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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Peanut Butter Blossoms

These were my favorite cookie when I was growing up. My Mom would pretty much only make these for Christmas and I'd spend the rest of the year pining for them. This year I asked her for the recipe and found them surprisingly easy to create vegan versions!

The Stuff
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (you can use half whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 sugar (evaporated cane juice)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (Spectrum Naturals or Earth Balance)
  • 2 T soy milk (rice or almond would work fine)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T golden flaxseed meal (Bob's Red Mill) whisked with 3 T water
  • Extra sugar to roll cookies in
  • 2 large bars of dark chocolate (70% cacao or more) broken into rough squares or rectangles (I used the Theo Jane Goodall bars)
The Making

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Blend all ingredients at low speed in a large bowl until a stiff dough forms. Shape dough into 1" balls and roll each ball in sugar. Place balls 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Immediately top each cookie with a piece of chocolate. Press down firmly and into the hot cookie so they crack around edge. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Organics to You December 28, 2009

The last box of 2009 from Organics to You contains:
  • Head of green lettuce
  • a whole lot of broccoli
  • A bunch of lovely carrots
  • spinach
  • more lovely, red potatoes
  • 3 red beets (no greens)
  • 4 Pinova apples
  • 3 red pears
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 Satsumas
  • 2 Avocados
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • red potatoes
  • a yellow onion
  • bit of shallot
  • 1 1/2 heads of garlic
  • 2 green apples
  • 2 Pinova apples
  • 3 green pears
  • 3 red pears
  • 2 Bosc pears
  • 5 oranges
  • 4 satsumas
  • some lettuce
  • celery
  • a tomato
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Persimmons (*sigh* oh, the guilt)
  • an apple that was dropped from on high and got all squishy
Last week saw an amazing lasagna, however, it didn't really use a whole lot of veggies from the box since the spinach, kale and zucchini in it came from New Seasons. However, since lasagna became something of a tradition on Christmas Eve in my family, I wanted to make it. I made an awesome herbed, pressed tofu for the filling. Next time around, more pasta layers.

Christie made the most amazing scalloped potatoes last week. Using some of the deep red potatoes from a couple of weeks ago, which turned out to be ruby red inside, and a sauce made of soy milk, nutritional yeast, raw cashews and assorted herbs. It was so delicious I wanted to eat up the entire, enormous pan - but I didn't and we are still enjoying the leftovers.

I also tried my hand at making dashi last week which culminated in an amazing dinner last night. It featured all the broccoli stems & remaining carrots in a stir-fry with the leek, ginger, tamari & dashi. Another stir-fry of the remaining green beans, a whole lot of garlic, some chili flakes & the rest of the red onion was a slightly spicy second dish. Finally were pockets of fried tofu stuffed with seasoned, brown jasmine rice & roasted beets. This will get a full post all by itself.

This week - well there's going to be some serious broccoli eating going on! We also have pounds & pounds of potatoes. Perhaps Christie's broccoli & potato soup again? Tonight we're thinking an orange glazed tofu served with a green salad topped with carrots, pears & apples. With the bounty of two avocados I'm wondering if there's a salad dressing I could make with one of them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Organics to You December 21, 2009

Today's Solstice box from Organics to You contains:
  • Head of green lettuce
  • more broccoli
  • A bunch of lovely carrots
  • celery (good, since I finally did run out)
  • green beans
  • a yellow onion
  • 2 bulbs of shallot
  • a red onion
  • gorgeous red potatoes
  • 4 Pinova apples
  • 3 Bosc pears
  • 3 green pears
  • 3 red pears
  • 3 oranges
  • 4 Satsumas
  • a small bag of walnuts and chestnuts
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • red potatoes
  • some red cabbage
  • a couple of carrots
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 1 1/2 green apples
  • 2 green pears
  • 3 oranges
  • 2 persimmons
  • some lettuce
  • 2 turnips
  • some broccoli stems & one crown
  • a tomato
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Some more persimmons from earlier
  • an orange
Last week saw a whole mess of roasted veggies: parsnips (which I adore and Christie wasn't entirely wild about), Brussels sprouts (from New Seasons), potatoes, garlic, yams & onion. I made my Tres Hermanas (3 Sisters) casserole, but didn't get a recipe since in the making I discovered that our pressure cooker was broke! Turned out well, regardless. Miso soup with broccoli & leek was made Saturday night with the amazing, and local, Jorinji chickpea miso. I also made a quick, delicious hash of kale, potatoes, tomato & tempeh. We also enjoyed some tempeh, lettuce & tomato sandwiches yesterday for lunch. I did make my miso, squash stew this past week, but many of the ingredients came from either our garden (the squash) and New Seasons (the Napa cabbage).

This week - More miso soup has been requested. I'm thinking a big broccoli stir-fry to pair with the wholly intriguing lemongrass/chili fried tofu from Thanh Son we picked up at Uwajimaya on Saturday. Lasagna for Christmas Eve (strangly enough, this became a family tradition at some point during my childhood). Scalloped potatoes are high on my list for this week and the green beans are going to get a nice saute instead of going into a casserole this time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Organics to You December 14, 2009

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Lacinato kale (I think my fave type of kale)
  • Head of green lettuce
  • more broccoli
  • A bunch of lovely carrots, 3 colors
  • parsnips (yes!)
  • turnips
  • a yellow onion
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • gorgeous red potatoes
  • 3 red apples
  • 3 green apples
  • 2 green pears
  • 1 red pear
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 persimmons (I WILL figure out what to do with those this week)
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • yams
  • potatoes
  • some red cabbage
  • some shallot
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • a leek
  • 2 apples
  • 1 green pear
  • 1 red pear
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 tangerines
  • some broccoli stems
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Those green onions
This week will see some simple roasted veggies (yams, parsnips & potatoes) with adzuki beans and I will be remaking the "Tres Hermanas" casserole which features winter squash, pinto beans simmered in adobo & tomatoes, and topped with garlic & cumin polenta. I have been asked to put together the recipe for that dish as well as the Italian version with white beans & fresh basil. I'm also considering a pear/apple cake from a recipe I was sent a few weeks ago. Christie is talking using the gorgeous red potatoes for a dish of mashed up ones (she came up with this cashew creme to add for Thanksgiving - pretty glorious). I've also been hankering for scalloped potatoes soon (maybe next week).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Squash & Cabbage Stew with Red Miso

Hotpot stews, like gomamiso-yosenabe, are a type of winter dish popular in Japan. I'd had one of Napa cabbage, glass noodles and dumplings when I ate at Cha Ya in San Francisco in 2008 and loved it. With the bounty of this year's winter squash harvest (thanks to Christie's insistence on growing it) I wanted to go a different direction with the squash stews I'd been making and thought it would be fun & tasty to use red miso and sesame to make a rich, Japanese inspired hearty dish.

The Stuff
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, cut into thick rounds
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 3 - 4 cups winter squash cut into 1-2" cubes
  • 1 28oz can Muir Glen fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red miso
  • 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds (white is fine, black is more dramatic)
  • 3 cups cooked Aduki beans
  • 1 medium head Savoy-style cabbage chopped into large pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
The Making

Saute onions on medium-high heat in a large metal pot with canola oil until the onions begin to go translucent (about 5 minutes), then add garlic. Continue to saute the garlic and onions until they begin to brown (about 5 more minutes) then add in carrots, celery and winter squash. Saute all veggies together for 5 minutes, then add the Muir Glen diced tomatoes, miso, sesame seeds, and 4 cups of water. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer together until squash is tender (20 - 40 minutes depending upon type of squash used).

Once the winter squash is tender add into the pot the cooked Aduki beans, chopped cabbage, and sesame oil. Cover pot and simmer for 15 additional minutes to allow beans to absorb flavor and for cabbage to cook completely.

Serve stew with a steamed grain (brown rice or barley) or some crusty, whole-grain bread.

**I make this with great success in the pressure cooker. Instead of reducing heat to simmer, put lid on and bring up to pressure, then reduce heat & set timer. Using Delicata squash it takes 7 minutes. Hubbard squash take more like 9 minutes on full pressure. After that step I add the pressure cooked veggies into another pot containing the cabbage, beans and sesame oil. The intense heat of the pressure cooked veggies pretty much cooks the cabbage immediately.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Organics to You December 7, 2009

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Curly red kale
  • Big head of bok choi
  • A whole pile of broccoli
  • A bunch of lovely carrots, 3 colors
  • a leek
  • a red onion
  • some shallots
  • a bulb of garlic
  • more potatoes
  • 4 red apples
  • 3 red pears
  • 3 green pears
  • 4 tangerines
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • yams
  • potatoes
  • some red cabbage
  • bunches of green onions (just don't find a lot of uses for these - any suggestions?)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • a little flat, Italian parsley
  • celery
  • 2 apples
  • 1 green pear
  • 1 red pear
  • 2 oranges
  • some red lettuce
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • avocado (from 11/22)
  • more persimmons
The highlight from last week were the sauteed chard & red cabbage served with maple braised tempeh for breakfast on Saturday. We also enjoyed a fantastic dish of roasted yams, potatoes, onions, garlic & kale served with black-eyed peas simmered in tomato sauce.

