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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Menu 7: Spiced Sweet Corn Soup, Mozzarella Pesto Melt, Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok-Steamed Collards and Quinoa, Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles...

Photo credit: Lolo at www.veganyumyum.com

When I was growing up, and would occasionally go out to eat with my family, I dreaded the moment when our food would arrive. Because, when our food came, it was not time to eat. “Wait, wait,” my mom would say. Despite collective groans from my brothers and me, she’d use her fork to poke around each dish, explaining, “I want to see how they made it, so I can make it at home.”

What was the point of going out to eat if we weren’t going to just enjoy our food? Did we have to reconstruct each recipe as we were eating?

Some years, later, I have (admittedly) become my mother (only now, I type notes into my BlackBerry while I’m eating.)

In this week’s menu, I continue to enjoy Lauren’s delicious recipes from Vegan YumYum, and aim to recreate two of the dishes I’ve enjoyed at restaurants in the last week. And, in the spirit of mothers, I bring you a recipe for soup from my friend Arathi’s mom. Enjoy!

This week’s dishes:
Spiced Sweet Corn Soup and Spring Greens Salad (in Teriyaki Ginger Lime dressing)

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok-Steamed Collards and Quinoa

Mozzarella Pesto Melt

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles

This week’s menu:

Dinner: Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok-Steamed Collards and Quinoa
Cook: Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok-Steamed Collards and Quinoa, Mozzarella Pesto Melt (For Monday’s lunch)

Lunch: Mozzarella Pesto Melt
Dinner: Tofu with Collards and Quinoa
Cook: Mozzarella Pesto Melt (for Tuesday’s lunch)

Lunch: Mozzarella Pesto Melt
Dinner: Spiced Sweet Corn Soup with Spring Greens Salad
Cook: Spiced Sweet Corn Soup with Spring Greens Salad

Lunch: Spiced Sweet Corn Soup with Spring Greens Salad
Dinner: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
Cook: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles, Mozzarella Pesto Melt(for Friday’s lunch)

Lunch: Mozzarella Pesto Melt with Sweet Corn Soup
Dinner: Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
Cook: Prepare Spring Greens Salad for Friday lunch

Lunch: Spiced Sweet Corn Soup with Spring Greens Salad

This week’s recipes:

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu with Wok-Steamed Collards and Quinoa
Since I’ve read and heard so much about the nutritional benefits of quinoa, I’ve been looking for easy quinoa recipes with flavorful components – and this looks like it.

Click here for the Tofu with Collards and Quinoa recipe.

Mozzarella Pesto Melt
This is a simple sandwich that has incredible flavor because of the pesto – cilantro and walnut, instead of the traditional basil and pine nut combination. When we ate at the Chaco Canyon Café, and I ordered this sandwich, my boyfriend was surprised that I actually did a better job of ordering than he did. (This does not usually happen.) He was also happy that it was simple enough (for me) torecreate (for him).

Ingredients for cilantro walnut pesto:
2 cups, cilantro (packed down)
8 tablespoons, olive oil
2/3 cup, walnuts
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves, garlic
Paprika, to taste

Ingredients for sandwich:
1 foccacia roll
2 tablespoons, cilantro-walnut pesto
2 slices, vegan mozzarella cheese
¼ small red onion, sliced
½ small tomato, slices
1 handful, alfalfa sprouts

1. Pulse cilantro and olive oil in food processor or blender. (Add a bit of water if it’s not mixing well in the blender.)
2. Add remaining ingredients for pesto, and pulse or blend until smooth.
3. Spread 1 tablespoon of the pesto on each half of the foccacia roll.
4. Layer one slice of mozzarella on each half of the focaccia roll.
5. Layer one half of focaccia roll with red onion, tomato, and sprouts.
6. Place other half of sandwich on top of layered ingredients. Enjoy!

Note: Store the remaining pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Spiced Sweet Corn Soup
Since I’ve started the blog (and feeding my roommate, Arathi), Arathi has wanted to contribute to the cooking that’s happening in the apartment. She’s tried her hand at chickpea tacos, and on Saturday, I came home to the smell of vegetarian chili wafting down the hall. Here, she shares her mom’s recipe for spiced sweet corn soup.

