Ricotta, Tofu Ricotta

So evidently, an event of cosmic significants has occurred. And no, before you ask, we have not found a child with a midi-chlorian count higher than 20,000.  Veganomicon strikes again, this time with an inexpensive, dead easy, and delicious “cheese” filling.  I have been glancing at the recipe for tofu ricotta on and off ever since I received the book in December, and finally decided to use it the other night.

LOVE Amy’s Roasted Veggie Cheese less pizza, and was trying to recreate something similar at home on Friday night and it seemed a perfect opportunity to try it! 😀

Roasted veggie pizza with caramelize onions (I am not writing the recipie for the crust because I always just use Fleischmanns Pizza crust yeast *you don’t have to let it rise!* dance around excitedly)

TOPPINGS

2 onions sliced in to thin rings

1/2 a pint of baby bella mushrooms sliced

1/4 each of red yellow and green peppers

1 crown of broccoli cut into tiny florets

2 T olive oil

SAUCE

1, 6 oz can of tomato paste

6 oz of warm water

2 t agave

1t garlic powder

3/4 t onion powder

1/4 t of each of the following spices

  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • dried marjoram
  • red pepper flakes
  • black pepper

1/8 t cayenne pepper

salt to taste

TOFU RICOTTA from Veganomicon

(this is the whole recipe, but I only used half of it and saved the rest for later use)

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 t lemon juice

1 clove garlic minced

1/4 t salt

pinch of pepper

2 t olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

In a large deep skillet ( I use my cast iron one) put the onions and the oil. Set to med low heat and give everything a good toss. Cook on low, stirring very frequently for about 30 minutes, until the onions are pretty and gold and very sweet. While cooking the onions it’s a good time to make the sauce and ricotta. For the sauce, in a medium sized bowl add the paste and water and stir carefully. When it is completely incorporated, add the remaining ingredients and set aside.

For the Ricotta, in a large bowl mush the tofu up with your hands until crumbly. Add lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper, mush again with your hands and get it very mushy by squeezing through your fingers. (I enjoy this bit very much lol)  Add olive oil and nutritional yeast, and stir with a fork now because the olive oil makes it sticky. Set aside.

Heat your oven to 425 . Remove onions from skillet and, if oven safe, place the remainder of the veggies (minus the broccoli) in to skillet and roast for about 10 minutes. After that put the broccoli back in, stir and roast for 5 or 6 more minutes.

Kneed and roll out your dough on to a lightly oiled pan. I always dust mine with a little corn meal too. Assemble your pizza like this. Sauce, cheeze, onions (all of them) veggies and top wit a little more cheeze.

It’s a little time consuming, but veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery worth it.

Once I had made the ricotta, I kept thinking of ways to use it … on a sandwich?

Check! No there is nothing wrong with my tomato! I, as some of you may know, am addicted to produce. When I come across something unique I have a physical NEED to try it. I stumbled upon brown tomatoes last week and have been loving them sooooooo much.

My wonderfuly mommy had the idea to make the nutritional yeast cheeze sauce and make encheladas with it last week I think? Anyway, my dad loved them and after she mentioned them I HAD to have encheladas.  I obviously get my inability to remember and or write down recipies as I’m cooking from her because when I asked her how she made them her answer was along the lines of, ” Well, I made the sauce…and put a can of rotell in… and you know .. cooked some veggies, pretty ones, and then some spices… you know cumin and paprika and stuff….and rolled em up!”

I love her so much lol.

So Sunday I made the sauce like her, and sauteed some onions, mushrooms, a thinly diced sweet potato, garlic and some kale ( I am sure there was more but … I can’t remember) . Mixed it all with some leftover ricotta, and used flour tortillas because I do not possess the necessary skills to be able to assemble enchiladas with corn tortillas with out breaking things in frustration at the uncooperative pieces of bread.

These were beyond yummy and extremely filling too.

Oh yeah! I used a jalepeno too… hmm

And now for something completely different!

