No meat, No wheat

Archive for October, 2015

Tofu Yung

Tofu Yung

Tofu Yung, after they're cooked

For years, one of my favorite dishes to make on Sukkot was  egg foo yung. 
I love all the crunchy vegetables (I love vegetables, period), and somehow find it an appropriate entree for the fall harvest season. So I was wondering how to make a vegan version of this dish, and the flax seed version just didn’t fly.                                                                                                                                                               Someone suggested I try substituting tofu for the eggs, and with a bit of experimentation, have come up with a recipe I love. They’re really good, and a special treat on Shabbos. Even the non vegans in my house are happy to eat them. It may look like a lot of steps, but you can simplify this one an awful lot. For example, you can just mash the tofu with your hands instead of in the food processor to save time and dish washing. But I love my food processor, in case you didn’t notice!

Here then, is my recipe. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you would prefer, using the ideas I’ve given in the recipe below, or choose others you’d be happy with. Hint: this is a great way to use up leftovers, if you’ve got them.  (grated carrots, shredded cabbage, thinly sliced onions, shitake mushrooms, are some possibilities).

You’ll notice that I’ve asked for half the can of both the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Using the whole can makes the patties too dense and they break when you try to transfer them to a plate, as I learned in my early experiments with this recipe. So your options are: either make this two weeks in a row to use up the leftover vegetables, as I do because we like them so much, or else use up the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots by adding to a green salad, with some orange slices and slivered almonds for an easy Asian salad.
Betayavon! Eat Hearty. Enjoy.

  • Ingredients
    One pound of tofu, rinsed, weighted down so all the moisture will drain from it
    1 Tablespoon sesame oil, plus another 2 teaspoons
    1 Tablespoon Tamari sauce, plus another 2 teaspoons
    2 bunches of scallions
    3 inch piece of fresh ginger root
    4 oz. water chestnuts (half a can) drained, and sliced in thin strips
    4 oz. bamboo shoots, (half a can), drained and cut into halves lengthwise
    10-12 oz. bean sprouts, washed and drained
    6 small or three large mushrooms, sliced thin
    No stick olive oil spray or olive oil
  • Supplies
    Food processor
    cutting board and sharp knife
    Colander
    Large plate
    cast iron pan or wok, spatula or large spoon for stirring
    Large ovenproof pan, preferably cast iron, spatula
tofy yung, weighting down the tofu

Weigh down tofu to release moisture

tofu yung, assembling veggies

Prepare the veggies: dice scallions and ginger; drain and rinse canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots

Instructions
Open package of tofu, rinse and dry pat it dry. Slice tofu in half lengthwise, and weight it down with a cast iron pan or plates so that the tofu will expel the excess moisture that you want it to release. In the meantime, open the cans of water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and rinse and drain them in

the colander. Peel and dice the ginger root, wash and slice the scallions-just the while part and the very beginning of the green part. Wash and dry the mushrooms and slice them thin. Rinse the bamboo shoots and let the water drain through the colander. By now, the tofu has released moisture that you should drain off.

tofu yung, adding tofu to processor

Place drained tofu into food processor with tamari sauce and sesame oil

tofu young, in processor

Mash tofu in food processor (or else you can use your hands or back of a spoon)

Put the tofu into the food processor with one tablespoon of sesame oil and one tablespoon of tamari, and pulse until your mixture resembles scrambled egg whites or runny mashed potatoes.  You now have mashed tofu. You could accomplish this step using only your hands, just mashing it up between your hands or with the back of a spoon or fork, and get the same results. But as you know, I use my food processor a lot. Remove the “S” blade from the bottom of the food processor, or if you mashed the tofu with your hands, it will be in a large bowl to which you’ll add the vegetables as soon as you’ve prepared them.

Here’s how to prepare the vegetables.  Just wipe off the bottom of the wok or cast iron pan that you used as to weight down your tofu, and heat 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in the pan. When the oil is hot,   add half the scallions and half the ginger root. You will use the remaining scallions and ginger root when cooking the patties.

Sauté for 2 minutes, and then add the bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and mushrooms. Cook the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add 2 teaspoons of tamari, and stir another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes before combining with the tofu mixture.

tofy young, sauteering veggies

Saute scallions and giner, add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and bean sprouts

Combine vegetables with mashed tofu

Combine vegetables with mashed tofu

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray or grease a large pan. From this recipe,   I usually make seven or eight tofu yung patties per batch, so use a big pan if you have one or two smaller ones. Before placing the mixture on the pan, I put the remaining (raw) scallions and (raw) ginger root in the center of where I plan to put the six patties, which sounds much more complicated than it is, but I love the taste the raw and cooked ginger and scallions combine to give this dish! Feel free to skip this step entirely.

tofu yung, scallions and ginger in pan

Optional step: small pile of raw scallions and ginger at bottom of each tofu young patty

Now form the patties and place each one on top of your little pile of scallions and ginger.

tofu yung, making patties

From seven or eight patties

Tofu Yung, after they're cooked

Bake your tofu yung patties in a 425 degree oven until they hold together, approximately 40 minutes. Let them cool on the pan before removing to serving platter, dinner plate, or glass

crispy tofu yung patties

Delicious crispy tofu yung patties

container, if you will store them for another time. They store well and can be reheated in a hot oven for a few minutes until they are warm and crisp.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

All of a sudden, it’s soup weather.

