Friday, September 29, 2006

Leaves of Brussels Sprouts, lightly dressed

I grabbed Chez Panisse Vegetables off the bookshelf to see how Ms. Waters would prepare Brussels sprouts. At her restaurant, the chefs trim the stems and peel off each leaf. Cooking them this way, she says, is like eating a new vegetable. Well, I'm up for a new veggie, so this is what I set out to do.

I trimmed and peeled away the leaves from 4 Brussels sprouts and then decided I just did not have the patience to continue on. The rest of the sprouts were quartered, cores cut out, and whatever leaves fell off went into a pile, and what remained was thinly sliced. I heated about a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and added the leaves and a little salt. After about 2 minutes I added 2 slices of finely chopped onion and a few shakes of crushed red pepper. I continued cooking until the leaves were softened and beginning to brown, about 4 more minutes. Then I turned off the heat and added one clove of crushed garlic and the juice of half a lemon.

Alice Waters did not lie! These were not boiled or roasted Brussels sprouts. There was absolutely no bitterness. The taste was mild and the sliced parts of the sprouts had the same flavor as the leaves, clean and green and tender throughout. And I didn't have to cut them. This recipe gets a big thumbs up. I'd give you a bite, but I ate the whole pan.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Glazed Edamame and Carrots

Tonight I ventured away from my usual green veggies and decided to fix myself some carrots. I know edamame is green, but it's a soybean, not a vegetable.

This recipe serves one.

Prepare 1/2 cup edamame and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet, then add 20 baby carrots. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes or until browned.

While the carrots are cooking, mix together 1 tablespoon Bragg's and 2 teaspoons agave nectar. When the carrots are done, add in the edamame and the Bragg's and agave mixture. Mix well. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with a little salt and a little maple or brown sugar.

This makes a delicious combination of sweet and savory, and it was a nice change of pace from my usual garlic and onion flavored greens.

Since I feel I must eat broccoli nightly, I did steam a small head, but instead of sprinkling on garlic salt I poured Gaia's Dijon-Dill Dressing over it. I still promise her I will try it on beets, but it was excellent on broccoli!

Last night I made Kale and Beans which was posted by Don't Get Mad, Get Vegan. As you can tell from the picture, I used pinto beans instead of blackeyed peas and I added one chopped fresh tomato. I love kale, and this was a flavorful and filling dish.

And to satisfy my sweet tooth, I topped banana "ice cream" aka frozen banana with some fresh fruit. As Rachel Ray would say, yummo!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Quick Note of Thanks

It occurred to me this morning that I must have been subconsciously inspired by SusanV's Surprise Gyoza recipe to create Fruity Spring Rolls last night. So I thought I would acknowledge that, and take this opportunity to thank Susan, once again, for always being such an incredible inspiration with her creative recipes and beautiful photos. THANK YOU, SUSAN!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fruity Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce

I love my veggies so much I tend to neglect fruit. I like fruit and I buy fruit, but I tend to eat it plain or in my oatmeal. So tonight I decided to make a fruit salad. It's boring to chop up fruit and throw it in a bowl, and I didn't want to pour sweet stuff all over it. I went to the pantry to see what kind of nuts I had on hand, and I saw spring roll wrappers and got an idea. I've seen meat and fruit wraps. All fruit wraps can only be better.

You could use whatever fruits you have on hand. Here's what I did:

I chopped up 1 large peach and 2 kiwis. I thinly sliced 1 large black plum, and I rinsed and picked through a small package of raspberries. I toasted 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds and grabbed a bag of shredded coconut. I soaked the wrappers, layered on the fruit, some coconut, and a few almonds, and rolled them up. I had enough fruit for 4 spring rolls. It was terribly easy. The spring rolls were awesome without a dipping sauce, but I decided it was weird not to have sauce with spring rolls, so I made one.

For the dipping sauce, I mixed in a blender the following:

1/3 package of silken tofu
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 drop of orange oil
I intended to make a vanilla/almond sauce, but I had run out of almond extract. I also didn't have any soy yogurt, but that would be an easy dip as well.

Oh, how I love delicious, beautiful, healthy food.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Eat Your Sea Veggies!

