Monday, March 1, 2010

You need a corndog, I can tell

I have really been wanting corn dogs lately, so I finally made some. I'm not a huge fan of the "fake" hot dogs, but I figured covered in cornmeal they wouldn't be so bad. I found a simple recipe and wiped these up in no time. When it came to the frying part, I was thankful for my husbands help. I am not a pro at frying things. I always get the oil way to hot, burn the first batch of whatever I'm frying, and set the smoke alarm off. This time was no different, except we took the batteries out of the smoke alarm first. We did have to open all the windows and our eyes were burning from the smoke by the time we finished. The house still smells of burned oil and corn dogs today. I think next time I'll bake them. The photo is of the burned one, just right and double battered. I skewered them with a bamboo stick.

Total time:  15 minutes

Servings:  8  (2 each for dinner, 2 for lunch leftovers)

Original recipe:
National Corn Dog Day

My variation:
I used regular flour instead of wheat

Would I make it again:  Sure, but I'll try some other recipes

Husbands comments:  Even the burned ones aren't too bad.

Lessons learned:  Don't over heat the oil

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Orange Glazed Tofu

I was looking for a quick dinner and came across this recipe. I didn't have any tempeh, but I always keep tofu on hand. I like to freeze it and thaw it when I want to use it. The tofu gets a little bit tougher, spongier texture to it. I never have much luck cooking tofu without it crumbling to pieces, but I was willing to give it a shot. It turned out really delicious!

Total time:  20 minutes

Servings:  2-4  (we loved it, so only 2 for us)

Original recipe:
101 Cookbooks, Heidi Swanson

My variation:
1 cup Orange Juice
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Ginger
2 teaspoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos  
   (just like soy sauce, but better for you)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cooking Sherry
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground Coriander
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1 pkg extra-firm Tofu
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Handful frozen Broccoli
Handful of Baby Carrots, chopped

Drain tofu and cube. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add tofu, brown.
Add broccoli and carrots. Combine rest of ingredients in a bowl.
Pour over tofu mixture. Let cook until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Would I make it again:  YES!

Husbands comments:  Mmmm. This is really good.

Lessons learned:  Don't touch the tofu, let it brown and unstick itself; Start the rice before you start cooking or it won't be ready in time

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Unexpected Combination

This just may be my new favorite snack. We were lucky enough to take my grandma to Meijer on sample day. The lady in the produce department had this tasty snack to try. I love avocado, so I had to take one. I never would have come up with this combination, but the flavors and texture really compliment each other.

Total time: 5 minutes

Servings: As many as you can eat

Woven style crackers   (I bought the Meijer brand)
Mayo  (I use Veganaise)

Would I make it again: Yes, I'm addicted.

Husband comments: I haven't shared them with him.

Lessons learned: I really should only make one plate of these so I don't keep eating them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Colts Chili and Saintly Cheese

My mom sent me this tasty recipe she found for vegan chili and cheese nachos. Since today is Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I would try it as a healthy alternative to the usual cheese smothered chips. I'm glad I did.

First, I would just like to say, it's always a good idea to get all your ingredients out before you start. Had I followed my own advice,
I would have realized I had very few tortilla chips left. Now I know
I don't usually stick to recipes, however, tortilla chips are sort of vital to making nachos. Thank you to my husband for making a trip to the grocery.

I was missing a few other ingredients, but decided to use what I had.
I didn't have any canned beans, but I did have some dry White beans.
I had never attempted to use them before now. The bag said to soak them overnight, but I didn't have time for that. So I put 2 cups of the dry beans and 6 cups of water in a large pan and turned the burner to low. Then forgot it for 4 hours...Oops. They were a bit mushy. 2 hours would probably have worked. I would recommend using maybe 8 cups of water because those things soaked it up like crazy. It made about 4 cups cooked. I'll have to use the other 2 cups in a future recipe.

Total time: 30 minutes (not counting the beans)

Servings: 6-8 (depending on how hungry you are)

Original recipe:
Ellen's Vegan Nachos, Roberto Martin

My variation:
1/2 large Red Onion   (husband isn't a fan of onions, so I went light)
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Coriander
1 teaspoon Dry Oregano
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
4 minced Garlic Cloves   (I love garlic, so I added a little extra)
1 (15oz) Tomato Sauce
1 (4oz) canned Green Chilies
1/4 cup Smart Ground   (vegetable protein fake meat)
1/2 cup TVP   (textured vegetable protein)
1 cup vegetable stock   (I added extra because the TVP soaks up liquid)
2 cups White beans
Salt and Pepper

Sauté onions until light brown. Add garlic and all seasonings and sauté.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until hot and the right consistency.

1/2 block Silken Tofu
1/3 cup Vegan Mayo
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast   (it adds a nutty, cheesy flavor)
1 Tablespoon Essence of Emeril Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Paprika

Mix it all together and it's ready.

Would I make it again:  Absolutely

Husbands comments:  It's good, but it would be even better with some salsa and olives. And maybe some cheese....

Lessons learned:  Always check the pantry for important ingredients vital to the recipe; Don't leave things on the stove without checking on them occasionally

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I developed an interest in food, recipes and cooking at a young age. I was fascinated by the colorful photos of perfect dishes and imagined the families ready to gather around the feast. We had many hand-written notebooks and recipe cards handed down from grandparents and loved ones. I remember my great grandmother preparing food enough for an army at our Sunday dinners. I fantasized about those women in their aprons cooking meals for their families. I wanted to grow up to be like them. I loved helping my mom and grandmas with the meals, peeling veggies or mixing batters. When I was older, I ventured into the kitchen on my own. And that's where things took a turn.

It's not that I'm a bad cook. I just have the urge to make the recipes "better." I thought if a little was good, more was better. That, and I always seemed to confuse tablespoons with teaspoons, resulting in numerous disasters. There was the "Baking Soda Cake" I made when I was probably 10. More baking soda is not better, especially if you're the unfortunate one to take the first bite. Then there was the inedible stir-fry with kelp powder I made when I was 19. More kelp powder is definitely not better. The slimy, fishy, kale and tofu concoction ruined my brothers faith in my cooking for a very long time. He still hesitates before trying anything I make. But I have to say, I have improved. Some.

So follow along with me on my journey to improve my skills in the kitchen. There will be masterpieces and disasters, but we'll learn from each experience. Hopefully......