Tag Archives: organic

The fastest chili mac casserole in the west, plus dairy-free chocolate milk

22 Jun

Delicious. No cows required.

Delicious. No cows required.

If you’re responsible for feeding one or more finicky children (or child-like adults), listen up, because these recipes are made for you.

My chili mac casserole and chocolate milk are omnivore requested, tested and approved, and possibly my most kid-friendly recipes to date. Plus, they both have the added benefit of being stupid easy to throw together, whilst harboring zero animal products or gluten. And, oh yeah, they taste fantastic. Amazing, I know. (Full disclosure time: I grabbed the gluten-free pasta off the store shelf on accident. But, you know what, it turned out yummy. So, there you go).

But before I launch into the recipes, allow me to drop some knowledge about one of the star ingredients in both.

Mmm...HFCS!When people find out someone in their vicinity no longer eats animal products, one of the most common concerns they feel the right need to voice is, “but where oh where do you get your calcium?!” (Because it makes complete sense to pipe up with nutrition advice when a fellow human is noshing salads and tofu, but when they watch you scarf down McGarbage on your way to a triple by-pass at 30, your diet is totally none of their business…) “Never fear,” I tell these folks, “well-rounded plant-based diets contain plenty of calcium. And one of my favorite sources is almond milk.”

It’s creamy, can be used exactly like you’d use cow’s milk in any recipe, and is devoid of lactose (an enemy of many tummies), growth hormones, cholesterol, and sneakily hidden sweeteners. Plus, unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is a rich source of magnesium and vitamin E, as well as selenium, and manganese. And calcium-fortified, unsweetened almond milk has 50 percent more calcium per serving than regular cow’s milk — yet only 30 calories per serving, compared to 90 calories in skim cow’s milk and 150 calories in fat cow’s milk.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I didn’t just drop a blob of Hershey’s chocolate syrup into my milk and call it a day. Because I think high fructose corn syrup is the devil’s sweetener, that’s why.

So let’s all calm down, eat some calcium-rich casserole, and wash it down with a nice, frothy glass of calci-yummy, better-than-moosual chocolate milk.

Chili Mac Casserole
Serves 4-5

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You're missing out.

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You’re missing out.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans vegan chili (I used Amy’s, medium-level spice. But if you’re less lazy than me, you can use about three cups of your homemade chili)
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped (you could use kale here, too)
  • 8 oz. pasta (I used gluten-free penne, but really, whatever floats your boat will work)
  • 1 batch of Aunt B’s Cheese Sauce (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumb topping (optional)

‘Role it Up

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Follow the package instructions to cook your pasta (gluten-free pasta usually has a shorter cook time).
  3. While your pasta is cooking, mix up all the ingredients for the cheese sauce in a blender or food processor.
  4. Dump your drained pasta back in the pot and pour in the cheese sauce, chili, and spinach, and stir until combined.
  5. Pour the whole mixture into a lightly greased (I used olive oil spray) casserole dish.
  6. If you like, top with breadcrumbs for an added crunch factor.
  7. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  8. If you can drum up enough patience, allow the casserole to cool a bit before serving. Or let the kids burn their tongues out of their skulls. That’ll teach ’em!

Non-Dairy Chocolate Milk
Serves 2

Thirsty?

Thirsty?

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsps organic, pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 drops vanilla
  • 2 heaping tsps pure cocoa powder

Simply blend all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge. If you don’t have a blender of food processor, you can use it whisk, but it might take a while.

Bon appetit!

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The vegan fried, dippity egg

15 Jun

Dip away, my dears. Dip away.

Dip away, my dears. Dip away.

This is real. And I'm so happy for all of us.

This is real. And I’m so happy for all of us.

I was wandering through a book store in Astoria not long ago, when I happened upon this gem: “Betty Goes Vegan” by Annie and Dan Shannon. Now, on account of recently moving across the country and having to re-buy pretty much everything a house needs, I’m broke. So I didn’t actually purchase the book just then (but I assure you all, I certainly will).

However, I did, while flipping through its magical pages, discover a dish I thought was out of my grasp forever when I gave up animal bits: the dippity fried egg.

You may know them as simply “over easy” or “sunny side up” eggs. But when I was growing up, on the rare occasions when my father would cook the only meal he ever cooked for us (breakfast), he usually made us fried eggs with ever-so-slightly pink yolks — perfect for little rugrats to dip toast into. We loved them and dubbed them dippity eggs. And dippity eggs they will forever be.

As you can probably imagine, I was beyond stoked to find this recipe. I may or may not have skipped across the shop, shoved the book up to Miles’ nose and said the phrase, “lookey lookey!” Despite my lack of funds, I had to get these non-eggs into my belly ASAP.

And so I did.

Ron Popeil sold me through quite a few bouts of insomnia once upon a time.

Ron and his rotisserie got me through quite a few bouts of insomnia once upon a time. Not pictured: Flavor injector.

Annie and Dan’s recipe calls for a flavor injector, a slightly wacky device that some of you might recall from the late-night countertop rotisserie commercials starring Ron Popeil. I know I do. Only instead of pumping a bird’s carcass full of marinade, the Shannons use this little doohickey to pump their yolk replacement (a vegan cheese sauce) into the middle of a tofu block. Ingenious.

