Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dinner Italian Style

I have three recipes for you from our huge Sunday Italian style dinner. I cooked a lot, too much really, but I like for Chase to go home with plenty of leftovers. We had beer bread, tofu, spaghetti squash with creamy tomato sauce, risotto, and fudge cake. I baked everything but the sauce which made it a super easy and delicious meal. And it was a cold and dreary Sunday, so keeping the oven going all day was A-OK.

Many of the women in my family are going through our recipe collections to try to get a family cookbook together. These recipes are some I found in my collection. They are old, they were easily made vegan, and they turned out terrific.

First, a little music before dinner.

Beer Bread – This recipe is very similar to the one Happy Herbivore posted recently, but not as healthy. It baked up beautifully and Chase couldn’t get enough of it.

Beer Bread

Makes one 8 x 5 loaf

1-1/2 cups AP flour
1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 can beer, room temperature (but not flat)
2 T. melted margarine

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar together. Add in beer. Stir for 30 strokes. Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Pour melted margarine over top – this gives it a crispy crust. Bake for one hour. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

Italian Baked Tofu – This was the first time in a long long time I really missed being able to eat tofu. It smelled and looked so delicious, and Chase loved it.

I don’t have a marinade recipe, but I always start with store bought Italian dressing and white wine, then just see what else is in the fridge and spice cabinet I feel like adding.

Spaghetti Squash – When I flipped the halves over to bake the last 10 minutes, I saw that I had forgotten to scoop out the seeds! So I scooped them out and finished baking, with no harm done, whew…

Creamy Tomato Sauce – No recipe, just my favorite tomato sauce recipe to which I added white beans pureed with a little milk until smooth and creamy.

Baked Risotto – Well you know I’ve been baking my rice dishes, so I was thrilled to find this recipe. It was not as creamy as true risotto, but it sure was easy!

Baked Risotto

Serves 4

2 T. margarine
1 small onion, diced
¾ cup Arborio rice
1 cup vegetable broth
¾ cup white wine
1 cup carrots
1 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
2 T. Italian seasoning

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil a 9 x 9 baking dish.

Melt margarine in skillet. Add onion and cook until soft. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

(I didn’t really like the pomegranate in this. And I would have preferred mushrooms in it, but no one likes them but me. Any veggies of your choosing would work, and nuts or raisins could sub for the pomegranate.)

Of course steamed broccoli was served as well. Here is my plate.

And here is Chase’s plate. I was afraid I didn’t have enough spaghetti squash so I made some *regular* noodles too, which you can see under the squash noodles.

I don’t know where the above two recipes originated, but dessert comes from my great aunt Sue. Aunt Sue died a long time ago, but I will always remember what a lovely lovely lady she was, full of Southern grace, and of course a fabulous cook. My recipe card merely has a list of ingredients and some sketchy instructions, so here is my vegan version of….

Aunt Sue’s Fudge Cake

Makes 9 servings

½ cup melted margarine or coconut oil
5 scant T. cocoa
1 cup sugar (I used ½ ZSweet and it was not grainy at all!)
¾ cup AP flour
½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
2 EnerG eggs
½ cup chopped nuts (I used unsalted peanuts)
½ tub ricemellow
chocolate frosting (I used melted vegan nutella)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Light oil an 8 x 8 pan.

In a medium bowl stir together margarine, cocoa, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in eggs and mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread into pan. Bake 22 minutes. Remove from oven and top with ricemellow. Bake 3 minutes more. Let cool. Top with favorite frosting.

I made mine in a to-go pan so Chase would take it away from me, because I remembered how much I loved this gooey treat.

It is soooo good.

Chocolate, peanuts, marshmallows, and more chocolate – who wouldn’t love it!!!

I’m off to Alabama to visit my sister and her family, so I’ll be away for a while. I don’t have a laptop, but I’ll visit your blogs when I get a chance. Please leave comments and please let me know if you try any of the recipes!

One more thing, remember the Razzcherries I blogged about? Everybody I’ve shared them with has gone CRAZY for them! I’m taking some to Alabama too. You must try them! Texas readers, I got mine from the bulk bin at Central Market.



Gina said...

Holy cake. That looks fantastic. I can't even use exclamation points, this is really serious business. I must make that next time I make cake.