Isn’t so cute!!! I am freaking in love with that Intel one lol. There is a panda inside one that I was awfully tempted to get haha! Now all I need is like a good sticker of a Vulcan greeting and maybe the sign of the rebellion and I would be totally set ❤

Lentils, leftovers and popcorn!

No, it is not glamorous, and it is far from complicated, but popcorn is and will probably continue to be one of my most beloved snacks. And since Matt constantly tells me that this is the single greatest popcorn he has ever had, every time I make it, I decided to release the highly guarded secret of perfect popcorn to the masses.

Step one – Buy this

 

Coconut oil is a staple in my house for roughly 9 zillion things but it is the absolute star of popcorn. They actually used to use coconut oil in old timey theaters back in the day before people got all twisted up about saturated fat. Not knowing at the time, of course, that saturated fat from animals (lipids that are solid at room temp ie butter) are not able to be broken down as easily if at all, as the fat in coconut oil which contains a higher content of cholesterol lowering acid. AAAAAAAAAnd moving on.

You could use another oil, but why would you?

Put 2 T oil in a COLD deep pan with a lid and add 1/4 – 1/3 cup popcorn kernels. I like the white kind 🙂

Turn heat to med – med high and cover. Swish the pan around every few seconds until you start to hear them pop. *It’s important that the popcorn doesn’t get a chance to touch the lid once the pot starts to fill up. It makes it kinda stale if it gets damp*

Keep swishing around while the kernels are popping like mad and when they start to slow to  about once every 10 seconds, remove from heat.

Matt likes his with just a sprinkle of salt, and me well I am more of a wild child. I put about 1/8 t of cayenne and several generous shakes of nutritional yeast on mine.

 

This morning we had Liam’s favourite breakfast, Scrambled tofu and toast.

 

I kinda love it too ❤

Lunch was a sedate affair with left over taco salad and warmed up can of Amy’s Black bean Chili. I went in the kitchen to fix lunch and was like… “omg.. I’m done? that was flipping easy! As soon as were done eating  Imma go play zelda!”  Thats actually what went through my mind. I R LOSER. I ❤ leftover taco stuff lol.

 

I squished up 2 fritos on my chili lol.

Now, to the love of my food life, lentils. I have trouble finding ways to use them, even though I love them cooked and tossed in a little vinaigrette  and eaten over salads or plain, Matt doesn’t care for their earthy taste.

 

Enter Veganomicon (have I mentioned that I love this book?)

 

 

Lentils and rice with caramelized onions from Veganomicon.

3 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings

3/4 cup olive oil ( I only used 1/2 cup and I still felt it was too much, next time I will only use 1/4)

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 cup red lentils (I used brown)

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a large deep baking pan ( I used my cast iron skillet), toss onion rings in oil and roast for 25 – 30 min stirring often until golden brown and a little crisp, some burnt ones are okay too.  When done, remove from oven and set aside.

Boil 4 cups of water, add rice and spices, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 min. Add lentils and return to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover cooking for 45 min. (I cooked mine about 35 and it was still a little too long, when the water is gone, turn off heat. )

It seemed a little dry to me, and I was going to stir in some vegetable stock, but my hand magicaly went to my coconut milk in the fridge so I put a couple tablespoons of that in there when it was done cooking it. I also added 1 -1 1/2 t salt and some pepper to the finished product.  This.Is.YUMMY. Liam tore it up and I had to keep myself from going back for more. Since it’s just brown rice and lentils, it is pretty calorie dense but it is soooooooooooooooooo good I almost couldn’t help myself.  I was going to braise some kale but changed my mind at the last minute and opted for a simple massaged kale salad instead.

