Showing posts with label basil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label basil. Show all posts

Jun 20, 2020

saucy basil and bok choy pasta


Time: 40 minutes
Dishes: large bowl, large skillet, medium pot, small blender, air-fryer (optional)

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

Today's meatless, vegetarian and vegan dish is a relatively easy to make, but since the ingredients hit 13 and there are 2 pans called for, plus a blender, I am labeling this as moderate. Still, my cooking time was reasonable and since it includes protein and vegetables, no other sides are required.

The pasta dish is saucy and slightly sweet, and if you choose, slightly spicy, which adds to the dimensions so don't fear the spice! 

Vegetables are carrots and bok choy, but there's no reason that peppers, kale or cabbage couldn't take their place. In fact, use what you have!

Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Get all the ingredients out and the pots and pans prepared.
  • Put the pasta water on first.
  • Press the tofu for 5 minutes.
  • Blend the Onion Paste while the water heats and tofu presses.
  • Chop the tofu and begin frying it.
  • Chop and cook the vegetables while the pasta and tofu cook.

Saucy Basil and Bok Choy Pasta

Makes 4 servings 

1. Pasta: Cook the pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water, 2 minutes shy of al dente:

12 ounces pasta, fettucini, spaghetti, etc

2. Crispy Tofu: Press and cut the tofu into 3/4 -inch cubes. Toss with the cornstarch and spray with oil. Air-fry for 15-20 minutes (425 F) or pan-fry in 1 tablespoon oil:

16 ounces tofu

1/4 cup cornstarch

3. Cooking Sauce: mix all the ingredients in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Set aside. 

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 vegetarian fish sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons lime juice

 4. Onion Paste: blend all the ingredients in a small blender and set aside: 

1/2 small onion

3 garlic cloves

5. Stir Fry Vegetables: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced carrots

5 baby bok choy

6. Remove the vegetables and set aside. To the skillet add the Onion Paste and cook until browned. Add the Cooking Sauce and the semi-cooked Pasta and cook until the pasta is tender and the broth is mostly evaporated or thickened. 

7. Serve: Add the Stir Fry Vegetables and basil to the dish. Mix well. Serve with the Crispy Tofu. Serve with chili crisp or Sriracha, if desired.

2 ounces basil (Thai or regular), torn

Sriracha or Chili Crisp (optional)

© 2020 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Jun 14, 2017

california dog

Veggie dogs have come a long way since we first went vegan. I remember the rubbery, tasteless veggie dogs of yore, but I know that all things start somewhere, as did veggie dogs.

Nowadays there are all kinds of veggie dogs, commercial, homemade and even carrot dogs. So, this post isn't about how to make a homemade dog - it is about how to dress your dog.

It turns out that there are a variety of regional dogs, from Italian Dogs to Chicago Dogs and this California Dog.

California Dogs come dressed with avocado, basil crema, carrot, roasted corn, lettuce, cucumber, jalapeno and vegan bacon - or as I like to refer to them - smoky, baked tofu (excuse me for being tired as all get out over "bacon").

Since throwing this together is easy, why not take your dog around a block you haven't circled, yet?

California Dog
Makes 4 sandwiches 

Basil Crema:
4 tablespoons nondairy sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped basil leaves 
2 scallions, chopped 
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper

1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 carrot, finely shredded
2 slices vegan bacon, fried and chopped

4 dog buns, toasted
4 veggie dogs, pan fried or cooked

1. Sauce: Combine the sour cream, basil, scallion, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth. Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Cook the dogs in a 1/4 teaspoon oil, if desired. 
3. Assemble the sandwiches: toasted bun, sauce, veggie dog, avocado, lettuce, corn, cucumber, more sauce, carrot, bacon and jalapeno. Serve immediately. 

© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

Aug 20, 2016

pantry+ caprese sandwich

There is a restaurant in San Diego that serves a Caprese Sandwich that I have been eyeing. It's actually pretty simple: fresh mozzarella slices are marinated in olive oil with garlic and capers. Of course, the rub is that it is not vegan. In cases such as these we again turn to the Great Sandwich Remake!

What makes this sandwich even more special is that it is a Pantry+ recipe, to boot! (Find the limited pantry list HERE.)  It requires only 3 pantry items and 5 fresh items. Rejoice!

Caprese Sandwich.

Medium pot

Pantry ingredients are:
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

Fresh ingredients are:
Fresh vegan mozzarella

Ah! I hear the breaks screeching to a halt. What about the fresh vegan mozzarella?!

Yes, you definitely need that for a caprese anything! Fortunately, it really isn't that difficult or time consuming to make. Or even buy.

But, I did make my own and it turned out really good!

I've collected a few great looking recipes, so go forth and make a batch!

Fresh Mozzarella Recipes from around the web:

Buffalo Mozzarella from DIY Vegan by Nicole Axworthy and Lisa Pitman [AMAZON]. Recipe is available on Dianne's Vegan Kitchen. [Incidentally, I bought this book and it is very good.]

Easy Buffalo Mozzarella by Miyoko Schinner on Artisan Vegan Life. [Of course, I bought her Artisan  Vegan Cheese [AMAZON] and her Homemade Vegan Pantry [AMAZON], too, both great books.]

Fresh Mozzarella by Jay Astafa (video by Jay).

If you really don't want to make it, you can even buy Follow Your Heart block mozzarella [AMAZON] and use that. The texture and flavor of that version is highly appropriate in this recipe.

Now that you are comfortable with your ability to make fresh vegan mozzarella, let's turn it into a slammin' sandwich.

Marinate those babies:

Yes, I used a ton of garlic! It's good for you!

Um, yeah, that's about it. Toast your bread lightly and build your sandwich right away, while the bread is still warm (it's better that way.)

Naturally, use a good crusty bread for this. When ingredients are limited, quality counts so don't gyp yourself; bake or buy some delicious bread.

A word about the balsamic reduction. It is really, really good! Grab a sauce pot and reduce the balsamic vinegar by half. Make sure to turn on your stove fans because it does get sour before the sweet.

Caprese Sandwich (a Pantry+ recipe)
Makes 4 sandwiches
Pantry list is HERE.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons capers, drained
4 balls of fresh vegan mozzarella, about 6 to 8 ounces
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices freshly lightly toasted bread, still warm
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each
8 leaves fresh basil
2 tablespoons balsamic reduction*

1. Add the oil, garlic, and capers to a medium bowl. Slice the mozzarella into 1/4-inch thick slices and add to the bowl. Season with black pepper to taste. Mix the ingredients gently and set aside until needed (or at least 5 minutes).
2. Add 2 slices of tomato to each of 4 warm toasted breads. Add 2 leaves of basil. Season with salt if the cheese is not too salty. Divide the cheese evenly over the 4 sandwiches and drizzle with the reduction. Add the other bread slices and serve immediately. 

*Balsamic Reduction

1 cup balsamic vinegar

Add the vinegar to a medium saucepan. Turn on the oven vents; the vinegar smell will be quite strong. Bring to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup. Transfer to a mason jar set on a kitchen towel and allow to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container in the pantry. 

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Apr 9, 2012

vine and dine + gnocchi with basil and roasted shallot cream sauce

Vine and Dine, hosted by Tami Noyes at Vegan Appetite, is Potato Gnocchi with Basil in a Roasted Shallot Cream Sauce, from Spork-Fed

The family loves Gnocchi so we decided to go for it and participate in Tami's cookalong, even though this cookbook is not on my shelf. 

The gnocchi recipe itself is basic, using potatoes and flour. The sauce uses roasted shallots and tons of cashews, which makes the sauce quite thick. You can very successfully reduce the amount of nuts to at least half the amount called for. 

After tasting it, the kids would have liked some tomato sauce added, 'to lighten things up,' as it is stated in the anecdote of the recipe. I agree - next time we make a gnocchi cream sauce, we will add some red sauce as well.

We drank a(nother) white wine with this dish, but I wholeheartedly believe a red would have complemented it much better. I'll let David catch you up on the wine selection. I have been the one choosing the wine for the past few V&D's (only because I have been shopping alone), but I think it is time to get him back out there making the selections. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm quite as choosy about buying the wine as about drinking it.

(David will be posting the wine review this evening).

Jan 23, 2012

pesto lasagna

Since the family requests lasagna so often, I try to get creative with this layered pasta dish. I've made the traditional American Lasagna, Kate's favorite, the traditional Italian Lasagna Bolognese, Catt's favorite, and a Grilled Vegetable Lasagna, my favorite. It is now Mikel's turn. He adores Pesto and requested a Pesto Lasagna. Well, maybe not in so many words, but I interpreted that way.

