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Eating Vegan Paleo / Baked Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

29 Apr

My favorite "lazy" meal. Baked sweet potato with greens and beans.

For the past several months since I’ve gone grain-free, I’ve been on the search for really quick, easy to make “lazy day” meals that will keep me satisfied without hitting up Seamless for takeout.  These types of recipes are especially important for me when my work schedule gets insane and my days really long.

While perusing Pinterest one day I came across this recipe on the Kitchn and have been hooked making variations of it ever since.  The formula is pretty simple.  Take a baked sweet potato, and stuff it with a tasty combination of beans and greens. Depending on how you cook the potato, it can be ready to eat in 10 minutes start to finish.

If I have some extra time, I’ll actually roast the sweet potato in the oven (which takes an hour).  Otherwise, if I’m being super lazy it just goes in my microwave on the baked potato setting.  The beans and greens get sautéed in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and maybe some onions or shallots while the potato cooks.  They also can be mixed and matched depending on what you are in the mood for.

Here’s some examples of the different variations I’ve made:

The Original

(i.e. the Kitchn version)- Sweet potato, kale, white beans.

The Mexican

Sweet potato, spinach, black beans and top with salsa and avocado.

The Italian

Sweet potato, broccoli rabe, chickpeas and a squeeze of lemon juice. (shown above, this one was AMAZING)

The Clean-Out-the Fridge

Sweet potato, whatever greens are in my fridge, whatever beans are in my cabinet.  It can also include other “leftovers” from that week.  One particularly good version included some leftover lentil salad I had made for the bean component.

The possibilities are pretty endless.  Plus it’s pretty damn tasty.

What’s your favorite “lazy day” recipe?

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Eating Vegan Paleo / Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

25 Mar

Dinner tonight: Masala Tofu and Cauliflower "Fried" Rice. #Grainfree #vegan and smells amazing!

As I’ve mentioned since my Paleo Challenge at my Crossfit gym earlier this year, I’ve since maintained a totally grain free vegan diet.  I had such great results I now can’t fathom eating any other way.

When I mention I’m grain free to other vegans, their first usual reaction is “I love grains!  They’re the basis for every meal for me.  I could never do that!”  This is kind of ironic to me considering it’s the same type of answer we all usually get when speaking to an omnivore about eating meat, dairy or eggs!

Truth is I’ve actually found it pretty easy to make similar recipes to what I’m used to by using grain “substitutions”, similar to how people will eat faux meats and cheeses when transitioning to veganism.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll give you some of my tricks as to how I’ve easily made this transition along with some of my new favorite recipes I’ve both adapted and created to make it possible.

First up today is grain free rice!  I used to absolutely love rice, especially fried rice.  Believe it or not,  grated cauliflower has a very similar taste and texture to the real thing, so it works perfect in these kind of dishes.  It’s also really easy to prepare.

Here’s my vegan adaptation of Urban Poser’s Paleo Masala Cauli-Rice.  To make this more of an entrée for vegans, I’ve added some delicious dry rubbed masala tofu to the dish.  This recipe smells as amazing as it looks and tastes!  When I brought leftovers of it into work one day everyone kept ducking into the break-room to see where the smell was coming from.

Masala Tofu and Cauli-Fried Rice

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium cauliflower head, grated (about 4 cups)
  • Half a large yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded and diced or 1/4 cup diced green pepper
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated ( about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon Garam Masala seasoning (I used the pre-made type)
  • salt and pepper to taste (amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not).
  • Garnishes: lime wedges & cilantro

