Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Dinner in a long long long time

mmmm mmm mmmm mmm mmm mmm. This might be the best thing I have made in a while. Indonesian Yellow Rice with Indonesian Tempeh and Broccoli.

Indonesian Yellow Rice with Indonesian Tempeh

Here is the recipe for Indonesian Yellow Rice from Things Asian. I cut the original recipe in half and left out the butter. I threw all of the ingredients into my rice cooker and just let it do its thing. We actually thought we could cut the rice in half again. It still made a full pot.

Indonesian Yellow Rice
serves 5
1 1/2 cups rice, rinsed
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 cups water
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemon grass
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon, ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Place all ingredients into rice cooker and cook according to rice cooker instructions. (See the original recipe for non-rice cooker instructions).

Indonesian Tempeh from with some modifications
serves 3
1 Tbsp unrefined peanut oil
1 block of tempeh, 1/2 in cubes

1 Tbsp unrefined peanut oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped (I used 2 ripe roma tomatoes)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
water as needed

Steam tempeh for 20 minutes. Remove from steamer (now you can reuse the steamer to make some broccoli). Heat 1 tbsp unrefined peanut oil in a non-stick skillet. Fry tempeh till brown on all sides (turning occasionally) and then move to a paper towel.

Heat 1 tablespoons oil in a wok. Add onion and fry until the onion turns translucent. Add tomato and fry for 2-3 minutes more. Then, add the soy sauce, sugar and tempeh and mix until well coated. Add a bit of water if the sauce is too thick.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Not-Chick'n Noodle Soup

Sometimes even a vegan wants that bowl of soup that we all remember from childhood... chicken noodle. And I know, most people would think that it is impossible for a vegan have. Well, here is (in my humble opinion) the closest vegan thing to the real thing for when you really really neeed it. We now make this whenever one of us doesn't feel very good.

Vegan "Chicken" Noodle Soup

This recipe is on its fourth modification from the original Tofu Noodle Soup recipe by Nava Atlas. I based my version off of Eat Peace's Tofu Noodle Soup. Her version recommends (insists) on adding dill. I can't stomach adding dill to this soup. All the other versions of this recipe use tofu which doesn't feel right to me. But Eat Peace's picture looked so good, that I had to try it and modify it so I would like it.

Not-"Chicken" Noodle Soup

1 T olive oil
3 celery stalks, diced small
3-4 carrots, scrubbed and diced
4-5 cloves garlic (about 1 1/2 Tbsp), minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 yellow onion, small, diced
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cup hot water
2 Not Chick'n boullion cubes*
6 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp tumeric
4 oz angel hair pasta (or capellini, or vermicelli), broken in 1 1/2" pieces
~16 oz white wave chicken style seitan, 1/4 inch dice
pinch cayenne

In a large stockpot (6 qt-ish), heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for about a minute. Add the thyme, and oregano. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to keep garlic and ginger from burning. Turn heat to medium low, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, place the boullion cubes in hot water and stir to combine.

Add the boullion/water mix and the 6 1/2 cups of water to the pot along with salt, pepper, paprika, and tumeric. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Take the lid off, increase the heat again, and add the noodles, seitan, and pinch of cayenne. Cook about 10 minutes, until noodles are cooked. Stir, serve immediately.

This soup is really good the next day too, but you may find that the noodles have taken over. If that happens, make 2 cups of hot water and mix with a not chicken boullion cube. Add to the soup and adjust seasonings.

* I use Butlers Not Chick'n Boullion, which you can get at Food Fight Grocery. I swear by this ingredient and wouldn't want to substitute anything else. I order about 3 boxes at a time and have them shipped to the house.
** I am normally not a huge fan of white wave seitan because it is squeaky, but it really works in this recipe. I cut the seitan really tiny which takes away the squeaky effect. It winds up tasting like the tiny chicken bits in Campbells chicken noodle soup (if any of you can remember that).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2 Buddha Bowls for the Price of One

Well there would be two recipes here if I hadn't screwed up one. This week I decided that I wanted Buddha bowls; bowls full of brown rice, kale, tofu, veggies and some sauce. I have no idea where I got the idea that this was the definition of a buddha bowl, but there ya go.

Here is a pic of the bowl, pre-sauced. You can see that it has my buddha bowl definition of ingredients; vegetables (whatever you like really - I used carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, scallions, snow peas), tofu, kale, brown rice:


The first bowl that we made on Monday night, had a ginger soy sauce. This is the sauce I messed up. But, no fear, I'll try it again soon and post a usable sauce recipe for this. I wasn't feeling well at all when I made this, and for some reason I never tasted it until we sat down to eat. Wow was it salty. Hmm, maybe a little less soy sauce next time. 


