Sweet Potato Wrap

So, before I said wraps annoy me because they fall apart.  Not this one!  The mashed sweet potaotes make a nice glue for the wrap... and a tasty one, too.  I think I am on a sweet potato binge or something, because they seem to keep appearing in recipes.  But I guess that's good.  Sure!

The original recipe from Vegan Dad that I based these on had kale in it.  In fact, that was one of the main ingredients.  However, I thought the kale was the worst part- funny, too, because that was the whole reason that I chose to make this dish.  It was just a bit too tough for my tastes.  But, sans kale, these are really tasty, and quite filling.  I suppose you could call  these Mexican.  Whatever.  They're good, and that's all that really matters.  I would recommend a wrap that's not too strong or thick, because it will overpower the mild flavour, and you wouldn't want that.  If you are on a sweet potato binge like me, these will certainly satisfy cravings.  In fact, I think I will not make another recipe with sweet potatoes for quite a while...

Sweet Potato Wraps

Makes 6-8 wraps

Adapted from Vegan Dad

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups spinach leaves, stems removed, and torn
6-8 wraps

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chopped potato and cook until tender, about 13 minutes. Drain and roughly mash.

2. In a large frying pan (or the kettle that you cooked the potatoes in- that’s what I did), heat a bit of water, and saute the potatoes for 5-6 minutes, until slightly tender. Add pepper and cook for another 5 mins.

3. Add garlic and jalapeno and saute for two more minutes. Add and mix well. Add tomatoes and spices. Mix and heat through.

4. Add the potatoes and spinach, and stir until spinach has wilted. Add more tomatoes if mixture is too dry.

5. Serve in a wrap!


On Vegetarian Mutton

When I was looking for the shrimp last week, mutton caught my eye.  Absolutely no reason for that, but it just did.  When picking out recipes for the week, I was leafing through my Wok cookbook, and, what do you know- there were several good looking recipes with lamb!  I was pumped, and got the bag of mutton on the next trip to the Asian market. 
And so, I think I died that night and went to heaven.  Seriously.  Literally.  It.  Was.  So.  Good.
That's all that I have to say.  Perfection in every aspect.  The mutton was actually kind of funny- it was this huge brown block, and had to be microwaved for almost five minutes before M and I could crumble it into the wok.  And then we had to wait for the stuff to heat through, but, hey, it was so worth it.  The combo of veggies was just perfect, and the sauce was excellent.  I can't really remember what meat tastes or feels like, and I never had eaten mutton before I turned vegetarian, but it seemed real enough, and had a subtle and interesting flavour.  Just try it- you'll see what I mean.  And then think you have gone to heaven too.

Blows-Your-Sock-Off Vegetarian Mutton Stir Fry

Serves 4-6

Inspired by Wok

1 package vegetarian mutton, defrosted and broken into bits (I think mine was about 3-4 cups)
2 medium-small onions, sliced thick
1 monster carrot, coined
.75 lb shiitake mushrooms, chopped large
.75 lb snap peas, trimmed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 small baby bok choy, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 inch ginger, chopped
4 tbsp hoisin sauce
6 tbsp soy sauce
6 tbsp rice vinegar
6 tbsp mirin
Chili sauce, to taste
½ tbsp corn starch

Mix together the hoisin sauce through corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat with a bit of water. Add the onion and carrot, and cook for two minutes. Add the shiitakes, and then after two more minutes add the snap peas and bell pepper. Mix through and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for another minute or so, and then add the bok choy. When that has wilted (and there is room in the wok), add the mutton and sauce, and heat through. Serve over rice, topped with cashews.

Cashew Shrimp Stir Fry- My First Mock Meat!!

 I had this dish at a restaurant called Green Sprout in Atlanta, Georgia one night, and it was the bomb.  I highly recommend Green Sprout, by the way, if you ever happen to be in Atlanta.  I'm pretty sure they are vegan, and they have such a delightful array of chinese dishes with the most stellar mock meats.
But, when I saw this recipe on Chow Vegan, I knew fate was calling to me.  I had to make this stir fry.  As luck would have it, the Asian Market has a whole isle in the frozen section dedicated to vegetarian stuff, which M and I have looked at before, but never really thought of buying anything.  That was totally a mistake.  If you ever have the chance to buy some of those mock meats, do so.  Yes, they are a bit pricy, but I think that a couple dollars is a small sacrifice if you are floating in happiness for several days afterward, which I was.  Actually, M did not like the shrimp at all, but that is only because of what we called "the Fishy Flavour".  If you like nori, seaweed, and things like that, this is so a dish that you should try.  I loved the texture of the shrimp, and they were so cute!  Even though I am not a big fishy flavour person, I still liked the shrimp enough.  M had the stir fry sans the shrimp-tofu instead- and was in love with it.  Of course, I loved it too!  And, like most stir frys, this one is really quick to whip up. 
I think that the ham flavouring was such a nice addition to the sauce.  I really have to start using it more.  It's kind of like miso- adding a dark, rich, and complex flavour.  And if you find that you need more sauce, don't hesitate to add more- the rice is like a sponge...

