Thursday, April 05, 2007

Not starving...

*Pokes head out of woodworks*

...Hi. I wanted to come out of hiding for a quick post. Then I'm gone again until next Tuesday. I've just been having the itch to blog a little... I've been sneaking looks at all your blogs, though I have not been able to comment much. But let me tell you, I'm seeing so much fresh, colorful springtime food that you are all making me jealous! I can't wait to get back in the kitchen some. I've been cooking a little bit, but mostly Bob's been pulling through for me. And then there are frozen leftovers, which have just been the greatest help lately. But here's something fresh to look at:

I realized I never showed you what I did with my Thai eggplants! I made this quick Thai curry stir-fry, including the eggplants, an onion, a green pepper, some garlic, and some cauliflower, all sautéed in some peanut oil. And a sauce made mostly out of green curry paste, tamari, and rice vinegar. There's also some ginger in there somewhere... And I used a water-arrowroot slurry to thicken the sauce up. It was really delicious, and so quick.

I made the Basil Walnut Pesto from Vive Le Vegan, which actually came out really creamy and not much like pesto. It was so delicious, though! I served it over some whole wheat gnocchi I had picked up at Trader Joe's. I'd love to try making my own gnocchi sometime soon--it looks not hard at all. This was a really tasty meal. I garnished it with some parsley, which made it more lovely because it brought out the beautiful green of the basil in the sauce. A dash of "parm" to finish it off!

I found a new way to eat Trader Joe's strawberry jam--on a salad! I mixed a dollop of jam with some balsamic vinegar and just a small drizzle of olive oil. Strawberry and balsamic is a winning combo, and it worked great this way too. A little freshly ground black pepper sprinkled on top of the salad really helped turn an ordinary thing into something special.

Finally, I wanted to share with you about my backpacking trip. Last weekend my backpacking class went to Blood Mountain, Georgia, which is right on the Appalachian Trail. I saw so much beauty there, including this:

And this:

And this:

And then there was food. My favorite hiking snacks include granola, fresh apples, and peanut butter-raisin-cinnamon pita pockets. But my group stopped on the summit of Blood Mountain and cooked ourselves a nice lunch of cashew coconut couscous curry. Couscous is the easiest thing to cook on the trail because it's done in no time flat.

We just packed the dried couscous with curry spices (curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, etc.) and cooked it up, then added some cashews and a small can of coconut milk. It was quite rich and filling--exactly what you want when you're hiking all day carrying a 31 pound pack!

In the midst of studying I have been staying sane and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. I hope you all have been, too! I will be back with more to show sometime soon. Happy Easter and thanks for being awesome people.


Candi said...

What a beautiful update. It looks like you are busy, but managing to have fun too!

Your foods look great. I love the thai eggplant dish you whipped up! :) The pesto looks good too over the gnocchi. You have convinced me to take a trip to Trader Joe's today! :)

Your backpacking scenery is gorgeous. Wow. I would love to get out of the city and see views like that! Perhaps this weekend, I can scout something out! :) I love the tiny yellow flowers poking up!

Great idea on the cous cous as hiking food. I love the cashews, but especially the coconut milk addition! MM!

Happy Easter to you and Bob!! :)

Kati said...

Couscous really does seem like the perfect hiking/camping food, now that I think about it. I've always wanted to hike some part of the Appalachian Trail...some day! It really looks beautiful.

I'm glad you've been eating well, despite the business. Gnocchi is one of my favorites!

KleoPatra said...

The food looks excellent!! And your photos from Blood Mountain, on the Appalachian Trail, are stunning.

Great to see you pop in, Laura...

bazu said...

Good to see you! I hope your studying continues to go well. I loved your hiking shots (and couscous- what a great idea!)- I've hiked and camped the Appalachian trail, but only in Connecticut (and maybe a little bit in NY... does it go through NY? I'm getting my hikes mixed up!) We met a guy and his dog, and he said they were going to hike the entire trail- how cool!

And your food looks great too- I love your idea of a strawberry/balsamic drizzle. And the Thai eggplant dish? I'm all over that.

Happy Easter!

aTxVegn said...

I'm glad to know the studying is going well and that you are being well fed. Stirfrys and salads will always hit the spot, esp. with that great dressing you created! I'm glad you got to take a hike too. The pictures are just beautiful.

springsandwells said...

Hi Laura!
Nice to read an update from you! :)

All the pictures look amazing - that Thai Eggplant number looks really great! I'm hoping to get my garden planted soon, so that I can get some basil and tomatoes and such in action. Pesto sounds g-o-o-d!

The pictures from your trip are so beautiful. I have been to Eastern NC, but never fully into the Appalachians. I know I would love it. I've been missing the mountains lately.

Have a nice Easter!

theONLYtania said...

Woot, glad you found some time to post. The basil walnut pesto looks great.. and I happen to have VLV! Heh.
I'm glad you posted those trail pictures.. I've always wanted to go on the Appalachian trail.
I.. love.. cashews. Hehe they look so huge and delicious. What the heck was in your pack though, that it was 31 pounds!?

Vicki said...

a backpacking class?! you are so lucky, laura - and the photos are beautiful and snaps of nature never do it justice, so it must have been truly amazing. i love the last food photo best - food never tastes as good as it does outdoors.


Carrie™ said...

Very cool idea with the strawberry jam. There's raspberry vinaigrette, so why not strawberry? The curry looks scrumptious. I could really go for that! And your hiking pictures are beautiful.

Melody Polakow said...

What a beautiful hike.... and great food to compliment it.. awesome!

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

your pesto photo is making me want gnocchi in the worst way. yum!

as usual, even while studying and busy you manage to get my tastebuds all riled up with your food.

love the hiking pics. i've been wanting to get back to the AT for ages. my 'rents live in VA not too far. such breathtaking adventures to be had there.

Anonymous said...

Your backpacking scenery is very beautiful!

vko said...

Thanks for taking a quick second to share your beautiful trail with us. So peaceful- I love those white flowers.

And it's good to know what to bring & cookup if one were ever to go hiking, though not really on my agenda anytime soon, but the couscous sounds delicious, satisfying...

Anonymous said...

I hope your studying is going well. Love the pics of your back-packing trip. I've never tried couscous before but it looks great with those cashews.

Kate said...

Everything looks great, as always. Thanks for taking time out to share your food with us.