Tag Archives: vegetarian

Skinny Bitch Curried Chickpea Patties

I have a love/hate relationship with the Skinny Bitch vegan book series.  I think it starts with the word skinny, something which I will never ever feel that I am, nor that I necessarily desire to be frankly…Thinner Bitch I will strive for I guess then.  At any rate, I present to you, a reason I’ll never be skinny….Curried Chickpea Cakes via Skinny Bitch Kim Barnouin’s Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.

Curried Chickpea Cakes
Makes 10 Servings

  • 1 (15-ounce/430 g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup (20 g) sliced green onions, both white and light green parts
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons evaporated cane sugar
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) breadcrumbs, plus 1/4 cup (30 g) for coating
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2/3 cup (130 g) brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) grapeseed oil or toasted sesame oil, for pan searing
  1. In a large food processor, combine the chickpeas and green onions. Pulse until combined. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut milk, sugar, 2/3 cup (75 g) of the breadcrumbs, curry powder, nutmeg, and cumin. Stir together with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  2. Stir in the brown rice and the salt.
  3. Mold into 10 mini patties.
  4. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat (make sure it is preheated well in advance, so you get a nice crust). Add the chickpea cakes to the pan and sauté until there’s a nice golden sear on the bottom. Flip and sear the other side as well. Continue with the remaining cakes.
  5. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

Serving Size: 123 g; Calories 170; Fat 7 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbohydrates 23 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 4 g

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Vegan SIN-amon Rolls

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I wasn’t sure if I should share this recipe or just keep it to myself so I alone look amazing when I waltz into a potluck brunch with these babies in tow.  Alas, I want to eat them more often, so I thought if I can get this out there to my vegan friends, they also would develop a mild addiction and want to make them frequently as well thereby getting them into my face more often.

I’ve had this cookbook Vegan Brunch on my bookshelf FOREVER, and never even cracked the binding.  Honestly, when is the last time you attended a brunch?  Yeah, me either.  A few months ago however, my friends Kolene and Jon hosted, you guessed it, a VEGAN BRUNCH!  I made curried tofu scramble, but Jon….he made these rolls and probably other delicious things-but THESE I was frankly obsessed with and had to get more of.  When I asked for the recipe he directed me to Vegan Brunch, you know the book collecting dust on my shelf.  I went home and made them that night, pigged out on them at midnight with Mr. Wonderful, then brought a batch to work the next day (the recipe made a TON of rolls) to test on my coworkers.  In case you were wondering how to score serious favors at work for a while, bake cinnamon rolls in your office kitchen, then serve them to your friends.  They become even more helpful in their sugary comas.

Caution, these take a while to make.  You are MAKING cinnamon rolls-like “from scratch”, not just baking them off from the frozen food section at Meijer, so there are steps involved.  Do not skip them, do not rush them.  And by all means….MEASURE, this is baking, you know…like chemistry and crap, so you need to be precise.  If you haven’t worked with yeast before, check out this link to keep you from throwing in the towel prematurely.

Dough

  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/3 c sugar + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 c lukewarm water
  • 3/4 c non-dairy milk, room temperature (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 1/4 – 4 c flour

Filling

  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c white sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 T flour

To roll

  • 1/4 c Earth Balance (soy margarine, non-hydrogenated)
  • also, a great deal of patience and an uncluttered work space

Icing

  • 1 C powdered sugar (10x)
  • 1-1/2 – 2 T non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk here too)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Proof yeast by putting yeast into half the lukewarm water with the 1 tsp of sugar. Let sit, make sure it bubbles so you know your little organisms are hungry, alive and well.  Mix the rest of the dough ingredients together, add proofed yeast mix. Knead for 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise 1 hour. Punch the dough down and let rest 10 more minutes.

Make the filling (mix together ingredients above for filling).

Roll out dough to 12″ x18″ (or whatever you get frankly-mine was a little larger) on a floured clean, flat surface. Sprinkle filling over the dough evenly, dot with small chunks of the Earth Balance.

Roll from the long side. Go slowly and get it as tight as possible.  This for me is the most difficult part. I can’t even roll up my yoga mat without having it all cock-eyed, so this dough rolling part is torture for me.  Do the best you can.  When they bake, no one will know you had edges that were not perfect as they will be too busy cramming the final product into their pie-holes.

Oil or spray any kind of pan you like really. I used two pie plates so I could bake one now, and take one to work in an unbaked state later. Cut the roll into half to one inch pieces pieces and place close together in the prepared pan. I used dental floss to cut through the dough so that I didn’t smash the dough.

Cover with towel, let rise for 30-45 minutes in a warm location. I usually put it on the stove, above the pilot lights.  These can also be stored in the fridge overnight without losing any of the yumminess to be baked off the next morning, just cover in plastic wrap. The next morning when you are preheating the oven (below) leave on the counter until they hit just about room temp.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 18-2o minutes-the smaller your rolls when they go in, the less time you need, check them regularly to make sure they aren’t burning, they should be lightly browned. Make icing while it bakes.

Drizzle with the icing as soon as you remove from the oven.

Adapted from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Featured on The Mode Life.

Garlic, Chickpeas, Broccoli and Politics

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Previously, the only thing that George HW Bush and I had in common was our dislike of broccoli.  I’m proud to say that after eating this dish from Appetite for Reduction, I can distance myself a little  more from HW, with only a slight dislike of broccoli and have narrowed it down to  when it is 1) overdone or 2) raw.  I love broccoli in this dish.

