August 1, 2008

19 Loaves

Farmer's Market is tomorrow, and this time, we're coming prepared.  

11 baguettes from poolish
3 round loaves from poolish
3 whole wheat round loaves
2 oval loaves from poolish

All recipes from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes by Jeffrey Hamelman.  An incredible book to say the least.  

July 28, 2008

Long John Doughnuts

While we were visiting my parents back in Illinois, we had two full days of cooking and baking.  In all, we handmade cinnamon-raisin bagels, fajitas with flour tortillas, two round loaves of french bread, 30ish cinnamon rolls, oatmeal-raisin cookies, grilled pizza, zucchini brownies with chocolate mousse and black raspberry topping, and, finally, these long johns.  Looking back at that list even sounds ridiculous to me, but I swear we did it.  
The doughnuts were nice and fried (not oily) on the outside, but stayed sweet and doughy on the inside.  A nice combo, but at times seemed undercooked.  Depends on your preference, I guess, but we loved 'em.  Within 24 hours four people consumed all 17ish doughnuts.  
I had never deep fried anything in a ridiculous amount of oil, and it was a lot easier than I expected, as well as took way more oil than I expected.  In all, we used two 48 fl. oz. jugs of canola oil that amounted to 2 1/2 inches in the huge pot.  Also, these take a little chunk of time to make.  There's a 2 hour refrigeration time and the deep frying keeps you on your toes for at least 20 minutes, but it's quite worth it, as the picture below proves. 

Long John Doughnuts

4 c flour
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T whole flax seed, ground or 2 1/2 T pre-ground flaxseed
3 T soymilk
1/4 c apple sauce
1/4 t baking powder
2 T maple syrup
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c soymilk
5 T vegan butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 c soymilk
1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
3.5 oz  semi-sweet baking chocolate (or chocolate chips), melted

Directions: Mix the flour, 4 t of baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together the ground flaxseed and 3 T of soymilk.  After it's nice and goopy add in the apple sauce and remaining 1/4 t of baking powder and mix well.  When it's all combined, pour in the sugar and maple syrup and cream it, cream it real nice.  For the finale, mix the soymilk and melted butter into the sugary mix.  When all that's finished, slide the flour mixture on over to the sugar bowl and mix until it first becomes a homogeneous mass, kinda like pancakes, but way thicker.  No need to overmix.  It'll still be gooey, by no means a typical bread dough.  Mixing is all done, so put a dishtowel over the top of the bowl and seal it with a large rubber band or hair tie.  Put the bowl in the fridge for two hours and kick back on the sofa.  Maybe watch some cartoons, whatever.

Now that you're good and relaxed, it's time to get serious.  Flour your work surface and place a floured sheet of wax or parchment paper to the side.  Be light when handling the dough so it doesn't get overworked.  If you need to, imagine your hands belong the the gentlest masseuse this world has ever known.  Now, divide your dough in half and roll out one of the halves on your floured surface to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness in a long, flat rectangle about 4 inches wide.  When it's rolled out evenly, cut away the edges of the top and bottom so you have a flat edge, and place the scraps to the side.  This can be uneven, so the final cuts will look like a cityscape of sorts. 

Now, make the individual long johns however wide you'd like.  Mine were about 1 1/2 inches wide, I think.  Gently lift each piece up and place it on the floured paper.  You can slide a spatula underneath to transfer too.  Repeat this process with the other half of dough, and then put your scraps all together and roll them out and cut.  Whatever scraps result from this final rolling, turn into donut holes by rolling on the floured surface or in your hands, or if you'd prefer, just take all the scraps and make 'em into donut holes. 


Time to move to the stove.  Let the cut doughnuts rest and heat up 2 inches or more of oil in a high walled pan or pot.  The oil needs to be at 375ish.  I played around with temperatures from 360 to 380 and it didn't seem to make a big difference.  Have some metal tongs or metal slotted spatula nearby for fishing out the doughnuts after cooking, as well as a layout of paper towels or dishtowels for absorbing excess oil off the edge.  After the oil is hot, lift the donuts one or two at a time with a slotted metal spatula and slide them into the hot oil.  After 15-45 seconds they'll plum up and rise to the top.  After they've risen, turn them and cook for another 20ish and place onto a paper towel.  

