Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Butterbean/Carrot Soup(vegan); Coconut/tofu Sauce w/Strawberries and Peaches(vegan)

My friend Sherrie, over on http://adollopofcream.blogspot.com posted a recipe for a soup made from butterbeans, carrots, and bacon a while back, and I thought it sounded yummy...except for the bacon, that is. Anyway, it's been a while since I read her recipe, but last night I made my own soup...stole it from ya, Sherrie!!...based on hers. Probably hers is a little more complex, but I honestly don't remember, and I didn't go back to check her ingredients. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

Butterbean and Carrot Soup(vegan)
One 15 oz. can of butterbeans, drained and rinsed
One goodsized carrot, cut into thin "coins"
Water or veggie broth to cover the carrot by about an inch
Garlic powder and dried thyme to taste; black pepper
BacoBits!!!!!(Betty Crocker, and near as I can tell, they are vegan! How cool is that, right?)
Put the carrot in a medium saucepan, cover with water to about an inch over the carrots, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, and let the carrot slices simmer for about 30-45 minutes, so that they are very tender...IF you want to blend them, that is. If you don't, then just cook them until they are as done as you want them.
Once the carrots are at the tenderness you want, add the butterbeans, garlic, thyme, and black pepper, to taste. If you think you'd like a different spice combination, go for it, it's your soup, so season it the way you want. You may want to use salt, too, btw, but I don't use much at all. Anyway...
Let the beans cook along with the carrots until the water has reduced by about half. Now you can either put this in a blender, or use an immersion blender, which is what I did, and puree it. If you use a blender, be very careful, as the soup is extremely hot, and I don't want you to get burned. Remember to hold the lid on the blender container with a kitchen towel, so the soup can't spatter out the top, or the container get too hot for you too hold. If you use the immersion blender, be very careful with it, also. Make sure it is fully immersed before you turn it on, and do NOT pull it out of the hot soup while it's running. I usually set the pan in my sink, so that I screw up and make a mess, at least it's not all over my stove and walls and floor. Just be careful, please.
After you've pureed the beans and carrots, let it heat up again, and this time, add some BacoBits and even a chunk of butter if you want.
This made about two servings, so if you need more, use another can or two of beans, a couple more carrots, and if you want to, you could add diced onion and celery, as well. This is your soup, play with it, make it your own. Sherrie won't mind, honest. And neither will I, because that's what cooking and recipes are all about!

A few weeks ago, I bought a HUGE container of almost too ripe strawberries, so what I couldn't eat immediately, I froze in three batches. Day before yesterday, on the way home from work, I picked up a couple cans of slice peaches. Sitting on my canned goods shelves in my kitchen are some cans of coconut milk. There was also a box of Bisquick(Bisquick is vegan, remember?). So, I wanted to do something to put all this stuff together in one dessert. This is what I came up with:

Coconut Tofu Sauce w/ Strawberries & Peaches(vegan)
About a pint of strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced into a bowl and then macerated with about 1/3 cup of sugar for about an hour, in the 'fridge.
As many peach slices as you want.
13.5 oz. can of coconut milk
12.3 oz. vacuum-packed package of firm tofu
1/2 Tbls. vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
dash of nutmeg and ginger
Put everything except the berries and peaches into a blender, and whirl until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes, to let the flavours marry. Meanwhile, bake a pan of biscuits, according to package directions. I didn't make shortcake biscuits because those call for sugar, and I figured that between the berries and the sauce I had more than enough sugar.
As soon as the biscuits are done, slice them open and put in a bowl. Pour some of the coconut sauce over them, and then spoon on the berries and some of the peach slices. Pour some more sauce over them. I had some flaked unsweetened coconut in the 'fridge, so I sprinkled a good handful of that over the top of the berries, peaches, sauce, etc. Eat. Enjoy. This was sinfully delicious, and I was very, very pleased with myself...again, lol. I'll make it again, believe me...and will probably take care of the leftovers tonight!!!

Until the next time, Happy Eating!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tofu "Fish Sticks"(vegan); JB's TVP "Fish Cakes"(vegan)

The other night I decided I wanted to try these tofu "fish sticks." The recipe looks good, I think, it wasn't all that difficult, so, I headed out to the kitchen to make them. Here's the recipe, compliments of www.about.com


2 blocks firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup soy milk
2 Tbs. EACH soy sauce; lemon juice; crumbled nori seaweed
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. lemon pepper
Preheat oven go 350ยบ F.
Slice tofu into strips and coat well with flour. In shallow bowl, whisk together soy milk, soy sauce, and lemon juice. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, nori, and lemon pepper. Carefully dip tofu in soy milk mixture, then coat well in bread crumbs.
Bake 40-45 minutes, turning over once, until crispy and golden brown. Or, panfry in a bit of hot oil, until golden on both sides.
Serve with vegan tartar sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.

