Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Vegetables

Today's lunch was a breeze. I used yesterday's leftover pesto and roasted veggies and added them to pasta. I also added olives and lemon juice. Delicious!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Veggie Heaven.

This is my Memorial Day weekend cooking. A boatload of roasted veggies. They were simply tossed in olive oil, crushed garlic, dried italian herbs, salt and pepper before roasting in a hot oven.

Two recipes from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook: Bruschetta with Artichokes and Olives and Broiled Mushrooms with Pesto. Both absolutely delicious.

My plate. Also pictured, roasted red potatoes!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harissa Spaghetti with Spinach, Mushrooms and Chickpeas

I am so in love with the homemade harissa that I made. I want to use it in everything! Luckily I know about this delicious spaghetti recipe that combines the wonderful flavors of spicy harissa, tomato and saffron. It is also cooked in a broth so there is so much flavor! Recipe here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich

I only make these when I'm in the mood and it's not very often. It's decadent and oh so bad for you. Two slices of french toast fried in Earth Balance margarine, slathered with Vegenaise holding a few slices of Tofurky and melted Daiya vegan cheese and dipped in maple syrup. Ridiculously good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Moroccan Lentil Stew (again!)

I made Moroccan Lentil Stew again and served it on top of rice for a change. It is so comforting and so good! I added a tsp. or so of ras el hanout to make it more Moroccan, haha! That's a blob of fiery homemade harissa on top. I can't wait to have leftovers tomorrow! Recipe here.

I'm going to repost this recipe here in case you have trouble with the link. Recipe taken from

Moroccan Lentil Stew

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped Spanish or other mild onion
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes, undrained
8 ounces red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup lentils, sorted for stones or shriveled lentils and rinsed
1 medium carrot, chopped
Low-sodium vegetable broth or water (as needed)
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped or chopped
Cooking Instructions

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Pour the oil into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom. Cook the onion for 3 to 4 minutes, or until translucent, stirring frequently.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the cumin, curry powder, and cayenne; cook for 30 seconds to release flavor. Stir in the tomatoes, potatoes, broth, lentils, and carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, stirring occasionally and adding more broth or water if needed to keep from sticking. Stir in the peas; simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley.

Cook's Tip
If lentils have been stored for an extended time, they may take up to 1 hour of cooking time to become tender.

Nutrition Analysis (per serving)
3.0 gTotal Fat
0.5 gSaturated Fat
0.0 gTrans Fat
0.5 gPolyunsaturated Fat
2.0 gMonounsaturated Fat
0 mgCholesterol
88 mgSodium
46 gCarbohydrates
12 gFiber
12 gSugar
13 gProtein
Dietary Exchanges
2 starch, 3 vegetable, 1 very lean meat

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Refried Bean Tacos with Chipotle Corn Salsa

Made a big pot of refried beans today from scratch. They are unbelievable! I don't like to buy refried beans in a can anymore. I used the beans to make tacos with corn tortillas, Daiya vegan cheese and a chipotle corn salsa. I also added a spicy habanero hot sauce that set my mouth on fire!

Chipotle Corn Salsa

1 14oz. can golden corn (no sugar added), drained or use frozen thawed corn
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne
juice of a small lime
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley or cilantro (I used dried parsley because that's all I had)

Mix all together and chill until ready to use.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dogs, Beer and Baseball.

Watched a great game today (Dodgers vs. Tigers) while enjoying my dogs and beer. It got really nervewracking in the 9th but we pulled through! Go Blue! I made Lightlife Smart Dogs which are the same kind they use at Dodger stadium. All vegan and fat free to boot!

