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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sunny-Sided Negg for One

I miss poached and fried eggs, I really do. But I’ll tell you straight up: This fried faux egg quenches that craving like you wouldn’t believe. It’s cheaper, it’s better for you, and you can eat as much of it as you want without breaking the calorie bank. (It’s still fried, though, so be cautious there.) When it’s time for a fabulous, pull-out-all-the-stops breakfast, this is the one.

For the Whites:
2 slabs of tofu, about ½-inch thick
For the Yolks:
½ TBLSP vegan mayonnaise
½ TBLSP carrot juice (grate a carrot and just squeeze the juice out of it)
2 TBSP water
¼ teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 TBLSP vegan butter
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of Himalayan black salt (gives it that sulfur flavor, but you can skip it)
Olive or canola oil for frying

Make the Whites:
  1. Press the slabs of tofu between two plates for 15 minutes. You want to do this to get out enough of the water so it will fry nicely and have a firm texture. I have a little tofu press, but you can just put some weights on top of the top plate for the same effect.
  2. While the tofu is expressing its water, make the yolks.

Make the Yolks:
  1. Combine the mayonnaise, juice, water, yeast, butter, cornstarch, turmeric, and black salt in a microwavable bowl. Mix it thoroughly.
  2. Microwave the bowl for 20 seconds. Whisk the mixture.
  3. At 5 second increments, microwave the mixture again, and then whisk it again. You’ll do this between 2 and 5 times. It doesn’t need to be fully cooked, as you’ll be frying it, so just go until you’ve got a smooth yellow cream. Three times works nicely for me. If you overdo it, it will break and you’ll have to start over.

Assemble the Egg:
  1. Take the tofu slabs out of the press. You can leave them whole or cut them into circles with a biscuit cutter. It’s your choice, depending on how rustic or true-to-life you want to go.
  2. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out a circle of tofu from the center of each slab that occupies about a third of the slab’s surface area. Don’t go all the way through to the bottom, or the yolks will fall through. OR use a cookie cutter and go all the way through. This will be a messier plate (and frying pan), but it’s all good.
  3. Heat the oil (perhaps 2 TBLSP—not deep, but thoroughly covering the pan) in a small frying pan.
  4. Place the tofu slabs hole-side down into the hot oil. In about 2 minutes, turn it over with a spatula.
  5. Spoon half of the yolk mixture into the hole and let it fry for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve hot, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

I made Unbacon, fruit salad, and English muffins to go with it. Mmmm.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Angeled Non-Eggs for One

You know what a deviled egg is, right? This is the vegan version. In a little dance with molecular gastronomy, these tasty little treats whip up quickly, look fabulous, and turn any snack time into a party. There’s no cholesterol, hardly any fat, and they’re pretty light in the calorie department, so you don’t even have to feel guilty if you eat all of them all by yourself!

Makes 8 egg mold halves and 1 cupcake liner.

For the Whites:
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon agar powder
Pinch black salt

For the Yolks:
8 ounces extra firm tofu (that’s a little more than half of a 14-ounce tub)
2 TBLSP vegan mayonnaise
2 ½ TBLSP olive oil
½ teaspoons mustard (smooth yellow)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon black salt
½ teaspoon turmeric (go easy!)
Optional 1 thin slice of yellow onion, diced (also for garnish)
Optional 2 TBLSP diced parsley (also for garnish)

Make the Whites:
  1. In a saucepan, combine the milk, salt, and agar powder and bring it to a boil.
  2. Pour it into molds and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set up. I have a half-egg mold, but you can use muffin cups, ramekins, or custard bowls. It’s a little harder to get the larger whites out of a stiff mold, but it’s possible!
  3. Once they’re set, use a melon baller or teaspoon to carve out the space for the faux yolks. The whites are very delicate and slippery, so be gentle!

Make the Yolks:
  1. Place all yolk ingredients except the optional ones in a food processor or blender and whirl until smooth.
  2. Add the optional ingredients and whirl just enough to mix them in. Or don’t, if you like a completely smooth yolk.

