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VW'S 2012 COOKING CHALLENGE IS BACK HERE IS THE LIST!!! WEEK 8

We have all decided this cooking challenge will begin Monday 1/9/12 and end 12 weeks later on Sunday 4/1/12.

Each week will consist of 2 ingredients and 2 themes specified below. You can use however many ingredients/ themes specified for the given week.

Example for Week 1: You could use both black beans and mango (Ingredients) and the Caribbean/ Tropical (Theme) in 1 dish or you could just make 1 dish focusing on black beans.

Try to make a dish a day if possible or hit all 4 specified items that week.

Please try to take pictures if you are able and upload them. If not, it is still ok, a recipe review works fine (But ya'll know we vegans like some food porn).

On to the List:

Week 1 (1/9/12-1/15/12): Mango, Black beans, A cookbook(s) you haven't used since going vegan, and Caribbean/Tropical
Week 2 (1/16/12-1/22/12): Miso, Shrooms, Bryanna Clark Grogan, Chinese
Week 3 (1/23/12-1/29/12): Cayenne pepper, Buckwheat, Dip/ Condiment, Ethiopian
Week 4 (1/30/12-2/5/12): Leeks, Pineapple, Fusion cuisine, Soup
Week 5 (2/6/12-2/12/12): Lentils/Split Peas/ Dried Beans, Millet, Indian, DIY Milk and Ice Cream
Week 6 (2/13/12-2/19/12): Asparagus, Tempeh, Donna Klein, Italian/ Mediterranean
Week 7 (2/20/12-2/26/12): Silken Tofu, Cashew, Isa/Terry, Latin
Week 8 (2/27/12-3/4/12): Jackfruit, Coconut, Crockpot, Moroccan
Week 9 (3/5/12-3/11/12): Cabbage, Fresh Herbs (Mint, Thai Basil, Thyme), Raw, Salad (Pasta, Kale, Coleslaw, etc)
Week 10 (3/12/12-3/18/12): Eggplant, Chile Peppers, Robin Robertson,Thai
Week 11 (3/19/12-3/25/12): Quinoa, Amaranth, Colleen Patrick G., Meatloaf/ Loaf/ Roast
Week 12 (3/26/12-4/1/12): Broccoli, Polenta, Fermented/ Pickled, Blog/Online/VWRecipes

Post your stuffs on here!

OMG YAY!!!!!

OMG YAY!!!!!

Yeah that!

Mango - I made a very nice mango-jicama salad from Big Vegan - it had a simple lime dressing and included mango, jicama, pumpkin seeds, red onions and red bell pepper.  Quite good
Caribbean/Tropical - Again from Big Vegan, I made Jamaican tofu chowder, a very tasty stew of tofu, sweet potatoes, collards, coconut milk, veggies and curry powder. 
Cookbook I haven't used since going vegan - The New Laurel's Kitchen - Made "butternut tostadas" which was butternut squash, mixed with Mexican spices and topped with salsa and Daiya cheese.  Pretty good.

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For cookbook you haven't used since going vegan and for mango, I used the quinoa and mango salad with curry dressing recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I liked it ok, but quickly got tired of it, and definitely wouldn't make it again.

For black beans, I did the nachos with melty cashew cheese, lime dill sour cream, and guacamole recipe (with black beans instead of pinto) from Spork Fed.
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/p480x480/378127_10151136999300533_507120532_22588615_675979250_n.jpg

I haven't done Caribbean, yet at least.

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I had a list of things I wanted to make for this week but with everything that happened I ended up not feeling like cooking and only made one recipe - my plan is still to make the ones I had earmarked and just be completely out of sync with this challenge!  :P

for black beans and cookbook you haven't used since going vegan I made the black bean and sweet potato burritos from La Dolce Vegan
I loved these!  The flavours were fantastic and they were really easy to make.  In the intro she says that they take a bit more time to make than others in the book, but I thought it was real quick for a substantial meal.  I baked mine in the oven as I like how the tortilla goes crunchy and even with the 15mins baking, it was probably only about 40 mins total.  N also loved these and said I can definitely make them again - he liked them enough to say I should serve them to guests! (I didn't use the optional vegan cheese, and don't think they needed them)

to make the burritos I also make another recipe from the same book - Betty's Salsa
The only difference I made to this was no cilantro, as I didn't have any - I thought this would be major, but the salsa turned out great without it.  I also just eyeballed the amounts for the canned chilies, as was not making a full recipe, and we don't have same sized cans as she recommends.  I loved this salsa - I tried a bit on it's own and it was really good - much better than expected.  I would never have thought of putting celery seed in salsa but that gave it a great flavour.  Will make again.

I love the 2 recipes I have made so far from La Dolce Vegan and am excited to make more!  They were both simple and delicious, and looking through there's loads that I think we would like, so can't understand why I've never used the bookk before.

