Thursday, May 24, 2007

Chick'n Salad

Tonight's dinner:
- Broccoli rabe and spinach, wilted in a pan with sauteed garlic and red pepper flakes and tossed with lime juice, salt, pepper and vinegar
- Vine-ripened tomatoes stuffed with "Chicken" salad

Vegan Chicken Salad Ingredients:
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 package Morningstar Farms soy chicken, chopped
1 cup carrot, choppeds
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 c veganaise
several sprinkles of celery seed
8 medium, hollowed out tomatoes

All ingredients were mixed up in a bowl using a fork and then stuffed into hollowed out tomatoes.

This made 4 servings (220 calories/serving including the tomatoes and the salad). Perfect for dinner tonight and lunches tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sweet Delicious Atonement

Moving right along with our low-cal week, tonight I made pan-seared tofu with roasted asparagus and tomatoes in a balsamic garlic glaze.

1 block of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4" thick rectangles
3 cups asparagus cut into 1" pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 Tbs garlic, minced
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place over high heat. Arrange tofu inside the skillet, cover and cook until browned on one side. Flip the tofu and brown on the other side. Then set the tofu aside.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and coat the veggies with the marinade. Then arrange the veggies on a baking sheet covered with foil and cook them under a broiler set to high for about 10 minutes or until the skin on the tomatoes is wrinkled.

While the veggies cook soak the cooked tofu in any marinade that remains at the bottom of the bowl you marinated the veggies in.

When the veggies come out of the oven sprinkle them with salt and black pepper, to taste. Then put the tofu on plates and pile the cooked veggies on top. Serves 3, 196 calories, 7.3 carbs, 4.13g sugar, 5g sodium per serving.

Pasta Imposter

Since Matt and I are trying to watch our calories this week, I came up with this low calorie version of spaghetti with chunky tomato sauce. Matt, who adores pasta, remarked that the eggplant substitute was almost like noodles. Mission accomplished!

To make this dish you will need:
1 large eggplant
1 Tbs garlic, minced
1 cup onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
3/4 c diced fire roasted tomatoes
3/4 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 bag of baby spinach
2 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and as it heats peel the skin off of the eggplant with a vegetable peeler. Once the skin is removed peel the eggplant with a peeler so that you produce long thin strips of eggplant. Once the entire eggplant is in peels arrange it on a baking sheet covered with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle salt over the raw eggplant (arranging the eggplant on the baking sheet in layers is fine). Bake the eggplant for 15 minutes.

While the eggplant bakes coat a large deep frying pan with cooking spray, and cook the garlic and onions over medium high heat until the onions start to soften. Add in the bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more. Then add the mushrooms and tomato sauce, cooking until all the vegetables soften. Stir in the spinach and herbs, allowing them to wilt. Remove from heat and add the salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, arrange a pile of eggplant on a dish and top with the tomato mixture. Serves 3, 175 calories per serving.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Let the Penance Being

This week Matt and I are to eschew chips, cakes, cookies, pastries, candy, fried anything, etc. We had too many baked goods and we are feeling very unattractive. We kicked our week off with soup and salad.

The Salad:
1/4 c chickpeas + 2 Tbs
1/4 c carrots, diced + 2 Tbs
1/2 package of baby spinach
1/4 cucumber, peeled and diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup cubanelle pepper, diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1 tsp veg bacon bits
2 Tbs light balsamic dressing

Serves Two, 70 calories/serving

The Soup:
1/2 Tbs garlic, minced
1/2 c carrots, chopped finely
1/2 c onions, chopped finely
1 c celery, chopped finely
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 c beets, chopped finely
1/6 c bulgar wheat
1/4 c chickpeas + 2 Tbs
3/4 c diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 c kale, julienned
fresh basil, chopped -- to taste
fresh oregano, chopped -- to taste
pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
cumin, to taste
chili powder, to taste

Heat a bit of cooking spray in the bottom of a large soup pot. Cook onions, garlic, carrots and celery on medium high heat until they just start to soften. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a rolling boil. Add the beets, bulgar, and chickpeas and boil for a few minutes. Reduce to a simmer and add the tomatoes, kale and herbs and spices. Allow the soup to simmer for about 45 minutes or until all the vegetables have become soft.

Serves Four, 120 calories/serving

So that was our less-than-200-calories dinner. The soup was delicious and filling and we had enough left over for lunches the next day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Want To Make Love To These Cinnamon Rolls

I made these cinnamon buns over the weekend. They were totally amazing. I could have eaten all of them in one sitting. The only thing that stopped me was packing up half of them and taking them to friends.

