Sunday, March 4, 2007

Noodle Casserole

I make this with Tuno brand mock tuna and it's so tasty, but you can also leave it out (esp if you're scared of it) and it's still quite nice. We had an unusually cold day and this dish was perfect for it. With toasted breadcrumbs on top, it's time to crank up the ac in LA and pretend it's January.

Noodle Casserole
1 can Tuno (you can omit if you want)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4-1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives
Rotini or penne pasta, enough for 2 large or 4 small servings
2 cups soymilk
2-3 tbsp Earth Balance or margarine
1-2 tbsp flour
1 cup shredded vegan cheese OR 1/2 cup nutritional yeast + 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
breadcrumbs or crushed croutons
salt and pepper

1) Boil pasta.
2) Heat milk and butter in saucepan, gently bubble for 10 minutes to reduce liquid.
3) Slowly add cheese (or yeast) till melted.
4) Wisk and sprinkle in flour to desired thickness, add a dash of salt and pepper.
5) Combine drained pasta with cheese mixture.
6) Stir in drained tuno, peas, and olives.
7) Dump everything into a casserole dish and cover with breadcrumbs.
8) Bake at 350 till warm and bubbly (about 20-30 minutes).

DON'T BURN THE MILK! If you do, wash it out and start over.
Sprinkle the flour as you wisk, don't dump it in at once, you'll end up with a huge lump of blesh. (that's a technical term)
Cook the flour after you wisk it to get rid of the powdery taste. Just a few minutes of stirring over the heat will do it.
I toss the casserole dish in the toaster oven when i don't feel like heating up the big oven and go for a bike ride. 20 min on 350, and it's perfect.

Thick & Hearty Cornbread

Saturdays are reserved for Omni Evan and i to spend time with each other. This means of course, that we sleep late, roll out of bed around 11 and feel too lazy to cook up a storm. So i pulled out our cast iron pan (unused from the days of bacon) and whipped up this thick and hearty cornbread recipe. It sticks the ribs, isn't exceptionally sweet, and satisfies the tummy all day long.

The Dry
1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (yellow or even blue!)
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt

The Wet
2 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp water
1-1 1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 4 oz container of unsweeted applesauce

1 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/3 cup frozen or canned corn kernels

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Put Earth Balance in skillet, pan, or whatever you'll be baking in
3) Place skillet in oven to heat
4) Mix The Dry
5) Separately mix The Wet
6) Combine the two, stirring till moist and combined (batter will be thick)
7) Fold in the corn kernels and mix evenly
8) Carefully take skillet out of oven, use pastry brush or paper towel to spread melted EB up the sides
9) Pour in batter, cook for 17-20 minutes


I love serving this warm with some Earth Balance on top. It could work well as a dessert too, warmed up with some "ice cream" on top or with maple syrup. I packed some up for our hike later that day and it kep exceptionally well. Be sure to cut it like a pie so everyone gets a piece of the crust!

Tested Recipe: Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan

When i saw this on Vegan Yum Yum, i knew that the Seitan O' Greatness would be perfect. I decided to go with the garlic sauce, as i am a garlic fiend! Here is the original recipe. (I apologize for the poor pic quality, my camera is very retarded.)
Starting the sauce, ooh look at all that lovely garlic! I added some red pepper flakes for kick and a dash of onion and garlic power for some more flavor. Cause you know, you can never have too much flavor.

Frying up the seitan in the peanut oil, it's so fragrant. The oil is the only part i don't like of the recipe. I'll try frying with some water next time, cause i had to drain them on a lot of paper towels.

The finished sauce, thick and glossy. I subbed arrowroot powder for cornstarch as i have a pound of it. The garlic released some great oils as it heated, and i added another dash of red pepper.

With some carrots and broccoli added right in, topping of sesame seeds.

This was really good, the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. I realize now that i used sushi vinegar instead of seasoned rice vinegar but it still came out great. I had to drain the seitan a lot to get the oil off, and i forgot that my vinegar had msg in it (i got it in chinatown, what should i expect!?), but this will be in my regular rotation for sure.