Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

What We Eat: Thanksgiving Menu

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I’ll save the sentimental gratitudes for later–right now, we’re talking food.  After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is really about, right (I kid.  But, seriously.)?  Here is our menu for today.  I included a lunch menu this year.  Why?  Well, because most of us don’t eat our holiday meal until 4pm or so.  It isn’t exactly wise to fast all day just to gorge yourself on one meal, yet, we don’t want to be slaving away all day in the kitchen to make two holiday meals either.  What I’ve done is created an easy meal that can be cooking up while you’re getting the real deal going.  I stuck my cheesecake in the oven, got the cranberry sauce going on the stove, and cooked up lunch while I was waiting.  It’s filling enough that you won’t be tempted to overeat at dinner, yet light enough that you won’t still be full when the next meal is ready.

Lunch

Red Lentil Stew with peas

Oven Roasted “B” Potatoes

Apple cider

Dinner

Celebration Field Roast

Cranberry Wild Rice Stuffing with Pepitas

Curried Puree of Sweet Potato

Cranberry Sauce

Vegetable Medley (peas, broccoli, carrots, corn)

Dinner Rolls

Sparkling Pear Juice

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

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Menu: September 21-26, 2010

September 21, 2010

Taking it easy this week…dinners only, lunches are unplanned.  I’m lending a couple of cookbooks to an acquaintance who’s going vegan, and working on my own cookbook, so I’m not really in the mood to follow recipes.  Plus, I’ve quite the backstock of ingredients that I need to clean out of my refrigerator!  So here is this week’s simple menu:

Tuesday: Vegetable Korma over basmati rice, with homemade naan

Wednesday: Vegetable Pot Pies

Thursday: Veggie Quinoa Burgers, potato salad, steamed carrots

Friday: Vegetable Chow Mein with Seitan

Saturday: Paninis, Butternut Squash Soup, and roasted Beet-Carrot Salad

Sunday: Vegan Mac n Cheez, Chili

Menu- September 12-18

September 12, 2010

Since you may be wondering: I stocked up with $20 of veggies the farmer’s market for last week’s menu and managed to get away with a $90 total grocery bill!  Including the groceries we already had at home, that means $90 fed three hungry vegans for an entire week.  That comes to just about $4.5 per meal, or $1.50 per person per meal.  We still have bunches of stuff left over, too, since one farmer gave us no less than 10 cups of kale for our $2, and we got some free veggies from a friend of ours who gardens.

Here’s our menu for this week. You may notice a couple of repeats from the last menu:  that’s because we had a few scheduling issues come up, and had to rearrange some meals.  A couple of my recipes got shoved to this menu instead.  This week I’m taking it easy.  We’re going to be busy so I tried to make lunches easy.

Sunday, September 12

Lunch: Boca Nuggets and homemade Dill-Spiced Cottage Fries

Dinner: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (made using a recipe from 1000 Vegan Recipes) -also making a raw portion

Monday, September 13

Lunch: leftover Lentil Pasties (from last week) and Cabbage Saute

Dinner: Yellow dal with Spinach over rice (1000 Vegan Recipes p263)

Tuesday, September 14

Lunch: Quinoa Burgers with Grilled Mushrooms and steamed green beans

Dinner: Chickpea Cutlets (from Veganomicon), coleslaw, steamed carrots

Wednesday, September 15

Lunch: Boca Chikn Nuggets, leftover cottage fries from Sunday, peas

Dinner: Breakfast for Dinner!  Mushroom Frittata (Vegan With a Vengeance), Oven Roasted Potatoes, fruit smoothies

Thursday, September 16

Lunch: Chickpea Broccoli Casserole (Vegan With a Vengeance) and fresh fruit

Dinner: Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce (VWAV p84), Rice Noodle nests (Wok cookbook), Thai Green Soup (VWAV)

Friday, September 17

Lunch: Smoothies and sandwiches, fresh veggies and Goddess Dressing

Dinner: Seitan and mushroom stroganoff

Saturday, September 18

Lunch: Sicilian rotini with mint-almond pesto

Dinner: Argentinean Vegetable Stew (1000 Vegan Recipes p254) with homemade bread bowls

Sweet and Sour Tofu

November 4, 2009

I’ve been craving some good fake Chinese food lately.  I say fake as in the kind of “Chinese” you get at mall food courts and the buffets that inexplicably also serve french fries and mini corn dogs.  Not authentic, not even really Chinese, just sort of… Asian-esque enough to pass.  Usually I prefer to find quality stuff, but sometimes some junky food is just what hits the spot.