Matt and I are feeling rather fat after all the baked goods and we've decided a week of "penance" is in order. We have a week of soup and salad consumption planned and a temporary moratorium on baking in effect.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Peanut Stew and Greens

OK, here's the conclusion of my week of cooking recipes from the current issue of Veg Times magazine. I made their Out of Africa dishes including their Peanut Stew with Cucumber Sauce and Flash Cooked Greens. I added 1 tsp of brown sugar to the cucumber sauce which the recipe did not call for but it really needed. The stew was nice and the greens were divine. Here's the grub:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Holy Mother Of Nachos!

Last night Matt and I made a giant plate of super decadent nachos. I feel like I gained 10 lbs but they really were the most spectacular nachos of all time. We used a big pile of Tostitos chips and topped with them half a can of Amy's Organic Refried Beans. We covered that with half a block of melted Follow Your Heart Cheddar. Then we topped that with homemade guacamole, homemade salsa and Tofutti Sour Supreme (vegan sour cream).

For the guacamole I tried following the mock guac recipe from the current issue of Veg Times which calls for some boiled shelled peas (processed in food processor), chopped tomatoes, minced garlic, salt, pepper, hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice and chopped scallions but the peas alone were not quite Guacalicious so I added in some mashed Avocado and it turned out to be the best guac I have ever had.

For the salsa, Matt chopped a bunch of vine ripened tomatoes, garlic, a jalapeno pepper, scallions, onions, and cilantro and then added in some lime juice, olive oil, and chili powder.

Eat your heart out, Taco Bell.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tofu Scramble and Layered Cakelets

Yet again I made something from the current issue of Vegetarian Times. This time it was a Tofu Scramble. I did not really follow their directions exactly. I cooked the tofu longer than they suggested and I added pepper and garlic salt and a lot more minced garlic than they suggested since we love garlic around here. Any way here is how it came out:

Matt and I both enjoyed the scramble very much. I also decided to do some baking. Tonight I made cinnamon, apple and vanilla layered mini cakes.

The Cake:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla.
1/2 cup soy milk + 3 Tbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a cupcake pan (I like the spray on stuff that has oil and flour in it together).

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Using and eletric mixer on low beat in the butter. Beat in the sugar next. Add in the vanilla and soy milk with the mixer on medium high and beat until smooth.

Fill each cupcake holder 1/2 way and bake about 10 minutes (or until inserting a toothpick int he center of a cake comes out clean)

The Apples:
2 apples, peeled, sliced and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all of the above ingredients in a medium pan and cook over medium high heat, stirring often, until the apples soften.

The Frosting:
1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 Tbs cup soy milk
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

To assemble:
Slice a cupcake in half horizontally like so

Apply a thin layer of frosting to the sliced open cake on both halves

Spoon a generous helping of cooked apple onto one half of the sliced open cake

Place the top half of the cake over the apples and frost the top of the cake with cinnamon frosting. Serve with a fork.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fava Beans

I was attracted to the current issue of Vegetarian Times recipe for Fava Bean Ragout for two reasons:
1. It involved wine. I tend to like how stuff cooked in wine tastes and I appreciate having all the left over wine so I can feel like Julia Child and get totally hammered whilst preparing dinner.
2. It involved fava beans which I've seen around for a while but never knew what to do with 'em.

The recipe itself was just okay. Not bad but not amazing. The fava beans were a pain in the ass. They must be shelled, they must be boiled, they must be drained, they must be peeled. You know what fava beans? Fuck you guys. There are other veggies out there that are much less high maintenance.

Any way, here is the grub:

So much cake

I got behind on posting about cake... I mean I have been posting about cake but I made more cake than I posted about, so here it is:

Chai Latte Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting (these were awesome by the way).

Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting and a Sliced Strawberry on Top

Coffee Flavored Cupcake with Hazelnut Frosting and Crushed Hazelnuts on Top

The coffee cupcake and hazelnut frosting was entirely my own made up recipe and although it turned out well I think I can make it even better so I'll hold off on sharing the recipe until I give these babies another go and get them perfect.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

I Stir-Fryed Everything

By the time the weekend rolled around Matt and I had a random assortment of stuff in the fridge; red cabbage, bell peppers, vegan skallops, tofu, asparagus, onions, garlic, ginger, cauliflower... There's only one thing to do when that happens -- cook all of it in a giant pan with some hoison, red curry paste, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice vinegar. The result was pretty and delicious.

