Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lion's Head Casserole (two ways)

Dinner 3/29

Lion's Head Casserole (two ways)

An old-school Chinese dish, re-imagined. Our meatballs were a mix of minced tofu, minced veggies, spices and wheat gluten to hold it all together, which were then deep fried. The broth is veg stock, sherry, tamari, szechwan pepper. The baby bok choy were slowly cooked in the wok. Next time we make it we should have a comprehensive recipe...

Further down the rabbit hole -- a condensed version with the baby bok choy wrapped around the meatball, with broth in the spoon. I sense a future appearance at a catering gig ;)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lentil, Mustard Greens and Seitan Stew, Polenta and Basil Mayo, Grilled Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

Dinner 3/28

Lentil, Mustard Greens and Seitan Stew

Polenta with Tomatoes and Basil Mayo

Grilled Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

We've been picking up the outstanding mustard greens almost daily from Bill in Rootstown via Kent Natural Foods in Kent -- it's tough to pick a favorite between his mustard greens and chard, but we'll happily use both as long as they're in season ;)

The grilled romaine salad has become as ubiquitous as the lentil stew for quick weeknight or weekend meal. 15 minutes in the pressure cooker are all the lentils need which is plenty of time to grill the romaine, make the dressing and fry the seitan, onions and garlic. The beets were roasted in advance, so they only needed to be sliced and placed on top.

The polenta starts with 1 cup of fine cornmeal whisked into 3 cups of boiling water seasoned with 1 tbs. of salt. From there we turn down the heat to low and make it like risotto, adding an additional 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup at a time here and there (don't sweat the timing, just don't let it scorch the bottom of the pan). Finally we add 1 tbs. of soy margarine, 1 tbs. of nutritional yeast, and 1 tsp. of black pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, and check for seasoning.

Add the sliced and salted tomatoes, mix basil/vegenaise in any proportion you'd like and you're good to go...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Chiles Rellenos with Mole Sauce, Enchiladas with Queso Fundido, Avocado Salad

Raw Food Wednesday 3/25

Chiles Rellenos
(recipe below)

Mole Sauce
(recipe below)

Enchiladas with Queso Fundido
(recipe below)

Avocado Salad

We got a good deal on some organic red bell peppers, so this seemed like the best way to utilize them for Raw Food Wednesday...

Chiles Rellenos (makes 6 pieces)

2 red bell peppers

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 carrot, small dice
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. nama shoyu
1 tsp. cumin seed
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup water

Cut each pepper into three or four sections, depending on the pepper. Try to keep the stem on if possible, but clean out all of the seeds and trim any extra white sections inside. Save any leftover pieces of pepper for the mole, below.

Soak the pumpkin and sunflower seeds for 30 minutes, drain and add the rest of the ingredients in the vita-mix and process until well blended. You made need a little extra water, but the consistency should be fairly spreadable. Check for seasoning.

Spoon in the pumpkin seed mixture. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula or the back of the spoon.

Dehydrate for 8 hours at 105F. Serve topped with Mole Sauce (below).

Mole Sauce

1 tbs. raw cacao nibs
1 tbs. pumpkin seeds
1 tbs. flax seeds
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander

1 red bell pepper
1 tsp. jalapeno (or more if you like the heat)
1 tsp. agave
1 tbs. nama shoyu

Grind the dry ingredients, add to the peppers, agave and nama shoyu and puree in a vita-mix. Check for seasoning. Pour over the rellenos and serve.

Queso Fundido

This is sort of a play on the classic Mexican cheese dish using the three different nuts.

1 cup of macadamia nuts
1/2 cup of cashews
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. white miso
1 tbs. nama shoyu
1 tsp. fresh ground cumin seed
1 tsp. mexican oregano
black pepper to taste

1 cup of water

1 Anaheim Chile, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced

Throw everything (except the chiles, shallot and tomato) in the Vita-Mix and gradually add the water (you might not need it all). Fold in the chiles, shallot and tomato. Check for seasoning.

Place a strip of queso inside a piece of lettuce and roll tightly.

We also had a avocado that was perfectly ripe, so we tossed a quick mixed greens salad with a tomato.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Oatloaf, Roasted Cauliflower, Braised Carrots

Dinner 3/23


Roasted Cauliflower

Braised Carrots

The loaf ingredients were oatmeal, mashed tofu, wheat gluten, shredded carrots, tamari, caramelized onions, garlic and pepper. The gravy was a roux (flour/earth balance), shallots, garlic, veg stock, salt and pepper.

