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Archive | November, 2012

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

29 Nov DSC_0136

Before I created this blog, I was posting photos of my meals on Facebook regularly. I’ve been going through my old photos to remember what I was making several months ago, which sometimes inspires new ideas for me. Yesterday, it inspired me to make tortellini.

I found this bruschetta that I made over the summer several times and I thought I’d share the standard recipe I use. My basil plant was growing and it was a great use of the fresh summer tomatoes-sometimes I added roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, or heirloom tomatoes.

Feel free to make any of the suggested modifications from above or any based on your own tastes. I like to use an 18 year aged balsamic from Galena Garlic Company that I picked up about a year ago when I visited my parents. I highly recommend it-it’s amazing on tomatoes, avocados, plain bread, or even on it’s own.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 medium ripe plum tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt and black pepper

Directions:

1. Chop tomatoes, removing most seeds. Mince garlic. Tear the basil into small pieces. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let flavors combine for 1-2 hours. Serve on toasted bread or with warm pita on the back porch on a nice summer day.

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Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Tortellini

28 Nov DSC_0998

About a year before I met my fiance, Ken, I was well acquainted with a snapping turtle named Tortellini. She was eventually re-released into the wild, but I still think of her often. We now have three other turtles in our lives, including one baby who keeps getting bigger and bigger. Meet Tusk:

I’ve practiced making homemade ravioli a few times in the past (see below) but I have yet to venture into the world of other filled pastas.

I had plenty of time today, so I decided to attempt tortellini. I followed the basic recipe at Vegan Dad for the dough and the ricotta. I cheated and used a jarred sauce-Newman’s Own is my favorite premade pasta sauce.

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Thai Peanut Noodles

27 Nov DSC_0982

I’m a huge proponent of cheap and fast lunches. Especially right now, when we’ve been away and our pantry is the only stocked area of the kitchen. (I currently only have fruit, juice, and a giant jar of pickles in my refrigerator.) Fortunately, I do have plenty of pasta and peanut butter.

This only took me about 10 minutes to make, but apparently the noodles soak up the sauce, making any leftovers very dry. I will just save the sauce and noodles separately next time I make it.

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Miso Soup

26 Nov DSC_0970

After a full weekend of indulging at Thanksgiving, all I wanted was something light and brothy last night. I have two cans of no-chicken noodle soup around, but miso soup sounded so much more delicious.

Sometimes when I get a stomach ache I like to make a quick version with just vegetable broth and miso, but since I had time, I simmered the kombu to make a vegan dashi stock, which adds more flavor and depth to the soup. I also used some thinly slice nori, since I didn’t have wakame to add to the soup. I prefer wakame, because it unfurls and is softer, so if you can find it, definitely use it. I also added shiitake mushrooms back into the soup after making the stock, but they are completely optional. Button mushrooms would be nice too.

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Vegan Kniffles (Spaetzle)

17 Nov DSC_0942

No, that is not a plate full of maggots. That is a plate full of delicious little German dumplings that taste like a mixture of comfort and happiness. At my house, we call them kniffles but they also are known as spaetzle.

Do you ever just wake up in the middle of the night inspired? And then you spend an hour researching your idea to come to absolutely no conclusions? Well, that’s what happened to me last night. I had a sudden craving for my mom’s kniffles. The main ingredient in her kniffles are eggs, but I wondered if I could substitute ground flax seeds. She’s been making them for me since I was kid, using the recipe she learned from her German grandmother. We usually eat them coated in butter with either salt or sugar, but you can also put them in soup or use gravy over top.

Since we make them by hand, the dumplings are misshapen and lumpy, but feel free to use a spaetzle press or press the dough through a colander with the back of a spoon.

Note: In retrospect, I should have made this photo more visually appealing. Forgive me, I was hungry.

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Japanese Pan Noodles

16 Nov DSC_0931

A while ago I worked right next to a Noodles and Company-it was less than a two minute walk away. I was such a regular there they had my order memorized-Japanese Pan Noodles with extra sauce and extra extra extra cilantro.

Yes, I really do like cilantro that much. Unfortunately, my local market didn’t have any fresh cilantro today, so I had to do without.

The original recipe calls for udon noodles, which you can find fresh at some Asian markets. I’ve also found some in soup packages at my local grocery store-they look a bit like this. I substituted rice noodles, but if you can find udon noodles, feel free to use them.

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Creamy Avocado Pasta

14 Nov DSC_0895

If you hadn’t guessed by the name of my blog, I’m a pretty big fan of avocados.

I try to keep 2-3 around at all times, because I never know when an avocado craving is going to hit me. And when it does hit, I like to be prepared. There’s nothing more disappointing than craving a creamy avocado, going to the grocery store and finding nothing but rock hard, days-from-being-ripe avocados.

Prior to going vegan, I LOVED alfredo sauce. It’s something I’ve tried to replicate with vegan ingredients, but so far my success rate is pretty low. Feel free to leave me links below if you have a good alfredo recipe! This recipe mimics the creaminess of alfredo, but with much less saturated fat (if you pay attention to those kinds of things.)

One note: This sauce does not keep well. Serve it immediately, otherwise you’ll end up with a brown, albeit tasty, mess.

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Homemade Sushi

13 Nov Homemade Sushi

I fell in love with sushi years ago. I was lucky enough to be given a rolling mat and the beginning ingredients when I was 16 and I’ve been making it at home ever since. I recently learned how to do an inside out roll and I wanted to share. Things you will need:

  • Rice cooker
  • Rolling mat
  • Saran wrap/cling wrap
  • Nori sheets
  • Short grain white rice
  • Rice vinegar
  • White sugar
  • Avocado, cucumber, green onion, carrots, etc. for filling
  • Sesame seeds
  • Gari(pickled ginger) and wasabi for garnish *you can find these is most large grocery stores

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Sweet Chili Baked Tofu

12 Nov DSC_0887

I had quite a bit of chili sauce leftover from making Thai summer rolls yesterday, so I wanted a recipe that would use most of it. I found the recipe for the sauce here.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat to a boil then lower to simmer until thickened.

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Vegan Pad See Ew

11 Nov Vegan Pad See ew

There’s a period of time every week where I get a craving for Thai food. However, most Thai restaurants cook with oyster sauce and fish sauce, which makes trying to order vegan complicated. I realize it’s hard on the wait staff and sometimes they don’t know if the sauces are premixed or added during cooking, so it’s easier to cook it myself. It’s also much cheaper!

I’ve found an Asian grocery store in Springfield that orders all the fresh noodles for the Thai restaurants in the area. However, if I don’t go on Friday, they’re usually already gone. I like to use these for Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao) as well. If you can’t find them, extra large rice noodles will work just as well.

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