Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Appetizer Menu

Hopefully you are having a lovely winter season! This season also means family, friends, and food. Sometimes as vegans, there aren't too many menu ideas (that's quickly changing because of the Internet- thanks, Al Gore!) so here is an Appetizer Menu. Mix and match and even review if you have the time!
These recipes/recipe ideas were ripped from Yahoo Food's page. For the ones that I thought looked decent, I veganized them for you, added or subtracted what I thought would be good, or subbed a different recipe altogether.

Some do heavily rely on prepackaged things, but that's not terrible, especially during a busy season. I have no problem with glorious vegan "dairy" goods anyway, though! I tried to keep away from the Kraft products as well, preferring more vegan-friendly companies. If you are on a budget (like everyone this year), just use what you can- sale items, more of one thing and less of another, canned items, frozen or bulk items, etc. The bottom of this post has some links so if you aren't familiar with the products, you can see what they look like.


Cluck-Free Quesadillas
Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Felafel Spiced Pecans
Hot Artichoke Dip (With Spinach variation)
Top-of-the-Stove Spinach Seitan Ballz
Tofurkey Toasties
Wild Mushroom Crostini
Beefy Seitan-Asparagus Negimaki
Porky's Pasture No-Pig Rolls
Seitan Satay
Spinach-Tofu Dumplings
White Bean Crostini w/ Spicy Cucumbers


Cluck-Free Quesadillas

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Felafel Spiced Pecans

Hot Artichoke Dip

Top-of-the-Stove Spinach-Sietan Ballz

Porky's Pasture No-Pig Rolls

Spinach-Tofu Dumplings

Bruschetta (broo-sketta, not broo-shetta). Comes from the Italian word that means "to roast over coals" (or something similar).

* 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
* 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*Kalamata olives*
* 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread (can also use vegan Cuban bread)
* 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 450

- Prepare the tomatoes first. After cutting an X on each tomato, parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Peel skins, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers.

-While the oven is heating, chop up the tomatoes finely. Put tomatoes, garlic, 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, vinegar in a bowl and mix. Add the chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.* It may not be traditional, but chopped Kalamata olives would be a tasty addition at this point

-Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. Toast on top rack only, so you may need to do these in batches. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

-Align the bread on a serving platter, olive oil side up. Either place the tomato topping in a bowl separately with a spoon for people to serve themselves over the bread, or place some topping on each slice of bread and serve. If you top each slice with the tomatoes, do it right before serving or the bread may get soggy.

Makes 24 small slices.

Cluck-Free Quesadillas

2 bags (8oz each) Morningstar Farms vegan Chik'n strips, defrosted and sauteed. (Sauteeing is very important- it makes them crispy and delicious!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 ounces (1/2 block) Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack cheese, finely grated
8 (7 inch) flour tortillas
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
Salsa (your pick)
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges
Green onion, chopped

-Sprinkle chik'n with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
-Cook onion with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes.
-Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer to a large bowl.
-Add chik'n to onion mixture along with cheese.
-Put 1 tortilla on a cutting board and spread 1/2 cup chik'n mixture over half of tortilla, then fold other half over to form a half-moon, pressing firmly on seam. Assemble 7 more quesadillas in same manner.
-Heat lightly oiled grill pan over high heat until it thins, then reduce heat to moderate and grill quesadillas, 2 at a time, turning over once, until cheese is melted and golden brown grill marks appear, about 4 minutes total per batch*. Transfer with a spatula to cutting board and cut in half.
*May need to cook longer over lower heat for the vegan cheese to melt.
Serve with delicious condiments. Makes 8

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

1 pound medium fresh mushrooms, cleaned
Few piece of torn stale bread
1/2 c vegetable broth (add more if necessary)
1/2 cup Gimme Lean "Pork Style" sausage, cooked, crumbled (also may want to add a tiny bit of fennel seed and crushed red pepper)
1/2 cup Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Cheese, grated finely

Preheat broiler.

-Remove stems from mushrooms (use them for stock, or another dish).
-In a large pan, saute mushrooms in a little olive oil, until softened. Remove from pan.
-Add torn bread to the sausage to pan (heat still on) and add just enough broth to hold together. Add cheese. Cheese will melt a bit in the hot broth.
-Press sausage mixture evenly into each cap. Sprinkle evenly with a little more cheese (optional).
-Broil 5 min. or until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Yields 12 servings

Felafel Spiced Pecans
2 cups pecan halves
2 tablespoons earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 cup dry falafel mix (can use Fantastic brand or your preferred brand)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the pecans with the melted butter until evenly coated.
In a small bowl, combine the falafel mix with the sugar and cayenne. Pour the spice mix over the pecans and toss to coat. Spread the spiced nuts on a lightly greased baking sheet and toast for about 9 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden. Let cool.

