Tag Archives: tofu

Halloween!

1 Nov

Hooray! Yesterday was Halloween! And today I am sad because I have to wait a whole year for it to happen again.

We started our celebrations early by heading to Rochester last weekend to visit friends and have fun. It was great! We got to hang out with friends, sleep in (!!!!!!), go to a museum, eat sorbet/frozen yogurt with ENDLESS TOPPINGS, and drink lots of cider with whiskey.

Before we left on our journey, I made a tasty dinner:

 

This is yet another meal from Appetite for Reduction, Unfried Fried Rice and Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin-Mustard Tofu.  I’ve made the tofu before, and it is one of my favorite things.  The rice was new.  It came out perfect!  I cooked the rice earlier in the day so it had some time to cool down before I unfried it, and it was wonderful.  To bulk it up a little, I added some steamed carrots and butternut squash cubes.  The butternut squash was a random thing and I wasn’t sure how it would taste.  It worked, though!  It gave a little bit of sweet, and the added sriracha added heat.  So good.

We were back in New Hampshire for real Halloween, and I celebrated during the day by doing a Zombies, Run! mission on my lunch break.  I had sore legs from weight training the day before, but I managed to evade the zombies anyway.

Paul and I both had crummy days at work, so I wasn’t sure we wanted to do anything for Halloween night.  But we managed to put our grumps away for a while, and headed out to Portsmouth.  It was our first time there, but I had heard that they know how to do Halloween right.  And they do!  There was a Halloween parade going on, but we missed most of it.  No worries, though, we had other plans.

We headed for a quick bite to eat at The Friendly Toast, a diner-style restaurant that my friend Colleen had raved about.  They have a decent selection of vegan-friendly foods, good beers available, and the most wonderful, kitschy decor.  It wasn’t very crowded, thanks to people being too busy cavorting in the streets, so our food came quickly.  We both had the Vegan Valhalla – a burrito filled with brown rice, portobello mushrooms, and tofu.  I had mine with home fries, which I was so glad to hear were not cooked using butter!  Yay!  Paul had sweet potato fries, and they were fantastic.

It was also nice that they had soy milk for the coffee.  Yeah, it’s such a small thing.  But Concord seems to not know that soy milk or any non-dairy milk drink is a thing.

Anyway, our main plan for the night was to go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the Portsmouth Music Hall Loft.  One of my favorite movies, and one Paul had never seen before.  The crowd was small and full of friendly people, and they had special cocktails available for the night (you can even bring them right into the theater – holy crap I love this place!)

We both had a drink called the Massacre:

 

It was made of vodka, tequila, and ginger ale.  Whaaaat?  Tequila and ginger ale?  I know ginger ale (or beer) goes well with a lot of liquors, but I’d never tried it with tequila.  And well, it worked.  Now, to make them at home.

We had a lot of fun at the movie, people were really into it and I left feeling happier than I have in a while.  Thanks, Portsmouth!

What I Ate Wednesday – Birthday Edition!

8 Aug

Hey I had a birthday not long ago! I’m 31! My birthday was actually at the end of July, so this is a bit late. But anyway. My birthday day was very relaxing. I went on a 3.1 mile run for my 31st, which is something I want to make a habit of for birthdays to come!

Paul came home with a bag full of goodies from Cafe Indigo, like really a bag full. We shared a piece of vegan fudge before going out to eat sushi. After sushi we headed to a bar that I had heard has many beers on tap, and then we went galactic bowling! I haven’t been bowling in years. I’m still terrible at it, it seems!

But this What I Ate Wednesday is about what I ate the day AFTER my birthday! Paul and I headed down to Boston, with plans to stay at a swanky hotel and go see a play in a park in Chelsea.

We woke up late-ish and had breakfast. Judge me if you want, but I eat egg white omelets sometimes. Paul makes really good omelets, what can I say.

This one had spinach, sauteed mushrooms, and vegan cheese in it. We had toasted pitas with homemade blueberry lime jam (more on that tomorrow!) and fruit salad.