I decided to make this lasagna with traditional pesto sauce (no spinach or tofu added, as I like to do), but instead using olive oil, basil, garlic and pine nuts. Very straightforward. He would have been happy with just the noodles, pesto and cheese, but I wanted to add something more. I made the tofu-spinach ricotta that I normally make for the American Lasagna and layered that in there as well. To add a touch of sweetness, I also layered in grilled onions and roasted pepper. This way the dish wouldn't be "pesto pasta with cheese," but an actual Lasagna dish. 

He was enchanted with how it turned out. I was worried the pesto would be too much and overwhelm the dish, but the other components of the recipe balanced the pesto nicely.

Cost Breakdown

Daiya: $4.50
noodles: $4
basil: $8
red pepper, onion, garlic, spinach: $4
lemon, pine nuts, olive oil: $2
tomato sauce: $2
Total to make 10 servings:

May 29, 2011

Vine and Dine, herbed ravioli with porcini pesto and tofu ricotta

The second Vine and Dine, hosted by Tami Noyes of American Vegan Kitchen, is from Voluptuous Vegan, by Myra Kornfeld. We missed the first Vine and Dine of May mostly because I didn't realize there were two in a month. 

Voluptuous Vegan was one of the first three cookbooks I bought to help us transition into veganism back in the good ol' days. Over the years this book has been put to the wayside mainly because the recipes are so involved to make. The recipes I made out this book required a great deal of time and dedication. 

No exception with this recipe.

Every three years or so I take out my pasta roller to make some ravioli. Every three years, I again realize why it's been three years since I've made ravioli. 

Tami had great timing with this V&D. It's been three years since my last forage into ravioli-land. After the meal, the pasta roller was safely tucked back into the cabinet, awaiting my future memory-lapse.

The ravioli was delicious. I love porcini mushrooms and the mixture with the tofu ricotta was very good. The pepper salad was a welcome addition and the basil pesto was great as well. My only complaint with the recipe is the amount of prepared ingredients. I used much less of the porcini pesto than I made and we have a lot of red pepper salad still in the fridge. Other wise, a wonderful meal with a ___ wine. What kind of wine? Here is David with the Ho-Down:

That is Mikel's Stitch Hat. Mikel has worn it everyday for the last week. He is a big Stitch fan and has even dubbed his  voice in this YouTube Video. Yes, that is really Mikel!
 I guess David felt like getting in touch with his inner-child.

 This weeks Vine and Dine entrée of Herbed Ravioli With Porcini Pesto and Tofu “Ricotta” turned out to be a very tasty offering.  Of course, when I heard we were having another pasta dish, I selected another red to pair with the mild richness and pleasant earthiness of the porcini pesto.

My choice, this time around, was an organic La Rocca Zinfandel, estate bottled in 2006.  This wine turned out to be an excellent partner in crime for the herbed ravioli!  The La Rocca Zinfandel is a medium bodied, fruity wine with sweetness so mild that it perfectly complemented the earthy flavors put forth by the herbed ravioli with porcini pesto.

The Chef and I tried a glass about a half-hour before the meal, to establish a baseline from which to judge the complements between the meal and the fermented grape nectar.  The wine by itself is very nice but when paired with the pasta it becomes something more.  Chef and I both agree, the fruity flavor with a slightly spicy undertone (we didn’t really taste much spice but this wine is supposed to be famous for it’s peppery flavor) truly enhanced our enjoyment of the meal.

As you can see, this bottle of wine has a cork, which makes me feel much better about my selection, even though there are more and more vineyards that forgo the tradition of corking.  I give the La Rocca Zinfandel four and a half stars out of five and I look forward to trying this one with a seitan steak or maybe a seitan and vegetable kabob.

Mar 10, 2011

vietnamese spring rolls

Asian Night

Tonight's meal was a Vietnamese Spring Roll with a quick peanut dipping sauce.

Those papery-spring roll wrappers have had their share of bullying. Many people, including me, have been beaten by them. That is unnecessary, though. You just have to know a few tricks and you can pull off delicious spring rolls. Once you have some easy insight into rice-paper-wrapper-secrets, there is no end to the creative possibilities.

My rolls have jicama, pepper, mint, basil, chive, cucumber, bean thread and carrot in them. You can put anything in them you want: lettuce leaves, tofu, cilantro, nuts, mushrooms, etc. The list goes on.

