Monday, September 29, 2008

Hunting Mousse, Again

Well, I did have some silken tofu leftover, and I did find this interesting concoction, so I had to do it.

I did make my life simpler by using 1/2 a can of sweetened bean paste (we got it ages ago, thinking we'd make some dessert dim-sam, which never happened) - it's made of adzuki beans, and so I didn't have to add any sugar.

It was delicious!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hunting Mousse

Well, this hunting is more animal-friendly than Sarah Palin's. It's vegan.

6 oz silken tofu
1/3 c bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
powdered sugar to taste (~2 T)

Blend the tofu in a blender and add chocolate and sugar, blend some more, add sugar if not sweet enough for you.

This should make 2 small servings plus a whole lot more in the blender for the person who makes it :)

P.S. - I guess I'm also a cereal killer...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Again, we had some broccoli we had to use before it went bad. I found this recipe in the VT magazine, and it was nice and easy. We used almonds instead of pine nuts because that's what we had. It was very complementary.
I can't find this recipe online yet, so I'll give general instructions below.

What you'll need:
Broccoli crowns, florets separated
Nuts, roasted
Parmesan or Romano, shredded
3 T Olive oil, divided
1/4 c lemon juice
6 cloves garlic

How it goes:
Spread the broccoli on a cookie sheet, sprinkle or spray 2 T or so olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or so.
While it's roasting, make the dressing by combining lemon juice, garlic, 1 T olive oil and salt in a large bowl.
Cook pasta and drain, transfer to large bowl and toss to cover with the dressing.
Coarsely chopped the roasted broccoli and add to the pasta.
Sprinkle cheese and nuts.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Anniversary Restaurant Review

We don't go out a lot to eat for a number of reasons, but for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries we make an exception. This past weekend such special occasion occurred - it happened to be our first anniversary! So we went out 5 (!!) times. Vegan every time, too. It was awesome.
Here's a summary:

Friday night: Chakra 4, phoenix, AZ. Sorry for the over-exposure of the lavash + pattes and marinated veggies. It was very dark. One of the pattes was hummus, the other black bean with sunflower seeds. It was ok, but nothing special. The Morroccan stew and quinoa was very good.

Saturday morning: Green Carrot Cafe, Cottonwood, AZ. Oh, my god - it was AWESOME!!! We started with a savory dish: Southwestern wrap. It had potato, onions and god knows what else, but it was so good! And it was all wrapped in a deliciuos tortilla. Yum! We finished with a sweet delicacy: polish crepes with raspberry jam, strawberries and whipped cream.

Saturday night: Raw Cafe Bliss, Sedona, AZ. This is where we had our first raw food experience, the day after we got married. We liked it SO much that we decided to come back every year. First, I asked for their raw tortilla chips, which, last year, were probably the best thing I've ever had. I was disappointed... They keep changing the recipe, she said. This year they weren't half as good. They weren't crispy at all, and their flavor was off. Too bad. I hope that they will someday go back to the original recipe. Both entres were awesome. The zucchini pasta alfredo was my favorite, but it failed to arrive with nut "meat"balls. I complained, and the waitress gave me a nut patte instead, saying the meatballs are dehydrated forms of the patte, and they ran out. It was very good. The alfredo sauce is also made of nuts, and is very rich and filling. The enchilada was also very good. I have no idea how they made the tortilla. Probably the same way they made the chips. It was soft and filled with raw goodness: dried lettuce (!!), fresh tomatoes, and god knows what else. It's a mystery to me how raw food is made. But it's delicious. It was covered with yummy tomato salsa and some nut sauce to act as cheese.
For dessert we had a double chocolate pie. The chocolate part was very creamy and tasty, and the flavor had no trace of avocado, even though that's the ingrediend that gives it its creamyness. I didn't particularly like the crust, but it was ok.
After dinner I felt so full. It must be all the richness of nuts.

Sunday morning, Green Carrot Cafe, Cottonwood, AZ. It was so good, we had to go back and try the other menu items. Again - awesome! On Saturday I deliberately didn't take any of the tofu scramble dishes, because I had bland experience with them in other restaurants. After Saturday's experience I felt a bit more confident in trying the tofu scrumble wrap. I was not disappointed at all. It was very flavorful and delicious. It was wraped in the same kind of yummy tortilla. That was our savory dish. For dessert, we took the special: some kind of bread (banana? hazelnuts?) stuffed with (vegan) strawberry cream cheese and topped with strawberries and blueberries. (Forgive the bites and disorder - The excitement took over). It was tasty, yet not too sweet.

Sunday evening: D'lish, Sedona, AZ. After the stuffing experience we had the night before, we decided to go light and only oredered one dish and one dessert. I chose the Jamaican pineapple burger, which was very delicious, and Mark got the carrot cake, not pictured here due to mere neglect.