Assemble the Angelic Little Eggs:
  • If you’re fancy, put the yolk mixture into a piping bag, and using a star tip, fill the egg whites with a healthy blob.
  • If you’re less fancy, put the yolk mixture into a zip-lock plastic bag and cut one bottom corner off. Pipe the yolks into the whites.
  • If you’re really a down home kind of cook, spoon the yolk mixture into the whites with a teaspoon or a melon baller.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, super-small diced onion, or paprika. (I’m allergic, so you won’t see that last one on my eggs!)

The best thing about the recipe is that the “yolk” portion makes more than you need, so you can use it as a sauce for noodles, smeared onto a sandwich, or glopped into the seed-hole from an avocado. It makes a great dip or spread for crackers. Yummy!

This recipe doubles and triples easily. I only had a mold to make eight egg shapes, so for a party, I made enough yolk mixture to fill a triple batch, and then made eight eggs’-worth of whites at a time (three batches). You can’t triple the whites batch unless you have enough molds to do it all at once, because they set up. Reheating melts them again, but the texture and taste suffers a bit. So every half-hour, jump up and make a new batch of whites. Easy peasy! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Broccoli Quiche for One

Just like this little meal can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s also simple and fancy at the same time! You can use up scraps, or you can invest in posh ingredients and celebrate yourself, whatever makes you happy.

For the Crust:
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
2 ½ TBLSP vegan butter
Ice water (or half vodka, half ice water)
For the Filling:
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ a carrot, diced small
3 broccoli florets, chopped
1 leaf kale (or a small handful of spinach leaves)
1 green onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 ounces firm tofu, drained
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon wedge
2 teaspoons tahini
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Dash of turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

Make the Crust:
  1. Cut the butter and flour together with a pastry knife or a fork. Keep at it until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  2. Add 1 TBLSP of ice water (or part ice water, part vodka). Stir or mix with a wooden spoon. The dough should clump together. If it doesn’t, add a little more ice water. You don’t want to handle the dough much, though, especially not with your warm hands. If you have cold hands, you can use them more. But those of us still among the living shouldn’t touch much. If it’s a hot day, refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes before going on to the next step.
  3. Press the dough into a disk and, on a lightly floured surface, roll it with a rolling pin into a circle until it’s about 1-inch larger than the pie plate.
  4. Center the crust over the pie plate and push it gently into the corners.
  5. Flute the edges by pushing against the outer edge of the crust with your thumb from the outside and with your thumb and forefinger of the other hand from the inside (or vice versa). Make your way all the way around the edge. Poke some holes in the bottom with the tines of a fork.
  6. Let the crust rest in the refrigerator for ½ hour to 1 hour to let the glutens form.

Make the Filling (while the dough is resting in the fridge):
  1. In a small skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat and add carrot, broccoli, kale, and green onion. Sauté, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until warmed through, about another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the tofu, mustard, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper until very smooth.
  3. Stir the tofu mixture into the cooling sautéed vegetables.

Assemble the Quiche:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the filling over the prepared and baked crust, making the top nice and smooth. There will be lumps from the veggies. Smooth is a relative term.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve it at room temperature, or slightly warm.


  • The ingredients list for this one is almost infinitely variable. Instead of the carrots, broccoli, and kale, you could use cauliflower, turnip, celeriac, spinach, green beans, asparagus, cannellini beans, mushrooms—just about anything you can think of! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Avgelemono Soup for One

I love Greek food, and this little soup is one of my favorites. Technically, the name means “egg and lemon,” and there’s no sign of egg or egg replacement here, except for a tiny little pinch of Black Himalayan Salt, which has a slightly sulfurous taste, and a tiny pinch of turmeric for coloring. Interestingly, without the egg, the lemon really sings!

