Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sloppy Ho's

The button says:  "I am from Alaska - ask me about Palin"
Our school nurse formed a Biggest Loser group at the high school where I work.  I think this is genius!  Starting a weight loss plan before Christmas, when the damage has already been done.

I make Sloppy Ho's quite often for my office.  They are tasty, filling, comforting, all the things one needs when dealing with the hormonal masses - and that doesn't count the high school  students!  They are, of course, vegan, but with the TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), they have the toothsome bite and provide the long lasting protein of animal.  Also, they are savory and delicious, AND low in calories!

I estimate 200 calories for the filling, and add whatever calories for the buns you use.  We used organic brown rice to go under our filling yesterday, and was great.  TVP can be purchased at many largish grocery stores, or at your local health food store.  It looks a bit like a bag of oats, only not.  It has absolutely no fat and about 12 grams of protein for a serving.

The recipe can be found on my Losing 70 Pounds Page.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pad Thai in the Snow


13 - 16 OZ Rice Sticks (Noodles - I like wide the best)
2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup peanut butter
juice of two fresh limes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 - 1/2 cup of Shoyu or Tamari Soy Sauce (Actually, I use Braggs, I love that stuff)
About 2 TABL fresh ginger, finely diced
1 large clove fresh garlic, finely diced
1 cup lightly toasted peanuts, crushed a bit
1 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
2-3 cups fresh bean sprouts
About 3 TBL Green Thai Curry Paste - more if you want more spicy, less if less spicy
2 TBL Agave Syrup or Maple Syrup

Optional Addition:
You can add diced firm tofu to the spices while you are sautéing them.  I like Wild Wood Savory Baked tofu.

Soak rice sticks for eight minutes in very hot water.  Do not over soak.

Have all of your other ingredients  prepped and ready to go.

In large saute pan or wok, add about 3 TBL oil.  Saute garlic, ginger, and Thai curry paste.  Add rice sticks which have been soaked and drained.  Stir fry with spices and herbs.

Add coconut milk, tamari, rice vinegar, lime juice, maple syrup (Agave) and peanut butter.  Blend and cook all together.  Stir in diced tofu at this point, if you are adding any.

At end, stir in bean sprouts and cilantro.  Take off heat immediately.  Garnish with generous portion of crushed peanuts - these provide a lot of flavor and crunch.

Pad Thai in the Snow

"Pad" means stir fry or to fry in Thai, so in this sense this recipe is a stir fry of rice noodles with a seasoning of coconut milk, spices, and chilies.  However, this dish does not have the eggs, fish sauce and/or meat often associated with this dish.  Try it and you will find that it is totally flavorful, with no need of the critter additions.  Don't skimp on the peanuts, lime, thai curry, green onions or cilantro.  These items will add lots of savory body, depth and flavor to your dish.

Keep an eye on your Thai curry.  Many of them are not vegan, as they are blended with fish or shrimp paste.

I like this dish best with the wider rice noodles.  Remember, they are not cooked prior to use, but soaked in hot water for about eight minutes.  Don't over soak, as who wants mushy noodles?  And they will be cooked more as they are mixed with the seasonings and sauces.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Creamy Leeks and Potatoes

"Eat leeks in November and garlic in May, and all the year after the physicians may play."
                                       -----   adapted from an old Welsh saying

It gets dark by 4:00 p.m. and the temperature is in the low twenties.  Almost every night, I have a fire now, to provide the light that has disappeared from the day.  Thus, I am still caught in comfort food mode!

I made this successful melding of leeks and grated potatoes the other night, mixed it with a cream sauce seasoned with a bit of dijon and red pepper flakes with salt, and baked it to succulence.

This is one satisfying dish!  The secret is sautéing the thinly sliced leeks in Earth Balance slowly, to tender perfection, then mixing to a ration of almost half and half with grated Yukon Gold potatoes, and uniting with a cream sauce.

Once the mixture is almost baked, and it takes awhile, it is covered with a deepish layer of Panko, sprinkled lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, then baked to completion until the potatoes are tender and the Panko is brown and toasty.

This dish will keep you warm and snuggly all winter long.

Find this recipe on the Soul Food page.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden Comfort Soup

A few years ago I was cooking lunch for a small retreat from work.  I wanted to make something that was hearty and satisfying for our cold January day, and that would please my fellow participants, none of whom were vegetarians or vegans.

I came up with this version of corn/potato chowder, which is rich and satisfying.  Even though the onions are cooked in a half cup of Earth Balance, since this recipe serves eight people, it still only amounts to about 300 calories a bowl.

This recipe is very easy to execute, with the only time really spent in watching the onions for about a half hour while they brown.  You just need to remember to visit the pot every five minutes or so.  The first part of the recipe, when the thinly sliced onions are sauteed and lightly browned in Earth Balance, is a la Julia Child's method for making French Onion soup.  Once you have that rich, deep mixture of golden onions, the vegetable broth is added, and then chopped potatoes and corn.  After the potatoes are cooked and a bit of thickening is added, you have a thick, succulent chowder.

Make this a day ahead and let it sit and develop additional flavor before reheating and serving.

The last time I made this, I garnished it with these adorable fried shallots, which were a nice touch.  They are a really fun garnish to make, and to put on just about anything!  Well, maybe not ice cream, but about everything else.

Find this recipe on the Soups for the Soul Recipes page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's . . ."

This quote is actually from the bible.  But we are talking salads, Caesar salad, so we will stay on that subject today.  Although the quote has to do with Jesus and taxation, two topics, given the recent Tea Party victories in the polls, which are quite contemporary.

Caesar Salad typically has things in it like eggs, anchovies and cheese, and this dressing, being in a vegan blog, will not have those items in it.  In fact, I don't even know why I am calling it "Caesar" salad. But it is fabulous, and Caesar salad-like, in that it has a creamy, vinaigrette base.  Also, it is quite low in calories and high in protein.  However, it gives a big salad dressing taste, rather than a low fat, kind of unfulfilling vibe, like some salad dressings have when they go the low-cal route.

By all means make your own croutons if you get the chance.  The last time I made this (one night ago), I used toasted sunflower seeds, because I was serving bread and soup, and didn't want to over-do the bread thing.  But really, home made croutons are best.

I will include a crouton recipe as well, for those of you who think making croutons is something that needs a recipe.  See the Losing 70 Pounds page for this recipe.