Yields 8 servings

Hot Artichoke Dip (With Spinach Variation)
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
1/2 c Vegan Mayonnaise (Vegenaise/Nasoya/your choice)
1/2 c Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream/Sour Supreme ("Guacamole"-style will work in this as well- trust me)
1/4-1/2 cup vegan grated Parmesan completely optional
1 tablespoon vegan dry onion soup mix (such as Lipton)(taste first and adjust) OR All-Purpose Seasoning Salt and onion powder to taste
1 clove garlic, minced (opt)
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Note: I usually double this recipe because it's gone so fast

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients except tomato and onions.
Spoon into 9-inch pie plate or shallow ovenproof dish.
Bake 20 to 25 min. or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with tomatoes and onions. Serve with vegetable dippers, tortilla chips, assorted crackers or assorted cocktail bread slices. If you want to get all fancy-schmancy, serve inside a hollowed-out bread bowl.

Spinach Variarion-For recipe above: completely thaw and squeeze (very hard) all the water out of 1 standard frozen block of spinach. Pick pieces apart and "fluff" back up, adding to artichoke/creamy mixture before baking. Mix well, so you get a little of everything in each bite. Bake as directed.

Top-of-the-Stove Spinach Seitan Ballz
Haha, ballz. Of spinach. You can pretend you are eating healthy or something. This recipes was adapted with a lot of different factors, so please adjust as necessary!

3 1/2 cups cubed stuffing mix (a little less if using denser stuffing or bread) (I use Pepperidge Farm)
1 1/4 cups hot vegetable broth
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (no, it doesn't contain chicken)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
1 cup minced cooked seitan
1 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained and squeezed and patted dry (chop these a little)
1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese (omit if necessary and add a little nutritional yeast)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 small or medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp NRG egg replacer powder whisked with 1/4 c water (or use another egg replacer. May be able to omit altogether)
1/3 c bread crumbs (reserve)

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
-Mix stuffing mix, hot broth, seasoning,and margarine in large bowl until well blended. Note- do the broth a little at a time and allow a few minutes to let the stuffing absorb the liquid.
-Add remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Shape by rounded Tablespoon. You can use a dessert/ice cream scoop to make this easy).Place in single layer in two 15x10x1-inch baking pans sprayed with cooking spray.
-Bake 15 to 20 min. or until lightly browned. Halve this recipe for smaller groups.

Makes about 45 balls.

Tofurkey Toasties

1 1/2 ounces Tofurkey Deli Slices, finely chopped (I think Hickory Smoked is best)
3 ounces (about 1/4 block) finely shredded Follow Your Heart Cheese
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 baguette, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
2 crisp dill pickles, thinly sliced

-Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
-In a small bowl, stir together the deli slices, cheese, mayo, onion, and mustard.
-Arrange the bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place 2 pickle slices on each slice of bread, then spread about 1 tablespoon of the deli slice mixture on top. Bake the toasties for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
Makes 5

Wild Mushroom Crostini
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 loaf long Italian or French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
Extra-virgin olive oil, for bread
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, oyster, and chanterelle, cut into 3/8-inch slices

-In a bowl, combine dried porcini and 1 1/2 cups hot water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from soaking liquid. Carefully pour off liquid, leaving sediment in bowl; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop porcini.
-Chop together garlic, parsley, and salt.
-Make crostini by grilling or toasting bread under broiler. Brush lightly with extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
-In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon Earth Balance and 1 tablespoon oil over medium-low heat. Add porcini, shallots, and thyme, and cook, stirring often, until shallots wilt, about 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Add wine, and cook over medium-high heat until liquid is almost completely reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Add reserved porcini liquid, and cook until almost completely reduced again, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl, and set aside.
-Rinse skillet, dry, and return to high heat. Starting with the firmest, cook wild mushrooms in two batches using a tablespoon of butter and oil for each batch. Season well with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are nearly tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Keep in a large bowl while second batch cooks.
-Return all the mushrooms to the pan. Add porcini and parsley mixtures. Cook over medium-high heat until garlic gives off an aroma, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, and remove pan from heat.
-Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and serve with crostini, or spoon a bit of the mushroom mixture on each slice of crostini and arrange on a plate.

Yields 15 servings

Beefy Seitan-Asparagus Negimaki

Salt for water
24 thin stalks asparagus
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 bunch scallions, greens only
1 1/2 pounds beef-style seitan (roughly 2 cups- try to get large pieces)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

-Preheat a grill or grill pan until hot, or prepare oven broiler.
-Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cut off asparagus ends to within 3 1/2 inches from tips (reserve bottoms for another use, such as sushi). Place tips in boiling water; cook until bright green but still crunchy, about 1 minute. Drain asparagus; transfer to an ice-water bath to stop cooking. Drain asparagus again in a colander, and set aside.
-Whisk together soy sauce and sugar until dissolved; set aside. Cut scallions into 3 1/2-inch lengths, julienned lengthwise; set aside.
-Slice seitan into thin pieces, less than 1/4 in. Trim into 2-by-5-inch rectangle if possible, or just a flat, wide piece .Repeat with remaining seitan.
-Heat a skillet with a small amount of oil and saute a couple minutes on each side (you will be cooking it more, so go easy- you just want the "raw" taste out)
-Dip a piece of seitan in soy-sauce mixture, and place on a clean surface. Season with pepper. Place 1 piece of scallion and 2 asparagus tips across 1 end of seitan, so vegetables extend over edges; roll. Set aside. Repeat with remaining seitan and vegetables.
-Grill or broil negimaki, brushing with sauce and turning, until slightly charred, about 2 minutes. Serve.

Yields 8 servings

Porky's Pasture No-Pig Rolls
1 can (gasp!) croissant rolls (many national or store brands are vegan- check and hopefully be surprised)
6 *good* vegan hot dogs (regular size)
6 slices Tofutti Cheddar slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
-Cook each hot dog in a saute pan with a little oil. You can add a drop of liquid smoke as well, for flavour. Cool and cut each hot dog into 4 equal pieces (once lengthwise, once crosswise).
-Cut each cheese slice into 4 strips; cut strips in half.
-Separate dough into triangles; cut lengthwise into thirds (do your best, they won't be even). Top each dough piece with 2 pieces of the cut cheese and 1 piece of the hot dog. Roll up. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
-Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown.
makes 24

Seitan Satay

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2-1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Sriracha)
1/4-1/2 c coconut milk (optional)
6 hand-sized pieces of seitan (chicken-style)

-In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except seitan.
-Heat a large pan and saute each piece of seitan in a bit of oil until done, using whatever cooking broth the seitan was cooked in (if applicable). Cool, cube in large pieces and place in the marinade and refrigerate at least 2 hours, overnight is best.
-Preheat a grill to high heat. (or use your oven broiler but keep an eye on it)
-Weave the seitan onto skewers, then grill for 5 minutes per side.

Since this is a vegan recipe, you can use left over marinade as a dipping sauce. (Take that, chicken!)

Spinach-Tofu Dumplings (With Options)

5 ounces baby spinach
5 ounces firm tofu, cut into slabs
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
45 vegan gyoza or wonton wrappers (search the Asian market near you- some are eggless)
Optional add-ins: Shredded sauteed cabbage, finely-shredded carrot, peas,finely-chopped water chestnuts, etc. Be sure to increase the corn starch slightly, and drain excess liquids

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Heat a skillet with a small amount of peanut/vegetable oil. Saute the tofu on each side. When cooled, chop into a small dice.
Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for 20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze it dry, then coarsely chop it. Keep the water hot.
-Transfer the spinach to a medium bowl and stir in the tofu, cornstarch, soy sauce and sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Add-ins go in at this time.
-Working with 4 wonton wrappers at a time, dampen the edges and mound 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each wrapper. Fold 1 corner of each up over the filling and seal to make triangles (or one edge and make half-moons if your dumplings are round). Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
-Return the water to a boil. Add the dumplings and simmer over moderate heat, stirring gently, until the edges are al dente, about 3 minutes. Carefully drain in a colander and transfer to a platter. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Alternate Cooking Methods:
Deep drying OR
Pot stickers- make dumplings as instructed, but instead of boiling, saute the dumplings in a large pan until golden. Add about 2/3 c vegetable broth and cover, steaming for about 6 minutes.

White Bean Crostini w/ Spicy Cucumbers
1/2 pound navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 large garlic cloves, 1 minced
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 English cucumber, very thinly sliced crosswise (can use wide vegetable peeler)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
40 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices, toasted

-Put the beans in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the 2 whole garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and bay leaf and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (you can use canned beans for this as well- be sure to drain and rinse them)
-Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Transfer the beans, garlic and cooking liquid to a food processor and puree. Press the puree through a coarse strainer into a bowl. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice and season with table salt and pepper.
-Spread the cucumber slices in a large glass baking dish. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the vinegar, sugar, kosher salt and crushed red pepper; stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour the dressing over the cucumber and toss. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, tossing occasionally.
-Just before serving, spread each slice of toast with white bean puree and top with cucumber slices. Arrange the crostini on a platter and serve.

Makes 40 servings

BASIC cooking tips, hints, and product info
And I mean basic, baby.

To peel and chop garlic: take the clove and lay flat on cutting board. Take the wide part of your chef knife, lay it on top of garlic, make a fist and hit the flat part of the blade. The peel will come off. Wet your knife before cutting garlic, as it gets sticky.

Q:Why do we cut bread on the diagonal?
A: Because it looks prettier and also adds to surface area so we can put more stuff on it to stuff our little faces with

Q:What can I do with discarded veggies?
A: put them in a container and boil them into a stock

Q:What are all these products you are talking about?
A:Tofutti, makers of vegan cream cheese, sour cream, sliced cheese, ice creams, etc. Follow Your Heart Cheese, Vegenaise, Nasoya", Lipton Onion Soup (I have failed you. It's a Kraft product.), Earth Balance

Friday, December 07, 2007

Birthday Cake for a Friend

Happy Birthday, Cindy!

This birthday cake was so good. I mean REALLY good. Probably the best (if not, one of the best) cakes I have made. My boyfriend doesn't really do sweets (blasphemy) but he had 2 pieces!

It is a lemon cake, filled with raspberry jam and frosted with lemon cream cheese icing. The contrast is lovely.

I must give credit where credit is due- my recipes are the slightest tinkering of Kittee's Vanilla Double Layer Cake and VCTOTW's Cream Cheese Icing.


In a large bowl, sift* the following:
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

In a separate bowl, mix the following:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 cups water
3/4 cups vegetable oil

Also: you will need a jar of good raspberry jam. I used Polaner Seedless Raspberry.

*If you do not have a sifter, use a mesh colander or something else. You want air in and lumps out.

Pour the liquids into the sifted dry ingredients and mix. Don't overmix, though. I mixed enough where I couldn't see lumps, and it came out fine.

Pour into 2 round cake pans (even amount in each). I use a nonstick 9" Wilton round cakepan. I sprayed it with nonstick spray and also cut a parchment round and placed it in the bottom to ensure easy non-sticking.

Cook in a 350 degree oven, roughly 30 min. When you insert a toothpick in the middle, it should be clean. Let rest 10 minutes out of the ofen then carefully place on a cooling rack to cool.

Next, cut in half lengthwise. The easiest way I have found to do this is cut about 2 inches in all around the cake, then take a piece of floss, wrap it around inside the 2' cut and pull it through the cake. Then again, I am no cake decorator and my cake is uneven, so take it or leave it! Keep cake (you will now have 4 flat cakes) on cooling rack until ready to assemble. Remember to remove parchment if you are using.

To assemble:
Use about a cup or more of jam. Heat in microwave a few seconds until it's very spreadable.

Put flat bottom of one cake on surface. Slather with jam. Top with (round) (top) cake. Slather with jam. Invert the other (round) cake and place it on top. Slather with jam again. Place final (flat) piece on top and let sit So basically you put one whole cake upside down on the other, except it makes 4 layers and has jam in each layer. I hope that made sense!

Frosting (Makes enough to frost the cake and decorate with some left over. You may want to do 3/4 of this recipe)

1/2 c vegan Cream Cheese (Better Than Cream Cheese), room temperature
1/2 c vegan margarine (Earth Balance), room temperature
4 c powdered sugar, sifted
dash lemon extract (I probably used 1-1 1/2 teaspoons total, do it to taste)

Cream cream cheese and margarine until combined (don't overmix). Add sugar in 1/2 cup increments until all sugar is added. Add extract at the end.

Decorate your heart out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Thanksgiving, Pumpkin Rolls, Veganomicon, DEOTS

Haven't posted in a while!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My mom is a great cook and made everything vegan-friendly (that could be). She made:
Knot rolls
Home-made cranberry sauce
Butternut Squash
Green Beans
Mashed potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

I made Green Bean casserole, Smlove Pie, and Tofurkey.

Table spread


My plate

Smlove Pie

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Don't Eat Off The Sidewalk (aka DEOTS)

This next dish comes from
Veganomicon (VCON). Chickpea cutlets with red wine roux. I made lemon-butter noodles as well.

Rough recipe for lemon butter noodles:

Cook up 1/2 bag egg-free noodles, drain. In same pan (dry), heat 1/2 c vegetable stock, 2 Tb. earth balance margarine, and let simmer a little. It will thicken slightly. Add a 1/2-1 Tbsp. or more lemon juice and add noodles back in, coating well.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mujadara (Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils)

Mujadara is one of my fav rice/protein dishes, probably because it is flavoured with caramelized onions, which I am crazy about. Unfortunately, the people at Sahara are really freaking rude (i.e. I was yelled at in line) so I don't go there anymore. I will flat out tell you they are more experienced rice/lentil makers than I, but I think with a few more seasonings, mine will be just as good.

I got my basic recipe from Frugal Cuisine but changed it up a bit.

I am still not sure how to pronounce it. I have heard all sorts of pronunciations, from "massa-dura" to "mu-ha-dra". I have also heard that it traditionally has ground meat, but I have never seen it in there and for me, it's always been vegetarian.

Note about onions: "Caramelizing" just means drawing out the sugar, basically. This process cannot be rushed. It takes a long time. But, as with a lot of things, it is worth the wait. It is not like sauteeing where the vegetable will brown quickly and still have a crunch. The onions have no heat after this so onion-haters, give this a try. You will start with a lot of onion and the end result will be a delicious small amount of onion. You can use them for all sorts of things: pasta, sandwiches, scrambled tofu, soups, etc. Just keep them in your fridge.

Basic recipe:

*2/3 c brown lentils (can use green)
*2/3 c long-grain rice
*dash cumin powder
*about 2 1/4 c (HOT) water (reserve water- will explain)
*4 green or black cardamom pods (more to taste, or omit)
*"chicken"-flavoured vegan broth powder/cubes or vegetable broth powder/cubes (I use No-Chicken Better Than Bouillon) for 2 cups worth of water.
*Several onions, peeled and sliced thin (can use food processor if doing a lot of onions, which I suggest doing since you will be caramelizing anyway- you may as well make extra.)