Cashew Veggie Shrimp

Inspired by Chow Vegan

Serves 4

8 oz package frozen vegetarian shrimp, or other mock meat
.75 lb package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, coined
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 cups broccoli
.75 lb package snap peas, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1" piece fresh ginger, minced
4 tbsp soy sauce
Chili paste, to taste
2 tbsp agave nectar
Salt, to taste
4 tbsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp Better Than Bullion Vegetarian Ham flavouring
½ tbsp corn starch
Cashews, for topping

Set out the shrimp to thaw.
Mix together the soy sauce through the corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a wok coated in nonstick spray over high heat with a bit of water. Cook the carrots for a minute, adding more water as needed. Add the broccoli and mushrooms, and after two more minutes add the cabbage, garlic, and ginger. After another minute or so, add the peas and bell pepper. 3 minutes later add the shrimp and sauce and heat through. Make sure the shrimp is thawed!
Serve over rice, topped off with cashews.

Cabbage: Cheap, Healthy, Healing

Ahh, the joys of being sick.  Not.  Sheesh, I felt awful when I got home that day- I think I might have had a quick surge of a fever, because for a couple hours I was shivering like nobody's buisness, and then felt like something set on fire.  And then I had to go give a short improv speech about a quote from Asher Lev.  (Which I got a 100 on.  Not to brag- my grade really needed that, though.) 
But why do you care about that?  You don't.  I just felt like typing that...  But, I think this cabbage worked miracles for me and my sickness.  Once it was finally done cooking, I dragged myself over to the table, and M dished up the noodles and cabbage.  And then I was in heaven for about half an hour.  I dunno how to describe this- how about amazing?  The steam helped my nose, and it tasted quite creamy.  Exactly the thing a sick person is craving when they want a healthy, tastey, nourishing dish. 
This is so simple to put together, too, and was a nice way to use up a leftover pile of cabbage that was lying around.  Plus, the leftovers were as good as leftovers can get, which is quite convenient. 
Oh- if you are like me, your wok does not have a lid.  I use a cookie sheet.  But whatever works for you, I say go for it!
And about grating the carrots, make sure you have a nice grater- preferably one that stands on its own, and use the large holes.  Otherwise, I think you might end up grating all night, and with really orange hands when the carrots are all gone.

Halushki with Egg Noodles

Adapted from Vegan Dad

Serves about 6

1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
1 leek, white and light green part, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, grated
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp basil, chopped
3 Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ cups boca crumbles
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp miso paste
½ tbsp corn starch
1 ½ tbsp agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
cooked egg noodles

Mix together the soy sauce through the agave in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat a large wok over high heat with a bit of water. Add the onion and leeks, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots and stir through. When the cabbage has wilted slightly, add the sauce and cover for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through. Stir in the basil, and serve over egg noodles.


Le Potatoes du Mashed Goodness

I really don’t think that there is anything spectacularly original or innovative about this recipe. It’s just your ordinary mashed potatoes and gravy. But sometimes that’s exactly what a person happens to be craving at the moment. So, when I saw this recipe pop up on the Vegan Ronin’s blog, I started to get all dreamy thinking about mashed potatoes and gravy. Ironically enough, the reason I have been wanting them so badly is that the school cafeteria serves them, and, since I never buy lunch, I see my friends walking out with this really creamy, luscious pile of potatoes and white gravy. Of course, I would never eat that stuff. Think of all the butter and oil that probably goes into those potatoes! So, this is my healthier version of brown gravy, with simple mashed potatoes.