DIRECTIONS

PREP:
  1. Set your broiler to high so it gets nice and hot while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Press your tofu to remove as much moisture as possible.  Then cut into triangles.  Dry rub each piece with the reserved 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala.  Lay on a broiler safe baking sheet coated in cooking spray and set aside until we’re ready to broil it.
  3. Grate the cauliflower with a hand grater or with a grating blade on a food processor. You can also use the regular blade on the food processor but it may result in a wetter, less “rice-like” product.
  4. Prep the rest of the veggies minus the frozen peas (dicing, mincing) and set aside.
  5. Mince the garlic and pepper, grate the ginger mixing them all together in a small bowl.
  6. Mix together the spices in another small bowl and set aside.
COOKING:
  1. Pop the tofu under the broiler for 6 minutes.  When browned, flip the tofu and give it another 6 minutes.  Tofu should be golden and crispy on the outside.  When done set aside.
  2. Heat a wok over high medium/high heat (on the “high” side), add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and then add the cauliflower. Toss it in the oil then spread it out in a thin layer as evenly as possible. Turn the burner up to high. Allow cauliflower to fry till it starts to brown a little then stir/flip it around, again spreading it in a thin layer. Do this a couple of times till the cauliflower starts to get brown and black flecks all over it, almost like it has been grilled. Transfer to a large bowl and place the wok back on the heat, turning the heat back down to medium/high. Spreading out the cauliflower and cooking it at a high heat like this keeps the cauliflower from steaming itself and getting soggy, and produces a very “rice-like” texture.
  3. Add another tablespoon of coconut oil, then add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno/green pepper mix to the oil. Fry for about a minute but not so long that the mixture burns. Stir & toss often to keep from burning.
  4. Add the prepared veggies (minus the peas) to the wok and cook just as you did the cauliflower. Spreading out and allowing them to fry and brown, stir & toss often till the veggies are cooked through and browned slightly. Transfer to the bowl with the cauliflower.
  5. Return the wok to the heat and add the last tablespoon of coconut oil plus the spice mixture. Fry the spice mixture in the oil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the rest of the ingredients back into the wok. Add the green peas and continue to fry and toss all the ingredients together for about 1-2 minutes more. Add coarse sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. Salt amounts will vary depending on if your masala mix was salted or not. If it doesn’t contain salt, I start with about 1 teaspoon of salt and work from there.
  6. To serve, plate a serving of the cauli-rice and top with the masala tofu wedges.  Serve with a wedge of lime, to be squeezed on top of the “rice” just before serving and some cilantro.

 

Comfort Food for Sandy Relief / Coconut Rice with Winter Squash

8 Nov

20121108-082142.jpg

I don’t usually post recipes, but I figured this was as good a time as any to share one of my favorites with you!

Food bloggers are getting together today and posting their favorite comfort meal recipes in support of Hurricane Sandy Relief. The concept is to share a recipe that you find comforting and would bring to a friend or neighbor in crisis to raise their spirits.

One of my favorite recipes is one I veganized from Real Simple Magazine quite a while ago that we include in our regular recipe rotation in our home. It’s coconut creamy, comforting, quick, super easy and really yummy.

If you haven’t done so already, please donate to help with the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. Every little bit helps.

Coconut Rice with Winter Squash

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice- I like to use leftover rice or make it in advance of putting the recipe together.
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 block of firm tofu- I use the silken kind for a stir-fried egg-type texture.
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed*
  • kosher salt
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Prepare the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, place the squash in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble the tofu, add it to the pan and cook, stirring, until it’s lightly browned. Add the pinch of turmeric and mix to make the tofu yellow and give it a scrambled egg look.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the squash, rice, edamame, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring gently, until heated through and all the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat. Add the scallions and tofu, toss, and serve.

*My photo above doesn’t include the edamame because when I made it this week I forgot that I ran out of my freezer stash.  I recommend if you have it adding it to the dish, it really makes it.

What’s your favorite comfort meal?

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast / Menu and Recipes

25 Nov

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday? Ours was a huge success. Jim and I had our first ever vegetarian Thanksgiving and all the food was a big hit with our guests. Here’s a sampling of what how I set the table, what we served, along with where to find the recipes and how I organized making all the dishes. I somehow managed to get all of these dishes made in my tiny, 10 foot by 10 foot kitchen with a 2 foot by three foot counter.

We had a total of 3 guests (5 total including me and Jim), and luckily our small round kitchen table had plenty of room. Here’s some photos of how we set the table. Thanksgiving morning we realized we had forgotten to pick up the gourds we had wanted to create a festive centerpiece, so I last minute came up with the idea of putting some pumpkin seeds in a serving dish and topping them with tea lights. Made for a really beautiful, yet simple centerpiece.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I’m of Italian decent, and anyone who’s been to an Italian American Thanksgiving knows it’s an all day eat-a-thon. Keeping in tradition, we had a variety of appetizers for our guests to knosh on prior to our formal dinner.

Thanksliving 2011

I made a traditional mozzarella and tomato salad complete with basil, olive oil and balsamic. This is one of Jim’s favorites.

