Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fennel & Arugula Salad

On hot days like today, it's hard to imagine actually cooking anything. Luckily this delicious spring salad comes to the rescue with crispy cold slices of fennel, spicy arugula, salty bites of kalamata olives and just a squeeze of lemon.

Fennel & Arugula Salad
serves 2
  • 2 large handfuls of arugula
  • about 1/2 a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • small handful kalamata olives (about 5-10)
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Toss arugula and fennel slices and plate. Top with olives, drizzle with oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Smoothie

I've been thinking about this smoothie all day long, so let's get right to it.

Strawberry Spinach Smoothie
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, optional
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • a few ice cubes
Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend the bejeezus out of it. Try not to just drink it straight from the blender. Have a little class and at least use a straw.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tofu Scramble

This morning was super busy. I managed to drink my usual couple (2 or 3 or 4..?) cups of coffee while getting some errands done (bike ride, farmers market, Whole Foods, re-arranging cabinet items, pizza dough making, etc). Sometime around noon I realized I hadn't eaten a thing yet, and man was I starving. I decided to whip up a quick tofu scramble with my recently purchased Daiya pepperjack shreds!! (Which are by the way, amazing!)

Tofu Scramble
  • 1 spring onion, roughly chopped
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained but not pressed
  • tumeric to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Daiya shreds (optional)
Lightly spray a large pan with cooking spray and quickly saute the onions and mushrooms over medium high heat about 3-5 minutes. Crumble tofu into the pan and give it a quick mix. Don't worry about the liquid from the tofu, you need that moisture in the pan. Generously sprinkle with tumeric (Really no measuring needed here. I like a lot, so use your own judgement and taste buds. Don't trust yourself? Just use a teaspoon or so). Add garlic powder to taste (or about 1/2 teaspoon) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until most of the moisture has cooked down. If using, sprinkle Daiya shreds on top of the tofu and turn the heat off. Turn once or twice just to melt the shreds. I made my scramble into a burrito with an Ezekiel wrap and topped with lots of yummy salsa.
"Because people like to say salsa." 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Broiled Tofu

I've discovered my favorite way to cook tofu. It also happens to be probably the easiest and quickest. Hello broiler!

I used the recipe for Broiled Blackened Tofu from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the queen of vegan cookbooks. If you want the exact recipe, buy the book (it's totally worth it!) but what it is basically is thin tofu slices dredged in spices and broiled for about 12 minutes. I'd imagine you can use any spice mixture or marinade or sauce that strikes your fancy. 

What makes or breaks this tofu is the pressing. I usually do not press my tofu, but this time I decided I would. It really gives the tofu a great firm, chewy texture. So here is the complete meal... Broiled Blackened Tofu with Butternut Coconut Rice (minus the butternut), and Jerk Asparagus. T said it was the "best meal I've ever had!" Wow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Strawberry Spinach Salad

I could not wait for strawberry season to get here simply because of this salad. This recipe comes from my mom, which came from a friend of hers, which came from... I don't know. At first glance, the dressing ingredients may not seem very appealing together, but trust me, give it a chance and you'll fall in love. I brought this salad to a baby shower last year and it was well received. People still ask me for the recipe.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 1 lb spinach - baby spinach is divine
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar (go ahead and sub agave if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup oil - I used olive, but you can use any neutral tasting oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion, minced - I love red onion here
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon vegan worcheshire sauce (you can sub soy sauce in a pinch)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Combine all dressing ingredients (sugar through poppy seeds) and mix vigorously until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add strawberries to a mixing bowl or large container with a cover. Pour the dressing over strawberries and gently mix so that strawberries are completely covered. When ready to serve pour strawberries over spinach and toss.

Notes: If you don't want both sesame and poppy, it is perfectly fine to omit one. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Banana Bread

Once upon a time, I found myself at my parents house wanting to bake something but was faced with limited ingredients. Well, I whipped together a pretty decent banana bread.

Ok, so everyone has their own version of banana bread, its just so versatile. My favorite is still from The PPK. But go ahead and give this one a try.

Banana Bread

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl add almond milk and vinegar. Set aside to curdle. In a small mixing bowl mash the bananas well and add Earth Balance and maple. In a large mixing bowl combine remaining ingredients (flour through nutmeg). Add milk mixture and banana mixture to the flour and mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake about an hour. Bread is done when toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vegan Eggrolls

I miss egg rolls. A lot.

We were ordering Chinese take out one night and I finally decided to use the wheat wrappers I found to make myself some egg(less) rolls. It's really actually quite simple. I decided to pan fry these, I was just not in the deep frying mood. Nor did I want that much oil.

Vegan Egg Rolls
  • 1/2 cup seitan, finely shopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce), to taste
Mix seitan, cabbage and mushrooms together in a small mixing bowl and drizzle with just a small amount of Bragg's. In a large pan over high heat, briefly saute the mixture in the sesame oil. Cook about a minute or 2, just until it's hot and a bit wilted looking. Scoop mixture back into the bowl, and prepare your wrappers. Spoon about 1-2 heaping tablespoons into the middle of the wrapper. Then fold. I had a hard time folding, but there is a great tutorial here. I'll have to work on that part. 
Spray a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add rolls to the pan, but try not to crowd, I was cooking 4 at a time. Cook a few minutes, flip and cook, until all sides are evenly cooked and about a golden brown. 
My rolls, were delicious, but not very pretty looking, so no photos of this round. But don't worry I''ll be practicing...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes (and Bruschetta!)