The first night we had this dish, the gravy was extremely watery. But, when I peeked at it the next day, the gravy had thickened up oh so nicely. I am actually drooling just thinking about it. An extremely satisfying dish, even if it ain’t all that pretty…

Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Brown Gravy

Adapted from VegWeb
The gravy makes a ton, so I would advise making several rounds of potatoes…

The Potaotes

Yukon gold potatoes, diced, I left the peels on mine but it’s personal preference
Milk, as needed
Tarragon or other herbs
Garlic, amount depending on your taste
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the potatoes until tender, about 12-15 minutes. Mash- I used my potato masher, but anything will do. Mix in the other ingredients to your liking.

Killer Brown Gravy

3 tablespoons brown flour
3 cups milk
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
Sprinkling of salt
Sprinkling of garlic powder
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
Sprinkling of black pepper

Heat a saucepan coated with nonstick spray over medium heat. Add a bit of water. Then stir in the flour until it is all mixed. Add the milk a bit at a time, stirring until the flour is unlumpy. Crank up the heat, and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to almost a boil, and cook until you are ready to use.

Just as a side note, this will probably not be very thick the first night, but it will thicken up incredibly well overnight.


Healthy Favourites- French Fries

This is among the first recipes that I have ever made- and they keep reappearing often!  These have no oil in them, and are so quick and easy to whip up.  Amazing... that's really the only way I can describe these.  M has requested them countless times, and I have craved them... countless times.  You can really play with the spices too.  Sometimes I will add a bit of liquid smoke, or something else like that.  They're great with ketchup (no duh), bbq sauce, and a wide variety of other things.
Oh, and I did try to reheat these once as leftovers.  It worked- of course, they are better fresh, but they are compatable as leftovers.  Just slightly softer.  Still really tasty, though.

Baked French Fries

Serves 2

• 1 large baking potato
• 1 tablespoon bbq sauce or something similar
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees on convection
Cut potato into wedges. Mix bbq sauce, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and put the potatoes on it. Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping once.

Hodgepodge Salad

I honestly have no clue how this salad came to be.  I am pretty sure, though, that you could call it something that is a clean-out-the-fridge sort of dish.  It sort of ended up as something to use up all the odds and ends that were lying around, bugging me.  The original thing that got this salad started is called Salad Nicoise from Allrecipes.

And, obviously I got a bit carried away with throwing in everything that came to mind.  But the end results were really good- although M liked it a bit more than me.  I think the one thing that did not belong was the eggs, but other than that, it's a great salad at any temperature, very filling for you, and very emptying for the fridge.

Hodgepodge Salad

Serves 6

• 1/2 pound new potatoes, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
• 10 green olives, sliced
• 2 cups cabbage, shredded
• 1 red bell pepper, chopped
• 1 tablespoon capers
• ½ cup dried pink beans, cooked
• ½ red onion, thinly sliced
• 1/2 pound fresh green beans - rinsed, trimmed and blanched
• 4 cups baby spinach, stems removed
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp miso paste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
In a large bowl mix the basil through the spinach. Add the potatoes.
In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients and add to the big mixture. Serve, or chill until ready to serve.


An Odd Combination of Asian and Italian

If you are undecided about what ethnicity to make your stir fry, well, here's what I suggest.  The unique (and, quite frankly, easy) sauce for this one provides Italian and Asian!  Yay!..
I think that's what makes this such a unique dish, at least to me.  I ususally end up with a combination with soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar, with a couple other things.  But not this one.  Well, I couldn't resist adding some soy sauce, as the original recipe called for oil, and something needed to form the sauce.  And I find miso paste adds such a deep and rich flavour to dishes.  But the combination was perfect.  And, for some really odd reason, I was drawn to the broccoli in the dish.  Don't ask why, because I have no clue.  Maybe I'm just going crazy, but that, along with the spinach, was just extra good. 
And the beans were different.  Never had a stir fry with beans before, but they seemed to be just the thing in here.  M and I are still working on our huge quantity of beans... I am so determined to finish them off.  In a year, hopefully (knock on wood).
Italian-Asian Udon Stir Fry
Inspired by VeganYumYum
Serves 4
Udon Noodles, to serve
1 bunch spinach, stems removed
3 cups broccoli or broccolini
1-2 tsp chili sauce (to taste)
Black Pepper
1 leek, tough green part of the stems removed, chopped
1 package oyster mushrooms, large ones chopped
1 onion, sliced thick
1 large carrot, coined
1 red bell pepper, sliced
½ cup dried white beans soaked and cooked, or 1 can or beans
1 tbsp Italian Herbs
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp miso paste
½ tbsp corn starch
Cashews and fresh basil leaves, for topping

Mix together the chili sauce, pepper, salt, Italian herbs, vinegar, soy sauce, miso, and corn starch, and stir until corn starch and miso dissolve.
Heat a wok over high heat. Add the onion and carrots, and saute for 2 minutes. Add the leek and broccoli, and after 2 more minutes add the mushrooms and bell pepper. When they are almost tender add the spinach, and let wilt. Add the beans and sauce, and heat through.
Serve over udon, topped off with cashews and basil leaves.


