Monday, November 23, 2009

pumpkin peanut tofu

this is a concoction i made in order to use up the pumpkin leftover from pie making. i had a vision of pan fried tofu cooked in a thick peanut-y pumpkin-y sauce and think i did a pretty good job getting it from my head to our bellies. after the tofu i had quite a bit of extra sauce so a few days later i roasted some parsnips and then when they were almost done cooking tossed them with sauce and roasted a few minutes longer. also yummy!

tomorrow morning we head to atlanta for thanksgiving and i can't wait to see everyone and make loads of delicious food. happy thanksgiving everyone!

pumpkin peanut tofu
1 block tofu, cut into small slabs
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
toasted pepitas (optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

to make the sauce, blend all ingredients (except pepitas, cilantro and tofu) with a hand blender, in a normal blender, however you wish, until smooth. set aside.

to toast pepitas, heat a splash of olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add pepitas. toss until starting to pop and brown, about 8 minutes; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. transfer to plate.

heat a small amount of oil in a pan and cook the tofu until browned in each side. mix a generous amount of sauce into the pan and mix to coat each piece of tofu. continue to cook for several more minutes, tossing the tofu occasionally.

serve topped with pepitas and cilantro.



Friday, November 20, 2009

green beans with pepitas

thanksgiving alert II!

we made these for dinner the other night and decided about two bites in that they were a must for a thanksgiving side. i would highly recommend that everyone makes room on their thanksgiving table for these guys. they are so simple and delicious. the green beans get a nice crunch from the salty pepitas plus a little herb-y boost from the rosemary. and they get bonus points for coming together quickly on the stovetop while the oven is occupied with stuffing and pie and bread and other bake-ables. if you're making these for a large group double the least.

green beans with pepitas
(from bon appetit, december 2009)
1 pound slender green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled raw pumpkin seeds)
coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary*
1 large garlic clove, minced

cook green beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 5 minutes. drain beans and cool in colander. cut beans into 1-inch pieces.

heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. add pepitas. toss until starting to pop and brown, about 8 minutes; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. transfer to plate. reserve skillet. DO AHEAD: green beans and pepitas can be prepared 2 hours ahead. let stand at room temperature.

heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. add rosemary and garlic; stir 15 seconds. add beans and pepitas. toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. season to taste with coarse salt and pepper.

*i forgot to buy the rosemary and used dried. probably better with fresh but it was still yummy.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

penne with hazelnut pesto and green beans

i loved this pasta because it was so bright and green for a winter dinner. green lemony pesto, fresh blanched green beans, little scallion green green! and yummy too! this is really as simple as cooking up some pasta and giving a few ingredients a whirl in the food processor. the original recipe called for some cheese but it honestly does not need it. kris and i both agreed that the recipe had plenty of flavor and wasn't begging for anything else.

penne with hazelnut pesto and green beans

(from bon appetit october 2009, with slight changes)
2 cups (packed) fresh Italian parsley
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14.5-ounce box penne (or a similarly shaped noodle)
8-ounces green beans, trimmed
2 bunches green onions, sliced

blend first 5 ingredients and 1/3 cup oil in processor until nuts are finely chopped. season pesto with salt and pepper.

cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. add beans; cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.

heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. add onions; sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

drain pasta and beans; reserve 1 cup cooking liquid. return pasta and beans to pot. toss with pesto, onions, and 3/4 cup cooking liquid. season with salt and pepper.


Monday, November 16, 2009

vegan pumpkin pie

thanksgiving alert!

pumpkin pie is my favorite so this year i decided i need to make a vegan one for thanksgiving. with two weeks until the big day and not wanting to risk a soupy failure i had to start experimenting and fast. i started out by reading several recipes to get an idea of how to approach it. there are many that call for agar as the thickening agent but i find agar to be fussy plus it is super expensive and thus not what i wanted to play around with. i opted for the tofu route and asked my mom for her recipe because, ideally, i wanted it to taste just like hers.

shawn and kate came over for dinner and served as additional tasters. the consensus? taste was spot on! it was slightly looser than i had hoped, however it still cut into nice slices without falling apart. i put the uneaten part in the fridge and by the next evening it had firmed up a bit more.

so my thanksgiving plan? bake this pie the day before, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before serving.

vegan pumpkin pie
(makes one 9-inch pie)
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup silken tofu
1 2/3 cups non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 pie crust, unbaked

preheat oven to 350 and have your pie crust in the pie plate and ready to go.

