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Monday, September 29, 2014

Fresh Ramen Noodles and Veggies for One

My neighbor was moving and couldn’t use her regularly scheduled box of veggie goodness, and she was nice enough to give it to me. It was fun, like a puzzle, to figure out what could be made from this box of random things. Here’s what I came up with. You tell me how I did!

For the Dressing:
2 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
2 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
2 shakes of garlic powder
2 shakes of ginger powder
For the Salad:
6 ounces of fresh ramen noodles (not the dry ones, although you could use those with different cooking instructions) (Use rice for a gluten-free variation.)
½ ear of corn, kernels removed and collected
½ Persian cucumber, seeded and sliced lengthwise thinly
¼ cup julienned radicchio
2 green onions, diced
1/3 avocado, sliced thinly
½ carrot, julienned or shaved with a potato peeler
2 mushrooms, sliced thinly
1 TBLSP cut wakame (dried seaweed), reconstituted, if desired
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Variations: Also try mung bean sprouts, peanuts, spinach, arugula--really, anything that's in the veggie bin!

Make the Dressing:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the tamari, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and water, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger powders and stir some more.
Make the Salad:

  1. Add the fresh ramen noodles to boiling water, stirring to separate the noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 90 seconds, until tender.
  2. Drain thoroughly and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Put the drained noodles in the center of the serving dish and make nice little piles of the salad components around it. Pour the dressing over the top and top with the dried wakame and sesame seeds.

This made one HUGE salad, but I did manage to eat it all. Yummy!

Variation: Try it with rice, too. I used Trader Joe’s Rice Medley, which has mustard seed and wild rice mixed into brown rice. Yummy! 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Snickerdoodles for One

This luscious little cake-y slice of heaven is light and fluffy and everything you want with your afternoon cuppa. It’s so quick to throw together that you might want to get the other tea things made first.

Cookie Dough
3 TBLSP all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
½ TBLSP vegan margarine, softened
½ TBLSP sugar
1/2 TBLSP almond milk
A dash of vanilla extract
Cinnamon Sugar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 shakes of ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Well, just a little bit, enough for two cookies.
Make the Cookie Dough:
1.    In a small bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
2.    In another small bowl, shmush the butter until it’s soft. Cream in the butter and keep shmushing until it’s a little fluffy. Add in the almond milk and vanilla and keep shmushing until it’s amalgamated. In such a small quantity, it won’t completely combine. That’s okay. If you’re REALLY serious, you can use a whisk, but why dirty another tool?
3.    Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine until it’s smooth.
4.    Shape the dough into two 1-inch balls and flatten them into 2-inch disks.
Make the Cinnamon Sugar:
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. I use the same little bowl I mix wasabi and soy sauce together for dipping sushi. Itty bitty. Or, you could wipe out the bowl you mixed the flour in and use that.
Assemble the Cookies:
1.    Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon sugar and place 1 ½ inches apart on the baking sheet.
2.    Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they look dry on their tops and are lightly browned on the bottom.

3.    Let them cool on the cookie sheet or they will crumble. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Cookies for One

Some flavors were meant to go together, and coconut goes with chocolate better than just about anything else! This simple little cookie is so rich that you’ll have to give the second one to me.

1/8 teaspoon flax seed meal
½ teaspoon water
2 TBLSP flour (white or whole, or try spelt for a gluten-free treat)
½ TBLSP cocoa powder
Dash of salt
Sprinkle of baking soda
1 TBLSP granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon brown sugar
½ TBLSOP almond milk
1 TBLSP raisins
2 TBLSP unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, mix both sugars and the canola oil until it’s combined, and then add the flax and almond milk.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until everything is wet.
  4. Add the raisins and stir.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for one hour. 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put the coconut flakes in a small bowl.
  1.  Take half of the dough and roll it into a ball. (Or two large cookies and one baby-sized.) Roll the dough ball in the coconut to coat and squish it a little to be more of a disk. Repeat with the other half of the dough. A lot of coconut should cling to each ball. You can top each ball with any left-over coconut so that it’s thickest right in the center of the cookie.
  2. Put the coconut-covered balls on the parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies for One

My mom made a LOT of cookies growing up, especially around the holidays. But peanut butter was not one of her flavors, so my childhood memories of peanut butter cookies come from the neighbor kid’s mom. (Hi, Spike Jones!) They were this wonderful cakey disk with a cross-hatch on the top. So this one’s for you, Mrs. Jones! (That really was her name.)

