an epic feast; spending an hour or more in the kitchen, chasing down exotic ingredients, and cleaning a myriad of dishes. Other days, I just want some rice with tasty stuff on it and to play videogames. Friday was one of those lazy days. The request for dinner was "something with crunchy vegetables" and, if you ever get that request and are feeling a bit lazy, have I got the meal for you. Prepares in the time it takes too cook rice plus 5 more minutes, only dirties a pot and a cutting board beyond what you eat with (and if you eat out of the pot, I won't blame you), and is good as leftovers. I present: crunchy vegetables over rice!
The recipe is at the end of this post, but the basic idea I had in my head was "some vegetables that are crunchy and good cold plus some rice plus some seasoning". I managed to find fresh, organic carrots and broccoli plus some fresh (but not organic) snap peas. That plus my go-to asian seasonings of sesame oil, soy sauce, and furikake makes a pretty good meal over cold rice. Some people disagreed and said it should be warmed with more seasoning. It turns out some people were right.
I also tried something new with my tried-and-true vegan pancakes - cornmeal. Lessons I should have learned from previous uses of cornmeal: it does not substitute 1-for-1 with flour. It is something more like 1 cup of flour --> 1.5 cups of cornmeal if you don't adjust the liquid. They came out a little gummy and not very cornmealy; next time I'll up the cornmeal amount (and I've done so in the recipe below). They still managed to be completely delicious if a bit weird on the tooth.

Crunchy Vegetables Over Rice
Serves 2 + 1.5 leftover, ~30 minutes prep
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 head of broccoli
4 medium carrots
1 handful snap pease
12 oz pre-cooked, pre-seasoned tofu
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
sprinkle of furikake
+some random seasonings that I don't know because E added them when I wasn't looking and she told me what they were but I can't remember now. I think garlic powder played a role, though.

Cook your rice as per the instructions in a large pot. As it cooks, cut the carrots lengthwise, break the snap peas in half,  chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces, and cube the tofu (also bite sized; you may be seeing a theme here). Once the rice is done, add in all the veggies and seasonings to the pot and stir. If you don't mind dirtying another dish, you can toss them in a large bowl. If you want a warm meal, leave the heat on with everything in the pot for 5 minutes. For a cold meal, don't. Obviously.
Simple (Cornmeal Raisin) Vegan Pancakes
Serves 1, ~15 minutes total time
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cornmeal (I used 2 tbsp, you might even want to try 4 tbsp [1/4 cup])
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cinnamon (optional)
raisins to taste

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. Add in almond milk and mix until an even consistency. Make pancakes with them. For those of you who have never made pancakes before: they are circular pieces of dough cooked on a griddle or frying pan, chemically leavened, that are delicious. You cook them on one side until air bubbles form on the surface, and then you flip them, cooking them for another few minutes on the other side. Sadly, no air bubbles will form this time so you have to use your best judgement.

For an interesting taste, put honey under them when you flip them. Otherwise, just put it on top when you want to eat them.

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