 

Well, hope that there is something on this ridiculously long post that some of you will try and love as much as me! ❤ I hear a malbec and a book calling my name! Night! 🙂

I fail at this…

Yes, it has been a minute since I have written. I have many excuses, however I will spare you. I assure you though, we are still eating yummy things. Perhaps it is because the foods have been so yummy, I have had little time to sit down and write. 🙂 I am just going to go with that for now. My sister in law Brandy got me Veganomicon for Christmas this year. Let. Me. Tell. You. I EFFING LOVE THIS COOK BOOK. I have made many things so far, loving too many to mention. And I have failed on more than one front, because not only have I neglected to write, I also continuously forget to take pictures. AAAAAAAAAAAAnyway. Enough apologizing 🙂

I also may need to note, that due to my unhealthy obsession with my new cookbook, this blog may be taking on the appearance of a cook through thingie..which I don’t mind if you don’t ❤

Some things that did not fall through the cracks recently,

Veganomicon’s Beet and Parsnip salad

  • Dressing:
  • 2 cups orange juice (recipie calls for pineapple, which I did not have)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I used walnut…again…cause thats what I had)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, very well minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Salad:
  • 1 poundbeets, peeled and shredded
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup coarsley chopped fresh mint

Just shred the beets and parsnips in the food proscessor, and toss in vinegrette. The longer this sets the better this is, to a point. The salt will eventualy break down the vegetables making them mushy. Ick. Mine didn’t last too long in the fridge anyway, so shouldn’t be a problem.

Veganomicon’s Broiled Tofu

You are going to die when you see how easy this is.

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T fresh lemon Juice
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 scant t olive oil.
  • 1 block extra frim tofu

Cut the tofu width wise in to 4 equal pieces. Cut each of those slices in half widthwise so you have 8 squares. Then, cut each square in half so you have 16 triangles. Dip the tofu in the marinade, place on lightly greased cookie sheet under broiler for 10 min. Remove, spoon marinade over the tofu, broil again for 3 min, repeat untill marinade is gone. THE END. omg so freaking good!

I served this all over a bed of mixed greens, with a drizzle of tahini and some peanuts.

Yesterday was my brothers birthday, so we went to my parents house for dinner and I made my very first vegan cupcakes. I was basically just playing. I used a dead simple vegan chocolate cake recipe, that was too dry in my opinion, and a easy adaptation of a traditional butter-cream frosting using Earth Balance. So, I guess what im getting at  is once again, I have no recipes for this lol.

Originaly, I had this idea for a raspberry glaze, topped with chocolate ganache. I soon realized that I didn’t have any frozen raspberries, so I just put some peanut butter, powdered sugar and water in a sauce pan untill it was thin enough to ice the cupcakes with. I melted some dark chocolate, almond milk and Earth balance to make the ganache.  Then I just swirled the two together on a few of the cupcakes. I was a little afraid, so the majority of them were a tried and true butter cream.

I have also made the cornbread from the book, which was great the first time, but a little dry. The same thing I noticed about the cupcakes. The next time I make a cake, even though it binds, rises, and has a nice crumb just like a regular cake, the moistness is kinda lacking. Today I made another cornbread and used the exact same recipe as before, and just added 1 eggs worth of Energy egg replacement. MUCH BETTER!

I swear I will try to do better! I have made so many things lately, I am sure some will be repeated and documented better!

BACON! (kinda)

I make TLTs (that’s a tofu lettuce and tomato sandwich to you) all the time. The last time I used more pepper than normal or something and it hit me like a mac truck. I WANT BACON. I never crave meat, hell I don’t even think about it unless I’m talking to a friend about it, but I simply could not get the idea of attempting to recreate the salty, sweet, smokeyness out of my head. That was my mission yesterday, and I must say (and so did my brother and Matthew) this is far and away the best tofu I have ever had.  But then again, an old bike tire would probably taste all right if it marinated in maple syrup for a few hours.

 

Tofakin

1 block extra firm tofu

3 T maple syrup

1 1/2 T molasses

2 T apple cider vinegar

3 T soy sauce

10 -15 shakes of liquid smoke

1/2 t cumin

1/2 t paprika

about a cup of water

LOTS of coarse ground pepper

salt to taste

 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tofu in to thin pieces about 1/4 of an inch thick. Pat each dry and arrange on cookie sheet. Freeze for 1 -2 hours.

