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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Creamy Mac ‘n’ Cheeze for One




It’s cold and rainy out there. You come in, shake the rain off your clothes, and go and stare bleakly at the refrigerator. The last thing you want is reheated leftovers or a cold salad. Ta-da! Here’s a quick and easy way to warm up those cold toes! It’s (one of many variations of) Mac ‘n’ Cheese! Yay!

2 TBLSP raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in water (you could also use sunflower seeds)
2/3 cup dried macaroni
¼ cup peeled celeriac –celery root (use potato if you can’t find it)
1 TBLSP diced carrots
1 ½ TBLSP chopped yellow onion
3 TBLSP water (use from the boiled veggies for extra flavor)
1 TBLSP almond milk (or the non-dairy milk of your choice)
1 ½ teaspoons nutritional yeast
A squirt of fresh lemon juice
A shake of salt (or to taste)
A shake of garlic powder (or to taste)
A shake of turmeric (optional)
A dash of grated nutmeg for the top

  1. Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling water, al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Bring a cup and a half or so of water to boil in a small pot, and put the celeriac, carrots, and onion in there. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are soft and tender. The smaller you chop ‘em, the faster they’ll cook.
  3. Drain (saving the water for later) and blend the veggies in a food processor or blender. Add a slosh of the cooking water or tap water along with the cashews, milk, yeast, juice, salt, and garlic powder, and keep blending away until it’s super smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss some nutmeg at it to garnish.

Variation:
  • Put the sauced and stirred macaroni in a baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden brown.
  • Mix in chunks of Tofurkey Beer Brats or other faux meat of your choosing.
  • Decorate with avocado, parsley, sliced olives.
  • Amend with a blop of faux sour cream



Monday, December 15, 2014

Apple Pie Cheesecake for One




This little pie will make you happy. It’s just the right blend of sweet and tart, crunchy and creamy, and, because apples are available for most of the year, you can make it any time! Yay!

For the Crust:
½ cup whole pecans
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon superfine flour (like coconut, tapioca, brown rice, chickpea—your choice)
1 TBLSP vegan butter, melted

For the Filling:
1 teaspoon almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of your choosing)
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 ounces extra firm tofu
A slosh of vanilla extract
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 shakes of ground cinnamon
1 shake of ground cloves
1 TBLSP superfine flour (coconut, tapioca, brown rice, chickpea—your choice)

For the Topping:
½ medium-sized grannysmith apple
1 teaspoon vegan butter, cut into small bits
4 TBLSP packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 2 teaspoons very cold water

To Make the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a blender or food processor, grind up the pecans, sugars, and flour until it’s a rough crumb.  
  2. Stir in the melted faux butter with a fork until it’s well mixed. I just put a small bowl with the faux butter into the microwave and then dump the crumby mixture out of the food processor into it.
  3. Press this lovely crumb into a small pan or ramekin until the crust is about ¼-inch thick. It should climb up the sides, too. I use a single-serving quiche pan that’s about 4-inches across.
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

To Make the Filling:
Turn the oven down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it on.
  1. Place almond milk, lemon juice, tofu, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and flour in a small bowl, and stir until roughly combined.
  2. Transfer to food processor and whirl away at it until it’s very smooth. No lumps!
  3. Spread the filling into the baked crust, smoothing the top. It should be a little mounded, as it will fall slightly during the cooling process.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes. It will be slightly firm to the touch and golden brown.
  5. Turn off the oven, but leave the pie in there for an hour.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack until room temperature, and then let it languish in the refrigerator for a few hours before making the topping.


To Make the Topping:
  1. Slice the apple thinly, peels on.
  2. Toss the apple slices with the faux butter into a small sauté pan. Cook over medium heat until the apples are soft and there’s a lot of liquid in the pan.
  3. Add brown sugar, and let it cook over medium heat until it bubbles.
  4. Add in the corn starch and water, stirring constantly until thickened.
  5. Let it cool slightly before applying to your cheesecake.

