Tuesday, January 25, 2011

what I did with my oat milk

tuno casserole

Annie and I went on an outing to the vegan grocery story to look at fake cheese last week, and to our astonishment found frozen rolls of Cedar Lake brand fake tuna! Our family has been pining for Tuno ever since it stopped being made a few years ago, and this looked like it might be a viable substitute. I bought a packet and immediately began planning a festive tuna casserole dinner. I would make tuna casserole with cream of celery soup made with oat milk, and iceberg lettuce salad, and soda bread, and tapioca pudding....

The tuna was pleasant tasting and had pretty good texture, but was not nearly as fishy as genuine Tuno. Rachael thought my casserole could easily have passed for a turkey pot pie minus the crust. It was good, though, and I'll make it again.

The surprise hit of the dinner was the salad dressing I made to go on the iceberg. It tastes just like the orange 'French' dressing you buy at the store, but it's cheap and fun to make it yourself.

fake Tuno casserole
makes enough for four or five people

condensed celery soup:
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4C finely chopped onion
2T oleo
1/4C flour
salt, pepper, a pinch of mace
1C oat milk
12oz fake tuna
8oz wide noodles, cooked
1 1/2C frozen peas, thawed
2oz crushed potato chips

Cook the celery and onion with the oleo on medium heat in a heavy pot till the celery's soft. Mix in the flour and stir around for a while till it's mixed in well with the oleo and juices. Add the seasoning, then whisk in the milk and cook, stirring very frequently, till everything thickens into a paste.

Mix the tuna, noodles, pea and soup together in a big bowl, taste for seasoning, then press into a greased 8"x8" pan. Scatter the potato chips over the top, and bake for30-40 minutes in a 350ºF oven.


Monday, January 24, 2011

another easy milk from my vegetable dairy

oat milk dregs ii

Oat milk is a nice milk to use as in ingredient--it's more substantial and flavorful than plain water, but it's cheaper to make than almond milk doesn't have a (to some) obtrusive beany flavor like soy. You just have to remember to start your oats soaking the night before, and after that it's only about five minutes work. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I once made of buying ready-made oatmilk--when you make it, it tastes pleasantly of oats, but the boughten kind tastes like stale cardboard.

To make about five cups of milk, soak a cup of oat groats overnight. Drain them, then grind in your blender with two cups of water till really smooth. Add two or three more cups of water, blend some more, then strain through a cheesecloth. The oats get really viscous, so you'll have to squeeze it through--it won't drip much at all on its own. Squeeze hard! You should only have about 1/4C of oat solids left in your cloth.

This should keep a few days in the fridge. Be sure to shake it every time you use it--as you can see in the above picture, the oat stuff really likes to sink to the bottom.

Friday, January 21, 2011

an easy work lunch

work lunch

I had a recent request for easy work lunch ideas, so decided to post this recipe I made for myself last week. It's made from leftovers (cold rice and extra cauliflower), so the amount you end up with will vary according to how much you started out with. It's made like fried rice, but has a Mediterranean rather than east Asian flavor profile.

Cauliflower Rice
olive oil
onion, cut into big pieces
cauliflower, cut into thin slices like tree cross-sections
raisins or sultanas
leftover rice (I like brown)
salt, pepper, aleppo pepper to taste
a splash of rice vinegar
optional: olives*, capers, pine nuts, thyme, marjoram

Heat the oil in a big, wide pan on medium heat. Add the onions and cook till they're nearly done, then add the cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, till it's nicely browned. If it's not yet tender you can cover the pan to help it get done faster. Add to tofu, raisins, and pine nuts if you're including them and cook till the tofu's browned. Finally, add the rice, seasonings, and any remaining ingredients and cook till everything's nice and hot.

*I used kalamata olives this time and I think it was a mistake, but I think mild, nutty olives like picholines would be a good addition.

Here are some other work lunch ideas:
kale salad
yummy avocado
sunflower cheese
pumpkin casserole (I'll have to make this for myself soon!)
tofu salad

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

sauerkraut revisited

sauerkraut ii

My cranberry sauerkraut didn't turn out quite as I expected--I layered the cranberries in the midst of the cabbage and expected them to pop as I squashed the cabbage enough to make the juices rise above the top of it all (I forgot to mention in my previous post that you have to really press hard to get red cabbage to give up its juice), but they pretty much all remained intact. When I make this sauerkraut again (I will!) I'll pre-squash them a little before adding them to the crock.

I ended up with right about a gallon of sauerkraut ( I have three jars in the picture because I gave a little jar away as an Epiphany present), enough to last me a few months. I mostly like to eat it with my work lunch, as a sort of salad.

Sauerkraut iii

P.S. According to I Write Like, this post was written in the style of James Joyce.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Epiphany!

Maria and Ratty

I bet baby Jesus would have appreciated a kitty this cute much more than some boring old myrrh!