Monday, September 29, 2008

Sauce + Bananas: Caramelized!

No, not sauce and bananas together! I just happened to have made two dishes with caramelized somethin' in them!

I wanted to make tofu cutlets tonight with some kind of sauce. I first thought of marsala but I didn't have any marsala wine. What I did have was red wine so I experimented and came up with this rich, flavorful sauce with loads of caramelized onions. If you're onion phobic like my husband (he didn't really like the amount of onions in it), you can cut the amount of onions you use in half. I smothered pan fried tofu cutlets with the sauce and had them that way. To be honest, I would have rather enjoyed the sauce with something meatier like a veggie burger patty or veggie meatloaf. The tofu was just too bland for me. But maybe you can make it work better than I did!

Red Wine Miso Sauce with Caramelized Onions

2 TB olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced (you may use 1/2 or less if you desire)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp cornstarch
1 TB mellow white miso paste
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until onions are soft, browned and caramelized. Add the red wine and let it simmer and reduce for about a minute or so. In the meantime, combine the broth, tomato paste and cornstarch and whisk together. Pour this mixture little by litte into the red wine/onion mixture and stir to combine. Keep simmering for another 4 minutes or so until it gets thick and shiny. Stir in the miso paste, italian herbs, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

On tofu with mash and peas.

Earlier today I got these from my banana tree in my backyard:

So I made this:

Caramelized Bananas with Cinnamon

3 mini bananas, sliced (go ahead and use a couple normal bananas or even very ripe plantains.)
1-2 TB canola oil
2 tsp sugar
couple pinches of cinnamon

Heat oil in a small saucepan on med-high heat. Add the sliced bananas in a layer and let cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle 1 tsp of the sugar on top and then flip them over either with a spatula or a "flick of the wrist". Sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook and flip around until all the bananas are browned and caramelized. These would be delicious served on top of vanilla soy ice cream or on top of pancakes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vegetable Chowder

I made vegetable chowder today because I needed to get rid of some produce that I had hanging out in the fridge. This came out really nice, fairly creamy and tasty!

Vegetable Chowder

2 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 celery rib, sliced
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups vegetable broth
2 small red potatoes, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 carrot, sliced
1 cup plain soymilk
1-2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a soup pot on high. Saute onions, bell pepper and celery until softened. Add corn and stir for a few minutes. Add broth, potatoes, zucchini and carrot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add soymilk and continue to simmer. At this point, I like to break down the potatoes a bit by mashing some of them with a wooden spoon to make the soup thicker. To thicken it a litt more, dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and then add slowly to soup and then bring it to a boil for 1 minute. Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper and let simmer until heated through.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tonight was taco night!

I dig taco nights. It's always a quick thing. Stir fry some soy crumbles with taco seasoning, heat up some beans, chop some lettuce and heat up the taco shells and in less than 15-20 minutes, we've got tacos for dinner. We had store bought fresh guacamole and taco sauce to top them off. I served them with a Southwestern Pasta Salad that I prepared earlier today. It's a low fat recipe that I found in a book called 'Pasta and Vegetables: Low Fat Recipes That Work'. I found this book at a bargain book shop for $1! I can't wait to get more into it. It features a bunch of low fat recipes for delicious vegetarian pasta sauces and pasta dishes. Several recipes contain dairy but that can be easily remedied by using plain soymilk instead of milk or cream and vegan cheese or vegan parmesan. The authors claim that these recipes will help you lose weight. Awesome!

Happy Birthday Mini Loaf Cakes!

