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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Radish Dip for One

Some days call for a celebration and you’re just independent enough not to need a whole party to mark them. Here’s just enough dip to make your tongue as happy as the rest of you.

Makes about ½ cup
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 radishes, quartered
4 ounces vegan cream cheese
1 teaspoon of vegan mayonnaise or less
1 teaspoon lemon juice (about a wedge’s worth)
Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until it’s finely minced. Add the radishes and grind away on them until they’re finely minced too.
  2. In a small bowl, place the cream cheese and stir in the radish and garlic mixture. Add the vegan mayonnaise and lemon juice, which will make it much easier to stir. You might want it thin if your dipping vehicles are delicate, so add more mayo or lemon juice at will.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Dip chips or crudités into this little treat or spread it on a piece of bread and top with avocado.   
  • Horseradish would be an exciting addition, just a bit, grated fresh right in with the garlic and radishes.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Quick-Pickled Cabbage Confetti for One

I love pickles, don’t you? Did you know that they don’t have to be made of summer cucumbers and they don’t have to take a long time and a huge amount of kitchen real-estate? In fact, if you want a pickle right now, you can just march into the kitchen and pickle something!

1 TBLSP olive oil
1/8 head of cabbage, sliced thinly (red or white, both are yummy)
¾ of a large carrot, shredded
3 thin slices of red onion, diced
2 ½ TBLSP granulated sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 TBLSP fennel seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large frying pan, place the olive oil, sliced cabbage, shredded carrot, onion, sugar, and vinegar. Cook it on medium-high heat until about 2/3rds of the liquid is gone.
  2. Add the fennel seeds and the salt and pepper and continue cooking until the rest of the liquid is gone and the veggies are tender.

Makes a great side dish for faux dogs, but, as you can see in the picture, I like it on my pizza.

  • Use caraway seeds instead of fennel for a more traditional sauerkraut flavor.
  • Jazz it up with cumin instead of fennel seeds.
  • Add shredded fennel bulb for a stronger licorice flavor.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Fried Rice for One

I love Chinese food. There’s something about how practical it is, using whatever is in the kitchen, how quick it is, oh, and how fried it often is, that I find irresistible.

2 dried shiitake mushrooms
½ cup long grain rice (brown or white, whatever suits you)
1 TBLSP peanut oil (or olive oil or sesame—whatever you’ve got)
1 TBLSP minced carrot
¼ cup chopped cabbage (green or red)
1 stalk of broccoli, chopped, stem and all
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ inch peeled fresh ginger, minced
¼ cup tofu (I like to use name age, a baked purchased product, but raw is good too)
1 TBLSP soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
A slosh of rice vinegar
Peanuts for garnish
  1. In a small pot, cook rice in 1 1/14 cups water, bringing it to a boil, covering, and lowering the heat. You can also use about 1 cup of cooked left-over rice.
  2. Place the shiitake mushrooms to soak in enough water to cover for about 10 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Chop the carrot, cabbage, and scallion, mince the garlic and ginger. Destem and chop the mushrooms when they’re soft enough.
  4. Once the rice is finished cooking, set it aside.
  5. In a frying pan or wok, heat the peanut oil and fry up the carrot and cabbage. When it’s starting to soften, add in the mushrooms, scallion, garlic, and ginger.
  6. Add the rice and give it a good stir. If it’s yesterday’s rice, keep stirring until it’s heated through. You may need to add some water or oil to keep it from sticking to the pan.
  7. Toss in the tofu, and when it’s heated, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Garnish with peanuts, as liberally as pleases your palate.

Devour with the rapt attention of a thousand wild dogs.

  • You can use whatever veggies you have on hand—just put the longer-cooking vegetables in the wok first (like squash, yellow onion, or broccoli), and work your way to the things that need less heat.
  • Frozen veggies will do well in this dish too, if that’s all you’ve got.
  • Try it with a different kind of grain, like quinoa, farro, or bulgur wheat.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Broccoli and Apple Soup for One

