Monday, August 14, 2006

Pasta, Brownies, Philly Cheezsteak

I threw together this dish yestreday. I needed to use up some of the Basil "Ricotta" (from WVaV). While the 12 oz of whole wheat penne was cooking, I sauted 6 cloves of garlic in about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 red pepper, 1 can artichoke hearts diced up (not the marinated ones), about 1 cup of sundried tomatoes which I reconsituted in veggie stock (I saved the stock for the sauce), about 3/4 cup Basil "Ricotta", about 1.5 cups of chickpeas, olives, fresh basil, fresh rosemeary, yeast. It was fresh thyme and finished it off with a bit of miso and 2 tbsp nutritional very good. Unfortunately the brand of pasta I used turned to mush, so I ended up throwing out the leftovers. Trader Joes is the only brand of WW pasta I like. I hate wasting food and in the past I would have turned the mush into veggies burgers, but I have a bunch of veggie burgers and I didn't feel like making more. I can be a food hoarder. I've come to the realization that while, I will of course continue to use leftovers and love them, I don't need to use every last thing. It's OK if I have to throw something out once in a while. I am overweight, and some of it comes from eating food that I feel should be consumed.. it's better if I eat food that I love. I feel this is a step in the right direction for me. From now on, if I used that brand, I will only cook 6 oz of pasta if I'm going to beef it up with veggies and beans. That's better for us anyway.
Brownies with raspberry glaze and chocolate
Dori turned me onto KAL stevia several months ago. Since then my family has been enjoying more sweets than ever. I am not a huge sweet person, but I think most of that was because I hated how I felt when I ate sugar. Dori blogged about baking a cake with pure stevia instead of sugar, so I figured I'd give it a try. I baked some brownies yesterday, replacing the sugar for stevia. I have no idea where I got the original recipe from, it contained 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp arrowroot, cocoa, soymilk, vinegar, sugar, oil, flaxmeal and vanilla.. I baked it and when it was done I added some dark chocolate chips (which did contain sugar) to the top so they'd melt and warmed around 1/3 cup of Raspberry All Fruit, then poured it over the top. They were a little cakey for my taste, but the flavor and texture was good considering. I baked them in a 9 inch square pan and cut them into 16 small squares.

Philly Cheezsteak

So, the other day, Urban Vegan blogged about her Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, and I've been craving one ever since. I used a white sesame seed sub roll and topped it with sauted mushrooms, garlic, onions, crushed red pepper and sea salt. I cut thin sliced of my cashew cheez and put it in the toaster oven at 400 for around 10 minutes. I also added pickled jalapenos and before eating, put some of the salad and some vegenaise on it. Soooo good. Seriously. Next time, I will use green pepper too. I've made many versions of this sandwich, usually using seitan, but I like it better without. I guess I need to figure a way to slice my seitan paper thin.

As you can see, the cashew cheez doesn't really "melt", but it does get really soft and it tastes great with other things. I'm not a huge fan of it straight up. It will get brown if you run it under the broiler, but I don't find it that necessary.

This morning I had kind of an irritating day in the kitchen. I made some bread and ended up burning the top of it because it rose so high! I had to cut about 1/3 of the bread off. I bake in my toaster oven, and usually don't have a problem.. but for some reason my bread really took off today. I think I added more Vital Wheat Gluten than normal. I never measure when I bake bread, I just throw it together. I probably could have gotten two loaves from this batch. Hopefully, I salvaged the rest of the loaf. I think I did.

I pressed the tofu for the Mango Ginger Tofu from VWaV.. of course, I am incapable of following a recipe, so I also fried it (with no oil) in my cast iron before marinating, because I don't want to turn on my big oven yet. I used toasted sesame oil instead of peanut oil and added more garlic and 3 jalapenos to the marinade.. and I pureed it all. When the tofu triangles were fried and crispy, I threw a tiny bit of soysauce on them and poured the hot mango marinade over them. I will let them chill until tomorrow's dinner... then I'll either bake them in the toaster oven in two batches, or cook them on the stovetop. I'm sure they will be fabulous regardless. I'll definitely take pics of the finished meal.

I got two bunches of organic collards at the farmers market on Sat.. and I went to cook them today. They were rotten inside. I was so irritated.

My son is in band camp for the next couple of weeks.. I have to send both lunch and dinner with him and snacks. He's almost 15 and eats so much. This will be somewhat challenging.. because he likes a lot of food hot.. such as veggie burgers, so I can't sent those. I'm thinking tofu salad, tofu sandwiches, salads, veggies, fruits, baked goods, cheese sandiwches, burritos, cold pizza, cold quesadillas.. cold Pad Thai.. actually, I have a lot of options.. he is a kid who loves raw, plain tofu. hehe.. I got him a bunch of Cliff Bars too.


  1. Ech, sorry about the irritating start to your day in the kitchen with the burning bread (better than burning bras or a burning bush, 'eh?). That's not fun. It is cool that you bake in your Toaster Oven. I also do. I love my Toaster Oven and if i had to have a choice of that or a microwave oven, i would take the TO evry time.

    LOVE the philly cheezstake. That really looks phenomenal, esp. with that cashew cheez. I could tell that it didn't melt but i think the important thing is it gets soft... vs. actually melting all the way.