½ teaspoon olive oil
¼ small white or yellow onion, chopped
½ small shallot, chopped
½ medium carrot, diced
¼ stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup basmati rice (or long grain brown rice)
1 ½ cups water
Pinch black Himalayan salt (or sea salt, if you don’t have the other)
Tiny pinch of turmeric
Zest of ¼ lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 teaspoon miso
½ TBLSP tahini
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast
1 TBLSP chopped fresh dill or parsley
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small pot over medium heat. Add in the onion, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s soft. Add the shallots, carrots, and celery, cooking for another 4 minutes, until the carrots are just barely tender. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add sloshes of water, if necessary, to keep the veggies from sticking.
  2. Add the (raw) rice to the pot. Mix it in for a minute, to toast the outsides of it, and then add the remainder of the water and the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the turmeric, zest, lemon juice, miso, tahini and nutritional yeast. Add this mixture into the soup once the rice is cooked through. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender, or give the soup a little visit to the food processor, to make this soup smoooooth.
  5. Stir in the dill or parsley at the very last minute and serve.

Pictured with the soup is an English muffin and slices of Gloucestershire with Onions and Chives Faux Cheese from Sky Michael Conroy's "Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook." 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

No-Egg Salad for One

When my older brother went off to kindergarten, my mother and I made a special trip once a week, just the two of us, and had lunch at Woolworth’s lunch counter. I thought it was sooooo elegant and grown-up to have egg salad sandwiches on white bread! Now, as a vegan, I find that I still want those sandwiches to remember my mother and those happy times.

For the “Whites:”
¼ cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
¼ teaspoon agar agar
Pinch of Himalayan black salt
For the “Yolks:”
4 TBLSP firm tofu
½ teaspoon yellow mustard
1 ½ teaspoon vegan mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoon olive oil
Splash of rice vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of Himalayan black salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
For the Salad:
½ TBLSP vegan mayonnaise
½ stalk celery, diced
½ slice yellow onion, diced
1 TBLSP parsley, diced
¼ dill pickle, diced (or a TBLSP pickle relish)
3 black olives, cut into circles
1 green olive, cut into circles
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Make the “Whites:”
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, agar agar, and black salt until it boils. Watch it closely and stir it constantly as it will suddenly froth boilingly way up high. Take it off the heat and pour it into a couple of cupcake liners or other flexible mold.
  2. Place in the refrigerator for half an hour.

While the “whites” are in there firming up, make the “yolks” and chop up the salad fixings.

Make the “Yolks:”
  1. Place all yolk ingredients in a food processor or blender and whirl until it’s very very smooth. You may want more turmeric to get a stronger yellow color, but be careful! It has a strong flavor.

Make the Salad:
  1. Put the salad ingredients into a small bowl and glop in all or some of the “yolk” mixture.
  2. Take the firm “whites” from the refrigerator and chop them up. Mix them into the salad.

Serve on a bed of lettuce, fill a sandwich with it, or stuff an avocado or celery stalk. Yummy! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Unbacon for One

Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of experience with bacon from a pig. But I like the idea of a crunchy, crispy fried something-or-other to sprinkle on my salad, slice into my sandwich, or serve as a side with breakfast. This is an adaptation of someone else’s recipe that made twice as much (and had nightshades in it)—my recipe will make about a dozen strips, maybe more if you slice it really thin.

For the Brown Dough:
½ cup vital wheat gluten
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup water
1 TBLSP maple syrup (or brown sugar)
1 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
1 TBLSP liquid smoke
½ TBLSP miso paste (yellow or red)
½ TBLSP vegan Worcestershire Sauce (from the recipe below or store bought)
½ TBLSP olive oil
For the White Dough:
2 ½ TBLSP vital wheat gluten
½ TBLSP garbanzo bean flour
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ½ TBLSP water
Pinch fine sea salt or kosher salt
½ TBLSP olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper or brown sugar for the outside (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lay out a foot-square piece of aluminum foil somewhere out of the way.
Make the Brown Dough:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the gluten, yeast, and onion powder.
  2. In another small bowl, mix together the water, syrup (or sugar), tamari (or soy sauce), liquid smoke, miso, Worcestershire Sauce, and olive oil. Make sure that the miso and the sugar (if you used it) are completely dissolved.
  3. Combine the gluten mixture with the water and syrup mixture until it’s well mixed. It will be a smooth and very soft dough.
  4. Divide the dough into three or more pieces.

Make the White Dough:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the gluten, flour, and garlic powder.
  2. Add the water, salt, and olive oil, stirring it into a loose and smooth dough.
  3. Divide the dough into two or more pieces.

