Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Phatveggie's Big Balls

When I first became a vegetarian, I did not try to have meat substitutes. It was simple to provide enough protein in my diet with beans, nuts, cheese, and eggs (ovo-lacto vegetarian that is). During these last couple weeks at our house, we have tried out “meat” ball recipes for spaghetti. It has become somewhat of a contest to see which recipe will be the best. At the end we will declare our winner.
The first contestant is from an old book that I found at a used bookstore called Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler. It has recently been republished in a 25th anniversary issue. The recipe is for Tofu Spaghetti Balls.

Tofu Spaghetti Balls

Mix together well:
¾ lb. tofu, mashed (we used the hold pound)
½ cup flour, bread crumbs, rolled oats, or corn flakes ( we mixed bread crumbs and oats)
1 ½ Tbsp. peanut butter
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ tsp dry mustard (we didn’t have any so we used prepared)
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Roll balls in flour and fry in ½ inch oil over medium heat until browned all over. Turn each ball about every 3 minutes.

Serve with hot spaghetti and Italian style tomato sauce.
Makes 24 1 ½ inch balls (my balls are bigger)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Eve Breakfast

Since I have to go to work tomorrow morning, today was a great day to make my sweetheart pancakes for breakfast. The recipe comes from a lovely photographed book called Biscuits, Pancakes & Quick Breads by Beverly Cox (photography by Martin Jacobs). Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. This book will inspire you to makes some wonderful creations. Since my partner wanted banana nut pancakes, I decided on Easy Whole-Wheat Griddle Cakes, and I just added those two ingredients at the end.

Easy Whole-Wheat Griddle Cakes

Cottage cheese and eggs give these cakes a lightness and fluffiness not usually associated with whole-wheat griddle cakes.

Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 15 minutes Yield 4-6 servings

 4 eggs
 1 cup creamed cottage cheese
 1 tablespoon brown sugar
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 ½ cup whole-wheat flour
 1 tablespoon melted butter mixed with 1 tablespoon mild cooking oil
 Butter and honey or warm maple syrup for serving

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, cottage cheese, brown sugar, and salt together at medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add the flour, and continue to mix until the flour is incorporated.

Lightly grease a griddle with the butter and oil mixture and heat the griddle until medium-hot. Ladle the batter by scant ¼ cupfuls onto the griddle. When small bubbles form on the top, after 1 ½ - 2 minutes, turn the cakes and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute. Serve with butter and honey or warm maple syrup.
Today I added a mashed ripened banana and about 1 cup chopped pecans to the batter.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cookbooks Galore

Over the years I have collected numerous cookbooks. I bow my head in shame that there may be some that I have never used. This year I have set a goal to cook a recipe from each of my cookbooks and blog about it.

The first book that I would like to use is called The American Vegetarian Cookbook from the Fit for Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond. When I first became a vegetarian Fit for Life and Diet for a Small Planet were great resources for me. When Marilyn Diamond came out with this cookbook, I ran to the Tattered Cover Bookstore right away to pick it up. The recipes are fairly simple and not overly time consuming. More importantly they are delicious. This week I have selected Vegetable Lasagna to go with our Vegan Wednesday theme (heavy on the Swedish accent there). Enjoy!

Vegetable Lasagna
1 (10 – ounce) box lasagna noodles
Tofu Ricotta
1 pound firm tofu (we used 1.5 pounds but will use 2 pounds the next time)
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or ½ teaspoon ground)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vegetable Filling
2 garlic cloves, crushed in 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large, 2 medium, or 4 small zucchini, cut in 1/8-inch-thick lengthwise slices (3 cups)
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach
To Assemble
Olive oil
¾ cup prepared tomato sauce (phatveggie kitchen used a store bought jar)
Dried basil, oregano, sweet Hungarian paprika, salt, and freshly ground pepper.
1. Prepare lasagna noodles. We like to use the non boil type.
2. Prepare ricotta. Crumble three-fourths of the tofu (12 oz) in a food processor or blender. Add oil, salt, and nutmeg. Process only until mixture is slightly lumpy. Finely crumble remaining tofu into mixture and set aside.
3. Using 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil for each batch, cook zucchini in a single layer, n several batches, in a large skillet. Sprinkle each batch of zucchini generously with basil, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. If the slices are thin enough, you will not need to turn them. Sauté until bright green and tender-crisp. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon garlic oil to skillet. Toss in mushrooms and sauté until tender and slightly brown on edges. Remove from skillet and set aside.

5. Steam spinach until defrosted. Squeeze to remove excess water and set aside.
6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly brush a shallow 9 X 13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Place a scant ladle of tomato sauce in dish and spread over bottom. Put a layer of 3 noodles on top of sauce. Cover with a thick masking ricotta. Top with layers of zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Repeat layers of tomato sauce, pasta, ricotta, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, seasonings twice more, reserving 3 lasagna noodles, ½ to ¾ cup ricotta, and 2 tablespoons tomato sauce for final layer.

7. End with final pasta layer, a masking of ricotta, and a thin brushing of tomato sauce. Dust with basil, oregano, paprika. Cover with foil lined with parchment. (Parchment prevents leaching of aluminum into the food). Bake 45 minutes, then cool a few minutes before cutting. Serve hot.