Archive for January, 2008

Tropical Oatmeal

I must have the shyest blog readership on the internet, or it just may be that no one was interested in sandwiches or soy ice cream this past week. Whatever the case may be, I am finding it a bit lonely to be blogging in forum void of comments or discussion – the silence is deafening here, people! “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” Echo …..

Consider it a desperate plea for greater use of the comments feature. 🙂

On a techno-savvy note … per Emily’s suggestion, I’ve added some RSS feed subscription options to the sidebar. Activate, sit back, and let the magic of the internets do the work for you!

And now, onto today’s food of interest: oatmeal. One of my favorite things about the weekend is the leisurely morning ritual I can indulge in: sleep in a bit, enjoy a big mug of tea on the couch, and then make breakfast – a real breakfast, not the speedy fare that I rely on during the week. Yes, today is Monday; however, happy memories of yesterday’s breakfast continue to dance in my head. A breakfast mainstay at the Outpost is oatmeal, but we prefer a more winsome, more decidedly switched-on version than the one Wilford Brimley admonished you to eat in the late eighties and early nineties. I typically use the “Old Fashioned” style oats that take a whopping 5 minutes to cook up on the stove top. Sometimes I mix it up and use extra thick rolled oats, which take about 20 minutes to cook up. This recipe is the five minute version so keep in mind that you will have to adjust the recipe per the instructions on your package of oats.



Tropical Oatmeal

1 3/4 cups water
1 cup oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 mango, diced
1 1/2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/3rd cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup chopped coconut

1. Bring water to a boil. Add oats, salt, mango, flax, and brown sugar. Simmer over medium low heat for 5-6 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and cover for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add almonds and coconut. Enjoy!


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Like my bread machine, my poor ice cream maker is also an unfortunately under utilized small appliance in my kitchen. In an effort to make use of what I’ve got (or else get rid of it), I pulled the ice cream maker out of its cabinet, took stock of what I had on hand, and decided upon a banana- cranberry soy ice cream. It just so happens that I have a few bags of cranberries in my freezer. You can really only get fresh cranberries at this time of year and, even though I have never been interested in cranberries in the past, this season I found myself snatching up bags at the store, only to get home and wonder, “What now?” about the berries. Even though my primary motivation for incorporating cranberries into this soy ice cream was to make use of my many cranberries, it was my belief that the tart of the fresh cranberries would undercut the sweetness of the banana, and the result was a delicious and unique dessert. My base for this dessert was the vegan soy ice cream recipe from The PPK.

Cranbanana Soy Ice Cream
1 cup soy yogurt

3/4 cup soy milk

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions.

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This morning I pulled my bread machine off of the shelf, where it has been gathering dust since the last time I used it, which was … so long ago that I can’t even remember. Home made bread is so good and the bread machine is so low maintenance to use that it really makes no sense that I don’t make home baked loaves more often. I wanted to make a whole grain loaf today, however, I found that I was running low on the grains so instead I made a traditional farmhouse loaf – a nice, chewy type of white bread. As it was cooling on the wire rack around noon, I instantly wanted a slice for lunch. I was happily sauteing onions and mushrooms to pile on a slice of the bread when I looked at the pan and asked myself, “Where’s the protein?” That’s were the tofu came in. I usually prefer baked tofu on a sandwich but as I was already underway when I thought to add the ‘fu, I did a quick marinating session (about 15 minutes) and then cooked the tofu on the stove top (about 7-8 minutes per side over medium heat). I enjoyed my sandwich open-faced but Dan had his with the traditional two slices, both slices smeared with a touch of Earth Balance buttery spread. These sandwiches were exactly what I was after when I set out to whip up a rustic style lunch that utilized my home baked bread.


Rustic Mushroom and Tofu Sandwiches

1/2 block of firm tofu (slice into triangles and marinate in 3 parts teriyaki and 1 part maple syrup)
1/2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Good quality bread, thickly sliced

    1. Heat the EB in a pan over medium-low heat and add the onions. Saute the onions for about 10-12 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    2. Lightly spray a second pan with non-stick oil and cook up the marinated tofu (7-8 minutes per side, until browned).