Goodness you've done a lot of work, but we're not quite finished.  Mix all the ingredients of the frosting together, and when the donuts have mostly cooled, drizzle or spread the glaze over the top of the doughnuts (if drizzling, you can probably halve the recipe).  Eat leftover chocolate with a spatula or spoon. 


July 24, 2008


Yup. It's just granola. No frills here. Sorry if you wanted one of those snappy titles like Old Skool Granola or Cinnamon Nutmeg Almond Granola, which would still be fitting. But that doesn't mean this granola isn't incredible. This is the kind of granola that starts wars over the last bowl, the granola that Spain would set sail over vast oceans for, the granola that Sesame Street would create a new character, the Granola Monster, for.


1/4 c. vegan butter (melted)
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 T cinnamon
1/4 c. almond slices
2 T agave nectar
1/4 t nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 250 and combine all the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Spread the mixture in a thin layer over a walled cookie sheet and bake for about an hour, stirring halfway through the bake (so, 30 minutes-stir- another 3o-ish minutes). Let it cool completely before storing in a closed container. Congrats. You've made the perfect breakfast cereal.

July 11, 2008

Grilled Cookie


Grilled Cookie

Fire up the grill.
Make up your favorite cookie dough.  

Put a lightly oiled cast iron skillet on the grill to heat up for a few minutes, then pat down the dough.  It'll be patchy at first, but as it heats up the top will smooth out a bit.  Cover the grill and let it go.  It's generally done when the sides are a deep golden brown.  The texture is a bit like a cookie bar with a thick bottom crust.  

So far we've made your general chocolate chip cookie and a peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookie.  Both, obviously, were incredible.

July 6, 2008

Chickpea Salad

Alas, my 7:30-4:00 summer school schedule is over and our week-long stomach sickness has passed (mostly).   Life is sweet.  Our only responsibility is to take care of little O and our gardens.  So, here's our long overdue chickpea salad recipe.  It got me happily through many a quick lunch during the semester and summer classes (thanks Michelle). 

Chickpea Salad

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
2 T veganaise
1/2 t ground mustard
1/4 t dill
1/4 t basil
1/8 t celery salt
1/8 t garlic powder
1/2 C cucumber, chopped
1/4 C celery, chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste

Smash the chickpeas with a fork and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix it up.  

That's it.  You're done.  

Now spread it on some bread and top it with a tomato and some lettuce. mmmmmmmmm

May 19, 2008

BBQ Tempeh with Grilled Potato Wedges

Since pretty weather has finally graced Missouri with its presence, we've been practicing the right of any rural Missourian by grilling anytime there are friends and a sunset around.  Michelle's dad brought up a grill we got as a wedding gift (two years ago this Monday!) and my dad bought us a chimney starter so we could recycle (burn) paper to light the coals.  It works (and looks) pretty cool.  Smoke billows up for about 10 minutes then the coals burst into flames, except not quite as awesome as that.  If anyone has any ideas for more eco-friendly grilling (gathering firewood, maybe?), please let us know.  
Our biggest grill setback has been how to perfect grilling potato wedges without using wasteful aluminum foil.  Direct grilling would always burn the wedges on the outside before the inside got cooked.  Turns out just coating them with oil (spray) is enough to slow down the burning and cooking.  I would have thought the opposite, but I'm no scientist.  Oh yeah, the tempeh was awesome too.  Serves 3 people and 1 grill.

BBQ Tempeh
1 square o' tempeh (8 oz)
enough broth to just cover the tempeh in a pan (we used a beefish broth)
BBQ sauce of your choice

Cut the tempeh into strips 1/4 inch strips and slap em down in a pan and just cover with broth.  Bring it to a boil and leave it for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and coat each side with BBQ side and toss em on the grill.  Put on your apron, and GRILL IT.  They're done when you say they're done, Grillmaster.

