Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

Double Rainbow Beet and Broccoli Penne

In Entrees on October 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Holy crap. This sauce is so explosively magenta that I feel more like I should paint with it than eat it. BUT, it is also incredibly delicious, so eat it I shall.

It’s best to roast the beets for this the night before, all casual-like. That way it will take you pretty much as long as it takes you to boil the pasta to prepare the rest of the dish. If you’re good at multi-tasking you can put your water on to boil for the pasta at the same time you start making the sauce, and when it comes time to throw in the pasta to cook you can steam your broccoli, and by the time the pasta is done your sauce and broccoli should also be ready to serve. Viola!

3 beets, washed and tops and tails removed
2 cloves garlic
2/3 c raw unsalted cashews
1/3 c raw unsalted walnuts
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 bunch broccoli, washed and trimmed into florets
1 bag pasta (shape and type of your choice. I prefer brown rice penne)

Roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut the beets into quarters, wrap the whole shebang in foil and put in the oven for 1-1/4 hours or until beets are tender. When they are cool enough to handle you can start making your sauce.

The sauce:
Throw everything but the pasta and the broccoli in a blender/food processor/Vitamix (yeah Vitamix!) and blend til creamy.

Everything else:
Steam the broccoli (I’m assuming you know how to do this. If not, Google is your friend)
Cook the pasta
Serve the broccoli on top of the pasta and drizzle the whole thing with the beet sauce. It is going to look absolutely craaaazy because of the color of the beet sauce. Eat it anyway. Yum!


Eggplant Parmesan

In Entrees on August 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm

How can you make a vegan, gluten-free eggplant parm?  Pretty easily, actually, and it’s damn tasty.

Another picture of yummy food taken in poor lighting. Sigh. When will I learn?

This recipe feeds 4 big eaters or 6 normal humans

2 large eggplants
Sea salt
1 package rice crackers – onion or veggie flavors work nicely
Egg replacer equivalent to 4 eggs
Olive oil
2 packages brown rice pasta (I prefer the penne for this)
Your favorite spaghetti sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quantity cashew creme
Fresh basil leaves

Putting it all together
Cut eggplants to 1/4 inch thickness, on a bit of a diagonal so they look fancy.   Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly and generously with salt.  Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander.  Let this sit for at least half an hour, to sweat out any bitterness, then rinse the eggplant and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture.

Start cooking your pasta right about now. The rest goes fairly quickly.

Blend the rice crackers fairly fine and place in a shallow bowl. Pour the egg replacer into another wide shallow bowl. Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and pour in a half inch of olive oil. When oil is shimmering, dredge the eggplant slices first in the egg replacer, and then coat thickly with the cracker dust. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

When you plate this, be careful not to put the sauces over the eggplant slices, as they will get mushy. Put down the penne first, then some of your fave pasta sauce, then a tablespoon or so of the cashew creme, then lean two or three eggplant slices against the side and garnish with a sprig of basil.

Curried Island Tofu with Coconut Rice

In Burning Man, Entrees on March 6, 2010 at 11:24 am

This is the ultimate summertime dinner recipe. Make your rice and tofu in the morning when it’s still cool out, and then put the whole thing together whenever the mood strikes you. Serve with sangria, a chilled white wine, or beer with a lime. I served this to 35 of the Fishbug crew during our Feed the Artists dinner at Burning Man to absolutely rave reviews; if you’ve been working hard on the playa all day in the heat and dust, nothing is better than fresh, whole foods served with love.

Serves 4ish

The Rice:
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups light coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp canola oil
Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot.
Place the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a pot. Place the pot on the stove over medium to high heat, stir well, and cover. Continue to stir occasionally until it comes to a gentle boil.
Once the coconut water has begun to bubble, stop stirring. Turn down the heat to medium-low and place the lid askew on the pot, so that it is at least 3/4 covered.
Allow rice to cook this way for 15-20 minutes, or until rice has absorbed most of the coconut-water.
Now turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner. Add loads of raisins at this point, and let them sit and get warm and puffy. Cover the pot tightly with the lid and allow to sit 5-10 minutes (the rice will “steam” and have a nice, slightly sticky texture).
After about 15 minutes, remove the lid and “fluff” rice.