This week -- I'm a little disappointed that the box didn't contain the Savoy cabbage listed since I'd wanted to do a the Japanese home-cooking inspired squash stew. Perhaps we'll still make it but use up the red cabbage we still have left. Christie is planning a broccoli & potato soup -- the extra piles of broccoli this week ought to really help that along.

We're starting to pick up on eating more fruit. Having it delivered and having to compost it has really highlighted to us that we easily overlook consuming fruit, particularly in the winter months, especially fresh.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Organics to You November 30, 2009


Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Curly red kale
  • bunch of chard
  • Big head of red lettuce
  • Bunch of red beets w/greens
  • another, larger head of red cabbage
  • more turnips
  • yellow onion
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  • more potatoes
  • 3 red apples
  • 3 red pears
  • 3 green pears
  • 3 persimmons
  • 2 oranges
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • Lacinato (dinosaur) kale
  • turnips
  • yams
  • More gorgeous, tiny golden beets with equally glorious greens
  • a head of red cabbage
  • bunches of green onions (just don't find a lot of uses for these - any suggestions?)
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • flat, Italian parsley
  • nice carrots
  • celery
  • an avocado
  • an apple
  • 3 green pears
  • 2 persimmons
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • Another persimmon (from 11/16)
  • bok choi (11/16)
  • green curly kale (11/16)
  • salad greens (11/22)
  • satsumas (we just aren't getting to our fruit!!)
Made a great lentil loaf last night and served with some garlic & lemon sauteed collard greens. Thanksgiving cooking helped us out with a lot of the veggies we had on hand, but we still had some things we had to toss. All in all, it seems like we're not composting much more than we did when we shopped for produce regularly.

This week's cooking will see some of the harvested spaghetti squash making an appearance on the menu as a side dish to something. A dish with cabbage in the works, there's a whole lot of red cabbage in the fridge now. Going to try to make us some salads so we don't end up tossing the lettuce the way the baby greens were.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Marvelous Lentil Quinoa Nut Loaf

On the shockingly long list of vegan staples I've never tried making at home is the humble lentil loaf. Kind of a vegan stereotype of sorts, but one I've rarely encountered in person. I actually rather like the idea of a lentil loaf. Green lentils have a nice, earthy taste and I feel they pair well with walnuts & quinoa for a protein dense, rich loaf.

Great Vow has a nut loaf they make for special occasions, however, it is based around the use of eggs as a binder, so no luck in looking to that recipe for much inspiration. Online the recipes are hugely varied, to such a degree it is hard to find something that sounds right. After a lot of reading and recalling the meatloaf my Mom used to make, I came up with a very tasty dish.

It crumbles a little coming out of the pan, but not too much. Slices pretty well and we found it very satisfying, particularly when served alongside the very last of the amazing mashed potatoes Christie made for Thanksgiving. I'm going to be working on an entirely gluten-free version of this dish next.

The Stuff
(for loaf)
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cups cooked, green lentils (overcooked is better, should be mushy/mashed)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoon red miso
  • 2 T wheat germ
  • 1/4 c flax meal whisked
  • 1/4 c + 2 T water
  • 3 T tomato paste (taken from a 6oz can)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t sweet paprika
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1/2 t dried marjoram
  • 2 T fresh parsley
The Making (the loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a large bowl, set aside. Dice onion and celery small, and mince the garlic cloves. Sauté the onion, garlic and celery until onion begins to caramelize. Add sauteed vegetables and remaining ingredients into large bowl with flax & water mixture and mix well. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and fill the loaf pan with the mixture. Press down and top with tangy tomato sauce.

The Stuff (the sauce)
  • remainder of tomato paste from 6oz can
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t sweet paprika
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t or less ground clove
  • 1/4 c water
The Making (the sauce & the loaf)

Whisk together all ingredients for sauce and spread on top of loaf before baking

Bake loaf 30 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Organics to You November 22, 2009

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Lacinato (dinosaur) kale
  • Collard greens
  • a pile of green beans
  • more turnips
  • a pile of potatoes, Yukon golds I'm guessing
  • 5 yams
  • More gorgeous, tiny golden beets with equally glorious greens
  • a head of red cabbage
  • a bunch of green onions
  • 4 yellow onions
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • flat, Italian parsley
  • nice carrots
  • Even more celery (eeeek)
  • an avocado
  • salad greens
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • the green, curly kale
  • a couple of little yams
  • 4 little satsumas
  • a bunch of green onions
  • some garlic
  • some flat, Italian parsley
  • a few carrots
  • 3 green pears
  • 2 apples
  • 2 persimmons
  • celery
The Compost Pail of Shame (what I didn't use and had to compost):
  • A few of the persimmons (from 11/16 and 11/2)
  • baby bok choi (10/26)
  • ears of corn (11/2)
  • broccoli (11/2)
  • kiwi berries (10/26 & 11/2 - these need to be eaten right away)
I'm introducing the Compost Pail of Shame to try and track what it is we don't use up. Maybe this means the boxes get changed to reflect what we're really eating. Maybe it just shows that on a busy week, with lots of time away in evenings we don't get a box. Not sure, but I think it will be helpful to show what I just didn't get to.

One thing it is revealed to me already is that we're not so great on eating up the fruit. It is almost a relief to have a mix-up and not get any fruit this week (although we were looking forward to getting the cranberries). Need to work on this - not just to use up what we get, but some fruit every day is quite good for us!

This week, with Thanksgiving on the schedule, will include things like a baked, stuffed Hubbard squash (from our garden no less), a nice stew (today), I'm jonesing for scalloped potatoes, a green bean casserole, some more roasted beets, continued appreciation of raw turnips w/hummus, oven-roasted yam slices, and I think that braised celery is going to have to happen. I'm considering some kind of onion soup too, because we have so many onions.

Tonight I made us a pot of split pea soup. We haven't had it in a while and Christie requested it on the way home from the gym. Making it I manage to use up the following produce on hand: an onion, 3 large cloves of garlic, 3 stalks of celery, several small carrots, and 4 little golden potatoes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sherperd's Pie - Food Porn!


My Mom really didn't make shepherd's pie as a dish growing up. She had a few other casserole things she did, but not too many. My Dad hated casseroles.

It was at college in Wisconsin that I was introduced to the shepherd's pie. It was any number of rich, hearty, perhaps not entirely-good-for-me fare I came to love in the Midwest. Despite this deep appreciation, for some reason I've never actually made it myself.

Until tonight.

I made a shepherd's pie in a cast iron pan filled will onions, garlic, tempeh, carrots, celery and roasted Brussels sprouts. In is mixed a golden gravy made with caramelized shallots & garlic, red & white miso, nutritional yeast, Earth Balance, fresh parsley and pepper (whole wheat flour & water too). The mixed up veggies and gravy are topped with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes.

I cannot believe I haven't tried this before!

This diner was so good. Hearty, rich, and topped with mashed potatoes! The gravy, a real experiment, turned out so nicely and it only has a little bit of added fat to it (and I sense I'm onto some kind of vegan Swedish meatballs with this gravy). Although we discussed what else could be used instead of the tempeh, it wasn't because it wasn't incredibly tasty and totally satisfying.

There is no recipe. I was in a kind of Zen work-practice mode with cooking tonight, so I am mindful of everything I did. But I just cooked food. I will be making this again and there will be a recipe soon, my friend Vicki has requested it to add to her Meatless Monday dishes.

Used from Organics to You: carrots, celery, onions, garlic, shallots, potatoes, parsley


Monday, November 16, 2009

Balsamic, Maple Braised Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Grilled Tempeh


The name is kind of a mouthful, but it describes it perfectly. So tasty and simple. Come July I'll be dreaming about this dish.

The Stuff


  • 1 8oz. package of tempeh
  • 1 stalk or 2 pounds of fresh Brussels sprouts
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • garlic pepper
  • Canola oil (spray preferable)
  • Sea salt & pepper

The Making

Pre-heat oven at 350F.

