Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Tonight's dinner comes from Vegan Yum Yum. The recipe is located here. Perfect weeknight fare: fast, easy, and kid friendly (she ate a whole plate!). G even gave it 4 of 5 stars. The only drawback was that there were no leftovers.

Today's Cooking

Today I worked on some more bread recipes from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart. I currently have bagels and some more french bread rising in my refrigerator. I think I may try some whole grain breads later this week. So delicious!

For lunch today, we had leftover Gnocchi w/ Roasted Red Kuri Squash from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. The recipe calls for packaged gnocchi, but because I'm a glutton for punishment, I made my own gnocchi. I always sort of make lazy gnocchi. I make the dough as recommended, but then I just roll the gnocchi into a long line and cut off little gnocchi balls. I don't bother shapping them with a fork, I just kind of let them dry as blobs for a little while and then cook them. They, honestly, aren't much different this way than with the fancy fork decorations. And gnocchi takes time and this cuts down on some of the time.

This is a delicious recipe, probably more time intensive than you would need on a normal weeknight. Maddie ate the gnocchi, but would not touch the sauce.

Homemade Gnocchi (From Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs[ olive oil
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

  1. Bake the potatoes at 450 degrees for 45 mins or until cooked through.
  2. Cool the potatoes. I usually stick them in the refrigerator or freezer until they are easy to handle.
  3. Start boiling a large pot of water.
  4. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the potato from the peel into a bowl.
  5. Add the olive oil.
  6. Mash the potatoes until smooth-ish.
  7. Add the flour a little at a time.
  8. When the dough is feeling knead-able, move it to a counter and knead it, continuing to add the flour. Keep adding flour until it isn't sticky, but it isn't overly dry.
  9. Divide the dough into smaller portions.
  10. Roll the dough into a rope about 3/4 inch thick.
  11. Cut the dough rope into small pieces.
  12. Separate the pieces on a floured surface (I just used a cookie sheet). Let them sit on the counter for > 10 minutes.
  13. Drop the gnocchi into the water and let boil until they float.
  14. If you are making the gnocchi with a sauce, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and put them into the sauce. I have also put them in a bowl and doused them with olive oil to keep them from clumping together.
Roasted Red Kuri Squash Sauce (From Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton)

3 lbs red kuri squash (I used butternut)
1 bulb of garlic
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/4- 1 1/2 cup plain soy milk
2 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2-3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tbsp vegan margarine
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
handful of chopped fresh basil

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place the squash on a baking sheet.
  3. Wrap the bulb of garlic in some aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast the squash and the garlic for an hour.
  5. When the squash and garlic are done, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  6. Scoop out the rest of the squash into a food processor.
  7. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the peel into the food processor.
  8. Add the rest of the ingredients up to, but not including the vegan margarine.
  9. Process the ingredients together until smooth.
  10. Move the sauce ingredients to a saucepan on medium to heat the sauce.
  11. Add the vegan margarine and mix to combine.
  12. Add the chopped basil to the sauce when it is almost ready to be served.
  13. Add the gnocchi to the sauce.
  14. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Baking Bread

I have been baking a lot of bread lately. It all started when I was fantasizing about a picnic with no food except some french bread, butter, and a sweet white wine with a friend. I decided that I should learn to bake french bread! I started out with this recipe. We actually baked it at a party and ate it around the table as soon as it had cooled sufficiently with lots and lots of butter. Bread parties are now going to be a tradition! Who needs sweets and chips when you have fresh bread? The recipe turned out nicely, but I wanted to experiment some more.

So I bought a book: Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart.

The first recipe I tried, of course, was the french bread. The first difference is that the dough is less tacky, easier to handle. I made a larger loaf too. G loved this bread. He said it was perfect, except the color looked too dark. Otherwise, it tasted perfect and the shape was really good. In spite of the dark color, it didn't taste burned at all. I think my oven may have been a little too hot. It also cooked in much less time than the recipe indicated. I was glad I checked on it, otherwise, I would've had badly burned bread.

New cookbooks pretty much make my day. So does fresh bread.

Weekly Menu for the Week of 27-Dec-09

Sunday: Gnocchi w/ roasted red kuri squash (Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan)
Monday: Out of Town
Tuesday: Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta (
Wednesday: Jumble-aya (Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan pg 123)
Thursday: kung pao tofu (Authentic Chinese Cuisine pg. 135)
Friday: Pizza!
Saturday: veggie burgers and homemade french fries

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Teriyaki Sauce

This is the teriyaki sauce recipe from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by the amazing Dreena Burton. I am posting this because it was requested by my sister-in-law and my mother!

1/2 cup tamari soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or other syrup [maple syrup, corn syrup, simple syrup, honey])
1-1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp blackstrap molasses
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2-2 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch)

Whisk ingredients together and add to stir fry. Let it simmer until it thickens.