My mom is having a lunch tomorrow with her girlfriends to celebrate a birthday for one of them. The birthday lady is also moving to Montana very soon so it's also a going away party for her. Mom asked me to make a little cake for her friend and emphasized "little" because she is the kind of lady that doesn't eat much sweets and also watches her calories. So I thought making two mini loaves of kittee's vanilla lemon cake would be perfect. Instead of buttercream frosting, I made a simple lemon glaze to drizzle on top and added birthday sprinkles. Hope she enjoys them!

kittee posted this recipe at the postpunkkitchen forums so I'm sure she won't mind that I repost it here. (Note: I halved this recipe to make my mini loaves. I also used soymilk for the liquid portion and omitted the lemon extract.)

kittee's cake (recipe for 2 layer cake)
3 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups light unbleached granulated sugar (like Florida Crystals)
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups liquid (a combo of lemon juice and water would work or lemon juice and oj)
2/3 cup canola oil
1-2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsps cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract

preheat oven to 350F. grease and flour two round cake pans. combine dry. combine liquid separately. beat liquid into dry. divide batter evenly. bake about 45-50 minutes until tests done with a toothpick. let cool ten minutes, flip cakes onto rack and allow to cool. make a buttercream with 16oz powdered sugar, 1/2 cup earth balance, 1/2 cup shortening and enough lemon juice and vanilla to get a creamy texture when beaten.

A more dramatic shot by the window.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taking a break from cooking tonight.

My wonderful husband made this lovely dinner of garlic and olive oil linguine with black olives for dinner. It is such a simple thing but so so good and comforting. I wouldn't mind eating this once a week! I had some "Parmezano Sprinkles" in the fridge that I made especially for it. It's a great replacement for parmesan cheese and consists of almonds, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, salt and miso paste. A sprinkle of this and some crushed red pepper flakes on my pasta made my dinner complete.

Yummy "Parmezano Sprinkles". I should have made a bigger batch to fill this jar! Recipe is in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. If you want the recipe, comment on this post with your email!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Whoa. Tuna Melt!

Well, not actually tuna of course. My lunch post got me thinking about sandwiches and I had to get back in the kitchen to make that mock tuna salad that was so good. After I made that, I went to put it in the fridge to chill for a while. That's when I saw the block of "Chedda Uncheese" that I made a few days ago. "Tuna Melt!" I thought. I'll eat my leftover chickpea burgers tomorrow. I wanted a "tuna" melt tonight.
WHOA! is all I can say. It was so damn tasty!

What's for lunch?

Since I made so many chickpea burgers yesterday I will be having those for lunch for the next day or so. I like to wrap them up in a pita bread with lettuce and tomato for a yummy sandwich. Speaking of lunch, there's nothing better than a sandwich. When I first went vegan, I had a hard time figuring out what I could quickly whip up for lunches. I can't tell you how many avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwiches I had! When I finally saw the light, I was able to get by with many variations of the sandwich. Along with the mock tuna salad that I talked about in another post, here are a few more sandwiches that I like a lot.

First up is the chickpea salad sandwich. As you know I'm a big fan of chickpeas. When I figured out that you can mash them up and mix them with mayo for a sandwich filling, I was very very happy. I like to put chopped celery in mine along with onion and garlic powder, and a squirt of yellow mustard. It's a veggie take on chicken salad and it's really good. My omnivore husband loves this.

Do I miss eggs? NO! Do I miss egg salad? YES! Here's what we call Tofu Egg Salad. Pictured here is joni's (just the food blog) recipe. It is absolutely delicous. It requires frying up tofu cubes and onions until browned and then smothering them in mayo and other spices! It really does have that eggy texture and the flavor is wondeful.

This is Vegan with a Vengeance's TLT sandwich. It is basically a hummus sandwich layered with mayo, tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato. There is supposed to be red onions in there I think but I must have not had them available at the time. I love this sandwich. The garlicky and creamy hummus combined with the smoky bacon really is a winning combination.

When I have a friend or friends over for tea, I like to make these finger sandwiches. The ones in the middle are cucumber and soy cream cheese and the others are tofu egg salad (tofu was mashed up this time for a smoother consistency).

