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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ category

We like to eat our Curried Tofu with baked cornmeal. It is very simple to make, but does take a little forethought and preparation the day before. This recipe is gluten free and great for anyone trying to find alternatives to wheat and gluten. Here is the method I use:

1:3 ratio of cornmeal to water and salt to taste (about 1 tsp per 3 cups of water). I like to use medium grind cornmeal, but anything coarser than flour would work. Bring most of the water to a boil. Mix the cornmeal with the remaining cold water. Stir well into boiling water. Return to boil, reduce heat to low, and cook for a while. If you were going to eat this as mush, you would want to cook it longer, but because it’s getting baked, 10 minutes is probably plenty.

Fresh out of the oven! Mmmmm!

Turn it out into an ungreased bread pan. (I have found that 2 cups cornmeal to 6 cups of water is maximum capacity for the normal bread pan, and will also fill a large cookie sheet). I prefer glass. Allow to cool 10-15 minutes uncovered, then cover and put in the fridge overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 450°F while you turn out the “loaf” of cornmeal onto a cutting board and carefully cut 3/8″ to 1/2″ slices. Arrange on a greased cookie sheet (I spray with Pam). Bake for 25-30 minutes, turn, and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serve hot with whatever topping you enjoy best. Most people like butter and maple syrup. We prefer more savory toppings.

Curried Tofu

I grew up eating crumbled tofu seasoned with McKay’s Chicken Seasoning, sautéd until it started to brown. That’s how we had it every time we had tofu. And I was happy.

Then I married my husband. And that was the end of such simple tofu. He didn’t care much for it, and set to work making a style of tofu that he did like. From that point on, there was no looking back. I have developed at least three fairly unique styles of cooking tofu, and I will be sharing all three of them this month, starting with my most recent version (because that’s the one I have pictures for!). And please forgive the approximates; I never measure anything in this recipe, so I’m guessing on some things.

Curried Tofu

1 lb tofu, cut in 1/2″ cubes
2 tsp mild curry powder
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger or several dashes of powdered ginger
1-2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
4 tsp chicken style seasoning (I use Bill’s Best)
1-2 Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce would work, but has a stronger flavor)

Mix the above well with enough water to moisten all the seasonings. Set aside to marinate until ready (overnight is really good, but not necessary).

Heat 1/3 – 1/2 cup strong veggie broth. I use broth left over from making gluten. Slice an onion in strips exactly like this, as much as you want (I use probably 1/2 a medium/large onion) and add to broth just as it comes to a boil (don’t let it boil away before you get the onion ready!). Cover and steam onions until tender and most of the broth is gone.

Now, add tofu mixture and 1/3-1/2 can of coconut milk. The thicker the milk, the less you need. I used coconut cream last time and it was really good! Add a little water the marinating container to rinse the seasonings off the sides and pour that in too.

Just seeing the picture makes me hungry!

Stir and allow to simmer until all seasonings are well blended. We like it a little juicy, so we don’t let all the liquid evaporate.  Serve over baked cornmeal or whatever you wish. I have served it over sweet potatoes before, and we all liked that too.

At least, that’s what I think Manny would say if he could talk. I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes the other day and made them for my son this morning. At first he didn’t want to try them. He’s not used to eating anything that looks like things he never eats… that doesn’t make sense. Let me try again. He’s only used to eating beans mixed with cereal, with either fruits or veggies. So at first he refused them. But I poked a bit in his mouth and he decided he liked them! He ate 4 for breakfast and almost 5 for lunch! I decided to snap some pictures:

As you can see, they seem to be disappearing! Oh, and yes, he does use his sisters old bibs. At least they have green on them! [Ducking and running for cover]

Just thought you would like to see that!

I have a friend (Hi if you are reading this) who has a dream of learning to make good bread by hand. I admire her. But I do not share her dream. I love my bread machine! I mean, I have two little kids. That explains everything, right? To save time, I decided to make an audio post–a blogcast?–about it. I recorded it on my iPod, so you will need Quicktime to listen.

