Homemade Applesauce

This recipe to accompany my last post, Vegan Potato Pancakes. Applesauce is soooo easy to make. And it tastes so much better fresh. I used Golden Delicious apples because they are my favorite, but any red apple will do. I also don’t use that much sugar because I honestly don’t think it needs it. Apples are sweet enough as it is, just a little bit more sugar makes it a treat.

This recipe makes 4 servings, but can be easily multiplied to make more.
Applesauce

6 red apples (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup water
2 tbs of sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Peel the apples and cut the fruit off the core. Chop the apples. Don’t worry too much about size and evenness at this point, just get them smaller.
Put the apple pieces and all remaining ingredients in a pot. 
Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer then cover.
Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apples are so tender you can’t even stab them with a fork without them falling apart. 
Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

You can leave it this if you want it really chunky. For smoother sauce, pulse it in the blender for minute. I left a few chunks in mine.

Serve it as side dish, a snack, or even dessert!

Creamy Spinach Dip

Michael and I got were invited to a co-worker’s house to watch the NFL playoff games last Sunday. Michael asked me to make something to bring along. I knew they would BBQ tons of meat, so I decided to make a vegan dish that I wanted to eat. I suddenly thought of creamy, gooey spinach dip with big pieces of sourdough.

This recipe is similar to traditional creamy dip recipes, just no dairy cheese and all the extra protein of tofu. It is a bit sweeter, so you can add more garlic if you want it more savory. I liked it though, went nicely with the sourness of the sourdough.

This recipe will serve 8-10 people easily.

Spinach Dip
1 block of silken tofu, drained
Small amount of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a medium white onion, minced
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1/4 flour
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp garlic powder (more if desired)
6 cups baby spinach, wash and dried well
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the Oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a small baking pan (I used a disposable one) with cooking spray.

Put your drained tofu into a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside for now.

In a medium pot over medium heat, belt a tiny bit of butter. Saute the minced garlic and onion until golden. Set aside.

In the same pot, add the 1/4 cup butter and the flour. Mix together well and cook the paste for just a minute.

Whisk in the soy milk and smooth out any lumps.

Add the processed tofu and mix together well.

Add the garlic and onions back in. Add the garlic powder too.

Slowly mix in the spinach a handful at a time. Let it wilt down a bit before you add more.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the dip into the baking pan.

Cover the top with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncover for 20 minutes, until the top is bubbly and very lightly golden.

I served this with sourdough bread pieces but any bread, chips or cracker would be great too. Even some carrots and celery would be lovely.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of it before everyone dived in, people wanted to try it right away. And I was starving and no one can blame a pregnant mama for wanting to eat!

Tofu Nuggets and Sunchoke Fries

Last Sunday afternoon was dedicated to watching the 49ners, so I decided to make Michael something to munch on while he became engrossed in the game. I had a craving for nuggets and fries, but was out of my usually Gardien  nuggets and frozen fries. Tofu nuggets are easy to make, but I sadly only found one small potato for fries. Then I remembered that a bag of sunchokes came in my organic veggie box. I had no idea what to do with them, but knew they can be cooked like potatoes so I used them for fries.

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes, are a root vegetable related to sunflowers. They are high in Vitamin C and iron. They look like a mix between ginger root and a potato. But taste oddly like artichoke hearts. It’s nice alternative to the usual potato.

This recipes makes two servings of each.

Tofu Nuggets and Sunchoke Fries
Sunchoke Fries:
6 sunchokes (I threw in my lonely potato too), washed, cleaned and cut into disks
Cold Water
2 tbs salt
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Tofu Nuggets:
1/2 block of firm tofu, frozen drained and cut into bit-sized cubes
1/2 cup Bisquick (plain flour is fine too)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Once you wash, clean and cut your sunchokes, place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water.

Add the 2 tbs of salt and let them sit for an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Make sure your tofu is properly drained—get as much water out as possible. Make sure when you cut into to cubes, you cut them as uniform as possible so they cook evenly.

In a large bowl add the tofu, Bisquick, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the tofu evenly.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and evenly space out your coated tofu.

Drain your sunchokes (do not rinse). Pat dry with a paper towel gently.

Return them to the bowl and coat with a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Now spread evenly them on another baking sheet.

Pop both baking sheets in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. The nuggets will be slightly golden and the sunchokes should be slightly crispy. You can adjust the times and temps if you like yours softer or crunchier.

Crispy on the outside, tender on the side.

Get some of your favorite BBQ sauce or natural ketchup, then dig in! A healthy game day snack while you watch your team in the playoffs. Michael was so fixed on the game he didn’t notice the fries were not potatoes until I said something 😛

Looks like potatoes, but taste like a artichoke. 

