Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easy Peasy Pasta and Caesar Salad

Here's two more amazing recipes from my new favorite cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen!  I'm finally having some more time to cook during the week, so I am excited to try more of Chloe's recipes!  So far everything has turned out really well.  I followed these two recipes exactly according to her directions, so I'm just going to copy and paste from her cookbook.

Caesar Salad with Maple-Wheat Croutons
Maple-Wheat Croutons
6 slices whole-wheat bread, cut into 1/2 cubes (I actually used gluten-free bread here, but that's up to you)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Spread the bread cubes in one layer onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until crisp and lightly browned, turning with a spatula every ten minutes.  

Caesar Dressing
1/4 cup soft tofu
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 table spoon apple-cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white miso paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
--In a blender or food processor, combine tofu, oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, miso, salt, and pepper.  Process until very smooth.

To serve, chop up some romaine lettuce, mix with Caesar dressing and add capers and maple croutons!
Yum!  Caesar Salad without the anchovies!

Now for the pasta.  We loved this!  In the cookbook, it's described as a pasta salad for traditional Italian events, but I served it warm and it was delicious.  The next day I tried the leftovers cold as if it were a salad, but decided that with gluten-free pasta, it just doesn't taste good cold.  So, if you're using corn pasta like I did, this is better served warm.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

1 small new potato, red or white, peeled and quartered
1 pound pasta (I used Trader Joes corn pasta, rotini)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup cold water
2/3 cup olive oil

Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and let cook until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and let potatoes cool completely.

Cook pasta according to package.  Add frozen peas to the boiling pasta right before draining.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Transfer pasta and peas to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, combine cooled potatoes, garlic, tomato paste, mustard, capers, oregano, basil, salt, and water in a food processor.  Slowly add the oil in a thin stream and process until smooth.  Toss pasta and peas with sauce, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  (Remember, I served mine warm/hot and it was great.)

Will ate two huge helpings of both the Caesar salad and pasta, he loved everything so much.  It also might be a fact that I have a husband that is the best eater ever, but it's still nice to see someone enjoy my food as heartily as he does!  :)  This is a guy that loves to eat his steak and potatoes, so I think we can take this as a good sign that he loves my vegan, gluten-free cooking so much! 

Rice Casserole with Hearts of Palm

I found some cans of Hearts of Palm and really wanted to make something with them.  I googled what to make with Hearts of Palm, and there were a lot of recipes involving rice.  It also appears that this vegetable is traditional in Brazil and Argentina.  I got some ideas and came up with this:

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked white rice, seasoned with turmeric and cumin
1 cup mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1 can hearts of palm, drained
1 cup Daiya vegan cheese to sprinkle on top

1.  Cook the two different kinds of rice.

2.  Cook mushrooms until they elude their juices.  

3.  When mushrooms are soft, add hearts of palm and lower heat to keep warm. 

4.  When rice is done, spread the brown rice in a casserole dish.  Layer some mushrooms and hearts of palm on top of brown rice.  Add the layer of white rice seasoned with tumeric and cumin.  Finish with a layer of the rest of the mushrooms and hearts of palm.  Sprinkle the Daiya vegan cheese on top. 

5.  Bake uncovered for an hour at 350. 

I served the dish with some Gardein Beefless Tips, which Will loved because they looked like steak. 

Dinner is served.

Pasta with Beet Sauce

This one was inspired from a recipe in Whole Living Magazine.  Click here for the original recipe or follow along below: 


1 package baby beets from Trader Joes 
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped, crushed tomatoes
Red pepper flakes to taste
Sea salt to taste
8-10 oz Corn Pasta Spaghetti from Trader Joes

1.  Make spaghetti according to package.  Drain, and save 1 cup of the pasta water.  

2.  Microwave beets for about 20-30 seconds.  Blend beets, garlic, walnuts and tomatoes in a food processor or blender.  Season with the salt and red pepper flakes. 

3.  Mix beet sauce with pasta water and add to cooked spaghetti.  Stir well and serve immediately.  Sprinkle fresh, ground pepper on top and enjoy! 

I would never have thought of putting all this stuff together, but it was delicious!  The original recipe doesn't call for garlic, but I think it's necessary to offset the sweetness of the beets.  I liked it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So Gong Don Tofu House

4127 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Even though I try not to eat out a lot on work trips, I can't help finding a Korean Restaurant wherever I am in Northern California.  This one was perfect!  It had a ton of vegetarian options on their menu and everything was so delicious.  The banchan was so good, I asked for seconds and the server even packed extra to-go boxes of the sweet potato and transparent noodles for me!  I pulled those out at the airport later when I was delayed for-EVER. 

