Sneakily delicious dishes that bring all the omnivores to the yard! Look for the cookbook in 2010!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Supertoddler's Little Vegan Meals - Tofu Dinos, Roasted Broccoli, Strawberries

Tofu Dinos w/ Strawberries and Roasted Broccoli

I figured, since I'm raising a little Supertoddler, it might be helpful to other parents if I posted his meals from time to time. Just like any toddler, the Supertoddler is picky and likes to exert his independence in every way possible, especially at mealtime. He may eat foods that are unfamiliar to non-vegan kids and families, but by involving your kids in the preparation of food, you'd be surprised what you can get them to eat!

A Little Vegan Meal that the Supertoddler recently enjoyed was tofu dinos, roasted broccoli, and strawberries.

Roasted Broccoli: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut broccoli into bite-size florets and place in a relatively large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. Have your child toss the broccoli {with clean hands} to coat, and then spread the broccoli onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until desired doneness is reached, stirring half way through. Roasting broccoli makes it crunchy and nutty, and more friendly to a kid's palette.

Tofu Dinos: While the broccoli is roasting, drain a block of extra firm tofu. Give it a gentle squeeze in a towel to get out as much extra moisture as possible without compromising the structural integrity of the tofu. Slice horizontally into 4 large sheets. Pat each sheet dry with a paper towel. Let your little one help you cut shapes out of the tofu with cookie cutters, saving the scraps for a future date {did someone say tofu scramble? Yum!}. This time Supertoddler chose dino shapes, but you can use whatever you'd like. Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium to medium-high heat. Add the tofu, and cook until golden brown on both sides {about 5 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second}. Remove the tofu shapes from the pan, drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt while they're still hot. Serve with dipping sauce of choice {Supertoddler likes stone ground mustard}.

This meal can be rounded out with a fruit of your child's choice {in this instance, Supertoddler demanded strawberries with such conviction that I was sure his little life was going to end if he didn't get them}, and a grain {Supertoddler wanted whole wheat toast}.

Stay tuned for the next installment in Supertoddler's Little Vegan Meals.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Decadent Cherry Torte

Cherry Torte

My sweet sister-in-law, noticing that I never ate any dessert at family functions {not vegan}, set out to make a delicious dessert for me as a surprise for our next family function. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at her house to find that she'd made me a decadent, fluffy, creamy, sinful, and delicious cherry torte! The dessert was one of the very best things I've ever put in my mouth. After thanking her profusely, I asked her for the recipe. She emailed me the link she'd gotten the recipe from.

I made some slight modifications, and made the torte again myself, this time for a group of friends.

Decadent Cherry Torte
Serves 8 - 12

1 cup vegan butter {I used Earth Balance buttery sticks}, softened
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp unrefined sugar
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips {I used Ghirardelli brand}
2 10oz cartons Soyatoo Soy Whip {I found mine at Good Earth}
1 8oz tub Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese {Good Earth, Harmon's, and Whole Foods all carry this}
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 21oz can cherry pie filling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir together butter, flours, and unrefined sugar until coarse, even-sized crumbs are formed. Press the mixture into a greased 9x13" pan, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

2. Turn off the oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over crust, and return to still-warm oven for 5 - 10 minutes until chocolate chips are soft. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate chips into a thin even layer. Set the crust aside to cool.

3. While the crust cools completely, whip the Soyatoo according to package directions. In a separate large bowl, blend cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Carefully fold in the Soyatoo until the entire filling is well combined.

4. Spread the filling into cooled crust. Gently top evenly with the cherry pie filling, and chill for at least 3 hours {overnight is preferable}. Cut into squares and serve.

Note: You can leave out the chocolate chips if you prefer a simpler dessert, or if you don't like chocolate. Ninjahusband preferred the torte without the layer of chocolate. I preferred it with.

Monday, February 1, 2010

General Tao's Tofu

General Tao's Tofu

Recently I've been discovering the wonder that is Previously I was wary of the site, being that all the recipes are user-submitted {and I remember a particularly horrendous mushroom pate that a friend made using a recipe from that site. It included dried stuffing mix...} However, I discovered upon further investigation that each recipe has a user rating, as well as comments and pictures that can give you a pretty accurate idea of how the recipe is going to turn out before you make it.

The most popular recipe on the site, hands down, is General Tao's Tofu. Naturally, it was the first one I tried. As I was making it, I noticed a few things that could use a few tweaking {and some serious re-writing, for clarity}. Here is the recipe, re-written and including my tweaks.

General Tao's Tofu
Serves 4

16 oz container extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into cubes
flour, in a shallow dish
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
4 chopped green onions
1.5 tbsp minced ginger
1.5 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp soy sauce
6 tbsp sugar
a pinch of red pepper flakes {to taste}
1.5 tbsp white wine vinegar
1.5 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp cold water
1 lb broccoli, steamed

1. Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a large pan until hot but not smoking. Coat the tofu in the flour. Transfer the tofu to the pan and fry until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp additional oil in a separate pan over medium high heat. Add green onions, ginger, and garlic, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until tender. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, and vinegar. Whisk in the cornstarch and water mixture, and cook the sauce for several minutes, stirring often, until bubbling and thick.

3. Add the fried tofu and steamed broccoli to the sauce, tossing lightly to coat. Serve over your choice of rice.

If you like, you can leave the broccoli separate and serve it on the side.