Monthly Archives: May 2012

Scrambled Tofu: Part Two

I was strapped for time today, and after a hurried run to Trader Joe’s and picking up some tofu, I decided to try out Alicia’s version of tofu scramble, a staple in the vegan diet.

It came as a pleasant surprise! Although I love the cheesy, rich flavor of the one I did before by Ann Gentry, this dish was more subtle and had hints of Asian fusion with the sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and green onions.  The best part about this recipe, though, was that it took less than ten minutes to throw together! And my theme this week is all about quick and dirty preparation, but gooood food.

All you need is…

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 c chopped mixed veggies (e.g., leeks, broccoli, zucchini, sugar snap peas, corn, onion, carrots, cabbage)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 package of firm, organic tofu
  • 1/8 c toasted seeds (I used sunflower, sesame and pumpkin are good too)
  • chopped fresh scallions or cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in a skillet and, when hot, add the vegetables.  Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season the veggies with soy sauce and salt.  Add the tofu and cook until heated through, about two minutes.  Add more seasoning to taste.  Serve sprinkled with the seeds, scallions, or cilantro.
This is what you get!

I promise there’s tofu and zucchini hiding under the mass of sunflower seeds and green onion! Enjoy this lovely Asian-style tofu scramble, which works great for any meal of the day.

Fried Udon Noodles

These noodles come from the Superhero recipes section of Alicia Silverstone’s “The Kind Diet,” which EVERYONE SHOULD READ.  Her book is super approachable and gives facts, figures, and adorable anecdotes on why meat, dairy, white sugar and processed foods are so bad for the animals/the planet/our health!  She’s very intelligent and engaging and I mayyy have a crush on her.  http://www.thekindlife.com/  Go to her website for more recipes, ideas and discussion.

This dish was super easy to make, quick, and took very few ingredients, which I’ve been needing lately because I haven’t had much time.

You’ll use:

  • 1 eight oz package udon noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 c sliced green cabbage
  • 1 c half moon onion slices
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp paprika

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook until al dente, drain.

While the noodles are cooking, heat one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the cabbage and stir, about 15 minutes.  Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a separate pan.  Add the onion, garlic, salt and paprika and cook until the onions become translucent (or reddish translucent because of the paprika).  Add the onions and noodles to the skillet with the cabbage, and cook until heated through.

See! So simple. And while not the most flavorful dish, it still tastes good and fills you up!

Kung Pao Tofu and Vegetables

If you’re looking to make an Asian-inspired entree that everyone, guaranteed, will like, this is what you should go with.  It has three parts: rice, tofu, and vegetable stir fry.  Fairly simple prep and ingredients, my only suggestion would be to get started on the rice, tofu marinade, and vegetable chopping very early on (a couple of hours before meal time), so things will run much smoother.

Rice:

  • 1.5 c brown rice
  • 3 c water
Tofu:
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/3 c water
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 container extra-firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

Stir-Fry:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into 1-in dice
  • 1/2 head broccoli, trimmed into florets
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4 in dice
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into half-moons
  • 5 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp water

 

As I said, get started early on the rice (I just use the rice cooker on the brown rice setting).  It should take at least an hour and a half before the rice is ready.

After that, you can get started making the subtle spicy/sweet marinade for the tofu.  Find a casserole dish or shallow pan, and whisk together the soy sauce, water, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, and salt to blend.  Add the tofu cubes and toss gently to coat.  Don’t toss too vigorously or the tofu will break apart – if necessary, turn over some pieces so that they are covered with the sauce.  Allow it to marinate for at least a half-hour before stir-frying.  I covered mine and put it in the fridge for a while.

This is where I got started chopping vegetables, and also had a dance party in the kitchen with my nine-year-old sister (she’s a much better dancer than I am).  She reintroduced me to a favorite song at that age:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-u5WLJ9Yk4

Once the rice is almost done, you can get started stir-frying.  This works awesomely if you have a wok, like my family randomly has, but I know that most people don’t.  You can use a heavy saute pan instead.  Over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil, onion, broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, and snap peas and stir-fry until the veggies are crisp and tender.  That should take about 2 minutes.  Stir in the tofu, its marinade, and the cornstarch mixture and stir-fry until the sauce thickens slightly and the tofu is heated through, which should take about 3 minutes.

You’re done! Doesn’t it look great?

Enjoy with rice and mango/peach juice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches With Dill & Mint

Brought these adorable lil things along to the picnic as well!

 

Credit for these owed to Post Punk Kitchen again: http://www.theppk.com/2011/07/cucumber-avocado-tea-sandwiches-with-fresh-herbs/.  Check it out for the ingredients and prep.