Ok, there ya have it. Were they good? I have NO clue, none at all. First of all, I had the crumbs all ready, and I decided to panfry mine, instead of put in the oven. So, I poured some oil in my skillet, and just left it there, no heat under it, while I pulled out my firm tofu, to drain and press. Can you tell when tofu has gone bad? Oh, yes, believe you me, you most certainly can. How? IT STINKS! And it stinks really, really nasty, nauseating, to be exact. Soooooo, what to do? The oil was waiting in the pan, the bread crumbs were ready, and no tofu. I was, uh, angry, to say the least. Ok, here's the end results of that fiasco:

JB's TVP "FISH CAKES"(vegan)

One cup of TVP granules, soaked for about 15 minutes in one cup of almost boiling water.
One cup bread crumbs, and by this time, I had seasoned them with garlic powder and just a dash of cayenne pepper.
About 1/4 cup of crumbled wakame, as I have no nori
juice of half of a large, fresh lemon

I mixed the bread crumbs, the TVP, and the wakame all together in a large bowl, and squeezed the half lemon all over it, mixing that in, also. Then I formed five patties, and panfried them in about 1/4 inch of hot canola oil. That's it. OH!!! Sorry...when I added the boiling water to the TVP granules, I also added a teaspoonful of liquid smoke. Ok, that's it, lol.

Were these good? OMG, yes, they sure were! I ate three of them for supper, and then the next afternoon, I ate the other two right out of the 'fridge, lol. They aren't difficult to make, and I know I will make them again some time. The next time I make them, I think I'll add some minced onion to the mix, and hopefully will have the ingredients to make a tartar sauce. They were good without a sauce, but I think tartar sauce would've set them off to perfection. Live and learn, right? What started out as almost a failure, because of the rotten tofu, turned into a wonderful, wonderful meal!!! I was very pleased with myself, lol.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!

Monday, August 17, 2009


Yup, my boss changed my schedule, so I'm off today, and will be off Wednesday and Friday, as well. I don't guess I mind too much, but it does seem like he should've talked to me before he did it. Yeah, like that was gonna happen, sigh. Anyway, I'm having a nice day, I like being home. A lot!!

The hummers are back this year, I've seen two this morning, so one of the chores I've done today was to empty, clean, and refill their feeder. My backyard is quite busy this morning: I've seen two bluejays, some redbirds(cardinals, if you're not from the south), a few birds that I can't name, the hummers, and, best of all, for the first time ever, in one of the trees out there, a red-tailed hawk!!! I was absolutely thrilled! I stood at the door and stared at it for about four minutes, and then it flew off, sigh. It would be wonderful if it would come back and decide to live in my backyard, I would just plain love it!!!

Yesterday, after work, I went to Kroger and bought a package of GardenBurger brand "original" veggie burgers. Usually I don't, because they're pretty expensive, but, I had a dollar off coupon, and I really like the burgers, so decided to buy them. While I was thinking about supper, I decided that I wanted a Patty Melt, and that's just what I had.

Patty Melt
one small onion, finely diced
one veggie burger, whatever kind you like best
two slices of cheese: I used the veggie smoked provolone
two slices of bread...wheat is preferable, but I only had white. It worked.

Heat about a tablespoon each of olive oil and margarine in a skillet, over medium heat, add the onions, and let them cook for about five to ten minutes, until they are fairly tender and starting to turn golden brown. I like to season the onions while they're cooking with black pepper and some garlic powder. After the onions are almost the colour and texture that you want them...and hey, if you want them raw, that's ok, too, y'know...add the veggie burger to the pan. Just push the onions off to one side. While the burger cooks as long as the package directions tell you, butter one side each of two pieces of bread. When the burger and onions are both done to your satisfaction, heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. When a drop of water sizzles, put one slice of bread, butter-side down, on the griddle, put a slice of cheese on it, and load the cheese up with the cooked onions. Put the burger on top of the onions, and the other slice of bread, unbuttered side down, on top of the burger. Let it grill until the bottom slice is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt, and then turn it over, using a spatula. Let the second side grill until golden brown and the cheese is melted, and take it off the griddle and plate it. Cut it in half, and serve.

That sammich was sooooooo good. It's been ages since I've had a patty melt, so it was a real treat for me. For a side, I had some cold "pork 'n' beans" that I'd made a few nights ago: One can of Great Northern beans drained and rinsed, heated up with some brown sugar, dry mustard(not much, maybe 1/4 tsp., if that much), a good shake of garlic powder, and a good handful of BacoBits. Let it all heat up together until it's bubbling, turn the heat down, and let it heat for about five minutes, enough to get it all hot and let the flavors marry some.

