Friday, December 30, 2011

Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries

I made these back in the summer when I had ridiculous amounts of zucchini. While I had trouble figuring out what to do with it all, it was easier to use up than the ridiculous amounts of cucumber! Anyway, so one night I decided to try out battered and baked zucchini fries. A giant tray of them. The batter was quite thick, which adhered well to the zucchini but it was difficult to get an even application on all zucchini fries. I'm sure this will become easier with practice! These are a great healthier alternative to deep fried battered vegetables. I didn't add the recommended spices, but next time I'd definitely add some herbs like oregano or thyme.

Zucchini fry army.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Wheat Berry Salad with Zucchini and Mozzarella
Maple Mustard Glazed Potatoes and String Beans
Caribbean Roasted Vegetables
Warm Vegetable Salad with Sesame-Maple Dressing

Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries
Adapted from mcdeanna on VegWeb

Makes 3 to 4 servings

If you're making your own bread crumbs, toast the bread, let it cool, then run it through the food processor until you get crumbs. I do about 1 piece of bread per cup called for, but depending on the size of your bread you might need more or less.

4 cups whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 zucchini, sliced into fries

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

2. Place bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Set aside. Mix apple cider vinegar with nondairy milk. Stir and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.

3. In another bowl, combine the flours, soy/vinegar mixture, salt and pepper.

4. Dip zucchini in wet ingredients. Then dip and cover zucchini individually into bread crumbs and place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers

I don't always have the most success with meatless burgers (well not that I ever had success with meat burgers as I did not enjoy them and never made them). They always fall apart when I'm pan frying them, or dry out too much if I bake them. But I think I'm starting to find my burger groove! I try not to use too much oil when cooking, but you need to make sure you have enough oil in the pan so that the burgers don't stick and fry up nicely, making them easy to flip and less likely to fall apart.

These burgers were really flavourful with the smoked paprika, cumin and chili powder. And yes I talk about how I hate beans but I do really enjoy black beans, especially in a form like these burgers. I loved eating these burgers with pickles. But then I'm also really obsessed with pickles recently. In particular the Steinfeld Kosher Petite Dill Pickles. (Not that they're paying me to promote them I just really love them.)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Mushroom Pecan Burger
Black Bean Confetti Salad
Triathalon Tostadas
Black Bean, Zucchini & Olive Tacos with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt

Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers
Adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

Makes about 10 burgers

1 cup seitan
14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 cup ground whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tbsp high heat vegetable oil for pan frying

1. Add the seitan to the food processor and process until finely chopped (a few remaining bigger chunks are okay).

2. Add the beans, and process until finely chopped (you may still see the occasional bean piece). Remove this mixture to a mixing bowl.

3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, bread crumbs, flour, corn, paprika, cumin, and chili powder to the seitan/bean mixture and mix well with your hands or a spoon. Adjust the mixture with salt, to taste, or add more bread crumbs if the mixture is too wet. It should be moist but not gloppy. For example, if you stuff your 1/4 cup measure with it, you should have to pry it out. If it glops out by itself, it's probably too wet.

4. Heat the oil n a pan over medium-high heat.

5. Begin forming patties (1/4 cup of mixture per patty). Make them thin to avoid a too-mushy center. You can form all of the patties ahead of time and place them on wax/parchment paper, foil, etc.

6. Fry patties four at a time, or however many reasonably fit into the pan until dark brown on either side.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Banana Trail Mix Loaf

This very moist and soft loaf is my favourite vegan banana loaf. (My favourite non vegan banana bread is this banana apple one.) E thought it wasn't as sweet as regular banana bread - and it wasn't with only 1/3 cup sugar. But for me it's actually the perfect sweetness. Plus I added in some Trader Joe's Temping trail mix (with peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, dried cherries, almonds and cashews) which adds some sweetness. Sometimes I buy trail mix because it seems like a good idea but then I either forget to eat it, or don't want to eat it (like the giant bags of trail mix at Costco). I always get so sucked in by the Trader Joe's ones. So many enticing combinations!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Mom's Banana Apple Bread
Apple Cinnamon Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf
Candied Maple Walnut Pancake Loaf

Banana Trail Mix Loaf
Adapted from ExtraVeganZa

Makes 1 loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup natural cane sugar (Sucanat)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
1 1/4 cups bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups trail mix (for a vegan loaf, ensure your trail mix is vegan)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9"x5" loaf pan with foil, parchment, or oiling it. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, nondairy milk, and vinegar, and whisk together until emulsified. Stir in the bananas. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir together, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the trail mix.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf pan, and smooth the top with the back of a spatula. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Crunch

Merry Christmas eve!!! And Merry Christmas as I won't be posting tomorrow. Hope you all have a wonderful time with family, friends and delicious food. :)

A snowman ornament I made this year.