 

These were definitely a hit! People often ask me what goes on the inside of vegan sandwiches, because sandwiches are of course merited by the type and quality of meat and cheese they have (not).  Here’s a great example! Other sandwiches you can make are vegan versions of classics like the BLT, grilled cheese, even sloppy joes.  At school I would like to toast hummus and grilled veggies between whole wheat bread, too.

 

The only change I made to the recipe was using whole wheat bread instead (because it’s better for you and why not?).  Speaking to the recipe, the green pureed mixture has the same look and consistency of guac, but is obviously not.  The flavor is mildly tangy and very pleasant — you can definitely taste the dill, lemon and cucumber without them being overpowering.

 

Aren’t these just the cutest? I’ve decided to only eat tea-sized from now on.  Enjoy!

Jumble Cookies

Sorry sorry it’s been so long since my last update! I had a rough past week but I’m feeling emotionally and physically stable once more and ready to get back in the kitchen.

Theeese are the best vegan chocolate chip cookies I’ve had.  Suffice to say, the only that I remember having.  But they’re goooood.   According to Ann Gentry these cookies have a history, and a biscuit-like variation was used way back when people were emigrating from Europe to here on the Mayflower.   Older than sugar cookies, for sure.

Now that you’ve learnt a little somethin’, let’s get baking! This makes about 12-15 cookies… depending on how much batter you ingest (oops) #sorryimnotsorry

  • 1.25 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp sea salt
  • 6 oz vegan butter… which translates into 12 tbsp. yikes.
  • 1/2 c organic sugar
  • 1/2 c barley malt syrup (surprisingly good)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt all together in a stand mixer, using a paddle attachment, on medium-high speed.  While that is blending, slowly beat in the vegan butter and maple syrup until it is fluffy, which should take 5-8 minutes.  You can do this by hand, by the way, but it will take significantly longer.
Mix in the barley malt, maple syrup, and vanilla, beating until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
Using an ice cream scoop, space 6 mounds of dough far apart from each other on the baking.  Bake for 20 minutes, until they puff and are golden-brown.
Okay.  So here’s where I interject and tell you how I messed up baking yet again.  Definitely no overconfidence this time, I was expecting some kind of mistake.  First of all, let me emphasize fluffy.   If it doesn’t look fluffy to you, keep mixing away! I didn’t do this, so my cookie flavor tasted awesome but the texture was meh.  Secondly… I was dumb again in terms of sizing the dough.  I put on way too much, and 9 cookies on the sheet instead of 6, and they ended up being ginormous and crowding each other.  Mine were not puffy, but crispy.  And they were a darker brown, not golden brown. I think I’ve learned my lesson.
All mistakes considered, this is still a fantastic vegan dessert.  Just as good if not better than its eggy, milky counterpart.
Enjoy with a nondairy milk! There’s almond, soy, rice, hemp, and oat milk, just to name a few!

 

 

 

Mango Fried Rice

Once again, another hit from Isa Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen! Here’s the link to da recipe, with all of the ingredients, preparation tips, and witty banter in tow: http://www.theppk.com/2012/02/mango-fried-rice/

This entree is as fantastic as it sounds, trust me.

I would recommend doing a couple of things.  First, make the rice earliest, at least a couple hours before dinner, then freezing it to make it cold.  Also, make sure you slice the mango and basil leaves long before you actually cook the rice mixture.  It will save you minutes of frenzied kitchen stress (the worst kind of stress, because you’re generally wired and wielding a kitchen knife at this point).  I have no tips to give on slicing the mango, seeing as mine turned out disastrously.  I mean, not actually, but ya know. My mango slicing skills leave something to be desired.

Even with all the kitchen stress, this is a very tasty dish! Maybe because I love cashews, mango, cilantro and sriracha no matter what, but all together it was a party in my mouth.

By the way, Sriracha hot sauce and cilantro are a must as toppings go:

I had my mango fried rice supplemented by a delectable almond milk/chai mixture.  Quite delightful.  Leftovers for dinner tomorrow!

Enjoy the salty-sweet-spicy-crazygood flavors of this mango fried rice!

 

The Loaded Southwestern Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

This salad is loaded because it’s more than just a salad — that’s right.  There’s rice and beans and a hearty dressing that accompany it as well.  If you’ve ever had one of those salads at Chipotle, the chain burrito restaurant, this dish is pretty reminiscent of that.

Aight, let’s get to it.

I’d recommend making the dressing first (which is creamy and awesome):

  • 3/4 c vegan mayo
  • 4 oz. firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 c minced onion
  • 1/4 soy milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp hot sauce (chipotle flavored preferable)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor until smooth, then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the salad.

Salad:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, trimmed into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooled (I used far less and it was fine)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c corn kernels (I skipped this, but it would’ve been good)
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro

I also added a little bit of shredded vegan cheddar cheese, but I think you could skip it. The salad is pretty complete as is.