First, let's start the onions.
Take a large, wide pan and heat olive oil or a good quality margarine (Earth balance) on MED. Put your heaping mass of onions in and turn to MED-LO.
Put a pinch of salt and stir the onions every so often. Do not turn up the heat. This honestly took me..probably an hour, but it's mostly inactive.


Heat about 1 Tbsp olive oil or margarine in a (separate) medium cooking pot with tall sides. Add the lentils, rice, dash cumin powder, cardamom. Stir frequently as this can burn. You want the rice to turn a *slightly* golden colour. All you are doing here is toasting the seasonings and the rice/lentils. This takes about 5 minutes.

Add *about* 2 cups of the water, with the broth powder/cubes dissolved. (The original instructions that I linked to said to put water so it is about 2 cm above the rice and beans, which is a really good old school method- but steam will burn you! So just do a little under 2 cups.

Cook the lentils and rice about 20 minutes. I had to add a little more water (about 1/4 c) and cook longer, just until lentils and rice are tender.

When onions are done, mix into the rice (to taste), add salt and serve.

Picture coming soon

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bloggers and Viewers- <3


I appreciate all of your views and comments! I always mean to get back to you, don't think I don't love you.

When a comment gets published, I don't see anything that says "new comments" after they are published and I kind of have to guess where it was posted. I have quite a few posts so sometimes I can't find where a comment was posted. So, don't think that because I haven't responded to your comment(s) that I don't care!

I hope you continue to enjoy my food blog and it's great to see more veggie blogs, and it's great to have non-veggie people look, too. Hopefully you've learned something, enjoyed a picture, gotten an idea, or even been inspired. I know I feel that way when I look at all of your pictures/recipes/ideas.

Much love!

Pamela Cooks

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Vampire Cupcakes, Breakfast Sandwich

2 Posts that don't have much to do with one another!

Got this idea from Baking Bites via PPK. I changed it and veganized it and I don't have a cute Halloween setup but dang if they weren't good. The link has all the instructions. For veganizing:

Any basic white cupcake recipe (I used Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World Sexy Lowfat Vanilla). I also used Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Cream Cheese frosting!

Instead of using cherry pie filling, I made my own with raspberries. Recipe below.

Raspberry Filling (can also use black cherries)

1 bag (12 oz) frozen raspberries
1/2 c sugar
1/6-1/3 c water
2 tsp. corn starch or arrowroot powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow raspberries to thaw. Make sure to mix the cornstarch so it dissolves in the liquid or it can come out lumpy!

Bring mixture to a boil in a pan and let cool. Fill as directed in link.


"Fast Food" Breakfast Sandwich

1 English Muffin
1 recipe whatever your favourite tofu scramble
1 piece Tofutti "Cheddar" style cheese slice
2 pieces Yves Canadian Bacon, cooked after tofu scramble for crispiness

Toast muffin, "butter" it with Earth Balance and assemble as shown. I added a little maple syrup to the muffin to get an all-around brakfasty delight.

Smoky Breakfast Tempeh With Roasted Potatoes

I made a basic roasted potatoes (potatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, spices, 400 degrees for about 45min-1 hour). I made this smoky breakfast tempeh today as well, inspired by tempeh bacon but taken in a different direction. Recipe below.

*8oz tempeh, cut into triangles, and triangles cut in half so the triangles are thin (if that makes sense)
*maple syrup (agave mectar may work as well)
*tamari or soy sauce
*dijon mustard (preferably the grainy/chunky textured kind)
*liquid smoke
*black pepper (opt)

Place tempeh in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain well.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a cup and mix well. I put them in the order of composition, and the total liquid volume is about 1/4 c. It really is to taste. Just remember it will thicken.

Heat a nonstick pan and put 1/2 Tbsp- 1 Tbsp olive oil, and saute the tempeh on each side until slightly golden. Pour in glaze and continue to cook (and flip, for even coating) until the pan is dry and the liquid has created a glaze on the tempeh.

Serve with the potatoes. Best part- can work well with either syrup or ketchup!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stuffed Zucchini

What do you do with a zucchini? Aside from this recipe, you can pretty much put it in any mix of things: simply saute with oil or margarine and add to spaghetti, enchiladas, tofu scramble..the list goes on.

Here is a freestyle recipe for stuffed zucchini. Use what you have, and adjust the
moisture to suit your grain preference

Stuffed Zucchini

*3 med-lg zucchini, halved lengthwise and insides scooped out with a spoon
*1 small onion, diced
handful (3 or 4) mushrooms, chopped
*1 tomato, seeded and rough chopped
*4oz or so (handful, cup or less) chosen protein: I used Mornngstar Chikn, but you can use cooked beans, cooked lentils, seitan, tofu, etc. Saute this separately!
*1 c stuffing OR your choice cooked grain, such as quinoa
*Spices- I used All Purpose seasoning salt and poultry seasoning
*1 c (approx) water to wet stuffing. (If using favourite cooked grain, omit water unless stuffing is dry)

In a large pot/pan, saute the zucchini halves cut-side down about 3-4 minutes on each side, just until they get a golden colour on the edges.

Remove zucchini and place in an oiled baking dish, scooped side up

Add onions, mushrooms, and the zucchini insides (chopped) and cook until onions are tender, adding spices. Add protein and tomatoes.

Add stuffing or grain and necessary water. Lay over zucchini and bake at 350 F for about 20 minute, just until zucchini "boats" are tender


Here I used shiitake gravy from Road's End Organics but you can use spaghetti or tomato sauce. If using the tomato/spaghetti sauce, I would suggest baking it with the zucchini.

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


This is a variation on my mom's recipe. It's pretty loose, as you can add what you want to it. Choose whatever extra protein you want: 8oz tempeh, tofu, seitan, TVP, lentils, homemade crumbles, etc. or just omit all together, as there are beans in it. Here it is served with fresh raw corn and vegan sour cream.

-1 large onion, minced*
-2-4 stalks celery, with leaves, minced*
-1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced*
-3 cloves garlic (more/less to taste), minced*
(*Easiest way to do this is to chop small and pulse in food processor.)

-1 (14-16oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-1 (14-16oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 (14-16oz) can tomato sauce**
-1 (14-16oz) can diced tomatoes**
(**Can use two cans of either. You can also start with a 28oz. can and see if you need more)

-1 8oz bag Morningstar Farms "Steak" strips or other protein (see note about proteins above)

-A-1 Steak Sauce
-Tabasco Hot Sauce
-Chili Powder

Heat a little olive oil in a large pot with tall sides, saute minced vegetables until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Add beans and tomatoes/tomato sauce, A-1, chili powder, and Tabasco, to taste

Meanwhile, sauce steak strips in a little oil (in separate pan) until crispy on the outside. Cut into small pieces (can pulse in food processor).

Simmer chili until thickened a little, about 10-20 min (it is ready to eat at any time but simmering makes the flavours come out). You can even simmer on very low for a couple hours. Make sure to keep an eye on it and stir.

Add "steak" to chili before serving. Stir until well-combined and serve with rice, pasta, biscuits, or corn bread and a salad.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Enchiladas, Frijoles Negros, Yellow Rice

I went to the Mexican market today and found some vegan refried Frijoles Negros (black beans) that tasted great! Recycle is already out so I can't say the brand! I got the enchilada sauce and tortillas there.

If you have a Mexican/Latin market, get your supplies there! Check the beans for lard.

This recipe is loose, add what you want!

1 medium onion, diced
1-2 red or green bell peppers, diced
8oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bag Morningstar Chik'n Strips OR 8oz tofu OR seitan

Red or green enchilada sauce
Vegan cheese (optional, I used Follow Your Heart)

Saute vegetables with a shake of garlic powder, a little hot red pepper, and salt until softened. Remove from pan and saute protein. Add some shredded cheese to mixture (optional)

Place some enchilada sauce in the bottom of a casserole pan.
Place filling in each tortilla, roll, and place seam-down in the pan. Repeat until filling is gone. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Add more cheese on top.
Bake at 350 F. 20-35 min, until sauce is thick. Broil the last few minutes to melt cheese.

1-2 cans Frijoles negros
1 tsp. Better than Chicken Boullion
1 c water

Whisk all ingredients together and cook until water evaporates, stirring often.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hamburger and French Fries

Publix Greenwise burger with caramelized onion, Tofutti cheese, mushroom, lettuce, tomato, Vegenaise, dijon. Sweet potato fries with ketchup and miso mayo. I highly recommend the Publix burger! Cheapo and yummy! Saute in a pan with a little margarine to make a nice slightly crispy outside.

French fries:
Peel and cut a sweet potato. Use a little olive oil and a little Tony Chachere's seasoning. bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 min (I like mine under-done)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Homemade Lasagna and Special Marshmallows

This lasagna is 100% Homemade. It's from Nonna's Italian Kitchen. I even did the pasta! Get this book!

Sweet and Sara Marshmallows! A special treat!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Puttanesca, Kittee's Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Apparently, this means "prostitute's pasta" because it was served in brothels back in the day. So good! It's from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Nonna's Italian Kitchen.

And Kittee's Peanut Butter Pie. Basically 5 ingredients. Basically impressive and awesome.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Low-Fat "Cheeseburger" Pasta + Make-Your-Own-Crumbles Recipe

This recipe has about 30 grams of fat for the entire batch, which makes 4-6 decent servings. Use whole wheat pasta if available. (I can't find vegan WW ribbons)

"Cheeseburger" Pasta

1 small onion diced
1 c crumbles (see recipe below!)
Handful mushrooms, chopped (if you don't like mushrooms, omit)
1 tsp olive oil
Tony Chachere's brand** or your favourite multi-purpose seasoning

4 c uncooked egg-free pasta ribbons (less if using a denser pasta, like macaroni)

1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 Tbsp margarine (earth balance)
1/4 tsp. (wet) mustard
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
salt to taste
dash garlic powder
few turns fresh ground black pepper

Heat a small pan and add the olive oil. Saute mushrooms and onions until onions are translucent. Add crumbles and seasoning and cook until moisture is gone.

