Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Candied Citrus Peels

I'm not really into gift-giving (or Christmas) so I usually bake cookies or cupcakes for the in-laws instead of buying gifts. This year I went with a candied orange peels recipe from the whole foods website. The recipe doesn't mention how long they take to make but it took me about 7 hours and that's before the 3-5 hours of drying on cooling racks (mine only dried for 30 minutes because Martha Stewart said it was ok). I used 3 oranges, 4 lemons, 4 limes, and 2 grapefruits.

Peeling the fruit and removing the pith took about 3 hours.

But it's so worth it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rice Salad with Pine Nuts and Cranberries

1 cup long grain rice, cooked and set aside to cool
1/2 cup black rice, cooked and set aside to cool
4 stalks celery, chopped
8 green onions, greens parts chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil

Whisk together the oil, vinegars, lemon juice, honey, sesame oil, and salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine the cooled cooked rice, celery, green onions, peas, dried cranberries, pine nuts, and dressing. Let it chill for a few hours before serving.

Adapted from here

Monday, December 29, 2008

Latkes & Cookies

This year, my sister and I made latkes by ourselves for the first time for her Hanukkah party. We somehow pulled it off and they turned out almost as good as my mom's latkes. The recipe looks simple but the frying is messy and time consuming and pretty easy to mess up. It's hard to keep the potato mixture from falling apart when it goes in the oil, the oil needs to be just the right temperature, and they burn pretty easily so you have to flip them at just the right time.

I don't think we've tried making these vegan but egg replacer powder should work instead of the eggs.

6 russet potatoes
1 onion
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt, optional
canola oil for frying (you'll need like half a bottle)

Grate the potatoes and onion in a food processor and place each batch of grated potatoes in cold water until they're all grated. Drain them and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes and onion. Mix the grated potatoes and onions with the flour and eggs (and salt) in a large bowl. Pour about 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet (or 2) over medium-high heat until it's hot but not smoking. Spoon in about 2 tablespoons of potato mixture and flatten into a pancake (but not too thin). Brown on both sides, about 5 minutes on each side. Drain them on baking sheets lined with paper towels and then keep them warm in the oven at around 250F. Serve with applesauce and sour cream or yogurt.

My sister's lucky guests were also treated to some of these delicious cookies that we helped my cousin make the night before the party. I think this was the recipe we used.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stuffed Shells

This is pretty much just my lasagna casserole recipe stuffed into shells. They looked really pretty right after being stuffed with the tofu-spinach mixture (and they were still vegan at that point) but I forgot to take a picture.

a few mushrooms, sliced
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil
1 28-oz can of spaghetti sauce
6 oz jumbo pasta shells (about 18 shells)
5 oz fresh spinach
3/4 lb tofu
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
4 oz grated mozzarella

Partially cook the pasta shells in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly tender but still firm, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta shells and place on baking sheet, spreading them out so that they don't stick together and allow to cool.

Saute the mushrooms and onions and zucchini over medium heat in the oil until tender. Remove from heat and add the spaghetti sauce.

Heat the oil in a small pot and add the spinach until it wilts. When the spinach cools, squeeze out the water and chop it. Mash the tofu with the spinach and spices.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread a large spoonful of the sauce in the bottom of a big baking dish. Lay out the pasta shells on the sauce and stuff each one with about 2 tbs of the tofu-spinach mixture. Spread the sauce over the shells and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese starts to brown.

Southwestern Pasta Salad

New Year's resolution #1: No more backlogged recipes. But it's still 2008 so here's another one from a few weeks ago that I forgot to post. I can't remember exactly how much of everything I put in this so you're better off going by the original.

1/2 pound pasta, cooked
1/4 red onion, minced
corn kernels from 1 roasted ear (or thawed frozen corn)
1/2 canned chipotle pepper
2 frozen meatless Italian sausages

1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 lemon, juiced
a few drops of adobo sauce
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy milk
green onion, minced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Combine the lemon juice and soy milk and let it sit until you're ready to prepare the dressing. Follow the instructions for cooking the sausages but slice them before sauteing in the oil and brown them on both sides.
Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Put the pasta in a bowl and add the veggies. Toss it with the dressing and add cilantro.

Flamin Baked Potato with Mushroom Sauce

I have a weird car wreck relationship with Paula Deen's show. I mostly watch it just so I can collect creepy Paula quotes ("I can't wait to wrap my lips around it!" "Come on over here and stick your head in this oven, y'all!") and to prove that her disgustingly fatty and meaty recipes can be made veggie and less fatty.

Her Jacket Potato with Bacon, Mushroom, and Peppercorn Sauce recipe worked out pretty well except for the peppercorns. I had a feeling replacing green peppercorns with black ones wouldn't be a good idea, but I wasn't about to go out and get new peppercorns when I already had perfectly good ones. Apparently peppercorns are green when they haven't started to ripen yet so they're more mild than the black ones. The black peppercorns weren't completely inedible but they were sorta crunchy and way too strong for me. The sauce was a bit thin because I used soy milk instead of heavy cream (is it just me or did there used to be a soy cream that wasn't sweetened so it was more like heavy cream than creamer?) but I don't mind thin sauce. I replaced the bacon with Yves Canadian Bacon and used Earth Balance instead of butter but other than that I pretty much just followed the recipe.

Oh, and the most important part: flambeing. I was all ready for a huge flame so I took all necessary safety precautions and poured the brandy into a measuring cup first, took the pan off the stove before pouring it in, lit the fumes at the edge of the pan with a long match and had a big pot lid on hand in case the flame got too big. But the flame ended up being tiny and only lasting for a few seconds... see for yourself

Baby Pot Pies

They're just normal size individual pot pies but I usually make one big pot pie casserole so they're babies to me. The recipe made enough for about 8 pies but half the crust recipe only made enough for 7 (top crust only). I'm still trying to decide if these are worth all the effort of trying to make the crusts fit the tins perfectly just for the convenience and cuteness of eating out of a little tin. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts

I'm a big fan of pretty much all the vegetables that kids really hate. Brussels sprouts probably aren't that great when they're boiled to a bland mush, but I can't really imagine anyone hating them when they're cooked right.

2 lbs brussels sprouts
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425.
Trim the brussels sprouts and get rid of any ugly outer leaves. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and add the brussels sprouts. Cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and drop them in a bowl full of ice water. Drain again. Cut the sprouts in half.

Put the sprouts in a bowl and mix with the shallots, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and salt and pepper. Pour them onto a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for 3-5 minutes over low heat just until light brown. Sprinkle over the brussels sprouts and serve.