And for something a little different, a "Raw Taco" or "Rawcos" as Melody from the Melomeals blog calls them. These are lettuce wraps with a filling made of raw cauliflower, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder and cashews. I think Melody uses walnuts but I imagine any nut will do. They are so refreshing and delicious and the flavors remind me of Thai larb! Don't know why, maybe because of the chili and lime together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Chickpea & Fava Bean Burgers with Cucumber Sauce

I am a chickpea fanatic. I get made fun of when I make too many dishes with chickpeas in it. Lentils also. My brother says: "Kim is always eating lentils." And my husband says: "What's for dinner? Chickpeas?" I like that these beans as well as other varieties are a perfect ingredient to make burgers with and can be enjoyed with your favorite sauce. They are a great source of protein and are much more exciting to eat than a bowl of beans. I make falafel (middle eastern chickpea fritters) often. These are similar to falafel but not quite a traditional recipe because I add a bunch of other seasonings to it. I also made a garlicky cucumber sauce which is kind of like tzatziki sauce except I use rich vegan mayo instead of yogurt. These burgers are delicious. They are crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. Note: If you can't find fava beans, you may use all chickpeas and the results will be just as good.

Chickpea & Fava Bean Burgers

1 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can foul mudammas (cooked fava beans), drained and rinsed
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
handful cilantro, chopped
1 TB nutritional yeast (totally optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Trader Joe's 21 salute seasoning (or any salt free all purpose seasoning blend)
1/2 tsp salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup corn flour (masa harina) or all purpose flour for binding
canola oil for frying

Cucumber sauce:
3 TB vegan mayo (or more if you like)
1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Stir to combine all ingredients and chill.

Drain and rinse beans. Put them into a large bowl and with a potato masher or fork, mash the beans until there are no whole beans left. Add the remaining ingredients and using your hands, mix the ingredients until they are all combined. If you find the mixture a little wet or sticky, use a little more flour to bind it together. Form into 6 or 7 medium sized patties and place them on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
On the stove, heat a shallow layer of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Fry the patties about 2 minutes on each side, just until they are browned. Then transfer patties onto the baking sheet and finish cooking them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Serve with cucumber sauce as is or as a sandwich inside of a pita pocket with lettuce and tomato.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hey Giada, I veganized your soup!

I like to watch the Food Network pretty much because I'm obsessed with food. I know that most of these shows are very meat centric but every once and a while I'll watch a show that features a dish that I would love to make at home. I like Giada's Everyday Italian because she features hearty and simple Italian dishes with fresh flavors. She does make a lot of meat but there are several dishes that can be veggie-fied. This weekend she made a beautiful Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup which looked so creamy and delicious. And it was totally veganizable. (Is that a word?) Here is my adapted version, suitable for animal free diets! Mine features added cauliflower because I wanted to add a vegetable element. Worked wonderfully and gave it a nice flavor!

Giada's Tuscan White Bean and Garlic Soup Veganized

2 TB Earth Balance margarine
1 TB olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 sage leaf (I didn't have this so I crumbled in a pinch of dried sage leaves)
2 (15-ounce) cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups steamed cauliflower florets, chopped (optional)
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup plain soymilk
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste

Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the Earth Balance, olive oil, and shallot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sage and beans (and/or steamed cauliflower) and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended. Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back in the soup pan, add the soymilk and the pepper and salt to taste. Keep warm, covered, over very low heat.

Edit: This soup also tastes good with a squirt of lemon!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Veggie Enchiladas with Smoky Chipotle Sauce + Coconut Cardamom Carrot Rice Pudding

I like cooking on the weekends as I get to spend more time with my food instead of plopping everything in a pot to be done with it. Today I wanted to make enchiladas and use up all the wonderful produce I got yesterday. These are chock full of red potatoes, cauliflower, red and green peppers, onions and zucchini and covered in a smoky chipotle enchilada sauce. Recipe at end of post.

A boatload of veggies!

Here they are cooked and ready to fill tortillas.

Out of the oven in all it's sauciness.

