Saturday, March 31, 2012

Penne with White Beans, Red Chard, & Grape Tomatoes

Although the "Penne with White Beans, Red Chard, and Grape Tomatoes" (page 212) is written to be served as a warm main dish meal, I found I liked it better chilled, and served as a pasta salad. Sautéed garlic and chard, mixed with the beans and tomatoes are tossed with penne pasta and fresh basil. Since I omitted the two tablespoons of oil called for, I added a squeeze of fresh lemon for added moisture (and flavor). I had a small amount of penne and a small amount of corkscrew pasta left over in my pantry, so I used a combination of the two, for a total of about 7 ounces dry (as opposed to the 1 pound called for in the recipe). This amount of pasta was more than sufficient in this recipe - any more would have been too much pasta, not enough veggies, for my taste.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Soy Sausage Scramble

If you are a vegan, and have been missing the more traditional "sausage and eggs" type breakfast, you might find the "Soy Sausage Scramble" (page 507) to your liking. A simple dish to prepare, consisting of lightly seasoned tofu scrambled with any variety of soy sausage (or seitan) that appeals to you, along with a sautéed onion. I omitted the oil when sautéing the onion, and used an oil free sausage, so this was relatively low in fat. If you like a softer scrambled tofu, the silken variety works well, and is lower in fat then the firmer varieties. Serve this dish with toast or tortillas, and your favorite condiments (ketchup, salsa, BBQ sauce) on the side

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apple & Pear Cobbler

Because most of the desserts in this book contain generous amounts of oil, usually in the form of margarine, I have found this section quite challenging. So, when I read the recipe for "Apple and Pear Cobbler" (page 471) and saw it only called for 2 tablespoons of oil, I was relieved - it's easy to omit or replace this small amount of oil. (It's not easy to replace ¼ cup margarine and get the intended results.) For this recipe, I replaced the oil with a scant ¼ cup applesauce, a nice complement to the fresh apples and pears baked into the cobbler. The dish is a mixture of Granny Smith apples and ripe pears mixed with sugar, cinnamon, and allspice, topped with a cake-like batter, and baked in the oven. Delicious!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lentil Salad With Chiles

"Lentil Salad with Chiles" (page 78) is a combination of cooked brown lentils, tomatoes, celery, green onions, hot or mild chiles (depending on personal preference), mixed with a sherry or balsamic vinegar based dressing (I opted for balsamic). When reviewing the dressing ingredients, I was initially stumped on what to use in place of the ¼ cup olive oil, a significant quantity, and too much "ingredient" to just totally leave out. What I decided on was a combination of 2 TBL veggie broth, 1 TBL light miso paste, and 1 TBL of sherry - perfection! Complex flavor, necessary amount of moistness, and no fat! This salad is delicious and the leftovers improve after a day in the refrigerator.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ted's Artichoke & Green Bean Bake

"Ted's Artichoke and Green Bean Bake" (page 354) is a delicious casserole chock full of vegetables: green beans, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, and artichokes. Some of the veggies are sautéed, and others are steamed, then all are combined in a thickened sauce before transferring to a casserole dish to be baked in the oven. Bread crumbs and vegan parmesan top things off for a nice light "crust". I left out the oil when sautéing the veggies, and at that point, instead of trying to incorporate flour into a fairly dry skillet, I mixed it with the veggie broth in a blender until smooth, then added this mixture to the veggies and cooked until thickened. Who is Ted, you might be asking? Ted is the father of one of the recipe testers for this book, who himself was writing a cookbook when he died in 1998. Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of his recipes, but happily, not this one. My only complaint about this dish was it didn't thicken up as much as I would have liked. When I make it next time, I'll try using more flour.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegan Eggs Benedict

"Vegan Eggs Benedict" (page 511) is fun food! It's also very delicious, and pretty to look at. Circles of tofu (tinted yellow with a bit of turmeric) stand in for the eggs and vegan Canadian bacon for the ham. Toasted English muffins are layered with a slice of tomato, a tofu circle, and a slice of Canadian bacon, smothered in Hollandaze Sauce (see review below), then topped off with a sprinkle of minced parsley for garnish. According to the recipe, you can get six "egg" circles out of a pound of tofu, but I was only able to get four without making the slices of tofu much too thin to work with. I did end up with some residual tofu pieces which I added to a soup dish later in the week. To keep this dish oil free, dry-fry the tofu and bacon in a nonstick skillet. Also, leave the margarine off the toasted English muffins - really, you won't even miss it with the rich flavor of the Hollandaze Sauce!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hollandaze Sauce

You might think hollandaise sauce is off the menu if you are vegan, but not so! This version of "Hollandaze Sauce" (page 552) is creamy, rich, and perfect in all the same dishes you would use traditional hollandaise, such as steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and of course, on Vegan Eggs Benedict (review to follow soon). The vegan version found here is a blend of cashews, nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, spices, and melted vegan margarine. Instead of the 3 tablespoons margarine, I used about 1/4 - 1/3 cup water, only because without some additional liquid, the sauce would have been too thick. With the richness and natural fat found in the cashews, you really won't miss the margarine at all if you leave it out. This is a very rich sauce, and a little goes a long way. As good as it is, I am definitely reserving this for very special occasions.