Assemble the Unbacon:
  1. On the aluminum foil you’d prepared earlier, flatten one of the pieces of Brown Dough into roughly a square or rectangle shape, about 1/4–inch thick. Don’t worry about it being even.
  2. Spread one of the pieces of White Dough on top of the brown rectangle. It doesn’t have to completely cover it, as this is what makes it look like natural marbling.
  3. Repeat, altering the layering until all of the pieces are used and piled up on top of each other. You can hang some dough over an edge and roll it around the other dough too. There’s really no reason at all to be tidy here.
  4. Once all the layers are on, shape the dough into a slab about 1-inch thick. I started with a rectangle that was about 5 inches by 4 inches and then folded the short ends together to make a nice stack because the White Dough didn’t always reach the edge of the Brown Dough. My slab was about 2 ½ inches by 3 inches and 1-inch tall in the end.
  5. If you like, rub the outside of the slab with freshly ground black pepper, maple syrup, or brown sugar. You could also cut the slab in half lengthwise and rub each half with a different coating.
  6. Wrap the slab of Unbacon in the foil, like a present. Be sure to seal the edges well so it steams itself and doesn’t get dried out. Place the wrapped package in the oven on the middle rack.
  7. Bake for 90 minutes.
  8. Let the Unbacon cool in the foil until it’s cool enough to handle.

To Serve:
  1. Slice the Unbacon thinly if you want it crispy and thick if you want it chewy.
  2. Fry slices of Unbacon in a shallow pan with a TLBSP of olive or canola oil. It should be lightly browned and crisp around the edges. Don’t overcook!
  3. Blot off any excess oil in a paper towel before serving warm.  

You’ll want it crumbled into salads, laid across sandwiches and burgers, and it makes an excellent side for a Nomlette or faux fried eggs (coming shortly).
Worcestershire Sauce
This great little sauce is a welcome component in many dishes. Mine is not only vegan but also nightshade-free. Yay!

1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup tamari (or soy sauce)
2 TBLSP brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground yellow mustard seed or dry mustard
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
  3. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and let cool completely before using.

Store in an airtight container for up to three months. It may need a little shaking up every now and then.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Clementine Green Beans for One

When my dad and I traveled to China, we ate the best clementines (tangerines) I’ve ever been fortunate enough to consume. The trees they were picked from were barely feet away, and a huge bag of them only cost about $0.25. The only unfortunate part of the situation was that my dad began singing “Oh, my darling, oh, my darling, oh my darling Clementine” every ten minutes or so for the duration of the trip. And still. <sigh> He still sings it constantly.

Handful of green beans, ends chopped off
1 cup of water
1 shallot, diced fine (or two green onions, or a TBLSP or so of finely chopped red onion)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup clementine juice (or orange juice—oranges are easier to juice, for sure)
Pinch of dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh, finely chopped
1 clementine, peeled and segmented
1 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
1 TBLSP slivered almond (toasted, raw, or however you like them best) for garnish

  1. Set the green beans to boil in the water. The sauce and the beans will take about the same amount of time to cook.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the shallots, garlic, and olive oil until they just begin to wilt.
  3. Once the shallots and garlic are starting to wilt and are fragrant, add the juice and oregano.
  4. When the juice is just about to boil, add the clementine segments and tamari.
  5. Serve the sauce liberally over the green beans and then festoon the whole shebang with almonds.

 This would also be wonderful using asparagus instead of string beans. I like it served over a grain, like brown rice, quinoa, or millet. But you could certainly just eat it plain. I just don’t like to miss out on any of that juice, you know?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Salad Sushi for One

Two of my favorite things are salad and sushi. I like them eaten together as a meal, but what if you combined them—and made sushi out of the salad? I had this idea because I wanted a salad and I was out of leafy greens. But I’m not sorry! This is me, doing the happy dance.

