Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rose Parade

As a member of the Post Punk Kitchen forums, I hear about all the great new vegan cookbooks as they come out. Someone is always rushing out to pick up a copy and make something from it. Many members are cookbook and cookzine authors themselves which gives you an even greater resource as you can ask the author your questions or comment directly. The book of my obsession over the last week is one of those very books.

Yellow Rose Recipes by Joanna Vaught is a great book for people who love good food and don't want to take all day making it. This book came about through her blog of the same name, definitely check it out for updates on her next delicious cookbook and additional recipes. I have not made all the recipes, yet. Have a look at some of the tasties I have made.

Chana Masala with Lemon Rice. I added spinach to this because I felt in need of some green. It was far too delicious (even though I shook my hand a little too hard when I was adding the spice and dumped a bit too much in). Chickpeas are good for everything, they just are. And this rice, what can I say, it was bright with scents and flavors of lemon but also smooth and almost a touch of creaminess to it.
The base of this plate o'deliciousness is Penne Alfredo. Encircling are Cajun Spiced Tofu fingers. I could have eaten the penne on it's own for a couple meals easily but sometimes the husband needs a bit more. This is where the spiced tofu came in. These two were a match made in heaven and the leftovers were a welcome lunch treat the next day.

Most days I am getting home from work at the time I'd like to be eating dinner. Although living out of a crockpot is a possibility I am not talented enough with it to keep it interesting at the moment. This pot of Pasta E Fagioli was just the ticket. It came together quite quickly and didn't take every last bit of my waning energy to prepare. Far from it really. On top you'll notice was looks like a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. "What the heck?" you say "Isn't she vegan?" Yes, yes I am. That's not parm. Joanna was kind enough to include an excellent recipe for a Vegan Parmesan that is quite enjoyable and really completes this dish.
Now I'm new to these crazy southern traditions like "mess o'greens" and "texas caviar" but I'm adventurous enough to give them a whirl. Enter Lemon Pepper Chard and Texas Caviar. I see these as wonderful barbecue accompaniments. They just taste like summer, bright, a bit tart, cool. These will be back when we start firing up the grill in a month or so.
In the book, Joanna mentions making these Sesame Green Beans for her boyfriends family the first time she met them. They loved them and pestered her for the recipe. Often reading accounts like this we super impose our own little, "yeah sure they did" thoughts. I now know I would have been in that badgering group of recipe beggars. These beans drove me to pick up more green bean seeds to grow, I need more beans!
This plate holds five separate recipes which testifies to the modularity of these dishes. In the foreground you see Braised Cauliflower. I know there are a lot of haters out there but I beg of you to give it just one more try. This cauliflower came out great on it's own but I took the suggestion in the book notes to try it with Lemon Tahini Dressing. The dressing is great, I've been pouring it here and there on food ever since. Next to that is a Mustard Crusted Seitan cutlet, I used Joanna's Simple Chicken Style Seitan to make the cutlets but you could buy some seitan if you'd rather not make it yourself. This is the second time I've made this seitan. It will not be the last. Finally in the background you can barely see the Stuffed Twice Baked Potato. This can be a meal in itself but true to my style I like to make a lot of food when I can (it keeps the frige full of leftovers and the hubby happy).

Now onto sweet things. First make Oatmeal Cookies, toss in some raisins or chocolate chips if you like but they are by no means necessary.
Then continue on with the recipe making the cream filling for Oatmeal Cream Pies. Now I am a devout chocolate lover but these cookies, pies, sammies, whatever they are, are amazing little cakes of joy.
Oh and if you want to continue your Yellow Rose Recipes fun into the morning hours there recipes for that too. Here I made the Cherry Almond Granola. I have never made granola before but I surely will make it much more often now.
That's enough Yellow Rose fun for now. I'll be making more, you can be sure of that.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tonight's dinner was crazy good, dispite it's weirdness in places. Scalloped potatoes, beet salad which will hence forth be called weird beets, and crusted tofu with horseradish mustard sauce. The scalloped potatoes relied on tahini for it's creaminess, yummy taters. The beets, are they vegetables or fruit? You really wonder after eating these. The combination of beets, pineapple, walnuts and a little garlic for fun is actually really tasty. Now the tofu, crazy good.
Herb Crusted Tofu with Horseradish Mustard Sauce