Before I started my new job, I tried to write up a ton of blog posts since I have so many things I haven't blogged about. Which is how I've been updating my blog so frequently despite my great lack of free time! It's nice to just have them all ready. But I've been sneaking in some Christmas goodies so that you won't be seeing them in January when you're sick of them! Well I always love seeing Christmas baking and don't get sick of it but I imagine there are people who do, or who make resolutions to stop eating Christmas goodies after eating so many over the holidays. Anyway!

So here is one of the delicious things I made this here. I've wanted to make this since I first saw it on David Lebovitz's blog, then saw it on everybody likes sandwiches, then on Dinner with Julie. Finally it's on my blog! I like making at least one bark/candy type thing at Christmas. This one is super easy. You make caramel (but in a really easy way without a candy thermometer), pour it on top of crackers, bake, then top with chocolate. Next time I'll get the salted soda crackers because I love that salty sweet combination. It might sound bizarre to include crackers in this bark, but the caramel completely soaks into them. So they're more like a vessel for the caramel and to help add the crunch.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Chocolate Cookie Bark
Candy Cane Bark
Peanut Butter Truffles
Quintuple Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Caramel Crunch
Adapted from Dinner with Julie, everybody likes sandwiches and David Lebovitz

I bought the crackers with unsalted tops this time, but next time will buy the salted ones.

Box of soda crackers (I used Premium Plus)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Line the pan with crackers.

In a medium saucepan, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour evenly over the crackers, spreading it with a heatproof spatula to cover.

Put it into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350F. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until deep golden. Remove from the oven and scatter with chocolate chips; let sit until they soften, then spread evenly over the caramel.

Let cool completely, then break into chunks, or cut/score into squares while still warm. I found that it broke really easily into perfect squares (because each piece is a soda cracker).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I love a nice big salad that's both delicious and filling. And that's exactly what this salad is. There's a grain - okay a seed (quinoa), protein (chickpeas), and lots of vegetables (lettuce, onions, roasted mushrooms). This is all tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette. It's so simple and such a great base salad to add whatever you have around or are craving. The balsamic dressing was good but my favourite balsamic dressing is the one from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, with a few modifications.

I went to Manning Park for work yesterday which was really exciting because I got to see lots of snow! And practically froze my toes off. Note to self, do not wear rain boots in the snow. Snow is my favourite so I was so happy to get to be around it if even for a short while! I love how trees look covered in snow. Snow snow snow.

I had to take a quick photo with my iPhone!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Autumn Panzanella
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, DIll and Lemon
Portabello Salad with Mustard Dressing
The Diva Salad

Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Serves 4

4 cups mushrooms, halved
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
8 cups chopped or torn romaine lettuce
2 cups cooked chickpeas
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 425F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil and spread out evenly on the baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on how roasty you like your mushrooms). Ideally you want to time it so the mushrooms will be warm when you eat the salad.

If you will be eating the whole salad in one sitting, mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. If not, keep the ingredients separated and use 1/4 of the ingredients for 1 serving of salad. Just before serving, add the dressing and toss to coat.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

1/4 cup raw cashews
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
A few grinds of black pepper

Place the cashews, shallot and garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse to chop them. Add the rest of the ingredients. Blend for at least 5 minutes, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides often, until completely smooth. It's really important that you blend for the full time, otherwise your dressing may be grainy. Transfer the dressing to a container and chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Snowballs

Both my mom and my grandma make a holiday goodie that they call "snowballs", but they're different kinds of snowballs. My mom's are the Russian tea cakes (or Mexican wedding cookies), while my grandma's are these chocolate oat coconut snowballs. My mom's snowballs are good, but the combination of chocolate, coconut and oats (even just coconut and oats without chocolate) always wins for me. Both my brother and I really love these. And they're super easy to make. They don't require any fancy ingredients and can easily be made vegan if you use vegan butter/margarine and nondairy milk.

