Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday roundup

I've been too swamped to post lately, but here are my favorite goodies I made for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Happy New Year!

Pumpkin Cheesecake
From the
Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen (Thanks!)

I upped the pumpkin to 2/3 cup and made the following gingersnap crust:

2 cups (about 44 snaps) finely crushed gingersnaps
1/4 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted

In a mixing bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs, sugar, and margarine. Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or 9-inch springform pan.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes, until the cookies smell toasty. Remove from the oven, cool, and fill with the pumpkin cheesecake recipe

P.S. I didn't tell my granddad that this was vegan, and he loved it!

Swedish Ginger Cookies
from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies

You can find the recipe from this classic cookbook over at Feeding my Enthusiasms. (Thanks!)

To make the cookies vegan, leave out the egg from the dough and replace the butter with margarine such as Earth Balance.

The cookies pictured here were decorated with royal icing according to the original recipe (using egg whites). My sister decorated the beautiful cookie above based on a wooden Swedish horse, and I decorated the plate below. Small cinnamon candies or sprinkles are fun additions as well.
(My mom made the dough and icing, my sister and I rolled out and baked a few batches, and then several of us tried our hand at decorating.)

Here is a variation to make vegan icing:

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons soymilk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons corn syrup

Mix ingredients together until smooth. Spoon into a prepared pastry bag fitted with a tip, or in a pinch, use a zip-lock bag with a small corner cut off. The dough and frosting will keep a day or two sealed tightly in the fridge.

Finally, on Christmas Day I made a delicious re-run of Simple Mushroom Risotto, this time with chopped chanterelles and baby portobellas:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mushroom risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite cold-weather foods. I recently stopped eating dairy, and risotto has a lovely, creamy taste without the need for cheese or cream. This risotto is easy to make and to doctor up. You could add white beans and pine nuts; shelled edamame and walnuts; or wilted spinach or chard.

Recipe: Simple Mushroom Risotto
2 Tb. olive oil or other oil

5 stalks scall
ions, white and green parts, chopped
8 -12 oz. portobella mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
a few fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Add-ins (e.g. white beans, pine nuts, edamame, spinach)

Cook the mushrooms and scallions thoroughly in a skillet on medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or deep cast-iron skillet, cook the garlic in the oil until just beginning to brown, on medium heat. Also set the broth on high heat in a covered saucepan. Once it boils, turn heat down to a simmer.

Add the arborio rice into the pan with the oil and garlic. Stir until grains are coated. Add wine and cook until mostly absorbed.

Next, add hot broth into the rice mixture about a cup at a time. Between additions, stir the risotto frequently until most of the liquid is
absorbed. Then continue to add more broth. A ladle is good for this.

When the mushrooms and scallions are cooked, stir them into the rice mixture. (Alternately, you can puree the mushrooms and add them to the risotto before serving, which is what I did in these photos.)

When you've added all the broth to the rice, the grains should be al dente and have expanded quite a bit. The risotto will have thickened noticeably. This usually takes at least half an hour.

Enjoy the risotto hot with sprigs of sage and additional vegetables, beans or nuts. You can add cheese if you like. Risotto is fairly dense and filling, so it's nice with a green side dish such as salad. Roasted pumpkin
could also be nice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tortilla treats

In the last week I discovered a new favorite way to use leftovers from a Mexican restaurant, plus an odd but tasty variation on quesadillas.

& Black Tacos

For each taco you will need:

1 large tortilla (whole wheat or corn)
1/2 cup black beans (I used leftovers from a Mexican restaurant, or you can season your own)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (optional)
1/4 medium zucchini, chopped in
to small cubes and cooked (I cheated microwaved it briefly; this worked fine)
1/4 avocado, mashed

Layer black beans, zucchini and cheese over one half of tortilla. Fold in half and bake for about 8 minutes in preheated toaster oven, or in a skillet on medium heat. When filling is hot and tortilla is golden brown, add mashed avocado and eat.

