Sunday, August 4, 2013
3 EASY, INEXPENSIVE, LOW FAT HOMEMADE VERSIONS OF KITCHEN STAPLES YOU MIGHT RUN OUT OF
Homemade fat-free vegan "pouring cream" on Tofu Chocolate Mousse (from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause"), with candied organic ginger
I haven't blogged for 2 weeks! Sorry about that-- I blame it on a combination of company, birthdays, family members moving house, and summer lethargy in the calm after the extreme busy-ness! Actually, the last few days I've been working on a review of a friend's new cookbook-- one we've all been eagerly anticipating-- but it's going slowly because I want to do it justice. So, I'm blogging about more mundane items today.
As many of you will know, I live on a small island with a friendly general store, which is quite small and covers mainly the basics. We have to go off-island for most things. Today I was planning to make a corn chowder that needed a cheddar-type cheese of the vegan variety, something the General Store does not carry. So, I turned to my recipe for quick, low fat "Melty Cheeze" in my third low fat cookbook, "20 Minutes to Dinner" (from 1997, now out of print but still available). It can be used as a spread, melted cheese, and for making cheese sauce. More about it (+ the recipe-- with a few revisions-- of course) below.
Homemade Melty Chedda' Cheeze
Aside: Why am I making chowder in the height of summer? Well, for one thing, it's only pleasantly hot here, not searingly. For another, it's great to have homemade soup in the fridge for a quick snack or meal (we're having it for dinner tonight with homegrown tomato sandwiches). But, in addition, our dog Phoebe much prefers her vegan kibbles mixed with a little brown basmati rice and whatever soup is on offer!
Cheddar-y White Bean and Corn Chowder with Soy Curls (I'll post the recipe soon)
While looking for the Melty Cheeze recipe, I was reminded of a couple of other recipes in that book which work well when one runs out of the store bought version, and which would prove useful today. One is a simple recipe for occasions when you are faced with a bowl of cereal and discover that you have no milk of any kind. This recipe, "Banana Milk", is more of an on-the-spot one than my "Tofu Milk" recipe (located here on my blog, and also from "20 Minutes to Dinner"), suitable for one or two servings only and soy-free as well. (Recipe below.)
The third recipe that looked useful for my purposes was "Pourable Non-Dairy Cream". I had some Tofu Chocolate Mousse that I thought would be improved by some creamy topping, and I also needed just a 1/2 cup of "cream" for the above-mentioned soup. All of these recipes are simple, easy, inexpensive, low fat, and tasty and I figured that I can't be the only one who could use such recipes in an emergency (and maybe on a more regular basis), so I'm sharing them here.
"Pourable Non-Dairy Cream" on the Tofu Chocolate Mousse (from my book "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause"), with candied organic ginger-- I'll post the mousse recipe one of these days.
BRYANNA'S "BANANA MILK"
Makes one or two servings
If you have a ripe banana on your counter or in your freezer, you can quickly make a tasty "milk" for your breakfast porridge. Any leftover can be used in a smoothie.
1 large ripe banana (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup very cold water + 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. EACH pure almond extract and pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Process all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Use immediately. Leftovers should be refrigerated in a covered jar and shaken well before using.
BRYANNA'S POURABLE NON-DAIRY CREAM
Makes about 1 cupIf you use soft silken tofu, this is like a cereal cream. If you use firm or extra-firm silken tofu, it will be like a thick pouring cream for puddings or desserts. For a cream that has no discernible soy flavor, use commercial rice or almond milk. To make Soy-Free, use cooked short grain white rice instead of tofu.
1/2 cup crumbled silken tofu (reduced-fat if you like)
1/2 cup commercial non-dairy "milk", a low fat type
4 tsp. light granulated unbleached organic sugar OR maple syrup
1 pinch salt
Optional: 1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
Place all the ingredients in the blender or food processor and process until very smooth. Place the cream in a covered container and refrigerate for several hours before using.
BRYANNA'S MELTY CHEDDA' CHEEZE
Makes about about 1 1/4 cups (Can be soy-free)
This easy vegan “cheddar” is tastier than most commercial vegan cheddar wanna-be’s, and much cheaper, too. It makes great grilled cheeze sandwiches and quesadillas, and can also be used to make a cheese-y sauce.
1 cup water OR 3/4 cup water + 1/4 cup flat beer or white wine
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 3/4 tablespoons oat flour OR use 2 Tbs. cornstarch + 1 Tbsp. unbleached white flour
1 Tbsp. light soy or chickpea miso
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika (can be smoked if you like)
1/4 tsp. mustard powder
2 T. water
Place the water, yeast, oat flour (or alternate), miso, tahinilemon juice, salt, garlic granules, paprika and mustard powder into a blender and process until very smooth (the oat flour will take a little longer the the cornstarch/flour mix).
Pour the blended mixture into a small saucepan, or into medium microwave-proof bowl or pitcher. Stir over medium heat until it starts to thicken, then let bubble 30 seconds and whisk vigorously, OR microwave on 100% power for 2 minutes, whisk, then microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes, and whisk again. Whisk in the water until smooth.
Drizzle immediately over your food and broil or bake until a skin forms on top; OR, if not using immediately, refrigerate in a small rigid covered container for up to a week. It will get quite firm upon chilling, but will still be spreadable and melt-able. You can spread the firmed cheeze on bread or quesadillas for grilling, heat it to spread more thinly on casseroles, etc.
You can see that I left this under the broiler for a little too long-- but it was still good!
For lunch, I made a version of a zucchini dish that my mother used to make-- halved small zucchini, par-cooked (I used a microwave), topped with tomato sauce (you could use a spicy one, if you like), and then, in this case, Melty Chedda' Cheeze Sauce (you could use warmed undiluted Cheeze instead, if you like). Place under the broiler, with the rack on the second level, and broil until it has a dotted brown skin on it.
I hope these recipes will come in handy for you some time. Enjoy!