Grilled Potato Wedges
2 russet potatoes
garlic powder
onion powder
paprika or chili powder
any spray oil

Wash and cut the potatoes into wedges (Michelle's style is to cut the potatoes lengthwise until each wedge is 1/16th of the potato (but use your best judgement based on the size of the potato so you don't cut your fingers off)).  Spray 'em with oil and cover with garlic and onion powder being the most used, paprika or chili powder to your preference, and use salt and pepper sparingly.  Put 'em on the grill perpendicular to the  grate and cook until tender.  We didn't need to turn or flip them at all and they were generally done when the underside was browned.

May 17, 2008

Spinach Chickpea Curry Wraps

We woke up from a nap on a lovely afternoon and decided a nice lunch would be a perfect compliment to our day.  Leftover white rice and expired baby spinach were the base of our meal, and as wraps are always the perfect leftover holder, our lunch was created.  Generally, onion would have been added to this, but, unfortunately, all four of our onions were bad.  Feel free to throw in an onion after the cumin seeds and garlic are done.  Because we were using wraps, we made the filling a little creamy so it'd have a nice texture with the wrap. Pretty awesome midday meal if I do say so myself.  Serves 4 people or 1 chickpea-lovin robot.

Spinach Chickpea Curry Wraps

1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 t cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 c vegetable broth (we use the "vegan no chicken")
2 c cooked white rice (brown should be fine too)
2 1/2 c fresh (baby) spinach
1/4 c green onion diced
1/2 c peas
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t curry powder
1 t ground coriander
spinach wraps or other wraps

Heat oil in a wok or large pan over medium heat and toss in the cumin seeds, they should be poppin'.  Stir 'em enough so they don't burn and smoke, and after about 2 minutes press that garlic like a pro.  Your kitchen should be smelling nice about now.  Add in the chickpeas and stir until they're coated with the oil, then add in the broth.  Let it come to a boil and mix in the pre-cooked rice, spinach, green onions, and peas.  Cook it until the spinach starts to wilt, then mix in the tomatoes, ground cumin, curry powder, and ground coriander.  After another minute or two serve it up on warm wraps.  

May 15, 2008

Creamy Garlic Sauce and Broccoli Pasta

Sorry to all for abandoning the blog for about a month, but I swear there's just cause.  First, it was the end of the semester.  
Nuff' said, I know, but there's more.  
I published a book with the Black Unicorn Press.  By publish, I mean we hand-bound my English Honors project, which got accepted (hooray!), obviously.  Mine's on the right (WE).
Then, as if I hadn't already convinced you, I made a six-minute movie about sexual identity in public schools to head off a presentation which nearly brought the class to tears.  They laughed, they cried, we got 15 points extra credit.  Then! to not even top it off yet, I graduated with my B.A. in English.... as the valedictorian (one of 22).  I got this sweet sash for it.  Totally worth all the hard work.  And finally, we've been going through all the dorms move-out trash to scavenge some delicious, incredibly processed foodz.  Among some the finds were frozen vegetables, a bag of apples, beer (on a dry campus), a new blanket (still in the package), enough folders and paper for the next two years, a frozen apple pie, backpacks, baskets, cheese, and a ski pole (oddly, only one).  So we've been trudging through our unhealthy eating to save the world one pop-tart at a time.  Thus our recipe creations have been a hodge-podge at best.  For example, last night we had instant mashed potatoes with frozen mixed veggies and potato chips with a mashed black bean barbecue sauce dip (actually not bad).  