P.S. I bought Sheese from Pangea. I did not like it one bit. It does not melt. It has a mediocre taste and texture. I very much prefer Follow Your Heart. In case any one out there in blogreaderland was considering this product, I thought I'd share.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cupcakes Go Neopolitan

With regard to my Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Peanut Butter Frosting, my friend asked, "could you make those without the banana or the peanut butter?" (Her hubby dislikes both.) I asked her what kind of cake he'd eat instead and she said chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry maybe. All very good suggestions but who can choose between them? I just made a cupcake with all three. I feel like cupcake is the wrong word here. These would get too messy to eat without a fork, maybe just mini-cake? Any way, here's the recipe.

The Cake:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbs cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla.
1/2 cup soy milk + 3 Tbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a cupcake pan (I like the spray on stuff that has oil and flour in it together).

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cornstarch in a bowl. Using and eletric mixer on low beat in the butter. Beat in the sugar next. Add in the vanilla and soy milk with the mixer on medium high and beat until smooth.

Fill each cupcake holder 1/2 way and bake 12-15 minutes (or until inserting a toothpick int he center of a cake comes out clean)

The Chocolate:
3 Tbs cup soy milk,
1 Tbs soy margarine
1/2 cup very high quality vegan chocolate chips or chopped vegan chocolate.

Combine the soy milk and margarine in the top of a double broiler, heating until the margarine melts. Add the chocolate and stir until until the chocolate melts.

The Berries:
1/4 cup water
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla
10 medium strawberries, cut into small thin slices

Combine all of the above ingredients in a small bowl, stirring often to coat the berries with the mixture.

The Cream Topping:
I used Soya Too Canned Whipped Cream. You can get it online and maybe at your local hippiemart, er natural foods store if you're lucky. If you're not vegan, regular whipped cream is fine too.

The Procedure:
After the vanilla cakes have cooled remove them from their baking pan and cut out a well in the middle of each cake with a sharp paring knife. Reserve the cake cut outs.

Fill this well with some chocolate.

Top the chocolate with some of your marinated strawberries.

Make crumbs of the cake you cut out and set aside and arrange on some foil and toast until you have some cake breadcrumbs. Garnish each cake with the cake breadcrumbs.

Right before you serve your cakes top them with some whipped cream. If you want to be very fancy fill a squirt bottle with left over chocolate sauce and make a ring around your plate and then use a fork to drag some chocolate out from the circle making a cute spiky pattern like you see in the picture below.

Fancy Tofu

Our friends came over for dinner tonight and we prepared one of our favorite tofu dishes. We like this recipe because it is delicious and beautiful...

Let me say I have two specific fetishes with food -- pretty food and miniature food, hence my interest in cupcakes. The only exception to this rule is soup. I love soup but it's not really soup season so you won't hear much about that for a few months unless I make a gazpacho which is unlikely since Matt considers gazpacho a watered down version of salsa and "who would want that?!" he says. Food that is both miniature and pretty is especially awesome. I'll blog about mini-foods in the near future, other than miniature cakes, but for now, the tofu...

This recipe was published in an issue of Veg Times but their directions were totally horrible so I am posting with my own instructions -- this serves two so double if you're entertaining guests.

You need:
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. mirin
1 1/2 tsp. minced scallions (white part only)
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
3 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
6 scallions (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. tamari
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garish.
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
10 oz. baked marinated tofu, cut lengthwise into 4 equal pieces

Prepare the sauce by combining the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, minced scallions and sesame oil in a bowl. Stir the sauce and set aside.

In small pan or skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add scallions, bell peppers and tamari and cook until the vegetables are softened. Combine the cooked veggies with the cilantro in a bowl, mix with a large spoon and set aside (covered to keep warm).

In large pan or skillet, heat the rest of the oil over medium heat. Add curry powder and stir well. Add tofu slices in single layer and cook until golden on both sides. Remove from the pan and set on a tea towel or paper towel to drain.

To serve:
Holding knife parallel to work surface, slice each piece of tofu horizontally about 3/4 of the way through. Place the tofu on plates. Gently lift top of 1 piece of tofu and spoon some vegetable mixture over bottom portion. Replace top of tofu and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the tofu. Garnish with cilantro and serve. Goes well with miso soup.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What I've Been Eating

I have not been creative. I've been following recipes to a T but I took pictures any way because everyone loves food porn...

On Wednesday we made Tofu with Peanut Ginger Sauce.

Surprisingly Matt gave this recipe higher marks than I did. It wasn't bad but I think the spectacular curry from earlier this week kind of ruined other recipes for me since it was so very good. It was hard for the peanut tofu to compete. It's also possible that I set myself up for disappointment because I have such a great affection for peanut butter that I expect all things that involve it to be amazing. I did find that a considerable amount of cayenne was necessary to make this dish enjoyable.

