Archive for February, 2008

Veggie Dumpster Tempura

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Let’s say you dumpster a ton of vegetables. Let’s say you can’t eat them before they start to make your house smell like the dumpster you pulled them out of. Well, kid, I’ve got the perfect solution, and I am offering it to you completely free of charge. Just like the veggies you dumpstered!

We happened to find a couple bags of fancy schmancy pre-sliced carrots, three boxes of mushrooms, a green pepper, and an onion – all of which are perfect for making veggie tempura.

I had some tempura batter mix that my mom gave me, but it’s super easy to whip up your own all-purpose batter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • water, broth, beer, or soymilk (add a dash of vinegar to make ‘buttermilk’)
  • 1 tsp salt

Just mix together flour and salt then slowly add liquid until you reach a pancake-like consistency. Double or triple recipe as needed. You can also add a few splashes of hot sauce if you like. Batter your sliced veggies and deep fry.

But, wait, I said I could tell you how to solve your ‘too many veggies’ dilemma. Now you just have a ‘too much tempura’ problem. That doesn’t really solve anything.

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This is where your freezer becomes your best friend. But you can’t just throw a bunch of steaming hot tempura in a bag and freeze it. Then you’ll just have a big tempura ice cube on your hands. First you have to let the tempura cool a little (while you’re stuffing your face) and spread them out on a plate or cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer for about an hour. This way they’ll be partially frozen when you wrap them up and won’t stick to each other.

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Problem solved! Now whenever you want fatty fried food you can just pop these in the oven for a few minutes and reminisce about the night you dumpstered the veggies you’re now eating.

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Finds From Last Week

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Some fruits and veggies.
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And lots of plastic-encased bread.

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Pieroplings

Pierogi + Dumplings = Pieroplings!

I still had a ton of dumpstered potatoes and some wonton wrappers in the fridge. And so the pieropling was born.

Ingredients:

  • 4 small potatoes, baked
  • 1/2 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 Tbsp margarine
  • 2Tbsp onion, minced
  • s&p
  • wonton wrappers

Slice potatoes in half and scoop insides into a bowl. Stir in rest of ingredients (except wrappers, of course). Place about a tablespoon of the mixture in a wrapper, wet edges with water, and fold however you desire. You can either boil or steam them. I steamed them for about 10 minutes. You can fry them after this, but I was too lazy. Serve with vegan sour cream or minced onions sauteed in margarine. I ate mine with mustard. I thought ketchup would be a good idea since I eat ketchup on pretty much everything, but I was wrong. It’s pretty gross. Don’t try it, I warned you.

Before being cooked:

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After:

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Apple Pie

Happy Vagina Day! We dumpstered a bunch of different red apples and had some of that refrigerated “just unroll and bake!” pie dough left over from the Food Not Bombs dive so, of course, it’s time for apple pie. The dough was well past it’s expiration date but a) that shit’s chock full of scary preservatives anyway and b) it’s going to be baked at 350 degrees.

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Mmmm, freshly scrubbed dumpster apples!

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After cleaning apples, thinly slice them. Some recipes will tell you to peel and core the apples first, but there’s valuable fiber in apple peels and don’t you want to have regular poopies? I do. There are also phytonutrients or antioxidants or whatever in there. I think I used 7 or 8 apples and still had plenty left.

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Now it’s time to make the apples even more delectable than they already are. I threw in 3/4 cup sugar and I was going to put a couple tablespoons of molasses in, but I forgot. Brown sugar would be ideal. Then add a couple tablespoons of flour. Then you’re supposed to add a teaspoon each of lemon juice and cinnamon, neither of which I had. So I substituted with some vinegar and some “orchard spice” granola. Hey, it could work. Stir it until everything is coated.

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I rolled the bottom crust into a pan. I didn’t have a pie pan so I used a pan with a metal handle. Roll out the top crust on a cutting board and cut out some shapes to vent and decorate. Before putting the crust on top, dot the apple mixture with margarine. Place the top crust on the pie and roll the edges together. Coat with soymilk.

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It’s a heart-y apple pie! Hyuck hyuck. To my surprise the granola worked magnificently! I don’t think I’ll make apple pie without granola ever again. I’m really not much of a baker so I was damn proud when this pie turned out so well.

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Bagel Chips

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When we dive we usually hit up a local bagel shop where we’re pretty much guaranteed a huge bag of various bagels. You can wrap and freeze the ones you can’t eat immediately, but I like to make a bunch of bagel chips to keep on hand. They’re great with hummus and a healthy alternative to potato chips.

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Just slice the bagels as thin as you can and spread on a baking sheet. You can drizzle with olive oil, but it’s not necessary. You can also use salt and pepper, or whatever herbs or spices you like. Bake at 250 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Store in an airtight container.

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Red Curry

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After dumpstering a ton of potatoes I wanted to do something other than just mashed, baked, or fried potatoes. What’s a girl to do? Curry!

My intention was to make Masaman Curry, but it turns out I only had a can of Thai red curry paste left. Well, red curry it is! Luckily we acquired about a dozen limes and a few bags of cherry tomatoes. We also dumpstered quite a few bunches of asparagus so I threw that in, but honestly I didn’t like the flavor of the asparagus in this curry. Looked pretty though . . .

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp red curry paste (make your own!)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 10 or so cherry tomatoes (or 1 large tomato, or 2 roma)
  • 2 limes

Peel potatoes and dice into 1 inch cubes. Quarter cherry tomatoes. Heat oil in pan. Add curry paste and stir for 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients and squeeze in juice of limes. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary.

If you have some, I would also add some chopped onion and/or tofu.

Serve on a bed of rice.

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Lasagne

Only the mushrooms in this lasagne were dumpstered, but I thought I would include the recipe here anyway because it’s really freaking good. It also doesn’t call for store-bought vegan cheese. That stuff is expensive and I’m way too cheap to ever buy it – especially when I know I can make a versatile ‘cheese’ sauce without it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lasagne noodles
  • any red sauce you like
  • my ‘cheese’ sauce
  • mushrooms (or fake meat of your choice)

You’ll want to have everything ready before you cook the noodles so you can use them right away when they’re done. First make the ‘cheese’ sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 block tofu (any kind will work)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder (or a couple cloves)
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt (or vegesal)
  • 1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine all but the last two ingredients in a blender and blend it up. Add the nutritional yeast and blend. While blending, slowly drizzle in the oil. If the sauce isn’t thick enough add more yeast little by little until it’s the right consistency (slightly more runny than pancake batter).

Wash and slice up your mushrooms (or prepare your fake meat).

Boil the noodles and don’t fuck them up! Lasagne noodles are such a bitch sometimes. I overcooked them with my first batch. They all fell apart and I ended up piecing together a damn lasagne puzzle for a good half hour or so. Lame. The second batch I undercooked in an attempt to avoid another jigsaw disaster. They weren’t too chewy in the end, but they could have been a little more tender. Oh, and make sure you put plenty of vegetable oil (don’t waste good olive oil) in the pot. And use a huge pot so there’s lots of room for the noodles and they don’t stick together. That’s a whole other lasagne hell you do not want to visit. Eight to ten minutes should be good but be sure to stir often and check the noodles to make sure they’re not getting too soft.

Put it together: first cover the bottom of the pan with some oil then a layer of sauce. Top that with noodles, more sauce, mushrooms, drizzle on some ‘cheese’ sauce, repeat. On the final layer drizzle some olive oil over the top. Mmmm, fatty.Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Take the foil off for the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

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