Costa Rican Breakfast Quesadilla

I love savoury breakfasts and this one was very tasty, quick and easy. The recipe just uses one tortilla and says it serves one/two, so I didn’t double it but just upped the beans to use a full tin and altered the other ingredients accordingly. That gave us a nicely stuffed tortilla each.

The recipe recommends using smoked cheese if available. Sheese make a smoked version but I’m not generally a fan and it doesn’t melt properly, so I opted to use smoked tofu instead of plain for the tofu layer instead. That turned out to be a good choice as it worked very well with the earthy beans. Very tasty and quick to put together in the morning.

Posted in Appetizers Horizons 1 | 1 Comment

Roasted Vegetable Gazpacho with Avocado Aioli

Gazpacho has been a favorite of mine since the very first time I had it. If we’re eating out and it happens to be on the menu, I’m sure to give it a try. I’m biased toward a less blended gazpacho (like the one in American Vegan Kitchen), but of course had to try the one from the first Horizons book.

Vegetables which are all kinds of wonderful to start with, take on a whole new depth of flavor when roasted. The base for this version includes carrots, and even suggests using carrot juice instead of tomato. Thinking that roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables, I stuck to the tried and true tomato.

The avocado aioli really brightens it up and provides a contrast in both taste and visual appeal. I’d make this one again, for sure, but I still prefer the freshness of my own.

Posted in Soups Horizons 1 | 2 Comments

Thai Tofu and Cabbage Soup with Curry Roasted Peanuts

I altered the ratio of some of the ingredients for this one because 2 quarts of stock seemed like far too much compared to the other quantities – I prefer my soups to be thick and hearty not watery. The curried peanuts gave this soup a very welcome crunch. I added some rice noodles to Matthew’s portion to bulk it out a bit but I found I enjoyed it just as it was. You’ll need to work how hot your own Thai curry paste is – no surprise that I added more than the recipe needed. It’s not always the case with Asian style soups but to my surprise leftovers of this were better than than on the first day when the flavours seemed to have melded together.

Posted in Soups Horizons 2 | 1 Comment

Balsamic Agave Seitan with Garlic Green Beans

The seitan in this has a deep, dark, rich flavor. The Horizons books urge you to cook to taste which really comes through in this dish. As they say, balsamic vinegars vary, and when they are reduced, the flavors are even more prominent. I went light on the agave, as the balsamic seemed sweet enough. But a small amount of agave took the rough edges off of it. It’s big and bold, so we served it with roasted potatoes, fried corn, and the garlic green beans with (not) marcona almonds and vegan tarragon butter. We went with the basic almonds but  had the freshest of green beans. The cooking technique for the beans encourages cooking to your own preferred tenderness. We found them to be just right in a short time, but we love raw green beans as well. I scooped out the garlic the best I could to add to the bowl with the butter while trying to leave the liquid behind. Those beans will be on our menu again.

Many of the recipes in the Horizons books come together quickly, letting the oven or stove do the majority of the work. The amazing thing is that you’d never know that from the plate.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 2, Sides Horizons 2 | 4 Comments

Red Bean and Bacon Soup

This was yet another recipe which was so much tastier than it sounded. Like many of the recipes, it uses one of the spice blends listed in the introduction to the book. It’s definitely worth allocating some time to making all of the spice blends because it makes all the recipes so much quicker.

I started off like I do with all of the soups by using less stock than it calls for, but actually this one did use most of the stock and could have used it all if you enjoy a thinner soup. I like mine stew like so I kept it thick, but I do recommended starting low and adding as you go. The soup’s got onion, carrot, beans, bacon, and not much else except the spice, so it really shouldn’t have been as amazingly good as it was. Another time I’ll be tempted to add greens for a perfectly rounded bowl of comfort food. You could also use another grain instead of the white rice if you wanted extra nutrition. You’d need to alter the cooking times a bit but I think it would work equally well.

Posted in Soups Horizons 1 | Leave a comment

Tortilla Pierogies with Truffled Sour Cream

When we ate at Horizons, Jim’s entree had a side dish of truffled fingerling potatoes. Simple, and he loved them. Truffle oil isn’t my thing, so it wasn’t a big surprise when I grabbed the bottle out of the fridge, only to see that it expired last December. My sour cream ended up being mustard/onion instead of  truffled, but it worked out. Also, I love making quesadillas in my panini press rather than in a skillet, so that’s what I did. Otherwise, this recipe is exactly as it sounds: kind of a comfort food appetizer that would be great to serve to guests alongside a beer. It doesn’t have a lot of oomph (truffle oil would give it more), but would be a terrific addition to an appetizer table.

Posted in Appetizers Horizons 2 | 11 Comments

Grilled Seitan Chimichurri

This was a fabulous way to cook seitan – marinated in oil and spices then grilled with a really zingy herb sauce. I served it in soft corn tortillas (bought from the Cool Chile Co) and there are a couple of interlopers from Viva Vegan in the background – refried beans and spinach and avocado salad. Even on its own the seitan was great but the sauce really made the dish. You could use the sauce on anything grilled or stirred into stews or soups or even to liven up plain grains. Highly recommended.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 2 | 2 Comments

Winner!

Love, I have sent you an e-mail asking for your address.

The giveaway for the second book is coming up later in the month, so keep checking back.

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Pan-Seared Tofu with Capers, Basil and Tomatoes

When Liz and I first started bouncing ideas around for this blog, my initial thought was to start with a ‘clean plate’. I was going to do one catch-all post that included the Vine and Dine cookalongs on my blog, as well as anything else I’d previously made. Thinking about it a little longer, I decided against that. While I won’t remake anything I’ve made recently, some of these older recipes are worth revisiting. That’s the case with this one.

I will be forever grateful to Horizons for teaching me to properly pan-sear. Talk about texture! And with one of the suggested spice mixes (depending on the recipe), you get instant flavor. When we ate at Horizons, Jim ordered a tofu dish. He had a big slab of tofu that was pure white inside. The pan-searing was gorgeous, but would it have enough flavor? Of course it did. It was delicious, and much of the credit goes to that technique. When combined with this simple pan sauce, it’s like Italy on a plate. For a side, we served it with the Mediterranean Rice. While the rice was good, the tofu stole the show.

The front of the book has Horizons basic tofu spice mix and the guide to pan-searing. If there was nothing else worthwhile in this book, this alone makes it worth it’s price. But lucky for us, there is so much more.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 1, Sides Horizons 1 | 5 Comments

Oven Roasted Tofu with Hawaiian Pesto

This is yet another method of cooking tofu which was new to me. It was drained and pressed then marinated overnight in one of the Horizons spice blends and a few other bits and pieces then very simply roasted in a hot oven. It resulted in a beautiful piece of tofu which had a light crust and was perfectly seasoned. The accompanying pesto used macadamia nuts and ginger alongside the more usual herbs and oil. The ginger seemed to result in a very light clean tasting pesto which I adored. I served it with simple spaghetti tossed with red peppers, onion and garlic.

This was simple enough to cook midweek after a busy day at work but tasted special enough to serve with a decent bottle of wine for guests or a special occasion. One of our favourites so far.

To celebrate our attempts to cook through the Horizons books, the Book Publishing Company have very kindly donated a copy of each title to give away. Today I’m giving away the first book. All you need to do to win is leave a comment telling us your favourite way to eat or prepare tofu, and we’ll pick one using a random number generator. We’ll be able to ship internationally, so the contest is open to everyone. If you don’t win this one, keep coming back because Tami will be posting about the second contest later in the month.

You’ve got until 9pm (UK time) on Thursday 6th October.

Posted in Entrees Horizons 2 | 33 Comments