Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Thai Curry with Rice Noodles


Here’s another recipe that really needs no special fussing. Simply prep the veg and cook it all together. The original recipe comes from “Vegetarian Today” magazine (April 2017) and I followed it pretty closely, except that instead of cooking the veg separately, I dumped it all in at once and cooked it together. Perfection.

This was the first time that I had used rice noodles; they were so good! Don’t skip this ingredient!
These amounts made about 3 adult servings. This would be simple to double for a larger group.


Here’s what you need:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 T brown sugar
1 T red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand, for example)
½ C diced white onion
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T veg oil
1 C cubed yellow or red potatoes, skinned
1 C trimmed fresh green beans, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 C cauliflower florets
1 C eggplant, skinned and cubed
½ C red pepper, sliced
Fresh lime juice
4 oz dry rice noodles (prepare according to package)
Fresh cilantro - garnish
Dry roasted peanuts – garnish

Here’s what you do:
Prepare the sauce: mix together the entire can of coconut milk, the brown sugar, and the curry paste.  Set aside


Saute all the veg in some corn oil until a bit soft – don’t brown anything. Add the sauce and simmer till thickened to your liking. Lime juice goes in at the end. Serve over rice noodles with cilantro and peanuts as garnish. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chinese Tofu, Mushroom, and Jicama Lettuce Cups


The first time I made this, I followed the instructions exactly as written. It involved dragging out the wok and frying each ingredient individually, including the nuts! I remember that it felt a bit ‘fussy’ for Asian food.

Tofu: Before

Last night, I prepped all the veg, fried the tofu and set it aside, and dumped all the rest in at once. Added the sauce when everything was nice and soft and beginning to brown. Returned the tofu, and voila! Dinner was ready.

Tofu: After

Now that I’ve simplified (and modified from all the unusual Asian ingredients, not commonly found in my pantry), this meal becomes easy for a weekday. Don’t hesitate to try this.

Note: these amounts made enough for 3 hungry adults. (2-3 lettuce cups each.) This recipe would be a cinch to double.


Here’s what you need:
1 block extra firm (or firm) tofu
1 T rice vinegar or mirin
1 T soy sauce
2 t cider vinegar
4 T hoisin sauce
2 t chili paste (Sambal oelek….or I guess you could use Sriracha)
1 t corn starch
1 C Portobello mushrooms (shiitakes would be great too!)
3 scallions
3 cloves garlic – minced or pressed
1 inch fresh ginger- minced
½ C jicama (about the size of a small apple)
2 celery stalks
¼ C salted peanuts
Cilantro
Lettuce (prepped for use as a cup. Choose a butter lettuce or a large iceberg)


Here’s what you do: (the easy way)
Cut the tofu in ¼ inch slabs and place on a few clean kitchen towels which are arranged on the cutting board. Wrap them up in more towels and place another cutting board on top of it all. Place a heavy object, like a cast iron skillet, on the top and walk away. Allow liquid to press out. After 30-60 minutes, the tofu will be nice and dry. This process can be done much earlier in the day.

Prepare the sauce by mixing the two vinegars, soy sauce, hoisin, chili paste and corn starch. Set aside.

Prep the veg by mincing it all in ¼ inch dice. Remember, it will be served in a piece of lettuce, so it needs to be a pretty small dice.  You should end up with about 2 cups of veg. Put it all in the same bowl.

Prep the tofu by cutting it in ¼ inch dice.

Chop the peanuts and prepare the cilantro – set those aside. Make sure the lettuce is clean and cold.

Heat some oil in a non-stick pan or pot (or wok if you’re feeling fancy) Fry the tofu. It’ll get really chewy, so take it out when it’s to your liking. I did mine very well and loved it. Remove the tofu and set aside.

Brown all the veg at once and stir and heat until it’s soft and getting a bit brown. Add the tofu and peanuts and reserved sauce (You want to reactivate the cornstarch before adding by giving it a stir). The mixture will thicken up very quickly. Remove to a serving platter and add a liberal amount of cilantro.

Serve in prepared lettuce leaves.




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Greens and Beans Over Linguine


I keep complaining that I don’t feel connected to my vegetable garden this year. I purchased random tomatoes and herbs instead of making a conscience decision regarding the types I wanted. I was not happy with the jalapenos that I chose, settling for ‘regular’ size peppers instead of searching for ‘giant’ peppers (which I LOVE for making poppers). I was convinced by my son to plant a ghost pepper and what in the world am I going to do with ghost peppers????? (I’ve already been looking around on Facebook for local people who might want to take my ghost peppers. Naturally, the plant is doing really well, lots of little flowers and peppers showing up every day.)

As a last-minute impulse purchase at the big box garden center, I grabbed a six-pack of Swiss Chard. They looked so beautiful – all red and orange and yellow and purple.

