Archive for the Category ◊ Meatless ◊

23 Sep 2010 Veganized! Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

These taste a lot like the lettuce wraps at the Yard House and they are super easy and fast to make. After tasting this, I felt it needed a little heat to contrast with the cool, crispness of the lettuce so I added a pinch of red pepper flakes while I was sauteing the veggies. I also opted to include some diced red bell pepper because I had some in the fridge and, well, because they’re pretty… I’ve made this with both the Gardein Chick’n and store-bought teriyaki flavored tofu and both are equally delicious!

Hoisin Chick’n Lettuce Wraps

2 cups diced, cooked Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (or one pkg. of four cutlets)
2 tablespoons oil (1 for sautéing chick’n, and 1 for cooking vegetables)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped is fine
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms
¼ cup diced green onion
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and diced
½ cup Hoisin sauce
1/8 cup vegan Worcestershire sauce (check the label for anchovies, Lee & Perrins has anchovies, the generic store brands usually don’t)
2 tablespoons regular rice vinegar (NOT seasoned)
½ cup minced cilantro
1 head of iceberg or butter lettuce

Brown the Gardein Chick’n, in a skillet with a smidge of oil according to package directions. Remove from skillet to cool, then dice into ½” pieces. Meanwhile, chop celery, green onions, bell pepper mushrooms and water chestnuts.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in the same skillet, add ginger and sauté until fragrant. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté until veggies start to soften, about three minutes. Add diced chick’n, water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire and rice vinegar to veggie mixture. Stir to combine and sauté for an additional minute or two until everything is saucy and heated through. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and place in a medium sized serving bowl.

Make lettuce cups by carefully pulling off individual leaves of lettuce. Be careful of how big you make your cups; think appetizer size, not soft taco size. The larger I made these, the more difficulty I had eating them without dropping filling on my shirt! Place lettuce cups around the bowl of Hoisin Chick’n and serve with a slotted spoon.

This is a great vegan addition to your buffet table and if you use the Gardein Chick’n, no one will know it’s not the real thing 🙂 . Double the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Thank you, Polly, for the inspiration!

Hoisin Tofu Filling

11 Sep 2010 Zucchini Pasta

I have debated back and forth about posting this recipe…  Pros: it uses up zucchini, which is very important this time of year.  The pasta recipe is good.  Simple, straightforward. Good.  Cons: It’s not GREAT; it’s good, but it’s lacking Emeril’s “Bam”!  I made this for the first time at my friend’s beach house this summer.  We all liked it, but we all thought it needed something else.  Garlic?  Shallots?  Lemon Peel?  Egg yolk?  Not sure…

When we returned from the beach my friend kept asking for the recipe and I kept thinking about making it again.  So it had to have something, right?  I sent my friend the recipe (I had no intention of posting it), and I made it again.  The results were the same.  The pasta was good, not great, but…

…for the last two nights I have had leftover homemade pizza, leftover beef rice bowl, and leftover ribs in the refrigerator, along with the leftover Zucchini Pasta.  Two nights in a row I’ve chosen leftover Zucchini Pasta over all my other choices.  So this dish has to have something, right?  Maybe it’s just comfort food.  End of the summer comfort food.  Yes, that must be it.

This recipe is from a Pasta Cookbook I received as a birthday present and took to the beach to read. (I read cookbooks like novels. Who’s with me on that?) The cookbook is called “Homestyle Pasta” by Bay Books (I don’t think that’s a person and I couldn’t find a link!!)  I’ve changed the recipe a bit, but only to reduce the amount of pasta.  The original recipe called for 1 lb. of pasta.  That’s too much pasta, and not enough zucchini and cheese.

Did I mention how easy this is to make?  While the pasta boils, stir up the zucchini…

Did I mention that my two year old grandson can’t stuff this into his mouth fast enough?