    3. Pile a slice of bread with the onions and mushrooms, top with slices of tofu, serve as open-face or as a traditional sandwich. Enjoy!

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    If I were asked to name my least favorite breakfast food to make I would, without hesitation, answer “waffles.” It’s quite sad, really. I love the waffle. I love the crunchy exterior and the fluffy soft inside. I like the nooks and crannies that serve as little buckets of goodness that deliver the perfect amount of syrupy deliciousness to your mouth with each bite. Unfortunately, waffles also happen to be traditionally made with dairy and smothered in butter, which makes them verboten on most breakfast menus for a vegan. Most vegans simply compensate for this by whipping up their own bundles of waffle love in their home kitchens. I, however, have been challenged by the waffle. Something always seems to go awry with my waffle attempts – they end up undercooked, overcooked, burned, in pieces, stuck to the waffle iron, bland, tasting like baking powder, or just plain ugly and tasteless.

    This morning Dan and I were discussing what to make for breakfast when he offered to make us some pancakes. The silence he was met with conveyed my thoughts, to which he responded, “No, really – I can do this. Just give me a recipe. It’s like a chemistry experiment.” Well, then – “Let’s do this together,” I say, followed by, shockingly, “But instead of pancakes, let’s make waffles!” Perhaps it was the comforting assurance of back up that led to my crazy talk. No matter, waffles it was … it was our mission.

    We took stock of our fruit – apples, bananas, mangoes, and blueberries – and decided upon a peanut butter banana waffle, with just a touch of carob for a hint of chocolate undertone. Dan also insisted that no matter what kind of waffle we made we would have to incorporate Tofutti cream cheese, which I though would pair well with the peanut butter to create a rich, creamy, smooth tasting waffle.

    I am happy to say that these waffles were the most perfect waffles I have ever been a part of making! I opened the waffle iron upon the first waffle with trepidation, expected to see the usual mess – but instead I was treated to the sight of a perfectly browned, fluffly waffle. This recipe turned out four big, beautiful waffles that all tasted delicious. Already we are planing another batch that will be a dessert waffle, topped with some vanilla soy ice cream.



    Peanut Butter Banana Waffles

    • 1 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tbsp carob powder (can substitute cocoa)
    • 1 pinch of cinnamon
    • 1 ripe mashed banana
    • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
    • 2 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese
    • 2 tbsp canola oil
    • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
    • 1 tsp vanilla


    1. Preheat your waffle iron per the manufacturer’s instructions.

    2. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl.

    3. In a seperate bowl, combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, and cream cheese and mix. Add the oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated, then mix in the soymilk until well combined.

    4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Your batter will be thick.

    5. Lightly spray both the top and bottom waffle griddle and add 2/3rds cup of batter to the waffle iron, spreading out the batter slightly before closing the iron. Our waffles took about 4 minutes to cook up into perfect waffles, but be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions for times. Repeat for each waffle, taking care to spary the iron with oil between each waffle so as to prevent sticking. Keep dine waffles warm by covering them with foil.

    6. Serve with sliced bananas and warmed maple syrup.

    Update:  These waffles kept us going all day!  PB + nanner waffles = power food.  Who knew?

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    I love roasted garlic. I love the texture of garlic cloves after a good roasting: smooth, buttery, sweet, and mellow. Of course, once I start eating roasted garlic I want everyone else the room to do so, as well, lest I be the only one with the pungent breath that alerts the neighbors to what’s on the menu at my house. Eating garlic alone is just anti-social. Eating garlic as a group … well, that’s just bonding.

    On New Year’s Eve I went nice and simple with our appetizer. I simply roasted a head of garlic and we ate the cloves smeared on garlic herb crackers. Doing so made me realize that roasted garlic is something that I should make a lot more of it as it really is so simple to do and it packs huge flavor. As I happen to have an abundance of garlic on hand at the moment, as well as a number of sweet potatoes (another food that I would send not-so-secret admirer letters to, if such a thing were possible) I decided to see what I could do with the two as an appetizer for the dinner I was making tonight for some friends who just came back on island after spending the holidays on the mainland. This dish was such a hit that we did the revisit after dinner while waiting for dessert!