I love this time of year.                           Butternut Squash soup

 

 

Butternut Squash we grew

 

 

 

 

Crisp cool mornings. Sunny afternoons. The gorgeous fall foliage. Honey crisp apples. Perfect sleeping weather.

Ok, that’s the end of my list. Knowing winter will follow is the only downside to this time of year.  In the fall, local squash is in season; ours come from Isaac’s garden. You can’t get fresher organic produce anywhere!

So, what better way to enjoy the beautiful butternut squash Isaac gave me last week than in a delicious creamy soup. Wait until you read how easy this one is. We went nuts for this soup the first time Emily made it for us last year, scraping our bowls and asking for seconds and thirds. I’ve been asking her to make it for us again ever since. Ok, so sometimes I may have nagged her, but hey, we like our soup. She was kind enough to share her recipe, and then I watched her prepare it for Sukkot.  When it’s soup weather, I’m happy to eat a hearty soup and a salad for dinner every day.

The hardest thing about making this soup is cutting the squash. The larger the squash, the more difficult. They have very tough skins, which is why, I suppose, the deer, squirrels, and rabbits didn’t devour the squash the way they did everything else Isaac grew. So tackle that task with a sharp knife and cutting board.  I’ve found that I can add more water or broth to make it thinner or less liquid to have it thicker, depending on my mood. Usually I go for the thicker consistency, but either is fine.  Just don’t dilute it too much, or it might taste too bland.  You can add as many or few seasonings and spices as you like, but we’ve found we like rubbed sage the best. Once I didn’t have sage so I added a bit of poultry seasoning, and that was nice too. Some people enjoy cinnamon as a complement to acorn and butternut squash, so it’s all really a matter of personal taste. I say experiment and see what you like best. Betayavon! Enjoy!

Ingredients

In addition to this……Butternut Squash we grew

 

You’ll need these things…..Butternut Squash soup ingredients

 

  • Butternut Squash
  •  Organic Vegetable Broth (1 Qt)
  • Onion
  • Apple
  • Dab of Oil or No-Stick
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional seasonings: garlic powder, rubbed sage (*my favorite),  cumin, curry, cinnamon. I just wouldn’t suggest using all of these in the same pot of soup!

Butternut Squash soup

Supplies

  • Large roasting pan
  • Sharp Knife and cutting board
  • Large spoon for scooping out seeds and strings
  • Pyrex dish if you want to roast the seeds
  • Aluminum foil
  • Food Processor
  • Large Pot and Spoon for stirring
  • Ladle for serving and soup bowls and spoons

Instructions

Using a sharp knife and cutting board, cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the stringy insides, which will also contain the seeds inside the tangle of squash innards. If you want to use the seeds, separate them from the stringy material and wash the seeds. We like to roast them in a pyrex dish with a bit of sea salt while baking the squash. But the seeds won’t take nearly as long as the squash, so keep an eye on them to prevent burning. They’re nice on top of the soup, natural croutons, I guess you could call them. You just want them to be fully cooked, browned, and crispy. Our son David loves them.  If you don’t want to save the seeds, just discard them.

Enough about seeds already; let’s talk about cleaning out the inside of the squash. Use a spoon to scoop out what you can, and then place the halves of squash on the roasting pan that you sprayed with a bit of no-stick spray or a dab of olive or coconut oil. Wash the apple, and wrap the apple in foil, and peel the onion and wrap it too, in foil. Place the apple and onion on the roasting pan next to the squash and bake on 375 for about an hour, if the squash is sizable. The apple won’t take that long, so remove it after 20 minutes or so- when it can be squeezed or pierced with a fork. It will resemble a baked apple (sans the cinnamon). The same with the onion. But if you happen to forget about them (as I’ve done-ahem), and the apple and onion get too soft and mushy, fear not, as it won’t hurt anything.  But you’ll have less of them, as they will shrink. You may have to bake the squash longer than an hour, depending on the thickness. We’ve baked squash that were so large they stayed in the oven for up to two hours. Just keep checking and when you can easily pierce it with a fork, it’s done.

