Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Wild Rice, Wild Mushrooms!

May 13, 2010

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Morel mushrooms this week, and spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to use them.  I felt as if it would be wasting my first Morel experience to just batter and deep fry them like so many people do.  I looked up some recipes, like this one, this one, and this whole page of ’em, and finally decided to just use those recipes as inspiration for my own.  Here’s what I came up with:

Wild Rice Pilaf featuring Morel Mushrooms

6-8 fresh Morel mushrooms (see prep tips below)

Earth Balance and olive oil for frying

1 yellow onion, diced

1/2 cup green peas

3 cloves garlic

2 stems fresh tarragon

1 bay leaf

1 cup wild rice (see prep tips below)

1/3 block Silken tofu (approx. 4 oz)

3 Tb plain soy creamer

1 tsp brown rice vinegar

spices to taste:  curry powder, black pepper, sea salt, sage, paprika, red pepper flakes, powdered garlic

To prepare mushrooms: Fill a bowl with warm water and stir in some table salt until it dissolves (sea salt typically doesn’t work as well as table salt).  Slice each mushroom in half lengthwise, remove any creatures you see living in the hollow inside, and place the mushrooms in the salt water.  Leave overnight or at least 1 hour.  Drain through mesh strainer and place on paper towels or lint-free kitchen towels to dry.  Slice into bite-size pieces, or leave mushrooms whole if they are small enough.

To prepare wild rice:  In a Corningware or other such oven-safe casserole dish, place 1 cup wild rice.  Cover with 2 cups water.  Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of Earth Balance.  Cover, place in 375 degree oven and bake 40 minutes or until all water has been absorbed and rice is fully cooked.  Fluff with fork.

To prepare pilaf: Drizzle olive oil in pan and warm.  Mince garlic and place in frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent.  Add 2 Tbs Earth Balance and allow to melt.  Stir in rice vinegar.  Add mushrooms and bay leaf.  Saute 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add peas and wild rice.  Stir in spices as desired (I used approximately 1/2 tsp curry powder, and pinches of paprika, red pepper flake, black pepper, and garlic powder).  Reduce to medium-low (for reference, I put my stove on the 4 mark, 9 is the highest) and saute 10-12 minutes until mushrooms are fragrant and soft.

To prepare sauce:

Heat soy creamer over medium heat and add tofu.  Heat 2 minutes, then use an immersion blender to puree the tofu into oblivion.  Add fresh tarragon, paprika, and black pepper.  Stir into pilaf.

To serve as pictured:

On a salad plate, place a 2″ biscuit form.  Use a teaspoon to fill the biscuit form with pilaf, and press firmly to completely fill.  Let sit 2 minutes.  Gently tug on the form, pulling straight up, to create a cylindrical form.  Arrange a stem of fresh tarragon and a Morel mushroom nearby.  Drizzle any leftover sauce on top of the pilaf stack.



One Pan Wonders: French Onion Pinwheels

April 5, 2010

Today I’m going to start a new feature called One Pan Wonders.  This category will highlight recipes that require–you guessed it–only one bowl, pot or pan.

French Onion Pinwheels

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package and unrolled

4 green onions, thinly sliced (just the green parts)

2 oz fresh green spinach, chopped (a small chop is best)

4 oz Tofutti cream cheese (French Onion flavor)

Oil for spraying

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Unroll puff pastry on a cutting board or lightly floured countertop.  Spread cream cheese over the entire piece of dough, spreading evenly.  Mix onions and spinach together, and spread over top of dough.  Roll up dough (lengthwise if you want many pinwheels, widthwise if you want big pinwheels).  Use a serrated knife to slice to desired thickness.  Lay pinwheels flat on a lightly greased cookie sheet and spray lightly with olive or vegetable oil.  Bake 15 minutes, flip, and cook another 5-10 minutes until golden.

Breakfast Bites

March 25, 2010

Craving a Danish but just don’t have the energy to make frosting and cream cheese filling?  These dandy little treats will satisfy without taking all morning.  Best part?  They only take one pan!

