Sunday, March 29, 2015

Corn Chowder with Dill

Our favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Om,  serves the most amazing Creamy Corn Chowder, we order it every time we visit.  Their soup is the inspiration for this recipe - I still haven't unlocked their secret but this soup is yummy in its own right.

*** Recipe requires soaking raw cashews over night or at least a few hours.

Corn Chowder with Dill
Adapted recipe from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

              Sea salt
4            tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2            cups diced sweet onions
2            large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1            red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice
5            cups vegetable broth
2            large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
3-4            tablespoons fresh dill (or more if you like – I like lots of dill)
              pinch of dried thyme
              1 sheet of Nori (lightly toast over stove flame to allow for crumbling)optional
1            16 oz. bag frozen corn or kernels from 6 ears of corn
1 & 1/2-3/4            cups thick Cashew Cream **recipe to follow – need 1 cup raw cashews
            white pepper

Cashew Cream:   2 cups whole raw cashews, rinsed very well under cold water.
              Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them.  Cover the bowl
              And refrigerate overnight.  Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. 
              Place in a blender and add water to just cover the cashews.

Place a large stockpot over medium heat.  Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute.  Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke.  This will create a nonstick effect.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, and bell-pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the stock, potatoes, and thyme, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. 

With the back of a spoon, smash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to thicken the soup.  Add the dill, thyme, crumbled Nori sheet, corn and Cashew Cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Garnish with dill, chives and tomato.

Makes 6 servings

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fried Rice

We enjoyed this side with the previously posted Sweet and Sour Tofu.  Very simple and I'm sure it is healthier than your favorite restaurant's fried rice.

Fried Rice

4            teaspoons sesame oil
3/4         cup frozen peas and carrots
1/2         cup chopped scallions
2            cups cooked rice
2            teaspoons soy sauce

In a skillet, heat 4 teaspoons sesame oil over medium heat.  Add frozen peas and carrots, chopped scallions and cooked rice.  Cook, stirring 1 minute.  Stir in 2 teaspoons soy sauce.  Pair with Sweet and Sour Tofu.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sweet and Sour Tofu

There are a lot of recipes out there for Sweet and Sour dishes and I like to try as many as possible because each one adds a little something different to the ingredient list.  The ketchup and pineapple make this particular recipe really sweet and that's why I paired it up with some salty vegetable fried rice.

Sweet and Sour Tofu
Adapted from Magazine recipe

1            pkg. firm tofu patted dry and cut into cubes
             oil for sautéing
6            teaspoons cornstarch
2            tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce or GF Tamari sauce
1/3         cup ketchup
1/4         cup sugar
1/4         cup cider vinegar
1            can pineapple chunks in juice, drained, juice reserved
2            tablespoons canola oil
1            tablespoon minced ginger
1/2         green pepper, cut into 3/4” pieces
1/2         yellow or red pepper, cut into 3/4” pieces
1            small onion, sliced
              I had a few mushrooms that I threw in the mix

In a medium bowl, combine the tofu, 4 teaspoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  In a small bowl, whisk the remaining cornstarch and soy sauce with the ketchup, sugar, cider vinegar and pineapple juice. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until it shimmers.  Add the tofu and cook, turning once, until browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the ginger and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30 seconds.  Add the pineapple chunks, bell pepper and onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is crisp-tender and the onion is tender. 

Stir in the ketchup mixture, bring to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.

**Serve with a  side of fried rice.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Cajun Tofu

This is my favorite item on the menu at Detroit Vegan Soul so I had to try and make a version at home and I've since made this several times.  This is good with a salad or coleslaw and german potato salad.

Cajun Tofu

2/3         cup soy/nut milk
2            tablespoons lime juice
1/4         cup flour
1/3         cup cornmeal
1            tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1            teaspoon onion powder
1/2         teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/2         teaspoon black pepper
1            block firm or extra-firm tofu, well pressed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking pan.

Combine soy/nut milk and lime juice in a wide shallow bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, Cajun seasoning, onion powder, cayenne, and salt and pepper.

Slice tofu into triangles or rectangular strips and dip in soy/nut milk and lime juice mixture.  Next, coat well with cornmeal and flour mixture.

Transfer to baking pan and bake for 8-10 minutes on each side.  Serve with Tartar Sauce and coleslaw or potato salad.

Tartar Sauce

1 & 1/2        cups vegan mayonnaise
1                  tablespoon onion powder
4                  tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1                  tablespoon white vinegar

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pea Puree

Tired of the usual sides - potatoes, carrots, lettuce?  Here's an easy, zippy little side dish recipe, but you may want to make a double batch, it is addicting.

Pea Puree
Adapted Nigella Lawson recipe

1          clove garlic
5          ounces frozen peas
1-2       tablespoons vegan cream cheese
1-2       tablespoons grated vegan Parmesan
1/2       teaspoon dried mint

Fill a pan with cold water and throw in the clove of garlic.  Bring to a boil and then add salt and peas.  Cook until tender, drain and put into a food processor or blender and add the vegan cream cheese, vegan parmesan and dried mint.  Puree the peas until knobbly and check the seasoning, adding salt if you need to.   Serve warm.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Beet and Sweet Potato Salad

We served this beautifully colored salad with fried eggplant and marinara sauce.  The flavors in the two dishes did a great job of complementing each other.  You can always roast your own beets but I love the convenience of pre packaged beets from Trader Joe's.

