Wednesday, March 31, 2010

South Carolina Mustard Sauce

Soon after I switched to a vegan diet, I made a list of my favorite foods that weren't originally vegan. My goal was to find ways to enjoy all of them in vegan form. Four years later, I'm about halfway through that list. Some things are beyond my cooking ability still (kolaches!). Some require vegan ingredients that just aren't quite good enough yet. And some, well, I just haven't gotten around to yet.

This South Carolina Mustard sauce is something my family ate every so often when I was a kid. Often my mother would ask me to make the sauce, and then she would cook the pork loin when she got home from work.

Unlike other barbecue sauces, South Carolina mustard-style barbecue sauce doesn't have any tomato products. They're usually based on a combination of vinegar, mustard, and sometimes brown sugar. The red color in this version comes from chili powder.

The barbecue sauce was nearly vegan already, but I was left with the dilemma of what to pour it over. I don't remember what pork tastes like (this dish and bacon were the only pork foods we ever ate at home when I was a kid). But when I made the courico tacos recently, I realized they were the perfect choice for this barbecue sauce.

I still need to perfect the cooking method for the soy curls, but the mustard sauce was just as I remembered it. Tangy, sweet, and just a bit spicy.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons Earth Balance

Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, chili powder, and pepper in a medium sauce pan. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat source, and stir in soy sauce and Earth Balance.

Friday, March 12, 2010

February: Some Updates

It's been a busy month. I (finally!) found a job. Unfortunately, it's third shift. It's put a bit of a cramp in my photography and gardening since both of these things need sunlight.

In general Dewey and I have been busy improving the house, introducing the cats to one another, and just generally adjusting to the new schedule. But I've found a bit of time to squeeze in my hobbies here and there.

At the top is a puttanesca scramble from Vegan Brunch. It's a tofu scramble with tomatoes, olives, and capers. I had a lot of leftover ingredients from an antipasto salad, and this was a perfect way to use them up. I wasn't sure what I would think of this, especially since the antipasto salad wasn't a hit. But it was great.

I never wrote a review of Vegan Brunch, but some of our favorites are the courico tacos made with soy curls, the chocolate beer waffles with sweet cashew cream, and the (virgin) Bloody Moskowitz.

This is the baked potato soup from Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food. This cookbook has found a steady spot in our diet now that I have less time for cooking. Those are chopped green onions on top of the soup. I've been obsessed with them lately.

A little "aha" cooking moment from earlier this month. You have a microplane grater, right? They're lovely. They're great for zesting or grating small things like garlic or nutmeg. And they won't tear up your sponge (or your knuckles!) the way a traditional grater does. Anyway, if you turn the microplane grater upside down while you grate, it collects whatever it is you're grating.
I've put together the frame for my new square foot garden, but I've decided not to plant until we get the lawn regraded. Anything planted now will just get torn up then. Bummer for now, but in the long run, fixing the lawn so water doesn't drain under the house is more important.

And finally, I took Lizzie's advice (though her comment seems to have disappeared since then), and went with a chicken wire compost bin. Hopefully by this time next year I'll have enough of my own compost that I won't need to buy any to build a second square foot garden.