Here is the recipe I use:

1 c water (I use a scant cup)
2 1/2 c fleshly ground whole wheat flour*
2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp soy flour
1 Tbsp gluten flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp light Smart Balance spread
2 Tbsp molasses (or honey, or mix of both)

I put these into the machine roughly in this order. Of course, now I mix it first, so that there is no water to leak out of the pan. I set it to the fast rise wheat setting, which I have tweaked to allow a little more kneading time and a little extra rise time. Then when it beats it down after the 1st rise, I take the paddle and dough out, shape the dough, and put it back in, minus the paddle. Voila! Delicious bread with very little effort! Works for me!

Doesn't that look delicious?

* I actually use 2 cups of flour as finely ground as I can get it in my Champion Juicer grain grinder, and 1/2 cup of more coarsely ground flour–my husband likes it better that way. If you like lighter bread, use 1/2 cup white instead. When I make dinner rolls, I use 1 cup white and 1 1/2 cups wheat. I also find that I need to use a little extra because of the flour I use; maybe my wheat is more moist than store-bought flour would be.

Tofu Month

Sorry this is late getting out, but I have a few good excuses. First, my mom is here visiting. Second, until just this last weekend, our computer was not functioning. It is now, so now I just need to find some time to spend on it. In fact, I’m actually writing this post on my iPod, and will post it later when I have an Internet connection. I’m not home right now.

This month I planned to share my favorite tofu recipes. To start the month out, I want to refer you to the post where I showed step by step the process of making tofu. I’m not sure which recipe I will post next week. Guess we’ll find out when it posts!

This is the best recipe I’ve found yet for gluten steaks. I have tried making gluten several different ways, including the laborious process of washing the starch out of flour until I had gluten. That was too much work, and with small children I don’t like to be tied down for too long. Plus it seems like a waste of water. So I went about searching for a recipe that uses gluten flour, and found this. I especially like it because it has soy flour, which makes the protein more complete. I imagine that if you are allergic to soy or wish to avoid it, you could use garbanzo flour, though I have never tried it.

2 cups gluten flour (also known as do pep and vital wheat gluten)
¾ cup soy flour
1 ¾ cups water

Mix together and kneed for about 3 minutes or until the gluten is formed. You will know when it is, because it will resist your efforts to properly kneed it. Divide it into two pieces. Wet breadboard and hands, and roll out two logs. Slice off sections (I do about 3/8” thick) and drop them in boiling broth (see recipe below). Set at medium heat with lid on for about 10 minutes, then take the lid off and simmer for about an hour or maybe less. I like to make sure they are nice and done, so I usually do at least an hour.

Once done, they can be eaten a number of ways. I sometimes bread and pan fry mine. When a recipe calls for fry chick, I dice up my gluten and toss it in. They are delicious in a casserole dish with cream of mushroom soup over them. I have even chopped it up fairly fine and used it in place of ground beef.

They freeze well, so I always make a full batch and freeze whatever I don’t use. I freeze them on a cookie sheet, then bag them once they are hard—makes it easier to take out a few as needed.

Broth:

Water (enough to more than cover the steaks)
Lots of soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos
A whole onion, chopped
Several cloves of fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
Some nutritional Yeast
Chicken or Beef Seasoning (I usually use beef)
2 or 3 stalks of celery, cut in 3-4” long sections
A couple of carrots
Any old or wilted veggies that are still edible
A beet helps give the steaks a darker color
Vegex or miso would also add color or flavor

All of this should be in the pot before adding the steaks. You will cook a lot of the water out, concentrating the broth. It should be tasty but not too salty when you start. When you’re done with the steaks, remove them, strain the chunks of veggies out, and save the broth. I usually freeze it in an ice cube tray, then bag it in a gallon freezer bag. Then when I want to sauté onions without oil, I can grab 2 or 3 cubes of broth, and it won’t spoil that way.

That concludes my veggie meat series for the month of October. Next month I’m going to talk about Tofu and share a few of my favorite recipes for fixing tofu—if you can call them recipes. I never measure anything for my tofu, but maybe I can give you some idea of how I do things!

