I’m sick and I want soup

1 01 2012

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At first I thought it was just muscle soreness but then my bones started aching, that’s when I realized I was actually getting ill.  Honestly, I should have clued in when I wasn’t interested in eating – I’m ALWAYS interested in eating.

Too much water, dosing up on vitamin C, oil of oregano, and echinachea, along with lots of rest, and soup: That’s my wellness action plan.

Operation: STOP BEING A LAZY BABY is underway and it’s starting with soup.

The only upside to all of this is that the next time I play Pandemic I’ll get to go first.

Green Vegetable Soup

3 – 4 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp chopped onion

1 cm fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1/2 cup tofu

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

1/2 cup chopped zucchini

1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped baby bok choy

1 – 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 – 2 Tbsp Braggs or tamari soy sauce (depending on how salty your broth is)

Did I mention I was feeling ill when I made this soup?  Well, the cooking process was the lazy bones way of making soup because I wasn’t interested in faffing about in the kitchen when I could have been curled up on the couch, wallowing in self pity.

So, I guess that means step one is to put your lazy pants on.

In a medium to large soup pot, bring broth, onion, and ginger to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer (medium heat).  If you don’t like eating ginger, this is the time to fish out your ginger slices, otherwise you can leave them in there to let the magic ginger heal your head cold.

Stir tofu into soup broth, wait a minute.  Stir broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, and baby bok choy into soup, wait 2 – 4 minutes, until the green veggies are luminous green.  Now is the time to stir in rice wine vinegar and Braggs.

Done!

Divide soup into 2 – 4 bowls, depending on how what kind of soup greed has taken hold of you in your feverish state, return to couch to wallow in self pity with a piping hot bowl of soup.

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Savory Tofu Spread

30 12 2011

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Have tofu, will make deliciousness.

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Have tofu deliciousness, will consume said deliciousness.

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Love, love, LOVE having great snacks to nosh on during weak moments when I need to munch on something but there are far too many bad things to munch on.

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Savory Tofu Spread

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

3/4 cup vegetable stock

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried sage

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 pkg medium tofu, cubed

2 Tbsp white miso paste

Sauté onion and garlic in a non-stick pan, then add vegetable stock and simmer until onion starts to turn translucent.  Add thyme, sage, rosemary, basil, oregano, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in tofu, cover and cook until liquid evaporates and onion and garlic are very soft and light brown – about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Poor cooked mixture into a food processor and add miso paste, blend until smooth.

Serve at room temperature or chilled.  Goes great on rice crackers, but is also really good with bread, fresh toast, or on your favorite crackers.

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Zucchini cakes revisited

27 12 2011

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Among my best Christmas’ yet.

After a lovely and chilled out morning of opening gifts, drinking coffee, and reading books, we drove south to spend the day with N and her family.  This is our third Christmas with N and her family and they truly feel like family now.

How does someone who loves to cook spend Christmas day?

Cooking.

I can’t say what everyone else did for the day but N and I enjoyed rummed-up Noel Nog while preparing the festive feast.  Although the zucchini cakes made it to the dinner table, everyone was stealing them from the plate as they came out of the pan.

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Zucchini Cakes

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup bread crumbs

3/4 cup soy cheese or Daiya

1/2 cup diced onions

1 flax egg with extra flax (2 Tbsp ground flax +2 Tbsp water)

2 Tbsp soft tofu + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Braggs or tamari soy sauce

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/2 tsp pepper

Just like last time, prepare the ingredients: chopping, dicing, grating, and grinding.  Mix everything together in one bowl.  Seriously, it’s that easy.

Cook zucchini cakes in a non-stick pan on medium heat.  If you’re concerned about sticking, add a little non-stick spray or a very little bit of coconut oil to the pan. Because my friend N is a strict recipe follower, I started by frying the cakes but the resulting cakes seemed to improve with each batch – as the oil disappeared from the pan.  I’m telling you, a hot pan without any oil (or with very little) is going to give you the best results.

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To create evenly sized cakes, I use my ice cream scoop; if you don’t have an ice cream scoop, use a 1/3 cup dry measure to portion out your cakes.   The cakes will take approximately 6 minutes on each side.  As you can see in my photos, the cakes can get pretty dark but non of them burned – the few that I cooked to golden brown tasted like they needed another few minutes to cook.

If you want, you can let it rest or cook a few cakes now and cook a few more tomorrow.  If you make 1/3 cup sized cakes, you’ll end up with approximately 9 cakes.  Need more?  Make ‘em smaller or double your recipe!





Magic Balls

14 10 2011

And by Magic Balls, I mean they’re vegan, meat-ish, and tasty.

I made these a day ahead so that I could test drive them before actually serving to guests.  And by test drive, I mean that I put some on a plate and made SO eat them first.  He liked them, therefore they passed the test.

Sautéed and ready to go, these magic balls waited over night in the fridge, before being baked to perfection in the oven.  And then smothered in mushroom gravy (recipe to come).  You gotta love a dish that allows you to make it ahead.  As an aside, I basically made everything for my Thanks Giving dinner in the days before the actual dinner.  The day I hosted my feast, I showed up home at 5:15 from a really long bike ride, turned on the over, had a quick shower (during which time the oven got hot), put everything in the oven, got ready, and ZAMMO! dinner was ready in a flash.  Then, once dinner was out of the oven, I jammed the pumpkin filling into my pre-made crust and got that thing baking while we were eating.

