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Chilled Glass Noodles with Snow Peas

 

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I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post — I guess I must be really busy or having a lot of fun.  Actually, it’s been a little of both.  During these hot summer days I’ve been favoring chilled make-ahead meals that I can get ready in the morning.  It’s great to have a satisfying meal ready to eat at the end of the day.

One of my favorites is this recipe for Chilled Glass Noodles with Snow Peas and Baked Tofu.  The recipe is from my latest book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes. (Thanks to Zsu Dever for the photo.)

This light but satisfying salad should be prepared at least 30 minutes ahead of time for the best flavor. Made from mung bean flour, glass noodles are also called cellophane noodles, bean thread noodles, and harusame. You can make your own marinated baked tofu or buy it ready-made at well-stocked supermarkets and natural foods stores. Look for one marinated with Thai or Asian flavors for best results. If you’re not a fan of tofu, leave it out and add cooked shelled edamame instead. (You can also sub other veggies for the sno peas — it’s great with lightly steamed broccoli!)

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

CHILLED GLASS NOODLES WITH SNOW PEAS AND BAKED TOFU

This recipe is from 100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson (c) 2016.

4 ounces glass noodles

1 (8-ounce) package marinated baked tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or 1 1/2 cups cooked shelled edamame)

1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed and diagonally cut into 1-inch pieces (lightly blanched, if desired)

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated

1/4 cup minced scallions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed or chopped

3 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

 

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the noodles and remove from the heat. Let the noodles soak in the hot water until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water. Cut the noodles into thirds and place them in a large bowl. Add the tofu, snow peas, cucumber, carrot, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar, stirring to blend well. Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill before serving.

 

 

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Mac and Cheesy Lucy Schaeffer

Today’s recipe is for my quickest and easiest mac and cheese — it’s the one I make when I don’t want to dirty the blender or turn on the oven or use a ton of ingredients.  Even though the recipe calls for two pots, I confess that I usually make it in just one pot (allowing the macaroni and broccoli to sit in the colander after draining while I make the sauce in the same pot and then add them back in).  I’ll share the recipe in a minute, but first, let’s get to the business at hand: announcing the two winners of the spectacular two-book giveaway!

One copy of Esther the Wonder Pig + one copy of Baconish with go to: Stephanie, who loves plant-based bacon on a BLT with avocado!

AND …. to double the pleasure of this great two-book giveaway, a second set of these two books will go to: Jennifer — who loves her plant-based bacon on Loaded Potato Soup!

Congrats to Stephanie and Jennifer — please contact me ASAP with your mailing addresses and I’ll see that the books get out to you both pronto. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway — I hope you get ahold of both of these books — I highly recommend them!

Now, how about some Stovetop Brocolli Mac and Cheesy???

 

STOVETOP BROCCOLI MAC AND CHEESY

Serves 4

This quick and easy cheesy mac is made on top of the stove, so there’s no need to heat up the oven. However, if you don’t plan to serve it right away, you can always put it in a casserole dish and keep it warm in a low oven. This recipe is from 100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson © 2016. Photo (c) Lucy Schaeffer.

 

12 ounces elbow macaroni or other bite-sized pasta

4 cups small broccoli florets

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente. During the last 2 or 3 minutes of the cooking time, add the broccoli to the pasta and cook until it is almost tender.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the nutritional yeast and flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring until smooth. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until smooth and thickened.
  3. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain and return to the pot. Add the reserved sauce and stir until well mixed. Serve hot.

 

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I haven’t done a giveaway in a while and this one is very special.  It’s a two book giveaway (to one lucky person) to win a copy of Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time, the long-awaited story of the eponymous Internet sensation and animal ambassador, as told by Esther’s dads, the men who love and care for her, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter.

PLUS… you’ll also win a copy of Baconish: Sultry and Smoky Plant-Based Recipes from BLTs to Bacon Mac & Cheese by Leinana Two Moons, an amazing new cookbook featuring recipes for plant-based bacon made from mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and coconut, along with loads of delicious recipes that use them such as Pasta Carbonara, Cauliflower Bacon Gratin, and Maple-Bacon Doughnuts.  Best of all, Baconish is “Esther-approved!”