Tonight I honored my pledge to myself to eat more sea veggies. And if our farm produce continues to be contaminated, maybe that's something we should all consider. For me, the hardest part about incorporating sea vegetables is their fishy smell. I used to love fish, so I think what bothers me is that I don't want the fishy taste or smell to dominate the recipe. I decided to start with a small amount of wakame. It is the mildest of the sea vegetables. It's got a silky, but not slimy, texture when rehydrated. I bought it chopped. If you haven't used it, be warned - it rehydrates to 10 times its package size. So here's what I came up with:

Millet with Shitakes and Wakame

I began by rehydrating a 1 ounce package of shitake mushrooms and probably only 1 tablespoon of wakame. It was 2 good pinches. I'm a little afraid of how much it grows. Then I saw some sundried tomatoes and threw in about 8 of those.

While those were rehydrating, I prepared the millet. Toast 1/2 cup of millet in a medium nonstick saucepan for 1 minute, then add 1 cup of boiling water. When it returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and it's ready in 10 to 12 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Saute one small red onion, 1 cup of fresh baby bella mushrooms, and 1/2 cup of shredded carrots with a little kosher salt.

By the time the onion mixture is soft, the millet should be ready. Take it off the heat and set aside. Drain the wakame, tomatoes, and shitakes. I deglazed my skillet with a little water, then added 1 tablespoon Braggs, the drained veggies, and the millet.

The verdict? It was a hearty, chunky, fried rice-like dish with nice textures and no fishy taste or smell (although it still smells fishy in the kitchen). I picked out a piece of wakame to taste alone, and it really had no distinct taste at all. In fact, the shitakes provided the most flavor. I began my meal with a small, tentative bowl and went back for another! Hey, it was a start.

Thanks to everyone who wished my son good health. He let me know today he felt good enough to attend classes.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Farewell to Summer

I hate for summer to end. Yeh, it was the hottest August EVER, but cold, rainy weather is no fun. Sundays are usually family get-togethers. My son has been sick and he asked me to fix his favorite meal - grilled tofu steaks with onion-mushroom gravy, sweet potato fries, and a cold salad. Tonight's salad was good, but is still in the development stage.

Right now it is Broccoli Salad with Apricot Tahini Dressing. It has broccoli flowerets and stems, julienned carrots, red onion, water chestnuts, and dried apricots. I think I need to add toasted almonds, and more apricot flavor and a little crushed red pepper to the dressing. I seem to always want to make everything spicy and I was trying to stay away from that, but oh well....

For a sweet ending, I made Dreena's Easy Pleasin' Oat Bars, which it seems everyone is baking lately. I added chocolate chips to mine. It's a great recipe, but I think next time I'd like to try also adding peanuts or peanut butter.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tart Cherry Buckwheat Bundtlettes with Chocolate Drizzle

These moist little cakes combine tart cherries, nutty buckwheat, and sweet chocolate. They are made with all natural ingredients and are vegan and gluten free. The flavor combination is a real treat for the tastebuds, and the perfect ending to any meal.
To make:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil or spray a 6-cake bundtlette pan.

2-3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup brown rice syrup
1-1/2 cups soy milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup dried tart cherries

Chocolate Drizzle:
1 cup vegan, gluten free chocolate chips
2 - 3 tablespoons warmed soy milk

Combine the buckwheat flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, brown rice syrup, soy milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the dried cherries. The batter will be rather sticky. Pour the batter into the bundtlette pan. Bake 22 to 25 minutes, or until cake tests done in the middle. Cool the cakes in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When cakes are cooled, make the chocolate drizzle. Melt the chocolate chips, then add enough warm soy milk to reach drizzling consistency. Place cakes onto plates and spoon chocolate over the tops.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (fatfree)

I found this excellent recipe on Dr. I'm always looking for colorful, tasty sauces to add to my plate and this one is a beautiful red. I made the dressing exactly as written except I added 1 teaspoon of agave nectar. I prepared it in my mini prep, but I think it would do better in a blender.

Put the following into the blender:

1/4 c. apple juice
1/4 c. cider vinegar
2 T. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t. dried oregano
pinch of rosemary and thyme
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 of a roasted red bell pepper
(I used one from a jar)

Blend until smooth.

