Thursday, July 29, 2010


My father in-law and aunt-in-law are arriving from Montreal tomorrow to stay with us for a month. I'm very excited for them to be here and made this beautiful broccoli quiche (from Vegan Brunch cookbook) especially for them to enjoy with a salad after the long flight. The recipe for this quiche is also posted online here at Isa Moskowitz's blog.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Farm Mac and Cheese

I've heard so many good things about the mac n cheese from the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. I was at a used bookstore over the weekend and found a copy for $7 and tried out the recipe tonight. I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed. I mean it's really good and creamy and everything. It's just that it is very much like other nutritional yeast based cheese sauces that I've tried before. I don't know if I'll make it again: 1. because it's too similar to other sauces I've made before. 2. it has quite a bit of fat in it from the margarine to the oil. 3. I think if I'm going to go the fatty route, I'll use Vegan Dad's nut based cheese sauce.

But I'm not sorry that I tried this. The book is so hippie and fun that I look forward to trying other recipes from it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pouding Chomeur

I first learned about this sinfully sweet dessert many years ago from my mother-in-law. When I used to visit Marc in Montreal when we were first dating (long distance), his mom Pauline made us lots of wonderful dinners and with dinner there was always something for dessert. Pouding Chomeur, also known as "unemployment pudding" or "floating island" is a traditional Quebecois dessert which is made with cheap ingredients, hence the name "chomeur" which means "unemployed" in french. It bakes up as a vanilla white cake with a sticky brown sugar sauce underneath. I've veganized Pauline's recipe and I am posting it here to share. There are a myriad of chomeur recipes out there with different proportions of ingredients. This particular recipe I find has a higher cake to sauce ratio but I'm assuming you can double the sauce recipe if you prefer. I haven't actually tried that so I don't know what the result will be. You can always make extra sauce on the side and pour on each slice as you serve.

Vegan Pouding Chomeur

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
1 TB vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Set aside.

1 TB vegan margarine
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup soymilk (or other non dairy milk)

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream margarine and sugar together. Add vanilla and soymilk. Mix flour, baking powder together in a separate bowl. Add to the rest of the mixture and mix until combined. Pour batter into a greased medium sized glass baking dish. Pour the sauce that you set aside evenly over the top of the batter. It will be watery, don't worry. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until top is browned. As it bakes, the cake will rise to the top and the sauce will be underneath.

You can see the sauce underneath the cake.

To serve, cut a slice, place it face down on a plate and scoop some sauce on top!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fatayer bi Sabanakh

My post earlier about Mediterranean food made me want some! The fatayer (spinach pies) I had at the restaurant were so good that I wanted to try it out myself at home. Got this recipe from a wonderful book "Classic Vegetarian Cooking From The Middle East and N. Africa". The book asks for pizza dough so I looked no further than Trader Joe's for their pre-made pizza doughs. Worked out perfectly! They were delicious and not as tart (from lemon) as the ones I had at Gaby's. I didn't mind though. They were chewy and crisp on the outside and really lovely inside. Steamy spinach, nuts (in my case almonds because I didn't have pine nuts), onions, sumac and a touch of lemon.

Inside shot.

With a side of baby lettuce salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect summer dining on the patio.

Gaby's Mediterranean Cafe

A week or two ago, I went to Gaby's Mediterranean in West L.A. with my friend (who took the photo above) to enjoy a meze dinner. I have been going to Gaby's for many years and the food usually never disappoints. We got a medley of dishes: the Vegetarian's Choice (plate on the left) which includes hummus, baba ganouj, tabbouleh, grape leaves and falafel. Perfect to share for two. We also go the moussaka (dish in front) which is a beautiful stew of tender eggplant, chickpeas, tomatoes and onions in a tomato sauce. And to make it all complete we ordered the fatayer (spinach pies which you can see on the plate right in front of my chest, haha). Everything was super delicious. We even smoked a bit of apple shisha after the meal. It was very pleasant but I must say that in all my years of dining at Gaby's, they have never seemed to get the customer service on target. Our waitress disappeared for a long time and we had to wait for water and bread re-fills which we eventually got from a bus person. Hopefully that aspect (which is rather important in the restaurant business) gets taken care of sooner rather than later. There are a couple of other Mediterranean restaurants in the area that I'd like to try. Mezza in Culver City and Sofra Kabob down the street from Gaby's.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Austrian Noodles and Cabbage

Woo, what a day! Lots of work, busy, busy, busy I was! Just wanted to come home to a comforting meal and some wine or beer. I made this recipe of Austrian noodles and cabbage from Robin Robertson's book "1,000 Vegan Recipes". Love this book. Can't say enough good things about it. It's full of recipes like this that are perfect for quick weeknight meals.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Junk Food Alert!

I had nachos for dinner. Yes these are very junky but what the heck! I was in the mood for them so I made sure that this was on the menu tonight. I made "taco meat" out of tvp and taco seasonings and cheez sauce from 'The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook'. It's the "instant cheez-it sauce" and I added a few TB of salsa to it. With some black beans, jalapenos and a vegan mayo "sour cream" (just mix it with lime or lemon juice), I had a drool worthy plate of nachos!

