Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ultimate Vegan Hot Wingz

Seitan is back, baby! I have to give props to my father in law for the idea of putting mushrooms into seitan to make it more tender. I have revised the method, but this recipe is still as easy as the original and is less "bouncy" and chewy. I also revised the coating to make it a little more durable and more able to absorb the sauce. While they won't fool anyone into thinking they are actually chicken, I think they will go over well with vegans and omnis alike.

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 30

Seitan
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp poultry spice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten

Breading
- 1/2 cup fine corn flake crumbs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 cup soy milk
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Sauce (heat these ingredients in a saucepan)
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp ketchup

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sided cookie sheet with foil and lightly oil.
1. Place mushrooms, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add oil, spice, salt and water and process into a smooth paste. Add gluten and process into a smooth dough.
2. Remove dough from food processor and roll into a cylinder about 14" long. Slice into 1" pieces and roll them into a smaller cylinders. Slice that in half if they are too long, then flatten slightly.
3. Mix together ground corn flakes, flour, paprika, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a separate bowl.
4. Toss seitan in 2 tsp of oil. Toss seitan in corn flake mixture.
5. Dip seitan soy milk mixture, then toss in cornflake mixture again. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 10 mins, turn over, then bake for another 10 mins.
7. Coat wingz with all but 1/4 cup of the sauce. Bake for 5 mins, then use a spoon to scoop up excess sauce and recoat the wingz. Bake for another 3-5 mins, until bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool 5 mins. Toss in remaining sauce and serve.

UPDATE: Some people have commented that their dough is too wet and the end product too soft. I made these again to make sure the measurements were right and they came out perfectly. So here is my advice: 1. Make sure you use a small onion so the liquid measurement is not thrown off (about 1/3 cup). 2. Save the water for the end. Process the onions, shrooms, spices, and oil, then add the gluten and process. Add enough water to get a soft but still durable dough.

Tofu Ceviche on Top Chef

Veganism makes its mark again on Top Chef with Hector winning high praise (but not the win) for his Tofu Ceviche. Here is a link to the recipe--it is really complicated (with methods I have never seen before) but I would like to give it a whirl some day. Anyone else want to give it a try?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Ontario peaches are ripe and ready for eating. I have made 20 jars of jam so far and thought I would try my hand at canning peaches as well this year. It's a bit time consuming but I think it will be worth it in the dead of winter when we enjoy fresh-like peaches. I am sure they will taste way better than canned peaches from the store, and the great thing about making your own is you can control how much sugar goes into the canning syrup. I will report back in the winter on how they taste.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Curried Potato Salad

Perhaps its my partial Irish ancestry but I love potatoes. I also love potato salad, but it can be a bit bland and boring after a few picnics. Curry powder and some peas spice up this version, and you can leave the mayo behind of you like. It tastes great both warm and cold.

INGREDIENTS
- 6-8 small potatoes
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp oil (or use some vegan mayo)
- 1 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup thawed frozen peas, or cooked fresh peas
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

METHOD
1. Boil potatoes until tender. Rinse under cold water for a few mins, then cut into chunks. While still warm, toss in the rest of the ingredients. Serve warm or cold.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tomato and Tofu Salad

I wish I could come up with a more imaginative name for this dish because it is way tastier than the title suggests. We are finally getting ripe cherry tomatoes out of the garden and this simple salad is a perfect way to enjoy their sweet flavour.

INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes and dabbed dry
- 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 15 cherry tomatoes (or so), halved or quartered
- 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1 tsp basil (or some chopped fresh basil)
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Place tofu in a bowl with shallots, then add oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Let marinate for 30 min or so. Add tomatoes and herbs, and season to taste. Mix well and serve.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Grilled Oyster Mushrooms

When Isa posted about grilled oyster mushrooms from her trip to NYC I figured I would take a stab at them. Oyster mushrooms have a delicate texture but are still tough enough to stand up on the grill. At first I wasn't sure how to season the shrooms, but eventually settled on a garlic and herb infused oil. This was a good call. These are absolutely delicious with plenty of BBQ flavour with subtle flavours from the oil. I also like them because they can be enjoyed for what they are instead of trying to masquerade as a vegan version of a meat dish.