Bang Bang Tofu Wraps!

This recipe totally caught my eye.  I love some of the names that this site comes up with- they crack me up.  Seriously... they're really quite entertaining.  But so far this site has produced some very delictible results- these wraps being among them. 
The original recipe called for these to be wrapped in lettuce leaves, but, as I was quite cold today, I decided to serve the mixture inside spring roll wrappers.  Obviously, they fell apart and that was quite... frustrating, I guess you could say.  But the taste was totally worth it.  I think I have been missing tofu for quite a while now, and the marinade was extra good.  Cilantro is such a fickle thing- it can either make or break a dish.  These wraps veer towards the spicier end of the spectrum, and I really like the combination of veggies. 
These wraps are nice and light, and yet satisfying and full of flavour.  Ok, now that I feel like an ad, I really think you ought to try these.
*I had them for lunch today, and they tasted even better cold.  I L-O-V-E  the texture, and since I was able to not get any juices on the spring wrapper, the whole thing did not fall apart.  They were amazing!

Bang Bang Tofu Wraps

Adapted from Vegan-Food

Serves 4

• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
• 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar
• 3 tablespoons mirin
• 5 centimeter piece fresh ginger, grated
• Chili sauce, to taste
• 12 oz tofu, pressed and chopped into 1 inch strips
• 2 large carrots, cut into ½ inch matchsticks
• 1 bell pepper, cut into ½ inch matchsticks
• 1 7 oz can bamboo shoots
• 2 cups bean sprouts
• ¼ cup cilantro, choppped
• Large lettuce leaves, spring roll wrappers, or some other kind of wrap

Mix together the soy sauce through chili. Marinade the tofu in that for half an hour, atleast.
Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add a few tablespoons of water, and add the carrots. After 2 minutes add the peppers, and then, when they look almost done, add the bean sprouts and cilantro. Heat through, add tofu, bamboo, and marinade, and heat through again. Remove from heat, and put in the wraps.


Shepard's Pie And A Pie Crust to Go With

For a while now I have been craving some sort of quiche-thing, something that is baked in a pie crust.  This old recipe that I have made once before popped into my head, and I decided to give it a go.  M was rather hesitant when I said I was making it, because she did not remember having liked it.   I plowed ahead, anyway, ignoring her...
And I am so glad I did!  As I was making it, I skimped on cooking in several steps because I got home so late that day, and it still turned out to be so much better than I remember.  And I think this new way that I made it is so much easier than I remember, too.  I really do think the key ingredient is the soy sauce- after it bakes and thickens, the sauce becomes so rich and delectible. 
The crust I used was hommade, too, and is something that I created from a whole jumble of different recipes.  And no butter what so ever!  It tastes so good- the sesame seeds add a really unique jolt to it, and I would use this with any recipe like this pie. 
If you have leftover filling, like I did, you can just stick it in a ramkin and bake it alongside the pie.  The filling still tastes so good it will blow your sock off, and warm you right up with its soy saucey and veggie goodness.

Sheppard’s Pie

Adapted from Allrecipes

Serves 6-8

• 1 of my pie crusts, or a store bought
• 3 small red potatoes, chopped
• 1/2 onion, chopped large
• 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms, or 1 cup king oyster mushrooms
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1 tbsp corn starch
• 2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 2 teaspoons dried sage
• 2 large or several small stalks celery, chopped
• 2 carrots, cubed

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook the potatoes until tender-firm, about 13 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 on convection.
In a separate frying pan coated with nonstick spray, heat a couple tablespoons of water over high heat. Add the onion and oyster/shiitake mushrooms, and sauté for two minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook until almost tender. Add the portobellos, and cook until those are tender.
Add the water and corn starch to the frying pan, and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until it has reduced quite a bit. Add the seasonings, soy sauce, and cooked potatoes, and stir.
Pour this mixture into the pie crust, and bake for 25 minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced and is bubbling. It will smell amazing!