I had planned on making this dish for my grandparents when they came to visit. My grandfather has a very restricted diet due to some health issues. They definitely don't understand why I (or anyone) would choose to eat vegan, but I am determined to become their personal chef this summer and show them just how much their quality of life can be improved just through food.

Regrettably, I don't have a photo of the dish. It's so quick and easy that I devoured it before I could get the camera out. 

Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
  • 2 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

First, get your water ready for the pasta, this dish comes together quickly. Now, thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise, about 1/8" thick. I used a mandolin* to get nice even pieces. If using oil, heat in a large pan over medium heat for about a minute and add dried herbs and garlic powder. 
If not using oil just continue with the following directions, adding spices with the zucchini. 
(Make sure you add the pasta when the water starts boiling!) Add zucchini slices to pan. Cook about 1 minute, turn, then add entire can of diced tomatoes, including the liquid. Cover and let cook on medium until the pasta is done. 

Alternatively, you could marinate the zucchini in the oil and seasonings for an hour or 2, or even overnight. But who has that kind of time. 

To serve, scoop pasta into bowls and top with zucchini tomato mixture. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Now, this recipe also becomes an easy bruschetta. Just follow the same cooking directions for the zucchini and tomatoes. You may want to chop the zucchini into smaller pieces, or you might not. Spoon the mixture over a nice piece of Italian bread and enjoy.

*You don't have a mandolin yet? Seriously, what the hell are you waiting for. You can get a good quality one for pretty cheap basically anywhere. I have a handheld one, it was about 20 bucks. This may be one of the best kitchen tools to have. Now, go get yourself one. Go on. I'll wait...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Fat Free!!)

Recently I asked my readers via Facebook and Twitter what they thought I should have for dinner. (I just could not decide.) It was a chilly day and the options were soup, risotto or pancakes (because I'm obsessed). Most replies begged for risotto. Long story short, we ended up getting take out pizza from Whole Foods... Anyway, I've had this risotto recipe dancing around in my head for about a week and I was getting anxious to try it out. I finally got to it tonight. And, that's right. There is no fat added and it is still delicious!

Lemon Asparagus Risotto

  • 8 cups veg. broth + 2 cups
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs. asparagus
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • spice blend - I used garlic/shallot/chive/dill/lemon verbena/green onion

Begin by heating the 8 cups of vegetable broth in a sauce pan over medium heat. Keep it on a low simmer. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat. Cover the bottom with 1 cup of the reserved veg. broth. Add garlic and saute in the broth until soft.

Meanwhile, rinse and trim the asparagus. Cut the spears into about 1/2" pieces. Line a large skillet with the remaining 1 cup of broth. Add asparagus, drizzle lemon juice over top and season with spices. Cover and cook over medium heat until asparagus is soft and bright green.

Once garlic is ready and most of the broth has cooked down, add rice and cook for about a minute. Add a ladle of broth and stir until all broth has been absorbed. Continue adding broth 1 ladle at a time and stir, stir, stir! Don't stop stirring! This may take some time, but don't worry, it will be worth it. Once you have about one more ladle to go, add in the white wine and yes, stir. You may want to taste as you go to check the rice. Once you've finished stirring the broth, add the asparagus pieces to the pot and gently combine with the risotto. Season with salt and pepper.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

I have been sitting on this recipe for quite some time now, and have made it several times, so I thought maybe now I should share it. One of my favorite things to eat as a kid was tuna on a bagel. I loved the way my mom made it with little bits of cucumbers and then piled it up high on a toasted bagel. This is just the first of several tuna turned vegan recipes to come, so stay tuned.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • 1-2 teaspoons kelp seasoning
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • bagel/bread slices/pita/etc...

Place chickpeas in a food processor and gently (you don't
Pulsed chickpeas should look like this.
want hummus) pulse 15 times. If you don't have a food processor, you can mash them with a fork. In a small mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, onion, cucumber, mayo and seasonings. Place a heaping pile of chickpea salad onto your bread of choice, and devour.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Strawberry Milk

When I was a kid I used to get strawberry milk mix as a "treat" sometimes. Recently I was thinking about it, and about how much I really did love it. I had picked up some dried strawberries and was thinking I could make some strawberry milk of my own.

So I took these strawberries, 

and turned them into this powder. 

Then, just like I used to mix my sugary strawberry powder into milk, 
I mixed the powder with soy milk and got... this mess. Yuck. 


So I had an idea, and blended the mixture in the blender. 
It turned into this pink drink, which looks kinda delicious. 

But without the added sugar and crap, 
it does not taste like my beloved strawberry milk.
In fact it doesn't even taste good. Bleh.

April Fools to me :o(
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