I recently decided to take matters in to my own hands.  I’ve done chow mein and lo mein before, so this time I ventured into the world of sweet and sour “chik’n”.  It doesn’t come out tasting chicken-y (which I view as a good thing), but in terms of satisfying a craving, it does the trick.  The best part?  It’s simple!

Sweet and Sour Tofu

1 block tofu

1 cup Panko (Japanese style bread crumbs)

turmeric, cayenne, black pepper, sage, and garlic powder to taste (I used a generous dash of each)

House of Tsang Sweet and Sour Sauce (yep, I’m too lazy to make my own)

Remove the tofu from its packaging, squeeze as much water out of it as possible, and wrap it in plastic.  Be sure all areas of the tofu are well-covered.  Freeze overnight.

Place tofu in a bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes, pausing after each minute to flip or turn the tofu.  Continue until defrosted (press on the tofu–if it’s not hard anymore, it’s thawed) but be careful not to cook it.  Squeeze all the water out of the tofu; press hard, there’ll be a lot!  Then cut the tofu into 1″ cubes.

Meanwhile, mix the bread crumbs and seasonings.

Dip the tofu in lukewarm water, shake off the excess, then roll in the bread crumb mixture.  Place on to a well-greased pan (I sprayed generously with canola oil).  When all the tofu is in the pan, spray lightly with oil.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until breading begins to turn golden and tofu is firm and crispy.  Turn once or twice during baking time for best results.

Coat tofu in sweet and sour sauce and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Bonus recipe: For sesame tofu, mix sweet and sour sauce with honey (you naughty vegan!) about 3:1 (more sauce than honey), toss the baked tofu in the sauce, coat with sesame seeds, and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until sauce has dried a bit.

Bonus FLOP: I also tried to modify this to make coconut fried tofu (you know, like coconut shrimp).  I froze the tofu and thawed it.  Then I rolled it in a mixture of panko, unsweetened coconut, a little sugar, and ginger.  Then I fried it in Earth Balance.  It tasted pretty good but a lot of the breading came off during frying–I think it would work better with a deep fryer.  I ended up pressing a little extra breading mixture onto the tofu after I fried it.  If you have a deep fryer and try this, let me know how it goes!

Bountiful Harvest Soup

August 28, 2009
Vegetables are yummy.

Vegetables are yummy.

I hesitate to make any sort of broth-based soup into a recipe–I find that with recipes in front of them, people lose their sense of creativity.  Some of my friends (who shall remain unnamed) follow their cookbooks so religiously that they will even add in spices they don’t like; they’re afraid that if they stray from the recipe, their soup pots will explode or something. It’s frustrating for me to share a kitchen with these types, since I’m the kind of rebellious gal who guesstimates even in baking (which is such a science that forgetting to measure any ingredient is a downright sin, at least according to the culinary gurus).

Anyway, I don’t know that I’ve ever used an actual recipe for a soup, save for the creamy types that are a little more finicky.  I’ll attempt to give you some estimates here, for the sake of those new to the kitchen, but keep in mind that I really just slice, dice, and toss produce haphazardly into the pot.  I won’t even try to give you measurements for the spices, because that’s just silly.  If you like sage, add sage for goodness’ sake!

Bountiful Harvest Soup

Perfect for late summer when the farmers’ markets are teeming with excitement and vibrant color, this soup will warm you up on a rainy afternoon.  Add or remove vegetables as you please according to what you have in your kitchen.

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil

4 stalks celery, sliced

Cracked black pepper (invest in a mill, you won’t regret it)

3 carrots, sliced

1 head broccoli (use florets with up to 1″ stems)

6-8 cups vegetable stock (I’m too lazy to make my own so I use water and add Better Than Bouillon)

1/2 cup red lentils

1 Tb agave nectar

3 Tb flaxseed meal

1 bunch kale, chopped

Seasonings to taste: salt, sage, chili/cayenne, parsley, thyme, cinnamon, etc.

Sesame seeds (garnish)

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium.  Add garlic and onion and sautee 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.  Add celery and cracked pepper.  Wait 3 minutes and add carrots and broccoli.  Saute 5 minutes or until carrots have become bright, then add stock (if using water, bring to a gentle boil and stir in bouillon).  Bring to a boil and add lentils.  When lentils have softened (6-8 minutes), add agave, flax, and seasonings.  Stir occasionally.  Heat over medium-high until carrots are soft and lentils have cooked (some will disintegrate and help thicken the broth).  Add kale and stir; cover and simmer on medium-low for 5 minutes (up to 15 minutes depending on how hungry you are).  Pour into serving bowls, placing a mound of kale off-center, and garnish with sesame seeds.  Serve with soft bread such as pita, or with crackers.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!