The cauliflower was tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 15 minutes at 450F.

The carrots were braised -- peeled, placed in a sauce pan, filled with water halfway up the side of the carrots, with 1 tbs. of Earth Balance. The water was brought to a boil, with the lid placed slightly loose until the water has almost completely evaporated. Then the carrots are seasoned and placed in a gratin dish which goes into a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fettuccine and Mushrooms with Mustard Greens and Chard, Savory Cheesecake Souffle over Arugula

Dinner 3/22

Fettuccine and Mushrooms with Mustard Greens and Chard

Mini Savory Cheesecakes over Arugula

The pasta was made with the leftover dough from the ravioli, run through the fettuccine attachment on the Kitchen-Aid mixer.

I can always tell when spring has truly arrived when we start getting produce from Bill Pennell at Rootstown Organic Farm -- the mustard greens and chard were outstanding. I cut them in a chiffonade to mimic the fettuccine.

Liz also made the Mini Savory Cheesecakes -- a riff on a Jacques Pepin recipe from the "More Fast Food My Way" show, subbing soft tofu for the eggs, and using soy sour cream, Earth Balance and Sheese Blue Cheese. Here's a close-up in the ramekin...

...and served over arugula in the salad.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shish Kabob, Strawberry and Raspberry Pie

Dinner 3/21

Shish Kabob

Strawberry and Raspberry Pie

We picked up some lovely kumquats at Kent Natural Foods earlier in the week and decided to smoke them (in addition to tofu) for the shish kabob. They were both smoked for 20 minutes in cherry wood.

A close-up of the kumquats

After grilling they were almost candied, really accentuating the sweetness

Abacus or Shish Kabob? ;)

For dessert Liz knocked out this gorgeous strawberry and raspberry pie (short crust with cream cheese/sugar base). Busby Berkeley would have been proud.

A close-up shot of the raspberries.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mushroom Ravioli, Grilled Asparagus, Celeriac Salad

Dinner 3/20

Mushroom Ravioli

Grilled Asparagus

Celeriac Salad

Liz made the dough (sorry, no recipe) and we cranked out some free-form ravioli stuffed with mushrooms and topped with a white sauce of shallot, garlic, almond cream, cognac and tarragon.

The asparagus were blanched and tossed with olive oil, tamari and pepper, then grilled.

The celeriac salad is a riff on a Jamie Oliver recipe, tossed with vegenaise, parsley, mustard, sherry vinegar and capers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Seitan Korma, Channa Masala, Mushroom Aloo Bhaji Pea and Cashew Biryani, Palak Paneer, Rice Pudding

Dinner 3/18

Seitan Korma, Channa Masala, Mushroom Aloo Bhaji, Pea and Cashew Biryani

Palak Paneer (spinach and tofu paneer)

Channa Masala (spicy chickpeas)

Mushroom Aloo Bhaji (mushroom, potato and onion)

Rice Pudding

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day (Early): Colcannon, Beer Gravy, Cock of the North

Dinner 3/15


Beer Gravy

Cock Of The North

In what has become our traditional St. Patrick's dinner, the colcannon (mashed potatoes & cabbage) is paired with the lovely beer gravy. The main course is the always exciting Cock of the North, in which the whiskey is set alight over the seitan stew, to the great delight of onlookers.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Deep Dish Pizza, A Photo Essay

Dinner 3/14

Deep Dish Pizza

par-baked for 7 minutes, then brushed with olive oil

the filling is added, smoked tofu, cremini mushrooms, onions, tomato sauce, nutritional yeast

the Mozzarella Teese is added to cover

baked for 25 minutes at 450F, removed from the pan, baked directly on the pizza stone for 10 minutes

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower and Spaghetti

Dinner 3/08

Roasted Cauliflower and Spaghetti

The cauliflower was tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roasted at 450F for 15 minutes. It was added to the spaghetti along with some garlic, nutritional yeast and olive oil. Garnished with parsley.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cabbage and Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings, Tofu Triangles, Stir-Fry w/ Broccoli, Jasmine Rice

Dinner 3/07

Cabbage and Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings

Tofu Triangles

Stir-Fry w/ Broccoli

Jasmine Rice

A stir-fry managed to sneak in on the blog, only because the dumplings and tofu triangles were so good ;)

The tofu triangles were coated with 1 tbs. gin, 1 tbs. tamari, black pepper for 30 minutes or so to marinate. Then add 2 tbs. cornstarch and toss to coat well. Deep-fry in 385F peanut oil for 3-4 minutes. They'll puff up quite a bit in the oil, but will shrink noticeably after. The dipping sauce was tamari, agave, sriracha and lime juice.