When I made this bowl on Monday, I made enough stir fry veggies, brown rice, stir fried tofu, and sauteed kale to use the other half in Wednesday's bowl. This cut tonight's cooking down to only reheating in the microwave and making a sauce.

Tonight's bowl got a thai coconut curry sauce. It is a very light sauce (not too spicy and not too much curry flavor), and the recipe follows.


Here is a pic of the sauce cooking on the stove.

Red Coconut Curry Buddha Bowl Sauce

1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 tsp red curry paste, make sure it is vegan
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1 14-16 oz can coconut milk (not lite coconut milk)
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then add the garlic and ginger. Saute a couple of minutes (be careful not to burn it; keep the heat medium to low). Add the curry paste, tomato paste, soy sauce, coriander, cumin, and paprika. Cook for about another 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the coconut milk and brown sugar and make sure you mix it well. Bring it to a boil and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Serve over stir fried veggies and rice.


Oh, And this sauce tasted amazing on the kale!  Here is a link to the original recipe that I based this on (mostly I just looked to see that ingredients they put in theirs and then mixed stuff up till it tasted like I wanted it to).

Friday, November 14, 2008

A meme - 7 random or weird facts about me.

I’ve been tagged by Felicity at Thrifty Vegan which is a really great blog if you haven't read it before. Her blog inspires me to think about ways I can be more thrifty.

Here are the roolz:
Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links.
Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I have lived in three very different regions in this country: The South: GA, AL, SC. The North: Boston, MA. And the West: Park City, UT.
2. My husband and I moved all the way across the country because we found a job near the best skiing in the country. We drove here in a Prius with 2 cats.
3. I'm not a morning person. I'm downright mean until I've been awake for a couple of hours.
4. I have no patience. I like crafts and things to be finished within a day. This means that anything I paint or draw has to been done by the time I get up from the table. I just started a knitting class which is really going to test the limits of my patience.
5. I love TV and think TiVo was the best invention ever. I hate those "I don't watch TV"-raise-their-nose-in-the-air people.
6. I hate mushrooms and squishy foods. I don't mind the flavor. I'll cook with them, but then I pick all of them out and put them on my husbands plate. I can't stand the texture. And, I make a mean mushroom risotto, heh.
7. I get ill watching at bloody scenes on TV shows. I have to look away during Grays Anatomy. I just started training/working as a volunteer Ski Patrol. When I signed up I didn't realize the training was almost like EMT training and there are lots of gory pics in my text book. And the stories they tell about what we will see on the mountain. Should be interesting to see how I do.

I tag:
Monika at Dabbles with Apples
Mihl at Seitan is My Motor
Webly at Fueled By Popcorn
Herbstonne at The Sisters Vegan
Sheree at Life on the Vegan Highway
Dino at Alternative Vegan
Abbie at Hooray Vegan

Monday, November 10, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Walnut Manicotti

Last night we made Vegan Dad's Roasted Pumpkin Walnut Manicotti. It was pretty good. The picture is awful but they tasted pretty good. Served with my favorite roasted brussel sprouts. This recipe takes a long time to make and I'm not sure I'd do it again. I think it'd be easier to just make it into a lasagna.

While I liked it ok, I thought I added too much sage, but thought it would have been bland without it. I thought it needed something else... maybe caramelized onions or vegan sausage (everything is better with vegan sausage, right?

Pumpkin Walnut Manacotti with Brussel Sprouts

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I miss Grasshopper - No Name Tofu and Broccoli

I miss Grasshopper Vegan Chinese Restaurant in Boston. They have this one item on their menu that is out of this world. It is called No Name. It is basically a sweet and sour seitan. They also had an item called the House Special that was the same thing but with tofu. So, a couple of days ago we made "No Name" using Vegan Yum Yum's recipe. This was pretty good and we will probably make it anytime we are craving sweet and sour tofu or seitan. We loved the fried tofu and we loved the sauce but together was not as fabulous as I remembered. It was still pretty good... and a keeper.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

I can't stop making these Skanky Pumpkin Squares

These might be the best thing ever. Every time a pumpkin comes in the house we make these pumpkin squares. And a pumpkin comes into the house about once a week from our CSA.

