Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy Birthday, P!

Who is "P," you ask? "P" is what my husband (aka Sleekpelt, or Sleek) call each other. It's derived from sweet-pea. Over the years, we've shortened it to just "P." We pretty much exclusively call each other that. So, that's who "P" is, and yesterday was his 36th b-day. For his 35th I threw him a big party. This year I just made him a nice dinner.

I decided to go with Indian food, because he really liked the Indian veggie burgers and Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower. Both recipes are from Cooking Light. To go with the burgers, I made a spicy mango chutney mayo (using Vegenaise). I served them with pita, red onions and lettuce. So good. I decided to try something different since it was a special occasion. I made some homemade vegetable pakoras. I found this recipe, and used it for the flour/seasoning/water measurements. Then I added shredded carrot, chopped kale, minced onion and a chopped garlic scape to the batter. I can't remember the last time I deep-fried something, so I was a little nervous about that. They actually turned out great! I mean, really, really great. Wow! I'll definitely be making those again. I couldn't come up with a good dip for them. At the Indian restaurant, they have a spicy onion chutney and a tamarind sauce to dip them in. I tried making a tamarind sauce, but I only have tamarind concentrate. I couldn't get it mild enough and still retain a non-watery texture. I also played around with some ketchup and mango chutney, but I thought it still tasted to ketchup-y. So, we had them without dip. The recipe does use quite a bit of seasoning, so they were absolutely fine without the dip.

For dessert, I made a blueberry crisp. I kind of just winged this one, and let me tell you, it may have been the best crisp I've ever had. Seriously. It was crazy-good. Here's what I did (these are estimations. I didn't measure anything):

4-6 cups fresh blueberries
juice from half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBS cornstarch

Mix all of above ingredients in a reasonably large baking dish.


1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 TBS Earth Balance (in small-ish pieces)

Mix oats, flour and brown sugar in a bowl. With fingers, mix in Earth Balance until it's all crumbly.

Then, spread topping evenly over blueberries and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until it's golden brown and blueberries are bubbling at the edges.

We had the crisp with a big scoop of vanilla Rice Dream. We have decided to strictly limit our use of dairy products. The commercial dairy industry is absolutely horrible. We have no good local source for dairy (We can get few local cheeses, but not much variety. The kids are the big cheese-eaters, so it's mainly cheddar and mozzerella around here.), as West Virginia has very strict laws pertaining to that. We did find this group in Wisconsin, who sells cheeses online for very reasonable prices. The cows are treated humanely, and it's a co-op of farmers.


Jen said...

This all sounds sooo good! I've never tried to make pakoras!

carrie said...

DM - My kids were huge cheese eaters as well. I transitioned them to vegan slowly, and they almost never ask for cheese anymore. My oldest was also a big milk drinker and made the switch to non-dairy milks without complaint. Good luck with your transition, you'll feel better both physically and spiritually for it!!

And, Happy Birthday Sleek!!

The Dalai Mama said...

Jen: They are surprisingly easy to make. Mine weren't nearly as oily as the ones at the Indian restaurant.

Carrie: My kids have tried soy milk before, and of course thought it was gross. I've got some vanilla rice milk that I may try to sneak on in them. They hated the Rice Dream vanilla ice cream, though.

The Dalai Mama said...

Oh, and as for vegan cheese...We can't get it here. If my beloved co-op closes, and I end up driving to Pittsburgh once a month, I'll be able to get it there.

carrie said...

vegan cheese isn't worth the money, we use it on pizza occassionally, but for the most part would just rather skip it altogether.

Soy milk is an aquired taste, so just keep trying. It took my oldest quite sometime to accept any non-dairy milk that wasn't chocolate. She'd it on cereal, but no way she would drink it. So I let her drink the chocolate kind until she slowly aquired a liking for it plain. Also, try almond milk if you can get it. It's much better, but we have to avoid it due to nut allergies.

As for non-dairy ice-cream. Temptation is the only brand that I've ever had that I liked. None of the others taste that good. Home made vegan ice-cream on the other hand is phenomenal.....if you are cutting out dairy and have big ice-cream eaters I strongly advise you to invest in an ice-cream freezer.

The Dalai Mama said...

I've definitely heard bad things about vegan cheese! I have made some good vegan "cheese sauce" type things though. I'll definitely stay away from the packaged stuff. I don't really like soymilk plain, even the chocolate, but I'm not one to just sit down with a glass of milk anyway. I use soymilk in lots of cooking and baking, though. I'll get the kids some chocolate and see how that goes over. I think I like rice milk better. I'll try some almond too. Of course, I've never seen the Temptation ice cream here. We're not big ice-cream eaters, but I think I need and ice cream machine so we can change that!

SleekPelt said...

It was a birthday dinner fit for a king -- thanks, p! (And thanks Carrie too!)

Rebekah said...

I happened upon your blog the other day and saw your recipe for the blueberry crisp and I was excited because I had just been to picked blueberries. So tonight I made it and it was so good. Thanks for the recipe!!

The Dalai Mama said...

Rebekah: I'm glad you found my blog, and very glad that you liked the blueberry crisp!