Friday, August 31, 2007

simple food pics..

This is a wrap, ready to be rolled. My new and improved Seitan Turkey Breast, Smoky Dijon Aioli, Baby Spinach, Cranberry Sauce and tomatoes.

I've been tweaking my turkey breast to make it just a tad more user friendly.. and I'm happy with the results. I will be sending this off to my cookbook testers.
I also tweaked my cutlet recipe a tad, and have 32 cutlets, marinating in a Chipotle BBQ, Teriyaki and Vinaigrette for a BBQ tomorrow, along with veggie burgers, which will be grilled. I didn't take any pics of those.. but you'll see them at a later date when we eat them all!



TVP Taco Salad, with a homemade taco 'cheez' and spicy ranch dressing. My kids wrapped this up into a burrito.. and it was all good.

Banana Pina Colada 'Ice Cream'.. sugar and fat free.. perfect for a sweet breakfast or a nice after dinner treat. My kids like to eat this for snacks after school and since it is made with frozen bananas, soy yogurt, frozen pineapple, coconut extract and spices, I let them. I love my Vita Mix.
Quinoa Salad.. simple, easy, healthy and delicious.. but I am bias. Quinoa is my favorite grain.
I am sad to say that a former co-worker has been leaving rude comments on my blog. It comes as quite a shock to me. If it continues, I will be using the comment moderation feature here.
Kate, I guess I need to spell it out for you again. I did not, and would not EVER steal any recipe. I give credit where credit is due and you did not come up with the idea of using Agar, Tofu and Tofutti in Cheesecakes. (not to mention I have never seen your recipe)
This restaurant has used that combo and inspired my own recipe long before I ever met you. I think you KNOW the reality, given our conversation about this matter. Also, the Candle Cafe cookbook uses an agar and cream cheez mixture in their recipe. My Kicked Up Chocolate Mint Cheezecake was my very own creation. Think about it, Kate. If I had "stolen" your recipe, why in the world would I have told you about the contest I entered for fun? oy... don't you have better things to do that make ridiculous comments on my blog?
Onto a brighter subject.. I am having a BBQ tomorrow and am looking forward to it. I will be cooking up a storm, but have not completely decided on my menu. I am inspired to use what I have in the house and not shop and make myself nuts for this event. The Seitan Cutlets and Veggie Burgers are definitely going ont he menu.. and a big salad.. and maybe some cupcakes... I guess we'll see what happens. I'm sure I'll be posting pics!
I love my new job. I may end up working more hours than I thought.. but I'm OK with that... It's a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot... it's always fun to have a job within your field of interest.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Easy meals and cookbook writing

These clean out the fridge noodles were a big hit as usual in my house.. this time, I actually wrote down the recipe and sent it off to my testers.. They were really good with the teriyaki glazed tempeh on the side.
Another cookbook recipe, simple and easy teriyaki glazed tempeh. My son, who hates all things tempeh loved this.
Salad with a low fat asian inspired dressing and the glazed tempeh. The dressing is also going into the cookbook.

I don't remember if I mentioned, but I have started writing my cookbook from scratch again. All of my old recipes (almost 200 written out) are gone for good. It's amazing, but I'm not that upset about it. Instead, I am excited because now I get to photograph everything and test the recipes as I make them. Also, my cooking style has changed quite a bit since I started actually writing my recipes down in 2002.

I am still working on my cheez recipe. The texture I want is so elusive! I have come up with some interesting ideas for other foods while experimenting, so that is fun stuff.

If you want to be a recipe tester, send an email to melomeals@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cooking and more

My family and I love sandwiches. I think they are the perfect food. I finally created a really good bread recipe that begs for them. It is mostly white whole wheat flour, with a bit of unbleached white flour, rolled oats and vital wheat gluten. I have to make it one more time to make sure I have written down the recipe right, then it's off to my testers.
This sandwich was lite, firm tofu cooked in the cast iron with olive oil spray, then topped with a spicy chipotle BBQ sauce and caramelized onions. I made a quick sauce of vegenaise, roasted garlic, dijon and liquid smoke and used baby field greens and a farmer's market tomato. We all loved these.
This was a tofu salad on a 60 calories low calorie toasted pita. The tofu salad was tossed with a delicious teriyaki dressing, baby spinach and a good tomato. Great breakfast!
A simple weed/flower at dusk.
My baby... heading off to Berklee Guitar Camp... I thought this illustrated it perfectly.. I'm doing OK with him gone... and with so much freedom in the city. He's having fun and his grandmother drives into Boston at 10:30 every night to pick him up..


