Friday, January 22, 2010

Garlicky Caeser Dressing

I love not having to buy bottled dressings. Now, if I cold only get my husband to stop buying them. That is not to say I have not fallen off the wagon and used bottled dressing when it is in the house, but my preference is to stay clear of those processed things in a bottle. I went to the produce market today and felt inspired to cook, prepare something...anything. I also keep seeing this picture of a cold pasta salad in the grocery stores I work in. And due to the fact it is a chain of stores the picture is the same in every single store. That is not a complaint.

It is a basic elbow noodle salad, and for color there are black olives, red onion, grape tomatoes and possibly some green peppers. But suffice it to say it is your basic colorful pasta salad. Now I have not had the time to devote to cold pasta salads as I would like to, but I am getting rolling now. For both my husband and I do not have access to any way to warm our noon meals if we are working. So, salads it is. But even for us vegetarians, that can get old after a while. So I thought I would take a whack at this cold pasta salad thing tonight.

The salad ingredients were simple enough, but now it was to the dressing part. I had to get it just right or the salad would die if they, meaning the salad and dressing, did not get along. Along comes the Cooking Lady and I saved the day. I found a scrumptious dressing to pair wonderfully with any salad, greens included. So try this salad out for size and see what you think.

This dressing came from the book I snagged at the withdrawn section of a library down in Fort Lauderdale for $.50...who knew!! Vegetarian Times Complete Cook Book.

Approximately 2 cups cooked elbow pasta
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 red onion, sliced to your liking
1 stalk celery, cut to your liking
Black olives would be perfect for this dish, but we had none
4-5 cloves garlic (I put them through the press)
1 t virgin olive oil
1 t red wine vinegar
2 t balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 t water
1/2 t dry mustard
1-2 drops hot sauce (I added a bit more)
With a fork, mash garlic in thee olive oil. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Let the dressing sit overnight in your frig if you want a stronger garlic flavor. Trust me this is strong enough without having to sit overnight, but it is your call. This was a grand way to use cold pasta that we had no idea what to do with. Thank you cold pasta recipes. **Make sure your pasta has completely cooled before adding the dressing.**

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Potato Latkes

I know these are well renowned in the Jewish community, but can I say how much I love these things? I mean, just potatoes alone, you can do like a million things with them. And then add onions. Wow oh wow. I got this from one of my vegetarian books that I snagged at the low price of what...$.50.

But I was hankering for some new recipes. And since my life has been helter skelter during the holidays, it is a joy to get back to trying to new foods and posting again. My first love is food and feel bad when I cannot share things with my readers. So try this. It is simple and oh so easy to make.

1&1/2 pounds of potatoes, grated
2 small onions, minced (we used one large)
3T cornstarch
1T finely chopped fresh parsley (we were out)
Dash freshly ground pepper
2T soy sauce or tamari
Nonstick cooking spray (we used a thin layer of oil)
Mix all thee ingredients in a bowl. Coat a skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Form 3-inch patties and cook over medium heat until crisp on both sides.

These were great, bu I would lower the heat a bit and cook them a bit longer, or just puree the onions. Either way I am good to go. Did I mention I love potatoes?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Carrot-Raisin Muffins

I love muffins. Always have...always will. So when I got Vegan With A Vengeance for Christmas, I knew I would be searching for some new muffin recipes. Now keep in mind that I got a jumbo muffin tin at my AVON holiday party as a Chinese gift exchange. Who better to get such a gift. We have used it a few times already.

Before I got so healthy, I loved muffins just the same, except they were laden with sugar, on thee inside and out. But I am now exploring some great recipes with so much less sugar added. And my first reaction still is to say, 'Hey, these are not sweet enough.' But then I realize what I just said and move on. These are definitely a keeper, except I will need to alter the time they are baked. We need to extend our time, for the time given is not long enough for my oven. Try these, eat these and make these again.

1/2 cup raisins
1&1/2 cups flour (we used half spelt and half soft white. Remember we grind our own wheat)
2t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground or freshly grated nutmeg (I was able to use freshly grated. Thank you microplaner)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2t salt
1 cup rice or say milk (we used almond)
1/4 cup canola oil (we used olive)
1t vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray or lightly grease. ( we use coconut oil) Soak the raisins in a bowl of hot water and begin preparing your batter. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the milk, oil, and vanilla; mix with wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots. Remove the raisins from the water and fold in. Fill the muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes, (we need at least 25 for our oven) until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack.

They are healthy and taste good, a concept most folks who are not vegetarians or are poor esters cannot understand. Make them and sit down with a cup of java or tea, they deserve that much at least.