The Tofu:
1 pkg extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1/2 – 2 tsp cayenne, depending on your tolerance
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry
2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
1 Tbs canola oil
3/4 cup sweet onion, diced small
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tbs agave or maple syrup
Place your tofu into a Tupperware that has a lid, and sprinkle generously with your spices. Cover it and shake it so the spices coat the tofu, and let those spices soak in for about an hour. Once the spices have soaked in, add the canola oil to a frying pan and heat on med-high (don’t heat the oil too much or it will smoke), and add the tofu once the oil is hot. Brown on all sides. Toward the end add the onion and garlic and cook til soft (7 minutes or so), stirring frequently to prevent burning. As a final touch, add the agave, stir to coat, and let cook until the tofu is glazed.

The Rest:
A nice ripe mango, cubed and sprinkled with cayenne pepper and salt to your taste
A beautiful avocado, cubed
Optional: tomatoes or unsalted cashews could be added for more tastebud tantalization
1 bag of baby spinach
A jar of pre-made or your own peanut sauce (watch out for wheat in the peanut sauce! If you live in Portland Food Fight! carries some good stuff)

To serve:
Place some spinach leaves on plate
Spoon a generous portion of coconut rice onto the bed of spinach
Add some of the tofu concoction over the rice
Sprinkle the mango and avocado (and possibly the cashews and/or tomato) over the whole business
Drizzle attractively with peanut sauce

Moroccan Quinoa Tagine

In Entrees on February 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Your tastebuds will sing after just the first bite of this dish!  The textures of each distinct layer work beautifully together, and the mint adds a subtle boost.  Serve with garlic bread or a nice, simple salad.

2/3 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 small can tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 Tbs salt
Process all of this in a blender or food processor until it’s smooth

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced medium
3 large zucchinis, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute everything but the zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes, and then add the zucchini and saute for another 5

2 cups cooked quinoa (instructions here)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
4 Tbs cashew butter
3 Tbs fresh mint, chopped very fine
2 Tbs rosemary, fresh and chopped fine or just use dry
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mix all of this together well

Spray a 9″ square casserole dish with olive oil and put your layers in – quinoa first, zucchini second, and cashew/tomato creme third, spreading that top layer evenly and smoothly. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes at 350, then pull it out and let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tibetan Lentil Bowl

In Entrees on February 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The other day I got a massive craving for this. I’d never made it before, I just knew I wanted this exact taste in my mouth immediately. I was not disappointed in the least; there is something about the flavor combination in this dish that is deeply satisfying.

1 cup green lentils
2 cups water
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
2 Tbs canola oil
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 Tbs cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 Tbs fresh minced ginger
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 yellow onion, diced small
Cooked rice (I like basmati but the Mr. likes jasmine better. Choose your own adventure)
Fresh cilantro for the top

Spread the lentils in a dry towel or flat surface and pick through them to remove any debris, small stones, or dirt (trust me, this is a good idea). Rinse the lentils using a fine mesh strainer and cold water, then drain. They don’t need to be soaked in water before you cook them like dry beans do.

Now get your lentils going, and at the same time start your rice if you don’t have any lying about in your fridge. I’m sure you know how to cook rice, and if you don’t you can easily Google it or look at the instructions on the packaging, so let’s forge ahead with the lentils:
Boil the water in a medium sized pot, adding the lentils once the water boils. With a lid on the pot, allow the lentils to boil in medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes and then reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Check regularly to stir and add water if necessary (you don’t want the lentils to burn or stick to the bottom of the pot!). During the last 5 minutes add the grated carrot and stir. Once the lentils are done cooking add the tomatoes, salt, and vinegar, give them a good stir, and set them aside with the lid on to retain the heat.