If these sound good, you might also like:
Detox Blonde Macaroons
Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Cowboy Cookies
Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Snowballs
My grandma's recipe - not sure where it originated

Makes about 40 snowballs

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used medium), plus extra for rolling
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

In a pot on the stove, melt the sugar, butter, vanilla, cocoa powder and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for not more than 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can microwave the ingredients for approximately 3 minutes, until melted and cooked around the edges.

Add the coconut and oats to the mixture. If it's too warm and soft, put it in the fridge for an hour or so. Roll into balls, drop into a small bowl of coconut until covered. Lay on a tray until cool. Store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

The Cookbook Giveaway is closed! I used a random number generator and Genevieve of Vanilla & Spice won Appetite for Reduction!

I don't like cookies that are too soft and cakey, but you know what the best thing about these cookies is? They're soft. How do they get away with this being the best thing about them? They're also thick and dense. Soft, thick and dense. Is that a contradiction? Maybe, but it works. I can't say these are my favourite oatmeal cookies, as I do prefer ones that have crisp edges and spread out more, but there is room for these ones too. Other people who tried them really enjoyed them.

Abby loooooves her cube. She has two and I have another one in the closet when those ones have to be thrown out. She likes hiding inside and doing sneak attacks, diving through them, sleeping inside, and "pumping iron". (I should post a video of Abby pumping iron, which is basically her sitting next to the cube, with one paw on it, and pressing down repeatedly while staring randomly around the room.)

If these sound good, you might also like:
Detox Blonde Macaroons
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Ginger Molasses Cookies
Vegan Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/3 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup oil (I used safflower)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

2. In a large bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together the soy milk and flax seeds. Add in the sugar and oil and mix until it resembles caramel, about 2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, and salt. Mix in the flour mixture with the wet mixture. Fold in the oatmeal and cranberries.

3. Drop dough in generous tablespoons, about 2 inches apart, onto the baking sheets. Flatten the tops a bit, since they don't spread much. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

White Bean & Walnut Bruschetta

Okay I know I said several times how much I don't like beans, but now I keep posting bean recipes I like. Because I do like some beans or like them in some forms. I just can't imagine being a person who would enjoy some beans poured on top of a salad with nothing else done to them. But made into bruschetta like this? Yes yes yes. The vinegar, tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, thyme and fresh basil do something magical to the beans. I didn't want to share the leftovers with E. We ate it on top of some zucchini garlic bread I made, which I will post about soon.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Black Bean Confetti Salad
Back On Track Wheat Berry and Chickpea Salad
Triathalon Tostadas
Black Bean, Zucchini & Olive Tacos with Garlic-Lemon Yogurt

White Bean & Walnut Bruschetta
Adapted from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan

Makes 4-6 servings

Crusty bread, sliced
1 cup cooked navy beans
2 tsp red wine vinegar
3/4 cup tomatoes, minced
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bread slices on baking sheet and bake for 3-4 minutes to slightly toast. Remove from oven, but keep temperature at 425F, and let bread cool while preparing bean mixture. In a bowl, mash 1/2 cup beans with vinegar. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine well. Once bread is cool, spoon mixture onto bread slices, portioning mixture as desired. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the topping is warmed through. Do not over bake, since the beans can dry out.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blueberry Spice Spelt Muffins

These are supposed to be blueberry ginger muffins. But while I love ginger in savoury dishes, I'm not a huge fan of it in sweets. So I omitted the crystallized ginger. But the muffins still tasted strongly of ginger due to the 2 teaspoons of ground ginger. In the future I'd change the spice levels and combination. I'd probably use 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves (my favourite spice) and 1/4 teaspoon ginger. I will definitely make these again, as I loved how nice and soft they were.

Abby looks either like she's about to fall off the pillow, or like I'm annoying her. Both are likely.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Pineapple Carrot Ginger Muffins
Bakery-Style Berry Muffins
Double Chocolate Avocado Muffins
Coconut Banana Muffins

Blueberry Spice Spelt Muffins
Adapted from Vegan Brunch

Makes 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups whole grain spelt flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup yogurt (soy yogurt for vegan muffins)
1 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened plain soy)
1/3 cup safflower oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare muffin tins with oil or liners.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center and add the yogurt, milk, canola oil and vanilla. Stir to combine. Fold in the blueberries.

