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Month: October 2011 (page 1 of 3)

Happy Halloween 2011

Chile Cornmeal-Crusted Tofu

I seem to have a food, movie, food, movie, food, movie stream going here so why not add one more food. :-)

Last night we turned to the Veganomicon for dinner inspiration again. You may be thinking that we only have one vegan cookbook, we don’t. We have a handful and actually the Veganomicon hasn’t been the dominant one. But it’s been my favorite since it was so highly recommended by my friend John. I decided to make Chile Cornmeal Crusted Tofu with Southwestern Corn Pudding.

The tofu was easy to prepare and really all about technique. It came out okay, but I think I could do better. I don’t think I got the tofu pressed enough, and the cornmeal I used was really coarse, too coarse. There were little hard bits in the crust of the tofu that were distracting. I also wanted some sort of sauce of the tofu. As a bonus there was extra tofu left and I think it will go great on a sandwich.

The Southwestern Corn Pudding was a star! It’s in the picture above in the casserole dish behind the wok. It tasted really good, had jalapeño to give some nice flavor and color. The sweetness of the corn was great. This is the kind of dish you could make for anyone and they wouldn’t miss the cream and butter typical in corn preparations. It was also pretty easy. I used a bag of frozen corn and the whole preparation only took about 15 minutes and then baking time. I missed an opportunity to use some of my New Mexican smoked chiles too. Next time I’ll bake this on the Big Green Egg to impart so smokey richness to it and use the premium chiles. My mouth is watering just typing that.

Margin Call

I can’t remember where I first saw Margin Call referenced. The movie depicts a 24-hour segment of the 2008 financial crisis. I’m a sucker for high-finance movies (Wall Street, Boiler Room) and knew I wanted to see it right away. Then I saw the cast and that Kevin Spacey was in it, one of my favorite actors. I was happy to see it on iTunes as an “in theater rental” so we watched it in the new family room last night.

It was an odd movie. The movie has 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, which honestly surprises me a bit. I think if you took some of the star power out and just went on the screenplay it would be much lower. Spacey is awesome, as always. The pacing of the movie I think is what had me off. It would go for long moments at a crawl and then without transition speed along. Similar to one of my favorite movies, Glengarry Glenn Ross, there are no heroes here.

If you watch it, share your thoughts. I’d love to know what others think of it. The Margin Call website is one of the better movie websites I’ve seen though.

Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh

Our month of eating vegan has gone really well. Tammy has tried all sorts of new recipe and made some really great meals. This past weekend I wanted to cook something but I wanted something specific. I wanted to use my Big Green Egg and I wanted something spicy. For some reason eating vegan has resulted in me seeking out spicy food more than ever. The flavors are just awesome.

I paged through the Veganomicon and found the recipe for Hot-Sauce Glazed Tempeh. We had some tempeh that we didn’t have plans for so I went for it. It had the promised spice, and the preferred method of cooking it is on a grill.

I made the marinade which was really easy. Boiled the tempeh for 10 minutes and then let it soak for an hour. I fired up the Big Green Egg and got it up to 450 degrees with the cast iron grid and cooked the tempeh with some nice searing and caramelization. I served it with a side of Messsy Rice (vegan alternative to Dirty Rice). The result looked nice and had great flavor. There wasn’t a lot of “glaze” to it though, so I think the next time I may add a little extra pepper and a touch of sugar to the marinade for basting on the grill.

Moneyball the movie

Last night Tammy and I went to Moneyball. I read the book a while back and really liked it. I was curious what the movie was going to be like since, to me, the book didn’t read like a movie at all. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane seemed odd to me, but was actually really good. Check out the movie, however, I would still recommend reading the book. If you’re just curious about the numbers behind the book in the movie read up on sabermetrics and Bill James. I was a little disappointed that the word sabermetrics wasn’t even mentioned in the movie, however Bill James was given a number of references.

Ratatouille on Big Green Egg

Our month of eating vegan has a lot of new challenges. One of the biggest is what to do with my cherished Big Green Egg’s. I liked that ratatouille is naturally vegan, and it seemed that cooking it on the Big Green Egg would be really good. I followed the Ratatouille’s Ratatouille recipe on Smitten Kitchen and instead of putting it in the oven I put it on the large Big Green Egg set up for indirect cooking.

It came out really good with a nice, light smoke flavor infused as well. I served it on a bed of couscous.

Vegan? Check. Grill? Check. Delicious? Check.

When it comes to grills and eating vegan there isn’t much overlap. However, the Big Green Egg is unique since it can do anything an oven can do, but better.

Dolphin Tale

Tammy, Mazie and I went to see Dolphin Tale tonight.

Tammy and I both agreed that this movie was about the most family friendly movie you could make. It was nice, heartwarming, had a dolphin in it. What more could you do really? Check out See Winter for more information on Winter the Dolphin.

Plus, we tried Tyler staying with one of the sitters before going to sleep. We hadn’t done that before and it worked great.

Before the movie we had dinner at Big Bowl where I had the best vegan meal I’ve enjoyed during our vegan challenge – Kung Pao Tofu with Spinach, substitute brown rice for the noodles and add heat. Plant power!

Making Soup in Vitamix

One of the things that wowed Tammy about the Vitamix was that you can make soup in it. Real soup. Not some cold Gazpacho. Honest to goodness hot soup. If you run the Vitamix on high for several minutes the blending action will bring the water to a boil!

She put all the ingredients in the blender, turned it on for several minutes and we had some nice, hot soup. Here is proof with my infrared thermometer.

Beautiful Jacks

Homelink Entertainment is doing all the low voltage work in our remodel. One of my goals in the project has been to have cutting edge infrastructure in a 1920’s house. Thanks to the meticulous detail of Ben from Homelink, it is happening. Look at this plate! Labeled Cat 5 runs down to the rack, proper speaker terminations, coax in a separate coax patch field. Awesome.

Final Remodel Update – Week 18

There are still a number of things on our punch list, but, the remodel is done! When we started the project it was expected to take 16 to 20 weeks, and we ended it right at 18. This week the flooring was installed, the electrical was finished, the network and other low voltage infrastructure got punched in and the security system was turned back up. The carpet was an amazing transformation. In one day the space went from a construction zone to a place you walk around in bare feet and goof around with the kids in.

We love everything about the new spaces we created. We wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve moved a bunch of our stuff back in and the rest of it will come together in the next couple of weeks. This will be the last set of weekly photos I post. I will do another final wrap up post when all the furniture is in place to show what it looks like when completely done.

I’m posting more photos than normal for the final recap. You can see there is still another day of painting to be done this coming week, and the AV guy will be out to install the in-wall speakers and put TV’s in place.

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