Friday, August 21, 2009

South Dakota is for Lovers

Here is the new face of tourism, folks!
This was taken over the fourth in Chamberlain, SD. Violet loves fiberglass sculptures even more than me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Ch'kn nuggets not purchased in scary asian packaging. Warning! Do not judge tastiness on the poor quality pictures, truly.

Ever since the Wedge stopped carrying our favorite brand of fake chicken nuggets (I have no idea what they were called, since the package was not at all in English), I have tried to replicate a passable alternative at home. Disclaimer: I am not a good cook. I am a worse baker, but that's beside the point. My cooking style is called "Denial and Error". Deny that something is out of my league, make several serious errors in the process, but deny their eventual impact on the dish. End result: vaguely dissatisfying dishes that are occasional very tasty.
Anyway, I have tried several shake and bake style nuggets with both tofu and seitan- all turning out very bland and not at all crispy and delightful. Massive condiment dipping had to be used to cover up the "ehhh" factor. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the secret- right there on the box of corn meal! I followed the recipe with slight tweaking, and used some marinated chicken style seitan. Although the pictures don't show it (I am a worse photographer than a cook!) they turned out crispy, golden, and moist inside! Even the baby happily ate them up, giving only the broccoli to the dog!
Here is the recipe:
West Soy Chicken Style Seitan marinated for 30 mins in lemon juice, poultry seasonings, soy sauce, and salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 400
1/2 cup corn meal
1/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tbl Parmesan cheese (use the vegan kind to make it, uh, vegan)
dash of garlic salt

Mix these dry ingredients together really well, then take your marinated setain but don't drain it! Take each piece and drip off the excess water, then place on a plate and spoon the dry mix over it on each side. Place breaded pieces on a broiler pan (the vented thingie). To make them really golden lovely, brush melted margarine on the tops. If you don't do this they still taste good, but turn out kind of pale. Bake for 25 mins. I served mine with steamed broccoli and sesame seeds and a honey mustard dipping sauce.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Urban Gardening

Have you ever in your life seen a more perfect head of Broccoli????

Thats right folks, I grew this with my own two hands and total lack of attentiveness. Being an exceptionally lazy, and sometimes very poor (re:unskilled), Urban Gardener, I was pleasantly surprised by this years efforts. Despite the usual early warning signs (seeds started indoors failed to, well, start, and the late planting date of June 12) my foray into the hitherto unknown world of raised bed gardens has been a success. I think the key is the raised beds, as it seriously cuts down on weeding. Hooray! Now, who wants zucchini?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Debbie Bliss Knit Experiments

I got the Debbie Bliss pattern book "Baby Knits for Beginners" at Half Price books, and I thought I would try my hand at my first sweater- baby sized of course. I had already made a really cute hat from the book and a pair of legwarmers (of my own creation) out of some leftover yarn I had thrifted, so I thought a sweater would be cute. I started knitting, only to find, whoops- not enough yarn. So, I made a Franken-sweater with one sleeve and the back side pink, and the other side and sleeve yellow. The best part is, the yarns are not the same texture or weight at all, so it really is a Frankie. Despite this, though, think it turned out quite adorable. Now if only Violet would keep the legwarmers on!