 

Once it has frozen, mix the rest of the ingredients in a shallow dish or large ziplock bag. Put the tofu in and allow to marinate for several hours, even overnight if you want. I had to let mine defrost a bit in the sink because it was getting close to dinner time and they were still kinda frosty.

 

Put a little oil in a non stick skillet and allow it to heat up to med high heat. Put more pepper on them and cook until they are golden brown and all caramelized on the out side. (I am so mad that I didn’t take another picture of what it looks like when it was done! You just have to believe me, it looked awesome lol)

I like veganaise aaaaaaaaaaand mustard on my sandwich. What can I say, I’m a rebel. They also tend to be more than half spinach lol. We ate these with some more sweet potato fries and cucumber and red onion salad. If you are interested in trying tofu, this would be a great starter recipe because the flavors are so familiar, and they are so thin that there is little chance you could have a texture issue lol. Also the process of freezing tofu changes the consistency of the tofu making it less mushy, more meaty.

 

As if the day needed to get better after a success in the kitchen, it was capped of with a fantastic night out with miss Katie!! ❤ I wish I had been hungry because the resturant we went to had tons of vegan options. >;(

Yeah, I eat carrots as my drunk food….wanna fight? ❤

Super slacker

With Liam and I back in Oklahoma and Matt still in Florida, I have little desire most days to do much more than roast a giant pan of vegetables for dinner. I am the type of person that can eat virtualy the same thing every day for a week and not get tired of it. My personal criteria for food.

1. Is it tasty.

2. Is it good for me

3. Does it take more than 30 miniutes before I have food to shove in face.

That is pretty much it. All of those things considered, I have not felt the urge to take pictures of 2,472 avocado and black bean roll ups, or 75,000 kale salads. You should probably be grateful. Those are the actual numbers. Its lunacy. And while our grocery bill is quite a bit lower, it does get a bit old after a while.

This is my excuse for zero posts in over a month. It’s a weak one, but its pretty much all I got.

Yesterday Liam and I went to the grocery store and inspiration was throwing large boulders at my head as I meandered up and down the isles. By the time I got home there was no less then 7 things that I couldn’t wait to make. Only problem is I’m not very good at cooking for 1.5. Lucky for me, my favorite Katie ever was coming over for dinner.  I gave her options, but wound up deciding for her, mostly because I had to get the tofu marinading.

This dinner was not only super yummy, but wicked fun to make. Some times I like things that have lots of steps, easy small steps….kinda like the little kid slide at the park.

Balsamic glazed tofu

1/4 c soy sauce

2/3 c balsamic

2 T agave

2 smashed cloves of garlic

1/2 t red pepper flakes

1/4 t pepper

1 block extra firm tofu sliced and pressed

Combine all ingredients and pour over tofu. Allow to marinate for at least an hour.  Make sure your grill is well oiled and set to med high. (because of the sugar content in balsamic, this tends to char a bit if cooked on too high a temp) Cook about 4 min on each side, longer if you like a firmer texture ( like I do).

While the tofu is on the grill, and if you have an awesome friend to watch it so it does not burn, pour the marinade in to a small sauce pan and simmer until it has reduced by about half.

Edamame and roasted corn salad

1/2 bag frozen shelled edamame

2 ears of corn

1/2 bell pepper

2 green onions

dressing

2T olive oil

1 t agave

2 T rice wine vinegar

1t sesame seeds

Soak corn (in husks) in water around 30 min. Throw them on a med high grill and turn frequently. I actually have no idea how long this takes, when you can smell it, it is done.  Put the bell pepper skin sided down on the grill to blister.

While corn is on grill steam or microwave edamame and put in large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients.   When the pepper is charred, peel away the majority of the skin, dice. Cut corn from cob, and combine everything together.

Sweet potato fries

1 large sweet potato cut in to french fries

2 t olive oil

1 t smoked paprika

1 t garlic powder

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 425

Put everything in a ziplock and toss to coat. Line a baking pan with parchment or tin foil and arrange fries evenly.  Bake for 20 min, turn the fries, raise oven temp to 450 and bake about 20 min longer.

