Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Potato Nachos

I got a coupon for a free package of Wayfare's "We Can't Say It's Cheese."  This is a "cheese" dip that comes in a tub, and it's tasty, but in kind of a dirty overprocessed way.  I had some of it on crackers, but I can only handle so many crackers so I also made these potato nachos (potatachos?)  I thinly- sliced a few red and purple potatoes, rubbed them all over with olive oil, and baked them at 450 for about 20 minutes, turning them about midway through.  Then I covered them with olives, salsa, and dollops of the "cheese," and broiled them until the cheese got melty.  These were one of those dishes that looks ugly and sounds ill-conceived, but tastes fantastic.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas dinner

No recipe for this, but here's a quick shot of my Christmas dinner:

Tamales with avocado, mango, and pineapple.  Tamales are my standard holiday dish, but I've never made the filling the same way twice.  For the dough, I use the recipe from Veganomicon; the vegetable broth in the dough gives it a nice savory depth.  I filled these with ground seitan, black beans, and onions, which I covered in a tangy-sweet homemade barbecue sauce.  I think the hardest part of making tamales is estimating the right amount of filling for the dough.  I ended up with too much filling, so I stuffed the leftovers into steamed buns the next day (steamed bun recipe coming soon).

Friday, December 24, 2010

The worst microwave ever

I recently stayed in a cheap hotel that had a "kitchenette" featuring the worst microwave ever.  Not only were there no power settings on the thing, it also had this gross little list of cooking times printed on the front:

Even if I wasn't vegan, I can't imagine wanting to microwave a pound of ground beef.  Ick.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vegetarian Goose

About once a month, I make a trek to the asian grocery store to stock up on tofu, rice noodles, sesame oil, and assorted condiments.  On my last trip, I spotted this "Vegetarian Goose," and decided to give it a try.

The "goose" consisted of sheets of bean curt skin wrapped around a seasoned vegetable filling.  The package didn't include any cooking instructions, so I decided to baste it with a little olive oil and bake it.  It came out of the oven looking like a gelatinous blob, but looked much better once sliced:

I served the goose with stuffing and some leftover garlic soup.  I enjoyed the first bite or two of it, but then found it too salty to continue eating.  Won't be purchasing this again, but I enjoyed experimenting with it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carrot Cake Waffles

These waffles were the result of a delicious Sunday morning experiment, when I was thinking about carrot cake but knew I shouldn't eat cake for breakfast.

The ingredients:
3 cups flour
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 t vanilla
6 carrots, grated (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pineapple, crushed or finely chopped
2/3 cup raisins, soaked in hot water until plump, then drained

The process:

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Whisk in juice, milk, oil, and vanilla.
  3. Fold in carrots, walnuts, pineapple, and raisins.
  4. Cook on a well-oiled waffle iron.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Other People's Recipes: Vegan Yum Yum

I have an enormous collection of vegan cookbooks, and have never cooked a recipe from at least half of them.  I read them for inspiration, but almost always find that my food turns out better if I don't strictly follow a recipe.  However, I recently acquired a copy of "Vegan Yum Yum," was drawn in by the gorgeous photos, and decided to try some of the recipes.    I've had overall good results, but did end up tweaking most of the dishes after I'd tasted them—while they are a good basic starting point, I think many of the recipes are pretty one-note, so I ended up tweaking most of the sauces to add nuance.  Overall, I'd still recommend this book, if only for the great photography; however, be careful with the binding as my copy started losing pages the second time I opened it.

What I've tried so far:
Soy-Mirin Tofu with [Snow Peas] and Peanut Sauce
What I changed: subbed broccoli for snow peas, thinned down the sauce with vegetable broth, halved the sugar in the sauce, halved the tofu, doubled the vegetables.  Though the mirin was hard to find, it adds a nice dimension to this sauce, though in my opinion mirin is so sweet it negates the need to add sugar.

Tamarind Tofu Cabbage Bowl
What I changed: subbed mung bean sprouts for 1/3 of the cabbage, doubled the amount of sauce, used less tamari and more chutney in the sauce, used less curry powder in the chutney.  I loved the almonds in this dish, and the tamarind chutney is a good condiment to keep on hand.

Creamy Broccoli Mushroom Bake
What I changed: subbed barley for the orzo.  This was the one dish I've made from this cookbook that I would absolutely never make again.  It looked about as good as it tasted, which is to say, pretty bad.  Maybe if the broccoli was in larger pieces and was only baked instead of being fried and then baked, it would be more palatable, but I don't plan on finding out.

Lime Peanut Noodles with Seitan, Kale, and Carrots

What I changed: subbed white wine for part of the lime juice, increased ginger powder, decreased tamari (and should have decreased it more, as this was WAY too salty), thinned down sauce with water.  This dish was a good way to use up some of the kale that I overplanted in my garden.  I liked the dish overall but was overwhelmed by its saltiness.

