Friday, October 31, 2008

Elvis-Fried Tofu with Mushroom Gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Grilled Asparagus

Dinner 10/31

Elvis Fried Tofu

Mushroom Gravy

Gobetti Pasta

Fried Green Tomatoes

Grilled Asparagus

Our next-door neighbors graciously gave us a huge grocery bag filled with green tomatoes, salvaged before the killing frost a few days ago -- so we decided to channel our inner Elvis.

The fried tofu (recipe) we've made a couple of times, and the green tomatoes utilized the leftover seasoned flour from dredging the tofu (plus an equal amount of corn meal), so no waste tonight...

The gravy is shiitake mushrooms cooked down, then a simple roux (1 tbs. soy margarine, 1 tbs. flour) is added and cooked together until it turns light brown. Then you add 1 cup of veg stock, 1 tbs. tamari and black pepper.


Lunch 10/31

(tomato, lettuce and tempeh sandwich)

Today's lunch was an easy sandwich of grilled tempeh, crisp lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, held together with Vegenaise. The bread was one of the spent grain loaves that Liz made back in August that we froze for later use.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Split Pea Soup, Grilled Figs, Grilled Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

Dinner 10/27

Split Pea Soup

Grilled Figs

Grilled Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

We were at the West Side Market in Cleveland last Friday, and picked up some nice organic bread to use as bowls for tonight's split pea soup. We cut the tops off using a large cookie cutter, then scooped out the inside (to be used for bread crumbs) with a #20 scoop. The bowls were then baked in the oven at 350F for 15 minutes.

The soup itself used pressure cooked split peas, diced carrots, celery, zucchini, smoked tofu, smoked salt and pepper, and veg stock.

We also picked up the figs at the WSM, cut them in half and grilled them at the same time as the romaine for the salad. The (very large) beet was roasted for about an hour at 450F, peeled and cut into julienne for the salad.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Dinner 10/25


Sometimes, while picking which pictures to use for the blog entry, I tend to over-analyze. Small variations in lighting, depth of field, background colors, will lead to loss of perspective. So I step away for a bit, check e-mail or Twitter and come back to it. On some nights, none of the pictures are particularly interesting or have some tiny flaw that makes me twitchy. On some nights, you start to see shapes hidden in the picture. Like tonight.

Is it Lasagna or a Sharpei?

Yes, I need a nap... ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Polenta with Cremini Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts and Balsamic Vinegar

Dinner 10/24

Polenta with Cremini Mushrooms, Brussel Sprouts and Balsamic Vinegar

Tonight's meal was a perfect fall dinner...

A simple saute of mushrooms and petit chou-chou splashed with tamari sitting on creamy polenta, finished with a little aged balsamic vinegar.

The polenta starts with 1 cup of fine cornmeal whisked into 3 cups of boiling water seasoned with 1 tbs. of salt. From there we turn down the heat to low and make it like risotto, adding an additional 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup at a time here and there (don't sweat the timing, just don't let it scorch the bottom of the pan). Finally we add 1 tbs. of soy margarine, 1 tbs. of nutritional yeast, and 1 tsp. of black pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, and check for seasoning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Raw Food Wednesday: Beet Ravioli, Fennel Pizza, Fennel and Apple Soup, Kohlrabi and Mache Salad

Raw Food Wednesday 10/22

Beet Ravioli
(stuffed with fennel cheese)

Fennel Pizza

Fennel and Apple Soup

Kohlrabi and Mache Salad

Tonight's Keyword: Fennel.

So, there it was... a giant fennel bulb, taking up a lot of space in the vegetable drawer. Something had to be done and quickly...

First, starting with the salad, the kohlrabi was peeled and slice thinly on the benriner, then mixed briefly with a little pinch of salt. Then it was tossed with the mache and the olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette.

The filling for the beet ravioli was fennel cheese -- a combination of 1 cup of diced fennel and 3/4 of macadamia and 1/4 cup of pine nuts cheese, blended together with 1 tbs. of olive oil, 1 tsp. of freshly ground fennel seed, sea salt and pepper to taste, and enough water (start with a 1/4 cup) to process everything smoothly.

The (very large) beet for the ravioli was thinly sliced on the mandoline. This yielded about 40 slices, which were tossed with salt and olive oil and allowed to marinate (and soften) for 30 minutes. They were garnished with some fresh horseradish zested on the microplane.

The pizza consisted of the fennel cheese (as above) dehydrated on the previously made buckwheat shells for a hour or so at 105F. Afterward, we added a thin layer of sauce made from 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomato, pureed together with a 1 tsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. of nama shoyu and pepper. This was topped with shaved fennel which was marinated with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes.