Remove everything from the oven and let it cool. When cool, add to the food processor, along with the Organic Vegetable Broth. Transfer to large soup pot and heat until soup comes to a boil.  Add more water, if you want a thinner soup, or keep it on the thicker side, depending on your personal preference. Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you like, a bit of sage, or garlic, or curry, or cumin, or cinnamon. I just wouldn’t suggest using all of these in the same pot of soup!

Butternut Squash soup w:rubbed sage

Kale and Corn Gratin

Corn and Kale Gratin

Kale and corn gratin

Kale and corn gratin

While preparing my menu for the first days of Sukkot, I wanted a creamy veggie casserole that would be healthy and satisfying. I also wanted it to be pretty. This corn and kale gratin was a super creation, and easy to assemble. I’d never eaten or made anything like this before, but it came out exactly as I imagined. I thought creamed corn would help thicken it, but I realized afterwards it would be possible to skip this ingredient altogether (in case you don’t like canned creamed corn or don’t have any), and just use more arrowroot to thicken the casserole. Because the casserole is quite dense, you’ll have to bake it for a long time, and when it seems to have set in the center and is coming away from the edges of a pan, the way a cake would when it’s fully baked, you’ll know it’s done. To tell the truth, I’ve never actually eaten a gratin, which I believe consists of potatoes, cheese, and butter and sounds positively scrumptious. Here is a time saving tip: I sautéed the onion in a bit of olive oil, for that “fried onion” taste, but you could just chop the onion in the food processor to save time and still have the onion flavor. But here is my take on a delicious and beautiful fall dish, and because in today’s world we’re able to buy most things anytime of the year, you’ll probably be able to prepare and enjoy my version of a corn and kale gratin anytime you want. Betayavon! Eat hearty!

Kale and Corn Gratin

Kale and Corn Gratin

Ingredients

  • 1 pound frozen kale, or you could substitute frozen spinach
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 1 large can creamed corn
  • 4 oz. almond milk (you could use oat milk, flax milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk, if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon wheat free tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 large onion, diced or chopped, as you prefer
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 T. Corn Meal to dust top of casserole, if desired
Kale and Corn Gratin

Kale and Corn Gratin

Supplies

  • Food Processor
  • Spatula
  • Large bowl and spoon, spatula
  • Small cast iron pot or heavy pot and spoon for stirring arrowroot and milk
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • Large cast iron pan or any other casserole dish
Kale and corn gratin

Kale and corn gratin

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the kale into the food processor and chop it all up. Do the same thing with the corn. As the contents of your processor bowl gets full, transfer the veggies to a large bowl. Sauté the diced or chopped onion in the olive oil. When cool, add to the grated veggies, or if you don’t have time or care about having the taste of “fried onions”, simply add the onion to the food processor and chop it as well. Saves time, too.

Add the Tamari, salt, and pepper, to taste, and stir in the creamed corn. Stir to combine everything. Add arrowroot powder to whatever milk you will use and heat, stirring to remove any lumps. This won’t get too thick right away, but it also won’t get goopy or lumpy, and when added tot he casserole, will serve as a thickener for your corn and kale gratin (which in this case, will turn into a delicious vegetable casserole). Add the thickener you’ve just made to the vegetables and seasonings in your large bowl. Adjust seasonings. Spray your casserole dish with a bit of no-stick, or grease with a bit of olive oil. Pour the vegetable mixture into the oiled pan and dust with corn meal, if desired. Bake on 400, for about one hour. You can check to see if the casserole is fully cooked by shaking the pan slightly to see if the center has set; if not, allow more time in the oven. Reheats very well. This was a big hit at my Sukkah party this year, but is a great anytime hearty dish.

Kale and corn gratin

Kale and corn gratin

Eating out for Isaac’s birthday

garlic, carmelized garlic

In honor of our son’s  birthday, we had dinner at C & R Kitchen in Merion, PA. (C & R was formerly known as Citron and Rose), a very delicious and popular meat restaurant on Montgomery Avenue.  I’m not surprised they’re so popular-the food and the service are really good.

When I called to make our reservation, I also let the host and manager know that as a vegan who is also gluten free, I wanted to make sure they would be able to accommodate me. The manager assured me the chef would work with me, and we could discuss ordering off the menu when I arrived.

c + r salad, close up of pecan

I chose a salad of mixed greens with just the perfect amount of crunchy protein packed glazed pecans; dried but not overly sweet cherries;  small cubes of butternut squash. It was an outstanding first course with a mustardy dressing on the side. My main entree was something off the menu.

c+r salad w:dressing

My meal arrived at the same time as the rest of my family was being served. How nice that as my guys were served entrees brimming with meat, I was served a plate piled high with gorgeous vegetables.