After packing up our things for the night, we made a pit stop at the local running store. I picked up a new pair of Mizuno Inspires, since the Brooks Adrenaline were just not working out for me (not enough room in the toe box for my freakishly long second toes). Across the street is this cafe called Planet Marshmallow that sells homemade marshmallows. We picked up a bag. Again, feel free to judge! I ate eggs and gelatin on the day after my birthday. It happens sometimes. I ate some with a banana on the way to Boston

We checked into this totally swanky hotel that had bath robes and slippers waiting for us (I think rich people have freakishly small feet?) and it started looking like it was going to rain. We were pretty sure the play in the park was off, so we decided to walk around. We had a small snack and some coffee before heading out

The plan was to walk in the direction of Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge. I am obsessed with this place, they have the most amazing food and I have to eat there every time we’re in Boston. We made it about a mile before it started raining. I saw this shortly before getting on the T.

Don’t forget!

So it started POURING! Stupid us, we brought umbrellas with us, but didn’t take them on our walk. Of course, a little corner store had some for us to purchase. We made it to Veggie Galaxy mostly dry.

And then we ate so much.

We skipped the vegan frappe this time, sadly. It is so delicious but so filling.
I ordered the Vegetable Pot Pie with smoked tofu, covered in pesto, with mashed sweet potatoes and arugula. We ordered a kids portion of the vegan mac and cheese because it is too good to not order. It had to be done. And Paul had the Beer Battered House Smoked Tofu, which came with red cabbage slaw and the most delicious black pepper french fries. I mean, how awesome does this food look? It tastes even better! They even make their own ketchup. Seriously. Love you, Veggie Galaxy.

After eating, it was still raining. We made it over the Charles river, but not without getting drenched. So, we decided to pick up some booze, get a cab back to the hotel, and just relax for the night.

Mission accomplished! We shared a bottle of cider, and some black IPA. The IPA went so well with a Cafe Indigo brownie:

We spent the rest of the night curled in our bath robes, watching the olympics. That was a fine birthday for me!

Vegan Quiche, Blueberry Picking, and Parents!

23 Jul

So, last Wednesday, for What I Ate Wednesday, I posted a picture of the vegan quiche lorraine that I made for dinner.  I used to love the quiche that my Nannie (that would be my mom’s mom) used to make.  She made the most delicious and buttery pie crusts, and her quiche was always perfect.  It was filled with eggs, cream, swiss cheese, bacon, and with tomato slices on top.  I always really liked the slightly dehydrated tomato slices.  I could eat pretty much none of that anymore, but this crustless vegan quiche is a nice substitution.  I didn’t put tomato slices on top, but I will try that next time around!

 

Crustless Vegan Quiche Lorraine

adapted from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

Ingredients

24 oz. light silken tofu (I used the refrigerated, water packed kind from Nasoya)

1 Tbsp. tahini

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/4 tsp. Spike seasoning

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 large white onion, diced very small

1 vegan sausage, diced (I used the Sweet Seitan Sausage from this same cookbook, delicious!)

2 minced garlic cloves

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 375F, and spray a 9″ springform pan with cooking spray.  Set the pan aside for later.

2) Place the first eleven ingredients in a blender and blend until combined and smooth.  Using a spatula to scrape down the sides, empty the mixture into a medium sized bowl and set aside while you assemble the remaining ingredients.

3) In a medium sized frying pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and the sausage and cook them for 3 or four minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, don’t let it burn.

4) Add the onion-sausage mixture to the blended tofu mixture and stir well to combine.

5) Transfer that mixture to your prepared springform pan, and cook in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  If you toothpick test the middle, it should come out clean.  Let it rest in the pan for about ten minutes, then remove from the springform until ready to serve.

I served it at room temperature and warmed up, and they were both delicious!

This weekend was another really nice weekend!  Paul and I took a journey back into New York on Friday to spend the weekend with my parents.  Vermont was right these standing between us and New York, and when we drove through the Quechee Gorge area, we decided to stop and look around.

