Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Fun Visitor

It has been an exciting week. We had a visitor from New York - Flat Stanley! He has done all sorts of activities with us.

Miniature golf.

Going to the park.

Going on a picnic (with crabby patty sandwiches - don't ask.)

He got his own Bears jersey and Cubs cap.
Then he went back to New York.

But the fun doesn't end - we have dogs that do tricks! At least someone uses that swing set.

And good food - Mediterranean Rice Salad. Brown rice, spinach, artichokes, basil, sun dried tomatoes, and lemon mint vinaigrette.

Some recipes from Appetite for Reduction: Caribbean Black Eyed Peas with Steamed Plantains (I used black beans). Was this ever delicious. Isa is right - steaming the plantains makes them far more delicious than frying them. I recommend not adding the salt.

Buffalo Tempeh - so wanted to like this, but it was so salty it was inedible. Maybe the fat that's normally in the recipe offsets the saltiness of the hot sauce? I didn't use a low sodium broth, but still.

Cool Slaw: yum. It has a blended cashew dressing. I find that really convenient, rather than having 3/4 of a box of tofu hanging around from a tofu based dressing, or having to buy expensive vegan sour cream or mayo.

I used this veggie mix to make the slaw. Much better than packaged shredded cabbage. It has green and red cabbage, carrots, jicama, celery, and a few other things. Also really good with goddess dressing.

It is cold and rainy in Chicago today, but the holiday weekend promises to bring sun and warmth!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mango Mush

I have read that you can peel and cube a mango the same way as an avocado: cut around the center, lengthwise, run the knife around between the skin and the fruit, cut cubes within the shell, and turn them out of the shell. This doesn't work at all. My mangoes always stick the the giant pit, requiring me to saw at them and get mush. Does anyone know the trick?


This is the Greek scramble from Vegan Diner. Good but not fabulous. Maybe because I am not a fan of oregano.

This is the Tofu with Hoisin Mustard sauce from Appetite for Reduction. Delicious. As good as takeout but without all the grease and MSG. Next time I will add toasted cashews, although I guess then it would not be low calorie. Also the Potato Scallion Pancakes from the same book. These were okay. As you can see, there are no scallions in them. I had none and so used onion. Definitely would have been better with scallions.

Favorite Saturday morning pancakes. It was Thursday, but the kids had off for "Institute Day." These are light and fluffy and delicious despite containing no fat or eggs.

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 large ripe banana
1 1/4 cups vanilla soy milk
1 T vinegar
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c chocolate chips

Mash banana well and stir in milk and vinegar. Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and stir briefly, just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Lightly oil a non-stick pan and preheat for 5 minute. Use a 1/4 cup measure (not quite full) to scoop the batter. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Soup and Sammy

I was excited to see fresh peas in Trader Joe's, and was trying to think of what to do with them. I remembered I had this awesome soup in a restaurant once. It was so simple - basically just vegetables in broth, but the veggies were so fresh and the broth so delicate that it was outstanding. I think I was pretty successful in recreating it!

Essence of Spring Soup

olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned well and thinly sliced
5 cups water
1 T "Better than Bouillon" No Chicken broth concentrate*
15 asparagus stalks, in 1 inch pieces
2 oz. tiny pasta (I used stelline - little stars)
2 cups fresh shelled peas
15 fresh basil leaves, torn

Sautee leeks in olive oil until soft but not brown. Add water an broth concentrate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add asparagus. Cook 5 minutes. Add pasta and peas and cook for the amount of time on the pasta box (for this pasta it was 7 minutes, just the right amount of time for the peas. You want the peas to be just slightly crunchy). Add basil leaves and simmer a few more minutes.

*this small amount of broth concentrate makes for a very delicate broth. This is on purpose, so as not to overwhelm the veggies. You may want more, or you may want to add some salt.

I wanted to have a sandwich similar to a lobster roll, only made with tofu, of course. I turned to the Horizons cookbook for ideas. The author has recreated many seafood dishes that he enjoyed in his youth at the Jersey Shore. Not that they taste like fish, which is a good  thing! They just taste good.

Tofu Roll

1/2 lb. tofu, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. Old Bay
1/4 t. curry powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T olive oil
1 t mustard
1 T sherry

Mix all ingredients. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Let tofu cool.
Chop 2 stalks of celery finely. Add tofu to celery and add some mayo to your desired consistency. Serve on whole wheat hot dog buns. Makes enough for 3 buns. (To be really authentic, you would get those weird hot dog rolls with the flat sides, butter the outsides, and toast them on a griddle).