Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lettuce Wraps With Hoisin Mustard Tofu, Unfried Fried Rice, 5 Spice Butternut Squash

Dinner 9/29

Lettuce Wraps With Hoisin Mustard Tofu

Unfried Fried Rice

5 Spice Butternut Squash

We picked up some beautiful lettuce from Farmer Jones over the weekend, so that meant the wraps (which were supposed to use iceberg) are not a true representation of the test recipe from Isa. Not being a big fan of iceberg (having lived through the 70's), it might have actually been better. ;)

While we were busy substituting with the lettuce, we also tested the baked squash dish, which was supposed to be a delicata. Lacking that, we went with the back-up butternut squash, with the always aromatic Chinese Five-Spice Powder which paired nicely with the hoisin/mustard tofu.

Surprisingly, we did manage to make the tofu and fried rice dish according to the recipe...

These are test recipes for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's next cookbook. As part of the testing agreement, we can't give out the recipe.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seitan Stroganoff, Braised Leeks

Dinner 9/24

Seitan Stroganoff

Braised Leeks

You know it's Fall when we break out this hearty recipe. ;)

It's that same kind of seasonal food cue like peas/ramps/asparagus in spring or tomato/basil/zucchini in summer...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Spring Rolls and Gyoza

Raw Food Wednesday 9/23

Spring Rolls


The idea for tonight's experiment in raw food has been kicking around for a couple of months in our notebook. It's fun to scroll back in time to find an offhand scribble in the margins that says "raw spring rolls = daikon" and then work backwards from that tiny clue.

There's some tweaks I want to make to the spring roll wrapper -- which used pureed daikon, flax seed, water, agave, garlic, ginger & salt -- so next time we'll have a better idea about a recipe. They were spread out in rounds on the dehydrator sheet and they took about 2 1/2 hours.

They were filled with thinly sliced cabbage (on the mandoline), red bell pepper, leeks, cilantro and tossed with a mix of olive oil, garlic, ginger, agave, nama shoyu and pepper which was dehydrated for 3 hours @ 105F, tossing a couple of times.

One of the ideas to make the next time would include a sweet and sour dipping sauce for the spring rolls (orange/agave or plum/agave/vinegar).

While thinking of a side-dish, I spied a lovely butternut squash that had a very round top section and thought they would make ideal gyoza wrappers if cut thinly on the mandoline, coated with olive oil and salt and then vacuum-seal them for 24 hours to compress further. This had the desired effect, and made them very flexible and easy to stuff and, more importantly, fold. It also made them very much like wonton wrappers, especially when chewing, with a good mouthfeel.

We used the filling for the spring rolls to fill these, but next time I'd like to come up with something a little different for contrast.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens, Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Lunch 9/20

Spicy Black Eyed Peas & Greens

Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples

We bought three bags of apples last Sunday when we went to our local orchard, so this test recipe for Isa's next book came along at a fortuitous time ;)

The pairing of the earthy sweet potatoes and apples with spicy black eyed peas, tomatoes and greens is wonderful, with each dish complimenting the other.

This is a test recipe for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's next cookbook. As part of the testing agreement, we can't give out the recipe.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Alder-Smoked Grilled Tofu, Wilted Kale, Smoked Cremini Mushrooms, Twice Baked Potato

Dinner 9/18

Alder-Smoked Grilled Tofu

Wilted Kale

Smoked Cremini Mushrooms

Twice Baked Potato

Smoked tofu and mushrooms with a base of wilted kale may be the greatest thing since sliced bread... ;)

After finding much success smoking the portobello mushrooms the other night, we decided to smoke some cremini mushrooms to accompany the grilled tofu. We put them in the smoker box whole, along with the tofu, but took them out after seven minutes. They came out dry, and didn't get "cooked" with the dry heat of the smoker box, but were infused with the alder wood smoke. They were then sliced, and pan-fried in olive oil and soy margarine along with shallots, with a good shot of sherry vinegar about halfway through the cooking.

The smoked tofu was marinated (1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup tamari, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, 1 tbs. agave, 1 tbs. ketchup and pepper to taste), then grilled, about 5-6 minutes per side, turning once for nice grill marks.

Don't adjust your monitor, the potato is, in fact, glowing. ;)

They were baked for an hour at 400F, the insides scooped out, mashed together with salt, pepper, soy margarine, soy milk and cheddar Teese. The filling was added back to the shells and baked for another 20 minutes. It could have been a meal unto itself...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peach Skillet Upside Down Cake

Dessert 9/17

Peach Skillet Upside Down Cake

We picked up some peaches when we went to the apple orchard Sunday afternoon, so we decide to make this riff on Rick Bayless' "Pineapple Upside Down Skillet Cake" from "Everyday Mexican" cooked in a cast-iron skillet.