Trim Brussels sprouts of outer leaves and slice in half. Toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of the sea salt & fresh ground pepper. Pour into 9x12 baking pan and roast in oven until sprouts begin to brown in places, about 15-20 minutes, then remove from oven.

Pre-heat cast-iron grill pan on medium. Slice tempeh into 1/2" strips. When cast-iron is hot, reduce heat to medium low. Spray tempeh with canola oil and sprinkle with garlic pepper. Grill tempeh on both sides until golden and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Move sprouts to sides, add tempeh strips into the bottom of the baking dish, and scatter sprouts around evenly. Drizzle maple & balsamic mixture evenly over all of the sprouts and tempeh. Return baking dish to oven and continue to roast in braising liquid for another 10-15 minutes.

I served this up with the most beautiful roasted potatoes from Organics to You:

Taking a little over a pound of fingerling potatoes washed and cut into 1" chunks. These are then microwaved for 4 minutes, stirred, and microwaved for an additional 3 minutes. The par-cooked potatoes are then tossed in a bowl with olive oil, sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Roast potatoes in a pan at 350F until golden brown on all cut sides, stirring about half-way through - approximately 30-45 minutes. If you're making this with the sprouts & tempeh, start the potatoes first and they can roast in the oven alongside the sprouts.

Serves 4.

Grilled, Glazed Eggplant & Tofu

We'd received a nice eggplant from Oragnics to You, but since I'm really alone in my appreciation for eggplant, so this became my lunch one Monday afternoon.

Although I used eggplant in this dish you can use any vegetable to accompany the tofu.

The Stuff
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick slices
  • 8 1/3" slices of extra firm tofu, patted dry
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Garlic pepper
  • Maple, miso sesame glaze
  • Canola oil (spray works best)
The Making

Heat cast-iron grill pan at medium heat and set oven to low broil. When cast-iron is hot, reduce heat to medium-low

Lightly sprinkle one side of the tofu and eggplant slices with nutritional yeast and garlic pepper. Spray sprinkled sides with canola oil and transfer, oiled side down, to heated grill pan. When ready to flip, sprinkle top sides with more nutritional yeast, garlic pepper, and spray with canola oil first.

Transfer the grilled tofu and eggplant a broiling pan. Liberally coat the top sides with the maple, miso, sesame glaze and put in oven to broil for 5-7 minutes. Tops should be browned as the glaze caramelizes under the broiler.

Pair with brown rice or other hearty grain. Serves 4.

Maple, Miso, Sesame Glaze

I like to add this glaze to grilled veggies, tofu & tempeh. I apply liberally on top then throw into the broiler for 5-7 minutes until it all caramelizes up nicely.

The Stuff
  • 3 T. white miso
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 t. canola oil
  • 1/2 - 1 t. sesame seeds
  • 2 t. hot water
The Making

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and either brush or spoon onto veggies, tofu, tempeh, etc. Use glaze as either a sauce for grilling or apply and broil food on low for about 5-7 minutes until glaze caramelizes and thickens further.

Organics to You November 16, 2009

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • Green, curly kale
  • more turnips
  • some Russet potatoes
  • a couple of little yams
  • More gorgeous golden beets with equally glorious greens
  • 4 little satsumas
  • a bunch of green onions
  • a couple of shallots
  • a head of garlic
  • flat, Italian parsley
  • nice carrots
  • 4 green pears
  • 4 apples
  • 2 persimmons
  • Even more celery, amazingly long stalks (frantically looking for recipe for braised celery I spotted a while ago)
From last week the fridge still contains:
  • turnips
  • radishes
  • 1 golden beet
  • glorious beet greens
  • A big bunch of arugula
  • 3 little satsumas
  • a couple yellow onions
  • a few intertwining carrots
  • more celery, amazingly long stalks
  • A big bunch of arugula
  • 3 lovely, mid-sized bok choy
I feel that this week will certainly feature the Saag-style beet greens, lots of raw turnips for lunch, roasted beets, and maybe we'll have another try at scalloped potatoes.

Last week's little fingerling potatoes just got tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper then roasted until golden and served with balsamic & maple roasted Brussels sprouts & grilled tempeh. The beets showed up in a cabbage soup and in a stir-fry with carrots, cabbage & tofu skin sticks. I am all alone with the eggplant and ended up grilling then broiling with a maple, miso, sesame glaze. Recipes to come soon for some of those!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Golden Autumn Stew


Oh my goodness, I made the best stew tonight inspired by the veggies we had from last week as well as some of the new things delivered today. The result was a rich, almost buttery-tasting, golden stew.

The Stuff
  • 3 leeks, sliced in 1/2 inch rounds & rinsed well
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large golden beets, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 4-5 large stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 small white cabbage sliced into big shreds (about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups cooked Great Northern beans
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
The Making

Heat oil in a large stock pot, add garlic and saute until garlic has browned. Add leeks and continue to saute until leeks are softened. Add beets, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Toss with leeks and garlic. Add 6-8 cups water, bring up temperature to almost boiling, reduce to low heat, cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender. Add in drained beans and salt & pepper to taste. Continue to simmer another 20 minutes. Serve with toasted croutons.

Makes... it is one of my stew recipes so it makes an enormous pot worth that you'll eat all week (at least 6 quarts). I seem to be incapable of making a small pot of homemade stew.

Oranics to You November 9, 2009, and Ellen's Gone Vegan

First of all, cool news from the world of celebrities (queer celebs at that) - Ellen has gone vegan! She's got some nice resources up on her page as well as interviews, book recommendations, etc.

Today's box from Organics to You contains:
  • The most lovely red, curly kale I've seen in ages
  • turnips
  • a serious pile of fingerling potatoes
  • radishes
  • Gorgeous golden beets with equally glorious greens
  • A big bunch of arugula
  • 4 little satsumas
  • a big leek
  • a few yellow onions
  • adorable, intertwining carrots
  • a lovely eggplant
  • more celery, amazingly long stalks
  • 3 lovely, mid-sized bok choy
We're doing pretty good at making it through the produce that arrives. Mostly. Still leftover from last week:
  • celery (we already had a huge amount of this on account of buying more when we'd forget we had it)
  • garlic (relieved that none was delivered today)
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • corn
  • persimmons
  • a few carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 Russet potatoes
Today I think I'm going to whip up some cabbage, leek, carrot, celery beet & bean soup to use up some of the veggies we have leftover. This week may see a revisit of the scalloped potatoes from last month. I think we were onto something with the creamy, raw cashew sauce and those little fingerling potatoes I think will be really tasty in it. I'm also thinking some kind of balsamic reduction with the arugula, tossed with pasta and beans. The radishes will go right into my lunch, raw, and be eaten with hummus (Christie only really likes daikon and none of the spicer types). I'll likely do a light grill on slices of the eggplant and top with miso, perhaps with some tofu slices as well, and take for lunch since I'm the one who really likes eggplant.

On another note of preserving/getting good at using up our produce purchases -- we aren't getting the apples and pears eaten quickly enough. We both tend to like apples very crisp and tart. I'm thinking of cutting up all of what's left, except the Asian pears (such a different water content), and making a maple & spice compote. Not quite cooked to sauce, thicker and more like a topping for the molasses pancakes Christie made the other day. That will get all the fruit processed before it goes to waste and the canned compote can be part of the edible goodies we'll be giving as holiday gifts this year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sweet & Sour Braised Cabbage & Carrots

This is last week's cabbage. Gloriously purple, gorgeous shape, and as big as my head. Really. It was the Cabbage as Big as My Head (insert your own dramatic reverb here) This week a smaller head of white cabbage was delivered so it was high time to address the giant head already in the fridge. I'm cold and didn't want salad. We also had a whole lotta carrots and it seemed the sweetness of those would add nicely to the cabbage.


The Stuff
  • Half a large head of purple
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced small
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 8 oz block of tempeh
The Making

First slice tempeh into 1" wide slices and grill until golden brown on the cut sides. Sprinkle with garlic pepper and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, roughly cut into 1" chunks and set aside

Halve the cabbage again and slice into 1" strips, set aside. Slice carrots on bias into 1/4", coins and set aside. Heat canola oil in large saute pan on medium heat and add onions. Cool until onions are shiny and starting to go translucent, then add garlic. Continue to cook garlic and onions until the onions began to darken and caramelize a little. Add carrots, cover, and cook until onions began to take on an orange hue from the carrots. Add cabbage, sprinkle with sea salt, cover and cook until cabbage starts to soften. Add in the grilled tempeh, maple syrup and vinegar. Cover and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and cabbage is tender.