4 cups, water
2 cubes, vegetable bullion
2 tablespoons, Earth Balance vegan butter
1 sweet onion (Vidalia), chopped
½ teaspoon, coriander powder
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon, curry powder
4 cups, fresh white corn kernels (frozen is ok, too!)
1 cup, unsweetened coconut milk
Salt, to taste


1. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 vegetable bullion cubes to boil in a saucepan. Reduce to medium heat, and stir occasionally until cubes have dissolved. Once cubes have dissolved, turn heat off.
2. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, stir, cover, and let cook for five minutes.
3. Stir in coriander powder and curry powder and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add corn and vegetable broth and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
6. Remove pot from heat. Stir in coconut milk. Set aside for 30 minutes, allowing flavors to infuse.
7. Transfer all soup, except for 1 cup, to blender or food processor and puree. (You may have to do this in batches.)
8. Return soup to pot. Add reserved cup back to soup. Season with salt to taste. Serve!

Spring Greens Salad
This salad is inspired by one that I ate at Café Blossom on Saturday. I couldn’t find jicama when I went shopping – so I took it out of the salad. But, if you can find it, add about ¼ cup of diced jicama.

At Blossom, the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds were “tamari toasted”. In an attempt to recreate this, I will mix the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in about ¼ cup of tamari, and then “toast” them in a pan over low heat for about 3 – 4 minutes, stirring and flipping occasionally. You can also just use them raw in this salad.

Ingredients for salad
1 cup mesclun greens
1/3 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/3 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup carrot, shredded
1 ½ tablespoons, pumpkin seeds
1 ½ tablespoons, sunflower seeds

Ingredients for dressing
6 tablespoons, fresh lime juice
8 tablespoons, teriyaki sauce
3 tablespoons, honey
2 teaspoons, ground ginger
1 teaspoon, salt

1. Mix all ingredients for salad in a large bowl.
2. Whisk all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl.
3. Toss salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing. Serve.
4. Store extra dressing in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Notes: The ingredients that you are buying for this salad for the week are enough for 3 servings. The first two are dinner and lunch, back to back. The third is lunch on Friday. The recipe above is for one salad serving. So, on Tuesday night, I am going to make two servings worth – save the rest of the cucumber, tomatoes, and carrot (unchopped and unshredded) for Thursday evening, when I will cut them fresh and prepare Friday’s salad. Always store the dressing separate from the salad – this will keep the salad from becoming soggy. Additionally, I buy loose mesclun greens – so at the store, I am putting them into a plastic produce bag. But, when I bring them home, I transfer them into a plastic storage container (it has locks that snap shut on the sides), and store in the fridge. Keeping them in a box like this will help them stay fresh – don’t store salad greens in those plastic produce bags from the store. Alternatively, you could buy the greens that come in a plastic box.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
While I’m so far from being a raw foodie, I enjoy having a raw, (or nearly raw, in this case) dish occasionally because it’s super fresh, and also is cleansing and energizing. Having a food processor makes this dish super quick, because you can chop all of the vegetables in it. While I’m now coveting a VitaMix, the food processor was definitely one of my best kitchen purchases.

Click here for the Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles recipe.

This week’s grocery list:
This morning, I got all of my produce from the farmer’s market, and everything else I needed from the grocery store – and the total bill was just over $40. (I do already have most of the oils and spices, but it just shows how inexpensive this is!)

1 bunch, cilantro
1 bunch, mint
1 bunch, collard greens
4 stalks, fresh white corn (frozen is ok, too!)
3 cups, mesclun greens
1 head, green cabbage
1 stalk, broccoli
1 pint, cherry tomatoes
2 roma tomatoes
1 cucumber
3 carrots
3 limes
1 lemon
2 bulbs, garlic
1 sweet onion
1 red onion
1, 8 oz. package, sprouts

Oils, Spices, Condiments

Coriander powder
Cumin powder
Ground ginger
Black pepper
Curry powder
Vegetable bullion cubes
Vegetable oil
Red Chilli Flakes
Cinnamon sticks

Canned and Bottled Goods
(Buy these items in a size that you feel is appropriate for how frequently you cook.)
Teriyaki sauce
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Chili sauce
Stone-ground mustard

Dry Goods
¼ pound, pumpkin seeds
¼ pound, sunflower seeds
¼ pound, sesame seeds
½ pound, walnuts
1, 12 oz. package, quinoa
1 package, whole wheat spaghetti
4 foccacia rolls


20 oz., frozen white corn kernels (don’t buy this if you’re buying fresh corn)
Earth Balance vegan butter
1, 8 oz package, vegan mozzarella