On Thursday I tried Fat-Free Vegan's Eggplant Pancakes Florentine.

I liked this recipe very much, it had loads of garlic which I adore and I was able to use fresh herbs from our container garden which I am always happy to do. I got to use our oregano for the first time this season, which has been growing like a champ. For this recipe I found adding more flour than recipe called for and some cornstarch to the eggplant batter was necessary to get my pancakes to hold together. If you try this recipe and have trouble that's what I suggest adding.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Veganized Tastespotting

So I am kind of obsessed with Tastespotting and today I went on a Tastespotting spree, trying out some recipes I found on there, veganized of course.

First I tried these Scallops with Garlic Chips and Arugula-Mint Cream. I used Worthington's Skallops and vegan soy parmesan and Alpro Soya Heavy Cream Substitute. Matt declared this recipe to be just ok. Keep in mind that Matt is a critic and pretty spoiled because more often than not the things we cook around here are "That was almost better than sex, amazing!" The recipe isn't going to disappoint if you give it a shot, but yes, we've had other things we've liked more. (Non-vegan readers may assume we ruined the recipe by making it vegan and while I suppose it's a possibility, I think Matt's grievance was that the pesto was slightly bland and adding cream or parmesan probably wouldn't have changed that. Maybe I should have added more pepper...)

We paired the Skallops with Shaved Asparagus Salad. The only substitution here was soy parmesan in place of the romano cheese. The salad had a light mild taste and it certainly looked pretty on our plates. Matt gave the salad higher marks than the Skallops. The hazelnuts were a really nice touch.

Lastly, I baked snickerdoodle muffins. These muffins were even more amazing than they sound -- light as air and fluffy and moist and sweet, like sweet cinnamon infused little clouds. I really wanted to eat every last one of them in one sitting. Just delicious! I replaced the 2 eggs with 1/4 cup of cornstarch and used Tofutti Sour Supreme in place of the sour cream. You should make these muffins immediately. Seriously, stop reading this blog now and get in the kitchen and make these, you will thank me later.

Curry in a Hurry

Got a hankering for a restaurant quality curry in the middle of the week? You don't need take out menus, Thai culinary school or even hours and hours of simmering for this deliciously flavorful spicy dish you can whip up in no time. (This is based on an Eating Well Magazine recipe that was not vegan, you can make a non-vegan version with chicken if you like.)

You Need:
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1- to 2-inch-long julienne strips
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 8 oz package of Seitan, cut into small bite sized pieces
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup "lite" coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice

Heat oil in a large work or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and onion; cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, ginger and curry paste. Add seitan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk, soy sauce and brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Add cauliflower, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach, basil and lime juice; cook just until spinach and basil has wilted. Serve immediately over rice.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sweet Stuffed Eggplant

This is a Vegetarian Times cookbook recipe, I've made a few minor alterations though.

You'll need:
4 small-medium eggplants (but not baby eggplants, the original recipe called for Japanese eggplants but I've found Italian eggplants work better)
cooking spray
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1 Tbs minched fresh ginger root
2/3 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 c raisins
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 Tbs curry powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Cut out a deep groove deep length-wise into each eggplant (not cutting all the way through). Set eggplants aside and cut up the sliver you extracted from each eggplant into very small pieces.

In a large skillet or wok heat the oil and cook the onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat, stirring until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan (including the cut up eggplant scraps) and stir and simmer a few minutes more.

Spread a thin layer of filling you made in the pan on the bottom of the oiled baking pan. Spoon the rest of the filling into the cut of each eggplant and place the stuffed eggplants into the baking pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake another 25 minutes.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Chocolate Filled Banana Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

These cupcakes are completely decadent. I am in awe of any one who can eat more than one in a single sitting. They're a deliciously sweet marriage of bananas, chocolate and peanut butter. Here's how to make them (yields about 10 cupcakes):

The Cupcakes:
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup white sugar + 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy milk
1/3 cup soy margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray.

Spoon muffins into the muffin pans -- filling each about half way. Bake about 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and sticking a toothpick in the center of the cupcake comes up dry.

The Chocolate Filling:
1/4 cup soy milk, + 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons soy margarine
1 cup very high quality vegan chocolate chips or chopped vegan chocolate.

Combine the soy milk and margarine in the top of a double broiler, heating until the margarine melts. Add the chocolate and stir until until the chocolate melts.

The Frosting:
2 Tablespoons soy margarine, softened
2 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons soy milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Once cupcakes have cooled thoroughly use a sharp paring knife to cut the top off in a conical shape.