Now that the days are short and cold, I want soup to heat my bones. This one will stick to your ribs too!
¼ head of broccoli, with stems
1 apple (of the sweeter variety, like golden delicious or Macintosh), chopped coarsely
1 TBLSP vegan butter
¼ cup thinly sliced or finely chopped yellow onion
¼ cup water, plus 1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 sprig of lemon thyme or thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ of a lemon’s zest
Sprinkle of fresh chives for garnish
  1. Cut apart the florets from the stems of the broccoli. If the outer skin of the stems is tough, peel it off with a vegetable peeler. Slice the stems into rounds and chop finely.
  2. Cut the apple in half. Chop and put half in a blender or food processor with a ¼ cup of water and blend until it’s got only a few flecks of skin in the creamy smoothness. This should give you about ½ cup of fluids.
  3. Heat a thick-bottomed small pot on medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onion and the rest of the chopped apple (not the puree you made). Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the apples are softened.
  4. Add the broccoli (all of it) to the apples and onions, which smells surprisingly good. Add the water and the apple puree. Toss in the thyme and the lemon peel. Increase the heat, bringing the pot to a boil, then reduce it again to maintain a low simmer when the pot is covered. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender, or letting it cool a bit and using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it’s as smooth as you want it.
  6. Return the soup to the pot, if necessary, reheat, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Pour the lovely greenness into a serving bowl and garnish with chives.

Serve with a chunk of bread or some crackers. Yum! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Raisin Crumb Bars for One

This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t like to eat first thing in the morning. I like to see what’s happening in the world and go get some exercise and THEN I’m ready to think about food. So I don’t really mind if something takes a while to prepare. Once you’ve had this tasty treat, you won’t mind either.

For the Filling:
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup raisins
4 TBLSP orange juice
2 ½ TBLSP shredded coconut
For the Crust and the Crumb:
5 ½ TBLSP all-purpose flour
5 ½ TBLSP rolled oats
3 ½ TBLSP brown sugar (packed)
Pinch baking soda
2 ½ TBLSP vegan butter
2 ½ TBLSP chopped peanuts
Cinnamon to taste

Make the Filling:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the raisins and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until it thickens.
  2. Stir in the coconut.
  3. Set this raisin mixture aside to cool.

Make the Crust and the Crumb:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda and mix them well.
  2. Add the butter and cut it in with a fork or pastry knife until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

Assemble the Bars:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In an ungreased mini-loaf pan, two ramekins, or three muffin tin holes, press enough of the crumb mixture into the bottom(s), to make a crust. Mine was fairly thick in the mini-loaf pan. You definitely want to use half of the crumb mixture for the crust.
  2. Spoon in the raisin mixture, dividing it evenly among your various vessels and spreading it evenly to completely cover the crumb crust.
  3. Stir the chopped peanuts into the remaining crumb mixture, and spread the mixture over the top of the bars. Press it slightly into the raisin mixture. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack, and then, if necessary, cut into squares. You might need to run a knife around the edges to make the cake come out of the pan. When you turn it over, it will lose lots of crumbs, so do it over a plate or the sink (and not the floor).

Monday, December 7, 2015

Japanese Carrot and Ginger Salad Dressing for One

I’ve never been much of a fan of iceberg lettuce unless you put it underneath that fabulous Japanese salad dressing. So when a neighbor gave me a big sack of already chopped salad that was mostly iceberg, I had to play with my food.

¼ large carrot, peeled and chopped
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
½ TBLSP ground ginger
½ TBLSP soy sauce
½ TBLSP granulated sugar
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine carrot, mayonnaise, ginger, soy sauce, and sugar.
  2. Blend until it’s fairly smooth. I like a few chunks, but you do it how you like it.

Serve on a mostly iceberg lettuce salad with cabbage, carrot, and green onion for a restaurant-style salad.

This recipe could easily double or triple if you're not dining alone. 

I like this elegant dressing and salad with a roll of avocado sushi and some miso soup, but it would certainly be nice on a more elaborate salad and served as a main course. Like this:

  • Use ½ inch or so of freshly grated ginger instead of ground.
  • Sprinkle in a few grains (and I mean just a few grains) of wasabi powder. It will mix with the sugar and be SUPER hot, so really: Go easy. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Simple Cauliflower Scramble for One

Among the many nice things about this dish is how many variations you can come up with. You could toss in just about any vegetable, use whatever herbs and spices make you happy, or keep it simple and serve it along with a lot of interesting breads and such. Yummy!

¼ head cauliflower
Slosh of coconut or olive oil (you could use vegan butter too)
1 or 2 slices of onion, diced (about 2-3 TBLSP)
2 TBLSP mushrooms, diced (optional)
Pinch of thyme
Pinch of oregano
Pinch of garlic powder
Sprinkle of turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBLSP (or less) water
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  1. Remove the stem from the cauliflower and dice the rest up. You don’t need to preserve the floret shape unless you really want to.
  2. In a skillet, over medium heat, heat up the oil of your choice and add the onion and mushroom (if you’re going this route). Saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent but haven’t lost all their shape.
  3. Add the cauliflower and spread it out evenly across the bottom of the skillet. Without stirring or moving it, let it cook for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown a bit.
  4. Toss in the thyme, oregano, garlic powder, and turmeric, and add the water if it seems a little dry. You could instead add a little more of the oil/butter if that’s the way you roll. Now that you’re stirring it, the cauliflower should be golden all over plus the yellow color of the turmeric. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until your desired softness is reached. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (you don’t want to do this earlier or the cauliflower will be dry).
  5. Add in the nutritional yeast and combine well.

Serve with toast, waffles, fruit—whatever is your morning pleasure.

  • Wrap it into a tortilla with faux cheese and some greenery for a lovely breakfast burrito.
  • Put a layer of chopped-up asparagus on top of the cauliflower in Step 3 and let it steam while the cauliflower is browning. That’s what I did in this photo. Yummm.
  • Switch out the herbs for something more clearly ethnic, like chili and oregano for Mexican, garum masala for Indian, basil and tomato of some sort for Italian. You see where I’m going with this.
  • Leave out the turmeric and serve it as a side dish with something more substantial for dinner.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Biscuits and Gravy for One

I’d heard about biscuits and gravy for years but never tried it. It sounded strange to me. But when a friend from the south danced around my living room touting the virtues of this particular dish, I decided that I had to find out for myself.

For the Biscuits:
¼ cup almond milk
1 tsp vinegar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 ½ TBSP cold vegan butter
For the Gravy:
1 ounce white button mushrooms (or a variety), about half a cup
1 teaspoon vegan butter
1 teaspoon minced shallot (or onion)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (possibly a pinch or two more)
¼ cup veggie stock or water
Pinch of fresh or dried thyme
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of pepper

Make the Biscuits:
Preheat a baking pan or baker’s stone in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven. A hot pan makes browner, crunchier edges. If you don’t want it crunchy, don’t preheat the pan.
  1. Add the vinegar to the milk and stir. Set it aside
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and combine. Cut the butter in with a fork or a pastry knife until it resembles wet sand.
  3. Add the milk and vinegar, which should be nicely curdled by now, slowly and stir until combined. (You may not need all of the liquid, so add it slowly. It shouldn’t be too wet, but all the pieces should clump together.)
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, sprinkle a little flour on top, and knead the dough two or three times. You’re not trying to get a glutinous mixture, you’re just trying to make sure the fats are well-distributed.
  5. Press the dough into a circle or rectangle. Don’t overwork it, or the biscuits will be tough. Cut with a biscuit cutter or shape into disks. This should make three very large biscuits or four or five medium/small ones, depending on how thin you press it out. It doesn’t rise much, so keep that in mind.
  6. Place the formed biscuits on a hot stone or line the hot baking pan with parchment paper and put the biscuits there. Bake for 10-13 minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, make the gravy.

Make the Gravy:
  1. In skillet over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and mushroom and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and brown, and most of their liquid is evaporated.
  2. Stir in the flour and reduce heat to medium. Cook for another minute or two.
  3. Slowly add veggie broth or water while stirring to reduce clumps.
  4. Add in the thyme and stir it in too.
  5. You may want to use an immersion blender at this point if you want smooth gravy. I love the tang of biting into a mushroom, so I almost always skip this step.
  6. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue to stir until it reaches desired thickness, about 5 minutes. If it appears too thin, add a touch more flour and whisk. If it’s too thick, add more broth or water.
  7. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.  

Assemble the Plate:
  1. Place the baked biscuits on a plate in a pattern that pleases you. I like a straight line or a slightly curved one, depending on how many biscuits I plan to eat in a single sitting.
  2. Slosh the gravy over the top of the biscuits. Again, I like a line, but another way to go would be to make a puddle of gravy and settle the biscuits into it. 

Shown here with fresh fruit salad.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cheezy Garlic Balls for One

You could eat this little treasure for breakfast, as part of a mid-day snack, as a side dish for dinner, or for an evening pick-me-up after rehearsal. The degree of ooey-gooey depends on your choice of faux cheese, but the bready part has a nice crunch to the crust and a soft “tooth,” as bread-makers say.

