Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lime. Show all posts

Aug 13, 2016

pantry+ zucchini satay with spicy lime sauce and quinoa

It's been a hectic week! My son and his partner just moved up to Berkeley, where he is finishing up his bachelor's in film; he is graduating this coming May! Look out for his work - he is the next hit film director.

My girls just returned from Europe (they paid for it all, btw - we have college budget, not traveling budget!) after a month long stay and they have college starting this month, too.

I just sent in the final draft to my new cookbook Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free With the Magic of Bean Water (Amazon, B&N). It is coming out in October. I don't know how much of a mess I'll be getting myself into, but I've also committed to creating a YouTube channel for aquafaba. :}

As you can see, we are as busy as the next family! In that vein, here is an easy and fast recipe that you can throw together using only 4 pantry items and 5 fresh/non-pantry items!

Zucchini Satay with Spicy Lime Sauce and Quinoa.

Very fine mesh strainer
Blender (optional)
Medium Pot
Skillet or grill pan

Pantry ingredients are:
Reduced-sodium tamari
Vegetable broth
Sugar (optional)

Fresh ingredients are:
Nut/Seed Butter

There is a story behind that empty Sriracha bottle that I will be sharing with you soon. Hint: Sriracha comes in a plastic bottle (at least the ones I can find here do).

This dish is simple and quick enough, but you have to get the quinoa cooking right away because it takes about 30 minutes to make. After rinsing it, add it to the already warming broth and cook for 15 minutes, covered. Remove from the heat and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, add the marinade ingredients [butter (peanut or sunflower seed), lime juice, tamari, broth, sriracha and sugar (if needed)] to a blender and process until smooth. You can even do that using just a whisk and a bowl, but your butter has to be soft enough to whip easily.

Cut the zucchini into 1-inch thick pieces and thread onto skewers (or not; it can be a hassle, but it makes a great presentation).

Cover with the sauce and set aside while you heat up your skillet or grill pan (preferably cast iron).

Then just grill or cook in the pan until tender and golden. Serve it with the fluffed quinoa, the rest of the sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro. The zucchini takes about 10 to 13 minutes to cook based on the size you cut it. I cut it to 1-inch thickness so I would have less zucchini to thread onto skewers. If you cut them thinner, just cook it for less time.

Before I give you the recipe, Susan Smoaks, please contact me about you winning the Jazzy Vegetarian DVD set. If you don't contact me by Tuesday I will have to pick another winner. Thanks!

Zucchini Satay with Spicy Lime Sauce and Quinoa 
Makes 4 servings
Pantry list is HERE.

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (retain zest for garnish)
1/4 cup reduced-sodium tamari
3 tablespoons peanut or sunflower seed butter
2 to 4 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
4 small to medium zucchinis
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Quinoa: add the broth to a medium pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, rinse the quinoa very well and add it, and the salt, to the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro to the quinoa. 
2. Satay: Combine the lime juice, tamari, butter, sriracha, broth, and sugar (if using - taste and add to the sauce if needed) in a small blender. Blend until smooth. 
3. Cut the zucchini into 1-inch pieces and thread onto skewers that will fit comfortably in your skillet. Place the skewers of zucchini on a platter and cover with the sauce. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium heat until hot. Add the skewers and cook 5 minutes on each side until tender; baste the zucchini every few minutes or so. Season with salt and black pepper. 
4. Serve the quinoa with the satay, the remaining sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Nov 5, 2015

spicy noodles with peanut sauce

After reading many of the comments that folks left about what their favorite bowl meals are, I felt the inexplicable need to make one that seems to be a particular favorite among the crowd - bowls with peanut sauce.

While I've dabbled in the nutty concoction before, I haven't posted it to the blog - a huge oversight on my part!

At first I wanted to add coconut milk to the sauce, but then - with the addition of peanut butter and, (what I think is a great idea), the addition of red curry paste (more on that later), it became too much like Thai Panang Curry (recipe HERE).

So, I kept it simple, at 9 ingredients. The red curry paste (available in grocery stores, though watch out for fish or shrimp in the curry) is an easy recipe in my new book, Vegan Bowls (AmazonB&N). Red curry paste typically includes garlic and ginger and, therefore, omits the need to add those ingredients to the peanut sauce. Of course, if you don't have red curry paste, simply add garlic, ginger and red chili flakes to the sauce, and you're all set.

The optional capers add a *funk* to the sauce - much like fish sauce does. Add it completely at your discretion for that ingredient, though, since it is not a necessary addition.

To bring color and additional nutrition to the dish, I added kale and red bell peppers. Possible substitutions might be broccoli rabe (my first choice), julienned carrots, bok choy, napa cabbage, purple cabbage or daikon radish.

Watch out for your peanut butter; omit the sugar from the recipe if your peanut butter is sweetened.

After cooking the pasta (reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water), saute the kale and peppers and add the curry paste (cooking it a bit first, because the garlic and the ginger within it need to be sauteed), the peanut butter, scallions, tamari, lime and sugar and salt.

The whole thing can be done in under 30 minutes, including prep. Start the medium pot of water to boil while you chop the ingredients and this is a dish ready in a snap.

Spicy Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 4 

10 ounces pasta, such as soba, udon or spaghetti
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced**
1 (1-inch piece) ginger, grated**
8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 -inch slices
1 teaspoon red chili flakes OR 1 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste (depending on spice level)
1 cup reserved pasta water
5 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sweetener***
3 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon caper brine liquid (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper
Roasted peanuts, to garnish
Lime wedges, garnish

1. Cook the pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water, and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, kale and bell pepper. Cook until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of reserved pasta water, peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, sweetener, scallions and caper liquid (if using). Mix well to combine. Add more water if the sauce is too thick. Add the pasta and mix well again. Cook to reheat, taste and adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and black pepper.
3. Serve the pasta garnished with peanuts and lime wedges.

**garlic and ginger: omit if using red curry paste 
***sweetener: omit or reduce if using sweetened peanut butter

 © 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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Dec 12, 2014

vvp - enchiladas with lime sauce

It’s that time of season again – it’s Virtual Vegan Potluck Time. I say that like I’ve been doing it for years, but the truth is this is the first time I’m participating, mainly because I just didn’t realize what it was!

Basically VVP is a day in the year when a bunch of blogs get together (as close as blogs can get) and “link” up. The blogs agree to post about a dish – a soup, a main or a dessert – and on each blog post there is a link to the previous blog post and a link to the next blog post (see below at the very bottom of this post). 

Picture lining up all the blogs in a row – in order from appetizer to dessert – and linking them up, as in a chain. You go from one blog to the next to the next via the link, until you get to the delicious end. And because the blogs are thusly linked, it doesn't matter where you start because you can always follow the links backward or forward.

Virtual Vegan Potluck is hosted by Ann Oliverio, from An Unrefined Vegan blog and we are so very happy she is taking the time to set this up! If you are ever interested in joining her weekly on her Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck, don’t hesitate! It is too much fun! There every week you link up your blog post with a recipe on her blog (which is mirrored on Canned Time’s and Bunny Kitchen's blog).

My offering for VVP this season is in theme with citrus, which is the featured ingredient this time around. I use lime in my sauce in the recipe below and the dish is from my cookbook, Everyday Vegan Eats.

In fact, it is a great time to pick up your own copy of Everyday Vegan Eats for a few reasons:

1) It has great holiday recipes, such as Holiday Roast, Green Bean Casserole with homemade fried onions, Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Casserole, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits, Chocolate Chip Cookies (for the old man with the white beard), Rugelach Cookies (for anyone!) and the list goes on.

2) The other reason not to miss getting your hands on Everyday Vegan Eats, is that the new year is right around the corner and that means resolutions and new beginnings. The New Year is probably the biggest time of year when people give vegan a try and this cookbook will make sure you stay vegan.

It is full of comfort food that does not compromise on taste. Nachos with really good (really good!) cheese sauce, Country Fried Portobello (or Seitan), French Toast that is moist on the inside and crisp on the outside, Caramel Sauce, Tofu Bacon, Po’ Boys, and again, the list goes on and on. If you know someone who will give veganism a try this coming year (or if you want to have awesome vegan food for yourself), this is the book you need.

And now, from Everyday Vegan Eats, I offer my recipe for Cheese and Spinach Enchiladas with Cilantro-Lime Cream Sauce. Enjoy!

Spinach and Bean Enchiladas


Spinach, beans and a little vegan cheese are rolled in corn tortillas. Enchilada sauce smothers the casserole and a drizzle of cilantro-lime cream sauce complete it. It’s great served with Mexican Red Rice and Beans (recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats) or Refried Beans with Tomatoes (recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats). Or keep things simple and serve with a crisp green salad with Mexican Ranch Dressing (recipe in Everyday Vegan Eats). Recipe published by permission from Everyday Vegan Eats by Vegan Heritage Press.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili powder. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a large skillet and set aside.

Return the saucepan to medium heat. Add the tomatoes with their juice and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup water and whisk until smooth. Stir in the remaining water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until it thickens, about 15 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.

Heat the reserved onions in the skillet over medium heat. Stir in the beans, spinach, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook until the spinach wilts, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and 3 tablespoons of the reserved red sauce. Mix well, remove from the heat, and season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Transfer 1 cup of the red sauce to a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Heat the tortillas between 2 damp paper towels in the microwave for 1 minute or heat each tortilla in a large skillet over medium heat. Fill a tortilla with 2heaping tablespoons of bean mixture, roll it up and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with all the tortillas. Ladle the remaining red sauce over the filled tortillas. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve with the cream sauce.

Cilantro Lime Cream Sauce
Makes 1 cup


Blend the cashews in a dry personal blender until the nuts are finely ground. Add the milk, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon more milk. Set aside.

Now go follow the links! Click "Go Back" to see the blog before this one, Create Mindfully, or "Go Forward" to the next blog, VGNVGF, for the first dessert entry!

Dec 9, 2012

thom kha soup

RECIPE UPDATE: this soup has been tested and revised and will be featured in the upcoming cookbook "Everyday Vegan Eats," by Zsu Dever.

This is a remake of an old favorite - Tom Kha (or Thom Kha) Soup, a Thai coconut-based soup. The last time I posted about making this soup (here), was about two and a half years ago, so I  am thinking it isn't all that repetitious. Besides, I think it gets lost in the blog; a little reminder to give this soup a try is appropriate.

I made this soup last night while a few friends were over and the first comment I heard spoken was how quickly it was done, followed by how pretty the soup was, and lastly that indeed it tasted as good as it looked. In my opinion, I overcooked the broccoli a bit, but didn't mention that. 

Yes, this soup is really quick to make - about 20 minutes in all. And if you have ever had the pleasure of having it in a Thai restaurant (assuming they make it with vegetable broth and not add fish sauce), you will be happy to note that it is an easy to make and quick to prepare soup.

Also of note is that while exotic ingredients such as lemongrass, galanga and kaffir leaves are the ideal ingredients to use, this recipe has alternatives: lemon, ginger and lime. I reassure you, you will be able to achieve the same tangy dish as if you used the ethnic ingredients. 

In addition, you can load the soup with whatever vegetables you have available, although broccoli, mushrooms and carrots are the top choices. Summer squash, green beans, cauliflower, spinach, kale, would all be equally successful.

Cost Breakdown

coconut milk: $3.50
vegetables stock: $3
spices, tamari: $.50
lemon, lime, ginger: $2
vegetables and mushroom: $4

Total to make 8 servings:

Nov 2, 2012

green chili + contest winner

We are all familiar with the red version of chili, laden with hearty beans, red chili powder and, typically, a beef alternative such as ground TVP or ground soy. This version is heavy and satisfying, especially come the cold winter days.

My Chipotle Chili below is a great example:

Chipotle Chili

Little known, at least by me, is the lighter, fresher adaptation of the red chili: the White Chili, or sometimes referred to Green Chili or Chili Verde, for all those Spanish speakers out there.

In this chili, instead of beef, chicken is used, instead of red chili powder or chilies, green, fresh chilies are utilized. And, instead of kidney beans, white beans are included.

I decided to green this up something good and used poblanos, Anaheim and jalapeno peppers. I also made use of other essential chili components: green onions, cilantro and lime juice. 

This was so good! And so easy to make with the help of your food processor. The veggies are first sweated (covered and cooked) to allow them to soften, but not get any color, and then the chili, including the rest of the ingredients, are cooked for about 20 minutes.

Serve and devour anytime of the year. In fact, right about now is a good time. 

Do you have a favorite style of chili or, like me, have only been privy to the red one?

Cost Breakdown

peppers: $5
onion, garlic, broth mix: $1
beans: $8
seasoning, lime, cilantro: $1
Total to make 8 servings:

Green Chili

Let's not forget about the drawing for Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! from the Blog Tour Post. There were 58 entries. According to, comment number...7...who is: Cabby! is the winner! Please contact me by tomorrow (Nov. 3) midnight-or-so at veganaide(at)yahoo(dot)com. 
Thanks and congratulations.

For those who didn't win this time, check out the other great bloggers participating in the Blog Tour and have more chances to win. And, well, if you can't wait, go grab your own copy! I promise you won't regret it!

Jul 4, 2011

jerk seitan


After all these grill recipe testings for Tami Noyes for her upcoming cookbook, Grills Gone Vegan, I guess the grilling bug has bit me. I have always been a jerk fan - whether it was because of the heat of the dish or the call of the islands; jerking has been something I've been wanting to make as authentically as possible.

I've tried my hand at jerking potatoes and chickpeas, but this time I wanted to up the ante. I am working on creating much simpler seitan recipes and this dish uses a variation of Tender Seitan. This seitan turned out really well and I will post it as soon as I am sure about it. The recipe uses only 5 ingredients. Gotta like that!

I have been researching Jamaican jerking recipes and techniques and they have a few things in common: scotch bonnet peppers, allspice and grilling or low baking. Since seitan is already cooked, I figured the low-and-slow approach did not apply here. So I went for grilling, which, thanks to Tami, has become second nature. I think I even grill in my sleep. Nothing like having tasty dreams.

Allspice (or pimento) is necessary. In fact, get whole dried berries, not the ground, and grind it yourself. And add a few berries to the charcoal or wood chips as well. Jerking used to be done over pimento wood, so this might add some more authenticity.

I couldn't find scotch bonnet peppers, so I used habaneros (again, thanks to Tami, for making habaneros not as intimidating as they used to be). There is some argument that habaneros are not close enough to scotch bonnets and you NEED the scotch bonnets!! By golly. I'm not sure about that and I will need to find scotch bonnet peppers to confirm or refute these claims, but for now the only thing that IS certain is that you cannot use jalapenos or other peppers. First off, jalapenos (which seem to be the go-to hot pepper) are not as hot as habaneros or scotch bonnets, but more importantly it is a different kind of heat - jalapenos are sharp, intense and instant, habaneros are a lingering, slow heat in the back of the mouth. Very different. At least use habaneros. And wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.

Overall, this was an excellent rendition of jerk seitan and my next stop on the way to Jamaican Jerking will be with the scotch bonnets. In the meantime, use the Jerk Marinade here (recipe updated to reflect the habanero), marinade your seitan for about an hour and grill away. The more smoke you have (wood chips, allspice berries, and over charcoal), the more authentic. That is, since not too many American homes have an oil drum grill in their backyards. But if you do, make sure to use it.

