January 27th, 2007

Decorative frosting

I'm looking for a good recipe for frosting to use as piping/lettering on a cake. I've checked the memories, but didn't see anything specific. Tried using just water/powdered sugar, but it ended up literally just melting off the cake. (Doesn't even look like I put anything on it anymore!)

Checked vegweb.com and didn't see anything there either.

Anyone have anything? :)

TIA! :)

Lettuce Wraps

K.A.'s Banging Tofu Lettuce Wraps

We don't even have P.F. Chang's up here in Canadia, but I am worldly enough to have been exposed to this little bit of US culture over the years; and the one thing people always seem to rave about is this restaurant chain's Lettuce Wraps. Intrigued, I looked up several copycat recipes and as usual, modified them to my own tastes. These have now become a weekly meal over here at Chez Kreeli. What I really love is that I can chop the veggies small enough that my kids don't even realize they are eating some of their most hated foods (like mushrooms). Hope you enjoy as much as we do.

BTW - I end up doubling this recipe for my family of four because it gets gobbled up so quickly and we like to have leftovers.


1 lb extra firm tofu, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1 rib of celery, minced
1/2 of a sweet red pepper, minced
1 tbsp dried red chilis (optional)
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups fresh bean sprouts OR 4 cups asian rice noodles, cooked
1 cup roasted and coarsley chopped unsalted cashews (optional)


Tofu Marinade
1 tsp tapioca starch
2 tsp cooking sherry or mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
2 tsp water
salt and pepper
1 tsp sesame oil

Sauce
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking sherry or mirin
2 tbsp miso paste
4 tbsp water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 teaspoon sweetener
2 teaspoons tapioca starch

Lettuce of your choice to make lettuce "wraps" or "cups". Iceberg appears to be what's served in the restaurant but we prefer Romaine. Pull whole leaves off, wash well, and pat dry. Place between layers of paper towels and chill for several hours prior to serving.

Mix together the tofu marinade in a medium bowl, then add the minced tofu and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Arrange the bean sprouts or cooked rice noodles on a large serving platter and set aside.

Mix together the cooking sauce ingredients and set aside.

When tofu is finished marinating, heat a generous amount of oil in a large skillet. Add the tofu (along with any leftover marinated and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the tofu begins to brown. Remove from skillet and set aside. Heat another generous amount of oil in the skillet and add the green onions, garlic and ginger. Saute, stirring the whole time, for two minutes. Add the rest of the veggies and cook for another three to four minutes. Return the tofu to the pan, top with the cooking sauce, and cook over high heat until the entire mixture is hot and thick. Pour over top of the bean sprouts or rice noodles and bring to the table piping hot. Sprinkle with the chopped cashews, if desired.

Give everyone their own spoon and as many lettuce leaves as they think they can eat and allow everyone to dig into the tofu mixture. There are different methods to eating lettuce wraps but my preferred way is to cup the lettuce leaf in my palm and add a nice mound of hot filling, then kind of scrunch the edges up over top like a pocket or wonton. My husband prefers to roll the filling up inside the leaf much like a burrito. The kids enjoy doing it in whatever fashion makes the greatest mess. You will find your own technique, which of course depends on the type of lettuce you're using.

Serves 4.

Steak Strips and Red Peppers!

I bought a couple of bags of those Morningstar Steak Strips cause they were super-cheap one day and I was interested in getting back into weightlifting, so I thought they'd be a good source of protein. Little did I know, the bag simply says, "throw them in your favorite recipes!" or something to that effect.

But I don't have any favorite recipes anymore that call for steak. Does anyone have any creative ideas for how to use these? Preferably in something I could make on Sunday and eat leftovers of for the school week? I also bought some red peppers with the full intention of using them, so bonus points for incorporating red peppers (or other good recipes involving red peppers). I am trying to cut down my fat, so low oil things would be ideal.

Oh, and as far as the red peppers go, I love most types of beans so if you have a recipe with beans & red peppers, that would be lovely, too. And I have approximately 7 lbs of basmati rice that I am interested in using someday before I die. (Who knew 7 lbs was so much??? I'm a sucker for a sale, it was cheap...)

Thanks in advance!

Easy Peasy Chickpea Casserole

The first meal that I ever made by myself was a non-vegan version of this. It's been altered no less than a dozen times in the 10+ years since that first foray into the world of cooking and it's still one of my favourite quick and easy meals.

Ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled & diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (15oz) can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 cup shredded soy cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium pot over medium-high heat, cook the carrot and onion until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute for about two minutes or until the garlic is tender.

Add beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about ten minutes.

Transfer bean mixture to a casserole dish and top with shredded soy cheese.

Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes, placing under grill for the last few minutes if you'd like tasty bubbly cheese.

Serve on its own or over a bed of couscous. Makes 4 small servings or 2 really-hungry-person servings.

The most delicious bread/dinner rolls EVER

I made dinner rolls last night - and havent stopped eating them since! I found a recipe for "Sweet Wheat Rolls" on VegWeb, and sort of adapted it, but here are the basics.

3 Cups Wheat Flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat graham flour and 2 cups white. You could mix it up)
1 packet yeast (or if you have a jar of yeast, the equivalency should be listed)
1/2 cup sugar (i used less)
1 cup soymilk (I ended up using a little more, you can use rice milk too)
1 teaspoon salt (I forgot that.)
Flax seeds - optional

The VegWeb directions arent clear at all - so here is what I did:

1) Put the yeast in a big bowl with about a teaspoon or so of sugar. Stir in maybe 1/2 cup of hot water - not boiling,just hot. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let it sit for maybe 5-10 minutes. When you come back, it should be very foamy.

2) Stir in the first cup of flour. It will get all clumpy and dry. This is when I started to add the soymilk, and sprinkle in more of the flour. When I had used up all the milk and it was still pretty dry and crumbly, I just added some more, or some water, and a drizzle of oil (which I like). Keep stirring and smooshing together into a ball until it gets a stringy consistency, like it doesnt want to come apart and can no longer be stirred. If its really drippy and wet, add some extra flour. If its too dry and not coming together, add some more water/milk. OH -I threw in a handful of flax seeds.

3) Once it reaches an appropriate consistency, where its together in ball, cover it with a damp towel and sit it someplace warm, like over a stove that is pre-heating.

4) I came back to it after 10-20 minutes. It had not risen much. Still, on a floured surface, I took it out and began to kneadkneadknead it! Kneading, punching, tossing, I went at it. Since it was kinda sticky, that extra flour really helped. I did this for a good 5-7 minutes, then returned it to the bowl and put it back on the stove.

5) Came back after 20-30 minutes and it had doubled in size. It can be up to you how long you let it sit depending on how much it rises.

6) I took it up, worked it some more, and then began cutting it into chunks. I rolled these chunks into "rolls", like kaiser size, and cut decorative X's on top. I put these on a greased baking sheet (thats all I've got as it is...)

7) Popped them in an oven on 350. I am not sure how long they took, maybe 20 minutes, but I like mine a little crusty and brown on top and chewy in the middle. They smelled SSOOO good! They rose up great, and as soon as I could I grabbed one and put some SmartBalance on it and it was amazingly delicious. I think I made maybe 7-8, depending on how big you make them they could be more/less, and I think I have 3 left....and only I ate them!!

These are delicious - and would probably make an excellent loaf of bread as well.

x-posted
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