Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fattoush Salad

This Lebanese salad, with slightly sour dressing and crunchy pita chips tossed in, is SO GOOD (even with raw garlic, which I generally despise).

2 cups shredded lettuce
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, diced small
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley, leaves only, no stems
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves, no stems
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
2 pieces of pita bread
a few tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper

Brush pita with olive oil, sprinkle with za'atar, and toast 'till it's crispy. Break into pieces the size of a quarter.

In a small bowl mix all dressing ingredients well.

Put all salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 to 1 cup dressing. Serve immediately.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Nothing beats lasagna. And this recipe, adapted from my grandmother's, is truly special...

15 whole wheat lasagna noodles (plus 2 or 3 in case some break!)

2 TBSP olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 package Gimme Lean soy ground beef (optional)
fresh basil, chopped

2 TBSP olive oil
4-5 cups of finely chopped or grated:
onion, mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, zucchini,
kalamata olives, or whatever else you have on hand
salt and pepper

2 lb ricotta or cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper

10 oz. mozzarella, grated
handful of parmesan

In a large pot, bring several quarts of water to a boil. Salt well. Add lasagna noodles gently one or two at a time, and return to a boil. Cook about 10 minutes for whole wheat noodles (or follow directions on package). Drain carefully, rinse in cool water, gently separate noodles, and lay flat to dry.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat 2 TBSP olive oil and saute garlic until slightly golden. Add crushed tomatoes and salt to taste. Stir well. Simmer until liquid starts to evaporate and tomatoes thicken, about 15 minutes. Stir in fresh basil (in a pinch, dried basil and oregano work well). If you prefer a meaty sauce, you can add a package of Gimme Lean soy ground beef to the tomatoes for a delicious protein-packed sauce.

Finely chop or grate whatever combination of vegetables you are using. In a separate pan, heat 2 TBSP olive oil and saute vegetables until tender, adding salt and pepper to taste. In general, onions, squash, and mushrooms can all be thrown in at the same time. Spinach or any other greens should be added at the last minute.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk ricotta/cottage cheese, parmesan, eggs, parsley, and black pepper until thoroughly combined.

Brush sides and bottom of large baking dish (9x13") with olive oil. Layer five noodles in the bottom of pan, spread half the ricotta mixture over noodles, spread one third of the sauce over the ricotta, sprinkle one third of the mozzarella, and spread half of the vegetables. Repeat. Finish with one more layer of noodles, the remainder of the sauce, the remainder of the mozzarella, and a good handful of parmesan.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until cheese is bubbly and browned. This recipe freezes very well, so feel free to make in advance and then increase the cooking time accordingly.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Scrambled Tofu

From the amazing www.theppk.com -- look it up if you haven't already :)

1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped white onion (about a cup)
2 cups cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 carrot

spice blend:
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high. Saute onions 3 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms, saute 5 minutes more. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes more. Add spice blend and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices.

Crumble in tofu and mix well. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necesary to keep it from sticking too much. Add lime juice and nutritional yeast and mix it up. If it seems too dry, add a splash or two of water.

Grate the carrot into it and fold. I served this with roasted potatoes (the cute little fingerling kind!! yummy!) and a green salad. Deee-licious.