Cost Breakdown:

seitan: $2
peppers and spices: $1
oil, lime, herbs: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

May 16, 2011

7-layer mexican salad

Lunch time can be quite a fiasco at our home, especially if we don't plan the menu out properly. The kids want food they like and I want to make something that is unusual but still healthy. Clearly with all of the tumult we needed to come to a compromise. Lunch should be easy, quick and a no-brainer. Discussion should not even have to take place, and arguments should be as far removed as the moon.

To make everyone happy, including the cook, be that person child or adult, the kids and I wrote down 30 dishes they liked enough to agree to and I agreed were healthy and fast. We have put those meals on rotation during the week for lunch and it has worked beautifully. This can be an effective way to by-pass all the hastle of picking and choosing what to make for lunch for anyone, families or singles, homeschoolers or out of the home workers. It just makes sense. Since the breakfast repertoire of most folks tend to be varied between 5 to 10 kinds of dishes at the most, choosing between 30 lunch items is different enough to satisfy most people and consistent enough to make deciding lunch much simpler.

7-Layer Mexican Salad with Creamy Salsa Dressing. This one became a favorite after the girls had it at a sleepover on the U.S.S. Barry  (Girl Scout adventure). The key to this salad is to have the proper proportion of topping ingredients to lettuce. Too much lettuce ruins the entire experience. My salad has avocado, tomato, black beans, carrot, onion, vegan cheese, peppers. The dressing is about 2/3 vegenaise and 1/3 homemade salsa. You can use whatever topping you prefer, just make sure to keep the lettuce at bay: about one (toppings) to one (lettuce) ratio.

Cost Breakdown

avocado: $2
tomato: $2
beans: $2
carrot: $.50
lettuce: $2
cheese: $1
pepper: $1
salsa, vegenaise: $2
Total to make 6 servings:

May 10, 2011

mojo tofu - "viva vegan!"


Deciding to make something from Viva Vegan! for our Continental Night, I made Terry Hope Romero's Red Beans with Dominican-Style Sazon, Yuca with Cuban-Lime-Mojo Sauce and Zesty Ornage Mojo-Baked Tofu

I didn't have any yuca, but since it is a starch almost like a combination of potato-and-yam, I used the last of my winter squash from my CSA - kabocha squash and acorn squash. The Mojo Sauce I am not sure should be called a sauce because it is a lot of oil with onions and a few tablespoons of lime juice. It was very good, but, no surprise, quite oily, so we used it very sparingly drizzled over the cooked squash.

One might think that Latin food is closely related to Mexican and Tex-Mex fare, but they couldn't be more different from each other than Chinese and Indian foods. Latin dishes use a lot of citrus and for those palates to whom this is something new, it will be a very unusual flavor profile. Not bad in any way, but very unexpected - as David is coming to find. He is not a citrus enthusiast and last night's meal gave his palate a workout. However, if anyone who has this lack of love-affair with citrus can really enjoy these dishes, you know the food is excellent. 

I found everything a bit tangy but delicious. The Baked Tofu was superb and very easy to make. Just press, cut and bake. Add marinade and bake some more. It's texture was nice and chewy and the flavors were wonderful. 

There is so much to explore in this cookbook, and even though I had a week of Viva Vegan! in April of last year, I've barely scratched the surface - looking forward to more.

Cost Breakdown:

beans: $4
peppers, onion, garlic: $2.50
cilantro, parsley, celery: $1
spices, seasonings: $.25
orange, lime, vinegar: $3
tamari, tofu: $4.25
olive oil: $1
squash: $3
Total to make 6 servings:


Apr 7, 2011

sweet and sour soup

Asian Night

Kate requested Hot and Sour Soup, but I wanted a spin on the stand-by favorite. I guess we were playing with words, but during menu making, someone must have said 'sweet and sour' instead of 'hot and sour.' Thinking, why not?, I made a 'Sweet and Sour Soup.' All the elements that make a great Hot and Sour Soup are in this dish, and so is the sweetness that makes a Sweet and Sour dish unique.

