Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Mint" Your Carob Cake

I recently baked another yummy carob cake for a friend's birthday. Since it was to be a surprise, her husband gave me instructions for the evening and he gave me a great idea. He said she often makes her chocolate/carob cake with mint in it.

So I decided to figure it out. Without checking other recipes, I first thought about adding in some crushed mint leaves since I had those. And then I remembered that my husband uses peppermint oil for migraine relief, so I tried that. I was only making a small cake (one layer of a two layered cake) so I put in only about 4 or 5 drops from my little tiny bottle of peppermint oil.

I am happy to report that it was a success! And what's interesting is this friend has been using the same recipe for carob cake that I've been using for years too! =)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad

Another recipe from the "American Vegetarian Cookbook" to accompany the recipe posted yesterday for "Stedda" Ricotta.

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 -1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard, or 1 teaspoon vegan mayonnaise
6 cups fresh spinach, well washed
1/4 cup slivered sun-dried tomatoes (see my note)
1/4 - 1/2 cup "Stedda" Ricotta

(My note: Rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes with some warm water for a few minutes while you continue with recipe. If they are oil-packed, then you don't need to do this step. Just remove as much oil as you can or use less oil in the recipe.)

Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a whisk. Thoroughly dry the spinach and break into bite-size pieces into the salad bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and the "Stedda" Ricotta. Toss well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Stedda" Ricotta

I am sharing a recipe for a ricotta cheese substitute. It is from the "American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit For Life Kitchen" by Marilyn Diamond. I have used this for a salad recipe (from the same book), which I will share forthcoming.

So for now, make this and it'll be ready for the salad in the next post. Or you can use it for any recipe calling for ricotta cheese. And no, it doesn't call for miso, soy sauce, or nutritional yeast. Very simple to make.

"Stedda" Ricotta

1 pound firm tofu (I like the water packed kind for this)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or ground rock salt

Original instructions in the book:
Place three-fourths of the tofu and the remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until thick and smooth. Mash the remaining tofu into the blended mixture.

(My note: Where you want a more "pudding" like texture for your recipe, the above instructions will serve you well. If you like a chunkier texture, then use my method below for your dish.)

My method:
Mash all the ingredients in a flat bottomed bowl or container with a potato masher (aka: "avocado masher"). Be careful when mashing to start at one side of the tofu block working your through. You have just mixed it pretty well, by the time you are done mashing. Now just chill it. I like it this way. =)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Green Pea Salad

Here is a quick and easy salad to make when you might not have lettuce on hand.

Green Pea Salad

1 pound frozen peas (or thaw first)
2 green onions, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil (can use part flax seed oil)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt or homemade seasoned salt, to taste
dill weed, as desired

Mix together the oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Mix this marinade and the onions and peas up to 3-4 hours before serving if frozen. If peas are thawed when making this recipe, then they will be ready to serve in less time.

I have made the marinade the night before, then mixed it with the (frozen) peas and onions a few hours before the meal. Then stirred again before serving. Works well this way and didn't need to be refrigerated once mixed all together.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crockpot Layered Dinner

With cold weather upon us, I think about warming meals to make. This dish was made for us shortly after our daughter was born. We don't make it often, but it has a good homemade feel to it. Of course, I love having the crockpot to cook all day while I do other things. It has an interesting combination of herbs and spices. It's like a casserole in a crockpot.

Crockpot Layered Dinner
from McDougall Plan

Layer in crockpot in order given:

6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
mushrooms (optional)
broccoli (optional)
green beans (optional)

Mix together this sauce and pour over vegetables:

2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium tamari (or other soy sauce)
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sage
2 Tablespoons parsley flakes

Cook on low for 12 hours or on high for 6 hours.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kale Snack "Chips"

I've been seeing recipes for a kale snack that I've been wanting to try for a while. I finally tried it yesterday. It is very good and I don't know why I haven't tried it before. It's very simple to make. It's a sort of a melt-in-your-mouth crisp and not really crunchy. It is really good right out of the oven. Since my children and I enjoyed them this way (and we ate them all!), I don't even know if they'd store well. They disappear and leave you wanting more.

I am posting the recipe for how I made it, although it seems to be pretty standard. Add oil and salt/seasoning and bake.

Kale Snack "Chips"

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, in bite size pieces
oil (I used olive oil)
apple cider vinegar (optional)
salt or seasoned salt
(for variety, add other seasonings as desired for other flavors...spicy, chili, etc.)

Mix together in a 9"x 13" cake pan until coated. Spread out on the pan evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or more until crispy. They will shrink some. I had apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and gave it a few sprays, drizzled the oil onto the kale and then salted. Amounts are as needed.

If you want to make more, just make another pan as needed with another bunch of kale. I have a feeling that if you were making this to take somewhere, you'd want to make sure that you put it into a rigid container to make sure it doesn't get crushed. Otherwise you might end up with seasoned kale powder! =)