Summer Squash and Red Rice Salad with Lemon and Dill

On the harrowing quest to cook things that both Ian and I can eat, I found this salad, which could be made low fodmap and would use up my summer squash. I couldn’t find red rice so I used regular jasmine rice. I think I either mismeasured the dry rice or the picture for this recipe is quite dishonest. The picture shows a dish of mostly squash with a sprinkling of rice. As you can see from my photo, my dish was mostly rice with a smattering of squash. Despite this and my failure to find red rice, we enjoyed this recipe. It was super easy to make and would make a good weeknight dish when you already have summer squash or zucchini in the fridge.

I left out the garlic since Ian isn’t eating garlic. It only called for one clove so I can’t imagine it would have changed the dish a ton. I thought the 1/4 cup of olive oil called for was absurd and halve it. Without knowing this, Ian complained that the dish needed more olive oil and added more. I’m sure it would have tasted better with more, but I didn’t mind it as is. He also thought it needed more pine nuts. I would probably use 3 tbsp instead of 2 tbsp as called for, but I suspect he would still end up adding more. My main issue with the dish was that I thought it needed more dill and chives. I’d double those next time.

Sheet Pan Crisp Tofu and Sweet Potatoes

I’d had a sweet potato in my house for a while that I needed to use. This recipe looked interesting, so I borrowed Ian’s non-broken oven to make it. The results were mixed. The recipe is very sloppily written and the proportions of sweet potato to tofu are very off. But the flavors were good. I’d make it again, fixing the instructions and the proportions.

The recipe doesn’t call to oil the pans before putting the tofu or sweet potatoes in them. This. seemed like a big mistake to me so I oiled them ahead of tie.

It’s very unclear in its instructions for preparing the tofu. It says “Toss half the mixture with the tofu, then toss in cornstarch”. I’m really not sure how you are supposed to “toss” cut tofu without breaking it. And there’s only a tablespoon of cornstarch in the recipe, which is not enough for a block of tofu in any format. I ended up using my mother’s tried and true method for making baked tofu. I dipped the slices in the liquid mixture and then dipped in the cornstarch. I needed to use more cornstarch than the recipe called for- maybe 3 tbsp? Despite this major glitch, the tofu was super tasty. I’d definitely make it again. But it was gone long before the sweet potato. I do not buy that this recipe makes 4 servings as it says. In my experience, no matter what it say on the package, a block of tofu makes 2-3 servings, depending on the appetite of the people you’re serving. Next time I make this I’d 1.5 the tofu. The recipe also doesn’t mention flipping the tofu, which I did half way through.

Do not skip the scallions in vinegar. They make the dish. So simple and so tasty. I also think some sesame seeds sprinkled on top would have been good as well. I’d add them next time.

Summer Squash Capponata

Now that I’m a gardener, every summer I find myself scouring the internet for novel things to do with zucchini and summer squash. This recipe from the New York Times looked interesting. I love olives and capers, and since I’m avoiding beans at the moment, I liked that it included eggs as a protein source.

The recipe was simple enough to make. It does use quite a few dishes and pots, but isn’t super time consuming. I left out the red pepper flakes since I’m avoiding spice. And I used white wine vinegar instead of red wine vinegar since that’s what I had. And finally, I used maple syrup instead of sugar so that Ian would eat it (turns out he’s off maple syrup now too so that was a bust). Since the recipe give no guidance on salt, that required quite a bit of trial and error to get right. And the step where you pre-soak the capers seemed pointless to me since I ended up adding a lot of salt after.

In general I object to recipes that don’t offer at least a salt range. But otherwise, I really enjoyed this recipe. It was definitely better after it had marinated at least a day. I recommend turning it occasionally to ensure it marinates throughout. Without the red pepper flakes, it was just the tiniest bit on the bland side (maybe I’d try paprika next time?). But overall, this was a hit. I happily ate it all week without complaint. And Ian’s mom Sally ate Ian’s portion and said she liked it a lot. I’ll make this one again for sure, maybe with just a bit of tweaking on the flavors.

Marinated Asian Tofu

I’ve had Veganomicon for years, but had never tried the marinated Asian tofu recipe, since I assumed it was baked. However, recently I noticed that the recipe actually called for either grilling the tofu or making it in a skillet. I haven’t experimented much with skillet-made marinated tofu, and it was the high heat of summer, so this caught my eye.

I was honestly thrilled with this recipe. The marinade came together really fast and I was able to just stick the tofu in it and leave it in the fridge overnight until I was ready to cook it. In some cases I’ve left the tofu in the marinade for days. It seems the longer it marinades the better it is. Then when I’m read to make it, I just throw it in the pan and ta da- delicious marinated tofu with very little effort. I made this with Pan Seared Summer Squash with Garlic and Mint for my neighbors and my neighbor discovered it made a delicious pho-type sandwich. Generally, I consider this one of my new stand by dishes. All around winner.

Zucchini-Scallion Chickpea Flour Pancakes

When I was in Germany visiting my sister and her family, Rose made a vegan version of these pancakes (since my mom is vegan and the original recipe has egg). They were so tasty! And since it’s zucchini season in my garden, I thought I’d try to make them.

I made Rose’s original version from her blog with buckwheat flour and egg. Super easy and yummy. Rose made them with dal for dipping, which was surprisingly tasty. But since I’m currently trying to eat low FODMAP, lentils were off the table. Instead, I made them with a cold east African soup from The Ethnic Vegetarian. The combo worked really well!

I made the batter over the weekend and just cooked up the number of pancakes I wanted to each each day right before I ate. This worked really well and I had no issues with the batter keeping all week.

Ian is nervous about eating buckwheat flour, so next time I’m going to try to make a version without the buckwheat and report back. I really liked the buckwheat flavor but I don’t think it was absolutely necessary for the texture.

Green Tacos

I needed to use up kale from my garden before it went to seed. And I was in the mood for tacos. So I decided to try this recipe for sweet potato and kale taco filling. The recipe calls for grated sweet potatoes. I was a little skeptical of this, but I was pleasantly surprised. The texture was great in the tacos. The recipe is super fast and easy and very tasty. I made it with this tempeh chorizo recipe and kidney beans. The combo was great. I’ll definitely make this again. In fact I already bought another sweet potato!

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/green-tacos

No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

In my second attempt to make my own desserts, I decided to try a no-bake cookie recipe. I started with this recipe but made a ton of changes. The result was pretty yummy. It makes about 40 cookies that are 100 calories each. Not a bad treat.

1 cup sugar

1/2 butter or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2% but I think any vegan milk would work fine)

4 1/2 cup oats

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, milk, and oats in a saucepan. Cook on medium-low, stirring constantly for 20 minutes
  2. Stir in cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract
  4. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Rice Noodles with Eggs, Broccoli, and Dark Soy Sauce

Recently, one of my neighbors was giving away a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks. In the pile was Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott, a cookbook I know my mother owns and likes.

The first recipe I tried was this rice noodle dish from page 164. Nancie describes the dish as easy to prepare and indeed it was. I could see myself making this on a weeknight when I want something comforting and indulgent as an alternative to ordering take out.

The recipe calls for a dark sweet soy sauce called si-yu but offers an alternative combo of regular soy sauce and brown sugar. I used this option since I didn’t have si-yu. But next time I go to the asian market I’ll be looking for si-yu so I can try making this again. The other change I made was reducing the oil. Nancie calls for 3 tbsp. I only used 4 tsp. Next time I think I’d try cutting it to 1 tbsp since the dish was still pretty high calorie.

I followed the timing of the dish carefully and the veggies came out crisp, just like I like them. The flavor of the dish was peppery and savory. And the eggs add a creamy aspect. Very yummy. Nancie calls for offering chili vinegar as a condiment, but I didn’t have any. So instead I used about a teaspoon of rice vinegar on each bowl, which added to the flavor. I’d like to pick up chili vinegar for the next time I make this.

Update: So far I’ve made this twice, once for myself and once for my sister’s family while in Germany. It was a hit both times. Easy, tasty, filling, and indulgent. A very good weeknight dish indeed. The only issue we had with the dish was the ratio of pasta to broccoli. Everyone, including my seven-year-old niece, agreed it needed more broccoli. Although I think I messed up the proportions when I made it for my sister’s family, so it probably was more that than the recipe. Still, I’d do 4 cups of broccoli instead of 3 and probably 7 ounces of pasta instead of 8 and see how that went. The other issue I had both times was volume. Flipping this recipe without a big wok is really hard. Next time I’m going to try making it in my cast iron dutch oven and see how that goes instead.

Creamy Vegan Potato-Leek Soup

I already had all the ingredients required for this recipe from Isa Does It, so I decided to try it. It was pretty easy to make. The recipe tells you to mash the potatoes after cooking them with a potato masher. But I don’t have a potato masher, so I took out about 1/3 of the cooked mixture and blended them with the immersion blender. It left so potato lumps in, but overall the technique worked alright.

I enjoyed the soup, but it also wasn’t anything special. It was about as good as any potato leek soup I’ve tried. So if you particularly need a vegan version of this classic, this is a good option. But if not, maybe just stick to a standard recipe.

Green Bean Salad with Spicy Thai Dressing

I made a modified version of this thai green bean salad as a side to tofu larb. I omitted the dried shrimp and used cashews instead of peanuts since I didn’t have peanuts on hand. I enjoyed the salad. It was quick to make and very tasty. The only thing is it really needed to marinate for two days before the flavor fully soaked into the green beans.

https://www.delicious.com.au/recipes/green-bean-salad-spicy-thai-dressing/d8f3d75f-9612-4c0f-883d-046071c93b8b