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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Fluffy Biscuits (or Hamburger Bun) for One

My mother gave me a James Beard Bread cookbook when I was eight or nine years old, and that’s how my love affair began. This recipe makes a very soft biscuit that’s a perfectly good hamburger or sandwich bun. But it’s a quick bread (no real rising time, no yeast), so it will be a bit crumbly, as any good biscuit should be.

Makes two fluffy biscuits or one hamburger bun

6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ TBLSP vegan butter, cut into pieces
3 TBLSP non-dairy milk, plus a splash for the tops
Sesame seeds (for a hamburger bun)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best results make sure your ingredients are very cold. 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.
  2. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter pieces until the flour has the texture of coarse grain.
  3. Pour the milk over the flour and stir gently with a fork or spoon until it comes together.
  4. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few times until it's not super sticky anymore.
  5. Pat the dough gently to about an inch thick. Fold the dough over itself and pat it out to an inch thick again. Repeat twice more, so that in the end, you’ve folded it three times. Be very gentle! No pounding! Little baby pats!
  6. Fold the dough one more time, and pat the dough into a rectangle about ¾ of an inch thick. Cut it into two biscuits (with a knife) or leave it whole if you’re making a hamburger bun.
  7. Brush the biscuits with a daub of milk. I just splash a little into a small bowl and use my fingers. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds, if you’re using them.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the tops are golden.

This tasty meal was a Fluffy Biscuit with chunky mustard, Daiya faux cheese, Tofurkey Beer Brat, pickle, and lettuce.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup for One

This simple little dish will make your kitchen smell marvelous and it will fill your tummy in the most satisfying way ever. And it’s orange. More food should be orange, don’t you agree?

½ TBLSP olive or coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 small sweet potato (about ½ cup), chopped into small cubes
1 dried apricot, diced
Dash of turmeric
Dash of ground cumin
Dash of ground ginger (or ½ inch of fresh, diced)
¼ cup water
Pinch of salt
Zest of ¼ orange (or dried)
1 ½ TBLSP orange juice (from the orange you just zested), about ¼ of an orange
1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk—coconut would be lovely)
Ground black pepper to taste

  1. In a saucepan large enough to hold the whole serving, heat the oil and toss in the garlic.
  2. Add the carrots and sweet potato, dried apricots and spices. Toss them around in there for 3-5 minutes, softening the veggies a bit. Don’t burn the spices, though. Just brown ‘em. Your kitchen should smell fabulous.
  3. Add the water and salt, give it a stir, cover it, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. You’ll probably want to turn the heat down a bit, so you don’t boil all the water away. The object is to soften the veggies, but not turn them into mush. You should be able to push a wooden spoon through the veggies when they’re cooked to perfection.
  4. Add the zest, orange juice, and almond milk and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Use an immersion blender or pour the soup into a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth.
  6. Top with ground black pepper and serve.

That yummy looking side dish is homemade naan topped with faux cream cheese, diced yellow onions, avocado, home-grown sprouts (alfalfa, mung, and broccoli), with a bit of chopped cilantro and some chopped raw almonds. It was yummy too. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheeze for One

The weather is changing, and a nice piping hot bowl of something filling is all you can think about. But the refrigerator only has a little lingering cauliflower and the cupboard is nearly bare. What to do? Cauliflower Mac ‘n’ Cheeze, of course!

2.5 ounces dry macaroni pasta (for me, that’s about two double handfuls. Your hands may be bigger.)
½ a cup of cauliflower florets, broken up
1 garlic clove
2 ½ TBLSP almond milk, or the non-dairy milk of your choosing
2 TBLSP nutritional yeast
¼ lemon’s-worth of lemon juice
A splash of soy sauce
A pinch of kosher salt
A dash of turmeric
A smidgen of Dijon-style mustard
A grind or two of fresh ground pepper

  1. In a saucepan, boil the water for the pasta. You can salt it, if you like, but I don’t. The salt makes it take longer to boil, and there’s soy sauce and salt in the sauce. Once the water’s boiling add the pasta. Cook according the package directions and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in another pan, steam the cauliflower for no more than 10 minutes. You want them just tender, not really cooked.
  3. In a blender, add the cooked cauliflower, the garlic, milk, yeast, juice, soy sauce, salt, turmeric, mustard, and pepper, and blend until it’s smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the sauce judiciously to the cooked pasta in your serving bowl. You might not want all of it, you, maybe you’re feeling like slopping it all up with a nice piece of crusty bread. It’s your choice.

