Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quick Tofu Fix

So I'm still working on the packing/yardsale/sell everything
madness and its definitely cutting into my cooking time way
too much. I'm pretty much left with only enough energy to
throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and hope whatever I come out
with ends up halfway edible/only partially burnt.

Hey, at least its hot food at this point. Better than living off
of pb&j or dried fruit as I tend to do sometimes.
So I try to fall back on super easy and super filling faves of

I have a pile of fresh avocados that someone brought my mom
so I made a nice wrap of spanish tofu and sliced 'cados.

All I do is cook some onions and garlic and then toss in some
sliced fresh tomatoes. Add some pressed extra firm tofu and
spice it up with about a tablespoon of chili powder, a dash of
cumin, some salt and pepper and a diced chipolte in adobo sauce.
Careful with the chipolte because a little goes a long long way.
I like my food super super spicy so beware. Plus I usually
just cook by sight and taste, so the measurements can be
tweaked to your preference.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Applesaucey Oatmealy Cookies

My little brother was sick not to long ago and whenever
any of us are sick, my Dad always absolutely insists on
putting us on the bratt diet. Rice, Banana, Dry Toast and
apple sauce. Never fails. Well, I guess Alex didn't really
care for the giant jar of organic cinnamon apple sauce that
my dad brought home and instead gulped down my
plain jar and left the huge one to... sit there.

Something must be done, said I. What shall be done, said they.
Cookies were spoken of and all were content.

So, I'm not exactly sure what I did here, but it was good.
I want to retry this and replace the oats with granola.
I think they would be great for hiking. Really soft and hearty
and not too sweet.

ApplySaucey OatMealy Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup of applesauce (any unsweetened kind)
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates

Sift or combine the dry ingredients, except for the oats.
In a separate bowl cream together the earthbalance and sugar.
Beat the flaxmeal and water until frothy and light.
Mix flax in to sugar mix and combine with the dry, stirring
just until mixed. Add the apple sauce, oats and raisins.
Drop by spoonfuls on to an ungreased pan and bake at 375F
for about 10-12 minutes.

Mossy Soup

So much Kale,
how to use it?

No time how
to manage it...

Stomach is
growling what
to feed it...

As usual
the answer is


Soups are about as easy as you can possibly get.
Who needs to say more.

I sauteed a couple of cloves of minced garlic in
a little bit of olive oil and added some minced
celery, chopped carrots, chopped potatoes
and green peas. Vegetable broth... Let it cook.
Cooked some Kale in salted water separately
then shredded it just so I could make sure I
didn't over cook it. Fresh parsley and let simmer
until everything is cooked.

I served it up with some black olive, whole wheat
focaccia and waited. When there is food, they will come.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Salads

Alright, so I'm pretty lucky. Its not that hot where I live.
In fact, its usually pouring rain. No matter what the rest
of the island looks like, guaranteed- its raining at my house.

So I don't need to worry about it being too hot to cook
or too stick to make soup for supper. But I pretend.
I have to give myself the illusion of seasons somehow,
or else I'd probably run mad!

Well, hitting the beach is a different matter. We went
yesterday and it was darn tootin hot! So cool watermelon
and fuji apples were the perfect choice.
I also hit up another one of my campus survival foods...
a cool Purple Salad. My buddy used to steal my beets
when I was eating lunch cuz she was crazy for them.
I try to make this for potlucks too. I've convince people
that hate purple potatoes that they love them now,
all thanks to this lovely little dish.

Every time I eat this I forgot how much I loved it and
wonder why I don't eat it more. We all need a little more
of the rainbow in our lives...

Its mostly just a potato salad with beets and purple sweet
potatoes, but I'm working on it. I'm talking about the potato
salads with vinegar, not mayonnaise...

So far? I think the peas have gotta go...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vegan Cucumber Raita

Raita is a cooling salty yogurt dish or condiment served with spicy
Indian food. Traditionally it would only contain a few spices, mainly
coriander/cilantro. I cannot tell specifically if the cucumber raita is
traditional or not, but often fresh minced vegetable dapple this
creamy dish.

As far as yogurt goes, many dairy yogurts contain gelatin.
I actually created an entire podcast on gelatin, but never got around
to publishing it. Briefly, if you didn't know gelatin is the boiled tendons
and collagen of animal bones (or boiled skins) and is used a thickener.

I know that stonyfield, nancys, and wallaby(?) do not use gelatin,
but they are dairy products. So go the whole way I say. I used to use
stonyfield or the wallaby one when I still consumed dairy products.
Yet they always seemed runy or too wet. I now use (and rave about)
Wholesoy & Co., a diary-free soygurt. It contains live active cultures
and soymilk and tastes better than dairy yogurt if you ask me.
AND! Quite often it is cheaper than diary yogurt. I believe the organic
dairy yogurts range from 3.99-4.99 at my local health food store
and the soy-based yogurt is usually 3.39 when it is not on sale.

So! On to the freakin food already. The other night I made a big feast
of falafel, curried couscous, and raita. Man, falafel is one of my favorites
and right up there with curry. I will post a whole entry on my tricks
to making a better, healthier falafel. But right now... Raita.

I use a combination of two recipes from Madhur Jaffrey's World of the
East: Vegetarian Cooking. This is really a bang up book and I highly
suggest trying to find it. I think the original publication is from '81 or
something though.

If there are no kids partaking I throw in a little cayenne to add a
little kick.

Cucumber Raita

2 cups of soygurt
1 cucumber, diced (you can peel it if you wish, but I do not)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 cup raisins (preferably golden)
3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
a little black pepper

Place soygurt in a bowl and beat until creamy.
Add all the remaining ingredients and serve!

I serve it in pita pockets with falafel, but I love eating it alone.
I swear this is one of the things that got me through my last
year of undergrad. But it is better to not let it sit to long
before eating. The earliest I could make it was late late the
night before I'd go to school. The raisins tend to get mushy
from the moisture and the cucumbers release water that
may cause separation.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Queen of Hearts...

The Queen of Hearts she baked some tarts all on a summers day.
The Knave of Hearts he stole those tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the knave full sore.
The Knave of Hearts returned the tarts and vowed he'd steal no more.

My tarts, on this summer's day, had three fillings...
Peach, apple, and Ohelo berry.
This little stint was for my folk's 26th wedding anniversary,
so I added the little hearts.

When doing any kind of pie filling I just add a little sugar,
some spices, a couple tablespoons of flour and (if its a big pie)
a couple tablespoons of earth balance. I jump back and forth with
using cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. I also toss the fruit in some
fresh lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing.

The last two tins I ran out of the fresh fruit filling so I chopped
up some dried apricots and raisins and threw them in with
some lemon juice and fresh ginger.

These are so perfect for parties when big slices are too much.
Also great for tofu-quiche!

Mustard Spinach with Tofu

About a week ago I bought a bag of spinach from this
lady down at the farmers market.
I didn't look at it too closely because my mom was there
and I always feel rushed when I go shopping with others.

I like to wander for a while, mull things over. Find the best stuff.
Think about what I want to make, etc.

Well when I got home and decided that I was gonna make some
Calzones (!) I opened with bag to find
something very strange indeed. This spinach resembled bayleaves in both texture
and appearance. Except it was a little more heart shaped...

"Google, oh great one that hast taken over my life...
Tell me what this is!" and *poof*

I discovered the hippie lady sold me malabar spinach. Apparently,
this spinach is indigenous to Bengal and is often served with mustard
and hot chillies. Stir fry it was then, sorry calzone lovers. You'll have
to find solace in another entry.

This was so easy, I'm not even gonna post a recipe.
All I did was cook up some onions in some vegetable broth
with some mustard powder and hot-hot chili paste. I then tossed in
some more broth, some soy sauce, some yellow peppers, the spinach
and some tofu. Fast, simple, HOT.

So... Malabar spinach, not so good raw.
Mustard Chili Stir Fry, nuff said.