Thursday, May 22, 2008

Good Cookies

Like everything but the kitchen sink in your cookies? You'll love these. Another recipe I jotted down from somewhere, they're simply labeled "Good Cookies." They've got an interesting combination of ingredients, and come out nice and chewy when they're cooled. It's kind of like an oatmeal cookie gone wild!! Don't ask me where the cereal comes in, but it works. All you can really say about them are "Wow, these are Good Cookies!"

Good Cookies
1/2 cup margarine, soft
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pureed silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together the margarine and sugars.

3. Add the pureed tofu and vanilla and mix to combine.

4. Beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

5. Fold in the cereal, oats, coconut, and pecans.

6. Drop by heaping tablespoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Leave room for the cookies to spread!

7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Walnuts

This salad is really more a method than a recipe. I made this with dinner the first time I fed the boy's parents, and his mom loves it, so I make it frequently when they're coming over for dinner. It's really quick and easy to put together, and has a nice balance of flavors. It goes fine with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but if that's not your thing, try it with the dressing of your choice.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Walnuts
Triple washed baby spinach
Romaine lettuce hearts
English cucumber, or small pickling cucumber
Toasted Walnuts

Toss together baby spinach and romaine. Use about twice as much baby spinach as romaine.
Slice cucumbers and strawberries and add to the salad
Chop and toast walnuts, and sprinkle over the top.


Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is a mystery. I wrote it down in my cookbook-notebook many years ago, and of course didn't cite it. I haven't made it it in a long time though, mostly because the original calls for non-fat dry milk. As a splurge with my Co-op Member Appreciation Coupons this winter, I bought a canister of powdered soymilk for another recipe, and now that I've got it, I thought I'd try it out in this recipe as well. It worked! These cookies have a great melt-in-your-mouth texture straight out of the oven. Then stay soft and chewy even when they're cool, and the refreshing mint well offsets the rich chocolate. If you aren't a mint fan, leave it out, and have yourself a chocolate chocolate chip cookie instead!

Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup soymilk powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup margarine, soft
1 cup canola oil (or other flavorless vegetable oil)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup pureed silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1. Sift together the flours, cocoa, soymilk powder, baking soda, and salt

2. Cream the margarine, oil and sugars.

3. Beat the soymilk into the margarine mixture, then stir in the extracts.

4. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients.

5. Fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before attempting to consume... or move.

** This dough is quite soft - Don't worry, it's fine! **

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Whole Wheat Rosemary Boule

I have been a very bad blogger. Finals + New job = No blog updating. I have been taking pictures though, so if I can remember what the heck I put in things, I'll be back-blogging a bit. Or, if not, I'm sure we'll eat again next week.

Last night we celebrated mother's day, late, with the boy's parents. They were out of town last weekend, and I was busy with finals, so this worked out best for all of us. Among the things I made was a homemade whole wheat rosemary boule. I love fresh bread more than just about anything, so this was a good excuse to whip up a loaf. I do all the mixing and kneading in my Kitchenaid stand mixer. No reason why you couldn't do it by hand.

This recipe is adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe. I do an extra rise on it, but if you're pressed for time, you can leave it out.

Whole Wheat Rosemary Boule
2 1/2 - 3 cups white bread flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups very warm water -- 120-130 degrees
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt

1. In the bowl of your mixer, combine 1 cup of each of the flours, the sugar, and the yeast. Stir in the warm water and mix for about 1 minute until thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it get all bubbly for about an hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the oil over low heat and add the rosemary, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let it sit until the bread is bubbly.

3. Stir the oil and rosemary mixture and salt into your bubbly flour mixture. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until a smooth, soft dough forms. If it seems sticky, keep adding flour about a tbsp at a time until it becomes less tacky.

4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

5. Grease a large bowl with olive oil and turn the dough over in it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.

6. Punch down the dough and turn it over forming it into a ball. Put it back into the greased bowl, and re-cover it for another hour. It may not rise as much this second time.

7. Punch the dough down again, and form into a smooth ball by tucking the sides under to make a smooth top. Place on a cookie sheet or pizza stone (my favorite) sprinkled with cornmeal, cover with a clean, dry cloth, and leave it alone in a warm place for another hour or until almost double.
8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put an 8X8 square baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven with about an inch of water in it. When dough is ready, mist it with water, dust it with flour, and using a serrated knife, carefully cut three slits into the top of the loaf.

9. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned and sounds hollow when you knock on it. During baking, mist the loaf with cool water a few times in the first 10 minutes, then about every 10 minutes until it's done. This will encourage a thick, crunchy crust!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Noodle-Phoni! (From the good people who brought you Noodle Kaboodle)

Last weekend when I was recovering from my barium study I was desperately craving comfort food. I wanted Mac&Cheeze, but I had none, and wasn't feeling up to going out on a mission for soy cheeze or a box of mac and chreese, so I decided to throw something together from what I had in my fridge. I didn't want a straight up Nutritional Yeast sauce, and I had some tofutti cream cheese in the fridge so in it went. It was crazy delicious. The next day I was eating the leftovers and the boy caught a wiff and wanted in on that action. He loved it. I decided to see if I could recreate it into a noodle-roni type dish, and tonight I did. It's nice and creamy and has that side-dish-in-a-box comfort food appeal. Here I served it with Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, and Broccoli sauteed in garlic and olive oil and dusted with veggie broth powder. This dinner was way way way too good and we both ate so much we had to sit on the veg on the couch a while going "ughhhh" after dinner. (In the best way possible)

I swear I tried to measure things as I went along, but sometimes it needed a hair more this or that. This is as exact as it's getting for me, so taste as you go, and I won't be offended if you adjust seasonings as needed.

Ignore the rest of the plate, just zone in on the noodles. I tried to do a close up, but really they're not much to look at, and they kept photographing fuzzy.

8 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti, broken in half
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp plain rice milk
2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
3 tbsp Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
1/8 tsp dried oregano
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Prepare spaghetti according to package directions

2. In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat.

3. Add the rice milk and cream cheese and whisk together until it's as smooth as you can get it. (The cream cheese likes to be lumpy. Don't obsess over it being silky smooth)

4. Add the nutritional yeast, spices, and salt/pepper to taste and whisk until combined and smooth.

5. Remove from heat and toss with drained spaghetti. Sprinkle the top with a little paprika. Try not to eat the entire pot in one sitting.

Thai Steamed Green Garden with Coconut-Peanut Sauce

Jeez, what is it with me and peanut sauces this week?? This is another recipe from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. It sounded interesting, and used some baked tofu, and it was easy enough to leave the scallions out to make it onion free. In the end, I was actually about halfway disappointed by the baked tofu. It really didn't have much flavor, and for almost $4 for 8 oz, I would have liked it to taste like something all the way through! (The outside had some sauce on it) The texture was really nice and firm and creamy though. Still, I don't plan on spending $8 on special tofu any time in the future. I think next time I'd just use my favorite locally made tofu and marinate it overnight in the coconut-peanut sauce. Along side this, I used the rest of the light coconut milk and cooked some brown rice in it (2 parts coconut milk to 1 part brown rice - bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and barely simmer 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and don't touch it for 10 minutes, then eat it). It complimented the veggies and tofu really well!

Thai Steamed Green Garden with Coconut-Peanut Sauce
4 cups broccoli florets
8 oz green beans, cut in half
2 stalks of lemon grass, cut in half and slit with a knife
1 medium zucchini, cut in half and sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 8 oz packages of White Wave Thai-Flavored Baked Tofu, cut into slices

1. In a large skillet or wok, combine the broccoli and green beans and add just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Put the lemon grass on top, cover, and steam until the veggies are bright green, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the veggies and tofu and toss together. Cover and steam again for about 2-3 minutes until all the veggies are tender-crisp.

3. Fold the veggies and tofu with enough coconut-peanut sauce to coat (recipe to follow). Serve the rest on the side.

Coconut-Peanut Sauce
8 oz Thai Peanut Satay Sauce (available at grocery store)
1/2 cup light coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp maple syrup

1. Mix all ingredients together.

2. Yea that's it.

3. The original recipe also called for 1/2 tsp red or green Thai chili paste, but I'm not a spicy food eater, so I left it out. Add it in if you like.

Seitan Satay with Peanut Sauce

I don't know how I got it into my head that I wanted Seitan Satay this week, but there it was, and I could not ignore it. I read through a few of my cookbooks, and looked around on the web a while before I settled on a recipe. I used Robin Robertson's recipe from The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. I used baked seitan with no extra fancy flavorings in it so the marinade and peanut sauce would be the stars. Served alongside it are Mango Summer Rolls from Vegan with a Vengeance and Sesame String Beans. The seitan had a meaty bite to it and was nice and chewy, and the summer rolls went great with the peanut sauce. It was a delicious meal with a bunch of interesting components.

Seitan Satay
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
12 oz seitan, cut into 1/4" strips

1. Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over low heat, and add the shallow and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.

2. Put the shallot mixture, ginger, tamari, lime juice, sesame oil, and brown sugar into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add a little water if it's too thick.

3. Pour the marinade into a shallow dish and coat each piece of seitan. Allow to marinate for at least an hour. (I put mine in the fridge for the day while I was in classes)

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Soak enough wooden skewers for each slice of seitan in water for about 30 minutes. Thread the seitan onto the skewers and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.

5. Bake the seitan for 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly browned. Serve with peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (soften it in the microwave to make it easier to mix)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp tamari
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1. Mix all the ingredients together. Add more water if it's too thick. (I like putting it all in a jar and shaking until it's smooth)

Sesame Green Beans
8 oz green beans, ends snapped off
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1. Heat the oil and garlic in a large sautee pan until the garlic begins to soften. Add the green beans, tamari, and vinegar and toss to coat.

2. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until green beans are tender-crisp. Toss with sesame seeds and serve.