Chocolate PB Tofu pie and other Holiday Cooking

Happy New Year everyone!

Since it is time to start thinking about 2012, I realized I better clean up from 2011.  This means sharing with you some great recipes I made this past fall, including for the Holiday season.

First up is my go to Thanksgiving side dish.  I have made this the past 2 years in a row.  It's a sweet quinoa dish with dried fruit and nuts.

1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup apple juice
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3-1/2 cup cashews

1. Place water, apple juice, raisins, cherries and quinoa in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
3.  Stir gently to bring fruit up from bottom and mix evenly throughout the quinoa.
4.  Add cashews and gently mix in.  Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes to soften the cashews some.  Toss a few extra cashews on top for garnish.

When I make this dish I am usually taking it to a party, so I actually double up.  Once I add the cashews I transfer to a serving dish and cover with foil.  By the time I get to the party it is still warm and the cashews are a nice consistency.
Next up is a recipe I came up with one night after I spotted these gorgeous local Unno sweet potatoes (remember local for me is northern Japan, on the island of Honshu, not as far north as Hokkaido).
After I scrubbed these I found the nice purple color I heard everyone talking about when they mention the sweet potatoes here.
They have a nice orangish color inside.  I decided I was going to turn these into a nice soup.
So I cut them up into smaller pieces.
I started off with onions and garlic, and added a little black pepper.
Then I added the sweet potatoes and cooked it all together.
Once it was soft I added some some veggie broth.
That's when things got really fun!  Hello immersion blender!
But then I realized it was way too thick, so I added a little more veggie broth and some water.  The last step was adding in some slices of zucchini for added texture.
Wow, it turned out rather nicely if I do say so myself!  Plus, my hubby loved it!

Sweet Potato Soup with Zucchini

  • 2 pounds sweet potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 29 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 large zucchini (sliced into round pieces and then quartered)
  • ¼ teaspoon sage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

1.Sauté onion in olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in stock pot or dutch oven,
until translucent.
2.Add diced sweet potato (with skin on), 1/2 teaspoon thyme and 1/4 teaspoon sage. Place
on medium to medium high heat, cover and cook 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent
          onions from browning on the bottom of pot.
3.Add 1 can vegetable broth and bring to a boil, cooking for 15 minutes or until sweet
potatoes are softened.
4.Using immersion blender, puree the mixture until mostly smooth and almost all
chunks are gone.
5.Add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and stir.
6.Add 1 can vegetable broth (and/or water as needed), cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
7.Add the zucchini and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the zucchini is soft.

Nutrition Info per serving/Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories: 190
Fat: 4.5 grams
Protein: 3 grams
Carbohydrate: 35 grams
Fiber: 5.4 grams
Sodium: 634 mg
Next on my list was the recipe I promised to share later since I was busy showcasing my own special recipe for Raspberry Lemonade Tofu Pie.  I got my inspiration for this from my sister.  She makes an insanely good vegan PB tofu pie.  Recently I entered this recipe (on behalf of my sister since she was unable to enter this herself) into a contest, so cross your fingers and let's hope this wins for my sis!

This is the same idea as my raspberry lemonade pie, so the tofu gets pureed first.
Then the chocolate chips (we use Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips) get melted in either the microwave or using a double boiler.  The the PB gets added and melts in because the mixture is already heated.
The chocolate PB mixture gets added to the tofu and then you pour into a pie shell.  I used store bought again, but you can make at home.  My sister has even tried a pretzel crust.  The top gets some more chocolate chips and then drizzle with some melted PB.  You can find the full recipe posted HERE.
I made this pie to send with Ryan to work since they were working long hours during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.  Some of the spouses made sure the guys were well fed on all shifts by sending all kinds of goodies in.  I also made a tortellini stew one night for everyone.  My husband said everyone loved this pie and wanted to eat this before even getting to eat their dinner.  Once they were all done he let them on the secret that this was made from tofu.  He said no one believed him.  Yes, it is that good!

Last up is by far the most unhealthy of all my recipes, but still a homemade (mostly since did not have enough time to make my own PB cups, although that is a possibility for the future) treat for the holidays. I spotted the recipe on the back of the PB cup package and really just got a craving and felt compelled to make these.  Another reason was that I had 1/2 a jar of PB left over from the PB pie and I wanted to use it up.  Check the full recipe out HERE.
So I made my dough...
peeled all those PB cup wrappers off...
baked up those cookies (in mini muffin tins)...
then stuck the mini PB cup into the centers!

All of these recipes turned out well.  I will be making ALL of these recipes again.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY NEW YEAR!  See you all in 2012!

QUESTIONS:  What was your favorite recipe of 2011 (please share links if you have them)?  Have you ever created a recipe entirely from scratch?  Where do you get most of your recipes?  Have you ever won a recipe contest?


Biz said...

I love my stick blender when making soups! Everything looks delicious Melinda!

Here's to a happy, healthy 2012! Hugs!

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

You are right! That quinoa looks just amazing!
I will definitely nave to try it out! YUM!
Have a Happy New Year Melinda! :)

Ameena said...

I suddenly feel the need to buy a stick blender!!

Anyway, the soup looks divine. Everything looks divine! I am so impressed with your culinary abilities Melinda. :)

Judy said...

The quinoa dish looks really good. I still haven't tried quinoa, but this is on my bucket list for 2012. Happy New Year Melinda!

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