1/3 cup sushi rice,
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
2 green onions, chopped
½ stalk celery, sliced into thin strips (julienned)
½ carrot, sliced into thin strips (julienned)
2 TBLSP pumpkin seeds (or other small nut)
5 black olives, sliced and diced
1 TBLSP fresh parsley or cilantro, diced
2 sheets nori (for rolling)

  1. In a covered pot, cook the sushi rice in ¾ cup water until all the water is absorbed and the rice is soft, about 20 minutes. (Put it on to boil, and once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down and cover it.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the still-hot rice (once it’s cooked), and mix it in with a smooshing motion. Let the rice cool all (or at least most) of the way to room temperature. Don’t refrigerate, though, or it will get stiff.
  3. Organize the fixings on the nori by making a row of rice, then putting the onions, celery, carrot, seeds, olives, and parsley on top of it and then capping it with another row of rice. I use a little tool to help press it together, but you could do it right on top of the nori if you’re good at rolling sushi. Roll the fixings inside the nori and then seal the end by rubbing a piece or two of rice on the flap of bare nori.
  4. You should be able to get two, maybe three rolls out of this. Slice into eight even rolls and serve with Green Goddess Dressing or soy sauce/tamari and wasabi. Or both! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tofu Adobo for One

This simple dish is so yummy, I’m upset that I didn’t know about it and make it sooner. This one is good for people who don’t like to make a fuss, who like simple dishes that taste fancy, and who are hungry. A couple of the steps take a few minutes, but most of the steps you mix something up and walk away for a bit. Even if you count pressing and waffle-ironing the tofu, it's only six steps!

½ package firm tofu, pressed* and waffle-ironed*
2 ½ TBLSP white vinegar (I use rice vinegar, but any other colorless vinegar will do)
2 ½ TBLSP soy sauce or tamari
1 large clove garlic, crushed
8 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
  1. Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf in the pot you plan to cook the tofu in, one with a lid.
  2. After pressing and waffle-ironing the tofu, cut it into bite-sized cubes (or other shape) and place it in with the marinade. Cover it. Refrigeration is optional. Let it sit for 1-3 hours.
  3. Uncovered, bring the marinade with the tofu still swimming in it to a boil, and then lower the heat, put the cover on, and let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Then uncover it and simmer until the sauce is significantly reduced and thickened, perhaps another 10 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf. (You don’t want to chew on a bay leaf. They’re sharp.)
Serve over steamed rice and surrounded by veggies.

*Press the tofu by slicing the block of tofu lengthwise into1-inch thick slabs. Place the slabs on a plate and cover them with another plate. Weight the upper plate with a can or two, or perhaps a heavy pot. (I have a little device just for pressing tofu, but it’s not really necessary.) This technique pushes water out of the tofu so you can put your own flavoring in. You definitely don’t want to put wet tofu on the waffle iron or you’ll have a big soggy mess. You really have to press the tofu first. You can skip the waffle-ironing, though, if you like a softer mouth feel.

*Waffle-iron the pressed tofu by making sure that the waffle plates are well-lubricated and heated to a high temperature. Place the slabs of pressed tofu between the iron’s plates and waffle ‘em for 10 minutes or so, until they’re firm and slightly golden. This technique makes a wonderful texture and also makes the tofu more receptive to marinades.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Simple Green Stir Fry for One

You can use whatever green veggies are in season, or, you could go wild and throw other colors in there too! This is one of my go-to recipes—I can add soy sauce, more or less of the various greens, toss some kale or spinach in near the end, or just squirt some lemon juice at it. It tastes different every time I make it!

1 TBLSP canola oil
1 TBLSP sesame oil
¼ leek, diced or sliced
½ cup broccoli, chopped coarsely
1/3 fennel bulb, sliced or chopped
5 stalks asparagus, chopped bite-sized
2 mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, cut into coins
½ inch ginger, peeled and chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
Shake or two of Chinese five spice
Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
Sesame seeds to garnish
  1. Place the oils in a sauté pan or wok and turn the heat on medium-high. Add the leeks, broccoli, fennel and asparagus and turn it to coat. Stir it frequently while you prepare the other vegetables. You’ll add them slowly because they need less time cooking.
  2. Add the mushrooms, then the onions, then the ginger and garlic. Add in the Chinese Five Spice and the cilantro leaves. You might want a wee bit more sesame oil at this point, just so you get the flavor of it. It’s finished when the broccoli and fennel are soft enough to eat happily.
  3. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve over rice or on its own, or stuff a piece of pastry with it. Yummmm. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Strawberry Cake for One

