TV Cooking Shows and Other Odds and Ends

Confession: I have spent more hours watching Chopped episodes lately than doing any type of true creative or intricate cooking from my  myriad of cookbooks. I am so hooked on that show, and I really am not much of a TV viewer. I just found it this winter, but now that I know there are maybe 4-5 episodes to DVR every Tuesday, it’s bad…Did you see the episode with the vegan chef in June and all vegetarian ingredients? They did use honey as an ingredient (by accident or design–let’s discuss…), but that wasn’t too serious.  I really don’t enjoy watching them (as in most episodes) use meat, but I just can’t get enough of the drama, the wacky ingredients, and the cooking techniques. We all walk around the house saying I’m going to reduce this, reduce that…we don’t actually boil water around here anymore, we reduce it.

Here’s what I have discovered outside of my Chopped compulsion—

1. I have a serious Isa cooking crush. Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She’s really funny and she makes me want to cook. I finally figured out Twitter this year and her tweets make me laugh. And then I saw the other day she loves Chopped too. So I didn’t feel so bad about liking a non-vegan cooking show, ha ha. A few weeks ago I actually made homemade seitan from her blog, called Post Punk Kitchen. Now keep in mind, I’m probably about as un-punk as they come (except on a rebellious kind of day), and I still feel welcome there–so don’t be afraid to check it out. I don’t know how to describe seitan except to say it is a wheat-based, high protein, cooked “dough” that can be the protein in a dish and sort of be the “meat” substitute.  I used the time-saving tips she included in her Seitan Piccata recipe that I linked to below. I made a common mistake in walking away at one point and boiling the blobs of dough, but overall I think it was supposed to look like this. It had great flavor. I think I will make it again, because I don’t like the looks of seitan in the store packages.

homemade seitan


I used the seitan the next night for her Seitan Piccata with greens. It does improve even more when browned/seared in the pan. I wasn’t crazy about the flavor, which I think is due to capers. I think I will try the basic sauce again and use something else–maybe olives? It might be weird in a piccata theme, but I love olives on just about anything. I used some quick cooking rice in a cheater package-recipe suggests mashed potato/cauliflower, which sounds delish. I  didn’t have the time or energy though.

seitan piccata



2. I can make a good smoothie that is not exactly from someone else’s recipe…I’m sure someone else has thought of this, but here’s a really good one I figured out:

avocado, green organic grapes, lime slice, water, ice, curly kale, 1/2 scoop Vega Vanilla Chai protein powder (vegan), agave syrup-probably not needed but I thought of the Vega powder after this was already in there.

Sorry, I don’t have precise amounts of ingredients, but I can give you a rough idea if you are interested.

green smoothie July 2013

3. Sadly, I have not discovered a new product I so want to try. I am still looking for Daiya brand cream cheese. I love their cheese “wedges”–purchased 3 on my last trip to Whole Foods so I don’t run out–but I can’t believe Whole Foods doesn’t carry the cream cheese here. It really is true, Ohio has to wait for some pretty serious diffusion of anything new to arrive from the East or West Coasts…

Daiya cream cheese pic

Well, I guess it’s available somewhere…picture from Google Images.

Our home renovation project is winding down, so I’m hoping to enjoy summer a little more. A good friend is coming this week from North Carolina with her family and I’m very excited for a trip later in the summer to Colorado, which will include Boulder. I should find some awesome veg eats there!

I hope you are enjoying your summer (or whatever season it may be!).