2 TBLSP all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
Pinch rapid rise yeast
Pinch baking soda
Pinch garlic powder
Shake of salt
1 ½ TBLSP plain vegan yogurt (or faux sour cream)
¼ ounce hard faux cheese (I had some Miyoko’s Triple Cream Chive hanging around and I also had some homemade Camembert—from Miyoko’s cookbook. Both were excellent, but Daiya shreds would work too.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, yeast, baking soda, garlic powder and salt. Add the yogurt or sour cream in and mix it well.
  2. Plop the blob of dough onto a clean surface (I like to do it on waxed paper for easier clean up), and knead it for a bit, adding flour until it’s no longer sticky but is still quite soft.  This could be as much as a whole TBLSP more.  Keep kneading until the dough is barely sticky anymore but has a silky smooth texture, about 3 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a ball and then flatten it on the waxed paper or counter. I like to use my knuckles for the most even spread.
  4. Cut the cheese into small cubes (or use shreds), and drop them into the center of each dough disk. Fold the edges of the dough up and around the cheese to engulf it and roll it between your hands to form balls and remove any evidence of a seam.
  5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown. I like to roll them over about half-way through, but maybe your oven has more even heat than mine.

Serve with a dipping sauce (like olive oil, crushed fresh garlic, parsley, and salt), douse them with mustard, or toss them into your picnic basket just as they are.

  • Put 1 teaspoon of dried basil (or any other herb that makes you happy) into the dough with the other dried ingredients.
  • A little chunk of faux meat (like a brat or cooked Unbacon) would be a nice surprise, too. Just put in a little less cheese to make room for it.
  • You could wrap a piece of cheese in a bit of spinach with a tiny bit of onion and a slice of mushroom and have a whole spanakopita thing going on. 
  • Switch the all-purpose flour out for whole wheat. You’ll need a larger pinch of the baking soda to make this heavier flour rise, but it will still work.
  • Smear some pesto or other sauce on the inside of the flattened round of dough before you put the cheese into it if you’re picnicking so you don’t have to bring a dipping sauce.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cream of Mushroom Soup for One

I love soup. I love it with chunks and I love it smooth, I love it both cold and hot, and I love it clear and I love it creamy. The earthy flavor of this quick little soup will have you dancing with joy, too!
The Vegetables:
Slosh of olive oil
¼ medium onion, chopped
½ stalk of celery, chopped
½ carrot, chopped
The Mushrooms:
1 ½ cups button mushrooms (or a mixture of mushrooms), cleaned, stems removed, and quartered
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dried sage
½ TBLSP all-purpose flour (you can use cornstarch for gluten-free, or just leave this out)
The Broth:
1 cup water or veggie broth
2 ½ TBLSP vegan sour cream
The Garnishes:
Whole or sliced button mushrooms
Chopped chives or green onion
  1. In a stock pot or deep saucepan, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the oil until they begin to soften.
  2. Add in the mushrooms and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften and brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t get too soft and mushy, though. You want them to retain some texture. Add in the salt, pepper, and sage before they’re entirely done, just long enough for the sage to infuse everything with flavor.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the flour is cooked a bit and whatever juices are in the pan start to thicken. If there aren’t any juices, slosh in a little water (maybe a teaspoon or so).
  4. Add the water or veggie stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    • If you want a smoother soup, hit the soup with an immersion blender or transfer slightly cooled soup to a blender or food processor and give it a whirl. Put it back in the pan (if necessary) after this step.
  5. Add in the sour cream and stir until it’s all bended and creamy.
  6. Add in the whole or sliced garnish mushrooms so that they have a chance to heat through. You might save a couple for making it pretty later if you don’t mind raw mushrooms.
  7. Garnish with chives and any remaining mushrooms, and serve. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mushroom and Onion Tart for One

You won’t want to wait until this pretty little treat is cool enough to eat because the smells will have been taunting you for quite a while. But after you finish burning your upper palate, you’ll love how simple this pie tastes, how earthy and savory, and yet so delicate at the same time!

For the Crust:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 TBLSP coconut oil (or vegan butter)
2 ½ teaspoons cold water (half could be vodka)
½ TBLSP olive oil
For the Filling:
Slosh of olive oil
¼ yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
½ TBLSP water (or veggie broth, or white wine)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ½ TBLSP non-dairy milk (I like almond, but coconut or soy would be nice, too)
1/3 cup of mushrooms, sliced or chopped (I used button, but a mix of oyster, Portobello, and etc. would be even better)
1 or 2 thin slices of onions, halved
Another slosh of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig of fresh thyme (or a pinch of dry), stems removed

Make the Crust:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a single-serving pie or tart shell with parchment paper, cutting it neatly to fit. Mine is about 5-inches across. (It doesn’t have to be round, and you could even free-form it on a lined baking pan.)
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the coconut oil with a fork until it makes little pills. Add in the cold water (or half vodka) and oil, and mix together. Use your hands to make it into a nice tight ball.
  2. Press the dough into the prepared tart shell with your fingers, bringing the dough up the sides at least ½-inch. You want a good lip to help control the tasty goodness that goes inside.
  3. Bake for 5-7 minutes. It won’t have changed color at all, but it will have a slight skin when you touch it with your fingertips.