Jim also selected some cheese and created a cheese plate, which was served with crackers.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I also made one of my favorite recipes ever, an almond cheese spread. It’s entirely vegan, and is really reminiscent to a cross between a feta and a goat cheese. It’s perfect with crackers, and serves up really nicely in a pretty bakery dish. You can find the recipe I used as a basis here.

Thanksliving 2011

I also made another vegan favorite of mine, Alicia Silverstone’s Artichoke Dip from the Kind Diet cookbook. One of the dips I really have missed since going vegan is spinach and artichoke dip, so I add about 10 ounces of spinach to my recipe, but it can be made with or without. You can find the recipe here.

Thanksliving 2011

We also had a tray of veggies and hummus out. I love carrots and hummus.

Thanksliving 2011

Moving onto dinner, last year I made the menu Vegetarian Times featured several years ago designed by Moosewood Restaurant in upstate NY. I love this menu. It’s very seasonal, festive and delicious. The menu includes a cranberry chutney with crystalized ginger, seasonal fall salad with beets, fennel and oranges, green beans with a crispy shallot topping, and amazing vegetable strudel, complete with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and vegan cheeses in a phyllo pastry shell. You can find links to the entire menu and recipes here.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I also made homemade mashed potatoes. Recipe is super easy, just chop some yukon gold potatoes, cover with water and boil until tender. Drain and run the potatoes through a potato ricer, and finish with vegan soy creamer, butter, salt and pepper. Delicious!

Thanksliving 2011

I did take a little help from the pre-made department as well in this menu. Jim absolutely loves stuffing, so I got a bag of Whole Food’s vegan stuffing which was great because it takes about 5 minutes to make. I finished mine off in the oven to give it a crispy top. I also got some Fresh Direct parbaked rolls as well.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Initially I was resistant, but Jim really wanted to get a fake turkey substitute for our guests being all our guests were omnivores. I decided on Field Roasts Hazelnut Cranberry Roast, and it was the sleeper hit of the dinner. Our guests LOVED it! It tasted more like sausage than turkey, but was delicious and complimented by the cranberry and hazelnut stuffing and puff pastry crust. Even Jim’s brother, who is a self admitted picky eater commented on how much he liked it.

Thanksliving 2011

I also made a really amazing sweet potato casserole, complete with dandies marshmallows but I forgot to photograph it before we devoured it. For dessert (yes, there’s more!) we had vegan pumpkin whoopie pies while watching a movie. For us, there’s not better way to handle digesting a huge Thanksgiving feast than by watching a movie. We’re not big football fans in the Feld household so movies work perfect for us.

So how did I manage to pull off cooking all of this in my tiny kitchen? Very careful planning. Here’s an outline of how I managed it.

Tuesday Evening

  • Fry the shallots for the green beans. They keep for several weeks in a jar in the pantry.
  • Soak the almonds for the almond cheese spread.
  • Wednesday Evening

  • Make the filling for the vegetable strudel. Store in a container in the fridge.
  • Assemble the sweet potato casserole. Store in the fridge with foil over it.
  • Chop the potatoes for the mashed potatoes and store in the pot I’m making them in, covered with water and the pot lid. I stored it on the stove.
  • Assemble the spinach dip in a pretty baking pan, store in the fridge.
  • Blend the almonds for the almond cheese and strain in the fridge overnight.
  • Make the dressings for the green beans and salad, store in separate jars.
  • Roast the beets for the salad. Keep them in their foil overnight in the fridge. Then chop all the ingredients for the salad and store separately in the fridge.
  • Determine what serving wear I was using for which dishes, take them out of storage and mark with post its. That way you don’t have to think about it the next day.
  • Thursday

  • Bake the almond cheese and allow to cool. Top with the olive oil.
  • Assemble the vegetable strudel and store in the fridge
  • Just prior to guests arriving, bake spinach dip and while it’s in the oven, put out your cheeses, crackers, and vegetables and dip
  • When ready for dinner, bake the sweet potato casserole, field roast and vegetable strudel at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.
  • While items are in the oven, turn on the mashed potatoes to boil. Also microwave green beans and toss with dressing and top with shallots, assemble the salad, and start the stuffing.
  • Take foil off sweet potatoes and let continue for another 20 minutes. Take field roast and strudel out and allow to set up before carving up.
  • Drain and finish mashed potatoes. Crisp up stuffing in the oven and add the rolls on a tray to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Add marshmallows and nuts to sweet potatoes and broil until marshmallows brown.
  • Microwave some gravy (I took some help from the store with this step)
  • Call your guests in to enjoy their meal!
  • One thing I did this year that helped immensely was to wash the dishes as we went along. We had really minimal dishes by the end of the meal even despite all the food we had. It worked out great. Another thing I did was to prepare as many things as possible in pretty, refrigerator and oven safe dish ware. I received a lot of Corningware for my wedding shower, which I love because it comes with plastic tops to make leftover storage a breeze.