Breakfast Bites

1 package refrigerated crescent roll dough

1/4 cup apricot preserves (I used Bonne Maman)

sprinklings of cinnamon sugar, cardamom, and ginger

3 Tb unsweetened dried coconut

slivered almonds, optional

Butter-flavored spray or vegetable oil spray

Preheat oven to 375 and lightly spray a cookie sheet.  Separate crescent roll dough into the preformed triangles.  Roll each triangle into a ball and mush it, then flatten it into a disk shape about 1/4″ thick (thinner is fine).  Spread fruit preserves over each disk.  Sprinkle with cardamom (go easy!), ginger, and cinnamon-sugar.  Sprinkle coconut (and slivered almonds, if using) on top.  Bake until golden and puffy.  Serve warm with tea, milk, or coffee!

Quinoa Salad

March 3, 2010

This salad, served warm or chilled, is even better the next day.  Try it alone, stuffed in a pepper or tomato, or as an accompaniment to glazed tempeh.  It’s an easy and delicious way to get the family to try quinoa!

1 cup red quinoa, cooked (use a 1:2 quinoa to water ratio, bring to boil, turn down heat and cook 10-15 minutes)

1/4 purple onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 tomato, chopped

3 Tbs corn

3 Tbs peas

4 Tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp lime juice

cracked black pepper, sage, garlic salt to taste

To make: Cook quinoa.  Add in pepper, tomato, onion, peas, and corn.  In a separate container, mix soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, and seasonings.  Toss dressing in with salad and let chill 30 minutes.

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!

Oops! Thrifty Tuesday- Quesadillas

October 20, 2009

Well, it seems my worst predictions for the month have happened!  Things have been ridiculously weird this month–I got in a car accident, for one–and I’ve been left with far less time to post than I would have liked.  I’ll try to make up for it!

Here’s an easy recipe for the days when you really don’t have the time or patience to make anything.

Tex Mex Quesadilla

2 Tb guacamole

1 Tb salsa–the chunky stuff, like Newman’s Own Farmer’s Market Salsa

2 Tb frozen corn

3 Tb black beans (if from a can, rinse them first)

1 Tb diced onion

2 fajita-size flour tortillas

Heat a frying pan over medium and spray with vegetable oil.  Spread all ingredients over tortilla, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edges, and sandwich together (I recommend putting the salsa on one side, the guac on the other, and sprinkling all the other stuff on one side, then smooshing the two tortillas together–this helps them stick the best).  Fry until tortilla is golden brown, then flip and repeat.  Use a pizza cutter to slice into pieces.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, or Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream for dipping!

Tofu Scramble

September 18, 2009

This is probably the best tofu scramble I’ve made to date.  It doesn’t photograph well, but it sure tastes good!  It took me a while to get over my fear of tofu, but now I love it.  It’s useful for a lot of things, and if you blend it into desserts or smoothies, it’s an easy way to hide protein.  Tofu scramble doesn’t taste exactly like eggs, so don’t expect that.  But it has the same texture and it’s equally delicious.  Promise.



Tofu Scramble

1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled (press the tofu over the sink to get the excess water out)

1 Tb olive oil

Seasonings:  black pepper, cumin, curry powder (small amount), mustard

2 Tb Vegenaise (I refuse to use any other brand…preferably, get the grapeseed kind)

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat the oil on medium in a large fry pan.  Crumble the tofu into the pan and stir frequently as it cooks.  Mix in Vegenaise and lemon juice and add seasonings to taste.  I recommend about a tablespoon of mustard, a few cracks of the pepper mill, maybe a teaspoon of cumin and half a teaspoon of curry (these are estimates!).  Fry 8-10 minutes or until hot and firm.  If you choose, mix in some fresh cilantro.  Serve with your favorite breakfast foods!

Farewell to Summer

September 6, 2009
yummy portabella burger

yummy portabella burger

I picked up some local sweet corn at the co-op a few days ago but couldn’t decide what to make with it.  Sweet corn is especially sweet in Minnesota; I haven’t had it quite as good anywhere else, so I wanted to make a meal that captured the spirit of summer in the midwest.  It needed to be simple, comforting, and traditional.

What I ended up choosing was a combination of my favorite summer foods from childhood.  Portabella burgers, fresh watermelon and corn on the cob, baked beans, and a not-too-sweet shortbread for dessert.