Where I live, I can get strawberries all year, and it’s nice to have fresh fruit in your baked goods, wouldn’t you agree? This cake is so simple, you’ll wish you’d made it sooner.
For the Cake:
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour (whole wheat works nicely, too)
½ teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch salt
2 TBLSP granulated sugar (less, to taste)
Slosh of vanilla extract
2 TBLSP melted coconut oil
2 ½ TBLSP almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 TBSP fresh strawberries, chopped
For the Frosting:
3 TBLSP vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 ½ teaspoon crushed fresh strawberries, juice included (use a garlic press or potato masher) (It took about 1 ½ small strawberries)

For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease one ramekin for one large cake and two for smaller cakes or layers.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add in the vanilla extract, oil, and almond milk, stirring until just combined. Fold in the strawberries, trying not to crush them.
  2. Place the batter in the ramekins, dividing into even batches if you want a layer cake.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch and just starting to turn golden.

One of my layers refused to cook because it was heavily laden with strawberries, so I zapped it in the microwave for about a minute and thirty seconds. You can’t even tell which one it was!

For the Frosting:
  1. Cream the butter in a small bowl. Keep going until it starts to seem a bit fluffy. Don’t shirk. This is an important step.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, blending until the sugar is well-integrated. Don’t worry if there are lumps. Once the moisture is in, you can work on those.
  3. Add the crushed strawberries, stirring with considerable enthusiasm until the frosting is smooth, fluffy, and spreadable.

The frosting may need a few minutes to cool down so it doesn’t slide off your cake. Or, you might be a super-swift froster and can slam that cake into the refrigerator before it slides off. I am not so efficient, though, so I let the frosting rest in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

Assemble the Cake:
  1. Once the cake is completely cooled, slice off the rounded tops so that you have a flat surface to frost. You can use the tops and any left-over frosting to make a sandwich cookie. Yummm. (I didn’t have any leftover frosting because I kept tasting the frosting to see if it was stiff enough. So I slopped some jam inside the sandwich instead.)
  2. Place one layer on a plate and raise it up a bit so you can access all its little edges. I put mine on an upturned bowl. Frost the top of that layer completely. If you like, put diced strawberries in there too. I did. Yummm.
  3. Place the unfrosted layer on top of the frosted layer. Frost the sides and then the top of the stacked cake. Decorate with sliced strawberries, crushed almonds, or chocolate chips—whatever pleases you! Let the cake rest in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so before consuming like the crazed strawberry hound you are!

  • Try substituting almond extract for the vanilla and putting some crushed almonds on the outside for decoration.
  • Toss in some chocolate chips (perhaps 2 teaspoons) with the strawberries.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Quinoa-Crusted Pizza with Squash and Tahini for One

I don’t know about you, but when the price of asparagus drops, I go a little nuts with it. Today’s offering combines the filling crunchiness of quinoa with the unctuous smoothness of a tahini drizzle and a tangy pesto sauce. You won’t miss the gluten or the cheese. Both the pesto and the tahini drizzle make extra, which will make you happy at another meal, too.

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:
I bunch fresh basil
½ bunch fresh cilantro or parsley
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and baked in the oven for 20 minutes (more garlic is good too)
1 ½ TBLSP olive oil
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
2 TBLSP rice vinegar (or other white/clear vinegar)
2 TBLSP sunflower seeds (raw, unsalted, and hulled) or other seed or nut
Salt to taste
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
6 stalks asparagus, steamed and chopped bite-sized
2 green onions, diced
6 black olives, sliced or diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 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 from a strainer for a few minutes.
  2. Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet (I like to make a rectangle, but you could make a more traditional circle) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is firm.
Make the Sauce:
  1. Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the sauce (basil, cilantro, etc.) in a food processor or blender and whirl until it’s not chunky. It doesn’t have to be super smooth, unless you like it that way.

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 pesto 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 asparagus, green onions, and olives. Salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
  4. Bake again for 3-5 more minutes. Be careful not to burn the crust.