Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard

9 05 2012

It’s been about three months since we had to put my dog Zach down. It’s weird even referring to him as a dog. He was my life mate. Through Beanie Babies, puberty, punk rock, college, boyfriends, jobs, through everything I’ve ever gone through since I was 11 years old, I’d talk it all out with Zach. And now that he’s gone, life is just weird.

Apparently it’s kitten season on Facebook, because everyone and their mother has been finding a need to post new cat pictures. It’s making me really sad and anxious to find a new animal friend. I’m starting to get a little too attached to other peoples pets












Ryan and I are going to start looking for our own place once I get back from THIS. And then I will finally be able to get the kitty I’ve always dreamed of. The kitty OR TWO I’ve always dreamed of. And then life will begin to fall into place. Cats do that. But until then, I’ll still have Zach with me until my end of days.

I made this potato salad a few weeks back with a kale and ricotta frittata. All together, it was like a grown-up version of breakfast-for-dinner. I love different spins on potato salad, as well as anything covered in a mustard sauce so this recipe definitely fit the bill. Serve warm and try pairing it with an omelette stuffed with greens. Then go hug your pet.

Red Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking: A Commonsense Guide

6-8 red potatoes
1 tb. wholegrain mustard
1 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh dill
2 tsps. brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes into 1-inch chunks and place in a salad bowl.

Mix the mustard, dill, sugar, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Using a fork, whisk in the olive oil to make a dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the dressing through the warm potatoes and serve.

Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake

1 05 2012

I wish I had more time to make treats like this. I would bake a new treat every day. But alas, my cooking time is usually dedicated to making din and lunches for work. And alas, I am not a baker. I get so damned jealous of bloggers who post pictures of stacked cookies, moist and decadent bars, over-the-top cakes; all that dessert porn stuff. I just can’t do it.

Anything involving making a dough or a batter gives me terrible anxiety. It’s way too much pressure to know that I can completely ruin a dish by doing something like say..over-mixing. Don’t even get me started on pancakes. I have literally broken down and cried while making pancakes.

Fortunately, there were only a few tears shed while making this vegan chocolate cheesecake. I did it and I did it well. It’s smooth and creamy, rich and chocolatey with a great added nuttiness from the almond extract. My attempts at baked goods usually grow stale on the counter. This one was gone in a day. That’s gotta say something.

Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

1 1/4 lbs. firm tofu
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 oz. (3 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tb. sugar
1/3 cup margarine

Place the tofu in a clean sink, cover it with waxed paper and a heavy weight (I like to use a full tea kettle), and let it drain for 20 minutes. While the tofu drains, make the crust.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over low heat, and then add it to the crumb mixture. Stir until blended, and then press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch nonstick springform pan. Set aside. (Or you can use a ready-made 9-inch graham cracker crust, which holds the same amount as the springform pan)

In a food processor, blend the drained tofu, 1/4-pound at a time, with 1 cup of the sugar, adding 1/4 cup sugar with each addition of tofu. Process until the ingredients are well-blended.

Pour the tofu-sugar mixture into a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a double boiler or saucepan, melt the chocolate. While the chocolate is melting, place the graham cracker crust in the oven and cook for about 8 minutes; then remove, set aside and let cool.

After the chocolate has melted, add it to the tofu mixture. Stir in the vanilla, almond extract, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Blend well.

Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and bake for about 40 minutes. When the cake is done, it will be slightly risen on the edges with small cracks on the surface. The middle will not have risen, but it will be springy to the touch and will have a dry, firm appearance. Chill the cheesecake for at least 2 hours after baking.