Another good side would've been potato salad, or maybe even mac and cheese. Heck, you're the one eating it, fix whatever YOU like, lol. Anyway, I'm glad that I made it, and yup, I'll sure 'nuff make another one sometime, too!

Until next time, Happy Eating!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Warm Rotini Ssalad w/Balsamic Vinaigrette(Vegan); BacoBits; Coconut Veggie Curry(vegan)

Today is the fourth day in a row that I've been out of work. This could become a habit, lol. I so enjoy being home, but, the rent must be paid, one needs to buy groceries, pay the utilities, etc., so one goes back to work tomorrow morning. Sigh. The reason that I took Thursday off, is that I'm in a bit of an arthritic/fibro flare-uup:swollen hands and fingers, back aches, ankles hurt, etc., so being home hasn't been as much fun as I would've liked. Sigh again, lol. But, I found out yesterday that my boss has allegedly changed my schedule...yet again...so that I will be off on M-W-F, which is fine by me, because it means that after a horrendous two days over the weekend, I no longer will have to drag in again on Monday mornings. That's good. That's very good! Anyway, I'll find out for sure when I go to work in the AM.

When I bought groceries this past Tuesday, I found a really inexpensive brand of coconut milk, so I splurged and bought four cans. Last night I came up with a way to use one of them, a vegetable coconut curry. Not the most original thing, I realize, as I've seen recipes for something very similar all over the net, but I did this one without a written recipe, and it turned out wonderfully.

JB's Coconut Vegetable Curry
A couple good handsful of frozen cauliflower
A good handful of frozen green peas
About two medium carrots, sliced into very thin "coins"
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. curry powder, more or less to YOUR taste(two worked fine for me)
To taste: ginger(about 1/4 tsp.), garlic, nutmeg(about 1/4 tsp.), black pepper, cinnmon and sugar(about a tsp. of a mix for making toast)

Put the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, turn heat down, and allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until carrots are as tender as YOU want them. Oh...the pan should be covered. When the carrots are just about done, add the frozen cauliflower and green peas, bring back to a boil, and simmer a few minutes, or until the cauliflower and peas are tender. When they're as tender as YOU want them, drain most of the water from the pan, and pour in the whole can of coconut milk, along with all the spices. Keep the pan over medium-low heat until everything is heated thru. Serve over rice(I used a baked potato). Enjoy.

I thought this was wonderful, and it could easily become one of my favorite comfort foods. It's rich, mildly spicy, creamy, and just plain good, lol. It made enough for two people for one meal, but for me, it made enough for two meals, so it's going to be my supper again tonight. Will I make it again? Undoubtedly!!!

This pasta salad comes from the "Vegetarian Times: Low-Fat and Fast" cookbook, published in 1997. It's one of the ones I've checked out of the library. The way I happened to make this salad was that I simply closed my eyes, flipped thru the pages a few times, and then just stopped and opened my eyes: there was the salad, so that was supper one night this past week, lol. I was lucky that time, but then I tried to "blind pick" again, from a couple other cookbooks, and didn't fare so well, as I came up with some that had ingredients that I just plain dislike, or that I didn't have. Anyway, I did the best I could with the salad, even tho there were a few things I didn't have, lol.

Warm Rotini Salad w/Balsamic Vinaigrette
8 pz. uncooked rotini

Vinaigrette: 1/3C chopped basil
3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Salad: Nonstick cooking spray
2C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 med. yellow bell pepper, seeded, and cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2C halved cherry tomatoes
1/4C(1 oz.)cubed mozzeralla(optional)Vegans can omit entirely, or use a vegan "cheese," such as the Tofutti brand(which I think isn't very good, btw.)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Prepare rotini according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
For the salad, spray a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook the mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic, stirring, over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook, stirring constantly, until heated through.
Drain the rotini. In a large bowl, combine rotini and vegetable mixture. Add vinaigrette and chesse, if using; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes six servings.

Well, ok, there's the real recipe, which to me, looks really tasty. But, I had to make some changes: I don't like basil, and I didn't have any mushrooms, yellow bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes. So, uh, what did I have, right? LOL! Ok. Instead of the mushrooms, I diced up half a medium onion and sauteed that with a green bell pepper I just happened to have, as well as...ready for this?...8 frozen Brussels sprouts, and one small carrot, sliced into really thin matchsticks. I had some frozen yellow tomatoes from the bounty that my co-worker had given me earlier this year, so I let two of those thaw. When a frozen tomato thaws, btw, the peels slips off as easily as if you had done the boiling water procedure with it. Anyway. I let the tomatoes sit in a colander while everything else was sauteeing, and then chopped 'em up and put 'em in the pan with the sprouts, onions, carrots, etc. And, when everything was tender enough to suit me, I finished the salad according to the recipe...except that the vinaigrette didn't have basil, it had about 1/6C of dried oregano, and the vinaigrette was wonderful, seriously.

Ok, so I royally changed the recipe, but believe it or not, it was really good. Oh, yeah, I did have some vegan mozzeralla, so I used a couple slices of that, plus I threw in some vegetarian smoked provolone. Goat cheese would've been absolutely fantastic in this, but I didn't have any. The salad fed me for a couple days, but after the second day, I didn't want any more, I got tired of it. I don't know if I'll make it again or not, but I think I will, hopefully with goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. I'm also wondering if a different type of dressing would be as good as the Balsamic vinaigrette was?

Now, about those BacoBits! I just happened to see them at Kroger the other day, didn't have them on my list, and wasn't looking for them. A container of the BettyCrocker brand just jumped off the shelf into my grocery cart, lol, so I had no choice but to buy it and take it home. As near as I can tell, they are vegan, which means that everyone can use them. The only meal I've made with them so far was a "breakfast for dinner" type of thing: Fried 'taters with onions and BacoBits, and then some eggs cracked over the top of the 'taters, a cover put on the skillet, and the eggs allowed to cook and set, sort of a cross between over light, poached, and sunny side up, lol. Good? OHHELLYEAH! Very good, and I ate every single bite of it, too. I think that the Bits would be good in an omelette...in scrambled eggs...in turnip/collard/mustard greens, or even in green beans. I am really pleased that I brought them home and tried them.

One more thing and I'll go quietly away and let you get on with your day. I've added another website to "JB'S Favorites," on the top lefthand of the page. The site is another one that has the recipe ingredient search function, i.e., put in the ingredients, hit search, and it brings up recipes using those ingredients. That's how I happened to make the veggie curry last night: I entered chickpeas and coconut milk, and it brought up a chickpea coconut milk curry. I didn't especially like the looks of that, but thought that coconut and curry would be good, so figured out the rest of it from stuff I had here already. Anyway, the site is www.foodieview.com
Give it a try.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"SOS(vegan);" Probably some whining, too....

When I was a little kid, my dad introduced me to SOS, which he swore was a Navy-oriented dish of creamed chipped beef on toast. Later on in life, I found out that some folks called SOS a dish of creamed ground beef, or, what my family always called "hamburger gravy." Either/eyether, right? Whatever you choose to call any of it, it involves some type of chopped up meat and a cream sauce, which is served over whatever you want to serve it over: I prefer mashed potatoes, you might like toast, noodles, or rice. Anyway...and btw, I'm not going to tell you exactly what SOS means here, because the last time I said it on a public board, I was soundly trounced for using a "bad" word, lol. SOS is "$&!! on a Shingle," ok? So I've always loved gravies, and last week started craving the SOS type meal, and figured that probably TVP would do the trick. And, much to my delight, yes, it did. There's not a real recipe here, because it's pretty much an "as-you-like-it" type dish, but I'll give you the general idea, and you can run with it, ok?

"SOS" using TVP...vegan

One cup TVP granules
Enough oil/margarine to coat the bottom of a medium skillet
One onion, diced
1/2 tsp. ground sage
One tsp. minced garlic...I use the kind in the jar
One tsp. liquid smoke
About 3C water
About 1 Tbs. cornstarch
Half of a 10-oz. bag of frozen peas and carrots
Salt and black pepper to taste...I like a lot of pepper and not much salt

Cook the diced onion in the oil in the skillet over medium heat until it's transparent and starting to soften. Add the dry TVP granules, sage, and minced garlic, and, stirring, cook for about five minutes, until everything is coated with the oil, the garlic is just starting to brown a little, and everything smells good.

Mix the liquid smoke with the two cups of water, and add to the skillet, add the frozen peas and carrots, and bring it all to the boil, and let it simmer about 15 minutes, to make sure the granules soften nicely. Mix the cornstarch with the last cup of water, and after the granules have simmered the 15 minutes, add the water/cornstarch mixture. Allow this to come to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for a few more minutes, to allow the mixture to thicken up somewhat.

If you want to, while the onion is cooking, you can also add bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, anything you can think of that you think would be good. The more veggies you can put in, the better it's going to be, both in taste and nutrition. I also think that if there's any leftovers, you can, if you want, add some kernel corn, and make a shepherd's pie from this, altho I didn't. I just kept reheating it as gravy, and pouring it over stuff, lol...mashed potatoes, plain bread, biscuits, you get the idea, right? I really liked it, and will make it again, I have no doubt, as it's really easy and doesn't take too awfully long.

Well, I thought I was going to whine, and well, yeah, I guess I will. Nah, not too much after all: I'm just in one of my funks, don't like it, don't know what to do about it, don't feel really well physically and don't know what to do about it. So, waaaaaa, waaaaaaa, waaaaaaa. This, too, shall pass.

Until next time, Happy Eating.
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