Easy Sesame Oatmeal Pie Crust

1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup applesauce, maybe more

Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding more applesauce to hold it all together- it should be pretty moist.  Press into a pie baking dish, and bake for 12-14 minutes, until it smells nice, is slightly browned, and is firm.  Fill with delicious stuff.


Creamy Indian Potato Salad

Potatoes are certainly one of the most amazing foods that are available to chefs.  As I was eating this salad for lunch, I remarked to M that there must be a million different potato salads.  She agreed.  I mean, there's your traditional salad, there's grilled, there's balsamic, and I could go on and on about the different types.  This is just another twist on potato salads- adapted from one of Vegan Dad's most recent recipes called Indian Potato Salad
It was kind of funny when I saw his post.  I knew I just had to make it, and I am most certainly glad I did.  It really made a lot, too!  Good thing, because life is getting really hectic.  Not to mention that it tastes awesome. 
I made some substitutions because of what I had on hand... I nearly cried, though, when I saw that there was not a single onion in the whole house!  Really, what a crime to not have any onions!  But the salad, like I said, was great anyway.  I think my favourite part was the sweet potatoes, because I still seem to have a strange soft spot for them.  This dish is slightly spicy, and packed with flavour.  I had it at room temperature today, but I think it would be great hot or cold, too.
Oh, and that's the rest of my lunch in the picture.  A pear, and a nectarine.  I also had some of Target's yogurt.  I highly recommend that brand... it's really good!

Indian Potato Salad

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Vegan Dad

5 small red potatoes, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups cauliflower
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tbsp yellow curry paste
½ large green chile, seeded and minced
3/4 tsp ground yellow mustard
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 cup fat free mayo
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
salt pepper to taste

1. Boil each type of potatoes separately. The red ones took about 14 minutes, and the sweets took about 7 to get them to the firmness that I wanted. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add cauliflower and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic, and chile, and cook until cauliflower is tender.
3. In a large bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Add the potatoes and veggies, and stir to coat. Serve at desired temperature.

Hoisin Udon Stir Fry

I think I have totally and completely fallen in love with hoisin sauce.  It is so sweet and tangy... and... good.  I know for a fact that I like sweet and heavyily flavoured foods, and stir fries are no exception to that.  Not to mention udon noodles have to be some of the best form of starch out there (but, honestly, have you ever met an Asian noodle that you haven't liked?)  There is just something about their thickness and slurp-able-ness that is irrisistable.  And where does all this get a person?  To what I had for dinner last night- this stir fry, based on Vegan Dad's Sweet Setian Stir-fry.  I originally had planned on using setian, but the pieces kind of decinigrated a bit, so tofu knots came to the rescue.  They were certainly just as good, or even better.  The cauliflower was a last minute addition, and I had a green onion crisis- we were all out, so I subbed a regular onion instead.  It still turned out to be one of the better stir fries that have appeared in front of M and I at dinnertime. 
When I first tasted the dish, it was slightly bland, so I added a bit more hoisin sauce to just my serving.  M said it was just fine with her, so it all depends.  I recommend having the sauce at the table, just in case. 

Hoisin Udon Stir Fry with Tofu Knots

Serves 4

Inspired by Vegan Dad

½ recipe beef setian, or 75 grams tofu knots, soaked

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup mirin
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 package snap peas (.75 lb), trimmed
2 cups broccoli
2 carrots, coined
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 baby bok choy, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 onion, sliced
2 cups cauliflower
1 tbsp grated ginger

1. Mix together the soy sauce, mirin, agave, and hoisin sauce.
2. Heat a wok over high heat with a bit of water. Add the onion and carrot. After a minute, add the cauliflower. After 2 more minutes add the garlic, broccoli, and ginger. Add the peas and pepper a minute later, and heat through. Add the bok choy and cook until wilted. Add the sauce and tofu or setian, and cook until you are satisfied. Serve over udon noodles.


Indian Red Coco-Cabbage and Sweet Baked Tofu

For some time now, I have had my hands on an Indian cookbook from the library called The Food of India.  It's in the same series as this book; and, as far as I know, the recipes are very authentic.  That's partly because I don't know atleast a few of the ingredients in almost every recipe... but most of the dishes sound very tasty, and Google is a great place to find substitutes for all those weird ingredients.  I decided to make a recipe out of there called Cabbage with Coconut.  Only, almost half of the ingredients I sustituted something for.  But the stir fry turned out really, really fanstastic.  The flavour was sweet and spicy, and got spicier as I ate more.  The coconut flavour was unique, and adds a boost of flavour that I have never tasted before.  M said to definently make this one again, and I will.  It's so easy too, and healthy.

