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Monday, June 29, 2015

Simple Linguini and Asparagus for One



I fell in love with asparagus in Germany, where they often have a whole page of "Spargel mit" on menus. Thank heavens it's plentiful and inexpensive most of the year where I live too!

One serving’s worth of linguini noodles (for me, that’s as much as I can hold loosely in the circle formed between thumb and forefinger)
1 TBLSP olive oil
¼ onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ pound asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch segments
1 TBLSP water
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ lemon
½ TBLSP almonds, toasted and sliced 
  1. Get a pot of water boiling, and then set the linguini to bubbling merrily in there.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil, and sauté the onions until they’re beginning to soften. Then drop in the garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about a minute.
  3. Add in the asparagus and water and cover the pan, cooking until the asparagus is tender but still crisp, about 4 minutes.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then add in the cooked linguini. Squirt some lemon juice at this baby, too.
  5. Plate it up and then toss the almonds at it.

Variations:
  • Add dry white wine instead of water when the asparagus goes in.
  • Add cooked faux kielbasa or brats cut into coins to the finished dish.
  • Faux parmesan on top would also be nice. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Zucchini Fried Pizza for One



I love Chinese Green Onion Pancakes. What does that have to do with pizza, you ask? This dough is the basis for a green onion pancake (which you roll in sesame oil, salt, and green onions, coil, and then press flat and fry). It’s light and delicate and doesn’t demand too much attention, just right for pizza toppings.

½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup very hot water (bring to a boil, pour into a measuring cup, and cool for a few minutes)
2 teaspoons canola oil plus more for frying
½ zucchini, sliced into rounds
2 slices onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Faux ground “meat” (I like Yves brand)
1 hefty TBLSP faux sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated faux cheese (I like Daiya Mozzarella)
1/3 avocado, sliced or diced, as is your pleasure.

  1. Combine the flour and water, kneading until the dough is formed. Place the dough on a well-floured surface.
  2. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and soft, and a little spongy, perhaps 5 minutes. It will be pretty sticky, so just keep adding pinches of flour until you can knead it properly.
  3. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, you’ll want to make the topping. Put canola oil into a small skillet. Add in the zucchini and onions, and sauté until both are slightly softened.
  5. Add in the garlic and faux meat, cooking until it’s warmed through.
  6. Take the zucchini off the heat and add in the faux sour cream. You’ll want to taste and add salt and pepper at this point too.
  7. Once the dough has rested, flatten it into two disks (or be a scofflaw and go for some other shape), place it on a well-floured board, and roll it flat with a rolling pin. You should get two 6” disks. You’ll be frying the disks, so it needs to fit into your frying pan, but you could certainly go larger if you wanted one big pizza rather than two small ones. Keep on flattening until it’s about 1/8-inch thick.
  8. Heat the rest of the canola oil in a frying pan. Fry the dough on each side for 3-4 minutes. There should be little dark dots here and there if you’ve done it right. It shouldn’t be greasy at all.
  9. Set the fried dough on a baking sheet. Top with the faux meat mixture, some grated faux cheese, and the avocado slices.
  10. Stick it under the boiler until the cheese is melty, about 2 minutes.

Variations:
  • You could go the traditional route and put a sauce on there. I find the dough to be very yummy and don’t like to drown out its delicate flavor.
  • I can’t eat them, but a touch of chili flakes would be pretty good here, too. 


Friday, June 26, 2015

Zucchini Bread for One


Zucchini bread is a household staple. It’s savory, it’s sweet—it’s everything you could want all in a nice tidy little bundle.

For the Bread:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar
3 TBLSP canola oil
1 TBLSP almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini (about one medium squash)
¼ cup walnut pieces
¼ cup raisins (optional)
For the Topping:
2 TBLSP brown sugar
2 TBLSP all-purpose flour
2 TBLSP quick-cooking oats
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 TBLSP vegan butter, softened

Make the Bread:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a mini loaf pan or three ramekins
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cinnamon.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla until it’s well mixed.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet (or vice versa) and add in half of the grated zucchini. Once it’s well mixed, fold in the rest of the zucchini and the walnut pieces and raisins, if you’re using them.
  4. Put the batter into the pan or ramekins, smoothing the top and giving it a bash on the bottom to get out air bubbles.