Nearly Raw Tahini Noodles
What I changed: subbed cilantro for mint, subbed regular spaghetti for whole wheat, doubled vinegar and mustard in sauce, decreased sugar in sauce, added 2 T almond butter to sauce, thinned sauce with white wine, cut broccoli larger than recipe specifies.  This was my favorite of the recipes I cooked from this book, though I found the instruction to cut the broccoli florets "no bigger than small grapes" ridiculous.  This made great leftovers for lunch the next day.

Unphotographed: Hurry-Up Alfredo
I would have liked this dish more if it had been called an "uncheese" instead of an alfredo.  The creamy texture was nice, but it tasted nothing like alfredo to me (for alfredo I'll stick with a roux and soy milk sauce), and the flavor was quite bland.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Banana Breakfast Muffins

I rarely eat anything but oatmeal for breakfast, but I had some overripe bananas to use and wanted something lighter than banana bread, so banana-oatmeal breakfast muffins were born.  They were good enough that I'm now letting my bananas go bad on purpose so I have an excuse to make more muffins.   This recipe makes a dozen standard size muffins or 6 jumbo muffins.

The ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T tapioca starch
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 very ripe bananas
1 1/3 cup milk alternative
1/3 cup margarine, melted
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips

The process

  1. Preheat oven to 400.  
  2. Smash bananas with a fork or pulse in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Whisk together flour, tapioca starch, sugar, baking powder, salt, and oats.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients until just combined.  The batter will be quite thick.
  5. Oil muffin tins and fill 'em with batter.  The batter will probably just barely fit in the tins.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Have I mentioned how much I love vegansaurus?  They're weird and irreverent and kind of snarky (and I mean that in a good way).  And now I love them more than ever because they included my dog Jasper's photo among their "adorable animal" posts. Yay for cuteness and dogs! 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Garlic Soup

Thanks to the other Vegan MoFo writers for all the fantastic blogging this month.  Posting five days a week has been a challenge for me, but it has pushed me to try new things, spend more time cooking, and diversify my diet.  My goal now that MoFo is over is to continue posting twice a week, most likely one original recipe and one recipe review per week.  I'm excited to try out some of the many other MoFo posts I've starred in my Google Reader.  And without further ado: Garlic Soup.

This, folks, is my most coveted recipe.  Garlic soup sounds homely, and doesn't look like much.  It isn't polite food, and it will make you smell like garlic for at least a day after you eat it.  Furthermore, thinly slicing an entire cup of garlic is tedious tedious work.  It's worth it.

The ingredients
1 1/2 cups margarine
1 cup thinly-sliced garlic
2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (which sounds like too much, but isn't a typo)
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth
5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup Silk creamer (plain flavor)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

The process

  1. Melt margarine over medium-low heat, then saute sliced garlic and onion in margarine for about 7 minutes, or until completely softened.
  2. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.  
  3. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups broth, then add remaining broth and cook over low heat 12-15 minutes, stirring a few times.  
  4. Add minced or pressed garlic, and simmer 5 minutes.
  5. Add creamer and return to a simmer.  Cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes.  Season with salt and cayenne to taste (if using canned broth, you probably won't need to add salt).
  6. Remove from heat, stir in tomatoes, and let stand 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with bread for sopping up the broth.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pomegranate, unadorned (but adored!)

I planted several pomegranate trees in my yard when I bought my house three years ago. At long last, one of them finally gave me a fruit.  I thought about making a gourmet fancy-pants meal with pomegranate seeds elegantly sprinkled on the plate, but lust won out and I ended up eating the entire fruit plain, straight from my sticky red fingers.  It was magnificent.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving recap

As promised, here is a picture of my campfire Thanksgiving feast: pan-fried green beans; skewered veggies, seitan and potatoes; mushroom gravy; and canned cranberry sauce.  It did not disappoint.  I also made camp pies by rolling tortillas around canned apple pie filling, and tossing them in the fire wrapped in foil. Utterly delicious.

And just because I love him, here is a cute picture of my dog Jasper, who thought snow was the best thing in the world and would like me to move to a cold climate.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!
As much as I've been salivating over everyone's Thanksgiving posts this week,  I won't be making any of your recipes (that is, not for Thanksgiving) because I'm going camping instead.  After 3 years in a row of hosting big vegan Thanksgivings for non-vegan friends and acquaintances, I decided to take a break, so my husband, my dog and I are heading to Yosemite.  I'll be doing my best to convert some of the flavors I associate with the holiday into dishes I can easily cook over the campfire.  The planned menu is:
  • Skewered seitan, fingerling potatoes, onions, butternut squash and mushrooms (grilled over the fire)
  • Mushroom gravy (made ahead of time and reheated on the camp stove)
  • Green beans (pan-fried over the fire)
  • Cranberry sauce (straight from the can)
  • tortilla pies (tortillas folded around pie filling, grilled in foil packets over the fire)
I'll do a follow-up post on Sunday to share photos of the feast.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dirty Dumpling Soup