On my plate, halfway devoured.

Smoky Chipotle Enchilada Sauce

1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB chili powder
1-2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1 14 oz. can crushed roasted tomatoes
3/4 cup water
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in some oil until onions get soft. Add spices and stir. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enchilada Filling

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
1 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped
4-5 small red potatoes, chopped into small cubes
3/4 cup water
corn tortillas

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan on high heat and add the onion, red and green peppers and zucchini. Saute for about 5 minutes or until vegetables get soft. Add frozen corn and continue to cook. Onions will start to brown. Remove all vegetables from pan and set aside.

2. In the same pan, add a little olive oil on medium high heat and add in the cauliflower and potatoes. Saute for a few minutes and then add 3/4 cup water. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir occassionally to keep them from sticking to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add first batch of vegetables to the cauliflower and potatoes. Stir to combine and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

4. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Steam tortillas and roll up enchiladas with about 2 heaping TB of filling. Place seam side down in baking dish and cover with sauce. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 5 minutes.

Dessert was Vegan Planet's Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding with grated carrot added to it. It is so delicious both warm or cold.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mumbo Gumbo.

I don't remember the last time I had gumbo. I might have been 7. I don't know. I must have not liked it that much if I never had it again since then. I found this veggie gumbo recipe at kittee's blog. It looked so good to me that I knew I had to try it and see once and for all if I really do like gumbo. I did have to substitute a few things because I didn't have them. Like okra. Where the hell do you find fresh or frozen okra here in L.A.? I couldn't find it anywhere. Either that or I was looking in the wrong place. I had a zucchini in my fridge so I chopped that up and added to the stew. I also didn't have Tony Chachere's seasoning so I ended up using Trader Joe's '21 Salute Seasoning' and added a little cayenne, paprika and black pepper. I also used store bought veggie sausage (Tofurkey brand). All in all, this gumbo was fairly easy to make and I think it turned out fabulously served over rice. I definitely would make it again. Thanks kittee!

On white rice. Mmm...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Potato-Bean Chili and Cornbread

I need to go grocery shopping soon. Tonight's delicious dinner was concocted out of the very few things I had left in my pantry and fridge. I had a couple of canned beans, stewed tomatoes, russet potatoes and a carrot stick. A chili was in order...

It turned out so well. Nice and hearty with chunks of potato and a little bit of zest. I also made the PPK Vegan Cornbread which is the best cornbread I've ever made. I added 1/4 cup of sugar to this cornbread recipe to give it a bit of sweetness. Serve it with margarine and a drizzle of agave syrup.

Potato-Bean Chili

2 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 small russet potatoes, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 14 oz. cans diced or stewed tomatoes with juice
1 cup water
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a pot. Saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic for a few minutes or until onions soften a bit. Add potatoes. Stir around and then cover and let cook for about 5 minutes. Stir every so often so they won't stick to the pot. Add the beans, tomatoes, water and spices. Bring to a boil then lower heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

PPK cornbread rocks so hard.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Red Wine Marinara Sauce

I make spaghetti and marinara all the time because I almost always have the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. Not only is it easy to prepare, it makes a delicious, hot and comforting weeknight dinner. This particular sauce was an experiment with red wine. I had a half bottle of cabernet sitting on the counter and I decided to slosh some in. Hey, why not?

Red Wine Vegetable Marinara Sauce

2 TB olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped in small pieces
1 zucchini, diced small
2 TB tomato paste
1 cup water
2 14 oz. cans stewed tomatoes (blended until smooth in a blender) or you can use crushed tomatoes instead
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
fresh basil (about 6-7 leaves, chopped)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes until onions brown a bit and get soft. Add carrots and zucchini and cook until they are fairly soft. Add the tomato paste and stir around and then add water and canned tomatoes. Stir to dissolve tomato paste. Add the wine, red pepper flakes, sugar and basil and bring to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes or more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The red wine really did something to the flavor of the sauce. It made it deep and rich with a hint of sweetness. Yum!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thai Green Curry & Bonus birthday cupcakes.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I LOVE curries. I'm from a Thai background so we like our curry. This one in particular. It's a spicy green curry made from green curry paste and creamy coconut milk. You can find these tinned curry pastes at asian groceries. They come in many different flavors: red, green, masaman, karee, etc...
When you buy these, make sure they don't contain shrimp or fish paste. Some of them do so you have to be careful. Here is the one I used by Maesri brand.

