Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mysterious Mochi

I like to try foods that are unfamiliar. While browsing the refrigerated section at the store, I came across Mochi.

Never heard of it. It passed my test of having an ingredient list of all words a third grader could pronounce: rice, various seeds and salt. It's a Japanese food made primarily from short-grain sweet rice. It came in a 6x6 inch square that you cut apart and then bake till it puffs.

Here it is cut into small squares. This is the Super Seed Mochi.

Then I baked it. They were too close and most baked into puzzle-like pieces. The dough was still chilled from refrigeration, so maybe that's why they puffed out the way they did. They certainly did not look like the back of the package.

As for the taste, they were a bit chewy and there was a puffed center in each. Perfect for some kind of dip - perhaps a tofu-basil type of dip. I will be revisiting this issue in the future. Next time, I shall let the dough come closer to room temperature, place the pieces further apart on the baking sheet and have some sort of tasty dip available. Mmmm mmmm good!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Feeling Fat? Well, Eat This!

I've been a vegan for over 3 months now and have gone quite nuts cooking and eating new things all the time. Probably should have been out skiing but, oh well! Here are a couple of quite delicious low fat goodies that originated with Weight Watchers.

Garden Vegetable Soup
1 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup sliced carrots
3-4 scallions, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups diced green cabbage
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 TB tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil or handful of fresh chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2-3 tsp of good tasting boullion
1/2 of a zucchini

Heat oil in large pot. Add carrots, onion, and garlic and saute a minute or two. Add about 1/4 cup of the broth to pot and simmer a minute or so. Add rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the zucchini. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add zucchini and simmer 2-3 minutes.

Roasted Fennel & Carrots
2-3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagonal
Oil spray
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking pan with oil. Add fennel and carrots and spray again. Add salted and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 25 minutes, stir and cook about 10 minutes more until lightly browned.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ezekiel Panini-Style Breakfast Quesadilla

This recipe was inspired by the Breakfast Burrito in "The Urban Vegan" by Dynise Balcavage - which is a wonderful cookbook BTW! This is not an actual burrito but a tortilla with filling, folded over and grilled panini-style.

1 TB olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
8-12 oz firm tofu, drained and chopped in 1/4 inch cubes
1-1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 can organic pinto beans, drained and rinsed
salt & pepper to taste

Ezekiel New Mexico Style Sprouted Grain tortillas
vegan cheese, if desired
chopped fresh bell peppers
chopped jalapeños

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil for a couple of minutes, add red pepper and cook a bit longer. Add tofu, saute a couple of minutes. Add spices and cook another minute or so. Add pinto beans and cook till warmed through. At this point you can refrigerate and save for later.

To Assemble
Spray or lightly brush one side of tortilla with olive oil. This will give it a nice crisp crust. I like to place it oil side down on a plate or piece of wax paper while assembling. On one half of the tortilla, add cheese, chopped bell peppers, spinach, jalapenos and bean-tofu mixture. Try not to get too carried away, you need about 1/2 inch around the edges while it cooks. Fold over and place in panini grill, close and grill till nice and crispy. After it's cooked, I like to put it on a plate, open it back up and add salsa, more fresh spinach and any other goodies you may have (avocados, etc.).

Note: you can use any kind of tortilla but I really like the 9" Ezekiel sprouted grain; very tasty and no added oils, GMOs, etc.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Karen's Teriyaki Rice Bowl

Do you ever buy Amy's Teriyaki Rice Bowl in the frozen health food section? For close to $5? I loved it but thought the price tag outrageous considering its ingredients: rice, tofu, broccoli and seasoning. When I make this, I divvy it up in individual serving freezer containers. Makes about 4 servings.

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 pound firm tofu, drained and diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 inch chunk of fresh ginger, diced
2 bunches of broccoli, chopped and nuked for about 3 minutes
1 red or orange bell pepper
teriyaki sauce (see below)

Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce (or Shoyu)
1/4 cup dry cooking sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently simmer for a couple of minutes.

Cook rice in rice cooker. I use 2 cups of water. While rice is cooking, saute tofu with garlic and ginger for around 5 minutes on medium high heat, lightly browning. Add sliced bell pepper and continue cooking for around 5 more minutes. Time is not critical, I just like everything semi cooked; it's going to go straight in the freezer. Add cooked broccoli, rice and teriyaki sauce. Mix well and divvy up the portions into freezer containers. Enjoy later!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Vegan "Ice Cream"

I am bound and determined to quit buying store brands of "ice cream." However, I still haven't found that perfect recipe. So far, I've tried the Chocolate Ice Cream from the book "Raw for Dessert" by Jennifer Cornbleet. (I didn't even KNOW about raw desserts but we'll save that for another day!) The ice creams from that book basically use almond milk, soaked and blended cashews, cocoa power and agave syrup. The result is a very wonderful chocolate flavor but I didn't think it was creamy enough. And rock hard after sitting in the freezer.

So - on to "The Vegan Scoop" by Wheeler Del Toro. His whole take is to use soy creamer in the recipes. I made the chocolate ice cream which uses soy milk, soy creamer, cocoa powder, sugar, and chocolate chips. I was underwhelmed. It was creamy but too sweet and not enough chocolate flavor. Next time I'm going to use less sugar and use a "good" dark chocolate bar instead of chocolate chips.

Modified the chocolate ice cream recipe that uses soy milk and soy creamer. This time I did in fact use 4 ounces of 60% dark chocolate and 1/8 ounce of 85% dark chocolate that I happened to have on hand. I also used 1/2 cup agave syrup instead of 3/4 cup sugar. What a difference! Creamy with intense chocolate flavor. My only critical comment was a slight "dustiness" in the flavor that I imagine is from the cocoa. I just used regular supermarket cocoa, maybe next time I'll use a more "high end" cocoa. But really, this ice cream turned out just great!

Here is the modified recipe:

Chocolate Ice Cream
1 cup soy milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 cups soy creamer
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
1/8 ounce 85% cacao bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


Mix 1/4 cup soy milk and arrowroot in small bowl. Stir well and set aside.

Mix soy creamer, 3/4 cup soy milk, agave syrup, cocoa powder, and chocolate bar (break into chunks) in sauce pan. Stir continously over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Take off heat, give the arrowroot mixture a stir (tends to get thick just sitting around!) and add to chocolate mixture. Add vanilla extract. Should be thick. Put in bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Process in ice cream maker and enjoy!