I know I say this a lot, but I really, truly, honestly, loved this dinner. I had not experimented much with different glazes for grilled tofu, and pretty much just stuck with barbecue sauce. This is way better. And the salad! Just make it its stupid good.

I will indulge you with one of the things I have been eating very nearly every day. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you whole wheat toast, with almond butter and CHILI AND GARLIC CHOLULA. I eat this, no lie, every freaking day. It sounds so strange, but is just wonderful.

Hopefully my cooking day yesterday will give me the boost I needed to quit with the redundancy (Roasted broccoli and kale chips do not an interesting blog post make)

By for now! ❤

This little piggy ate tofu…

Things are starting to get a little crazy around here, with just a few days left in Florida. I am so looking forward to being home! It feels like we have been gone forever! I am not going to know what to do with myself in a fully stocked kitchen. I promise I will never again complain about my lack of counter space or my crummy knives (even though I really want some new ones, Santa? Are you listening? 🙂 ) I actually fell asleep last night running through all the things I can’t wait to make when I get back! We have been packing and cleaning for most of the day so far today, and I don’t see that pattern changing until we are on the road.

Yesterday I went to Publix (a local grocery store that I am going to miss dearly) to pick up snacky things for the trip.  A huge package of okra caught my eye, and I had to have it.

Roasting vegetables is bar none, my favorite way to cook them. It really does not matter what you have on hand, bell peppers, squash, egg plant, onions, or okra they transform in the oven.  High heat, a bit of salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil is all you need to be able to highlight the natural sweetness of most vegetables. Serve it over brown rice or quinoa, and you have a meal.

This is how things work in my house. At around 7:30, Liam wakes up. Mommy drinks her tea and screws around on the computer for 10 miniutes or so, while Liam watches Wonder Pets with a cup of milk and his blanket. When that is over, I go empty the dishwasher and start breakfast. Liam follows mommy and makes this face at me constantly while I am in the kitchen, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks… He is my little baby bird, following me around and peeping for crumbs of avocado or tomato.

Our lunch today was nothing spectacular, just another hummus pizza and a cold beet salad, but these peaches were extrodinary. I love love love fresh produce. The only thing that makes me sad, is I know they are about at the end of their season 😦 . We split this one, I wish I had bought more of them 😦

More than peanut butter, more than veggie dogs, more than sautéed mushrooms or avocados, Liam loves tofu. It is seriously the most perfect toddler food ever. Beyond easy to fix, good hot or cold, can be flavored or prepared a million different ways, all depending on the time and ingredients you have on hand, and it is not a messy food.  One of the easiest and most common way for us to fix it is in a simple soup, with very little broth for him. When I am tired, or just don’t have much time for a five star lunch I just get a block of tofu, press it out a bit in some paper towel, cut it in to little cubes, put some soy sauce and vegetable stock in a sauce pan and let it all simmer a bit.  Now, obviously this is not anything special, just a quick easy way to fix it that Liam loves.  He will eat half of a block just like that. Throw in some steamed carrots, or beets, a couple pieces of fruit, and you have a great little meal. 🙂 Even omni mommys and daddys should look into the versatility of tofu, strictly as a good source of protein that you don’t have to worry about the little one choking on, not to mention a healthy finger food.

Dinner tonight is a once a week type meal. I generaly make this right before I go to the grocery store, just to get rid of the waning veggies in the fridge.  The vegetables always change, and sometimes I use different juices. Lime, orange and pineapple juice are all fantastic in this recipe.

Quick and easy stir fry

1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into squares.

1 celery stalk sliced

1/2 medium onion sliced in to strips

1/2 red bell pepper diced

1/2 a pint of mushrooms sliced

1/4 cup frozen peas

1 or 2 carrots sliced

1 stalk broccoli

Sauce

1/4 c soy sauce

1/4 c water*

1T corn starch

2 T agave

2 garlic cloves very finly minced or pressed

1 inch grated ginger

2 t lime juice

1t crushed red pepper flakes

*you can use less water and more juice if you use pineapple or orange juice.