That's it! I put some on sweet potato cakes and broccoli tonight, and I'll put some on my lunch salad tomorrow.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gala Applesauce (and two gifts)

I saw this in my Driskill Hotel cookbook and thought it was too cute.

The recipe in the cookbook uses 5 apples for the applesauce and six apples for baking. I made a test recipe with one apple and had to supplement the filling with jarred applesauce. The cooked applesauce is delicious.

Cut the top off an apple, leaving the stem intact. Scoop out the centers and remove the seeds, then place into a small saucepan. Add the following:

1 t. sugar
1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. apple juice

Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Mash the apples.

Instead of coating the inside of the apple with butter and sugar and baking in the oven as the recipe called for, I put the whole apple in the microwave for 1 minute, and the top in for 25 seconds. Then just fill the apple with the applesauce and top it with the stem.

By the way, the Driskill chef, David Bull, will be competing against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef Sunday, October 8 at 8:00 p.m. central time. I guess he wins because he's rented out a movie house and invited the public to come watch.

Here's two gifts I got this week - a loaf pan with a ruffled edge, and a genuine ulu knife my neighbor brought back from Alaska. I know the knife is supposed to be great for chopping herbs, but I need to find out more uses for it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Roasted Chickpeas with Apricot Wasabi Glaze

Have you ever had a craving for wasabi? I've had one all week. Tonight I wasn't too hungry, so I decided to make my favorite snack - roasted chickpeas - and try adding a wasabi glaze to them. I've tried roasting chickpeas different ways, using different oven temperatures and baking vessels. The best results are achieved by draining, rinsing, and drying one can of chickpeas and placing them in a glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. I actually use 2 pans to keep the chickpeas separated better. Spray the chickpeas in the pan, then add a little kosher salt and a little garlic powder. The salt will help to dry them out. Put them into a 400 degree oven and roast for 30 minutes, giving them a shake about halfway through. They are perfect just like this. Knowing this, I decided to experiment with only half of them. This is how they look.
For the glaze, put a 1/2 cup apricot jam (I used low sugar), 1/2 c. water, 2 teaspoons wasabi paste, and 2 teaspoons horseradish. If you don't have horseradish, I would suggest an additional teaspoon of wasabi paste and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Bring this mixture to a boil, then remove from heat. Add in the roasted chickpeas, then remove them with a slotted spoon and place them back in the baking dish. Roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, stirring half way through.

I must admit I preferred the plain roasted chickpeas. However, I put the leftover glaze over my steamed broccoli and it was deee-lish!

Glazed Chickpeas

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cannelini Zucchini Boats

I used my zucchini from the farmers market for tonight's meal. The zucchini are stuffed with a cannelini bean mixture, then baked. It's a recipe you can and should adapt to suit your tastes. The important thing to keep in mind is that the beans are very mild, so getting the taste you want from the stuffing mixture is the key to this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the stems off the zucchini and slice them lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp, leaving 1/4-inch shell; reserve the pulp. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and place the shells in the dish.

1 medium onion, diced
8 to 10 white mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 - 15-ounce can cannelini beans
reserved pulp
1 T. white balsamic vinegar

Saute the onion and mushrooms in a nonstick skillet until soft and golden. I then deglazed the pan with a little white wine. Reduce the heat and add in the garlic and about a half cup water; add the beans, pulp, and vinegar. Mash the beans lightly. Add in your favorite herbs and taste often. I used a combination of fresh and dried oregano, parsley, rosemary, and salt, and a little crushed red pepper. When heated through, scoop the mixture into the shells. (Any leftover mixture would make a great dip or bruschetta topping.) I sprinkled the tops with nutritional yeast. You could top with soy cheese or even your favorite tomato sauce. Bake the shells for 20 - 25 minutes or until shells are soft and the filling is hot. I topped mine with chopped fresh, chopped, cold tomatoes because I like the temperature contrast.

Here's how mine turned out. Let me know how you prepared yours!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sweet Corn Chowder (with tofu)

I served this chowder as an appetizer at last night's dinner. Everyone would take a bite, then say "this is really good." Take another bite and say "this is really really good." Finish it off and say "that was really good." I'll definitely be serving this again. That's why we cook, right? For all the compliments!

