21 April 2012

Hamster Wheel

It’s not a cute one, the hamster, that is.  I graduate in 45 days.  Forrrrrrty-fiiiiive days.  Well, time is only going to move as quickly as it does, so I’m not wishing my life away or anything.

On Sunday, I went to an apocalyptic K Mart in Hillsborough, NJ on the way back to school.  The store is closing and it’s a hobby of mine to visit store closing fire sales (three times makes a hobby).  Not seeing any clothes or other stuff on my “acquire this eventually” list—stationery wasn’t discounted enough yet—I bought the last Monster High doll on the shelf, “Ghoulia Yelps.”  After all, the store’s empty shelving and the number of people looting—I mean, shopping—made it the scene of some kind of apocalyptic anticipation.  

A zombie doll was quite appropriate.

I made “fancy” oatmeal this week since as I was peeling this gargantuan orange, I saw I could create a floral-sort of arrangement on top of my oats, chia seeds, and almond butter.  There’s a pool of almond butter underneath the kale and almond yoghurt.

After doing research in D.C. for most of the day and going on a wild goose chase for a book for art history, I made curried lentils (http://screwfootq.blogspot.com/2011/11/non-thanksgiving-food.html) on Friday night.  I didn’t have any onion, so I sliced and sautéed in sesame oil about 12 cloves of garlic.  I was trying to incorporate foodstuffs that I’ve accumulated in my aunt and uncle’s house since January: frozen Brussels sprouts, mixed vegetables, and collard greens; organic applesauce; a can of diced tomatoes; and fresh ginger.

I think it went well.  I won’t have to cook next weekend.  It could actually use some salt, which is not something I often remark about food, mine or others’.  Probably the tomatoes and applesauce made it a tad too sweet.  I also added too much water, but since I used French lentils, they needed a little more water to cook than red lentils (in my experience).

Baby bok choy is surprisingly reasonable at Whole Foods: $1.69/lb.  Five heads of bok choy came to a little bit less than that.  

Considering how quickly I go through greens, I ought to have stocked up.

My mom made lemon squares last week.  She gave me lemons, and I made vegan and GF ones this week.

Lemon Squares
Modified from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar, 141-2.

1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot or tapioca flour)
1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance coconut spread)
7-9 tablespoons ice water

3 tablespoons agar agar flakes
1 1/3 cups water
zest of 2 large lemons
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (juice of 2 large lemons)
3 tablespoons tapioca flour (or arrowroot or cornstarch)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup nondairy milk (I used vanilla soy)

1/4 cup powdered sugar to decorate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a 9*13” baking pan with parchment paper.

In large saucepan, combine agar agar and water.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, powdered sugar, and cornstarch.  Cut in margarine and then add water by the tablespoon until mixture forms pea-sized chunks (like piecrust).  Press into baking pan along bottom and slightly up sides in order to hold the filling.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large measuring cup, whisk tapioca in lemon juice.  Bring the soaked agar agar and water to a boil and boil until dissolved, about 3 minutes.  Watch that sucker like a hawk because burned agar agar is a pain to remove, the stuff’s expensive, and, burned, it smells like bad dishwasher.  Add the granulated sugar and zest and boil until dissolved.  Reduce heat to medium, and add the tapioca mixture, turmeric, and nondairy milk.  Whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it thickens and clings to the whisk, about 5 minutes.  Pour mixture into crust, let cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until the filling is set. 

Notice the overflow.  The crust contracted a bit while baking and I forgot to push the crust up the sides in order to cup the filling.  The overflow wasn’t a problem, though, since the filling gelled and it came out in one piece.

Slice and sift powdered sugar over top.
Lentils for supper

and lemon squares for dessert!

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