Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sharing My Kitchen

Words cannot describe how much I love this photo! It's like a treasure hunt into my life. 

My husband has a new hobby which is  excellent because he needs something fun to do during all the hours away from his work. And the best news is that I will benefit from said hobby - in fact I'm thrilled!

He has decided to learn how to bake bread - real, honest to goodness bread. Not from the bread machine or from a starter kit, no! Real yeast, real kneading, real rising, and real baking stones.

He conquered bagels a few days ago and we have been feasting on bagels morning, noon, and night.

Yesterday he worked on 'pain a l'ancienne' which is a gorgeous loaf of bread made 'in the traditional way,'  (not the 'ancient' way.)

Last night he started some pizza dough. How tasty will that be? (I take pizza very seriously!)

But here's the thing that I find most interesting - it's happening in MY kitchen...... Did you really look at the photo of my KITCHEN? I sit nearby while the flour is floating all over the place and wonder to myself if it'll ever get wiped up. The spraying of water directly on my 500 degree oven walls was fun to watch. (sarcasm).

Twice in the past few days, I have changed my finely tuned menu to accommodate those loaves of perfection; who wouldn't prefer a bagel sandwich over a plate of leftovers or the pain a l'ancienne and sharp cheddar over Asian noodles?

All this has caused me to evaluate my ownership of the kitchen in our house; I am finding out that I'm a 'kitchen-hog' of the worst kind! I don't like it!

So as my husband develops his awesome new hobby, I will work on my attitudes about sharing space in OUR home. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Tofu Mushroom Stir Fry - keeping it simple

This would be an excellent recipe for those of you who are unfamiliar with using firm tofu. I conquered my fear of tofu a few years ago and now it's a staple in my kitchen. It's so handy for a quick meal! Cheap and filling. And so simple! And delicious! And nutritious!

This is also a good beginner recipe for using shiitake mushrooms - please tell me you're not still using only button mushrooms.  I can't get over how delicious shiitakes are. They are probably not as cheap as button mushrooms, but the improvement in flavor is worth it.

At first I thought there would not be enough sauce for 4 portions, but it's plenty. My guys added Sriracha sauce and I added just a splash of extra soy sauce.

Tofu Mushroom Stir Fry (from Bon Appetite)

1 lb extra firm tofu, cut in 1/2 inch cubes, blotted dry on a cotton towel or paper towels.
Sprinkle 2 t corn starch, 1 T soy sauce, some hot pepper flakes over tofu cubes.
Fry in 1 T corn oil until brown, flip over and continue browning pieces of tofu. Set aside.

1 lb shiitake and button mushroom mix. Remove stems from shiitakes and tear them in biggish pieces.

1 bunch green onions, cut in 1 inch pieces.

1 knob of ginger, sliced thinly or grated.

Saute mushrooms, onions, and ginger in 1 T corn oil until brown in some spots.

1 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 T mirin (rice wine)

Mix tofu, mushrooms, and sauce. Heat up and serve over white rice

Garnish: sesame seeds.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Citrus-Pistachio Couscous Salad

 Looking to lighten up your meal plans this coming month? Here's a light and delicious salad for you to try. I used to make this all the time when I was younger and for some reason, it slipped out of my regular rotation. You can see I have it scratched on the inside cover of my old-favorite "Moosewood Cookbook."

I remember eating this at a neighbor's house and asking for the recipe. She blurted out a few things and I ran home and scribbled them down. I'm not even sure I got it half right. And I know for certain that back then, couscous seemed very exotic! In fact, the woman herself seemed exotic to me .... I don't really remember why though. Her daughter and my daughter were little friends and would spend long afternoons playing together and eating at each others' houses. Mom and I were friendly and almost 'girlfriends,' so it was completely bizarre when we woke up one morning to find they had moved during the night! House was entirely empty of people and items! I have no idea what happened to them, but I whenever I see this recipe, I am transported back to that mysterious event and I will always wonder about it.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

1980s Cheesy Bean Dip

Are we eating any healthier these days? We certainly know more about the effects of the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) on our bodies than we did in the 1980s, but do we care at all? I know I do.

I recently learned that a few dairy industries have had to close shop or at least cut way back on production because the demand for non-dairy milk has increased so much in recent years – and that is GOOD NEWS! And I also just learned that some of the disgustingly huge meat companies (think Tyson and Smithfield) have put some of their energies into cruelty free meats (think Beyond Meat and Tofurky …by the way, have you tried the Beyond Meat burger? OMG!)