This recipe serves 6:

1 T. canola oil
2 roasted (or carmelized) chopped onions
4 cups fresh (about 8 ears) or frozen (one 10-ounce bag) yellow corn - I actually used 1/2 fresh and 1/2 frozen
1/2 c. diced carrots
1 medium white potato
6 c. vegetable broth
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. rosemary
1 t. oregano (preferably mexican)
2 cloves crushed garlic
salt and white pepper to taste
1 box silken tofu

Heat the oil in a dutch oven and cook onions, corn, carrots, and potato until softened slightly. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth, garlic, and spices and continue cooking until veggies are soft.

Meanwhile, puree tofu in a blender or food processor. When smooth, add in 2 to 3 cups of the soup (about half) and blend until smooth. Stir the puree back into the remaining soup. Heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with chopped fresh tomato and cilantro or parsley.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fresh Nectarine Cake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

I needed a dessert for Sunday night dinner and had intended to bake an apricot cake. I thought fresh apricots were still a bargain, but they were $4.50 a pound. Nectarines, however, were 99 cents a pound. They were big and beautiful and taste great with blueberries. This recipe is based on the gluten free cinnamon banana bread recipe from Babycakes bakery featured in this month's Food & Wine magazine. The cake is moist and accented nicely by the fresh nutmeg. It's terrific on its own, and even better with the sauce.

Nectarine Cake
1 c. gluten free flour mix
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. xanthan gum
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. fresh nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 overripe mashed banana
1/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. agave nectar
1/3 c. vanilla soy milk
1 T. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or spray an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the banana, oile, agave nectar, soy milk, and vanilla. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before slicing.

Fresh Blueberry Sauce
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and stems removed
scant 1/4 c. organic sugar
1/2 t. cornstarch

Combine berries, sugar, and cornstarch in medium pan. Mash lightly so some berries remain whole. Set over moderate low heat and stir gently until sugar dissolves. Raise heat to medium high and boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Serve warm blueberry sauce over cake.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Roasted Pepper Salad with Harissa

I went to the farmers market early this morning and picked up some great looking produce. I bought sweet peppers, onions, squash, apples, and greens. I decided to look for a recipe to utilize the peppers, and found this interesting salad recipe at I changed it a little by using multicolor peppers. lime juice instead of lemon juice, and only one tablespoon of olive oil. I also couldn't bear to blacken my beautiful peppers, so I roasted them in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Roasted Pepper Salad with Harissa

2 pounds peppers
1/4 c. raisins
juice of 1 lime
1-1/4 t. harissa
1/2 t. kosher or sea salt
1 T. olive oil
1/3 c. toasted chopped walnuts
Roast the peppers in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until soft, but not charred. When cool, peel any blistered skin and discard stems and seeds. Cut into strips and put into a medium size bowl.
While peppers roast, soak raisins in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain. Whisk together the lime juice, harissa, salt, and oil, then toss with peppers. Sprinkle with raisins and walnuts. Refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
The result is a spicy, sweet fresh tasting salad. I expect it to taste twice as good tomorrow.
Here's the top of the salad with raisins and nuts sprinkled over.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Miso Mushrooms

I found this recipe today. It was titled Miso Mushrooms (Pickles), so it intrigued me. The simple recipe includes shitakes, miso, and sake. I decided to make a test batch, scaling the ingredients the best I could. First I rehydrated 10 shitake mushroom caps, then sauteed them on high heat in a teaspoon of olive oil until golden brown. While the mushrooms cooled, I mixed together 2-1/2 T. white miso and 2 t. rice vinegar. It was still quite thick and pasty. I eventually added a total of 2 T. vinegar. It was still thick, but I mixed it into the mushrooms and let it set for an hour.
It was really, really good! It was, however, still quite thick with miso, so I mixed it all in with my steamed broccoli. Maybe I was just in the mood for miso and mushrooms, but I was quite impressed with such a simple recipe.