Scoop the batter into the muffin tin; it should almost fill the entire tin. Bake for 28 to 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

I started a new job last week which I'm super excited about! I have a long commute - about 3 hours total a day - so I plan to try and cook and prepare as much as I can for the week on Sundays. I figure with some organization I should still be able to easily have healthy home cooked meals, and have time to exercise on week nights too. Anyway, I just wanted to share my news. :)

I made this in the summer when we had an abundance of amazing tomatoes from our CSA. I know tomatoes aren't in season now but I think it'd still be delicious, and would be a great addition to a big family meal. Or something comforting and warm to eat at home. The garlic, basil and Parmesan cheese make this tomato bread dish into something really flavourful. I found it quite rich and strong tasting, which was great, but it's definitely best eaten alongside something else like a salad.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Tomato Corn Pie
Pan-Roasted Cauliflower
Tarragon Pecan Asparagus
Cauliflower Gratin

Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices whole grain bread (I used Silver Hills), cut into 1/2" pieces
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cookbook Giveaway!

I'm so excited about my Amazon gift card that I received from the Fairy Hobmother, and I want to share it with you guys too! So I'm hosting a giveaway where you can enter to win any cookbook you want (that's available to ship from and is less than $40).

To enter, leave a comment (with your email, if you don't have a blog), tell me which cookbook you want, and tell me something random about yourself. This contest is only open to people living in Canada (sorry!) I will leave the contest open until 11:59pm PST on December 18.

***Contest closed. Genevieve won Appetite for Reduction!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Detox Blonde Macaroons

Coconut is one of my favourite things. Fresh coconut, dried, coconut milk, yum. And I've been wanting to make some variation of these vegan macaroons for too long. They're truly delicious. Lots of coconut flavour, incredibly soft, a bit chewy. Gluten free too! The original recipe had almond extract but I detest that fake almond flavour so just added more vanilla. I gave a bunch away and kept the rest in the freezer, and yes they are amazing from the freezer too. Oh and I made my own coconut butter! (Which is just pureeing unsweetened shredded coconut. Magic.)

I'm sending these to the cookie blog hop.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Coconut Creme Brulee
Coconut Shortbread
Coconut Madeleines
Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake
Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Detox Blonde Macaroons
Adapted from Oh She Glows who adapted from Healthy Hoggin

Yield ~22 macaroons

2 2/3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (or 1 cup coconut butter)
2 (additional) cups shredded unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with a non-stick mat or parchment. In a food processor, process 2 and 2/3 cups of shredded coconut for about 5-8 minutes until coconut butter forms. You will have to keep scraping down the sides of the bowl. Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of store bought coconut butter.

2. Once you have made the coconut butter, mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Scoop about 1-2 tbsp of dough onto a baking sheet. You don’t have to leave much room in between as they do not spread out. Bake one sheet at a time for 25-28 minutes at 300F. Watch them closely after 22-23 minutes. The bottoms of my macaroons were golden in colour.

4. Allow the macaroons to sit for 30 minutes so they can firm up. If you do not do this, the macaroons will crumble, so this step is crucial! Store in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Curried Scrambled Tofu with Wilted Greens

If you're vegetarian, vegan or just have a love for tofu, I'm sure you've tried scrambled tofu. While I love tofu, I've never found a tofu scramble that I really loved, until this one. The recipe calls for arugula, but I used some random bitter leafy green that came in our CSA. I think it was some kind of lettuce. Cooked lettuce used to be so bizarre to me, but I discovered a love for it when I tried it in hot pot. And again when I had it in this tofu scramble.

Masala Baked Tofu

For those of you that read my blog regularly, I'm sure you can tell that I've been cooking a lot from Appetite for Reduction. So many of the recipes really appeal to me, and I've enjoyed most that I've tried. But occasionally I try some I don't like so much, like this masala baked tofu and curried cabbage and peas. They weren't bad, they just weren't things I'd recommend or make again. So I just thought I'd stick in a mini review of them here for people who have the cookbook and are wondering what to try next. :)

Curried Cabbage & Peas

The Fairy Hobmother visited my blog after I left a comment on Grace's blog, and will be sending me an Amazon gift card! If you want the chance to be visited by the Fairy Hobmother, just leave a comment and make a wish, and you might be lucky too. :)

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Orange Sesame Tofu with Coconut Lime Basmati Rice
Lemon Miso Tofu and Eggplant
Tofu and Broccolini in Peanut Sauce
Salt and Pepper Tofu

Curried Scrambled Tofu with Wilted Greens
Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main

1 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 block extra firm tofu (about 14 oz)
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp salt
Ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leafy greens (ex. arugula, lettuce, spinach)

Preheat a large pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion in the oil for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Crumble the tofu into bite size pieces and add to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu has browned on some of the sides. Use a little nonstick cooking spray if needed.

Add the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and a few splashes of water if it's too dry. Mix in the greens. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted. Add the lemon juice and serve.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gumdrop Cake

Have you guys started planning out what Christmas baking you're going to do? I loooove making my list and would love to hear what you guys are planning on making or have already made. So far I've made:
+Andes Chocolate Mint Cookies
+Pecan Tassies
+my grandma's shortbread
+this gumdrop cake!

gumdrop cake

I plan on also making my grandma's chocolate coconut snowballs, and maybe some other things. But anyway, onto the gumdrop cake. We were waiting in line at the grocery store and I came across this recipe in a Canadian Living holiday magazine. Gumdrop cake!! That sounded exciting. I've never baked with gumdrops. And it has a jar of maraschino cherries, which I love. Basically it's like a different version of fruitcake, though I've never made fruitcake and have rarely eaten it. But that's what I think.

gumdrop cake

The recipe they printed in the magazine was a bit vague so I was scared how it would turn out but I'm happy with the results. The cake is tinged pink from the maraschino cherry "juice". I wasn't sure how I'd like gumdrops in a cake but it turns out I love them - at least in this style of cake. The cherries and raisins are great too, the cherries more than the raisins. I was wary of the almond extract as I detest that fake almond flavour, but I went with it. And it turned out successfully. It's not something you'd want to eat a lot of given its strong flavour and sweetness, but to have a little nibble, it's great and something different.

I love giving out Christmas baking, but I'm just wondering - is anyone else as OCD as me about it? I can't handle putting different types of cookies with different textures, dryness levels and flavours all in one tin. The mint from the mint chocolate cookies might make the snickerdoodles minty! Or the shortberad might absorb moisture from the pecan tassies and make them dry! I love how a mixed tin of cookies looks, but I have to put them in separate bags first, then into the tin. What do you do? Anyone have a good solution to my cookie mingling problem?

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Perfection Pound Cake with Lemon Curd
All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake
Cream Cheese Pound Cake and Strawberry Sauce
Toasted Pecan Eggnog Ring

Gumdrop Cake
Adapted from Mrs. P. Ramsay in Victoria (found in Canadian Living holiday magazine)

The original recipe stated "1 package of raisins, 1 package of gumdrops and 1 jar of maraschino cherries". Not sure what size was intended to be used, but I just used what was available at the store and have noted the sizes I used in the recipe.

375 g package raisins
375 mL jar maraschino cherries, drained with juice reserved, and sliced in half
200 g package gumdrops
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup milk plus juice from the cherries (I used unsweetened almond milk)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

Soak the raisins for 1/2 hour in hot water. Drain well. Mix together the raisins, cherries, gumdrops and 1 cup of the flour. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare a bundt pan by buttering it, making sure to get into all the crevices. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla extract, almond extract, milk and juice from the cherries. In another separate bowl, whisk together the 3 1/2 cups flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and liquid mixture, starting with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the fruit mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes, then 300F for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the pan before turning it out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Black Bean Confetti Salad

I don't know if I should really call this "confetti" salad as I was silly and bought only red bell peppers, instead of a mix of red, orange and yellow. But I trust that you will have more foresight than me and will get a colourful mix! But regardless of the lack of confetti spirit, this is a really delicious salad. I love the flavour, with the lime, cumin, and cilantro. It makes a TON so I would recommend halving it unless you have a lot of people to feed. We ate it as a salad on its own, and also stuffed it into quesadillas with cheese and tomato paste. I know I talk a lot about disliking beans, but this is one of the ways that I love them.

I'm submitting this salad to Ricki's Wellness Weekend.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Spicy Potato & Corn Salad
Rainbow Rice and Beans
Mediterranean Pepper Salad

Black Bean Confetti Salad
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and well-rinsed
4 bell peppers, a mix of colors, chopped into a small dice
1 medium onion, chopped into a small dice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Juice of two limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

Mix beans, bell peppers, onion and cilantro in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk remaining ingredients into a vinaigrette. Ideally, you’ll have a 1/2 cup of dressing. Pour it over the bean mixture, toss it well and adjust seasonings to taste.