Instead of using vinegar to sour it, I used lime juice and tamarind. If you've ever had one of those big jars of tamarind in your fridge, I'm sure you have wondered what else besides Indian it can be used for. And although a little extra sugar at the end is fine in case the sweetness is not enough, I used crushed pineapples for the bulk of the sugar.

As for the heat, I used one Thai chili, just sliced in half not all the way through the stem, but not much else. My family, especially the kids, aren't as into spicy as I am. You may add as many Thai peppers as you like, however.

I used a well-pressed tofu (Tofu Xpress) so it doesn't fall to mush during cooking, mushrooms, broccolette, diced green beans and scallions.

Cost Breakdown

onion, garlic, lemongrass: $.75
mushroom, broccolletes: $3
tofu: $2
tamarind, tamari, lime: $.50
green beans, chili: $1
crushed pineapple: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

Mar 22, 2011

south american curry

It was Asian Night.

While I wanted to make curry, a few of the other family members wanted something a little different. Which is why I decided to fuse South America and Asia. A while ago I made Aji Paste from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero and froze what I didn't use for the recipe. It was time to utilize it. A good Thai curry is based on a chili paste so it wasn't too much of a stretch to use the aji paste instead and incorporate other Latin flavors. 

In addition to the paste, I used cumin, oregano, garlic, lime juice, cauliflower, mushroom, bell peppers, green beans, cilantro and pressed tofu. Pressing the tofu properly (such as with a Tofu Xpress) will keep the tofu from falling apart in the broth during cooking. Another bonus using this machine. 

Although I used coconut milk, I kept it down to 1 can of lite milk and used vegetable broth to make up the difference. Since this would make for a very thin broth with no body, I added an arrowroot (or cornstarch) slurry to thicken it up to the consistency of coconut milk. This did not distract from the flavor and made it possible to cut down on the coconut milk.

I love lots of vegetables in curries and using the Latin flavors made it a little different.  A very satisfying meal with a twist.

Cost Breakdown

aji paste: $.50
onion, garlic, spices, herbs: $1
cauliflower, green beans, red pepper: $5
mushrooms, tofu: $3
coconut milk: $2
lime, sugar, veg stock: $1
Total to make 6 servings:

Mar 5, 2011

chinatown scramble and coffee cake


For today's brunch I continued to cook from American Vegan Kitchen for the Post Punk Kitchen Cookbook challenge and made Chinatown Scramble and Hubby's Home Fries. Mikel and Kate chose the scramble and I chose the home fries - you can't go wrong with anything endorsed by Jim.

The scramble calls for mushrooms, peppers, scallions, five-spice, bean sprouts and snap peas. I had a few adjustments to make, and as it was it was kick-butt-good; I'm sure if I had had the snap peas, bean sprouts and shiitaki, it would have been even better. David totally loved this and kept going back to the pan for more.

As predicted, Jim's Home Fries were fantastic. It is as simple as you can get with potatoes, but that is part of what makes them perfect. Even Cat, my picky potato person, loved it.

For a little bit of sweet I made Around-the-Clock Coffee Cake. I love coffee cake and this one lived up to my expectations. I added a half package of chocolate chips I had lying around.

A big typo here, though!
The pan the cookbook calls for is a 9 inch square pan. This is way too small and the batter needed to be baked in 2 such pans or equivalent. I wound up with half the cake on the bottom of my oven, so make sure to use a big enough pan. In any case, the outcome was worth a little mess - although the kids were disappointed to have lost half their sweet.