Honestly, I felt like Martha Stewart for how organized I was and how smoothly everything went.

Walnut Tofu Balls

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1 1/2 cups oats

1 cup raw walnuts, whole or in pieces

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp pepper

2 tsp ground sage

2 tsp cumin

dash cayenne pepper

1/2 cup wheat germ

2 Tbsp arrowroot powder

1 pkg firm tofu (280 g)

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Grab your food processor.  Combine garlic, oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, and dry spices in the food processor.  Whizz around until mixture is medium-fine.

Add wheat germ and arrowroot flour, and pulse a few times to blend.

Add the tofu and blend.  Gradually add 1 tablespoon of oil and the balsamic vinegar.  Blend just long enough to evenly distribute the ingredients, then taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Form the mixture into balls, links, or patties and brown them in a sauté pan over medium heat in the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil.  Drain on paper towels.  Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes,.

*Recipe originally from The Veganopolis Cookbook by David Stowell and George Black





Chocolate Cake… shhhh, it’s got chickpeas!

1 10 2011

I have been on a mission to make a high protein, fat-free, low sugar cake.

There were a few attempts with lack luster results.  So far, this cake is the winner.

Even SO, the critic, said this cake passed the taste test.

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Chickpea Chocolate Cake

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

2 bars dark chocolate (Lindt Excellence is excellent)

1 pkg soft tofu

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp vanilla

1 tsp Stevia

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan.

Roast the chopped walnuts.  This can be done in a dry frying pan or in the oven while it’s heating up.  Do not walk away from you toasting nuts or they burn, I guarantee it.

You gotta melt the chocolate, so grab a pot and stainless bowl.  Place the chocolate in the bowl and the bowl over the boiling water.

Purée chickpeas, tofu, maple syrup and vanilla.  Once these wet ingredients are smooth, mix in cocoa, cinnamon, Stevia, and baking powder.

Mix everything together: the melted chocolate, the nuts, and the puréed chickpeas.  Once everything is combined, place the batter into the pan, spreading it into the corners.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely, when it comes out of the over it will seem underdone – once it cools it will be firmer and have a brownie-type consistency.





Potato-free Hash

19 09 2011

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sometimes I want to eat the entire pan of whatever I’ve just made.  Tonight was one of those instances.

Tonight?  But you tagged this as a breakfast item – you might be thinking.  Yes, I enjoy hash at breakfast but tonight I enjoyed it for dinner.  And, I just might enjoy it for lunch tomorrow.

Basically what happened was that I over scheduled myself today, got home late and wanted a stick-to-your ribs dinner.  A quick review of my fridge presented the above ingredients.  FYI: the gross looking things in the plastic container are actually delicious roasted squash.

Stop, what about the tofu?  I re-made crispy fried tofu, if you haven’t made it yet – go and make it!

Potato-free Hash

1/4 cup diced onion

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbsp oil (olive, canola, coconut… whatever!)

3 cups diced roasted squash (spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash… whatever!)

2 cups shredded carrots (I used carrot slaw because I’m lazy)

1 pkg frozen chopped spinach (or 3 cups fresh chopped spinach)

seasoning

Get your stuff prepped.  Dice your onion.  Chop the garlic.  Cube your squash.  Shred your carrots or gently open the bag of carrot slaw.  Press the excess water out of the frozen spinach or chop the fresh spinach.

Heat the oil in the frying pan on medium heat and sauté garlic and onions until soft.  Add everything but the spinach and seasoning.  Keep the heat on medium and stir occasionally to prevent the hash from burning, but don’t stir too much or you won’t get any crispy bits.

Believe me, you want crispy bits.

Once the squash and carrots are cooked and ready to jump on your plate – add the spinach and seasoning.  What seasoning?  Whatever!  Here are some ideas:

2 Tbsp taco seasoning or

salt and pepper to taste or

1 tsp cumin, pinch of saffron, and a dash of cinnamon or

1 Tbsp curry or

something else that you like!

Once the spinach is warmed through but still vibrant green, you’re ready to eat.





Chocolate Chickpea Cake

16 09 2011

 

Remember that miss I said I was on, the mission to make a healthy, gluten free and sugar free chocolate cake?  Attempt number one wasn’t great.

I made a chocolate chickpea cake.  Eons ago I had a recipe for chocolate chickpea cake but it had lots of eggs, and I recently made it my mission to create a vegan version of this cake.

Sadly, this cake wasn’t quite right.

I wanted a sugar-free cake that was bitter sweet.

Bitter sweet: check.

Cake-like: check.

Tastes strongly of baking soda: check, check.

Although, the taste isn’t stopping me from eating the cake.

Anyway, I’m going to take another stab at this cake and then – if it doesn’t taste strongly of baking soda – I’ll post the recipe.

So get ready – I’ll be coming back with a nearly sugar-free, fat-free protein loaded cake.  What more could anyone ask for?