Five Layer Dip



*This is repost, since for some unknown reason, the first one got deleted.


I hope you all had a fun Fourth of July!

Once again, so for not posting very often. As I mentioned in my last post, I am moving to California. I am still staying with Michael’s parents and looking for a job (got some good leads so far!). Hopefully soon I will have a job and my own place so I get back to posting more. 

Yesterday Michael’s parents had a little BBQ so I thought I would make something nice for everyone too: five layer dip. I made this for a party before and it was gone within minutes. What’s not to love about layers of spicy beans, creamy guacamole, tangy Tofutti sour cream, fresh salsa and gooey cheese sauce? 


Some of the layers are from recipes I have posted before, so I will spare you the repeat and just post the links. 

Five Layer Dip:

First layer: Spicy Beans
16 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium onion
1 large bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jalapeño pepper, minced


Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside. 


Chop the onion and peppers into bite-sized pieces. Mince the jalapeño. 



Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.


Saute the onions and peppers until slightly golden.






Add the beans, garlics, and red pepper flakes. 












Cook until the beans are heated through. Mash the beans into a paste as it cooks. 








Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and add the jalapeño. 


Remove from heat and set aside to cool.






Second layer: Basic Guacamole 
Third layer: Tofutti Sour Cream


Fourth layer: Fresh Salsa 
2 large tomatoes, diced
1/4 of a medium onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
Handful of cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste


Dice tomatoes and onions, then add to a large bowl.



Mince the garlic and jalapeños and, add to the bowl. 






Add the cilantro and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 


Fifth layer: Cheese Sauce


Assembly:
I suggest doing this in a large see-through (I know I did it in a pink one, it was the biggest one I could find) bowl or dish so you can see all the contrasting layers.


In the bottom of the large bowl, spread an even layer of the Spicy Beans. 



Second, spread on the Basic Guacamole.



Next, cover with as much sour cream as you like. 


Then, put the salsa on top of the sour cream.

Lastly, pour on the cheese sauce. Garnish with some red pepper flakes and cilantro. 



This was big hit! We munched on this while the grill heated up and it was devoured quickly. 


Beefless Gyoza

When I was grocery shopping a few weeks ago, I had forgot my list so I was just browsing aisles trying to remember what I needed. I saw gyoza wrappers, and even though they were so not on my list, I wanted them. Fried little dumplings dipped in salty soy sauce, yum!

Gyoza are Japanese pot stickers. What sets them apart from the Chinese version is they tend to be more garlicky and satly. Since those are pretty much two food groups in my diet, so I like them better.

I had also bought  Gardein Beefless Tips and thought they would be a lovely filling for half the batch, the other half were filled with frozen veggies.  I highly suggest all of Gardein’s products. My omnivore boyfriend even likes their stuff.

This recipes makes 16 dumplings, a nice entree for one or a side to share for two or three.

Vegetable and Beefless Gyoza
16 gyoza wrappers
Gardein Beefless Tips, thawed
1/2 cup frozen veggies (the standard carrots, peas and green beans works fine)
1 clove garlic, minced
soy sauce for dipping

In a small bowl, microwave the frozen veggies. Afterwards, add half the minced garlic and mix together.

In another bowl, add the thawed beefless tips and mix in the garlic.

Get a small bowl of water, which will be used to seal the dumplings.

Time to assemble…

Generously oil a skillet.

Take one gyoza wrapper and place it on a clean flat surface.

Either place one tablespoon of the veggie filling or one beefless tip in the middle. You might need to reshape the tip to fit properly, which is why I suggest you thaw them first so they are more pliable.

Then dip you finger in the water and make wet the edges of the wrapper throughly.

Now, there is a specific way to fold the gyoza, but if you are unfamiliar with the method, just close it up any way you can. Fold it half and seal or crimp the edges to make a half circle.

Now place it seal side up in the in oiled pan.

Repeat till all the gyoza are filled.

Now place the skillet on the stove and turn it to medium-high heat. Cook until the gyoza are golden brown on the bottom. Do not stir or move them.

Next pour in about 1/4 a cup of water and cover with a lid for the dumplings to steam all the wary through. They should be ready when all the water as evaporated.

To remove them, take the lid off and place a plate over the skillet. Flip it over and gently tap the bottom till they all pop out. 
Get yourself a little bowl of soy sauce to dip and enjoy! 

