Sunday, April 1, 2012

Shepherd's Pie

I used up a few ingredients I had laying around to create this recipe, and it came out even better than I could have hoped for. Shepherd's Pie has many different forms in the cookbooks I have read, but this one is closest to how I remember eating it as a kid. It would be a layer of ground beef (kind of boring and tasteless now that I think about it) topped with corn and then mashed potatoes. I added a few extra ingredients to twist this one up and I also changed up the mashed potato layer by adding some cauliflower and making "caulipots" - much healthier and tastes just as good!

Maple-BBQ Shepherd's Pie
Bottom Layer:
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 package fake ground beef (equivalent to 1 lb)
Maple-BBQ sauce of choice (I used a Maple-BBQ sauce from Stonewall Kitchen but there is a great brand from Annie's as well that can be found in the grocery store)
Second Layer:
Frozen or canned veggie mix: peas, corn, carrots, etc.
Top Layer:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed
Non-dairy milk
Earth Balance or soy margarine
Black Pepper
Daiya Pepperjack shreds
For the bottom layer:
In a large pan, brown the fake ground beef and crumbled tempeh for about 5 minutes, separating any chunks. Add in the bottle of sauce and cover, simmering about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, add in the potatoes (cut into large chunks) and cauliflower and cover with water, boiling about 15 minutes or until tender. When tender, drain the water and mash with a potato masher, adding in a couple of tablespoons of earth balance and a few splashes of the nondairy milk till it resembles mashed potatoes. Alternatively, you can put this all in a blender to get a smoother, fluffier texture.
In a large casserole dish, add in the bottom later and smooth out so that it covers the bottom of the dish evenly. Add the frozen or canned veggies on top, and then top that with the caulipots. Season the top with some fresh cracked pepper and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees about 40 minutes. Take the dish out and remove the foil. Cover the top with some Daiya shreds and continue to bake about 10-15 minutes, till completely heated through and the shreds have melted.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Steel-Cut Oats

When I was in grad school, life was easy. I would go to my job as a server at 10:30 am, so I would have leisurely mornings quite often. My typical routine was wake up, work out, then cook a luxurious meal for breakfast. I would often make steel-cut oats in the colder months, experimenting with different flavor combinations and add-ins. Steel-cut oats doesn't often get made in my house anymore because I wake up so darn early, but once in a while I'll make it on a weekend. As always, I have to eat my oatmeal out of my OATMEAL bowl... "It keeps you warm on colder days"!

Banana-Coconut Oats
1/4 cup steel-cut oats
1 cup water
1 large banana
2 T flaxseed meal
Coconut/Almond milk blend
Unsweetened dried and shredded coconut
In a saucepot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Stir in the 1/4 cup oats and bring down to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash the banana directly into the saucepot and add the flaxseed and milk. Cook over medium till heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve garnished with coconut and cinnamon.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chinese Food

I have recently started shopping at the Asian Market in my hometown whenever I am visiting the area and have found it to be one of my favorite things to do. The Asian market is very unlike the typical Shaw's-type supermarket, with exotic ingredients and seemingly disorganized aisles. There are packets of ground up fish meal next to the ground cinnamon, and "Tofu Snacks" that look like fruit roll ups next to the mints. What is weird to me may be normal in another culture, sure, but I just don't get how these items are placed.. it makes me look around with wonder and I have such a good time learning about new food items I never knew existed. Not only is it fun, it's also very affordable. I have found sheets of nori (sushi wrapper) for a fraction of the price than it is at the American grocery stores.
Because I have this new love of Asian food market shopping, I have been purchasing a lot of frozen foods because I am able to check out all of the ingredients and uncover great vegan finds. Gyozas, spring rolls, spring roll wrappers... so much that I did not know I could have. Below is a picture of some of these great finds. I also have some brown rice with Trader Joe's brand orange chik'n (freezer section). I did make the sushi though, so I will post what went into that.