  • Chop some onions (I like green onions) to toss into the finished dish.
  • Add nuts, faux meat, tofu, or faux cheese to the finished product to add a protein element.
  • Parsley or cilantro would be nice, chopped finely and stirred into the finished sauce. Or you could grind it up with the sauce and have a greenish delight. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Teriyaki Stir Fry for One

This recipe is more about the sauce than whatever you put it on, so have a little fun! I put it on noodles and roasted veggies, rice and steamed veggies, sushi—almost anything will do! It's also easily made gluten-free by putting it over a grain or using gluten-free noodles. 

You need to get the sauce made before you start your veggies ‘n’ stuff. If you’re cooking noodles or rice, you’ll need to do those in advance too.

1 TBLSP olive oil
1/8 head of cauliflower, cut bite-sized
2 slices red onion, diced,
2 mushrooms, halved and sliced
½ cup cooked soya noodles
Leftover roasted veggies (I had asparagus and sweet potato)
1 ½ TBLSP Thick Teriyaki Sauce (homemade, below, or you could use store-bought)

  1. In a large frying pan (I like non-stick), heat the olive oil and quickly sauté the cauliflower, mushrooms, and onion on high heat.
  2. When the cauliflower is starting to soften, add the prepared noodles.
  3. Then add the pre-roasted veggies and stir the whole thing up until it’s heated through.
  4. Place the steaming pile of yumminess in your serving bowl and then blop the teriyaki sauce on top of it. Stir at will, and devour.

Thick Teriyaki Sauce

Makes 1 cup, so plan to use this for dips, dressings, and delectifying your tofu.

½ cup tamari (or soy sauce)
¼ cup water
2 TBLSP mirin
5 teaspoons brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 cloves garlic, put through the press (use only two cloves if you’re shy)
1 inch ginger, peeled chopped a little, and put through the garlic press
½ TBLSP cornstarch
1 TBLSP water

  1. Combine tamari, water, mirin, both sugars, garlic, and ginger in a saucepan. Heat it gently (medium heat will do) until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes..
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until it’s thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Add the cornstarch slowly (a dribble at a time) to the sauce until it’s incorporated. ]
  4. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. You’ll want to watch this, and stir it frequently. With all that sugar, it will be inclined to burn suddenly.

  • Dip sushi in it.
  •  Put it over rice, noodles, tempeh, seitan, baked sweet potato—the possibilities are endless!
  • Put it over steamed veg, waffle-ironed tofu, and rice, and top it with furikake (a store-bought blend of seaweed, sesame seeds, and other yummies).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Steamed Artichoke and Killer Sauce for One

There are a LOT of variations on suitable dips for artichokes, and this one is a variation on the one my mother used to make. I like the tang of horseradish root, but try Tobasco or Sriracha if a more straightforward bite suits you.

1 artichoke
2 slices of yellow onion, diced small
1 TBLSP capers, chopped, if you like
1 inch of fresh horseradish root, grated (substitute several shakes of Tobasco Sauce, if you prefer)
Garlic powder, to taste
A pinch of dried oregano
A pinch of dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  1.  Cut the artichoke in half, or, if it’s huge, in quarters. Put it into a steamer in the bottom of a covered pot that’s half-filled with water. Bring to a boil. It should be done in 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how sturdy your artichoke is. Watch that the water doesn’t boil away!
  2. You know it’s done when you pull off a leaf, it comes away easily, and you can easily scrape the “meat” off with your front teeth.

Tra-la-la. While you’re waiting, make the dipping sauce.
  1. Put all the ingredients for the dip into a small bowl and stir enthusiastically. Let it rest in the refrigerator until the artichoke is finished.
If you’re unfamiliar with eating these delicacies, what you do is pry the leaves off of the cooked bulb one at a time. Dip the fleshy part that was attached to the bulb into the dip and then scrape the dip and the fleshy part off on your front teeth. When you’ve been peeling the leaves off for a while, you’ll notice that they change in character. When they’re super soft, you can eat them in a small bunch.

DON’T eat the hairy innermost part. It’s unpleasant to chew, but it will also do bad things in your tummy. The stem and the little cup that forms around the hairy part is the best of it though, so don’t get all hasty or frustrated with how much work it is to eat an actual thistle or you won’t really know what all the fuss is about.