All you have to do for the salad is toss all of the ingredients in a large bowl! But, of course, there’s lots of chopping that has to be done before you can toss everything in there.  Once you have, though, then you can pour a generous amount of the dressing atop of your salad and enjoy!

Salad without dressing:

Salad WITH dressing:

Having leftovers for lunch tomorrow! So excited!

French Toast with Fresh Raspberry Syrup

Best breakfast food evah.  Obviously it was served as the breakfast-in-bed meal for my mama on Mother’s Day this Sunday.

This didn’t take terribly long to make and the final product was well worth the wait!

To serve 5-6, you’ll need:

  • 1 c. drained soft tofu, crumbled
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 c. plain unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/3 c. neutral oil (like canola)
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 slices country-style white sourdough bread

Blend the tofu, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and turmeric in a food processor until smooth. Combine the soy milk, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup, then slowly pour the liquid mixture into the tofu mixture processor while it is running.  Pour the batter onto a large rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in the batter and turn occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the bread soaks up the batter.

While the bread is soaking up the batter, you can make the syrup.

  • 3 containers of fresh raspberries
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Combine 2 containers of the raspberries and maple syrup in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the syrup simmers, which should take about 2 minutes. Meanwhile stir the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, then pour into the raspberry mixture.  Continue cooking until the raspberries are very soft and the syrup boils, about 3 minutes.  Strain the mixture through a strainer and discard the raspberry seeds.  Put the remaining container of raspberries into the syrup and allow to heat.

Once the batter is completely absorbed by the bread, heat a large, heavy pan over medium heat.  Brush a little oil on the skillet and grill the bread in batches until golden brown, then flip.  It should take 3 minutes each side.  Once finished, transfer to plates, pour on generous amounts of syrup and enjooooy:

 

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans (and other stuff)

So I stole this from the famous vegan recipe website Post Punk Kitchen of Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Really really good.

I’ll just link you to this site for ingredients and preparation, that way I don’t have to type it all up myself: http://www.theppk.com/2010/04/quinoa-salad-with-black-beans-mango/

When I made it the only deviation I had from the recipe was the lack of mango.  This occurred because I had forgotten that my sister had eaten the last one yesterday. Mangoes are one of my favorite fruits and would have added a great tropically sweet flavor to the salad.

Alas. It was still, as I said, par excellence.  Very fresh and summery, and keeps well over long periods of time.

I’m super into finding complementary beverages for these meals.  In this case, I tried out a concoction of carrot juice and orange juice, which complemented the freshness and tartness of the salad quite nicely, I think. Here are the two juices and their baby, bathed in an orange glow:

As always, enjoy enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Cupcakes with Sweet Buttercream Frosting

Too good to be true, right? Vegan cupcakes are going to take over the world.  I can feel it.

These did not take long at all! With all this cooking under my belt I started feeling overconfident, and was all “5 minute preparation and 25 minute bake time? No problem.  Baking is so easy, why do people complain about it all the time?”

I found out why. My cupcakes ended up in monster proportions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course.  I was unable to eat more than one without feeling sick, that’s all.

Well. Without further ado:

  • 2.5 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1.5 c organic cane sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 c plain almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c neutral cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In another medium-sized bowl, mix together the almond milk, apple cider vinegar, oil, vanilla extract and almond extract.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just blended.

This is where I had my epiphany.  Normally there’s a little warning bell going off in my head every time I sneak my fingers into batter, because I could hear my parents saying: “there are uncooked eggs in there! You might get salmonella!” GUESS WHAT. Vegan = no eggs.  Aw yeah. Naturally, I went on to eat quite a bit of batter, feeling very self-congratulatory.

So you have your batter, now here’s where I messed up.  Divide the batter equally among the muffin tins… but be careful not to put in too much! Make sure the batter sits at least 0.5 inches below the top of the tin, ideally more.  My batter went right to the top of the tin, resulting in them puffing out over the edges when I took them out 25 minutes later.

Alright, so while the cupcakes are baking you are free to try out making the buttercream frosting.

  • 0.5 cup vegan butter
  • 0.5 c vegan shortening
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
This frosting tastes exactly what you’d expect it to taste like.  Butter and sugar.  Which is a little overwhelming to say the least.  Anyway, you go on to mix the butter and shortening on medium-high until just blended, then on a low setting slowly add in the sugar and vanilla extract. There’s your frosting.

After 25 minutes of baking, allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes.  You can either frost them with generic cupcake icing you can find at any grocery store or you can use the fancy, fatty frosting.

Here’s what they look like with generic icing:

And with the buttercream frosting:

Enjoy with iced coffee or soy milk