Make the Filling:
  1. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil, and then toss in the chopped onions. Cook them until they’re translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute, and then add the water (or wine or broth) and deglaze the pan, scraping up any lovely onion bits that might have stuck to the pan. Salt and pepper generously, and then take the pan off the heat.
  2. Put the sautéed onions in a blender or food processor, add the milk, and blend until it’s smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the mushrooms and sliced onions in another slosh of olive oil, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.

Assemble the Tart:
  1. Spoon the smooth onion mixture into the tart shell.
  2. Sprinkle the mushrooms and onion slices generously across the top of the filling. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the top.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the edges of the mushrooms are also golden and scrumptious.

Devour as if the gods will steal this tart in 3, 2, 1….

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Persimmon and Pecan Muffin for One

Autumn has arrived rather suddenly and persimmons are in every shop and on every tree. I’m not normally a big fan, so I was delighted when I figured out this great way to consume this nutritious gem.
Makes two muffins.
For the Muffin:
¾ TBLSP ground flax seed meal
1 TBLSP warm water
4 TBLSP granulated sugar
2 ½ TBLSP melted coconut oil
1/3 cup persimmon pulp (a little less than half a persimmon)
Splash of vanilla extract
4 teaspoons almond milk (or the non-dairy milk of your choice)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
A pinch of baking powder
A dash of cinnamon
A pinch of kosher salt
4 teaspoons chopped pecans
For the Glaze:
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about as wedge’s worth)
½ teaspoon lemon zest

To Make the Muffin:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tin spaces with parchment cup/muffin liners.
  1. In a small bowl, stir the flax seed and warm water together. Leave them alone to form a glop, about five minutes.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and the coconut oil. Add in the persimmon, vanilla, milk, and the flax seed glop.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients, stirring until just mixed. Add in the pecans. Don’t over mix!
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, filling to the top of each cup.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To Make the Glaze:
  1. In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, juice, and zest until it’s smooth. Add more juice if it’s too thick, more sugar if it’s too thin.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the muffins once they’re cooled.
  • Skip the nuts and toss in some chopped candied ginger.
  • Try adding raisins. 
  • You could use pumpkin pie spices in the batter--or, just for fun, in the glaze! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pear Tart for One

Every day, I count how many grams of protein I’ve eaten. Sometimes it’s hard to get up to my “normal” range (39-45 grams a day), so I have to supplement my meals with a protein-heavy dessert like this one. <sigh> Poor me. It’s such a chore to get enough protein sometimes.

For the Crust:
2 teaspoons vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ½ TBLSP almond meal (garbanzo or coconut flour would also work, as would all-purpose)
2 teaspoons brown rice flour
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup
For the Filling:
2 ½ TBLSP almond butter (you could certainly use peanut butter, too)
4 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Slosh of vanilla extract
For the Pear Topping:
1/3 (or so) of a medium-sized pear
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of sliced almonds for garnish (you don’t have to match the butter—if you’re using peanut butter in the filling, you could still use almonds on top, or mix and match. Whatever makes you happy.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make the Crust:
  1. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave (30 seconds should do it). Then add in and combine the sugar, almond meal, and brown rice flour. Mix in the brown rice syrup. Stir it enough that all the dry ingredients are a bit moist.
  2. Press this mixture into the bottom of a single-serving tart dish (mine is about 5-inches across) or freestyle it in the center of a parchment lined baking sheet. If using a tart dish, bring the crust up the sides a bit. If freestyling, make a little lip to catch the cream filling.
  3. Set the crust aside.

Make the Filling:
  1. Put the almond butter, water, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl and give it a vigorous stirring until it’s well combined and not watery or lumpy with almond butter. 
  2. Spoon the cream into the crust and smooth the top.
  3. Set the crust and its friend the cream aside.

Make the Pear Topping:
  1. Core and slice the pear by cutting it in half lengthwise and then cutting the half in to 1/8-inch slices. (Don’t peel them. The peels add nutrition and flavor, but they also make it pretty.) You’ll probably need more than a quarter of the pear and less than half. It all depends on how crowded you make the top. Don’t worry. You can always eat any extra slices.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the pear slices with the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Place the pears on top of the cashew cream in the crust. I like to make a circular pattern, but you could go wild. Why not?
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pears are soft when you poke them with a fork.
  5. Sprinkle the finished tart with sliced almonds as it rests comfortably on a rack to cool. It doesn’t have to be cold before you slice it, but it tastes best cooled to room temperature.