Of course you don’t need recipes for watermelon or corn on the cob, so here are some ideas for the rest.  Again, you know me–measurements are approximate and completely up to your creative influence.

First up: Portabella Burgers for Two

two portabella mushrooms, stems removed

1 Tb soy sauce

1 tsp barbeque sauce

sprinkles cracked pepper, oregano, sage, thyme, celery seed

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (lemon juice may be substituted)

olive oil

Combine the soy sauce, barbeque sauce, apple cider vinegar and seasonings in a cup or small bowl.  Add olive oil until the marinade reaches a thin enough consistency to pour (approx. 1 tbs).  Pour half the marinade into a shallow, wide dish (like a pie pan) and spread it around.  Place the mushrooms in the dish and wet the tops of the mushrooms, leaving them gill-side up.  Pour the remainder of the marinade over the gills of the mushrooms and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat.  Cook one mushroom at a time, frying each mushroom 5-6 minutes per side.  The mushrooms will turn dark in color but should not burn, and they will shrink up a bit and become tender.  Press the mushrooms with a spatula before removing from the fry pan, to squeeze excess marinade from them.  Place on a firm toasted bun or bread (such as ciabatta) topped with Vegenaise, tomato slices, lettuce or chard, and a few rings of fresh onion.

Note: the bread is really important!  In the photo, I used a regular sandwich bread, which got soggy after a few minutes.  The mushrooms remain moist even after cooking, so use a thick, firm bread.

Baked Beans

This isn’t so much a recipe as a little tweak to an already-made product.

1 family-size can vegetarian baked beans

1/4 block tempeh bacon (use the pre-made tempeh bacon or make your own)

2 Tb brown sugar

1 tsp molasses

1 tsp maple syrup (no cheating! use the real stuff)

Heat the baked beans over medium heat.  When they begin to bubble, add the tempeh bacon in crumbles.  Mix in the brown sugar, molasses and syrup.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 15 minutes to let the flavors soak in.

Blueberry Shortbread

1 Cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (two sticks), softened

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use a 50-50 combination of wheat and unbleached)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Guittard semi-sweet, they are among the highest quality vegan chips available)

granulated sugar

Using a pastry cutter, combine the butter and powdered sugar, adding the flour and other ingredients after the butter is in small chunks.  Use your hands to finish mixing the ingredients–it should be crumbly and a little on the dry side.  Try to get the butter into as small of pieces as possible without creaming it.  Gently mix in blueberries and chocolate chips.  Press into an 8×8 pan (glass, preferably), sprinkle granulated sugar on top, and bake at 340 until golden.  Insert a toothpick into the center to test for doneness.  Use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes, or simply cut into bars.

Southwest Breakfast Skillet

August 31, 2009

I make this once or twice a week when I’m looking for a hearty breakfast.  Get a little protein and a vegetable serving in as you start your day!  This recipe serves two hungry people, or four if you serve it with a side of fruit.

1 block Westsoy Tempeh

4 Cups southern-style hashbrowns (the ones in little cubes)

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 ear corn (remove the kernels of course) or roughly 1/2 cup of frozen corn

1 Cup salsa (I use my mom’s garden salsa, but any chunky salsa will do)

black pepper, cumin, and ground chili to taste (optional: fresh cilantro)

1/2 yellow onion, diced

vegetable oil for frying

In a cast iron skillet, heat oil to coat the bottom.  Crumble the tempeh into bite size pieces and add the onion and corn.  Saute until onion is translucent.  Add the pepper and the potatoes.  Continue to heat and stir until the potatoes are hot all the way through, then stir in the salsa and add seasonings as desired.  Heat until the salsa is warm, then serve.

For leftovers or just a variation, try scooping some of this mixture into a warm tortilla, or baking it into enchiladas (mix in some taco sauce, roll filling into tortillas, line up in a pan and cover with enchilada sauce, and bake).  Or make it into a tex-mex pizza by layering the filling in your skillet, alternating sauce, tortillas and filling, and placing the whole skillet in your oven.  Any way you make it, it’s tasty!

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.