There's this recipe for microwave chocolate cake on vegweb that I had made a couple of times before. I was in the mood and I needed it now. So I whipped this up in 3 minutes in my microwave. I added vegan chocolate chips and white chocolate chips. Sweet coconut on top made it a fun dessert to indulge in. This is something I will not do often because it's junk food, but when you want it, you gotta have it!

And you're wondering, is it good? Why yes. Yes it is. It's very fluffy and soft and gooey from the melted chocolate chips.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moussaka on Mashed Potatoes.

This is the best thing ever. Leftover moussaka on fluffy mashed potatoes. Tonight will be my second time eating it like this and I wouldn't mind having it again tomorrow!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lebanese Moussaka

A few nights ago I went to a local Lebanese restaurant and ordered the moussaka. It was so delicious. Velvety pillows of eggplant with chickpeas and onions in a tomatoey sauce spiced with cinnamon and allspice. I knew I had to make it at home. I used the recipe from 'Tables of Lebanon' but instead of cooking it in the oven, I let it simmer low and slow on the stove for an hour. It was perfection. I enjoyed my moussaka on the patio along with a side of hummus, bread and pickled turnips.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Potato Boats.

So I had a big bag of potatoes that needed to be used up. I scanned through all my cookbooks but nothing was calling my name so I went online. And I found this. I changed them up a little which is why I called them "boats" rather than "skins". They are kind of a cross between a potato skin and a stuffed baked potato. I first "baked" the potatoes in the microwave then I scooped out the flesh. I followed the instructions to bake the skins first after brushing them with a oil/spice mixture. I used the potato flesh for the filling by mashing them with Earth Balance, Vegenaise, Tofutti Cream Cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and all purpose seasoning. I brushed the tops with olive oil and sprinkled a bit of imitation bacon bits before baking. They were sooooooooo yummy. They were crispy on the outside with fluffy insides. They reminded me of these frozen potato boats that my parents used to buy for us from the store. Can't wait to make these again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Black Eyed Pea Salad

I was thumbing through an Iraqi cookbook from my collection called "Delights from the Garden of Eden" and was inspired to make this salad after reading a description of A Medieval Appetizer of Black-Eyed Peas. It's simply black eyed peas tossed with onion, tomato, garlic, lemon juice and sumac juice. I made mine with onion, tomato, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, dried dill, ground sumac and olive oil. Was delicious!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Astara Barberry and Cumin Polow

A few weeks ago, I bought a package of dried barberries. I saw them at my local ethnic grocery and first thing I thought when I saw them was "Silk Road Cooking!". I've only cooked out of that particular book once and I was looking forward to trying something else from it. I highly recommend the cookbook. It's full of beautiful and exotic dishes that are sure to please the world traveller inside you. There are several recipes which call for dried barberries, which are a tart flavored dried berry that is commonly used in Iranian/Persian cooking.

I believe I got these for under $3.

They kind of look like smaller version of dried cranberries.

Here is how the beautiful "polow" (or pilaf) turned out. Beautifully studded with the red berries, pumpkin seeds (I substituted them for pine nuts) and flavored with golden caramelized onions, cumin seeds, cardamom, saffron and rosewater. The dish is named for Astara, which is a city on the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea on the Russian-Iran border. It's a very complex flavored dish with the earthiness of the cumin, sweetness of the browned onions and extreme tartness of the berries. I enjoyed the rice with the vegetable tagine I made yesterday which was the perfect accompaniment. The sweetness of the stew went well with the strong tartness of the pilaf.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Vegetable Tagine and PB & Pickle Sandwich

When I have lots of produce to use up, I like to find a recipe that utilzes them all in one pot. This vegetable tagine was the perfect thing. I based it off the recipe in 'Classic Veg.Cooking from the Middle East and N. Africa' and added tomato sauce, ras al hanout, coriander and a little water. I garnished with lemon slices and green olives stuffed with chiles.

Served with bread and sweet pickles. All the vegetables cooked away in the hot dutch oven which resulted in a meltingly tender melange. I used eggplant, zucchini, carrots, onions, peppers, potatoes and chickpeas.

Just wanted to show you my "snack of the moment". I used to read Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries quite a lot and the main character Kinsey Millhone had several foods that she ate all the time. One of them was a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. I thought it was a genius idea. I don't remember if in the novels she used sweet or dill pickles but I prefer the sweet 'bread and butter' pickles. You might be cringing right now at the combination but don't knock it till you try it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tofu Scramble and Penne with Roasted Vegetables and Tunisian Pesto

For breakfast, I made a delicious tofu scramble with cremini mushrooms and red onions. Served with a blob of ketchup and HP sauce!

I'm going to a potluck today so I decided to make penne with roasted veggies and pesto. I used this tunisian style pesto that I got from a wonderful book, 'Classic Vegetarian Cooking from The Middle East and North Africa'. It's a delicious blend of fresh parsley, basil, almonds (I used walnuts), olive oil, garlic, butter (I used Earth Balance margarine), oregano, cayenne and parmesan (I used a vegan parmesan substitute). I added a squeeze of lemon for some brightness.

Tossed with the penne and roasted veggies. How festive!