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.