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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pineapple Coconut Cake for One

I bought a whole pineapple. At first, I just ate slices of it. Then I put it into stir-fry. Now it’s time for something different. This cake makes you wait for it, but oh! It’s worth it!
For the Cake:
2 teaspoons flax seed meal
1 TBLSP water
¼ cup shredded coconut
5 TBLSP non-dairy milk, divided (I like almond, but coconut would be great)
5 TBLSP chopped pineapple (I used fresh, but canned—crushed—is fine)
¾ cup all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
3 TBLSP vegan butter
5 TBLSP granulated sugar
Slosh of vanilla
For the Icing:
3 TBLSP vegan butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond milk
1 cup flaked coconut
TBLSP chopped pineapple for decoration

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 5-inch cake pan or two ramekins. I used two single-serving casserole dishes to get wider and flatter cakes.
  1. In a small bowl (like a cereal bowl—you’ll be adding things to this mixture), combine the flax seed meal and water. It will become a nice gloppy mess while you do other things.
  2. Put the ¼ cup of coconut into a mesh strainer and dangle the darlings over a bowl.
  3. Bring ¼ cup of the milk (4 TBLSP) to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot milk over the shredded coconut, catching the liquid in the bowl below. Plop the pineapple on top of the coconut and let its juice drain through too. You might want to squish things around a bit to get the most juice.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Now it’s time to use your flax seed glop. Add the remaining TBLSP of milk to the glop and give it a stir. Now add in the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cream all of this mess together until it’s a gloppy but thin mixture and the butter has integrated, for the most part. If you’re doing this by hand, it won’t be completely smooth, and if you use a mixer, the flax glop will break down a bit if you keep going until it’s smooth. <shrugs> You choose whether you want chunks of buttery goodness or a softer and more delicate cake.
  6. Add the coconut milk and pineapple juice that you collected to the flour mixture and toss in the butter and flax seed mixture too. Blend until well combined. (You can beat this enthusiastically to get out a few more of the butter lumps, too.) Add in the coconut and pineapple that you’d drained earlier, and mix until just incorporated. Pour evenly into the two prepared cake pans.  
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack (about 45 minutes if the day isn’t too warm), and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before frosting. Overnight is fine too. I leave ‘em in the pans until the refrigeration period is over because they’re sturdier then and less likely to crumble when you remove ‘em to the decorating plate.

Make the Icing:
  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 two TBLSPs at a time, blending until the sugar is well-integrated.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and the soymilk, stirring with considerable enthusiasm until the frosting is smooth, fluffy, and spreadable.
  4. The frosting may need a few minutes to cool down so it doesn’t slide off your cake. You might even put it into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.

Festoon the Cake:
  1. Put the cake on a pedestal (I overturn a mug and put a serving plate on top) so you can get a good angle for decorating the cake.
  2. Center the bottom layer on the plate and then top with frosting. You don’t need to go quite to the edges as the weight of the other cake will push the frosting out a bit. Place the second layer on top and then frost the top and sides of the whole shebang. You don’t have to be tidy because the next step will cover up any crimes.
  3. Sprinkle the flaked coconut (from the Icing ingredient list) on top of the frosting and press it into the sides of the cake. Make a pretty design or just plop the remaining pineapple on top of the cake.
  4. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the frosting to set.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tropical Sushi for One

One day, it was too hot to cook, and my fridge was nearly bare of things to eat cold or raw. What to do, what to do? Oh, of course! Sushi! It involves a little cooking to make the rice, but then you can get out of the kitchen until everything has cooled down.

½ cup sushi rice (small grain, white rice)
1 cup of water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 cup rice vinegar
Nori sheets for wrapping makis
1 banana, cut in half width-wise and then each half sliced into three narrow strips
Vegan cream cheese
3-6 slabs of baked teriyaki tofu (store-bought or use the recipe from Chinese Kickin’ Salad)
1 TBLSP macadamia nuts or peanuts
  1. Cook the rice in the water. Watch it, because small amounts of rice like this will suddenly be cooked and burning! Put the cooked rice into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the vinegar solution over the cooked rice, smooshing the vinegar into the rice with the paddle in a sweeping motion. Make wide Zs over and over in the rice, occasionally bringing the bottom rice up to the top until it’s thoroughly combined and the vinegar is absorbed.
  3. Wait until the rice is COMPLETELY COOLED. 

  1. Place a sheet of nori squarely on a sushi-rolling mat covered with plastic wrap. Make a little line of rice along the bottom of the nori sheet, about 1-inch wide by ¼-inch high. There can be a little gap at the bottom edge.
  2. Onto that, pile the banana along the length of the rice pile, then little blobs of cream cheese, then the tofu, and then sprinkle on the nuts.
  3. Add another thin layer of rice, moisten the other edge of the nori with a bit of smooshed rice, and roll the little darling up, using the sushi mat.
  4. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. There will be two delicious rolls.
  5. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap (you can take the stuff off of your mat and use that, if you’re tidy about it). Just lay the rolls on the wrap and then bring the rest of the wrap around to cover them. They don’t have to be tightly wrapped, just covered, top and bottom. Using a very sharp knife that has been dipped into cold water, slice the rolls in half width-wise, and then cut each of those halves twice more until you have eight coin-shaped slices from each roll.
  6. Serve with wasabi and soy sauce or tamari.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Sweet Potato and Cabbage Scramble for One

This quick stir-fry takes advantage of things you probably have in your refrigerator right now. It’s earthy, it’s filling, it’s quick, and it’s oh, so yummy!

½ large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
Slosh of olive oil
¼ cup large dice green cabbage
2 slices yellow onion, diced
2 mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, diced small
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Slosh tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup cubed baked tofu
  1. Stir-fry the sweet potato in the oil for about 5 minutes, until it starts to soften.
  2. Add in the cabbage and continue stir-frying for another 5 minutes until the cabbage is a bit wilted and the sweet potato is nearly soft.
  3. Add in the onion and mushrooms, and keep right on stir-frying until the onions are a bit transparent.
  4. Now, toss in the garlic, rosemary, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and pepper and keep right on stir-frying until the garlic disappears a bit.
  5. Add in the tofu, and fry until the tofu is warmed through.

 Serve over toast for breakfast, on its own for lunch, or over rice for dinner. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mushroom Dim Sum Buns for One

These little filled balls are super filling—they’re metaballs! I thought about making a salad to go with them, but in the end, they were so filling I’d have put the salad back in the fridge.
Makes 5 or 6.

½ cup non-dairy milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
Peanut oil (or canola)
8 ounces of mushroom—mixed is nice, but anything will do—sliced or diced
2 slices of onion, diced
2 leaves of bok choy or cabbage, diced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely diced
½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced
Several sprigs of cilantro or parsley, diced
1 TBLSP rice wine vinegar
2 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
2 green onions, sliced small
1 TBLSP sesame seeds, toasted slightly in a dry pan
½ TBLSP sesame oil
2-4 TBLSP protein of some sort (optional), such as beans, tofu, or brats, diced small
  1. In a small bowl, add the milk, flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir it into a dough. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to half an hour.
  2. In a frying pan, heat a splash of the oil over medium heat and toss in the mushrooms and onions and stir fry until they’re golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the bok choy or cabbage and stir fry until it’s soft. Now add in the garlic, ginger, and cilantro.
  3. Add the vinegar and soy sauce, and cook for about 5 more minutes, until the liquid has boiled away. The mushrooms should be pretty soft now. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add the green onions, sesame seeds, and sesame oil to the mushrooms, and set aside. This is the point to add some protein if you wish, too, like baked tofu, cooked beans, or diced vegan brats.
  5. Dust a surface with flour (I like to use a piece of waxed paper for easier clean-up, rather than doing this straight on the kitchen counter), and roll the blob of dough into a thick sausage. Cut it into 6 pieces, roll them into balls, and then flatten them into rounds. I like to make them about 3-inches in diameter, but it’s up to you how thick or big you make them. You could also roll the dough flat with a well-floured rolling pin and cut out neat circles with a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  6. Plop some mushroom mixture into the centers of the 6 pieces of dough, making sure that there’s a large circle of bare dough around each mound of mushrooms. Do fill them as full as you can, though. Pull and fold the edges of the dough over the filling, pinching the edges to make a seal. There will be extra stuffing, even if you fill the dumplings very full. It will be nice on scrambled tofu tomorrow morning.
  7. Place the little darlings on a cabbage or lettuce leaf (to keep them from sticking to your steamer) or place each in a paper muffin cup with the scruffier sides of the little orbs down. It doesn’t really matter much—it’s not for presentation purposes. It’s for anti-stick purposes.
  8. Bring a pot of water to a boil with the steamer already in place. The water should come up to the steamer but not enter it or bad things will happen to your buns and their paper wrappers. Place the buns and their wrappers into the steamer, lower the heat to medium, cover, and steam for about 12 minutes.