Feeds 4, I served this with qunioa for a nice, nutrient-packed grain accompaniment

Monday, November 2, 2009

Organics to You November 2, 2009

Last week's cooking also saw another squash/bean/polenta casserole to serve to guests on Halloween, a delicious soup, a Saturday breakfast scramble and sweet & sour cabbage, kale cauliflower & tofu. I didn't make it through all the veggies, not even close!!

Some notes on the Halloween casserole. This variation on this casserole included 1 of the Schwartz Hubbard and 1 Delicata squash from our basement stash, roasted until they caramelized on the edges and mashed. The squash all went into the bottom of the 9 x 12, oiled pan and was topped with the white bean, leek, garlic, rosemary & olive oil combination. The beans were topped with dry-toasted pine nuts and a chiffonade of fresh basil & oregano (I am thinking a light sprinkle of shredded sage leaves would be more fitting to the autumn season). The polenta had once again been cooked in the pressure cooker, this time I'd darkened the garlic in the olive oil then fished it out so it was just the garlic infused oil. Then in went the polenta, sea salt, nutritional yeast, white miso, and a generous amount of pepper. The cooked polenta went on top again. Baked, the under the broiler to toast the polenta a little. Delicious!

I didn't touch the giant head of purple cabbage, the radishes (only I like these, Christie does not), the greens of the beets, the garlic (already had some), or the bok choy. The Halloween party helped use up some of the beets (served raw, sliced thin, most people hadn't seen Chioggia beets before, so fun to introduce folks), the carrots, some of the cauliflower and the rest of the broccoli. All of the produce, except perhaps the baby bok choy (which seemed a little beat up), was very tasty.

That we've started off this delivery experiment with several veggies in the fridge already along with pounds of apples, it isn't too bad. I managed to use up a lot of the veggies we had already and many of the ones delivered. I'm wondering how I can preserve some things we get too much of in a way we'd enjoy using it. Maybe a big pot of cabbage soup that can be frozen to serve for lunches? I also think I just need to chop up a bunch of stuff so it is easy for us to grab raw veggies to take to work, either to eat with hummus or steam.

This week's box has a much smaller head of white cabbage and some larger, nicer looking bok choy. 2 more good sized leeks, some more broccoli (a real winner last week), 6 very nice looking Russet potatoes, more garlic, 2 shallots & a yellow onion, celery, 3 small ears of corn, a bunch of collard greens, a head of Romanesco broccoli, 1 green bell pepper, and more kiwi berries.

I'm thinking we'll have either stuffed cabbage rolls or do this with the collard greens. Or perhaps some great raw wraps one day using the collard leaves. The corn must be the very last of the season - will just steam this in the husk and enjoy. We learned that we should eat the kiwi berries right away, by the time we were eating them Saturday many were over ripe. I'm also thinking I'm going to roast some of the extra heads of garlic, we now have 4, which is kind of a lot for us. Have a lot of yellow onions as well, which I may caramelize a lot of to serve later (perhaps I'll try my hand at Mjdara this week).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Organics to You October 26, 2009, and Apples!

Saturday saw us out in Parkdale with friends to check out the heirloom apple/pear/Asian pear tasting day at Kiyokawa Family Orchards. A fave from last autumn, we wanted to take our friends to enjoy tasting the many varieties they grow there as well as pick a bunch to make applesauce. Turned out the apples had all been picked, but we still had a great time trying many varieties we'd never heard of before. 31 pounds of fruit later (that's just us), we were loaded up and off to our next stop.

Rasmussen Farms saw us leave with several fun gourds, a couple of pounds each of fresh, local walnuts & hazelnuts, ornamental corn, and 2 smallish Hubbard squash. Yes, I know we have a bunch of these in the basement, but these are the blue type we didn't grow. Oh yes, and pumpkins. There are 7 of them on our front steps. 6 of them Christie and I picked out. What can I say, we were having fun.

Into this collection of squash and apples arrived our first box from Organics to You. I offered to take it from the deliver guy, but he then offered to put inside for me because, "its heavy".

I ripped off the tape and opened the box to see a lovely bunch of red kale, some baby bok choy, radishes, chioggia beets, chunky carrots, onions, garlic, a huge head of broccoli, a head of purple cabbage bigger than my head (seriously), 2 big leeks, a half pint of kiwi berries and more fruit. 4 more apples, 3 more Asian pears and 3 red Bartlett pears. Uh yeah.

One good sized box of produce and a fridge already filled to the brim with mostly apples...

Yep, time to make the apple sauce. I chopped up 8 quarts of mixed varieties of apples and a few pears that needed to be used. Cooked until we had a chunky sauce and added the zest & juice from a medium sized Meyer lemon. That's it. Nothing else needed for that much deliciousness. I'm waiting on the water in the canner to boil, 20 minutes in the bath then we have lovely applesauce for the rest of the year and to go into the little gift baskets we're planning to do this winter for people.

That helped some. While the apples were doing the cooking thing I threw some Great Northern beans into the pressure cooker. Drained them when done and cleaned out the cooker to make soup. Into the pot I sauteed a bunch of garlic and most of the leeks, celery & Russet potatoes were added. Water, salt, pepper, and a sprig of fresh rosemary in the covered cooker, on high pressure for 8 minutes. Release valve, add in half the red kale that was delivered today along with half the white beans. Simmer with salt, some nutritional yeast, and more pepper. Serve with croutons. Yum!

The other half of the beans, more garlic and the remaining leeks have been stewed together with a little rosemary sprig, olive oil, tarragon, and some diced celery. This gives a lot more flavor to the Great Northern beans, which are not Christie's favorite. These have been set aside for later this week when I'm going to revisit the whole squash/polenta baked casserole, but with the white beans and some fresh basil pesto.

By this evening's end there will be lots of applesauce in jars, soup in the fridge, and some progress made towards Wednesday or Saturday's dinners. I've had some ideas about the cabbage and how to use up all the produce that's coming along with what we had already here. Right now I'm really enjoying the challenge of making food for us primarily based on what is brought each week.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 box Trader Joe's (or like) Creamy Red Pepper & Corn soup
  • 1 med sweet onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tbsp red taco sauce
  • ¼ tsp smoked chipotle chili powder
  • 1 bag frozen soup veggies
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with cilantro & lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

To Prepare:

  • Heat a large stock-pot to medium. Add olive oil.
  • Add diced onion and saute covered for 4-5 min.
  • Add garlic and saute for 2-3 min.
  • Add in frozen veggies and saute covered for 5 min.
  • Add tomatoes and heat for 5 min.
  • Add in boxed corn soup, taco sauce and chipotle powder and stir well.

Serve over pasta or soy curls with sour cream, fresh cilantro, lime wedges and toasted or fried tortilla strips.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Squash, squash, squash!

This is truly a "Nothing but food porn" kind of post. Immediately after the post that I'd be making all kinds of updates for Vegan MoFo 2009 I was diagnosed with an apparently months old sinus infection. Many days of antibiotics later I'm feeling a lot better and am having the energy to work on projects, writing, etc.

Did I happen to mention that Christie decided we should grow winter squash this year? The result is pounds and pounds of the stuff keeping cool down in the basement. I've not yet started on creative ways to cook the spaghetti squash, but I've been doing the Delicata and Hubbard styles a couple of different and successful ways.

First of all, a very homey, Japanese inspired stew of Hubbard squash, tomatoes, garlic, onions, Aduki beans, cooked with red miso and black sesame seeds (honestly because they look more dramatic with the squash). Everything but the beans go into the pressure cooker and 8 minutes on high-pressure later you have piping hot stew. Add the pre-cooked beans, some Nappa cabbage, and a good teaspoon or so of toasted sesame oil. Simmer until the cabbage has softened and serve with brown rice, bread, whatever. There's very nearly a recipe for this one done since Christie's mom got out her notebook and grilled me on what I'd done when the family was up here earlier this month.

The other winter squash winner has been a complete re-do of a recipe we tried last year. We had liked the casserole of squash, pinto beans and polenta but found it kind of uninspired. Great base ingredients, but lacking in a lot of places. The big thing we thought wasn't right was the polenta being at the bottom of the casserole where it never really firms up right.

This afternoon I slow roasted 3 of the Delicata from the basement stash and let them cool. I also put on a pot of diced, unsalted tomatoes and pre-cooked pinto beans. We had chili recently, so I threw a little in as well as adding sweet, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin powder. I let all the juice cook out of the beans until it was just the chunks of tomatoes & beans coated in the reduction of the juice.

In checking around for cooking times, ratios, etc. for the polenta I discovered it is another thing that can be made in the pressure cooker. Fried about a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds ('cause that's all that's left in the house - yikes) in 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Added 3 large cloves of garlic, diced and two hot, dried chili pods (seeded). Then the polenta, water, sweet, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin powder. 5 minutes on high-pressure then let sit to come down and release the lock (about 10 minutes). Perfect polenta!

The dish came together with the mashed squash in the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish, coated with spray oil (like soup/stew I can't seem to make smaller quantities of casseroles). A generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast, add the bean/tomato mix, and top the whole thing with the polenta. Into a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Broil on high until the top is golden with a few toasty bits. Cool a bit and enjoy. Total redo of the recipe that we tried last year, absolutely what we wished it had been!

Real recipes for both dishes coming soon as well as my experiments with the spaghetti squash! We've also been experimenting with au gratin/scalloped potatoes and are on track with mucho yumminess in time for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegan MoFo 2009

Today kicks off a flurry of vegan blogging for Vegan MoFo (Month of Food). Started in 2007 by Isa Chandra as a way to give a vegan spin on NaNoWriMo. Two years later and there scores of vegan bloggers signed up to write. I have listed both my personal blog as well as the Cooking Club here and will be making posts to both!

That said -- I'm hoping everyone will throw in a few extra recipes, reviews, rants, and posts about why you choose to be vegan. I'll be putting up some new recipes, wax nostalgic (already) for the apple bananas in Hawai'i, talk more about my experiment with Dropping the Food Chatter, apple food porn, and field trip to an orchard (10/24, Hood River, I'll be posting more details elsewhere).

Look for the VeganMoFo2009 tag for the posts. Check out the other blogs. Send us some recipes, places to review, products to try!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Drop the Food Chatter

It has come to this. A need to rant to a public forum. My Zen community and Christie have already heard this rant a few times.

Have you noticed my total absence of posts? Yes, there was the whole Hawaii trip during which no blogs were updated. There's also the sewing of rakusu (which I should be doing right now, but I'm writing instead... I've missed my writing practice).

The real reason I've not been posting recipes, reviews, food porn comes down to a Zen mindfulness activity I'm trying (poorly) to do.

Zen Community of Oregon has an email if you can join want to receive a weekly "mindfulness task". Little things to help you return to the present moment, stop wandering off, etc. One week it was a heightened awareness of the color blue. Another week - stopping to take 3 breaths whenever one hears a bell or bell-like sound. Awareness of the hands was suggested.

For the past several weeks, starting the week of September 3, has been tasks building upon the concept of not talking about food. First week, stop talking about it and refrain from "idle chatter" about food. Next week, refrain from that same chatter about food that goes on inside the mind. This week we're continuing to drop the idle chatter outwardly & inwardly and move to just noticing the physical sensations in the body as we eat or as desire for food arises in our thoughts.

Go ahead. Try it. I dare you. Try to not talk about food, with other people or in your head. Even for a day.

No posts about amazing fruit in Hawaii or just how satisfying a simple bowl of aduki beans & quinoa was after a day hiking in a volcano. No food porn about the produce from the garden or farmers market. No discussing how great a potluck dish or new recipe is. Nada. Let it all go.

The basis for my practice is in the relationship I have with food.

That said. I am a foodie. There, I've said it. A healthy, fresh-grown, organic, hippie, vegan foodie, but a foodie nonetheless.

People quite often assume that being vegan means food will be boring and bland. If anything, veganism has made me appreciate so many more flavors and subtleties about food. It has made me more passionate about the way food is produced and I have become very sensitive to the enormously intimate act that eating food is. I am deeply passionate about just how wonderful food that's good for you can be!

I like to share this passion with people. I talk about food, I write about it, and I cook a lot of it. I'm a pretty damn good cook.

The past few weeks have made we aware of just how much food chatter there is in my life. It takes up a whole category by itself; next to "Planning Conversations with Other People" and "Worrying I've Screwed Up" (more enjoyable than either of those by far). How I think about it, how I plan around it, how food gets my creative juices flowing, and how sexy I find it (hell, I use the tag "FoodPorn" all the time). I am acutely aware of the ways in which I just feel like I can't resist talking about how wonderful some food is.

So although I'm dying to tell you all about the delicata I made tonight (stir-fried with white cabbage, sweet onion & garlic in a maple/miso glaze). I'm trying not to.

Go on try it. I'd like to get some input from others about this mindfulness task.

How much do you talk about food? How much do you think about it? How easy or difficult is it to try and stop?

Please post your comments about your experience in trying to drop the "food chatter" here.

Like my sideways way of talking about food without talking about it?

DSC_4411

Gratuitous food shot...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

rhubarb sour cream cake

if you like rhubarb, this is just yum yum yum. my mom gave me this recipe, and i made it vegan with sour supreme, lemon juice and earth balance.

ingredients
2 cups diced rhubarb
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour supreme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
earth balance
nutmeg to taste

directions
1. mix rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar. let stand 30 minutes.
2. mix baking soda, sour cream and lemon juice. mixture will almost double.
3. sift salt, flour, and 1 cup sugar.
4. combine all and stir a little - don't overmix. mixture will be thick.
5. spread in a 9" pan.
6. sprinkle sugar, nutmeg, and dot with earth balance.
7. bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (until cake springs back when touched).

Monday, August 17, 2009

east african nachos!

thanks, sherri, for putting me on the list! i've been lurking here a while stealing recipes, and i thought it was just about time i gave something back...

this was an accidental fusion experiment that turned out to be a new favorite comfort food dinner at our house - especially when i haven't been to the store in a while.

the heart of these nachos is the lentil dish below, found in "1,000 Vegetarian Recipes" by carol gelles. i've made modifications to the original recipe to make spiced more like an ethiopian dish. you could use other types of lentils, but i like the taste and texture of french lentils in this. i've put most of the added spices 'to taste' because i tend to throw a few pinches in of each until it tastes like a good balance of what i like. you can even omit the 'to taste' spices altogether.

lentils in tomato sauce
1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 or 2 medium to large chopped onions
1 or 2 cloves minced garlic
1 or 2 chopped fresh hot peppers (i like jalapeños)
1/2 cup water
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon ground red pepper (depending on how hot you like it)
to taste:
ground nutmeg
chili powder
turmeric
ground black pepper
ground cloves
OR
berbere spice mix
3 cups cooked french lentils

1. in a saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. add onions, garlic, and peppers, stirring until softened.
2. add water, tomato paste, salt and red pepper; stir until combined.
3. add lentils; cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes. spice it up with the 'to taste' spices until mixture tastes balanced to your palate.
4. puree until smooth.

to make the nachos, i put toasted quinoa over corn tortilla chips, and the lentils over the quinoa (i know it sounds weird, but it's good!), and then add whatever nacho toppings i have on hand, such as melted vegan gourmet cheese, soy sour cream or plain yogurt, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cilantro, chives, avocado, hot sauce, etc. sautéed greens are an excellent additional layer as well.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Drool, Hawaiian Style.

Gluten Free Vegan Hawaiian Macaroni Salad:

* 1 bag Mrs. Leepers Corn Rotelli, cooked, drained, rinsed and chilled.
* 1 1/2 c Veganaise
* 1/2 c teriyaki sauce (see my recipe if you want to make it yourself)
large handful of shredded carrots
* 1 bunch green onion ~ chopped fine
* pepper

Combine everything and let sit refrigerated in a covered bowl overnight if possible.

Vegan, Gluten Free Kalua "Pork"

2 large handfuls (about 2 cups) of Butler Soy Curls
2 Tbs of Nutritional Yeast Flakes (ground into powder)
2 tsp of Garlic Powder
2 tsp of Onion Powder
1 Tbs of Bacos (soya bacon bits) ground into powder
1/4 tsp of Salt
1/4 tsp of Pepper
1/4 tsp of Spanish Smoked Paprika
3/4 cup of Water
1 ring of fresh pineapple, chopped
1 tsp of Liquid Smoke
1 tsp of Garlic Olive Oil
1 Tbs of Tamari Wheat Free Soy Sauce

Combine all ingredients and cook over low to medium heat until curls are soft and pliable. Serve over steamed rice topped with Teriyaki Sauce.

Teriyaki Sauce:

* 1/4 cup Tamari soy sauce
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
* 1-2 tablespoon Agave syrup
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1/4 cup cold water

Combine everything except last two ingredients into a small saucepan and heat until warm, mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl to dissolve the starch then add to sauce until thick and bubbly, remove from heat and pour over rice.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Egyptian Kushari



I was watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations: Cairo yesterday and he was waxing poetic about a super simple dish called "kushari" that is essentially Cario's fast/comfort food. There are a few variations of kushari throughout the region, and I remember having this a number of times but not knowing what it was called--just remembering how damn good it was. Extraordinarily cheap, rapid and very easy to make, it can be very high carb, but is also very high in protein. I skipped the make-the-hot-sauce portion and used Trader Joe's fab spicy tomato chutney which is a) great, b) pre-made, and c) rather close to the way I remember the sauce tasting when I first had this dish, so again, TJ's FTW.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb dried brow lentils
  • 1 12oz can garbanzos
  • 2 cups dried short-grain rice of choice (but I see quinoa working well here too)
  • 1/2 lb spaghetti of choice
  • 1/2 lb elbow macaroni of choice
  • 1 extra large or 2 med sweet onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
  • 1 bullion cube
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pint apple cider (or white) vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
Sauce Options
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp-tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
-OR-
  • Trader Joe's Spicy Tomato Chutney
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Prepare pastas per package directions and set aside.
  2. Prepare rice per package directions, but dissolve bullion cube into cooking water before adding rinsed rice.
  3. Peel and chop garlic and add to bottle of vinegar, along with brown sugar. As this ages, it will get a more intense garlic flavor.
  4. Prepare lentils per package instructions.
  5. Heat garbanzos in stove-pot or microwave to cook through and slightly soften.
  6. Using a mandolin or by hand, slice onion(s) thinly and fry in oil until dark brown and caramelized.
  7. If making hot sauce, simmer tomato sauce in a pot with seasonings added.
TO SERVE:

In a large bowl, add rice, then pastas. Spoon lentils to cover half the bowl, then garbanzos on the other half. Top liberally with fried onions and tomato sauce. Serve hot with vinegar condiment and a lemon wedge.

Yes, it's carbapalooza, but also has a great deal of protein with the lentils and garbanzos. I think you can reduce the carb impact by using brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Bourdain says it sits in your stomach like a bag of nickels. I don't see that as a bad thing...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Balsamic Tempeh & Quinoa

More Food Porn - really, this is just my way of gloating about something delicious I made so I can figure out the recipe later. Is that obvious?

Tonight was a discussion at the Dharma Center and we include some potluck food to share for our dinner. I've been trying to make something fairly hearty so we don't end up feeling hungry during meditation afterward. Plus if no one else remembers to bring anything vegan Christie and I have something for us.

She made chocolate chip cookies earlier today. I was in charge of "dinner".

First was to chop up all the cucumbers in the fridge and add in some vinegar. This was really was to get them out of the fridge to make way for the 1 "boothy blonde", 1 suyo, and 7 lemon cucumbers that Chrsitie picked yesterday!

For the real meal I thought of using the last of the leftover red qunioa. In the afternoon I grilled up all the summer squash from the garden on the cast iron, let it cool and diced it up. In went thinly chopped up Italian parsley and the last of the slightly limp looking basil.

I sauteed half a sweet onion and diced tempeh, added a little red bell pepper, and when that was all fried up nicely I roughly chopped up a large, over-ripe, heirloom tomato the neighbor had brought over yesterday. This immediately turned into a thin sauce coating the temepeh. All of this went right into the qunioa, squash and herbs.

For a dressing some balsamic and white wine vinegars whisked up with raw tahini, rice milk, and a little whole-grain mustard.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When the Garden Gets Going...

...the Going Cook Creative.

Uh, yeah. Or something like that.

This week I've made gaspacho and tonight something I've dubbed "tabouli-esque" in response to the ever increasing amount of produce coming out of the back yard garden. Tonight I forced cucumbers on the neighbor and sliced up about 2 quarts worth of them to put into rice vinegar before they got all mushy.

I haven't even been able to deal with what's in the fridge and Christie asked me, "Did you go pick some more?"

The gaspacho involved a quart of veggie juice, about a half cup of little pieces of all the cherry & grape type tomatoes that are going crazy, 1 long cucumber ("Suyo", a fave of mine), 2 cloves of garlic, 2 stalks of celery, half a red bell pepper, some sweet onion, white wine vinegar, sea salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Then I forgot that it is a Spanish dish, or ignored it because the basil in the fridge was wilting, and tossed in about 1/3 cup basil cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade). I thought it was awesome and then recalled the whole Spanish Dish thing and decided to garnish with smoked parprika. Wow, was this good!

Tonight's dish involved more tomatoes and was topped by the cucumbers I chopped up then put into seasoned rice vinegar. I had leftover red quinoa and decided to try that out in place of bulghur wheat for tabouli. I had a lemon and some Italian parsley on hand in addition to the tomatoes, so it seemed perfect. To make it even a little more hearty & filling for dinner I cooked up some green lentils and tossed those in there as well (which reminds me of an Ethiopian dish that reminds me of tabouli with brown lentils in place of bulgher).

Kind of went a little off the track with the tabouli, aside from the quinoa & lentils, and added a little balsamic vinegar to the mix in addition to the lemon juice, sea salt & black pepper. Sliced up the remaining grilled summer squash from last night (also from garden) and topped it with some diced avocado (because there was some of that leftover too).

The garden's been pretty exciting this year. I suspect this is the first of many posts about creative dishes. We're a little scared of all the winter squash looming at the back of the garden, trying to push the fence down. Be prepared for all kinds of creativity around that crop! Types of winter squash planted: spaghetti, delicata, sweet dumpling, and hubbard. We may also get a watermelon and will have a few cantalope too!

I'll write down the actual recipes and post... sometime this month, maybe (lots of travel).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vegan Marshmallows, Baby

I have two words for you.

Vegan. Marshmallows.

I kid you NOT. After the last debacle around vegan marshmallows made with Emes not-at-all-vegan Sure-Gel it has been kind of a lost junk food. That brown rice based fluff stuff was OK for making rice krispy treats, but it wasn't something you could put on a stick and potentially light on fire. And the so-called strawberry version of the stuff? One bite and I took to referring to it as "Soylent Pink".

This year Chicago Soy Dairy came launched Dandies marshmallows on the vegan world. Soft, squishy, tasty, able to be skewered upon a stick, stuck into fire, and ignited!! Yes, real flames!

If you're into that sort of thing.

I'll be honest. I've kind of missed marshmallows. I haven't had one in about 9 years and I was kind of nostalgic for a marshmallow toasted over a real fire. I've been reading blog posts and tweets galore about Dandies so when we were by Food Fight this past Saturday we picked up a bag to take to a birthday party, with a campfire, that evening.

We pulled out our fancy marshmallows, spent several minutes explaining that "regular" marshmallows are made with gelatin, listening to the smart-ass jokes (these seem to nearly always ensue when omnivores feel defensive about their food choices, but want to be polite), building a fire, letting it die down enough, and waiting for the birthday girl to find us something stick like.

The only thing that would have improved the experience is a longer stick. I'm not one who goes for the charcoal effect. Someone else was delighted to discover that the vegan marshmallows light on fire just like the "real thing". I grew out of that and generally prefer a long, slow, methodical toast to golden brown.

The bamboo skewers were just too short for this approach without seriously scorching my fingers (worse). However, the result I could manage before the heat drove me back was very satisfyingly bubbly, lightly toasted, and gooey on the inside! I so look forward to trying this out with some dark chocolate, graham crackers and a better stick!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cold Curry Quinoa Salad

  • 1 small sweet or red onion (diced)
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 3oz grilled extra firm tofu (diced)
  • 1 smallish cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup slivered roasted almonds or cashews
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 lime
  • chopped cilantro

Make quinoa as per normal, adding the curry powder & saffron in with the simmering water. While simmering, peel, slice and seed the cucumber, place in strainer and salt liberally to remove water. When quinoa finishes, let it cool to room temp, then combine all other ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours in fridge to allow flavors to meld. Serve cold topped with cilantro & fresh lime wedges to squeeze over.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ginger Garlic Tempeh & String Bean Bun - Food Porn Version

I've decided just to write about cooking rather than always wait until I have a recipe "just right" to post. It will help me recreate delicious things so I can put together a recipe later. These posts will be noted "Food Porn" to show that there's no recipe and have the tag FoodPorn as well, just my going on about something delicious.

Onto the food porn.

Best. Tempeh. Ever. Seriously.

We had in the house pounds of string beans from the garden and Christie asked for tempeh tonight. I stood around in the kitchen for a few minutes before deciding to make a stir-fry. Made up a marinade of ginger, garlic, shoyu, red miso, agave, peanut oil, canola oil, hot chili oil, and water all whisked up together. Diced tempeh went into this yummy mix.

Pulled the the tempeh out of the marinade and set it aside. The tempeh then went into a rather hot wok with some canola oil. Kept tossing it and frying with a lid on until the tempeh was browned. Then I added in a little bit of the marinade to coat the cubes further.

