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Monday, August 29, 2016

Sweet Potato Soup for One

If you leave this soup thick, it makes a nice mashed sweet potato dish, perfect for dipping apples into. If you thin it out, it’s a more like a traditional soup. Either way, it’s quick, easy, and delicious, and I like it somewhere in between.
Slosh of olive oil
¼ small onion, diced
¼ shallot, diced
Sprinkle of salt
Several cracks of fresh pepper
Pinch cinnamon
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cup water or veggie stock

  1. In a small pot, heat the oil over medium heat and toss in the onion and shallot. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cinnamon and cook until it’s fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add in the sweet potatoes and water (or stock) and bring to a boil. The water should come up the pile of potatoes about ¾ of the way. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  4. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, puree the mixture until its silky smooth. Return the soup to the pot, if necessary. Add a little more water if it’s too thick, and season with salt and pepper.
Try it with various colors of sweet potatoes for fun! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kale and Broccoli Nomlette for One

This is a quick and dirty omelet, just the thing when you have a long day of work ahead of you.

For the Filling:
Olive oil
Broccoli, chopped randomly and coarsely
3 slices onion, chopped coarsely
Handful of kale, chopped coarsely
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
3 TBLSP faux cheese (I like daiya mozzarella), shredded
For the Nomlette:
4 oz. (1/3 package) silken tofu
2 TBLSP almond milk
1 ½ TBLSP nutritional yeast
1 TBLSP corn starch
1 teaspoon white or yellow miso
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of kala namak (black salt) (optional—adds an eggy taste)

Make the Filling:
  1. Sauté the onions and broccoli in olive oil. 
  2. When the onions are partially transparent, add the kale and garlic. When the kale has relaxed, set aside.

Make the Omelet:
  1. In a blender or food processor, whirl away at the tofu, milk, yeast, corn starch, miso, onion powder, turmeric, salt and pepper, and kala namak until it’s smooth.
  2. Slosh a little more olive oil into a non-stick skillet or omelet pan and heat it on medium high until it’s very hot. Pour the tofu mixture into the center of the skillet and smear it in a large circle evenly around the pan. It should be about 6-8 inches across. You might use a spatula or a spoon to smooth the top, just to make sure there aren’t any thin places.
  3. When it starts to have bubbles fairly evenly across the top, spread the cheese across half of it, making a half-moon shape right to the edge.

Assemble the Nomlette:
  1. Once the batter is starting to firm up enough that you can peel an edge up with your spatula, place your filling ingredients on top of the cheese on one half of it.
  2. When the edges have dried out and the middle is no longer jiggly, loosen the omelet by sliding a spatula under the edges. You might want to work your way around, making sure that the omelet is free on all sides. If it’s not moving loosely in the pan, it’s not set, and if you try the next step too soon, you’re going to have scrambled tofu instead of an omelet. Don’t worry. It will still be quite yummy.
  3. When it’s set, fold the empty half of the omelet over the full half. If your naked omelet half is oriented away from the handle of the pan, you can tip the pan and let gravity help a bit as you use your spatula to lift the rest. You can’t really flip this omelet the way you might an egg omelet or a crepe—it’s neither thin nor dry enough.
  4. Slide it onto a plate and serve immediately. I garnished mine with avocado slices and some grapes.

Life is good. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cherry Cake for One

It’s cherry season, but even if it weren’t, frozen or canned cherries would be pretty good in this easy and quick cake. But fresh cherries made this little darling into something that made my taste buds do the happy dance.

7 TBLSP all-purpose flour
3 TBLSP granulated sugar
Pinch salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
¼ cup sweet cherries, pitted and diced

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a mini loaf pan or a 5-inch cake pan. I have a 4-inch spring-lock pan that works nicely.
  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
  2. In another small bowl, mix together water, vinegar vanilla, and coconut oil.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine until just incorporated. Fold in the cherries until they’re just hidden in the batter. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan and then to room temperature on a wire rack.

I made a little glaze out of 1 TBLSP vegan butter (softened), ½ cup powdered sugar, a slosh of vanilla extract, and about a TBLSP of almond milk, but it got lumpy, and the truth is, this cake is moist and lovely and doesn’t need it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Apricot-Glazed Fried Tofu for One

If you’re like me and you’re allergic to tomatoes but you sometimes have a hankering for barbecue sauce, you’re going to be happy about this recipe. Try it on soft cauliflower and crunchy fried tofu, and you may find that your world has been rocked.