Guess what? The Swiss Chard is completely healthy and happy growing in my little garden. I have so much that I’m not even sure I can eat it all…… Time to get out the juicer and drink it.



I’ve made this recipe twice this week….and it’s good….and it uses up lots of Swiss Chard!

Here’s what you need:
1 super large bunch of Swiss Chard
Garlic, minced or pressed
Red pepper flakes
1 can of cannellini beans plus their liquid
Pasta and pasta water



Here’s what you do:
Sautee lots and lots of garlic and very slowly in a generous amount of olive oil. Never allow the garlic to brown. Add red pepper flakes.

Wash the Chard. Cut the stems in 1 inch pieces and cut the leaves in thin strips.

Add the stems and some water to the pan. Cook slowly until the veg is soft. Add the leaves and some more water. (You want it quite wet). Cook for a few minutes. Then add the beans and all their liquid. This will become nice and garlicky and thick.

Before you drain your pasta, add about ½ - 1 C of salty, starchy pasta water to complete your greens and beans sauce.


Mix together with the pasta and sprinkle parmesan cheese liberally over. But don’t add the sauce to the pasta until the last minute or else the pasta will soak up all the liquid and you’ll be left with a carb blob. (It’ll still taste great; it just won’t be nice and thin and silky.) 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kidney Bean Curry


Kidney beans seem to be a pantry staple for me – they go on sale in the fall, when chili season is in full swing, and I never seem to be able to eat them all. “Buy 10 Get One Free” in hindsight never looks as good.  Here is a super simple way to use those canned kidney beans that are crowding out your pantry. I realize this looks plain and too simple to be worth your precious can of kidney beans, but it’ worth a try at least. It’s deceptively delicious. In fact, I’m going to need more cans of kidney beans to make this again. It’s cheap. It’s spicy. It’s quick. It’s tasty.



Here’s what you need:
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 small bunch of cilantro : you’ll need both the stalks and leaves.
1 t cumin
1 t paprika
2 t garam masala
14-16 oz can of chopped tomatoes
14-16 oz can of dark red kidney beans, in water (don’t drain them)
Rice

Here’s what you do:
Sautee the onions for a few minutes in a drop of oil. You can also use the ‘water saute’ method to make this fat free. Simple allow the natural juices of the onion to emerge over low heat, adding literally 1 T of water every so often. They will eventually soften and brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, and cilantro stalks and continue to cook for a few minutes. (Use the same ‘water saute’ method)

Add the spices and warm them. (It smells really good!)

Add the can of tomatoes and all the liquid and also the can of beans and all the liquid. Simmer for about 10 minutes to meld the flavors and allow it to thicken a bit.

Add the leaves of cilantro at the last minute and serve over rice.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cheesy Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Lemon B├ęchamel



Having company soon? Here’s the recipe. Trust me – this was so good.

Here’s what you need:
3 large cans quartered artichoke hearts, packed in water, not oil
2 lemons, remove the rind carefully with a sharp knife, then juice them
1 box large shell pasta, cooked *almost* al dente, set aside
1 C almond cheese (see recipe below)
½ C dairy mozzarella
Salt and pepper
3 C non-dairy milk
4 T butter
4 T flour

Here’s what you do:
Mince the artichoke hearts and mix them with the two cheeses.

(Amazing Almond Cheese = 1 C raw, unpeeled almonds, ¾ C water, 3 T lemon juice, 2 T olive oil, 1 clove garlic, salt, high speed blender. IT IS THE BEST!)


Simmer a large slice or two of the lemon rind in the milk and remove after a few minutes.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and then sprinkle the flour over the butter. Whisk thoroughly and cook the flour well. Add the warm milk a bit at a time, whisking all the while. Add the lemon juice when the mixture is nice and creamy and thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff the cooked shells with the artichoke and cheese mixture. Place in greased casserole. Smother with lemon b├ęchamel. Bake, covered, 400 degrees until bubbly. Garnish with parsley.

Serve with something non-acidic to counter the fabulous lemon flavor.....a green salad with a creamy dressing, garlic toast, broccoli, green beans, asparagus. There's plenty of bechamel to drizzle all over the plate. 




Thursday, May 18, 2017

Black Bean Brownies (from Veganuary)


This is the kind of recipe that you avoid for many months. You may see it cross your Facebook page, or you may read about it on a strange vegetarian blog (like this one), or you may even see it at your workplace coffee station. But you avoid. You can’t quite seem to bring the dreaded black bean concoction to your lips.

Because I was the brave one in the room and tried these, you may follow my lead and tamp down your fear! What’s it gonna cost you? A can of beans.



Warning: these brownies are not very sweet, which in my opinion is a bonus.