What tends to be intimidating with the rice paper is the soaking: soak it too long, the sheet literally dissolves. Soak it not long enough and you are eating paper.

You need to have your water pretty warm and dip your rice paper wrapper into it. Only dip it long enough for it to become pliable, so you can roll it and not have it break. There is no need for it to be soft enough to eat at this point. Place it on your board, fill it moderately, wrap half way, folding both ends in, add a few julienned pieces of veggies, sticking out over the edge and finish rolling. The moisture in the veggies will finish softening the paper to a perfect consistency.
No more guesswork.

Cost Breakdown

rice paper, bean thread: $2
carrot, pepper, jicama, cuke: $3
herbs: $1.25
peanut sauce: $.75
Total to make 15 rolls:

Dec 22, 2010

cat's birthday

Three requests from Cat for her birthday meal:

Oreo Shake
Vanilla cake with six inches of frosting

The shake because she wanted to have Chicago Diner food, but not drive there. She wanted to spend the entire day in front of the computer talking and playing (online) with her friends. I could so sympathize; I'm a homebody myself.

This plant-milkshake is made with 3 oreos, 1/4 c of plant milk and 1/2 pint of vegan vanilla ice cream, per serving. This was quite a phenomenon and the kids were clamoring for more. Naturally I made them wait for the sugar rush from the cake. 

For her Birthday meal Cat asked for Lasagna. It seems whenever she gets to pick a meal - and we actually have to grant her wish - she requests Lasagna. This and Benedict (David's love) are the two dishes I've blogged about over and over again.

As I've blogged before, go ahead and add your dry pasta to the pan - no need to cook it even if it is not a no-boil noodle. I keep testing this again and again and it is a fact. Just add 6 T of water to the bottom of the pan with some of the tomato sauce, make sure to cover it very tightly and cook on 350 for at least an hour. That should do it and I hope I am not leading anyone astray.

Finally, her cake. A simple vanilla cake (from the Tiramisu recipe) and tons of maple frosting. 1 stick of vegan butter, 4 c of powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of plant milk and 1 t of coffee extract (if you can't find that use 1 T powdered instant espresso and add it to the warmed plant milk to dissolve). She loved it! I made a double batch of the frosting for her and spread it all on the cake. Even the rest of us passed our portion of the frosting to her and she was in frosting heaven.

Happy Birthday, Catriona!

Nov 14, 2010

red robin (MoFo 9)

Red Robin is an American Burger joint which happens to be all over the U.S. While not veg they do serve Boca burgers (vegan) and Gardenburger (vegetarian). While all that is well and fine, sometimes a stomach gets to hunger for one of those fancy-pants burgers, sans dairy and eggs but with the authentic flavors still intact.

As an appetizer, we are quite partial to jalapenos and making them into golden little Jalapeno Coins is very appealing. I mean, who doesn't want a few extra coins to toss around? I made mine with pickled jalapeno slices, but you can use fresh jalapenos or ones that aren't pickled. I made a simple tempura-beer batter (anything with beer is better, right?) and fried them to a crisp. Yumm.

Choosing the burger was more challenging, they have so many, but I picked one that isn't really a burger, even by their definition, but a chicken sandwich. I replaced the chicken with an Amy's Quarter Pounder (a little sweeter than the Bocas - be warned) and made the Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich into a Vegan Bruschetta Burger. This one has a pesto-aioli, tomato, onion and basil salsa, cheeze (Daiya in this case), balsamic cream on a ciabatta roll. Yumm.

Going to Red Robin is not really complete without those aromatic Garlic Fries. Make the steak fries as you would make any crispy fries (using the double fry method) and coat it with your premade garlic oil. Yumm.

Lastly, since it has been so long since I've made anything sweet, I made the Mountain High Mud Pie. Unfortunate Red Robin customers can only get this dessert with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, but us brilliant vegans can use any combination that we find tasty. I used Prailine Crunch Almond Dream and Chocolate Almond Dream. In addition to the ice cream, it has a layer of crushed cookies, peanut butter and chocolate syrup. I used Rice Whip for the whip cream but you can do without it. This was a double Yumm.