Cook pasta and drain. Set aside.

Put flour and nutritional yeast in a (separate)dry pan, around MED heat. Whisk mixture until "toasted" and not raw-tasting. Be careful! Don't burn!
Slowly whisk in milk. Beat out any lumps.
Add margarine, mustards, garlic powder, and pepper. Mixture will thicken.

Add cooked pasta and onion/crumble/mushroom mixture. Mix well. Serve with a salad!


This recipe is inspired by Boca and other crumbles, which are about $6-$8/lb. This is cheaper, though I have no idea how much it actually costs.

*3 c Textured Vegetable Protein/Textured Soy Protein
*scant 2 1/2 to 3 cups boiling water
*2-3 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Beef OR your favourite vegan beef broth powder/cubes, to taste
*1/4 c. A-1 steak sauce (it's clean, don't worry)
*Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional, just for colour)

Add bouillon to water and whisk until dissolved. Add TSP/TVP and mix well. Add A-1 and a dash Kitchen Bouquet. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Use as directed. Best if sauteed with spices.

**If you click on the link, please ignore the monstrosity that is the TurDuckEn. I apologize that it exists.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vegetable Curry and Cream Cheese Brownies

Mixed Vegetable Curry! This is one of my boyfriend's fav dinners. It's spicy (for me, *almost* to the point of being too spicy) but you can calm it by not adding as much spice or adding more coconut milk.

Brownies! If you are like me, you like the very center of every pan of baked goods. Gooey and no crust. If you don't like gooey, these brownies aren't for you, because they won't get firm unless you add more flour or something. Recipe below.

Vegetable Curry
This vegetable curry came with a little help from Shan Vegetable Curry Mix. You get a lot of servings from one pack of spices, which are about $1/box (I fed 5 people with less than half of the spice pack when curry was served with rice). This dish can be stretched even further by using less, or by serving with breads and salad.

Here is the (loose) recipe that I made the vegetable curry with. You can use whatever vegetables you have around!

4-5 medium tomatoes (I de-seeded, you don't have to)
2 small-med red potatoes, peeled and chopped small*
2-3 zucchini, unpeeled, chopped small*
1 1/2 onions, diced
5-6 baby portobello or other mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thick
Handful cauliflower florets, chopped into chunks
1 lb tofu, cut into 1/8ths and pressed, then each 1/8th cut in half
1/2 regular (13-14oz) can coconut milk
1 box Shan Vegetable Curry Mix
*About 1 cm cubes, zucchini can be larger since it is a quicker-cooking vegetable

In a large saute pan with high sides, pour 1-2 Tbsp. peanut oil and cook tofu until golden (on each side). Empty pan, cut each piece of tofu into even 4 pieces. Set aside.

In same pan, heat a generous 1-2 Tbsp. margarine, and fry onions and potatoes for roughly 5 minutes or a little longer, until almost done (If you have any carrots or other long-cooking vegetables, add them here with the onion and potato). Add the rest of the vegetables, several Tbsp (3-5) Shan spices, and the coconut milk. Cook the vegetables until tender but not mushy. Tomato will pretty much dissolve and become part of the sauce. This takes about 10 minutes. Stir fairly often, as this is a lot to make at once and you want even cooking.

Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and reduce the coconut milk until it makes a fairly thick sauce (coats the back of a spoon, but isn't thick enough to hold a shape).

Return vegetables (and tofu) to pan and coat with sauce. Serve with cooked basmati rice and any Indian breads/chutneys. We kept it simple.

Here is what the packet looks like if you don't want to shop from the internet. I found mine at a local Indian grocer!

Gooey Cream Cheese Brownies
(Based off a recipe, modified slightly)

2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/2 cup oil - preferably vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli)
3/4 8oz. container Tofutti Cream Cheese (so use 6oz or just estimate)

*Boil water and 1/2 cup of the flour over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the consistency of a thin gluey paste. Remove from heat and let cool completely. MUST cool completely.
*Mix sugar, salt, vanilla, cocoa and oil. Then add the rest flour-water mixture. Mix well.
*Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder.
*Spoon out about 1/4-1/3 cup batter, and beat well with cream cheese, adding a little soy milk to thin.
*Add the nuts or chocolate chips to the large bowl of batter, if you choose to add those.
*Spread mixture into a greased 11 x 7 pan (I used 8x8 or 9x9). Pour cream cheese mixture on top of brownie mixture and swirl. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted and come out (somewhat)clean.

Mini Pumpkin Pie

I am so glad these mini-pies came out well. With help from PPKers, I found a crust and method that works. These are the newest addition to the cafe where I work. I hope our customers enjoy them!