I still can't figure out why they are called pickles!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dinner in 20

These tasty Spiced Black Bean Burgers were prepared and cooked in 20 minutes. Since I didn't have a gluten free bun, I put together some lettuce and tomato on a plate and steamed some broccoli while the burgers cooked. This recipe was taken from

Put the following ingredients in a food processor (I used my mini prep for easy cleanup):
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. dry breadcrumbs (I used oatmeal)
2 T. favorite salsa
1 t. ground cumin
2-3 dashes Tabasco
salt and pepper

If you don't have a nonstick pan, put a little oil in or spray the bottom of a large fry pan. Shape the bean mixture into 3 or 4 patties and place them into the pan. Be sure they don't touch or they will stick together. Cook on medium high heat for about four minutes on each side or until heated through.

It's as easy as that!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Morrocan Chickpea Stew

Tonight I made my favorite quick meal. It's based on the recipe from the fatfree recipe site. I begin by sauteing whatever fresh veggies I have on hand, usually onions, mushrooms, and zucchini, then add in a bag of frozen veggies, and a can of rotel tomatoes. Then I season it with coriander, cumin, crushed red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. It's great plain or served over rice. Add a green salad and a fresh fruit and you have delicious, nutritious meal!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Plum Quinoa Salad

Plums are at their peak of season now, and I have been anxious to try this recipe ever since it was given to me a few weeks ago. If you love a good healthy salad, give this recipe a try. Firm, ripe plums add a wonderful sweetness. I replaced the bell peppers in the original recipe with sundried tomatoes, because I don't like raw peppers. The peppers would add nice color and crispness to the salad. I also reduced the amount of dressing to save calories.


1/2 c. quinoa
1 c. water
1 large plum, pitted and diced
1 T. chopped walnuts
10 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and chopped
3 scallions
3 radishes, halved and sliced thin
2 t. ground flax seeds
1 t. e-v olive oil
1 T. white balsamic vinegar
1 t. agave nectar
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch of salt

Rinse quinoa and add to water. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Let stand a few minutes, then fluff and set aside to cool. In the meantime, mix together in a medium sized bowl the diced plum, nuts, tomatoes, scallions, radishes, and flax seeds. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, agave, garlic, and salt. Pour the dressing over the plum mixture, then add the mixture to the quinoa. Cover and chill for at least an hour.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rice and Pie

My one indulgence, besides an occasional cooking class, is a Monday evening session with my personal trainer. After working out, I'm way too tired to lift pans or stir anything in a pot, so no fancy cooking on Mondays. I promised yesterday to post pix of the rest of last night's dinner.

The rice is merely instant brown rice with lots of green onion and cilantro. I love anything green added to rice. I have some wakame I like pretty well, and I haven't used it in anything but soup yet, but I don't see why it can't go into rice. I'm trying to learn all I can about using sea vegetables. Nearly everyday another health benefit is reported.

The finale to last night's dinner was more pretty than tasty, unfortunately. I put a fresh strawberry filling into a toasted almond and oatmeal pie crust. I usually make a graham cracker crust for strawberry filling, but I wanted to be gluten free so I could eat it too. The reason it wasn't a great pie is because we all thought the crust tasted like peanut butter! So a banana or chocolate filling would have been the perfect choice. The crust is really good, though, and deserving of posting the recipe. I adapted this recipe from the Lake Austin Spa cookbook as well. I used oatmeal instead of 6 melba toast. I have had the melba toast crust and it is surprisingly good.

Pie Crust:
1/2 c. toasted almonds
1/2 c. oatmeal
2 T. sugar
1 T. melted margarine
Grind the almonds in a food processor; add in the oatmeal and sugar, and pulse a few times to blend. Add in the margarine and whirl until crumbly and well mixed. Press into a pie pan sprayed with cooking spray, and bake for 10 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Using information from ingredient packages, I figured nutritional info for six servings of crust. Each serving = 96 calories, 5.75 g. fat, and 10 carbs.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Spa Cuisine

Tonight's meal was selected from my Lake Austin Spa cookbook. The spa is one of the best in the country, due mainly to the talented chef. I selected for the main course Tortilla Stack with Red Chile Sauce and veganized it and adapted it to what I had on hand. It is basically a corn tortilla, a "cheese sauce," a layer of veggies, another tortilla, then the sauce, and a drizzle of "creme." Here's the recipe:

1 c. diced steamed sweet potatoes
1 c. red beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. lima beans (I used edamame)
1/2 c. corn
2 T. diced pimentos
Cheese sauce
Red Chile Sauce
12 corn tortillas

Combine the potatoes, beans, edamame, corn, and pimentos and set aside. (I prepared these a day ahead.) Put six tortillas on a baking sheet and spread with some of the cheese sauce. Put a scoop of the veggie mixture on top of each tortilla. Spread some cheese sauce on the remaining tortillas and place them cheese side down over the veggies. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until hot. Serve with red chile sauce and creme.