Some sweet onion, a carrot and a little red bell pepper for color were cut up small. All were stir fried with a pile of the green & yellow beans chopped up. After they cooked until the beans started to soften I added in most of the marinade. After the beans were cooked all the way I added the tempeh into the pan and tossed everything together.

Cooked up some rice noodles, vermicelli, which were the weakest part. Tasty, but not great. I'm really going for more of a Vietnamese bun. The noodles were a fine, just not as great as the stir-fry. Added some shredded, Farmers Market lettuce and sliced up cucumbers from the garden.

Yes, I will admit to nearly dancing in glee in the kitchen as this came together. We sat out on the deck in the breeze to enjoy. It was a lot of fun sitting a few feet from the golden string beans growing up the south side of the deck as we ate them for dinner.

Will have to try this whole thing out again with the "right" noodles as well as some cilantro, lime to squeeze over the top and mung bean sprouts. Those things would be a really nice addition to all the flavors. Christie also noted it would be great to have the cucumbers in a little rice vinegar as well. A recipe will be forthcoming on this and really, pictures soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Ginger Miso Dressing

Tonight Christie tasted the dressing and we both agreed that this one needs to be saved. For sometime now she's wanted something kind of like the ginger dressing they serve over monk bowls at Blossoming Lotus. I've wanted something kind of like the Hollyhock dressing (from Hollyhock Cooks)they serve at Great Vow. This dressing is a delicious hybrid of the two!

A couple note on this -- since this is a raw dressing and won't be used for cooking I went all out with the ingredients. Bragg's Aminos, raw hemp seed oil, nutritional yeast, and miso -- these are all good things for you!

The Stuff
  • 5 inches fresh ginger, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbs. agave
  • 2 Tbs. white miso
  • 1/4 c. good oil (I used hemp seed)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 c. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs. Bragg's Aminos (tamari, shoyu, soy sauce, etc.)
The Making

This is easy -- put all of the above into a blender and process until smooth. I usually pop the top off mine mid-process and slowly add in the nutritional yeast so it doesn't clump at all.

Pour into jar, keeps in the fridge a couple of weeks. Take out when needed and pour all over your food! Yum! Repeat.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vegan mushroom "clam-less" chowder.

Somebody in my life who's been dipping their toe in the waters of vegetarian eating has been wanting New England-style clam chowder. This is a recipe mash-up that I came up with that works pretty well. Still missing that sea-food-y taste, but I think if I add powdered kelp, we may get even closer. IMO, it also needs some acid, like lemon. No matter, this tastes great! (Warning: a bit high in sodium...) Due to the mushroom base, this chowder comes out more brown than classic white, but it's still better than that nasty NY/Jersey red business they call "chowder" 0.o
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance butter sub
  • 4 medium (1 lb. total) red potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, torn into chunks
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (I used fire-roasted from Trader Joe's)
  • 1-2 cups celery-chopped (with leaves)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 2 boxes IMAGINE-brand potato-leek soup -OR- 4 cans creamy potato soup of choice, -OR- make your own potato soup.
  • 1tbsp Wondra gravy thickener.

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Steam fry the onion in the butter sub 3min. Add garlic and steam from 4-5 min more.
  2. Add in mushrooms and veggie oyster sauce and steam fry 3-4 more min, or until the mushrooms start to release their juice.
  3. Add potatoes, celery and corn. Stir and combine with other ingredients. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
  4. Lower heat and add in potato soup and seasonings. Bring to boil, stirring regularly. Reduce to low and simmer for 20min, or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Whisk the Wondra or like thickener into 1/4 cup warm water, then add to soup pot and stir. Turn off heat and let stand.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ginger Orange Salad

Christie had two requests today while we were walking around downtown enjoying the gorgeous July day: salad and something with Asian inspired flavors. We enjoyed these delicious, hearty salads for dinner outside in the cool breeze this evening.

DSC_3896


Dressing
  • 1/3 liquid from 1 can of mandarin oranges
  • 2 teaspoons agave
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos (Tamari, Shoyu, or soy sauce would be fine)
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw tahini
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • chili flakes, to taste
  • Siracha, to taste
  • Black sesame seeds (because they look particularly awesome, however, white could be used)
Whisk together all ingredients until smooth in the bottom of a large bowl.

Into the bowl add:

The Veggies
  • Small handful of fresh string beans (I got to use the fabulous red ones from our garden)
  • Small handful of snow peas
  • 1/2 small head Nappa cabbage
  • 1/2 small head of Bok Choy
  • 2 small carrots
  • 4" from a large cucumber
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges (set aside)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • **Sunflower seed sprouts to top (if you grow them or can get at a market)
All of the veggies are eiter sliced into thin, 1 - 2" pieces or shredded. Feel free to improvise, but I used this assortment.

Ginger Orange Tempeh
  • 1 pack of tempeh cut into 1/2" strips
  • 1/2" fresh ginger cut into thin, long pieces
  • 1/3 liquid from mandarin oranges
  • Sea Salt
  • Spray Canola oil for frying
Heat pan and add oil, a cast-iron grill pan is ideal for this. Add in strips of tempeh and cook until browned with a lid to keep from getting dry. Spray top of tempeh before turning in pan and cooking the other side until browned, adding a little sprinkle of salt. Flip again, add ginger then juice. Cover until juice has cooked in and ginger browned slightly. Set aside to cool, then cut into small pieces and tossed into the dressing.

Toss everything in the dressing until evenly coated; go ahead and use your hands! Garnish with sprouts & mandarin orange slices and serve.

Makes two dinner sized salads or could serve 4 as a first course.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Simple Split Pea Soup

This is another installment of the 'Ode to an Inexpensive Pressure Cooker' series. One of our favorite, in fact. Yes, this can be made without the pressure cooker, but I highly recommend one. I haven't bought canned beans since we purchased it.

So, here's the soup. There's comments about doing stove top, some variations, etc. below.

The Materials
  • 2 cups dried split peas (yellow or green)
  • 1 onion* diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced (or one enormous clove)
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 large stalks of celery diced (or equivalent)
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 - 1/2 t garam masala
  • 1/4 - 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 t sweet, smoked paprika
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water
In the pressure cooker heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent, then add garlic. Continue cooking until these begin to caramelize a little then add carrots and celery. Cook together until carrots & celery brighten in color and are more aromatic. Add cleaned, rinsed peas and water. Stir together all ingredients then lock down the lid. Bring pressure cooker up to locked, when the valve begins to rock cook for 7 additional minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for several minutes before releasing the valve. Remove lid when lock releases then add yeast and spices. Let sit several minutes for the spices to blend into the soup before serving.

What else can you do?
  • Add curry powder and additional garam masala - more like a Indian dish then
  • Add some squirts of Siracha when serving
  • More smoked paprika will give a much smokier flavor
  • Add some chopped veggies, like cauliflower
  • Add diced potatoes to this
  • We like to serve it with a little quinoa & some nice bread
  • Give it a drizzle of Bragg's Aminos instead of salt at the table
  • Yes, you can make this without the magical pressure cooker. You just need to cook everything about 45 minutes

Monday, June 15, 2009

Saag Spiced Beet Greens

I was inspired by a radish greens & kale saag a friend of mine mentioned recently and wanted to give it a try. While at the co-op I was thrilled with some gorgeous beets with lush greens and brought them home to try out. I am going to be making this again and soon, so a picture of this beautiful dish will be up soon.

Leaves & stems of at least 4 beets are needed. You should end up with about a cup of chopped stems and around 4 cups of leaves. I've also made this with a mix of beet greens and chard. Kale would be great... pretty much any greens will do!

The Stuff!

DSC_3870

  • beet stems, chopped
  • beet greens, large leaves torn a little
  • half a medium, sweet onion, diced
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste or 2-3 cloves minced (out of garlic, oops)
  • 1 T mild oil
  • 1/2 t Panch Poran (check out a Desi shop for this)
  • salt & lemon juice to taste

DSC_3875

Saute onion in oil until it begins to brown and caramelize. Add in garlic, ginger and then the Panch Poran, cooking until fragrant. Then add in beet stems, a little salt, and cover. You may want to add a tablespoon or so of water to help steam the stems. After the stems start to soften a little add the greens and cover until they begin to wilt. Toss greens with stems and onions below to blend all together. Continue to cook covered until stems are cooked (we still like them kinda firm). Toss with a little more salt and lemon juice before serving.

DSC_3877

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Seitan Bacon


So I says to myself, I says, "Dave, you could probably make something pretty darned bacony by layering seitan that's reddish brown with seitan that's kinda blonde." And I thinks, "Eureka! You'll be all kinds of Internet famous!" But then I thinks to myself, I thinks, "before you register davehadthisreallygreatideaaboutbaconseitan.com, you should Google that idea."

