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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sweet Potatoes with Tofu and Kale for One

It’s autumn, or so the calendar says. I love the colors of this dish, and I can’t decide whether to eat it for breakfast or dinner. It does just fine in both roles.

1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 small yellow onion, chopped
5 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and crumbled (about a third of a 14-ounce package)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 clove garlic, diced small
1 cup baby kale
Salt and pepper to taste

1.     Place the sweet potato cubes in a large skillet and cover them with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Pour out all the water, leaving (or returning) the sweet potatoes to the pan.
2.     Add the olive oil and the onions to the sweet potatoes. Sauté on medium-high heat for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should be wilted and the sweet potato should be soft enough for your stirring device to cut it without much pressure.
3.     Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the crumbled tofu, cumin, salt, turmeric, and diced garlic.
4.     Add the tofu to the pan with the softened onion and sweet potato and cook for 5 or so minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently.
5.     Add the kale, cover the skillet with a lid, and allow the whole mishegas to steam for a few minutes or until the kale is tender. Probably two or three minutes.
6.     Add salt and pepper to taste, and top with Smoky Coconut (recipe follows), if desired.

This recipe is also excellent when done with butternut squash cubes instead of sweet potatoes. I love the autumn colors, don’t you?

Smoky Coconut

This recipe makes WAY more than a single serving, about a cup’s worth. You’ll find yourself putting it on a lot of things though, and it can last several weeks unrefrigerated (in a tightly sealed container) without losing its crunch.
1 TBLSP liquid smoke
½ TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
½ TBLSP maple syrup
½ TBLSP water
1 ½ cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Combine liquid smoke, tamari, maple syrup, and water in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add the flaked coconut and use a wooden spoon to gently toss the coconut in the liquid until it’s well covered.
  3. Spread the gooey coconut evenly onto a non-stick baking sheet and put it into the oven. If there’s any liquid left, just pour it over the coconut.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring and flipping the coconut over about every 5 minutes so that it cooks evenly. Don’t wander off. This will go from nearly raw to burnt SUDDENLY.
  5. If it’s crispy but not completely dry and you’re getting nervous about burning, take it out of the oven but leave it on top of the hot oven and in its pan. It will continue to cook a bit. It can cool right there, in regal splendor. It should be a delightful shade of golden brown. 

     Use for topping salads, main courses, and in sandwiches. It also eats pretty good right out of the bag. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fig and Carrot Soup for One

You thought my fig obsession was over? <insert evil laughter> Never! I have dozens of fig recipes and all the figs are mine Mine MINE!!!!! <insert maniacal laughter>

<breathes> This nice soup is just right for soothing the savage beast, even while feeding it.

1 TBLSP olive oil
1 carrot, grated
1 TBLSP onion, chopped (red is nice, but yellow or even green would be fine too)
2 black mission figs, chopped
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Salt and pepper to taste

1.     In a small soup pot or medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil, Add the grated carrot and onion, and cook until slightly softened, about three minutes.
2.     Add the figs and cinnamon and toss. Let them soften a bit too, maybe another 2 minutes.
3.     Stir in half of the water and all of the rice and warm through, 3 to 4 minutes.
4.     Stir in more water, as needed, to make a slightly soupy mixture. Or, you might use an immersion blender and make it a bit creamy. I thought it needed a bit of salt to help cut the sweetness, but you decide.

Don’t forget to bring all the figs to my house!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Zucchini-etti, Corn, and Tofurkey for One

¼ cup white onion, diced
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
1 medium zucchini, run through the noodle-maker and the stack cut in half (to make the noodles shorter). You could use a mandolin, cut thin strips by hand, actual noodles, or cauliflower, too.
1 Tofurkey Beer Brat, cut into coins
1 teaspoon capers
½ cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBLSP faux sour cream (Tofutti is one possible brand)

  • In a sauté pan, sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are just starting to brown. About 3 minutes on high heat. (You can do it slower, if you like.)
  • Add the garlic, corn, zucchini noodles, and Tofurkey Brat coins, and stir a few times, maybe let it begin to warm through for another minute or two. It seems like a lot, but it will cook down

  • Add in the white wine, capers, and salt and pepper and let it reduce until there isn't much liquid left, about 5 minutes. Use less wine if you want veggies closer to raw.


  • Add in the sour cream, stirring to make the sauce all creamy and just barely warmed through.

      Serve at once!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quinoa-Crusted Quiche for One

This little gem of a breakfast doesn't take much longer than homemade waffles, but it feels elegant and fancy, like brunch! So make a pot of coffee and enjoy it over the Sunday paper. It looks huge in the photos, but I have a little quiche form that’s about five-inches long and three wide or so. It makes me feel entirely bourgeois to eat right out of the serving dish…

For the Crust:
1 ½ TBLSP ground flax seed
1 ½ TBLSP water
½ cup cooked and cooled quinoa
½ TBLSP melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Dash of salt

For the Filling:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 TBLSP onion, diced
½ a carrot, diced small
1 mushroom, diced
3 artichoke (cooked) heart quarters, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBLSP cilantro, minced
3 ounces firm tofu, drained
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon wedge
2 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Dash of turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the inside of a ramekin or small tart pan with coconut oil.

To Make the Crust:
  1. Combine the flax and water in a small bowl, and set it aside to thicken.
  2. Combine the quinoa, nutritional yeast and salt in a small bowl. Add the coconut oil and the flax glop and mix well.
  3. Press the crust into the prepared tart pan and bake for 15 minutes, until lightly golden and dry. 

     Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

To Make the Filling (while the crust is baking):
  1.  In a small skillet, warm the coconut oil over medium heat and add onions, carrot, and mushroom. Sauté, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and garlic, and cook until warmed through, about another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the cilantro.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the tofu, mustard, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt and pepper until very smooth. Stir them into the cooling sautéed vegetables.

Assemble the Quiche:
  1. Spread the filling over the prepared and baked crust, making the top nice and smooth. There will be lumps from the veggies. Smooth is a relative term.
  2.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve it at room temperature, or slightly warm.

Other veggies that are nice in the filling:
  • Fennel, asparagus, peas
  • Jerusalem artichoke, zucchini, green onion
  • Kidney beans, olives, spinach
  • Kale, parsnip, beet
  • Chard, sweet potato, mushroom

This dish would also make a perfectly lovely lunch or dinner. There’s something elegant about it, so maybe flowers on the table? Use the good silverware? A cloth napkin? A nice glass of wine? Oh, wait, I know. Hors d’oeuvres while you wait for it to cool. Some olives, cashew cheese, and a cracker with a little glass of wine sounds pretty good.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Baked Quinoa with Figs and Lemon

I admit that I am a fig addict. I make excuses for myself: "They're only available for a short season." "I love them, and people should eat what they love." "I can walk right by a stand selling figs without even stopping. Or whimpering." 

Okay, that last one is a lie. I admit it. I can't get enough of 'em. This is day 7 of my week of Fig Obsession. I'm no where NEAR the end of my supply of fig recipes, though, so there will be more before the season is truly over! 

¾ cup cooked quinoa
1 lemon, half juiced, and the other half sliced thinly
4 TBLSP brown sugar
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 TBLSP water
3 fresh figs
Salt to taste
1 TBLSP parsley or cilantro, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, sugar, vinegar, and water.
  2. In a single-serving baking dish (about 4” square), put the quinoa in an even layer on the bottom of the dish. Arrange the figs and lemon slices on top of the quinoa, and pour the vinegar mixture over them.
  3. Sprinkle the top with salt and parsley.
  4.  Bake for 30 minutes, basting the figs with the vinegar so they don’t brown too fast.

Makes a nice side dish, or you could add seitan, Tofurkey dogs, or some other faux meat to give it some protein. You could also replace the quinoa with noodles or cauliflower. Yum! 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fig and White Pasta Sauce for One

I really love figs. If this week of posting a fig recipe every day hasn't convinced you, this little gem of a recipe should. It's a classic white sauce with precious fruity goodness added to the top. I could eat this every day for the entire fig season. Day 6. 

Pasta for one (I used gluten-free rice rotelle, but anything will do), about 3 ounces
4 teaspoons vegan butter, divided
1 TBLSP all-purpose flour (use almond flour or corn starch if you’re gluten-free)
Pinch of salt
½ cup almond milk
3 fresh figs, stemmed and quartered
8 Kalamata olives, chopped coarsely
½ TBLSP lemon zest, more if you’re inclined
Freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Boil sufficient water to cook the pasta. When the water is at a boil, add the pasta and begin the sauce.
  2. Melt 3 teaspoons of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Gradually stir in the flour to make a roux. It should get smooth and bubbly in 2 to 4 minutes. Don’t let it burn, but get it right to the edge.
  3. Add salt and stir.
  4. Remove the roux from the heat and gradually stir in the almond milk until it’s smooth. Just slop the milk in a little, stir some, and repeat. If your pour it all in at once, the sauce will break and there’s no repairing it. Once the milk is about half in, you can pour in the rest.
  5. Return the sauce to the stovetop and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer.
  6.  In a small non-stick sauté pan over medium heat, put the last teaspoon of butter in with the figs and olives, and warm them through, about 5 minutes.
  7. Back to the white sauce, stir in the lemon zest and the pepper.
  8. Once the pasta is ready, drain it thoroughly and put it into a serving bowl. Pour the white sauce over the top and give it a little stir. Top with the figs.
  9. Bring this to me immediately, so I can eat it all up and make sure that you’ve done it right. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Corn Salad with Figs and Peaches for One

This salad is a nice slice of late-summer happiness. Okay, so maybe I'm moments from my annual fig-induced coma, but I really liked all the textures, complex flavor combinations, and, well, the figs! Day 5 of my Fig Obsession Week.

Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vegan mayonnaise
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of garlic powder
1 TBLSP your favorite herb, chopped (I like a mix of dill and cilantro, but basil would be lovely too.)
½ teaspoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1/2 ear of fresh corn, husked and kernels removed (cooked or raw, your choice)
1 TBLSP Kalamata olives, sliced into rounds
1 small carrot, julienned or cut into strips with a potato peeler
½ bunch watercress, torn into bite-sized pieces OR 2 leaves of red-leaf lettuce
1 TBLSP sliced scallions
½ a peach, sliced
1 fig, sliced or quartered

  1. Combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder chopped herbs and capers.
  2. Toss the corn, olives, carrot, and scallions together and add enough of the dressing to coat the salad.
  3. Lay the lettuce on the plate. I like to tear it up to be bite-sized, but you do it how you like it.
  4. Position the peach slices around the lettuce and make a nice mound of the corn salad in the middle. Arrange the fig pieces attractively on the salad.

     This makes about ¼ cup of dressing, which might be too much. You judge for yourself. Use the leftovers for tomorrow’s salad, or drizzle it over steamed veggies.