Washed it all down with a cold brew. Chili Beer is a spicy beer with a real chili inside! I love this beer though I've heard not many people like it. Guess it's an acquired taste.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Veggie Stirfry

Simple veggie stirfry with broccoli, red peppers, gai-lan, napa cabbage, carrots and baby corns. The stirfry sauce was a mixture of water, vegetarian mushroom stirfry sauce, korean bbq sauce, rice vinegar and a bit of cornstarch and sugar.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lentil Massaman Curry

I had a chunk of Thai massaman curry paste in the freezer that I wanted to use up so I made this beautiful curry that has lentils, eggplant, potatoes, red bell peppers and peas. This is dinner tonight paired with Thai jasmine rice.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pita Sandwich, Nectarine Cake and more Lake Cuomo Pasta

Made this simple sandwich for lunch today of which I could only eat half. Hummus, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and pickled turnips in a whole wheat pita.

We got fresh nectarines from my uncle's backyard so I made this nectarine cake. I just used a basic vanilla cake recipe and added about a cup of chopped nectarines to the batter. I also used spelt instead of all purpose flour.

I so enjoyed the Lake Cuomo pasta I made yesterday that I made it again, this time making the full recipe.

I used broccoli instead of zucchini this time. This will be lunch for most of the week.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Bruschetta, Dijon Potato Salad and Lake Cuomo Pasta

We're going to be enjoying a picnic al fresco later on this evening so I got some fresh baguettes and made this beautiful bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers and fresh basil.

And what's a picnic without potato salad? I made this dijon potato salad that has dill, capers, pickles and pepperoncini in a dijon/olive oil/lemon/vegenaise based dressing.

Say hello to my cute 2.5 qt. dutch oven! I picked up this baby at Cost Plus World Market last night for a good deal and was very eager to make something in it! I decided on this Lake Cuomo Pasta recipe but halved it and instead of ricotta cheese I made a mixture of crumbled tofu mixed with italian herbs, garlic, red pepper flakes and a touch of miso paste.

So I layered everything in there: pasta, juice from tomatoes plus water, olive oil, salt/pepper, tomatoes/basil, veggies, tofu ricotta and more veggies. It went into the oven for an hour.

And out of the oven! A half recipe really makes a small batch so next time I should add a little more of everything.

I mixed the pasta before serving to get all the ingredients to blend together.

Ta da! This was so good. It was kind of like lasagna, creamy and rich. I loved it! Can't wait to make more!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Banana Molasses Bread

Look what I made last night! I would have taken a photo of the whole loaf but a lot of it is gone already! I based it off of this recipe. I didn't have Sucanat so I used regular unrefined sugar and added some blackstrap molasses for color. I also used spelt flour and omitted the chocolate chips. It came out so moist and amazing. This will be my go-to banana bread from now on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Quickie Reuben Sandwich

I had two of these sandwiches today. One at 9am and one about 10 minutes ago. I call it "quickie" because it's just a bunch of things thrown together. Three slices of Yves veggie bologna on two Ezekiel sesame toasts, sliced russian pickles, sauerkraut and an impromptu russian dressing (Vegenaise, ketchup, relish). Very very tasty indeed! Those bright pink things in front are pickled turnips by the way...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moroccan Lentil Stew

I've been in a Moroccan state of mind recently. My blog picture up top is now a bowl of chickpea tagine. I've been looking at all my Moroccan picture books and recipe books and visiting my favorite lifestyle blog My Marrakesh several times a day, just to stare and stare at beautiful photographs and yes, to dream. One day I will make a trip to this beautiful, exotic desert paradise to soak up the local culture and lounge in beautiful courtyards while drinking mint tea. Hopefully I'll get the chance to stay at this luxurious guest house.

I made this Moroccan inspired lentil stew for dinner tonight. What could be better than coming home from a long day at work and getting to eat a warm and comforting bowl of this stew? I added some authentic Moroccan spice to my stew: ras el hanout which means "head of the shop". Its a blend of many spices and to be honest I'm not sure what spices are in the blend that I bought! I also wanted to use the homemade harissa I made on Sunday. I took a photo of the stew but I haven't eaten yet. I will wait until I come home from work. Hope everyone has a great day.

Looking forward to a bowl of this with a dollop of harissa on top.
Recipe here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Homemade Harissa

Happy Mother's Day! My mom took a shift at work today so she won't be off untill dinnertime when we will order her a pizza. Her request! She's not a fussy lady, she likes everything simple. Pizza is her favorite treat and that's what she'll have. Since I didn't have to cook for her or the family today, I had time to experiment in the kitchen. I was flipping through "The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook" today and came across a harissa recipe. Harissa is a North African chili paste that is fiery hot and flavored with things like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. I had all the ingredients so I decided to make a jar for the fridge.

Here are all the ingredients: olive oil, red chilies which had been soaking in hot water for an hour, garlic and spices: mint, coriander, caraway and cumin. All of this gets thrown in a food processor.

I guess it depends on what kind of chilies you use to determine what the color will be. Mine was a bright orangey red and I used de arbol chilies.

I filled a little jar which had been washed in hot soapy water and dried in an oven for 20 minutes. It's kind of cool that I made my own. It cost me pennies and it'll last for about 6 months. Now I have this spicy condiment to use with dishes like couscous, soups, Moroccan stews, bean salads and pastas. Here's a good pasta recipe that uses harissa.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Herbs

I was looking at one of my favorite blogs yesterday, "My Marrakesh" and saw a post about beautiful food. The pasta with roasted vegetables was calling out to me and I had to make it right away.

First I roasted some vegetables: grape tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, eggplant and mushrooms. I tossed them in olive oil that had been infused with crushed garlic and fresh rosemary, thyme and basil. I also sprinkled a bit of sea salt and black pepper on top and roasted them at 400 degrees F.

Some veggies cooked faster than others, so I had to scoop them out first... all the while I had a pot of penne simmering in water on the stove.

When all the vegetables were cooked, I tossed them with the drained pasta, added a little more olive oil, salt, freshly cracked black pepper and more crushed garlic. It was sooo good! Next time I'm going to up the veggies because I would have rather had more veg than pasta. Such a simple meal to put together and would be great at a dinner party along with salad, bread and wine!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thai Massaman Curry

Made a quick curry tonight for dinner. I have so many tins of curry pastes in my pantry that I had to use. I picked massaman which has the wonderful flavors of coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, tamarind, lemongrass, galangal and red chilies. I cooked about 3/4 of a tin of paste with coconut milk, water, tofu, eggplant, potato and peas. Came together very quickly and super yummy on rice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sansho Spice Tofu Salad

Made a quick salad for lunch today. I sauteed cubed tofu with olive oil, lemon, salt and a Sansho spice blend which has red chili, seaweed, sansho pepper, orange peel, poppy seeds, white and black sesame seeds. Sansho pepper is the same as Sichuan pepper. I let the tofu cool a bit and then served it on a salad mix with avocado and cucumber. I dressed it simply with a sesame oil/miso/rice vinegar dressing. Fresh and delicious!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Easy Going Weekend.

I spent the majority of yesterday and today just seriously relaxing. No television, no phone, no computer to distract me. I only allowed music to create atmosphere while I sat on my patio outside soaking up sun and leisurely enjoying food on a tray with a good book and Nag Champa filling the air with a soothing, sweet perfume. I didn't allow myself to distract myself with thoughts like "What else could I be doing right now? Should I find something to do? Should I run errands?" I let thoughts like that float away while I enjoyed my time alone in a complete restful state in mind and body. All of this was something I really needed and to be able to enjoy delicious simple food as well was a bonus.

I did all the cooking early in the morning so it was ready for me to load up on a tray and take outside. I made Zalouk (Moroccan eggplant relish) and Tabbouleh (Lebanese parsley and bulgur salad) to enjoy with whole wheat pita and a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. I used Olive Trees and Honey cookbook and Tables of Lebanon cookbook to make these recipes.

Couldn't forget dessert! I got these because Trader Joe's ran out of the Trail mix cookies that I love so much. These were great too and even had coconut in them.

Buster ate a bit too, do you see evidence of tabbouleh on the floor? He found a spot under the shade of my caftan to get comfy.

A while later I was craving peanut butter so I made a sesame Ezekiel toast with crunchy pb and date syrup.