Tuesday, February 28, 2006

big red

We did a whole house makeover a couple of years ago. It didn't start out as the whole house - but you know how that goes. We didn't make anything bigger though - just reconfigured the kitchen and I was able to get a French range that I had been coveting. It is the heart and soul of my kitchen and I love it. There was a very long drama in getting the stove - after waiting 12 weeks for it to be made and shipped from France it was crushed during its final leg of shipping from Washington state to California. Back to square one. It was worth the wait though -it is a joy to cook on.

Monday, February 27, 2006

survival mode

I will be in survival mode this week. We got back yesterday from a soccer tournament - both kids played so I got to watch six soccer games. The musical starts this week. I don't know what we'll do with all that free time when it's over!

Since I won't be doing much cooking this week I'm going to post some stuff I've made in the past:
I made this cake using the recipe for Wacky Cake. For the filling I used raspberry jam mixed with a little bit of better than cream cheese and then a frosting of earth balance margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla topped with chopped almonds. You could never tell this isn't a butter and egg cake!

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's the cheesiest

I try making vegan cheese recipes whenever I have a chance. Recently I made the "Hot or Cold Tangy Chedda Sauce" from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and the "Crumbled Tofu Cheddar" from The Real Food Daily cookbook.

The sauce worked really well. I made several different things with it:

Macaroni and cheese - I found that by adding a little bit more salt to this finished dish it gave my kids Kraft flashbacks ;-)

I used it as a topping on my crockpot chili - it was really good for this...

A topping on fajitas (seitan with peppers and onions) - again, very good for this dish. I also used it to top the refried beans and then baked them:

Finally - the crumbled tofu cheddar. This recipe reminded me very much of tofu "egg" salad but much more seasoned. I wasn't sure of its cheese qualities but I used it to top a tostada and it was pretty good:

If I had to pick between the two I'd probably pick the cheese sauce because it was really versatile. The crumbled tofu cheddar was very simple to make however and we liked it a lot (once I got over the thought that I was putting egg salad on my tostada!)

Lavosh sandwiches

Wednesday night's dinner needed to be something everyone could grab when they were home - once again we had rehearsals and lacrosse. Plus we went to the boys varsity soccer playoff game (they lost in penalty kicks - heartbreaking!) I made lavosh sandwiches and a noodle salad. The salad was yakisoba noodles with julienned snow peas, cilantro and shredded carrots. The dressing was a peanut dressing (the one I use on the asian coleslaw). On the sandwiches I spread better than cream cheese, avocado, green leaf lettuce, tofu feta, red onion, tomato, pepperoncini, chopped black olives and peppered tofurkey slices. Trader Joe's sells lavosh that is cheap ($1.79) and just the right size for a sandwich. We had these with fresh mango and some salt & vinegar potato chips.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A long weekend away

We spent a wonderful weekend in Pismo Beach - on the central California coast. It rained like the end of the world at night but the days were sunny and perfect. There were a lot of people but it wasn't crowded at all. The drive down the Pacific Coast Highway was beautiful!

Last night I made pasta with a vodka cream sauce. It was simple and good. I used soy milk for the cream and no-chicken broth for the chicken broth. Planning meals for these evenings where one kid is at rehearsals for 4 hours and the other is at lacrosse for 2 1/2 hours is getting difficult! We've always made a point of eating together as a family but we seem to always be missing someone these days...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Pizza

Tuesdays are usually Mexican food in our house but as I've mentioned before, kiddo number two isn't wild about Mexican food. And since it was Valentine's Day I wanted everyone to be happy so instead I made heart-shaped pizzas and a caesar salad. We also had a very late dinner - daughter number one has rehearsals every night from 4-7 and daughter number two has lacrosse every night from 7-9:15. It kind of puts a crimp in the family dinner hour. So I promised we would eat together no matter how late.

I used one package of the Follow Your Heart cheese and I had enough to make four different pizzas:

Veggie ham, tomatoes, sliced olives and tofu feta:

Veggie ham and pineapple:

Veggie pepperoni and sliced olives:

Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil and tofu feta:

Everyone was happy and there are leftovers for today - I love that.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Busy, busy

I had a very busy weekend - company for dinner on Friday night, a day of wine tasting in Sonoma on Saturday and then yesterday I attended a baby shower. I know the east coast is buried under tons of snow but here in Northern California we've had spectacular weather.
Here is the view we had while wine tasting at Gundlach Bundschu

Friday night's menu was:

Mushroom and ale pot pies
oven roasted brussels sprouts

Heart beet salad - (this salad was good but labor intensive!)
cherry tofu cheesecake for dessert

For Saturday's picnic I made asian coleslaw, hummus and a tofu "cheese" spread that is always popular and people are always surprised to learn it contains tofu. I don't really have a recipe but essentially it is:

3-4 cloves garlic chopped in food processor. Add:
1 lb herb tofu (small planet make a garlic and herb tofu that is the BEST)
1 small jar marinated artichokes, drained
about 1 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil - include some of the oil
Pulse until well blended. Add some lemon juice (1-2 T.), salt and pepper to taste. I like to let it sit for awhile and then adjust the seasonings. This is good on crackers or on a sandwich instead of mayo

