Monday, April 18, 2016

Panchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

Now that my sauce book is completed, I'm having fun coming up with new ways to use the sauces. Sometimes I get weird food ideas in my sleep. Sometimes they work. Quesadillas are delicious enough already, but this slightly fancier version is amazing. It's kind of like an enchilada you cook in a frying pan. Panchiladas! We had them two nights in a row, and then made them for friends over the weekend. Rave reviews. Do try this at home.

Start with a batch of Red Chile, which you already have the recipe for in your copy of Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life. If not, get it here! Or, sigh... buy a can of enchilada sauce. It won't be as good as what you make from scratch, but you'll still be well fed.

Then either make some Basic Nut Cheese, or Spicy Cashew Cheese Spread, or use your favorite vegan melty cheese. A good alternate to cheese of any kind is refried beans. If you go that way, leave out the pinto beans listed below - unless, of course, you like things super beany.

Saute some chopped veggies, such as zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and red bell pepper, stirring in a little of your Red Chile at the end of cooking - just enough to coat and season.

Open and drain a can of sliced black olives and a can of pinto beans.
Have some washed baby spinach ready to grab for the filling.
Pour some Red Chile sauce into a dish large enough to dip a tortilla in.

Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-low. Add a little bit of oil to the pan.
Now dip a tortilla (I used whole wheat) in the Red Chile, coating both sides. Let some of the excess drip back into the dish.

Lay the dipped tortilla into the hot pan and let it cook for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to brown a little bit, and is firm enough to handle.

Using a large spatula, flip the tortilla.
Quickly spread or sprinkle some cheese (or refried beans) onto the entire surface.
Place some cooked veggies, beans, olives, and spinach on half of the tortilla only.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the outside is nicely browned and the sauce is dry.
Use your spatula to fold the empty side of the tortilla over the full side, and carefully slide your finished Panchilada onto a plate.
Garnish with a squiggle of vegan crema or sour cream and some avocado.
Repeat the process until everyone's been fed.

Red Chile, Crema, and Sour Cream recipes are all in my book! Get one and make some notes of your own!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Riding the Divide - for the Animals

While a lot of people go vegan for the sake of the animals, and lots of those folks are influential animal rights activists, few take "active" to the extreme that my friend Carrie Thompson is about to. Beginning in July, Carrie will set out on a 2-3 month long bike trek, following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which runs from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

Carrie is a tough woman with a soft heart. She's riding to raise funds and awareness, in support of those she considers to be even more heroic than herself - the undercover factory farm investigators who put themselves at huge personal risk to expose animal abuse in the agricultural industry.

Carrie is a hero too, for her non-stop, upbeat approach in helping animals everywhere, and for gently educating every human in her path. While not all of us are cut out to be activists ourselves, we sometimes have the opportunity to support the work of those who are willing to do it. Here's where you can help a lot!

Carrie is in the process of planning, packing, and fundraising for her journey. She's paying for all of her own expenses herself, so all the money she raises will go directly to the organizations she's supporting. Please help her meet her goals by donating anything you can through any of the following links.

Thank you for helping one big-hearted animal lover make the world a better place for all of us!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy Veganversary to ME!

Today marks six years since I went from vegetarian to vegan. There's no going back! I was 52 when I made the leap, and I really truly do feel healthier, better, glowier, lighter than ever in my life.

Don't believe me? Have a look at the My Story page. I'm eternally embarrassed by the before picture. But I also like it as a good illustration of how it's never too late to change things, and of how far I've come.

That's my point today. It's not too late. If you want to test drive vegan life, make a plan and do it. Your plan should leave lots of room for adaptation as you go, but start with something that seems workable for you.

Rick was "vegan between parties" for a year or so, until he really knew in his heart, gut, and bones why he was doing it. If you need to start off that way, I'm still going to cheer you on!

To celebrate this day, which feels really big to me for some reason, I'm going to bake some Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes.

I don't particularly like to bake, but I do particularly like to eat a special treat on a special day. And besides, I want to make something nice for Rick, who is now, all the time, vegan, even at parties.

PS - yes, "glowier" is a word. I just had my computer learn it. Use it! It's yours! You'll need it soon.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Maple-Mustard Baked Tofu

If you like my Smoky Baked Tofu, you'll love this one! It's as simple as it gets. Press, marinate, bake, eat! And the flavor is a wonderful combination of sweet and tangy, just like old school honey-mustard dipping sauce!

Pressing the tofu before marinating removes much of the water, leaving your tofu more spongelike and better able to soak up the marinade. Baking it condenses the flavors and gives it a nice firm texture that's great in sandwiches.

After a couple of years of wrapping my tofu in towels and stacking pans on top of it to press it, I finally bought a Tofu Xpress.

I love this thing! It's sturdy and compact, simple to use, and does the job quickly. I tip it on its side and let the water just drain off into the sink. (And yes, if you buy it through the link, I get a little kickback. But I only talk up products I truly own and love.)

Once the pressing is done (10-15 minutes), you can leave the tofu right where it is, slice it up, and pour in the marinade. It comes with a lid so you can seal it up and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two, or overnight if you happen to think that far ahead.

And now for the recipe. You're gonna squeal at how easy this is.

Maple-Mustard Baked Tofu

1 block extra firm organic tofu (get the refrigerated kind that weighs about one pound)
1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup, rice syrup, or coconut syrup)
1/4 cup regular or Dijon mustard

Use what you like, use what you have!

Press the tofu for 10-15 minutes.
Slice the pressed tofu into 12 even slices.
Mix the maple syrup and mustard together and pour them over the sliced tofu, making sure it goes between the slices too.
Marinate for at least one hour, and up to overnight.
Place the tofu slices and marinade in a lightly oiled 10x10 dish. They should not overlap.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Flip the tofu slices over and bake for another 30 minutes.

That's it. Lunch!

But what about dinner? Find something fast and fabulous in my new book, Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life !!! It's just $3.99 on Kindle too, so you can have it right now!