Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tofu Florentine

We ate this deliciousness around 11:30 and won't need to eat again until dinner tonight!!! Except for maybe a leftover chocolate cupcake, or two! It was so filling and rich and nutritious. The recipe comes from the Veganomicon cookbook (of course! All recent recipes have been from this amazing book!) You can serve it with an English Muffin or over Diner Home Fries. I was unable to find English Muffins here in Vienna, so I opted for the potatoes. I did not follow the book's suggested recipe, but instead made Garlic Homefries, a recipe we have made many times in the past and love. The broiled tofu was simple: cut a block of tofu into 16 triangles, dip in a mixture of water, soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice, broil for 10 minutes, spoon a bit more dip on top and broil for 3 more minutes. I sauteed a bag of pre-washed spinach in a tablespoon of vegan butter and sliced a tomato. The cheezy sauce is amazing and will get made again for macaroni, nachos, raw veggies, a spoon....Great stuff. Excellent brunch option.

Chickpea Cutlets with White Bean Aioli and Bulgur, Spinach, and Cannellini Salad

All three recipes were taken from the Veganomicon cookbook. I have had this cookbook for a few years. It was given to me by a friend that was moving, not vegan, and cleaning out her cookbook shelf. Only recently have I started using it...daily! It is a wonderful vegan resource and although there are a few recipes that don't quite make sense or take an astronomical amount of time, I have plans to continue picking through its recipes.
The Chickpea Cutlets were very easy to prepare and sat in the refrigerator for a few hours waiting patiently to be cooked. I worried that they would dry out, but this did not happen. I fried them in olive oil on the stove. Next time, I will bake them. They cooked a bit too fast and the insides remained very chewy. The good news is, I definitely will make these again in the future. I substituted the Vital Wheat Gluten for plain wheat flour and the lemon zest for lime.
On the side of the cutlets, we had White Bean Aioli. Another very simple, versatile, delicious recipe but an extremely strong garlic flavor. We loved it but, I would be cautious serving it to guests!!!
And for the side dish, Bulgur, Spinach, and Cannellini Salad. It was supposed to be arugula but I had a craving for spinach instead. My bulgur was also a combination of quinoa and bulgur but cooked exactly the same as the recipe instructed. I did not have red wine vinegar, but used apple cider instead. It worked out just fine!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Pecan Fudge Frosting

John and I recently returned from a trip to Paris for Christmas. While traveling home, we stopped for a layover in Zurich. John was completely obsessed with buying a chocolate bar there. Swiss chocolate, blah, blah! I was not really into it, so I declined to buy one for myself. He never ate his, we got home, and he returned to work leaving me home alone with said chocolate bar. Needless to say, he caught me only because I left the wrapper on the counter. So, to make up for this candy bar robbery, I made him a delicious dessert. This cupcake recipe is the most amazing ever. The frosting is heaven on earth. And, served with soy vanilla bean ice cream, I can think of (or taste) nothing more divine!

Spinach Noodle Kugel with Lentil Salad

Both recipes are in the Veganomicon cookbook. The book suggests serving the two together, which John and I agreed is a fantastic combo of flavors. For the Kugel, boil 3 cups pasta. Set aside. Let 30 oz of frozen spinach thaw and drain in a colander. In a food processor, mix 12 oz tofu, 1 cup veggie broth, and 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add this tofu mixture to 1 1/4 cup matzo meal (or bread crumbs!), the drained spinach, the cooked pasta, 1 onion diced, 1/4 cup fresh dill, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Spread it out in a greased 9x13 dish and bake for about 30 minutes at 350. Next time, I will top with sauteed shallots, per John's suggestion!
The Lentil Salad was so amazing! I can't wait to eat leftovers for lunch today! I made a few adjustments to the recipe based on the ingredients I had or could find. Boil 1 cup lentils (I used Beluga aka black lentils) in the combo of 4 cups veggie broth, 2 Tbsp dried thyme, 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 tsp tarragon, and 1/4 tsp salt. When the beans are done, drain in a mesh colander to reserve the spices and remove the bay leaves. Let the beans cool. Make a dressing of 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 garlic clove crushed. Pour this over the cooled beans. I strayed from the recipe which called for radishes and carrots (I actually am not a huge fan of either) and added a chopped red pepper and orange pepper, a diced red onion and a chopped tomato. When all of this was mixed, it went into the fridge for about a half hour and was served with Endive leaves. I could go on forever about how wonderful this salad was!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I have made this version of Snickerdoodles a few times in the past. I really liked how they turned out this time! I under-baked them by a minute so they were soft and chewy in the center but crisp and buttery on the edges. I also used white sugar instead of my usual Sucanat so they didn't turn brown and no whole wheat flour was substituted for the all purpose, as I have done in the past.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spring Rolls

I fell in love with making these in Portland after seeing a cooking demo with the amazing Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Basically, any ingredients can be added but the foundation should be something crunchy (nuts, seeds, etc.), something chewy or soft (tofu, potato, avocado, etc.), and anything else that sounds good and will fit in the papers!

For this batch, I used smoked tofu (I baked it in the oven for a few minutes to make it hot), sliced avocado and red pepper, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and sprinkles of vegan parm. I normally like to throw in baby spinach, but was out. I have found that after making these at home, I never order them from restaurants anymore. Restaurants simply add carrots, lettuce, and mint. In my world of adventurous Spring Roll creation, that is just boring! The sauce is super simple and goes well with any combination of ingredients I have ever tried. I also like to add Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce to mine to give it a little bite.

The wrapper is Rice Paper (made from tapioca flour, not rice!). The key is to get a large bowl filled with hot water(hot but not too hot that you can't stick your hands in!). Drop a rice paper in and let it get all soft and gel-like. Isa compared them to jelly fish and the resemblance is definitely there. When it is completely soft, take it out, shake the extra water off, and lay it flat. Put the ingredients in the center of the paper but don't overfill!!! Fold two parallel sides together and roll from the other side. I usually have to make about 6 of them to start because they are so delicious and if you just make one at a time, you will be annoyed with yourself! If you are making these for guests, it is fun to set up "buffet style" and let people make their own. Lots of fun!