Last month I was chosen a finalist in a creative cooking contest. I wasn’t sure if I should share that I won 2nd place for my Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and mock cream cheese frosting. It is an ego thing I guess. I was so sure I would win 1st place…but there will always be a better cook. After a few weeks of debating with myself and others, I have decided to share. After all, 2nd place is pretty darn good. Not the best, but still pretty darn good. I will share the pics of my cake. It’s too bad you can’t taste it. It was divine! Sorry, this recipe is a creation that took many hours of devotion and will not be shared! It will, however, be part of my up and coming cook book. I am looking forward to the next competition and will be working my tail off to make 1st place! Redemption! I’ll keep you posted.
3 medium organic Braeburn or other slightly tart apples chopped
1/2 squeezed lime or lemon
2 stalks organic celery chopped
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c unsweetened flaked or ground coconuts
1/4 c raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 c baby carrots cut in quarters
1 TB honey
1/2 c vegan mayonnaise
Wash the apples and celery well before chopping. Add the chopped apples to a bowel and then squeeze the lemon juice on top and toss this together (this will keep the apples from turning brown). Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently together as not to bruise the apples. This tastes great chilled!
You discover the darndest things usually by accident. I used to make this with wheat flour or breadcrumbs, but didn’t have any at the time. I had just bought some brown rice flour to make bread with as I am trying to change to a lower gluten diet. I noticed that there was absolutely no sticking of the food to the pan! which I usually experience using regular wheat flour. It was such a joy not to have to keep adding oil to the pan or scraping it in between. The rice flour also was a lighter and crispier coating.
I sliced the tofu in 1/4 inch slices after draining it and then dipped it in the rice flour and fried it in about 1 TB of olive oil. After browning both sides, remove to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. That’s it. Simple!
Okay, this was good, but there was something my taste buds were missing! Albeit I am a garlic lover, and maybe my palate is a bit discriminatory, I thought I’d try again with garlic and a couple other tweaks. Adding a bit of onion, coconut milk (for creaminess) and mushrooms, a bit more nutritional yeast and a pinch of marjoram (after all, this is an Italian dish!). I also grilled the asparagus in the broiler after marinading it, as below:
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup raw cashews (you can also use walnuts)
2 large cloves garlic
1 Tbs. lemon or lime juice
2/3 cup Chardonnay wine
1/3 cup coconut milk (adds creaminess)
1.5 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch of fresh marjoram
2-3 mushrooms sliced
4 Tbs. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp. salt (you can eliminate if you are on a low salt diet)
6 oz. uncooked fettuccine
1 cup baby spinach
12 small or 6 large asparagus spears (1/4 lb.)
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (I can’t tolerate too much pepper in one meal so I didn’t use this)
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil for the fettuccine noodles.
Make the sauce:
Mince the onion and saute in 2 Tbs. olive oil.
Blend nuts, garlic, black pepper, marjoram, and lemon juice in a food processor until finely ground.
Add the ground mixture to the onion and saute a minute or two.
Add Chardonnay, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, mushrooms and salt and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, make pasta: Now put your fettuccine in boiling water according to package directions.
Bring 1/4 cup water to a simmer in small skillet. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Keep warm. (I made things simple here, I just added the spinach to the boiling water for the pasta and then fished them out with a fork before I cooked the pasta)
Cut the asparagus in half and rub some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and squeeze a bit of lemon or lime on it. Now grill the asparagus in the broiler on foil for approximately 7 minutes, turning once. Grill bell pepper strips 2 minutes, or until wilted. Keep warm.
Drain fettuccine, and return to pot. Toss with Sauce, and divide between 2 plates. Top each serving with wilted spinach, asparagus, and bell pepper strips.
I’m sure adding the coconut milk upped the caloric and fat content of the original recipe, but I found it more creamy. Also, if you remember my previous post, coconut is very good for you even if it has saturated fat. I didn’t understand grinding the nuts with water and then draining and discarding them? so I didn’t do that, just added the ground nuts to the recipe or don’t use them if you have a nut allergy or add less if you are trying to cut down on fat. I, personally, can’t get enough crunchy nuts! They add protein and if you use whole wheat pasta, you have a complete protein meal!
When my kids were little, and I lived with my meatavore husband, I would always try to fool them into thinking this was made with meat. They are really very tasty and chewy like meat. I guess only a meatavore can detect the difference. I think they are delicious!
Vegan Sloppy Joe’s
1 med onion finely chopped
3 TB olive oil
8 oz TVP granules (textured vegetable protein)
5 oz tomato paste
24 oz water
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
2 T brown sugar or 1 t molasses (sometimes I will use honey if I don’t have either of these on hand)
1 T white vinegar
3 med cloves garlic, minced
Sauté onion in olive oil..Add tomato paste, water, sugar, and TVP and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the spices, vinegar and garlic and simmer over medium to low heat approx 20 minutes or until thickened. This is great on whole-wheat toast with dill pickles. Enjoy!