The recipe is from Vegan Addict. I have tried these with both AP flour and also with White Whole Wheat flour. The latter is a little grainier, but I can't decide which I like best.

I have had a bit of a problem with the middle sinking a little, but that hasn't affected the flavor at all. It just provided a larger vehicle for the frosting. I guess I just need to keep making these until I figure out the right high altitude adjustment. :P

Pumpkin Cake

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Please stop with the Zucchini already Stuffed Zucchini

I don't hate zucchini. I usually look forward to the first zucchini in the spring. But after I've had that one or two of the first zucchini's of the season, I'm pretty much done with zucchini for the year. So, now it is November and I've had 20 weeks of CSA zucchini. I can't make any more zucchini bread or zucchini muffins and even my co-workers have had enough of my extra zucchini. How is my CSA still putting zucchini in my box? It's snowing outside for pete's sake. Anyway, this week I got 8 small zucchini's. We used 2 in a stir fry which left 6.

I really really did not want to cook this zucchini, but I stuffed them and they came out amazingly well. I have a theory that putting Field Roast sausage into anything makes it taste great. I got the idea when I saw Sheree at Life on the Vegan Highway post about her stuffed zucchini boats. She didn't post a recipe so I made this one up. I did follow her idea to use field roast and brown rice. I used french fried onions as a topping because I had them, but vegan parm would work well here too. We did actually like the crunch of the french fried onions on top.

Here is my version of stuffed zucchini boats. They'll take the zucchini hate right out of you.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm onion, diced
1 sm bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-4 Tbsp white wine
2-3 cups spinach, destemmed, rinsed well, and roughly chopped
2 field roast italian sausages, crumbled
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp water
6 small-med zucchini (prep below)
1/2 c french fried onions in a can, or vegan parm
Preheat oven to 375. Oil a 9x13 casserole dish.

Make the Filling:
In a non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and pepper. Cook for about a minute. Deglaze with white wine. Add the spinach and sausage to the pan and a little water if the spinach is pretty dry. Cover and cook for about a minute until the spinach is wilted. Add the soy sauce, tomato paste, and brown rice. Stir to combine. Add about 2 Tbsp water to loosen up the tomato paste and make a sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the boats:
Slice the ends off of the zucchinis. Slice in half lengthwise. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and make room for filling. Place them on a plate, sprinkle very lightly with salt, and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. You may need to do this in a couple of batches. They should now have a slight give to them. Place them in the casserole.

Fill the boats:
Fill each zucchini half with as much filling as will go in them. Any remaining filling can just go into the dish around the zucchini. Top with crushed french fried onions or vegan parm.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

This filling & technique would also work really well with stuffed bell peppers.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Restaurant Review: Evergreen House (SLC)

We ate lunch today at Evergreen House in Salt Lake City. It is a vegan Chinese restaurant. I'd heard a lot of good things about it and was missing the great Grasshopper in Boston (and My Thai too!). So, we drove down to SLC for a ski swap at REI and then lunch. Oh man. It was bad. Really really bad. I can't believe anyone likes that place. I feel really awful saying anything bad about a vegan restaurant because I really want to support vegan businesses, but wow, so bad.

Mike got a sweet and sour "chicken" and I got a black pepper "beef" dish. In the sweet and sour dish, the sauce tasted like ketchup, the "chicken" was fried on the outside but gummy on the inside. Mike described his "chicken" as "It tasted like a frozen package and um... yucky". I just asked Mike if gummy was an accurate description of the "chicken" and he told me "I don't know, I was too distracted by the horrible taste". My "Beef" had the texture of undercooked seitan (doughy) and tasted a little like five spice powder and a lot like cinnamon. The spring rolls we good ;).

Here are some pics of lunch:

photo.jpgSweet and Sour "Chicken" - You think there is enough sauce on there?

photo.jpgHot Pepper "Beef"

Sorry Evergreen House, but you are no Grasshopper... sigh.

Annie's Woodstock "Copycat"

For about a year now, Mike and I have been addicted to Annie's Woodstock dressing.


Seriously, we have stopped buying any other dressing. We don't even consider it. With the economy not being so great now, I've been inspired by Thrifty Living's blog to do more stuff myself. I searched and found a recipe from Musings from the Shire's blog that mimics Annie's Woodstock dressing and made it a couple of nights ago. It is so good. Mike thinks it might actually be better than the original. We are going to keep making it instead of buying it. 5 minutes and a blender and I've probably saved a few bucks. Here is a pic of how it turned out:

"Woodstock" dressing

I think next time I will make a few tiny adjustments to the recipe despite Mike telling me to leave it exactly as is. I'm going to substitute flax seed oil for the canola oil to make it healthier and I am going to cut back on the vinegar a touch. I also think I will use sundried tomatoes in oil rather than the dried ones.