Warning, this is one ugly dish.  I mean, there isn’t a food blog around that would claim this dish a beauty.  So maybe not on the top 5 of dishes to serve when say the Queen is coming to dinner, but certainly a fail-safe dish for a busy week day dinner.  After you roast this off the possibilities are endless, it would make a great soup with some veg broth added, perhaps toss it on a piece of naan for a sandwich, over rice, lentils, quinoa, etc.  Or do as I do and just eat it off the baking sheet as you don’t want to dirty another dish.  I won’t judge you.

  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into large spears and stems chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (around 9-10 cups) – I really hate the spears, so I used just florettes out of a bag, 2 bags worth.
  • 10+ cloves garlic, peeled and smashed-use what you want.  I’ve done up to 20 and an no worse for the wear.
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 19-oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon) reserve the juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano or 3 tsp fresh
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the broccoli, garlic and chickpeas in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, chili flakes, lemon zest, oregano and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, flipping once.

After 30 minutes, mix broccoli and chickpeas again and add broth, deglazing any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue to bake another 15 minutes until the garlic is tender and the broccoli is browned in some places.

I finished this dish with the lemon juice from the zested lemon, and baked for another 5-10 minutes until it was absorbed.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Curry with Cashews

Confession:  I love cooking, but I could LIVE on take out.  In particular thai take out.  My fave place in GR is Angels Thai on Monroe Center.  This is my “go-to” curry recipe adopted from Heidi Swanson’s 101cookbooks.com.  I add some more num num’s and make it for a crowd so that I have leftovers!  Curry lasts surprisingly well in the freezer and makes a great quick meal over rice or quinoa in a hurry.  I picked some hearty veggies and a sturdy bean so they stand up well later going from freezer to table later.  You can add just about anything you want into this dish.  Clean out the fridge if you like.  Just be sure to write it all down if it tastes awesome, or you won’t be able to recreate it later…this happens to me more times than I care to mention.

  • 2 cups lite coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs HOT curry powder (I use Penzeys)
  • 3 Tbs Mild or Sweet curry powder (Penzeys here too)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp fine grain sea salt (to your taste)
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 block firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into tiny florets (one large head)
  • 1/3 cup cashews, toasted
  • a handful of cilantro, loosely chopped

Toast the cashews in a wok briefly, until just browned.  Remove the cashews and allow to cool.  Next, toast the curry over LOW.  Do not burn it or your pan will smell and taste like burned curry for all time.  For real.  Add to the toasted curry, half of the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  Whisk in the rest of the curry powder and salt, working out any clumps. Now stir in the chopped red onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and the water, and then the tofu. Cook down the liquid for a couple minutes before adding the green beans, garbanzos, and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for just about one minute, maybe two – or just until the cauliflower and beans lose their raw edge and cook through a bit. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cashews. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt / curry powder) if needed. Serve with a bit of cilantro topping each bowl over rice or quinoa.

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Gluten Free Vegan Banana Oat Cake

I work in a diet-diverse office, mostly omnivores; however, I have one gluten free coworker, a dairy free coworker, a vegan coworker and me, a vegetarian dabbling in the world of veganism.  Every now and again, I find a recipe on  a blog or try to veganize something and can usually hit on most of the dietary restrictions, but this cake hits on ALL!  Even the lady that hates peanut butter, liked this cake, just omitted the “frosting”.  This recipe credit belongs to Oh, She Glows.  Visit her blog for a smattering of vegetarian and vegan deliciousness.

Cake:

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free regular oats, processed into a flour (locally these are available at Harvest Health & Horrocks perhaps even Meijer)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free regular oats (not processed)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/16th tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/16th tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar (or regular white)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or other light tasting oil)
  • 2 medium very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (I used sweetened and backed down the white sugar above)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Fold in: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips; 1/4 cup walnuts (optional), chopped; 1 ripe banana, cut into chunk

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 8 inch (4 cup) casserole dish or 8” cake pan. Take 2 cups of regular oats and process them in a food processor until flour like in consistency.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (processed oats, regular oats, sugars, spices, baking powder, and salt).

In another bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla. Add in the two peeled bananas and smash into the wet ingredients until smooth.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just combined. Now fold in the chips, optional walnuts, and the chopped banana.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 36 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake must be cooled for at least 15-20 minutes before attempting to remove.

Once fully cooled, slice and top with PB Banana Glaze. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  I found that this also freezes beautifully.

Frosting:

  • 1 ripe banana (but not too ripe, you still want it solid!)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (I used Koeze’s crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of kosher salt, to taste

Mash banana in a bowl until smooth. Add in peanut butter and mash until combined. Sift in the salt and icing sugar and stir until fully combined. Makes about 2/3 cup glaze. Store in fridge in a sealed contained for 1-2 days.

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Spicy Ginger Tempeh Bowl

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A few weeks ago I jilted  you by not including any pictures with the Spicy Ginger Sauce post.  This new post is my apology and a stir fry recipe featuring that yummy sauce. I think this sauce would even taste good on ice cream, seriously.

Spicy Ginger Bowl

  • 1 package mushrooms, any variety
  • 2 shallots, sliced fine
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium Tamari, or soy sauce
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 package tempeh, steamed and cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 C brown rice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 recipe spicy ginger stir fry sauce
  • roasted peanuts, for garnish

First prep the rice, that’s gonna take up the bulk of your time (around an hour) to cook.  Check out the package directions, but generally speaking, real brown rice of most kinds (Jasmine, Basmati) will take a 2:1 ratio, water to rice, and about 50-60 minutes to cook and set.  I walk in the door from work, keep my coat on, get the rice ready to go, put it on the stove, and then walk the dog.  When I come back, it feels like instant rice and I have checked something else off my list.

