29 October 2010

Clearing Space

Life beyond the blogging realm continues to demand much more of my attention these days, especially during the last few weeks.  Recognizing the reality of my existence is both enlightening and stressful, making routine activities such as cooking, mindful reflection, writing, and socializing all the more treasured and vital to maintaining a much-need sense of stability.  Fortunately, my referral to these elements for peace of mind and support have not waned much, although I had hoped that I could continue to just roll out kitchen-centric material worth sharing in order to transition seamlessly into Vegan MoFo.  As a way to prepare for the food frenzy that will accompany both Vegan MoFo and the approaching the holiday season, I've begun to make some room in the freezer by revisiting the remnants of some past food projects.

Beni imo baked manju
This is my version of a Japanese-inspired treat that originated in Hawaii.  Manju are typically steamed and house fillings such as anko.  This baked variation is filled with lusciously sweet, vibrantly purple beni imo (Okinawan sweet potato), with pastry dough encasing it.  The original island snack is unfortunately neither vegan-friendly nor readily available in groceries or bakeries outside of Hawaii, but sometime back I managed to put together a vegan version that served as an acceptable substitute.  Unfortunately, I cannot recall the exact ingredients used, so I'm unable to produce a formula here for the time being.  I do know, however, that the filling involved few ingredients, and the pastry dough was a relatively low-fat, whole wheat version of more traditional pie crusts.  I'm glad that at the very least, I had a few stored away in the freezer to enjoy and perhaps remind me of how I went about produce them.  A brief spell in the oven reheated the manju nicely, resulting in a fresh-tasting product with sweet, creamy interior and crisp shell.  I may consider experimenting with creating a new batch of baked manju once beni imo are again in season here.

Kare Man
The reheated buns, made a month or so ago using this recipe, didn't seem very picturesque, nor did I really even feel like photographing them for a second time.  Nonetheless, they still tasted rather good and the spicy curry filling somewhat effectively countered the cold and gloom earlier this week.

Green Onion-Garlic Flat Bread with Creamy Spinach-Chickpea Filling
These grilled bread pockets of goodness took care of my need for a doughy fix.  These were also made then frozen some time ago using another spontaneously successful recipe, providing extras for extending their instant-meal convenience over the last few months.  After pulling them from the freezer to refrigerator to thaw overnight, I simply reheated them in the toaster; they fit in the slots perfectly and crisped up beautifully.  It seems the creaminess of the tofu-based filling diminished slightly over time, perhaps from the starchiness of the dough and chickpeas, but the overall taste was still quite pleasant.  This bread made for some filling quick lunches this week.

With the marathon blogging extravaganza that is Vegan MoFo right around the corner, we'll see an exponential increase in activity all over the vegan blogosphere, including some new eats from my tiny space in it, assuming I can keep up this year.  Hopefully I will be able to squeeze in at least one more post by the end of the weekend, but if not, I'll be here all next month.  In the meantime, I wish you all a happy Friday!


  1. That beni imo is just gorgeous! Happy Friday! :)

  2. Those little dishes look so intriguing and colorful! I've also made dishes that were great but forgot to write down how I made them. That's such a bummer when that happens.

  3. The filled flat bread looks so good! :)

    Hope you're having a great weekend and a fun Halloween!

  4. Those little dishes look so intriguing and colorful! I've also made dishes that were great but forgot to write down how I made them. That's such a bummer when that happens.


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