Friday, April 29, 2011

Minted Quinoa Salad with Pineapple-Fig Dressing

My camera is broken, so this will have to be a pictureless post, a shame because the salad was quite pretty.  I served it rolled up in toasted nori cones, but it would also be good in spring roll wrappers, lettuce wraps, or just heaped in a bowl. Mint gives the salad a summery flavor, but since it uses dried fruit you don't have to wait until summer to make it.

The ingredients 
2 1/2 c quinoa
1/2 c packed dried peaches or apricots, cut in small pieces (or substitute fresh peaches, apricots, or nectarines)
1/2 c slivered almonds
1/3-1/2 c packed mint leaves, sliced
greens from 4 green onions and white parts from 2 green onions, sliced

2/3 c pineapple juice
7 dried figs
2 T vinegar
1 T liquid aminos
white parts from 2 green onions

The Process:

  1. Cook quinoa, adding apricots to the boiling water when you add the quinoa.  (Or if using fresh fruit instead, add it at the end when you add the onions and mint.)
  2. Allow quinoa to cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours, or overnight.
  3. Make dressing: pulse all dressing ingredients in the blender or food processor until mostly smooth, adding a little water if it seems too thick.
  4. Toss almonds, mint, and green onions into quinoa, then add dressing and toss until combined.
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Peanut Butter Meltaways

You can make these peanut butter meltaways in a single dish in your microwave, with only 4 ingredients. The meltaways give you the flavor combo of peanut butter cups, with a lot less work.  (The white candies pictured are an attempt at a coconut meltaway, but they were a little off, so I'll revisit those another time.)

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 T powdered sugar
2 t almond milk

The Process:

  1. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl, and microwave for a couple minutes on medium heat, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate chips are completely melted.  
  2. Spoon into candy molds or mini muffin papers.
  3. Refrigerate for about an hour, or until firm.  Store leftovers in the fridge, since they might melt a bit at room temp.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pesto Polenta

Not only does this recipe have an alliterative name, it also contains two of my favorite foods.  Pesto and polenta belong together.  Especially baked in a casserole dish and smothered in vegan cheese.

The ingredients
1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
4 cups water
a dash oil
a dash salt
1-1.5 cups pesto ( I use basil, raw walnuts, plenty of nutritional yeast, and enough olive oil to make it hold together.  I think coarsely-chopped pesto is best for this recipe)
3/4 of a block of Follow Your Heart mozzarella (or an equivalent amount of your favorite vegan cheese), grated

The Process
  1. Combine cornmeal and water in a saucepan.  Add a dash of oil and some salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Pour into an oiled casserole dish, and put in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.  Polenta should get very firm as it cools.  You could also refrigerate it overnight at this point.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°.
  4. Spread pesto over polenta, top with cheese, and bake about 15 minutes.
  5. Broil for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
  6. Cut into wedges and serve piping hot.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peanut Battered Tofu

This dinner rocked.  I've been using Trader Joe's peanut flour in my smoothies, but this was my first time cooking with it.  I made a peanut flour batter, battered and fried the tofu, and then drizzled on a coconut milk-peanut flour sauce before serving.  Crispy, peanuty, and just a little sweet, the peanut flour batter was somewhat reminiscent of pancakes.  I served this with steamed broccoli and peanut-scallion rice.

Battered Tofu
  1. In a shallow bowl, make batter by combining 2 parts peanut flour to 1 part white flour, a sprinkle of cornstarch, and enough almond milk to make a thick batter.
  2. Slice a block of firm or extra-firm tofu into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices.
  3. Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Dip tofu in batter, then fry about 2 minutes per side or until golden-brown.
Coconut-Peanut Sauce
  1. Stir together about 1/2 cup peanut flour, 1/2-1 teaspoon powdered ginger, and a dash of salt.
  2. Add a spoonful of sesame oil, and enough coconut milk to make the sauce the consistency you want.
  3. Blend or vigorously whisk to get out the lumps.  Microwave sauce for a minute before serving.
Peanut-Scallion Rice
 Make rice.  Just before serving, stir a couple handfuls of chopped peanuts and a few thinly-sliced scallions into the rice.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthday Cake

I just returned from celebrating my birthday with a long weekend camping in Yosemite.  My husband made me this coconut cake and brought it along.  He used the "Coconut Heaven Cupcake"  recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, doubled it to make 2 layers, and put raspberry jam between the two layers.  The cake didn't rise for some reason, so it was kind of flat and dense, but still pretty tasty, and an admirable effort for my  cooking-phobic husband.  Thanks, Justin!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Spring is in full-force here, and that means it's time to start grilling again!  Yesterday I made some delicious portabella mushroom sandwiches by brushing the mushrooms in a mixture of olive oil and garlic, tossing them on the grill, and serving them on grilled bread slathered in Vegenaise.  They were so good I gobbled them all up and forgot to take a picture.

Today I made grilled burritos.  These are filled with refried black beans, quinoa, and carmelized onions.  Quinoa is fantastic in burritos—less dense and more flavorful than rice. I grilled them at around 330° for about 4 minutes on each side.  Delicious!

Site Construction

Hi Folks, my apologies to anyone who has had trouble with my site over the past couple days, as I've been giving my blog a bit of a makeover.  The construction is now finished, and I hope you like the new look!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vida Vegan Conference

I've been on the waiting list to register for the Vida Vegan conference, and just found out I got in! I am so excited to learn more about blogging and meet many of my favorite bloggers!