Labor Day Weekend

With the help of our friends Jason and Lillian, we got my car up and running again this week (yay, thanks guys!). So this weekend, we were able to make a trip to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market and an Asian market. We might have been able to make this trip using the MARTA, but honestly, with all the food that we bought it would have been extremely difficult. The farmer’s market that we go to is about 25 minutes away and we usually only have time to go about once a month. In the interim, we get most of our food from the vegetarian co-op, which is only about two minutes away from us!

Needless to say, I was super excited about our trip and was looking forward to capturing all the energy, fresh produce, and international food that is abundant at the farmer’s market to put in this blog. Alas, with camera in hand, I walk in and the first thing I see is a huge sign that says “Absolutely no photography permitted in the market”. A huge disappointment at first, but as we ventured on our shopping trip, I quickly realized that picture taking would have been near impossible because the market was extremely busy and just too crowded. One hour and over a $100 later, we walked out with so much food! We filled up all five of our huge shopping bags and most of what we bought was fresh and non-processed (I couldn’t turn down the pappadums).

After the farmer’s market, we stopped at an Asian market about three minutes down the road. Like most other Asian markets that I have ever been to, this one is just cluttery aisle after cluttery aisle (see above pics) full of any and all things Asian, food related or not. Despite the clutter, you can satisfy all your Asian cooking needs and taste buds at markets like these. We stocked up on rice noodles, Yeo’s soybean drink (yum!), sweet chili sauce, and some fake meat products.

So what does one do with a well stocked vegan kitchen and a long weekend? Saturday evening I made “Quick Garbanzo Soup” from Dino Sarma’s cookbook, Alternative Vegan (AV). The dish is full of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), tomatoes, onions and lots of whole spices. The only variation that I made on the recipe was adding some cooked potatoes and using less water (I wanted it less “soupy”). Hot Sauce came in from walking the dogs after I finished cooking and he said the house smelled “amazing”. Yes, this dish is very aromatically pleasing and tastes incredible too. Rich, hearty comfort food in under 30 minutes. We had it atop basmati rice with a side of pappadums.

Sunday we had a late lunch of leftover soup, so I didn’t get started on dinner until around 9ish. All I wanted to make was spanikopitas (from Vegan with a Vengeance, VV), a Dino salad (from AV) and cupcakes (also from VV)…shouldn’t take that long, right? Well, the recipe makes about 30 spanikopitas and if you’ve ever worked with phyllo dough, you can’t work that fast or else you’ll end up with a lot of torn and useless phyllo dough. I enlisted the help of Hot Sauce in the wrapping of the spanikopitas and we finally had dinner around 11pm. The only variation we made in the spanikopitas was the cooking time. We had to bake it for three times as long as the recipe called for, but it was worth the wait. Tangy tofu and spinach encased in flaky and crispy phyllo dough and a lovely mixed salad with a lemony vinaigrette.

We had a lot of spanikopita, so today we also brought some to a vegan potluck at Criminal Records, where there were many other tasty vegan delicacies (unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me). Oh and the cupcakes…oh, the cupcakes…I must not forget to mention these lovelies! These are called “coconut heaven cupcakes” and if there is such a thing as heaven, there would be an infinite supply of these cupcakes there. We decided not to buy cupcake wrappers for these to reduce waste, but you almost need them for these because they are incredibly moist!

The frosting and cupcake itself is full of shredded coconut giving a nice unexpected texture to the cupcake. The only caveat I have for these cupcakes regards the frosting, though this could very well be due to my newness to cooking and baking. I find it best to individually frost the cupcakes right before you eat them and not all at the same time otherwise, the frosting gets a little runny. Runny frosting or not, I will most definitely make these again.

So no, we didn’t go anywhere for t
he long weekend and no, we didn’t “do” much of anything except ride our bikes around and walk the dogs (and cook of course). But to me, that makes for a splendid weekend!

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