Warning: these brownies are totally and completely chocolatey

Warning: these brownies are moist, chewy, dense, rich, satisfying, ‘healthy’, and cheap to make

Warning: these brownies could become your new favorite thing

Here’s what you need:
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
½ avocado
1 C brown sugar
3 T cocoa powder
½ C walnuts – divided
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 T coconut oil (plus more for greasing the muffin tin)
Large pinch of salt
2/3 C dark chocolate chips (plus more for garnish)

Here’s what you do:
Prepare a muffin tin by greasing it with coconut oil. This will help the brownies come out perfectly.

Place beans, avocado, sugar, cocoa, half the walnuts (1/4 C), baking soda, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt in a food processor and mix very well.

Melt the 2/3 C chocolate chips in a double boiler until soft (don’t scorch them) and add the chocolate to the bean mixture.  Mix well.

Evenly distribute the batter into prepared muffin tins.

Garnish with more chocolate and the remaining ¼ C walnuts.

Bake 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cool them completely in the fridge before removing. Remove them carefully because they are soft in the middle.

Delicious!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Vegan Jalapeno Poppers


My best poppers to date! Lots of jalapenos, split and cleaned of seeds and most veins. 1 tub Tofutti cream cheese. 6 slices vegan bacon, cooked and chopped in tiny pieces (I recommend Lifelight brand). 1/3 C vegan nacho cheese (mine came from the freezer....probably Isa Chandra's recipe).

Stuff. Roll in panko bread crumbs and nutritional yeast. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.

I love them!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cauliflower Cashew Soup


I learned a new technique for increasing the flavor profile of vegetables. I really didn’t think it would make much difference in the end product, after all, how much flavor can you squeeze out of a cauliflower? But amazingly, it actually did increase the depth of flavor.

The trick is allowing the veg to steam in their own juice in a covered pot before adding the broth. They must not get brown at all, so a tempered heat is required. The technique is called ‘a l’etoufffee’ which means ‘braised ‘in French.

Remember when we all started roasting our veggies and now we wouldn’t be caught dead boiling them? Well, this is the new ‘roasting.’

This recipe comes from bonappetit.com.

Here’s what you need:
¼ C olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 t dried thyme
Salt, pepper
½ C dry white wine
1 large head cauliflower, cut in small florets
¼ t cayenne pepper
¾ C raw cashews
6 C light colored vegetable stock
Lemon juice to garnish


Here’s what you do:
Warm the oil in a large soup pot. Add the shallots, garlic, bay leaves and cook on medium low heat. Don’t allow anything to brown. Add the wine and allow to simmer a bit. Add the cauliflower, cayenne, cashews, salt and pepper. Cover pot and cook tenderly until all the veg is soft….maybe about 20-25 minutes. Reduce heat if things are browning up at all.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is falling apart. Discard bay leaves. Cool. Whirl in a high speed blender. Serve with lemons or add lemon juice at the end.



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cauliflower Meat Crumbles


I must truly be vegan because I am posting another recipe for cauliflower meat crumbles. And I don't even care.

This is a great recipe and these little crumbles can be used in the same way you would use meat from cows. Spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, pizza toppings, and Mexican. I used half of the crumbles recently in tacos and the rest went in the freezer. Take your time and bake them nice and long and slow. You really want to dry them out so they separate and get a little chewy. The house smelled fantastic when this was baking.

Good luck! Go vegan! Eat your crumbles! Leave the cows alone! :)

Cauliflower Meat Crumbles
Here's what you need:
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed, washed, cut in florets
2 C raw walnuts
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 t liquid chipotle sauce
1/2 t chili powder
1 t liquid smoke
1/2 t salt
2 T soy sauce

Here's what you do:
Crunch the walnuts and cauliflower in a food processor till pretty small. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Plop it in a bowl and continue mixing with your hands if you need to.

When you first see it, you can't imagine that it turns into 'meat'....but it does! 

Cook it on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees, for about 60-75 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes and every 15 minutes after that. The crumbles should be brown and dry. Use as you please! The crumbles do not need to be seasoned in any way .... use them as is. Delicious!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Amazing, but True -- Chicken Style Seasoning



How to create a chicken flavor without harming chickens.

Blend until very fine. Use in all kinds of stuff.

1 C nutritional yeast
2 heaping T onion powder
1 T salt (or more to taste)
2 T dried basil
2 heaping T dried parsley
1 T sugar
4 t T garlic powder
½ t celery seed
½ t cayenne powder




Amazing, but True -- Vegan Cream of Chicken Soup
1 pound firm tofu
2 t vegan chicken base / seasoning
2-3 t curry
1 ½ t onion powder
1 ½ t garlic powder
½ t turmeric
¼ C milk or water
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