We've made this in the past with apples, plums as well as pineapple, and it always turns out great!

The recipe subs soy yogurt for the buttermilk, soy margarine for the butter, non-bone char sugar (Florida Crystals) and flax (1 tbs. ground flax, 2 tbs. water) for the eggs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Smoked Portobello Burger, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Yellow Squash Soup

Dinner 9/15

Smoked Portobello Burger

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Yellow Squash Soup

The four portobello mushrooms were smoked with mesquite wood chips for 10 minutes, then marinated for 5 minutes (1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup tamari, 2 cloves of garlic smashed, 1 tbs. agave, 1 tbs. ketchup and pepper to taste). Then they were grilled for about 10 minutes (these were very thick and juicy mushrooms) basting occasionally with the leftover marinade. Served with wilted arugula, tomato slices and red onion.

The general consensus was that the mushrooms were markedly improved via the smoking -- which should come as no surprise to you, right? ;)

This batch of fingerlings were extremely long, so they were cut into quarters lengthwise and tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper and smoked paprika, and roasted for 45 minutes (flipping halfway) at 450F.

The yellow squash soup was very similar to the earlier version but without the sheese crisp. We had made some corn stock last week (four corn cobs broken into chunks, six cups of water, reduced down to four cups on the stove, strained) and used that as the base stock -- very summery.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fig Cake

Dessert 9/14

Fig Cake

Liz picked up a case of perfectly ripe Turkish figs Saturday, so we needed to find a recipe that would use up a big chunk of them in a hurry -- Cake is always the correct answer.

The recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenwood, subbing "Just Like Honey" (rice syrup or agave would also work), soy margarine, and 3 tbs. flax seed (freshly ground, mixed with 6 tbs. water) to replace the three eggs. The timing wasn't affected, coming in at 55 minutes.

Baked Falafel, Fresh Dill Hummus

Dinner 9/14

Baked Falafel

Fresh Dill Hummus

There's a couple of falafel places at the West Side Market in Cleveland that we like to eat at while shopping. We usually pick up some pita bread, some hummus and maybe even some pickled turnips, go out to the car and have lunch.

The main drawback (other than spilling hummus all over your shirt) is that the falafel can sometime be dried out by the time we get to eat it.

This test recipe from Isa solve that problems -- it's served more as a salad (minus the pita) and they're baked, which mean they're crispy on the outside but moist on the inside.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fennel, Tomato and Chickpea Stew, Fettuccine

Dinner 9/13

Fennel, Tomato and Chickpea Stew


One of own recipes for a change, the Pernod and fennel play up the anise flavor, but it melds well with the other flavors for a change-of-pace pasta dish.

Fennel, Tomato and Chickpea Stew
Serves 4

1 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 large fennel bulb, cut into 1/4" dice
2 tbs. Pernod
28oz can of whole tomatoes
15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and sweat the onion for 4-5 minutes, then add the salt, garlic, red pepper, oregano and smoked paprika and cook for one more minute.

Add the fennel, stir to combine and cook for an additional five minutes. Add the Pernod to deglaze the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until evaporated.

Add the whole tomatoes to the fennel and lightly crush (a potato masher works wonders) to release the juices. Bring to a simmer, and cook about 15-20 minutes.

Finally add the chickpeas, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes until everything looks thickened.

Check for salt, and serve over fettuccine, garnished with parsley.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cannellini Walnut Croquettes, Marinara Olivada, Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale, Lima Beans

Dinner 9/11

Cannellini Walnut Croquettes

Marinara Olivada

Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale

Fava Beans

A trio of test recipes for Isa, the croquettes, marinara and mushrooms & kale along with a side of fava beans*. We can see the reason why you don't see fava beans in restaurants very often, as the prep is very time consuming. Another dish you make for those you love...

* no, really, resist the urge to post a comment about chianti, it's been done. ;)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Eggplant Chickpea Curry, Cranberry Cashew Biryani

Dinner 9/10

Eggplant Chickpea Curry

Cranberry Cashew Biryani

Isa keeps cranking out the recipes day after day, we continue to make them night after night...

Tonight's meal was a lovely pairing of basmati rice, dried cranberries and cashews with a spicy braised eggplant, tomato and chickpea main course.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Corn and Tomato Chowder, Guacamole, Flax Seed Crackers

Raw Food Wednesday 9/10

Corn and Tomato Chowder


Flax Seed Crackers

The chowder was spicy as hell (thank you thai bird chiles)...

Summer in a bowl!