    How was everyone else’s Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about what you guys had to eat and what traditions you have. Do share!

    Meatless Monday Recipe / Maple Roasted Tofu and Veggies

    10 Oct
    {image via Vegan Dad}

    One thing I love about fall is root vegetables.  Sweet potatoes, regular ol’ potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, I love them all.  As part of our winter CSA share we get a giant box of them once a month, and last week was our first one of the season.

    I found this recipe a long time ago on Vegan Dad and it’s now my go to recipe to clear out my fridge of all my root veggies.  Although this recipe takes longer than my standard 30 minute allotted time frame, I love making it on weekends because it goes together in a snap and then hangs out in the oven for an hour, allowing me to do other things while I wait.  It’s delicious, is a full meal (it includes tofu as a protein) and is really versatile.  You can pretty much sub any vegetable you want in it.  I’ve even made this with broccoli thrown in.  Tempeh would probably work in place of the tofu if it’s not your thing.  Last night I made this and served it over a bed of arugula, yum!

    For the recipe, click here.

    African Coconut Curry Soup

    28 Mar

    One of my absolute favorite recipes is a simple African Coconut Curry Soup one I found on Epicurious a while back. Not only is it delicious, but it’s a great way to use leftover rice. It’s also super quick to make and only uses a few ingredients, many of which are standard pantry items. It’s creamy, filling and super satisfying. My omnivore hubby loves it.

    Check out the recipe here.

    Clean Detox Week Three Recap

    11 Mar

    Urban Vegan Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup

    February 28th- Day 15: All in all, it was a good day. I had an all-day meeting at the office, of which I had lots of energy for and wasn’t really hungry all day. I was starting to get somewhat stressed due to being a bit behind at work and having over 100 emails pile up while in my meeting. In the evening I made a delicious curried cream of cauliflower soup for us to eat the next few days. I took advantage of a free hour before bed to catch up on all those emails and voila! Stress was gone!

     March 1st- Day 16: Got great sleep the night prior and for the first time ever I decided to meditate for 5 minutes in the morning. That five minutes worked wonders throughout my day. There were several instances where I’d normally allow myself to get really upset and pissed off (at an employee who’s pompous and disrespectful) but I immediately just let it go and got on with my day. My workout in the evening was tough, I was pretty tired. I had a personal training session and my arms just were giving out so we instead focused on my legs and abs. I was just burnt out. After getting home afterwards I was starving, and I did cave and eat three Oreos. They’re one of my favorite cookies and they were delicious! My husband had caved the day prior and said he could no longer stomach Oreos that they smelled like sulfur (what?). I thought they were fine. I can see though why these sorts of foods are bad though because you can’t just stop at one. I’m looking forward to after this cleanse keeping to these principles and only allowing a single cheat day a week to load up on crap, not that it derails all the hard work I’ve done both working out as well as on this cleanse the past few months.

    March 2nd, Day 17: All in all I was really focused and productive all day. I had more energy than I’d had in a while and after work put in a great 3 mile interval run at the gym. Little did I know when I got home afterwards I’d near pass out from exhaustion. This whole working out and then not eating enough after is really starting to get to me.

    March 3rd, Day 18: Pretty much the same as yesterday with the exception that I had the day off from the gym so I didn’t crash after work. For our soup dinner I made this off the hook vegan cream of broccoli soup and it was so delicious I had two bowls. Yum.

    March 4th, Day 19: Everything went well again today until sure enough after the gym. I had bootcamp class tonight and my trainer was a bit jump rope happy so we jumped probably a total of 20 minutes throughout the class. I really crashed when I got home. I was a full-out zombie. I called it a night at around 9 pm. Lame-o.

    March 5th, Day 20: Today was a tough day. Jim and I were both cranky and I accidentally bought us veggie sushi with WHITE rice when we should have had brown rice. I totally spaced out when ordering it. We ate it anyway and immediately felt the effects, we crashed hard and were tired. We muscled through and headed out to the Armory Show for a few hours. With all the walking around we worked up quite the appetite. We initially were ready to just cave and end the cleanse right there and then and just order sandwiches from ‘Wichcraft, but we were good and got primarily clean meals. The only exceptions were it was a solid meal (which normally in the evening is a no-no and the only salad option I could get already had cheese on it I had to try to pick around. Though I’m glad we’re sticking through to our last day tomorrow, at the same time I can’t wait for it to be over. It’s been hard to sustain my workouts on this plan. Tomorrow I have to run 7 miles and I’m hoping I make it through it ok.

    March 6th, Day 21 (Last Day, Yay!!!) The entire cleanse both the hubby and I have been naturally waking up really early, so we were up at 8 am this morning.  On a usual weekend morning we’d be up around 10 am.  So I make our smoothies and we relax a little, and then I jump into a project (cleaning out my wardrobe) and keep going until around 3.  I made sure I made us some lunch (gluten-free rice pasta with broccoli rabe and beans, yum!) so I had some good carbs in my system prior to my run.  It was pouring and I had to run 7 miles.  Not only did I run, but I made great time and did well.  As a surprise, while I was out running my hubby ran out to our local vegan bakery and picked us up some cupcakes and other goodies to celebrate the end of the cleanse.  Let’s just say we didn’t make it through the night, and we ended up having our celebratory meal tonight instead of tomorrow.  I’m really glad we had it tonight, because let me tell you we both felt like CRAP after.  Like straight up sick.  All we had was some pizza.  It was pretty horrible.  We both agreed we’re going to continue with the cleanse the next few days and then just transition to eating healthier fare instead of eating crap right away.

    Stay tuned for my recap on what I took away from this overall cleanse and our end results!

    Hawaiian Un-Chicken

    26 Dec

    My grandmother passed when I was around 12 years old.  Most of my best memories surrounding her are those when I would help her make dinner when my brother and I would be visiting her.  My grandmother was a fantastic cook, and I still feel like she’s with us every time I make one of her recipes.

    Her Hawaiian Chicken was a mainstay in my family.  Everyone loves it.  When I started working for my family’s business around 6 years ago, I made the dish for our annual Christmas Eve “linner” (lunch/dinner) and it was a huge hit, especially with my family who still works for the company.  Soon after that everyone expected me to then make it.  One year I remember I made a chili instead and I never heard the end of it.

    This year was my first year as a vegan, and therefore a dilemma.  I don’t want to even touch meat anymore… gross.  So I decided to play the biggest practical joke ever by figuring out how to veganize my grandmother’s Hawaiian Chicken recipe and not telling anyone it was vegan.  Best… test… ever!

    Long story short, the dish looked so convincing that when I piled my plate full of it the day of the linner, everyone started running around the office announcing I was a bad vegan and “cheating” by eating chicken.  As they ate the dish, there were lots of  “Yum!  I look forward to this every year Corrie, delicious!” comments.  I laughed inside.  After everyone had eaten almost all of the tray I announced to the group it was vegan, to which my father in particular announced it was not possible, that it had to be chicken!  It tasted like chicken and therefore had to be!

    That, my friends is a successful recipe veganization!

    Here’s the recipe in case you want to test it out on your non-vegan friends.  I must warn you its not healthy but damn it’s delicious.  It works great as a potluck recipe and serves around 6 meal size servings or 8-10 small “potluck” size portions.

    Hawaiian Un-Chicken

    • 3 pounds of vegan unbreaded chicken tenders/nuggets.  I used Gardein buffalo strips minus the sauce.  Be sure they are defrosted otherwise the breading won’t stick.
    • Italian Breadcrumbs (weird, but works.  It’s gotta be Italian Herb.  Some aren’t vegan, so be sure to check the package.  In the event you can’t find any, use plain and add your own dried italian herbs along with some soy parmesan)
    • Canola/Vegetable Oil to Fry
    • 2 jars Saucy Susan brand Duck Sauce (it HAS to be Saucy Susan, so said my Grandma)
    • 2 large cans pineapple junks in juice
    1. In a large, deep sided frying pan bring several cups of frying oil to temperature.  While that’s warming to temperature, work on breading the chicken.
    2. Cut each mock chicken tender into two pieces so you have little “chunks” of chicken.  Place into a large bowl.
    3. Open one of the Saucy Susan jars and spoon several tablespoons over the chicken chunks.  Mix well to coat.
    4. In a large ziplock bag, pour a good amount of breadcrumbs.  Then in batches dump your chicken chunks into the breadcrumbs, close the bag, toss to coat, and fry until golden and crispy.  Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.  Repeat until all the chicken chunks are fried and drained.  Then arrange all the fried chicken chunks in a large baking dish. 
    5. Strain the pineapple juice into a large bowl, reserving the chunks of pineapple.  Then add to the bowl both jars of Saucy Susan, and whisk to mix.
    6. Combine the pineapple chunks in the baking dish with the fried chicken pieces.  Pour the pineapple sauce mixture over the top, and toss to coat.
    7. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until heated through and the saucy is thick and bubbly.
    8. Plate the Hawaiian Un-Chicken with some rice and prepare to fake out your non-veg friends.

    Pesto Tofu with Roasted Vegetables

    22 Aug

    I was trying to figure out a good use for my homemade pesto this week (besides making a pasta with it), and I came up with this gem of a recipe.  It would be easy to create your own variation of it by swapping out whatever vegetables and grains (or even pasta!) you prefer.  This is the way I made it which was formulated to use up all of my CSA produce for the week as well as some leftover rice I had from a previous meal.

    PESTO TOFU WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES
    Serves Four

     Ingredients:

    • 1 package of firm tofu, pressed and drained, sliced into tofu “steaks”
    • 1 small chopped onion
    • 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped with fronds reserved (chop similar to how you would dill)
    • 1-2 medium tomatoes (I used an heirloom)
    • olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cups cooked brown rice
    • 1/2 cup pesto (either jarred or from scratch, see my recipe here)
    • 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella (or real mozzarella if you’re not vegan)

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
    2. Arrange chopped tomatoes, fennel bulb and onions in the bottom of a 9×18 inch baking dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to evenly coat the veggies and the bottom of the pan.
    3. Arrange tofu steaks on top of the vegetables.  Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
    4. Remove baking dish from oven, and move the tofu slices to a plate.  If a lot of liquid has accumulated in the bottom of the dish (which happens when using tomatoes), you can drain some of it. 
    5. Take 1/4 cup of the pesto and toss with the vegetables.  Brush the tofu steaks with the remaining 1/4 cup pesto.  Rearrange the tofu on top of the vegetables, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.  Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until pesto is heated through and cheese is melted.
    6. Remove from oven.  To plate, use a 1/2 cup of rice to create a “bed” for the rest of the dish to sit upon.  Then arrange tofu slices leaning to the side of the rice, and top the rice with the roasted vegetables.  Garnish with fennel fronds and enjoy!

    Pesto (Pasta)

    19 Aug

    I’m a pretty avid cook and love to experiment in the kitchen.  I’ve had a fun summer so far experimenting with new types of produce since the hubby and I became members of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA (CSA stands for community sponsored agriculture for anyone who may not know).  Every other Saturday, I head down to the farmer’s market to pick up my “share” of the crops.  This last pickup we had heirloom tomatoes and even white peppers! Yum!

    One thing I hate is wasting produce, and something I’ve found that works great for “spent”, wilty greens is creating a pesto with them.  This works with just about any type of greens or herbs, and I’ve even done a version with endamame as well.  In this specific version I used leftover baby spinach and my farm share basil that didn’t really hold up well enough to use by the second day I had it.

    PESTO
    Makes about 1 cup of Pesto

    Ingredients:

    • About two cups of greens
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 1/4 cup walnuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
    • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (for vegan version, or you could use parmesan)
    • salt and pepper

    Instructions:

    1. Add greens and garlic to food processor and process until finely chopped. 
    2. Then add a steady stream of olive oil and process until the mixture smooth. 
    3. Add the garlic, walnuts, nutritional yeast (or cheese) and process.  Then salt and pepper to taste.  Add more olive oil if smoother consistency is desired.

    The pesto can be stored in your fridge for up to a week and can be used as either a condiment on toast or sandwiches, a pasta sauce or even a marinade for veggies and proteins. 

    For this post I made a pasta using this pesto to dress the cooked pasta.  I then added some chopped, heirloom tomatoes and topped off with some vegan parmesan.  A super easy and simple weeknight supper.

    Stay tuned later this week when I post my recipe for Pesto Tofu and Roasted Vegetables.