25 October 2012

Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Today, I was working from home because we needed to take our kitty to the vet. Nothing major, but she is 20 years old and needs a check up every so often.

I'm almost convinced that this cat is going to live forever.


Taken with my Rolleiflex camera. I just needed to adjust the focus a biiiiit more.

Anyway, so both my husband and I were at home today, he is trying to get over sickness and I was trying to work in a quiet environment. I looked at the clock and realised that we hadn't had lunch yet and it was almost time to go to the vet. I looked through our fridge and decided on rice noodles with peanut sauce. I have been craving Thai food lately and none of the "Thai" restaurants around here are cutting it. While this isn't even remotely authentic, it fulfilled a bit of my noodle craving.

Ingredients
rice noodles
vegetables (I used onion, garlic, carrot, broccoli)

peanut butter
sriracha sauce
hoisin/oyster/black bean/other dark sauce to give a little umami taste
hot water, to blend

Method
Boil enough water to cover the rice noodles. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cover for 5 - 8 minutes until almost done.

In a wok or frying pan, saute onion and garlic with olive oil until softened. Add carrots and broccoli (and whatever other vegetables you want, unless it is a green - spinach, kale, etc - add that at the very end) and any water to make it not stick to the bottom and to steam the vegetables a bit.

While the vegetables are cooking, make the peanut sauce. I used about 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter with a few squirts of sriracha and a few drops of oyster sauce, and added enough hot water to make a thin, whiskable sauce.

When the noodles are almost done, add to the pan with the vegetables. Add the peanut sauce and stir until everything is coated. Cook everything together until the noodles and vegetables are the desired tenderness. Add water to prevent too much sticking.


Notes
Both of us thought this was good. I didn't think it was "good" food, but it was exactly what I wanted, so it was great and quick.

19 October 2012

Falafel and tzatziki sauce

Wednesday, I got home after my zumba class and I needed to eat. I was trying to decide if I should just heat up a can of soup or go with the original plan of making falafel. I decided that I would be much happier with falafel.

This is based on the recipe from Rabbit Food cookbook, which is a fabulous cookbook.

Ingredients
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1/4 red onion, diced,
3 - 4 garlic, diced (I love a lot of garlic flavour)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup flour
lemon juice
cumin
cayenne pepper
black pepper
salt

plain coconut yogurt, this was a tad bit too sweet
1/4 cup diced cucumber
lemon juice

tomato slices
cucumber slices
pickles
lettuce
sriracha sauce

pita bread or tortillas

Method
Using a potato masher or food processor, mash up the chickpeas until there are no whole ones left. Usually I use the food processor, but I didn't want to dirty up the food processor bowl, so I used the potato masher and it works okay. Make sure that all the other ingredients are diced very very small. Add all the other ingredients and mix until evenly distributed. The mixture should be able to stick together when pressed.

Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium heat. You can also deep fry or bake the falafel, but I prefer to shallow fry them in a skillet. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure out a 1/4 cup and mash into about a 6 cm diameter patty. Place on the skillet and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Continue making patties until the mixture is gone. I made about 8 patties.

To make the tzatziki sauce, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, and lemon juice. Set aside to let the flavours blend.

To serve, heat the bread or tortillas until warm and pliable. Place 2 patties in the center and add the tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, pickles, sriracha, and tzatziki.

Notes
These were surprising good. The recipe is so simple and came out really well. The patties didn't get hard the way they do when falafel is fried, and even though the fell apart a bit, they were still good. My husband had already had dinner, but he kept stealing bites because he liked it so much. We ate the leftovers for lunch on Thursday and they were still quite tasty.

18 October 2012

Homemade Tortillas and tacos

The other day, we had leftover TVP after making vegan nachos with the vegan cheese dip I posted about previously. I decided that tacos would be good, but we didn't have tortillas. I followed a recipe Whole Foods for the Whole Family (which has Bryanna Clark Gordon as a co-editor. I'm sure it was her to help push for the few tofu recipes in there. Over all a fantastic cookbook.)