Steam the tempeh in a steaming device and let set.  It will need just about 10 minutes or so.  In a pinch I’ve steamed tempeh in my microwave in water, it didn’t seem to bother the outcome of the dish.   Steaming the tempeh before consuming is one of the best veg tips I ever received.  Number one, it takes out all the bitter and gives it a nice consistency and number two, some brands are not pre-cooked, and really need to be cooked prior to consumption.  My fave is the wild rice variety made by Lightlife it’s super nutty and delish.

Mushrooms are funny in stir fry, they have a TON of moisture and I don’t like ’em all gummy, spongy steamin’ up my stir fry.  I’d rather have them caramelized and yum, like candy.  For the results in the picture, I took a package of baby portobello mushrooms, dry ‘washed’ them, removed the stem, sliced them and dropped them into a hot wok with the shallots, after the water reduced and they began crusting up on the outside, I hit them with 2 tsp of reduced sodium tamari and let that reduce.  I removed them from heat, and set them aside, wiped out my wok, reheated it nice and hot again, then dropped in the diced pepper, cooked for 2-4 minutes then added the tempeh (which was already steamed, so it’s warm still and most importantly cooked).  Let all ingredients get up to the same temp and then hit the whole wok with the spicy ginger stir fry sauce, let it reduce, reintroduce your shallot mushroom mix to the saucey love and serve the whole racket over the rice that is now conveniently done because  you started it before you needed it.  Top with the roasted peanuts.

I love bowls and stir fries as they let me be a lazy meal planner, AND with just a sauce recipe, you can really add anything you want to the mix from the fridge and come out with a sound meal.  I own a nonstick wok from Pampered Chef, I’ve had it since, well, forever and it’s still nonstick.  It’s a nice size for more than just stir fry (sometimes I make soup in it if my Dutch oven is dirty-I told you I was lazy), this  brand is particularly solid, so the heat distributes well and I rarely need to use oil as long as I heat it up well before I add ingredients.   You could easily use a skillet in its place if you would like to cook in batches…too much in the skillet and your stir fry will become a stir steam.  Not good.

Tortilla Soup Take 2

I already have one recipe for tortilla soup here on my blog, and now I am adding another to the collection; both are excellent.  This one is a little more pedestrian, meaning you are much more likely to have these items on hand than you are the 101 Cookbooks version of tortilla soup I published earlier in my blogging life.  Enjoy yet another recipe adapted from the cookbook Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 2 poblano peppers or green bell pepper, seeded, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3/4 tsp corriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (24-ounce) can diced tomatoes, juice and all
  • 1 (24-ounce) can gluten-free vegetable broth or water
  • 1 heaping T ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • cilantro for garnish
  • tortilla chips for garnish
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt, to taste

1. Place oil in a 4-quart pot and sauté onions, jalapeños and poblano pepper over medium-high heat until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. (Add a little more oil or broth if needed.) Add garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and sauté for another minute.
2. Add tomatoes to the pot, including the juice. Fill the tomato can with vegetable broth or water and add to the pot. Stir in the cumin and corriander.
3. Add beans, corn and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Add lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt to taste.
4. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Crumble tortilla chips over the top and garnish with cilantro.

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Confessions of a Cookbook Addict

My name is Adrienne.  I’m an addict.  I can’t stop buying and using cookbooks.  My basement is full of cookbooks.  They linger on shelves, take refuge in boxes, lie strewn about the floor, peek out of bags, rest on the counter, collect dust under my bed…they are, everywhere.  My Amazon wishlist…FULL of cookbooks.  My Google Reader…saturated with good eats.  I should start a support group.

I rarely write my own recipes.  I’m not even sure where to start.  So, I have cookbooks…lots and lots of them.  That being said, I hardly ever follow a recipe from start to finish 100% dead-on as written.  I’m the queen of “adapted from” as you may have noticed from the rest of my blog posts.  This is mostly due to the fact that I look in my fridge and cook from what I have, not the other way around…I don’t read a recipe then shop for the ingredients.  I know, totally inefficient.  My brain just doesn’t work that way.

My friends generally want to know where my ideas come from, so here are the books I keep handy for inspiration.  For your convenience, the title of the book is linked to Amazon where you can purchase the book and the author website is linked to the author name.  Most of the veg community shares recipes for free online, but there is just something about having a cookbook in my hands.  Later I’ll share the contents of my Google Reader with you too.

My top cookbooks:

Appetite for Reduction:  Isa Chanda Moskowitz

Vegan Yum Yum:  Lauren Ulm

eat, drink & be vegan:  Dreena Burton

The Happy Herbivore:  Lindsay Nixon

Vegan Diner:   Julie Hasson

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian:  Mark Bittman

Super Natural Cooking:  Heidi Swanson

PF Chang’s Ain’t Got Nothin’ on Isa

Veg friends rejoice.  This is a meat-eater approved recipe (Christine tell Alex it’s good, like PF Chang’s good).  No one will look at you cross-eyed or make that funny chewing face, like when they hate it but are going to swallow it anyway just to make you feel good.  Take it to a party as an appetizer with some bib lettuce to really impress your friends, then tell them it’s tofu after they inhale it and watch them make another funny face…you know the one of shock when they realize tofu doesn’t suck.

This recipe served three as a main dish with a side of edemame with about 2 wraps to spare just using one block of tofu.

Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Tofu

  • 1 block (~14 oz) extra firm tofu, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce

Sauce

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (mirin is recommended but I didn’t have it)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sriracha or sambal if you prefer
  • 2 tsp prepared yellow mustard

To Serve

  • About 12 romaine (bib or iceburg will work too) lettuce leaves
  • Bean sprouts
  • Dry roasted peanuts or cashews
  • Rice noodles (the crunchy kind)

Prepare the tofu: Preheat a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. About midway through, drizzle with the soy sauce and toss to coat.  I had to add a smidge of peanut oil to this recipe when I flipped the tofu as it was sticking a little.  If you have great patience, and wait it out, it shouldn’t stick.  I do not have patience.  I did however have oil.

Preheat a separate large pan over medium heat with the sesame oil. Saute the red pepper, onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 minutes. The veggies should be soft and browned. Add the mirin (or rice wine vinegar would work here too) and let cook for about 3 minutes. Add the hoisin, sriracha, and mustard, and cook for another minute.  Omit sriracha if you don’t like spicy food.  In general avoid sriracha if you don’t like spice.

Add the tofu to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve alongside lettuce leaves, to stuff like tacos.  Top with the sprouts and crunchy bits.  Sidenote:  this is a great stir fry and would stand on its own over some brown rice or noodles.

Happy New Year

This post doesn’t include a recipe.  Just wishes, hopes and challenges.

First, I wish all of you a healthy and happy new year.  Healthier for me began when I gave up meat many moons ago.  Now my biggest problem is eating too much delish vegetarian and vegan foods-portion control Adrienne!  I challenge you to inspire your friends to opt for two meatless days per week (if you/they aren’t already meatless).  Do it for your health, the animals, and the environment.

Secondly, I fall under the category of vegetarian, so I’m looking to cook and eat more under the vegan category in 2012.  For me this will mean increased planning for the weekly menu and reading the labels of convenience foods more completely.  If you are already vegetarian, strive for two days a week as a vegan, see how it goes.  I’d love to hear from you about your successes, challenges and failures.

I’ll keep posting weekly recipes from books and sites around the Interwebs.  If you have  fave blog or book, tell me about it.  I am always in search of new eats.  You can catch my recipe and other rantings on The Mode Life if you so desire.  I don’t always blog about food believe it or not!

Happy New Year friends.  Thanks for supporting my little hobby here at vegbonvivant.com.

Hello Breakfast Tickle

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Today was the last day of eating at my used-to-be-favorite brunch establishment in Grand Rapids.  After nearly a year of blissful eats, one dish more satisfying than another…today I suffered my last disappointment in a string of weeks of less than savory breakfast experiences.  Today, I drank my last cup of lukewarm, yet burnt coffee and attempted to order my last item that is printed on the menu, but “we are out of that item at the moment” (how in the eff are you out of PANCAKES?).  Today, I broke up with my weekly brunch joint.

As the events of my last brunch as a regular tumbled through my head, I was obsessed with three things:

1) How in the heck do I make lemon ricotta pancakes?

2) Will a breakfast tickle taste as good at home as it does here?

3) I must learn how to make a chipotle-jalapeno vinaigrette for Huevos Rancheros with scrambled cilantro eggs, pronto.

Here is my attempt at a Breakfast Tickle.  I actually think that my version is a little bit more fresh after not sitting under a heat lamp waiting to get delivered to me by an incompetent server not interested at all with my level of hunger.  I know it looks weird, but I promise this is like a breakfast party in your mouth.

Breakfast Tickle

as Interpreted by Veg BonVivant

Fire up the gas stove on high, place washed and dried pepper directly on flame (turn on the exhaust fan please, or face not being able to read the rest of the instructions here…the oil will consume you).  Wait for skin to get black and bubbly, remove from heat and place into a paper bag, roll over the top and wait 5 minutes to handle.  After cooling, use the bag, not your bare hand, to remove stem, seeds and skin of the pepper.  This should leave you with a super floppy, charred, yet delicious specimen of a roasted poblano pepper.  Save this gem for assembly.

Over medium heat in a lightly oiled skillet, “fry” your banana (cut in half length-wise) until caramely and delicious-at this point you can fry your egg too, over medium if you are funny like I am about the yolk or over easy if you like a gooey mess like Mr. Wonderful does.

While you are frying your banana and egg, in a 350 oven warm up naan bread until pliable, not hard.  Remove naan from oven, spread with the peanut butter.

To assemble the whole Tickle:  take the peanut butter coated naan put butter up on a plate, follow with poblano, banana, bacon, then egg.  Drizzle with maple syrup and then devour.  I use a fork and knife to avoid complete disaster, Mr. Wonderful goes rogue agent on it and crams it into his face in about four bites.  This my friends is the difference between girls and boys.

Chickpeas, please.

Ever since I began making chickpeas from a dried state, I have been obsessed with them.  I eat them by the handful like they are popcorn.  They’re delicious, nutty, versatile, freezable, and CHEAP (check them out at a Supermercado near you).

Here’s a super quick, frugal recipe to laugh Asian take-out prices right out the door.  It keeps well in the fridge for about a week and tastes AWESOME inside of a flour tortilla too.

Island Chickpeas

Adapted from Happy Herbivore

  • 4 C chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 C teriyaki sauce, use your fave from a bottle or better yet, make it
  • 2 T Szechuan sauce
  • 4 C cooked brown rice
  • 2 bunches Kale
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • lime wedges
  • canned mango salsa
Combine chickpeas, teriyaki sauce, Szechuan sauce in large frying pan or wok.  Allow to marinade for 5 minutes.  Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat.
In  a saute’ pan, heat oil and garlic until sizzling, add the kale.  Saute’ until bright green and just wilted.
To plate, take 1/2 cup of brown rice, top with some kale a scoop of chickpeas and a squeeze of lime.  I also put a dollop of leftover mango salsa on mine.  Delish.
Pictured under the chickpeas is a Boca chicken patty as well.