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Black beans - From Big Vegan I made Cuban black bean soup with cabbage and subbed collard greens for cabbage.  It was good but nothing to get excited about. 

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I've never bought different mushrooms, because they are so expensive, but I got some shiitake and oyster to use in stuff for next week.

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Started early for week 2. For mushrooms and Chinese I did: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/shiitake-and-scallion-lo-mein
For this "challenge," I purchased things I rarely/never buy! I bought the wide udon (usually just go with linguine, or something), and first time for buying fresh shiitake and mirin. I rarely buy the fresh snow peas, either. I used some reconstituted oyster mushrooms, as well. The recipe calls for 1 pound noodles, but I had 8 ounces, and kept most everything else the same. Loved it! I wouldn't use these quantities for 16 ounces pasta. The flavors are subtle, but tasty, well rounded, and very fresh. I just did a little bit of chili flakes on top to keep the freshness. We've found we both really love the oyster mushrooms, but so-so on the shiitake. Very quick recipe. (10 minutes max)

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/390665_10151146878395533_507120532_22619694_1679084411_n.jpg

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That looks so good.  I often buy fresh shitakes but they are so expensive, lately I've been buying baby bellas.  I've been reading just last night about the healing and immune enhancing properties of mushrooms.  I always mirin available, and am surprised a foodie like you has never tried it. 

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That looks so good.  I often buy fresh shitakes but they are so expensive, lately I've been buying baby bellas.  I've been reading just last night about the healing and immune enhancing properties of mushrooms.  I always mirin available, and am surprised a foodie like you has never tried it. 

Yeah, my shiitakes were 9.99/pound, but I only got .60 cents worth! I've always just subbed sugar+sherry for mirin, but I've only done that a couple times. I just never seemed to need it enough for 8.99/bottle, but I went with it! I now see that it has a completely different consistency. 

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That looks so good.  I often buy fresh shitakes but they are so expensive, lately I've been buying baby bellas.  I've been reading just last night about the healing and immune enhancing properties of mushrooms.  I always mirin available, and am surprised a foodie like you has never tried it. 

Yeah, my shiitakes were 9.99/pound, but I only got .60 cents worth! I've always just subbed sugar+sherry for mirin, but I've only done that a couple times. I just never seemed to need it enough for 8.99/bottle, but I went with it! I now see that it has a completely different consistency. 

Wow, I can't remember the cost here, but I think it's like $4.99 in our mainstream grocery store.  I'll have to remember to check. 

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Whoa, a $9 bottle of mirin? Damn. I hope it was some fancy stuff!

It's amazing the price difference of mushrooms at Asian markets versus anywhere else. I can get shiitakes for $3-4 a pound at an Asian store, but $15 a pound at Whole Foods (and needless to say, the ones at Whole Foods look much more worse for wear) or a regular grocery store if they have them. I know it's a matter of how much they sell vs waste, but man, I can't believe that people in this region will go ahead and buy them at that price. I get it if you don't have other stores available.

fwiw, dried shiitakes are pretty reasonable substitutes for fresh, and are a little easier to come by in my experience. tho i guess it doesn't matter if you don't like them that much :)

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Well, I guess it depends on the size of the bottle - some are a couple hundred mls, others are 1L. Plus, there's a big range in what it actually contains/quality. Some I've seen are practically corn syrup with some rice wine thrown in, others are pretty much all (good) rice wine. I usually get stuff that's $2-4, but there's some "hon mirin" that's nicer and more expensive. Apparently there's even stuff that practically has no alcohol and is cheaper.

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Amylove, you're slacking..............what did you cook? 

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Black beans - From Big Vegan I made Cuban black bean soup with cabbage and subbed collard greens for cabbage.  It was good but nothing to get excited about. 

Ooooh.. graet feedback, tweets. I was looking over that recipe but thought it seemed a bit plain.

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My week’s recipes for black beans, mango and Tropical::
I started by making Black Beans & Quinoa with Chipotle Raspberry Sauce by PPK. This was my first time using chipotle in adobo and I quickly discovered that I do not like it one bit. My tummy was seriously nauseous, even though I added just a bit of the pepper as I made the sauce. Furthermore, I thought this was a dreadful waste of nice raspberries. I ended up splitting the quinoa/black bean/broccoli mixture into 2. The raspberry dressing went with half for R to eat. I took the other half, added my mango and made the Quinoa, Mango and Black Bean Salad from Eating Well. Much better, even with the bonus broccoli. Mango makes everything taste better and the dressing was light and flavourful. I liked that there was toasted sesame oil in the dressing. I also added toasted sesame seeds for further sesame flavour!

Recipes:
http://www.theppk.com/2011/01/black-beans-quinoa-with-chipotle-raspberry-sauce/
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/quinoa_mango_black_bean_salad.html

For my other recipe from a cookbook I haven’t used since going vegan, I chose Jicama, Mango and Green Cabbage Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette from Raising the Salad Bar. It is a salad with napa cabbage, jicama, red pepper and also called for mango. However, I already used my mango in the other dish. I decided to add oomph to the salad by pan-frying some tofu cubes in tamari and garlic. Not bad, not great. I wish the dressing had more oomph. I bet the mango would have been great.

