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Monday, August 31, 2015

Banana Custard for One

If you want to feel like a very grown up person and a child at the same time, this is the dessert for you. It’s quick (although you have to wait for it) and easy, and you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen.

½ tablespoon cornstarch
4 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch salt
½ cup almond milk
¼ ripe banana, squished and mashed thoroughly
¾ teaspoon vegan margarine
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg

  1. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, and salt together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add milk and banana and whisk until lumps disappear.
  3. Heat over medium heat, whisking, until the custard thickens.
  4. When the custard is thick enough, take the custard off heat. To test whether the custard is thick enough, dip a wooden spoon into the mixture and run your finger through the coating. The clean spot will not close back up when it’s thick enough.
  5. Whisk in butter, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  6. Pour into serving bowl, cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate. If you cool it with a plastic sheet pressed to the surface, a skin won’t form on the top.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spinach Salad with Carrot and Ginger Dressing for One

This dressing is nice cold on spinach salad, or warmed by boiling the carrots before blending them up with the other ingredients and then served over steamed veggies and rice. It’s that zing of ginger that will make your feet launch into the happy dance all by themselves.

For the Dressing:
1 carrot, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 TBLSP vinegar (red wine is nice, or try rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
2 TBLSP water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame oil (peanut oil works nicely too, or it can all be olive oil)
½ teaspoon brown rice syrup (or maple syrup)
¾ teaspoon soy sauce

For the Salad:
I large handful of raw spinach (washed, and chopped, if you like)
½ carrot, sliced into coins or diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/3 avocado, sliced or diced
1 tangerine, peeled and sectioned
Peanuts for the top
Ground black pepper, to taste

Make the Dressing:
  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and whirl until it’s all smooth and silky.
  2. If you want it even smoother, steam the carrots for 5-6 minutes until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
  3. If you like it thinner, add more water or vinegar, depending on your tartness quotient.

Make the Salad:
  1. Settle the spinach into the bottom of your serving bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the carrots, green onion, and mushrooms on top of the spinach.
  3. Nestle the tangerine comfortably on top of your veggie confetti. Intersperse the avocado pieces among the tangerine sections.
  4. Dress the salad and top with peanuts, and ground black pepper, if you like.

  • I like this as a salad dressing, but it could go nicely on your steamed veggies, as a dipping sauce for sushi or spring rolls, and in its thick form, it makes a nice bright pizza sauce. You could marinate your tofu in it before stir frying, too. Yummmm.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Creamy Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette for One

It’s summer, and my attention has returned with a giggle of glee to salads. This little dressing whips up in no time, uses ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and it tastes like a million bucks! (Well, not the actual bucks. Just the metaphorical ones.)

¼ shallot, diced small
2 TBLSP olive oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2/3 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/3 teaspoon agave nectar (or maple syrup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Whirl all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

 Use on salads, as a dip for crudités, as a marinade for tofu…go wild! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kale Tahini Green Dressing for One

This dressing isn’t just a beautiful color, it’s also delicious. Use it on your salads, but also fancy up rice, noodles, seitan—just about anything you want!

2 TBLSP olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 ½ TBLSP tahini
¼ cup packed de-stemmed kale
A pinch of salt
A wedge’s worth of lemon juice
Water, if you want it thinner

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and whale away on it until it’s completely smooth and dreamy creamy.
If you don’t use it all right away (this recipe makes about ¼ cup) store it in the refrigerator. It will separate a bit, but if you’ve put it into a nice jar, you can just give it a shake. Yummmm.

The salad in this photo plays a supporting role is what I call “kitchen sink salad,” which means that I put rather a lot of bits and bobs from the refrigerator in there. This one has alfalfa sprouts, chickpea sprouts, wheat berry sprouts, lettuce, radish, green olives, carrot, mushroom, green onion, kidney beans, avocado, and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Green Goddess Dressing for One

This unctuous and liquescent sauce will predispose you toward gratuitous and superfluous polysyllables without apparent foundation. You won’t need much of this creamy richness, and you’ll love the color as much as the texture and taste. I find it useful on starches (like rice, quinoa, and noodles) as well as on steamed veggies and salads and as the secret sauce on my bean burgers. 

1 small garlic clove
1/3 of an avocado
1 ½ teaspoons water
6 fresh basil leaves
3 sprigs of fresh parsley, stems and all
1 green onion (dark green part only, not white)
2 teaspoons tahini
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
Dollop of maple syrup or agave
(optional slosh of olive oil)
  1. Process the garlic clove in a food processor or blender until finely chopped.
  2. Add in the avocado, water, basil, parsley, onion, tahini, and vinegar or lemon juice. Process until smooth.
  3. Add salt and pepper and just a slosh of sweetener.  
  4. If it’s too tart for you, try adding more tahini, water, or a slosh of olive oil.

This beautifully green dressing is good cold on salads or as a dip for crudités, but I love it over quinoa and steamed vegetables, perhaps with a bit of veggie burger crumbled over the top.

The above photo is quinoa with zucchini, sweet potato, red onion, and crumbled Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Barley Burger that had a bit of vegan mozzarella melted on it.

This last photo (and the one at the top of the page) is mixed greens, carrots, radishes, jicama, green onion, pear, Kalamata olives, and leftover Quinoa, Sweet Potato, and Barley Burger. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fruit Salad with Faugurt Dressing for One

Fruit comes in so many different sizes, shapes, and colors, you can really keep yourself entertained endlessly by experimenting with the various offerings in the produce department.

1 banana, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 tangerine, peeled and segmented
½ orange, peeled and segmented
½ apple, sliced into bite-sized pieces
½ pear, sliced into bite-sized pieces
2 strawberries, sliced
1 TBLSP raisins
2 TBLSP non-dairy yogurt (I like soy)
2 shakes cinnamon
½ teaspoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  1.  Slice and otherwise prepare all the fruit and combine it in your serving bowl.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the yogurt, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
  3. Dump the yogurt dressing over the prepared fruit and give it a good stir.

  • Use whatever seasonal fruit you can get your hands on, like grapes, pineapple, kiwis, and figs.
  • Add nuts. I like the complex flavor that toasted almonds offer, but pretty much any nut—even a salted nut—is pretty good.
  • Put the yummy salad into a bowl of shredded lettuce.
  • Put the yummy salad into a pie crust and give it a bake.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Carrot, Jicama, and Cherry Salad for One

It’s cherry season and I can’t get enough. But you don’t have to obsessively eat them right off their stones, and they don’t have to be baked into a pie. Nope. You can make this unique salad and have dessert and lunch at the same time!

1 small carrot
¼ of a jicama, peeled (about enough to make ½ cup of shreds)
1 small green onion (or two, if you like ‘em)
12 cherries, pitted and halved (dried cherries are nice too)
1 TBLSP Dijon-style mustard
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  1. Grate the carrot and jicama into a small bowl. Dice the green onion, pit and halve the cherries, and add them to the bowl.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and maple syrup, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the dressing over the shredded veggies and toss with wild abandon. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the top to make it pretty.

That’s a side of baked carrot chips. I just sliced them thin with a potato peeler, brushed them with oil, and then wove them together. They crisped up in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven in about 15 minutes, turning once in the middle.