Saturday, July 25, 2009

green bean & peanut stir fry

i tend to make solo meals more spicy than when i'm cooking for others. this particular evening i was craving a stir fry, and had some fresh green beans lying around. i decided to add in some peanuts and give it healthy dose of chili oil. the green bean and peanut combination was fantastic!

  • 1 ½ tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 tablespoon veggie hoisin
  • 1/4 cup party peanuts
  • 1 large handful green beans (about 25)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
add oils, peanuts and garlic into a wok or large non-stick skillet. sauté on high for 1 minute. then add in the fresh green beans and stir fry until oil has almost cooked off. it's likely that your green beans are probably not very tender, so at this point, add in the water and hoisin and turn down heat to medium. let the water steam/cook the beans for while, stirring often. as the water starts to cook off (about 5-7 minutes), you'll find a nice glaze from the oil and soy starts to coat the beans and peanuts. this glaze is what i find so tasty about this dish. remove from heat when glaze is at your desired consistency. i think a thick coating with very little liquid, so i cook the full 7 minutes. if you are serving over rice, you might want it a little bit more fluid.

the measurements above were for a single-serving meal, so double or triple as necessary.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

fresh veggie pasta

summer produce makes my world go round. farmer's markets, local gardens, roadside fruits and veggies... i love being able to incorporate all this freshness into my meals. sure, i use a can of this or that along the way, but the bright colours and crisp flavours take center stage.

  • 8 oz. pasta
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium sunburst squash
  • 1/4 head of cabbage
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • *or three fresh tomatoes
  • 1 half can tomato paste (3 oz.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
cook pasta according to directions on package. chop all veggies into bite size pieces, and shred cabbage. in a large skillet or saucepan, pour in the entire can of tomatoes (including liquid!) and add veggies and spices. if you use fresh tomatoes, you may need to add 1/2 cup a water because this liquid really helps soften the veggies and cabbage. cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, until cabbage is tender. add in the tomato paste around the 10 minute mark - the tomato paste serves as a thickening agent for the sauce, so you may need to add more than 3. oz if sauce is still thin.

pour chunky veggie sauce over your pasta noodles of choice - here with elbow macaroni.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

lettuce wrap burritos

i love the combination of hot and cold with these burritos - you don't often find lettuce wraps stuffed with a warm inside. not to mention that these burritos are pretty healthy, and serving them lettuce-wrap-style gives them a fun crunchy texture you wouldn't get with a regular tortilla. be sure and have lots of napkins around - if these are overstuffed, you might run into some messy eating. :)

  • 1 head fresh broccoli
  • 1/2 large zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 can rotel
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4-5 large romaine leaves
  • fixins: guac, olives, salsa, jalapenos
heat coconut oil in large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. chop the broccoli, zucchini and pepper down and toss them into the skillet. saute for 1-2 minutes, then add in the water to help soften the veggies. when veggies start to become tender, add the kidney beans, rotel and spices.

saute/simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the liquids have cooked off. remove from heat and let cool a little before spooning mixture into the lettuce leaves. add your favourite burrito fixins' and enjoy!

Friday, July 10, 2009

crusted tofu and sautéed chard

i'm no gourmet vegan chef, but sometimes i put my fancy pants on. i love to make these crusted tofu cutlets because they are simple, and you can easily glamorize them. plus they are baked, not fried, so they are definitely on the healthier side. to give the tofu a firmer texture, you can freeze it after pressing. just be sure to give it enough time to thaw, though. i've made that mistake a few times!

  • 1 block of extra firm tofu
  • 1 bunch gold chard, chopped
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups balsamic vinegar
for the marinade:
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
for the batter:
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning
press your tofu and slice into thick slabs. mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. lay tofu slices in a 8x11 casserole dish, and pour marinade over top. place dish in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

mix batter ingredients on plate or in a bowl. take each tofu slab and place in them mixture. coat both sides. place a layer of foil on a cookie sheet, and coat with nonstick spray or use a little olive oil. bake tofu in oven for 30 minutes at 440°f, flipping half way through.

while tofu is baking, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on medium heat. once balsamic is heated up, turn burner to low and stir often. the heat causes the vinegar to thicken up into a nice glaze. some people add sugar to their reductions, but i don't think it needs it.

put butter in non-stick skillet, and sauté garlic. once garlic starts to brown, add the chard and tomato. continue sautéing on medium-high until chard is tender. sometimes i will add a tablespoon or two of water to assist the wilting process.

make a bed of greens with the chard and place two tofu cutlets on top. drizzle with balsamic reduction sauce, and enjoy and an easy 'gourmet' dinner. :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

barbecue veggie kabobs

i live in the midwest, and have grown up eating grilled barbecue food for most of my life. i love portabello mushrooms, stuffed green peppers, homemade brats, and everything in between. i really love veggie kabobs because you can use a variety of veggies to mix it up each time. this isn't really a 'recipe', per se, but an idea of how us veggie folks grill non-meat style. trust me, it is so filling! pardon my non-plated picture, but i was just too hungry!

veggie varieties:
  • mushrooms
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • bell peppers, any color
  • zucchini
  • yellow squash
  • cactus
  • corn cob sections
cut all your favourite produce so it is close to bite-sized. find some wooden or metal skewers, and mix and match all your veggies. i use a basting brush, and coat everything heavily in bbq sauce. if you have too many veggies, toss the remainders in a grill basket with seasoning salt. make sure to put things like corn and potato slices on their own skewer as they need longer amounts of time to grill. after starting those kabobs, add the skewers with more tender veggies - they finish up in about 7-10 minutes on grill-medium heat.

when everything is grilled, pull all veggies off and eat up. optionally, serve on a bed of rice.

on a side note, i kept wanting to spell 'kebab' - but i guess that is traditionally more meat oriented. if i would google just 'kabob', it would ask me if wanted to spell 'kebab' instead. but i would google 'veggie kebab', it would ask me to spell 'veggie kabob'. interesting....