Category Archives: Recipes

TVP Pasta Sauce

TVP tomato sauce on spaghettiIf you’re vegetarian or not, TVP is your friend. ‘Textured Vegetable Protein’ is a soy product that looks like bacon bits or small cat kibble. You can buy it in most grocery stores. I found it in my local bulk store. It’s cheap and good.

Add boiling water to TVP

In case you get it without instructions, just add the same amount of boiling water to your amount of TVP and let it sit a couple minutes until the water is absorbed. That’s it cooked. For spaghetti sauce, just add the ‘cooked’ TVP to your tomato sauce and let it heat through. And you’re done.

TVP tomato sauce with grated cheeseYou can use Textured Vegetable Protein pretty much anywhere you’d use ground beef. I’ve never tried making meatloaf out of it, but you might be able to. Just make sure you use enough of a binding agent, like egg or gluten, to keep it loaf-like. It has no grease, of course, so you want to make sure it doesn’t just crumble. That’s why pasta sauces are so easy to make with it.

I made the tomato sauce pictured here using a half cup of TVP, half a jar of ready-made pasta sauce and about 2 cups of stewed fresh tomatoes. Add herbs as usual and that’s it. This has grated cheddar on top. You can also use parmesan of course. Or soy cheese if you want to keep it vegan.

 

Zucchini Biscuit Quiche

biscuit quiche with saladThis kind-of quiche is a really easy, fast and light meal. Once, when a friend was visiting, we were talking and I had the veggies sliced, everything mixed and the dish in the oven before she even realized I’d started preparing dinner. 

You can make it with broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes – anything you might have and think would go in a quiche. I’ve used many different kinds of cheese in it as well – again whatever I have on hand. (The one in the pictures is mushroom and broccoli with cheddar and parmesan.) Just use the same quantities of veggies and cheese. And don’t be frightened by the amount of oil – you need it to keep it moist and fluffy. Serve it with a salad and it’s a perfect summer meal.

How to make:

3 cup zucchini, thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup biscuit mix (Bisquick or any baking powder tea biscuit mix)

4 large eggs

mushroom & broccoli quiche, in casserole dish1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup each grated Parmesan cheese and grated Gruyere cheese (or others)

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

2 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 12” x 8” casserole dish [I use an 8” x 8”]. Bake at 350˚ for 30 mins or until golden. Serves 8 [4 if main course].

Source: M. A. Downie & B. Robertson, Canadian Treasury of Cooking and Gardening, Toronto: Key Porter Books 1987

Caesar Salad

caesar saladYears ago, a friend and I used to go the Newfoundland Hotel’s main dining room, the fancy one, for one thing.  Caesar salad.  The waiter would come with a trolley filled with the makings and create it at the table.  Watching him was part of the joy.  He’d expertly crack the egg, beat the mayonnaise, add everything else and then, with a flourish, he’d serve up individual bowls to us.  With an “enjoy”, he’d leave the large bowl with us and take his trolley away.  Other diners would also watch the performance, just like you do when people are getting dishes flambéed.

“Real” Caesar (for 2-4)

mayonnaise in bowl, ready for lettuceUse a wooden salad bowl that has been “seasoned” with garlic rubbed around the inside.  Put one egg yolk* in bowl.  Beat yolk vigorously with a wooden spoon (3-5 mins) until it begins to thicken.  Slowly drizzle olive oil in yolk while continuing to beat.  Use perhaps 1-2 tbsps in total.  Egg should thicken to consistency of thin mayonnaise.  Add 1 clove pressed garlic**, 1-2 tsp lemon juice (about half a lemon), 1/2 inch anchovy paste and 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan, stir until mixed but not more.

Add washed and dried romaine lettuce*** broken (not cut) into bite-sized pieces.  Toss well with dressing, adding another tbsp or so parmesan while tossing.  Sprinkle lemon juice on.  Croutons, bacon bits, black olives and/or cherry tomatoes may be tossed in. Fresh-ground pepper on top is good

* If you are worried about bacteria from raw egg, you can put the whole egg (in its shell) in boiling water for 1 min.  It will not cook the egg but will kill anything harmful.

**If you don’t like garlic, you can leave it out.

*** Use the amount of lettuce that the dressing coats for a good-tasting salad.  Too little lettuce and the dressing will be overpowering, too much and the dressing will be inadequate.  If you want a very small salad, using only half the egg yolk is better.

“Fake” Caesar (for 2-4)

mayonnaise with lemon juice & anchovy paste in bowlPut 1-2 tbsp store-bought real mayonnaise in a salad bowl (wooden or otherwise).  Add anchovy paste and lemon juice as above.  Beat mayonnaise with a spoon while drizzling 1 tbsp olive oil slowly into it.  Consistency should be thinner than original mayonnaise, but still creamy.  Add 1 clove pressed garlic and 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan.  Stir until well mixed.  Add romaine lettuce etc. as above.

The  “real” Caesar recipe is from me watching someone else make it; the “fake” one is from a magazine.   Making real mayonnaise from egg yolk is tricky.   It needs strong beating to make it creamy without the yolk and oil separating.  High humidity will cause it to not thicken regardless of what you do.  However, if you can master the proper wrist action, it is very impressive, and the result is delicious.  The “fake” one is much easier, is not affected by weather and is pretty much as good as the real one – although it can’t match the real one as performance art.

These photos are of the “fake” caesar.  To see the progression, follow them from bottom up.

 

Meatloaf

Meatloaf, potatoes au gratin, tomato & artichoke salad1 1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork or pork sausage

1 cup soft breadcrumbs

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup milk

3 tbsp minced onion

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce or Lea & Perrins steak sauce

– Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl, and then put in an ungreased loaf pan.  Bake at 350˚ until done, about 50 mins.

Meatloaf in pan, cookedThis is my mother-in-law’s recipe and it’s the best meatloaf I have ever tasted.  The addition of pork makes it juicier than those made with beef only.  I have added small amounts of chopped celery, water chestnuts and/or olives.  They are good in it, but not necessary.  Marji preferred to mound the mixture in an iron skillet so it browned all the way around and the grease flowed off it.  I prefer a loaf pan so it has the traditional meatloaf shape.  When it’s done, I pour the grease off – carefully.

The top photo shows it served with potatoes au gratin and a tomato and artichoke heart salad.  The potatoes came from a box and take the same length of time to bake as the meatloaf at the same temperature.