Everything looks good, really. The tofu, the baked risotto. Yum!

Amey said...

wow, what a fun post. Nice idea to go through the old family recipes... I'm curious about your baked rice. I've never tried that. Is there an advantage to baking it? Tonight, for some reason, it's the beer bread that most catches my eye... mmmm! have fun with your sister!

Catherine said...

Good lord . . . gooey goodness.

That beer bread looks fantastic, too! Any ideas for what I could use in place of the beer? (We don't drink . . . would regular fizzy water work, or would there maybe not be enough flavor? Hmm.)

VeganCowGirl said...

You are so awesome! you always offer the vegan blogging world SO much good food.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I could totally go for some spaghetti right now. THere's something so comforting about that dish and I haven't had it in a long time.

Aunt Sue's cake looks out of this world. I can't seem to find ricemellow though. :(

jd said...

All of that food looks amazing, but I'm particularly smitten with that baked risotto! What a cool (& delicious-sounding) recipe...


VeggieGirl said...

So fun that Chase provided a little musical entertainment before the big feast!! :-D

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Chase is the luckiest guy in the world!

Have fun in Alabama :o)

shellyfish said...

I don't know where to start - it all looks so amazing! And how nice to have some music to cook by!

allularpunk said...

oooooh, awesome foods! that fudge cake looks so amazing...i want! i've never been able to find ricemellow around here though. maybe something else could work? the beer bread sounds fabulous too! it looks a little fluffier than the loaf i made from the happyherbivore recipe. i'll give yours a try :) chase is certainly lucky to have you!

Adriana said...

Question re: Beer Bread - Can I use regular whole wheat flour instead of white wheat flour? What type of beer can be used? For instance the only beer in my fridge right now is Newcastle.

Melody Polakow said...

Have a great visit!

jessy said...

oh my goodess! thanks for all the rock'n recipes! everything looks amazing! mmmmmmmm! beer bread + herby tofu + spaghetti squash + risotto AND FUDGE CAKE!?! it's all too much awesomeness! yay!

the fudge cake looks amazing, and i'm really digging the risotto as well. i have totally forgotten to de-seed a squash in my day - glad they came out alright for you!

have fun in Alabama!

aTxVegn said...

For those of you with questions about the beer bread:
* Yes, you can use regular whole wheat flour instead of white whole wheat flour.
* It doesn't matter what brand of beer you use. I used Bud Light.
* I don't drink either, but my mom told me I should always keep some beer around, so I do. The beer is what gives the bread a yeast flavor, without it being a yeast bread. You could use tonic or soda in its place and give your bread a different flavor.

And honestly, it's the melted margarine poured all over it that makes this bread so good.

Have fun!
- Diann

Erica said...

Wait, did I read that right? Are you eating soy again?

aTxVegn said...

No, Erica! I only smelled and admired the tofu. I wouldn't dare eat it.

Bianca said...

I'd be salivating over that tofu too! And that fudge cake! OMG!

Family cookbooks are the best. My mom's side made one a few years back and I got to submit some recipes. I'm sure all my old great-aunts were like, "what's vegan?"

miss v said...

that baked risotto sounds really good.

Meg Wolff said...

OMG, EVERYTHING looks delicious. The beer bread and risotto, yum. Think you have outdone yourself. Sure that Chase must have been in food heaven.:-) Cute kid, how old is he?

Ricki said...

That was quite the feast! I love the idea of the marinaded tofu--must give that a try. And my great aunt used to make a similar cake (I think it was marshmallow-topped chocolate pudding cake, or something?). It looks absolutely irresistible--no wonder you gave it away! Have a great visit with your sister! :)

Andrea said...

Everything looks so good — especially the bread and the cake. It looks so wonderfully gooey. But I haven't ever seen ricemello. Will have to look for that.

Catherine, couldn't you use non-alcoholic beer? The taste would still be there.

kmouse said...

Every time you make baked tofu I always marvel at how perfect and yummy they turn out!

All of the food looks spectacular and thank you for the risotto recipe. I may give it a go.

Dessert = Heavenly looking. I wouldn't mind having some of that!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Oh my goodness I don't know where to start either! The tofu looks incredible, as does dessert. And I love your recipe for making the tomato sauce creamy!