But all that's over now.  Maybe.  So, hopefully we'll keep adding recipes and whatnot.  This creamy garlic sauce thing is something I've been unsuccessfully trying for awhile.  It would come out lumpy or... basically just come out lumpy.  It'd still taste good.  Just not very creamy.  I lost all my previous notes (probably to the recycling bin) and had to start anew.  I guess it was a good thing because this is what I'd been going for.  Here's the final recipe in all its creamy goodness.  
Serves almost two normal sized people or 1/4 a giant.

Creamy Garlic Butter Sauce

2 T Vegan Butter
2-4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced 
2T nutritional yeast
1/4 c plain soymilk
dash of basil (1/4 to 1/2 t)

Melt that delicious chunk of butter in a small pan over medium heat and add your garlic in.  Let it sizzle for about a minute and  your cooking area will dazzle your nostrils with garlic awesomeness.  While that garlic is doin' its thang, mix the soymilk and nutritional yeast together with a fork and add it to the pan.  Stir the sauce until it's all homogeneous-y and whatnot.  Finally, let the sauce boil just a lil' teensy-weensy bit.  Keep on stirrin' and the sauce will thicken up a bit (about 2 minutes for us).  When you like what you see, dip in some cooked broccoli and wonder why cheese could never be this amazing.  

April 19, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake/Dessert Biscuits

When Michelle said she wanted to make strawberry shortcake, I had a much different idea of what that would be. I imagined the fluffy angel food-cakey stuff, and she kept saying that there were two kinds of strawberry shortcake, and she wanted to make the one that was more like a biscuit. My idea of strawberries on a biscuit was subpar at best. I spent days, years, wondering how ordinary and forgettable strawberry biscuit-cakes would be. After the shortbiscuits came out of the oven, I took a bite and said, "They're like dessert biscuits!"
"Yeah, exactly," Michelle said.
"Why didn't you say that in the first place?" I asked.
"They're like dessert biscuits," she said.

Turns out dessert biscuits with strawberries are pretty fantastic.

Strawberry Shortcake

Dessert Biscuits
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 cup soymilk

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl until it's all one homogenous powdery substance. Cut in the butter. Mix in all the soymilk until it's a doughy batter. Taste the batter and make declarations of how amazing these will be after flattening an icecream scoop full of the batter on a greased cookie sheet and baking for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Proceed to do what you declared.

3 cups diced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar

Put the strawberries in a small bowl, pour the sugar over the top and mix.

April 8, 2008

Many Mini Pies (12 times fast)

The initial ideas for many mini pies originated from a conversation with some friends about baking mini pies, but because mini and many are homophones no one could agree on whether to make many pies or mini pies. And then came the issue of, if we made mini pies, how many mini pies do we make? And how mini should they be?  You can see our dilemma. We decided the mini-ness should be determined by the equipment available to us. Therefore, we used our muffin pan. But feel free to make them as mini and into as many as you'd like. Perhaps a mini muffin pan? These amazing  friends we spoke of watched after Little O for us last weekend while we were on a date.  We made them many mini pies as a thank you. 
Many Mini Pies
We used a recipe we were given for the crust, but any vegan pie crust will do just fine.  And we've got a few disclaimers.  These take quite awhile to put together.  Also, the filling makes a ton.  We only made 12, but we could have gotten at least 24 if we'd had the time.

Blueberry Pie Filling
3 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
4 T corn starch
2 T water
1/3 cup sugar

Mix the corn starch, water and sugar. Pour 
over the blueberries. 
Set aside for about 1/2 hour.

Strawberry Pie Filling
1 quart strawberries, stemmed and chopped
3 T corn starch
2 T water 
1/3 cup sugar

Mix the corn starch, water and sugar. Pour over the strawberries.
Set aside for about 1/2 hour.

Assembly of Many Mini Pies

Preheat your oven to 400. 
Oil your muffin pan. 
Roll out your pie dough.
Using a circular object, slightly larger than your muffin tins, cut out circles from your dough. 
I had some trouble getting them into the pan neatly. After some experimenting I found that cutting them into Pac Man shapes first helped. Then I use some water to help them stick together again.  And, now, for all you visual learners, the pictorial.
Spoon in some filling (about 1 T). 
Bake for about 25 minutes.
I mean, you've got 12 pies, you can't take all those down yourself.

