Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Taco salad Tuesday

In keeping with things that can be eaten room temperature/chilled, today I served a taco salad. I made ground tofu with taco seasonings and simple black beans for the protein, served on top of shredded green & red leaf lettuce. I also provided chopped red onion & chopped tomato for garnish. The whole thing was topped off with a "honey" lime cilantro dressing from FatFreeVegan.com. I did omit the artichoke hearts from the dressing because I just wasn't going to buy a whole jar to use 1 as a thickener! The dressing was a little thin as a result, but still tasty, I thought.

This whole meal was extremely low fat, with no added fat or oils at all. I sauteed onion & minced mushrooms before adding the seasoned tofu to the pan to give the whole shebang a more savory & rich flavor without using the oil I would normally splash in there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Expanding the summer repertoire

In my summer quest to use the oven & stove only when absolutely necessary, dinner tonight was a raw kale salad and a cooked-but-served-cold bean & tomato "salad." I put salad in quotes there because although the recipe uses the term, it is obviously a loose translation. Really, it's more of a curry consistency, slightly saucy & good for mopping up with flatbread. For being so incredibly simple, it had good flavor and was enjoyed by every member of this family. The baby was wolfing down the beans faster than I could separate them out! My 4yo even said "Mama, thank you for making this dinner. I really liked EVERYTHING! Can I have more kale?" Wow! (I never get thank yous. This was jaw-dropping.)

Both recipes were from the internet. Here is the original kale salad recipe. I modified it as follows: halved the oil & sunflower seeds, omitted the currants & gorgonzola. Next time, I might try creating a marinated tofu "feta" to mix in, but I didn't want to get too crazy with a a meal I had to serve to other families too! The beans were from vegweb. I admit I went hunting for a pinto bean recipe since I had just stashed 7 "cans" worth in the freezer & needed to use some to make space for chickpeas! Now that I think about it, I bet it would have been extra delicious (and rich) to put a dollop of the walnut-bread sauce from two weeks ago on top! Maybe I'll try that next time.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beet Hummus and Polenta baked with Tomatoes, Corn, and Basil

There had been quite a buzz on the AM list that spilled over into FB, about this Beet Hummus recipe. I first tried it and took it on my cooking date (fairly daring given he is an Israeli foodie. I'm happy to say he loved it). I was happy to use the co-op as an excuse to make more of it. The other time I made it, I didn't realize I was out of tahini, and though several websites assured me you could make it yourself in a blender, I went through two different processors and a blender before resorting to my mortar and pestle. Worked really well, though with more texture than regular tahini, that's for sure. THis time around I bought tahini, so probably what takes the longest is just boiling the beets before throwing everything in the blender. I served the hummus with more of that yummy flatbread that Claire had served us the previous week with daal. That was what got me to finally join Costco, helped along by a reduced price membership coupon from my Amex card.

The Baked Polenta dish is another of my favourite summer meals from Annie Somerville's Fields of Greens, recipe book from Greens Restaurant. I just had to veganize the polenta, and the cheese topping. Prompted by Claire's suggestion of replacing the cheese in the polenta with nutritional yeast, I went searching on the web, and found this Nutritional Yeast Polenta Cakes recipe. I made the polenta the night before, and the tomato sauce, and then put it together and baked it the next day.

Tomato Sauce
makes 2 cups

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
1/2 tsp dried basil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine
1.5 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped (2 cups) or a 16 oz can of diced tomatoes in their juice
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions, basil, 1/2 tsp salt and a few pinches of pepper. Saute over medium heat until the onion is soft, ~ 7 mins. Add garlic and saute for 1-2 mins. Add wine and simmer 1-2 mins to reduce. When the pan is almost dry, add tomatoes and bay leaf. Cook over low heat ~ 30 mins. Add salt/pepper/sugar to taste.

Polenta baked with Tomatoes, Corn, and Basil
Serves 4-6

Polenta (see recipe link above)
Tomato Sauce (see recipe above)
1 Tbsp butter (I used earth balance vegan stuff)
3 ears of corn, shaved (2.5 cups)
3/4 lb tomatoes, cored and seeded (I used halved cherry tomatoes)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1-2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and thinly sliced (I skipped this for co-op)
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (~ 2/3 cup) - I used Daiya vegan mozarella shreds

Make polenta. While it's cooling, make tomato sauce. Remove bay leaf. Preheat the oven to 375F.
Melt the butter in a skillet and add the corn. Saute over medium heat for 10 mins till the corn is tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt.
While the corn is cooking, cut up the tomatoes and marinate in olive oil with 1/4 tsp salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Cool the corn, toss with the tomatoes, half the basil, and half the chilies (if you are using them).
Pour the sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Arrange polenta triangles or fingers upright in the sauce, using all of the polenta. Spoon the veges into the spaces between the polenta. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover and bake for 25 mins, then uncover and bake 10 more mins. Sprinkle on the remaining basil and serve.