Usually when I think "dumpling soup," I envision the kind that contains asian-style dumplings, as in yesterday's post. However, reading MoFo posts lately, the other kind of dumpling soup has been catching my eye—the kind that contains dumplings consisting of simmered biscuit dough. I think I might have had this type of soup a time or two in my childhood, but since then it's been totally off my radar. It was therefore a delight not only to rediscover this tasty dish, but also to experience how wildly it exceeded my expectations.  The moist exterior and fluffy biscuit interior of the dumplings is the best texture contrast I can imagine. I call this soup dirty because it contains two things I'm ashamed to have in my pantry: Bisquick (which I only recently learned is vegan) and instant mashed potato flakes (which I mostly use as a thickener, but sometimes eat as mashed potatoes if I'm desperate and the blinds are closed).

The ingredients
about 2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
6 cups assorted chopped vegetables (I used green pepper, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, and fava beans)
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup kale, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups seitan, chopped
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk alternative
1/2 t ground thyme
1 t ground sage
1/8-1/4 t black pepper

The process
  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, saute the onion in olive oil until softened.  Add garlic and continue to cook another 1-2 minutes.  Add the assorted vegetables (but NOT kale or mushrooms) and continue to cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add broth and water, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, make biscuit dough: in a small bowl, stir together all biscuit ingredients just until combined.
  4. Add mushrooms, seitan and potato flakes to broth, and return to boiling.  Drop biscuit dough into broth and gently boil, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  5. Push the dumplings aside and slip the kale into the soup, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked through.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegetable Gyoza Soup

My "I'm too sick to cook but want something nourishing" food:
1 can vegetable broth
a few vegetable gyoza or dumplings
cubed tofu
edamame or peas

Heat and slurp, preferably while snuggled up under a blanket.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cornbread Casserole

The word "casserole" doesn't generally incite much enthusiasm (and this particular one certainly isn't much to look at), but I think casseroles are underrated.    No, they're not glamorous, but they are comforting and filling and provide a good excuse to turn on the oven and warm up the house.  I'm especially partial to casseroles involving cornbread.  This one is a riff on biscuits and gravy, but with cornbread batter instead of biscuit dough.

The ingredients
2 batches cornbread batter (I used Dana Sly's Blue Ribbon Cornbread recipe)
Herbs and spices (I suggest thyme, sage, onion powder, and black pepper)
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
14 oz. veggie sausage (hereafter referred to as soysage&mdashI used Lightlife Gimme Lean)
1 green pepper, chopped
1-1.5 cups greens, thinly sliced (I used a combination of kale and onion greens)
2 T margarine
1 T flour
1.5 cups vegetable broth or soy milk

The process

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet, and fry onions over medium-high heat until softened.  Add garlic and soysage, and continue to cook, stirring, until sausage browns.
  2. Meanwhile, make a roux: melt margarine in a small skillet, whisk in flour, and cook about 2 minutes.  Add  half the broth or soymilk to the roux, then add the roux to the soysage.  Stir in greens and green pepper, add remaining broth, and continue to cook about 2-3 more minutes.
  3. Remove soysage mixture from heat and make cornbread batter.  Stir desired herbs into the batter.  
  4. Generously oil a 9x13 baking dish.  Pour half the batter in the bottom of the pan, spread soysage mixture over it, then top with remaining cornbread batter.  Bake at 425 for about 20-25 minutes, or until cornbread is cooked through.
By the way, this is absolutely fantastic reheated for breakfast the next day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coconut Fudge

More Friday fudge!  This post is getting in late because my first effort with coconut fudge was a complete failure—the flavor was great but I don't think I got it hot enough and I didn't cool it enough before beating, so it didn't set up properly and I ended up with a sticky taffy-like mess.  But, second time's a charm, I guess, because this time it turned out gorgeous.

The Ingredients
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups milk alternative (I used part almond milk, part coconut milk)
2 T margarine or coconut oil
1/2 t vanilla extract
2/3 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
toasted coconut for garnish

The Process
  1. Heat sugar, "milk," and margarine in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it boils
  2. Stop stirring once it boils, and continue cooking until it reaches 238 degrees
  3. Remove from heat, let cool to around 120 degrees, then beat in vanilla and coconut
  4. Continue beating ONLY until it turns opaque
  5. Working quickly, press into an oiled 8x8 pan
  6. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and press with your fingers to make the coconut adhere
  7. Refrigerate until set, about an hour

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Papa's Mushrooms

My grandfather was very good at feeding people.  I remember Christmas dinners at his house where there was barely any room to sit at the dining room table because the food took up every last inch of space...and there was more of everything waiting on the stove...and a few meal's worth of appetizers on the kitchen counter...and several candy bowls in the living room that never seemed to run empty.  Some of the foods that were always present were some meltingly-sweet parsnips, which I've never been able to replicate, and these mushrooms, which are virtually fool-proof and more delicious than they have any right to be.  For the record, there's no way in hell Papa would have used margarine instead of butter in them.  But he never gave me a hard time about being vegetarian, even though I'm sure he thought it was crazy, so maybe he would forgive me for thinking they're just as good with Earth Balance.

The Ingredients
about 1/2 stick margarine
several dashes vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 pound mushrooms

The Process
Melt margarine in a saucepan over low heat.  Add Worcestershire and mushrooms.  Cover and continue cooking on very low heat, stirring a few times, until mushrooms are soft, about 25 minutes.

Serve them with mashed potatoes, and the margarine/mushroom juices from the pan make a nice gravy substitute.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Savory Chickpea Pancakes

Chickpea pancakes are what I turn to when I need a 10-minute meal and haven’t bothered to stock my pantry.  They are sort of like a pancake and sort of like a flatbread and sort of like an omelette.  Which is I know not the most enlightening description.  But they’re fast, savory, and don’t require measuring anything.  Depending on what veggies I put in them, I like to serve them with a little salsa, sriracha, or tampenade as a dipping sauce.

The Ingredients
A couple handfuls of chopped veggies (onion, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, olives all work well)
A dab of chili paste
A little salsa, pesto, or tampenade, if you have it
Garbanzo flour

The Process
  1. Add some garbanzo flour to the veggies (as much or a little more flour than you have veggies).
  2. Stir in water until the texture of the batter is about like pancake batter.  Season as desired. (But DO NOT taste the batter at this point--raw garbanzo flour tastes like poison. Bad bad poison.)
  3. Brush a nonstick pan with a little oil, and heat over medium-high.
  4. Spread batter to fill the bottom of the pan.  Cover and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Uncover, flip, and continue cooking (flipping again if needed) until the outside is flecked with crispy brown spots.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cucumber Salad, and How I Love My Mandoline

I used to think mandolines were a worthless gadget...not worth the effort of storing and changing the slicing plates (and, for the accident-prone, cutting yourself in the process).  Then I met my love, and everything changed.  She doesn't have interchangeable plates to mess with, and she can switch from thinner to thicker slices with the turn of the knob.  She is slender enough to hang on my wall.  More importantly, she is cherry-red.  I had to have her.

I use my mandoline all the time now for fancy paper-thin slices that trick people into thinking I have good knife skills and/or spent a lot of time in the kitchen.  I like to slice carrots paper-thin and eat them raw with a light sprinkling of salt as a snack.  I also absolutely adore cucumber salads.

The basic recipe goes like this: Slice a cucumber very thin. Add a splash of rice vinegar, a splash of sesame oil, and a light drizzle of agave nectar.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if you are so inclined. Toss to coat.  This makes a great side salad, and is also good layered on sandwiches.  The vinegar is preservative so it keeps a few days in the fridge.

(EDIT: By the way, my red beauty is a Kyocera adjustable mandoline.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pickapeppa Tofu Sandwiches

I'll admit that I usually skip over sandwich posts when I'm reading people's blogs, because as much as I like eating sandwiches, I don't really think I need a recipe for how to make one.  "Take good stuff, put said stuff between bread" pretty much does it for me.

So I guess what I'm saying is, if I were you, I wouldn't be reading this post.  But congratulations on being less of a snob than I am, because you're about to discover something amazing:

It's called pickapeppa sauce.  and has a strange and rather motley ingredient list: Tomatoes, onions, sugar, vinegar, mangoes, raisins, garlic, salt, peppers, thyme, and cloves.  It tastes a little like worchestershire sauce, only thick and a little sweet, and maybe kind of tropical (could be the mangoes, could be the picture of a parrot on the bottle).

It tastes pretty darn good just brushed on a slab of seared tofu and stuck between two slices of store bread, but why not go crazy and add sliced peppers, onions, and artichokes to the tofu, and serve it up on fresh chiabatta?  Run out to the garden for some butterhead lettuce to stick on there, too.  Now THAT'S a good sandwich.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Chocolate peppermint fudge probably doesn’t require much introduction.  Suffice it to say it tastes as good as it sounds.

The Ingredients
1 ¼ c sugar
1/3 c milk alternative
½ t salt
¾ c vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t peppermint extract
2 T margarine
crushed candy cane for decoration

The Process
  1. Oil a 9x5 bread pan
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring “milk” and sugar to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stop stirring once it boils and let it cook until it reaches 235 degrees.
  3. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients (except candy cane), and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. If using candy cane, sprinkle it over the top of the fudge and press it in a little to make it stick
  6. Refrigerate until firm, about 1.5 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stuffed Arepas

I’ve written about arepas on this site before, but thought they were worth re-visiting because they are such a versatile, portable food they deserve a wider audience.  Most arepas I’ve seen resemble anEnglish muffin, and are split down the middle and stuffed with some kind of (usually non-vegan) filling.  My preferred method is to stuff the arepas before cooking them, which makes them easy to eat on the go.  They are a little time consuming to make, but keep well in the freezer, so they’re good for batch cooking.  You can reheat them from frozen by wrapping in a damp cloth and microwaving for a few minutes.

The Ingredients
2 cups masa harina
¼ cup melted margarine, or a mixture of equal parts margarine and olive oil
1-2 green onions, sliced
1¾ cups cool water
about ½ cup filling (black or refried beans and vegan mozerella are my stand-by)

The Process
  1. Combine masa, margarine, green onions, and water, and knead a few times.  Cover with a damp towel and let sit about 5 minutes.
  2. Divide dough into 8 equal parts and form into patties. (If your hands are wet, the dough will stick to them less.)
  3. Spoon filling into the center of 4 of the patties, then top with the other 4 patties, seal edges by pressing with a damp finger, and flatten a little to get disks about 4 inches in diameter.
  4. Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, covered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Flip patties, and continue cooking uncovered about 5 more minutes, or until flecked with brown on both sides.
  6. Serve with salsa.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ginger Dressing

This dressing is known in these parts as “magic sauce.”  It is my adaptation of a recipe I received from a friend of a friend, so I’m uncertain of its original source.  What I am certain of it that it is delicious, and not just on salad.  Try using it to top baguette slices, you won’t regret it.

The Ingredients
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce or liquid aminos
½ a medium onion
2 stalks celery
scant ¼ cup rice vinegar
2-3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 T sugar
1 t ketchup
¼ t black pepper

The Process
Either finely mince the veggies and then combine them with the remaining ingredients, or simply pulse everything in the food processor until the veggies are minced but not pureed.  Note: this dressing tastes better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight so the ginger mellows a little and the flavors meld.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Roasted Squash and Cauliflower with Balsamic Tahini Sauce

I tried growing butternut squash for the first time this year, not really expecting it to succeed. Wouldn’t you know it, my one little plant, which had looked so innocent as a seedling, completely took over my garden bed.  This is how I’ll be cooking most of the harvest.  The sauce carmelizes a little as it bakes, and the little-sweet, little-salty flavor pairs really well with the roasted veggies.  It won’t look like you have enough sauce for this amount of veggies, but the sauce has a very strong flavor and will mingle with the juices from the veggies as it cooks, so less sauce is better in this case.  Sometimes I throw in a can of chickpeas with the veggies to make it more of a one-dish meal.

The ingredients
1 head cauliflower, in florets
1 butternut squash, microwaved for a few minutes to soften slightly, then peeled and cut in bite-sized pieces.

a dash olive oil
two dashes balsamic vinegar
a spoonful molasses
several dashes soy sauce
a few spoonfuls tahini
a small splash of red wine, if you have some open or want an excuse to open some
a little broth or water, if the sauce seems too thick

The Process
  1. Heat oven to 450.
  2. Oil a large baking dish.
  3. Put veggies in baking dish.  Combine sauce ingredients and pour over veggies.
  4. Cover and roast 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover, stir to coat veggies, and roast about 20 minutes more, or until squash is very tender.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Coconut-Banana-Oatmeal Pancakes

These are pretty dense as pancakes go, and hearty enough to keep me full until lunchtime.  I like them plain or with a dab of peanut butter, but they look all lovely and photogenic if you sprinkle them with shredded coconut.  These freeze well, so they're good for making in batches and reheating on busy (or lazy) weekday mornings.

The Ingredients
¾ c + 2 T flour
2 t baking powder
¼ c shredded, unsweetened coconut
¼ c rolled oats
1 T sugar
¼ t salt
1/8 t nutmeg

1 c milk alternative
¼ c coconut milk
½ a banana
½ t vanilla extract
1/4 t lemon zest

The Process
  1. Whisk together dry ingredients
  2. Blend wet ingredients until smooth
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until just combined
  4. Cook on medium heat, a minute or two per side, until golden-brown

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge

This fudge has peanut butter in it, which contains protein, which means it is healthy.  So next time someone annoying asks you how you get enough protein, just tell them you eat lots of fudge.

The Ingredients
1/2 c milk alternative
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
3/4 c smooth peanut butter
sea salt and chopped peanuts for garnish

The Process
  1. Very lightly oil whatever container you intend to pour the hot fudge into. Don't use plastic; it will melt.  (I use a 9x5 bread pan.)
  2. In a saucepan, bring "milk" and sugar to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. (Use a bigger pan than you think you need, because you don't want boiling sugar spilling over the sides onto the stove.) 
  3. Once it boils, stop stirring, turn heat to medium-high, and continue cooking until it reaches 234 degrees.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter and vanilla until very smooth.
  5. Pour into prepared container, sprinkle with course sea salt and chopped peanuts, and cool in the fridge until it firms up, about 1-2 hours.

My fudge will be accepting marriage proposals via the comments section.

Stay tuned next Friday for chocolate-peppermint fudge.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garlicky Gnocchi with Delicata Squash and Cauliflower

I'm a little ashamed to post a recipe that uses packaged gnocchi, especially after reading the tantalizing post from Vegan Soul Power about homemade sweet potato gnocchi. But shelf-stable, vacuum-packed gnocchi is great when you're short on time and you haven't had the foresight/motivation to make and freeze your own gnocchi ahead of time.  Here's how I like to serve it:

The ingredients
Olive oil
Greens from 2-4 green onions, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Salt and black pepper
1 small delicate squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch by ½-inch chunks
about 1 cup cauliflower florets, cut bite-sized
1 17.5-ounce package gnocchi
about 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
Nutritional yeast to taste

The process
1. Heat about 3 T olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add onion greens and garlic and sauté until greens are slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
2. Saute or steam cauliflower and squash until tender.
3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi according to package directions.
4. Toss gnocchi and garlic/onion mixture with squash and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Top with toasted walnuts and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. (Garnish with broccoli if for some reason you want yours to match my photo. Weirdo.)
6. Beg for more.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Beer Bread

Beer bread is so good.  It takes less than five minutes of hands-on time; then you can go online and look at all the other amazing Vegan MoFo posts while you're waiting for it to bake.  I won't force you to put the onion in it, but you really should try it; the onion gets sweet and melty while it bakes.  I'm trying to use up a bunch of balsamic-garlic jelly that I made way too much of, and the tangy sweetness of the jelly is a perfect complement to the bread.

The ingredients

 3 c flour
1 T + 1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
3 T sugar
12 oz. beer
(1 onion, sliced)

The Process
Whisk together dry ingredients.  Add onion if using.  Add beer and stir until just combined.  Bake at 350 for 55-65 minutes.  I've baked it in a round cast-iron pan or a standard loaf pan; both work great.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sick Tofu

I like to eat lots of garlic, ginger, and onions when I feel a cold coming on.  Not that it seems to particularly help, but at least it gives me a brief glimmer of false hope and a feeling of virtuous proactivity.

I made this garliclicious tofu yesterday to try to fend off a sore throat…in which regard it was a complete failure, but it did taste great. 

2 T olive oil
1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
10-12 cloves garlic, pressed
1 T ginger
1 package super-firm tofu or baked tofu, sliced into very thin strips
1 cup vegetable broth, mixed with 2 t cornstarch
2 c broccoli florets

The process
  1. Steam broccoli a few minutes until half-cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, Heat oil in a large skillet. 
  3. Over medium heat, sauté garlic, onions, and ginger 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add tofu, broccoli, and broth, and stir to combine.
  5. Simmer about 2 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  6. Serve over rice.

Monday, November 1, 2010


These are a pain in the ass to make, especially considering that they’re only going to last a few minutes once you pull them out of the oven and start stuffing your greedy greedy face. On the other hand, they’re a great way to win someone’s forgiveness, or guarantee your partner’s undying loyalty and affection.

1 1/3 cup soy or almond milk, divided
¼ cup + 2 T firm silken tofu
2 t tapioca starch
2 T water
5 ½ sticks margarine
2 T + 2 t dry active yeast
¼ cup sugar
½ t salt
¾ t ground cardamom
1 pound 5 oz bread flour (or regular unbleached flour with a little vital wheat gluten added)

Jam or pie filling or whatever floats your boat

Powdered sugar mixed with a splash of water and a few drops of lemon juice (this should be a little thinner than the consistency of egg whites)

The (long) process

1. Mix 1 cup of milk, tofu, starch, and water until silky-smooth. Refrigerate.
2. Warm remaining milk, and combine with yeast, sugar, and salt. Let it get a little frothy, then add it to the refrigerated milk mixture and return to the fridge.
3. Wrap margarine loosely in plastic wrap and pound/roll into a 5-inch square. Refrigerate.
4. Add the flour to the liquid in batches until dough is soft and a little sticky but holds together. Use more or less flour as needed to get the right consistency. You need to be able to roll the dough without it sticking to everything, but too firm and it won’t be pliable.
5. On a floured surface, roll dough into a n 8-inch square. Unwrap margarine and place diagonally on top of dough, then fold corners of dough up to seal in the margarine. Return to fridge if it is getting sticky.

6. Roll dough into an 8x12 inch rectangle, being careful not to let the margarine break through. Brush off excess flour, and fold in thirds like a letter. Loosely wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20-40 minutes.

7. Re-roll into an 8x12 rectangle and fold again. Repeat this rolling/folding for 4 total folds, refrigerating for 20-40 minutes after each time.
8. Roll dough into a 10x14 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half lengthwise, and refrigerate half while you work with the other half.
9. Cut dough lengthwise into 3/8-inch wide strips using a ruler and sharp knife or, if you’re fancy, a pastry cutter.

10. Twist each strip into a tight rope, and roll up in a spiral. Fold the ends underneath the spirals. Place on a cookie sheet (bonus points if you line the sheet with parchement paper), loosely cover with spray-oiled plastic wrap, and let rise until almost doubled. (You should end up with about 30 danish, and I’m told you can freeze them before they rise, and let them rise when you thaw them if you want.)

11. When pastries have almost doubled, preheat oven to 400.
12. Press a slight indentation into the center of each pastry, and add about 1 T filling (I like to use a variety of jams.)
13. Bake for about 15 minutes, until tops just start to turn golden in spots.
14. Meanwhile, whisk together glaze.
15. Brush with glaze as soon as you remove them from the oven. This gives them a nice shiny sugar-layer.
16. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
17. Store any uneaten ones, if you manage to have uneaten ones, in the fridge.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Vegan MoFo

Just signed up to be part of Vegan MoFo next month.  Hopefully this will encourage me to start posting more.
I plan to start by busting out some pastry recipes...I've been hankering for some danish.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Red Potato Burritos

I've been trying to cook in my cast iron pans lately to increase the iron in my diet.  These burritos came out with a rich, smoky flavor that was also good cold for lunch the next day.

splash olive oil
1/2 pound small red potatoes, diced
1/2 a medium-large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic or 1/4-1/2 t garlic powder
1-2 t dried oregano
1 can black beans, drained (and rinsed if salty)
1-2 small tomatoes, minced
1 roasted red pepper, minced
a few leaves of beet greens or chard, sliced (optional)
1/2-1 cup frozen corn
2 pinches tarragon
pinch salt
1/2-1 cups almond milk
1/8 t liquid smoke
1 T margarine
1-2 T flour
4 super-large or 8 regular-sized burrito shells

The Process:
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in cast iron skillet.  Add onions, potatoes, garlic, and oregano, and fry for about 7 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping any burned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add beans, tomato, pepper, corn, greens, and a splash of the almond milk. Cover, lower to a simmer, and continue cooking until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make roux: in small pan, melt margarine. Whisk in flour. Cook for about 2 minutes.  (Alternatively, melt the margarine in the microwave, mix in the flour with a fork, then return to the microwave for about 30 seconds on medium-high heat.)
  4. Add tarragon, liquid smoke, and salt to potato/bean mixture.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Stir in roux, and add additional almond milk to desired thickness.  It should be very thick to keep it from leaking out of the burrito shells.
  5. Toast or grill your burrito shells before filling them, it's worth it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lazy Pesto

I love pesto. I want to marry it and have its basillicious babies.  But last weekend, I had a monster basil crop that needed harvesting, and I didn't feel like toasting nuts or pressing garlic.  Lazy pesto to the rescue!  I didn't measure anything, just popped it all in the food processor and gave it a few pulses.  Instant deliciousness.

3 big handfuls of basil leaves
several handfuls raw walnuts
a few hearty shakes of nutritional yeast
a splash of lemon juice
a few glugs of olive oil
a few shakes of garlic powder
a couple pinches of salt

This made about a pint jar full.  I had it tossed with bowtie pasta and cannellini beans last night, and have enough left to toss with gnocchi tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vegan Camp Food

Okay, I haven't been very reliable about posting because I've been too lazy/unmotivated to cook recently (and have an ulcer that prevents me from eating a lot of my favorite, spicy foods) and have been relying overmuch on convenience foods: ramen noodles cooked with curry powder and whatever vegetables are in the garden (which by the way tastes really GOOD if you start with decent noodles and add plenty of produce); frozen vegetable gyoza; and seasoned baked tofu thrown under the broiler until it's crisp and puffy.

Now I'm preparing for a long weekend of camping and hiking, so here's the rundown on what's filling my cooler:
  • Bagels and peanut butter
  • Crackers and Tartex
  • Dried peaches.  Which taste better than candy.
  • Bananas
  • Gnocchi, canned white beans, and artichoke-red pepper tampenade
  • Boxed butternut squash soup
  • Precooked, packaged Indian food entrees
  • Tofu Pups (shut up, I like them)
  • Almond Breeze!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Walnut Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce

This is my husband's favorite dish, which he's been known to moan just thinking about...I don't make it often because it's so unhealthy and I lack the patience to fry tofu regularly.  But yesterday was his birthday, so I whipped up an enormous batch, which I served with brown rice and a beautiful plum-glazed cinnamon-spice cake.

Walnut Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce
2 blocks tofu, frozen, then thawed and drained, cut into 1 1/2-inch triangles.
oil for pan-frying
Sweet chili sauce (lots!)
lime juice or vinegar
liquid aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
about 2 cups walnut halves and/or pieces
vegetables if desired

  1. Fry tofu (easiest in a non-stick pan) in a few Tbsp of oil, turning at least once, until golden-brown.  Set aside.
  2. Toast walnuts on stovetop or in toaster oven and set aside.
  3. Stir-fry vegetables (I recommend peppers and broccoli).  Add walnuts and tofu, and completely coat with chili sauce.  Season to taste with lime juice and soy sauce.  Thin with a little water or vegetable broth if too thick.
  4. Serve over rice or noodles.

Cinnamon Spice Cake with Plum Glaze (makes two 8- or 9-inch round layers)

1 3/4 cups almond milk
2 t apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1 T + 1 t cocoa powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t nutmeg
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 scant t salt
2/3 c canola oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 T plum syrup (or plum jam blended until smooth)
2 T pomegranate liqueur
1 T + 1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract

  1. Whisk vinegar into almond milk and set aside.
  2. Whisk together all dry ingredients.
  3. Add syrup, liqueur, oil, and extracts to almond milk, then whisk wet and dry ingredients together until just combined.
  4. Pour into 2 oiled cake pans and bake about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan.

1 1/2 cups plum syrup or plum jam
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2-1 T cornstarch, as needed
  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan and cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Whisk in cornstarch to if not thick enough.  Let cool slightly before spreading between layers and  pouring over top of cake. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Squash Casserole

When my husband makes rice, he always makes way too much.
My zucchini and summer squash plants produce way too much.
What to do with all the leftover rice and armloads of squash? Summer squash casserole to the rescue!

  • 3-4 yellow crookneck or zucchini, or some combination thereof
  • about 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegenaise
  • about 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • about 3/4 cup almond, soy, or rice milk
  • 1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
The Process:
  1. Slice or dice squash and mix or layer with rice in an oiled casserole dish
  2. blend together all other ingredients, and pour over rice/squash mixture
  3. cover, and bake 30-45 minutes (depending how soft you like your squash) at 375
This is my new comfort food...creamy and delicious.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

breaded baked eggplant

It's the time of year when my garden seems to produce a new eggplant every time I blink.  I'm still learning to cook with the stuff, but here's the best method I've found so far:

Slice eggplant into 1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds, put in a colander, and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Let it sit for about a half hour, then rinse the salt off and squeeze some of the water out.
Get three bowls:
  1.  flour mixed with spices (garlic, pepper, etc.)
  2. bread crumbs
  3. something wet (I used soy milk blended with vegenaise)
Dredge eggplant in flour, then liquid, and finally breadcrumbs (sort of mash it in to make them stick).
Put on a sprayed or oiled baking sheet, and spray the tops with cooking spray.
Bake at around 425 for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway.

I ate these plain hot off the pan, and reheated leftovers for breakfast with dallops of salsa on top.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"happy hens"

Egg farms are despicable. The Humane Society has filed a complaint against Rose Acre Farms, one of the nation's largest egg producers, asking the Federal Trade Commission to stop the company's false claims about the living conditions of the hens in their factory farms. The company claims the hens live in a "humane and friendly environment." Yeah, "friendly," that's what I'd call being crammed in a cage with a corpse, unable to move.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Okay, let me just say a big BOO-HISS on being served "vegan" food, only to discover bits of flesh in it midway through the meal.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Patxi's pizza in Palo Alto just started offering Daiya vegan cheese pizzas. I had resigned myself to a future of thin, almost sauceless pizzas from Amici's (where they also offer Daiya cheese), but now I can succumb to the siren song of the thick and saucy. Obesity, here I come...

Monday, February 1, 2010


Arepas, the South American corn-flour patties, deserve a much wider audience, and since they pretty much consist of flour, water, and oil, they're easy to veganize.

I'm told you can buy special "arepa flour," but I prefer to use the masa harina that is cheap and readily available at the Mexican markets in my neighborhood; it makes a nice soft arepa. I also like to mix some slivered green onions into the dough.

Most people seem to make their arepas as thick patties, which are then sliced in half horizontally and filled like a sandwich, but I prefer to make two thin patties, put a spoonful of filling on one, and seal them together before cooking. This makes the arepa easy to pack, and is less messy to eat than the sliced version. I'm still experimenting with fillings, and usually use some form of beans, perhaps mixed with some salsa and minced onions or peppers. But I'm planning to try some soon with fried bananas or plantains, and some with caramelized onions. mmm...almost lunchtime.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins

I got these great jumbo-size muffin tins as a gift, and now I can gorge on bakery-sized muffins for breakfast every morning. These are kind of like carrot cake, without all the sugary icing. Next time I make them I'll probably toss some chopped walnuts in there, too.
This recipe makes 6 jumbo muffins or 12 standard-size (wussy) muffins.

The ingredients:
2/3 c raisins
1.5 c flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 c rice milk
1/4 c canola or vegetable oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 c grated carrot
1/3 c shredded, unsweetened coconut

The process:
1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray or lightly oil muffin tins.

2. Soak the raisins in very hot water to make them plump and juicy.

3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.

5. Fold in carrots, raisins, and coconut in batches.

6. Fill tins mostly full, and bake about 22 minutes for regular muffins, 25 minutes for jumbo-size muffins.