Friday, June 20, 2008

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

We got some beautiful pattypan squash from the CSA this week, and I just couldn't decide what to do with them. They seemed too unique to just slice up and saute, and I wanted to do something that would more or less keep them whole. Finally, I was inspired by some leftover grains and a big bunch of kale, and I stuffed them. We also got loads of kale this week, and I needed some new ways to use it up. This recipe took care of that! It turned out really nice, and even the girls ate some of it (which is always a good thing if there is kale involved!).

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

4 pattypan squash

1 lb kale

2 Tbs Olive Oil

3 large spring onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup roasted red pepper, diced

1/2 large tomato, diced

1 cup cooked grains (I used a mixture of brown rice and bulgur)

1/2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos

1/4 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup bread crumbs

4 Tbs. Earth Balance

Start a large pot of water boiling. Once water has started to boil place whole squash in to boil until a sharp knife is easily inserted through the skin, about 10 minutes. Remove squash from water and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 400. Once squash have cooled, cut a small piece off of the bottom of each squash so that it will set evenly. Cut away tops, scrape out seeds and scoop out the flesh. Add scooped out flesh to the bowl of a food processor, along with kale. Process until kale is completely chopped. In a large saute pan, heat 2 Tbs olive oil. Saute onions and garlic until onions become translucent. Add kale mixture to saute pan, along with roasted red pepper, tomato, Worcestershire, Braggs, and nutmeg. Stir to combine then add grains. Heat through and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon mixture, heaping, into hollowed out squash. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs and add 1 Tbs Earth Balance to the top of each. Bake for about 30 minutes, until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Before I get into the sauce, I have to tell you about the new falafel recipe I tried. I've been using a falafel recipe out of an old cookbook for awhile now, and the flavor is really good, but they always fall apart when you go to fry them. So, I decided I'd search around for a new recipe. I found this one, and was intrigued by the use of uncooked garbanzos, so I thought I'd give it a try. The recipe was spectacular, the flavor was right on, and they held together beautifully while I fried them, not to mention they turned a lovely golden brown (which doesn't happen too often when I fry'll recall, I suck at frying!!). I did make just a few minor changes. I omitted the hot pepper, so that the girls would eat them. And, instead of using 2 Tbs of cilantro, I used 1 Tbs cilantro and 1 Tbs mint.

I served the falafel the traditional way, in a pita with some raw veggies. I like them topped with tahini sauce, but decided to give some vegan tzatziki a try. Tzatziki is a cucumber, yogurt sauce that I didn't think would be too hard to replicate. I can only find flavored vegan yogurts here, so I had to use something in place of the yogurt. I happened to have a half container of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be used. I thought maybe that would make a suitable replacement. I thought correctly, the sauce was incredible, and could also be used as a wonderful dip for crudite, or even as a salad dressing (when you're in the mood for a creamy dressing)

Vegan Tzatziki

1/2 container Better than Sour Cream

1/2 english cucumber, diced very small

2 cloves garlic, minced very small

handful of italian parsley, chopped very small

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to marry. Serve over falafel, or as a dip for your favorite raw vegetables.

Monday, June 9, 2008

An Old Favorite (and a new one too!!)

Tonight I made an old favorite of ours. This simple pasta dish is perfect for busy nights, and light enough for a hot evening. The temperatures have been soaring out of control this past week, and we haven't felt like eating much.....which works to my advantage, since I haven't felt like cooking much!! Anyway, I decided it was time to get some real food on the table, but again, the heat really drains the cooking energy, ya know.

This pasta couldn't be easier. Start by cooking your pasta as directed. I recommend penne rigate for this recipe, but any short pasta would do. When your pasta is nearly finished heat 3 Tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Mince 6 cloves of garlic and drop them in the hot oil, along with about 10 whole basil leaves. Cook for a few seconds until garlic and basil begin to sizzle. Be careful not to burn garlic. Add one 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes with about half of their juice. Add cooked pasta and simmer until heated through. Serve drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil.

I served the pasta with a simple side of baby spinach drizzled with olive oil as well, along with a baguette from Blue Dog Bakery. The girls devoured this pasta. They either really, really liked it, or they were extremely happy that mommy started cooking again!

For dessert I made another version of my "nice" cream (remember: my name for cruelty free ice cream!!). Tonight I made Mint Chocolate Chip. This is a new favorite!! This flavor got lots of praise from everyone. The peppermint flavor was just right, and was not overpowered by additional sweeteners. I intended to make the finished product green, but they wanted $16.99 for a box of 4 small natural food colorings at the store, so I opted to leave the ice-cream white!!

