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This actually started as out as a rescue meal at my monther-in-law's very rural home.  I had a jar of tomatoes, a can of olives, a head of cabbage and some soy curls.  We were hungry, probably not sober and dinner tasted so good.  When we got home, I played with the ingredients a little, balanced the sauce and it's become a staple.  I love that it's not dominated by too much pasta or a heavy sauce.  It's a perfect summer meal.  I usually double the sauce, make it ahead of time and freeze half.

Penne with Cabbage & Sun Dried Tomatoes  
8 oz penne pasta
2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
4 oz soy curls, rehydrated, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced

2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine
15 oz diced tomatoes, including liquid
4 oz jar sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained & diced (1/2 cup)
1 tbs miso
2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 lemon, juiced

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the red pepper flakes and garlic for a few seconds, until fragrant.  Add the the wine and let it mostly cook off.  Add the diced tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the diced tomatoes start to break up and the sauce thickens slightly.  Stir in the miso, thyme and lemon juice.  You can set aside the sauce off the stove, if necessary, or make it ahead of time.

Prepare the cabbage, onion, olive and soy curls.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the pasta to the boiling water.  Cook for 8-10 minutes.  While the pasta is cooking, add oil to the pan.  Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften.  Add the cabbage, in handfuls until the cabbage is fully cooked.  It should be done close to the time that the pasta is done.  Combine the sauce, cabbage, soy curls and olives.  Cook until all ingredients are hot, only a minute or two.

5 Servings:  457 calories (20g fat, 53g carbs, 17g protein)

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Tofu Kheema and Seviyan

Monday, April 20, 2015 0 comments

Kheema is a dish with ground meat with delicious masala spices.  Seviyan is a thin vermicelli noodle.  I've got a particular photo in one of my Indian cookbooks that I find every time I open my cookbook.  I finally veganized it.  I packed it full of vegetables and substituted the Indian vermicelli with cut the cut spaghetti noodles I use for my Rica Roni.  This makes a ton of food.  It's great for potlucks, family gatherings or just dinner and leftovers.

Tofu Kheema Seviyan
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seed
1 red onion
1 lb tofu, drained
1 tbs ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Serrano peppers, seeded & minced
6 oz seviyan (vermicelli) or cut spaghetti noodles
1 1/2 cups water

1 red bell pepper
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 cinnamon stick
1 dozen curry leaves (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbs ground coriander
1/4 tsp asafoetida

Stir In:
6 tbs soy yogurt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp garam masala

Heat the oil in a large nonstick satue pan over medium-high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and cook and cook until they begin to pop.  Add the crumbled tofu and onion.  Saute, stirring occasionally until the tofu begins to brown in places.  Add the garlic, ginger, chili peppers and spices.  Saute a couple more minutes, until aromatic.  Add the vermicelli and saute a couple more minutes.  Stir in the bell pepper, corn and peas.  Saute until the bell pepper is  soft.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is soft and the water is absorbed.  Stir in the soy yogurt, cilantro and garam masala.  Bring back to temperature and serve.

 6 Servings:  387 cal (15g fat, 44g carbs, 20g protein)

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Creamed Kale with Chickpeas

Monday, April 13, 2015 0 comments

For years, I was intimidated by kale.  That seems strange and I must admit that I don't have any logic behind it.  But I avoided kale for most of my life.  That all changed when I ended up with a  bowl of cold kale salad from a local vegan deli counter.  The texture was amazing...and it wasn't even cooked.  I found that the key to good kale is to loosen it up a little.  Kale's leaves are rigid and firm.  If you rub them together in your hand a little, they become softer and more pliable.  And kale will keep that texture, to some degree, if you cook it.

Creamed Kale with Chickpeas
1 small can coconut milk, unshaken (5.5 oz)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
2 bunches kale
2 tbs nutritional yeast
1 tbs Braggs or Soy Sauce
1/2 cup soy yogurt (or more coconut milk)
1/4 tsp salt

To prep the kale, cut the stems from the kale and roughly chop.  Rub the chopped kale with your hands until it softens.  This will break down the fibrous structure of the leaves.  It's essential for cold kale salad, but a useful step in cooking kale as well.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add about half of the coconut milk.  You want the thick part of the can, which doesn't always happen.  Just do the best you can.  Cook for a couple minutes until the liquid starts to cook off.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is aromatic.  Add the onion and saute until soft.  Add the chickpeas and stir.

In bunches, add the chopped kale and stir into the onion.   It's helpful to fold the outer edges of the pan into the center.  Otherwise you may end up with half the kale on the floor or all over the stove.  Once all of the kale is wilted, add the sauce ingredients and the rest of the coconut milk.  Bring just to a boil, adding some water, a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

It's delicious poured over a potato or piece of toast.

