Monthly Archives:

May 2011

Brown Bread with Radishes

I rarely make bread.  I love the smell.  I love the taste.  I even romanticize the drawn out process.  But frankly, it’s not currently a top priority of mine to set aside the time required to do it.  Particularly at this time of year.  Maybe I’ll change my mind when grey hair starts conquering my head and boredom overlays my retired brain, but at the present moment I’d rather spend hours with my bike than my oven.

However, I’m still a juvenile baker at heart though, and always will be.  I still cherish lick-able beaters, gooey oven-baked brownies, uncooked cookie dough, and all that other baking-related jazz that doesn’t require hours and hours of sitting and waiting.

Luckily there are a few no-yeast, no-rise breads that fall into this category.  Like the recipe for this brown bread, which both comes together quickly and also bakes up in no time.  It’s one of my favorites because it’s packed with whole wheat flour, AKA fiber, and has a really uniquely wheaty taste.

Sometimes I use orange zest, rather than lemon, which creates a great breakfast bread, perfect with orange marmalade or jam.  I decided to stick with lemon zest this time around, figuring it’d go better with the garden-pulled radishes with which I’d be topping it.  I run out of things to do with radishes, so when this idea came across my mind, I jumped on it.  Crunchy and naturally peppery, the thinly sliced spring specialty pairs perfectly with a dense bread such as this one.

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Vegan Stuffed Mushroom Poppers

Here’s another great party app., this time one without dairy.  Although, it is not without “cheese.”

Ever since I was introduced to the stuff, I’ve been on an unending Daiya kick. I swear, when melted, the dairy-free cheese, is so velvety and smooth, it’s almost better than real cheese. Sure, it can’t compare to the Roqueforts and the double cream Bries of the cheese kingdom. It has a relatively bland taste, but one that can certainly stand up to your standard melted mozzarella, if not surpass it in texture and flavor.

While Daiya’s website will make it seem otherwise, I originally heard that the creator of Daiya was not a vegan with a significant longing for cheese, but rather an inventor who wanted to tackle on the problem of yucky-tasting soy cheeses. Maybe that’s why Daiya’s so good. If you’re a professional inventor, you’ve probably got some special science tricks up your sleeve, along with the dedication to continously experiment until you’ve created an end product that’s just right. Daiya claims,”The story began with a love of pizza and a family kitchen,” probably for promotional purposes. They dodge the fact of whether inventor Andre Kroecher is vegan or not, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t when he set out to create Daiya. But he did an exceptional job at creating a dairy-free cheese product. I won’t ever test out another soy cheese product after tasting Daiya. Which is good, because the majority of those soy cheese products usually ended up in the garbage rather than my mouth.

Anyways, with an open bag of Daiya in the fridge and a package of mushrooms, I was inspired to create vegan mushroom poppers, a delicious bite-sized snack/appetizer/party food. These were so easy, but turned out so well that my boyfriend actually remarked it was one of his favorite recipes of mine. Figures he would pick one that took less than 10 minutes to prepare. Vary the chili-garlic sauce depending on how much heat you prefer, tasting the sauce before you stuff the mini mushrooms. Two tablespoons will give you pretty spicy poppers, which are great for a kick.

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Cheddar Chorizo Baguette Melts (Vegetarian)

The other day, my roommate picked up some Trader Joe’s vegan chorizo, which turned out to exceedingly surpass my expectations.  The meat-free chorizo came in a casing, a plastic one that is (as opposed to pig intestines), that held a spicy blend of deeply flavored soy crumbles.

Luckily my roommate went home for the summer and mistakenly left the remnants of her chorizo in the fridge for me to use.  Free food = win.  Free food that’s vegan and tastes awesome = WIN.

Since the chorizo is already infused with a spice blend, it doesn’t need much dressing up.  For this recipe, I simply paired it with a crusty baguette and a little cheddar cheese.  Melted in the oven and topped with a hint of fresh parsley, these turned out to be a huge hit.

The baguette rounds make great finger food, and thus are perfect for parties or potlucks.  AKA, looking for a Memorial Day recipe? Then try this. The appearance might just dupe your meat-lovin’ friends, and if you’re still hooked on meat, these will enthrall your own taste buds as well.  If you don’t live near a Trader Joes, I’m sure another soy chorizo brand would work, just be sure to look for one that has a crumbly texture and a pre-spiced flavor.

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Scrambled Tofu

People always ask me what they should do with their blank canvas block of tofu. Here’s the the thing. Since tofu is pretty much a white canvas ingredient, it lends itself to so many different usages. Like with other mildly flavored starting points, it’s all about the ingredients with which you marry it. You can add a crust of spices and turn it into a pan-fried, protein-centered meal that resembles a moist filet of fish. Or you can transform tofu into a creamy, hearty gratin, so heavenly it will undoubtedly impress your meat-lovin’ friends. Or go for a sweet creation and convert it into a decadent, eggless chocolate mousse.

As long as you don’t gnaw a bite off straight from the package, there’s a great probability that you’ll be able to find a way to enjoy the white stuff. With tofu, you can pretty much cover all the bases. From dinner to dessert, from brunch to lunch, tofu is a transformative ingredient. Today’s tofu-focused recipe is breakfast-oriented, perfect as a hearty protein replacement for eggs, bacon, and all that jazz.

Scrambled tofu is a staple in many veg. diets. Because of it’s consistency, it’s perfect for the forgone eggs that some vegans find themselves craving. While scrambled tofu won’t taste like eggs, it does have an oddly similar texture to the standard scrambled. The key to this dish is to infuse the tofu with tons of flavor. Bland scrambled tofu = no good. But well-seasoned scrambled tofu = superior to ordinary scrambled eggs. Be gentle when stirring in order to keep some of the tofu coarsely crumbled. And feel free to serve with a side of salsa or ketchup if that’s what you associate with scrambled eggs.

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Soba with Mediterranean Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

The following recipe stars two of my favorite ingredients: Soba noodles and sun-dried tomatoes.  These individually have little in common other than that they’re both delicious and wear names that begin with the letter “S.” But opposites attract, right?

I decided to test out the on-going Asian-Mediterranean fusion trend in my own kitchen by combining a savory, sun-dried tomato-chickpea sauce with soba noodles.  Really, you could pair any type of pasta with the sauce, especially given its Italian seasonings.  However, I particularly enjoy the unique chewy, but tender texture of the soba noodles and the hints of nuttiness they add.

Don’t skimp on the chives when plating the dish.  They are much more than a pretty topping for this recipe and lend a fresh element of flavor needed to finish it off.

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