Tempeh Meatballs (Meatless Meatballs v2)

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This seriously might be the BEST thing I have made to date. Seriously. We are now officially addicted to these meatballs to the point where my husband is asking for meatball sandwiches for breakfast. I use fresh handmade tempeh by Barry’s Tempeh which is made in Brooklyn and my own breadcrumbs.

I know a lot of you can’t get fresh tempeh so I cannot vouch for how good this recipe will be with store bought tempeh but if you are going to try it, use Soy Boy tempeh.

I am indebted to Isa Moskowitz and her book, Isa Does It! for the initial tempeh cooking method. But the rest of my recipe diverges from hers. I have a two step process with these meatballs which I believe ensures max flavor. First, after assembly, I bake them and then when we are ready to eat them, I heat them up in my cast iron skillet with a little oil.

Also, as you can see in the picture, we are not a drown-our-meatballs-with-sauce kind of family but feel free to dump as much sauce over your meatballs as you wish to! Or make meatball heroes with sauce or sandwiches with ketchup. Whatever works!

Tempeh Meatballs, makes 24
1 lb. soy tempeh
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon tamari
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (oregano + marjoram + thyme + basil + rosemary + sage)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup breadcrumbs

Break up the tempeh in crumbles. They don’t have to be too fine, just so that the block is broken up. Add to a pot along with the water, tamari, and olive oil. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Every few minutes go in with a wooden spoon and break the tempeh up even more.

Let the tempeh sit and cool. In the meantime, dice an onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. Place in a pan and water or oil sauté until soft. Add to the tempeh along with the miso, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and breadcrumbs and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls by really packing the mixture together, rolling the mixture between your palms. I usually get 24 but it will depend on the size of your balls. Haha.

Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

At this point, you can store in the refrigerator and/or the freezer. When ready to serve, heat a small amount of high heat oil on a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, a nonstick pan will do. Once the oil is hot, add the balls and roll them around coating the whole ball with oil. Cook for a few minutes until heated through.

If you are making a big bowl o’ spaghetti and sauce, get it ready before the balls are ready and then serve as pictured. Or toast the bread or hero and pile the meatballs in. Enjoy!

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Bread, Breadcrumbs & My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

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Breadcrumbs

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My New Kitchen Scale

I have long wanted to bake my own bread. Regularly. I make so much of what we eat and bread should be on the weekly prep list. But even though my rustic bread recipe is easy, I wasn’t up for it every weekend. Over the holidays we were talking with good friends of ours about this bread dilemma of mine and a few days later I received this life changing book in the mail by Jim Lahey called My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method along with a beautiful red Le Creuset pot, and this amazing kitchen scale.

I have been making bread every weekend since and it couldn’t be easier! Soft and chewy on the inside with a super crunchy, awesomely dark, crust on the outside. I use local and sustainable Farmer Ground Flour which I found at Whole Foods. I use their Half White flour, which is actually whole wheat and 13% protein! Hello, where do vegans get their protein? How about bread. Thanks very much. And with all the extra bread, I make panzanella, croutons, and a big supply of plain bread crumbs.

Let me rave about this kitchen scale for a minute. Exactly perfect measurements every time. It is one of those life altering I-can’t-belive-I-didn’t-have-this-in-my-kitchen-forever gadgets.

If you want to make bread buy this book, get the equipment and go for it. It is really revolutionary and well worth the investment. Or get someone to get it for you as a gift! .

Taco Tuesday: Roasted Butternut Squash with Corn, Peppers & Pineapple

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It’s Taco Tuesday! And I know you are thinking that (a) it doesn’t look like a taco and (b) that filling is far from traditional. But, I was inspired by a dish that I saw posted by Great Sage, a vegan restaurant in Maryland, on their FB page! I had extra butternut squash after making my Winter Healthy Soup yesterday and I also happened to have pineapple in the house because I always serve it to my Dad when he comes over for a party. These turned out really great. Sweet, crunchy and delicious. A crowd pleaser for sure.

These measurements serve 3.

1 cup of diced butternut squash
1 teaspoon high heat oil
Salt, a pinch

1/2 cup diced red, yellow, and orange peppers
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup corn (frozen or fresh, if it is in season)
The juice of 1 lime
Corn tortillas
1/4 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup sliced purple cabbage
Cashew cream sauce, optional

Heat up the tortillas.

Dice the butternut squash into small squares. Toss with a teaspoon of high heat oil and a pinch of salt. Roast in a 400 oven until browning on one side, about 25 minutes.

Dice the peppers and onion. Water or oil sauté until softening. Add the corn, squash and the fresh lime juice. Mix well.

Slice the cabbage and dice the pineapple. If using, make the cashew cream sauce.

Cashew Cream (makes a cup, more than you will need for this meal)
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup filtered water
Salt, a pinch

To serve, lay the tortilla on a plate. Pile with the vegetable mixture, pineapple, cabbage and cashew cream sauce. Enjoy!

Winter Healthy Soup: Ginger & Curry Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

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This is my winter health and get well soup. Fresh garlic, ginger and turmeric along with the warmth and sweetness of a big butternut squash makes for a perfect soup. In my opinion.

Butternut squashes vary in size and so do garlic cloves and pieces of garlic and turmeric. This is one of those “recipes” that is more of a guideline than an exact science. But the spices are really personal so use as much or as little as you want. And if you don’t have fresh spices, you can use the powdered kind. I also like to top the soup with pumpkin seeds because they contain zinc which is great for staying healthy.

1 butternut squash
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon curry powder
Pinch salt
Pinch coconut palm sugar
1 can coconut milk
1 to 2 cups filtered water
Pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Cube the squash.

Coarsely chop an onion and add it to a soup pot. Water or oil sauté until just starting to soften. Press the garlic or run it over a microplane and add it to the onions. Then grate the ginger and turmeric on a microplane over the onions. Add the curry powder, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Add the squash and toss to coat with the spices.

Add the coconut milk and enough water to just cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the squash is soft, about 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender, the Vitamix or a blender and blend until you reach a smooth consistency of your preference.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Sunday Salad

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I love posting gorgeous salad pictures, especially in the middle of winter. That is a big bowl of Romaine and red leaf lettuce, shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, diced red, yellow and orange peppers, thinly sliced scallions, shredded purple cabbage, thinly sliced radishes and a big sprinkle of chopped dill.

What is missing from this picture? Cute little tempeh “croutons” I made by cutting an 8oz. block of tempeh into little cubes and cooking them in a nonstick skillet with a tablespoon of oil until they got super crispy on all sides.

Serve with your favorite dressing. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #17: Caramelized Banana

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I always have bananas in the house. I buy bunches of them, wait until they are just ripe and then break them into pieces and freeze for our morning shake-y shakes. Today I had a few super extra ripe ones and thought they would make a great sweet ice cream flavor. I caramelized the bananas in the oven with a dusting of sugar which deepened their flavor and made them more bananaery. The end result: divine.

4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegan sugar, divided
2 cans organic coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)

Cut the bananas in half and lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of sugar and bake them in a 350 oven for 15 to 20 minutes until browning and smelling great.

Add the coconut milk into the Vitamix (or blender) and add the bananas, the rest of the sugar, the vanilla powder and the lemon juice. Let it rip until well blended. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes. Turn out into a Tovolo container or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Enjoy!

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Easy Citrus Tofu

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This is my total go to basic tofu. No need to marinate, just a squeeze of the citrus onto the tofu as it’s cooking in the pan. Lemons, limes and oranges all work great and usually depends on what I have on hand.

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I use a lime or a lemon for 4 pieces of tofu (about 1/2 of a block) and 1/2 of an orange for the same amount of tofu.

Extra firm tofu
Citrus
Salt and pepper
High heat oil

Press the tofu for as long as you have time for. Brush a nonstick skillet with oil so it is just lightly coated. Place the tofu into the pan and season the top side with a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.

After about 2 minutes, squeeze the juice down over the tofu. Let it bubble up and start to caramelize, about another 2 minutes. Carefully turn the tofu over; tongs work best here. Cook until the edges start to brown, about another 2 minutes.

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Enjoy on a blue plate special with grains and greens, cube it up and toss it in a salad, or make a sandwich with mashed avocado!

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Savory Red Lentil Vegetable Soup

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Look at that gorgeous herb. Do you know what it is? It’s savory, also know as sarriette. I never saw or heard of it before but I found it at the health food store the other day and it looked so beautiful I had to bring some home. It reminds me of thyme and rosemary but it’s not exactly either one. More, it’s like the best of both. It’s earthy, woodsy and savory! It will be great in so many dishes – stuffing, roasted potatoes, tofu, tempeh – I can’t wait to start using it.

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This soup (or stew you could call it because it is really thick) is delicious. My husband usually likes to add spice/salt/pepper after I serve him whatever I have cooked that meal but today he ate not one, but two bowls without adding anything! That’s a huge win for me and this soup!

makes 4 to 6 bowls

1 onion
1 huge carrot
1 huge piece of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup red lentils
1 sprig savory
3 cups water or homemade vegetable stock
Salt, a few pinches

Prep the mise en place: dice the onions, carrots and celery. Try to get the dice the same size so they cook at the same rate.Use a rasp or garlic press to prep the garlic. Finely chop the savory.

Place the vegetables into a dry soup pot and sweat them on a low flame until just softening and the onions are translucent. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.

Add the garlic and savory and mix well.

Add the lentils and toss around to coat with the vegetables.

Add the water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is mostly absorbed or until the lentils have become one big mush and you can no longer see the individual lentils. Enjoy hot!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

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These are fun and easy cookies to make. I brought them as gifts to a family gathering, three in each little bag, and they were a big hit!

These measurements make about 2 dozen cookies using a 3 tablespoon ice cream scooper.

Dry Ingredients
1 1/3 cups oats
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup vegan sugar
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients
1 big banana
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup vegan milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

In a small bowl, mash the banana. Add the oil, milk and vanilla and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well until it all comes together.

Scoop the mixture with an ice cream scooper, pack it up against the side of the bowl, and the scoop onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 13 minutes. Enjoy!

Moroccan Spiced Lentil Butternut Squash Burgers

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And so with the rest of the butternut squash, I made these delightfully aromatic burgers and secret ingredient brownies. A great way to end our vacation.

1 small onion
1 carrot
1 clove of garlic
1 small piece of turmeric (or 2 teaspoons turmeric)
Handful of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash

Coarsely chop the onions and carrots and water or oil sauté. Use a rasp for the garlic and turmeric and add to the onions and carrots. Coarsely chop the parsley and add to the mixture along with the cumin, cinnamon and salt. Cook til just softening.

Add the rice,lentils and squash to the food processor. Add the vegetables and process until the whole thing comes together and kind of pulls away from the sides of the processor bowl (kind of like dough.) Turn out into a bowl and divide up the mixture so that the burgers end up the same size.

Pan fry until heated through or bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Freeze any leftover burgers using parchment paper to separate them in the container. Enjoy!