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Veg Tortilla Soup

It hasn’t exactly been soup weather here in Michigan (thank goodness)!  Yesterday it was 82 degrees, I’m sure we will pay for that later.  I love soup so much, that I couldn’t wait until it was cold to make some tortilla soup.  Heidi Swanson from 101cookbooks.com has some of the most simple and delicious soup recipes one could ask for, however, when I have extra delicious ingredients on hand or in the freezer…I like to embellish on her deliciousness.  Here is my version of Veggie Tortilla Soup.

  • 6-8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into matchstick-thin strips
  • a big splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 20 small yellow or red cherry tomatoes
  • another splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne or other spicy red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle en adobo
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • a few sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of goat cheese, crumbled (omit if vegan)

Gently toss the tortilla strips with a glug of olive oil and salt. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, arrange them across the pan and bake in a 350F degree oven for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside.

I usually do this whenever I have tomatoes that have to be used up in a hurry.  I call them “crack tomatoes”.  They have so many uses…limitless really as a fridge staple.  To make:  halve (or quarter) the tomatoes lengthwise and put them in a small roasting pan, oven proof dish, or rimmed baking sheet. Toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch or two of salt. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 40-45 minutes (less time if you use smaller cherry tomatoes), or until the tomatoes are shrunken and golden around the edges. The tomatoes keep nicely in a jar for days (refrigerated).  If you are going to keep them for a little longer, douse them in olive oil and store them under the oil in an airtight container, I use a Ball glass canning jar.

For the soup itself – in a big pot over medium-high heat cook the garlic and onions in a splash of olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt for just a minute or so. Stir in the spices and then the tomatoes, chiles, chipotle en adobo. Cook down for about five minutes or so, it should thicken a bit. For a smooth soup don’t add corn or beans then remove from heat, add one cup of the broth and puree with a hand blender (or puree in a traditional blender). Add the remaining 5 cups of broth and puree until smooth. Bring the soup back up to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.  If you like chunkier soups to mop up, don’t puree, and add the corn and black beans.  Serve as is.

Serve the individual bowls topped with plenty of tortilla strips, the roasted and sun-dried tomatoes, and some crumbled goat cheese. Alternately, as I mention up above, you can finish with sliced avocado, cilantro, white onions, and a squeeze of lime. If you like a creamier soup base add a splash of half and half, or stir in some extra goat cheese.

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Sausage Patties – Vegan Style

I felt like experimenting a little today.  I grabbed up some Gimme Lean Sausage and combined it with some cooked quinoa I had sleeping in  my freezer after I forgot to pack it on a camping trip this summer.  Poof.  Breakfast Sausage Patties – Vegan Style.

Vegan Breakfast Sausage Patties

adapted from Happy Herbivore’s Breakfast Sausage Patties

Super simple prep.  Combine all ingredients into a bowl, smash around to combine.  Use rounded scoop to get similar sized (walnut size) balls, smash into small patties, fry up on a griddle. 
I’m storing mine on parchment paper, in layers with half in the freezer in a Ziplock container in layers pre-formed and the other half into the fridge for consumption during the busy weekday.
Mr. Wonderful says, “these taste like breakfast sausage.”  Yes, dear…they do.

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Peanut Soba Noodle Salad

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I devour recipe books like most people read through the Oprah Book Club.  I relish all of the different flavor combinations that comprise regional foods and on occasion I like to make up my own recipes from the most awesome parts of other recipes.  I love peanut sauce in Thai restaurants, so I modified a recipe I found online to include hot water, thus creating a “dressing” consistency suitable for a salad instead of satay duty, paired it with a few of my fave Asian salad ingredients including the beloved soba noodle, dropped in a spicy protein and surprise a delightfully filling salad.   I would consider this one of my best salad efforts.

Peanut Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • drizzle of toasted sesame oil
  • big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 cup hot water

Salad:

  • 1 package soba noodles prepared according to package instructions
  • 2 carrots, peeled, grated
  • 4 radishes, chopped
  • 1 head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 C crushed peanuts or cashews
  • a handful of bean spouts per salad
Mix dressing ingredients together in the food processor, let set 10-20 minutes to develop in flavor intensity, reserve 1/4 C dressing for topping salad.  Shred cabbage, toss with chopped radishes and grated carrot, mound in 3-4 salad bowls.  Toss soba noodles in the peanut sauce until coated nicely, divide and add to cabbage salad, top with 1/4 C reserved dressing and crushed peanuts or cashews and fresh bean spouts.  Serve immediately.
Pictured with salad ginger/garlic/soy marinated baked tofu (recipe below):
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained, sliced in half (thickness wise) and pressed (after pressing 20-30 minutes, cut into pieces about the size of a pinky finger-sorry, that’s kinda gross!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C soy sauce
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
Marinate tofu in mixture of the ingredients above for 30 minutes to overnight. Bake tofu on a foil lined, lightly greased, rimed baking sheet at 375 until firm in texture, turning every 5-10 minutes.  Serve with salad.

