Saturday, August 30, 2008

zucchini waffles

my mother-in-law's garden is overflowing with delicious vegetables!

she told me i can use zucchini and summer squash any way i'd use any other squash i decided to put that challenge to the test. yellow zucchini keep these waffles from getting too dark or greenish, and they crisp up on the oustide and stay moist on the inside. they're so delicious!

this recipe makes a LOT of waffles, so you might want to halve it. i love leftover waffles for breakfast or snacks the next day, so i'm happy to have leftovers, or you can do what we also do, and store extra batter in the fridge for fresh waffles all week long.


2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
1/3 cup brown sugar (or regular for less color)
2 cups vanilla soymilk
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups pureed yellow zucchini


mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the liquid ingredients, mixing well until only tiny lumps remain. fold in the pureed zucchini and mix just until blended.

cook according to your waffle maker's directions.

in my experience, waffle batter will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

note: i pureed my own zucchini by washing the zucchini, chopping off each end, and throwing chunks into my food processor. since zucchini isn't really that moist (at least ours isn't, it's been a really dry summer), i added 2-3 tablespoons of water to keep the blades going. you may need to adjust the liquid in your batter accordingly if you do this too, or don't have to do it.

note #2: this recipe works great with pumpkin! you just might want to add a touch more oil, up to 1/3 cup.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pesto Alfreda Sauce

i'm slacking with the photos here! i need to fix that.

we have a very wonderful basil plant this year, and for awhile, it was growing like crazy. when i decided to try and make a pesto, i realised i simply couldn't stomach all of the oil that usually goes into it. (won't you be glad when i can finally stop cooking low-fat and stop catering to my gall bladder?) so i decided to try my hand at an alfredo sauce with a basil twist.


1/4-1/2 cups Earth Balance margarine (your preference, more or less)
2 cups soymilk
1 package Extra firm tofu (Mori-nu)
a handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp onion powder
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper
pinch of nutmeg
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast


melt the margarine over med-low/med heat in a medium sauce pan. while it's melting, blend the tofu in a food processor with the basil leaves and all remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy (and green). add to the melted margarine and continue to heat until thick and saucy.

this was great on pasta, but also on a "white" (or green) pizza later in the week. next time i make it, i may omit the basil, or cut it in half. it was a little powerful with tofu basil ricotta on top, and i've learned too much basil isn't always a good thing. still, it was really delicious, and it was awesome to prove that dairy is not required to make a delicious creamy sauce like this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

low-fat cooking

i'm thinking i will start sharing some general cooking tips, tricks, and ideas in between recipe posts.

because of some previously-mentioned gall bladder pains, i've started being more careful about the fat added to dishes. while most of what i cook is naturally low-fat, i thought i'd give you all some tips for cutting down on the fat in foods. i promise you probably won't miss it! not only are these tips good for lower fat cooking, but they will often save money and are just generally healthier.

  • when sauteeing garlic (or anything else), just cut the oil in half. a little oil helps bring out flavors and aromas in many herbs and spices (and garlic), but if a recipe calls for 8 tbsp, i bet you could get away with 4. or less. once the cooking gets started, add a little water or broth to keep foods from adhering to the pan and keep the foods moving.
  • invest in a high quality food-grade oil spritzer. misting oil until your pan is lightly coated is better than pouring oil from the bottle into the pan. you can also mist oil onto the top of food before it's flipped, and will cut down on sticking. this also saves money since you wont need to buy any more of that spray-oil in the aerosol cans!
  • when baking, substitute unsweetened apple sauce or mashed banana for oil. not only are you ditching the fat, but you're adding healthy fruits! and we all need to enjoy more fruits. if you're leery about giving up all the oil, try switching just half of it out. it'll cut the amount of fat in your cupcakes in half!
  • switch to a non-trans fat variety of your favorite margarine and shortening. my favorite is Earth Balance. you're still eating fat, but it's tasty and delicious fat that won't cause nearly the same damage as trans fats.
  • just forget about it. pancakes don't need butter. fresh veggies don't need butter! mashed potatoes should be drowned in nearly-fat-free mushroom gravy, not butter! try it. if you make tasty, delicious, fresh food, i promise it won't need to be drowned in fat.

so i hope your gall bladder isn't as angry as mine. but if you're looking to cut down on fats, maybe this will give you some ideas when you're in the kitchen.