1 TBLSP of vegan butter
3 TBLSP of dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
2 TBLSP of peanut butter
¼ teaspoon of baking soda <<try powder>>
3 TBLSP of all-purpose flour
Chopped candied ginger, chocolate chips, raisins (optional)
A small handful of peanut halves for the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1.      In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter just until it starts to melt (30 seconds or less). Blend melted butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla together. Stir in peanut butter. Add baking soda and flour, and stir until combined. If it needs more moisture (which is unlikely), add soy or almond milk in tiny splashes. Add in any optional items to the finished dough,
2.      Form the cookie dough into two balls and place on the lined baking sheet. The cookies will spread during baking, so make sure they are several inches apart. The dough will be very soft. Sprinkle a few peanuts on top of the raw cookies and pat them in a little, if you want, or use a fork to make traditional cross-hatching.
3.      Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown. (My oven took about 14 minutes.)
4.      Remove baking sheet from oven and let cookies cool on cookie sheet. They will be very soft and crumbly until they’re cool. Then they’re light and fluffy.

Makes two 3” cookies. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shortbread Cookies for One

Sometimes, you just want something simple: a cookie in its essence. No fancy chocolate, no nuts, just a cookie. That’s what this cookie offers. Unless you add cardamom or cloves…or strawberries!

3 1/2 TBLSP all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon arrowroot or tapioca flour
1 TBLSP vegan butter
2 ½ teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
A dash of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and arrowroot together. 
  2. In another small bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until it’s creamy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat it again.
  3. Add half of the flour to the butter mixture, and mix it in. Once it’s well-combined, add the other half of the flour. Keep mixing until it’s smooth.
  4. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough until it’s ¾ of an inch thick. Cut it with cookie cutters and lay the cut cookies on the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll any scraps and make that into a cookie too! I get about 5 little cookies.  
  5. Sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.
  6. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.


  • Drizzle the baked cookies with melted chocolate.
  • Add your favorite spice. I like cardamom, but try cloves, cinnamon, or ginger, too!
  • Make a divot in the center of each cookie with the back of a spoon or your finger and place a dollop of your favorite jam in there. You know mine is fig, but try grape, plum, orange marmalade, or cherry. If you double the recipe, you can make one of each!
  • Chop up some strawberries in the blender or food processor and swirl the resulting jam into the finished dough before rolling it and cutting it into shapes for strawberry shortbread cookies. You’ll need to increase the amount of flour by 1 TBLSP to make it dry enough to roll out, and this nearly doubles the resulting number of cookies. Is that a bad thing? (Shown below.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Oatmeal Cookie for One

There’s nothing quite so comforting as a nice oatmeal raisin cookie. I’ve heard them called ranger cookies and cowboy cookies and even breakfast cookies; it doesn’t really matter what you call them; they’re filling and sweet disks of happiness. With raisins.

2 TBLSP flour
1 TBLSP brown sugar
½ TBLSP white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
A shake of cinnamon, ground cloves, orange zest, ground ginger, or any combination (optional)
2 TBLSP vegan butter
3 ½ TBLSP oatmeal (quick oats)
1/2 TBLSP almond milk
½ TBLSP raisins
1 teaspoon walnut pieces
½ TBLSP chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet or grease the baking sheet well.
  1. Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, and spices (if any) in a small mixing bowl. (Use a cereal bowl. If the bowl is too big, you’ll be chasing the ingredients around.)
  2. Cream in the butter.
  3. Add the oatmeal, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Mix in the milk.
  5. Add in the raisins, walnuts, and chocolate chips, stirring until just barely combined.
  6. Pat and squeeze into two cookies. They will be inclined to fall apart, so give each patty a good squeeze. Place the cookies on the greased baking sheet or parchment paper.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden on top. Let cool on the baking sheet or they will completely fall apart. (They seem to congeal nicely once they’re cool.)

Makes two substantial cookies or three normal-sized ones.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fig Cookies for One

Figs make everything better, don’t you agree? And their season is so short, you really have to use figs every day to get the best mileage out of them. Too much for you? That’s okay. Bring me your extras. I’ll eat ‘em.

If you’re looking for something new to do with figs, try these cake-like cookies with a dollop of fresh fig on the top.