Corn and Tomato Chowder
(make two large servings)

2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
1 carrot, small dice
1 medium zucchini, small dice
1 or 2 thai bird chiles (depending on how hot you want it), minced
1 tbs. olive oil,
1 tbs. nama shoyu
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Mexican oregano

1 tomato, cored, cut in quarters
1 tbs. olive oil,
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup cilantro

In a large bowl, combine the corn, carrot, zucchini, chiles, salt, oregano and add the olive oil and nama shoyu, and toss to coat.

Spread out on a sheet and dehydrate at 105F for at least four hours.

In a high speed blender, add half of the corn mixture along with the tomato, olive oil, water, salt, pepper and cilantro and puree, leaving it a little chunky for texture.

Pour into a bowl and add the remaining corn mixture. Taste for seasoning and top with cilantro or parsley.

The guacamole and crackers were the perfect foil for the spicy soup, cooling everything off...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Braised Cabbage with Seitan, Baked Potato

Dinner 9/08

Braised Cabbage with Seitan

Baked Potato

Continuing on in our series of test recipes from Isa Chandra's next book, we have this meal, which is simplicity itself: a quick braise of cabbage and pan-fried seitan.

The things we're liking about these recipes are that most of them take less than 40 minutes from prep to table, and they are very weeknight and pantry friendly. So far the weirdest thing I've had to run out to the market and get was the cabbage for tonight's dish...

Monday, September 07, 2009

Black Bean & Olive Tacos with Garlic Lemon Yogurt, Torta

Dinner 9/07

Black Bean & Olive Tacos with Garlic Lemon Yogurt


The Torta is a riff on a Rick Bayless grilled sandwich recipe, using pinto beans, soyrizo, avocado & cheddar Teese. Mmmm... gooey!

The tacos are a very tasty Isa Chandra recipe, with the (soy) yogurt as a cooling/tangy topping.

Cauliflower Pesto Soup

Lunch 9/07

Cauliflower Pesto Soup

Yet another Isa Chandra Moskowitz test recipe, this time for a soup with cauliflower & basil, topped with pine nuts. The result was velvetly ;)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cassoulet, Artichoke Dip, Ciabatta, Mixed Green Salad with Blue Sheese

Dinner 9/06


Artichoke Dip


Mixed Green Salad with Blue Sheese

Liz made two ciabatta loaves this afternoon, so we had that with the cassoulet and artichoke dip (specifically requested by our daughter, for her, it's its own food group).

If you're looking for a hearty French recipe, this vegan version of cassoulet will fit the bill...

White Bean Cassoulet

1 medium onion sliced
1 tbs. of garlic, minced
2 tsp. herbes de provence (or thyme)
1 tbs. smoked paprika

8 oz. soyrizo (or soaked TVP plus 1 tsp. of cumin)
15 oz. can of cannellini beans
1/2 cup tomato sauce (or fresh tomatoes diced)
salt and pepper to taste

Hickory Smoked Twice-Fried Tofu (see below)

In a saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tbs. olive oil and the sliced onion. cook until translucent and just starting to show some color, 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic, herbes de provence and smoked paprika and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a plate.

Add 1 tbs. of olive oil and add the soyrizo (or tvp) and saute, scraping the pan occasionally until starting to show signs of caramelization, 4-6 minutes.

Add the onion and garlic back to the pan along with the cannellini beans (and their liquid), tomato sauce. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so it won't stick to the bottom as it will get quite thick near the end of cooking. Check for seasoning as the beans will probably need some salt at this point.

Add the twice-fried tofu and serve hot.

Twice-Fried Tofu

16 oz. extra-firm tofu cut into eight rectangular cutlets
canola oil

Cut the tofu into eight individual cutlets.

If you're smoking the tofu, add the hickory chips to your smoker box and process for 20-30 minutes. Remove the tofu from smoker box.

Over med-high heat add the canola oil and pan-fry until golden brown on both sides (about 8 minutes). Remove from pan and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Or, you can refrigerate the tofu at this point, up to a day in advance.

Slice the tofu diagonally into strips about a 1/4" thick. Add about 1 tsp. of canola oil to the pan, and return to med-high heat, turning occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add tamari to taste (about 1 tbs.) and continue to cook for an addition 1-2 minutes until the tofu begins to get crispy.

If you don't have a smoker, you can add 1 tsp. of smoked paprika right after the tamari.

The salad was a nice green counterpart, topped with carrots and Blue Sheese.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Ramen, Inari-zushi

Dinner 9/06



We watched "The Ramen Girl" yesterday (a solid, yet flawed, film), so it seemed natural to make ramen again tonight.