Spoon chocolate filling into the well you've created in the cupcakes (do not overfill). Place the cut off tops back onto the cupcakes.

Fill a ziplock bag with a hole in one corner or pastry bag with your peanut butter frosting and pipe frosting over the top of your cupcakes.

Although cupcakes are usually a food you eat with your hands, you may want to use a fork for these, they can get a bit messy.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Mango Basil Vinaigrette

Before I get into this, let me tell you, I've been on a baking kick. Thank goodness for the gym. I have been feeling very catholic about it lately. I bake a batch of cookies and then go confess my sins to the elliptical. I need to see my friends more often so I can unload cakes and other pastries on them. My problem with baking, and cooking in general, is that I want to make things and have a bite to see how they turned out. I do not want to eat the whole thing. Friends, please stop by, any time, day or night. I will make stuff for you.

This week, in addition to cinnamon bread, I made snickerdoodles and inside out carrot cake cookies. I didn't snap a pic of the carrot cake cookies because I was not entirely satisfied with the presentation that turned out and I think the recipe from Epicurious needs tweaking. I will try it again at some point and post about how I think the recipe should be done but in the mean time let me say this -- I did not care for their cream cheese frosting recipe. I suggest mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar with a hand mixer. Honey + Cream Cheese + Food Processor = Runny Mess. I also suggest halfing the size of the cookies, so you have smaller manageably portioned servings.

Any way, enough digression about baking. Let me tell you all about one of my most favorite recipes. Roasted veggies with homemade vinaigrette is great because it's a fancy recipe that's super easy. No complicated procedures, no special gear needed, and your friends will still ooh and ah if you serve this at your next dinner party. So here's how to go about it.

Roasted Veggies:
(You can use any veggies you like honestly, tons of them well work -- summer squash, eggplant, etc. Do not feel like you've got to use the veggies I used. I'm just telling you what I used for the sake of suggestion -- or for any one afraid to experiment with the ingredients. For non vegetarians: if you can't bear the thought of a meal without meat I am sure chicken would also make a fine addition to this dish.) You need:
- 1 large bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 1 lb asparagus
- 6 large portabello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb extra firm tofu, sliced into thin rectangles

You can prepare the veggies on the grill if you've got one but I make mine in the oven. I cover a baking sheet with foil, coat lightly with olive oil and arrange my tofu slices on top. I cook the tofu under the broiler -- set to high, until browned. Flip the tofu and repeat until the other side browns, then set aside. Make sure there's still a coating of oil and then cook the asparagus under the broiler until it starts to brown. Repeat this process with the bell pepper and mushrooms or any other veggies you like until everything is cooked.

The Vinaigrette
This vinaigrette is pretty cool because it can be changed if you do not want basil or mango. You can use the leafy herb and fruit of your choice. Raspberries, strawberries, mint, kiwi -- all of these work very well in vinaigrettes but for the purposes of this rendition I went with basil and mango. You need:
1 handfull of basil, chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup mango, chopped (along with any mango juice that comes out while chopping)
balsamic vinegar, to taste
olive oil, to taste

Combine your basil, shallot and mango in a bowl. Add in your vinegar and oil in equal parts until your basil, shallot and mango are immersed. Then have a taste to see if you prefer your vinaigrette with a tarter taste (add vinegar) or a more mellow flavor (add oil).

To serve this this dish:
Arrange a bed of baby spinach on a large plate. Top the spinach with some rice. Top the rice with your cooked veggies. Stir your vinaigrette and spoon some onto the top of each plate.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


We have a commercial bakery a few blocks from our house so it often smells like cinnamon bread or rye bread or something else deliciously yeasty around here. The combination of our commercial bakery's aroma and this Kitchen Pantry entry had cinnamon on my mind. So I took a stab at their recipe but I had to convert it to US measurements and probably screwed up some of the calculations and ended up fudging things a bit. Here's what I came up with though:

1 C warm water
2 Tbs fresh yeast
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c spelt flour + 2 Tbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter (I used soy margarine)
2/3 c raisins
1/2 c sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
cooking spray

Combine the water, yeast and a pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Allow the yeast to dissolve and foam (should take about 10 mins).

Add flours, 1 Tbs sugar and 2 Tbs butter. Knead until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Form a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and allow it to rise for about 90 minutes.

Roll the dough out between two large sheets of greased parchment paper. (I use cooking spray for this). Combine the sugar, remaining butter, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix all over the rolled out dough. Roll the dough up tightly and close the ends. Lay in a large buttered pan, cover and allow dough to rise for 30 mins.

Then bake the bread in a 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° F and bake for another 15 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool all the way through before slicing it.