INGREDIENTS
Garlic and Herb Infused Oil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 6 sun dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
- oyster mushrooms (get the large bunches, like you see here); as many as you want to grill
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and reduce heat to med-lo. Add basil and tomatoes and let simmer for 20 mins. Strain thought a fine sieve into a glass container. Obviously, this makes more than you will need here, so just keep the extra for another time.
2. Cut the mushroom bunched in half both vertically and horizontally (so the bunch is not too thick and as much of the mushroom can touch the grill as possible). Brush generously on all sides with the oil, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat grill on high. Grill mushrooms 4-5 mins per side. Resist the urge to flip over--just let them sit there and get some good grill marks.
4. Serve. You can trim off the tough end, or just cut off the more tender parts as you eat.

On Food Blogs and Photography

Several people have recently posted comments asking how I take my pictures, advice for a good food blog, etc. So, I thought I would write a wee post addressing just that. First off (you will be disappointed to know), I know absolutely nothing about photography. The only reason my pics are passable is because I invested in a 50mm f 1.4 macro lens for my Canon Digital Rebel camera. In fact, I bought it for a research trip to Philly so I could take snaps of historical documents in low light conditions (they don't allow flashes or tripods at the Historical Society). I like to think I have an eye for what is a good photo, but I have no idea about f-stops, apertures, etc. I try to take pics outdoors so I can get good light, but this gets tricky in the winter when it is dark by the time supper comes around. My style is to get as much food in the frame as possible and to worry less about the surroundings. Occasionally I will tinker with light and saturation in Photoshop, but more often than not I just crop the pic and post it. I have learned a lot over the past (almost) two years. Look back at my first posts--the pics are dreadful. If you want to actually learn about food photography, go to Bittersweet, or Vegan YumYum.

As for food blogging, I think good photos are essential. You may have the tastiest recipe but if it looks dingy and tan in the pic, then people are less likely to try your food. A good photo will draw people into your blog. After that, the content needs to be good as well. Food blogs are free, and sometimes you get what you pay for. Make sure to edit your posts and that the directions are easy to follow. Be honest about how good your food is. Lastly, make your blog personal. Although I have kept my kids' faces and names out of my blog, I do try to work in anecdotes and such into each post. Establish a rapport with your readers. Make sure your blog has a point.

OK, that's it from me. More food coming soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baked Thai Corn Fritters

This is a lower fat version of this recipe (there is a better pic here). They are not as crispy as the original, and are a little more like a corn cake, or corn bread, but they are tasty nonetheless. Serve with Thai dipping sauce as a great appetizer. The boys loved them and gobbled them right down. Next time I will have to make a double batch (and remember to have cilantro on hand so I can do the recipe right).

INGREDIENTS
Makes 8

- 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- red curry paste, to taste
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1 Ener-G egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- salt to taste

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Put thawed corn in a bowl. Mix in curry paste. Add in flour, Ener-G egg, garlic, cilantro, oil, and cilantro sauce and mix well. Season to taste.
2. Dip a 1/4 cup measure in water, then scoop out a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto the prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake for 12-15 mins, until golden brown on top.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Somen Noodles in Broth

I love noodles. I make a quick noodle dish at least once a week for lunch. It's a nice break from sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 4-6
- 3 bundles somen noodles, cooked according to the directions, rinsed in cold water
- 1 recipe golden baked tofu
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 small onion, halved and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- salt, to taste
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- bean sprouts

METHOD
1. Cook noodles and bake tofu.
2. Heat oil in a wok or large pot over medium-hi heat. Fry onions and garlic for 5 min, until soft. Add broccoli and carrots and fry 2 mins.
3. Add broth, coriander, and sauce and season to taste. Bring to bubbling, then simmer for about 15 mins, until veggies are cooked. Add in tofu stir through.
4. Put a handful of noodles in a bowl, then ladle broth and veggies/tofu over top. Add a few tomato wedges and a handful if sprouts. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vegan Tortellini with Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce

Vegan Mom and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and I wanted to commemorate the occasion with a great meal. Way back when we used to make a tortellini dish with green peppers, mushrooms, and a simple cream sauce. I thought I would re-imagine the dish by making it a little more refined with roasted peppers and a less chunky sauce. The sauce turned out really well, but you need to patience of freakin' Job to make tortellini by hand. They are awesome, of course, but I think I will have to save them for special occasions. Or, maybe I need to make them a lot so I get faster.