We didn't just eat all day while we were in Sedona, of course! Check out our hiking pictures!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Not Yucky And No Soba

We got non-soba noodles for the yakisoba we intended to make (see previous post). They weren't really the ones one is supposed to use (round egg noodles), but they were purchased at a Japanese store. That surely counts, doesn't it?

We kind of followed this recipe from someone who really misses real yakisoba he had in Japan, assuming it should be authentic. We were amazed to find out how much sugar this recipe calls for! And that's in addition to the oyster sauce where the main ingredients are water and sugar! No wonder the guy is addicted!
Anyway, it turned out really good! Despite the excess sugar, it's not as sweet as you'd expect.

We used a vegetable that was new to us, some Chinese cabbage that looks like this, and a new mushroom (again, new to us, not to science): brown beech mushroom. These mushrooms are SO cute! And lovely-tasting, too!

That's how we made it:

Cooked a package of Japanese noodles (they were of medium thickness and made of wheat, don't know how much was in the package), but not all the way - they're still supposed to be stir-fried.
In a large frying pan over medium heat heated and lightly fried:
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 9.5 oz cubed firm tofu
When tofu was golden-brown on the outside, added:
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julienned
  • 6-7 baby carrots, julienned
  • sprinkle of salt
About 3 minutes of stirring later, added:
  • One package (150 g) brown beech mushrooms, separated (YUMMY!)
  • 3 Chinese cabbages, leaves cut diagonally
After about 3 minutes of stirring everything together I added about 3 T of the sauce I made ahead of time:
  • 1 T (vegetarian) oyster sauce
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 4 T sugar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 T mirin
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
When the vegetable were nicely coated with the sauce, we added the cooked noodles and the rest of the sauce, and cooked for a couple more minutes.

MMM.... Yukisoba...

Not Yakisoba, Yummy Soba!

We wanted to have yakisoba. don't ask why. So Mark went to the store and got soba noodles. Alas, yakisoba is not supposed to have soba noodles in it. The absurd! So I looked for a recipe that uses soba (buckwheat) noodles. I found this one, but I didn't have fiddleheads (I didn't even know they existed!) so I made it with broccolli instead.

Soba noodles are SO good! It's hard to believe, considering kasha is not the most flavorful grain you can find... The noodles really taste good just by themselves, but adding the sauce and the vegetables make them even better.

These are the ingredients we used:
  • 10.58 oz soba noodles (can use 8 oz - we didn't put all the noodles in the sauce)
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 crown of broccolli, florets separated
  • 6-7 baby carrots, julienned
  • 9.5 oz firm tofu, cubed
  • about 7 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated by soaking in hot water (they were awesome!!)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T sugar
Cook the noodles and drain.
In a large frying pan, over medium heat, heat sesame oil and fry the tofu till lightly browned. Add the broccolli florets, the carrots and the shitake mushrooms, salt and stir until broccolli is cooked, but still crisp.

In a large bowl combine lemon juice, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. Add the cooked noodles and the stir-fried vegetables and serve!
Also delicious cold on the next day!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Zucchini Pasta

It is not one of those raw pastas. It's just regular pasta with a single-ingredient sauce. I learned it from my Italian-chef-brother-in-law, Sandro. It's very simple and quick. If you can't see how this could possibly be delicious - try it! I assure you - you will be surprised at how amazingly good it is!

Bowtie or other large and short pasta
2 large zucchinis (or whatever little squashes you have - I used Gray Mexican)
1 T butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Yes, that's it!

Cook pasta.
While it's cooking, saute the zucchini in butter until translucent.
Sprinkle salt and pepper
Mix pasta in.

Sour Grapes

What to do when you find that the grapes you got are way too sour to eat fresh?
Luckily, I wasn't the first person with this problem. I decided to follow one of the suggestions given here.

The suggestion included sausages, but I completely forgot about it! It was delicious and filling even without it.

1 cup cornmeal
4 cups water

Mix together and bring to a boil while stirring. It will be ready withing minutes. Add:
1 T butter
Gorgonzola - as much as you want (of course, the more the better!)
Salt to taste

Sour Grapes:
Remove from stems (half if too big) and add to caramelized onions in a large frying pan.
It is ready when the grapes are soft (5-10 minutes)
sprinkle some chopped rosemary and balsamic vinegar.

The best thing to do with sour grapes!

Taco Salad

1 lb meatless crumbles
1 c dark red kidney beans
8 oz taco sauce (Ortega is recommended)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Cook on medium-high heat till done and add to a bowl with:

Lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
1/2 c olives, chopped
1/2 cheddar cheese (super sharp Hoffman is recommended), chopped or shredded

Makes 4 servings

Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips -- Salud!