4 Servings:  342 cal (12g fat, 50g carbs, 15g protein)

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Very Banana Pancakes

Monday, April 6, 2015 0 comments

Banana pancakes are my favorite way to use aging bananas.  As long as the meat doesn't start to blacken, a soft, black-peeled banana is perfect for this recipe.  The problem I have with banana pancakes, though, is they never seem to have enough banana flavor.  Banana liqueur perfectly boosts the flavor to give these pancakes a great banana taste.  When I can make a batch big enough to satiate everyone in the house, I freeze the leftovers for fast, easy breakfast snacks.

Banana Pancakes
Wet Ingredients:
2 bananas
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 tbs vinegar
2 tbs maple syrup
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs banana liqueur
1 tbs ground flax seed

Dry Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tbs salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat a griddle or heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.  Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.  Add the soy milk and vinegar and set aside for a couple minutes, until the soy milk thickens from the vinegar.  Add the other wet ingredients, including the flax.  In a separate bowl, add and mix the dry ingredients.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.  Do not over stir.

Oil the griddle and pour about 1/3 cup batter per pancake.  When the batter bubbles and dries around the edges, flip and cook until the bottom side browns.  Place on a cookie sheet in the oven until all pancakes are cooked.

12 Servings:  145 cal (4g fat, 24g carbs, 4g protein)

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Thai Lo Mein

Thursday, April 2, 2015 2 comments

There's a story behind this name.  This is basically a vegetable & noodle dish in a mild curry sauce.  When I started cooking Thai food, my daughter turned her nose up to curry.  She did, however, love the noodle dishes I made and she loves yakisoba and lo mein.  So, initially, the name was meant to fool her.  And it worked.  Now she is older and wiser.  For some teenage reason, she doesn't like red curry but she still likes Thai Lo Mein.  She also likes "Thai Lo Mein-With-Rice-Instead-Of-Noodles."   The teenage brain is a marvelous thing!

Here are a couple of ingredient notes:

I usually use a mix of soy yogurt and coconut milk instead of all coconut milk.  This choice is purely driven by calories.  Coconut milk is almost completely saturated fat.  It's delicious!  If you are concerned about calories the soy yogurt/coconut milk mixture will give better results than lite coconut milk, which is watered down.  You're welcome to use all coconut milk as well.  Like I said, Delicious!

I have found two methods to successfully cook rice noodles.  The first and most successful is pan fry pre-soaked noodles.  This takes a little practice and requires a large pan, but gives better results because you have more control.  The second is to add presoaked noodles to boiling water, bring the noodles back to a boil and drain.  Again, this takes a little practice and the cook time varies depending on the thickness of the noodle, but is easier if you don't have a large saute pan or wok.  Watch 30 seconds of this video for a good demonstration of pan fried noodles.

Thai Lo Mein
1 small can coconut milk (5.5 oz)
2-3 tbs red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen or homemade)
1 purple onion, sliced into thin half rings
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, cut into match sticks
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 small head cabbage, cored & shredded
1/2 cup soy yogurt
1/4 cup Golden Mountain Sauce (or Maggi or Braggs or soy sauce)
1/4 - 3/4 cups water (for pan fried noodles)
14 oz dried rice noodles

1 lb extra firm tofu, drained
2 tbs Golden Mountain Sauce (or Maggi or Braggs or soy sauce)
1 lime wedge, juiced
1 tsp sesame oil

For the Tofu:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the tofu into 6-8 cakes.  In a saucer, mix the Golden Mountain Sauce, lime juice and oil.  dip each side of each cake into the saucer and place on a baking sheet.  Cook for 35 minutes, turning after 20 minutes.  You can do this ahead of time and even refrigerate it.

For the Stir Fry:

Soak the noodles in a pot of warm water while you chop the vegetables.  The noodles will be ready for cooking when they pliable and not sticking to each other.  The will not feel cooked.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the most of the coconut milk and let it reduce.  Sometimes the coconut cream will collect at the top and you can just use this.  Add the curry paste and saute until well combined.  Add the purple onion, mushrooms, carrot and cabbage.  Saute until the cabbage is soft.  Add the sliced peppers and saute for a couple minutes longer.

Push the vegetables to the sides of the pan as best you can.  Add the rest of the coconut milk, soy yogurt, golden mountain sauce, and a little water.  Stir until the yogurt is combined.  Add the noodles and stir/toss constantly, adding a little water at a time until the noodles are done.  The vegetables will get mixed in as you stir.  Remove from heat and serve.

5 Servings:  562 Calories (16g fat, 84g carbs, 23g protein)

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