Zucchini Pasta

1/2 lb. fettuccine (the original recipe called for 1 lb of pasta)
1/4 cup salted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the fettuccine in boiling salted water per package directions. Drain pasta and keep warm.  Melt butter in a large frying pan, saute the garlic for one or two minutes.  Stir in grated zucchini and saute until zucchini is soft, about 3 minutes.  Stir in drained noodles and grated cheese. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Good. Fast. Easy. End of the summer comfort food.  And you now have three less zucchini.  HEY! You could attach this recipe to the zucchini you drop off on your neighbor’s porch after dark tonight!

Enjoy these last days of summer.  Enjoy your harvest 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

02 Sep 2010 Fresh Tomato Tart

Fresh Tomato Tart

It’s been a long, cool summer here in California.  I’ve enjoyed it, loved it actually, but I did begin to wonder if we’d EVER “suffer” from our usual abundance of garden grown tomatoes.  Finally, the end of August, beginning of September 2010, we have an abundance of tomatoes.  My neighbors and Facebook friends have been asking for recipes to use up their tomatoes.  I have two good ones.  The Fresh Tomato Lasagna that I posted earlier this week, and this Fresh Tomato Tart which was a staple at our house last summer.  This year I’ve made it once, this afternoon, to welcome my daughter home for a quick 18-hour visit. I used 6 of my dry-farmed garden tomatoes.  I had better make another one, like I said, we finally have an abundance of organic, garden grown, dry-farmed tomatoes.  (I dry-farm my tomatoes every year.  The tomatoes are smaller, but oh so sweet and flavorful.  To dry-farm your own tomatoes, as soon as the fruit begins to set, stop watering.  YEP. No water. At all. Ever.) BTW…, I made this once without the feta cheese (not something I always have on hand) and it wasn’t nearly as good. My older daughter has substituted goat cheese for the feta, and she likes that.  But I hate (no, I loathe) goat cheese, so that doesn’t work for me. The inspiration for this recipe was from a 2009 Cooking Light magazine.  I used the cheese mixture from one of their recipes (can’t, for the life of me, remember which recipe), but then I changed everything else to get this…

Fresh Tomato Tart

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed 2 cups thinly sliced tomatoes (five or six medium tomatoes, discard the top and bottom slices) 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced fresh oregano (or pinch of dried) salt, pepper 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella 1/2 cup crumbled feta 1/4 cup grated Parmesan AND 1/4 cup grated Parmegiano-Reggiano (OR, 1/2 cup of just one cheese) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat an unrimmed cookie sheet with cornmeal, oil or spray (I prefer to use the cornmeal). Unroll puff pastry, thin out a bit by rolling, then prick all over with a fork. Place in hot oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and place on 2 layers of paper towel. Roll towels with tomatoes, and set aside for tomatoes to drain while you mix the cheeses, basil and oregano together in a bowl. Remove puffed pastry from oven. Sprinkle 2/3 of cheese/herb mixture over hot pastry. Place drained tomato slices on top of cheese. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sliced green onion, and remaining cheese/herb mixture. Return to oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Thanks for stopping by both my kitchen, and my garden, today.  It’s been a fun summer, but I am ready for fall.  If you make this, let me know how you like it!

29 Aug 2010 Fresh Tomato Lasagna

Every morning, every good, calm morning, I browse the food blogs.  Most mornings I print off a few recipes.  The recipes then sit around for awhile and I revisit them from time to time.  Eventually, I do try some of the recipes.  Very few of the recipes I repost “as is”.  Some recipes show promise and I work with them for a bit (I have been working on a recipe for Orange Creamsicle Cookies for a few months now).  I probably post (or plan to post) about 50% of the recipes I test.

This morning I found this recipe.  This afternoon I printed it off, picked two pounds of tomatoes from my garden, and went to the store for some fresh mozzarella.  This evening I made the recipe (since our temperatures have finally dropped about 25 degrees in the last two days, I was OK with turning on the oven for 45 minutes).  This lasagna was creamy, cheesy and fresh tasting,  lighter than regular lasagna, but still rich.  Since there are so few ingredients in this lasagna that, if you decide to make it, be sure your tomatoes are the BEST and your olive oil is the best you can get.  Although this pan of lasagna looks very small,  it would certainly serve four people.

