Saturday, October 31, 2009

VeganMoFo: Oh more post for VeganMoFo!

Since today is the official last day of MoFo, I really should add another post. This weekend has been a weekend of eating out in L.A. and I thouht I'd share with you the yummy food I got to indulge in. Last night we went to a 50th Anniversary Twilight Zone screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. It was a really enjoyable event that lasted 5 hours! Luckily we ate dinner before hand at California Vegan on Sunset.

Pad Thai dinner special. It comes with fried rice, salad, spring roll and miso soup (not pictured). Yummy yummy junky Thai food! Even though it's vegan folks, this is not the healthiest stuff around, haha! But it sure hit the spot.

For dessert: mango vanilla soy ice cream which tastes just very similar to the one from Trader Joe's. :)

Today we went to lunch at Bossa Nova Brazilian Restaurant on Sunset.

Xingu beer. Good.


While the menu was very meat-centric, I was able to get this. Sundried tomato and arugula pizza, no cheese. So freaking delicious! If you ever get this, make sure to say no mozzarella, no parmesan!

A slice of deliciousness. I ate the whole pizza, no lie.


Friday, October 30, 2009

VeganMoFo: Happy Halloween!

Yes, I know Halloween is tomorrow but this is probably going to be my last food post for VeganMoFo. I'm impressed with myself. I made 25 posts this month which is 5 shy of last year's but not bad at all. Considering I've been busy with my new job as well as running my jewelry business part time at home and trying to find time in the mornings to make my meals, it all went swimmingly. I had a great time reading everyone's blogs this MoFo. It is always inspiring. Let's keep this celebration of vegan food going! I'll leave you with a Hallow's Eve treat: mini donut cakes dunked in a powdered sugar glaze and adorned with festive sprinkles. What's better than a sugary sweet treat on Halloween? Recipe to be found here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

VeganMoFo: Homestyle Lentil Pie

It's getting nice and fall-like around here. Last night I wore warm socks and a sweatshirt to bed. Time for comfort fall food! I had this pie in mind because I just stocked my pantry with HP Sauce which is the secret ingredient in this dish. I adapted this recipe and change a few things. I used 1/2 cup green lentils to 2 cups water, a can of drained diced tomatoes and extra HP Sauce. I also had to cook the lentils a lot longer, more like 20-25 minutes or so and I had to add a little water here and there when it got too dry. Once the lentils were soft and slightly mushy which is how I like it, that's when I decided it was ready to pour into a casserole and topped with mashed potato.

NOTE: IF you can't find HP Sauce, Pickapeppa sauce is a good stand in and is available at major grocery chains like Vons.

Here's the filling before being covered with potato.

Here it is out of the oven.

I had a bit for lunch. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VeganMoFo: Mini Meze

Meze = a selection of small dishes

My husband and I like to do this every so often for dinner. It's fun to just have an assortment of things to dip bread and vegetables into. Don't have to slave over a stove or put anything in the oven. I whipped up some hummus yesterday so all I had to do today was prepare za'atar in olive oil and make a second dip. Since I used my new favorite book yesterday, I didn't want to miss another chance to use it again. I looked in the "Appetizers" section and found an eggplant dip that looked good. This eggplant dip is called Bathinjan Mfasakh in arabic and the recipe originates from Syria and Lebanon. It was very easy to prepare. I just needed to salt the eggplant and drain it for a while and then quickly saute in olive oil until browned. Then I mashed it all up and added vegan yogurt, garlic, dried mint, salt and pepper. YUM-MEE. We used whole wheat pita and fresh cucumber for dipping. For drinks we shared a Gingerberry kombucha.

Closeup of the eggplant dip.

VeganMoFo: Spaghetti, Tunisian-Style

Last night's dinner was wonderful! I got to open up my Classic Vegetarian Cooking from The Middle East and North Africa cookbook that I've only used twice before. I love this book. I take it everywhere with me, to my room, the living room, kitchen, studio...just to flip through it for inspiration. Yesterday I decided on a recipe and luckily I had almost every ingredient. The book says that according to some modern food writers, pasta in the Arab lands has an ancient history and may have been invented in Mesopotamia where it traveled to China via traders and onwards to Italy by Marco Polo. This particular dish though may be of Italian origin, brought to Tunisia by Italian settlers. It is very similar to italian pesto but the ingredients are different. The sauce is a blend of almonds, fresh parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil, butter (I used Earth Balance margarine), dried oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese (I used a vegan blend of cashews, miso paste and nutritional yeast). A very delicious sauce paired with spaghetti. I squeezed lemon on top of my pasta for a bright finish. Husband gave this two thumbs up. It's a keeper!

