Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brunchin' It: Potato & Chorizo Home Fries & Tofu Scramble

After working six days in a row, having this weekend off is like a little slice of paradise! What better way to start off a lazy day, than a super huge, yummy breakfast:

Scrambled Tofu with some of my friend, Kathy's, homemade salsa:

Scrambled Tofu with Home Made Salsa

Scrambled tofu is on the breakfast menu quite a bit in our house.  I usually use this Basic Scrambled Tofu recipe as a base, and then flavor accordingly, depending on my mood.    I've listed measurements for the spices below, but in all reality, I do the spices and seasonings "to taste".

  • Basic Breakfast Tofu Scramble
  • 1 (16 ounce) package firm tofu
  • cooking spray
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground white pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • tablespoon soy creamer , plain, unsweetened (can use almond or soy milk too)  
  • **The cream or milk adds a nice smooth finish, and allows the spices to coat the tofu evenly.  Especially the turmeric, which gives the scramble a nice, even yellow color
    • Spray non-stick frying generously with cooking spray, and heat over medium.
    • Drain the package of tofu and crumble into the pan. Cook for 3-4 mins, until tofu begins to release some of its water.
    • Add the remaining ingredients (except the creamer) and mix well to combine evenly.
    • Cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring regularly.
    • When tofu releases most of its water, and begins to firm up, add creamer and mix well.
    • Cook another 1-2 minutes, allowing some of the liquid to evaporate, then remove from heat.
    • Serve with toast
    Most of the time I'll leave the scramble plain, but this week, I had some yummy chorizo sausages from Viva Vegan (chipotle version!) on hand.  I knew I was going to mix the diced chorizo with some potato and onion, so I went with a bit of Mexican spice in the scramble this time.  

    So, we have: Tofu Scramble base, plus some cumin, coriander, a bit more nutritional yeast, and a half cup of Kathy's home made fresh salsa (diced tomato, red, yellow and orange pepper, jalapeño and half of a habnero, red onion and lime)!

    And now for the potatoes!  

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    I got some refined coconut oil, and was interested in trying it out.  I saw the gals on Spork Fed Foods making home fried sweet and white potatoes fried on coconut oil.  I usually use olive oil myself, but I thought this might be a nice change.  I put a bit of the coconut oil in my cast iron pan, and fried up my chorizo pieces until they were crispy, then set aside. I added another couple of tsps back to the hot pan, and tossed in about 5 red potatoes, scrubbed and diced, with their skin on and one.  Then I seasoned to taste:  italian seasoning, a bit of garlic powder, a bit more of onion powder, some cumin and coriander, cajun seasoning and paprika.  Toss potatoes with then salt and pepper to taste. 

    Needless to say we were full.  And, skipped lunch... ^_^

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

    I had these beautiful stalks of fresh rosemary left over from New Years Eve, and half a bag of potatoes, so I threw together this:

    Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

    Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
    1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed (this time I used organic russet)
    Zest of 1 lemon, removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
    2 tbsp Olive Oil
    1 large sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
    1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
    freshly ground black, pepper, to taste

    Preheat oven to 475.  I use my Pampered Chef large stone bar pan, and preheat the pan right in the oven.  The preheated stone cookies with a nice even heat, and gives whatever you roast on it, a gorgeous brown, caramelized color!

    While the oven heats up, place the olive oil and lemon zest strips in a microwave safe dish, and gently warm 30 seconds at a time, until fragrant.  I think I did mine for a total of 1:30.  (You can also do this in a small pot on the stove over low)

    Add chopped rosemary and let sit in the warm oil for 10 minutes.

    Toss cubed potatoes with the flavored oil on the preheated bar pan, spread evenly,  and add salt and pepper to taste.

    Great side dish for chickpea cutlets!!

    Lemon Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

    Roast in oven for 10- 15 minutes, flip potatoes, and roast an additional 5-10 minutes, or until tender

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Quesadilla Time!

    So today I had to work.  The New England Patriots were playing in the AFC championship game, and I was at work for the entire duration.  As a consolation prize, my boss bought us lunch!  But my only choice was the pizza/burger snack bar next to our bookstore.  It was Sunday, and the students have not moved back to campus yet, so pickings were slim.  They do have a black bean and veggie quesadilla, which I could order with OUT cheese and sour cream.  But, I have been told, that even loaded with cheese, it is still one of the blandest things on the planet....

    So, I ordered one to-go, knowing I had my lovely Smokey Mountain Cheese sitting at home in my fridge, as well as a freshly baked batch of chorizo sausages from Viva Vegan.  This was going to be good!

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    So, when I got home, I scraped the flavorless black beans, peppers and onions into a bowl.  I think they just need to add a bit of salt and some cumin or chili powder...  But either way, I was going to fix all that!

    I added about 1/3 cup of the smokey mountain cheese, mixed it well, and zapped it in the microwave for a minute or two.  Then I chopped up about 2/3 of a link of chorizo (I had nibbled a bit of the end earlier, just to see if it tasted good)! I sautéed the bite size pieces over medium heat in a pan with a bit of cooking spray until crispy, then tossed it into the cheesy vegetable mixture.  I then RE-stuffed the tortillas, and placed them in my nonstick pan to get some brown action on them!

    The result:  packed with smokey, spicy flavor, melt on your mouth Mexican quesadilla goodness!!  (If only I had guacamole...)

    This MORE than made up for the fact that I missed the game... Now I can't wait for the SUPERBOWL, and the awesome game day grub I'm gonna make! GO PATS!! ^_^

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Great Smoky Mountain Cheese!

    Smokey Mountain Cheese - Vegan Diner!

    I am happily cooking my way through Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson, and loving every second of it!

    At long last, I finally found agar-agar POWDER at the Asian Market down the street from my house.  I've been searching for it everywhere, and these little packets were the perfect size for my initial investment.

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    *Telephone Brand* I like that!

    I have lots of plans for these little packets, so I got two of them to start. Smokey Mountain Cheese was on the top of my list of recipes to try, (and then, there are some pies in Vegan Pie in the Sky that are next...)

    The cheese came together quickly, which I liked, despite the fact that I threw paprika all over my counter trying to put the lid back on :/

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    Nice going... At least it was only my plain, sweet paprika, and not my beloved brand new jar of smoked!

    So, now that I have this beautiful round of yummy cheese, what do I do with it??

    I made the obligatory Grilled Cheese and Tomato sandwich:

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    NOMNOMNOM! Haven't had a grilled cheese in a while, so this was quite delicious!

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    Please excuse the grape tomatoes that I sliced, instead of actual tomato... I was improvising.

    But, I'll ask again:  What else (besides polishing this whole round off with a box of crackers)?!?

    I was thinking maybe jalapeño poppers ^_^

    What are your thoughts?  All ideas welcome!

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Recipe Testing: Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup, “No”govlemano

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    "The Greek classic egg-lemon chicken soup gets a vegan makeover with the help both white beans... and a touch of arborio rice". 

    Warm, comforting and delicious, with just the perfect amount of lemon!  This recipe is a winner, and I will be making it often.  When L walked in the house, she said it smelled just like when her mom made it, so I'd say this recipe definitely stands up to Greek approval There is a version of the recipe with asparagus here on Terry's blog, for anyone who might like to recreate this at home  ^_^ 

    Cannot WAIT for Terry's cookbook to come out... !!