I recently moved from the vegan paradise of the East Village to the vegan wasteland of Bushwick, and I desperately miss my former diet. So I’m attempting to get back into the swing of cooking for myself via a cookbook called Vegan Cooking for One by Leah Leneman. It sounds perfect for my lifestyle: you just buy everything from the shopping list at the beginning of the week and follow the recipes each weeknight, plus lunch on the weekend and a big Sunday dinner with dessert. (It assumes you’ll eat out Saturday night).
Here’s week two, three weeks late because these meal plans clearly don’t mesh well with my busy New York lifestyle!
Sunday Lunch: Basque Salad
Roasted peppers and blanched tomatoes drizzled with a tomato/vinegar/garlic sauce and served on toast. This was quite tasty, although the avocado was my addition and made it about ten times better.
Sunday Dinner: Vegetable Pilau Special
This week isn’t off to a great start, since this recipe calls for a tomato that the shopping list never mentions. I was nearly thwarted, but luckily I found an ancient half tomato lurking in the back of my fridge. It didn’t have any mold and it didn’t kill me, so, hey, all’s well that ends well? Although I think I should send an angry letter to Leah Leneman’s proof-readers!
This dish is quite good; it’s got garlic, ginger, and Indian spices, with rice and vegetables cooked and then baked. The roasted slivered almonds are the best part, though.
Sunday Dessert: Strawberry ‘Cheese’
This recipe looked completely repulsive–you leave plain unsweetened soy yogurt out for a few hours to drip through cheesecloth until it resembles fromage frais, then mix in strawberries and sugar. I don’t know what fromage frais is, but it sounds gross, and I don’t want to attract bugs. Instead I made…
Sunday Dessert: Banana Split Cupcakes
Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to the rescue! These are stunning, wonderful, incredible, and amazing. Thank you, Isa!
Monday Dinner: Peanut Buttery Stir-Fry
Ick. My fault; I overcooked both the vegetables and the rice. I might try this again, because it’s probably delicious in non-mushy form.
Tuesday Dinner: Mediterranean Noodles
Awesome! You make a tomatoey sauce with green pepper, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and oregano, and serve it with spinach noodles coated in margarine and vegan Parmesan. I couldn’t stop nibbling on the noodles, even before the sauce had finished. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Wednesday Dinner: Vegetable Fried Rice
It’s the toasted almonds and sesame seeds that make this dish above average. You can’t get fresh-from-the-oven toasted nuts when you’re waiting a half hour for delivery!
Thursday Dinner: Chick Pea (Garbanzo Bean) Burgers
Man, what crack was this woman smoking when she came up with this? Who wants to eat plain dry burgers on their own? They’re horribly bland, although that’s partially my fault since I forgot the only flavoring which is a half teaspoon of marjoram. Still, they’re just chick peas mashed with scallion, soy yogurt, soy sauce, and bread crumbs and shallow fried. Blech.
On the plus side, I made a tasty salad to go with it:
Friday Dinner: Spaghetti Stir-Fry
This dish seriously calls for four tablespoons of vegetable oil. I kept checking to see if I was reading it wrong, but, no, that’s what it says. That’s 64 grams of fat in one meal, or 480 calories from the oil alone. Plus, the meal comes out drenched in oil and rather gross. I’m hoping it’s a typo; next time I’ll use teaspoons.
Other than that, this dish is good; the scallions, garlic, and ginger give it a nice flavor, and you can’t go wrong with green peppers and mushrooms. The cucumber sprinkled on top is a nice additon; I wish this book had more uncooked vegetables.
Saturday Lunch: Piquant Chick Pea (Garbanzo Bean) Spread
Nothing special here; I had to triple the amount of Tabasco sauce in order to get something decent out of it.
Frustratingly, the book tells you to serve it in sandwiches or rolls, with lettuce or alfalfa sprouts, but of course the shopping list doesn’t mention these ingredients. Damn you, Leah Leneman, and your half-assed shopping lists!