Wednesday, August 20, 2008

10-Minute Marinara

My post of Classic Marinara is indeed a winner, but most women don't have hours to spare marinating and firing tomatoes. I decided to include this recipe because it requires minimal effort and is cheap, cheap CHEAP to make. It also tastes great! Prep time is about 10 minutes, cooking time is 45 but doesn't require much of a watchful eye.

10 Minute Marinara:

28 oz can of diced tomatoes
5-6 large basil leaves (or 1tbsp dried)
1.5tbsp oregano
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
dash of chili powder
2 tbsp olive oil

Squish the tomatoes well with your fingers, throwing out stems. Add the spices and oil and simmer for 45 minutes or until most of the moisture has evaporated. I prefer to keep mine a bit runny so the grease doesn't take over. Serve and enjoy!

Fake Chicken Salad

This is an oldie but a goody. My mom came up with this when I went through my hardcore vegan phase in high school -- that only lasted a few months, but I still make this years later. I dare you to serve this to your meat loving, vegetarian hating friends..I haven't had any complaints yet! I'm including the tofu but this recipe is fine without it, I think it adds a more interesting texture to have a mix of tofu and tempeh.

Fake Chicken Salad:

1.5c cubed tempeh (I use 5-grain)
1c cubed extra firm tofu
3/4c veganaise
1/3c diced celery
1 tbsp mustard
1/4tsp black pepper
1 avocado, cubed (optional)

Combine the veganaise, mustard and pepper. Add the tempeh then the tofu. Drop the avocado bits on top, roll into a tortilla or sandwich and enjoy!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cheese Bread

Do I even have to say it anymore? Castsugar rescued me in the throes of bake sale-dom yet again. This time with cheese bread -- it's a molten cheddar center encased in sweet fluffy yeast bread. It's also relatively fast. When selling it I suggested that the buyer throw it into a 350 degree oven for 10 or 15 minutes before serving -- this stuff is best hot and fresh! I also omitted the jalapenos from the original recipe, but if you want spicy bread add 2 tbsp of them chopped to the dough.

Cheese Bread:

2c warm water
1/4c sugar
1 packet yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1/4c vegetable oil
6c bread flour
2-3c cubed cheddar cheese

Combine the yeast, water and sugar and allow to proof for 10 minutes. Add the oil and salt, add the flour one cup at a time until dough is elastic. Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 60-90 minutes, covered.

Grease 2 LARGE loaf pans. Splice the risen dough into 2 pieces and flatten each one. Place 1/2 of the cubed cheese over each dough disc and roll up, tucking the ends under. Allow to rise in the pans for 30 more minutes. Make absolutely sure the dough doesn't rise over the loaf pans, otherwise you'll get cheddar overflow in the oven! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 4, 2008

At-Home Pesto Sauce with Fettucine

I'm finally moved into my new house and back in the kitchen! As I've written about, I'm experimenting with new recipes that I can incorporate into a healthy diet. Pesto sauce is delicious and contains healthy fats from olive oil and pine nuts. It adds flavor to plain pasta and bruschetta without taking over. I'm posting my blender-free method because hand chopping allows the separate flavors to sing rather than being, well, blended into each other. The pieces aren't uniform and the sauce is a bit "chunkier". The hand chopping is totally worth the extra effort and saves lots on cleanup. So let's get started!

2-3 c loose fresh basil leaves (I buy the live basil, it tastes much better this way)
1/4c pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp salt
1 box fettucine
1/2 c finely shredded asiago cheese
1 tbsp olive oil

Using a mezzeluna, pizza cutter or sharp knife cut 1/3 of the basil until very fine and almost paste-y. Place into a mixing bowl and move onto the next 1/3. You want to do this in batches to avoid bruising and pulverizing the leaves.

Once your basil is chopped, do the same with the pine nuts and garlic. Slice until very fine and incorporate into the basil. Add the salt and olive oil, set aside.

Boil a pot of water and add the olive oil and salt. Add your fettucine and cook until al dente. Immediately after straining add the pesto and toss until all the pasta is evenly coated. Top with asiago and serve!