Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sauteed Yams with Garlic and Cayenne

I made these for Thanksgiving as kind of an afterthought, but they turned out to be my favorite part of the meal. I'll take spicy yams over marshmallow-covered ones any day.

The Ingredients:
3 T olive oil or margarine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lbs yams, cut in bite-size pieces
pinch cayenne
pinch salt

The Process:
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute about 2 minutes.
  2. Add yams, raise heat to medium-high, sprinkle with cayenne and salt, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until slightly softened (about 15-20 minutes, depending on how soft you like them).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Maple-Marinated Stuffed Tofu Cubes

These were a pretty addition to my Thanksgiving feast, and they require next to no time to prepare.  Freezing the tofu gives it a spongy texture and allows you to extract more water from the tofu.

The Ingredients:
1 block firm tofu, frozen, then thawed
3/4 c stuffing
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c vegetable broth
2 T vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t onion powder
a pinch cayenne

The Process:
  1. Squeeze as much water as you can from the tofu while still keeping it in tact. Cut tofu into four cubes. Use a small spoon or apple corer to hollow out the middle of each cube to within 1/4 inch of the cube's bottom.
  2. Combine syrup, broth, oil, garlic, onion powder, and cayenne, and pour this mixture over the tofu.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, then drain.
  3. Spoon stuffing into the hollow of each cube, and bake at about 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until tofu is golden.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I was determined to keep this year's Thanksgiving meal modest since I was only cooking for me and my husband, but it ended up being a feast big enough to serve 8. Oh well, now I won't have to cook for the next week.  Pictured are mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, stir-fried yams with cayenne and garlic, stuffed tofu, wine-braised green beans and crimini mushrooms, and walnut and lentil dressing.  We also had cranberry sauce from a can, which I for some reason consider a Thanksgiving essential, and later we'll enjoy this gorgeous apple cranberry pie that my husband made:

I'll be posting some of the recipes from this dinner over the next few days.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this meal was Jasper-approved, though at first he was skeptical about whether he was allowed to eat it:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chocolate Syrup

Homemade chocolate syrup tastes far superior to the store-bought kind, and it's nice to be able to adjust the chocolate-to-sugar ratio to match your individual preference.  This lasts at least a few weeks (probably longer) in the fridge, and is great for chocolate milk, ice cream topping, or spooning directly into your mouth.

The Ingredients:
1 c water
1 1/3 c powdered sugar
1 c cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
2 t vanilla

The Process:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk cocoa and salt into water until simmering and lump-free.
  2. Whisk in powdered sugar and continue to cook at a low simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Store syrup in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coconut Coffee Muffins

These muffins offer a hit of caffeine and the light crunch of toasted coconut.  Plus they're round and cute.

The Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
1 T arrowroot
1 T baking powder
3/4 t salt
3/4 c coconut milk (canned, not low fat)
3/4 c brewed coffee
1/3 c almond milk
1 T vanilla
2 t instant coffee granules
3/4 t coconut extract (optional, for stronger coconut flavor)
1 1/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut, toasted until golden-brown

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, arrowroot, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, coffee, almond milk, extracts, and instant coffee.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, then fold in toasted coconut.
  5. Pour into lightly-oiled muffin tins, and bake about 17-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Remove from pan and cool on a baking rack.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Grasshopper Brownies

You can't go wrong with mint and chocolate together, so I covered these brownies in minty icing.  The mint in this case comes from creme de menthe, but if you want a non-alcoholic version you could use a little peppermint extract mixed with soy milk.

The Ingredients:
6 oz. silken tofu
1/2 c margarine (room temperature)
1/2 c almond milk
1 T vanilla
2 c flour
1 3/4 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
3/4 c chocolate chips

1/2 c margarine
1/2 c shortening
1/2 c creme de menthe
3-3 1/2 c powdered sugar

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend tofu, margarine, almond milk, and vanilla until very smooth.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter in an oiled 9x13 pan, and bake about 45 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Let brownies cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, make icing.  Beat together margarine, shortening, and creme de menthe. Beat in powdered sugar at high speed, adding sugar in 1/2 cup increments until icing is thick and fluffy.
  8. Top cooled brownies with icing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Polenta "Muffins"

It might be cheating to use these for a muffin post since they're more of a main course, but I needed a little break from all the baked goods. I made the polenta following the "Soft Broccoli Polenta" recipe from Appetite for Reduction.  After the polenta was cooked, I scooped it into oiled muffin tins, topped it with some sliced seitan, and broiled it at 475 degrees for about 8 minutes.  These were creamy and delicious, and cute to boot.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Avocado Cake

The fat in this cake and its icing comes from avocados.  This was my first time trying avocado in a cake and I was pleased with the moist, fluffy texture of the cake.  The icing is incredibly rich, so you may want to just use part of it and set some of it aside for another purpose.

The Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
2 c almond milk
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c applesauce
1 medium avocado, mashed or food processed until smooth
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T vanilla

2 medium avocados
2 t lemon juice
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
3-4 c powdered sugar

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining cake ingredients.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, pour into 2 8-inch round cake pans, and bake about 36-42 minutes or until cooked through.
  5. Let cake cool for a few minutes before removing from pans, then cool completely on a baking rack.
  6. Meanwhile, make icing: with a hand mixer, beat together avocado and lemon juice until smooth.  Add cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and 1 c of powdered sugar and continue to beat until smooth.  Beat in remaining powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until icing is as thick as you prefer.
  7. To assemble cake, top one cooled cake round with about 1/2 the icing, place remaining cake round on top, and spread with remaining icing.  I left the sides of this cake bare because the icing is so rich.