For the "cheese" I made the low fat version of "I Can't Believe It's Not Cheese Sauce" from The Saucy Vegetarian.

Whirl together in a blender the following:
3/4 c. water
2 T. tahini
1/4 c. silken tofu
2 T. nutritional yeast
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. chopped onions
2 T. white miso
dash salt

It won't hold the tortillas together, but it worked out beautifully.

The creme also came from The Saucy Vegetarian - "Tarator Cream."

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender:
3/4 c. silken tofu (I used the remainder from the cheese sauce)
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 T. tahini
1/2 t. crushed garlic
1/4 t. dried oregano
a dash each of salt, pepper, paprika

The best part is the Red Chile Sauce. I would recommend using this with any mexican food dish. It is absolutely delicious!

6 dried red chiles
1 small onion, thickly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 t. cumin
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 tomato juice
2 T. flour or masa harina
2 c. vegetable stock
2 - 3 t. semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt

Lightly toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, turning often. Remove and discard the stem. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with hot water; set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the onion, tomato, and garlic on the baking sheet and spray them lightly with cooking spray. Roast at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Toast the cumin and oregano in a dry skillet for 30 seconds. Combine the reserved chiles, onion, tomato, cumin, and oregano in a blender or food processor and puree. (I did this much the day before.) Combine the puree, tomato juice, flour, stock, chocolate, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring often (about 15 minutes). Strain and keep warm. (I did not strain my sauce.)

I served this with a cabbage slaw dressed with 2 T. red wine vinegar, 1 T. lime juice, 1 t. salt, and 1 t. sugar. It's not very much dressing, but it keeps the slaw crisp, which pairs nicely with the tortilla stacks.

I also served green onion and cilantro rice, and a strawberry pie. I'll share those with you tomorrow.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cup O'Pizza

Remember Cup O'Pizza from "The Jerk"? That's what I had for dinner tonight! It's a HUGE football night here. Lance Armstrong, Matthew McConaughey, Emmitt Smith, politicians, etc. are all in town for the game. (I'm posting during half time.) I had to make some game-watching food, so I decided on pizza. Twice I have made Millet Squares from the Fatfree Vegan Recipe site, and both times they have never gotten crispy. I need a gluten free crust and I had hoped by baking the millet on a baking sheet it would work. But it didn't. I scooped the pizza off of the baking sheet and into a bowl.

I also made the almond oatmeal pie crust (mmmmm) and the red chile sauce for tomorrow night's dinner. I know you've all heard to be sure to wash your hands after handling chiles. It is advice to be heeded. I wiped sweat from my upper lip before washing and I paid for that for over an hour.

The only pic I have tonight is my beautiful bunch of New Mexico dried chiles. Tomorrow night's menu items are recipes adapted from the wonderful Lake Austin Spa. And since my son will be over for dinner, I'll get some decent pictures to post. Until tomorrow......

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Serve with Love

I had no need to cook tonight as I'm still trying to finish off Labor Day leftovers. I had to do something in the kitchen tonight besides warm up stuff in the microwave, so I thought I would post a reminder to take time to garnish your dishes. I made a few simple ones tonight with one big carrot and a slice of lemon.

Also tonight I was reminded of a "trick" I use sometimes. I rediscovered Pimenton. It's a smoked sweet paprika. It's quite strong and I don't use it very often, but if you ever run out of chipotle peppers, it's the perfect substitute.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

An Easy Midweek Dinner

Tonight I decided to stirfry my leftover kebobs so they wouldn't go to waste. It was okay, but not near as flavorful as the grilled version. I ate it plain, no rice.