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That looks so good.  I often buy fresh shitakes but they are so expensive, lately I've been buying baby bellas.  I've been reading just last night about the healing and immune enhancing properties of mushrooms.  I always mirin available, and am surprised a foodie like you has never tried it. 

Yeah, my shiitakes were 9.99/pound, but I only got .60 cents worth! I've always just subbed sugar+sherry for mirin, but I've only done that a couple times. I just never seemed to need it enough for 8.99/bottle, but I went with it! I now see that it has a completely different consistency. 

Wow, I can't remember the cost here, but I think it's like $4.99 in our mainstream grocery store.  I'll have to remember to check. 

Wrt mirin, I have found that the real mirin (shin mirin) is totally worth the extra money. The aji-mirin is usually what I find in Asian stores and is filled with artificial ingredients. For a real simple teriyaki sauce (soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar) it makes a huge difference.

I wrote about it here, once upon a time (hehehe): http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2009/12/22/salmon-teriyaki/

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for Bryanna Clark Grogan and miso I made tofu miso pate from Dairy Free and Delicious.
Was't expecting much, as there's not many ingredients and not many spices/herbs BUT the final result was great!  Really addictive and a brilliant dip for veggies and to go on crackers.  Will be keeping this recipe to make again.  The only problem I had was my tofu was really quite soft, which worked well for a dip, but the pate was too runny to really be a spread.

for Bryanna Clark Grogan I made Thai corn fritters from the Almost No Fat Holiday Cookbook
Wasn't expecting huge things from these, but was pleasantly surprise as to how nice they were.  Not amazing but nice for something different.  Really really easy to make.  One negative is with the amount of broth powder and then salt (which I did not use the full amount of) was that they were waaaay to salty.  N wasn't as impressed with them, but I may make them again anyway.  Good summer food - would probably be able to be cooked on the BBQ too.  May add some chopped chili next time as it did lack a bit of kick.

For mushrooms and cookbook you've not used since going vegan (yes I realise this isn't a proper combo for this challenge but I'm a rebel) I made Portobello Cannelloni with Sun Dried Tomato White Sauce from la Dolce Vegan
We both loved these!  I made them and then thought with the lack of ingredients that they would be plain and boring, but no way - they were great.  I managed to find cannelloni that didn't need precooking before going in the oven and so it was also pretty simple to make.  N really enjoyed the bits of sun dried tomatoes in the cheesy sauce, so may use that again for other recipes.  N has said I could make this again - always a good sign.

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For Chinese and Bryanna Clark Grogan:
Velvet Corn Soup in Authentic Chinese Cuisine by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Very nice corn chowder. Nicely flavoured with small cubes of tofu flavoured with oyster sauce. Cornstarch is added but it only slightly thickens the soup - nicely done.  I substituted chopped green beans for the green peas.

For Miso and Shrooms:
Immune Boon Noodles from Radiance 4 Life:
I really liked this dish! Basically you have a noodle bowl topped with a miso-ginger dressing, stir-fried veggies (shiitakes, edamame, green onions and I also added broccoli) with pan-fried tofu. I substituted some Braggs for the tamari and used kelp noodles. Other than my noodles not mixing well with the veggies (???) I really liked the combination of flavours.

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late for last week: I made sushi with black beans, and from The Conscious Cook, cornmeal-crusted tempeh with smoked tomato sauce and black bean purée.

For the sushi, I used stewed black beans, avocado, and the coconut curry tempeh stuff (grilled) made by tofurky.

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Miso really isn't a challenge because at least once or twice a week I have miso and wakame seaweed soup...today I added some diced tofu out of the box and always top it with 7-spice blend, especially on yoga days when I'll sweat a lot and don't want to delete my sodium when drinking so much water.  Still the challenge was to use it differently.

For the Chinese and the miso part of the challenge, I made eggplant in chili garlic sauce from the Asian Vegan Kitchen.  This is in the Chinese section of the cookbook, but is more of a fusion Japanese-Chinese fusion dish that used deep fried eggplant and then a sauce of miso, sake, soy sauce, water, chili paste (I used sambal olek) and cornstarch (I kept it Asian and used arrowroot).  I used Japanese eggplant and TVP to sub for "soy gluten" which I have no idea what that is and forgot to look at it today at the Asian market.  This was very good and I gobbled it up.

I'm going to double post because I'm addicted to the cookbook forum and can't stand to not post for so many weeks.  Please indulge me. 

AHEM.....Amylove....    http://www.palyne.com/talk/Smileys/palyne/impatient.gif

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how long has vegweb been working again?  I thought it had been down for the whole length of this challenge!

I have made some things but will have to review later.

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