Monday, August 25, 2014

Zucchine Bread Takes Over the Freezer

It's that time of the year. The invasion of the giant zucchini. They seem to be very good at hiding when they are little. Turn your back on one for a day, and it has reached giganitc proportions. Eat them before they eat you!

What's a great way to do that? Why, zucchini bread of course.

I use a recipe from the Joy of Vegan Baking. No egg, no dairy. Instead of egg, you whip flax seed and water. It really does end up with an eggy consistency. The recipe calls for a lot of oil. But also says you can substitute applesauce for half the oil. I do that, actually using more than half applesauce.

This bread contains many of good things: home grown zucchini, organic flour and sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, organic raising, flaxseed, and organic applesauce.  I have been doubling the recipe to make four loaves at a time.

It will make a nice reminder of summer when winter gets here.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Black and White Cookies

This is not the first time I have made these, it is not even the best job I have done making them, but I made a batch today and managed to remember to take a picture.

The recipe comes from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Great little cookbook.

The cookies are lemony and good just as they are. But then they are iced with a white glaze, slightly flavored of almonds and a chocolate icing on top of that. Yum.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Who says Pizza isn't Healthy?

I have been wanting a spinach pizza for a while. I decided that since fresh organic spinach was a bit hard to come by right now, that I would try using frozen spinach. It worked great. So here is my recipe for a spinach pie, more of a guide than a recipe as I did not precisely measure anything once the dough was made, but it was the best pizza I have made in a long time.

The idea here is a layered  pizza. Make each layer taste good and the whole thing will be great! One layer consists of spinach sauteed with onion and nutmeg. One layer is seasoned mushrooms and onion, Then there is a bit of cheese and some additional toppings.

I began by making my favorite pizza dough.

Usually I form the pizza crust on a paddle and slide it into the oven so it is in direct contact with the heated pizza stone. But this is a pan pizza, so I formed the dough to fill a sheet pan.

I made this pie to suit two different tastes, one side is vegetarian and one is not. The non-vegetarian side has tomato sauce Turkey Bacon and black olives. The veg side goes heavy on the spinach does not have any tomato sauce and instead of Bacon, it has smoky tempeh. So really, suit yourself with the toppings. If you eat ham or bacon, they could be used instead of the tempeh or turkey bacon. If you hate olives, leave them off. If you love garlic, saute it with the spinach or 'shrooms.

The other ingredients are at the ready:

tomato sauce (optional)
one or two 10 oz packages of frozen spinach, thawed or partially thawed
8 oz of  fresh mushrooms, sliced

One onion finely chopped
1/2 onion thinly sliced
3 slices of Smoky Tempeh fried until slightly crisp and chopped
3 slices of Turkey Bacon, fried and chopped
organic cheddar cheese
black olives 
salt & pepper
Italian seasoning
Olive oil

First I prepared the tempeh by frying it up in some olive oil and then chopping it after it came from the pan.
Next I sauteed the sliced mushrooms with half of the chopped onions, adding a little black pepper to them. Reserve the cooked mushrooms.

Half of the pizza gets tomato sauce. I used some organic tomato sauce that happened to be open in the fridge. The other half of the pie can be lightly brushed with olive oil, or not. Sprinkle the entire pie with Italian Seasoning. 
Saute the sliced onion in a little olive oil. When it is done, distribute the onion slices over the entire crust.
Next, saute the thawed spinach in a bit more olive oil along with the rest of the chopped onion. The goal here is to evaporate most of the moisture left in the spinach while cooking it lightly. Add salt and a light sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. When the spinach no longer seems wet or juicy distribute it over the pie. I went heavier on the spinach on the veg side, lighter on the tomato side.

Add grated cheese lightly over the whole pie. Use your favorite flavorful cheese. I used organic cheddar. Distribute the reserved mushrooms over the spinach. Distribute the other toppings over the pie as you like. I put organic turkey bacon and black olives on the tomato side, and organic smoked tempeh on the spinach only side.

Pop the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes, slice and enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Huffle-muffin Day!

Today is international Huffle-Muffin Day. Although Hufflepuffs are known for their love of muffins, today we have staged a mass bake-in. Members of the House of Hufflepuff bake muffins, then, before they are all gone, take and post a few pictures of their muffins.


I adapted a recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking to make Banana Nut Muffins. The recipe is actually for Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. I like chocolate chips as much as the next guy, but I don't think they have a place in breakfast foods. So I left them out. I replaced some of the oil with applesauce and flax oil, and replaced the water with soy milk. I also added about a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon, because I like cinnamon.

I have discovered that some process photos are required, so here goes:
Prepping the muffin tins:
I like to use paper liners in my tins (because my dishwasher gets grumpy when I don't) but when making banana muffins, the muffin will stick to a paper liner. The solution is to either use foil muffin liners, with paper removed, or to try to oil the paper. My first attempt at oiling the paper with a spray like PAM failed, because the spray came out gloppy and ended up as pools of oil. This may be beacuase the product was old. I don't use it very much.
This time I greased the papers with some margarine. Results are OK.

Getting ingredients together:
 Bananas. Sugar in a  large bowl. Applesauce, flax seed oil and sunflower oil in a measuring cup. Dry ingredients in the yellow bowl. Below, some walnuts ready to be chopped.

I roughly chopped the bananas, too. Then I added them to the sugar, oil/applesauce mixture, mashing them up with the whisk as I added them. This incomplete mashing lets me keep some banana chunk in the muffins, but still lets the mashed portions work as an egg replacer.

The dough gets mixed:
 And placed into the muffin cups:

Resulting in yummy muffins. And as we all know, yumminess is why Hufflepuffs like Muffins.

My Adapted Recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin pans. Foil pan liners work if you remove the paper. Paper liners will stick unless you spay with oil or PAM

Mix together:
2 c unbleached flour
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t. salt

In a measuring cup place

1/4 c. applesauce
and 1 T flax oil
add enough vegetable oil to make 1/3 cup

In a large bowl whisk together:
The measuring cup ingredients of oil and applesauce
1 cup sugar (raw organic)

4 chopped, then lightly mashed bananas
1/4-1/3 cup soy milk
1-1/2 t vanilla
1 cup of chopped walnuts

Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix everything together.
Divide the batter into muffin cups and cook for 20-25 minutes for small muffins or 25-30 minutes for large ones.

And just because I need one, here is a process collage:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Faux Pho-- A Vegan Noodle Soup

Faced with a bag full of strange greens, including Tatsoi, from the CSA this week I went online and found this recipe for a Faux Pho. I choose this recipe because it was vegan and because I thought I might successfully substitute the Tatsoi for Bok Choy. Oi!

We liked this light and flavorful soup alot and will definitely try it again.

As is often the case, I did not have the exact ingredients on hand to make the dish, so I made a few changes. Here is my slightly tweaked version of a very nice recipe.

Faux Pho

  • 6 oz. Soba noodles
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil (mild flavored, such as peanut, vegetable, soy, or canola)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed or ground szechuan peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • +-1/4 cup cooking oil (mild flavored, such as peanut, vegetable, soy, or canola)
  • 2 baby bok choy, sliced----I used a head of Tatsoi
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 T sesame oil, divided
  • 8 oz button mushrooms
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
  • 1 handful fresh basil, shredded or sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions, then immediately drain, and rinse in cold water. Toss with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to keep from sticking.
  2. Add the ginger, szechuan peppercorns, crushed red pepper, and 2-3T of cooking oil to a small stock pot.  Mix together, then increase the heat to medium.  Allow the ingredients to sweat for 10 - 15 minutes.  They should become fragrant, but do not let them burn.
  3. Add the carrots, onions, mushrooms and red bell pepper.  Saute for about 5 minutes, just long enough for the vegetables to begin to soften. Add minced garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes. 
  4. Add the broth and bouillon and greens.
  5. Bring the ingredients to a boil, then quickly reduce to a simmer. 
  6. Add the soy sauce and the noodles.
  7. Taste, then add salt and pepper as needed.  You may also want to add a little crushed red pepper or siracha sauce to add a little heat. 
  8. Divide the soup, noodles, and vegetables into bowls, then garnish with the fresh basil.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Unexpected Dinner (or What to do with Green Beans and Shitake)

I have no idea what to call this, but it sure was good.

As so many dinners do, this one began with triage, a look in the fridge to see what needed to be used most urgently.
What I found:
  • green beans
  • shitake mushrooms  
  • turkey bacon* (or smoked tempeh)
  • green onions
These were the necessities. The ingredients suggested a stir fry, as often happens when trying to connect a bunch of disparate ingredients.

