General Tso’s Tofu

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1 pkg firm tofu
1 egg
3/4 cup cornstarch
vegetable oil
1 diced white onion
2 tbs minced ginger
2 tbs minced garlic
1 1/3 cup vegetable stock
4 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs sugar
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 tbs white vinegar
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
rice and steamed broccoli to round out meal, if desired

Drain tofu and cut into pieces about 1/2 an inch cubed. Press in a thick towel under heavy books (put a plate under them to prevent them getting damp) for at least 30 minutes to remove all excess moisture. Freeze overnight for texture, if desired.

Combine vegetable stock, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, vinegar, garlic, and ginger in a reasonably large sealable container (lunch-sized glass lock is fine). Add tofu cubes, covering them as much as possible. Marinate in fridge (2 hours should be good).

Mix egg with 3 Tbs of water. Retaining marinade for later, remove tofu cubes and dip in mixture.

Sprinkle cubes with corn starch to completely cover.

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

Heat oil for frying in pan. Fry cubes in oil until golden brown and crispy. Drain oil and corn starch crumbs.

Heat 3 Tbs of vegetable oil in pan and add onions and mushrooms. Sautee until brown.

Mix 2 tbs of water and 1 tbs of cornstarch. Add mixture and marinade to pan, stirring well.

Add tofu to pan and toss to coat evenly in sauce.

Serve immediately over your choice of rice, with steamed broccoli.

Zucchini Noodles

I was trying to use up some zucchini and this recipe was suggested by 3 separate people on FB.  This recipe may not be new to some people, but I’d never heard of it before!


  • 4-5 zucchini
  • salt


  1. Using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into a colander – they kind of look like pappardelle (like linguine, but wider).
  2. After slicing each zucchini, sprinkle zucchini noodles with salt.
  3. Allow zucchini noodles to sit for 30 minutes to allow the excess water to drain
  4. Blanche zucchini in boiling water for 1 minute.
  5. Use zucchini noodles as you would use regular pasta.  I had mine with spaghetti sauce and meatless meatballs.


  • I actually only had 1 zucchini and combined it with 1 vegetable marrow and 2 yellow squash.
  • After blanching, saute zucchini in olive oil, garlic & parmesan cheese – serve as is.
  • Place blanched zucchini in a pan and add pesto and sun dried tomatoes – saute for a few minutes and serve.

Avocado egg salad

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This recipe comes from here, with only slight modification.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1-2 tbsp mayonnaise as needed

Hard-boil eggs, and peel. Add avocado and mash until smooth. Dice green onions (coarse or fine depending on preference) and stir in evenly. If consistency is too dry or crumbly, add a bit of mayonnaise and continue stirring until desired consistency is reached.

Makes an excellent sandwich filling, bread dip, or dip for tortilla or pita chips. Best used fresh, although if advanced prep is needed, you could try leaving the avocado pit in the bowl, or adding a little lemon juice to prevent browning.

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

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This recipe comes from here, with only slight modifications.

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder*
  • sour cream
  • olive oil

Cut caulifower into florets and cook in boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash while still warm.

Stir cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, cayenne and garlic to taste.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Form the mixture into patties about 3 inches across. Cook until golden brown and set, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve with sour cream.

* Note that I know I added one other spice. I’m guessing onion powder, but it might have been something else. I wish I’d jotted this down earlier, as it turned out perfect. That said, you can really adjust the spices to match whatever you want. The original recipe also called for salt, but as usual I omitted it and did not seem to suffer ill effects. I may have used a bunch more cheese than indicated.

“Oh Henry” Bars

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One of If’s Mom’s classic family-get-together recipes.
  • 2/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups peanut butter
  • 3 tsp vanilla

Mix butter, margarine, oats, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. Press into a greased pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Melt together chocolate chips and peanut butter. Spread over oat mixture.

Refigerate until set.

Strawberry-Quinoa Salad

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1 cup quinoa, rinsed
3 cups whole strawberries, hulled then halved or quartered if large
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 (5-oz) container baby arugula salad blend

For the dressing:
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Stir in strawberries cucumber and half the dressing. Combine salad blend and remaining dressing; toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings. (4pps)

Dark Chocolate Pudding

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Note: Not all vegans consider honey vegan, but many do.  If you’re going to serve this as a vegan dish, consult the specific vegans you plan to serve it to.  Also note that some cocoa powder contains milk solids, so you’d have to check that.

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (swiss processed recommended)
  • water to texture (I used about 3/4 cup)

Put all ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth.

Chill in the fridge.

I know it sounds weird, but it turned out really well.  It looks, acts and feels like pudding — maybe a little light for pudding but that may be because of the amount of water.  It tastes more like a good dark chocolate than most chocolate pudding (which tends to be milk chocolate).  It was also incredibly simple.

The above makes about two or three generous servings or about four yogurt-cup sized servings (and with its rich dark-chocolate taste, I found the 4-servings size more than sufficient).  You can find nutritional information (and lots of photos) here.

This is one of those recipes that’s nearly infinitely maleable.  I’m going to post the recipe as it actually appears in my files, and then at the end I’ll tell you how I normally change it.

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps.
  3. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika.  Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the pasta into the mix and pour into a 2-quart cassarole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Melt the butter and toss with bread crumbs to coat.  Top the mixture withthe bread crumbs.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


First off, use whatever pasta you like. I do tend to use macaroni, but I’ve used baby shell pasta to great effect, too.

Secondly, a half teaspoon of paprika?  Seriously?  Pfft.  I put in a lot.  I love paprika.

Thirdly, 12 oz. of cheese is aproximately 340 grams.  I find using aprox. 120 g of goat cheese and 250 g of double-smoked cheddar to go in the mix itself makes it really creamy and really tasty.  To top, I use either shredded mozzerella or sometimes (when I’m feeling lazy) some Kraft shredded cheese mix.

Forthly, I add in a lot of stuff.  I take 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cube them to bite-size chunks, then cook them in a fry pan until cooked through.  Or you can bbq the whole breasts and chop them up after.  I add them in just before I add the pasta. 

I also add in about a cup of frozen peas.  You can really add in anything you like: I like the chicken and peas combination, but you can add diced ham and mushrooms, maybe, or mushrooms and maybe some red peppers for a vegetarian version, or whatever.  Just so long as it’s cooked or will reheat nicely in the oven while it’s baking, it’ll be just fine.

And finally, I also add about a half cup of grated Parmesean cheese and a half cup of chopped parsley to the bread crumb topping.

This can be made ahead a day or two, or even frozen for later use — I don’t put the bread crumb topping on it until just before it goes in the oven, for fear of it getting a bit soggy.  Thaw before baking.  If cooking from room temperature or cooler (if it’s been in the fridge for a day, say), bake for 45 mintues to an hour rather than 30.

Oksana passed me the link to this recipe in the Toronto Star, and they turned out really well.  Best of all, they were super simple to make.  They take almost two hours, but the majority of that time is just waiting for things to set in the fridge — the actual working time is minimal — so you can easily have them prepping while you’re doing other things.  It made 21 “finger food” size squares.

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tbsp plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup crispy rice cereal*
1/8 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups icing sugar

* If you want to prepare this gluten-free, ensure that you’re using a gluten-free crispy rice cereal.  I asked Ruth Anne, and Rice Krispies (which I used) are not gluten-free (they contain barley malt).  She did indicate that there are companies making gluten-free cereals of this type, though.

Grease 9-by-6 inch baking dish and line with parchment sling.

Place 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 tablespoon butter in large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power until melted, up to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter. Stir in cereal until well-blended.

Scrape into prepared pan.  Press into even layer using back of large, greased spoon. Place in fridge.

Melt 1/2 cup butter with salt in medium pan on low heat. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter until smooth. Stir in icing sugar until blended. Pour half over prepared chocolatey base. Return pan to fridge.

In small, microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips on medium power, about 1 minute. Pour into remaining peanut butter mixture. Stir to blend. Spread over second layer in pan. Smooth top. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Place remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power until melted, 1 to 2 minutes, stirring two or three times. Pour over top layers in pan. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour.

Use sling to remove block from  pan. Cut into bars. Store in airtight container.

Chicken with broccoli and spinach


I made a really good, thrown-together dinner on Saturday, and I decided I should write it down so I can make it on purpose in the future.

2 tablespoons fat (I used half olive oil and half butter)
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded
1 bunch broccoli
3 small bunches spinach
2 cups artichoke hearts in seasoned oil, drained
1 teaspoon herbes de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup water
half a lemon or equivalent lemon juice
cooked pasta or rice

Heat the fat over medium heat in a large skillet and add onion and garlic, salt and pepper, and a half teaspoon of the herbes. Saute until the onion starts to lose color and/or gets nicely brown. Add the broccoli with the other half teaspoon of herbes and cook until tender. Add the artichoke hearts and cook until heated. Add spinach, cooked chicken and water. Cover, and let steam until the spinach is wilted completely and the chicken is heated through. Serve over rice or pasta, and squeeze lemon over the serving.

Makes 4 servings.

This was *really* good. Don’t leave out the lemon; this dish really needs it.

You could probably substitute tofu for the chicken; if you do that, cube the tofu and marinate it for a bit in the oil drained from the  artichokes.