Crust is from

1 1/2 cups flour (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons soy milk

Mix dry ingredients. Add liquids and mix with a fork. Pat into 9-inch pan with fingers. If pre-baked crust is needed, bake at 425 degrees F, 10-12 minutes.


3/4 lb tofu
15-16 oz pumpkin puree (1 can)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/3 c oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 c brown sugar

Do not press tofu, especially if using firm. (I used firm Chinese style tofu and this recipe still worked). Crumble tofu really well with your hands. Add all ingredients. Blend until very, very smooth. You may need to start out with a food processor then move to a blender. Scrape down sides of blender occasionally.

Recipe is from Recipezaar.

1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
2 cups roughly chopped walnuts

*Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large, heavy saucepan and place over medium heat.
*Stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear.
*Boil for 2 minutes without stirring.
*Add the walnuts, bring back to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
*Remove from heat and allow to cool.
*Serve and store at room temperature.
*Stir well before using.
*Note- Sauce will thicken upon cooling. Overcooking can lead to making a very hard walnut mixture.


Chill dough while you are making filling. (2x recipe dough will equal 12 mini pies with a little dough left over. 1x pumpkin filling will make about 16 mini-pies.)
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
*Spray a cupcake pan well with nonstick spray. Flatten and pat dough into each cupcake well, keeping it a little higher on the sides (you will need the sides slightly high- you will be removing these from the pan, and it makes them look really home-made.)
*Bake dough about 10 min, until "set". Will not be golden, just not doughy.
*Fill each mini-pie with pumpkin filling and return to oven.
*Bake 10-20 minutes more, checking at 10 and 15 minutes. Pumpkin will not be jiggly and will come out mostly clean when done.
*Let cool, remove from pan by carefully slipping a knife down into each well, and gently pop out pie.
*Make walnut topping and put a small amount on each mini-pie.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Korean Yumminess: Bulgogi and Kim Chee Tutorial

First, the Kim Chee. Kim Chee is a very old, very popular fermented vegetable dish of Korea. Many kinds have fish or shrimp paste in them, making them not suitable for vegetarians, but you can easily make your own! It's a lot cheaper that way, as well.

This is my first attempt and I am happy with the results. This is how I made it. There are many, many different ingredient combinations, as well as methods. The times for preparation are greatly varied as well. I encourage you to try your own! Kim chee tends to get hotter with age, up to a point so go easy on your heat source if you aren't big on spiciness. Here we go!

First, get your hands on some Napa cabbage. I got mine at the local Asian market.

Next, cut the end off

You can use this as a frisbee or something. My dog actually liked how it tasted so he was licking it...

Cut into fourths lengthwise and wash well. Let drain.

Dispatch into 1-2 inch pieces and salt liberally. I used kosher salt.

Cover loosely and let sit anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours

The salt will purge the liquid from the cabbage. It will wilt and release its liquid. Look how much!

Rinse your cabbage and squeeze well. Do not worry about it being too dry. It will make more liquid as it ferments. Your cabbage should still have a nice texture (not all of it should be limp) and it shouldn't be too salty after rinsing.

This is the fun part...

Go nuts! Add what you want. Here is what I added:

Handful shredded carrots
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 sheet Laver seaweed*, cut into tiny pieces with scissors
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
Sriracha, to taste**
about 2 Tbsp tamari/soy sauce
several green onions, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped very fine
3-4 small/2 large garlic cloves, chopped very fine

*Laver seaweed is a delicious salted seaweed (?) algae (?) that is different from sushi nori. You can eat it as a snack by itself or with rice. It's really lacy-looking. I added this to impart a little "sea" taste. You can use other sea vegetables, such as kelp, or omit.
**Sriracha is a common Asian hot sauce. It has a rooster on the bottle. I added too much! I would go easy on the heat. You can add more later.

After all ingredients are well-mixed, place in a clean wide-mouth jar. I let mine sit on the stove overnight, but it isn't hot in the house. If it is too warm in your house, find a cool spot and let the kim chee sit there for a few hours or overnight.
You can eat the kim chee right away after it's refrigerated, but some people wait longer. It will keep in your refrigerator for months.



This Bulgogi recipe came from the newspaper and by the time I got to it, it was just an ingredient list and no name for credit. Sorry! Traditionally, it is made with beef. Seitan or tofu makes a really good substitution.

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ)

2-4 lbs protein such as seitan or tofu, cooked and sliced thin

3/4 c soy sauce
1 1/4 c water (less for saltier taste)
2 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, roasted and ground
2-3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2/3 c sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3-4 scallions, sliced on bias
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

Mix all ingredients. (Sugar will dissolve.) Can spoon sauce directly onto protein and serve with sticky rice. Can also reduce sauce slightly, or coat protein in sauce and serve with rice. Additional items for a meal: garlic bok choy, kim chee, noodles, sweet and sour soy beans, pickled sweet cucumber, daikon, etc.

NOT the bulgogi recipe, but using the sauce I had left over from when I did make it, and made a soba noodle with cashew dish...

Delicious Indian Takeout. Wish I made it, but I didn't.