Monday, November 26, 2007

Creamy Split Pea Soup

I've made split pea soup a bunch of times, but this particular mixture of ingredients had my husband in soup heaven. It didn't seem all that special as I was making it, but it did come out really nice, so I figured I'd record what I did. 

Bowl the following in a saucepan until almost all the water is gone: 
1 1/2 cup dry yellow and green split peas (equal mix)
3 1/2 cups water
6 to 8 mini-carrots (whole)

When the water is getting low add the following and keep cooking on medium for a few more minutes: 
a scallion (cut in thirds, to fit in sauce pan)
one heaping teaspoon of minced garlic
cayenne pepper (a few shakes)
red pepper flakes (5 shakes)
paprika (8 good shakes)
seasoning salt (a couple shakes)
salt (5 grinds)
pepper (8 to 10 grinds)
Braggs (4 shakes)

Pour the entire mixture from the saucepan into the food processor. Add the following: 
1 heaping tablespoon of vegan margarine
Tamari sauce (5 or 6 shakes)
1 1/2 cup water
Blend until creamy. If the mixture is still really thick then add a little bit more water. Don't go crazy, you want it a little thick. 

Pour the blended mixture back into the saucepan and re-heat. 
Add 1/2 bag frozen sweet corn and stir.

Cook until heated thoroughly. 

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Asparagus and Mushroom Soup

It was raining out and I didn't feel like going to the store, so I looked around the fridge and came up with this recipe. 

First: Steam one bunch of asparagus, remove from heat once they start to become soft. Do not let them get too soft. 

Meanwhile: In a frying pan, line the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil and saute 1/2 large sweet onion (chopped) with a big spoonful of crushed garlic, ground pepper, sea salt, paprika. Saute until soft and browned. Set aside. 

In a soup pot: Saute sliced mushrooms (6 or 8 medium to large sized mushrooms) with a little olive oil, paprika, ground pepper and sea salt. Set aside. 

Take each piece of asparagus and cut the tips off. Set aside the tips and put the rest of the asparagus in the food processor. 

Add the following to the food processor and blend until creamy: 
2 1/2 cups soy milk
several shakes of tamari
a couple of shakes of Braggs
the sautéed onions

Put the soup pot on medium heat- add a 1 1/2 heaping tablespoons of vegan margarine. 
Stir in a tablespoon of gravy thickener - saute
Pour in contents from food processor and heat. 

Add seitan pieces  - 8 to 12 small chunks (optional, but highly recommended for hearty soup) 
Add the asparagus tips


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Faux Meat Balls

Last night my husband and his friends were hanging out. It was getting closer to dinner time and I wanted to make something that would feed three hungry guys and myself. I came up with this idea on the fly, just based on stuff I had around the house.

First: Cook up 1 cup of brown rice.

In a food processor blend the following until creamy:
4 large mushrooms
1 can (drained) white northern beans
2 handfuls of spinach
4 to 5 heaping spoonfuls of sun dried tomatoes
sea salt
ground pepper
red pepper flakes
basil (I only had dried on hand, but I added a bunch)
1 can tomato paste
3 or 4 scallions
1 heaping spoonful of crushed garlic

Pour creamy contents into bowl.

Stir in the cooked brown rice.

Add quick cook oats (dry) and stir (probably around a 1 1/2 cups)
Stir in breadcrumbs (I used matzo crumbs) (probably around 1 cup).

Keep adding oats and breadcrumbs until the consistency is thick enough to form into balls. If they're still a little sticky, use a couple of spoons to shape the balls.

In two frying pans, add a little olive oil on the bottom and then place the balls around the pan so they're not touching. Brown the balls and flip over. Add a little water to the pan and cook with a lid on the pan. The cooking time is rather short, probably around 7 to 10 minutes.

Serve with catchup, BBQ Sauce or hot sauce. My guests experimented with a variety of toppings that I suggested. This recipe made a ton of food, which was promptly gobbled up in its entirety.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Curry Tofu and Potatoes

I bought some yellow curry a while back and have been wanting to try it out. This idea came to me the other day and it turned out rather yummy. You'll need a baking dish. I used a round ceramic one, which worked perfectly. 