Other players, things that happened to be on hand, included:
  • carrots
  • vegetable broth 
  • carrots 
  • onion
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • an endless supply of peppers and jalapanos
Add some pantry items:
  • spaghetti noodles
  • safflower oil
  • Sherry
  • Vegetarian "oyster" sauce
  • sesame oil

... and what did I get?

 I pre-cooked the end of season green beans. They were of mixed sizes. So the fat ones were snapped into smaller sizes and thrown in first to cook longer. Depending on the beans you may cook them for just 3 minutes or they may need more time (6-8minutes). Test them until they are the way you like them.

Slice the carrots into narrow sticks and throw them in with the beans to cook for about a minute. Scoop all the beans and carrots out of their pot and set them aside.
Using the same large pot of  water, cook the noodles until al dente.

Finely chop the turkey bacon and saute in some safflower oil until it no longer looks raw. Add the sliced shitake mushrooms to the same pan and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced white or yellow onions and one chopped jalapeno continue cooking over medium heat. Add the chopped ginger and the minced garlic. As everything starts to stick to the pan, add a bit of vegetable broth and about a tablespoon of sherry to deglaze the pan.

Check your noodles. When they are cooked, drain them, throw them back into the pan in which they were cooked and drizzle them with a tablespoon (more or less) of Sesame oil. Toss the noodles around to coat them with oil. This adds delicious flavor and keeps them from getting stuck together. 

Time to finish the dish. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of oyster sauce. If the dish seems to need more liquid, add another dash of veg broth. Add the cooked beans and carrots and the sliced green onions and toss everything around to heat up and get coated with sauce.

Serve over the noodles.

Notes: * Turkey bacon is more like ham or Canadian Bacon than like regular pork bacon. So if you need a substitute, use ham, not actual bacon. For vegetarians and vegans, try using smoked tempeh and taste for salt, you may need to add a bit.
Because of the turkey bacon and oyster sauce, this is a slightly salty dish, much more so than my usual cooking, but I actually liked it quite a bit.
For those of you who may be wondering, yes, there is a Hobbit reference in the title

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lemony Asian Tempeh

DH: Hey! What's for dinner?
ME: Don't know. We need to use some peppers, how about a sweet and sour?
DH: We have mushrooms, too. Why don't we use some of those?
ME: Don't usually put mushrooms in Sweet and Sour.
DH: What about that dish with the oranges?
ME: Uh, maybe.
DH (waxing nostalgic): Remember that great Chicken Bird's Nest we used to get with the lemon and mushrooms? Can you do something like that?
ME: Sure. Just so you know it won't have either chicken or a bird's nest

So you see why my husband wanted to call this post "Chicken Bird's Nest without the Chicken....or the bird's nest".

I based this dish on another favorite, an orange-y General Tang style tempeh dish.

Lemony Asian Tempeh

4 oz of tempeh, sliced
6 hot dried red peppers

the zest from 1 lemon- I used a microplane for a finely grated zest
2 cloves of minced garlic
About 3/4-1 cup of roughly chopped onion
one red pepper and one green pepper chopped in large bite sized pieces
2-3 carrots sliced
Optional, but good, broccoli florets
One large jalapeno, finely chopped
Mushrooms, sliced. I used three very large ones which yielded at least a cup sliced
Juice of one (juicy) lemon
2-4 T Chopped cilantro

For the sauce, mix together:
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1 T sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
4 T sugar

Set aside 1 T cornstarch mixed with  2 T water

This will be served over rice, so start your rice.  Parboil and drain the broccoli if using. It should be al dente.

Saute the tempeh in a very large pan or wok until nicely browned. Remove from heat. In the hot oil, cook the dried hot peppers until they look black, but do not burn them. Reduce the heat if they seem to be burning.

Throw the onions and mushrooms into the hot pan and cook them until the onions start to go translucent. Toss in the jalapenos and the carrots, cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic, and finally the peppers.  Keep stir frying until the veg is nearly tender.

Give the sauce ingredients (from veg stock through sugar) a stir, and throw in the pan. Bring it to a bubble.  Add the lemon juice.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture and let the sauce thicken a little, throw in the broccoli to heat it up. Before serving, stir in the lemon zest and top with cilantro. Serve over rice.

Notes: Do use a washed organic lemon when you are making your lemon zest.
Also use organic cornstarch in order to avoid GMO corn products.
I try to use organic everything because I don't like eating pesticides and frankenfoods.