You must eat this curry with hot jasmine rice!

Thai Green Curry with Veggies and Tofu

2 TB canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 carrot, sliced
1 TB green curry paste (this is spicy so use as little or much as you like - store the leftover paste in a little ziploc bag in the freezer)
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups broccoli florets
1 small red pepper, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 TB soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
juice of one large lime

Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Saute for a while until onions are browned and a bit soft. Add potatoes, carrots and green curry paste. Stir around to coat, then add coconut milk and stir. Bring to a boil. Add broccoli, red pepper and zucchini. Add soy sauce, sugar and lime juice. Lower heat to medium low. Add tofu cubes. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or so or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Serve over hot rice.

Yesterday's post got me inspired to make Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes. These are for my friends for their birthday celebration tonight. I frosted them with vanilla buttercream and dusted them with cocoa powder.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Super Moist Easy Cakes

I totally need to be baking more as these pictures are quite old but I just wanted to share with you how well baked goods can turn out without the use of dairy or eggs. This delicious date cake is super duper easy and so so moist! It only requires 6 ingredients: dates, sugar, milk (in my case I substituted soymilk), flour, oil and baking soda. You can add nuts if you're feeling adventurous. The recipe requires you to soak the dates in milk: don't do that. I just blended them in the blender with the milk and sugar. Then I continue with the recipe as written. Recipe is here. You should try it, I guarantee you will love it. This cake goes well with tea or coffee. And if you feel like it, you can frost it with a vanilla buttercream frosting.

If you're not a date person or if you're in the mood for chocolate instead, let me direct you to this fool-proof chocolate cake recipe. If you feel like making spicy chocolate cake try this "mexican chocolate cake" recipe. This recipe requires the use of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. A word of warning: a little cayenne goes a long way. I like to cut it down to 1/4 tsp instead of 3/4 tsp!
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

I was out all day taking my father in law to see the sights and after a really big lunch, I planned to make something kind of light for supper. This soup was really simple and deliciously creamy.

Creamy Cauliflower and Potato Soup

2 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, sliced
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
3-4 small to medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable broth or water
unsweetened soymilk (a good brand: Kikkoman Pearl)
salt and pepper to taste
dash of paprika

Heat olive oil in a soup pot on medium high heat. Add onion and celery and saute until soft. Add cauliflower and potatoes and stir for a few minutes. Add veggie broth or water and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or so until the vegetables are very soft. Mash with a potato masher if you like to break them down even more. Then add enough soymilk until you get the right consistency of creaminess (about 1/2 cup or more). Blend 3/4 of the soup in a blender until smooth and add back to the pot. Heat through and season with salt and pepper to taste and paprika. Serve hot.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Uh oh, football season is here. (Let's talk game food!)

Am I right? I'm not a follower of football but my husband got up real early today to go to his buddy's house to watch a Patriots game. Around this time of year, it's an obsession for him and I kind of think he wants me to get into it too. Sorry buddy, baseball is as far as I will go! (But who doesn't freaking love baseball????)

Yeah so anyway, there will probably be many Sundays (or is it Mondays?) where there will be a game on tv and snacks on the coffee table. I don't mind hanging around if there are yummy snacks to nibble on. I've got some perfect foods that I like to enjoy when the game is on.

Artichoke Spinach Dip. This dip is baked in the oven and comes out all hot and bubbly, ready to be spread on crackers. Yum. (Recipe at the end of this post.)

