Posts Tagged ‘Karina’s Kitchen’

Typically I’d have some witty repartee to greet you with, or I think I’m witty… anyway, but as I’ve just spent far too many minutes simply typing out the recipe, my brain is shot.  Tonight’s dinner:


  • 6oz silken tofu
  • ¼ C whole, raw cashews or almonds
  • 1 T olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 C soy milk, or other non-dairy milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ C white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Rosemary, oregano, basil, to taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • ¼ C water, if it appears to be too thick
  • Dab of mustard
  • ½ C nutritional yeast (large flake)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T rice flour (or sorghum, wheat, white, etc.)
  • 2 T ground flaxseed and 6 T hot water
  • 10oz frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 jar or can of artichokes hearts, drained and rinsed
  • Half a large zucchini, sliced
  • Bread crumbs from 1-2 slices bread mixed with a little oil and spices
  • 8oz spaghetti

Geez that’s a long list of ingredients!  I had no idea…  You can imagine me spinning around in my kitchen grabbing all these things at various points in my cooking soirée this evening.  Perhaps you can’t actually since you don’t know what my kitchen looks like…  Anyway, the other day, or month rather, I made this pasta pie dish from the Goddess.  It wasn’t bad but the sauce wasn’t quite to my liking.  Due to my recent excursion with an ice cream maker I had half a block of silken tofu sitting in my fridge, begging to be done with – something, anything, it didn’t care.  So we talked and it agreed that tonight it should become a part of dinner.

Let us commence.  Ahem..

For the sauce: place the tofu, cashews, olive oil, and ¼ cup of the soy milk into a blender.  This is where you’re going to connive your way into using the food processor but trust me, the blender gets it better, more smooth that is.  Puree the above until smooth, likely after scraping down the sides a few times with a spatula.  If you’re using rosemary and it’s not already ground up, throw it in the blender as well. 

Spray a little olive oil in a sauce pan over medium/ low – medium heat.  Sautee the garlic for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the rest of the milk, tofu mixture, wine and stir.  Add the seasonings and mustard.  If the sauce appears too thick add some water, I added ¼ cup.  Next stir, or whisk, in the nutritional yeast.

This would be it for the sauce but since this is going to end up as a “torta” we must make it sticky.  Whisk the ground flaxseed with the hot water, or use Ener-G for 2 eggs.  Add it to the sauce as well as the baking powder and flour.  Now this caused a few lumps in my pan so you may want to consider sifting in the baking powder and flour.  Stir until combined, let simmer a moment, and remove from heat.

Moving on, if you haven’t already cooked your pasta, now’s a good time to do that.  Drain.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

If you didn’t previously thaw the spinach, heat a pan over medium heat and put the spinach in to thaw.  I cut the artichokes into eighths and added them to the pan of spinach.  Sautee for a few minutes with some salt, pepper, oregano, etc.  Remove from heat.

You should use a deep pie pan or pyrex, or a spring form pan worked well for me.  Place the drained pasta into the baking dish and add about half the sauce.  Mix it well and try to get the noodles to be spread somewhat evenly.  Arrange the sliced zucchini next in the pan, and dabble some sauce over it.  Next add the spinach and artichokes, cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle the breadcrumbs.*

Bake for about 25 minutes, then turn the broiler on for just a few minutes to brown the top.  Let cool.  Slice.  Enjoy.

*I never buy premade breadcrumbs – it just strikes me as silly.  Toast 1-2 pieces of bread in your toaster and then tear it into pieces and place in a mini food processor, or a blender.  Add some seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, etc.) and a little olive oil and pulse it until crumbly.

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So I’ve been doing a fair amount of baking lately… ok, maybe fair isn’t quite accurate.  I’ve been doing a somewhat excessive amount of baking lately, at least compared to the rate of what normally goes in and out of my oven.  School starts next Monday and I think I’m feeling my freedom slipping away.  Soon I’ll have no time to bake, or blog, or breath.  I’ll merely be struggling every day to absorb more Italian (which has definitely slipped my mind of late) and read all the other 15 books I’ve been assigned this term.  **sigh**

IMG_2085Anyway, while we were visiting family in WI I happened to see a recipe in a magazine for parsnip bread, my interest was piqued.  Of course it wasn’t vegan, but never mind that.  I awoke one morning shortly after we returned and decided to take a go at my own version, which included pumpkin and cranberries, but a sudden whim caused me to be desirous of a gluten-free version.  So, I hopped on over to the Gluten-Free Goddess to borrow a flour concoction that would hopefully do for the autumn muffins dancing around in my head.  I think they turned out quite well.  They’re dark because of the buckwheat but one should not judge a muffin by its cover.  I didn’t really follow her recipe to a T, or really much at all, but if you would like to know what I did holler at me and I’ll relay it to you.  I’d type it out now but I’m feeling a bit lazy.


On my next endeavor I made these chocolate chip cookies, which I thought were quite superb even in spite of their cake-like consistency, which was entirely my fault.  In my ever going battle to make bad things not so bad for you I shucked half the oil and added applesauce and subbed in some wheat flour, which is likely the reason for their fluffy demeanor.

I also made some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which turned out much OatmealChocChipbetter then their cakey predecessor (I didn’t use the applesauce).  The recipe for these came out of none other than one of the most superb cookbooks of all time, ok maybe not all time but at least in my time – Veganomicon.  Isa and Terry are actually at it again by the way.  Soon your cookie jar will be invaded by what I’m entirely positive will be some splendifferous cookies.

Recently I became the owner of an ice cream maker (I ❤ Craigslist)!!!  My life is now complete…  My first batch of ice cream was chocolate, with some strawberries mixed in towards the end.  I kind of wanted to make something vanilla-ie but since I bought chocolate soy milk on a whim I had to figure out something with which I could do ChoIceCreamwith it.  I think it turned out very well, I just have 2 pints of it to eat now.  The recipe also came out of Veganomicon but if you google around you’re sure to finds tons of free vegan ice cream recipes.  This one was comprised of coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, tofu, etc.  If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with the free recipes there’s quite a few ice cream cookbooks running amuck out there, buy one.

Though I’m told the following item resembles a cow pattie I’m still quite proud of it.  I guess a parent can’t tell IceCreamSandwichwhen their child is ugly… same goes for cooking.  The oatmeal cookie and the chocolate ice cream happened to come to fruition on the same day, so I thought it best to combine them.  If you’ve never compiled an ice cream sandwich before it’s actually a bit harder then you would imagine to make it look “pretty.”  My version obviously needs a makeover judging from the supposed “cow pattie” resemblance.  Practice makes perfect I guess.

And last, but by no means least, I made cinnamon rolls last night (because I thought I needed to cram one last sweet and fattening goodie into my less than accommodating fridge).  So how do vegan cinnamon rolls taste anyway?  Freaking awesome!  These cinnamonrolls2were so damn good.  Non-vegans would never have an inkling of suspicion that these were of the animal friendly variety.  Novel Eats also has a chocolate version, which I didn’t make but judging by how delicious the cinnamon ones were they are most definitely heavenly.  I’m thinking next of making them with a strawberry compote and chocolate shavings.  Oh, note to self: let rolls cool prior to applying icing.

Alrighty then.  As you can see, I have a fair amount of sugary calories to burn off, I must to the pavement (which means running in case that was in some way unclear).  Tootles!

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So I, um, haven’t written anything in, um, about two weeks.  Whoops!  In my defense I had to move two weekends ago, in [3-4 consecutive days of] 100+ degree heat (without air conditioning at either apartment).  During said move my couch got maimed by a rogue nail sticking ever so slightly out of our narrowly cornered stairwell.  [Insert sad face here]100_0979

Anyway, a few days after the move I had visitors in town, so I had to play tour guide (follow the flower).

On top of this ever so hectic schedule I am still taking my Italian classes.  I really like the language and am thoroughly enjoying learning it, but 8 weeks of 3 hour, 4 days a week classes have  my brain running on about 2.37 cylinders (hence my lack of creative blogging energy).  So here I am, on August 14th, not having written anything since July.

Aside from attempting to memorize the 5.83 thousand verb tenses of the Italian language I’ve been doing a fair bit of baking lately.  I stumbled upon the focacciaGluten-Free Goddess one night after a fleeting thought left me feeling like I consume too much gluten.  I successfully baked her gluten free focaccia bread and some miniature (because I had to use a muffin pan for lack of ability to locate English muffin rings) English muffins.  Both were pretty darn tasty.  I also tried to make these vanilla brownie things but they were, um, difficult to eat.  Perhaps it was an operator error but they seemed to have too much margarine in them and hence had a tendency to crumble upon EnglishMuffincontact with one’s fingers.  Secondly they were a bit over the brown sugar top.  In spite of these 2 inconveniences they did taste fairly yummy (probably because of all the margarine), I’ll just be modifying them next time I attempt the gluten-free.

I also tried to make these gluten-free buckwheat wraps.  This little adventure in the kitchen ended with me almost tossing the bowl of batter out the hobbit window of my 2nd story kitchen.  I don’t know what in the world I did wrong but these little buggars won’t be making an appearance in my kitchen again.  I know I’ve only been cooking for about a year and a half but I’ve never had something go so horribly wrong as these did.  We almost didn’t have dinner that night as I was so distraught.  So, if you boldly go where no buckwheat has gone before I suggest you proceed with caution (and have a backup plan).

On a happier note I got to make cupcakes again last weekend.  Always look for a reason to make cupcakes!  My brother-in-law (who was visiting) evidently has a sweet tooth, which I was happy to oblige as I don’t bake sweets too IMG_1893often because I tend to eat most of what comes out of the oven.  You just can’t go wrong with oreo cupcakes; again from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!  If you don’t own this cookbook you should be ashamed.

Today I went on a little walkabout to downtown (which is conveniently located just under 2 miles from the new hobbit house (which I will explain in a later blog)).  I had 4 objectives: to locate a silverware caddy small enough to fit into a drawer only 9 & 7/8 inches wide, a coffee tumbler that will keep my coffee hot for a couple hours, an oven thermometer because I’m convinced my oven has it out for me, and 2 mini spring form pans (for cake of course!).   Evidently only one manufacturer makes a caddy that small, and they are located out yonder by the airport so I struck out on objective 1.  I did procure a coffee tumbler, though I’m not convinced my coffee will be warm far into the day but at least I donated a dollar to the Global Fund.  I was able to track down a thermometer at Macy’s for only $9 (which I actually thought was a little high but whatever).  And last but not least I did NOT find my mini (under 9 inches) spring form pans.  Well, I could have found them at Williams Sonoma but of the few dollars that are in my bank account $24 of them cannot go solely to cake pans.  I did, however, find some MiniUpsideDownCakecute little oven safe ramekins at Ross; 4 for a total of $8.  Wahoo!  Now I can make personal desserts for all the guests we [don’t] entertain… I’ll just have to actually invite people over now I guess.  I went ahead and did a little test run on the ramekins though (and to also test out my backstabbing oven with the thermometer).  The result?  A blueberry upside down cake.  Yep, it was good.  And actually it wasn’t very bad for you.  Hardly any oil in it (leave the canola, take the applesauce) and no frostin’.

Ok, that’s about all I got.  Happy weekend to all!

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