Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vegetarian Peanut Noodles

-2/3 cup peanut butter
-2 cloves garlic
-1/2 cup water
-2 tbsp sesame oil (can sub olive oil if needed)
-4 tbs soy sauce
-1 thumb ginger
-1/2 lime juice
-crushed red pepper
-black pepper
-pasta: 1 package udon noodles (10 oz) (can sub rice noodles or linguine)
-1 onion, chopped
-more garlic
-carrots, chopped, shredded or diced
-broccoli, chopped
-red bell pepper, chopped
-1 container extra firm tofu

Optional toppings: chopped peanuts, scallions, sesame seeds

Directions: Boil noodles as directed on package. While noodles are boiling, chop tofu into pieces of desired size and pan fry with olive oil until golden. Set tofu aside, add more oil to pan and sautee the remaining vegetables. Separately, mix peanut butter, chopped garlic, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, crushed red pepper and black pepper in a sauce pan until heated through. Combine all ingredients. You can play around with the amount of sauce and vegetables to your taste.

Editors notes:
  • I'm not a tofu person, but I don't mind it at all when fried as above and broken into fairly small pieces. That way I view it as part of the sauce. If the tofu chunks are too big I just eat around them, and that defeats the purpose.
  • This recipe made fantastic leftovers, but I'd probably omit broccoli next time because the broccoli seems to take much longer to heat than the rest of the dish. And a cold bite of broccoli is no fun. Additional veggies can be added as desired.
  • If you don't use ginger frequently, you can keep some in your freezer for use in dishes like this.
  • We were out of lime so I used lemon with no ill effects.
  • Both the broccoli and peppers I used had been frozen and turned out fine. A nice way to save on chopping/prep time!
  • I used the same pan for the sauce, tofu and vegetables to minimize clean up time. As the tofu and vegetables finished I put them in my serving dish for tossing later with the pasta and sauce.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Banana Rum Bread Pudding

I started with Martha Stewart's recipe here. Below is the recipe I actually followed, my own modifications included:

-2 tbs butter
-1.5 cups soy milk
-3 eggs
-3/4 cup brown sugar (dark)
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 tbs dark rum
-3 bananas sliced into approx. 1/4 inch thick rounds
-leftover/"stale" bread (we used both white and wheat, whatever needed to be used up).

Heat oven to 325. Fill baking pan with 1/2 inch of water (my ramekins were large so I needed to do this to two baking pans). Whisk together soy milk, eggs, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, salt, vanilla and rum. Butter 4 six-ounce ramekins.

Sprinkle a bit of sugar into each ramekin. Put a single layer of banana slices in each ramekin. Put down a layer of bread. Pour half of the liquid mixture among the ramekins. Divide the remaining banana among the ramekins and sprinkle each with a bit of brown sugar. Top with remaining bread. Pour remaining liquid over ramekins. Press to soak bread. *I used more bread than the original recipe called for so I whipped up about 1/3 of the liquid recipe above extra, not measuring exactly but going by feel to make sure each ramekin was soaked enough. Top with a dab of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Cover ramekins loosely with foil, place in baking pans with water and bake for 30 minutes. Bake for another 30 mins. uncovered. Let cool.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gowumpki/Cabbage Roll Casserole

I've been craving Polish gowumpki/cabbage rolls, and I happened to have cabbage leftover from making cole slaw earlier in the week. I didn't think I'd have the energy on a weeknight to actually make cabbage rolls, so I was excited to find a recipe for gowumpki casserole here. The recipe I actually followed, including my modifications in italics, is below:

  • 1 head cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped (I changed this to two onions)
  • (I added 3 cloves garlic)
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned (I subbed 4 vegetarian beer brats, crumbled, for the beef)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • grated cheese

Layer bottom of pan with 1/2 of the cabbage. (I sauteed the onion, garlic, and veggie sausage before constructing the casserole). Add filling of onion, ground beef (veggie sausage), salt, pepper, rice mixed together. Pour 1 c tomato sauce over all. Add another layer of cabbage. Pour remaining tomato sauce over top, and grated cheese, if desired. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Serves 4 - 6.

I thought it could have used maybe 1/2 cup more rice. When I put it together I worried that there wasn't enough tomato sauce to keep it moist, so I covered the glass baking pan with some aluminum foil to keep the steam in, and it worked beautifully.

For the tomato sauce, I used up the tomatoes we had on the counter. I chopped them up and then blended with a stick blender until liquified. Then I simmered for about 10 minutes with some green peppers that had been chopped and stuck in the freezer for something like this, and added a bit of crushed red pepper, basil and oregano. Worked like a charm.

Overall, this was a fairly easy dish, and it was delicious and hearty. I was pleased to be able to use up some produce that might otherwise have gone to waste. Definitely would make this again!