  • Try it with almond milk (or other non-dairy offering) instead of water in the cream. You'll get a more creamy cream that way. Yogurt would also be nice. 
  • Mix in some raisins or other kind of dried fruit, like apricots or chopped dates. You could put them in the cream or sprinkle them on top of the cream as a layer, or mix them in with the pear pieces in the cinnamon and sugar. 
  • You could certainly use apples instead of pears.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Fennel and Cauliflower Casserole for One

Autumn is rolling in (no matter what the weather is doing), and it’s time for comfort food. Some recent events also call for such things, at least in my life. So I put together this little treat. This dish seems like it ought to be heavy, but with such delicately flavored veggies, it’s really light as a feather.

½ cup pasta (I used a blend of things—rotelli, penne, etc.), gluten-free if you like
1 TBLSP olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced small
½ fennel bulb, large diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBLSP all-purpose flour (or corn starch for gluten-free)
Pinch of fennel seeds (ground or whole)
Pinch of ground bay leaves (or other spice of your choosing)
Blop of Dijon-style mustard
¼ cup non-dairy milk (I use almond milk, but any will do)
Zest from half a lemon
2/3 cup cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
3 TBLSP grated faux cheese (I use Daiya mozzarella-style)
2 ½ TBLSP breadcrumbs (gluten-free bread works too)
1 ½ TBLSP faux parmesan cheese (or more mozzarella-style Daiya)
Juice from 1/3 of a lemon
Slosh of olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a larger pot than you need for such a small amount of pasta, cook the pasta in plenty of water. You can prepare the veggies while it cooks. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, and then thoroughly drain the pasta and set it aside.
  2. Once the pasta is done, use the same pot to make the béchamel sauce. Heat the olive oil on medium high and then add the garlic and fennel. Season with salt and pepper, and stirring occasionally, cook it for 2-4 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the flour, fennel, bay leaves, and mustard and cook, stirring frequently for another 1-2 minutes. If it seems too dry, add a bit more olive oil.
  4. When the flour is golden and the spices are fragrant, add the faux milk and reserved cooking water. Season with salt and pepper again. Stir occasionally over the next 3-4 minutes, while the sauce thickens up a bit.
  5. Add in the cauliflower, zest and faux cheese, and season with salt and pepper yet again (this sauce really needs seasoning). Cook for 2-4 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat.
  6. Off the heat, stir the cooked pasta into the pot of deliciousness, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish. (You may have enough for a second small casserole for tomorrow.)
  7. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the faux parmesan (or more daiya) and squeeze the lemon over the top of it. Add a slosh of olive oil and stir to combine well.
  8. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the casserole.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy on top. Let it stand for 2 minutes before devouring.

  • Use broccoli or asparagus instead of cauliflower.
  • Add cut up meatless sausages, Unbacon or some form of crumbled seitan.
  • Give it ethnic seasonings by adding garum masala (Indian), curry (Indian), ground cumin (Mexican), or oregano (Italian) instead of fennel seeds and bay leaf. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cauliflower Scramble for One

When you don’t want to eat a big breakfast but you want to get your engine started, this tasty toss-up is a great option. It’s quick, too, just to make a perfect start to the day.

1 TBLSP olive or coconut oil
2 slices of yellow onion, diced (about 2 TBLSP, maybe 3)
1 mushroom, sliced thinly (I used 5 olives when I didn’t have mushrooms. Yummy!)
½ clove of garlic (or the whole thing, what the heck)
1 heaping cup of diced cauliflower (if you want it softer, steam it a bit first)
2 TBLSP cooked beans (kidney, garbanzo, cannellini—your pick), rinsed well
A pinch of dried thyme
A pinch of dried oregano
A pinch of turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast
1 TBLSP water

  1. Over medium heat, heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and mushroom, and sauté for a few minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add in the garlic and stir it around a couple of times.
  2. Add the cauliflower to the pan, spreading it out evenly. Don’t stir it; just let it get a little browned on one side. This will take about 5 minutes. This is why it’s important not to have the heat on high, or the garlic will burn.
  3. Toss in the beans and all the spices, and stir it all well. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring at will, until it’s soft, or it’s at the texture you find appealing
  4. Add the nutritional yeast and the water and slosh it all around until everything is golden and happy. 

