Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fennel Risotto and Salisbury Seitan

If you are starting to crave lighter foods, like I am, this is a nice one to make. I had to use up the fennel I bought from the farmers market.

Fennel Risotto

2 T. olive oil (more may be needed)
1 medium fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 C. onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 C. risotto
1/3 C. white wine or marsala
4 C. vegetable broth, hot ( may need more)
S & P to taste

Heat a bit of olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add fennel to saute until somewhat soft. Once done take out the fennel and put in a seperate bowl and set aside. Next add more oil to pan and saute onions and garlic until soft. You may have to add more oil to pan if dry and add risotto, stir until light brown. Once lightly browned add the wine and stir until hardly any liquid is left. Next start adding the warmed vegetable broth 1/2 C. at a time, stir, and once the liquid is almost soaked into the risotto is when you add the next 1/2 c. of broth. It's possible you made need more liquid. Keep the process up until there is no more broth. Once the risotto is done you can stir in the fennel. Season to taste.
If you want you can add a Tablespoon of Earth Balance just to give it a more creamier texture. You can also add a dab of Tofutti cream cheese or any soy cream cheese.

The Salisbury Seitan recipe is from The Real Food Daily cookbook. For this dish I also use their seitan recipe. It has a softer, spongier texture that is perfect for this. The one thing I do change with the Salisbury recipe is that the sauce asks for 1/2 c. oil, too much oil for me! I only use like 1 Tablespoon of oil and add more water and a bit more soy to thin out. The sauce just soaks into this seitan. This is a good recipe for people who are transitioning into vegetarianism/veganism. My husband loves this! The seitan looks like it is dry but it's not, believe me. Although I usually have extra sauce in the pan, I halved the sauce recipe that why there isn't any extra to spoon on top. You can also make gravy to put on this or just make more sauce and heat it in a pan. Serve with a nice green salad and you are good to go!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Li'l layer cake

Experimenting flavors for a cake I'm going to be making for my cousins baby shower so I made a small 6 3/4inch cake . This is a four layer yellow cake with a Chambord(black rasberry liqueur)buttercream filling and finished off with ganache. The idea is to put a layer of fresh rasberries in the middle but I didn't have any at the time. My tasters loved it so this may be it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

White Bean Veggie Burgers

Didn't really feel in the mood to cook. But I've been wanting to try these cannellini bean patties from, the show Emeril Green, on Planet Green channel. They were okay. I would add more seasoning next time, if I do make them. I served them with a mix of sweet potato and white potato baked fries with a creole seasoning. These called for eggs but of course I didn't use so I just left that out. They held together rather well without it. like to load my burgers with lettuce, tomato, avacodo, etc. These whole wheat buns are perfect because they are on the smaller size so the burgers are a perfect fit. Here is the recipe.

Emeril's White Bean-Veggie Burgers
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Yield: 4 veggie burgers
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (I only used a couple of tsp. of oil due to the juice of the veggies)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped celery1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence or other Creole Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Hamburger buns, for servingSliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce leaves, pickles, avocado, etc., for garnishing, as desiredCondiments for serving, such as ketchup or salsa, mayonnaise, mustard, as desired

Method:In a nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute‚ the onion, bell pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, mash the beans with the back of a fork. Stir in the cooled vegetables, , chives, parsley, breadcrumbs, and seasonings and mix well. Divide the mixture into 4 patties. Wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

When ready to serve, heat the remaining olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and cook the burgers until golden on both sides and heated through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve hot, on lightly toasted buns, garnished with desired condiments.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seitan Cutlets with Mushroom Ragu,mashed potatoes and sauteed greens

Valentines is about sharing a great meal and spending quality time with the ones you love. Oh, and a nice glass of wine or a bottle, I prefer the later.
To our surprise my husband arrived home from work early and he suggested we go into town to walk around a bit before dinner, so we bundled up and headed on out. This actually was perfect timing because the french bread dough was on it's second rise.
Before dinner we had a little entertainment. My sons Valentine gift to his dad was playing a song from a band my husband likes, we had set up the music/office room with candles and my son played his guitar while I sang. That was a lot of fun.
Next it was dinner and was it amazing if I do say so myself. hee hee.
I made seitan cutluts from VCON, smothered in a mushroom ragout(from Emeril on the green channel) if you love mushrooms as much as we do you will love this! I did add a bit of Marsala wine to give it a deeper flavor. I put this on a bed of mashed potatoes and a side of sauteed greens. Served with a salad and homemade french bread. It looked and tasted like a meal from a nice restaurant. I was very pleased with myself as well as my family was, as there was not one morsel left on their plates. I will definitely make this for dinner guests.

Blackberry swirled "cheesecake"

My husband and son love cheesecake, so every Valentines they expect me to make them one.
This year I added Blackberry juice and swirled it in. Topped off with fresh blackberries.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

These treats are off to school. I told myself I wasn't going to stay up late to make cookies...but when I saw my son's reaction this morning and couldn't stop thanking me, it was worth it. My son is in the fifth grade so maybe this will be the last year of making treats for his class. I wish time would slow down.
These treats are chocolate cookies with a chocolate mint coating and just a bit of red crystal sugar dashed on there.
Chocolate cookie recipe:
1/2 C. Earth Balance
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. egg replacer (Ener-g)
2 T. cold coffee or water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1 1/4 + 2 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp salt or less
In a mixing bowl cream together Earth Balance and sugars with an electric mixer. While that is being creamed, in a small bowl mix together your egg replacer and liquid of choice. (I try not to use egg replacers in my baked goods but sometimes it is needed). Next add egg replacer mixture and vanilla to the creamed EB & sugar mixture, continue to mix. When that is thoroughly mixed together, incorporate the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt. When it is completely mixed and a dough is formed, take out and shape into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for an hour or less.

