Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegetarian Caesar Salad Dressing

I've been getting in to making salad dressings at home lately.

I like the taste of Caesar dressings, but do not like the flavor of anchovies. I googled "Vegetarian Caesar Dressing" and got this recipe.

I am not vegan, so I decided to use real Parmesan cheese. I also think it would be better with a little more garlic, and I would do things in a different order to ensure they blend well.

Here's my interpretation.

Reese's Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup water (or a little less if you like it creamy)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 6 tbs lemon juice (a little over 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste (I like it a little saltier)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the garlic cloves in a food-processor or mini food-processor and pulse until diced fine.

Add water, oil and lemon juice, and pulse again until emulsified. Add cashews, cheese, salt and pepper, pulse or blend until well combined and creamy.

Vegetarian Meatballs #2

This is another recipe from my Great-Aunt Heather's cookbook, "Vital Vittles".

My VERY carnivorous husband LOVES these pretty much any way I prepare them, baked with brown gravy, mushroom gravy, or marinara.

I did not have whole wheat bread crumbs or regular soy sauce, so I substituted Panko bread crumbs and Tamari low-sodium soy sauce in their place.

Heather Leno's No-Meatballs

Combine in a blender:

  • 1 pkg Mori-Nu firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 cup onion (I chopped it in big chunks)
  • 2 tbs Tamari Low-Sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
Whiz until smooth, transfer to medium mixing bowl.

Add the following ingredients to bowl:
  • 1 cup ground walnuts (I ground them in my mini food-processor, sometimes I use a combination of walnuts and pecans)
  • 1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbs parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
Mix well, scoop onto prepared cookie sheet (I use a large cookie sheet with parchment paper lined - SO EASY for cleanup!) with a small scoop.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes until brown and firming to the touch.

At this point you can either freeze them for later use or bake them in a baking dish covered with a gravy of your choice, sweet & sour sauce, or spaghetti sauce.

I baked 16 of them in a 9x9 baking dish with mushroom gravy at 350F for about 35-40 minutes and the rest in Scott's home-made marinara sauce for the same amount of time in a separate dish.

*Cooking note: I baked mine longer than the original recipe instructed, as the first time making them gave me meatballs that started to fall apart. I increased the baking time of the meatballs themselves and also increased the baking time with sauce.

Mushroom Gravy #2

Tonight I made some vegetarian meatballs, and I decided to bake them with a nice mushroom gravy. Since I am out of wine, I couldn't make Walt's Mushroom & Wine Gravy.

I decided to wing a mushroom gravy and base it on the mushroom & wine recipe, but doing things in a little bit different order.

Reese's Mushroom Gravy
  • 1 to 2 tbs olive oil (amount depends on how stick or non-stick your pan is)
  • 2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms
Saute mushrooms in oil until limp, keep covered to retain the juices until almost done, then it is ok to remove the lid and let a little evaporate.

While mushrooms are sauteing, heat the following in a small/medium saucepan on medium/low:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter or margarine (I use Smart Balance Buttery Sticks with Olive Oil)
When oil and butter is melted, add:
  • 1/2 cup flour
Stir to create a pasty dough, keep stirring and watch heat so it doesn't burn, but let it brown a little bit.

In a microwavable cup, heat

Stir to dissolve, then add to flour mixture and stir to combine, breaking up any lumps with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Add sauteed mushrooms and their liquid to flour/butter/bouillon mixture, add

Stir to dissolve. If you want a thicker gravy you can bring to a low simmer to reduce a bit.

This recipe made about 3 cups of gravy. I like my gravy pretty salty, if it seems too salty to you, lessen the amount of Marmite.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Broccoli Soup

You may have noticed by now that one of the cooks in this house is a Vegetarian, and other one is most definitely NOT. 

Many people in my extended family are not only Vegetarian, but Vegan. This gives me many resources for ideas when I am trying to come up with something new to eat.

The impressive thing about many of these recipes is that the Non-Vegetarian in the house often enjoys them VERY much. (From time to time he will prepare some meat if he feels he needs more protein, but many times he is happy with the meal as served.)

Dinner tonight was a soup from a recipe book written by my great-aunt, Heather Leno

I didn't have any marjoram or fresh celery, so I substituted dried oregano and about 2 teaspoons of celery salt.  I also added some freshly ground black pepper towards the end.

Following is the version I made tonight.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the following ingredients. 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 stalks fresh broccoli, cut into chunks (approximately 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 a medium onion, cut into chunks
Cook covered while preparing the next set of ingredients. (You are basically steaming the vegetables. Do not overcook.)

Combine the following ingredients in a blender:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
Whiz until smooth and creamy.  Add the cooked vegetables and blend until smooth. (Vegetables are hot, you may need to vent the lid a little to ensure that it does not pop off in older style blenders.)  I added the veggies in two parts so the blender would not be too full to blend.

Add another 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water, a few grinds of pepper, and another tsp of celery salt. Blend again to combine, and serve. (Return to pot to re-heat if it has cooled to much in the blending process)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Browned Butter Frosting

I am enjoying some home-made gingerbread cookies with a browned-butter frosting that is DELICIOUS.  

Borrowed from

Browned Butter Frosting
1/4 c. butter
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. Milk

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns golden. Watch carefully as this will happen quickly. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and enough milk to make a spreading consistency.