Tadka is one of the names used to refer to an Indian spice preparation that is fried briefly in hot oil to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance the flavor experience you receive from the spices.  It is delicious and you’ll find that I do this in more than one recipe. You’re going to make a tadka now, as follows:
Heat your canola oil and Earth Balance in a medium sized skillet over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the cumin, cayenne, ginger, garlic, and onion and saute over medium heat until most of the onion has turned dark brown, 5-10 minutes.  Make sure you stir this frequently so it doesn’t burn. After the onion has turned dark brown add the mixture to the lentils, stir, and you’re ready to serve.

Serve everything in a bowl with the rice as the base layer, a healthy dose of lentils over the top of that, and chopped cilantro over the top of the whole thing (this is absolutely not optional. The cilantro makes this dish pop like you won’t believe).

If you decide to change up this recipe a bit, here are some things you should know:
1. You can add onions, garlic cloves, or fresh herbs into the boiling water when you add the lentils, but don’t add salt to while they’re cooking, as this tends to harden them. Any acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar or tomatoes must also be added after the lentils have thoroughly cooked.
2. Personally, I like to add a dash more rice vinegar on my rice before I put the lentils on.
3. You can switch up the green lentils for yellow lentils (also called dal, which apparently indicates they have been split and hulled). Just be aware that the yellow lentils do not maintain their shape and instead become something of a mash. Shorten their cooking time by 5 minutes, too, because they cook up much faster without the hull.
4. This is amazing as a cold wrap. Especially at Burning Man. But then again, everything tastes better at Burning Man.

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne with Cashew Creme

In Entrees on February 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

The Mr. and I made this last night as our contribution to a Godfather viewing marathon at a friend’s house. It was a delightful and filling addition to the menu, and even though there were more omnis than veggies at the gathering everyone loved it. Just be forewarned that this is the lasagne motherlode; we still wound up with leftovers after feeding 12 people, so if you’re just making this for dinner at home you should halve the recipe and use a smaller baking dish!

Our lasagne getting cozy with some vegan spaghetti and meatballs

3 lbs fresh button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
7 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs water
2 big bags baby spinach
3 jars spaghetti sauce (we use the Trader Joes roasted garlic variety)
1 1/2 Tbs cayenne pepper
1 Tbs red pepper flakes
3 Tbs chopped fresh basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 can sliced black olives
2 1/2 boxes gf lasagna noodles

Make some cashew creme. In order for you to have enough for this lasagne you’ll need to double to batch OR make as usual but add twice as much lemon, braggs, and salt, and then crumble a block of extra firm tofu in there. Set the creme aside and start in on making your other two layers: a mushroom mixture and a sauce.

Choose a nice deep saute pan and sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic over medium heat in the 2 Tbs of water until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are moist and soft (7 – 10 minutes). Add the spinach and stir, then cover and saute, stirring frequently, until the spinach is soft and wilty.

During your down moments from dealing with the mushrooms and stuff, put all three jars of sauce into a large pot, add the rest of the spices plus the olives, and heat through.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 10×15-inch pan. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce, covering as much surface as you can without overlapping. Next add a serious layer of sauce, then add a layer of the mushroom mixture, then a layer of the cashew creme. Spoon the cashew creme out at regularly spaced intervals and then spread it around using a clean spatula or knife. Now you’re ready for another layer of noodles, but this time lay them in the opposite direction of the layer of noodles you already put down. Repeat the sauce, mushroom mixture, and creme routine until your last layer ends up being sauce on the very top. This is important because you’ll want that sauce spread all the way out to the edges and covering every inch of noodles so that the noodles can use the moisture from the sauce to cook while you have the lasagne in the oven.

Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake for 1 hour. Let it stand for about 15 minutes or so before you try to serve it, as it will stand up much better after it’s cooled a bit.

Rustic Italian Beans and Greens

In Entrees, Salads and Sides on January 31, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Friends, I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this meal all plated up, because it was beautiful.  I made this for a dinner we were having with friends tonight, and I felt like it would have been over the top to make them wait for me to take pictures of the food while the smell of it drifted tantalizingly through the room.  I tell you what, though, it doesn’t make me sad in the least that I will have to remake this meal just so I can post a pic, because DAMN it was tasty.