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If, like so many of us, you’ve been captivated by Esther and her winning smile, you’ll love reading the touching, funny, and inspiring story of Esther and her dads.  I love Esther and the way she has captured the hearts of so many fans.  She does a great job in showing people how funny, smart, and deserving of respect pigs (and all animals) are.  My hope is that thanks to Esther, more people will stop eating animals as they make the connection between the wonderful sentient beings and the food on their plate.

And as many of us already know, you can enjoy the salty, smoky crispy taste of bacon without the cruelty inherent in animal products and the recipes in Baconish show how to do it deliciously.

Would you like to own a copy of Esther the Wonder Pig AND Baconish?  Just leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your favorite way to enjoy plant-based bacon (mine is in a BLT with avocado!) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.  BOTH books go to ONE lucky winner.  The giveaway ends on Wednesday, June 8th at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 9th.

While you wait to see if you’ve won, why not make a batch of tasty roasted chickpea bacon from Baconish? It makes a great snack or salad topper!

chickpeabacon CROPWEB

Roasted Chickpea Bacon

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Move over, hummus! There’s a much more glamorous chickpea dish in town. Here, the humble chickpea shows the world how it can transform into a smoky, salty, crunchy, utterly addictive delight, with just a hint of sweetness from brown sugar. These are perfect for topping salads, soups, adding to sandwich wraps, or just munching straight from the bowl. In fact, you might find yourself making double batches just to keep plenty of these snacks on hand.

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons tamari

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon smoked salt

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Using paper towels or a clean dishcloth, pat the chickpeas as dry as possible. The drier they are, the crunchier they will get. If there are any loose skins, pick those out and discard them. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the oil, tamari, and liquid smoke. Add the chickpeas and toss until they are evenly coated.

Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, take them out to stir, and then bake another 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are dark brown and crunchy.

In another medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, brown sugar, and smoked salt. Add the warm chickpeas and toss until evenly coated. Serve warm or at room temperature. These will last a couple of days in an airtight container stored at room temperature but will lose their crunch, so it’s best to eat these immediately.

Recipe from Baconish by Leinana Two Moons © 2016 published by Vegan Heritage Press. Used with permission.

 

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Vegan Food Paradise: Asheville Part 2

chestnut st inn

One of the best things about visiting Asheville, NC is that they speak “vegan.”  In addition to being home to a few all-vegan restaurants, there are also some vegetarian restaurants and many of the restaurants that do serve animal products, also feature clearly marked vegan options.  It is also a joy to stay at a bed and breakfast that can put out a delicious plant-based spread each morning without skipping a beat.  Such was the case at the Chestnut Street Inn (above) where four of us stayed for four nights recently.  The new owners, Emilie and Arturo, are a vibrant couple who made us feel at home in their gorgeous inn which is (strategically, in our case) located just a few blocks from Plant (see previous post), so we had an enjoyable 5 minute walk to dinner on two of the evenings.

Among the delicious meals Emilie prepared for us was a garden scramble over whole-grain toast served with vegan sausage and topped with creamy avocado:

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The next morning we were treated to some of the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had topped with a warm apple compote:

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Emilie also prepared her take on a vegan Benedict which was outstanding:

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And on our final morning we had the most amazing waffles that featured berries, coconut yogurt, and a cinnamon-sugar “crunch” on the edges:

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Each breakfast began with a fruit course — my favorite was this pineapple and kiwi plate:

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There were also homemade vegan cookies put out for us each day!  What a treat!

Other culinary highlights of the trip (besides Plant, of course!) included lunch at Bean Vegan Cuisine where we wanted to try everything on the menu but settled on one of the burgers (not shown), the Reuben, the cheese-steak special, and a brunch bowl with carrot bacon:

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Other stops included a visit to Rosetta’s Kitchen where we had dinner with friends (all six of us ordered the “family favorite” featuring Peanut butter baked tofu, sautéed kale, and smashed potatoes and gravy.

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We also had a great meal at Doc Chey’s Noodle House where we feasted on some of the best noodle bowls I’ve ever had including the rice noodles with black bean sauce and vegetable lo-mein with tofu:

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Quite simply, Asheville is a vegan food paradise.

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Plant is Food-tastic: Asheville Part I

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We just returned from what has become an annual pilgrimage to the vegan food mecca of Asheville NC.  We had such a great time traveling with our besties, Elissa and Bill, and enjoying everything that Asheville has to offer.  There is way too much goodness to cover in one blog post, so I’m going to do two separate posts, beginning with the main reason for our yearly trek: to dine at Plant and enjoy the sublime creations of chef-owner, Jason Sellers.

