Sunday, January 25, 2009

Aya Sofia

I haven't posted any recipes or menu ideas all week--I've been too busy to do more than throw together some very basic meals. My son Will is heavily involved in his high school's FIRST Robotics team (see photos above), and they're in the midst of their intense robot-building season. The team has just six weeks to build a functioning robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics regionals beginning in February. This year's game has a moon rover theme--the robots must maneuver on a low-friction playing field that simulates lunar conditions. The object is to throw balls into trailers towed by the opposing teams' robots, while preventing other teams from placing balls in your robot's trailer.

At the same time, my daughter Emma has been working on a theatrical production--scroll down to the next post for more on this--and my husband is rehearsing for his role (Mr. MacMillan) in an upcoming production of Big! with Shrewsbury Community Theatre. Add in work, and meetings, and ... yeah, we've been a little busy.

Last night between attending Emma's play and getting over to the Fox for Legally Blonde, we went to Aya Sofia, a wonderful Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant in our neighborhood. As an appetizer, we ordered pitas with a tray of three dips--Biber Ezme (a roasted red pepper dip), Hummus, and Baba Ghanous. Next came a Turkish salad. For my entree, I had Imam Bayildi--baked eggplant with tomato sauce, served with lightly braised green beans and orzo. The eggplant was wonderful--it absolutely melted in your mouth! It was certainly higher in fat than what we usually eat, but it was a special day; we were celebrating Emma's dramatic accomplishments.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Whole Wheat Baguettes

My brother, sister-in-law, and little nephew joined us for dinner: Creamy Broccoli Pasta from The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook, some baked winter squash, a marvelous beet salad brought by our guests--and this crusty bread. I got the bread recipe from Diary of a Locavore. The cool baguette pan came from the Viking Store .

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mushroom Pie with Spinach Crust

This is my adaptation of a Mollie Katzen recipe that appeared in the newspaper's food section last week. My version substitutes vegan ingredients for the oil, eggs, and Swiss cheese. The three of us who ate it enjoyed its rich, savory taste. The two mycophobes in the family found themselves other nourishment.

Crust Ingredients:
12 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
3/4 t salt
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
ground nutmeg
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a glass pie pan with cooking spray and set aside. Saute the spinach and salt in a very small amount of water until the spinach is limp. Revove from heat. Add flour, bread crumbs, and a few dashes of nutmeg; mix well. I used an immersion blender to mix it more uniformly. Pat into prepared pan using a fork, then used moistened hands to mold the crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Fill immediately OR let cool, wrap tightly, and refrigerate.

Filling Ingredients:

1 onion, diced
1 t. salt
12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 T whole wheat flour
2 t dry mustard
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 cup canned cannellini beans
1 small (2-oz) jar pimentos
1 T tahini
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T ground flaxseed
1 cup plain soy yogurt
black pepper
1/3 cup water if needed

Saute onion and salt in a little water in a nonstick skillet until onion is soft. Add mushrooms and lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, about 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, dry mustard, basil, and thyme; stir in. Cook and stir 5 minutes, then remove from heat. In a bowl, combine the canellini beans, pimentos, and tahini. Blend with immersion blender (or in regular blender) until smooth. Stir in the nutritional yeast, ground flaxseed, soy yogurt, and pepper until well blended. Stir in the mushroom mixture. Pour into prebaked pie crust, and lightly dust the top with paprika. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Can be served hot, warm, or at room temperature.

The crust can be made a couple of days in advance, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. The entire pie can be made up to two days ahead and stored in the same way. To reheat, let pie come to room temperature, then cover lightly with foil. Reheat in a 300 degree oven about 20 to 30 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Baked Beans and Muffins

Baked beans and muffins--a good, comforting meal for a cold day. The baked beans are from a recipe in The McDougall Quick and EasyCookbook, with just a few minor changes. I added Fakin' Bacon. The Cinnamon Swirl Muffins are from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe index. These are some of our favorite muffins--they are sweet and delicious. I used two cups of white whole wheat flour this time instead of one of white whole wheat and one of unbleached. That's probably why mine came out flat instead of rounded on top--but they still tasted fine!

Baked Beans:
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cans kidney beans
1 package Lightlife Fakin' Bacon Smoky Tempeh Strips, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine green pepper, onion, beans, and Fakin' Bacon in a bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour over the beans and vegetables and mix well. Pour into a casserole dish, cover, and bake for 1 hour.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pudding Toast

We didn't shop for food over the weekend--we were too busy with other stuff, such as Will's college scholarship applications. When I came home after work on Monday and looked into the pantry, it was a Stone Soup moment. There wasn't a whole lot to work with.

We had a loaf of bread in the freezer downstairs, and a pound of tofu in the fridge. Signs pointed to French toast. I tossed the tofu into the Vita-Mix with some maple syrup and orange juice (we were even out of soy milk, and I almost never let that happen--I love my soy lattes too much!)

Emma came along right after I poured the blended mixture into a bowl. She swiped a spoonful and reported, "Tastes like pudding." When the rest of the family came home, she announced, "Mom made pudding toast!"
Pudding Toast
1 lb. firm tofu
1/2 to 3/4 cup orange juice
2 T ground flax seed
2 T maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
10 slices whole wheat bread
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the tofu and 1/2 cup of the orange juice in blender or food processor. Add flax seed, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Blend well to pudding consistency, adding more orange juice if needed. Pour mixture into a shallow, flat-bottomed bowl. Dip each slice of bread in the mixture to coat both sides. Place coated bread slices on baking sheet, and bake five to eight minutes until beginning to brown. Turn over and bake about five minutes on other side, until golden brown. Serve hot, topped with maple syrup or applesauce.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Simply Irresistible Lentil Dal

If only I could stop the Robert Palmer song, "Simply Irresistible" from playing in my head whenever I make something from John and Mary McDougall's wonderful McDougall Made Irresistible DVD.
In spite of the mental soundtrack, I managed to make a pretty good dinner using Mary's Festive Lentil Dal recipe. (The link will take you to a PDF of the recipe--scroll down, it's the second one on the page). If you want to view all the recipes from the DVD, go here for a list of links.