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of ‘payday isn’t for 2 more days, so use what you have in the fridge’.  This recipe comes from precisely that situation. Thank goodness Trillium Haven Farm CSA and Doorganics day was yesterday, so at least there were fresh veggies from which to create goodness.  The result is Vegan Zucchini Pancakes not to be confused with a prior post, Zucchini Fritters which are definitely NOT vegan (goat cheese).

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Cucumber Salad (topping)

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp EVOO

Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
  • 1 medium, sweet yellow onion
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste…err on the side of less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C egg substitute
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese (if Vegetarian, do not include for Vegan)
Directions:
1.  To create the cucumber salad chop the tomatoes and cucumbers coarsely and top with EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside.
2.  Grate the zucchini and onion, roll up in paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze until it is fairly dry.
3.  Combine the pressed zucchini and ionion with garlic, salt, basil, nutmeg, fake eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Pour 1/4 C of the batter into the oiled pan.  The batter will be lumpy.  Let the pancake completely brown on one side then flip to brown the other side.  Remove from the pan and place on paper towels.
5.  When you are ready to serve, top the pancakes with the cucumber salad and enjoy.

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Thanks to a reader for writing in that the original recipe for these pancakes were too salty!  I’ve changed the recipe to account for her feedback.  If you are putting these on a bun or in a flatbread, you will need additional salt, but if just eating as a pancake, please follow the change in added salt.  Thanks!

Pectin Free Blueberry Jam

Short and sweet.  This was a small batch I used to experiment with the ratio of sugar to Berries.  I think I can still make it with less sugar.  I’ll let you know what happens with a less sugary recipe later in the month.

If you have excess blueberries, save summer by making Blueberry Jam.

  • 4 C Blueberries, mashed
  • 2 C sugar, white
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook mashed berries until they boil add sugar, boil while stirring until sugar dissolves, then turn heat down to low and simmer mixture for up to 60 minutes, stirring every few minutes until it reaches your desired jam thickness.  Once you hit the thickness you desire, for me this was 40 minutes, add the juice of 1 lemon and its zest, turn up to medium, bring back to a boil and then shut off heat.

Remove from heat, pour into canning jars and either freeze or if you have done the boiling canning method, seal and keep at room temp.

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Veganized BerryCakes

I just finished watching the most disgusting video (I didn’t embed it it’s so violent) regarding the treatment of pigs and piglets on a large factory farm in Pennsylvania, seriously don’t watch it if you aren’t ready to make a lifestyle change.  Suddenly I don’t miss bacon anymore.  Which then made me again question why it is I’m NOT vegan.  All I can come back to is cheese, which is lame because I can find a sub for that.

Today I decided it’s time to embrace faux cheese and gradually veganize my kitchen, and make a bigger attempt at exempting animal products one at a time.  Recently I stopped in at Saffrons-A Gluten Free Marketplace which is a local (to West Michigan) place and to my surprise ended up speaking with the owner for a while.  In addition to the ENTIRE store being Gluten Free, he has a delightful array of vegan food products.  I bought some Daiya which I’ve had before and liked as far as faux cheese goes; I also got some coconut milk, coconut milk ice cream (which frankly tastes better than regular ice cream to me), quinoa pasta, “chicken less” vegan cubes of lower sodium bouillon for soups (it’s not soup season but it’s hard to find this stuff in the winter), an egg replacement (to see how it tastes) and Vegenaise.  The owner and I had a conversation about the varying Vegenaise types (he carries the hard-to-find Soy Free variety ), I settled on the reduced fat variety.  He mentioned how excited he was to attend a food show recently, and had the opportunity to sample a new Follow Your Heart product:  block cheese.  We talked fake cheese for a while and I mentioned he should carry Teese, from Chicago Soy Dairy our neighbors to the West, it’s amazing and used widely in even the most traditional deep dish pizza joints to help their vegan customers stay loyal.  He noted the name brand and said he’d try to get some in soon.  Talk about a delightful shopping experience.  Not only did I get to meet the OWNER, but he is going to look into one of my suggestions for a product to carry in his store?  Nice.

So what’s the point Adrienne?  Oh, yes…the point is today, I veganized my pancake recipe using coconut milk, earth balance, and ground flax seeds in place of cow milk, butter and eggs, and here it is for your animal-cruelty free enjoyment.

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Vegan Pancake Batter

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose whole grain flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 1/4 C reduced calorie coconut milk
  • 1T ground flax seed and 2T hot water, mixed together and let set for about a minute or longer
  • 3 T melted Earth Balance spread
Whisk together the dry ingredients, make a well for the wet ones, and then incorporate them all to make a batter.  Pour by 1/4 C onto a griddle you have preheated to 350-365 degrees.  Flip when the pancakes rise and bubble let cook for about a minute more and then serve.
If you want to add fruit to your pancakes like I have done in the photo.  After you pour the batter onto the hot pan, wait until it rises slightly to put a handful of fresh but dry (not DRIED, just not wet) fruit onto the cake.  I have found this helps them cook through better than adding right after you drop the batter.  Keeps them looking like pancakes and less like sloppy pancakes.

Replace Gluten AND Eggs? It’s Worth A Try.

Warning:  I’m not a *real* chef, AND I got a C+ in organic chemistry, B+ in inorganic chemistry.  Proceed with caution.

Excess zucchini means science experiment time!  I have lots of vegan friends and recently a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to see if I could please both of them with a summertime staple:  zucchini bread.