Mint Chocolate Chip "Nice" Cream

1/2 of a 12 oz package of firm silken tofu (I use Mori Nu brand)

1 cup Silk soy creamer

1/2 cup Soy Dream Vanilla soy milk

1 tsp Peppermint Extract

2 Tbs Brown Rice Syrup

Green food coloring (optional)

1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

In a food processor combine all ingredients up to chocolate chips and pulse until tofu is smooth. Refrigerate for several hours to chill. Freeze in ice cream freezer following manufacturers directions. When ice cream is nearly frozen add chocolate chips while paddles are still churning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Vegan Pound Cake

In anticipation of more strawberries from the CSA today, I decided I wanted to make shortcakes for dessert. So I set about looking for pound cake recipes. Most that I found called for silken tofu which I just used the last of in a smoothie the other day, so that was out. Most also called for lemon extract, which again I did not have. What to do, what to do?? Improvise!!

Working from several recipes and ingredients I had on hand I devised my only little recipe for

Orange Tofu Pound Cake:

1/3 cup softened Earth Balance
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 package firm tofu
juice of 1 orange (plus 1 1/2 tsp orange zest)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350. In your food processor or blender process tofu with orange juice until smooth. In bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand held mixer) cream together Earth Balance and sugar (unrefined sugar doesn't cream as well as white granulated sugar, but it was all I had). With machine running add baking powder, vanilla, tofu mixture, orange zest and water. Slowly sift in flour until batter forms. Lightly oil 5x6 baking dish and fill with batter. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until top is golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out clean.

Thankfully the CSA came through with 4 pints of strawberries this week!! After washing them I sprinkled them with unrefined sugar and allowed them to macerate while we at dinner. Then I served them over slices of Orange Tofu Pound Cake. The creamy topping you see on them is just the other half of the tofu from the pound cake processed in the food processor with 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1 Tbs powdered sugar.

Yum yum, strawberry shortcake is a sure sign that summer is on it's way!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for............

Ice Cream!!!!

First up were ice-cream cookie sandwiches. I just whipped up a batch of Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies and made them into ice cream sandwiches using Temptation's French Vanilla Soy Ice Cream. These were a big hit, and so easy to make!

Later in the week I tried the Strawberry Swirl non-dairy ice cream from the current issue of Vegetarian Times. They have a whole section on vegan ice-cream this!! This was delicious, and almost perfect in it's consistency. The only problem with it was that I had to sub maple syrup for agave (as suggested in the recipe) and the maple syrup didn't quite taste right with the strawberry flavor. I'm going to have to play around with the sweetner a little on this one, but it's definitely a keeper. And see those cute, perfectly ripe strawberries on top. They were part of our CSA basket last week. We got 1 quart+1 pint of them, and we're all hoping for more this week!

And finally was this little creation.....Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice-Cream in a Waffle Bowl. Yesterday the girls were eating waffles and it just came over me to attempt making waffle cones. I used my regular recipe for waffles which included baking powder, so no matter how thin I poured the batter on the waffle iron, the dang things kept fluffing up too much to roll into cones, so I improvised and made bowls instead. It was really quite easy. I just removed the waffles from the iron before they were finished and while they were still quite pliable, then formed them over an upside down custard bowl. I then baked them at 350 until they were nice and crispy. I was very happy with the result, although next time I'm going to leave out the baking powder and try to make cones.

I made up the ice-cream recipe as well. Now, I'm not usually one to brag on myself or inflate my own ego, but I must say, this was the best vegan ice-cream I've ever tasted, hands down!! The consistency was right on, just like it's traditional dairy counterpart, and the flavor couldn't be beat. I've decided to call is "nice" cream because it's cruelty free (and nice to taste as well!!). YUM.......I'm so glad summer is here!!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Nice-Cream

1/2 block silken tofu
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plain soy creamer
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 Tbs. Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Recipe Dreena's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookie dough

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients, except the cookie dough, and blend or process until tofu is creamy. Chill in refrigerator for several hours, then transfer to bowl of ice-cream freezer and freeze according to your freezer's directions. When ice-cream is nearly finished freezing add in 3/4 of the cookie dough while paddles are still running to allow cookie to dough to be combined into ice-cream.