A simple kale saute.
The picture does not do these beans justice.. they were so good. Simple black beans, pressure cooked with onions, garlic and veg bouillon, then tossed with a fresh salsa of raw tomatoes,onions, garlic, lime juice, serrano chiles and cilantro. The green beans were lightly steamed and tossed with a lemon/dijon/flax maple dressing.

Ok, so this may be the funkiest soup I've come up with in a while, but it was soo good! I made a pot out of things I needed to use up and have 5 3 cup servings cooling and waiting to go into the freezer for my lunches (and speaking of lunches, I am excited about packing a lunch when I start my job!)

Here are the ingredients I used for the soup.
Don't be put off by the strange combination of spices... it turned out really great!

Sweet Potato, Green Chile, Black Bean and Quinoa Soup

1 T Coconut Oil

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp coriander

¼ tsp rosemary

1 large onion

6 cloves garlic

1 large sweet potato, diced

3 cups kale, chopped

1 1/2 cups black beans (cooked or 1 15 oz can)

14 oz can Rotel

6-8 cups water or veggie stock

½ cup quinoa

1 cup green chile taco sauce or 2 small cans roasted green chiles

2 T Nutritional Yeast

2 T Miso

Salt/lots of freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tsp umeboshi vinegar

4 T chopped cilantro

1 t fresh thyme

Method:

Heat the oil, spices, onions, salt and garlic in a heavy bottomed pan, then add the next 7 ingredients and bring to a boil. When the Kale is tender and the quinoa is cooked (around 15 minutes), stir in the yeast, miso, salt/pepper, vinegar, and fresh cilantro and thyme. Stir several times. Turn off heat and wait for 15 minutes before serving. As with all soups, this will be better the next day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer produce

Ok, so I found these awesome yellow beets, so I made a quick batch of basil garlic 'ricotta' and surrouned the dish with siracha and fresh thyme. Next time, I would slice the beets paper thin, but this was a tasty snack.

They are so vibrant! I wish I had a dehyrator.


Banana cake and muffins....I'm not a huge fan of banana anything, but this turned out well. The spices I used gave it complex flavor that wasn't too overpowering. I've been making trifles with soy yogurt and raspberry sauce for my son's lunch this week (he's at band camp 12 hours a day). Next week, he will be going down to Boston to Berklee School of Music for a guitar camp. He is really looking forward to that! This cake/muffin was a cross between totally healthy and not healthy. I think my family was just relieved that I used some fat and sugar in my muffins for once.


Raw noodles (daikon, zukes, carrots and summer squash)


Raw noodles with a low fat sesame ginger dressing , siracha, black sesame seeds and avocado. Fabulous lunch.


Super spicy red bean stew and rice... Not for the weak of heart! (actually, people with a bad heart would benefit greatly from this dish, as beans contain a lot of magnesium, potassium, fiber and other great vitamins and minerals. The fresh herbs help help with water retention and the hot peppers and cayenne are a natural anti-inflammatory, which help keep our tickers in tip top shape!)..
One Ugly Tomato! Just proof that what is on the outside doesn't always match with what is on the inside.
I just love the color of this pepper.

So, this fall, I will be workings as a photographer's assitant. It will be close to full time, but it ends early enough in the day that I can still prep for my cooking classes and take on Personal Chef clients. I am excited about this!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A little bit of everything..