 

C &R winner dinner

 

They came to me cooked perfectly: crunchy string beans and asparagus, sautéed spinach and garlic and plenty of mushrooms.  Believe me when I say there was plenty to eat.  If you read my blog regularly, you know I am a mushroom fanatic (sounds better than mushroom lover, doesn’t it?), and the sautéed mushrooms were the crowing glory of my delicious vegan gluten free meal tonight at C & R.

C & R

A special thank you to the wonderful manager, Jeff, and to our fabulous server, Gemella. (Hope I spelled her name right because she was a great server).

I know my son Isaac, the birthday boy, loved his meal-the carnivore’s delight; the rest of us were also really well fed and super happy with our meals. By the way, that’s caramelized garlic that was on our table up at the top of this post, and here’s some more.       garlic cloves

OAT CHALLAH FOR SHABBOS

OAT CHALLAH FOR SHABBOS

Oat Challah for Shabbos

During Sukkot, we had a wonderful meal in our friends’ Sukkah. I did something I rarely do- I actually washed and ate spelt challah, and it tasted really amazing. I asked for the recipe, and learned about many uses of spelt.

Since I’m not sure, and don’t want to learn the hard way whether eating spelt, which is one of the five grains you wash on-(the five grains are: wheat, spelt, rye, barley, oat)- would cause me the stomach upset and painful inflammatory reactions- migraine headaches, body aches, and muscle pains that eating wheat does.

While still contemplating whether or not to make spelt challah for Shabbos, I ran into a friend at Whole Foods this week who told me she makes oat challah for her son in law.  I couldn’t really envision what she was talking about, but mine turned out more like a golden brown flatbread.

Today was the day I decided to make oat challah for Shabbos because then I’ll be able to  perform the mitzvah of washing, making motzei, and benching after the meal. That’s exciting!!!

As I always do before I try something new, I did my research. I considered several types of oat challah recipes that I found online, as well as the one my friend Sarah supplied, and wound up adapting the Gastanomica’s Oat Flour Flat Bread, since it didn’t call for using oil. Since I didn’t have organic oat flour, we put rolled oats into the food processor and that turned out perfect oat flour. This worked out well, and I can’t wait to taste it, but first, I’ll be washing, making motzei, and finally, eating challah!!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons flax seed meal
  •  1 Tablespoon honey
  •  1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary, optional
  •  non-stick spray

Oat challah closeup

Supplies

  • Large mixing bowl and spoon for stirring
  • Mixing cups and spoons
  • cookie sheet or flat pan

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl put the oat flour, water, salt, flax seed meal, turmeric, rosemary, honey, and whisk together. Spray the pan lightly and bake at 350º for around 20-30 min, until it is easy to flip and color is turning golden brown. Makes six small round challot.

oat challah baking

Sweet Potatoes with a Cranberry Glaze

SWEET POTATOES WITH A CRANBERRY GLAZE  

Cranberry Glazed Sweet Potatoes are yummy

Cranberry Glazed Sweet Potatoes

For the first days of Sukkot, I combined two of my favorite foods to create a really yummy side dish. Cranberry glazed sweet potatoes are an easy to prepare side dish, and I didn’t have to buy anything special since this dish requires common ingredients I generally have in the house. While I already had the oven on baking a few cakes, I put a pan of unpeeled sweet potatoes into the oven at the same time.  The glaze consisted of only five ingredients, which combined easily in a bowl using a spoon to mix.  No blender, food processor, or mixer to wash.  And best of all, we loved the way this dish turned out, and so did our guests for the first night of Sukkot, a great relief as this recipe is a brand new creation.

Great fall fare. Enjoy! Betayavon!

Ingredients

  • 6 medium sized sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Supplies

  • Roasting Pan
  • Medium Bowl and Spoon
  • Microwavable bowl or saucepan for heating glaze
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Casserole Dish

Instructions

Put unpeeled sweet potatoes in the oven in a roasting pan and bake 350 degrees until a fork can pierce the potatoes easily, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the potatoes cool. While the potatoes are cooling, prepare the glaze by combining the cranberry, sugar, coconut oil, orange juice, and salt in a bowl, tossing gently.

Remove peel from the sweet potatoes and cut them into two inch thick slices. Arrange in one layer (the pieces can be touching) in any oven proof casserole pan. Heat glaze ingredients either in a microwavable bowl or in a saucepan for two to three minutes, until all the ingredients are blended, but not boiling.

Add glaze to sweet potatoes

Add glaze to sweet potatoes

So easy to make and so delicious

Cranberry glazed sweet potatoes are easy to make and delicious

Spoon over the potatoes, and bake 15-20 minutes on 350. Remember the potatoes are already cooked, so it doesn’t take long, especially if you’re making ahead and going to reheat later or in a day or so, as I was. A very easy, fast, delicious, and crowd pleasing side dish that you’ll be glad you tried.

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