For Serving:
Brown or white rice, or noodles
½ block firm tofu
½ cup cauliflower florets
1 small handful of green beans, cut to bite-sized
For the Sauce:
3 TBLSP apricot preserves
2 TBLSP miso (yellow or white)
2 TBLSP rice vinegar
2 TBLSP soy sauce or tamari
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 apricot, pitted and sliced thinly
For the Frying:
¾ teaspoon flax seed meal
1 teaspoon water
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
Oil for frying

Deal with the Tofu:
  1. Heat the waffle iron. Yes, the waffle iron. Don’t question! Just do it!
  2. Slice the block of tofu in half so that you have slabs about 1-inch thick. Press the slabs between two plates with a couple of cans on top of them for 15 minutes or so to get the moisture out.
  3. Lubricate your waffle iron even if it’s a non-stick version (I use pan spray on the smooth side of the plate, but you can use the waffle side too). Set the slabs of tofu in there and close the waffle iron up. Mine takes about 15 minutes to create a nice golden-brown crust on both sides. Watch it, opening it up periodically to see if it’s enjoying its sojourn.

Steam the Veggies:
  1. Meanwhile, place the florets and string beans in your steamer over boiling water and get your rice or noodles cooking.

It’s also time to get the sauce going. You’ll also want to get your rice or noodles going at this time too.
Make the Sauce:
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the apricot preserves, miso, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic and ginger powders. Once it’s well combined, toss in the apricot pieces.
  2. Cook over a gentle heat until it’s thickened and reduced a little bit.
  3. Set aside.

Fry the Tofu:
  1. In a tiny bowl, combine the flax and water and set aside to become a gooey mess.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold the tofu, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. By the time you’ve got that stirred up, the flax should be gloppy, so add that in too.
  3. Stir it together. If it’s too thick (which is likely), add a little more water until it’s about the consistency of pancake batter.
  4. Cut the ironed tofu into 1-inch cubes. Some of it will crumble. That’s okay.
  5. Plop the tofu into the batter and roll it gently around until it’s nicely coated.
  6. In a skillet, heat about ¼-inch of oil (I use canola oil, but you use whatever you like) until it shimmers.
  7. Drop the tofu cubes into the oil one at a time. Give them some space or they will stick to one another. 
  8. When the bottoms are golden, flip them over. You might need to do four sides or six, depending on how deep and hot your oil is. Mostly, the tofu is cooked, so you’re just getting a crispy batter coating to be golden.

Assemble the Meal:
  1. Make an artful array of the rice or noodles.
  2. Add the veggies to the top and drizzle some of the glaze over them.
  3. Set the tofu to one side or right in the middle of your steamed veggies and drizzle the rest of the glaze over that. You might roll the little fried darlings around in the sauce to get a more even coating, but it will make them slightly soggy. So at your own risk…

Devour with the joyous hum of a thousand wasps. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Noodle Salad for One

I make this tasty bowl-full all the time. It’s easy, fast, and uses just about all the leftovers in the fridge, and best of all, it tastes great!

1 large handful noodles (I like corn and quinoa—gluten-free—penne, but anything will do)
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
5 stalks asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 slices zucchini, cut into sixths
½ carrot, diced
5 slices cucumber, diced
1 green onion, diced
1 ½ TBLSP vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 ½ teaspoon pickle relish, or 2 slices of pickle, diced
1 TBLSP lemon juice, pickle juice. or rice vinegar
Pinch dried parsley
Pinch dried basil
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of salt (if you’ve used pickle juice, it’s salty, so taste first!)
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pignolia or other nut
  1. Get the water boiling and toss the noodles in when it’s ready. Follow the manufacturer’s direction, and don’t overcook them. Drain and put into a bowl.
  2. In another pan, get the broccoli florets, asparagus pieces, and zucchini bits boiling. Don’t overcook these either! Drain, and plop them into the same bowl as the noodles.
  3. Add the diced carrot, cucumber, and green onion to the bowl with the noodles and cooked veggies.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, relish/pickle, lemon juice, and the dried herbs and spices.
  5. Combine the dressing that you just made with the noodles and mix them gently. Top with the seeds or nuts.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then devour, or take it on a picnic, for a fun time.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Cake for One

If you want a dessert that’s moist, refreshing, and not terribly sweet, this is the cake for you. Feel free to use frozen blueberries if it’s not blueberry season.  When I was little, I told people that frequent consumption of blueberries was the reason my eyes were so very blue. That’s another reason to eat this cake. To maintain the paint job on your eyebulbs.
For the Cake:
3 TBLSP non-dairy milk (I like almond milk, but it’s your choice)
1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 TBLSP lemon juice
2 TBLSP non-dairy yogurt (I like coconut milk yogurt, but it’s your choice)
¾ teaspoon ground flax seed meal
Slosh of vanilla extract
2 1/3 teaspoons coconut or vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 TBLSP granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup blueberries
1 ½ TBLSP more blueberries
For the Glaze:
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of lemon zest
½ TBLSP softened vegan butter
1 TBLSP lemon juice

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 5-inch cake pan. I use a 4-inch spring-form pan and make it thick.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the milk, zest, lemon juice, yogurt, flax, vanilla, and oil.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and blueberries.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just barely combined.
  4. Plop the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining blueberries on top.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then remove the cake and cool the rest of the way.  
You could stop right here, or you can make the glaze.
Make the Glaze:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, zest, lemon juice, and butter. If it’s not runny enough, add more lemon juice.

Devour like the crude monster that you know you really are when it comes to blueberries and cake. Oh wait. That’s me. Feel free to consume this with your usual elegance. (Carry on.)

  • Instead of frosting with the glaze, try smearing some lemon yogurt on the cake.
  • Instead of vegan butter in the glaze, use vegan yogurt. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Buttermilk Biscuits for One

These little charmers are surprisingly delicious and fluffy. I used ‘em to make a sandwich (wasabi-ginger coleslaw—recipe coming soon—roasted asparagus, and melted vegan mozzarella), but they’d be great slathered in vegan butter or doused in some mushroom gravy too! (Makes two biscuits.)

½ cup all-purpose flour
Pinch baking powder
Pinch salt
Pinch baking soda
1 TBLSP vegan butter
¼ cup non-dairy milk (I like almond)
1 TBLSP apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and then work it into the flour with a fork. The mixture should be crumbly.
  3. In a small bowl, glass, or measuring cup, add the vinegar to the milk. It will curdle almost immediately, but if it doesn’t, give it a little help with a stir or two.
  4. Dump the buttermilk that you just made into the flour mixture and combine with a fork until it’s combined. It will be a wet and sticky dough.
  5. Shape the dough into two disks. You can use a cutter If you like, or go for something more organic. I like to think of the shapes I make as “round-esque.”
  6. Put the rounds on the baking sheet and make a thumbprint in the middle of each.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, until browned.

Eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle. They taste nice when they’re cold too, but you’ll have a dreadful time waiting that long. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Buckeye Candies for One

There are times when you want a little sweet, something special, and something you don’t have every day. Well, these everyday ingredients go together in the nicest way. Here’s a shout out to my friends in (and from) Ohio!

1/4 cup peanut butter
4 teaspoons vegan butter, softened
Dash of vanilla extract
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
4 TBLSP vegan chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Line a dinner plate with parchment or waxed paper.
  1. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. You will need a little muscle for this.
  2. Shape the resulting glop into 1-inch balls. You should get somewhere between a dozen and 16 balls, depending on their size. Place the balls on the prepared dish and refrigerate them.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler (or microwave the chips and add the oil to the hot chips).
  4. Using a toothpick, pick up the peanut butter balls one at a time and dip them into the chocolate. You’ll only want to go part-way up the sides. Wipe off any extra on the edge of the chocolate bowl before placing on the dish so you don’t waste chocolate with big puddles underneath the buckeyes.
  5. Refrigerate the resultant cuties for 30 minutes, or, even better, stick them in the freezer. They’re particularly yummy when they’re half frozen! Eat them when the chocolate is a nice hard shell.

If there’s leftover chocolate, toss some dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cherries—whatever you’ve got) or nuts in there and put ‘em on a plate in the freezer too. Yummmm.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Banana Cake for One

I love bananas, and I always have. When I was a kid, my mom always made me banana cakes for my birthday, but I thought why wait for once a year? This is a perq of being a grown-up. You can eat cake whenever you want to.

½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
A shake or two of nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 TBLSP canola oil
1 ripe banana, smashed
1 TBLSP water
Slosh of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 4- or 5-inch baking pan. I often use a single-serving casserole to great success.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk the sugar and the oil together, and then add the banana. Add the water and vanilla to this sloppiness and stir to combine.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, just barely combining it all.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let it cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack, and then remove from the pan to cool the rest of the way.

  • Toss some raisins, walnuts, or chocolate chips in there. Or go nuts and toss in all three. About a TBLSP of each would do it.
  • Frost with cream cheese-based frosting (2 TBLSP vegan cream cheese, 4 teaspoons vegan butter, approx. 10 TBLSP powdered sugar, slosh of vanilla), as seen in these photos.