    Did the brownie taste as sweet with the KAL stevia as you remember it with regualr sugar? I saw Dori mentioned the cake baking sans sugar, and i would like to try that as well. I have stevia, but it's not KAL.

    The "ricotta" with pasta really looks so amazing. Anytime i see a post with "6 cloves of garlic" to start is a recipe for absolute heaven in my book!!!

    I don't like wasting food either and i'm another hoarder of food, probably moreso than you... and much to my chagrin when it goes bad or when i "oversnack" on something that's not particulaly "healthy"...

    I guess that like you i have to learn that it's OK not to use every last thing!

    Hope you have a great rest of your day and a fab week, Melody!


  2. Isn't KAL stevia a lot more expensive? but the ratio is on tablespoon KAL to one cup sugar??

    what kind of instrument does your son play?

  3. Those brownies look great -- raspberry and chocolate is my all-time fav taste combination.

    I'm not a food hoarder but I do tend to eat more than I need to because I don't want to waste. It's a bad habit.

    I saw Dori's post on Kal Stevia too -- I've never seen it before. Is it a natural sugar or a substitute?

  4. No wonder my ears have been ringing over here. I enjoyed the cake I made with stevia... did you too? I agree that brownies should not be light and cakey, They need to be oowey gooey, mmm mmm good. Matt made VwaV banaba swirl brownies awhile back, they fit that description. Bryanna had a brownie that I have made before that was good ... I think I used 2 Tbsp sugar in her brownie recipe and subbed the remainder with stevia. The brownie I made was gluten free though.

    So your son is going off for the final bit of summer. Melissa had wisdom teeth extracted today, both lower ones had to be cut out because they were growing in sideways. Poor girl is couched for the next three days and on pain meds.

    Matt's will be going off to a computor networking school August 24. He'll be gone during the week and home on weekends. We have to do some meal planning for him to for while he is gone. I'm such a food nerd, I spent several hours at the library today looking at once a week cooking books to get ideas on how to send him off for a week at a time with easy prep foods.

    Wow. Your son likes raw tofu. I have heard of others liking it that way too. I'm not one one of them. :) I like mine best when seasoned and broiled in the oven.

    I sure hope Teddy doesn't try to use 1 TBSP of stevia as a sub for stevia! EEEK! My general guide is a scant teaspoon per 1 cup granulated sweetening power. What do you find.

    On final thought... I don't like to throw food out either. I've been known to say, "will you please eat this so I don't have to."

  5. Everything looks delish. I've never used stevia before so I enjoyed reading about the brownies you made with it. I've heard a lot about it though.

  6. Can I come over? I wonder how far of a drive that would be?

    Everything looks GREAT. Yum, Yum!

    Believe it or not...I have never owned a toaster oven. Ever.

  7. Those food pictures look wonderful!

  8. Yum, your pictures look great. I haven't had good brownies in a long long time, so I may need to try something like this soon!

    You use stevia a lot, and I've never heard of the stuff before. I'm going to have to look it up!

  9. I've only eaten stevia leaves - never used it in food. Could you discern a difference in the flavor of the brownie?

  10. I want a cheezsteak for dinner! Unfortunately I have so many leftovers and stuff in the freezer and a rather sad checking account at the moment, so I will just have to eat whatever is in the house for the next couple of weeks. How boring! Can’t wait to make some brownies with my new bottle of stevia, I think I have all the stuff for making those around.

  11. you're a good mommy Melody...

    and your cheesesteak sounds delicious!

  12. It all looks fab--esp. the Philly CheeseSteak. Do you make the Cashew Cheese from the Uncheese Cookbook?

    I think that VWAV ricotta rocks and is so versatile!

  13. The brownies were OK out of the oven and cooled for an hour or so, but AWESOME the next day, after being chilled in the fridge. I still have half a pan left. Stevia desserts are more satisfying.

    I thought it worked very well. I'm impressed with how well it turned out.. I've been using the Stevia in "ice cream" and lots of smoothies and so far, it's awesome!
    Dori has a link to the website to buy the stevia on her blog.

    Teddy.. for my taste, I like about 3/4 tsp of stevia to equal 1 cup of sugar. It is VERY concentrated. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I start out with 1/2 tsp per cup of sugar and add by the 1/4 tsp. I make Kool Aid all the time with stevia and we use 1/2 tsp per 2 quarts of water.. and the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar.. we've made it with 1 tsp of stevia and it was way, way too sweet and nasty.

  14. i think that raspberry & chocolate were made for eachother! AHHHHmazing -- all of it.

  15. Hi Melody! Thanks for popping in on my blog and for your thoughtful comment. :):)

    So, i come over here to take a peek, and I see some amazing foods!! Unbelievable! That Philly sub looks great! I'm so curious about the cashew "cheese." I've never made my own cheeses like that, but would love to try it out. Urban Vegan mentioned the Uncheese Cookbook, so I have to check that out! :P

    That pasta dish has me hungry... :P

  16. mmmm... those dishes look soooo good! now you're making me crave a philly too!

  17. Wow--baking in a toaster oven? That's amazing...

  18. i'm going to make this (philly sandwich) tonight. i'm excited...

  19. Those pictures makes me feel hungry because those looks delicious and I couldn't avoid to find the brownie's recipe on Internet.