Comfort food for a different palate

Hello dear readers,  I am back. It has been a very topsy turvy few months and things aren’t settling down quite yet. I’ve decided to return to cooking. How often you will get a posting remains to be seen, but I do hope it is more than once in six months.

So. Comfort food. I’ve been turning to a lot of that lately. The ultimate comfort food for me is macaroni and cheese. However, I love the kind made from scratch. The KD kind will do in a pinch. The first of my two recipes is vegan.

If you’ve followed any of my previous entries, you will know I have a soft spot for avocados. So. Take two ripe avocados and mash them coarsely. Some pieces are good,  but you also want a creamy texture. To this add a half tsp of salt, a tsp of sugar, a tbsp lemon juice,  and a half tsp of chili pepper flakes. Once you mix this all together,  toss it with some pasta And olive oil. Enjoy warm. I promise it tastes delicious!

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The second recipe takes one package of ready made kraft dinner. To it, add some meat or faux meat of your choice,  vegetables,  and are you ready: a can of your favourite baked beans. A friend made this at one point and since then it has been my go to dish whenever I want comfort,  satisfaction,  and something cheap and quick to make.

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Variation – Tandoori tofu

Not a post really, but here.is the tandoori tofu that I.made for dinner yesterday. The point is, tofu is really versatile, and you can really use any sort of rub you like on it. I use a ready made tandoori spice, and add 1/4 cup of yogurt, a tbsp of ginger, and salt to taste. And then if you’ll look at the entry for jerk tofu, the method is there. Remember to.drain your tofu. The more water you get out of it before and while cooking, the better.

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Jerk tofu

I’m sure I’ve made a posting on tofu and the right way to prepare it before. Tofu is like a sponge. It will absorb the spices or sauces that you soak it in. If not, tofu can be very bland.

Jerk tofu

1/2 block extra firm tofu sliced into 1/3 inch slices
1 tsp olive oil
3-5 tbsps jerk spice rub, your favourite
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients other than the tofu. Rub onto tofu. Allow to marinate for two hours or overnight. In a hot pan, sear tofu. When sufficiently brown, serve over rice, potatoes, salad, etc.

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I can’t believe it’s vegan! Nachos!

I quite enjoy nachos. It’s a hearty meal for one if you get everything on it. I used TVP for this recipe. If you don’t know what that is, it’s textured vegetable protein. It’s like soy chunks, but like dried ground meat. Normally, I’ve always disliked it. That is until I knew how to properly prepare it… Like the soy chunks, you have to soak it in warm to slightly hot water for at least two hours. Then drain it. Then, squeeze out the water by hand. All the bitter stuff is hopefully in the water, and you’ve squeezed it out. You’ll need about half a cup of dried TVP for this recipe. After two hrs, it should triple in quantity. Saute a chopped onion on the stove in some olive oil. Add a tablespoon of chopped garlic. When they both brown slightly, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder, and 3 teaspoons of cumin powder. Add the “meat”, and about a cup of water. Mix throughout. Add salt to taste. Then add about 1/3 cup of chopped tomatoes. I only had salsa, so used that. Also, add, 2 tablespoons of ketchup, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Cook for 20 minutes. Add more water as necessary. Now assemble your nachos. Chips, the “meat”, and your favorite vegan cheese. I like daiya. Cook for ten minutes or until cheese melts.

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After the oven

Next, top with your favourite toppings. I had cherry tomatoes and salad mix. Enjoy!

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Enjoy

Vegan IndoAsian springrolls

So, I often go to the Asian supermarket. It’s something of a love of mine. They have so much stuff you’ve never seen before. For a mushroom lover such as myself, I can’t quite explain the feeling when you see five different kinds of mushrooms that you recognize, and another five that you don’t. Maybe I’ll leave a whole post to talking about mushrooms.

I also often see things I don’t recognize elsewhere. Nowhere else will you find that many varieties of tofu. One of the things I love are the extra crispy springrolls in downtown Chinatown dim sum restaurants. These aren’t made with springroll wrappers, but with tofu sheets. So, without knowing exactly how to make it, I bought a pack last time. I love the internet. They had many filling ideas, but most that took a whole lot of time. Here’s the Indian twist to this. There’s this snack called vada. It’s basically a spicy potato ball, dredged in chickpea flour and deep fried. I enjoy the potato (totally doing a post on my love for potatoes too), but not so much the covering. Anyway, that’s what I used for the filling.

First, I boiled two potatoes, skin and all. I had red potatoes, so they have a more delicate skin. With most others, peel them. A trick when making mashed potatoes is to never boil the potatoes whole and then anguish over peeling them while hot. Chop them into chunks before boiling them. This makes easier mashing too.

Once the potatoes are cooked and tender, drain and mash them. Add salt.to taste, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a teaspoon of green chili paste. Even though I love Indian food, it being in my blood and all, I’m a wimp when it comes to things being too spicy. Add more spice if you like, but be careful.

Open up your sheet. My sheet was one big square. If you wanted, I’m sure you could use it to make one big Wellington or pastry. For the purposes of this recipe, use a sharp, clean scissors, and cut it into four equal pieces. Add a quarter of the potato mix to each sheet. Wrap snugly.

Heat a wok with about half an inch of oil. Fry two at a time, and brown on both sides. Serve it hot after draining on paper towels. I ate mine with ketchup… The sweetness cuts down the spice a bit. Enjoy!

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