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Cookbook Challenge: PPK Blog

April 16, 2013

Ok, so the PPK Blog isn’t really a cookbook, but this was a part of the Isa/Terry free weeks.  I’m forever pinning Isa’s blog recipes to my Pinterest and then never making them.  Except this one time that I made the pumpkin chocolate chip loaf into muffins, which was wonderful.  Anyway, I figured that since I spend a lot of time drooling over those blog recipes, I should make a few!  The main reason that I don’t cook from blog/internet recipes often is because I don’t have a tablet.  My iPod touch works, but the screen is small and cracked and I really don’t want to risk setting my laptop up in the kitchen because I’m messy.  So I dealt with the iPod touch this past week.  It was fine, but I will always prefer a book to a screen (thus, no Kindle for me).  Worth it!

OCD family style layout.

OCD family style layout.

My friends came over for dinner last week, and they eat (and like!) tofu, so I used my tofu day on them.  This is the Blackened Tofu Scramble with Garlicky Grits.  I also sautéed up some collard greens that I doused in Frank’s hot sauce.  They were the perfect compliment to this southern style meal!  I usually crumble my tofu up for my scrambles a bit more, but I really liked having this in big, juicy chunks.  I’m not saying I’m a cube person, but maybe I lie somewhere in between, ok?

blackenedscrambleThe scramble was great though.  All the flavors of blackened tofu without the smoke alarms going off.  Win-win.

Not really grits.

Not really grits.

I know that on the package for Bob’s Red Mill polenta it says ‘polenta corn grits’, but grits are white, ya’ll.  They’re made from hominy.  So this was really soft polenta.  Technicality aside, these were great!  The addition of the garlic at the very end made the flavor very prominent.  Next time I would make this with hominy grits for a more authentic texture and look, but overall they were great!


I just feel like no southern meal is complete without greens.  Collards are my favorite.  I based this loosely off the basic recipe for garlicky greens in Wild About Greens, and then just smothered them in hot sauce, which covered the acidity aspect.  Also, my friends totally loved all of this!  I didn’t get a photo of it all together on my plate except for a crappy iPod pic because I was so ready to eat, and then there weren’t enough leftovers to take one the next day!  I’m not complaining, though.  I love it when people love the food I make, and this was easy enough that I could totally make it again in a flash.

Lentil meat!

Lentil meat!

I had heard good things about the Ancho Lentil Tacos, and was in the mood for Mexican food, so I gave them a go.  I’d never had lentils in a burrito before (yeah, I went with burritos because I like them better than tacos), but it sort of made sense.  The flavor was spot on, and like Isa says, the ancho chile powder (which I bought on accident last year and am happy to finally have a use for) gives it a subtly sweet flavor.  I did find them a little dry, so maybe next time I would add extra water or a little tomato sauce or something.  I made them with the Mexican Millet from Veganomicon, which is an old favorite of mine.  I always tweak it to just make it in my rice cooker though, because I am lazy.



It went really well with the lentils, and then I topped it all off with the fixin’s: lettuce, black olives, avocado, salsa, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.  I had loads of leftover lentils, millet, and tortillas, and managed to make seven freezer burritos out of the leftovers!  I love me some frozen burritos, but never buy them because they’re expensive and probably not very good for you, so I’m always happy when I get to make my own.  It’s amazing what a little extra prep time can do for your happy tummy in the future!

So much stirring.

So much stirring.

But so worth it.  Pesto Risotto with Roasted Zucchini (and asparagus, red peppers, and onions, because…vegetables are awesome).  What’s not to love?  Basil-y delicious pesto?  Check!  Creamy rice?  Check!  Tons of stirring time…?  Check.  Well, I don’t love that part, but the result was fabulous, so I’m not complaining.


I roasted up the extra veggies because I just wanted to.  Asparagus is in season, and I love it.  Red peppers add color, and onions are a no-brainer when roasted.  It all worked very well with the risotto.  My one issue was that the pesto, on its own, was mighty salty.  I had accidentally bought low sodium broth for the risotto, though, so it worked out in the end.  If I were making the pesto to just put on pasta, I would reduce the salt by half and then add it to taste at the end.

pestorisotto2Seriously, though!  So creamy!  And it made tons.  I had plenty of leftovers, which I enjoyed to the maximum.  The pesto is probably the best I’ve ever had (hence, Best-o Pesto).  I didn’t think I would like the addition of the cilantro, but it just made it a lot brighter.  The thyme added a depth of flavor that I never thought pesto even needed.  Isa is such a genius.

There are so many more PPK Blog recipes that look great to me, but they’ll have to wait!  This week the challengers are cooking from Vegan Diner, which I do not own.  There are very few savory online recipes, and I’m not really in a big sweets mood this week.  So instead, I’m doing an asparagus cookbook challenge!  Asparagus is in season for such a short amount of time, and it’s really only good when it’s in season (and it’s cheap then, too), so I’m making the most out of it.  I have three recipes using it lined up for this week, all from my under utilized cookbooks.  Well, two of the three.  Anyway, you’ll just have to wait to see!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2013 1:16 pm

    I’m **definitely** going to have to make that pesto risotto once I have my butt load of zucchini from the garden this year. Looks so awesome. And, yes, I’m totally with you on tofu scrambles–I like everything somewhere in between!

    • April 17, 2013 10:22 am

      Middle of the road forever! And yeah, this will be great for when zucchini is taking over and basil is growing.

  2. April 16, 2013 8:53 pm

    I have starred so many recipes from PPK on my reader but never made them. Like you, I much prefer working from a cookbook. I shall have to print some off at some point!
    I really like your plates with the blue pattern, pretty!

    • April 17, 2013 10:22 am

      Thank you! I stopped printing recipes when my printed recipe folder got too big to manage…I need to organize it so badly!

  3. April 17, 2013 7:22 am

    Everything looks so great & now I really need to make that scramble.

  4. April 17, 2013 9:23 pm

    I like your asparagus challenge! It is too early for local asparagus but I will await your highlights of your challenge. 🙂

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