Fresh Rolls

Merry Christmas! I hope you all were very nice this year :-)

For my holidays and special events, my family loves to go to this Thai restaurant in Beaverton, Oregon called Typhoon. I decided to keep the Thai food tradition alive this year and planned on making fresh rolls and pad thai for Christmas Eve. But, working till 11:15 PM the night before and opening at 6:45 AM on Christmas Eve, plus having to come home and clean my whole apartment on top of cooking…. yeah, didn’t work out. I invited a friend from work over for dinner and after making the fresh rolls decided that was all the cooking I could do for one night. But they came out pretty good. I based this recipe off one from Alton Brown on his show Good Eats. Here’s the video of his version (skip ahead to 5:00):

I forgot to cut the noodles before cooking like he did, but I didn’t notice a real difference. I also cooked my noodle a bit too long so they were softer than I would have liked, but no big deal. Also, I obviously did not use shrimp, but tofu instead. Overall, I really liked this. Next time I will try wrapping them in lettuce like he did.

This makes 8 decent sized rolls.

Fresh Rolls
8 rice paper wrappers
1/4 of a block of extra firm tofu, drained and chopped into bit sized cubes
2 tbs soy sauce
The juice of half a lime
1 tps chili sauce
3 bundles of vermicelli mung bean noodles
1/4 cup of cucumbers, sliced into strips like Alton does in the video (I forgot these actually but I could tell how they would have rounded out the flavor)
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
Bean Sprouts
Cilantro, removed from stem
Thai basil, removed from stem (I forgot this too but once again, I see how it would have made the rolls even better)

Drain and cube the tofu.

Put it to a large bowl and add the soy sauce, lime juice, and chili paste. Mix together well and set aside.

Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes. You can cut the noodles first like Alton did in the video but I didn’t.

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once the water boils, cook according to the directions on the package.

Once cooked, drain and let them cool. Then add to the tofu mixture and coat well with the sauce.

Cut the cucumber and carrots into thin strip. Remove the cilantro and basil from the stems.

Now time to assemble, I didn’t take many photos during assembly because it was hard to rolls and shoot at the same time.

First soak the rice paper wrap in warm water for 10 seconds.

Remove and drain from the water, then lay on flat surface.

Along the bottom edge of the side closest too you, put down about 2 tablespoons of the noodle and tofu mixture. Make sure to leave a little bit of the edge free.

Next add put on a few cucumber and carrots sticks.

Now add a few bean spouts.

Lastly put on some cilantro and basil.

Now, like Alton says in the video, roll it up like a burrito. Start by rolling the top around first, then bring the sides in and then continue to roll over until closed.

Set a on a tray and cover with a damp cloth while you prepare the rest of the rolls.

I made a dipping sauce of soy sauce, lime juice, and chili sauce. And we had them with some sparkling wine.  A very lovely and light dish. I have more wrappers so I will making this again soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope you had a lovely and festive day surrounded by those you love. And I hope santa brought you everything you asked for!

P.S. Speaking of Santa, I got a juicer so look out for some juice recipes soon.

My juicer with Penny fascinated by the bubbles in the wine.

Rosemary Focaccia

Photo from here

My friend suggested I try making a video blog, so I decided to give it a try. Let me know what you think, I may do more in the future.

Here is the recipe for my video blog, it’s based on one from called Focaccia Bread from AllRecipes.com. I used rice flour (because I accidentally bought it instead of wheat flour) so this version is gluten free, but wheat flour is ideal.

Rosemary Focaccia:
1 cup luke warm water
1 packet of active yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 and 3/4 cup flour (I used rice but wheat flour is fine too)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp salt
2 springs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem
1 tbs olive oil
3-4 springs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem
Sprinkle of salt

This is one of my favorite breads my mom made growing up, I hope you love it too!

"Cheesy" Breadsticks and Mushroom Sauce

I had pizza night last night because I have plans for tonight (Bad Geology Movie Night for the geology club, geeky I know) but I still wanted my pizza night. When I was about what kind of pizza to make, I thought of Pizza Hut, which made me think of its breadsticks. So I decided to make some. But, a big pile of cheesy bread is not a healthy dinner, so I decided to add some more veggies to sauce to add some more nutrients. There was sale on mushrooms at the store (99 cents a pound!) so I went with a mushroom sauce with some fresh basil from patio garden.

Mushroom Sauce
1 cup button or white mushrooms, de-stemed and diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
1 can tomato sauce
Handful fresh basil, chopped
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

Wash, de-stem, and dice the mushrooms. Chop the onion and garlic too.

Heat some olive oil in a pot over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook until they release most of their water.

Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions begin soften and the mushroom water evaporates.

Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Scrape up the stuff up from the bottom.

Add the tomato sauce and stir well.

Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste.

Cook for a minutes so all the flavors come together.

Take it off the heat and add the chopped basil.