Final Assembly:
  1. Top the cheesecake with the topping and refrigerate for a few more hours, or overnight, until it’s all firm.
  2. Devour with the ravenous longing you’ve been suffering since you began making this recipe.





Thursday, December 11, 2014

Persimmon Swirl Scone for One



My friends have a persimmon tree, and they gave me some fine examples of perfect fruit. They’re gorgeous to look at, fun to cook with, and deliciously sweet. That doesn’t mean I can’t use them in something sweet, though. Look out!

For the Compote:
2 ½ TBLSP persimmon pulp (no skin or seeds, please), Hachiyas are best (it took about half of a small one)
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
Pinch of lemon zest (about 1/6 of the lemon)
½ teaspoon lemon juice (1 thick slice’s worth)
A dash of freshly grated nutmeg
For the Scone:
½ TBLSP chia seeds
1 ½ TBLSP cold water
1/3 cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sugar
A pinch of salt
2/3 TBLSP vegan butter
1 TBLSP dried cranberries or raisins
1 TBLSP almond milk

Make the Compote:
  1. Combine the persimmon pulp, sugar, zest, juice, and nutmeg in a small pot over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, and then stir frequently until it’s thickened, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and let it cool.


Make the Scone:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  1. Grind chia seeds in a mortar and pestle or blender long enough to make a coarse meal (not a flour). (You can skip the grinding—the taste is a little less robust, but the seeds produce the same texture.) Place the ground seeds in a small container (or leave in the mortar), add 1 ½ TBLSP of cold water and stir briskly. Let sit for five minutes (while you mix the rest of the ingredients). The goopy result is a substitute for ½ of an egg, so if you’re not a vegan, you can use half a beaten egg.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt). A cereal bowl is plenty big enough.
  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry knife or a fork until it’s the texture of cornmeal.
  4. Stir in the dried fruit.
  5. Add in the chia goop and the almond milk. Mix briefly and press into a flattened circle on a lightly floured surface, about ½ inch thick.
  6. Put about half of the compote onto the circle of dough. Fold the edges in, and then, enjoying the gloopiness of it, smudge the little packet a bit, so that the compote mixes in. It gets slippery very fast, so don’t worry too much about getting it evenly distributed. It won’t really marble either, because the dough gets wet fast. Consider it a semi-mix.
  7. Reshape the dough into a disk, about ¾ of an inch high. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Place it onto the prepared baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Use the balance of the compote to top each bite before you eat it. Yummy! In the photo, you’ll see that I enjoyed it with a little vegan cream cheese too. Oh boy. I made yummy noises all morning! 




Monday, December 8, 2014

Quinoa-Crusted Pizza with Squash and Tahini for One



Get out the extra napkins, because you’re gonna need ‘em. This delightful little gluten-free treat is fun to make, fun to eat, and fun to lick the plate after! You will be doing that. There will be a little extra of the tahini drizzle, so plan to smear that on something later in the day, as you will want a reprise of this pizza again and again.

For the Crust:
½ cup quinoa, thoroughly washed and soaked in water for 8 hours, and drained
A pinch of salt
¼ - 1/3 cup water
For the Sauce:
1/3 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¼-inch chunks (about 1 generous cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
For the Drizzle:
4 teaspoons tahini
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast
Several shakes of onion powder
Several shakes of garlic powder
1 TBLSP freshly grated horseradish (optional—you could use hot sauce, if you wanted)
2 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
A pinch of fine sea salt
4 TBLSP water (more, If needed to make it thin enough to drizzle)
For Toppings:
1/3 cup cooked chickpeas or other bean, rinsed and drained well
1/3 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, diced
6 black olives, sliced or diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet, pie tin, or baking dish with parchment paper.


Make the Crust:
  1. Put the soaked quinoa, salt, and ¼ cup of water into a food processor. Whirl away. The result should be about the consistency of pancake batter. If it’s too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, let it drip into a strainer for a few minutes.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Make the Sauce:
  1. In a small pot, boil the butternut squash until it’s fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Put the squash into a food processor or blender with the oil and salt, and process until it’s smooth.