Good old nachos. Vegans like me can have them too! I like to put all kinds of stuff in there. Nacho Cheez (recipe from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook), refried beans, red onions, jalapenos in escabeche, Vegenaise mixed with lime and chili powder, guacamole and salsa. Who can pass up these nachos?

Hot Wingz! These are tempeh wings, a recipe I got from the Don't Eat Off The Sidewalk blog.

Mini pita pizzas! These are so easy to make as you don't have to make your own pizza dough or anything like that. Take a pita bread or two, smear it with spaghetti or pizza sauce, top with your favorite veggies and heat in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. These here have sauteed cremini mushrooms, garlic and red onions, fresh tomatoes, basil and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

Something a little more substantial. A Boca Chik'n sandwich with bbq sauce and a side of Thai coleslaw.

I like to end it all with a nice refreshing fruit salad of strawberries, melon, plums, bananas and peaches.


Artichoke Spinach Dip

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (I find this at Trader Joe's, Ralphs Market and Whole Foods Market)
1 cup Vegenaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
2 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp italian herbs
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour into a baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F until browned and bubbly.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Corn-Oat Waffles + Bonus party cupcakes

My father in law is visiting from Montreal for a few weeks and he's a diabetic so I thought I'd keep the Country Life Veg cookbook close by as all the recipes are healthy, low fat and sugar free. These breakfast waffles are made entirely out of oats, cornmeal, water, a bit of oil and a tiny amount of agave syrup. They came out really nice! They are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside with a light corn flavor. I imagine a little cinnamon added to the batter would have been amazing. Never had a non-flour based waffle before and I think I will make these more often. It's like having a bowl of oatmeal in waffle form.

My father in law's waffles overflowing with sugar free pancake syrup.

Mine with lots of buttery Earth Balance!


Aren't these just screaming "birthday cake"? Tomorrow is a big party for several birthdays in our family so I made these festive cupcakes for them. It's the Dulce Sin Leche recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Vegetable Paella

Ooh, doesn't this look so appetizing? I was stumped as to what I wanted to cook tonight because I didn't have that many fresh vegetables in my fridge. After a quick perusal through The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook, I came across the paella recipe that I could use as a base for the ingredients I had on hand. I had some basmati rice, one medium japanese eggplant, one tiny white squash, one large carrot, a bag of frozen fordhook lima beans, a bag of frozen corn and one can of stewed tomatoes. Even with these limited ingredients, it turned out so beautiful looking. And the taste is so nice, so creamy. This one's a keeper!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pasta with Spinach and Esme's Special Sauce.

Wow! This ridiculously simple pasta sauce is so delicious. Esme from the Post Punk Kitchen Forums came up with this recipe. It's rich and creamy with the smooth flavors of sesame paste, saltiness of soy sauce and miso and sweetness from rice vinegar. This recipe has been going around the vegan blogs and has been quite popular. I decided to give it a go tonight and I am happy. I will make this again very very soon (like this weekend). Serve this with crushed red pepper sprinkled over the top. It's fantastic.

Esme's recipe is basically this (my additions are noted with a *):

Equal parts of: (For a pound of pasta, I used 4 TB of each.)
-miso paste (*I used mellow white miso.)
-soy sauce (you can cut this to 2TB if you like it less salty.)
-olive oil
-nutritional yeast or mustard (*dijon is good)
-lemon juice or vinegar (seasoned rice vinegar is good here.)
-and a few cloves of garlic, minced

Cook pasta according to package directions. *Before I drain the pasta, I like to save at least 1/4 cup of the pasta water to dilute the sauce a bit. Drain pasta and set aside. Pour above ingredients into the pasta pot on low heat. Stir to get it all combined and then add the pasta water and stir until smooth. Then pour hot pasta into the pot and toss to combine with sauce. At this point you can add some chopped spinach or other green and let it wilt from the heat. Add black pepper to taste.