This would be lovely over pasta, but it’s an even better dipping sauce for breadsticks…

“Cheesy” Breadsticks
1 pre-made pizza dough (try mine)
Italian Seasoning
Garlic salt
Vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)

Pre-heat the oven to as high as it will go and spray a pizza pan with cooking spray.

Roll your pizza dough into a rectangle. This dough I made last week and froze.


Cut into about 1 inch strips.

Arrange the strips on the pizza pan.

Sprinkle with desired amounts of Italian seasoning and garlic salt.

Top with desired amount of mozzarella.

If you want some extra flavor and crunch, you could brush on some olive oil before you put the toppings on.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the dough is slightly golden. I like mine on the softer side but you can bake them longer if you want more crunch.


I had my breadsticks and mushroom sauce with a side of olives for bit more salt. And of course the rest of my Pinot Noir.

Warning, this dinner may attract your new 9-month old kitty.

Meet Penny, got her from an animal sanctuary on Tuesday. 

Go Ducks: Yell-O and Green Nachos

For the past 6 years of my life, every Saturday from September to December is taken over by Oregon Duck football. I am proud graduate University of Oregon and needless to say, I bleed green and yellow. I loved going to the games with my sorority sisters and yelling “O” until we went hoarse. I have sadly had to spend the past seasons and this one cheering from Hawaii. But just because I am in the middle of  the Pacific doesn’t mean I don’t get all ducked-out. I either go to a local sports bar or watch from home, but regardless I have my jersey on and shout like a maniac.

Today the Ducks face off against LSU, a game that will sure deserve a special blog post. So I decided to make something green and yellow (U of O colors), and finally settled on nachos. I made queso sauce from nutritional yeast and used salsa verde for the colors. Plus some jalapeños for some spice and because they are little O’s. I wanted to top it all off with some vegan sour cream, but my store was sold out.

I just realized this is also fitting because our coach is named Chip.

Yell-O and Green Nacho
Queso sauce:
4 tbs vegan butter
1 and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, divided

3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk

1/2 tbs garlic powder
1tps cumin
1 tps parkia
1 tps chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
The rest of the stuff:
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 cup soy” beef” crumbles (I used Smart Ground)
Tortilla chips
Salsa verde
Jalapeños
Vegan sour cream

To make the queso sauce, add the vegan butter and 1 cup of the nutritional yeast to saucepan over medium/low heat. Incorporate the two together to make a sort of roux. It should clump together and get a little golden.

Add the vegetable broth and soy milk. Whisk together so there are no lumps.

Add the garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder and pepper. You can add salt if you like, but mine didn’t need it. Mix together well.

Reduce the heat to low. Let it reduce and thicken, stirring frequently. Taste it after awhile, if it need more “cheese” flavor, add some more nutritional yeast.

In skillet, lightly brown the chopped onion. Then add the soy crumbles. Cooked until heated through.

Once the queso sauce is smooth and thicken slightly, it’s time to assemble.

On a large plate or platter, scatter desired amount of chips. There is enough sauce for at least 5 serving so be generous.

Next sprinkle on the soy crumble mixture.

Now pour on the queso sauce.

Now add the desired about of salsa verde.

If your store didn’t run out of sour cream like mine did, add a few dollops.

Top with desired about of jalapeños so your nachos are yelling “O”.

Turn on the Ducks game, open a Widmer (or any other fine Oregon brew) and get ready to cheer! Win the days boys!

Barszcz: Polish Beet Soup

I’ve always wanted to try borscht, called barszcz in Polish. I love the taste of beets and figured all those jokes about the soup being awful soup were from McDonalds-addicted, over-processed food lovers. Now that I’ve tasted it, I know that is exactly the case. It has a mild and slightly rich flavor, totally in love.  My mom say it’s ok, but my grandma said she loves it too. Although she loves, my mom said she didn’t make it very much while my mom was growing up because my grandpa hates beets. Apparently he didn’t even want them in the house! I must confess that grating beets is a pain, so I shared my grandpa’s hatred while I was prepping everything at least. This recipe is based on one from cooks.com called Polish Beet Soup.




Barszcz
4 cups water
1/2 stick of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 good-sized beets
1 medium-sized onion
Salt

This part really sucks to do. I suggest wearing gloves so your hands do not turn bright red.  Peel and grate the beets and onion.

Add the 4 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the vegan butter.

Once the butter has melted, add the grated vegetables and salt to taste.

Cook for about 1/2 an hour, until the beets and onions are cooked.

If you want hot soup, serve it immediately. But I wanted mine cold so I made mine earlier in the day and then let it chill till dinner.

Top with some vegan sour cream (try Tofutti) and some dill or chives. My dad and I loved it, my mom wasn’t a big fan. I guess she takes after her dad.

One last Polish recipe posting up soon.