 Serve hot. 
Shown here with Unbacon

  •  Roll it into a burrito with some faux cheese.
  • Top a piece of naan with faux cream cheese, sprouts, Cauliflower Scramble, and some avocado.
  • Cook it until it’s fairly dry, mix with a little vegan mayonnaise and mustard, and then pack between slabs of bread, lettuce, and maybe a pickle.
  •  Spread it over steamed rice or cooked noodles.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies for One

I went to a choir retreat last weekend, and the retreat center made the most delicious cookie just for me. This is my first attempt to replicate it—theirs was much more hearty, so I’ll keep trying. Nevertheless, I was pretty pleased with the delicate flavor of my own invention.

For the Cookie:
2 ½ TBLSP vegan butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ TBLSP applesauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about ¼ of a lemon’s worth)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon lemon zest (about all of the zest from a small lemon)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
For the Glaze:
6 TBLSP confectioner’s sugar
½ TBLSP lemon juice (or water)

Make the Cookie:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sugar, applesauce, and lemon juice. It will get light and fluffy.
  2. Add the flour, zest, and poppy seeds, stirring until just combined.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (Or you could freeze it for 30 minutes.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. The dough will be very soft and very sticky.  Heavily flour a surface and your hands, and break off 1-inch balls from the main blob. Roll the balls between your hand and then press them, one at a time, into flat disks on the floured surface. You will probably need to flour both sides by flipping the little darlings over and pressing from the other side too.  The disks should be about 2-inches across and a little thicker than ¼-inch. 
  6. Transfer the disks to the prepared baking sheet. You should get about 8 cookies. You can settle them close together if you don’t mind a square-ish result, or give them an inch or more between them if you want the little circles. They will spread a bit.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes.  They should just be getting golden around the edges.
  8. Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze:
  1. Put the confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. You can sift it if you’re particular about lumps.
  2. Add the lemon juice (or water) and whisk until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick, like frosting, add more liquid. If too thin and runny, add more sugar.
  3. Drizzle glaze over the cooled cookies.

This recipe makes enough to share with a friend. You won’t want to, but you could do it.

  • This recipe works just fine with gluten-free flours, like almond meal.
  • Try making a chocolate glaze with a little lemon tang by replacing one of the TBLSP of confectioner’s sugar with cocoa powder.
  • You could make fewer, thicker cookies for a more substantial treat. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Carrot and Rice Sauce for One

I wanted something more substantial, with more protein, and a little creamier than the salad dressing recipe from which this recipe sprang, so I added in some boiled almonds and some rice, and whoosh! This thing has body and holds up to hearty fare with its zingy little flavor.

1 carrot, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 TBLSP raw almonds
1/3 cup cooked brown rice
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

  1. In a small saucepan, boil the carrot and almonds until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and heave them into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender or food processor and whirl until it’s all smooth and silky.

If you like it thinner, add more water or vinegar, depending on your tartness quotient.

Good over faux burgers or noodles, as a dip for veggies, as a salad dressing, or as a sushi dip or interior ingredient. The zucchini and corn burger you see above is here:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Warm Cauliflower and Mustard Greens Salad for One

It’s autumn and I want comfort food. But I don’t want to eat a heavy meal. What to do, what to do? Here’s the perfect compromise—it’s a slightly warm salad and there’s only enough fat in it to keep the cauliflower from sticking to the pan.

1 TBLSP sliced almonds
½ red onion, medium diced
1 TBLSP golden raisins (black will also do nicely)
1 TBLSP sugar
1 TBLSP red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup water
1 ½ TBLSP olive oil
½ head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 TBLSP capers
2 or 3 leaves of mustard greens

  1. In a non-stick frying pan, toss the almonds on medium heat until warmed through. They should just be starting to smell wonderful and browning slightly around the edges. Remove them long before they burn and put them into your serving dish.
  2. In the same pan, combine the onion, raisins, sugar, vinegar, salt, and water. Heat to boiling on medium high (speed is not the point here). Once boiling, stir occasionally for the next 2 or 3 minutes, until the onion starts to soften and the liquid has somewhat evaporated. Place the onion deliciousness in a small bowl.
  3. In the same pan, heat the olive oil on medium until it’s hot. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the cauliflower is lightly browned. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, capers, and mustard greens and continue to cook until the mustard greens have wilted. Add to the plate or bowl of almonds.
  5. With a slotted spoon (so you don’t get much of the pickling liquid), transfer the onions to the cauliflower. Add as much pickling liquid as you like. I like mine a little dry AND I want to use the pickling liquid for something else. (It’s a nice pink and very tangy.) Give the whole salad a good stir so that almonds and capers are spread throughout.

Eat warm or let it cool to room temperature.