Cost Breakdown

jalapenos: $3
flour: $1
beer, baking powder: $1
Total to make apps for 4:

Amy's burger: $6
Daiya: $2
lettuce, tomato, onion, basil: $2
veganaise, vinegar, pine nuts, garlic: $1.50
ciabatta: $4
potatoes: $3
Total to make 4 burgers:
(each of these sandwiches at RR is $11.50)

Almond Dreams: $8
cookies: $2
chocolate: $1
peanut butter: $1
Rice Whip: $3
Total to make 5 giant servings:

Jalapeno Coins

Bruschetta Burger

Mountain High Mud Pie

Sep 25, 2010

italian casserole

This meal somehow got moved from its intended night to the next day. Funny how things like this can happen at my home...

This casserole is mostly like a layered potato dish, but without milk or cheese (nondairy, of course). Instead it has fresh tomatoes, olives and an herb paste - garlic, basil, parsley and oregano - topped with fresh bread crumbs.

I have to say that fresh bread crumbs are the way to go - just take a few pieces of bread and grind them in a food processor or blender. It tastes so much better than dried crumbs.

As for the casserole, it was a refreshing dish, with the fresh tomatoes and herbs, but the kids weren't that into it.

It didn't have the big, bold flavors that I expected, but I was still pleased. A bountiful bowl of fresh crisp salad was just the perfect accompaniment to the creamy potatoes.

Cost Breakdown:
potatoes: $2
tomatoes: $2
olives, garlic: $1
herbs: $2
bread: $.25
Total to feed a family of five:

Sep 24, 2010

pasta pomodoro

It was Mikel's turn to cook today. While he did not make anything off of the Cooking List, he did make Pasta Pomodoro. Pomodoro means tomato. Yes, my son, the one who does not make friends easily with tomatoes, wanted to make this dish. It is about the only thing on the menu at Olive Garden that is vegan, and having had it before, he wanted to recreate it.

And just because he is such a fan of pesto, he made a Duo of Pasta for lunch.

The Pomodoro uses tomatoes from our garden, Hungarian Hearts to be exact, and the pesto uses basil from our kitchen garden. Both contain plenty of garlic to boot and both were delicious. Both are actually very simple to make - the Pomodoro has basil, garlic and tomatoes, the pesto, basil, garlic and nuts.

He used Lo Mein noodles for the pasta since they cook in three minutes and I was out of angel hair.

Cost Breakdown:
noodles: $2
tomatoes: $3
basil: $3
garlic: $1
Total to feed a family of four:

Sep 19, 2010

grilled vegetable lasagna

Summer is ebbing and my garden is ripening. Cat has been asking for lasagna again, so I granted her wish, although maybe not her vision.

I made this lasagna using grilled vegetables with a grilled eggplant-tomato sauce. I grilled whatever I could for this dish: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, fennel, onions, carrots and garlic. The sauce I made with the eggplants and the tomatoes I grilled and added the other grilled veggies, chopped, into the lasagna.

I made a tofu-ricotta-style filling with fresh basil, grilled garlic, tofu and olive oil. I added the Daiya and Follow your Heart cheezes to satisfy my daughter, but had I made it for just myself I would have skipped it. The irony is that she didn't like it - too many vegetables. The other two scarfed it, though!

This was really good and so satisfying. The summer vegetables were so welcome, knowing that summer is leaving and fall vegetables are arriving in my CSA. Sort of a grand exit, if you will.

Cost Breakdown:
eggplant, pepper, tomato: $9
onion, garlic, carrot, fennel: $3
Daiya and Follow Your Heart: $8
basil, tofu, olive oil: $4
pasta: $2
Total to make 10 servings:

Sep 4, 2010

breakfast focaccia


Yum! Yum!
I love that this whole wheat focaccia has turned out delicious for a second time and it only takes two hours to make, including the rise. Focaccia tends to call for at least a half cup of olive oil, but I am cutting down and was able to make this still taste great with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil.

I topped the focaccia with my Breakfast Scramble of tofu, onions, garlic, nutritional yeast and added roasted peppers (still have lots!) and fresh herbs from my kitchen garden. I encourage everyone in the coming season to plant one - I have basil, rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, lavender and thyme growing right outside of my back door. I tried growing in pots, but I do not have quite the success with it because I would need to feed the pot regularly - I tend to forget doing that and the plants stay small and compact. 

This brunch was great and it called for hardly any work from me.  

Cost Breakdown:
flour: $1.50
herbs: $0
tofu: $2
nutritional yeast, onion, garlic: $1
pepper: $1
Total to feed a family of 6: