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Friday, July 31, 2015

Banana Casserole for One

This one’s going to sound a little odd, but you really have to give it a try. The banana adds subtle sweetness, and it’s a great complement to the Worcestershire Sauce and the cumin. I haven’t been to the Caribbean, but it reminds me of it anyway. In fact, I think I can hear tin drums being played…

½ TBLSP vegan butter
1 small ripe banana
Slosh of olive oil
¼ white onion, finely diced
3 ounces meatless grounds (soy ground beef substitute)
1 TBLSP vegan Worcestershire Sauce (my recipe is at the bottom of my Unbacon recipe)
Pinch of ground cumin
Shake or two of salt
A few grinds of pepper
3 TBLSP shredded faux cheese, cheddar or mozzarella flavored
Optional toppings: avocado, lime, cilantro, vegan sour cream, hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a single-serving-sized baking dish.
  1. In a skillet or frying pan, melt the butter and mash the banana. Cook it for about 5 minutes. There should be some browned bits, but most of it should be ooey gooey. Spread the resulting mash in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  2. Using the same pan, add the olive oil and sauté the onions until they’re slightly brown.
  3. Add the meatless grounds and season with Worcestershire, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the meatless grounds on top of the banana layer. Then sprinkle the faux cheese on top of that layer.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 5 minutes more.

Serve with the toppings of your choice.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Banana Cream Pie for One

Bananas lend themselves pretty well to dessert. They’re creamy and sweet, and they have a flavor that can hide among stronger flavors or that can shine on its own like the morning sun. This little tart is an example of shining that will make you put on your dancing shoes.

For the Crust:
1/3 cup walnuts
2 pitted dates, super soft, or soaked in water for 10 minutes
3 TBLSP almond meal (you can grind almonds if you don’t have this)
For the Filling:
2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
2 TBLSP ice water
1 ½ TBLSP agave nectar (or maple syrup)
Slosh of vanilla extract
¼ ripe banana, sliced
1 TBLSP coconut oil, melted
Small pinch of salt
For the Topping:
½ banana, thinly sliced
1 TBLSP walnuts, ground

Lightly grease a single-serving sized pie pan. Mine is about 4 ½ inches across.
Make the Crust:
  1. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and date until crumbly. Add in the almond meal and pulse a little more, until it’s well combined.
  2. Press the walnut mixture into the bottom of the pan and up the sides to make a crust. Use the bottom of a glass or your strong clean hands to press it firmly in there.

Make the Filling:
  1. Place the soaked and drained cashews and (fresh) cold water in a food processor and blend until smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides often. You want it super silky.
  2. Once the cashews are blended to look like pudding, add in the agave, vanilla, banana, salt, and melted coconut oil. Whirl away again until everything is smooth, smooth, smooth.

Assemble the Pie:
  1. Spread the filling in the prepared crust.
  2. Cover loosely with foil and place in the freezer for about 2 hours, until the cashew cream is firm to the touch.
  3. Garnish with fresh banana slices and crushed walnuts.
  4. Return to the freezer for several hours or overnight. You’ll want to eat it straight out of the freezer because the sliced bananas on top will turn brown pretty fast as they thaw. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Banana Corn Fritters for One

These substantial cakes could serve for breakfast with a sweet topping or dinner with a savory one. They’re savory on their own, though, and I like them just drizzled with vinegar for a lunch that will keep me going far into the night.

2 teaspoons flax seed meal
3 teaspoons water
2 TBLSP yellow cornmeal
2 TBLSP unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
Pinch garum masala (or ground curry)
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground ginger
2/3 of a single banana
Squirt of lemon juice
¼ cup cooked corn
1 ½ teaspoons almond milk
1 TBLSP canola oil 
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flax seed and water. Give it a good stir and then leave it alone to get all gloppy.
  2. In a cereal bowl (or there-about in size), combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and spices.
  3. In another cereal bowl (or about that size), mash the banana with a fork and squeeze the lemon juice over the top.
  4. Add the corn, flax seed glop, and the milk to the banana, and stir to combine well.
  5. Combine the banana mixture with the cornmeal mixture and stir until just barely combined. It should be a lumpy bumpy batter
  6. Heat the canola oil in a skillet, and when it’s hot, drop the batter in two TBLSP at a time to make nice little patties. Let them brown on the first side and then flip them with a spatula. Don’t cook ‘em too hot or they’ll just burn to the pan and be hard to manipulate.
  7. When both sides are browned to your satisfaction, let them rest on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil while you finish cooking the rest of the batter.

I like to put it over a simple salad, sprinkle it with pomegranate (or balsamic) vinegar, and salt and pepper and call it a meal.

These can be served for breakfast with syrup, as a filling for a sandwich, or broken up on your ice cream. They’re savory, but they go nicely with sweet too! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Banana Ketchup for One

Did you know that ketchup doesn’t only mean a sweet tomato condiment? It’s a Chinese word, thought to have originated in Malaysia in the earliest decade of the 18th century and meaning “pickled fish sauce.” It now means “any of various piquant sauces containing vinegar” and that’s what this recipe is all about.

Slosh of canola oil
¼ cup white or yellow onion, chopped
½ teaspoon ginger, minced
Pinch salt
Pinch allspice
1 banana, mashed
2 TBLSP cider vinegar
½ TBLSP rum (dark, if you’ve got it)
¾ teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
Pinch ground turmeric
1 TBLSP water 
  1. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Sauté the onion, ginger, and salt, covered, and stirring often, until brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the allspice and cook uncovered until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the banana, vinegar, rum, tamari, and turmeric. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  4. Reduce to low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is very thick, perhaps 15 minutes.
  5. Take it off the heat. Using an immersion blender or waiting until it’s cool enough to place in a food processor or blender, whirl away until the sauce is a smooth puree. 

 Use on meatless burgers, dip chips into it, or try it as a sandwich spread. In the image, you see banana ketchup sharing space with a Banana and Corn Fritter (recipe coming shortly), Plum Sauce (recipe here), and, in the bottom-most image, with Banana and Orange Relish (recipe coming shortly)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Savory Banana Tofu for One

You know that tofu has very little flavor on its own, right? This is going to sound crazy, but if you put savory flavors with the gentle and creamy sweetness of a banana, you really have something. You can buy plum sauce in the Asian section of most grocery stores, but try making your own: Plum Sauce while plums are in season.
7-ounces of firm tofu (about half a block)
2/3 of one very ripe banana
2 TBLSP dry white wine
1 clove garlic (more if you’re brave)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon garum masala (or curry powder)
Salt to taste
½ TBSP peanut butter
½ TBSP plum sauce
2 ½ teaspoons vegan sour cream
2 TBSP water
  1. Slice the tofu so that you have two long slabs about 1-inch high each. Press them between two plates (put a can or more plates on top of the stack) for about 15 minutes to reduce the amount of water in there.
  2. Meanwhile, heat your waffle iron (yes, your waffle iron) and spray it well with cooking spray. Cook the tofu in there until it’s slightly golden and quite firm to the touch. Slice it into bite-sized pieces and set it aside.
  3. In a food processor, whirl the banana, white wine, garlic, pepper, garum masala, and salt until it’s fairly smooth. Add the peanut butter, plum sauce, and sour cream and whirl again. Don’t taste it. It’s pretty weird at this point. Don’t worry. Cooking changes everything.
  4. Empty the sauce into a skillet large enough to hold the tofu (don’t put the tofu in yet, though). Add the water to the empty food processor, and whirl just enough to clean the remaining bits out of it. Add that to the pan. Heat it through. It doesn’t need to be sizzling or boiling. Just hot.
  5. Plop the tofu pieces into the sauce and heat until just cooked through. It’ll only take five or so minutes.

Serve over rice or pasta. I like it with some fresh sprouts or other greenery, but you play around, see what suits you best. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Peanut-Butter Banana Pancakes for One

Everyone like peanut butter and bananas, and everyone like pancakes. So rush into the kitchen right now to make these and start your day with a happy dance!

1 teaspoon flax seed meal
1 1.2 teaspoon water
½ banana, mashed
4 teaspoons (or a loaded TBLSP) of faux cream cheese
A splash of vanilla extract
½ TBLSP (or 1 ½ teaspoons) of peanut butter
1 TBLSP almond flour (you could also use oat or coconut flour)
½ TBLSP whole wheat flour (you could use all whole wheat, all oat, or some other kind of flour and they’ll still be yummy. Even gluten-free!)
A heavy sprinkle of ground cinnamon
A pinch of baking powder
  1. Combine the flax seed meal and water in a small bowl. Set it aside to become a gooey mess.
  2. In another bowl, stir together the mashed banana, cream cheese, vanilla, and peanut butter. It may take some effort. Then add the flours, cinnamon, and baking powder. Add in the glop that your flax seed meal has become and stir until it’s well mixed.
  3. Scoop half the batter into a greased and hot pan. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, until bubbles have popped all over the top. These may take a little longer than you expect because they’re quite thick. Then flip it and cook the other side, until golden brown, about another 2 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the batter.

