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Monday, October 20, 2014

Avocado Alfredo Pasta Sauce for One



This unctuous sauce can make anything seem like a fancy meal, and yet it whips up in mere minutes. If you can cook noodles (or make them out of vegetables with a spiral cutter), and run the blender, you can manage this recipe, so it’s a good one for when you’re tired.

1 serving pasta (I like linguini, but you could certainly use zucchini noodles)
½ large avocado, flesh only
1 clove garlic, peeled
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Juice from a thick slice of lemon
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Salt, to taste
Pepper to taste

Interesting bits:
Nuts
Cucumbers
Faux cheese
Tofu
Diced red onion
Reconstituted wakame (sea weed)
Faux sour cream

  1. Put the water on to boil for the pasta. Or, if you’re using zucchini (or other veggie) noodles, make them first.
  2. Put the avocado, garlic, zest, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor, and whirl until it’s smooth
  3. Cook the pasta and drain it. If you want a cold salad, run the noodles under cold water.
  4. Place the drained pasta in a serving dish and blop the avocado sauce on it. Stir to combine.
  5. Top with interesting bits. I like reconstituted wakame (sea weed), diced green onions, and nuts.


Variations:
  • Try it as a salad dressing.
  • Smear it on a sandwich.
  • Put it inside a vegan omelet.
  • Add a little grated horseradish or wasabi and dip vegan sushi into it. 




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Broccoli, Kidney Bean, and Almond Salad



Although in some languages “salad” means “lettuce,” this salad doesn’t demand much lettuce at all—it’s mostly there for presentation. This salad enjoys broccoli as its central star, and provides lots of opportunities to make it a high-protein meal.

2 large pieces of lettuce (I like red leaf)
Splash of olive oil
Splash of vinegar
½ can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (about 2/3 cup)
3 TBLSP raw almonds, chopped
¼ head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
½ zucchini or summer squash, diced
½ carrot, diced
¼ cup grapes, halved
2 green onions, diced
Sprouts for garnish
Avocado for garnish

  1.  Cut or tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, and dress it in oil and lemon/vinegar in your serving bowl.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss in the beans, almonds, broccoli, squash, carrots, grapes, and onions.

 Lemon Tahini Dressing

2 TBLSP tahini
1 garlic clove
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about one whole lemon’s worth)
2 TBLSP nutritional yeast
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 pinch kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
2  teaspoons water, as needed
  1.  In food processor or blender, add the dressing ingredients and whirl until amalgamated. 
  2. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture and toss to coat everything.
  3. Put the beans and broccoli salad on top of your prepared greens, garnish it with sprouts and avocado, and serve!


Variations:
  • You could use kale, spinach, chard, or any other fresh leafy that you like, or leave it out entirely.
  • You could switch out the broccoli for cauliflower, string beans, or any other yummy veg.
  • You could grate or make noodles from the zucchini instead of dicing it.
  • You could use chickpeas or any other kind of legume—even lentils! You could also add tofu or some form of faux meat.
  • Switch out the almonds for peanuts and use peanut butter instead of tahini in the dressing. I can’t eat ‘em, but you could also add pepper flakes to the dressing, for a vaguely Thai taste. 



Monday, October 13, 2014

Millet-Stuffed Mushroom for One



Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you have to eat cold cereal with questionable almond milk and a geriatric banana for dinner. Nope. March right out to the kitchen and do something interesting! After all, aren’t you worthy of a fancy meal every now and then? This one isn’t even difficult and the left-over mushroom will impress your friends when you bring it to work and microwave it tomorrow.

Makes two enormous Portobello mushrooms mounded about three inches high. They’re huge, gorgeous, and delicious.

1 TBLSP olive oil
2 slices yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup uncooked millet (or couscous or other grain)
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins (you can use half golden, half black, or maybe try dried cranberries or cherries)
1 slice red onion, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
¼ cup pine nuts or chopped cashews, divided
2 large Portobello mushrooms (or a few small ones—crimini, if Portobello aren’t available)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil, and sauté the yellow onion until it’s beginning to turn brown.
  2. Add the uncooked millet, and allow it to toast for about 2 minutes over medium-high heat, until the millet is slightly toasted.
  3. Add 1 cup of water or vegetable broth, bring it to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the millet is tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Take it off the heat and add the cinnamon, raisins, red onion, salt, pepper, and ½ of the pine nuts.
  5. In a one-serving casserole dish large enough for the mushroom to lie flat in the bottom, add the remaining ½ cup of water or vegetable broth. De-stem the Portobello mushroom, stuff it with the couscous mixture, pressing it firmly into a nice mound but without breaking the darling little mushroom’s back. Place it in the casserole.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Top with remaining nuts and serve. 