Serve with hoisin sauce (recipe included below), plain soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or a nice soy sauce/miso/rice vinegar/mirin (in equal parts, and seen below) dipping sauce. Yummmmm!.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce for One

Produces 1/3 cup.
4 TBLSP soy sauce
2 TBLSP peanut butter
1 TBLSP molasses
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, diced finely
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Serve with Chinese food, particularly dim sum offerings, like Mushroom Buns, pot stickers, or non-egg rolls. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Orange Cake for One

I admit that the first time I made this cake, I sat around making yummy noises all by myself. It’s not a terribly sweet cake, but it’s a wonderfully fragrant and flavorful cake. This recipe makes two servings, and the hardest thing about it might be not eating it all at one sitting!

For the Cake:
¼ cup whole wheat pastry
2 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Pinch of cornstarch or arrowroot
3 TBLSP powdered sugar
Pinch baking soda
Shake or two of salt
Zest of ½ an orange
¼ cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best, but use what you’ve got)
½ TBLSP vegetable oil
Slosh of apple cider vinegar
Slosh of vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
1 ½ TBLSP powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons orange juice
2 TBLSP orange marmalade
1 teaspoon orange liquor
1 teaspoon orange juice
2 TBLSP orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 4-inch cake tin or two ramekins with parchment, or grease well and dust with flour.

Make the Cake:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, starch, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Add the zest, juice, oil, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix until it’s smooth. Pour the batter in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from the pan. Cool completely before glazing and slicing.

Make the Glaze:
  1. Combine the ingredients for the glaze of your choice.
  2. If making the second or third options with marmalade, heat over low heat until it bubbles.
  3. Slather or drizzle over the cake.\
Devour with the ravenous bad manners of a greyhound after an evening saunter.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Strawberry Coffee Cake for One

A gentle, not-terribly-sweet breakfast was high on my list of things to do today. So I whipped up this nice little offering and started my day with a bite of sunshine.
For the Cake:
5 1/3 TBLSP all-purpose flour
2 2/3 TBLSP rolled oats
Pinch baking powder
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
1 1/3 TBLSP (4 teaspoons) coconut oil, melted (or vegan butter)
1 1/3 TBLSP (4 teaspoons) maple syrup
2 2/3 TBLSP non-dairy milk (I like almond, but they’re all good)
Juice of one lemon wedge
Slosh of vanilla extract
2 strawberries, chopped
For the Topping:
2 2/3 TBLSP all-purpose flour
½ TBLSP granulated sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Sprinkle of salt
2 teaspoons soft vegan butter (or coconut oil)
For the Glaze:
3 TBLSP confectioner’s sugar
Slosh of non-dairy milk or lemon juice (depending on how sweet you want it)

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a single-serving or mini loaf pan or two ramekins.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until well mixed. Fold the strawberries in gently.
  4. Glop the batter into the loaf pan or ramekins. It should be full almost to the top.

Make the Topping:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter (or oil). It should be pretty crumbly.

Assemble the Cake:
  1. Sprinkle the topping over the batter and press it gently into the top. It should almost make a crust.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The loaf will be quite puffy and golden brown.
  3. Let it cool before removing from the pan. You can make the glaze while it’s cooling.

Make the Glaze:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and milk. You need to balance the ingredients in such a way that the glaze will hold its shape but still be thin enough to drizzle on top of the cooled cake.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake. You might want an open pattern so that you only get a little glaze in each bite, or you might want it more thickly applied. It’s up to you.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lachanosoupa (Cabbage Soup) for One

It’s starting to feel like I’ve had this cold since the dawn of time. What will make me feel better? A quick bowl of Lachanosoupa, a hearty Greek delicacy, if you ask me.

1 TBLSP olive oil
2 TBLSP chopped yellow onions
1 TBLSP diced garlic
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Pinch of dill (fresh is best, but use dried if that’s all you’ve got)
Pinch of dried thyme
3 TBLSP shredded or diced zucchini
3 TBLSP shredded or diced carrots
1 cup chopped cabbage
1 ½ cup water (you could use stock, but it’s more flavor than you need)
2/3 cup cooked rice
Squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. In olive oil, sauté the onions over low heat until they’re translucent. Add garlic and cook for one minute more.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, dill, and thyme, and cook on low for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini and carrots. Cook on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cabbage, and cook until it begins to wilt, perhaps 5 minutes.
  5. Add the water, and stir to combine completely. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes until the veggies are fork tender.
  6. Add the rice and cook 5 minutes more, until the rice is heated through.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. 

Great with crusty bread, a salad, or as a starter to a heavy meal. But you won’t need that heavy stuff. You’ll be ready to go plow the fields after this little bowl of treasure.