Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy Birthday

Someone might think I am crazy to put such a simplistic recipe on my blog. Last weekend I was camping and came home with an extra can of chili. It suddenly occured to me I had to make my favorite childhood dish.

Growing up, birthdays were my chance to request my favorite food. My little sis would be embarrassed to say what her food request was back then since now she is vegan and pigs are her favorite animal. I, too, had a favorite dish filled with foods I no longer eat. It was not until I found Trader Joe’s chili and Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese that I could properly replicate my childhood burritos. But please feel free to use your favorite brand of vegetarian chili and non-dairy cheese in your ingredients.

Chili "Cheese" Burritos

1 (14.7 oz) cab Vegetarian Chili
1 cup Vegan Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 large Flour Tortilla

Place the tortillas on a large plate. Place 1/4 can of the chili in the middle of the tortillas followed by 1/4 cup of shredded "cheese" on top. Fold short sides of the burrito in and fold long side over the middle of the burrito. Fold the last side over securing the insides. Place, folds down, on top of a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 ºF.

You do have the option of creating a healthier version of the burrito if you choose to do so. Since comfort food is all about familiarity, I do not make any changes. You could add vegetables such as green onions, spinach and red peppers. You could also use less “cheese” and make it with a whole wheat, spelt or sprouted tortillas. I have never made this without loving it, so I hope you experience the same.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sour Cream Lasagna

I don't remember how I came up with this concept, but I love it! The inside tofu mixture has an amazing creamy texture and the cheese sauce works perfect for the lasagna and so much cheaper than all the fake cheeses now on the market. When I learned this cheese sauce, it was my staple for years. I would put it under vegan 101.

Some friends came over to watch a movie, so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make this and share. It works great for potlucks, dinners and for yourself to have lots of yummy lunches to take to work.

Sour Cream Lasagna

1 lb Tofu, firm
1 Lime, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp Salt
2 cans chopped Green Chilies
1 can chopped Black Olives
1 large Green Pepper, chopped and sautéed
1 container Tofutti Sour Cream
1 can (14.5 oz) Tomatoes
1/4 cup Water
9 Lasagna Noodles (no bake)
Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce

Sauté the green pepper. In the mean time, crumple the tofu in a large bowl. Add the salt, lime juice, garlic and nutritional yeast. Put the contents of the olive and green chilie cans into the tofu mixture and mix. Add the green peppers and the sour cream and mix thoroughly.

Puree the tomatoes and water together. In a casserole dish, pour half the tomato mixture to cover the bottom. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, making sure to leave room on their sides since they will expand as cooked. Pour half the tofu mixture on top, using a spatula to cover the noodles. Place another layer of noodles. Use the rest of the tofu mixture, and another layer of noodles. Pour the other half of the tomato mixture on top of the noodles and prepare nutritional yeast cheese sauce. Pour this on top and place in over at 350°F For 40 minutes.

Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce

1/2 cup Unbleached White Flour
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp Garlic Granules
2 cups Water
2 tsp Mustard
1 Tb Braggs or Tamari
1 Tb Soy Margarine

Blend together the flour, nutritonal yeast and garlic. Add in the water and incorporate with a whisk. Heat over medium heat, stirring occassionally. When sauce starts to thicken, stir constantly. When it makes a thick sauce, add the mustard, margarine and braggs. Now it is ready to enjoy!

This cheese sauce can be used on pizza, pastas and so much more. Try putting it in the refrigerator to thick it and use for grilled cheese sandwiches. Very versatile!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The ducklings are here!

This is one of my favorite seasons! Baby duck season! And geese! I use to work where there was a pond in the back so every chance I could, I would go back there. In May the babies started to show up. There were times there would be multiple "batches" of babies, both geese and ducks. I now recognize a few grown ducks as survivors of the brutal baby time. Fish, crows and even frogs would "get" them. But not the geese, their parents worked together to make sure no one messed with their babies. Plus they have the advantage of being bigger.

Now I can visit the pond once in awhile. I know certain ducks who are bad mothers and know ducks who pair up with each other and have been waiting to see babies from years ago have their own families. But you can also go to your local pond to check out the baby season. Please don't feed the ducks bread, it is bad for them. But whole grain corn or popcorn works great! Ducklings and geeslings are everywhere these days, so enjoy this time of the year you can watch and enjoy their presence.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Spicy Tofu Triangles

One of the first recipes I fell in love with was this one! I would make it for friends all the time and never met anyone who didn't love it. One time I had a few people over and my rat at the time, Ernal, who lived free in my apartment, quickly jumped on a friend's plate and stole a tofu triangle. Watching her run with a piece of tofu a third her size was hilarious. She came back for more, but we were smarter this time. We wanted the tofu for ourselves!

1 lb Tofu
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tb Ginger, grated
1-2 Tb Raw Sugar
1/3 cup Tamari
1 Tb Olive Oil
Chili Paste to taste

Slice tofu into 1/4-inch slabs and again diagonally. In a non-stick pan, fry tofu in oil on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Combine ginger, garlic, chili paste and sugar in the tamari and stir well. Pour over golden tofu making sure all pieces are covered. Cook until liquid is absorbed by tofu. Serve with brown rice and steamed broccoli.