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Cultured Peanut Sauce with veggies and noodles

I was once a decidedly BAD cook. I tried. I made raviolis from scratch! They sucked and we had to go out to eat. Then I found a book called On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. It was all about the science behind food and what makes it good. I was pretty fascinated by this, though I will admit, the only thing I still remember (I checked it out from the library five years ago) is the five flavors rule. When you are cooking, you gotta understand the six flavors-sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter, and umami. Each of the flavors has its inverse operator. Here’s a nifty chart to help. Screen Shot 2018-01-28 at 7.50.52 PM

(from cooksmarts.com)

This idea saved my cooking. I didn’t suddenly become good at ravioli (I tried them again literally two days ago and we ended up ordering out) but I did begin to understand what makes food taste good, once I started tasting things and trying to understand what they needed to become balanced. This recipe is going to need a little of that adventurous spirit on your part!! Don’t worry, it’s hard to go wrong with these ingredients:

  • some peanut milk cheese (umami and sour)
  • sriratcha (spicy! and sour)
  • maple syrup (sweet)
  • garlic (bitter)
  • salt (duh)
  • veggies of choice (I used onion, corn, red pepper, and broccoli)
  • noodles of choice (I used my favorite Lotus pad thai noodles)
  1. This is the peanut cheese. If you’re making this from scratch, just don’t drip the peanut protein out as much. Drip it out until it is a nice saucy texture. If you’ve already made the cheese, mix in sriratcha to taste, four tablespoons of non-dairy yogurt (or 2 T non-dairy milk if you don’t have any yogurt), two-three tablespoons of maple syrup, and salt (start slow, like 1/4 teaspoon, and move up from there SLOWLY. Understand that things will get saltier as the salt dissolves, so wait before you add more salt. Salt is my nemesis.)  Taste it a million times and start to try to understand what it wants to be good and balanced! It’s fun, once you get the hang of it.

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This is the peanut cheese. ^

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  1. Ingredients whisked in.  ^

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2. Don’t forget the maple syrup! Its super important to balance out the double sours from peanut cheese culture and the sriratcha vinegar.

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3. Steam or stir fry your veggies.

4. Cook up your noodles. I love these. 

5. I usually cook up a little tofu too.

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Glorious Noodle Free Lasagna

Prepare yourself for this decadent (yet shockingly healthy) vegan feast!! Following, you will find detailed plans (and shortcuts) to making this crazy good, super healthy, gem of a lasagna.

What you need:

  • 3-4 zucchini
  • 16-32 oz tofu (from scratch or store bought)
  • 2.5 C of fermented soy ricotta (link here)
  • One jar tomato sauce
  • 8 oz chopped mushrooms
  • One bunch broccoli
  • One small head cauliflower
  • Kalamata olives
  • Garlic
  • Soy yogurt
  • Italian herb mix

1. Cook up some tofu crumbles. (Link here)

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2. Cut the zucchini into thin strips. You can use a mandolin but I’m not capable of using them without cutting off the end of my finger. Plus this part is VERY satisfying i me. Meditative even.

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3. Toss down a layer of sauce (not much, maybe 1/2 c) and a layer of zuk noodles.

4. Rough chop the cauliflower and layer it, then put another layer of zuk noodles.

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5. Mix two cloves of squished or minced garlic (or garlic powder in a pinch) and 1/2 t salt into the ricotta.

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6. Layer the ricotta on. Don’t make it too thick, it’s meant to be an accent to the veggies.

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7. Rough chop the broccoli and layer it.

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8. Add mushrooms and kalamata. Put another 1/2 cup of sauce on top of this layer.

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9. Layer on tofu crumbles.

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10. Put another layer of zucchini, then the remaining sauce.

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11. Mix Italian herbs and salt and more squished garlic or garlic powder and onion to taste into soy yogurt. You can also add nutritional yeast and a little vegan maya here if you like. Put this on top of the sauce.

12. Cook at 375 until you hear it bubbling (around 30 minutes) then take the lid off and cook for another 5-7 to brown up the cheesy layer on top.

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Once this is done cooking it will have a good amount of liquid that cooked off the veggies. You can leave it in or CAREFULLY pour it off. I usually pour it off and drink it because it’s delicious. This meal depends heavily on the mixing of the flavors of all the vegetables. I found that the cheese in a non vegan lasagna was really the dominant flavor. This is a super complex and delicately flavored meal. You won’t miss the dairy!