Monday, August 27, 2007

Peachy Keen

OK, I've noticed that most of my posts lately have featured numerous items with a focus on a particular ingredient - strawberries, then tomatoes, and now peaches. I am forcing myself not to go overboard with one particular ingredient in particular, as I fear that's one way of making me hate something since I've over-made it.

But I digress - I had to buy a basket of peaches since every blogger has been making the Fat Free Vegan's Peach Upside-Down Cake. I know that the original, VeganYumYum's and Vegan Eats & Treats' versions look way better than mine, but mine doesn't look so bad considering I had to make it with a 10" springform pan rather than a cast-iron skillet (I don't have one...I'll have to add that to my Xmas list). My pan didn't give the cake a golden hue, and made a drippy mess (thank god I put it on a foil-lined cookie sheet!).

I absolutely cannot believe how there was no added fat in this recipe, and it tastes so darn good. I really hope that Susan V publishes a cookbook, as that too would be added to my Xmas list! Even though she's added no fat to her recipe, I added a little with a serving of Purely Decadent soy ice cream.

To ensure no other insect infestations, I wanted to use up my peaches before the fruit flies came along. I pulled out my waffle iron and hoped to avoid another waffle disaster by making a tried-and-true recipe from the Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond - Oatmeal Waffles. Basically, you put oats, water, a banana, and some vanilla extract in a blender and voilà - waffle batter. I put it in my waffle maker carefully, and avoided filling it with too much batter like I always do (I end up cleaning up stuck-on waffle goo every time from the sides), but this time I put in too little and they didn't make a full square pattern. I think they look like I tried to make Belgian Waffles...yeah, that's what I was trying to do...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tom-ay-to, Tom-at-o...

Either way you say it, it's great having a whole pile from the backyard garden!

I made a whole whack of stuff - first, I made Black Bean Ratatouille with Red Sauce from Tracy's copy of 150 Vegan Favourites by Jay Solomon. The recipe called for canned tomatoes, but I just used fresh instead since I had many on hand:

Next, I made a twist on my favourite Panzanella from the normally butter-laden recipe-making Martha Stewart. I added in black beans for protein and was out of fresh basil, but it still tasted great with dried basil. I love how the bread (in my case, I toasted it first to make it drier) soaks up the marinade. It was great served with fresh corn with a new topping that Kyle's dad suggested - soy sauce and lime. I didn't have any lime, so we tried it with lemon instead, and it was a great alternative to Earth Balance. Although it didn't really 'stick' to the corn, I didn't mind rolling the cob around on my plate after each row, as the eaten row sucked up the flavour!

With loads of juicy tomatoes still leftover, I made a tasty homemade spaghetti sauce...with a side of garlic bread! I sprinkled some fresh rosemary on the bread before broiling to add more flavour.

Finally, completely unrelated to tomatoes, I made a Blueberry Bake from Loblaws' site using Earth Balance and Sucanat to replace margarine and brown sugar. It was great, although I have now learned to check boxes of cereal that I save for a couple of months for recipe making - the box was infested with revolting little brown beetles! I was so grossed out, especially when at first they looked like flax seeds...but I quickly realized that flax seeds don't crawl! In case you're wondering, I used a fresh box of cereal for this recipe, so this pic is beetle-free. It was so vile and I feel so dirty! To anyone reading this who will actually eat food that I have prepared - I can assure you that my kitchen is not infested and unsanitary!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer's Bounty

Our veggie box has been brimming with produce lately, challenging me to actually cook some of it. In the summer I am drawn outdoors and hardly want to spend time in the kitchen, so what I do make has to be quick and simple. Here are two recipes that use some of the vegetables being harvested right now.

The first is Farmer's Bounty Soup. Pretty much all of the ingredients showed up in the box at our door and were in the soup on the table half an hour later.

Farmer's Bounty Soup

2 tblsp olive oil
1-2 onions, diced
1 pinch saffron
8 small red potatoes, diced
1 bunch green, yellow and purple beans, trimmed and cut
4 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1 yellow pattypan squash, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 chopped tomato
8 peas, shelled
1 asceptic box of vegetable broth (1 L)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in cast iron soup pot. Saute onions until soft. Add pinch of saffron and stir until fragrant. Add potatoes, beans, carrots, celery and yellow pepper, sauteing for about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, tomatoes and peas along with vegetable broth and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Every summer I seem to end up with a whole lot of zucchini. As the French say, when life gives you plus gros courgettes, make muffins.

Tracy's Zuke Muffins

3 cups shredded zucchini
3 tblsp egg replacer
4 tblsp water
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate zucchini. In a small cup or bowl, combine egg replacer and water and let sit for a few minutes. In a mixing bowl (I used my Kitchenaid mixer) mash banana, then add applesauce, oil, vanilla and sugar and combine. Add in zucchini and egg replacer and stir. Stop mixer and add flour, soda, powder, salt and spices. Combine the dry ingredients gently on top with a fork. Start mixer (or mixing) to stir batter. Fold in raisins. Scoop batter into silicone muffin pan or muffin pan coated with vegetable oil. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Recipe Redux

Back when I was a non-veggie, my mom used to make this dish called Summertime Skillet, which consisted of instant rice, salty cream of mushroom soup and chicken.

I recently craved this treat, but obviously in veggie format, with more healthy ingredients. So I created my own 'cream' of mushroom soup - sautéed button mushrooms, mixed in stock and spices and soymilk and flour - and steamed some brown basmati rice as part of my prep. When it came time to assemble, I cooked up some onion and celery, added some Yves Chick'n Tenders, and dumped in my soup and cooked rice. It was way better than the original!

I wish my mom had always made it this way instead.