Beet and Sweet Potato Salad

1            large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in small dice, roasted
              olive oil for roasting
              salt and pepper for roasting
1            pkg. beets (I used Trader Joe’s marinated small beets), thickly sliced
              sliced red onion (I used maybe an 1/8 of a cup)
1/2         cup walnuts, slightly toasted in dry pan over medium heat for a few minutes
              Kale, finely chopped
              Baby Spinach, finely chopped

Make dressing and store in fridge until ready to dress salad.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and dice sweet potato.  Spread out on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then salt and pepper.  Mix all together with hands and spread out evenly.  Cook for approximately 30 – 45 minutes in oven at 400 degrees, or until brown.  Set aside.

In dry sauté pan over medium flame, heat walnuts just to bring out the flavor.  Remove from heat.

Slice beets into thick slices.
Thinly slice red onion.

Assembly salad and dress with Balsamic dressing.


1/4         cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4         cup agave (slightly under a 1/4 cup)
4            teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and keep in fridge until ready to dress your salad

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Udon with Tofu and Asian Greens

Soba noodles were all I had on hand so that’s what I used but would recommend using Udon noodles even though it was still delicious.  Soba noodles are thinner than Udon and made from buckwheat,  Udon noodles are thicker and made from wheat flour.  I also made more broth for a soupier meal.

Udon with Tofu and Asian Greens
Food Network

1            8 oz. package udon noodles
4            tablespoons roasted peanut oil, or 3 tablespoons sesame oil mixed with 1
                                                                        tablespoon vegetable oil
1           12 oz. package firm tofu, cut into 12 pieces
             salt and pepper
1           11 oz. package Asian cooking greens or baby spinach
1           bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
             large pinch of red pepper flakes
3            tablespoons soy sauce
              pinch of sugar

Cook the Udon noodle as the label directs.  (Don’t overcook or they will get mushy.)  Drain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium het.  Pat the tofu dry and season all over with salt and pepper.  Add the tofu to the skillet and sear until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Set aside and keep warm.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and greens to the skillet.  Cook, tossing, until just wilted.  Add the scallions, red pepper flakes, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the say sauce and sugar.  Add the reserved cooking water; heat to create a broth. Dived the noodle and greens among 4 bowls and top with the tofu.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

I couldn't resist buying a beautiful Rosemary plant my last visit to the Farmer's Market just to remind me that Spring is just around the corner.  The combination of Chocolate and Rosemary give these cookies a delightful touch of sweet and savory.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2         cup refined coconut oil, softened
2            tablespoons lightly packed, chopped fresh rosemary
1/4         cup granulated sugar
1/3         cup light brown sugar
1/4         cup almond milk (or other vegan milk)
1            tablespoon ground flax seeds (golden preferred) this acts as a binder
2            teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 & 1/3            cups all-purpose flour
1/2         teaspoon salt
1/2         teaspoon baking soda
1/2         cup vegan chocolate semisweet chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two large baking sheets.

In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to beat together the coconut oil and rosemary, until relatively smooth.  Add the sugar, and beat for about a minute.

Add the non-dairy milk and flax seeds, and beat once again, for 30 seconds or so.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add about half the flour, as well as the salt and baking soda, and mix well.  Add the remainder of the flour, along with the chocolate chips, and mix well until it looks like cookie dough.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets in rounded spoonfuls.  Flatten gently with your hands.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

Let cool on sheets for 3 minutes or so, then transfer to cooling racks to cool the rest of the way.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pesto Soup

Lots of nutrition in this soup - cauliflower, greens and beans plus a special surprise - Gnocchi.  I love me some gnocchi!

Pesto Soup
Isa Does It – cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

2            teaspoons olive oil
3            cloves garlic, minced
1            small head, cauliflower (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into florets
4            cups vegetable broth
1/2         teaspoon dried thyme
1/2         teaspoon salt
              several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1            tablespoon arrowroot or organic corn starch
1            cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
8            ounces frozen gnocchi, partially thawed (leave on counter for 30 min. or so)
1            small bunch Swiss Chard torn into pieces (I used Kale, coarsely chopped)
1            15 ounce navy beans, rinsed and drained
              toasted pine nuts for garnish

Preheat a 4 quart stockpot over medium heat and add the oil.  Saute the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute, being careful not to let it burn.  Add the cauliflower, 3 cups of the broth, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil stirring every now and again and boiling for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

In a measuring cup, vigorously mix together the remaining 1 cup broth and the arrowroot until dissolved.  Lower the heat a bit so that the soup is at a low boil.  Mix in the broth and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes, stirring often, until slightly thickened.  Add the basil leaves and remove from the heat.  Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, then use a blender or food processor to puree in batches, be careful to lift the lid once in a while to let steam escape.  Taste for seasoning.

Return the soup to the stove over medium heat and add the gnocchi; cover and let cook for 3 minutes or so.  Add the greens and beans and cook until the greens are completely wilted and the beans are heated through, about 5 more minutes.  Be careful as you stir not to crush the gnocchi or beans.  Serves garnished with extra basil and pine nuts, if you like.