  • Any bitter green would be nice in this. Try chard, dandelion—even arugula.
  • This would be very interesting wrapped in a noodle (like a lasagna noodle or cannoli), sauced (I thin a mock béchamel or alfredo would be good), and baked for a bit. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sweet Potato, Green Beans, and Balsamic Fig Reduction Sauce

You wouldn’t know it by the weather, but the seasons are starting to turn. I’ve seen migratory birds and felt my own compunction to eat root vegetables. Thankfully, the last fruit of summer, my darling figs, are here to keep me in a summer-time frame of mind.

½ sweet potato
Small handful of green beans
Balsamic Fig Reduction Sauce (as much as suits you)
Several blops of creamy faux cheese (as much like goat’s cheese or feta as you can find)
Balsamic Fig Reduction Sauce (recipe below)
Sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
Chopped nuts (I like almonds, but pecans would be particularly yummy)
  1. Slice the sweet potato into 1-inch chunks. They don’t have to be neat and tidy. I like the skins, but you’ll be mashing these, so if you like them smoother, peel them first.
  2. Trim the green beans’ ends, but leave them long. You could cut them up to bite-sized if you wanted to, but I leave them long for the sake of presentation.
  3. In a steamer basket inside a larger pan with a little water in the bottom, place the green beans on one side and the sweet potato on the other. You don’t have to keep them separate, but I like to, for the sake of mashing the sweet potatoes. Steam the veggies until the sweet potatoes are tender to the touch of a fork. You may want to remove the green beans sooner, if you like them squeaky.
  4. In a small bowl, mash away at the soft sweet potatoes. I use a fork, but if you want it smoother, you might want a potato masher or even a ricer.
  5. Place the mashed sweet potato in the center of your serving dish. Array the green beans around it and put a blop of cheese in the center. You could do your own thing too, or just toss everything into the mashing bowl. It will still be yummy!
  6. Drizzle the balsamic fig sauce appealingly around your plate. I was feeling like concentric circles when I took this picture, but you could do something a little more wild.
  7. Sprinkle the darling little thyme leaves over the top (especially over the cheese) and salt and pepper the whole shebang to taste. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of everything. You will be glad to have that nice crunch in with the soft veggies and sauce.

Balsamic Fig Reduction Sauce

This simple sauce is equally sweet and savory, so you’ll find yourself using it in a lot of different ways. To be honest, I don’t usually make such a small batch because, as you may already have noticed, I really REALLY like figs.

2-3 fresh figs (I used some HUGE Black Missions, so you might want more if your figs are small)
1 TBLSP powdered sugar
½ cup water (use more if your figs aren’t very moist)
2 TBLSP balsamic vinegar
Juice of ¼ lemon
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste
  1.  In a small saucepan, place the figs (I quarter mine first), sugar, water, vinegar, lemon juice, and thyme. Turn the heat on medium high, and stir roughly with a wooden spoon. You want to break the figs up a bit, so they release their precious seeds into the delicious concoction.
  2. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down a little and let it simmer for a while, until the liquid is vastly reduced.
  3. Using an immersion blender (or transferring the cooled mixture to a blender or food processor), smoosh everything up. I like to leave some lumps, as they bring me joy when I’m eating the sauce, but most of the sauce is fairly smooth.
  4. Simmer it some more, until it’s reduced and about as thick as ketchup. Or until you can’t stand it anymore and just have to eat it.

Use over vanilla nice cream, veggies, slathered on toast, or over rice.
  • You could replace the water with wine (white or red) for a more grown-up sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pea and Quinoa Salad for One

Peas are in season at my farmer’s market. When I saw these beautiful pea tips, I couldn’t just toss them in a pan and have them lose their lovely springy bounce. So I combined them with two other kinds of peas and topped them with pea-nuts (har-dee-har-har), and all that was left to do was make a dressing that was worthy of their green glory.

½ cup cooked quinoa, drained and cooled
1 cup pea tenders (the tips of the plants, flowers and all) or arugula or other lettuce
10 snap peas, cut bite-sized
10 snow peas, cut bite-sized
3 inches of cucumber, sliced
2 green onions
1 TBLSP miso
1 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ shallot, diced fine
1 inch ginger root, peeled and diced fine
1 clove garlic, diced fine
1 TBLSP peanuts
  1. Place the quinoa, pea tenders (or lettuce), snap peas, snow peas, cucumber and green onion in your serving dish and toss them merrily.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso, tamari, vinegar, and oil until most of the lumps are gone. Then add in the shallot, ginger, and garlic and combine until it’s a glorious soupy sauce.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and garnish with peanuts.

  • This would be nice with a creamy avocado-based dressing too, or maybe something lively like green goddess.
  • It would be excellent with cooked pasta instead of quinoa for a starchier offering.