Monday, April 30, 2007

Cheap Red Wine!

You know that bottle of cheap red wine that's been collecting dust on your wine rack since your housewarming party? It's time to break it out for this Veg Times recipe. You will also need:

2 16 oz cans of chickpeas, rinsed (or 2 cups of cooked chickpeas)
1 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup tomato juice
2 Tbs dijon mustard
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs minced fresh parsley
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs olive oil

Combine couscous, red wine and tomato juice in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer until the liquid absorbs. Let this about 5 minutes.

Combine the couscous mixture and all other ingredients but the oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. (If your food processor is fussy process half of the ingredients at a time.)

Oil your hands and oil a large baking sheet. Shape 3 Tbs of the processed mixture at a time into balls. Place these balls on the baking sheet. (You will get about 20 balls in total.) Flatten the balls to form patties that are about 2" wide and 1/2" thick.

Brush the patties with olive oil and bake for 15 minus, turn them over, brush with oil and bake another 10-12 minutes.

We served our chickpea patties with steamed broccoli but any sort of cooked greens or a leafy green salad is a great accompaniment. Makes for a very delicious and filling low calorie meal -- serves four.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Potato Leek Torte

Tonight we made this potato torte which I enjoyed and Matt thought was just ok. It could have been better with garlic and double the spices the recipe called for but even without that I still enjoyed it. We served it with steamed green beans.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Grilled Tomato & Eggplant Salad

This dish is perfect for warm late spring evenings. You can prepare this on the grill or in your oven.

You'll need:
2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbs fresh oregano, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c olive oil

4 small-medium vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 package baby spinach

Combine the herbs, garlic, oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Dip each eggplant round in the mixture and then either cook the rounds on a grill to cook or place them on a baking sheet in the oven under a broiler set to high. Cook your eggplant for about 5 minutes or until tender. Next dip each tomato round into the oil/vinegar mix and cook them for about 5 minutes either over a grill or in the oven. To serve, place some baby spinach on each plate, top with eggplant and tomatoes and drizzle any remaining oil/vinegar mixture over the top.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Summer Rolls

This was a recipe in Veggie Times last summer. I've made a few minor changes.

Miso Dip
2 Tbs white miso paste
1 green onion, chipped
1/2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
1/2 Tbs. dark sesame oil
1/2 Tbs. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbs olive oil

Summer Rolls
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1/4 c cilantro leaves
1/4 c fresh mint leaves
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 lb spicy tofu, cut into thin slices*
12 rice paper wrappers

*You may be able to find prepared spicy tofu at an Asian market, that is where I got mine. If you cannot, get some extra firm tofu and cut it into 1/4" cubes and fry it in some wok oil, brown sugar and chili paste until golden brown.


1. Prepare the miso dip by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth.

2. To make Summer Rolls: heat some water until warm in a saute pan on the oven. Keep the water warm and soak 1 wrapper in the water until soft. Place on a towel and blog excess water with paper towels.

3. Place some of the carrots, cucumber, cilantro, mint, green onion and tofu inside the wrapper. Roll like a burrito and fold down the top and bottom of the wrap. Repeat this with the rest of the filling and wrappers and serve the finished rolls with the miso dip.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spicy Seitan & Peppers

This recipe is a southwest influenced treat that tastes great and looks beautiful on a plate. A surefire hit for dinner parties and quick and easy enough for a mid-week meal.

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
salt, to taste

8 oz package of seitan
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly
1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
canola oil for coating your pan
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 c coffee
1/4 c balsamic vinegar

Fresh watercress sprigs for garnish

Combine chili powder, coriander, cumin, black pepper and salt in a small bowl and rub the spice mix all over the seitan. Then cut the seitan into bite size pieces.

Heat enough canola oil in a large skillet to coat the bottom of the pan and cook the seitan on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it is browned on all sides. After it is done set it aside.

Add a little more oil to coat the skillet again and cook the bell peppers and onions for about 4 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add brown sugar and garlic, cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the vinegar and coffee and cook for about 3 minutes more.

To assemble the dish: place a mound of watercress on the plate, top with the peppers and onions, add the seitan to the top of that. Pour a bit of the left over liquid from the pan over top.

I served this with steamed green beans which were very lightly buttered and tossed with salt, pepper and toasted almonds. This would also go nicely with a tomato soup or even a gazpacho now that the weather is warming up.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spinach Shitake Miso & Ginger Garlic Slaw

Tonight for dinner: Asian Style Coleslaw and classic Miso soup with a twist.

