Two Heads of Lettuce

Simple recipes for vegetarian potlucks. Would you like to join the Two Heads of Lettuce team? Contact twoheadsoflettuce at gmail dot com.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tasty Protein

One of my favourite ways to add protein to a vegetarian/vegan meal is by hiding it in the dessert.

I devised this recipe after being challenged last year to make a chocolate banana vegan mousse that was as tasty as the one at a local vegan restaurant. My recipe is vegan with the right margarine, otherwise it's vegetarian-friendly.

1.5 cups Graham Cracker crumbs (made by putting GC in a bag and *thwacking* it repeatedly)
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup margarine, melted

1 pack of silken tofu
2 ripe bananas
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract

Making your own crust is really simple. (Though, you could just buy one at the store.) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Press the mixture firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Filling: Put the tofu, bananas and vanilla in a blender. Blend. Put aside for a moment. On the stove, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can replicate it by bringing a small saucepan of water to a boil, then putting a metal bowl over the top of the pot and putting the chocolate in the bowl. (Make sure the boiling water doesn't come in contact with the metal bowl.) Stir the chocolate to help it melt... Once it's melted, add to the blender contents, and blend away. You'll probably need to use a spatula to scrape the chocolate from the sides. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Put it in the fridge to cool. (The cooled chocolate will harden, holding the pie filling together.)

ta da!

This recipe is also really good with berries mixed in with bananas (mix in by hand after all the blendering is done). Also, I've tried it with a bit of liqueur (I've tried cointreau and Bailey's) and both are super tasty in the mousse, just don't add to much or the filling won't harden.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Red Lentil Soup

The shabbat-after-next we will read the torah portion Toledot. It has many well-known stories including, perhaps the best known food related story in torah: the perhaps unequal exchange of Esau's birthright for Jacob's red lentil soup. My mother suggests that this may be the only time that a man is described cooking in the bible.
You can read the story in context here, but i've included the most relevant line (apologies for the bad hebrew formating):

30 And Esau said to Jacob: 'Let me swallow, I pray thee, some of this red, red pottage; for I am faint.' Therefore was his name called Edom.

וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו אֶל-יַעֲקֹב, הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן-הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה--כִּי עָיֵף,
ָנֹכִי; עַל-כֵּן קָרָא-שְׁמוֹ, אֱדוֹם

With this story as an inspiration i am including my favorite red lentil soup recipe. It made a prominent appearance at least once at JITW and dozens of other places. You can vary the water level to switch from soup-->stew-->sauce.

Red Lentil Stew

Olive Oil
6 cup Veggie Broth
2 cups Red Lentils
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 16oz can Chopped Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tofu hot-dogs finely sliced
salt, pepper, seasonings to taste

In a large pot, heat oil and sauté the garlic and onions. Add broth, lentils, tomatoes, spices, and lemon juice. Bring to boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Simmer for roughly 40 minutes. Add tofu hot-dogs, brown sugar, and seasonings; cook a few more minutes. Add water if it is thicker than desired.

As usual, i recommend grinding your own cumin and coriander. This can be done easily with a spice grinder (think pepper canister) or an electric coffee bean grinder.

This soup freezes and reheats particularly well.

The recipe appears in the Five Books of Miriam (by Dr. Ellen Frankel) and was adapted by my ima from Gloria Greene's Jewish Holiday Cookbook.

For those interested in authentic biblical cooking all ingredients would have been in use in the ancient near east, except tomatoes which are a new world food and didn't make it to Eurasia until the 17th century. Tofu's history is unclear so i am not sure whether it is contemporaneous with the story.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Roasted Vegetables

Hi friends!

An easy, hearty and yummy recipe for potlucks is Roasted Vegetables.
My favorite vegetables to roast are brussel sprouts and beets, but you can also use zucchini, squash, eggplant, asparagus and others.

Your chosen vegetables
Olive oil

Set your oven to 400 degrees and pre-heat for 10 minutes
Wash, cut and peel your veggies.
Place them in a covered dish, or in a makeshift tin foil dish in the oven
Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour
Check on them at the halfway point, to stir and season.

That's it!