Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's a souper day!

OK, so it may be summer, but I love soup and I love my new pressure cooker, so I had to test it out some more! This first soup was so simple. Black lentils, onions, garlic, spices cooked in the cooker for 10 minutes, then I added the veggies and cooked for 5 more minutes. How simple is that? I topped the soup with chives, truffle oil and fleur de sal. The veggies were zukes, summer squash and red peppers.


I was intent on following the recipe created by Fairly Odd Tofu Mom, but of course, I am incapable of that. I didn't have any sweet potatoes, so I added 8 oz of frozen butternut squash. Also, I sub'd half of the peanut butter for tahini because that was what I had on hand, and added 1 tbsp of spicy toasted sesame oil, the juice of 1 large lemon, some Trader Joe's mango chili vinegar, cilantro and siracha. Totally delicious. I adore quinoa in soups and stews. In fact, I think quinoa is my very favorite grain ever. The burst the little morsels give in your mouth are very satisfying.
Last, but not least, a 15 minute Indian Spiced split pea soup... the pressure cooker again. In ONE hour, I made these three soups. (I didn't use the pressure cooker for the African Peanut Soup).. I used my recipe for Spiced Lentil Stew, but sub'd split peas. Very good. My freezer will be nice and stocked for the next cool days we have.
Spiced Lentil Stew:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large onion
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 quart veggie stock
1 29oz can stewed tomatoes or tomatoes with green chiles
water if needed
juice/zest of 1 lemon
2 cups cilantro
salt/pepper to taste
-In a heavy bottomed 4 quart pan place the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin seeds in a cold pan. Slowly heat over med-lo heat until the garlic is fragrant. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Bring heat up to med-high and stir the onions until they begin to cook. Add the Lentils and stock. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a high simmer and cover. Cook for at least 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, adding water if necessary. When the lentils are tender add the tomatoes and bring back to a boil uncovered for at least 15 minutes. Just before serving stir in the cilantro, lemon juice and zest and add salt/pepper to taste.

I worked on two cheez recipes today.. they will be great as a spread or on pizza, but did not firm up at all like I expected. The flavor was good.. and that is the base, so that is a positive.

My freezer is so stocked with cutlets, ribz,burgers and other foods that I didn't do any other cooking today. I want to utilize what I have... plus, it is summer and we eat a lot of salads and sawiches... so I didn't do any more cooking.
I did put my ice cream insert into the freezer, and plan on making mango sorbet, watermelon sorbet and some stevia sweetened ice creams for the near future...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kicked Up Chocolate Mint Cheesecake

Kicked Up Chocolate Mint "Cheesecake"
This is my submission to Urban Vegan's Gone Wild! I could not get a decent pic, which was very annoying, but this is the best of the bunch.

Totally decadent, delicious and deadly; it was simple to make.

Kicked Up Chocolate Mint Cheesecake:

28 Newman's Own Chocolate Mint "Oreo" Cookies

3 tbsp melted earth Balance

16 oz Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

12 oz extra firm silken tofu

2/3 cup sugar

1 capful coconut extract

1 1/2 capfuls mint extract

1 capful vanilla extract

several drops green food coloring

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne

12 oz dark chocolate chips

2 tbsp earth balance

1 tbsp espresso powder

3/4 tsp agar powder

1 tsp cornstarch

1/3 cup water

Method:

Process cookies into fine crumbs, add melted earth balance and press into a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

Add the next 7 ingredients and process until very smooth.

In a saucepan, heat the agar, cornstarch and water mixture over medium high heat, whisking constantly until it turns clear. Then stir the agar mixture into the cheese mixture and process until totally smooth. Remove 2/3 of the mixture and set aside.

Melt the margarine and chocolate chips and espresso powder in a microwave for 60 seconds. Stir and let melt. If need be, continue to heat in 10 second intervals until it is melted. Stir the melted chocolate into the remaining cheese mixture in the food processor and blend until totally smooth.

Set aside around a cup or so of the filling . Pour the remaining chocolate mixture into the bottom of the springform and the reserved mint cheese mixture over it. Bake at 350 for around 30 minutes. Chill at least 12 hours. Top with the reserved chocolate filing mixture and sprinkle with cayenne if desired. I served mine with vegan dinner mints.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cafe Indigo/home cooking split post

oh how we love cherries!

I am thrilled to annouce that Cafe Indigo was a part of the Best Of New Hampshire Festival courtesy of New Hampshire Magazine. We won for our carrot cake! It was held at the civic arena in Manchester and was a great time. I was stunned to see a double rainbow as I was exiting the building. Our logo has a rainbow in it. I felt like it was a sign that we are on the right track as a business.

























Here are several pics of food at the cafe. I have been meaning to actually photograph our food, but I am always busy when I'm working... so it has been put on the back burner. Here are some fast shots I got the other day since I brought my camera for the event that night.




Salad with BBQ Tofu



The Rachael


(our version of the reuben, with my homemade seitan)




Tofishy

Ok, end the Cafe Indigo part of this post!




Onto my home cooking.

Let me sing the praise of my pressure cooker! I don't know how I lived for so long without one! This morning, I parboiled 1 lb of organic black beans ($1.29), then added them to the cooker with 1 cup of short grain organic brown rice, (.50) onions, garlic, spices, red pepper, green pepper and jalapenos. I cooked them for 20 minutes and was thrilled with the resutls! I added 1 bunch of chopped cilantro and the juice of 2 limes and divided the mixture into two containers. The first container was turned into a "7 layer" mexican type dip. This is a staple in my home during the summer. I made a quick tofu sour cream out of lite tofu, lime juice, roasted garlic, evoo, pimento and spices then added salsa, and green onions. We will use this as burrito filling this week. It is a simple meal for my kids to throw together while I'm at work and so delicious!