    Roasted Garlic Sweet Potato Butter

    1 head of garlic

    1 medium sweet potato

    2 tablespoons maple syrup
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    A few dashes of chipotle hot suace
    Salt & Pepper to taste
    Pine nuts for garnish

    1. Peel off the papery outer layes of the head of garlic, and cut off the tops of the cloves with a sharp knife. Place the garlic on asheet of garlic large enough to enclose it. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt on the garlic, then wrap it completely in the foil.

    2. Bake the garlic and the sweet potato (the potato should be pierced with a fork to allow stem to escape and just placed on a lightly greased baking sheet) at 400F for 35-35 minutes or until both are tender. The garlic may be done before your potato, depending on its size – be sure to keep an eye on them! Let them cool a bit after removing them from the oven.

    3. Scoop the potato out of its flesh and squeeze the roasted garlic out each clove and place it all into a food processor along with the maple syrup, olive oil, chipotle hot sauce, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth. Serve garnished with pine nuts. Spread it on crackers, bread, pita, etc.


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    Neujahrspretzel 2008

    Welcome to 2008 … and welcome to the new version of the blog: fresh new look, same great taste!

    Please be sure to change the link in your bookmarks and, if you are so kind as to link to me on your blog or site, please be to update that link, as well.


    If you tuned in yesterday then you already know the story behind my desire to make a New Year’s Pretzel, more properly known as a Neujahrspretzel. The internet, it turns out, is not a great well of knowledge on the subject. I did, however, find a recipe and my version of it is below.

    It is tradition to eat the pretzel for breakfast on New Year’s Day, but here at the Outpost we like to turn tradition on its head from time time. We broke our pretzel just after midnight in the hopes that it will bring good luck through the new year. We then, of course, ate pretzel again this morning for breakfast.

    The pretzel is delicious – a sweet, chewy, very satisfying type of bread. The recipe below is enough to make two large pretzels, Halve the recipe to make one pretzel, or do as I did and make the whole recipe and freeze half. The half now sitting in our freezer will not be twisted into another pretzel as that is only for New Year’s and I can think of several other delicious uses for the dough.

    New Year’s Pretzel with Icing

    • 2 cups vanilla soymilk
    • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
    • 2 packages active dry yeast
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup (1 small container) vanilla soy yogurt
    • 1 tbsp canola oil
    • 7 cups flour
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp almond extract
    • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp water
    • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used chopped pecans)


    1. Heat soymilk and Earth Balance in a saucepan until very warm . In a large bowl, mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and 1 cup flour. Slowly beat the warm soymilk and EB into the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes. Add soy yogurt, oil, and 1 cup of flour and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

    2. Add enough flour (between 3 and 4 cups) to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding the remaining flour throughout to prevent the dough sticking to your kneading surface and your hands. Place dough in a greased bowl. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

    3. Punch dough down and let rise again for another hour. Divide dough in half. Roll dough into a rope about 30 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter and shape into a pretzel. Repeat with second half of dough or freeze that half for later use.

    4. Place pretzel(s) on greased baking sheets. Let rise 15 minutes more. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

    5. To make icing: mix confectioners’ sugar, water vanilla, and almond extract. Add more water if you would like an icing with a thinner consistency. Drizzle or spread icing on pretzel(s) and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

    Also, on this first day of the new year I would like to take moment to look back at the year just passed. Listed below are my favorite recipes posted to the blog in 2007.




    Tops at the Outpost in 2007 were….

    Mushroom Lasagna with Creamy Fauxchamel

    Very Simple Berry Pie

    Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie

    Blueberry-Lemon Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

    The Best Zucchini Bread Ever

    Baby Block Sugar Cookies

    Pasta with Veggies and Creamy Marinara Sauce

    Beer Brats

    Pear and Cranberry Tart

    Figgy Pudding

    Mulled Wine

    I wish a very happy, healthy, joyous, prosperous, and delicious new year to all!!!

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