Tempeh PIzza-dilla
For each pizza-dilla you will need:
3-4 slices tempeh, cooked in a skillet or toaster oven until slightly browned and crisp
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 large whole wheat tortilla
Let tempeh cool briefly, then crumble into small pieces with your hands. Mix together tempeh bits, sauce and cheese. Spread mixture over half of tortilla, sprinkle liberally with oregano and fold over. Cook for a few minutes on each side in a skillet on medium heat. Cut in half and enjoy.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not set in stone

My favorite thing about making homemade pizza is that no two batches are alike. Each brand of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese has a different flavor and consistency. Each variety of flour, whether white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, unbleached, King Arthur, Bob's Red Mill or Trader Joe's, has a different amount of protein and moisture.

The dough also handles differently and has a different texture based on how long you let the dough rise and at what temperature. Finally, you introduce more variation when you bake the pizza -- do you prebake the crust, use a pizza stone or a metal pan? All this is not to mention toppings.

My basic recipe doesn't change, but it's gotten even easier with the use of instant yeast and a
pizza stone.

Last week I made delicious pizza with my new pizza stone by placing the stone on the lowest rack in the oven and then preheating to a high temperature (480).

Recipe: Basic Pizza Dough

2 cups flour (I used all white whole wheat flour, which is a whole grain flour made from white wheat instead of red. The dough cracked a little at the edges while rolling out but had a very nice flavor.)
3 Tb. olive oil

3/4 c. warm water
(not hot)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. instant yeast (or one package active dry yeast, stirred into the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes)

You will also need:
A rolling pin
Extra flour and olive oil
A clean dish towel
Parchment paper if using a pizza stone

Preheat oven to 425 if you're using a metal pizza pan. If you have a stone, place it on the lowest rack in the oven and preheat to a higher temperature.

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large mixing bowl. (You can use a food processor if you prefer.)

Once you've mixed the ingredients together into a fairly smooth ball, pour a little olive oil into the mixing bowl, roll the ball in it to coat, and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with a dish towel and leave in a warm place to rise, for up to an hour. You can also make dough the day before you plan to use it; just cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate instead of leaving it out to rise.

Sprinkle a clean countertop or pizza mat with flour, flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough into a circle about 14" in diameter. Dust the top with cornmeal, then flip onto your pan or stone (so the cornmeal side faces down). If using a stone, it helps to put the dough on parchment paper on a large cookie sheet or peel. Then you can slide the dough and parchment off the peel onto the hot stone without burning yourself.

I prebaked the crust for 4-5 minutes, then topped with marinara sauce, sliced Roma tomatoes, sliced kalamata olives and mozzarella cheese. Then I baked for another 8-9 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly. Baking times will depend a lot on your oven and how well-done you like your pizza. Buon provecho!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Random photos: What I've been noshing on

A lot of what I eat isn't terribly exciting, particularly when I'm very hungry or eating alone, but I still enjoy it (and enjoy taking pictures of it).

Home-fried potatoes with crushed garlic and oregano

Baby romaine with red grapes, feta, balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil

Cucumber and cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread

Sprouted wheat pappardelle with marinara, kalamata olives and broccoli

Five-ingredient stir-fry

A few months ago I posted a stir-fry meal that took a long time to prepare and dirtied many pots and pans. Needless to say, most nights I don't feel like waiting near the kitchen for 45 minutes while brown rice cooks.

So this week I threw together a few ingredients I had in the fridge and pantry, managed to only get one pan dirty (the wok) and ended up with a nice, simple stir-fry. I didn't even miss the rice (anyhow, the tempeh I used was Lightlife's Three-Grain variety, with barley, millet and rice).

Recipe: Five-Ingredient, One-Dish Stir-Fry

  • One 8-oz. package tempeh, sliced thickly
  • About 2-3 cups fresh green beans, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • One small zucchini, sliced
  • Crushed or chopped peanuts
  • Pre-made sauce (such as teryaki sauce)
You could easily substitute broccoli, baby corn, eggplant, snow peas, carrots or Chinese cabbage for the vegetables -- whatever you have on hand that seems to go well together.

I cooked everything on medium-high heat in a small amount of oil in a large wok, adding the green beans first, then the tempeh and zucchini, finally the sauce and peanuts, stirring frequently and using a large lid over the ingredients to facilitate cooking/steaming. You can add a bit of water as necessary and let it cook off.

Like most stir-fry, this is pretty good left over but only for about a day.