According to the recipe notes, the "aurora" in "Radiatore with Aurora Sauce" (page 196) is the name given to a tomato sauce that has been lightened with cream to a pink blush. In this vegan version you are given the option of using vegan cream cheese or soft tofu in place of the traditional cream. I chose to use soft tofu, which is puréed in the blender with a portion of the sauce. The sauce consists of a can of crushed tomatoes seasoned with Italian spices. To keep the sauce oil free, I did not sauté the green onion and garlic in oil, in fact, I just added them uncooked to the sauce prior to puréeing to keep the flavor more intense. Even with that, I found this preparation a little plain. The tofu mellowed out the tomato sauce to the point of almost being bland, but I was able to remedy that with the addition of red pepper flakes sprinkled on at the table. As is usually the case, I cut back on the amount of pasta the recipe called for, from one pound to about 12 ounces, as I find that quantity of pasta too much for the amount of sauce.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
"Chinese "Chicken" Salad" (page 83) is a great dish on a hot summer day when the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove or oven. You can almost make a meal of this alone, or add some whole grain bread and fruit to round things out. Baked marinated tofu stands in for the chicken in this preparation, and is tossed into a mixture of lettuce, carrot, green onion, and cilantro, then moistened with a peanut butter based dressing. I skipped the sesame oil in the dressing and didn't miss it at all with plenty of flavor from everything else. My husband and I polished this off in one sitting (recipe says it serves 4, but I used just half the amount of tofu called for).
Sunday, July 17, 2011
The "Cashew Chocolate Pudding" (page 474) is by far the richest, most decadent chocolate pudding I've ever had, vegan or otherwise. It is dangerously delicious, and I say "dangerously" because it would be just too easy to eat the entire batch, alone, in one sitting. Since the recipe includes one cup of chocolate chips and ½ cup cashews that probably wouldn't be a good idea. Add to this soymilk, tofu, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, you end up with a creamy pudding that almost has the consistency of a chocolate mousse. I'm quite certain this dessert would not pass muster with Dr. McDougall, at least not on a regular basis. The solid fat in the chocolate chips are the biggest culprit (from cocoa butter, natural, but not necessarily healthful). But maybe I can squeeze this in every once in a while, for a very special occasion like a birthday or Valentine's Day.
Monday, July 11, 2011
"Classic Tofu Lasagna" (page 215) is one of eight separate lasagna recipes in this cookbook. As the name suggests, this particular recipe is straightforward, incorporating layers of noodles, seasoned tofu, and marinara sauce, all baked in the oven until done. As a matter of personal preference, I used the no-boil lasagna noodles, along with jarred marinara, as it makes preparation almost effortless. The only problem is, so far, I have not found whole grain no-boil noodles, so I failed in keeping this within my "whole grains" guidelines. I was, however, able to keep the dish oil free, without any changes to the recipe required. Bonus! One adjustment I did make was to add garlic powder and Italian seasoning to the tofu mix to jazz it up a little. Red pepper flakes added at the table is also very tasty for those who like a little spice.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Nothing tastes better than fresh sweet fruit, and you really can't go wrong no matter what combination of fruits you throw together. "Blazing Sunset Salad" (page 96) utilizes fruits of many colors - golden delicious apple, orange, banana, peach, and cherries - to create a colorful mix of pure delicious. Dressed lightly with lemon juice and agave nectar (I used pure maple syrup) is an option, I think, as the fruit all by itself is sweet and flavorful enough to stand on its own.
Monday, July 4, 2011
"Orange & Cinnamon-Spiced Coffee" (page 539) combines cinnamon stick, orange zest (from a fresh orange), and ground coffee and brews them up for a cup of café au cheer. If you are a coffee lover like me, you will appreciate this variation on the basic cuppa joe. I didn't really notice too much orange flavor, so maybe next time I'll add more. The cinnamon flavor seemed to intensify as the coffee cooled down some. A nice way to serve coffee for a festive occasion.