I turned the rest of the mixture into black bean burgers. I added fresh breadcrumbs and "fried" them up in my beloved cast iron. I got 9 burgers. I make them fairly small for portion control and I think the texture is better. I do not like mushy burgers.




Talk about a bang for your buck!





cooking in the cast iron



ready for lunch!



Arugula and Walnut Pesto with fresh thyme


Again, more arugula pesto. Over whole wheat fettucini. I portioned this into individual sizes and they are in the freezer for us to grab as a quick lunch/dinner.




Tofu "Egg" Salad

All spiced up with fresh thyme, mustard, vegenaise, celery, onion and spices. I used extra firm tofu that had been frozen. Nice texture.


hmmm, me thinks there was a printing typo

-but how cool is it that these tortillas have the vegan logo?


If I have time tomorrow (I have a personal chef client) I am going to make a test recipe for Urban Vegan's Vegan's Gone Wild dessert contest.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Peek-a-Boo

My latest favorite salad..... simple, filling and healthy. You can't beat it(unless you added roasted beets hehe). Baby arugula, walnuts, tomatoes,cukes and dried cranberries with a sharp balsamic vinaigrette. Super yumo.

Vinaigrette:
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp EVOO
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp dijon
salt/pepper to taste

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Testing, testing...

Hot and sour daikon pickle
I am a huge fan of Daikon. It is very versatile, shining in everything from stir fry, spicy noodles to this simple pickle.
Daikon Pickle:
1 medium daikon, sliced paper thin
juice of 3 limes
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp hot, toasted seame oil
sea salt to taste
toasted black sesame seeds as a garnish (optional)
Allow the flavors to mingle in the fridge in a covered container for at least 4 hours, then enjoy.
Summer Carrot Soup
I am creating recipes for some upcoming soups at Cafe Indigo. I want to include a variety, so this chilled carrot/coconut soup will fit in nicely with our menu. It is slightly spicy, sweet and tart with a squirt of lime to finish it off.
Baked Beans
Ok, so they are not really baked. They are simple and easy to make and absolutely delicious. I have to give props to my pressure cooker for these babies. I am new to the magic of the pressure cooker and let me tell you, I am sold!. I have never been able to do a stovetop baked bean before, but this delicious batch cooked up in 20 minutes. (2 cups navy beans, soaked overnight).. so tender and delicious.


Mac and Cheez
I made a large batch of cashew cheez today. Some of it went into this simple dish. So freaken delicious. I am actually testing the last two dishes to see how they freeze. The remaining cheez was divided into two containers, one with a ton of hot chile peppers and mexican spices and the other plain for sandiwches and the like. I only used 1 cup of cashews and 2 tbsp evoo to make 6 cups of cheez. I am starting to work on a cheez recipe that will rival sheese. (look at my last post to see more about Sheese and where to buy it in the greater Boston area!) I expet to be working on this new recipe for quite a while, as the texture and flavor of Sheese is so good.
Someone is very happy

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sheese please!


Sometimes, easy comfort food is a must. Growing up, my grandmother fed me white bread with american cheese, iceberg lettuce, miracle whip and pickles. I loved those sandwiches. Sometimes, we'd put some mustard on them.
My version is a little healthier, on whole grain bread, vegenaise, dijon, baby arugula, garlic pickles.. but I ruined the health aspect by using Tofutti Cheez. Oh well. I'm OK with that. Fortunately, I will no longer be buying Tofutti Cheez, because I now have access to sheese.. (and I really want to try to figure out how to make my own version of sheese!)
Actually, the real reason I am writing is to annouce that as of yesterday, Cafe Indigo is now a Sheese distrubutor! We carry the Mozzarella, Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar and the Strong Cheddar. This stuff is amazing! We are selling the wheels for $10.00, which is just above our cost. So anyone within driving distance from Concord, NH wanting to try it out, come pay us a visit! You can sample it to make sure you like it.
The strong cheddar is my personal favorite. The great thing about sheese, is that it does not contain hydrogenated oils.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I've been a bad blogger!

This was a delicious stir fry of baby bok choy, red cabbage, onions, garlic, ginger and a soy/siracha/sesame sauce. It's in the fridge for a meal later in the week along with these sesame noodles.

I finally got around to using the Smart Ground. I have been hesitant to use it because it reminds me so much of meat. I was pleansantly surprised. I sauted it up with onions, garlic, chiles and other mexican spices, then added baby spinach, cilantro, tomatoes and lime juice. I layered it with more salsa, corn tortillas, corn, my vegan cheez, and olives to make this enchilada bake.


The thing that is amazing about Smart Ground, is that it lasts forever if it's not opened. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Basically, it reminds me of TVP, which I prefer due to cost, but Smart Ground would be a useful convenience food. We haven't eaten the enchilada bake; it's in the freezer for a meal later in the week.

Messy, messy messy...bbq tofu and buffalo seitan, ready to go in the oven. It's nice to have sandwich fixins on hand for the kids and husband for the week.

My new favorite thing. Split peas with quinoa. This also had roasted garlic, balsamic vinegar, evoo and fresh basil.

Bread/buns for the week. This is half white flour, half white whole wheat. Before baking, obviously.
Super simple marinara with fresh basil. I made two quarts for later in the week.
Sorry I have been so absent. I've just been very busy with work and a new personal chef client! Fun stuff.