Ingredients
2 cups white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water


Method
In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt together until the salt is evenly distributed. Cut in the shortening until there are little balls of shortening throughout the flour mixture. Mix in just enough water for a slightly sticky dough and knead for a few minutes. Let sit, covered for about 15 minutes.

Heat up a cast iron griddle pan or skillet over medium heat. You can spread on a bit of oil or other fat, but my pan is virtually non-stick. Divide the dough into 6 - 8 dough balls. Roll out the balls on a lightly floured surface until very thin, 3 - 4 mm thick. Place the tortilla on the pan. Bubbles should begin to form, I usually use a spatula to press down the bubbles and allow the entire tortilla to touch the hot pan surface. It should take about 1 minute on the first side about no more than 20 seconds to cook on the opposite side. Remove from heat and place under a towel to keep warm. Repeat for remaining dough balls.




Notes
We served this with seasoned TVP, guacamole, and habanero hot sauce. Both my husband and I loved the tortillas. I was getting the hang of rolling them out thin enough by the end and it was much easier to roll them up. We are not considering getting a tortilla press, but I should probably see if making tortillas is going to become a regular thing before I purchase more kitchen equipment.

15 October 2012

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Last week, a friend I work with gave me two beautiful eggplants from her garden and last night I decided to make vegan eggplant Parmesan.

I used the recipe from the Fat Free Vegan Blog. When this recipe was first published in 2006, I made it and it was the first time I had made anything with nutritional yeast. Although, I loved the sauce when I made it then, it has taken me a while (6 years!) to come to really love the "nooch".

Things that I changed about this recipe:
My eggplants were small, so I wish I had more of them and that I had sliced them thicker - I think 1/4 inch was too thin.

I skipped salting the eggplant, and I cooked the rounds in my cast iron skillet instead of in the oven.

I used a store bought jar of marinara sauce instead of making my own.

I didn't have any tofu, so I substituted 1/2 cup of cashews that had soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes. I made sure to blend for a bit longer to make sure the cashews were all broken up. Even so, the cheese sauce was a bit granular.

I skipped the vegan parm or ground almonds.

We had some leftover TVP in the fridge, so we put that on top with the bread crumbs.

Notes
I did not take a picture because it looks like glop. Delicious, yes, but not aesthetically appetizing.

Both my husband and I loved this. And the leftovers I ate tonight for dinner were probably even better. If you have eggplants around, I recommend you making this forthwith. It came together pretty quickly and was super tasty!

02 October 2012

Tofu Scramble

Last Thursday, I woke up early enough to have a leisurely breakfast while my husband was still sleeping. We had some tofu in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I made a tofu scramble. My throat also started hurting that day, so I thought I would try and soothe it with some hot water, lemon, and honey tea.

Tofu-Scramble

Ingredients
extra-firm tofu
onions
garlic
spices - chipotle powder, salt, pepper, rosemary
kale
hot sauce


Method
 Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until browned.  Crumble up the tofu into little bits until it looks like scramble egg.  Stir to mix up the tofu, onion, garlic, olive oil.  Add spices, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, etc - anything you think would taste good on the "eggs".  You can even add black salt at the end.  It gives a sulphur flavour that is reminiscent of eggs.  A few minutes before everything is to your liking, add the chopped kale, pour a tablespoon or so of water in the pan and over with a lid.  Allow the kale to steam for a few minutes until tender.  Mix everything together, taste for seasoning, and serve with a delicious hot sauce.


habanero-hot-sauce

I picked up this  hot sauce at the grocery store randomly a few months ago and just got around to trying it.  I love it.  It has heat AND it has flavour.

Notes
This was very good. I haven't made a tofu scramble in a while and it was exactly what I wanted. I served it with some Tuscan bread from the new Trader Joe's!

DSCF2061

The cat has been a good cuddle buddy while I have been sick the last few days.