April 4, 2008

Orange Glazed Sugar Cookies

Those orange cookies were haunting my dreams.  They were good, but not just right.  But these.... I couldn't have asked for a better orange/cookie combo.  The sugar cookies are crisp but fluffy and the orange icing takes it to a new level.  Awesome.
Orange Glazed Sugar Cookies
makes about 2 dozen
1 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 t vanilla
2/3 cup soy milk
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
2 T apple sauce
2 T brown sugar
To do this recipe only using 4 measuring cups, get out the 1/3 cup, T, t, and 1/2 t.  As a bonus, you'll only need one mixing utensil (a fork in our case).  On the downside, you'll need two bowls, one medium-large for the wet and another small one for the dry.  Pre-heat the oven to 400.  Put the flour in the small bowl (1/3 cup x3 + 4 T) and the sugar in the larger bowl.   Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the smaller bowl and mix.  Toss in the block of butter and smash it up with the sugar (brown too) until it's pretty well mixed, then pour in the soy milk and apple sauce.  Cream it.  Now take the flour mixture and pour half into the dry and mix.  When that's mixed in, pour in the rest and mix.  Try a sample of the batter.  Make comments to self about how tasty that sample was.  Bake for 10 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  

Orange Glaze
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 t orange extract
1 T soy milk

Put the glaze on after the cookies have cooled.  The icing is pretty strong, so drizzle it on.  

March 28, 2008

Spinach Pancake Domination

I can't compete with this.  Seriously.  How am I supposed to beat coming home for lunch to a stack of Spinach Pancakes with a Raspberry Pear topping?  It can't be done.  Unless... no, that doesn't even beat it.  These were Spinach Pancakes set two, because we also did St. Patrick's Day Mashed Potato Pancakes.  Those were just a different kind of amazing, an amazing with more potatoes, onion, and garlic.  I know that sounds like a lopsided kind of amazing, but remember- RASPBERRY PEAR TOPPING.   Spinach, in both these recipes, adds more color than flavor.  Really you can't taste the spinach at all, just an extra health benefit.
Spinach Pancakes 
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/4 cup oil
about 3/4 cup fresh chopped, spinach (see picture below)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
I had planned to use a full cup of Spinach, but every time I turned on the food processor Little O got scared and started to cry. I was only able to get about 3/4 of a cup chopped. But feel free to you as much or as little as you want. Here is what mine looked like in a 1/2 cup.

In a bowl combine the soy milk, oil, spinach, sugar and vanilla extract. 
Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. 
You know how to cook pancakes, right? But if for some reason you have never made pancakes before...
Heat a skillet to medium high heat. If it is a non-stick pan you don't need to oil it but lightly oil it if you are using a cast iron skillet. I generally use about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Pour some batter into the pan and when bubbles start to form and pop, flip it over. Cook on the opposite side until browned. Remove from the skillet and serve. 
You can also put them on a pan in the oven on a low temperature to keep them warm until all the pancakes are cooked. 

I make Little O's food to save money and for the benefit for knowing exactly what is in it and how it was prepared. But the last time I made pears for him I steamed them, then didn't have time to puree and freeze them. I just put them in the refrigerator. They turned brown and I felt like it would be better to do something with them other than feed them to the babe. 
Raspberry Pear Topping
1/2 cup frozen Raspberries
4 cubes (about 1/3 cup) frozen pear puree
In a small pan heat the raspberries and pear puree on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm.  Boo-yah.

Spinach Mashed Potato Pancakes
1 1/2 cups spinach (we used fresh baby spinach)
4 Russet Potatoes
1 Onion, diced
1 1/2 t Olive Oil
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup Soy milk
2 T vegan butter (Earth Balance)
Get a pot of water and start it to boiling.  While that's going, peel or don't peel (whatever your style is) and cut the potatoes into little chunks.  Boil 'em for about 15 minutes, until you can poke 'em with a fork no problem.  Instead of sitting all lazy-like or checking your e-mail while the potatoes are boiling, chop up that spinach in a food processor until it looks a bit like green confetti.  When the potatoes are done, drain the water and mash 'em up your preferred style, we're all about the potato ricer though.  It makes mashed potatoes super smooooooth.  Add the soy milk and butter until they're a nice creamy, mashed potato dish.  Next, stir in the garlic (a garlic press works amazing here), diced onion, and spinach.  Now you have a delicious, green mashed potato meal.  But, if you want to go the extra step, put your preferred lightly greased pancake pan to med-high heat and lightly flour your hands.  Pick up a little ball of mashed potato and press it into a pancake (whatever size you'd like) about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  Plop it on the pan (we did 4 at a time) and cook until browned on one side (about 4 minutes for us) and flip it to brown on the other side.  This takes awhile, but it makes a ton.  And they're super tasty.

March 27, 2008

Chocolate Chip "Is there Orange in these?" Cookies

Yes. There is. I think I might be able to taste it, while Michelle thinks they're good, but definitely do not have any orange flavor.  I hold to my dream.  Stand my ever faltering ground, that, yes, I may have just noticed an orange-ish flavor in that bite.  I declare I do!  
To settle the issue, I asked the Yes/No Oracle, "Do these cookies taste orange-y?" and got this as a response. 

"All right!" ..........but with two thumbs down........... ummm..........Well..... the cookies have Tofutti Cream Cheese in them!  Cream Cheese!  I don't really even like cream cheese, but it did give these cookies an extra kick of richness.  Consensus: probably needs some zest to actually taste orange-y, but I'd definitely make 'em again.   

EDIT:  I made these again, substituting the vanilla for orange extract and, instead of 1/4 cup orange juice, I did 1 T orange juice, 3 T plain soymilk.  Now there's definitely orange in these and they've got a much better texture.  100% awesome.   Best cookies I've had in awhile.
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 Tbs Tofutti Cream Cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350
In a large bowl cream together the Earth Balance, Tofutti Cream Cheese and sugar.  Add in the orange juice and vanilla extract. 
In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and combine. Mix in the chocolate chips. 
Plop 'em on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Whatever shape you put 'em in is probably the shape they'll come out in, so sculpt away. 

March 23, 2008

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Scones

These ain't yo momma's old-fashioned "I just look like a sorry excuse for a biscuit" scones.  These are "forget the tea, I can't spare any precious scone room in my tummy" scones.  It's a classic of ours, really Michelle's, as she does all the work and I mmmmmm enjoy.  There's nothing, NOTHING, I say, that's better than these scones.  Not even this.  

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Scones
1 cup soy yogurt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla extract
4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3/4 cup vegan butter 
(we used Earth Balance)
3/4 chocolate chips
about 1/2 cup raspberries
In a small bowl mix soy yogurt, baking soda, and vanilla.  Set aside.  In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then cut in the butter into the dry mixture until it forms small crumbs.  Mix in the chocolate chips.  Now, add the yogurt mixture into the large bowl and combine (Michelle had to use her hands, I held her huge rock). You might have to knead it to get all the crumbs in there, but keep with it.  It's almost done.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, pat each half into a rectangle.  Like the picture so beautifully illustrates.  Scatter the raspberries across the surface. 

Roll it up into a long log and pat it down, seam side down.  Again, like so.
Now, cut it into squares, then go back and cut the squares into triangles.  Once more, like so.
Put 'em on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350.  Sit, back, forget the tea, and enjoy.

