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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.