Archive for July, 2008

Here are some delicious little bites from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano. They’re savory, not sweet, and have been described as the Italian version of a pretzel. With red pepper, oregano, olive oil, and white wine as part of the ingredients, I would just describe them as mouth-watering. 

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Here is a quick and easy summer pasta salad with nutty twist. And actually, an Asian twist, too. In the time it takes the pasta to cook, the vegetables can be prepared and the sauce made. I added chicken to the mix, but this tastes just as good vegetarian. Enjoy!

Nutty pasta salad, with (or without) chicken


1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky will do

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


16 ounces pasta, long strands like spaghetti or linguine work best

16 ounces snap peas

3 carrots

1 red pepper

1 cup leftover chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces

1 cup toasted sliced almonds

Prepare the sauce by adding all the ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Place your pasta in a pot of boiling water, return to a boil, and cook til al dente.

Meanwhile, trim the snap peas, peel and thinly slice (on the diagonal) the carrots, and dice the red pepper. Place in a large bowl with the diced chicken.

When the pasta is done, drain and run under cold water. Transfer to your large bowl with all the salad ingredients. Toss gently together, add the dressing, toss again, and garnish with the toasted almond slices. Serves 6.




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I tried another fantastic recipe from the Little Bits blog – Tofu Balls. Besides having really great photo displays, and lusciously creative endeavors, this blog is just chock full of nibbles that inspire me.

So I tried the tofu balls tonight. They did not disappoint. Absolutely yummy. And addictive, too. I fried mine in a scant amount of oil, instead of baking, so in order to get them done well I flattened them out into patties instead of keeping them as balls. I made the peanut butter and soy balls this time; next time I’ll be trying the red curry coconut balls, yes indeed. Enjoy!

Tofu patties

1 pound firm tofu, pressed

1 cup onion, minced

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I did not use panko, as written in original recipe)

3 tablespoons peanut butter, unsalted

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/2  teaspoon salt

Small bowl of flour

Press the tofu for at least 30 minutes to remove most of the liquid. Crumble the tofu in a large bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasonings as needed, and shape into balls. Coat each ball with flour.

Fry in a skillet with about 1-2 tablespoons canola oil. When you place the balls in the pan, mash them to make them flatter for easier and more complete browning. These are done when browned on each side. Serve with dipping sauce. Makes about 2 dozen patties.

Dipping sauce – Honey soy sesame sauce

6 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

4 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons sesame oil

10 tablespoons peanut butter – or to taste

freshly grated ginger and/or garlic

water for thinning

Whisk together the first 4 ingredients. Then add the peanut butter and whisk until it reaches YOUR desired consistency. Add a little water if it’s too thick.


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Chef John, you’ve done it again! With your Pumpkin Seed Flatbread. I can’t believe I Ate. The. Whole. Thing. Wow, was that good. Actually, beyond good – more like, the best. And that was with my non-dairy modifications, too. I subbed little pats of soy cream cheese for the feta, and sprinkled soy parmesan for the reggiano. Just outstanding. This went great with a vinaigrette salad. Try it, you’ll love it. I guarantee it.

Before baking:


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It’s up and running at Thyme for Cooking, and it looks delicious, too.

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No, those are not spaghettio’s. It’s aneletti pasta, and I think it’s great. I found these round and chewy rings at Trader Joe’s, and they made the perfect foil for the spicy lentil sauce. Italian meets Indian. Enjoy!

Aneletti with a spicy lentil sauce

1 cup brown lentils

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, in their juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar, add more if desired

1 16-ounce package of aneletti pasta

1/2 cup plain soy yogurt

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add your lentils, bring to a boil again, then turn town the heat, cover, and simmer for about 40  minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil, onions, and garlic in a large pan. When sizzling, add the dried spices and stir so everything mingles well and the onions begin to soften.

Add the tomatoes and brown sugar, and stir in well. Turn down heat to simmer and let everything stew.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your aneletti. Cook according to package instructions (about 10 minutes) until al dente. Drain.

Just before serving, add the soy yogurt and basil to the spicy lentils, stir thoroughly, and spoon over aneletti. Makes 6 servings.

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So creamy and comforting, this polenta will fool even your most diehard cheese fans. Using soy sour cream and soy parmesan, this polenta takes on just the right texture and taste. With sauteed veggies stirred in, their flavor infuses as it bakes, and the whole dish just works so well. Serve with a salad and your favorite bread on the side. Enjoy!

Creamy cheesey non-dairy polenta with sauteed vegetables

6 cups water

1 1/2 cups polenta

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 shallots, sliced

1/2 pound green beans

1 red pepper, cut into strips

1/2 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

3/4 cup soy sour cream

1 cup soy parmesan, grated

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced (optional)

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cooking pan with non-stick spray. Mix together the water, polenta, and salt. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 40 minutes.

While the polenta is baking, heat the olive oil in a large pan, and saute the shallots til soft. Add the string beans and continue to saute for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the red pepper, mushrooms, and tomatoes, and saute until softened.

Combine together the sour cream, soy parmesan, basil, sauteed veggies, optional chicken, and salt and pepper. Stir into the cooked polenta, and bake for 25 minutes more. Serves 8.


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This recipe, from Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano, was so delicious, it was like a ray of sunshine. A very cheery cake.

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Here is a salad that is healthy, satisfying, pretty to look at, and easy to make. You can make it as all vegetables, or add your favorite protein, be it grilled shrimp, cooked and diced chicken, cubed and spiced tofu, or seared seitan. They all work. It comes together quickly after the rice is cooked, and is as nice for after work as it is for company. It is chewy, crunchy, with little bits of tang and saltiness and spice. Enjoy!

Jeweled rice salad

3 cups cooked brown rice (your choice, but I like short-grain)

1 cup finely chopped cabbage

1 scallion, minced

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup chopped ripe black olives

1/2 cup chopped olives with pimientos

1 cup cooked corn (I used Trader Joe’s roasted – it added a subtle smoky flavor)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup protein (optional) – grilled shrimp, cubed cooked chicken, tofu, seitan – I used chicken here

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together, toss thoroughly. Serves 6.

I am submitting this recipe to the “Tasted, Tried and True…Take Two” event going on at Equal Opportunity Kitchen. Not only is this a healthy recipe event, but the folks at this blog are trying to raise awareness about organ donation. So not only do you get to see some really nutritional dishes, but you might just learn a few things about this most admirable and valuable cause.


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Blueberries everywhere in the markets, and they are among my top 10 favorite and healthiest foods. So sue me, but I’m on a blueberry jag. Last week it was blueberry bread, now pancakes. Most recipes call for milk, or buttermilk, but plain soy milk with a little lemon juice added fills the bill very nicely. These got gobbled up. Enjoy! (this recipe is derived from Norene Gilletz’ buttermilk pancake recipe in Pleasure of Your Food Processor)

Blueberry pancakes

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons melted margarine

1 1/4 cups plain soy milk, with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice stirred in

1 egg

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, margarine, and egg. Combine with the flour mixture. Then gently stir in the blueberries.

Pour onto a lightly greased hot griddle, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and brown on the other side. Makes 16 pancakes.

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