Make the Drizzle:
  1. Put the tahini, yeast, onion and garlic powders, grated horseradish, vinegar, salt, and water into a small bowl and whisk until it’s smooth. Or you can use a food processor or blender. It’s your decision.

Assemble the Pizza:
  1. When the crust is out of the oven, spread a thick layer of the squash sauce over the top of it and fling chickpeas all over it.
  2. Put the crust back into the oven for 3-5 more minutes, until everything is warmed through.
  3. Pull the warmed pizza out of the oven and top with cilantro, green onions, and olives. Drizzle with the tahini sauce.


Devour! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sugar Cookies for One



Any time of year is just right for sugar cookies, and the winter holidays make them especially inviting. This recipe makes a dozen little cookies rather than the usual two or three. You’ll want the extras, and they keep pretty well if you don’t gobble them up all at once. Try to wait until your tea is steeped, at least. 

1 ½ TBLSP water
½ teaspoon flax seed meal
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Pinch of baking powder
A pinch of salt
1 ½ TBLSP vegan butter
3 ½ TBLSP powder sugar
1 teaspoon non-dairy milk (I like almond milk)
A splash of vanilla extract
A splash of almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. Combine the flax and water in a small bowl and set it aside to think about becoming egg-like.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cream in the butter and powdered sugar until it’s all a nice mixture.
  4. Add in the flax glop and mix that in too, along with the milk, vanilla, and almond extracts.
  5. Roll the dough into a ball, and refrigerate for a half an hour.
Tra-la-la.

  1. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, and cut into nice shapes. This can include things like circles and squares, if those are shapes that appeal to you. Don’t feel that you have to invest in a collection of cookie cutters.
  2. Bake them for 18 to 20 minutes until slightly golden.


Variations:
  • Dust the bare cookies with granulated sugar before baking.
  • Dust the bare cookies with a mixture of 1 TBLSP granulated sugar, and 2 shakes of cinnamon.
  • Grind up ¼ teaspoon of cardamom and sneak it into the batter with the extracts. Yummmm.
  • Switch out the almond extract for a lemon wedge’s worth of juice and a half teaspoon of poppy seeds. 

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a great recipe for cakes, cookies, scones, muffins--pretty much any time you'd like some frosting.

½ TBLSP vegan butter, softened
2 TBLSP vegan cream cheese, softened
A splash of vanilla extract
¾ cup powdered sugar
Drops of food coloring
  1. Combine the vegan butter and cream cheese until it’s fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla, and stir until well-combined.
  3. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time. You might not want all of it, if you want a thinner drizzly frosting. You might want more of it, if you want a thicker frosting that you can make into peaks.
  4. Add the food coloring. Or not. It's pretty when it's just white, too. 


Variations:
  • If you want to make it pretty colors, divide the frosting into small bowls and mix in the food coloring of your choice. Go lightly!
  • Sprinkles. Need I say more?



Monday, December 1, 2014

Deep Dish Apple Pie for One



There’s nothing so classic as an apple pie. You don’t have to make it deep dish, but I found this pretty purple one for $2, so I piled the apples high. They shrink a bit when you bake them anyway. The interesting twist in this little pie is the pinch of ground cloves. 

For the Crust (make this crust twice—doubling doesn’t come out as nicely):
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 TBLSP shortening or vegan butter
1 ½ TBLSP ice water (or half vodka)

For the Filling:
1 medium large apple—about ¾ cup of apple slices (I like gala or grannysmith)
Juice of a lemon wedge
1 TBLSP granulated sugar (use more or less, depending on the tartness of your apple)
A pinch of cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon cornstarch

