Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Farmers Market Bounty...Amazing Potatoes...Tofu Tikka Masala

I found a fun cookbook at the library recently and this was the first recipe I tried. The spice mixture on the tofu looked delicious but upon looking at the sauce ingredients, I wasn't sure it would have much flavor. I had already started the recipe though and proceeded with it. Thankfully, it turned out very yummy. In this first picture, you will also see the cauliflower I got from the farmers market - it was kind of funny looking, with a purple hue but it was incredibly delicious! (recipe to come)

Tofu Tikka Masala (adapted from Taste of the East)
1 14oz package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 16 pieces (strips or cubes)
1 1/4 t cumin
3/4 t chili powder
2 T lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 garlic clove pressed
1 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup vegan yogurt (I didn't have any so I subbed 1/2 cup soymilk mixed with 1 t cider vinegar)
Combine all ingredients in a bag and marinate for 30 min- however long you want! Heat oven to 375 and bake tofu for 15 min. In a saucepan, combine following ingredients and heat thoroughly:

3/4 cup soy creamer
1 1/2 T tomato paste
1 t lemon juice
pinch of cardamom and cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3 T minced fresh cilantro

Remove tofu from oven and place in pan of sauce. Heat through. Serve over rice.

I whipped up some Nutty Cheese the other day - making one batch a Mexican flavor with cumin and fresh cilantro from my garden and one batch an Italian flavor with fresh basil from my mom's garden. I haven't made this recipe for quite a while so it will be fun to experiment with it in some new recipes.

Nutty Cheese (Source: 500 Vegan Recipes)
1 oz agar agar powder
2 cups water
2 cups raw cashews, finely ground into powder
3 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 t fine sea salt
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
Prepare loaf pan by spraying with cooking spray. Place the agar agar in water and bring to full boil. Boil for 5 min. Stir often to prevent boiling over. Place remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the water-agar mixture and whisk until creamy and smooth. Quickly pour into oiled loaf pan and refrigerate until set.

The boys and I headed to one of the local farmers markets this past Saturday and we hit the jackpot on veggies! I got some of the most amazing deals ever!! I spent a whopping $5.50 and got 2 zucchinis, 3 huge cucumbers, about 3 lbs of green beans, a small head of cauliflower, a purple cabbage, and an aloe vera plant! I was thrilled. The green beans weren't pretty and the farmer told me I would really have to pick through them and clean them and that he would give me a good price because they weren't a great crop. He gave me 3 boxes for a dollar! I jumped at the chance, figuring that even if I had to throw out half of them, it was still a great price. Turned out that I threw away maybe 5 or 6 out of the whole bunch - I roasted them and they were delicious!

My parents live in a little town called Marshall - they love living in a small town, which is something I just don't get! I love to visit them there and we always have a blast doing "small town" things like walking to the square, picking peaches in a friend's orchard, or observing the fact that wherever they go, they run into fifteen people they know! LOL. Ok, so maybe that's an exaggeration! We were out visiting them on July 4th and my mom shared some of the bounty she had received from friends in their church - freshly dug potatoes from the garden of these friends! They were all different sizes, mostly small, covered with dirt - truly, right from the ground. I was so excited to try them out. My mom suggested they would be delicious boiled up with some salt, pepper, and butter - simple flavor so as not to mask their fresh deliciousness! I did just that the other day, along with several other taste delights. I scrubbed those beautiful potatoes, then boiled them in salted water. Next I tossed them with sea salt, fresh parsley from my mom's garden, and some cracked pepper and a bit of vegan butter. I must admit, these were the most amazing potatoes I have ever sunk my teeth into. They were creamy and delicious - wow! Along with the potatoes, I made Chili Lime Corn and Tofu (that I made a few weeks ago), roasted green beans (from the farmers mkt), and crispy zucchini sticks which turned out fabulous - a made-up recipe I came up with. A wonderful meal if I do say so myself! So, thank you David and Jackie, for sharing your delicious potatoes with my parents and thank you Mom for passing some along to us!!

Crispy Zucchini Sticks
2 zucchini of yellow summer squash, cut into sticks
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 t sea salt
1 t pepper
1 t garlic powder
1/2 cup soy milk
1 t dijon mustard
1 T flax meal

Combine cornmeal and spices in one bowl. In another bowl, combine soy milk, mustard and flax. Dip each stick in milk mixture and then in cornmeal mixture. Place sticks on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 15 min or until browned. Serve with marinara sauce

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Crispy Herbed Potato Stack

Crispy Herbed Potato Stack
I was going to try a recipe for herbed scalloped potatoes and at last minute decided to do something fast and easy. I made up the recipe and it was yummola! I layered sliced russet potatoes in a baking dish, drizzled with olive oil, and then sprinkled with coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, basil, rosemary, paprika, and garlic powder. Then I baked them at 425 fr about 45 minutes. They were crisp and very flavorful!

