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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 bĂ©chamel 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.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Baked Cumin Veggies for One

I was out for a walk with my friend Cynthia and Roxie the Wonder Dog, and she (Cynthia) had a hankering for a nosh. She dashed into the local mom ‘n’ pop shop and came out with this yummy little hot salad. It was so good that I tried to recreate it! You try it and tell me what you think.

¼ head of cauliflower, cut into large bite-sized pieces
¼ head of broccoli, cut into large bite-sized pieces
4 spears of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ white or yellow onion, sliced into thin moons
¼ cup raisins (or dates—any dried fruit will do)
Slosh or two of olive oil
Several sprinkles of cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In a baking tray with a rim, toss all the veggies and dried fruit until they’re mixed nicely.
  2. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top. Sprinkle on the cumin, salt and pepper. Stir until everything’s coated nicely. You don't need much oil, so go lightly! 
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. They might be done sooner, depending on how soft you like your veggies, so keep an eyeball peeled.

  • Toss in some thinly sliced apple.
  • Try it with other veggies, like fennel, sweet potatoes, or green beans. Nearly any combination will do. 
  • A little bit of garlic powder never hurt anyone. 
  • Sprinkle some nuts over the top for a more substantial dish.