Unfortunately, while I’ve placed an order for my very own flavor injector (of course), I was not patient enough to wait for it to arrive before attempting these tofeggs. Instead, I scraped out a couple little craters in my pressed tofu blocks, and filled them with my own yolk sauce (recipe and instructions below). And, my friends, I was not disappointed.

I think the key to the yolk sauce success is black salt. While not aptly named (it’s really more of a reddish brown), it’s eggy, sulfurous smell and taste are pretty much perfect for this application. I got mine off of Amazon, but you might be able to unearth some at an Indian market or health foods store.

In fact, my little dippity tofeggs were amazing, and now that I have a ready supply of yolk sauce, I plan to make them all the time. I hope you like ’em too!

Vegan Dippity Fried Eggs
Makes 4 Eggs

Mmm. Eggy salt.

Mmm. Eggy salt.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 16-oz. block of organic, extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • Four spoonfuls of vegan yolk sauce (below)
  • A pinch of black salt

Vegan Yolk Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 tsps vegan butter (as always, I rock the Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free)
  • A dash of turmeric (or until it’s as yellow as you like)

To make the sauce, place all the ingredients (minus the tofu, naturally) in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth liquid. You’ll have some left over. Store that in an airtight container in the fridge for your next batch of fried dippity eggs.

Two little tofeggs, getting ready for the skillet.

Two little tofeggs, getting ready for the skillet. And, also, a little bit of my thumb. My bad.

Get Ready to Get Dippity!

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut your block of pressed tofu into thirds, set one third aside for other use, and then cut the leftover two blocks in half, length-wise. What you want in the end is four rectangles of tofu that are roughly the size of a fried agg and about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Take a spoon and carve out little yolk craters on each of the tofu blocks. Be careful not to dig through the tofu, or your yolk sauce will escape!
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a cast-iron skillet until it crackles when you toss a drop of water in. Then fry your tofeggs, flipping over occasionally until they start to brown and crisp.
  • Sprinkle the tofeggs with a pinch of black salt.
  • Now, spoon some of your yolk sauce into crater of each egg, and place the skillet on the bottom rack of the oven for about three minutes to set the “yolks” up.
  • Scoop them out of the pan and onto a plate, and serve with some toast for dipping!

Bon appetit!

Pretty Purple Potato Salad

11 Jun

It's purple picnic time, ya'll!

It’s purple picnic time, ya’ll!

Mondays always suck. When I can finally bring myself to pry open my eyes in the morning, I find they are usually fixed into a Mr. Potato Head angry stare for the better part of the day.

No. I don't want to edit the TPS reports.

No. I don’t want to edit the TPS reports.

But, speaking of potatoes, Mondays now blow slightly fewer chunks. At least for me. You see, the first day of the work week is now also my delivery day from Organics to You. They’re a local Portland company that gathers up fresh, organic produce from farms in the area, and then drives around town in their bio-diesel vehicles delivering them to people like me who try to interact with other humans as little as possible.

So that helps.

Along with an assortment of other from-the-ground goodies, this week’s maiden delivery brought a bunch of potatoes and two lovely ears of sweet corn from the farm to my counter.

So I decided to cook up a summer feast: tofubacue, corn on the cob, and a new invention of mine — the pretty purple potato salad.

In case I haven’t been 100 percent clear where I stand on the subject of taters, I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE. Indeed, I possibly love them more than my favorite (fictional) person, Harry Potter. (But probably not a whole lot more, because Harry is the fixed point around which my universe revolves. But you know what I mean).

They’re yummy and comforting and come in so many versions: tots, twice baked, mashed, curly fries, hash browns. The list is endless and awe-inspiring. And, you guys, the purple ones are even better.

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool...

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool…

First of all, they’re purple. I think we can all agree that’s rad. AND precisely because they’re purple, these colorful spuds contain four times as much antioxidants as Russet potatoes. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes them so prettyfull, is a antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system and help prevent certain heart diseases and cancers. Recent research has also shown they can help lower blood pressure.

FYIzzle, be sure to leave the skin on the taters when you cook them to reap the most nutritional goodness.

And now, the loveliest potato salad you’ve ever eaten.

Pretty Purple Potato Salad
Serves four

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound potatoes, diced or sliced (I used two purple potatoes and two russet potatoes)
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons vegan mayo (recipe below)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Salad Away

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, dump your potatoes in. Then cook until soft enough to poke with a fork. Usually around 6 minutes.
  3. Immediately rinse the potatoes with cold water, strain them, pour them out into a mixing bowl, and then let them sit for a bit to completely cool off.
  4. Once the taters are room temperature, add all your ingredients to the bowl and mix, being sure to coat the spuds well.
  5. Pop the lot into the fridge to chill before you serve.

Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of silken tofu (half a package)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • A few drops of agave nectar

Make Some Mayo

  1. Blend the tofu and vinegar together in a food processor (or by hand with a whisk) until you have a smooth, creamy mix.
  2. Add the lemon juice and agave nectar to taste, and blend, until the flavor is up to par with your standards.

Bon appetit!

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