The soup was the easiest to make: 1 Melrose apple, peeled and cored, 1 cup of cubed fennel, 1/2 cup of cashews, 1/4 cup of pine nuts, 1/4 cup of water, 1 tbs. grated horseradish, 1 tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add everything to the vita-mix and puree for a good 30 seconds. Strain the soup through a fine strainer or chinois which will remove any pulp from the fennel and apple and make for a much smoother soup. Check for seasoning. We garnished with some dill and tiny cubes of leftover beets from the ravioli cut into brunoise.

The (delicious) irony? We only ended up using 3/4ths of the fennel. ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Seitan Stew with Plums, Purple Potatoes, Green Beans

Dinner 10/21

Seitan Stew with Plums

Purple Potatoes

Green Beans

Surprisingly, some of the plums are still hanging there after a month, so we made a repeat of the Seitan Osso Bucco recipe, substituting the plums for tomatoes. And what better to have as an accompaniment to plums? Purple Potatoes!

I give you... PotatoHenge™!

To make your own PotatoHenge™, boil the potatoes for 15 minutes, drain and cut off the top and bottoms and then slice them in half, the long way. Roll them around in some soy margarine, and season with salt and pepper. Using a large ring mold, place the cut side touching the mold until you've gone all the way around without any gaps. Then add the stew in the center and let stand for a couple of seconds. Remove the ring mold and your PotatoHenge™ is complete!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Dinner 10/19


As the fondue pot was already out from last night, we decided to make Shabu-shabu tonight.

For vegetables, we emptied out the refrigerator and used tofu, baby corn, shiitake mushrooms, green beans, baby bok choy and cauliflower, served along with a bowl of rice.

The fondue pot was filled with a light veg broth made with kombu. Then the vegetables were put on a fondue fork, and dipped into the pot, swishing back and forth (which is where it gets the name "shabu-shabu"). The vegetables were then dipped in a ponzu sauce, and finally added to the bowl of rice.

We all crowded around the fondue pot so we didn't have to reach too far to get the veggies back in the bowl or lose any on the table. ;)

Once all the vegetables were finished up, we took the leftover broth and added it to the remaining rice, and ate it like a soup.

The kids have had a lot of fun and have really enjoyed the last two nights worth of meals -- it's been something completely different and a nice change of pace for everyone.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lobster Mushroom Bisque, Fondue

Dinner 10/18

Lobster Mushroom Bisque
(recipe below)



Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Yes, more mushroom-y goodness from Liz's WF trip -- the ever popular lobster mushrooms...

Lobster Mushroom Bisque
Serves four

2 cups of Lobster Mushrooms
2 tbs. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups water
1 bouquet garni
salt & pepper
1 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbs. chives, chopped

Trim the lobster mushrooms, reserve and set aside the best reddish parts for the garnish. Cut the rest of the mushrooms into thin slices.

Over medium/high heat add the oil in a large pot and when it's nice and hot, cook the mushroom slices for 3-4 minutes until you start to see some color. Add the onions, garlic, leeks and celery until the onions are translucent, then stir in the tomato paste and mix well. After another 2 minutes of cooking and stirring, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cognac. Return the pan to the heat and scrape the beautiful fond off the bottom of the pan. Add the water and bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni, and carefully add the mushroom & vegetable mixture to a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in the cashew cream (recipe below), and bring it all to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes.

While that's cooking, take the reserved "red" lobster mushroom pieces and saute with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until nice and crisp.

Check the bisque for seasoning, stir in the lemon juice and garnish with the chives and lobster mushroom slices.

Cashew Cream

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of raw cashews
pinch of salt

Add the water, cashews and salt to a high speed blender and process until smooth. You may need to play with the water/cashew ratio until you get the desired consistency of heavy cream. Run the mixture through a medium strainer to remove any chunks that may remain.

As for the fondue, all that was missing was the white shag carpet ;)

The fondue ratio was 50% Teese, with the 20% Gouda, 20% Smoked Cheddar and 10% Blue Sheese mixed in. The trick is to use a microplane zester to put in the Sheese, so it'll melt. Also added to the party was a garlic clove, white wine, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.

And melt it did. The sterno kept the mixture bubbling along, coating the fixings (cubed pieces of Foccacia that Liz made earlier in the day, soy sausages, Melrose apples from our trip to Beckwith's Orchard last Saturday, and lightly roasted cauliflower)

For dessert, Liz knocked out a Meyer Lemon Cheesecake, a straight ahead, no-bake cheesecake that used Follow Your Heart soy cream cheese, sugar, the juice and zest of a Meyer lemon, vanilla extract, with some soyatoo whipped cream folded in. The crust was vanilla wafers, soy margarine and brown sugar.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Eggplant Parmesan, Grilled Asparagus, Sauteed Chantarelle Mushrooms

Dinner 10/16

Eggplant Parmesan
(recipe below)

Grilled Asparagus

Sauteed Chantarelle Mushrooms

As you can tell, we still has some linguine leftover, so we used it as a base for the Eggplant Parmesan

The chantarelles (also from Liz's WF trip Wednesday) were perhaps the best ones we have ever eaten.

Eggplant Parmesan

1 globe eggplant, peeled

pan 1:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. smoked paprika (optional)
salt & pepper

pan 2

1 tbs. cornstarch
2 tbs. water

pan 3

1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 tbs. nutritional yeast
salt and pepper

Canola (or peanut) oil for frying

Using a thermometer, heat about 3" of oil in a large pan, pot or wok to 375F.

Slice the eggplant into roughly 3/8" thick rounds.*

Prepare the three (pie) pans for dredging the eggplant. In the first pan, add the salt & pepper to the flour and mix together well. In the second pan whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. In the third pan add the nutritional yeast and salt & pepper to the bread crumbs and mix to combine.

For assembly, take a piece of eggplant and roll it around in the seasoned flour, making sure to coat the sides as well. Next, dip the eggplant in the cornstarch slurry, again making sure to coat the entire piece. Finally, add it to the seasoned breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the eggplant is coated.

Fry the eggplant in small batches, making sure you don't crowd the pan too much -- this can make the oil drop in temp, which will take longer to cook and will make the eggplant absorb too much oil and come out soggy.

Drain the eggplant on a wire rack or paper towels, or both. Serve over pasta with a quick tomato sauce (onion, garlic, tomato, sugar, salt and pepper).

* I know, but 1/4" is too thin and 1/2" is too thick ;)

Grilled Maitake Mushroom and Tomato Pasta Salad

Lunch 10/16

Grilled Maitake Mushroom and Tomato Pasta Salad

A quick lunch, using the leftover linguine from last night with the addition of the Maitake mushrooms and the last of the cherry tomatoes from the farmer's market. Also playing along, a little spinach, kalamata olives, garlic, salt and pepper.

The natural daylight really makes the colors "pop" on this picture...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Linguine with Bluefoot Mushrooms in a Cashew Cream Sauce, Braised Leeks, Grape and Tarragon Salad

Dinner 10/15

Linguine with Bluefoot Mushrooms in a Cashew Cream Sauce

Braised Leeks
(recipe below)

Grape and Tarragon Salad

Liz had to be in Cleveland all day today for work, so RFW gets postponed this week.

In its place, a simple dish with cashew cream sauce infused with sauteed shallots, garlic, parsley and rosemary, tossed with the pasta and sauteed mushrooms.

On here way home, Liz stopped by the WF and picked up these absolutely gorgeous bluefoot mushrooms specimens.

The braised leeks were part of the last batch from the farmer's market this year.

Braised Leeks
serves 4

4 leeks
1 tbs. soy margarine
salt and pepper

First, trim the tops and bottom of the leeks, using as much of the white/light green parts as you like (the leftover bits are fantastic in making stock). Clean them by soaking in water and make sure you get the hidden dirt that likes to hide near the tops. You may need to lose a layer or two on the outside of the leeks to accomplish that. Cut the leek into roughly 3-inch sections.

Place the leeks in a small saute pan and add the water until it reaches halfway up the side of the leeks. Add the 1 tbs. of soy margarine, and bring to a boil. Cover loosely with the lid and continue to cook over medium heat until the water has just about evaporated.

Turn off heat, remove the leeks and place in an oven-proof gratin dish. Pour the remaining liquid out of the saute pan into the oven-proof dish. Season with salt and pepper and place into a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes until the leeks begin to caramelize. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Camera

Part of the reason posting has been so light lately is our longtime camera the (ancient in internet years) Canon s400 has been acting (extremely) weird lately -- and last week became completely unusable. We had a good run with it, and we have no complaints.

So this meant we need to get a new one. We ended up buying a Nikon D90. This also solves two problems -- a nice shiny large megapixel camera, and one that shoots 720p HD video.

Here's a couple of test videos to demonstrate.

red bell pepper test from tofu666 on Vimeo.

and one of the back yard...

nikon d90 test from tofu666 on Vimeo.

bottom line: I love it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seitan Fajitas

Dinner 10/13

Seitan Fajitas

Apologies for the picture, but trust me, hiding inside the flour tortillas are fried seitan strips, onion, red bell pepper strips, sauteed beech mushrooms and Teese that was melted on the grill.

We shot some video of the prep/cooking on the Nikon D90 as an experiment, so maybe we'll see some of that in the future... right now, the lighting/exposure is proving to be the most challenging aspect...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Raw Food Wednesday: Raw Dill and Shiitake Frittata, Tomato Soup

Raw Food Wednesday 10/01

Raw Dill and Shiitake Frittata

Tomato Soup

There's no recipe this time around -- yet another riff on Isa's Shiitake and Dill Frittata, but there's still a couple of things I want to tweak (like perhaps adding raw turmeric root for the color, etc.)

It's sort of like the version we made with the greens back in February, but we used different nuts this time around a combo of cashew, walnut and macadamia nuts.