Monday, October 26, 2009

VeganMoFo: Healthy Nourishing Soup!

This delicious yellow split pea, butternut squash and carrot soup was adapted from the 'Moroccan Pumpkin Soup' recipe from Olive Trees and Honey. It's beautifully spiced with cinnamon, cumin, allspice and turmeric. My husband has decided to "eat healthy" all week so no more delivery pizzas, fast food burgers, frozen pizzas and mac n cheese from a box (yuck!) and more healthy options like this soup. This will be dinner tonight with a nice salad and garlic bread.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

VeganMoFo: Za'atar Pizza

I've never had an authentic Lebanese pizza but this was definitely inspired by photos and recipes I saw online. I had a Trader Joe's pizza crust in the freezer that I used as a stand in for homemade pizza dough. I am not skilled in anything that has to do with yeast so I've been relying on TJ's for my pizza dough for quite some time. I mixed some za'atar with olive oil and spread it on the dough, added baby spinach, mushrooms, chopped tomato and onions. After baking for about 10-15 minutes, it puffed up and got all brown and golden and beautiful. I topped it with more fresh tomato and onions. So so perfect!

A slice served with rocket salad that was simply dressed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Rocket (aka arugula) goes so well with pizza I've learned.

And one must not forget tea in bed on the weekend! My friend brought back tea from Malaysia. It's Cameronian Gold Blend and it's sooooo good. Smooth and beautifully golden colored. I absolutely love it. I enjoyed this with more pizza and apple turnovers that my dad got for me from Ralph's (they are vegan but not healthy!).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

VeganMoFo: Roast 'Em!

Roasted butternut squash, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, carrots, onions, red and yellow peppers, mushrooms, zucchini.

I bought a ton of produce earlier this week that I needed to use. I always get paranoid that they'll go bad in my fridge so I try to find ways to use them up as quick as possible. This is a great way to use a variety of vegetables in one dish. I've made this recipe before and it was delicious. The rosemary and thyme makes the house smell like Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

VeganMoFo: Hominy and Bean Burger Wrap

Yes. Another revamp recipe where I take leftovers and turn them into a new dish. I had soo much leftover posole stew that turned really thick overnight in the fridge. I used half of it, drained off the liquid and mashed it with chickpeas that I had in the fridge and added chopped onions, cilantro, masa flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. I shaped them into patties, sprinkled a little masa flour over them and baked them in the oven for about a half hour, flipping halfway. I had the idea to make wraps because I had whole wheat flour tortillas and ripe avocados. They were so good! I spiked some vegan mayo with lime juice and hot sauce to complete the wrap, along with fresh lettuce and tomato.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

VeganMoFo: Posole Stew with Squash, Collards and Pinto Beans

I just got this really interesting book called 'The Power of Ancient Foods' and along with recipes, it tours the regions of the world and discusses the various foods of ancient civilizations and how the nutrients and healing properties in these foods kept ancient peoples free from diseases and conditions which affect us today. It's not new that beans, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables are the keys to a healthy life but unfortunately the majority of the world today relies on cheap convenience foods and chemical laden "frankenstein" foods that don't offer any nutritional benefits.

So anyway, I just got through reading about the ancient foods of South America, Central America, Mexico and Southwestern United States. Some of the foods discussed: peppers, chiles, corn, beans, quinoa, amaranth, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, avocados, cocoa, pumpkins and squashes. What a delicious variety of foods! I was inspired by one of the recipes for "Posole and Winter Squash Stew with Red Chile". What luck that I happened to have a can of hominy in my pantry. I had some beautiful zucchini so I decided to use those instead of the butternut squash. I also added peppers, jalapenos, pinto beans and collard greens. The stew is flavored with onions, cumin, oregano, garlic and New Mexico chili powder. I'll be having this for dinner tonight after work with a side of hot whole wheat flour tortillas. I tasted a bit and it's fantastic, a bit spicy and full of powerful foods!


2 TB olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped
1 TB jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 large zucchini, diced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 TB New Mexico chili powder
1 28oz. can hominy, drained and rinsed (You can cut this in half if you want!)
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
pinch of sugar
3 cups water
1 14oz. can pinto beans
2 leaves of collard greens, chopped
chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime

Saute oil, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, jalapeno and zucchini in a soup pot over medium heat until it starts to brown. Lower heat and add the cumin, oregano, chili powder and some salt and pepper. Stir around a bit and then add the tomato sauce, hominy, collards, sugar, beans and 3 cups of water. Simmer until veggies are tender about 20 minutes. Add more water if stew is too thick. Taste for salt. Garnish with cilantro and lime juice.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

VeganMoFo: Smoothie and Muffins

Not much cooking this weekend. We went out for lunch today at Johnny Rockets and then going to someone's house for dinner. Tomorrow is the ballgame (Game 3 of the NLCS!) so we're going to stay in and heat up a few burgers and dogs. This is what I did today:

Green smoothie for breakfast: spinach, apples, bananas, strawberries and mango.

