Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do You Need This In Your Life?- Home Garden and Garlic Zoom

This is a segment I've been thinking about for a while. There are a million things out there that help or hinder the home cook. I know that I am the type of person who loves to go oogle at the new pots, pans and tools at a store, but will hang onto what I have until they ultimately break or are completely unusable. It was amazing how long I kept a pink sautee pan that I used for everything that had long run out of it non-stickyness! You had to keep the food moving in the pan and use way too much oil or you were losing half of your tofu to the pan. After I finally broke down and bought a new one I couldn't believe I had waited so long to replace it! So, for you reader I'm here to introduce or reintroduce you to things that relate to your love of cooking.

The Garlic Zoom

I received the Garlic Zoom XL as a gift. I love garlic, but have eschewed garlic tools for years after an initial poor experience with a garlic press. As you will notice I haven't even taken the tags off this puppy. Well, once I read the instructions I promptly threw this piece of junk in a drawer. The idea of this gadget it that after you peel the garlic you insert a couple pieces in the top and roll it across the countertop to chop it into nice little pieces. There are sharp blades in a spiral inside the plastic orb that do the work that your knife typically would with a medieval look. Once you roll this contraption across the counter, then you open the trap on the top, take the blades out and then use that green spatula thing to get your garlic out. ARE YOU KIDDING??!! I will stick to chopping garlic with a good ol' fashioned knife.
Results: You do not need this in your life!


Home Garden

Growing your own bounty is a must! From a small little herb garden in your kitchen window to a massive backyard installation, food that only travels a few feet from your backyard to your kitchen tastes better. Just the glow you get from the pride of being self-sustaining and tending the plant until it's ready to share with you. I had a garden growing up in Florida with peppers and tomatoes 10 months of the year and have carried my love for plants out here to Oregon. But the kicker is that I'm not that great of a gardener. I've had tomato plants for three years and only have had tomatoes for one of those years. But I keep at it, one day the tomato gods will smile upon my little garden and hopefully it's of the heirloom persuasion! Regardless, herbs are a cinch and you can grow them anywhere you have sun.
Results: Yes! You need this in your life!

Chocolate Chips Cookies and

Whenever I'm looking for a quick and easy recipe, or have no idea to start and a few ingredients I go to It is an amazing database created by all kinds of vegan amateur chefs and non-chefs out there. You can search by recipe or ingredient and when you've made it you can leave feedback and photos for others to read and see. They have all kinds of recipes on this website and they aren't always that complex, I-need-14-other-ingredients-from-the-store-before-I-start recipes that you often find in cookbooks. They also have a feature that let's you sign in and save recipes, sign up for coupons and post on related forums.

This recipe comes from the friendly people at Vegweb, in particular Denise who posted this recipe. Hooray for Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies! I modified it a bit based on the feedback that people were leaving. One substitute I made was to use margarine instead of oil. (Oily cookies are nasty!) and then added additional cinnamon and vanilla. I also used ground flax seed as the egg substitute.
They were devoured! My husband breaks into an enormous grin after taking this first bite. Make some! You deserve a cookie!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tomatoes Stuffed with Quinoa, TVP and Sauteed Veggies

Tomatoes are the bounty of the summer. Delicious, full of vitamins and everywhere you look! I have never attempted stuffed tomatoes because they always looked like they were on the verge of falling apart and the stuffings have never been tempting. Alas, in reading an issue of Woman's Health (yes, indulgent trashy summer reading) I was inspired by a recipe that called for the tomatoes to be raw and the dish to be cold. This was the inspiration, but not the reality. My dish ended up being warm, which was perfect!

For the filling I made about 1/2 a cup of Quinoa and then added rehydrated TVP (I used Bob's Red Mill Brand, rehydrated in veggie broth) and separately sauteed veggies ( I used zucchini, red, yellow and green peppers and garlic. Mushrooms would be great too!) Then some olive oil for moisture and salt and pepper.

Coring the tomatoes is the most time consuming part. Mostly because you know the second that you stop paying attention to what you're doing you going to cut a gaping hole in the side of it! I used a knife to cut the top off and then a sturdy metal spoon to scrape the insides like you would do with your jack o' lantern friend. A tool that would be great for this would be a grapefruit spoon, but I don't have one of those fancy things!

Stuff them and top them with some vegan mozzarella; I used Vegan Gourmet because it melts which is what you want! Then broil to melt the cheeze, about 10 minutes. Serve to happy friends and family on a bed of orzo and sauteed spinach!