Heat oven to 350. Roll out dough( I rolled in between an 1/8-1/4in.) and cut out with your choice of cookie cutter. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool for about a minute before transfering to cooling rack. I was able to cut out 18 med. size cookies.

Chocolate coating: If I were making these for dessert or gifts I would use better quality chocolate but since it was for the school kids I just used the chocolate chips.
1 12oz pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
sprinkles (optional)

In a double broiler melt chocolate chips and vegetable shortening. To get a thinner chocolate just add more shortening. Once melted stir in the peppermint extract. Next coat your cookies,
it got a bit messy for me. Then I sprinkled on sugar crystals. Once your done set in refrigerater to set the chocolate for about 15-30 min. Then your good to go!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Birthday cake

This is a chocolate cake with mint chocolate mousse filling and mint icing. I made this for my sons 11th birthday last month. He plays the guitar so I thought I'd make him a cake decorated with the notes to "Happy Birthday" on it. It was fun and everybody loved it! The chocolate mousse recipe is from VCTOTW.

Cozy lentil soup and homemade bread

Lentil soup is so easy to make and you don't need a ton of ingredients. This is just a basic recipe consisting of:

Olive oil 2-3 Tbsp.
4 garlic cloves( i love garlic)
2 onions, yellow chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. thyme
1 C. carrots
1 C. celery
2 tomatoes, diced
1 1/3 C. green lentils, rinsed
6 C. vegetable broth
1 C. or more chard,kale, or any greens(optional)
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste.

Saute the garlic with the veggies until almost soft. Add the thyme and tomatoes for another minute or so. Add lentils and veggie broth. Bring to boil then simmer covered for 35-40 min. or until lentils are soft. Next if you choose to, it's optional, you can add in your green of choice and stir until wilted. Turn off heat add salt and pepper to taste.
When serving in each bowl you can drizzle a little olive oil and a swirl of balsamic. I like to use a thicker balsamic when I'm drizzling. If you don't have a thicker balsamic you can add regular balsamic to the whole pot, just a couple of dashes and stir in.

Also if you want a kick to it drizzle in some chile pepper olive oil. It rocks!

The whole wheat oatmeal bread recipe comes from Celine at have cake, will travel. Always perfect every time I make it.

Monday, February 9, 2009


My son is doing his current event today on me! Isn't that cute. I am on a commitee at school that is new this year. It's called GO GREEN. Since we are new to the area, needed to meet people and doing my part at school, this group couldn't be more fitting with what I try to do at home. So we had a write up in the local paper , you can check it out at http://www.syvjournal.com/archive/7/6/3795/about who we are, what we have done and what we have in the works. We had another write up in a different paper the previous week for our donations to People Helping People. My son asked me if he could do his current event on my group and I thought that was really sweet of him. One thing I would like to promote is how our food choices make an impact on our environment but it's a touchy situation. The gal who is the head of the group used to be vegetarian and she said it didn't agree with her. She said she understands choosing veganism for health reasons but not for the animals. We had a somewhat lengthy discussion and it basically went nowhere, so that blows.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bow tie pasta w/pesto, kale, etc.....

You know when you make a great meal and you keep going back for more. "Just one more bite" you say outloud so everyone hears you. Like that's going to make you feel any less guilty because you know it's not just going to be one more bite. This is one of those pasta dishes. My husband said that this pasta is one of his favorites. It's nice to hear that from your hubby.
Bowtie pasta with pesto, kale, orange bell pepper and roasted cherry tomatoes. A drizzle of olive oil and your ready to dig in. Isn't pretty!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Sunday morning before "the big game."

My son (Keaton) and I. What a beautiful day to take a family hike! About 25 minutes from home in the Las Padres National Forrest. There are so many hiking and biking trails, it rocks! We almost made it to the dam, but we didn't want to push our dog farther. She almost died from heat stroke 3 years ago, she was only 2 and it was only 82 degrees out. The vet's didn't know why that happened to her but they said with some tests sent out to a specialist we might have been able to find out. After thousands of $$'s already spent we decided just to take it easy with her. You couldn't tell that she almost didn't make it. Here she cooling down at the bottom of the mountain. That water was cold!

Almond Wafers

My son nailed the taste down for this cookie.
He said it is like a Nilla Wafer. Oh my goodness, it does taste like one! It's light like a wafer but has a subtle taste of almond.

Heat oven to 350.

1/4 c. almond butter
1 tbsp. agave
1/2 c. organic sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. soy milk
1 tsp. almond extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix wet ingredients together in bowl. Next add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. The batter is on the soft side. Put ingredients into cookie press or pastry bag with a round tip
(I tried the star tip but the batter was to soft and it melted into a round shape).
Bake for 12 min. until lightly browned. Remove to a rack to cool.
Made about 18 cookies but can make more if you press out smaller sizes.