The second dish I made for lunch yesterday was called Chinese 5-Spice Baked Tofu from Chow Vegan.  I thought it was absolutely amazing, and could eat this every week.  M disagreed because she's "not into the big block of tofu thing", but did add that the sauce was really good.  I think if the tofu had been sliced a bit thinner, then she would have loved it.  The sauce is quite sweet, and I love the texture of baked tofu.  Plus it looks really pretty, and is another quick thing to throw together, go off and do something else, and come back when the oven timer calls you back.  I highly recommend the five spice powder.  That stuff is so goooood... that, and hoisin sauce, which I have only dicovered a few weeks ago.  So depressing that I didn't know what I was missing out on.

Five Spice Baked Tofu

Serves 4

Adapted Slightly from Chow Vegan

19 oz firm tofu, cut into thin slices, about ½, and pressed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to convection 325.

Combine all ingredients except the tofu in a bowl. Brush one side of the tofu with the marinade, and place the tofu in a casserole dish coated with nonstick spray, coated side down. Repeat with remaining pieces of tofu and half the marinade, making sure the tofu is in one layer. Brush the remaining marinade over the other side of the tofu. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once.

Indian Coco-Cabbage Stir Fry
Adapted from The Food of India
Serves 4

¼ cup dried shredded coconut, soaked in ½ cup water
1 pinch dried chili flakes
1 tsp ground mustard
1 sprig basil, chopped largely
1 small to medium head purple cabbage, shredded
1 ½ large green chilies (forgot what they’re called…), chopped
1 pinch red pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp fat free mayo
Cilantro, for garnish

Heat a couple tablespoons of the coconut water in a large wok over high heat. Add all the ingredients except for the coconut, mayo, and cilantro. Stir well, and cover for about 5 minutes, until tender. Stir in the coconut and mayo, and heat through. Serve, topped with cilantro.


Sweet and Fiery Coconut Udon Stir Fry

Sheesh, I feel like I have been neglecting to post recently, but really M and I have been working hard on finishing off the various leftovers (mainly the Unfried Rice, which I still think was absolutely A-Mazing).  That, and what with school being so demanding, I think I am going to be stuggling with posting as often as I want.  But no worries there, because, hey, I will never stop cooking... until someone holds me at knifepoint, I will not stop chopping (no pun intended).  But here is my latest and greatest.

This is another takeoff on one of the recipes from my cookbook that I got recently called Wok.  The original is called Turkey Ragout with Coconut.  I guess you are wondering how a ragout turns into a stir fry, but it happens here, folks!  The sauce stayed basically the same, with a few additions, and I added a few more veggies.  And tofu knots made a great stand-in for the turkey.  In the version that I made, I decided to add some celery, but that did not really seem to fit in too well, so I have omitted it in this version of the recipe.  Other than that, I honestly think that this is a very interesting combination of flavours.  Make sure your green beans are actually decent quality, or just substitute something else, because I think that they could make or break this dish.
And, oh.... the loves of my life: udon noodles and tofu knots.  I can't seem to down enough of these things.  Either of them!  And I love coconut extract, too.  It really seems to be such a good toy in the kitchen for amping up the flavour of dishes. 

Oh, goodie, now I get to go look for similies and metaphors and such... my favourite.  Can't my teachers just grade my cooking, instead?

Sweet and Fiery Coconut Udon Stir Fry

Serves 4

Inspired by Wok

1/2 bag dried bean curd skin knots (75 grams total), soaked in water until soft
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 bunch spinach
Just under 2 cups snap peas, trimmed
.7 lb shiitake mushrooms, chopped large
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 tbsp coconut extract
1 1/2 tbsp yellow curry paste
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp agave nectar
1-2 tsp chili sauce, to taste
4 servings udon noodles, cooked and kept warm
Nuts for topping (I tried both walnuts and almonds)

Mix together the coconut extract through the agave, and set aside.
Heat a large wok coated with nonstick spray over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms, and cook for a minute.  Add the green beans and snap peas, and cook for 2 or 3 more minutes, and then add the bell pepper and green onion.  When the veggies are almost done, add the basil, spinach, and sauce.  When the spinach is wilted toss in the bean curd skin, and heat through.
Serve over udon noodles topped off with nuts.