Make the Crust
It may seem silly to make this twice when you could just double the recipe. Believe me, I’ve tried it. Something breaks down in the science between a full-sized pie crust (serves 8) and this little guy, and the dough can be tough. So just do it twice. You don’t have to wash anything between times.
  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add the water/vodka and mix until it holds together in a very soft dough. (Vodka is a pie-maker’s trick. If you use it, the crust will be a little lighter. In such small quantities, though, you may not notice the difference. The alcohol burns off, so you don’t taste it, but, like the water, it evaporates and leaves little fluffy openings in the dough.)
  3. Form the dough into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Just squish it together until it holds.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle or square.
  5. Put the dough, still flat, in the refrigerator for an hour or two (overnight is fine). I use the same waxed paper that I roll it on (speeds clean-up), slide it onto a plate, and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. You might prefer plastic wrap if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge.
  6. Now do the whole thing again. Don’t worry. It only takes 7 minutes.
Tra-la-la! 

Make the Filling:
  1. Peel, core, and quarter the apple. Slice it into thin pieces. You might want to cut it into eighths, since we’re making such a tiny little pie. They’ll snuggle up more closely that way. You decide.
  2. Give the slices a squirt of lemon juice, turning the pieces to make sure that everybody gets a chance to play with the lemon juice.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and cornstarch.
  4. Stir the sugar combination gently into the apple pieces. Everything should have a little furry coat.


Assemble the Pie:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease up your pie dish with spray oil, canola oil, or vegan butter. Mine is about 4-inches wide on the bottom and must be close to 5-inches across at the top. 
  1. Drape the dough designated to be the bottom crust into your prepared pie dish. Gently manipulate it into all the corners of the dish, patching any tears with pieces from the edges. Don’t worry about the edges for now. Just let them be free-form and happy.
  2. Place the filling into the bottom of the crust, snuggling it around so that it fills the dough completely. If it mounds up, that’s a good thing, because it will shrink a bit during baking.
  3. Cover the filling with the dough designated to be the top crust. Trim the edges of both crusts to be about ½ inch wider than the pie dish. Crimp the edges together with your fingers. You can make a pretty pattern by alternating in and out ripples, you could press a fork’s tines into it to make a neat pattern, or you could just leave it free. If you want to, decorate the top with any scraps of dough.
  4. Poke holes with a knife or fork at artistic and regular intervals in the top crust so that the apples inside can bubble up through somewhere. In a 4-inch dish, you’ll want about 6 holes. More is fine.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees, and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is golden and the contents are bubbling busily. (If the crust seems to be going too fast, you can make a little hat for the edges out of aluminum foil. Just fold a long strip of it in half and crimp it to fit snuggly against the edges of the crust.)
  7. Cool completely on a rack before making a complete monster of yourself and devouring suddenly. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Apple Ginger-Spice Cookies for One



This little treat makes me happy. The combination of molasses and applesauce speaks to my childhood and at the same time is a very grown-up combination. It’s a puffy and light cookie, and I’m very glad that the recipe makes three of them. This and a cup of tea and my happiness is complete! 

5 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Pinch baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
Two shakes of ground ginger
A hefty shake of ground cinnamon
A dash of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 ½ teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons unsweetened applesauce
1 ½ teaspoons molasses (I used blackstrap, but you could use plain, if you want a less bold taste)
1 ½ TBLSP granulated sugar, plus 1 TBLSP for rolling cookies
¼ apple, peeled and finely chopped apple (I like Grannysmith, but use whatever you like)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat it with cooking spray.
  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, applesauce, and molasses. Add 1 ½ TBLSP sugar to this mixture.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and fold it in. It will be a stiff dough. When it’s mostly combined, add in the chopped apple. Don’t over mix it!
  4. Roll the dough into rough balls and roll each ball in the remaining TBLSP of sugar. I got three balls, each a little bigger than 1-inch in diameter.
  5. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and flatten them a bit.
  6. Sprinkle any remaining sugar lightly over the top of the cookies.  
  7. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until the tops of the cookies are dry and the bottoms are golden brown. Cool them without moving them in the pan or they will crumble. They stiffen up as they cool.