Miso Soup
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Spinach, shredded
1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water to reconstitute
1 cup tofu, cut into very small cubes
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 1/2 Tbs white miso paste

In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add tofu, green onions, mushrooms and spinach and cook just until the greens wilt. Stir in the miso until it is dissolved. Remove from heat and serve. Serves about 6.

Asian Coleslaw
(This is from a recipe on by Bobbi Ritcheske)

3 Tbs rice vinegar
3 Tbs canola oil
2-1/2 Tbs peanut butter
1-1/2 Tbs soy sauce
1-1/2 T brown sugar
1 Tbs ginger root, minced
2 Tbs garlic, minced

2 cups green cabbage, sliced thin
2 cups red cabbage, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 carrot,julienned
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend for a few seconds.

In a large bowl combine the slaw ingredients and toss with the dressing right before you serve. Serves about 6.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spicy Sweet Potato and Cabbage Curry

This deliciously spicy curry really hits the spot. It's satisfying without making you feel too stuffed to the gills and at only about 200 calories per serving, you can kinda pig out and not feel guilty in the morning. We got this recipe from Vegetarian Times but we've changed it a little so here's our version...

Matt and I like to get all our veggies washed and cut up before we start to cook. Usually one of us will chop and the other will clean and then one of us can start cooking while the last of the veggies get chopped. This makes cooking dinner go really fast in our house.

You will need:
1 T canola oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced ginger
1/2 t salt
1 small onion, chopped
2 t curry powder
1/8 t caynenne
3 cups green cabbage, sliced very thin
1 sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 c raisins
1 c vegetable broth
1/4 c chopped cilantro
2 T chopped roasted cashews

Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, curry powder, salt, and cayenne until the onion starts to brown -- about 5 minutes. Stir in cabbage, sweet potato, chickpeas, raisins, ginger and garlic. Saute 2 minutes more.

Stir in the broth and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes (stirring occasionally). When the veggies are soft spoon the curry into bowls and garnish with the cashews and cilantro.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stuffed Swiss Chard

This hearty Italian meal serves four.

You Will Need:
1 package veggie ground beef (we used Smart Ground)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 medium shallots, diced finely
1 handful of basil, chopped
1 handful thyme, chopped
1 handful oregano, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 large Swiss chard leaves, stems removed
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large bowl combine the veggie beef, the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of shallots and 1/2 of the basil, thyme, oregano and garlic.

Spoon some of the ground beef mixture into the center of each chard leaf and place each filled leaf, seam side down, into a large skillet. (You will probably be able to fit about 4 stuffed leaves into your skillet at once.) Once you have about 4 leaves filled with the ground beef mix, pour 1 cup broth into the skillet, cover and bring to a boil over high head. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the stuffed leaves for about 8 minutes. Then, using a spatula, remove the cooked stuffed leaves from the skillet and set aside (cover them with a lid or foil to retain heat). Repeat this process with the rest of the stuffed leaves and the rest of the vegetable broth.

While your second batch of leaves cooks up, heat your oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the rest of the shallot, red pepper, black pepper, and the rest of the herbs and garlic. Cook about 1-2 minute and then add the can of tomatoes. (If you have any of the veggie beef mix left over this can be added in as well.) Cook for about 8 minutes, adjusting seasoning to taste.

To serve, put your rolls on a plate and top with the tomato sauce mixture. Garnish with cheese if you like.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fast Food Nation and Orange Scented Veggie Beef

Tonight for dinner Matt and I had Orange Veggie Beef. Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chile-garlic paste (or 1 if you're sensitive to hot stuff)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pkg vegetarian beef (we get our's from our local Asian market, if you do not have one near you seitan will do nicely)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 lb broccoli florets

1. Combine 1/4 cup broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, marmalade, vinegar and chile-garlic sauce in a small bowl; mix well.
2. Add 2 teaspoons oil to the wok. Add ginger and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add onion; stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Add bell pepper and broccoli and veggie beef. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup broth, cover and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir the sauce mixture and add it to the wok. Cook, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and translucent. Serve with rice -- jasmine is nice but brown rice is good if you're trying to be super healthy.

After dinner we watched Fast Food Nation which was a really distressing movie that made us happy to be veggie. I have read the book, which is also horrifying but good, and have to say I have heard of more people going veg after reading it than any other catalyst. I wish it was required reading in for every high schooler.

I find it really hard to understand how people who are aware of the kind of terrible environmental and human rights (let alone animal cruelty) practices they're participating in by consuming these products can continue to do it. I am not normally too preachy about being veg (mainly because I find it pointless to bother) but I'm guessing if you're interested in this blog you're probably veggie too or at the very least you're reading a veggie blog so you are sort of asking for the occasional rant about vegetarianism. I guess most of the time I don't think of my own reasons for being veg as particularly altruistic and hippy'ish but watching a film like this makes me feel relieved that my consumer dollars don't support that industry and it makes me wish I did even more for humans and the planet than I already try to make a point of.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Garlic Spinach and Chickpea Soup

This is Matt's favorite soup. It's deliciously spicy and flavorful. We like to serve it with rosemary onion bread.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
5 cups vegetable stock
12 ounces potatoes, peeled and chopped
15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup Silk non-dairy creamer (or heavy cream if you prefer)
2 tablespoons light tahini
7 ounces spinach, shredded
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic and onion for until they are softened and golden brown. This will probably take about 5 minutes. Then stir in the cumin and coriander and cook tor another minute.

Pour the stock and add the chopped potatoes to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer for five minutes or until the potatoes and chickpeas are just tender when pierced. Blend together the cornstarch, cream, tahini, salt, cayenne and black pepper. Stir into the soup with the spinach. Bring to a boil, stirring, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Adjust the amounts of cayenne, black pepper, salt, cumin and coriander to taste.


These cookies are probably my signature cookie. Every where they go they get rave reviews and requests for the recipe. The original recipe wasn't vegan and came from some place online (I cannot remember where). I modified the recipe I found and here is how I make my cookies:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy margarine (softened)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
cinnamon sugar

In a mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add in the cornstarch and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing well. Roll the dough into 3/4" balls and roll each ball into the cinnamon sugar, coating all sides. Set the cookies 1" apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Vegan Tiramisu

For weeks I obsessed about vegan tiramisu. I'd tried vegan recipes in the past and came up with nothing good. This last time I was determined. Now there is a recipe floating around online for vegan tiramisu already and I gave that a shot first but here is what happened:
- the sponge cake came out kind of bitter and crumbly, even though it cooled a long time, cutting it caused it to break up.
- the "mascarpone" came out really runny.

So I tweaked that recipe and combined it with some other recipes and here is my successful version of vegan tiramisu. First make all the components of the recipe as follows.

Sponge Cake:
(Based on recipe I found online by Candace Naomi Sakuda)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 1/3 cups water

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and free of lumps. Pour batter into a greased 9 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool complete and then slice it into lady finger shaped strips. Put the strips on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

8 oz Soy Cream Cheese (I used toffuti's vegan cream cheese)
1/4 cup soy sour cream (I used toffuti's vegan sour cream)
1/4 cup vegan cream (you can try silk coffee creamer but I used Alpro Soya Heavy Cream which you can buy here)
2 tablespoons Amaretto
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon agar (this is a vegan gelatine, I found some at a Korean grocery near my house but if you do not have that kind of thing near you you may have to buy some online)

Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small sauce pan and then dissolve the agar into it and allow it to cool to room temperature. Combine the cream/agar mix with all the other ingredients above and beat well. Put the mix in the fridge to set for several hours.

Coffee/Liquor Dip
1 cup expresso
3 tablespoons amaretto
3 tablespoons sugar

Combine these ingredients and put in the fridge to cool.

1 high quality dark chocolate bar, grated (store in the refrigerator)

To assemble the dessert dip the "lady fingers" you made into the coffee dip and lay them in a large deep dish. Pour the "mascarpone" over top of the cake. Sprinkel the "mascarpone" with the grated chocolate and then chill the entire dish in the refrigerator for an hour or until you are ready to serve.

Rosemary Onion Bread

I love to throw a nice dinner party. This means formal place settings at the dining room table, a table cloth, fabric napkins, good wine and best of all a chance to wow my friends with my latest favorite recipe. A nice touch for dinner parties, if you've got the time, is fresh baked bread. My favorite is this rosemary onion bread that is delicious with soup or salad.

You will need:
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
Approximately 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (more if needed)

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water (105°F to 115°F); let stand for 5 minutes or until mixture becomes foamy.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and edges start to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir rosemary, salt and sugar into yeast mixture. Add onions and whole wheat flour and mix. Add enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Punch dough down. Roll up and place in a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan or for a thinner, crunchier loaf, shape into desired shape and bake on a baking sheet.