Make the Topping:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, oats, and cinnamon.
  2. With a fork or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

Assemble the Loaf:
  1. Sprinkle the topping on top of the little loaf or ramekin.
  2. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before removing from the pan.

Variations:
  • Chocolate chips would be good in here. You can reduce or eliminate the raisins and nuts, or you could go for full-on decadence and put all three in there.
  • A little ground ginger instead of cinnamon would be exciting. If you want even more excitement, grate some fresh ginger on a microplane and add it with the zucchini. 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Zucchini Bhaji (Fritters) for One



I like these fritters on top of a salad, but they’d be excellent on a bun with salad-y accouterments, or perhaps with with some naan and soup.

¾ cup grated zucchini
1/3 teaspoon coconut oil
¼ onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, diced
Pinch/shake of garum masala (or curry powder)
2/3 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch xanthan gum
Pinch baking powder
Pinch of nama kalak (Black Himalayan salt), optional
Pinch of turmeric
¼ teaspoon peanut oil (canola or coconut will do, too)
2 ½ teaspoons water
1 TBLS almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
¼ cup chickpea flour
Pinch baking powder
Salt
Pepper

  1. Put the grated zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle with salt. It doesn’t matter how much salt, as you’ll be rinsing it off later. Massage the little zucchini bits, pushing the salt into the vegetable to draw out the water. (If you skip this step, you’ll have soggy bhaji.)
  2. Let it rest for 20 minutes and then rinse under cold water. Squeeze handfuls of the zucchini to get out the rest of the water, and then spread it on a clean dish towel or paper towel. Cover with another towel and press on it, to get the zucchini as dry as you can. Once it’s dry, put it into a small bowl and fluff it with a fork.
  3. In a frying pan, fry the garlic and onion in the coconut oil with some black pepper. When it’s soft, add in the garum masala. Take it off the heat after the garum masala has been in there for 1 minute.
  4. Now we get to do magic and make an “egg.” In a small bowl, add the cornstarch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and turmeric. Whisk it to combine the dry ingredients.
  5. In a small cup or bowl (I use one meant to hold soy sauce and wasabi for sushi), combine the water and oil. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, whisking as you go. The resulting mixture will be thick and gloppy. Try to get the lumps out, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Add the almond milk a little at a time, whisking steadily. It will still be thick, like pancake batter.
  6. Back to the fritter now. In a small bowl, combine the garbanzo flour, salt, and baking powder. Add in the zucchini, the magical gloppy “egg” mixture, and the fried onion mixture. The result should be well-blended and the mixture should be stiff and thick.
  7. Heat some peanut oil (enough to cover the bottom of the frying pan) and drop the zucchini mixture by heaping TBLSP into the hot oil. Flatten the fritter a bit with the back of a fork, and fry until golden. Flip and fry the other side.
  8. Drain quietly on some paper towel so they’re not too greasy.
  9. You should get about 4 fritters out of this recipe.
  10. Eat them with banana relish (recipe coming shortly), faux sour cream, or dal.


Variation:
  • If you’re out of xanthan gum, you can use 1 ½ teaspoons flax seed meal and 2 teaspoons water to make the faux egg. Just mix the two in a small bowl and leave it to form a glop for about 5 minutes. Then add in the turmeric and nala kamak and proceed as usual.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Zucchini and Pear Soup for One


This creamy soup is just what the doctor ordered to turn your mood to a cheerful green when you’re feeling a little blue because it’s both refreshing and filling. Serve it with crusty bread or a hearty salad.
1 TBLSP vegan butter or olive oil
2 TBLSP diced carrot
2 TBLSP diced yellow onion
Pinch dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium zucchini, trimmed and diced
½ medium ripe (but firm) pear, peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup water
1/3 cup cooked rice (I like brown, but white would be nice too)

  1. In a skillet, sauté the carrot, onion, and thyme with a bit of salt and pepper until the onion is softened. Don’t let the veggies brown! (You might have to adjust the heat.)
  2. Add the zucchini and cook until it, too, is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the pear keep on cooking until it’s softened too, about another 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the cooked rice and the water and bring it to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Either let the mixture cool a bit and plop it into your blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender and whirl away until the soup is smooth and silky. Reheat, if necessary.