Serves 4

1 tube pre-made polenta, sliced into eight 1/2″ rounds (you’ll have some extra. Put it in the fridge)
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and put the polenta on the sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over the top of the polenta and sprinkle with basil and white pepper.  Set your oven to broil and pop the polenta in there for about 10 minutes, or until the tops start to brown.  Don’t trust me on the time because every oven is different with its broil; check often.

While you wait for the polenta:

1/4 yellow onion, diced small
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas (garbanzos are the same thing), rinsed thoroughly and drained
1 bunch kale, leaves separated from stems and cut into 1/2″ pieces (compost the stems)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbs olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep saute pan and add the onion once the oil is hot. Saute for 4 minutes, then add the chickpeas and saute for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes, then add the kale, stir, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cover for 5 minutes, removing the lid twice to stir. The second time you remove the lid to stir, add a dash of sea salt and the juice of the lemon.

Once you’ve got the lid on the kale and beans, open up:
1 can of diced tomatoes
Pour this into a small pot and add
1 tsp basil
Heat this on medium heat

The whole thing comes together at the same time: take the polenta out of the oven and plate by putting 2 rounds of polenta down, scooping some of the tomato mixture over the polenta, and then placing the beans and greens to the side. Viola! Super easy, beautiful to look upon, and amazingly tasty.

Note that you can have this as a side dish by simply omitting the polenta.

Massive Garlic Attack Tofu with Noodles

In Entrees on January 4, 2010 at 2:29 am

1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 Tbs peanut oil
as many dried red chili peppers as you can handle (you can use powdered cayenne or chili flakes if you don’t have whole peppers)
1 entire (yeah!) bulb of garlic, minced
3/4 cup white or rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup wheat free tamari
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 box thin rice noodles

Fry the tofu cubes in the peanut oil, turning as each side browns. You want every side of every one of these delicious little cubes to be equally fried. I do this with a pair of chopsticks for the ultimate in maneuverability.

When the cubes are done, add all of the minced garlic and the whole chilis and saute for a couple more minutes.  At the same time you add the garlic and chilis, start the water to boiling for the noodles.  After you’ve started the water and the garlic and chilis have sauteed for a couple of minutes, add the agave, tamari, and vinegar, and allow to simmer down for 15 minutes.  Add the water chestnuts during the last 5 minutes.

Follow the instructions for the noodles, and your tofu and your noodles should be done at right around the same time if you timed it right.  Once the noodles are finished and your 15 minutes of simmering has elapsed you are ready to serve.  The way I do it is put the noodles in a bowl, add some sriracha (rooster) sauce over the top, add some of the sauce from the tofu, and then put the tofu yumminess over the top of that.

It should be noted that this is not a dish to eat with someone you want to make out with later if you don’t know them very well. This is serious garlicky business.

Spicy Asian Salad

In Entrees, Salads and Sides on January 4, 2010 at 1:22 am

The salad
1 can water chestnuts
2 carrots
1 cup cashews
1/3 of a head of purple cabbage
Chopped it all up very small, and serve it on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce as a side, or on rice as an entree.

The topping
1 block extra firm tofu
Press the moisture out of the tofu by placing it between two clean and dry dishcloths, and placing that whole thing between 2 plates, and then putting a few heavy books on top of the whole thing.  Let that sit for a couple of hours, pouring off the liquid as it pools.  (Or you can save yourself a hell of a lot of time and mess and just buy a tofu press).

Dressing for the topping
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp hot chili pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp agave nectar
1 Tbs wheat free tamari
1 Tbs peanut oil
3 Tbs rice vinegar
4 Tbs water

Whisk all of this together, tasting and altering as needed.  If you want to extend this you can add more water. Marinate the pressed tofu in the dressing, and bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. Allow the tofu to cool and you are ready to serve.

To serve, place the salad on a serving dish and cut up the tofu into attractive slices, arranging on top of the salad.