1 teaspoon flax seed meal
1 ½ teaspoon water
4 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Dash of baking powder
Dash of ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
1 TBLSP vegan butter, softened
1 TBLSP granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon brown sugar
Dash of vanilla extract
1 fresh fig, halved
1 TBLSP walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven the 375 degrees F. Grease a small baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper.
  1. Put the flax seed meal and water in a small bowl and give it a little stir. Set it aside. You’ll need the glop that forms in a minute.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another small bowl, mix the butter and both sugars. Add the flax glop and vanilla and give it a good mix.
  4. Add in the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Scoop the meat out of the fig, and reserve a teaspoon of the it. Chop the skins and the rest of the meats until they’re mushy. Add the fig mush and walnuts to the cookie dough and stir gently to combine.
  6. Scoop the soft dough into the prepared baking sheet in two soft mounds. It will be inclined to spread, so leave space. Top each mound with a bit of the reserved fig meat. You might give the fig meat a chop if it seems like too solid a blob for your liking.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let them cool on the baking sheet or they will fall apart.

Variation: Add in chopped crystalized ginger with the walnuts for an extra punch. Perhaps a teaspoon’s worth, chopped tiny.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookie for One

I get home from rehearsal late at night, tired but wired, and want a little nosh to soothe me into restfulness, enough that I might sleep. A cookie would do it. But I don't have any cookies, and I certainly don't want to make a whole batch so that I can have one or two. That's how these recipes were born. I've been cooking for one for a long time now, and there was't any reason why dessert shouldn't be part of it!

This recipe kicks off a whole week of cookies. You shouldn't have to do without homemade cookies just because you only want one! (Or two.)

         4 TBLSP all-purpose flour

         1 TBLSP granulated sugar

         1 TBLSP brown sugar

          Pinch of salt

          Pinch of baking soda

         1 ½ TBLSP vegan butter

         1 TBLSP water

         1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

         1-2 TBLSP chocolate chips

          ½-1 TBLSP walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a cookie sheet or a small piece of aluminum foil. Or bravely use parchment paper.

  1. Measure all the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda) into a small bowl.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (butter, water, and vanilla) to it, and mix and mash thoroughly with a fork. It's easier if the butter is slightly softened.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnut pieces.
  4. Plop the mixture into two blops in the center of the cookie sheet. You might flatten it a little, for even baking.
  5. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Bake for an additional 1-2 minutes if the cookie is too soft or gooey. It will be very crumbly while it’s hot.
  6. Let it cool on the pan. It will hold together just fine once it’s mostly cooled off. 
Oh, and the best part? Because they're vegan, you can eat the raw cookie dough! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Garlic Buns for One

Bread has a bad reputation for being a big deal to make. It can be; I’m not denying that. But when you’re making just enough for you, or just enough for you and a friend, it’s really very easy.

Makes two hamburger-sized buns. 

       ·         ¾ cup warm water (hot tap water will do)
·         1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet of rapid rise)
·         1 cup bread flour
·         1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
·         1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
·         1 tablespoon lemon juice
·         ½ teaspoon sea salt
·         ½ teaspoon dried oregano
·         ½ teaspoon rosemary, crumbled in your hand or ground in a mortar
·         5 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed in the garlic press

Toppings (choose any of these, or combine them)
       ·         1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
·         4 cloves garlic, put through the press
·         Zest of ½ lemon
·         1 teaspoon garlic powder
·         2 tablespoons grated vegan mozzarella cheese
·         A small handful fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
·         A few sprinkles of sea salt
·         1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
  1.  Combine the warm water with the yeast and stir until it has been dissolved. Leave it be for a bit. It should look a little foamy around the edges in a few minutes. If it doesn’t, you may have dead yeast. If you think it might be dead, put the tiniest pinch of sugar in there. Live yeast will react cheerfully. If it doesn’t react to the sugar, start over with new yeast.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the two flours, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, oregano, and rosemary. Press the garlic straight into the bowl.
  3. Combine the yeast and water with everything else and mix it with a spoon for a minute or so. You’ll want to switch to your hands to get it all combined.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands until it becomes elastic and smooth, about 5 minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid or damp towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for a couple of hours. I like to turn the oven on for 5 minutes while I’m kneading, then turn it off and put the dough inside there.
Tra-la-la and a fiddle dee dee.

After the dough has risen, preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1. Punch the dough down (with so little dough, this is a matter of poking your fingers into it) and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic again. Cut the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Pat each into an oval shape—or any shape you like (I wanted burger buns). It should be about half an inch to a whole inch thick.
  2. Lay the flat dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet and let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Sing hey nonny nonny, hey nonny nonny no!