Variations:
  • This is good with a touch of mint instead of thyme.
  • This soup can be served cold or hot, which is a nice option on a long summer day, or for a picnic.
  • Use the same amount of potato (about 1/3 cup) instead of rice, and toss it in with the carrots and onions. (I’m allergic, so I’m only guessing that this is a good option.)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Zucchini and Green Onion Dip for One



This green condiment tastes surprisingly like avocado. I have no idea how that’s possible, but it’s certainly lower fat than an avocado treated in much the same way.

1 TBLSP lemon juice
1 green onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped zucchini
1 1/3 TBLSP tahini
¼ TBLSP olive oil
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of ground turmeric
Pinch of ground cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste 
  1. In a food processor or blender, whirl the lemon juice and green onion until it’s tiny chunks.
  2. Add the zucchini and give it a few pulses.
  3. Add in the tahini, olive oil, and spices, and blend until smooth.
  4. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, and then smear on bread, crackers, chips, or celery stalks.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Stuffed Zucchini for One


It’s hard not to eat all the filling before you pop these little beasts in the oven, but try, okay? Maybe you’ll be lucky and there will be some that doesn’t fit and you can scarf it down while the zucchini bakes. If not, you’ll enjoy it all the more for having waited!

1 medium zucchini
1 slice of onion, diced
1 mushroom, diced
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 TBLSP fresh parsley, chopped (or other fresh herb of your choice)
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 snap peas, cut into ½-inch lengths
1/3 cup of cooked brown rice (or white, whatever you have)
1/3 cup of faux ground meat (I like Yves, but they’re all pretty decent)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup spinach leaves
1 ½ TBLSP faux sour cream
1 ½ TBLSP faux cheese shreds (I like Daiya mozzarella, but use whatever you’ve got)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a skillet, sauté the onion and mushroom in the olive oil until the onions are softened.
  2. While the onions and mushrooms are sautéing, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Take a spoon or melon baller and scoop out most of the insides. Set the zucchini shells in a casserole dish that’s long enough for them to lie down flat, scooped-out side up. If you have a loaf pan, that will also make them cozy enough not to fall over.
  3. Take the remaining zucchini innards and chop them up. Add them to the mushrooms and onions and keep on sautéing.
  4. Add the chopped parsley and the minced garlic to the onions, etc. Add the snap peas too. Give everything a good stir. If necessary, add a TBLSP of water to the pan to prevent sticking.
  5. Once the veggies are pretty soft, toss in the rice and the ground faux meat and crumble it up, distributing it well. Add the salt and pepper.
  6. Once the rice and faux meat is warmed through, plop the spinach leaves on top and stir it in. Cook until the spinach is just wilted and then take it off the heat.
  7. Add in the sour cream, and stir until everything is thoroughly coated. It’s not a HUGELY creamy sauce. It’s just politely creamy.
  8. Put the mixed up veggies and faux meat into the cavity you excavated in the zucchinis that are now comfortably reclining in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the faux cheese shreds.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until the zucchini “boat” is soft enough to be fun to eat. If you let it get mushy, it will still taste good but won’t be pretty.


The salad in the image has red-leaf lettuce, jicama, radish, carrot, Mission figs, and some of Miyoko’s black ash cashew-based cheese. It’s not yet dressed in the image (too messy for the photo shoot), but I just sprinkled salt and pepper, garlic powder, and dried basil on it, and then drizzled balsamic vinegar over the top.