 

It’s a very nice area, with a wide trail going down to the bottom of the gorge, and what looked like well-blazed trails off of it.  I think I’d like to go back there for more exploring.

Once we got to my parents, we had even more of a fun time!  We got in late on Friday due to various pit stops, so Saturday was our day of fun.  (As an aside, Paul and I entered Moe’s Southwest Grill as a very hungry couple right before closing on Friday night.  They took my dairy allergy very seriously and I really appreciated all the extra steps they took to make sure I wasn’t going to get any cross-contaminated food.  Thank you guys again!)

On Saturday, Paul, my mom and I went to Schuylerville.  We drove up to the cemetery where my Nannie and grandpa are, since I haven’t visited in a while, and walked around the town a bit.  There are a few really neat stores in this super small town, especially thrift store and a used book store.  I got a nice polyester flower print shirt with ruffles on it, and copies of Viktor Frankl’s The Unconscious God and Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard.  I love me some Frankl.  And some Russian authors.

On top of all of the awesome books, this store has great decor.  I especially liked this skeleton in the horror section:

 

He’s reading The History of Orthopedics, of course.

We also went blueberry picking!  We each ended up with six or so pounds of blueberries.  My mom is a picking machine:

 

She filled up her bucket at least ten minutes before Paul and I filled the one that we were working on together!  Geesh!

Here’s our stash.  Paul’s “letting” me make a small batch of blueberry jam with them, but he mostly wants to cram them into his face unaltered.

 

Four quarts!

The last thing we did on Saturday was run.  We were scheduled for a nine mile run based on our half marathon training.  My farthest and longest run ever!  It was not pretty, let me tell you.  But I did it!  My parents have a mile loop around their neighborhood, so we ran that nine times.  It was funny, and we got encouragement from other people in the neighborhood as we kept going around and around.  But man, old and compact asphalt is hard.  And afterwards, I felt so weird.  It took an hour and a half or so for my stomach to be able to handle more than little sips of water or chocolate soy milk (this will definitely never be my after-run food of choice).  Paul is much more used to the long runs than I am.  Well, he’s done them before because he ran a marathon a few years ago.  So he hit his groove during this run.  Afterwards, while I’m rocking back and forth wondering whether or not I’m going to be spending the next little while with my head in the toilet, he’s pouring himself a big glass of wine!  Ugh!

Anyway, I recovered and became so ravenously hungry.  Good thing we had picked up food from Antipasto’s, which has some of the tastiest vegan and vegetarian Italian food in the capital district.  Granted, there’s not a lot of choices, but this is still a solid one.  I would have taken a picture of my tofu parmesan (the Paul McCartney, as Antipasto’s calls is), but I was busy rocking back and forth post-run.  Whoops!

Hanging out with my parents was super fun.  Even sitting on the couch and watching the Comicon movie and Saturday Night Live was pretty awesome.  Thanks, parents!  (I told them I was blogging again and my dad got annoyed at the name.  Again.)

Pictures of Things

21 Nov

Things that I’ve eaten lately!

I’m coming back and I may have something really exciting going on if you get excited about people cooking on the internet.

Until then, I will leave you with pictures of things that I’ve cooked:

You know what I like?  CARBS.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Burgers

18 Mar

Woah dang, I have successfully recreated a burger that I used to eat when meat did not gross me out so much.  Actually I not only recreated it, but I made it way better.

I would make turkey burgers with some finely chopped onion and A Taste of Thai Spicy Peanut Bake, which is like Shake ‘n’ Bake, only with peanuts and spices and lemongrass.  It made the usually dry ground turkey nice and moist and peanutty.

But you know, turkey.  Gross.

I know people have made burgers out of tofu, but I had absolutely no faith that I could create something that actually held together and wasn’t a big mess.  I decided to try anyway.  These baked burgers are fully of spicy peanut flavor, and the flour and fat from the peanut bake allowed for a nice brown crust despite not being fried.  The spice is balanced nicely with the grated sweet potato.  Like always, go ahead and fry them if that’s your thing.  But why would you if they look this good baked?