I also had a quick nori roll. I used SusanV's artichoke heart and roasted red pepper dip and some broccoli slaw and wrapped that up. Now that was good!

I also wanted to share a quick and easy recipe for a chocolate attack snack:

1 t. raw cacoa nibs, 4 or 5 goji berries, and a drop or two of agave nectar. I've heard if you eat any more nibs than that, you get a buzz like from caffeine. Using info from the packaging, I figure this concoction would equal approximately 38 calories, 2g fat, 5g carbs, and 1.5 g fiber. Guaranteed to kill a chocolate craving!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Grilling (not a party)

Yesterday's grilling plans got canceled and today's plans almost fell apart. I did manage to get a few photos of the food, but only with a cell phone. The tofu and veggie kebobs were great, as usual. We skewered tofu, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini which had marinated in light coconut milk and green curry paste.
The kebobs were served over quinoa with onions and cilantro. We also had a cold salad of fresh broccoli, broccoli slaw, sundried tomatoes, carmelized onions, garbanzos, cilantro, cumin, and fatfree garlic dressing.

I made the dessert Sat. night, so the crust was a little soggy. It was a crust of granola and applesauce pressed into a 9 x 9 pan. Then a layer of fresh strawberries. Then a topping of silken tofu, crushed pineapple, vanilla, and just a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar. You can't tell but there's a strawberry fan on top! It was very good and would have been perfect with a crunchy crust.

Since we only eat dessert on Sunday, I calculated nutrition info for 6 servings: 215 calories, 3 g. fat, 42 g. carbs, and 5 g. protein. My kind of dessert!

Since I was bored during the day, I also made a tempeh casserole. But I have so many leftovers I don't know when I'll get to try it.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Farmers Market

I picked up CB this morning and we went to the Farmers Market to shop for our Sunday grilled kebob dinner. There were lots of samples out from all the vegan and raw vendors. CB got hungry and bought himself a huge roll stuffed with a tofu dog, mustard, and sauerkraut. He was supposed to save me a bite but he forgot. I guess it was pretty tasty. We bought purple onions, and red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers. I also got some broccoli sprouts, which I love. I recently read that one ounce of sprouts have 5o times the nutrients of 2 stalks of fresh broccoli! Then we went to Whole Foods and bought tofu and mushrooms for the kebobs, and strawberries for our dessert, and various other staples.

I was thinking about the old recipe for Banana Split cake and I think I'll try out this variation tonight to serve tomorrow for dessert. CB is tired of bananas, and I need gluten free, and everyone wants low cal.

First make a crust:
2 c. GF granola
1/2 c. applesauce
Press into a pie plate and nuke for 4 or 5 minutes to set.

Slice strawberries and layer on top of the crust.

Then mix up silken tofu, a small can of crushed pineapple, 2 t. vanilla, and stevia or brown sugar if it needs sweetening. Pour that over the strawberries and chill.

The kebobs will marinate in lite coconut milk and Mae Plo green curry paste, so we're going Indian. The broccoli salad I made last night was so good I'm going to make a variation of it for Sunday night. I'm going to use fatfree garlic dressing instead of Italian, spice it with coriander, cumin, and cilantro, and also throw in some broccoli slaw. I guess I'll need brown rice with the kebobs.

CB will bring the camera tomorrow so I'll finally get to post pictures of all this good food.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Homemade Clif Nectar Lemon bars

Today I made a test batch of the lemon bars. The flavor is awesome. They aren't quite as firm as they should be. I was too impatient and took them out of the oven a few minutes too soon.

3/4 c. chopped nuts (mostly almonds and walnuts)
10 dried dates
juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 t. vanilla
30 goji berries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the nuts and dates in a food processor and blend until crumbly. Add zest, juice, and vanilla and pulse until incorporated. Press mixture into a 4 x 8 pan. Press goji berries evenly over top. Bake 20 minutes.

Yes, I had a small bite. I'm giving the rest to my son in the morning.

It's so hot today I'm thinking about a cold veggie salad for dinner tonight. I'm soaking some sundried tomatoes. I think I'll chop and steam some broccoli, then throw in the tomatoes and a can of chickpeas. And probably just some cold Italian dressing and fresh parsley over the top.