My pan was not deep enough, which is where my error, not AMK's error, was. I did wind up with half of the cake on the bottom of my oven, but that was because of my own fault, not American Vegan Kitchen's. My deepest regret to calling fire in the middle of a packed theatre and sounding a false alarm. Lesson learned the most difficult way: with cake on my face, as well as the oven.
My apologies, Tami!

Cost Breakdown

tofu: $2
spices, herbs: $1
onion, garlic, pepper: $2
mushroom, lime: $1
peas, ginger: $1
potato: $3
Total to make 5 serving of both:

Jan 11, 2011

thai winter curry

Asian Night

Curries are a simple and easy way to get dinner on the table fast. That is, as long as you have a curry paste. There are as many different kinds of curry pastes as there are people who make them. And just as many levels of heat to each paste. You can make your own paste easily enough - although it is a little time consuming. When you do make a curry paste there are a few things to keep in mind:

You want to get your paste as smooth as possible. A food processor works well as long as you process the paste long enough. A blender is better.
Make a lot for three reasons: (a) Your machine will work better (meaning it will actually move the food around and will be able to process the ingredients) if you have enough stuff in there. If you have a few tablespoons of stuff in the machine, you are making it very difficult on yourself and the appliance. (b) You don't want to go through making it again any time soon; it is time consuming.  (c) The extra paste doesn't take up that much room in your freezer, especially if you divide it into serving amounts and tuck them in here and there.

Thai curry pastes usually have these ingredients in common:
chilies (the amount and type will determine the level of heat in your paste), lemongrass, kaffir leaves, onion, vinegar, garlic, ginger (or galangal), coriander seeds

Optional ingredients range from:
cumin seeds, cilantro, peanuts, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

For my Thai Winter Curry, I used a basic red curry paste (The color depends on the chilies you use. If you use fresh green chilies you will have green chili paste.) I have an assortment of winter veggies in my curry: onion, cabbage, cauliflower, butternut squash, tofu, spinach and, of course, the coconut milk. To cut the fat I also used vegetable broth, but make sure you don't make curry soup instead by not using enough coconut milk.

Since I had the curry paste in the freezer, dinner was ready in under 30 minutes.

Cost Breakdown

onion: $.75
cabbage, cauliflower: $3
butternut squash: $2
tofu: $2
paste, tamari, lime, sugar: $1.25
spinach, pepper: $3
rice: $1
Total to make 6 servings:

Jan 6, 2011

gazpacho salad

Gazpacho Salad. Yup. And why not? The soup it refers to is a bunch of vegetables and fruit with liquid. Replace the liquid with the salad greens and presto - Gazpacho Salad.

Here is your inspiration to convert any soup into a salad. Pretty simple idea, right? I'd love to take credit, but I believe I saw the idea while cruising through a cookbook - a Robin Robertson one, to be exact. It is the avocado that caught my eye. Throw avocado anywhere in a recipe and I'll give it grave consideration. During the summer I have to weed through all the avocado recipes, since I probably add at least three onto each week's menu. Although very healthy for the kids, I encourage them to eat as many as they would like, I'm too old to handle too many, as much as I love them.

That certainly does not mean I never eat the fruit and here it is in this salad.

There are two key components to a good salad:
The Dressing
The Size of the Veggies

I'm sure we are all aware of how important the moisture on the lettuce is - whether it is just a squeeze of lemon or a favorite dressing like Ranch - but, is it really well-known how important the cut of the veggies is?

Dice or thinly slice cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes (after seeding them) and they take on
a-whole-nother appeal for the diner. Big, clunky veggies are okay, but to really get someone to dig in, consider how you cut them.

My diced veggies and fruits were tossed with a little walnut oil (which has Omega-3) and lime juice. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic (minced) and cilantro and tossed them with chopped lettuce.

A bit of Summer in the middle of Winter.

Cost Breakdown

lettuce: $3
onion, pepper, cuke, tomato: $4
garlic, cilantro: $1
avocado: $2
walnut oil, lime: $1
Total for 4 large servings: