Tag Archives: tofu

Another Dinner Party – White Bean Salad and Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

This summer saw a few dinner parties. I posted about the party “Tom” and I had here. The next dinner party was a casual bday celebration outside on some friends’ patio. It was a potluck – not in the literal sense where everyone brings whatever, and all guests take their chances on what food is available, but where the hosts provided the main course and the guests brought complementary food. Our hosts made Puttanesca sauce with pasta, so I thought I’d bring a salad. But what kind of salad goes with the strong flavours of Puttanesca sauce? Here’s what was recommended by Moira Hodgson in Oprah Magazine:

White Bean Salad

(adapted from Moira Hodgson)

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3 cups cooked navy beans

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 large tomato, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsps. white wine vinegar

1 tbsp. water

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1/2 tsp salt (or more)

sprinkling of black pepper

Gently toss the beans, bell pepper, onion and tomato together. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the beans. Gently mix together and let marinate in fridge for a couple of hours. Bring to room temperature to serve.

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I also decided to bring a dessert. I have been making my chocolate mousse pie for some time now, but I wanted to add in another layer … literally another layer, but also another layer of flavour. I had some late season local strawberries in the fridge so I created this:

Strawberry Chocolate Mousse Pie

(my own creation)

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2 packages Oreo cookie type cookies

2 tbsps. coconut oil

1 recipe chocolate mousse

  • 1 full package (200 grams) organic fair trade baking chocolate (I use Camino semi-sweet)

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  • 1 package silken tofu

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla (liquid or powder)

  • pinch sea salt

1 cup strawberries

1 tbsp. maple syrup

several strawberries cut in slices

Crumble 1/2 of the cookies in a blender, then transfer to a pie plate. Crumble the other 1/2 of the cookies in a blender with the coconut oil until well mixed. Mix the dry and oiled cookie crumbs together and press up the sides and into the bottom of the pie plate.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.

Slip the tofu into a pot of boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes (helps get rid of any beany taste).

Put the tofu into the blender with the milk and blend until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt and blend for 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Pour the chocolate mousse into the pie plate on top of the cookie crumb base. Put in fridge for an hour or so until the mousse cools and firms up.

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Put the cup of strawberries into a blender and blend until liquid. Add in the maple syrup and blend briefly. Ladle the strawberry puree onto the chocolate mousse, letting the puree spread on its own to the edges.

Top with sliced strawberries.

Chill in fridge for at least an hour. Serve straight from the fridge.

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Ramen Noodles – Soup and Salad

Hey There! Look at this! I just found and bought an interesting package of Ramen noodles from, of all places, Costco. Check it out. Noodles made from rice and millet … gluten-free and actually good for you and no accompanying sachet of MSG!

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As soon as I got home from the store, I had to make something with them. Soup, of course! Isn’t that what Ramen noodles were made for? Eaten with a spoon AND fork!

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For this yummy bowl of goodness, I cooked the noodles up in some veg broth, then stirred in some chopped up leftover roasted vegetables I had on hand and the last of the grape tomatoes. I also added in some chopped green onions.

A week or so later, I had some marinated, baked tofu kicking around (I had planned on using it in some delicious sandwiches which I will tell you more about in another post, but I absent mindedly cut the tofu into cubes instead of slabs). And those noodles called my name again so I decided to make a tofu-noodle-roast-vegetable salad.

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Here’s what I did:

3 “cakes” Ramen noodles

1 recipe of marinated baked tofu cubes

Dressing:

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup tamari sauce (or coconut soy-free seasoning sauce or Bragg All Purpose Liquid Soy Seasoning or a combination)

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. agave nectar

juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 tsp chili flakes

Roasted Veg:

2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 green cabbage, cut into wedges

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces

handful of shitake mushrooms, sliced in half

2 or 3 green onions, diced

handful of peanuts, chopped

Cook the Ramen noodles, in water or in broth. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Stir all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Throw the chopped vegetables – carrots, pepper, cabbage, zuke – into a large bowl. Drizzle in a small amount of cooking oil. Toss the veg in the oil until lightly coated in oil. Arrange the vegetables in a roasting pan and roast the veg in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes then add the mushrooms and toss a bit with the other vegetables. Roast for another 10 minutes or so until vegetables are tender, but still juicy. Pull the pan out of the oven and let vegetables cool for a bit. Transfer the vegetables to a cutting board and coarsely chop. Toss the vegetables with the Ramen noodles (you  may have to give the noodles another rinse and drain just before adding the vegetables). Add the tofu cubes and toss again. Pour in the dressing and toss one more time. That’s a lot of tossing, but as long as you do it gently, all will be well and the generous tossing allows you to get those noodles separated and spread out and mixed in with the other salad ingredients.

Serve topped with green onion and chopped peanuts. Yum!

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Chocolate Mousse Pie

This is a recipe I use for special occasions like birthdays and Valentines Day. It is really easy to make, tastes fabulous, is vegan and there are always some leftovers so “Tom” and I can have a treat the next day. I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for quite some time, but was waiting for a special holiday or something to share it with the world. It seems, however, that I’m too busy making chocolate mousse pies and entertaining to write blog posts at special holiday times, so I’m going to post this recipe now when we’re kind of in between holidays. I guess Easter is coming up, so if you celebrate then or just have a couple of stat days to enjoy, maybe you could try out this pie.

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Crust:

1 package vegan Oreo style cookies, crushed (I found a brand that was vegan and gluten-free in my local grocery store recently. I thought I took a picture of the package, but I can’t find it. Sorry! That’s not very helpful, is it?)

2 tbsps. coconut oil

Mix the cookie crumbs and the oil together with your hands. Press into the bottom of a pie plate. Refrigerate.

Filling:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (vegan and organic)

1 package silken tofu

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch sea salt

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or, if you’re like me and don’t have a double boiler, melt the chocolate in a metal or pyrex bowl over a pot of hot water. Let cool a bit. Slip the tofu into a pot of boiling water and simmer for about 3 minutes (helps remove any beany taste), drain, let cool a bit in cold water. Blend together tofu, milk, vanilla and salt in a blender until smooth. Stream the melted chocolate into the blender while motor is running. Blend until well combined and smooth. Pour over the cookie crumb pie shell. Refrigerate about 4 hours.

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Lasagna

I have just emerged from a bout of food poisoning. According to my research, I had a mild case. Apparently, some cases of food poisoning can last for a few days. My experience lasted for 30 hours or so, from the beginning to feel ill to the return of my appetite and a cessation of cramps. The most intense period lasted for about 5 hours with almost constant pain and … well you know. The last meal I ate before succumbing to this illness was a delicious vegetarian lasagna, salad and gluten-free apple crumble. Although I am certain that this food did not carry the bacteria or virus that made me sick, I am afraid that the lasagna is going to die a death by association, that is, I’m afraid that I won’t want to eat it again because I associate it with this attack of food poisoning. In an attempt to exorcise this lasagna-food poisoning association demon, I will share the lasagna recipe with you here on my blog. It really is quite yummy and very healthy!

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Vegetable Lasagna

(adapted from  E2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn)

2 medium or 1 large yam, cooked and mashed

lasagna noodles *

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced

10 to 12 mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 head broccoli, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 block Silken tofu

2 jars of your favourite pasta sauce or your favourite homemade

500 grams frozen spinach, thawed and drained

3 Roma tomatoes, sliced

several leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1 cup cashews, ground

Cook and mash the yams and set aside. Cook the lasagna noodles in a big pot of boiling water – do not cook all the way as they can finish cooking in the lasagna in the oven. Saute the onions in a bit of water, then add the garlic. Add a tbsp of water to prevent sticking. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid. Remove from the pan. Cook the broccoli, carrots and peppers in the mushroom liquid. Season with the cayenne, oregano and basil. Remove from pan and add to the onion and mushrooms. Crumble the tofu into the vegetables and stir everything together. Set aside. To assemble, lay down a thin layer of pasta sauce along the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Put down a layer of lasagna noodles then cover the noodles with some more sauce. Spread the veg-tofu mixture over the sauce, then add another layer of noodles and some more sauce. The next layer is the spinach followed by the mashed yams. Some more sauce, a final layer of noodles and a final layer of sauce. Arrange the tomato slices on the top. Sprinkle on the fresh basil. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle on the ground cashews and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove lasagna from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

* I used brown rice noodles in this lasagna because I needed to make it gluten free. These noodles worked really well. Other times I have used whole wheat lasagna noodles as well as organic white flour lasagna noodles. The recipe needs about 10 noodles.

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Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Baked Tofu

Today I made a new recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. All you vegans and plant-based dieters know this cookbook author I’m sure. She’s written a number of books , the latest being Isa Does It, just released this year, and on my Christmas list. Check out her website, Post Punk Kitchen, listed at the bottom on my blogroll. Anyway, back to the recipe … I tweaked Isa’s original recipe a bit, so check out my tweaks and Tom’s suggestions at the end.

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Dressing:

1/3 cup warm water

3 tbsps agave nectar

3 tbsps chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp tamari sauce *

1/4 cup lime juice **

1/4 tsp salt

Salad:

350 grams medium-firm tofu ***

1/2 of a 450 gram package of rice noodle sticks ****

1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced half moons

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced *****

1 cup edamame beans ******

1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves

Peanut-Mint Gremolata

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped very well

3 tbsps finely chopped mint

zest of 1/2 lime

Press the tofu like this. After pressing overnight or all day, slice the tofu into 8 equal pieces widthwise, then slice each rectangle into 2 long triangles. Mix the dressing ingredients together, then marinade the tofu triangles in the dressing overnight or all day. Lightly grease a baking sheet, place the marinated (after removing the tofu from the marinade, reserve the marinade for dressing the salad) tofu triangles on the sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes then flip the tofu and bake for another 15 minutes. Set aside.

Cook the rice noodles – boil a pot of water, put the noodles in the hot water, remove from heat and let soak for about 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Toss the cucumber, red onion, edamame and mint together, then add the noodles and toss again. Pour the reserved marinade/dressing over and toss again.

Combine the gremolata ingredients in a small bowl.

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To serve, spoon some salad into a big bowl, add a few triangles of baked tofu, sprinkle on some gremolata, eat!

* original recipe called for soy sauce, I changed it to tamari sauce

** original recipe called for freshly squeezed lime juice, I didn’t have any limes at the time I made the marinade, so I used bottled lime juice, but I recommend the fresh lime juice if possible

*** the original recipe called for a much shorter marinating time and also fried the tofu, I marinated for several hours and baked the tofu

**** the original recipe called for thin rice noodles, vermicelli, but I didn’t have any so I used the rice sticks instead – I’ll use the vermicelli next time, I also think this salad would be good with soba noodles

***** the original recipe called for 1 whole red onion, but I reduced it to 1/2 red onion because too much raw onion doesn’t sit well with my gastro-intestinal system

****** the original recipe called for string beans, but I don’t like those kind of beans so I substituted edemame and they worked wonderfully

Tom’s suggestions:

  • no cucumber – use grated carrot and/or cabbage instead

  • add toasted sesame seeds to the gremolata mix

  • finely dice some red pepper and use as a garnish (for colour)

  • more salt or more tamari

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Catching Up

I would like to post more often to this blog. I read other blogs (see links at the bottom of my blog) and many of those bloggers post quite regularly like every week. Sometimes the posts are short and simple, sometimes they include a detailed recipe with pictures, they are about food, health, fitness or a combination, sometimes the post is just a thought that the blogger wanted to share. I wonder if some of these bloggers have a job outside of blogging. I’ve been pretty busy over the past year with university classes, travelling, working, hanging out with family, and regular attention to this blog has not been something I could dedicate myself to. Now that my university classes are over (yay), I think I can be a little more blog-focused. Not sure about weekly postings, but monthly should be quite doable. In fact, I’ve got a few recipes and ideas all ready to go today, but I’m only going to include one recipe in this post. The others I’ll dole out gradually as I get myself into the discipline and routine of regular blogging. Here’s the first one:

 

Green Thai Tofu

I invented this in the early summer when I wanted to do something Thai-ish with tofu and also wanted to use some asparagus I’d bought at the farmer’s market. Here’s what I came up with:

1 block of tofu

2 tbsps tamari

2 tbsps water

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp garlic red chili sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can coconut milk

1/4 spicy peanut butter (see picture on the right) IMG_7932

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp minced ginger

2 tbsps brown sugar

1 red pepper, diced or sliced

1 small onion, diced or sliced

about 1/2 a bunch of asparagus, chopped in bite sized pieces

a couple of large handfuls of spinach

chopped green onion

Press the tofu, then cut into cubes of triangles or slices. (See here for how to press tofu).

Mix together the tamari, water, green curry paste, garlic red chili sauce and garlic powder in a zip-lock plastic bag. Add the tofu pieces to the marinade. Let marinade for several hours. (I like to marinade over night or all day, but a couple of hours should be sufficient).

Lightly oil a baking pan and spread the marinated tofu pieces out evenly on the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Mix together the coconut milk, the spicy peanut butter, green curry paste, minced ginger and brown sugar to make a sauce.

Cook the onion in a dry pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add a tbsp of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Add the minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for a couple more minutes. Stir in the sauce, the asparagus and the baked tofu and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Serve with green onion and cilantro sprinkled on top.

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Recipe Updates

For those of you who have been following my blog and my dietary adventures, you’ll know that I have another food blog, Food, Farts and Fun. I abandoned that original blog because I had difficulties with the administration and because I thought it was time to move on to a more mature title! There are many great recipes on that blog, so please check it out. Today I want to update a couple of those recipes. My Scrumptious Cubes of Delight lays out all the steps in making some marinated tofu cubes. As I mentioned in that post, I continue to tinker with the ingredients, so I’d like to give you what I’ve been using recently:

2 tbsps Bragg liquid aminos

2 tbsps water

1 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Prepare the tofu as laid out in the afore mentioned post. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a plastic zip-loc bag. Add the tofu cubes to the bag, seal the bag, swish everything around a bit. Lie the bag down flat and leave to marinade at least 1 hour, but overnight is best.

Another recipe that needs an update is my faux feta. First of all, I say to press the tofu for an hour, but I find that pressing it for several hours, like all day or overnight, it so much better. BTW, this is how I press my tofu (and I apologize for the quality of the photos – I took the pictures with a flash):

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Wrap the tofu block in a tea towel.

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Sit the wrapped tofu on a plate and invert another plate on top.

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Balance a couple of hefty books on top.

And here is my current recipe for faux feta:

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 tsp salt

1/2 handful of fresh oregano (if you can get it), minced (or use a couple of tsps of dried oregano)

black pepper

1 block of pressed tofu

Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, garlic and salt. Stir in the oregano, then grind some black pepper over top and stir. Crumble the tofu in a bowl, pour on the marinade, stir and let marinade for several hours.

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Now you can toss the tofu feta in your Greek salad and enjoy! Yum!

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Tasty Tofu Triangles

If you’ve been following this blog, you may recall my Scrumptious Cubes of Delight.  Well, now you’ve got to try these triangles of delight!

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Step One – press the tofu:

  • wrap a block of tofu (I like to use medium-firm) in a clean tea towel
  • place the wrapped tofu on the counter and put 1 or 2 big, hardcover books on top
  • press for at least one hour – I try to press overnight

Step Two – make the marinade:

  • whisk together in a square Pyrex pan (or similar):
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Step Three – cut the tofu:

  • cut the tofu block diagonally in half
  • flip each half on the side and cut into 1/4’s
  • flip back into a stack of 4 triangles and cut each stack into 2 triangles
  • cut those 4 triangle stacks into 2 again
  • you will end up with 32 triangles

Step Four – marinate the tofu:

  • toss the tofu triangles in the marinade
  • leave to marinade for 2-3 hours or longer
  • toss the triangles around occasionally
  • the tofu should soak up most of the marinade

Step Five – baking the tofu:

  • remove the tofu triangles from the marinade and place on a baking sheet
  • bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the underside is light brown
  • flip the triangles and bake for another 15 minutes until the other side is browned as well

Now you can eat the tasty triangles right off the pan!  I like to cool them, then put them on top of a salad that has been dressed with the same marinade.  Like so:

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JAMAICA, MON!

Here’s a posting I’ve been wanting to publish for months.  “Tom” and I went to Jamaica for Christmas 2011, had a wonderful time, then held a Jamaican inspired dinner party in February.  This was the menu (warning – not vegan! in fact, not even vegetarian!):

Pepper Shrimps

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Tofu

Callaloo

Rice ‘n’ Beans

Peanut Cake

Pepper Shrimps

We chose to make this dish because when we were on a bus excursion in Jamaica, our bus driver pulled over to a roadside food stand where we bought jerk chicken and pepper shrimps.  The shrimp were whole – heads, legs, feelers, everything – and had to be peeled before eating.  They were very spicy and very tasty.  I found a recipe for a marinade for pepper shrimps, bought live shrimp (I do not recommend doing this if you’re squeamish!), and threw it all together.  Actually, there was no throwing, but rather lots of squealing over the flopping, moving shrimp, disgust over the preparation of the shrimp, the burning of fingertips over dicing up some hot chili peppers …

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 3 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 1 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb)

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and let marinate for a bit – maybe half an hour or so.

Then, in a big heavy pot and bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for a few minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Cool shrimp in liquid to room temperature, uncovered, about 1 hour. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl and drizzle some of cooking liquid on top.  Provide plenty of napkins for wiping fingers as this is the ultimate in finger food!

Jerk Chicken and Tofu

I bought a jar of jerk sauce at the airport in Montego Bay and that’s what I used for this recipe.

You can buy such jars or even jerk spice mixes in most grocery stores in Canada, or you can make your own.  With the sauce from the jar, I only needed a little bit to lightly coat the chicken and tofu and there was no need to really marinade because the flavour is already so powerful, it doesn’t need to seep and soak into the raw food.

I baked the chicken and tofu, but I suppose it could be barbequed, especially over charcoal.

Callaloo

Callaloo is the Jamaican green.  I ate it almost every morning for breakfast along with fresh fruit.  People liken it to spinach, but it’s not nearly as delicate.  I find it more like a Chinese green and, in fact, “Tom” and I use Gai Lan as our substitute for callaloo while in Canada.  We prepare it by sauteeing up a bit of onion and garlic, then throwing in some chopped Gai Lan and steaming for a bit.  Voila!

Rice ‘n’ Beans

This is a mainstay of the Jamaican diet.  I ate this almost everyday in Jamaica as well.  All it really is is rice, red beans (can use kidney beans), coconut milk, and garlic.  You can add whatever spices and herbs you want – make it spicy with chili peppers, thyme is a common addition, a bay leaf, some chopped up onion, etc.  Actually, I can’t find the exact recipe I used to make this dish for this dinner party, so it’s likely I just threw the ingredients together!

Peanut Cake

This treat is not cake at all!  It’s more like peanut brittle, but with a ginger kick to it.  I made it the day of the dinner party and when we ate the cakes, they were really, really hard!  The next day, however, they had softened to a much more manageable biting and chewing texture.

  • 2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 5 tablespoons minced or shredded ginger
  • 3 cups dark unprocessed sugar
  • 1 cup water

Combine the peanuts and ginger.

Place in a deep pot with the sugar and water.

Put stove on high and boil.

Boil until water is gone and the sugar is like caramel and sticky.

Place a sheet of greased paper on a flat surface (kitchen counter) close by.

Stir the mixture in the pot with a large spoon to be sure it does not stick to the bottom.

Use the spoon to scoop out mixture to create 1-1/4-inch wide mounds on the greased paper.

Each 1-1/4-inch wide mound should be placed in a separate heap on the greased paper.

Let the drops cool and harden. Serve. Makes about 20 pieces.

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