Each time we visit Asheville, Plant is always our first and last dinner destination. During the span of time between visits, I find myself dreaming about the Jerusalem Artichoke appetizer and so this is the first thing we all ordered on our first night. Served on a lemon cream and topped with crispy sweet potato chips and punctuated with an Italian salsa verde, this is one of the most incredibly delicious things I’ve ever eaten.  Ever.

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We also couldn’t resist the amazing uttapam, with its soy-ginger syrup, avocado, and sesame-peanut dukka. With three of these rolls to an order, it can easily be a main dish, but we enjoyed it as an appetizer.

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For our entree, Jason graciously agreed to make us another dish of his that I had been craving — seitan with romesco sauce served on a bed of cauliflower mash with grilled asparagus and topped with pickled onion.  Words cannot do justice to the complexity and deliciousness of this dish.  Let’s just call it perfection and leave it at that.

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Even though we were totally full from dinner, we couldn’t pass up dessert.  Jon and I shared this slice of carrot cake (with cream cheese frosting, walnuts, and candied ginger) and it was a sublime way to end the meal.

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Fast forward to our last night in town and our final meal at Plant (for this trip).  While I couldn’t resist another chance to enjoy my favorite appetizer again, Jon got the grilled beets with horseradish mayo and I have to admit they are every bit as amazing as the Jerusalem artichokes. I never before tasted such naturally sweet beets and the grilled finish and creamy sauce elevated this humble root vegetable to a new level. And how gorgeous does this look?

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For an entree, I forced myself to step out of my seitan obsession and ordered the tofu bibimbap.  The flavor layers just keep coming on this beautiful dish!

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Other dishes at our table included the current seitan iteration, a delicious seitan chile con queso, served with a tamale and grilled vegetables:

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And, the fantastic applewood-smoked porto’house with v1 steak sauce — what I call a “portobello mushroom done right” — served with garlicky greens, a seared millet cake, and fennel salad. Wowza.

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This evening’s delicious house-made desserts included a green tea and mint ice cream (perfect after the bibimbap) and this lovely creme brulee.

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Once again Jason and his wonderful staff totally outdid themselves with some of the best food we’ve ever eaten anywhere.  I don’t know how I’ll manage to wait an entire year before returning! If you’ve eaten at Plant, you’ll understand why I am smitten.  If you’ve never been there, all I can say is: what are you waiting for??  Plant is Food-tastic!

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Kapow Tofu for Mother’s Day

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If my cats could cook, I’d want them to make me this Ka-pow Tofu for Mother’s Day.  Since I know that’s not going to happen, and I know I’m not going to drive for an hour to the nearest Thai restaurant on Sunday, I guess I’ll be doing the cooking (as usual).  I’ll let Jon have some, but none for the cats.  They don’t like spicy foods.  Instead my little darlings can let me celebrate Mother’s Day and their birthdays all on the same day.  Since I don’t know any of their actual birthdays, I always celebrate them on Mother’s Day because these fur babies (Gary and Mitzki and Simon and Benny Mae) are the greatest gifts I could ever ask for.

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Now here’s that recipe in case you want to try it — it’s from 100 Best Vegan Recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

“Ka-Pow” Tofu

Serves 4

When I order tofu kaprao in my favorite Thai restaurant, I know it will contain the wonderfully fragrant Thai basil.  I also know it will pack a spicy punch, so I’ve come to call it “ka-pow.”  Serve over jasmine rice.  If the sublime Thai basil is unavailable, there’s no exact substitute, although you could use regular basil or cilantro and still have a tasty meal.  Vegan oyster sauce (sold as vegetarian oyster sauce or mushroom soy sauce) is available at Asian markets or online. If you can’t find it, leave it out and add a little extra soy sauce.

1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon vegan oyster sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

1 sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 scallions, chopped

1/2 cup Thai basil leaves

 

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the cornstarch, and toss to coat.  Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper flakes. (The amount of red pepper flakes you use will depend on how hot they are and how spicy you like your food.) Stir well to combine and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the reserved tofu and cook until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and stir-fry until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the scallion and cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the reserved tofu, the reserved sauce, and the basil and stir-fry until hot, about 3 minutes.

100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson

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