Baked marinated tempeh

October 25, 2021 at 9:13 pm (F (0 stars, dislike), Other, Tempeh) ()

This is another recipe from the cookbook Whole Food Cooking Every Day. I’m not a big tempeh fan, but Derek and Alma like it. They usually just buy pre-seasoned tempeh (the coriander cumin one) and eat it pan-fried for breakfast, so I thought it would be nice to add another tempeh recipe to our repertoire.

I decided to start with the base marinated tempeh recipe. It has you steam the tempeh for 5 minutes, then bake the tempeh in a marinade of apple juice, orange juice, coconut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.

The recipe says to cover the baking dish with parchment paper and then foil, which I totally missed, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Even though I forgot to cover it, the final tempeh was extremely soft and limp. I couldn’t eat it, and Alma didn’t like it either. Derek thought it was reasonably tasty, although it would be better crispy. He polished off the whole dish over several days.

When I’ve made baked tempeh before it’s always gotten more crispy. Maybe I should have cooked it longer until all the liquid evaporated? Or maybe it’s just too much liquid? (2 cups of juice + 1/4 cup soy sauce and vinegar). I should compare it to my other baked tempeh recipes.

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Granola from Whole Food Cooking Every Day

October 14, 2021 at 10:35 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Grains, Other) ()

No one has been a big fan of the last few batches of granola I’ve made, so I wanted to try something new, and I decided to try the base granola recipe from my new cookbook, Whole Food Cooking Every Day. The author, Amy Chaplin, says it makes 15 cups, so I decided to just halve the recipe in case we didn’t like it. I successfully halved everything except the salt. Oy. The granola was inedible. I ended up making another half recipe with no salt and mixing them together, but the final product still tasted quite salty. She calls for fine sea salt and I used table salt. Maybe the sea salt is coarser, and next time I should cut back on the salt? With the saltiness caveat aside, I think I quite like this recipe. Read the rest of this entry »

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Chia bircher bowl

October 3, 2021 at 10:21 pm (breakfast, B_(2.5 stars, like), Grains, Other) ()

When I looked through my new cookbook Whole Food Cooking Every Day, one of the first sections that interested me was the one for chia bircher bowls. I’m always looking for new, quick, filling, nutritious breakfast ideas. Derek isn’t a fan of chia pudding, and no one liked the two “overnight oats” recipes I’ve tried, but maybe this combo would be more of a hit? It took me a while to find the hemp seeds, but finally I got some and was ready to try the recipe.

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Simple vegan winter squash soup

September 30, 2021 at 10:04 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot)) ()

This is another base recipe from Amy Chaplin’s Whole Food Cooking Every Day. Compared to the Cook’s Illustrated butternut squash soup recipe I used to make, it’s much simpler, and much less rich.

All you do is saute some onion in a large pot, add some garlic and salt, then the squash (unpeeled if you’re using red kuri as I was, and cut into large cubes) and water. You simmer the squash until it crushes easily against the side of the pot (around 12 to 15 minutes). You let it cool slightly then puree in batches in an upright blender. Done. The soup had a lovely smooth texture, bright color, and a simple, clean taste. It reminds me a lot of the squash soup I got years ago at Hangawi in New York City. The flavor was just a tad boring, but I guess that’s what I get for making the base version. It was better when we added chili flakes to it. Roasted pepitas or a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil would have also been nice. Next time I should make one of the variations, like squash soup with ginger, turmeric and miso or rosemary squash soup with toasted-hazelnut milk. You can find the base recipe and the hazelnut variation here.

This recipe made a ton of soup. (The recipe says it makes 2.5 quarts.) The three of us ate it for dinner, then Derek and I each had a bowl for lunch, and I still had quite a bit to freeze. It says it freezes well, so I’m looking forward to pulling it out one night when I’m in a rush and need a hot vegetable-based appetizer or side dish.

Alma seemed to enjoy it. At least she ate it without complaint and had a small bowl for seconds.

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Delicate, delicious, gluten-free, low-sugar muffins

September 19, 2021 at 10:45 pm (breakfast, B_(2.5 stars, like), Muffins and quick breads, Other) ()

This is the second recipe I’ve tried from “Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the way you eat with 250 vegetarian recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar” by Amy Chaplin. I’m always looking for muffin recipes that don’t just feel like (a) more wheat in our lives, and (b) dessert in disguise. Chaplin has three base muffin recipes in her book—a vegan gluten-free recipe, a gluten-free recipe with eggs, and a grain-free recipe. Then she has a bunch of flavor variations that you can combine with any of the base recipes. I made the gluten-free recipe with eggs as my base, and tried two different flavor combinations: spiced seeded winter squash muffins and zucchini, lemon, and walnut muffins. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salad dressings from Whole Food Cooking Every Day

September 11, 2021 at 10:03 pm (B_(2.5 stars, like), Other, Sauce/dressing) ()

My Kindle recommended the book “Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the way you eat with 250 vegetarian recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar” by Amy Chaplin. It was free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited so I decided to check it out. I am intrigued by the cookbook’s schtick: each section has a number of “base recipes” that are meant to be staples, plus several variations for each one so that you feel like you’re getting variety even if you’re basically making the same recipes over and over. I would like to try some of her breakfast porridge recipes, and her muffins and granola. (I really need more breakfast ideas), but for most of those recipes I need to get some additional ingredients. So instead I decided to try one of her salad dressings, for which I already had everything on hand. Plus I’ve been wanting to find a new salad dressing that everyone likes. I decided to start with the first dressing in her book, which is for a raw zucchini dressing. I made the base recipe then removed half and made one of the variations by adding mint and dill and shiso leaves. I didn’t love it at that point and added some fresh basil, and at that point I thought it tasted good.

Ingredients for zucchini dressing (base recipe):

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 (3-inch) piece scallion, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or cold-pressed flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste

Instructions:

Combine the zucchini, scallion, lime juice, oil, and salt in an upright blender and blend until smooth, starting on a lower speed and gradually increasing it as the dressing comes together. Use a rubber spatula (with the blender off) to help move the ingredients around as necessary, or use the tamper stick if using a high-powered blender. Adjust the seasoning to taste—some variations with lots of extra herbs will need more salt. Scrape down the sides and blend again. Use immediately, or store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 3 days. Shake well before using. The dressing will thicken once chilled; thin it out with a little water if needed.

My notes:

I had the herbed zucchini dressing on my salad and it was fine but I didn’t love it. I think maybe it was just too much lime? Later I tried the dressing on tofu and I thought it was delicious, and then after that on falafel. Also a winner. I think it’s so acidic it goes better on salty savory protein-rich foods, rather than salad. Derek liked the original version better than the herb version. But he also didn’t like it on his salad. Alma wouldn’t try it on the salad, but ate it happily on pan-fried tofu slices and on zucchini. Zucchini dressing on zucchini. Funny. I am curious to try it as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. The zucchini dressing in the book comes with a number of variations, including this golden citrus zucchini dressing, which sounds interesting.

The author says the dressings can’t be frozen. I wonder why. Mom, do you know? Is it the raw zucchini?

Update October 2021:

I made a batch of the creamy carrot dressing and then I separated out half of it and ginger, miso, and cayenne to make the spicy carrot miso variation. I liked both of them! We ate the spicy variation with spring rolls, which was nice, although not as good as our usual peanut sauce, and then later we used it as a dipping sauce for some storebought falafel, which was great. I think even Alma tried it, but I’m not sure. I quite liked the spicy variation on a salad with apples and grapes. I was surprised, because I hadn’t liked the zucchini dressing much on salad, but the carrot dressing for me was great. Derek was less excited, but he said it was because he doesn’t like fruit in salad.

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