A romantic shot of blueberry muffins. I love these. Recipe from Vegan Brunch cookbook.

Friday, October 16, 2009

VeganMoFo: Lebanese Eggplant Stew with Pearl Couscous

A beautiful and simple dish from Tables of Lebanon cookbook. It has only a few ingredients: olive oil, garlic, onions, eggplant, tomatoes, spinach, water and cumin. I added spinach to it instead of the zucchini that it originally called for. You'd never guess these few ingredients would yield such a tasty stew. I served it on top of pearl couscous (aka Israeli couscous) and it was delicious! I think it would be wonderful on rice as well as regular semolina couscous.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

VeganMoFo: Spinach Artichoke Dip

Let's go Dodgers! Game 1 of the NLCS is tonight and I'm going to be heading over to my bro's house after work to watch the game. I'm really excited and I hope our boys kick the Phils' butts! I prepared my famous spinach artichoke dip to bring along with crackers, chips and salsa and hummus and pita bread. Can't wait!

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) or 1/4 cup vegan parmesan (optional. I've left these out with no problems.)
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp italian herbs
salt and pepper
chili flakes

Combine all ingredients and pour into a baking dish. Top with crushed chili flakes and extra vegan parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F until browned and bubbly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

VeganMoFo: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Cranberries

This is quite fall festive is it not? I originally intended to make these last night but our power went out due to the rain so we ran out and grabbed burritos instead. I have time before work so I decided to make these this morning and just reheat for dinner. To make the stuffing, I used leftover cooked quinoa and sauteed celery, onions, garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, thyme and dried cranberries. They were baked in the oven for about an hour at 350F. I haven't tried them yet but do they smell delicious!

Edited to add:
Dinner was great! Husband liked the stuffed squash to my surprise. I served them with salad and garlic toasts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

VeganMoFo: Mondays Ugh. And Breakfast in Bed.

Had such a nice weekend that went by way too fast. Dodgers playoffs on Saturday was amazing. We swept the Cards so onward to the National League Championship Series! I also didn't sleep well last night so I'm not feeling it today. Coffee, coffee, coffee! That was my morning. After a couple cups I thought maybe I should eat something too. I had half a block of tofu in the fridge so I scrambled it up with onions and made a sandwich on toast. When I used to be omni, I made them with scrambled eggs. This version is just as tasty with the advantage of no cholestorol. Yay. Happy Monday everyone, hope it speeds by.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

VeganMoFo: Portobello Mushroom "Fries".

These were a treat and a half! I usually shy away from eating fried food but a friend of mine recommended this recipe to me. I followed a recipe by Rachael Ray and veganized it by substituting soymilk instead of egg wash and "parmezano sprinkles"* for the parmesan. Came out really good except a little salty because I think I oversalted the mushrooms before grilling them. But aside from that, the mushrooms were juicy and the panko crumb coating was wonderfully crispy. After eating a few dipped in homemade ranch (Vegenaise, red wine vinegar, plain soymilk, garlic powder, parsley), I combatted the saltiness by wrapping each "fry" in a green leaf lettuce. It was really fresh and yummy that way. Just had a thought! These would make great "wings"!

*parmezano sprinkle is a recipe for faux parmesan cheese in The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook which consists of almonds, white miso paste, nutritional yeast and salt. I imagine you can skip the parmesan and just use breadcrumbs with equally good results.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

VeganMoFo: Weekend Cooking

I love to cook on the weekends. It's a leisurely thing I like to do on Saturday mornings. This morning I got up early and went shopping for ingredients to make the following:

Vegan Dad's mac and cheese! My favorite! With toasty panko bread crumbs on top.

With a side of beautifully roasted veggies: butternut squash, red peppers, baby carrots, onions, sweet potato and cremini mushrooms with olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme.

I made these at 9pm last night to have for breakfast this morning! They are Vegan Brunch's "Bakery Style Berry Muffins". I used quebec wild blueberries and mango. They were perfection.

Buster likes to nap on the weekends. I tried to get a pic but he woke up and saw me!