INGREDIENTS
Tortellini
- 1 recipe tofu ricotta
- 1 recipe fresh pasta dough

Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce
- 1 red pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp margarine
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 recipe cashew cream (remainder from making the ricotta)
- 1/2 cup veggie broth
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Make tofu ricotta, then make the tortellini like you see in this video. I found it very helpful to put the tofu ricotta in a piping bag--it really sped up the filling process. Let dry a bit before cooking.
2. Make the sauce: roast peppers, then skin, core, seed, and chop. Heat oil and margarine over medium heat in a saucepan. Saute onion and garlic for 7-10 mins, until soft and translucent. Add in chopped pepper, basil, cashew cream, and broth. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender, then season to taste. Heat, but don't boil, and then serve over cooked tortellini.
NOTE: these freeze and cook really well (as do the ravioli). Once dried, place in a bad in the freezer. Drop as many as you want in boiling water and cook until they all float.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Son #2

Yesterday was Son #2's birthday and so that meant cake decorating for me. As you know, I always let the kids pick whatever cake they want and I make it. This year was the first time I used one of those character cake pans--I felt a little less creative but I can't argue with the results. The cake was a double recipe of Isa and Terry's basic vanilla cupcake batter with buttercream icing. Yes, vegan kids can have fun birthdays too.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thai Tamarind Chili Tofu and Cashews

Hopefully you've already made your tamarind chili paste and are ready to put it in a tasty dish for dinner. Keep in mind that you can alter this recipe to suit your tastes, making it sweeter or hotter as you see fit. None of my cooking is really all that precise, so take these recipes as a guideline. I have baked to tofu for this dish--I like my tofu to have some toothiness and this is a way to get a firm texture without frying.

INGREDIENTS
Golden Baked Tofu
- 1 pkg tofu, cut into cubes
- 1-2 tsp oil
- 1/2 tsp salt

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 shallot, halved and sliced
- red curry paste to taste
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 red pepper, cored and seeded, thinly sliced
- 4 green onions, angle cut into about 1" pieces
- 3-4 tbsp tamarind chili paste
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- salt to taste
- cilantro for garnish

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss tofu cubes in enough oil to coat, add salt. Place sheet in the oven and bake for 20 mins, or until golden, turning cubes regularly to evenly brown.
2. While tofu is baking, prep your veggies. Heat oil in a wok over med-hi heat. Add shallots and fry for 1 min, then add garlic and curry paste and fry for 30 seconds. Add red pepper and fry for 1 min more, until it begins to soften. Add green onions and fry 1 min more.
3. Add tamarind paste, stock, sauces, and sugar and mix well. Season to taste. Add cashews and tofu and heat through.
4. Garnish with cilantro and serve over jasmine rice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Top Chef Masters: Vegan Challenge!


You know from my past posts that I love cooking shows, and Top Chef is one of my faves. I have been watching Top Chef Masters this summer--not as good as the "real thing" but enough to sate my appetite until Season 6 starts next week. The 8th episode started with a burger quick fire challenge (snore), but the elimination challenge was to make a vegan 5 course meal for actress Zooey Deschanel. It is the challenge I have been waiting for! Not only is Deschanel vegan, she has gluten and soy allergies, so it was a true challenge indeed. The food looked amazing, and besides a few stupid comments from the judges, the episode is a great example of the diversity of vegan food. You can see the episode here, and here are the recipes from Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello, Hubert Keller, Anita Lo, and Art Smith.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chili Tamarind Paste

I mentioned in my last post that I finally found some tamarind here in ye olde North. Huzzah! I decided that a good way to make of its unique flavour was to make a paste to add to Thai and other Asian dishes. A little work goes a long way here because you can keep this in a glass jar in the fridge for a few months and just add it as you see fit. You can make this as hot or as mild as you want--I kept it pretty mild for the kiddies.

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 2 cups
- generous 1/2 cup dried shitake mushroom pieces (i.e. break up the shrooms a bit to get more into the cup)
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced
- 3 shallots, sliced (about 1 cup)
- dried red chiles to taste, or red curry paste
- 3 tbsp of tamarind pulp
- 1/4 cup hot water (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
- 1 cup veggie broth (more as needed)

METHOD
1. Put mushroom pieces in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until soft (about 15 mins). Place tamarind in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of hot water. Set aside.
2. While the mushrooms are soaking, heat oil in a saucepan over medium/med-hi heat. Add garlic and fry for about 1 min, until golden but not brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon.
3. Add shallots to the oil and fry for 1 min. Add chiles and fry for another min (if using curry paste, then skip this step). Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Remove pan from heat.
4. Mash tamarind pulp with a fork until a thick paste forms. Add more water, if needed. Press through a fine sieve with the back of a spoon. Discard fibres and seeds left behind.
5. Drain mushrooms. Place in a food processor along with garlic, shallots, chiles, tamarind paste, sugar, and sauces (and curry paste if you are using that). Begin to process. With motor running add the oil you fried the garlic in. Then slowly add veggie broth. If the mixture is too thick, or not smooth enough, add more broth.
6. Pour mixture back into saucepan and heat over medium heat until bubbling. Cook for 10 mins, sirring regularly, or until sauce darkens and thickens (should be like the consistency of pudding). The oil will separate out, but don't worry, you can stir it back in later.
7. Pour into a glass jar and let cool. Store in the fridge. When cold, stir to mix the oil back in.

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

We have been eating like kings now that summer is unleashing its bounty upon us. Grilled tofu or veggie burgers have been flanked with fresh local corn and potatoes, as well as peas, beans, lettuce, and tomatoes from our garden. Ontario peaches and blueberries, along with our raspberries, have made for the most wonderful fruit salads. While all this has been awesome its not particularly blog-worthy, so I thought I would regale you tales of dishes that didn't quite make it.
First up: my attempt at a roasted Sunday dinner. I made this back in the early spring when the weather was crisp and cold (and snowy) and I was in the mood for that sweet taste vegetables get when they are roasted. I loaded everything into a clay baker and topped it with some tofu that had been quickly fried and coated in balsamic vinegar. The end result was disappointing. I didn't season the veggies enough and I think the whole thing needed a gravy of some sort. I will revisit this in the fall.Next up: I was going to call this Shaked and Baked Tofu. It was good, but not much different from other recipes I have made (like baked tofu for kids). Calzones with white beans and white sauce. This was actually very tasty but was such a minor spin on this recipe that I didn't think it warranted its own post. Just use white beans instead of seitan, and use a simple white sauce instead of spaghetti sauce. Lastly, Thai noodles with baked tofu. This one I want to rework very soon. First, I let my noodles soak too long and they broke up in the wok. Secondly, I finally found some tamarind but I squandered it in this dish. I would like to make a nice tamarind chili paste and come back to rework the flavours.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ravioli with Pesto Cream

Do you like awesomeness? Then you will love this dish. The pesto cream is amazing and has no added fat, and is the perfect topping to tender homemade pasta. I know I said I would never make ravioli again, but I had some serious procrastinating to do today.

INGREDIENTS
Cashew Cream
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cups water

Tofu Ricotta Filling (slightly adapted from Isa's recipe)
- 1 pound firm tofu, pressed
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (ten leaves or so)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- dash fresh black pepper

- 1/4 cup of the cashew cream (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

Pesto Cream (adapted from Isa's recipe)
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- remainder of the cashew cream
- salt to taste

- 1 recipe fresh pasta dough

METHOD
Cashew Cream: place cashews in a blender and pour in enough of the water to cover. Blend into a paste. Add the rest of the water and blend until very smooth.

Tofu Ricotta (for ravioli):
1. In a large bowl, mush the tofu up with your hands.
2. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and basil. Mush with hands again until smooth and reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese.
3. Add cashew cream, stir with fork. You want the tofu to be creamy, but not wet or soggy. You should be able to form it into balls with your hands. Add nutritional yeast and combine all ingredients well.

Pesto Cream
:
1. Dry roast pine nuts in a pan over medium heat until golden (around 5 mins). Place in a food processor with basil, garlic, and lemon juice. Process until blended together.
2. With motor running, drizzle in cashew cream and blend until smooth (does not have to be super smooth--a little texture is nice).
3. Heat pesto cream gently in a saucepan and spoon over cooked ravioli.

A NOTE ON RAVIOLI
When I made ravioli before, I used this method. I made the dough too thin, though. This time I rolled the dough to number 5, and used a pastry wheel to get the funky edge. I also made smaller ravioli (about 2 x 2 inches. This recipe will yield about 45 ravioli with a generous tsp of filling in each. I let them dry on a linen towel for about 30 mins. The end result was a durable yet tender ravioli that did not break apart in the water.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grilled Mexican Tofu

It may surprise you to know that northern Ontario is not an epicentre of Mexican cuisine. There is nary a chile to be found anywhere, and if you ask for tomatillos at the grocery store you get blank stares. So, I was happy when I saw that the local bulk food store was now carrying chipotle powder. Not as good as the real thing, and not even as good as the canned stuff in adobo sauce, but better than nothing. Even so, this dish is really, really good. It's rather like a tostada but with tofu instead of a corn tortilla.

INGREDIENTS
Dry Rub
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin

- 1 pkg tofu, cut into 8 slices

Mexican BBQ Sauce
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup tequila
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tsp chipotle powder (or more)
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- salt, if desired

Refried Beans

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans
- 1/2 cup salsa verde
- 1/2 (approx.) veggie broth
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste

- sliced avocado
- chiffonaded romaine lettuce
- salsa (preferably freshly made)

METHOD
1. Mix together the dry rub ingredients and rub onto all sides of the tofu slices. Set aside.
2. Make the BBQ sauce: heat margarine over medium heat in a saucepan, then saute onions and garlic of 8-10 mins, until nice and soft. Add sugar, tequila, and lime juice and mix well. Add ketchup and spices and bring to bubbling. Remove from heat.
3. Make the refried beans: Heat oil over medium heat, then saute onions and garlic for 10-12 mins, until soft and starting to brown. Add beans and salsa and mix well. Cook for a few mins then begin mashing beans with a fork. As beans cook (about 15 mins), thin out with veggie broth to keep them moist, but not too goopy. When desired consistency is reached, add spices and season to taste. Keep warm over low heat.
4. BBQ tofu according to the method here.
5. Assemble the dish: place a piece of tofu on a plate and top with a layer of refried beans. Top that with 2 avocado slices, and then some of the romaine. Top that with a generous spoonful of salsa.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Alfredo Lasagna

Vegan Mom gave me a beautiful extra deep, enamel-coated, cast iron lasagna pan for my birthday. Armed with my new fresh pasta recipe and a fridge full of veggies, I put together this lasagna. I'm not going to post an actual recipe since it did not come out perfectly, but I'll tell you what I did. The idea was to use this alfredo recipe combined with roasted veggies. I did not cook the alfredo sauce ahead of time, figuring that it would cook in the oven. The end result tasted amazing but the sauce did separate, giving it a curdled look. I wonder if cooking the sauce first would be a good idea. I also think the sauce should be a little thinner and that the arrowroot powder is not needed. Anyway, here is an idea you can play around with.

On the BBQ I roasted:
- 1 large eggplant (roast until soft and squishy, about 20 min), then skin
- 1 head of garlic (roast the whole head, skins on, for about 15 mins)
- cremini mushrooms (tossed in olive oil)
- zucchini, sliced lengthwise, tossed in olive oil
- red, yellow, and orange peppers
- red onion, roasted with skin on for about 15 min

- fresh lasagna noodles, dried for 30 mins
- 1 recipe alfredo sauce

I put some sauce on the bottom of the pan, then layered sauce and veggies, and topped the final layer of noodles with a thick layer of sauce. I baked it for 1 hour, covered, in a 350 degree oven. Then I baked for 15 mins, uncovered, to firm up the top.

Let me just say that Son#1 absolutely hated this lasagna. In fact, I think it is the only meal he has refused to eat. I suppose the combo of onions, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms was just too much for him. He never actually took a bite but he was convinced that it was gross. To make it up to him I made a more traditional lasagna with veggie ground round, tofu ricotta, and vegan cheese on top.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Easy Fresh Vegan Pasta

I know I have made pasta before--fresh pasta, pumpkin pasta, and whole wheat pasta. But last weekend my younger brother came for a visit and schooled me in the ways of egg-free pasta, and I realized that I was making things way too complicated. I was operating under the notion that the egg in fresh pasta needed to be replaced, but it really doesn't. Keep it simple, man. Making pasta is also fun for the kids. That is Son #2's hand in the pic above, helping me make lasagna noodles.

INGREDIENTS
Makes 1 lb
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- dash of salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
- about 1/2 cup water

METHOD
1. Put flours and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and process briefly to mix.
2. With motor running (around speed 6-8), drizzle in oil and then the water. You will notice that the flour will resemble fine bread crumbs as the liquid is added, then coarse bread crumbs, then it will begin to bunch together. When it does this, it is ready.
3. Remove dough from processor and knead briefly until smooth. Pass through your pasta machine as per its instructions, dusting with semolina flour as needed.

TIPS
1. If you dough is too wet, you can work in more semolina as you pass it though the roller.
2. Drying the pasta for 20-30 mins after it is cut makes it more durable and less mushy, and is essential if you want to store the pasta in the fridge to be used later. Hang the pasta on a cupboard door while you get the water boiling.
3. Fresh pasta does not take long to cook--just a minute or so once the water comes back to a boil.