At which point I found that Tracy Williams did it a couple years ago.

She posted a method, but she didn't post a recipe, at least not one that I could find. 

Celine Steen, however, posted an interesting bacon recipe at "Have Cake, Will Travel."

Here's a modified version of Celine's, which I used to make the above- and below-pictured slices of bacon sammish-bound loveliness. 

Dry stuff, part 1:
3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup soy or garbanzo flour
2 T nutritional yeast
2-3 t smoked paprika
1-2 t garlic powder
1 t black pepper

Wet stuff, part 1:
2/3 cup water
3 T soy sauce
2 T maple syrup
1 T tomato paste

Dry stuff, part 2:
1/4 cup plus 2 T vital wheat gluten
2 T soy or garbanzo flour
1-1/2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t garlic
1/2 t salt

Wet stuff, part 2:
1/4 cup plus 2 T water
2 t canola oil

You're making two batches of seitan. "Part 1" is the red, bacony stuff. "Part 2" is the white-ish streaky stuff.
  1. Part 1: mix the dry stuff; mix the wet stuff; mix together. This dough is easy to work by hand.
  2. Part 2: see Part 1, only do it in a different bowl (or in the same bowl after you clean it, or in another bowl-like object, or...).
  3. Divide the reddish, Part 1 dough into 3 pieces.
  4. Divide the white-ish, Part 2 dough into 2 pieces.
  5. Lay down a piece of plastic wrap. 
  6. Put one piece of the Part 1 dough on it.
  7. Lay another piece of plastic wrap over the dough.
  8. Roll the dough out until it's about 1/4" high. You don't need to worry about shape all that much.
  9. Put the rolled dough on a piece of sprayed foil.

  10. Repeat the rolling process (steps 5-8) for the other pieces of dough and stack them on the first piece, obviously alternating the white and reddish parts. If they don't stack perfectly, that's good. If you get really anal and precise about this stuff, it'll look like it was made by a machine.
  11. Put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the stack of doughs.
  12. Rest a heavy book or something on the plastic wrap for 20 minutes or more.
  13. Wrap the slab of scarily realistic bacon in foil.
  14. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 90 minutes.
Cool it, slice it thinly, eat it cold or heat it up. It fries pretty well, and it seems to stand up to nuking for 20-30 seconds.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wrong and Wonderful Sushi

I made some sushi today (Alton Brown's rice method is dead simple and perfect), just the standard spicy (fake) tuna roll, spicy and non-spicy versions of a Cali roll with fake crab and chayote instead of avo (sorry, Sherri), and random veggie roll (cheap bag o' broccoli slaw makes an excellent, crunchy mix) with tofu, plus a couple of the above with brown rice. And some of it was good. One of the Cali rolls was very tasty. But I found myself wanting something more... weird.

Tonight I did a lot of searching, finding things like Tex Wasabi's weird and gringo-friendly sushi (sans nori) and Hawaiian Spam sushi. That got me thinking, and I made a couple super-simple experimental rolls.

Roll 1: vegan ham (seitan), mayo, and broc slaw mix

Roll 2: breaded vegan chicken patty, mayo, veggie ham, and broc slaw mix

Both were super tasty, particularly after I toasted the nori in the toaster oven for 20 seconds. And I could almost hear the graves of the ancient sushi chefs vibrating as their occupants spun crazily. My sushioija board spelled Breaded vegan chicken patty -- on SUSHI?!

But I don't care. I'm all into non-traditional sushi, now, plus twisting some American classics. For example, I'm thinking I might try a mock Philly roll with Tofutti cream cheese and veggie ham in place of the smoked salmon.

Isa has some interesting sushi ideas on her site, including the "Elephant Roll" with oily peanuts, which sounds fantastic! I'm betting Trader Joe's blister peanuts would be perfect, though maybe too crunchy.

So I put this question to the other clubbers and our non-existent outside readers: what other supremely non-traditional ingredients would be good inside a sushi roll?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spicy Vegan Pepperoni Seitan

I take only 1% of the credit for this, the remaining howevermany percent going to Radioisotope at Sparkpeople, Joanna Vaught, and Julie Hasson (y'all can fight over proportional credit).

By mashing together Radioisotope's fantastic pepperoni spice recipe (she uses tofu) with the steamed seitan sausage numminess of Joanna and Julie (and a little wingin' it on my own), I came up with a pretty decent pepperoni.

Dry ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo or soy flour (replace with another 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten for firmer pepperoni)
  • 1 T paprika
  • 4 t ground black pepper
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 t Frontier vegan beef broth powder
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t crushed red pepper
  • 1 t anise seed, crushed
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t ground mustard
  • 1 t cumin

Wet ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups water (opt: replace 1 cup of water with your fave broth and delete the broth powder, above)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t liquid smoke (or sub 1-2 t smoked paprika in addition to the 2 t smoked paprika above)

Method:

  1. Put a steamer's worth of the water on to boil. I use a stock pot with probably a quart of water.
  2. Mix the dry stuff.
  3. Mix the wet stuff.
  4. Mix 'em together. The dough is really easy to work, so you don't need to dirty up the mixer. Just throw it in a bowl and mix it with a spoon or by hand. Hand-mixing bonus: pepperoni-flavored fingers.
  5. Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop out a hunk of dough. Drop it on a piece of foil (Julie suggests muslin as a less-waste alternative). Whip out your trusty bamboo-placemat-that-thinks-it's-a-sushi-mat to shape the foil-wrapped dough into a sausage shape. Alternatively, you can just use shape the dough manually, but what fun is that?
  6. Repeat until you're out of dough.
  7. Arrange your soon-to-be pepperoni sausages in steamer trays and steam them for 30-40 minutes.
Let 'em cool. Fridge 'em. Slice 'em. Eat 'em. Why not dig out the springform pan you bought for that ill-fated cheesecake experiment and make a stuffed pizza?

Tip: If you're using a food processor to slice your pepperoni, freeze the sausages for half an hour or so first. The sausages are a little soft, but they're moist enough to take a good freeze without getting unworkably hard.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Convenient, Easy, Probably Unhealthy Tofu Toaster Scramble(r) Ripoffs

This one's a no-brainer. A very tasty no-brainer.
  1. Go to your friendly Asian grocery
  2. Go to the tofu section
  3. Find the packages of "Age Tofu" (formally "Agedashi tofu," sometimes written "Agé," pronounced -- without irony -- like "ah, gay tofu"). 
You'll see little puffs of fried tofu about the size and shape of playing cards and 1/4-1/2" thick. At Uwajimaya today, these were four for a buck and change or a dozen for three bucks and something. 

If you're a sushi fan, you may know these as the puffs that are bisected, sweetened, and filled with sushi rice to make Inari, which is Japanese for "the only thing a vegan can grab with any confidence from the sushi conveyor belt/train/boat."

Age tofu isn't naturally sweet, so when you buy it in the store, it's pretty much a naked omelet already. To start making it into a tasty breakfast treat, you can do any of these:
  • Cut it in two pieces; open the cut side of each piece with your fingers to make two small pockets
  • Cut an opening along one edge; open the whole thing with your fingers, keeping the other edges intact, to make the whole thing one pocket
  • Slice it down the middle like you were slicing a hamburger bun, fillings-retaining pocket effect be damned
Now that you have some fillings-ready tofu, fire up some fillings. 

Fillings suggestions:
  • veggie ham and veggie cheese
  • sauteed onions and mushrooms, with or without veggie cheese
  • thinly sliced mushrooms and fresh herbs
  • veggie sausage and cooked or canned potatoes
  • peppers and onions (vegan Denver)
  • spinach with veggie cheese and herbs (vegan Florentine)
  • creepy, frozen or vacuum-packed veggie meat substitutes from the Asian store with suspiciously misspelled ingredients lists, grilled
Because the finished omelet cooks for under a minute in the mike, you'll probably want to saute, steam, or bake anything that needs more heat and TLC (like onions, potatoes, peppers, or anything frozen) before you use it in the omelet.

Stuff the stuff into the tofu and cook, using one of these methods: 
  • Nukerowave oven: wrap in a paper towel and cook for 45 seconds
  • Oven or toaster oven: Wrap loosely in foil and bake at 400F for 5 minutes 
  • Pan-fry: medium heat for 4-5 minutes (the fried tofu already has enough oil that you shouldn't have to spray the pan)
Enjoy with some million-grain toast and Earth Balance with a side of Walla Walla onion hashbrowns.