Breadcrumbs

Have you ever decided to make a recipe, only to discover that you don’t have any breadcrumbs on hand—or not enough bread available with which to make some? I have, more than once. Especially when the recipe calls for fresh breadcrumbs. But now I almost always have extra bread for breadcrumbs, and I usually have some dried bread available too.

Growing up, my mom loved the heels of the bread best. My brother and I were glad to let her have them. Even now I don’t much care for the ends of the bread, but I also don’t want to waste them. If I let them sit around until I have enough to fill a cookie sheet to dry for breadcrumbs, they’ll get moldy. And I hate heating up the oven for only 2 or 4 slices—and heels and regular slices take different lengths of time to dry anyway. So whenever I finish a loaf of bread, I put the heels in a bag in the freezer.

It only takes a couple of minutes to thaw out the slice or two I will need to make my soufflé (which uses fresh breadcrumbs). And when the bag starts to get full, or when I get low on dry bread, I will fill a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 250, checking them every 30-40 minutes (less as they get closer to being done). Once dry, I can blend them in the blender for breadcrumbs and store them in a jar, or I can put them in a corner of the breadbox in a ziplock storage bag for use however whenever. If my son could eat wheat, I would let him gnaw on them for teething. Though I would probably use the middle of the bread for that, not the ends.

So if you don’t care for the ends of the bread, don’t throw them away. Save them for a rainy day!

Works for me!

After I quit buying the Morningstar Chicken Nuggets (to save money), I began keeping my eye open for a homemade alternative. Then one day a friend of mine posted this recipe on Facebook. She had found it on a forum, and when I asked her for the source, she did some digging and found out it was from the Veganomicon cookbook. Though it isn’t even close to the texture and taste of the Morningstar ones, these are so tasty and have a very nice texture, so they make me not miss the more expensive ones! I imagine that if I were to dip them in egg and breading and fry them like the store bought ones, they would be even better—but less healthier!

I must also give you fair warning that these never last very long on the table. My daughter always wants more long after the last one has disappeared! So if you have more than 4 in your family, you might want to double the recipe. And you can make them soy free by using a little salt instead of soy sauce.

Blend in blender:

1 cup garbanzos (cooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Mix in bowl:

½ cup gluten flour
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup veggie broth or water (I make a broth with chicken seasoning and water)
2 cloves finely chopped/pressed/grated garlic
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp lemon zest (when I don’t have fresh lemon, a dash of lemon flavoring works fine)
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp sage

Add garbanzo mixture to bowl and stir together. Kneed until strings of gluten form. Shape into nuggets (or patties if you wish). Pan fry (I spray in some Pam to keep the oil to a minimum, but you could put as much or little oil as you want) 6-7 minutes on each side on medium low, covered. You will know when they are done when they lose the doughy texture inside. If you cook them too high, they will burn before the inside is done; using a lid helps.

Be sure your breadcrumbs are truly dry, or it won’t turn out as well. You could use blended oats instead of breadcrumbs if you are out of breadcrumbs.

Next week I’m going to share my recipe for gluten steaks. It’s the best one I have found so far, though I suppose if I asked the lady at the Estacada church who made gluten steaks last week for her recipe I would have a better one. But I like this one for a number of reasons, so I’m going to share that next week. In the mean time, watch for my post about breadcrumbs coming up in the next day or two.

This recipe makes a very tasty roast or loaf that is high in protein and very cheap to make—especially in contrast to the veggie roasts you can buy. It’s one of the ways I can get my husband to eat garbanzos—because it doesn’t taste anything like them. It would be very easy to make soy-free as well—just add more salt in place of the soy sauce and use a soy-free beef seasoning.