in a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the milk until dissolved. add spices and sugar and whisk until combined. add tofu and pumpkin and blend until smooth (i whisked and then used an immersion blender, but you could also just do everything in a blender to begin with)

pour into pie crust and bake for about an hour, until the center looks firm. let cool and refrigerate overnight for optimum firmness.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


i have been talking about making mustard forever. i knew it wouldn't be hard. i also knew that, with a large bag of mustard seeds in the cupboard, i probably wouldn't even have to buy anything to make a basic mustard. i looked up recipes online, i looked up recipes in cookbooks and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over them. it's been going on for quite some time now. well finally i actually did it! i think it was the combination of seeing a recipe while flipping through bon appetit for a delicious sounding mustard with bratwurst bites and well it just so happened i made a batch of vegan sausages the other day that were chilling in the fridge begging for some beer and horseradish* mustard. the recipe calls for lager but i used modelo, i don't think it really matters. also, when looking for prepared horseradish make sure you don't get the kind loaded up with cream and eggs, just plain old horseradish. anyway, this is yummy with some kick from the horseradish but not in an overwhelming, sinus clearing way.

beer and horseradish mustard
(from bon appetit, october 2009)
(makes about 1 cup)
1 cup beer, divided
2/3 cup malt vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/3 cup whole mustard seeds (brown or yellow)
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, finely ground
2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

whisk 1/2 cup beer, malt vinegar, mustard seeds, and dry mustard to blend in small bowl. let mixture stand at room temperature 3 hours.

transfer beer-and-mustard-seed mixture to blender; add remaining 1/2 cup beer, horseradish, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, honey, and ground caraway seeds; blend until coarse puree forms. transfer mixture to medium metal or glass bowl. set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and whisk often until mixture thickens slightly, about 15 minutes (mixture will be thinner and more sauce-like than store-bought mustard). transfer mustard to small saucepan and add cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water; whisk over medium-high heat until mustard thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. transfer mustard to airtight container. cover and chill until cold. will keep in the fridge for about a week.

*horseradish, much like sauerkraut, is a food i never liked. i think my change of heart towards the kraut inspired me to give horseradish another go. and i like it! i mean....i wouldn't eat spoonfuls of it but it's much better than it was when i was a kid choking it down on a piece of matzoh at our passover seder ever year. that was the worst.


Monday, November 9, 2009

foodbuzz and fancy cooking

this weekend i had the pleasure of attending the foodbuzz food blogger festival here in san francisco. i met some awesome new food blogger-y friends and enjoyed so much free stuff they really did spoil us; cocktails, kitchen gadgets, wine, beer, chocolate, jam, salt....i could go on and on though i must say my biggest score was a bottle of olive oil from the olive oil tasting....perfect timing as our bottle just ran out.

and of course tasting and talking about food all day put me in the mood to cook cook cook.

sunday started off by forgoing our usual weekend bagel trip for homemade breakfast of waffles and tempeh bacon (devoured...not pictured).

then what for dinner? well anytime we're looking for a big dinner project the artful vegan seems to be the place to turn. i think this was the first time i actually made complete recipes from there...usually they overwhelm me so i just pick and choose bits from a few recipes and put them all together in my own way. somehow it seems less daunting that way. this time we chose three appetizers to make (please forgive the poor lighting, setting the clock back is bad for food blogging)....

olive, eggplat and black beluga lentil caviar on toasted crostini

cumin-balsamic roasted mushrooms

heirloom tomato stack with bitter greens, avocado, basil and curried hazelnut mojo dressing

all in all a fun and delicious weekend!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

leeky brussels slaw

this is just a quick lil side dish i whipped up the other night. everything is sliced very thin so it cooks in no time! i think brussels sprouts slaws are also a good way to get those who claim to hate the sprouts to change their minds. anyway, kris said it was really good so i snapped a picture and decided to share.

leeky brussels slaw
1 leek, white and pale green parts thinly sliced
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1/2 tomato, diced
sprinkle of paprika
sprinkle of crushed red chili flakes
coarse salt to taste
olive oil for cooking

put enough oil in a pan to coat the bottom and heat over medium. add the leeks and saute until they begin to soften. add tomatoes and sprouts and cook a few minutes until sprouts are softened and bright green. add spices to taste and you're done!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

chocolate chunk zucchini muffins

my mom makes the. best. zucchini cake. it is light and moist and amazingly delicious and she serves it with fresh whipped cream. it really is fantastic. i haven't tried making a vegan version of her recipe (though after writing that it has shot to the top of my to do list) but when i saw this recipe in gourmet i imagined her cake in cupcake form with chocolate. well....that's not quite what i got. according to gourmet these are cupcakes but i'm calling them muffins because they are really much denser than the ideal cupcake should be. plus they don't have any frosting on them so they don't have that cupcake-y feel when you're eating them.

however! i'm not saying these are bad. no no no...put yourself in a muffin state of mind and they will hit the spot. they are full of chocolatey goodness and with the flecks of green zucchini you can trick yourself into believing that they are healthy and a perfectly acceptable breakfast muffin. i made slight alterations to the recipe 1. to make it vegan and 2. based on what i had on hand.

chocolate chunk zucchini muffins
(from gourmet, september 2009)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup zucchini, coarsely grated
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

whisk together sugar, oil, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.

divide among lined muffin cups and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.