March 4, 2008

Kale Penne Pasta

Michelle loves this recipe.  Everything about it.  It's easy, got some healthy greens in it, the sweetness of the onion, blah, blah, blah.  Our relationship with this meal started after a fellow young parent couple invited us over for dinner.  We accepted, but let them know we ate a vegan diet, and after a short discussion on what that meant, they decided on this awesome recipe.  They added bacon and toasted walnuts to theirs.  We added pine nuts, tons-o-garlic, and nearly-caramelized onions.  Here's our take on their meal.
Kale Penne Pasta
1 pound penne pasta
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups kale ripped into pieces
pine nuts (optional, but awesome)
Make the pasta according to package directions. 
Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat (we use the pot that we cooked the pasta in, and leave the pasta in the strainer).  Add the onion and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook until it releases its fragrance, about a minute.  Stir in the kale, cover, and bring heat down to low.  Keep stirring occasionally until all the kale is wilted. Sprinkle with pine nuts.  Add the cooked pasta and toss until evenly mixed.  

Lemon Black Pepper Asparagus

As previously mentioned, we snazzed up some asparagus to add to our not-so-saucy tomato sauce.  
Did you know.....
that asparagus is a perennial from the lily family?
an excellent source of vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin A, as well as many B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, and B6)?
available in three colors (green, white, and purple)?
World's Healthiest Foods reports that, "Despite folate's wide availability in food, folate deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world."
So go on.  Eat some asparagus for the sake of the world's deficiency.  Someone's gotta do it.  It might as well be you.   

Here's to the World.

Lemon Black Pepper Asparagus
14 fresh asparagus spears
1/2 T lemon juice
black pepper
Cover the bottom of a pan with about 1/4 inch of water.  Add in the lemon juice and asparagus spears.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until they become a vibrant green.  Remove from the pan and squeeze on some additional lemon juice and season it with fresh black pepper.  Build lincoln log-esque cabin with asparagus spears.  Enjoy.

March 2, 2008

Dainty Tomato Sauce

We were going to go out to a local Mexican food extravaganza and get a gigantic Burrito Pachanga for 6 bucks (enough to feed us both), but it was too nice of a day to drive somewhere and it wasn't worth the walk.  Michelle knew I was going for my staple "garlic-chunky, yet dainty" tomato sauce and decided to add an ingenious lemon and black pepper asparagus side.  Delicious?  Doth thou even needeth to ask?

Garlic-Chunky, yet Dainty- Tomato Sauce

1/2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced (we used three because one was a total Frank-clove)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite cut diced tomatoes
1/4 t marjoram
1/4 t basil
1/8 t sage
1/8 t fennel seed
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until you know it'll crackle when you throw in the diced onion.  Stir every time the pops start to worry you (about 45 seconds for me).  Once they've become a golden brown add in the garlic and stir.  Once the scent of garlic invades your nostrils, add in the can of diced tomatoes and all the spices and mix it up... a lot.  Like this.  Not like this.  The liquid should start to boil after a bit and keep it boiling until about 1/2 the liquid has evaporated (or as much as you want left).  Serve it up over your rotini or penne.  Devour.

The Franken-clove 

We'll post the lemon asparagus later.  It's late.  Time for more homework then bed.  Goodnight.

February 29, 2008

Smooth Black Olive Hummus

Our slowly growing love for olives developed last week, and we're trying to transition them into our meals to see what works.  We threw all this in the blender for a quick snack before our Friday night Veggie Potluck.  Michelle toasted a bagel and mmm mmmm was it tasty.  The olive flavor is pretty subtle, so throw in some more if you really want the flavor to burst out.  Or maybe you just want a nice aphrodisiac dip, your call.  Either way, mmm mmmmm.

Smooth Black Olive Hummus
1 can (15 oz) drained chickpeas 
(save 1/4 cup of the liquid)
2-3 cloves of garlic
6 pitted black olives
1 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper to taste

Drain the liquid from the canned chickpeas into a bowl and put 1/4 cup of the liquid in the blender (you can use water if you'd prefer).  Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend, blend, blend til' you like the way it looks.  We dip in a few chips to test the consistency.  If you want it smoother then add more liquid, but too much will make it runny and resemble ground brains.  No one likes runny, ground brains.  Except zombies.