  1. Even though I claim it’s optional, you’re really going to want to infuse some olive oil with garlic by pressing a few cloves into a small bowl with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in there. Moosh it around with the back of a spoon, and then let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the other topping items. I like to make the two buns different from each other. Yummm.
a)     Make some lemon zest, perhaps a teaspoon’s worth.
b)    Get out the vegan mozzarella cheese. Maybe combine it with some dried herbs.
c)     Combine fennel seeds, sesame seeds, dill seeds, caraway seeds, salt, and poppy seeds in roughly equal parts. You won’t need much, so these measurements should be pinches.
d)    Do your own thing.
  1. Smear the garlic-infused olive oil on the top of each bun. Be generous. Top with whichever topping you choose from my list, or make up your own. The topping will stick to the garlicky oil.
  2. Bake them in the oven for approximately 13 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

Let them cool as long as you can bear it. They’ll probably still be hot. They’re that good. You won’t be able to wait!

These little breads taste great as an accompaniment to breakfast, as a sandwich surrounding, or you could make them smaller and serve them as dinner rolls and save one or two for the morning to have with your tofu scramble

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fig Einsteins for One

You know what a Fig Newton is, right? (It's a  delicious cookie with a cake wrapper and gooey fig filling.) They're fun to make. They use dried figs, and when it's not fig season I'll give you a nice recipe for those. But it IS fig season, so I created Fig Einsteins, Newton's younger, fresher relative. You'll want a lot of these, so this recipe makes four cookies.

For the Filling:
5 fresh figs (I used Black Mission, but Brown Turkey will do nicely, too)
½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)

For the Dough:
½ TBLSP flax seed meal
1 TBLSP water
½ cup whole wheat flour
A pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
A dash of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ TBLSP coconut oil
1 ½ TBLSP maple syrup (or agave nectar)
1 ½ teaspoons almond milk
1 ½ teaspoons unsweetened applesauce

Make the Filling:
  1. Grind the figs in a blender or food processor, and add the maple syrup. Blend a bit more. If the mixture is about the consistency of jam, you’re golden. If it’s thicker, add tiny bits of water until it’s right. I’m talking about dribbles here, less than a teaspoon. If it’s too thin, add another fig. Or, you could put it on the stove for a few minutes. Don't let it get past just beginning to boil though, or you'll lose some of that unctuousness from the fresh figgies.
  2. Set it aside while you make the dough (and while you let the dough rest). It needs time for the figs’ natural pectin to react. You might want to take it out of the blender for easier cleaning.

Make the Dough:
  1. Mix the flax seed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside to turn into goo.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the vanilla, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, and applesauce.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined. Don’t over mix it.
  5. Gather the very sticky and wet dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

      Fa-la-la-la, it’s a lovely day. Fa-la-la-la-lay-oh. Fa-la-la-la, it’s a lovely day, sing fa-la-la-la-lay-oh! (This is the refrain for John Barleycorn, if you’re looking for something to sing while you wait.)

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put the parchment, once you've sized it for the pan, on your work surface and lightly flour it.

Assemble the Cookie:
  1. Once the dough is firm, roll it out on your floured parchment, making the dough into a rectangle. It doesn't have to be perfect. I like cutting the raggedy edges off to make it closer to rectangular, but they’re your cookies. You do it how you like it.
  2. Imagine that the rectangle of dough is divided lengthwise into quarters. Spread the fig mixture in a wide swath down the central two quarters of the dough. You probably won’t need all of it.
  3. Fold the outside quarters over the fig mixture to meet in the middle using the edges of the parchment paper to pick it up. The dough is very sticky, and this will help keep it intact. If there’s a little dough overlap on the fig mixture, that’s marvelous.  
  4. Slice the narrow rectangle into four squares. A pizza cutter works very well for this. I don’t have a pizza cutter, so I used a really large knife, much larger than seemed absolutely necessary. A really big knife goes through without tearing or squishing too much.
  5. Place the parchment with its figgy little squares onto the baking sheet cut side up and bake for 12 minutes. They will be starting to brown and a little firm to the touch. The bottom won’t be cooked through yet so…
  6. Roll the mostly baked squares over using the parchment paper to help you flip them all at once (they’re hot!) and bake for another 5 minutes. They should be golden brown and firm to the touch on the bottom (which is now the top) too.
  7. Let them cool on the parchment paper. 

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.