Here's Liz rolling out the dumplings with her mini-rolling pin (which is the perfect size for these). The filling was stir-fried with a touch of sesame oil and finished with a little tamari and fresh ground szechuan pepper.

Here's a closer view of the dumplings -- boiled tonight, rather than steamed or fried.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Tapas: Sous-Vide Fennel, Patatas Bravas, Braised Cabbage and Soyrizo, Seitan, Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew, Smoked Tamari Almonds

Tapas 3/06

Sous-Vide Fennel

Patatas Bravas

Braised Cabbage and Soyrizo

Seitan, Kale and Cannellini Bean Stew

Smoked Tamari Almonds

We've been playing around with the sous-vide technique lately, and here's a recap...

First we start with the smoker box. Here's a close-up, with alder wood chips hiding underneath -- Tamari Almonds, Seitan, Yukon Potatoes

The smoker box again, while in the background, the canning pot comes to temp. For the sous-vide setup we were able to use off-the-shelf equipment -- canning pot, thermometer, FoodSaver -- instead of an immersion circulator and industrial vacuum-sealer. The temp stayed rock solid over the entire cooking time...

After the smoker has gone for 25 minutes, the Yukon Potatoes (plus earth balance, olive oil, salt, pepper) go into the FoodSaver. The fennel (along with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and fino sherry) was cut into 12 wedges and vacuum-sealed.

Sous-Vide Fennel: After being cooked at 83C for 45 minutes, the fennel is dropped into an ice bath for five minutes. Then the bag was opened, and quickly seared in olive oil and seasoned. The result is melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, a great taste, all the while retaining structure.

Sous-Vide Patatas Bravas: The potatoes were also cooked at 83C, but for 2 hours. At the end of cooking the bag was dropped into an ice bath for 5 minutes, then opened, and the potatoes were quickly seared in a pan with the addition of red bell pepper, smoked paprika, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. The potatoes retain that earthiness (and the smoke flavor) that would have been diluted had they been cooked in water.

The rest of meal...

Braised Cabbage & Soyrizo. no sous-vide on this one, slow braised on the stove top. Hiding in the background is the tamari almonds -- marinated in tamari for an hour, then smoked. It's surprising there were enough left by dinner time to take a picture. ;)

Seitan, Dinosaur Kale & Cannellini Bean Stew -- onion, garlic, seitan, wilted kale, cannellini beans, tamari, smoked paprika, fino sherry, veg stock. stayed together nicely in the ring mold.

The sous-vide aspect of the food was definitely an upgrade in flavor, texture and control. Once the bags went in the water, I didn't have to think about them until it was five minutes before it was time to eat.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jerk Tofu Stuffed with Plantains and Soyrizo, Coconut Rice and Red Beans, Spinach and Cabbage Salad

Dinner 3/05

Jerk Tofu Stuffed with Plantains and Soyrizo

Coconut Rice and Red Beans

Spinach and Cabbage Salad

The tofu was cut into six pieces, with a slit cut (carefully) into the side. Then it was smoked with mesquite wood chips for 25 minutes. Next, the tofu was pan-fried until golden brown on both sides and splashed with 1 tbs. of tamari at the end of cooking.

The diced plantain and soyrizo mixture was stir-fried, then stuffed into the side of the tofu, which was then baked in a 350F for 15 minutes.

The tofu was removed from the oven, put back in the pan and the jerk sauce (below) was added over med-high heat until thickened (about 3 minutes). You could alternately baste the tofu while in the oven turning a couple of times to get full coverage. Either one will work...

The rice was leftover from stir-fry the night before, with added coconut milk, red beans, salt, pepper, cilantro and a little minced habenero.

