Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Quinoa

Mmmm...these were delish! I slapped 'em together in no time since I had some homemade tomatillo salsa in the fridge and some NYT black beans just waiting to be eaten too. Heck, I think the quinoa went in because I had some leftovers from a salad I'd made the night before too! All this to say work with what you have, this just happened to be a particularly pretty "fridge cleaner" dish. Or, you can always buy some salsa and canned black beans and make some quinoa especially for's worthy.

Stuffed Peppers with Black Beans and Quinoa:

4 large peppers, gutted, and tops saved
About a 1/1 ratio of black beans to quinoa (if you're not using homemade black beans with lotsa onions and garlic in them you'll want to saute some before you proceed to adding the rest of the ingredients to the filling)
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
tomatillo salsa
a bit of cumin
a touch of coriander
chopped cilantro if you like
a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
toasted pepitas to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Nuke peppers and their tops for 4 minutes.
Remove tops to a paper towel and keep nuking the pepper bodies for about 4 more minutes.
Remove peppers, drain and invert onto paper toweling.
Saute all but the cheese in a non-stick skillet, til some of the moisture has cooked away.
Mix in most of the cheese, fill peppers, top with the rest of the cheese and then replace tops.
Bake in a casserole that has about 1/4" of water or broth in the bottom for about 35 minutes or til hot clear through.
While the peppers are baking you can toast the raw pepitas (hulled punkin seeds) in a dry pan until they're nice and nutty.
Garnish with pepitas and serve with more tomatillo salsa at the table.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trick or Treat?

No recipes here...surely no one is loony enough to want to go to the trouble of making these! And, so I present a photo gallery of my latest stirrings in the lab.

First, gotta set that cauldron to berlin'.

Wow, sugar gets really hot and hardens REALLY fast! First attempt. Maybe too hot?

Ahh...much better luck this round. We might be getting the hang of this (only cause Debbie was pouring!). The yellow irises are all set in their silicone mold.

So what are we supposed to do with all this leftover sugar?? Hm...swirlies!

Ooooh pretty.

Alright, back to work! No wonder I'm blind and hunchbacked. Doing my best to trim off the extraneous bits and bobs.

Fabulous sclera layer! Who knew there was white opaque food coloring out there...

Almost there!

This is the tricksiest part of the whole recipe...just look at all the zucchini I've crammed into that cupcake batter. Ha!

Time for the enpupilation! Guess I forgot to mention that I molded the eyelids out of cocoa tinted marzipan? Fun stuff.

Shhhhh...don't tell those wretched kids that that's tofu frosting! Muahahahaha.
It's divine I must say. Do try it if you know what's good for you.

And to think I could have just made those darling little pumpkins on the marzipan box. As if!!

Not sure what kind of eye this is supposed to be. Monster said he wanted a dragon eye. I asked him what that was supposed to look like and he hadn't a clue. :-)


Vegan Alfredo Sauce

This is a wonderfully flexible sauce and a must try even if you might be a bit skeptical. It comes from Vegan Yum Yum's Blog (link there if you're interested in a yummy looking vegan cookbook!) and we've had it twice now. The first time I made it with what I had on hand...regular soy sauce instead of the called for reduced sodium tamari. Waaaaay too salty, but still really tasty. We just used less sauce and it was just fine. This time I made it with the reduced sodium tamari and it was even better. Try this with noodles topped with steamed broccoli, or my favorite way...tossed with roasted veggies on a toasted whole wheat roll. Super yum! If you use it with noodles you might want to save some of the water you cooked the noods in. After you've added as much sauce as you want to the hot noodles, you can use some of the starchy water to loosen up the dish to your liking.
Judging from this recipe alone, I might just need a copy of VeganYumYum's new cookbook!

Hurry Up Alfredo by Vegan Yum Yum:

1/3 cup whole raw cashews
3 Tbs reduced sodium tamari sauce (I only used 2 last time I made it...might go with 2.5 next)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika (I used smoked paprika the first time and regular the second)
1 Pinch Nutmeg
1-2 cloves garlic
1 cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of your choice
black pepper to taste

Since I don't have a super fancy Vitamix blender I add the cashews and the soy sauce and try to blend as smoothly as possible before adding the soymilk. It'll go all over the inside of the blender, but just push it back down with a spatula and add more of the other ingredients, adding the soymilk slowly until the nuts really get blended well. That's it! Just add all the stuff in and blend. How goofy easy is that?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Frog Spawn" Thai Tapioca Pudding

Bet you have no clue how insanely delicious frog spawn is, am I right? Take it from me, you'll want to slave over a hot stove for this one. I just happened upon this old photo from one of our parties in 2007 and it's popped me out of my non-blogging stupor just long enough to want to post this deliciously foul recipe. How could I not share, what with Halloween right around the corner? I'm not sure this is the serving suggestion Bon Appetit had envisioned when they published this in '06. But we've always called their "Thai Tapioca Pudding" Frog Spawn anyway...why not dress each cup accordingly.

"Frog Spawn" Thai Tapioca Pudding:
(Bon Appetit Jan '06)

1 2x1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
1 1x1-inch piece fresh galangal,* peeled, sliced
10 Thai basil leaves*
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
2 kaffir lime leaves* or 2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1 tablespoon sliced lemongrass*
2 cups water
2 cups whole milk (you could probably sub unsweetened soymilk)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup small pearl tapioca* (not quick-cooking. I usually use Reese brand)
1 13.5- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk*
mini plastic frogs optional, but thoroughly recommended! :-)
another option would be to tint the "spawn" to a pale yellowish-green with food's not been colored in my photo.

Combine first 6 ingredients in food processor; blend 20 seconds. Transfer to medium saucepan; add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Remove pan from heat and let steep uncovered 20 minutes. Pour mixture into strainer set over heavy large saucepan; press on solids to release flavored liquid. Discard solids in strainer.
Add milk and sugar to flavored liquid in pan; bring to boil. Stir in tapioca; return to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until pudding thickens and is reduced to 2 1/4 cups, stirring frequently (you really should just pull up a chair and stir the whole durn time or it'll scald), about 35 minutes. Stir in coconut milk (pudding will be runny). Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Tint with food coloring if desired and garnish each serving with a mini frog.

*Galangal, Thai basil, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, small pearl tapioca, and unsweetened coconut milk are available at Asian markets, or if you're in Austin or close to a Central Market they now seem to carry the kaffir lime and galangal as well as lemongrass, etc.