16oz extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 4 1/2" "steaks"
2 Tb corn starch & 4 Tb water
1-2 Tb vegetable oil, for frying
1 8oz container plain soy yogurt
2 Tb Coarse Ground Mustard
1 tsp agave (or sweetener of your choice)
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp dried dill
Crust Coating
1/3 c matzoh meal (or fine bread crumbs)
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside. In another small bowl combine crust ingredients. Spread evenly on a plate and set aside. Combine water and cornstarch in wide shallow dish. Set up your dishes next to the stove, cornstarch, crust, pan. Heatoil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat each slice of tofu with cornstarch mixture, crust coating and place in the skillet. Cook until crispy, about 3-4 minutes, flip to cook other side. Transfer slices to plates and drizzle with sauce. Or just scoop on that sauce, yeah it's that good.

Dinner tonight was brought to you by:
Rabbi's Roots Horseradish
This is the first time I've used this in a recipe other than a bloody mary. It's great stuff. In the recipe the heat of the horseradish blended really well with the rest of the ingredients, not providing too much heat, just that little something.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Burgers & Bundts

It was a Veganomicon kind of night tonight. I wanted something quick. I used up all my creative and happy energies at work. I needed simple and tasty. I settled on Vcon's Black Bean Burgers with lettuce, tomato, red pepper, and peanut sauce.
As we can see, Lex needed two.
These were great. As anyone who has made a veggie burger from scratch knows getting them to hold together is the biggest challenge. These are the most stable burgers I have ever made and so easy! They are the perfect basic burger as they are, able to take on any sauce, any spice. I will indeed be making these again.

And for dessert. Oh yes dessert. I can't behave for more than a day at a time. Vcon's Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake. I used my mini bundt pan because it is oh so cute and because I don't have a regular sized bundt.
This was delicious! So moist and cakey. I would have been safe from eating this little bute if Lex hadn't received a new bike part to fit on his motorcycle so he was at the shop and I was left to my own devices in the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tropical Tempeh

Tempeh is a delicious thing, even more so when you can buy local. Exhibit A:
Rhapsody Tempeh is from Montpelier, VT and is available in 8oz and 3lb packages. The best thing about this delicious package is, not only are you buying a local organic product but it costs exactly the same as the Lightlife tempeh. I have never visited their cafe (in fact I didn't know they had one until I searched for their website) but I will next time we can't think of anything to do on a day off. But really, when you think of Vermont, you don't think tempeh. It's pretty great.

If you're new to tempeh or maybe never had it before this is a good first recipe. The coconut makes it creamy while the lime gives is a bright summery flavor. The sauce for this dish will transport you to a tropical island. Perfect for this time of year when we have had enough of winter but winter isn't ready to release it's grip just yet. Serve this over rice.

Coconut Lime Tempeh with Green Beans & Macadamias
1 cup coconut milk
Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 large shallot, thinly sliced
3 Tb brown sugar
1 Tb minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne

The rest
8oz tempeh, cut into 1/4" slices then 3/4" pieces
8oz green beans, ends trimmed then cut in half
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tb soy sauce
2 Tb chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Stir together sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Place tempeh in bowl and gently stir to cover all pieces. Use a 9x13" pan (glass recommended) to spread out tempeh and shallot pieces. Reserve leftover sauce, set aside. Bake tempeh 20 minutes, until tempeh starts to brown and sauce in the pan is bubbling. Remove from oven and keep warm until needed.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and saute beans about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 3 more minutes. Stir in garlic and heat for another 1 minute. Stir soy sauce into reserved sauce mixture and add to pan, heat through. Add in baked tempeh and gently toss to mix and heat through. Serve over rice.