Jerk Sauce

2 scallions chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 habanero pepper, removing the seeds
1 tsp. allspice, ground
1 tsp. herbes de provence, ground
1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg, microplaned
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
2 tbs. canola oil

Puree everything together, check for seasoning.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Stroganoff, Spinach and Cabbage Salad, Buckwheat Treats

Raw Food Wednesday 3/04


Cabbage and Spinach Salad with Grape Tomatoes


Buckwheat Treats

After the Autumn/Winter Roll turned out so well, we've been playing around with the idea of a raw "cutlet" -- something versatile enough to be used in different preparations and with different flavor profiles that can be tweaked to suit the dish.

We didn't want to make it as nut dependent as the autumn roll, and decided on sprouted buckwheat as the second main ingredient. This lightens the cutlet and gives it a nice chewy texture.

For the stroganoff, it was the buckwheat cutlets, a base of zucchini noodles, topped with a mustard, almond, cashew and pine nut cream sauce.

(this is a preliminary recipe, more for the proportions)

Buckwheat Cutlets
makes approx 8-10 cutlets

1 cup of buckwheat, sprouted (about 2 cups after sprouting)
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup carrot, small dice
1/4 celery, small dice
1/4 cup zucchini, small dice
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tbs. white miso

1 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. garlic, finely minced
1 tbs. shallots, finely minced

1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. mustard seed, ground
1 tbs. flax seed, ground
salt and pepper to taste

Put the buckwheat and 1/4 cup of water in the vita-mix and pulse it repeatedly to break it down into very small pieces. You don't want a complete puree here, you want to retain a little texture. Add the carrot, celery, zucchini, pine nuts & miso, pulse to combine.

Add the olive oil, garlic, shallots, mustard seed, flax seed, lemon zest, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Check for seasoning.

For these we used a square mold which yielded about eight cutlets. It depends on how thick you want them. Put them into the dehydrator on the teflex sheets for about 4 hours at 105F, flip over, remove the teflex and go for another 4 hours.

As a side, we made a simple cabbage & spinach salad with grape tomatoes and a celery vinaigrette.

The awesome "Buckwheat Treats" recipe is here:'s from @calebsimpson. We made two small changes: we used sprouted buckwheat and did not use the wheatberries. A great snack to make ahead of time and take with you on a hike or walk...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Wild Mushroom Quesadilla, Monkey Bread

Dinner 3/01

Wild Mushroom Quesadilla


Monkey Bread
(recipe below)

The wild mushroom quesadilla was a combo of shiitake, oyster and bluefoot mushrooms, with sliced red bell pepper, red onions and mozzarella Teese between red pepper tortillas cooked on the griddle.

For dessert, Liz made Monkey Bread again -- the recipe (below) is adapted right off the label that came with the '50s style earthenware mold. Here it comes out of the oven...

...Monkey Bread unmolded, ready to be glazed and eaten. Delicious with bourbon... er, so I am told. ;)

Monkey Bread

2 tbs. soy margarine to grease pan


3/4 c. warm soy milk
1/2 c. warm water
2 tbs. soy margarine, melted
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. yeast
3 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

For Sugar Coating

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6-8 tbs. (about 1 stick) soy margarine, melted

For Glaze

4 tbs. soy margarine
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs. water

1. Grease monkey bread pan with soy margarine.

2. For the dough, in a bowl whisk soy milk, water, melted soy margarine, sugar and yeast.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook, combine the flour and salt and beat on low speed just until combined. Slowly add the soy milk mixture and beat until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the dough is shiny and smooth, 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball. Coat the inside of a large bowl with nonstick spray (or soy margarine), place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.

5. Prepare sugar coating: In bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted soy margarine in another bowl. Set aside.

6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into an 8 inch square. Cut the dough into 6 equal strips, then cut each piece crosswise into 8 pieces to form a total of 48 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, dip in soy margarine, and roll in sugar mixture. Stack balls into pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 30-45 minutes in warm place. (Don't let it rise over the top edge of the mold).

7. Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place mold on a sheet pan to catch any drips during baking. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

8. Remove plastic wrap and bake in 350F degree oven for 20 minutes. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over browning and bake additional 25-35 minutes more until bread springs back when touched.

9. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the soy margarine, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and water. Heat, whisking, until the ingredients are dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

10. Transfer the bread pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the mold, and turn the bread out onto a plate and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a spoon, drizzle the warm glaze over the top and side of the bread. Let the glaze set for about 10 minutes. Serve the bread warm.