When you have a house, full of teen boys who are afraid of vegan food, this is how you win them over!! Easy chocolate cupcakes... I used the old standby chocolate cake recipe with vinegar. An old friend of mine gave me that recipe 12 years ago. Her grandmother had given to her. I guess it was popular during war time when food was rationed. I frosted them with another old standby that I'm sure there are many variations of. Silken tofu and melted dark chocolate chunks. I also added coffee and vanilla extract. It is the perfect frosting in my opinion. Late in this post I show some truffles I made from the leftovers. Melted tofu and chocolate are a perfect marriage. As I mentioned, the silken is fabulous for frostings and the like and the firm variety makes a great, but very rich chilled pie filling.. (as I'm sure most of you seasoned vegans know already!)

This was a big very filling dinner.. a low calorie wrap with smoky garlic aioli, sauted pepper, mushrooms, onion, jalapenos and garlic, chorizo spiced seitan, spices on top of mixed greens, topped with some of my smoked provolone 'cheeze' and chopped tomato.
Baby arugula salad with a tarragon vinaigrette, fresh figs, grapes and toasted pecans.

Another baby arugula salad, this time mixed with raw noodles (zukes, summer squash and carrots) topped with a 'feta' sauce. I've been into raw noodles lately.. my favorite way is with a raw marinara sauce, kalamata olives and fresh basil.

10 minute 'cream' of broccoli soup. Call me crazy, but I was craving soup in this hot weather. I used my microwave and vita mix.

Veggie 'cream cheese' spread on top of a multi grain, low calorie english muffin. One of these days I am determined to make bagels. I'm sure I'll get around to it this fall at the latest.

Super veggie enchilada bake, topped with Vegan Gourmet. I'm not a huge fan of it, but I wanted to see if I could figure out some things texture wise for my own cheese recipes. It has better texture than my homemade stuff. I think it will take me a year at least to get my cheese recipe perfected.
This was filled with sauted zukes, yellow squash, onion, veggie cream cheez spread, salsa verde, spices, refried beans and baked in a pie plate.... oh and the base was corn tortillas of course.

Truffles, just the chilled frosting from above, rolled in coconut, then chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes. This picture doesn't do them justice at all.. they were so good.
Not pictured is some hummus and pita chips, and a low fat pesto like sauce I'm going to be sending to my recipe testers.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hot and Spicy

Oh, how hot it's been! We've been eating a lot of salads and sandwiches, but I had a hankering for some mexican food, so I pulled out my lovely pressure cooker and made a big batch of refried beans for a quick dinner. I also made homemade salsa and topped the corn tortillas with shredded cabbage and some of my homemade cheez. Simple and satisfying for all of us.

I am no longer cooking at Cafe Indigo. I will be focusing more on my Personal Cheffing business as well as Recipe Development for restaurants and totally re-writing my cookbook. My old recipes are dead I guess and no, I never backed them up and honestly, it's OK with me, because my cooking is a bit different than it was when I was first developing my recipes, so I will be making use of all of you who want to test now that I have more time to put into the book! I am really excited about it.

These were breakfast this morning. Simple white whole wheat flour and oat bran waffles with a strawberry rhubarb compote.

I am still tinkering with my cheese recipe. I am thrilled with the flavors I am creating, but the texture is still giving me trouble. It just isn't cheesy... and I know it's hard to create it without caesin, but there HAS to be a way. This was a roasted garlic, caraway, dill, horesradish and onion cheez. Sooo freaken good, especially on reubens.. I'll be posting quite a few cheezy creations within the next week or so because I made a bunch. I also did a smoked provolone, cheddar, mozzarella, and a green chile mild white cheez. I'm really glad they freeze well.


'cheddar', smoked 'provolone' and dilled, caraway garlic
Seitan has a new friend. My spicy chioptle lime vinaigrette. Marinated and grilled, this was served with a lime-aioli and the wrap below was a fajita wrap with the cutlet, peppers, onions, mushrooms sauted until almost charred, then topped with fresh veggies, lime/cilantro sour 'cream' and avocado.



Simple Chickpea tuna like salad. We've all seen a milion recipes for it. I topped it with nori shreds and served it on homemade spelt bread. It was a little runny, so I turned the leftovers into these patties which I served with tartar sauce on rice cakes. I've been trying to east a variety of grains instead of so much wheat.



If anyone is interested in testing and hasn't emailed me, my address is melomeals@yahoo.com.
I will probably start sending out recipes within the week.