And of course I got my usual tofu soup with mushrooms.  Yum!

Work Trip Food

This is basically all I ate last week on my work trip:  Boring, yes, but better than eating out for every single meal. 

These are vegan AND gluten-free, and very delicious

Rice cakes!  A breakfast and snack staple.

Yes, this is weird, but I will literally eat spinach right out of the bag.

This goes with the spinach.  It's like a "snack" salad.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beet Sliders

These are with whole wheat slider buns.  See gluten-free option below.

 This was a meal wholly conceived and executed by Will.  I had absolutely nothing to do with it, and it was awesome.

He got the idea from a Guy Fieri show and this recipe is used at the restaurant, Gatsby's, in Sacramento. Click here for the recipe from Food Network.

Hello, AMAZING!  I mean everything about this meal was just awesome, especially the fact that my husband came up with the idea to make it and then made it!  The only thing I did was make the vegan ranch spread, but he had requested that in advance, and of course I was happy to help.

Will prepares the sliders.  See my ranch spread in the background

His comment on the ranch:

"MMM.  That.  Is.  Good.  That is so much better than real Ranch.  Why can't they just make Ranch without dairy because that is so good!"

My comment on the beet sliders:

"Oh.  My.  Goodness.  These are SO GOOD!  I love them!  You HAVE to make these again."

All eight sliders were scarfed down in a matter of seconds.

I made mine open-faced with gluten-free bread.  They were delicious!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's called a Haystack

To build an amazing haystack of food, you go like this:

Layer 1 -- Frito's corn chips
Layer 2 -- Beans
Layer 3 -- (Vegan) cheese
Layer 4 -- Lettuce
Layers 5+ -- Veggies; usually including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, jalepenos, avocadoes, etc.
Additional layers -- Salsa, Tapa Tio, (vegan) sour cream

This is one of my favorite meals in the world.  I've been eating 'stacks since I was a kid and they are just the best!  There are so many variations, and they never get old.  Thank you to Michael Tucker who posted a picture of the haystack he was eating, thus inspiring me to make them immediately.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rice with Avocado and Tomato

This week I was back to my crazy work schedule of 6:30am - 7:30pm.  That includes commuting, but still, it's a long day.  By the time I get home, I'm ravenous and need something to eat ASAP.  I made a detailed menu for the week and instructed the husband to please feel free to start the daily meals so that they would ready, or close to ready, by the time I get home.  :)  He happily obliged. 

This one is super simple and easy to make.  It's been a steadfast meal in our household and we love it. 

1 -- Make rice
2 -- Cut up some fresh avocado and tomato
3 -- Put avo's and tom's on top of rice
4 -- Add sriracha
5 -- EAT!  

I had two packets of instant miso soup in the pantry, so we added boiling water to those and had that with the rice as well.  Not too shabby.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baked Potato Goodness!

Oh my goodness these were the best potatoes ever! 

Toppings are:

Earth Balance vegan margarine
Cooked spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower
Sauteed mushrooms and onions
Baby corn
Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper
Daiya vegan cheddar cheese.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Love Chloe's Kitchen!

 This is turning out to be a great cookbook.  I tried three more recipes and they were all so delicious.

First of all, I made the No Soy Soy Sauce for the Chow Mein the other night, and it was surprisingly good and tasted just like soy sauce.

Then,  I made the "Pancakes for Dinner!" for breakfast yesterday.  I almost didn't attempt these at all because I have NEVER had luck with vegan pancakes.  Believe me, I've tried.  A lot.  Not only that, but I was going to use Gluten-free flour, which I've never used before.  All these factors did not equal favorable odds of a successful pancake.

I decided to make steel-cut oats instead.

While that was all boiling, I finally gave in to the pancake temptation and whipped up the batch from Chloe's cookbook.  AND THEY TURNED OUT!  It worked!  I made vegan, gluten-free pancakes and they were delicious!  I can not believe it.

The next recipe I tried was the Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Butter Sage Sauce for dinner.  Again, this was totally gluten-free and who would know?!  I can't even begin to describe how delectable these were.  Get this book and make them ASAP.  By the way, these are a huge husband-pleaser.

Side note:  I didn't read beforehand that the recipe called for red-skinned sweet potatoes, so I just bought the potatoes that were under a sign saying "sweet potatoes" and not the ones under a sign saying "yams."  I think these gnocchi are supposed to be orangey like yams.  Are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing?  I don't know, but they were still really good.