Well, I regressed this week and ate a batch of this cheesy bean dip, which I lovingly call *1980s* cheesy bean dip….cuz, you know….cheese and all that….so 80s.

Here’s what you need:
2 cans refried beans
1 C shredded cheddar
1 C shredded Monterey jack
1 brick cream cheese
1 C sour cream
½ pack taco seasoning
Hot sauce to taste

Here’s what you do:
Melt and stir, melt and stir, melt and stir. Dip and eat, dip and eat, dip and eat.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Cashew Cream Zucchini Sauce

What happens when you go away from your zucchini plants for 5 days? It’s no exaggeration to say you get some pretty large veggies.

I do believe zucchini could feed the world, and if we prepared it this way, everyone would be happy!

I filled my Cuisinart 2 times. Jam-packed. 

Here’s what you need:
Freshly picked zucchini
Lots of fresh garlic – minced
Lots of red pepper flakes
Lots of raw cashews
Fresh basil

Here’s what you do:
Saute the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and cashews in a generous amount of olive oil. Roughly shred the zucchini and add it to the garlic mixture. I added more cashews at this point and I don’t regret it. Allow it to simmer and cook down a bit, but be warned, the zucchini never really ever shrinks at all. Toward the end, when the cashews are soft and the zucchini is pretty soft, add lots of fresh basil. Stir vigorously. The aroma is heavenly!

Allow to cook a bit and process in a high-speed blender. Serve on pasta with a nice parmesan. Delicious!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Simple Mushroom Sandwich

Sometimes the simpler a meal is, the better. This portobello mushroom sandwich is the perfect example of that truth. The secret is in using high quality mushrooms and high quality buns. Today I used homemade hamburger buns from my local bakery. I have used ciabatta buns, and those work too.

Here's what you need:
large portobello mushrooms - 2 per sandwich
olive oil
tin foil
Sandwich buns
Parmesan cheese (dairy or non dairy)
garlic salt

Here's what you do:
clean the mushrooms with a small spoon, scraping out the black gills and trimming off the stem. Place them on a grill pan and drizzle olive oil over both sides. Salt them generously. Start grilling them slowly, flipping them every so often. You don't want them to become brown, just soft and juicy. The salt will bring out lots of juice and that's good. Cover them with foil and allow them to cook for at least 20 minutes, flipping them once in a while. They are done when a knife slips easily into the center of the mushroom.

In the mean time, make the best garlicky Parmesan toast with your buns. The buns do not need to be hot at meal time; they can sit around a bit before serving the sandwiches.

That's it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Made a double batch of these beauties today to take to a sorority reunion this weekend. I'm getting used to bringing my own food everywhere I go - and that's OK.

Here's what you need:
1 T corn oil
1 small green pepper - minced
1 small onion - minced
15 oz tomato sauce
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t smoked paprika
1 T dark molasses
1 T brown sugar
3/4 - 1 C French lentils (also known as Le Puy lentils)

Here's what you do:
Cook the lentils in veggie broth or water until soft and toothsome. Set aside.
Saute the green pepper and onion in the corn oil, but don't let them get brown at all....just soft. Add the remaining ingredients, including the lentils. Continue to simmer and thicken and adjust ingredients to taste. Keep them nice and sloppy and be sure to serve them on a classic soft white hamburger bun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing (from Budget Bytes)

Well, I really pulled out the stops for this year's Easter lunch! I made tons of vegan sushi; I literally spent hours prepping veggies, cooling rice, rolling, rolling, rolling, and decorating. See how gorgeous my end result was! I'm telling you, I was mighty proud of these beauties. Look at them!

The only horror was that I did not realize how yucky they would be after storing them over night in the fridge :( I mean, they were hard and crunchy and the nori was chewy. My family (bless their hearts) ate like champs, but all I could think of was how much they were chewing and chewing and trying not to frown at the Easter table.

My beautiful sushi did not satisfy at all. I knew we were hungry and cranky. So the next day, I made three power salads, enough to fill us to the brim and beyond.

Today I share an excellent recipe from Budget Bytes. See the original recipe here.  This stuff was amazing. In fact, it's probably my new favorite way to eat cauliflower. Many kudos to Beth and Budget Bytes.