Mihl said...

Thank you for the music :D

All of you food looks so fantastic, but if I had too choose, I'd take the risotto. So pretty!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

Everything looks delicious...but that tofu is a knock-out!

urban vegan said...

That cake looks insanely delish.

And Chase is such a cutie.

Cafe Cyan said...

Diann - that tofu looks completely perfect. I'm sad for you that you cannot eat it (and sad for myself!)

Chase seems to look different in every picture, but always happy.

Vegetation said...

SO many foods I want to make and try! So many I've never eaten before like beer bread and others like spaghetti squash that I ate as a kid because it was popular here and is no longer sold anywhere :(

And mmm that cake looks like a perfect way to finish off such delicious-ness!

bazu said...

Oh my gosh, I've missed your blog so much! Happy New Year, Diann!!

Hannah said...

That beer bread is gorgeous! I've never made one myself since I'm not so into beer in general, but this is definitely tempting...

Stacey said...

The baked tofu looks so yummy! How do you prepare it/bake it? I should try that cake too! I love ricemellow.

River said...

Oh my, Diann! I don't even know where to start! Lucky, lucky Chase!

The beer bread loaf is gorgeous, downright stunning.

The Italian baked tofu looks so delicious I could cry!

I must try spaghetti squash, for some strange reason I've never had it and after seeing that picture I absolutely must.

Thank you for the recipes, Aunt Sue’s Fudge Cake looks divine!

Have a great time in Alabama!!

Kris said...

So, if I ever make it to Austin I will seriously pay good money to come eat at your house. Charge me whatever, I'll pay it! Oh, I'm so hungry now!

Rajani said...

hi, first time on your blog - its lovely. am going to try the beer bread.

Nicole (Nico's Eats) said...

That tofu looks INCREDIBLE! I will try to copy it.

Rajani said...

also 1 quest. - what is Spaghetti Squash? is it somesort of sphagetti or shredded squash??

cakeitaly said...

Wow fantastic ideas for my next lunch with my friends.

Bye from Italy by
Cakeitaly.com - A taste of Italian sweets

If you want you cant add your blog in my blogroll All your recipes

Denise said...

Great blog with wonderful pictures!


Holler said...

Have a great time Diann and Happy New Year!
That chocolate cake looks great :)

Veg-a-Nut said...

DH and I were just talking about making risotto. This week I made for the first time baked rice and it was the best rice ever. I think baked risotto will be made as soon as we eat up this huge amount of rice I just made. Looks and sounds wonderful!

DH wants your gooey dessert. :o)

aTxVegn said...

Wow, it's so nice to see so many new folks commenting! I'm still away in Alabama but wanted to check in.

Rajani, spaghetti squash is a hard (winter) squash which is baked for about an hour, then the flesh is scraped with a fork so it resembles strands of spaghetti. And it is delicious!

Ruby Red Vegan said...

I've been craving a huge vegan Italian meal for quite awhile now... So everything in this post looks so delicious! I can't understand why anyone who can eat soy wouldn't want tofu after seeing these photos. The Italian baked tofu looks phenomenal!

Claudia said...

I made the beer bread today and it was fantastic! It was so easy, almost foolproof. My husband has been raving about it! Thank you so much for the recipe! :-)

VeggieGirl said...

Hope all is well!!

**Just as a heads up: I will not be able to comment on blogs as often now, during this semester, due to work overload (I'm stressed already) - PLEASE know that I'm still loyally reading, but just won't have time to comment. I hope you understand!!

Sanja said...

The beer bread and the fudge cake look delicious! I love how pretty the tofu looks; like it's blushing. :-) Have fun at your sister's!

Weight Loss said...

Hello. Just found this article about eating healthy
and Resturants. Great tips on how to stay thin and
healthy even tho you want to eat out more.
Hope this helps anyone who eats out alot.


Weight Loss said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeni Treehugger said...

I LOVE the look of your Beer Bread and that Cake is just AWESOME!!!

*licks monitor*

happyherbivore.com said...

just licked my screen... that fudge cake... I dont even have WORDS uggh yuuuuuummmmm i waaannnnt soooome

Max mickle said...

My father is a huge fan of Beer Bread and I always try to bake one for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i've tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can't wait to try it

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