2 cups soaked garbanzos (about 1 cup dried)
1 ½ cup bran water (or water or broth or whatever)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp beef seasoning (I use Bill’s Best Beaf Seasoning)
½ cup gluten flour
1 cup chopped onion (may be sauted first, but I never bother)
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped Brazil nuts or cashews
2 Tbsp wheat germ

Soak garbanzos until fully soaked (at least 4 hours, overnight best). Drain and blend with oil, 1 cup of the water, soy sauce, and all seasonings on high until fine. Pour into bowl, and rinse blender with remaining ½ cup of water, adding to mixture. Add onion, celery, nuts, and wheat germ and mix.

Stir in gluten flour and beat until gluten develops. This will take several minutes. You will notice the mixture becoming stringy—that is when the gluten is ready. It won’t get stiff until it bakes. The garbanzos thicken as they cook.

Put into greased glass loaf pan or medium sized baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour at 350°. Remove foil for last 15 minutes to allow roast to brown on top. Serve hot. Reheats well.

Doesn't that look good?

How about a close-up?

This is a great potluck dish. Or if we’re eating it at home, I will serve it with rice—wild rice is my favorite—and a vegetable. It is very satisfying. It could be sliced and served with gravy, though it has plenty of flavor on its own. The pieces of nuts add interest, though they could be ground with the garbanzos for a smoother texture. The original recipe didn’t call for beef seasoning, but I found the recipe needed a little more seasoning than it called for—at least, for our family.

Before trying this recipe, I had never tried making anything with raw soaked garbanzos. I was surprised how wet the mixture was—nearly pourable, nothing like any roast I had ever made before. But then I saw in the book that you can use raw soaked garbanzos blended up to thicken things. I actually thickened pumpkin pie with them once! They can be blended and frozen ahead of time as well. Just a tip that you might find handy some day.

Next week I’m going to share the recipe I love for chicken nuggets. A friend of mine posted the recipe on Facebook, and it was the end of my quest for a good chicken nugget recipe! Watch for it!

This recipe is my slightly modified version of the recipe found in the Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley cookbook.

Soy Not Meat

This month I’m starting a new series of recipes. The theme is veggie meat. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like paying through the nose for the stuff they sell at the grocery store or the ABC. But finding recipes that taste as good as the commercial stuff isn’t easy.

I have, however, found a few that our whole family likes. I hope you will enjoy them too. Knowing that many people have problems with or allergies to certain foods, I’m including a couple without soy, and this one is gluten free.

1 cup soaked soy beans, ground (may use rather moist soy fiber leftover from making soy milk)
1 cup tomatoes
4 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup bread crumbs or dry oatmeal
3 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt or less (I find a scant teaspoon is best)

Blend tomatoes, peanut butter, oil, soysauce, and seasonings. Add to ground soybeans. (When using soaked soybeans, I ground them in the blender, though I had to stop and stir them a lot. A meat grinder might work.) Add bread crumbs, mix well. Fill 2 greased tin cans. Cover (I use aluminum foil with a rubber band to hold it on), place on a rack in a tall kettle, and steam for 2 ½ hours.

These freeze well. I usually freeze one in the can and take it out later. The meat doesn’t set very firmly, so it usually ends up being more of a thick spread, which is fine with me—I can make it fit the bread.

My husband doesn’t like spreads based on peanut butter, but this one has enough seasonings and other things in it that he does like it, though he’d rather have my veggie patties. Unfortunately, I won’t have room this month to share the recipe for them, but I’ll hopefully get it posted sometime. If you are my personal friend on Facebook (not just following my blog), you can find an older version of the recipe in my notes.

Because of how long it takes to cook this recipe, I plan on making a double batch next time. One can’s worth seems to be enough for my husband, daughter, and me for a meal, so that would give us almost a month’s worth. Then I’ll probably freeze most of it and use it as something to break the monotony of veggie patties for sandwiches.

Next week I’ll be sharing my recipe for Gluten Garbanzo Roast. In spite of my husband’s strong dislike for garbanzos, this is one of our favorite recipes! I made it for last Sabbath, so I’ll be posting a picture or two. In the mean time, why not share your favorite sandwich spread? Post it in a comment or in your blog with a link here.

This recipe is my variation of the recipe in the Ten Talents cookbook. You can buy it from Amazon using the link below: