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.

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.

This is from The Curry Book by Nancie McDermott. I think that both parts could be made separately, too  — I might just make the sweet potatoes sometime, since they are so good. They are really good separately and they’re really good together, is what I’m saying. Also this makes a LOT, but I’m not really sure how to cut down on the kale thing.


  • 3 large sweet potatoes (maybe 1.5 pounds?)
  • 1 bunch of kale (I think any leafy green would work in this recipe)
  • 2 cups of water

Sweet Potato Toss

  • 2  TBSP minced garlic
  • 2  TBSP curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or sriracha)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce [NOTE: use gluten-free soy sauce to make this recipe gluten free]
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Kale Dressing

  • 4 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP honey (I might use less next time)
  • 1TBSP balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or sriracha)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease a 9×13 pan or a baking sheet.
  • Mix the ingredients for the sweet potato toss in a large bowl.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2-thick pieces.
  • Put the sweet potatoes in the bowl of sweet potato toss and toss them until they’re coated.
  • Put the sweet potatoes in the 9×13 pan and put the pan in the oven.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until they’re soft and browned on the edges.
  • While the sweet potatoes are baking, wash the kale, cut it into 1/2-inch thick strips, and put it in a large bowl.
  • After the sweet potatoes have come out of the oven, boil the two cups of water.
  • Pour the boiling water over the kale.
  • Toss the kale with tongs or two spoons until it is bright green and wilted.
  • Drain the kale in a colander. Put the kale in a bowl large enough to hold the kale AND the sweetpotatoes.
  • Make the dressing, pour it over the kale, and toss until the kale is coated.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and toss until everything is mixed.
  • Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Additional note: this was pretty spicy. If you want it less spicy,use les chilis.

If’s black bean soup

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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 15 min

  • 560 g can black beans
  • 450 ml can coconut milk
  • 250 ml can green peas
  • 450 ml stock (I used veggie, original recipe called for chicken)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 head fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 250 g portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp oil

Reserve 1 cup of black beans for later.  Add remaining black beans, coconut milk, peas, stock, cumin, garlic and cayenne to medium-large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for ten minutes.

While simmering, sautee mushrooms and onions until soft, then set aside.

Place heated mixture in blender and puree until smooth.

Pour back into pot and add remaining ingredients (rest of beans, sauteed mushrooms and onions, cilantro, lime juice).  Stir until mixed.

Let stand for a few minutes, then serve.

(Goes well with buttered bread if you’re not trying to keep it gluten-free or vegan.)