Sweet Potato Sushi
serves 2
1 sheet of nori
1/2 cup cooked brown rice, still warm
1 sweet potato, steamed, insides scooped out of skin
Teriyaki sauce (store bought)
Lay out the sheet of nori on a bamboo mat. Spread the rice in a line across the edge closest to you, about 1 inch thick. Spread the sweet potato insides across the top of the rice and tightly roll up. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into slices and lay flat on a plate. Drizzle tops with the sauce and serve.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sloppy Joe

My mom used to make "Manwich" and I think I used to eat like three or four in one sitting (Dad- how many times did I continue eating for at least five minutes while everyone else was clearing the table?). This round, I split this whole pan with my boyfriend and piled it onto two sandwich buns. I was certainly filled to the brim with the addition of some hearty sweet potato fries. Or maybe it was the ketchup that filled me up. After all, fries are really just a vehicle for condiments, right?
Sloppy Joes
Makes 4
1 can sloppy joe sauce
1 package beef-less ground beef (equivalent to 1 lb)
Burger buns, cut-side spread with some earth balance
In a large pan, brown the ground "beef" and add the sloppy joe sauce. Cook over medium until heated through and bubbly, about 5 minutes. In another pan (a grill pan would be best) grill the buns until toasty. Serve sandwiches with homemade sweet potato fries or chips.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pumpkin Flan

This is a little too easy to really call a "recipe" but I modified the recipe for flan that is on the back of the Goya box. It took a few hours to chill and I served it with some cinnamon on top. My flan did not really come out perfect, not even close.. the directions on the box instruct you to caramelize the sugar but this was a huge fail. After a few attempts, I added some water and this syrup and worked on cooking it down but eventually gave due to impatience. As a result, the flan was a little bit watery though it separated from the custard and I was able to drain most of it off. It still tasted great but the Goya people need to work on their instructions!

Pumpkin Flan
Serves 4
1 store-bought box of flan mix
Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup (or any flavored syrup)
Follow the directions for preparation on the back of the flan box, subbing soymilk or other nondairy milk for the dairy milk and adding in some of the syrup with the sugar. Chill in ramekins until ready to eat.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More lettuce wraps...

And why not? Iceburg lettuce has just about no nutritional value other than containing water, but it makes a great vehicle for a main course that would otherwise be wrapped in bread. For the amount of sandwich filling I would typically want to eat to feel satisfied, I would need to eat about 200 calories worth of bread. Shaving that off of my intake is well worth it to me because I do find myself over-consuming in that food group. The more vegetables I can take in, the better.
The way I made this sandwich filling is very good, but it was supposed to be Asian-inspired flavors. I think to bind this instead of using mayo mixed with Asian flavors it would be delicious to use a lightened-up peanut sauce. I will probably experiment with this again but I will post it as written because it was very good as is, just not Asiany-enough.
Asian Tofu Salad
1 package tofu, drained and pressed
2 celery ribs, diced
1/3 c chopped carrots
1/4 c chopped red pepper
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/3 c toasted sesame seeds
1/4 c vegenaise
1/4 tsp red pepper paste
1 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
In a small bowl, mix together the veganise, red pepper paste, soy sauce, and turmeric. In a medium bowl, crumble the tofu and the vegenaise mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and store covered in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2 Points.

Weight Watchers does not often promote vegan recipes, so it was pretty exciting to come across the recipe for Vegan Chocolate Cookies on their website. The ingredients were all in my pantry and fridge so I thought I'd give it a try! I halved the recipe and omitted the salt (I can never find a huge difference when baking with salt so I typically leave it out.. is this wrong?) and gave it out to coworkers. The cookies are great the first day but don't really hit the spot after a day or two. They are really moist but to the point where they kind of stick on your fingers when you pick them up.. cakey. I liked very much that they are chocolate but still low-calorie but I would probably not serve these to a group of people who are looking to indulge!

Chocolate-Coconut Cookies
Adapted from Weight Watchers
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/6 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
5 T hot water (almost boiling)
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut, unsweetened
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat sugar with coconut oil and vanilla until well-blended.
Add half of flour mixture and half of water to sugar mixture; beat until smooth. Add coconut, remaining water and remaining flour mixture; beat until well-combined (dough might be a little stiff and sticky).
Scoop tablespoons of dough and roll into balls; place on prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1 1/2- to 2-inches between each cookie. When all cookies are made, flatten each ball into a disk with the back of a wet spoon or fork. Bake until done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.