Serve warm with extra peanut butter, sliced banana, and maple syrup.
  • You could toss in a handful of chocolate chips or raisins. Or peanuts! Go crazy! Candied ginger is nice too!
  • You could top them with jam or a variety of fruits.
  • You could drizzle chocolate sauce over them instead of syrup.
  • You could use agave nectar instead of syrup. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Peach Crumb Muffins for One

This recipe combines one of my favorite stone fruits and a quick bread, which is my favorite thing to eat for breakfast. If you don’t have any peaches in your house right now, rush right out and stock up!

1 ½ TBLSP flax meal
½ teaspoon water
5 ½ TBLSP all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
2 shakes of cinnamon
2 teaspoons coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
2 ½ TBLSP non-dairy milk (I like almond)
Squirt of lemon juice
2 ½ TBLSP pitted, peeled, and chopped peach (about 1/3 of a peach)
2 TBLSP all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 TBLSP granulated sugar (or try it with brown sugar for a caramel twist)
1 teaspoon vegan butter, softened.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two spots in a muffin tin.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flax meal and water, stirring until it’s all wet. Let it sit for a few minutes to become a nice viscous glop.
  3. In another small bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add in the coconut oil or vegan butter, milk, and flax glop. Give it a good stir and then gently fold in the peach pieces.
  5. Fill the muffin tin about ¾ of the way up.
  6. In a small bowl (you can re-use one of the others, if you like), mix the flour, sugar, and butter together with a fork until it’s crumbly.
  7. Sprinkle the crumbly topping on top of the peachy batter.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden.
  9. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before decorating with a slice of peach and a blop of faux cream cheese and devouring.

In the photo, you can see that I paired these tasty muffins with a left-over Angeled Non-Egg. Yummy!

  • Try it with a nectarine instead of a peach.
  • Put about half of the batter into each muffin tin, blop in some peach jam and then cover with the rest of the batter for a nice peachy surprise inside.
  • Put the whole batch into a single (greased) mini-loaf pan and top with crumble for a more dessert-like treat. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sour Cream and Onion Dip for One

Sometimes, you want to have a quiet night at home with a movie or a book. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat plain old popcorn or maybe a piece of celery dipped in peanut butter. Nope. Go ahead and make up this little treat and feel spoiled and pampered.

¼ cup vegan sour cream
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
2 TBLSP finely chopped cilantro (you can use parsley if you’re cilantro-averse)
2 TBLSP finely chopped green onion
½ lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Hefty pinch of celery salt
½ teaspoon grated yellow onion (or diced tiny)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. Doubles well.

  • Add roasted garlic if you want the dip to bite back a bit.
  • Add chili flakes or sliced fresh spicy peppers for zing. (I’m allergic, so you’ll have to tell me if that’s good.)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Faux Crab Cakes for One

The only thing this recipe has in common with crab cakes is, well, everything but the crab. If you wanted to make it taste a bit more like crab, you could sprinkle in some flakes from that spice that’s rather vaguely called “Crab Boil,” but I like these just fine. The tofu will take on any flavors you want it to, so you could also easily go Italian, Chinese, Mexican, or anything you can imagine!  

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 slice yellow onion, diced
¼ carrot, diced fine or shredded
8 ounces firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and crumbled (about a cup)
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
1 TBLSP nutritional yeast
½ rib celery, diced small
Slosh of dry white wine
Sprinkle of salt
Grind or two of black pepper
Squirt of lime or lemon juice
1/3 cup breadcrumbs, finely ground
Another sprinkle of salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond milk (any non-dairy milk will do)
Oil for frying
  1. Sauté the onions and carrots in olive oil until they’re soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until you can just begin to smell the garlic. Place it in a bowl (it’s going in the refrigerator).
  2. To the onions and carrots, add the tofu, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, celery, wine, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Put the flour in a plate or small, low-edged bowl.
  5. In another small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and salt.
  6. In another small bowl (perhaps your measuring cup), pour the milk. It needs to be shallow enough that you can get most of your hand in there along with the patty.
  7. Form a small patty and coat it with the flour. Then dip it into the milk. Finally, coat it in the breadcrumbs.
  8. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
  9. Heat the oil to medium-high, and then fry your little patty first on one side, and then, flipping with a spatula, on the other. Try to only flip it the one time, as it will be fragile.

Serve atop greens, between buns, or snarfle them down sauced and alone with all the mad fervor of a thousand rabid dogs.
 In the photos, you can see that I’ve served it with sides of banana ketchup (recipe coming), plum sauce, and carrot and rice sauce (also coming soon). 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wilted Pea Shoots over Quinoa for One

It’s summer and the farmer’s market is full of delights. Besides the figs that I’m obsessed with, the variations of peas that are available makes me very happy indeed. This quick little dish whips up in no time, and takes advantage of the bounty of the season.

