A generous sprinkling of cilantro (or parsley, if you’re out of cilantro like I was) and a squeeze of lime added sparkle, with some cashews on top to add a bit of crunch. Well, I had planned to use cashews, but at the last minute I noticed some fried rice noodles in the cupboard, so I used them instead for a nice change. I thought the dish might need some extra heat, so I brought the Sriracha sauce to the table, but it turned out the red pepper flakes provided just the right amount, more as a background of heat rather than being in the forefront. (of course, if you don’t like heat, you can leave it out or use less.) Start to finish, this easy and versatile dinner was ready in about 15 minutes. Now that’s a quick fix!
Spicy Coconut Noodles
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces cooked rice noodles or linguine
1/2 cup thawed frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Lime wedges, for garnish
Crushed cashews, for garnish
Anyone who thinks “a brownie is a brownie” will have to think again after reading through the comments in the brownie poll. With well over 100 people (and counting) voting for their favorites, the “fudgy brownie” faction overtook the “cakey brownie” proponents by a landslide. Interestingly, almost equal in number to the cakey brownie lovers are those who enjoy either or both kinds of brownies or “something in between.” The question of “nuts” vs. “no nuts” favors “yes to nuts,” with many respondents either not addressing the nut issue or listing other additions. Here’s how the numbers look as of this writing. Out of 115 votes (including a few that came via e-mail):
Prefer Fudgy Brownies: 74
Prefer Cakey Brownies: 19
Enjoy Both Kinds: 22
“Yes” to Nuts: 42
“No” to Nuts: 27
What I found most amazing is how passionately descriptive everyone is about the type of brownie they prefer, as well as the creative riffs on traditional brownie recipes that many of you shared, including additions from cayenne, mint, nutmeg, and peanut butter, to topping them with pecans glazed with hot sauce and peach preserves, and even adding chunks of brownies to brownie batter for a double-dose of brownie goodness — now that’s decadent!
As promised, I have randomly chosen someone to receive a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice for taking part in this poll. The winner is: Kiersten — (Kiersten, please e-mail me with your mailing address and I’ll get a book right out to you.)
I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who participated in the brownie poll — I wish I could give each one of you a nice big freshly baked custom-made brownie of your choice!
My husband Jon is a card-carrying brownie lover. Not just any brownies — he especially likes chocolatey brownies with lots of nuts, and he prefers a cakey texture (as opposed to fudgy). Perhaps second only to his penchant for cakey nutty brownies is his devotion to all things coconut. The idea of combining these elements to create his “dream brownie” was the inspiration for “Nutty Chocolate Brownies,” which will appear in my upcoming book, 1,000 Vegan Recipes, coming out later this year.
Jon couldn’t even wait for these brownies to cool out of the oven, much less until the book comes out, so you shouldn’t have to either — the recipe is below. Another great thing about these brownies is their versatility: if you’re not a fan of coconut, leave out the coconut extract and shredded coconut and use soy milk or other non-dairy milk instead of the coconut milk. If you don’t like pecans, swap them for another nut. You can even leave the nuts out entirely, but then they wouldn’t be very nutty brownies, would they?
Nutty Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson © 2009.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and oil until well blended. Stir in the coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extracts, and blend until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend. Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips, and coconut.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake until the center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool 30 minutes before serving.
It’s called Blushing Fettuccine Alfredo, made with a rich creamy white sauce, blushing with a hint of marinara sauce. To remind myself that spring really is here (technically at least), I added some veggies to make a “primavera” variation and topped it with some pan-fried tofu that Jon thought looked like tofu croutons, so I called them “to-futons.” And while he didn’t find my pun terribly amusing, he did find the fettuccine to be out-of-this-world delicious.