Heat a wok to med high heat and add 2 T olive, or coconut oil. Add tofu and gently sauté until all sides are golden brown. While the tofu is cooking whisk together all ingredients for the sauce and set aside. When the tofu is done, remove from the pan and add veggies according to cook time (onions, carrots, celery…) and cook each a few minutes before adding the next. When the veg is almost done, add the tofu back into the pan and pour on the sauce. Allow to set a moment or two (cornstarch needs to come to a boil to properly thicken), and then carefully stir to coat. (Tofu can be a little fragile, and can go from blocks to scrambled very quickly)

That’s all for today! I hope you are all having a fantastic week so far, looking forward to seeing lots of you very soon!! ❤

buh bai sugar!

So it has been 2 weeks with out white refined sugar, white bread or diet soda. How has it been? Um AMAZING! I feel like I have gotten my taste buds back. A month ago, my sweet tooth was taking on a mind of it’s own. I found Newman O’s and since the ingredients are organic,  and I can pronounce all of them, I allowed myself more than I normally would have (like 5 at a time). There was more than one treat a day, (like after every meal) and my coffee could not be too sweet. One day last week (can’t remember when exactly) I was kind of craving a cookie. Matt sugested that Liam and I share one, so I split it and ate my half. Guess what! IT WAS TOO SWEET!. One half of a cookie is all I need!

Sunday is my cheat day and I made pancakes for every one and had a few my self but I did not feel the need to drown them in syrup like I usually do. I did not even feel guilty for the pancakes I ate, because, since I made them I know exactly what went in them 🙂 When I get back home, we will still have pancake Sunday, but I will keep a batch of whole wheat and agave ones for myself in the freezer ❤

I can’t figure out if I became desensitized to sweets because I was eating more of them, or if I was eating more because I was drinking diet soda. Turns out they are both right. I heard of this study done by Purdue University that shows mice fed the artificial sweetener continued trying to achieve the caloric high that is supposed to accompany sweet treats. So,  diet drinks work against you two fold, you can eat more sweet things because your taste buds are so unbelievably deadened to sweet, and you feel the physical need for something sweet.

White bread? Just don’t eat it. All of it’s nutritional value has been bleached off of it, it has more yeast and sugar than any other type of bread (stops you up yo.), and is less filling than a good whole wheat or multi grain bread so you tend to eat more.

An unexpected benefit of the changes in my diet? I have lost another 5 lbs! Only 6 more to go! (dances around)

Mkay done with my rant for the day! So what does one eat who consumes no meat, white bread or sugar? Um all this!

Grilled tofu, with charred bell peppers and zucchini

Mixed greens with cucumbers, chickpeas, lentils, goat cheese and a citrus balsamic vinaigrette.

This is one of my newer and more successful creations. Kind of reminds me of chinese hot and sour soup. If you can boil water, you can make this soup. I really need to start measuring stuff so I am not just guessing.

Spicy shroom soup

2 cups Vegetable stock

1/2 cup (about) soy sauce

1/4 block of tofu cut into small cubes

1/2 onion

lots of mushrooms

1 inch grated or finly minced fresh ginger

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp agave

1/2 a lime

pepper and sriracha

In a medium sauce pan, add 2 tsp vegetable stock and onions. Sweat out onions until mostly translucent, add mushrooms and cook until they are starting to soften. Add garlic and ginger, sauté about 1 minute. Add remaining stock, soy sauce and agave, let simmer a few minutes. Add tofu and the lime juice.  Top with a few drizzles of sriracha or red pepper flakes. I like mine with extra lime too 😀

I can’t wait to get back home! I miss my family, my puppy, and my kitchen! Dear food processor, blender and Kitchen Aide, mommy’s coming home soon! I see chickpea nuggets and crazy amounts of smoothies in my future ❤