Sunday, February 28, 2010

Awesome Frickin Noodle Soup

I admit it has been a long, long time since I ate a bowl of real chicken noodle soup. I think it was during my pregnancy with my daughter, who is now in college, when I had a terrible cold. My mom probably cooked it from scratch with a whole chicken and lots of fresh vegetables and herbs. This version may not be exactly like my mom's, and it certainly doesn't have any animals, whole or otherwise, floating around in it. But I swear it tastes so much like chicken noodle soup that I feel all future colds staying away. It even looks authentic, with a pretty golden color and tiny droplets of oil floating on top. If I could marry a soup, and I weren't already married to a person, this would be the one. That is how fricking awesome this soup is. And for those of you who want to enjoy a nostalgic bowl of health and happiness, here is my Valentine to my Awesome Frickin Noodle Soup. If you make it, please feel free to add the herbs your own Mom or Grandma put in her chicken soup.

one onion, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil to cover bottom of large pot
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
small bunch of Green Swiss Chard, leaves only, torn
1 can chick peas
1 block silken tofu, diced
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 lb. thin spaghetti broken into small pieces

Saute onion, garlic, celery and carrot for ten minutes or until celery is soft and carrots are bright. Pour in enough water to fill large soup pot 2/3 full. Add chard, chick peas, sage, thyme, and oregano. Salt and pepper to your liking. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for one to one and a half hours, covered. Bring back to boil, add spaghetti and tofu. Stir. Cook until spaghetti is soft, approx. 12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with salad and bread. As with all noodle soups, this one will taste even better the next day.

When anyone asks how you made it, answer the way I do everytime, "with magic and love."

Friday, February 26, 2010

What's In These? Confetti Blueberry Muffins

After juicing apple, kale, and carrots, I had a colorful array of pulp left in the catcher. It was so pretty: bright orange, deep green, and pinkish white stripes, I did not want to throw it in the trash. But even our pet bunny won't eat juice remains.

I decided to use the colorful palette in my blueberry muffins. The result was a dense, moist, fruity version which didn't rise as high as an ordinary muffin. It looked like there was confetti inside, causing my children to ask "What's in these?" They are slightly surprising, but very tasty.
Bonus fiber and vitamins probably increased the nutritional value, and they are low in fat because I don't use margarine or oil, but I didn't analyze them.
I just ate them. The muffins taste fine right out of the oven, but even better toasted with a swipe of tofu cream cheese.

Vegan Confetti Blueberry Muffins
(makes 12)

1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pulp from apples, carrots and kale
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line muffin cups with paper or grease.
3. Mix all ingredients together until moistened. The consistency will be thick and slightly wet, like cookie dough
4. Scoop into muffin cups, filling 3/4 of the way.
5. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
6. Cool.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spaghetti with TofuClam Sauce

Hi everyone. It's still winter here in NJ, making me want cooked comfort foods. Spaghetti and white clam sauce was one of my very favorite Italian meals way back before I became vegetarian in 1991, but I felt determined to bring it back, vegan style.

This recipe is something I just sort of made up. It's vegan and gluten-free but so delicious, even people who eat a Standard American Diet will enjoy it. Please feel free to customize it however you want.

Following is the recipe I created for tonight's dinner, served with vegan garlic rolls and salad.

1/2 block Extra firm white tofu, drained and squeezed
2 tablespoons kelp flakes
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons vegetable broth

Brown rice spaghetti-style pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup vegan white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons corn starch
red pepper flakes

Slice tofu into small flakes, similar in shape and size to minced clams. Sprinkle with thyme and kelp, toss. Cover with 3 tablespoons of vegetable broth and cook over low heat until broth is absorbed.

In large frying, heat olive oil. Chop garlic, saute until translucent but not browned. Add cornstarch to broth and stir. Pour wine, broth, cornstarch, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes into pan. Cook about ten minutes. Add tofu clams, simmer on low for 15 minutes. If too thick for your taste, add more broth. If too thin, thicken with more corn starch.

Once spaghetti is cooked, drain and throw in pasta bowl. Whole house will smell like clam sauce. When fish-eating family members ask what smells so good, respond "white clam sauce." When vegan family members ask if you are cooking clams, respond "no way!" Everybody's happy.

Toss sauce into pasta. Serve hot with garlic rolls and salad. Be prepared to be the most popular person in the room.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who Dat gonna bake vegan cupcakes

In honor of Dem Saints from NOLA, I concocted a sweet, New Orleans style cupcake. It debuted on Superbowl 44 Sunday to accolades from fans (three reliable cupcake testers in my kitchen.)

Here it is, my vegan Bananas Foster Cupcake:

Brown Sugar Cupcake

Makes 12

2 c. flour
3/4 c. hazelnut meal
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. hazelnut extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In small bowl, pour cider vinegar into soy milk and set aside to curdle. In large bowl, whisk flax seeds with oil. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add curdled soy milk and extracts. Mix.

Sift together flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat dry ingredients into wet for about one minute.

Pour batter into paper lined cupcake liners and bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely.


1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
1/4 cup banana liquer
2 large bananas, diced

In saucepan over low heat, melt margarine. Mix in sugar till smooth. Add diced bananas and liquors. Mix till caramelized. Using kitchen torch or lighter, hold flame over saucepan until alcohol burns off. Turn off stove.

Poke five or six holes in cupcakes using a chopstick. Pour foster topping over cupcakes, allowing the sugary syrup to seep into holes. Bananas sit on top.

If desired, add a scoop of non-dairy frozen vanilla dessert to the top. Otherwise, serve immediately and enjoy!

Photos can be found on my twitter page