By last night I was exhausted so I pulled some homemade spaghetti sauce from the freezer and served it over linguine. I had chopped beets left from the the salad on Friday night so I mixed those with mint and champagne vinegar and tossed it with baby spinach and walnuts. Yum.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I didn't make it to the store

I usually do my major grocery shopping on Monday but today had too much going on. And this afternoon there was musical rehearsals, music lessons, soccer pictures and lacrosse for the girls. So I dug through the pantry to see what I could find. I came up with some pita pizzas - I combined a package of firm lite silken tofu, some jarred roasted peppers (1/2 cup or so), some sun dried tomato and olive tapenade, and some marinated artichokes. Also a little garlic, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.

I pulsed it in the food processor and then spread it on wheat pita bread that had been split in half. I baked these in a hot oven directly on the rack. They turned out pretty good and it was better than having raisin bran for dinner.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

simple sandwich dinner

I really like the Il Fornaio sandwich rolls that Trader Joe's carries. They are great when we have veggie burgers and are perfect for a piled high veggie sandwich. On these sandwiches we had "better than cream cheese", sun dried tomato and olive tapenade, avocado, sliced cucumber, tomato and red onion, pepperoncini and baby lettuce. We also had a broccoli salad - made with red onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, soy bacon bits and a dressing made from vegenaise, vinegar and sugar. And some canned baked beans, also from Trader Joe's.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Chocolate chip cookies

I realize that my choice to bake without eggs or butter is just that, a choice. But for some people with allergies it's a necessity. But they shouldn't miss out on fresh baked cookies! My friend Caroline adapted the toll house cookie recipe so that it is egg and dairy free. We love these cookies (and I love the vintage pedestal cake stand I found at a thrift store the other day!)

Caroline's chocolate chip cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) soy garden margarine
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 T. oil
3 T. water
2 t. baking powder
2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate chips


PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Mix oil and water together. Add baking powder and stir. When it foams add it to the mixing bowl and combine. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. This make about 5 dozen cookies.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chow noodles

Whenever I have something I really like at a restaurant I try to get a copy of the menu because then I can attempt to copy it at home. One dish I had at a favorite local restaurant was Golden Noodles with Tofu, Mushrooms, Asian Greens, Peanuts and Miso. Here is what I've come up with trying to duplicate this dish.

Chow Noodles

1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1 lb. extra firm tofu, sliced 1/4" thick and pressed to remove excess water
5 heads baby bok choy, ends trimmed off and washed
1 lb. white button mushrooms, wiped clean, stems removed and quartered
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
chopped cilantro

For sauce:
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 T. dark soy sauce
1 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili oil (or start with less and add to taste)
1 T. black bean garlic sauce
1-2 tsp. light miso
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups vegetable broth

Heat oven to 475 and start large pot of water for pasta. Spray baking sheet (large enough to hold all the tofu) with oil. Put tofu on baking sheet in a single layer, spray with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in oven for about 45 minutes, turning it over halfway through. It should get pretty crispy and browned at that temperature.

Combine all sauce ingredients except broth in a saucepan. Combine well and heat over low heat until peanut butter melts. Slowly add in broth, stirring well until it is all combined. Add more chili oil and salt until it is the level of heat you like. It gets fairly diluted by the broth so it needs to be well seasoned.

Cook spaghetti. While it is cooking saute mushrooms over medium high heat (I just use spray oil) about 7-8 minutes, until starting to brown. Add the bok choy and stir fry until wilted and stems are tender. Combine cooked pasta and tofu with the mushrooms and bok choy. Pour sauce over and combine. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro on the top.

We also had this salad:

Asian Greens with Sesame Dressing

6-oz. bag Asian greens mix or 6 cups washed mixed greens which include mizuma, tat soi, red mustard or other dark and spicy greens
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbs. tamari
1 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. honey (I used agave nectar)
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
Place washed greens in large bowl or on individual plates. Combine all liquid ingredients; whisk to blend. Pour dressing over salad just before serving; sprinkle with sesame seeds. To give credit where credit is due, I found this recipe at www.vegetarianconnection.com

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Tuesday nights we have Mexican food. For this Tuesday's menu we had:

Bean and cheese enchiladas (made with this enchilada sauce). These enchiladas were quite good (though the picture doesn't look so appealing - my family has only so much patience with me while I photograph the food). This makes a very generous amount of filling so I think next time I will use only two cans of beans. Also, I didn't use all the sauce from the recipe - but I did use too much. The "cheese" sauce really works in this recipe - it's good.

We also had a salad - obviously I left the chicken out of this recipe and I used my homemade tofu "feta" instead. I'd had this recipe years ago from Bon Appetit magazine and couldn't find my copy. I knew I'd find it online somewhere and I did.

Daughter #2 doesn't like Mexican food (which, if she didn't look so much like me, would convince me there had been a switch in the hospital - dh and I both LOVE Mexican food). She does like taquitos though so she had her own meal of Trader Joe's soy chorizo and potato taquitos.