It was by far our best version, with tea-smoked tofu, carrot, leeks, scallions, shiitake, bok choy and soba noodles, with the broth of water, kombu, miso, tamari and pepper. A couple more iterations and we might have something pretty good. ;)

We also picked up some inari (fried tofu skins) and the baby bok choy from our local Asian grocer. They just moved into a really nice space that used to home to a Chinese restaurant. The Inari-zushi were stuffed with seasoned rice and a little shredded carrot.

Curry Laksa

Lunch 9/05

Curry Laksa

A delicious test recipe from Isa for lunch, featuring coconut milk, red curry, tofu & noodles.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Chiles Rellenos, Grilled Fry Bread

Dinner 9/04

Chiles Rellenos

Grilled Fry Bread

Both of the recipes come from an episode of Barbecue U: (the fry bread subs soy milk powder; the rellenos, Cheezly & Daiya)

We had to adapt a couple things, as we used our indoor grill -- first, we smoked the poblanos (cut in half and seeded) with hickory wood for 20 minutes. This also had the effect of cooking and softening the poblanos slightly, which cut 5 minutes of grill time.

Then, lacking a lid, we improvised -- using two wok lids while grilling the rellenos, which did the job of melting the cheeses.

The end result was incredible, and in the future, we're smoking the poblanos every time...

The fry bread was a nice complement to the rellenos, great for picking up the stray bits of beans.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Stir-Fry, Jasmine Rice, Szechuan Eggplant, Scallion Pancakes

Dinner 9/03


Jasmine Rice

Szechuan Eggplant

Scallion Pancakes

We spent part of Wednesday cleaning out the freezers (both of them) to make room for the next batch of vacuum-sealed goodies we invariably make at the end of the season -- like cabbage/potato/mushroom pierogies, butternut squash ravioli, spring rolls and tonight's guest star -- scallion pancakes (recipe) from October of last year.

The dipping sauce was a combo of hoisin, tamari and vegan worcestershire.

It's traditional at this juncture to point out that vacuum-sealing is a fantastic/economical/geeky way to save produce/meals/time/money. It's true.

But the best part is that you'd never know they were almost a year old -- no "off" smell, no freezer burn, just crispy goodness. And that is money in the bank...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Raw Food Wednesday: Calabacín Bravas

Raw Food Wednesday 9/02

Calabacín Bravas

The excess zucchini coming from the garden allowed for some experimentation today. So, I broke out the tools, fired up the dehydrator, pored over scribblings in the notebook and got to work...

Sometimes, in experimentation, you even get accidental "art" ;)

The zucchini was big enough to use the melon baller instead of the smaller parisian scoops. Plus, I wanted to begin from a larger starting size in case of shrinkage in the dehydrator.

The zucchini balls were first rolled around with a mixture of 1 tbs. olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, one small red pepper, 1 tsp. nama shoyu, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, black pepper and 1 tsp. thyme all pounded together with a mortar and pestle. Then they were placed in the dehydrator for two hours at 105F, checking on them every 20 minutes or so, but they didn't shrink nearly as much as I had guessed.

The red bell pepper sauce was one small red bell pepper, 1 tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp. nama shoyu, a clove of garlic and black pepper pureed together with an immersion blender (as the volume was too small to use the Vita-Mix).

Next time, I might want to roll the zucchini in the sauce and dehydrate for an additional hour to see if that changes the texture. As it was, they were very flavorful on their own, but really came together with the pepper sauce. A worthy addition to a raw tapas meal...

All in all, a tasty experiment, that we'll have to try again, playing around with the the sauce, marinating & dehydrating times.

p.s. yeah, I totally made the name up ;)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hickory Smoked Eggplant and Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

Dinner 9/01

Hickory Smoked Eggplant and Roasted Zucchini Lasagna

Sometime last night a switch was flipped, and I woke up at 2am absolutely freezing... Hello September!

So it only seemed fitting to make a big container of comfort food, namely, lasagna.

We hickory smoked the eggplant for 20 minutes, then brushed it with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled it. The zucchini (the size of a Mini Cooper) came from the garden and was also brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 20 minutes at 350F.

They were layered together with the whole wheat lasagna noodles, homemade tomato sauce, wilted spinach, tofu ricotta and cheddar Teese, and baked at 350F for 30 minutes.

After the picture, the lasagna was put back on a sheet pan and put under the broiler for a minute or so, until the Teese melted -- you need to crank the heat to 450F on pizza so it will melt, but that wasn't really an option with the lasagna -- it would have dried out/burnt before cooking all the way through.

Why didn't I take a picture of it like that? Good question. Something about "hungry people need to eat, so no more pictures already!" Fair enough...