I’m convinced these would be delightful with a Sriracha/Nayonaise mixture, but since I’m out of both I topped my burger with some spicy barbecue sauce.  My combination made four good sized burgers and I froze two of them, so I’ll have to go shopping and try it.  I’ve heard that tofu burgers get firmer when frozen and reheated, just like plain tofu, so I’m interested in seeing how they are at a later date.  Even fresh out of the oven they held their shape when I lifted them out of the pan with a spatula.  My tofu burger fear went unrealized!

Spicy Peanut Tofu Burgers

makes 4 burgers

1/2 block firm tofu

1/2 small sweet potato, grated

1/2 small onion, grated

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

20 g A Taste of Thai Spicy Peanut Bake

1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

1) Squeeze as much water from the tofu as possible, and crumble in a medium bowl.  Add the grated sweet potato and onion and mix well.

2) Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.  Form into four burgers with your hands.

3) Cook on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a 350F oven for 20 minutes, flipping once.

4) EAT!

Gingered Vegetables and a Swiss Chard Pie!

21 Jun

I do lots of traveling for work, and spend quite a few nights in hotels.  I usually bring food with me, get a hotel room with at least a refrigerator if not a microwave also, and cook for myself.  Eating out is good once in a while if I can find an interesting restaurant, but I have to admit that eating canned beans, couscous, and a salad is getting boring.  So today I decided to cook up a bunch of food to take with me!

The first thing I made was the Savory Swiss Chard Pie from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  I swear Susan comes up with the best, healthiest recipes.  Swiss chard, yum yum.  I haven’t had any of this yet but I did clean out the pie plate with a fork after I put the pie into individual containers.

I’ve never eaten chard stems before, and this recipe uses both the stems and leaves.  Woah, every bit of that vegetable is tasty.

I also cooked up some vegetables tonight.  For dinner tonight, and for the week.  So many vegetables, they barely fit in my largest frying pan.  So here we’ve got some gingery vegetables!

Ingredients!

5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

2 medium onions, quartered and separated

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

2 lb. red potatoes, cubed

8oz. green beans

4 medium carrots, cut in matchsticks

Directions!

Place the potatoes, green beans and carrots in a large pot of boiling, salted water.  Bring back to a boil and cook for about five minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

While this is cooking, heat the olive oil in a LARGE frying pan.  Cook the jalapenos and onions until soft.  Add in the ginger, garlic, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Cook this over medium heat for about five minutes.

Add the potatoes, green beans and carrots to the frying pan.  Cook over medium heat until everything is cooked through.

Word of advice: if you’ve got more ginger, ADD IT!

So now I’ve got lots of food packed up to go to Utica with me.  So much cheaper, healthier, and vegan than most of the food I find on the road!

Vegan Enchiladas and Cilantro and Lime Rice

15 Jan

Ellen and I haven’t had a lot of luck with enchiladas in the past. The last time we tried it, it ended up tasting like tin can. This time was a bit better. We used Paul McCartney’s vegan enchilada recipe (well, the filling part anyway) and I also made lime and cilantro rice that is apparently served at a restaurant I’ve never heard of called Chipotle’s. I’d like to make the enchiladas again with refried beans on top and maybe find some way to firm up the tofu before putting it in the filling, but it was all good. Oh, and the rice is great. I am supersensitive to cilantro and it’s easy to turn me off to a dish by adding too much, but the amount in this is just right.

-Bret

Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

11 Aug

Lasagna is totally one of my favorite things to make.  There’s no need for a recipe, and I never make it the same way twice.  I’ve made plenty of vegetarian lasagnas, but they always had mass amounts of cheese to make up for the lack of meat.  So, I wanted to try making a vegan lasagna.  And I did!  And it was tasty!

I’m not going to write out a recipe for this, because lasagna should be whatever you want, but there are a few key things that made this really really good.