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mushroom Seitan Stroganoff for One



My mom used to do wonderful things with mushrooms, and come fall, I reminisce happily about dinner-time in my childhood. Here’s my vegan version of one of my favorite mushroom-y memories.

1 TBLSP olive oil
¼ yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. fresh button or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (five or six medium-sized mushrooms)
Flat pasta for one serving
½  TBLSP vegan butter or olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 oz. seitan, sliced into strips or chopped bite-sized (or you could use the crumbly kind)
2/3 cup vegan sour cream (about 6 oz.)
½ TBLSP tamari (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon water
Black pepper to taste
2 TBLSP fresh parsley, chopped finely

1.      Put the olive oil and onions in a large skillet and sauté slowly, over a medium-low heat, until caramelized, about 10 minutes.
2.      While the onions are cooking, chop the garlic and mushrooms.
3.      Put the pasta water on to boil. Add the pasta to the water when ready, but don’t let yourself get distracted and over-cook the pasta. If it finishes early, take it off the heat, drain, and toss with a little olive oil.
4.      Add the garlic to the onions and sauté for one minute. Then add the mushrooms and butter or olive oil. Raise the heat to medium-high, and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked down.
5.      Add the wine, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add the seitan, faux sour cream, and tamari (or soy sauce). Add a tiny bit of water or wine, if you think it needs to be more saucy.
6.      Add the cooked noodles and a tiny bit of the pasta water to the sauce.
7.      Add black pepper taste. Decorate with parsley.
8.      Serve immediately

I also like to toss in leftover (raw) string beans and cauliflower with the mushrooms (or cooked ones at the end with the noodles), or top with sliced olives or faux cheese (although it doesn’t really need the fat, what with the faux sour cream and all).




Monday, October 6, 2014

Green and White Lasagna for One


I’m allergic to tomatoes. It’s very sad, I know. But that doesn’t mean I can’t eat yummy things like pizza or spaghetti—I just use green or white sauces! In this case, I’ve used both. I couldn’t choose, and you shouldn’t have to either!

3 lasagna noodles (if using) OR ½ zucchini, sliced very thin lengthwise (I use a mandolin).
Pesto Sauce (recipe below)
Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce (see below)
3 green onions, diced small
¼ cup diced Kalamata olives
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
½ cup vegan cheese (I use Daiya Mozzarella shreds)

  1. Put some water on to boil and make the lasagna noodles while you make the pesto and Alfredo sauces. I like to use left-over sauce if I’ve gone all haywire with my quantities earlier in the week. I also like to use both sauces, to make it a little more unctuous (I go sparingly on the cheese), but you could use one or the other.
  2. Prepare the veggies (zucchini, onions, olives) while you wait too. You could cook the zucchini if you want, but I like the sturdiness of the fresh slices. If you use zucchini instead of noodles, you have a nice gluten-free option.
  3. When the noodles are cooked, cool them down by dropping them into a sieve and running cold water over them. You need to be able to handle them but they don’t have to be all the way cooled. You’ll also want to cut them to fit your casserole. It’s fun! It’s an art project!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. In a single-serving sized casserole, blop some pesto sauce in the bottom, spreading it neatly to the edges. This is what keeps the noodles or zucchini from sticking. You can be messy with the other layers.
  2. Now, make a neat layer of zucchini or noodles. (You can use both, if you want, but sometimes I want a gluten-free option.)
  3. Then, make layers of Alfredo sauce, onions, cheese, and spinach, noodle/zucchini, pesto, olives spinach, cheese, noodles/zucchini etc., repeating until the casserole is full. The very top should be sauce (either one) with cheese sprinkled on it.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melty.
Let it cool for a few minutes before devouring. It will be super hot!


Pesto Sauce

1 bunch fresh basil leaves
¾ bunch fresh cilantro leaves (you can use parsley if you’re anti-cilantro)
2 cloves of garlic (bake them if you want a milder dose)
2 TBLSP raw sunflower seeds
2 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 TBLSP olive oil (more, as needed)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and whirl until it’s a soft mash.
Makes about 1 cup, enough for two one-person lasagnas, or a lasagna and some noodles, or a rice salad and some sandwich spread.

Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 loaded cups of cauliflower florets (1.5 to 2 inch pieces)
1/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
6 TBLSP non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
1.2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon of dry thyme
1 teaspoon dry basil or 6 fresh basil leaves chopped finely
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
a generous dash of black pepper
2 teaspoon flour of choice (omit to make gluten-free)

  1. Put 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan with a cover on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Don’t let it brown!
  2. Add the cauliflower, water, and salt, and cover and cook for 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Cool it a little bit before proceeding.
  3. Add the cauliflower and any remaining water to a blender or food processor along with the non-dairy milk, onion powder, thyme, basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, and flour (if you’re adding any). Blend to a smooth puree. Taste and adjust salt, herbs and lemon juice, if needed.
Makes a good lasagna layer, but is also excellent on pasta, rice salad, quinoa, spaghetti squash, sandwiches, steamed broccoli, or, if you’re a nut, as a dipping sauce for veggie sushi!



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chocolate Cake for One



This is another recipe that’s a LOT of time (not work, really) for one little serving size, but I tell you…it’s well worth the effort. AND you won’t accidentally eat more cake than you should. Cakes just sit there, begging to be eaten, don’t they? This way, it’s all gone in a flash of silverware and teeth!

3 TBLSP all-purpose flour
1 TBLSP unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ banana, mashed
1 ½ TBLSP pure maple syrup {or other liquid sweetener}
¾ TBLSP melted coconut oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Small handful of dark chocolate chips (optional)
1 TBLSP chopped crystalized ginger (optional)
Small handful of raisins (optional)
Small handful of walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease or line two ramekins. You can use a muffin tin, but the cakes will have a less-than-square shape. Perhaps it’s time to make an hour-glass or barrel-shaped cake? Or, you could pretend you work for the Ace of Cakes and do some carving. It’s up to you.

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. Add the mooshed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips, ginger, raisins, and nuts (if any).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 15-25 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. (It should come out clean.)
  5. Cool completely before removing from the ramekin.

Makes two tiny cakes. They don’t rise much.

This cake is dreamy enough that you won’t really need frosting, but if you’re going to put birthday candles in it…. Make the frosting while the cakes are cooling down. The frosting needs to rest for a bit too, and the timing should be about right.

Vanilla Frosting for One


4 TBLSP non-hydrogenated shortening, such as Earth Balance
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
A dash of vanilla extract
A dash of almond milk (if necessary)

  1. In a small bowl, cream together all the ingredients until it’s smooth. It should be thinner than toothpaste but thicker than molasses.
  2. Let it sit for a while on the counter, so that it starts to firm up a bit. If it’s a warm day, stick it in the fridge for half an hour or so. The faux butter in there should start to seize up nicely in the fridge.
You could flavor the frosting with cocoa powder or use food coloring, if those things are what you imagine for a chocolate cake. I like the simplicity of the vanilla against the fancy dancy cake, though. If you do add (a TBLSP) of cocoa powder, you might need a little slosh of the milk or more faux butter to make it thicken up enough to spread on your cake.


Now for the fun part.
Make the frosting that pleases you, let it rest while the cakes cool completely, and then…
  1. Frost the top of one cake (after you take it out of the ramekin, silly).I like to put the cakes on an overturned ramekin on a plate so that I can better frost the little guy AND the plate collects any sloppy frosting.
  2. Once you’ve got the top of one cake frosted (and layered with fruit, if you like), stack the other cake on top of it and frost the sides and top.
  3. Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips, raisins, crushed nuts, cherries or other fruit. Have fun with it!
You might want to let this rest for a while. It’s easier to eat if the frosting has solidified a bit.



Monday, September 29, 2014

Fresh Ramen Noodles and Veggies for One


My neighbor was moving and couldn’t use her regularly scheduled box of veggie goodness, and she was nice enough to give it to me. It was fun, like a puzzle, to figure out what could be made from this box of random things. Here’s what I came up with. You tell me how I did!

For the Dressing:
2 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
2 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
2 shakes of garlic powder
2 shakes of ginger powder
For the Salad:
6 ounces of fresh ramen noodles (not the dry ones, although you could use those with different cooking instructions) (Use rice for a gluten-free variation.)
½ ear of corn, kernels removed and collected
½ Persian cucumber, seeded and sliced lengthwise thinly
¼ cup julienned radicchio
2 green onions, diced
1/3 avocado, sliced thinly
½ carrot, julienned or shaved with a potato peeler
2 mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 TBLSP cut wakame (dried seaweed), reconstituted, if desired
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Variations: Also try mung bean sprouts, peanuts, spinach, arugula--really, anything that's in the veggie bin!

Make the Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the tamari, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger powders and stir some more.
Make the Salad:

  1. Add the fresh ramen noodles to boiling water, stirring to separate the noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 90 seconds, until tender.
  2. Drain thoroughly and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Put the drained noodles in the center of the serving dish and make nice little piles of the salad components around it. Pour the dressing over the top and top with the dried wakame and sesame seeds.


This made one HUGE salad, but I did manage to eat it all. Yummy!

Variation: Try it with rice, too. I used Trader Joe’s Rice Medley, which has mustard seed and wild rice mixed into brown rice. Yummy!