You'll need: 
Three large red potatoes (or substitute w/ another type of potato)
A sweet onion (1 small or half of a large)
Two big handfuls of mushrooms
A heaping spoonful of peanut butter
1 block of extra firm tofu (I like the extra firm, high protein tofu from Trader Joes)
Tamari Sauce (to taste)
Olive Oil
Paprika (to taste)
Gravy thickener (flour will do) (2 1/2 to 3 heaping tablespoons)
Vegan Margarine
Sea Salt
Ground pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Yellow Curry (2 to 3 tablespoons)
Curry Marsala (powder) 1 to 2 tablespoons

First: Cut up 3 large red potatoes into thirds and boil. 

Cut the onion into small pieces - saute in skillet with olive oil. Add parika, pepper flakes, ground pepper and sea salt. Once caramelized, set aside. 

Slice the mushrooms into flat pieces. 
Cut the tofu into small cubes

In the skillet, push the contents to the edge, leaving an empty space in the center. On medium heat, add two hefty tablespoons of margarine, then stir in 2 tablespoons of gravy thickener, 1 cup of soy milk, sea salt, pepper, curry, curry marsala, and peanut butter. You can add more soy milk, but add more gravy thickener so the gravy doesn't become runny. Stir until it thickens and the peanut butter is melted. Pour gravy mixture into baking dish. 

Scatter the tofu on the bottom of the baking dish. 

Place the mushrooms on top of the tofu, making a new layer. Shake tamari sauce all over mushrooms. 

Drain potatoes. Mash with 2 hefty tablespoons of margarine and soy milk (don't go crazy - or they'll end up too runny, you want them to be sticky). Add paprika, sea salt, ground pepper and mix. Scoop out mash potatoes and place on top of the mushrooms as the final layer. 

Bake at 350 to 375 degrees (uncovered) for 35 to 40 minutes. The gravy mixture will get bubbly and the potatoes will get a little crisp at the peaks. 

Scoop and serve. 

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Baked Spinach Manicotti and "chicken"

This idea came to me today. I've been craving Italian food and wanted something more decadent and rich than spaghetti.

This dish knocked the socks off of my husband and I. We both had to force ourselves to not take a second helping!! As a side dish, I served steamed veggies (beets and zucchini) which was a nice, light compliment to the rich main dish.

The picture doesn't do it justice, but I need to start adding pictures to this blog. I took this picture after the food had been in the fridge for about an hour, so it doesn't look that yummy anymore. Believe me - it REALLY is tasty.
Pre-heat oven to 350 to 375 degrees

Stuff you'll need:
1 box of Manicotti (cooked - follow directions on box)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used one called: Sweet & Tangy Tomato)
1 large baking dish (I used Pyrex) - bid enough to hold all of the cooked manicotti squished together, but not on top of each other
1 bag of frozen (fake) "chicken"
Vegan cheese (1/2 block)
(Items for food processor)
1 block of firm tofu
1/2 to 1/3 bag of spinach
3 sprigs of fresh basil
freshly ground salt (to taste)
freshly ground pepper (to taste)
sun dried tomatoes (in oil) (3 to 4 large spoonfuls)
Kalamata olives (a few full spoonfuls)
1 scallion
1/4 to 1/3 cup pine nuts
olive oil
1 large spoonful of vegan margarine
1 pepper (I used an orange bell pepper, but a yellow one would work too)

Blend all the ingredients in the food processor. Add olive oil to make wet but not too much to make it oily. Blend until creamy and no lumps remain.

Pour 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan

Fill each pasta tube with the blended mixture. (I was not talented in this step, so I ended up slitting them down the side, applying plenty of mixture and then putting it back together) Lay the pasta in the pan, repeat this with each pasta tube. Move tubes around if needed to make them all fit. I crammed them together and it was fine.

Pour the remaining mixture across the pasta.

Take the faux "chicken" and lay the pieces around the top.

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the top

Shred the vegan cheese (I'd use a mozzarella or jack) over the top.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes.