Feb 12, 2014

Lasagna Costume Birthday Party Fun

Spontaneous costumes surprise birthday parties with wildly fun people are always a great decision. Adding lasagna and vegan cookies takes them to the next level. Fine organic red wine is optional but recommend.


1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise & sliced
16 oz super firm tofu, crumbled
8 oz prepared TVP (recipe in this post)
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
50 oz pasta sauce (2 jars)
16 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained.
4 oz Daiya Cheese

In a large saucepan, skillet or pot combine zucchini, mashed tofu, TVP, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne and 35 oz of pasta sauce. Heat on low and simmer for approx 5 min. Remove from heat and set filling aside.

In a lasagna pan put a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom. Add an overlapping layer of noodles. Add a generous layer of filling. Add another layer of noodles, filling and a final noodle layer. Top with remaining sauce and Daiya Cheese.

Heat in oven or toaster oven at 400F for 5-8 mins, until cheese is melted.

Serves 6-8

Easily made Gluten Free with gluten free lasagna noodles.  Ancient Harvest brand Shells or Veggie Curls would be a fun to use too. When it comes to GF noodles I prefer the quinoa ones over the rice ones.

Serve with garlic bread and side salad.

Prepared TVP

TVP (textured vegetable protein) is the go to ingredient I often use to bulk up a chili, round out a pasta sauce, top a nacho plate, combine with rice for stuffed grape leaves or roll into sushi.

You could save time by buying any of the various ready made ground soy crumbles/beef available in stores but I haven't found a brand I like. Even when flavored they've never tasted good enough or had the right texture for the dish.

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas) & Maki Sushi
Prepared TVP
(textured vegetable protein)

8oz TVP (Bob's Red Mill is easy to find)
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp coconut sugar or cane sugar
3 tbsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
2 cups water

Combine TVP, oil, salt, pepper, sugar in bowl and mix well. Brown in non-stick ceramic pan til lightly browned/toasted or bake in toaster oven til browned, approx 5 min. Stir in water and tamari and heat on low til liquid totally absorbed. If there is any slight crunch on tasting, add another 1/4 cup of water and heat further.

Jan 9, 2014

Celebrating the New Year with Curry & Cranium

Here's to a new year and new habits.
On too many occasions in the past, I've not had a recipe for a dish that I've shared or posted about. Thankfully Heather, my wife Tiffany's BFF, had us over for new year's and she asked if I could show her how make a curry. Usually, like a lot of cooks with favorite recipes, you add a little bit of this and then a little bit of that until the cooking is done. This time, I took the time to make measurements while Heather wrote them down. Adjustments were made along the way as I tasted.

The curry I made is one I've been making for years, it's one of the many variations I enjoy, I hope you'll have fun making it.

Pineapple Curry

3 russet potatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
5 carrots, cut into medallions
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 cup of pineapple juice
1 1/2 tbsp yellow curry powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 oz tomato paste
2 tsp salt
2 cups of potato broth/water
3 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1 lb super firm tofu (optional)

In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to boil then add potatoes. Lower heat to avoid boiling over. Cook til potatoes slightly break apart on poking. Remove from heat and set aside 2 cups of water from pot. Drain potatoes and set aside.
While potatoes are boiling, add oil to a separate pot, set to medium heat and add garlic, carrot and onion. Stir gently and cook til onions are translucent and carrots are softened.
Lower heat and add peas, pineapple, juice, curry powder, cinnamon, tomato paste, salt and potato water. Heat another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add peanut butter and potatoes to curry and cook another 3 minutes, stirring gently.

Serve over basmati rice or with naan bread.

Feel free to omit any ingredients or add your own vegetables. Make your own signature curry.

Consider these:
coconut milk (use the thick version that comes in a can & buy organic to ensure BPA free lining)
red Thai curry paste or green Thai curry paste and/or Thai basil
any of the cabbage family like broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage!
bring on the squash with butternut, Kabocha, pumpkin, zucchini or summer squash
bell peppers are classic
bulk it up with chick peas, red lentils or green lentils

The last step is to let your meal digest and then play games with the wittiest people you can find.

Happy New Year!