Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Feed the Bears - Taco Thrash-erole

Last night we made Taco Thrash-erole from Don't Feed the Bears. It was just ok. It was edible. Once again the recipe didn't call for enough salt (or any actually) so I added 1/2 tsp salt with the spices. I topped it with a little vegan mozarella in addition to the crushed chips. It tasted a lot like a taco salad, but without the salad. We were both wishing for some lettuce, tomato, avocado, and vegan sour cream. Maybe I would have liked it more like that. I also thought it tasted like it had too much spice. It wasn't too hot for me, just too spicy - like I could have cut the spices in half. I used Ancho Chile powder for the required hot chile powder in the recipe.

Here is a pic of it in the skillet before I put it into the casserole:

Please Don't Feed the Bears - Taco Thrash-erole

How it looked when it came out of the oven:

Please Don't Feed the Bears - Taco Thrash-erole

And the gratuitous bowl shot:

Please Don't Feed the Bears - Taco Thrash-erole

I have to say that my husband and I both agreed that this experiment must end early. The next recipe we had planned to make was a casserole involving fried tofu squares, tater tots, sour kraut, and a cream sauce. We decided to skip that based on our other results from this book. We also decided that we would make Bryanna's peanut sauce instead of making the book's peanut butter spirals.

So with this glowing recommendation, this book is now free to the first person that asks for it. If you want the book, let me know and I'll send it to you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't Feed the Bears - Chinese Take-Out

Last night I made a recipe called "Chinese Take-out" from Don't Feed the Bears. It was just ok. Mike and I thought the sauce was bland and lacking in salt and we both poured soy sauce on top of our dinners. So if you make this, taste the sauce and add about 2-3 more Tbsp of soy sauce before adding the sauce to the veggies. Once we added some saltiness to it, it was ok. Also, you will need to add some crushed red pepper for a little kick.


I pan-fried some tofu before stir frying the veggies, set it aside, and added it back in when I added the sauce. For the veggies I used a red and green bell pepper, broccoli, and snow pea pods as recommeded in the recipe and then I added half of an onion and a few scallions too.

So far, I am kind of meh about this book. Hopefully tonight's Taco Thrasherole will change my mind.

Don't Feed the Bears - Dehumanization Loaf

The first thing I decided to make out of Don't Feed the Bears was Dehumanization Loaf. It was my riskiest choice for the week too. I was worried because it was mostly wheat gluten but the recipe notes said "This is the closest I've come to what I remember meat loaf tasting like". Well, I couldn't resist that could I?

Turns out that my risky choice was also not a good choice. It was, in fact, pretty much a disaster that ended with my husband, Mike, running out for Chinese food.

The first problem we had was that the loaf called for 2 cups of soy sauce/water to be poured over the top. It got pretty full, and despite my instincts yelling at me to stop, I went ahead and poured it all in there. It promptly started oozing liquid over the sides. It continued to drip liquid out into the oven for most of the time that it cooked. I had to keep swapping out cooking sheets underneath it to keep it from all burning into the bottom of the oven.


Next problem. At the end of the 1 1/2 hour cooking time, I pulled it out and checked it and it still looked like raw wheat gluten. My finger mooshed right into it. This was when we decided to go get some chinese food or we wouldn't eat till bedtime. While Mike went out for takeout, I kept baking the loaf. I turned the heat up to 375 and baked it for another hour (might have been another hour and a half). Total cooking time ended up being about 3 hours.


We let it cool some and then put it onto a plate and cut it in half to make sure it was cooked. Thankfully it was. So we cut a small slice and tasted it (since we had already had dinner by this point). My fears were recognized. It was basically baked seitan. I like baked seitan, but not all by itself. Since this was an herby, oniony baked seitan we cut it into cubes, put it into freezer bags, and put it into the freezer. We think it will be good for pot pies.

I guess everyone picks a bad recipe from time to time. I chose this one against by better instincts because I really wanted to test this cookbook by choosing a few that looked like things I'd normally pick and by also picking a couple that looked a bit "out there".

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Please Don't Feed the Bears - Week Long Review

I was recently the lucky winner of a new cookbook: Please Don't Feed the Bears. The cookbook was a giveaway from VeganFreak for questions twittered while they were recording their podcast. I am so excited about this cookbook. I've never gotten a cookbook with so many recipes I wanted to try right away. This book has been on my wishlist for a while, but for some reason I've never gotten around to purchasing it.

So with new cookbook in hand, I'll be cooking and posting about recipes from this book all week long. So, stay tuned if you are interested in seeing how this book is. Here is the planned list of recipes I am going to tackle. And yes, they have funny punk rock titles:

Dehumanization Roast - a meatless loaf made with wheat gluten. Served with Golden Gravy.

Chinese Take-Out - a stir fry.

Taco Thrash-erole - a taco casserole with refried black beans, rice, tortilla chips and the interesting addition of hashbrowns.

Demian's Black Masserole - a strange looking (but yet compelling) recipe that contains pasta, sauerkraut, tofu, and tater tots. This one feels like my biggest risk of the week.

"Caught in the Mosh" Peanutbutter Pasta Spirals - Rotini with a peanut butter sauce and peas.

Each of these recipes has a recommended song to listen to while cooking, so I may have to get onto iTunes and check them out.