My thrown-together salad today - after discovering I had no leftovers for lunch!

Tamale Fixings

Tamale Fixings
Plain pintos (for Keith), pintos, corn and onions; corn, jalepenos and Daiya; mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and chard

Making these was a bit time-consuming but kinda fun! They didn't turn out as good as I had hoped - the outer tamale part (not the filling) just wasn't as flavorful as tamales I have had in restaurants. I have another recipe I will try for the dough next time. Tamales are one of my favorite foods so I won't give up on this one!

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes
I modified one of my favorite pancake recipes to make it vegan and then I added blueberries. Turned out quite yummy. Soymilk sours and thickens well - very similar to buttermilk. I have been really impressed with it's ability to substitute for real buttermilk.

"Buttermilk" Blueberry Pancakes

Egg replacement for 1 egg
1 1/4 cups soured soy milk (put 2 T vinegar into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Add enough soy milk to equal 1 1/4 cups)
2 T canola oil
1 cup flour (I wouldn't recommend whole wheat or whole wheat pastry - it really takes away from the fluffiness of these pancakes)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Blueberries, optional

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Heat griddle pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Sprinkle blueberries on pancakes after ladling onto griddle. Cook just until golden on both sides.

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein

Veggie and Seitan Lo Mein
Overall, this was fabulous! However, I don't think the seitan added much so I would just leave it out next time. The lo mein also needed about double the sauce so I would simply do that next time for added flavor. This was especially spicy and yummy with some Sriracha drizzled on top. I made our favorite veg egg rolls to go with this and it was truly a Chinese treat!!

Veggie Seitan Lo Mein

I really did my own thing for this recipe so I am just going to outline the instructions and include the sauce recipe. I heated oil in a large skillet and added 3 minced cloves of garlic and about 1 cup of half-moon cut onions (I was out of green onions but next time I would use green onions as I like them a lot in Chinese food) and about 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots. After about 5-6 minutes, I added about 1/4 lb of whole green beans. I cooked these veggies until tender. Meanwhile, I cooked a 16oz package of chow mein noodles. Once the veggie mixture was cooked, I poured the sauce on the veggies, heated through and tossed with the noodles. Next time I would double the amount of sauce and have adjusted amounts below to reflect double recipe.

Sauce (Source:Adaptable Feast)
3 T soy sauce
3 T rice wine (I used 3 T rice vinegar and 1 t sugar as I didn't have any rice wine)
3 t sugar
4 T black bean garlic sauce
Mix all ingredients and toss with above mixture.

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth
Pretty yummy. I found that steaming the wontons worked much better than the recipe suggestion to boil them. The broth was very mild and a bit too mellow for us. Still pretty yummy though. I added extra veggies to the wontons and scallion to the broth. The seasoning in the wonton filling was quite tasty!

Chinese Broccoli Wontons in Ginger Soy Broth (Source: Vegan Yum Yum)

(As usual, I modified several things so it's not exactly the recipe in Vegan Yum Yum!)

1 cup chopped broccoli
3/4 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 T oil
1 t fresh ginger, minced
1 clove fresh minced garlic
1/2 t hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
1 t hot Chinese mustard
2 T plus 1 t soy sauce
4 cups water ( I think this might have been more flavorful had I used vegetable broth or faux chicken broth???)
6 slices fresh ginger
1 T mirin (I used a splash of cooking wine as I didn't have mirin)
1 1/2 t sugar
2 t rice vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup chopped scallions
16 wonton skins

For filling: Heat oil in skillet and add broccoli, ginger, garlic, carrot, onion and cook until veggies are crisp tender. Add chili sauce, mustard, 1 t soy sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make wontons, take one skin and place in diamond shape. Fill with 1-2 t filling. Fold in half to make a triangle and moisten edges with water and pinch sides to seal. Set triangle in front of you with point up and take the 2 side points and bring them together in front to cross. Set aside and prepare remaining wontons. When finished, place wontons in a steamer basket and steam over pot of boiling water until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a pot, combine remaining ingredients (except wontons) and simmer 10-15 min.

Place 3-4 wontons in bowl and ladle broth over wontons. Serve.