First, the research for a gluten free bread recipe was pretty easy, but…wait Xanthan Gum?  What is that?  I had an idea of what that did in gluten free baking but no idea where it came from or where even to get such a thing, certainly I wasn’t going out for it.  Thanks to Wikipedia I again know way more about an ingredient than I care to, thus, had to find a replacement which WAS NOT a chemical.  It dawned on me that flax basically can be used as a sub for anything….so why not as a sub for xanthan gum.  Turns out, lots of people think xanthan gum is icky like I do, and use flax as a sub, teaspoon for teaspoon.  Now…in my vegan banana bread recipe, I also subbed flax and water for eggs, decided to try that in this one too.  Science experiment complete.  I crossed my fingers hoping it would taste okay and had SUPER results!

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This bread came to work with me to our staff meeting and noshers said it was super moist, and slightly spicy.  I particularly appreciated the crispy exterior and the chewy interior.  Bonus is that it didn’t need a spread of any kind, it stands on its own two feet.

This recipe makes one loaf.

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or to Veganize it: 1T flax seed ground with 3 T hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (check this, some have gluten in them-gross)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava bean)
  • 1 teaspoon flax sprinkles for each cup of flour
  • up to 13 teaspoons hot water (I know this sounds random, but it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use how much water you will need)

Shred the zucchini, allow it to rest on paper towel to reduce moisture and chop the walnuts in a food processor or by smashing them in a plastic bag and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the flax/water mixture and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and flax sprinkles (dry) until well mixed. Now if you have made bread before, you will know that the end consistency is not thick like cookie dough, but rather, thicker than cake batter, so to get from cookie dough to almost cake batter, slowly add hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a workable quick bread viscosity.  For me, that took 13 teaspoons.

Last, by hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 55-75 minutes. Let cool.

Doorganics Tacos

Mike Hughes I salute you.

It’s a rare opportunity when you can shake the hand of the person who not only planted, but harvested and DELIVERED your fruit and/or veggies to, your, door.  I don’t want to ruin the fantasy I have playing in my head about him digging up my little french radishes, putting them in a cooled green bin and driving them over to me personally just to say hi…but he basically did just that.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.  Doorganics delivered today, thus, these tacos were created from my bin.  Go online, hook up with Doorganics and be pleasantly surprised.  I was.

I give you Doorganics Tacos.

  • 1 tablespoon, vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced ( I used purple)
  • 4 french radishes, finely diced
  • 4 green onions, green parts diced only
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • goat cheese or Daiya to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, both peppers and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until warm-I like ’em crunchy still.  Add zucchini; cook until tender but not mush, 6-10 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, oregano and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 tsp salsa, a few bits of radish, green onion and 1 tsp cheese.  This makes a TON more than 8 tacos worth.  I’m taking it to lunch tomorrow sans shells.

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Saved The Best For Crisp

While making the raspberry jam from the previous post with some of the mushier berries, I couldn’t wait to make this crisp from Ina Garten’s recipe with the perfect berries.  Alas, I opened up the fridge and no butter.  Each of Ina Garten’s and Paula Deen’s recipes begin with butter, so a trip to the store was needed before I could begin, but the outcome was well worth the wait.

You could make this vegan with Earth Balance sticks pretty easily.  I like to over bake the crisp just a little so it’s super crunchy.  It can be baked ahead of time and reheated but who in the world has the willpower to let a hot fruit crisp hangout for future consumption?  Not this girl.

For your immediate consumption, I give you a modified version of Ina’s Peach and Raspberry Crisp, modified for the raspberry lover.

  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 10 by 15 by 2 1/2-inch oval baking dish.

Combine in a large bowl, add the orange zest, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Toss well. Gently mix in the raspberries. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes. If there is a lot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour.   Pour this mixture into the baking dish and smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, and the cold, diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of the raspberries. Bake for 1 hour, until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until warm.

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The Gift That Keeps On Givin’

Mr. Wonderful and I have a very, very large raspberry bush.  Since raspberries last for about 10 seconds after you pick them, I picked a few large batches and then cooked like crazy.  The next few posts are all about the Raspberry.  First up, Raspberry Jam.

  • 4 C mashed fresh raspberries
  • 4 C white sugar

No need for pectin here people, finally a use for the seeds!

Use a VERY large pot, like a dutch oven, add to it the mashed raspberries.  Cook over med-high until the jam reaches a full rolling boil.  Boil x 2 minutes.  Add sugar and stir well.  Bring back to a boil, stirring consistently, boil x 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Beat with rotary beater x 4 minutes.  Pour into jars, either sterile and shelve when proper seal has been achieved, or pop into plastic containers and freeze.

*5# of berries is approximately 9 C crushed berries.

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Independence Day Holiday Weekend = Food Coma

Hello summer!  Nothing screams 4th of July holiday like making a ton of high-calorie food and carting it all over the city visiting friends, drinking adult beverages, and watching small children play with matches.

Mr. Wonderful and I started off the July 4th Holiday weekend relatively healthy with Yin and Yang Salad with Peanut Dressing from The Real Food Daily Cookbook as and it sorta went downhill from there.

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s really just some ingredients used many times…tricky.  Replication of flavors from ginger, garlic and sesame make this dish seem complex and rich, you don’t need to tell anyone you basically had to shop in two aisles, the “ethnic” and produce aisles.

  • 4 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 sleeve soba noodles, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 1 (2 1/2-inch) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned (I used red radish)
  • 10 green onions (white and green parts), julienned
  • 1 cup Peanut-Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes chilled ginger tofu (recipe follows)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Toss the cabbage, carrots, radish, and green onions in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Mound the salad into 4 wide, shallow bowls or onto plates. Arrange the tofu around the salad. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Serves 4.

Dressing:

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves

Ann’s header notes: If you’d like a spicier dressing, just add more crushed red pepper flakes. This thickens up once it’s refrigerated, so you can either add a little water to thin it or leave it thick to use as a sauce on grains and other cooked dishes.

Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the cilantro and blend just until it’s finely chopped The dressing will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Makes abaut 1 1/4 cups.

Gingered Tofu

  • 2 (12-ounce) containers water-packed extra-flrm tofu
  • 2/3 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • I tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • I tablespoon canola oil

Drain the tofu and save the containers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large baking sheet with more dry paper towels. Place the tofu in a single layer over the towels on the baking sheet and let drain for 2 hours, changing the paper towels after 1 hour.

Whisk the tamari, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a bowl to blend. Pour half of the marinade into the reserved tofu containers. Return the tofu slices to the containers, and pour the remaining marinade over. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400’F. Oil a heavy, rimmcd baking sheet with the canola oil. Drain the tofu and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through. Serve warm or cold, or at room temperature. The tofu will keep for 1 day, covered and refrigerated.

Serves 4 to 6.

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Just Because I Didn’t Make It From Scratch, Doesn’t Mean I Couldn’t, It Just Means I Didn’t [want to]

There are certain things I don’t make from scratch because frankly, the effort is not worth the reward:  ice cream, mayo, cheese, tofu, and I NEVER, ever, make my own veg burgers [sidebar: my friend Jon Dunn says to never attempt to make your own vegan tamales, from scratch, and if he makes a statement like that, I absolutely believe him-no tamales will grace my kitchen].  I make everything else from scratch.  I make SALAD DRESSING [granted it’s usually just 2-3 ingredients] for the love of God, from scratch!  The veg burgers in the grocer’s freezer are pretty much delightful so why tamper with perfection?  I’ll tell you why, I ran across these slider buns at Meijer on a recent shopping trip [damn you marketing marvels] and today I find myself making Heidi’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers to take to a holiday party, certainly from scratch…in fact, I just made my own bread crumbs as Meijer in all its greatness, doesn’t sell WHOLE WHEAT breadcrumbs, which I personally think is some kind of hate crime.  I digress, and give you, The Ultimate Veggie Burger recipe:

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  • 2 1/2 cups canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Grated zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try brocolli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts – optional)
  • 1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

Combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a moist mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. I err on the moist side here, because it makes for a nicely textured burger. You can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.

For the sake of time and volume (I doubled this recipe so needed 24 sliders), I baked them on a rimmed sheet pan (heavily greased) at 400 degrees until they were golden brown but not dry (check them every 5-6 minutes, and flip when one side browns).  I kept these in the fridge until I was ready to serve them in the afternoon, then reheated them briefly on a grill top before serving.

Makes 12 mini burgers.

If you plant a herb garden, you better damn well like pesto.

My herbs are staging a coup d’état in the backyard.

I’m striking back with pesto.

One of my fave 101cookbooks.com blog posts is entitled “How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother”.  She’s right.  It’s a brilliant recipe; however, sometimes I do not have 1) pine nut cash allowance (so expensive!), 2) oh, I don’t know 1000 extra calories to inhale a 2 tablespoon mouthful of wonderfulness or 3) time to chop BY HAND (wtf?!) a zillion leaves into a paste-like substance-I guess that’s where the grandmother part comes in for Heidi Swanson’s recipe; grandmothers have lots of extra time for this stuff.

Tonight when I realized my parsley was about to FLOWER for goodness sake, I took it upon myself to hack it all down, grab some garlic and headed to the food processor to make, “Certainly not an Italian Grandmother’s Pesto” while muttering to myself, “it’s a damn good thing I like pesto.”

Pesto from the Fridge

  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large handfuls of something delish and green from your herb garden (could really be anything)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 if you are not interested in vampire protection (TrueBlood starts at the end of the month)
  • 1/4 C good EVOO

**To make this real pesto, add 1/2 C toasted walnuts or pine nuts,  sometimes called Pinons and 1/2 C grated parm cheese to the mix then increase your EVOO as needed to get a nice puree.

Hack down a bunch of your herbs you have been neglecting, use the tender leaf part for the pesto (wash and dry it) and the stems to clean out your garbage disposal, it will make it smell better after you grind them up in there and send them to their new water home.

In a food processor, take the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and all of that beautiful greenery and blend while slowly adding the EVOO.  You might need less than 1/4 C depending on how liquidy you want the pesto.  I like mine a little bit on the dry side.

To store, I take an old ice cube container, spray a little oil in the bottom and on the sides then portion out my pesto in the little wells which happens to make a nice amount of sauce for 2 people when I decide I need a pasta fix; freeze and then pop out and store in a freezer bag.

I have also used this concoction as:

  • Tofu marinade
  • Combined with greek yogurt to make dip, or thinned with water to make salad dressing.
  • Mixed with more EVOO and a dash of balsamic vinegar to create a quick and flavorful vinaigrette.
  • Tossed with pasta and raw veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Tossed with pasta, a little pasta water, goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a yummy dinner.
  • On top of crusty bread for the base for bruschetta or plain as garlic bread.
  • Tossed with saute’d mushrooms.
  • Base for marinated olives and bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) skewers.
  • Base for tortillini soup.
Technically this recipe might be considered a Coulis due to lack of cheese; but whatever the case, it’s a flexible, cheap, quick and yummy way to put that herb garden to use and just about any herb or green will due.  I’ve even used spinach with fantastic results.  Pulling one of these little cubes out of the freezer in February makes my heart remember spring.