Posts Tagged ‘dinner for one’
Hot n’ Sour Soup

Last weekend I picked up a whole bunch of fresh baby bok choy. I wanted a little bit for a stir fry I was planning on making, but the vendor at the Farmer’s Market was only selling them by the bundle. Since a bundle was only $2, I went with the bok choy and decided that I would have to identify a second use for it.

More and more I am becoming a fan of spicy foods. Don’t get me wrong, I still sweat at the sight of a jalapeno and a spicy curry dish will send me reaching for the water pitcher. But I am slowly coming to embrace a little kick in my meal. Lately I’ve been putting crushed red pepper flakes on all of my pizza, and it is delicious. Given my spicy food kick and all the bok choy burning a hole in my fridge: it really only made sense to put together hot n’ sour soup. I found a couple of recipes for hot n sour soup, and all of the vegan versions just ignored the egg that is whisked in to the omnivorous versions, so I took that route as well. Recipe is after the jump.

Vegetable Curry

Let me tell you a secret. Food doesn’t have to be really complicated to be really delicious. It’s important to have an arsenal of quick meals that you can put together in 30 minutes or less. They are a lifesaver on busy weeknights. My recipe for vegetable curry is perfect for those emergencies.

I like to serve it over rice, but it’s also great on its own.

Weeknight Vegetable Curry

  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 c. frozen vegetables
  • 2 TBSP curry powder

In a wok, combine 2 cups of frozen vegetables, 1 can of crushed tomatoes, and half curry powder. Stir and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until it has reduced to a thick liquid. Stir in the remaining curry powder, a little bit at a time, to suit your own taste.

3-Bean Tacos

I feel a little cheap posting this as a recipe, so please think of it as more of an idea for a cool way to assemble some ingredients and turn it into a reliable meal. To round it out and alleviate some of my Catholic guilt, I will give you a tip that I love using. When you have leftover tortillas, it’s very exciting to make your own tortilla chips. Just cut the tortilla into triangles and spray very lightly with cooking spray. Broil on medium for about 2 minutes and then toss with salt and a squeeze of lime juice. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also lower in fat than those greasy fried ones you’ll get at any Mexican restaurant.

3-Bean Tacos
1/2 cup each kidney, black, and pinto beans
1 TBSP. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
cheese, cilantro, and salsa to suit your tastes.
corn tortillas
This is a really easy recipe because all you do is drain and rinse the beans then cook them for about 5 minutes over medium heat with the spices. Spoon them into warmed tortillas and enjoy.

As If

Who doesn’t love a good Clueless reference? I’ve been excited for a few weeks now, because I bought Alicia Silverstone’s book: The Kind Diet. The book is split into two parts. The first half contains great information about Alicia’s diet, which she calls the kind diet. It is an all-vegan diet that relies heavily on macrobiotic principles such as daikon, umiboshi, green vegetables, sea vegetables, and whole grains. Alicia’s diet is not for the faint of heart. An Alicia breakfast consists of brown rice and sea vegetables. I can make a lot of different kinds of pancakes, but pancakes from sea vegetables would be taking it a step too far, even for me. Still, there are a lot of health benefits to a macrobiotic diet, and it is always preferable to stick to locally-grown produce. While macrobiotics teaches us that the locally-grown produce is more likely to give our bodies the nutrients it needs to live within a certain climate, I prefer to look at it as supporting local growers and saving on the energy consumption required to import produce. It really makes me think twice before spooning tons of pineapple chunks over my vegan frozen yogurt.
I’m always one for progress, so I have made a point of trying out one of Alicia’s recipes every week. I particularly enjoyed her recipe for fried rice, although I made some adjustments on my second pass. It uses sticky brown rice, which is deliciously sweet and soft and sticks together like sushi rice, except all on its own. I picked mine up at the bulk section of Whole Foods. It takes awhile to cook up, but I have been using that as an excuse to make extra. Anyway, this dish makes a great and filling lunch or dinner for one person, or it could be served as a side dish for 2. I think that it would be good with grilled tempeh or fried tofu.
Fried Rice with Daikon

  • 2 TBSP. olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 4″ piece of daikon, cut into thin slices
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1 head of baby bok choy, chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup sticky brown rice, cooked

Prep your vegetables. For the bok choy, cut the bulb off of the bottom and just use the leaves. Head the olive oil in a wok or heavy skillet.
Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute over medium high heat.
Add the daikon and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes before adding the carrots and cooking for another 2 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds and stir well.
Stir in the rice along with 1/4 a cup of water. As the rice heats, it should blend in nicely with the vegetables.
When the rice is starting to heat through, add the bok choy and cook another 5 minutes. You can add some water to the pan if the rice starts to stick.

Sausage Fest

How Many Sexual Innuendos Can I Fit in One Post? OK so maybe my life is about the farthest thing from a sausage fest, in the sense that I can’t seem to keep  a man around long enough to make it to dessert.  On the other hand, if platonic male friends count, then call me Jodi Maroni and welcome to my sausage kingdom. I suppose that this is all material I should be saving for the book I’m working on. It’s going to be a collection of recipes and the bad date stories that accompany them. Currently up for inclusion: bad date stir fry, let’s just be friends lasagna, and breakup pancakes. Don’t worry boys, all the names and faces will be changed to protect the innocent.
I’m a big fan of Tofurkey’s Tomato Basil Sausage, and I am trying to be better about buying local produce. The Venice Whole Foods is really good about having a separate “locally grown” produce section. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the produce in that section was cheaper than it would regularly be, and it was very refreshing to go into a Whole Foods and not feel like I was being asked to drop trou and bend over. So, even though I was originally looking for green bell peppers, I ended up with a lovely (and affordable) carton of sweet yellow and red peppers. This recipe is for one, but could easily be stretched into two meals by addition of some pasta or vegan sandwich rolls.

Tofurkey and Peppers

  • 1 c. peppers, sliced thin but not yet julienned.
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 a white onion, diced
  • 1 Tofurkey sundried tomato basil sausage
  • white wine (I use 2 buck chuck Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • dash of salt

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray lightly with oil.
Add diced onion and cook for 1 minute.
Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add peppers and cook until they just begin to soften.
Add sliced sausage (I cut mine in half lengthwise and then into 1″ segments) and increase heat.
Add just enough white wine to cover the pan. Stir in basil and salt and pepper.
Cook until the liquid has evaporated and everything is cooked through.

Daiya, Daiya, Daiya

Daiya cheese is , from what I can tell, one of the hottest new vegan trends. Any place that is serious about making vegan pizza carries daiya.  Whole Foods sells it both as blocks and shredded. There are countless blog posts about it. Hell, they even have it in my hometown of Belmar, NJ.  When I tell people I’m transitioning to veganism, and they actually know what that means, one of the first things they mention is daiya. It’s pretty easy to feel like daiya is your pretty, popular, older sister who is dating the big man on campus, and that you are just a shy kind of awkward middle sister. But, before you go out and buy an unflattering black afro wig, let me share a secret with you. The reason why everyone is talking about it is because it is THAT good.

Daiya is a cheese that is free of soy, casein, gluten, egg, and even nuts. It melts to a deliciously gooey consistency. And it has less fat than regular cheese and no cholesterol. One of the reasons why I stopped at 28 days of veganism (the first time around) was my dislike of most soy cheeses. I was stocking up on Follow Your Heart mozarella for my pizza, but it just wasn’t doing the job. If I had only had the foresight to buy daiya from Whole Foods and stock it at home, I don’t think I would have ever run into that problem. They make an italian blend and a cheddar, which means that you can use a daiya replacement for just about any dish involving cheese: lasagna, pizza, tacos, fondue (I would use the italian), and my favorite: macaroni and cheeze.
I’ve been making baked macaroni and cheese for years, so I improvised a recipe that made a pretty filling meal for one. I’m always on the lookout for good weeknight meals for one, because I am single, I live alone, and I’m on my way to turning into a crazy cat lady. This was a great comfort food meal and a perfect end to a very looooong day.

Rotini and Daiya

  • 1/4 c. unsweetened soy milk (it’s very important to use unsweetened when you are cooking)
  • 1/3 c. shredded cheddar daiya
  • 1/4 tsp. earth balance
  • 1 tsp, flour
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • dash of garlic powder
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Boil a pot of water and add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes until just tender.
  2. Transfer to a baking dish and add the daiya, mix well.
  3. Return the empty pot to heat and melt the earth balance. Add pepper and garlic powder and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add soy milk and flour and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  5. Pour hot milk over the pasta and stir well. Sprinkle with a handful of breadcrumbs.
  6. Pop into a 350 degree oven for about 7 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs brown. I left mine in for 10 minutes and it was a little darker than I had hoped.
Tofu Taco Tuesday

This post goes out to Carolyn, Carolyn Dempsey, who has been holding very successful taco nights in her Brooklyn apartment. She was telling me how much fun it was, and I got pretty jealous. However, I decided to use my jealousy as a motivator (which I read about doing in a Cosmo article) and make my own tacos. Beans were obviously an option, but I feel like that one has been played out. I’ve had tofu burritos before and always thought that they were delicous, so I decided to give tofu tacos a spin.
A note on tortillas: This is a situation where you need to check your labeling. The tortillas that I buy from Trader Joes have 2 ingredients corn flour, water, and lime. These are good tortillas. Some tortillas are made with lard. Lard comes from baby animals. Eating baby animals = not vegan. Also, who really wants to be eating lard anyway?
Which brings me to my semi-sequitor of the day. Did you know that Guiness beer is not vegan? It’s finished with something called isinglass, which is a nice way of saying that they add fish scales to the beer during post-processing as a clarifying agent. I’ve had a lot of fun over the past couple of days pointing this out to people and watching them make faces. Now, I’m not usually one of “those” vegans who tells you about how bad your food is, but this one really grossed me out. Also, I love random trivia and anything involving beer clarification gets filed under random trivia.

Any-day Tofu Tacos

  • 1.5 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch plus extra for coating
  • taco shells
  • 1 oz. cheddar daiya cheese
  • your choice of shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, or vegan sour cream.

  1. Rinse and pat dry your tofu and cut into 1/4″ cubes. Place these in a Tupperware container and add about 1.5 tablespoons of corn starch. Put the lid on the Tupperware and shake to coat.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine the spices and add to your tofu. Close again and shake to coat. 
  3. Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and bring it to medium-high heat. Add the tofu and water and cook for about 5 minutes, or until it’s firm.
  4. Serve in a taco shell or two with cheddar daiya and your choice of accouterments.