Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tofu Tacos

Last night was Taco Tuesday, and this tends to be one of the regular meals around our house. Prep time is super quick, as is clean up. Plus, kids love this just as much as adults. I've been making this with tofu forever, but you could also use those Boca crumbles. This is hardly a "recipe"...more of just a veggie meal idea. You can adjust your toppings as you like and even make a taco bar for all to help themselves.

1 package firm or extra firm organic tofu
1 package taco seasoning
corn tortillas (soft or crispy)
toppings: lettuce, cilantro, avocado, sliced olives, black beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Place tofu in large skillet on med heat and chop with spatula until crumbly. Add taco seasoning and water according to package instructions. You don't need to cook very long, like 5 min or so, until most of the water is cooked off. Assemble tacos. Open Bohemias and enjoy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh Corn and Leek Pappardelle

The picture doesn't really do it justice, but this pasta was super tasty. I was trying to replicate something I had at RN74, and although it didn't turn out quite the same, it was really yummy. I served it with Heirloom Tomatoes and a big hunk of olive bread, then Rhubarb Crisp for dessert. My guests brought a lovely small production Carignane from Ridge. Everyone was so happy, they sang and played guitar after dinner.

2 Tbsps EVOO
1 organic leek, washed thoroughly and sliced into small half moons
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup white wine
2 ears of fresh organic corn, kernels shaved off of the cob
1/2 cup organic heavy cream
1 12oz package of fresh pappardelle
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet on med-high, add the leeks and garlic and cook for about 4-5 min until tender. Add the corn, stir, add the wine and broth and simmer another 2 min. Stir in the cream and simmer another minute or two. Toss in the pappardelle and season with salt and pepper and cheese. Serve immediately, making sure to scoop up the juices at the bottom of the pan and pour on top of pasta.

Serves 4

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes and Goat Cheese with Basil Vinaigrette

I used to HATE tomatoes. Loathed them. Until I moved to San Francisco and had my first heirloom tomato. Over the last 5 years, I've become obsessed with heirlooms, and will eat them any chance I get (I will eat them on a boat, I will eat them with a get the picture.) We had some guests over for dinner last night and I made this "salad" to go with a pasta dish. The 5 of us licked the platter clean. One trick: don't use a knife to slice the goat cheese, use dental floss. Works like a charm.

1 packed cup fresh organic basil
4 Tablespoons EVOO
4 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
6ish medium heirloom tomatoes, various colors, sliced
6-8 oz goat cheese, thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Put the basil, EVOO and vinegar in a blender and puree. Slice the tomatoes and cheese and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with the a good amount of the sauce (you'll probably have some left over) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Asparagus Pasta

This is a recipe I make all the time. It's so easy to put together and it's always a hit. I learned it from a Swedish guy who learned it from an Italian there was no recipe, per se. The directions were like, "so, you cook up some garlic, add the other stuff, cook the asparagus in that, then let it get happy." Not joking. I had to watch a few times and then make it about a dozen more times before it felt like I got the proportions right. My version here:

1 lb organic durum wheat farfalle, or other pasta
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2-1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Juice of 1 organic lemon
2 small bunches organic asparagus (apprx. 30), snapped at the base and cut into 1" pieces
1/4 cup toasted organic pine nuts
Grated vegan parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese for topping (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a large saute pan, heat EVOO, garlic and chili flakes over med-high heat until garlic is fragrant and barely light-golden. Deglaze pan with wine. Add bouillon and lemon and stir until dissolved. Add asparagus and reduce heat to med-low. Simmer about 5 min, until asparagus is just cooked and still bright green. Turn off heat. Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente. Drain and toss in the pan with the pine nuts and about 1/4 cup cheese. Top with more cheese at the table as desired.

Serves 4

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vegan Rhubarb Crisp

I recently learned that there are two types of rhubarb. My farmer's market had both, so I asked what the difference was. The dark red/green type is "field-grown" and much more tart. The green/light pink type is "hothouse" and is sweeter (also less stringy). I tried my vegan crisp topping on both, and I actually liked the flavor of the green better (pictured above). The red was much prettier, however, and quite tangy (I should have added more sugar). You can do just rhubarb, or a mix of rhubarb and strawberries (pictured below). Either way, it won't last long, so get it while you can.
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup oats
2 Tablspoons flax seeds (optional, or chop up some nuts)
1/2 teaspooon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup Earth Balance natural buttery spread

~4 cups rhubarb (5ish stalks)
1/4-1/2 cups organic cane sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a ~8x8 baking dish or a pie plate. Mix crisp topping ingredients together until crumbly. Slice fruit and mix with 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on type of rhubarb). Fill bottom of dish with fruit/sugar and top with crisp topping. Bake ~45 min. until fruit is bubbly and crisp is golden brown. Serve with Purely Decadent Vanilla.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Purple Haze Sandwiches

Sometimes, it really pays to keep things simple. There are many nights when I don't feel like cooking or just want something light. My husband will crack open a bottle of wine, I'll throw something together from whatever I can find in the fridge, and we'll put our feet up and relax. Surprisingly, some decadent fare can actually be produced in spite of such poor planning. Recently, one of those evenings had me staring at two heirloom tomatoes wondering how I could turn them into a meal. I found a disk of Cypress Grove Purple Haze goat cheese (with lavender and fennel pollen--yum!) in the fridge, some olive bread in the freezer, and some basil in the yard. The sandwiches were ready in five minutes, and we ate happily knowing there were only wine glasses to wash at the end of the night.

Heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Olive bread, sliced and lightly toasted
Purple Haze goat cheese (or any type you want)
Chopped fresh basil
EVOO and/or balsamic vinegar drizzle (optional)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grilled Artichokes with Balsamic Vinaigrette

So many vegetables are good for grilling, and one of my favorites is artichokes. High in fiber, potassium, calcium and iron, these babies are known to help boost the liver function. Good news for those of us having lots of wine at our BBQs. This is my rip off of Bandera's artichoke appetizer, the first place I ever had a grilled artichoke. You can make the sauce and steam the artichokes several hours ahead, marinate them in a zip bag, then just grill them last minute. Easy to take to a friend's house that way.

1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsps dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon italian herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

4 large artichokes

Put a steamer basket in a huge pot with a couple inches of water. Trim sharp ends of artichokes and place in basket, cover and steam for ~35-45min, or until just barely done (test by trying a leaf). Remove from pot and let cool. Meanwhile, combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. When artichokes have cooled, slice in half (or quarters if extra large) and remove artichoke hairs. Brush on lots of sauce and transfer to hot grill. Cook just a couple minutes on each side. Serve immediately with some extra sauce and/or Vegenaise.

Serves 8 (1/2 artichoke each)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vegetable Fried Rice, Grains and Lentils

I was in my local Whole Foods and they were sampling a new product called SooFoo. Funky name, but it was delicious so I grabbed a bag. It is a mix of brown rice, brown lentils, wheat berries, oats, barley, black lentils, rye berries, green lentils and buckwheat--tons of protein and fiber. So I did one of my "clean out the fridge" meals and made a vegetable fried rice with this SooFoo stuff. It was really healthy, hearty and yummy! Use whatever veggies you have on hand, but here's what I liked:

2 cups uncooked SooFoo (or just brown rice)
2 Tbsps EVOO
1 package firm tofu, sliced into 1/2-1" pieces
1/2 chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, snapped at base and sliced into 1" pieces
2 bunches baby bok choy
1 package white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
soy sauce to taste
3 eggs, beaten (optional)

Steam SooFoo or rice according to package instructions. Heat EVOO in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a minute or two until soft. Add the asparagus and bok choy and cook another couple minutes. Mushrooms go next for a couple more. If you're doing the eggs, add them in now and stir until cooked. Stir in the SooFoo and tofu and cook until heated. Toss in the chili flakes and stir in soy sauce to taste.

Serves 4

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fruit Cobbler

Stone fruits are going crazy right now, and I can't get enough of them. I'm going nuts making cobblers, crisps, pies, salads...anything I can think of that uses them. This recipe came from aunt Nini, who says it's her best version yet (and that's saying a lot because she's an amazing cook.) She did it with fresh berries, but you can use any fruit you want. I made a couple adjustments in my version: used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour, and tossed in some flax seeds for some added fiber and omega-3s. (This flax seed thing is my new favorite thing to do, by the way. I put them in rice crispy treats, muffins, crisps, on pasta...why not?) As far as the fruit goes, most of the stone fruits are so sweet right now, you don't need to add anything to them. Just slice them up, top with the cobbler, and bake.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (light is ok, too)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 Tbsps butter or Earth's Balance
1 egg
pinch salt
2 Tbsps flax seeds (optional)

~3 cups sliced stone fruit, berries, etc. (enough to generously cover the bottom of the dish.)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease ~8x8 baking dish. Combine crust ingredients until crumbly. Put the fruit in the dish and top with cobbler crust. Bake for 45 min. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Little Gem Salad with Fresh Dill, Green Beans, Baby Heirlooms and Corn

I finally got my computer back. What an ordeal. I still have to install a bunch of apps over the next week or so, but luckily my data was recovered. Time to implement a serious back up regimen. Anyway, I've got a back log of recipes, many of which were special requests, so stay tuned and thanks for being patient.

This salad is so fresh and delicious, I made it three nights in a row. The fresh dill at the farmer's market was begging for some attention, and I'm a sucker for little gems, so that was a no brainer. The rest just came to me as I was perusing the Saturday goodies. One night, I used avocado instead of the green beans, and that was yummy, too. A great accompaniment to whatever you happen to be grilling this 4th. Have a great holiday and don't forget to back up!

1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. This will probably be more than you need, but keep it around, you may want to make it again and again!

4-5 handfuls little gems
1 cup blanched green beans, cut into 1-2" pieces (or 1 chopped avocado)
kernels of one ear of fresh corn (no need to cook it if it's fresh and in season)
2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
1 cup baby heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half
2oz goat cheese, crumbled

Combine ingredients in salad bowl and toss with dressing.
Serves 4
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