½ cup fresh shiitake mushrooms (or blend of more domestic varieties)
1 TBLSP vegan butter
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1 cup pea tips (or other delicate green, such as arugula or dill fronds), chopped roughly
1/3 cup snap peas, cut into thirds
2 green onion, diced
1 TBLSP fresh tarragon, chopped loosely
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 TBLSP water
1 TBLSP rice vinegar
1 TBLSP soy sauce
½ cup cooked red quinoa
1 TBLSP raw cashews

  1. Chop the mushrooms loosely. You’ll want to break them up, but not lose their essential mushroom shape. Sauté them in the butter until they soften a bit. Toss the garlic in and sauté a bit more. It should smell pretty amazing.
  2. Toss in the pea tips and let them wilt while you prepare the snap peas. Add the snap peas and the green onion, and then sprinkle the tarragon on top of that. Stir it all up so that the pea shoots wilt prettily. Grind in the pepper.
  3. Add in the water, and stir it around until the water is pretty much evaporated away. Then add in the vinegar and soy sauce. Pull it off the heat just as the soy sauce begins to boil, which should be almost immediately.
  4. Toss the cashews into the now empty but still hot pan and give them a shake or two.
  5. Prepare the plate by making a circle or a mound of the quinoa and settle the pea shoots on top of it. When the cashews begin to smell nutty, sprinkle them over the top.

  • This would be nice would sesame oil instead of butter and sesame seeds instead of cashews.
  • Toss in some red pepper flakes if you swing that way.
  • You could add some faux meat, such as beer brats or kielbasa with the water and vinegar if you were looking for a more substantial meal. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Strawberry Pie for One

Here’s a little treat that screams summer even though strawberries are available year-round. Wouldn’t it be nice with a huge scoop of (vegan) vanilla ice cream and maybe some chocolate sauce?

For the Crust:
6 TBLSP all-purpose flour
4 TBLSP vegan butter, cut into cubes
1 ½ TBLSP powdered sugar
Ice cold water (and vodka)
For the Filling:
6 medium-to-large fresh strawberries (you can use frozen, if you’d like)
1 TBLSP granulated sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
Pinch of ground cardamom (I used 6 seed pods and ground it in my mortar and pestle)
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
Slosh of vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon lemon juice (about the juice of a wedge)

Make the Crust:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, butter, and sugar using a fork or pastry cutter. Keep going until it’s the texture of a coarse meal, or maybe wet sand.
  2. One teaspoon at a time, add cold water (or half water, half vodka) to the flour mixture until the dough clings together.
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a rough disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so.

Make the Filling:
  1. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters (bigger than bite-sized and still recognizably a strawberry) and place them in a bowl. Add in the sugar, cardamom, cornstarch, vanilla, and lemon juice and smoodge them all around until everything is well coated and juicy.
  2. Let it rest for 15 minutes at room temperature to get more juice, in the fridge to get less.

Assemble the Pie:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the disks of dough to fit into the bottom of your single-serving pie pan. Mine is about 4 ½ inches across.
  3. Place the dough into the pan, pushing it gently into all the corners. Fold any overhang underneath to make a tidy edge, use a fancy fluting technique, or trim it and add the extra dough to the other dough disk.
  4. Place the pie dish with its lovely lower crust in the refrigerator while you deal with the other disk of dough. Pour the filling into the crust just before you put the top on.
    • If you want a one-piece pie crust on the top, roll the dough out until it’s slightly larger than the pie pan’s top, place it on top, and crimp the edges together with the bottom crust. Cut four slits in the top to let the steam out.
    • If you want a lattice top, roll the dough out, cut the dough into strips, and weave them together. I like to do this on a piece of waxed paper and then just invert the masterpiece to the top of the pie. That way, the ends don’t get all covered in goopy strawberry juice. Crimp the edges of the top crust to the edges of the bottom crust.
    • If you want fun shapes on top, roll the top dough out and cut the shapes with a small cookie cutter. This way creates the most scraps, but you can also re-use the scraps to make more shapes. Place the shapes in a pretty pattern on top of the pie, leaving some gaps to let steam out.
  1. Put the loaded and fabulous pie on a baking sheet (to prevent spills) and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Lower the heat again to 350 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes or until the juices have thickened and are all bubbly and inviting.
  2. Let the pie cool in its pan on a wire rack, and cool completely before cutting into it.

  • With any extra dough, sprinkle pinches of sugar over the top of fun shapes. Then use cinnamon, ground ginger and/or ground cloves in very small amounts to sprinkle lightly too. These may not need to bake for as long as the pie, so watch ‘em, and snarfle ‘em down before the pie is even ready.
  • You could also use cinnamon or cloves—or even ginger—in the pie’s filling if you don’t have any cardamom handy.