1) Sauce.  I made my own, with onions and lots of garlic and a healthy amount of crushed red pepper flakes.

2) Tofu ricotta.  I’ve made tofu ricotta before, and it had pine nuts and various other things in it.  This time I went for a simpler version, taken directly from The PPK.  I needed two batches of it for the lasagna I made, which was three layers in a large roasting pan.

3) Fillings!  I figured I needed something extra in there, and I went for veggies.  I sauted sliced portobello mushroom and some zucchini and deglazed the pan with balsamic vinegar.  That was added between they layers and added some bulk to it.  I’m also thinking of maybe crumbled tempeh sausage in the future.

Bret took a nice picture of my lasagna.  I had covered in it foil and cooked it at 350F for about 45 minutes.  That seemed to do the trick without drying things out and making sure everything was warmed through.  Nothing cheesy to melt here, but some Veganrella on top might be nice!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a pasta recipe, so here we go!  This one is being submitted to Presto Pasta Nights, run by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast!

– Ellen

Simple Stir Fry

11 Aug

Stir fry is kind of a staple around these parts. Sometimes it might be all I make for dinner in a week. Fast! Simple! Tasty! Inexpensive! Here’s how I do it.

Ingredients!

1 tablespoon peanut oil or canola oil

a dribble of sesame oil

a dribble of chili oil

like a quarter of a block of tofu, cut into little squares

about half a dozen broccoli spears

a decent sized leaf of nappa cabbage or bok choy

1 cup brown or white rice

Directions!

Put all the oil in your wok or whatever you’re using and heat it up hot hot hot. I put it on high heat. Drop the tofu in there. Careful, this will probably splatter. Cook your tofu until it’s nice and brown and has a chewy texture. Don’t let it burn!

Turn the heat down. to about medium. Add in your broccoli and your cabbage. The broccoli should turn bright green and the cabbage should get soft. Maybe even a little slimy. Have about a cup of leftover rice in your fridge? Throw that in there too. Add soy sauce to taste while the wok is still hot.

If you just cooked some fresh rice, no big deal. Just serve the stir fry over top of it. Each time I make this, I make two cups of rice and store the other cup in the fridge. Then the next day the leftovers go into whatever I’m making.

This makes about enough for one person. Easy enough to double up or whatever.

Inspiration for this came from my friend Ben’s fried rice recipe.

-Bret

Scrambled Tofu and Kale

23 Jun

No, not together.  Separately.  Although I was tempted to throw some kale into my breakfast.  Next time!

On Saturday I had a huge craving for foods that make me feel good.  What I eat affects my entire body, and it probably does for everyone but I don’t think everyone realizes that. 

I made myself scrambled tofu for breakfast, and I’m not including the recipe because I really don’t have one.  I’ll pick whatever vegetables I have around (this time it was zucchini, onion and tomato) and add in spices (turmeric, cumin, paprika, sage…salt, I can’t remember what else) and then crumble in tofu and cook it all up.  Oh and a couple of dashes of hot sauce.

Don’t tell Bret, but I think my scrambled tofu is better than his.  Maybe I’ll make it for him and see what he thinks.

 

So that was breakfast.  Lunch was pretty uneventful, but I had some ideas for dinner.  My town’s Farmer’s Market started just recently, and I was able to stop there after work on Thursday.  I got really excited and bought a lot.  My prized purchase was a big bunch of kale.  I love kale, and I told the guy I bought it from how much I love kale.  He loves kale too.

I wanted to keep it pretty simple so I chopped it up, getting rid of the stems and parboiled it in salted water for about ten minutes or so.  I drained it once it had softened up a bit and set it aside while I cooked up some onion and garlic.  Then I added the kale to the pan with the onion and garlic, added in some white beans, ginger juice, tamari and some crushed red pepper.  And it was very tasty with some whole wheat couscous.  See!

I definitely have a kale supplier for the summer.  I’ll be making this again!

-Ellen