The original recipe can be found at SortaChef, One Hot Cat in a Woodfired Kitchen.  I changed the Bechamel Sauce to more closely resemble one I have made many times before and really like the flavor of (adding nutmeg, allspice and Parmesan cheese).  I also added some chopped fresh basil (thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Jeanne) and oregano, and changed the method a bit.

Fresh Tomato Lasagna

2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes (don’t use tomatoes purchased at the supermarket)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, preferably buffalo, sliced thinly or shredded
4 Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
3-5 cups water at 150º (use half hot tap water and half boiling water)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (more or less to taste)
approx. ¾ teaspoon salt

For the Béchamel Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk (I used 1%, but whole milk is traditionally used)
¾ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon finely ground pepper (or more to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
dash of allspice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375º.

Pour 3-5 cups very hot water (about 150 degrees) into a loaf pan or casserole dish and slip the no-boil noodles in one at a time. Let noodles soak for 15 minutes.

Make the Béchamel sauce. Heat milk in microwave for one minute. Melt butter in a quart-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is barely melted whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat. Whisk in one third of milk and incorporate thoroughly before adding the next third.  Be sure the sauce is smooth before you add more milk. Once you have successfully added all the milk and the sauce is hot and smooth, add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice. Whisk in the egg.  Turn heat back onto medium and cook sauce for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover tightly with a lid and set aside until ready to use.

Slice 8 ounces of Buffalo mozzarella (or other fresh mozzarella) into ¼ inch pieces. Slice the tops and bottoms off of the tomatoes and discard or reserve for another use. Cut the rest of each tomato into ¼ inch rounds. Coarsely chop the basil and oregano.

In glass loaf pan build the lasagna in this order:

  • A layer of uncooked tomato slices, pack as many in there as you can.  Drizzle with your finest olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt, 1 t. basil and 1/2 t. oregano.
  • 1 lasagna noodle
  • ¼ of the mozzarella
  • ¼ of béchamel sauce spread evenly to all edges of the pan
  • Continue the sequence with remaining noodles and filling, finishing with a layer of tomato slices drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, basil and oregano.

Bake at 375º for 40-45 minutes, until béchamel has puffed up and the edges are bubbling.

Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen, and my garden, today!

06 Jun 2010 Pasta with Asparagus
 |  Category: Main Dish, Meatless, Pasta, Veggies  | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment

My daughter Abby has been a successful member of Weight Watchers, on-and-off, for about 2 years now. When I found a Weight Watcher’s foodie blog recently, I sent the link to her. She immediately sent back that she wanted to make this. I was underwhelmed with her choice. The ingredient list didn’t add up to much for me. I was wrong. This is a knock out pasta dish; easy, quick and quite delicious. What more could you want? Ohhh…, Weight Watcher’s points! 4 points per serving. Oooops. This only served the two of us…, make that 8 points per serving…, but still yummy, still incredibly easy and fast to pull together. To serve four I would throw in some cubes of cooked chicken or beef, or even a few shrimp.

Abby moves into her own apartment in August. I am pulling together a cookbook for her. This one is going in it. I hope it becomes of one of her staples. Thanks Skinny Taste!

Pasta with Asparagus

1 lb asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces (tough ends discarded)
6 oz uncooked pasta (less than half a box)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large pot boil 4 cups water with 1 T. salt. When boiling, add asparagus and cook 4 minutes, until tender crisp. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon to a dish and set aside. Remove 1/4 cup cooking water and set aside. Add more water to pan, return to a boil, and cook pasta in same water. Look on the box for the cooking time.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine egg yolk, cheese, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup asparagus liquid. Set aside. In a large frying pan heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until golden, add asparagus and sauté about 1-2 minutes, tossing with oil and garlic. Add in cooked pasta and egg mixture. Toss and stir well, cooing on medium-low for about 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens and sticks to pasta. Serve.

Optional-Stir in 1 cup cooked cubed chicken, beef, or shrimp when adding the cooked asparagus to the frying pan.

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup • Points: 4 ww pts
Calories: 227.6 • Fat: 7.0 g • Protein: 5.4 g • Carb: 38.3 g • Fiber: 6.9 g