Also, this particular vegetable is good for your liver, if you’re into treating your liver nicely. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lemon Vanilla Layer Cake for One

This little treat is fun enough to make you want to celebrate something! But if there’s no birthday or anniversary on the horizon, perhaps you can just celebrate the delights of a tangy but sweet little cake. Or Tuesday. Or that the sun came up. Or laundry day. 

For the Cake:
3 TBLSP of almond milk
A slosh of apple cider vinegar
2 TBLSP and ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ TBLSP coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
A slosh of vanilla extract
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon cornstarch
A pinch of baking powder
A pinch of baking soda
A pinch of salt
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon (about 2 TBLSP)
For the Frosting:
3 TBLSP vegan butter
½ cup plus 1 TBLSP powdered sugar
A slosh of vanilla extract
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of 1/4  lemon (about 1 TBLSP)
½ TBLSP almond milk, if more moisture is needed

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two ramekins or two spaces in a muffin tin. If you use a muffin tin, you may have some carving to do, or just an interestingly shaped cake.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar together.It will look kind of disgusting as the two react to one another. You're making faux buttermilk. 
  2. Then stir in the sugar, oil, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make sure there are no lumps!
  3. Mix in the juice and zest. You’ll get a lovely frothy reaction. It should be a loose batter. If it’s too thick, add almond milk. If it’s too thin, add more flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack before frosting.


To Make the Frosting:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat it together until it’s fluffy.
  2. Add the lemon zest and juice and continue to beat. If it's too stiff, add more lemon juice or a slosh of almond milk. Be careful, though. Too thick spreads better than too thin. (If you do go overboard, add more powdered sugar. But be careful! It can get way too sweet rather suddenly.) Set the finished frosting in the refrigerator to stiffen up a little. 
  3. When the cakes are completely cooled and out of the pans, frost the top of one and set it on your presentation dish.
  4. Then place the other on top of it and frost the top and sides of the whole shebang.
  5. Store it in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Sticky Buns for One

Some days, you want a little luxury with your coffee, especially the kind that reminds you happily of your childhood. Well, today’s that day! You can make these sweet little rolls the night before a dream cinnamon dreams, you can make them in time for breakfast or brunch, or they make a perfectly fine afternoon snack. No matter when you eat them, you’ll want to fit them into your day.

For the Dough:
3 TBLSP plus 1 teaspoon almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast (1/3 of the packet)
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
A pinch of salt
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (you might need a TBLSP or two more, so keep it handy)
Canola oil (for coating the rising bowl)
For the Sticky Glaze:
1 ½ TBLSP brown sugar
1 ½ TBLSP vegan butter
1 ½ TBLSP chopped pecans
For the Filling:
1 TBLSP vegan butter, melted
1 ½ TBLSP brown sugar
A sprinkle of cinnamon 

  1. In saucepan or the microwave, heat the milk and butter until it’s warm and melted. Don’t let it boil! Let it cool until you can stick your finger in it. If it’s too hot, you’ll kill the yeast, if it’s too cold, you won’t excite the yeast. It’s like Goldilocks.
  2. Sprinkle in the yeast. Let it activate for 10 minutes (it should be all bubbly if your yeast is healthy), and then add in the sugar and salt and give it a quick stir.
  3. Add in the flour and stir it until it starts to form a ball. Then place it on a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute or so, until it forms a smooth ball. You might add more flour while you’re kneading, if it seems to need it. (See what I did there?) You want a soft ball, but not sticky anymore, and not as firm as bread dough.
  4. Clean out your mixing bowl and coat it with canola oil. Roll the dough ball around in the canola oil to coat the ball on all sides, and then cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. If it’s a cold day, I like to turn the oven on for a few minutes, and then turn it off again, leaving the door open. I put the little dough ball right above that open door. Some people put the dough inside, but I find that I forget it’s in there…
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the Sticky Glaze by mixing together the butter and brown sugar and spreading it in the bottom of two ramekins or two muffin tin spaces. Top with the pecan pieces and set the prepared pans aside.
  6. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a thin rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush it with the Filling’s melted butter, and then top it first with brown sugar and then with the cinnamon.
  7. Roll the dough into a tight log. Cut the dough into 2-inch segments (there will be two of rolls) with a very sharp knife. Roll the segments into little snails. I like to put the seam on the inside of that roll, but it doesn’t matter very much.
  8. Snuggle the dough rolls into the Sticky Glaze in your prepared pan. I like to smoosh them a bit so that they fill the ramekin from side to side. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Tra-la-la.

  1. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Let them cool for a few minutes, and then invert and devour.