Bake the bread for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a hollow sound is heard when tapped.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tamarind-Infused Spinach with Chickpeas

Serves 6

This is what we had for dinner tonight. It's a quick and simple dish that works really well as either a light appetizer for a group meal, or a stand-alone main course. The original recipe (We think it came courtesy of Vegetarian Times) called for safflower oil, but we've had excellent luck with various mid-grade olive oils. We also added garlic, just because it creates a more complex flavor in the base (that, and Matt is addicted to it). Everything else is verbatim in terms of the ingredients and their respective proportions, though feel free to substitute baby spinach with your favorite greens (the version pictured below contains a mixture of baby spinach and kale), and add as much or as little cayenne as your palate is comfortable with.

-2 TB oil (olive, safflower or vegetable)
-1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
-Garlic, to taste (we use anywhere from 2-4 cloves), minced
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
-pinch of cayenne
-1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1/3 cup water
-1 tsp cane sugar
-1 tsp tamarind concentrate
-2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained
-1 (6 oz) package pre-washed baby spinach (about 6 cups)
-1/4 tsp salt
-ground black pepper, to taste

*Note: Tamarind paste is derived from the pulp of the fruit that grows on the tamarind tree and is a common flavoring agent in South and Southeast Asian cooking. It stores well, and can be found in most Asian food markets.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until softened and golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Add cumin, coriander and cayenne to skillet and stir to coat onion and garlic with spices. Cook for one minute, then add diced tomatoes (with juice), water, sugar and tamarind concentrate. Stir to mix well. Add chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach until wilted and evenly combined with mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Nutrition Info

Per Serving: 170 cal (50 from fat), 6g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 5g protein, 26g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium

Monday, April 9, 2007

Foodie Tourism

In March, Matt and I went to NYC for the express purpose of gluttony. Because we're kind of vain we spent the previous week eating nothing but salad so we wouldn't come home too hugely fat. It's kind of an odd position to be in -- adoring cooking and food and worrying about putting on weight. I think most people are in one camp or the other. Matt and I are usually in binge or diet mode though to keep things under control.

Any way, if there is one thing NYC has going for it, it's lots of great veg eateries. We hit up some old favorites, including VP2 and Red Bamboo but we also found a few new spots we loved. We were both completely taken with Gobo. Even my friends who are not vegetarian who joined us there were blown away. They have a delicious menu and their food presentation will knock your socks off. If you only go to one veg eatery in New York this one would be my suggestion.

Vegan French Toast With Bananas @ Counter
For breakfast, I really liked Counter on the lower east side. They had a perfectly decadent vegan french toast and Matt was pleased with their veggie burger. (Matt is a veggie burger afficianado.)

While in New York, we also paid a visit to the May Wah Vegetarian Grocery. A small storefront in Chinatown with nothing but frozen food cases. Inside you'll find a veg version of just about every meat product under the sun. I normally am not all that into meat substitutes but I enjoy the novelty of cooking with something new and sometimes I do wonder if my culinary repertoire is really suffering due to limiting my ingredients to things that came out of the ground. We bought a ton of stuff from this store, some of it was pretty good, some of it I probably wouldn't buy again.

The funny part about this experience is that once I got several shopping bags of these meat things home and into the freezer I had no idea what I wanted to do with them. I actually had to comb the web for recipes that involved meat! The best recipe I found was this one for Lamb Chianti. We made it using May Wah's vegetarian mutton which I think we'd buy again in the future. May Wah also has some vegan citrus ribs that are delightfully spicy. Some of the vegetarian fish (abalone and shrimp) were either a little rubbery or a little bland so they were not our favorites. If you're looking to give some of these products a go, May Wah does ship their products all over, just visit their site for details.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Little About Us

It's like one of those myspace surveys, but it's all about food :)

Favorite culinary celebs: Anthony Bordain, Alton Brown, Duff Goldman

Favorite food magazines: Vegetarian Times, Gourmet, Saveur

Where we like to shop: Han Ah Reum (mid-Atlantic Korean Supermarket), Pangea, Whole Foods

Some of our favorite ingredients: GARLIC, spinach, seitan, broccoli, tomatoes, cayenne, mushrooms, asparagus, balsamic vinegar

Products/Brands we love: Silk, Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Soy Cheese, Poland Springs Raspberry Lime Mineral Water, Smart Ground (and other Smart brand products), Morningstar Farms

Our favorite junk foods: Jolly Rancher Sours, Popcorn (her's), Starbursts (his), Peanut Butter Swirl Cereal

Favorite wines: most Reislings and Gwertztraminers, Little Penguin Shiraz

We also are huge fans of tea -- especially Chai.