I love love love this recipe!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Silk Pumpkin Soy Milk

For the last MoFo post, I merely have a product review. Silk has a pumpkin soy milk that is in the refridgerated section of the grocery store that is crack. It is so good. It smells much spicier than it tastes. It is smooth, sweet, and lightly pumpkin flavored. So, quick, off to the stores with ye to get some before this seasonal soymilk is gone. Oddly, I could find no mention of this product on the Silk website so I have no picture or link to point you to.

In other news, I made the pumpkin black bean casserole again last night and it was not nearly as spicy as last time (thankfully) so I must have really screwed up the spice measurements last time. I got another boatload of pumpkin from the CSA this week so were are again immersed in pumpkin dishes. I put 7 cups of baked and pureed pumpkin into the freezer last night and have 2 more small sugar pumpkins on the counter. I'll gladly trade a pumpkin for an acorn squash right about now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Svedish "Meeetballs"

Last night we made Cozy Inside's Swedish "Meatballs".  They were pretty good (and scary real looking, huh).  

I noticed the comments on the recipe indicated that people had troubles with the balls sticking together so after I hydrated the TVP, I added about another 1/4 to 1/3 cup stock.  I had no problems with them sticking together.  

While this recipe was ok, I think it needs some tweaks.  Most importantly, I would double the sauce (or half the "meatballs" and pasta).   It is definitely worth making if you are craving that sort of thing.  I think next time I might try a different meatball recipe because I am not a huge fan of TVP (but, these were good too).  Has anyone out there tried LightLife ground for something like this?

Vegan Swedish "Meatballs"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tiny Little Pies

Tiny Apple & Pear Pies

We accidentally got a double CSA share this week (long story) and that meant that we had 2x as many apples and pears. I decided to chop the apples and saute them in EB and sugar as a filling. I used that filling to make Apple/Pear turnovers with Puff Pastry (no pic) and tiny apple pies. Some of the pies have a top crust and some have a streusel topping. I then put all of them in the freezer. Some nice cold winter day there will be pie.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Hearty Autumn Muffins (with Pumpkin, apples, and bran)

I was worried that I would not be able to hit the required 20 posts this month, but can you believe it? This is number 23!

These muffins are Vegan Dad's recipe. They are very hearty and filling - but oh so soft. I like them a lot and love the bits of slightly crunchy apples in them, but I was a little disappointed that i could not taste the pumpkin in them. The bran kind of overwhelms the pumpkin. Even so, they were very good, so don't let that stop you from trying his recipe! They were so good that I am probably going to make them again this weekend.

Autumn Muffins

I made a couple of small changes. Vegan Dad's recipe called for 3/4 cup wheat bran and 1/4 cup oat bran. I didn't have either, but I did have some Bob's Red Mill High Fiber Cereal which is mostly wheat bran and oat bran, so I used 1 cup of that (I wonder if that's what made them so tender?). I then had to add a couple more tablespoons of soy milk.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Baked Potato and Broccoli Soup with Potato Croutons

Ok, so in addition to the copious amounts of pumpkin, I am also surrounded by russet potatoes. A perfect time to try Isa's recipe for baked potato soup in Veganomicon. I substituted broccoli for the Kale because I was really wanting broccoli soup (not because i don't love Kale.. cause I do).

Broccoli Baked Potato Soup

Served with the Potato Crouton (in the recipe), fakin' bacon, and scallions.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pumpkin Curry

With all that pumpkin in the house, I decided it was time for a pumpkin curry. I was try to recreate a dish that an Indian friend made for me once. I was close and this was good, but we felt like it was missing a sweet element. We never did decide what we would change next time on this so if any of you Indian food cooks out there have an idea, let me know. Maybe it needs tomatoes... or tamarind... or fenugreek.... or... ?

Pumpkin Curry

Pumpkin Curry

1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp canola oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1" ginger, minced
1 jalepeno, minced
1 Tbsp Garam Masala
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt (add more to taste at the end)
1 cup water
4 cups pumpkin, cut into 1 inch pieces
4 red baby potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can coconut milk
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped

Add canola oil to a large pot and heat over med-high heat. When the pot is hot, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Cook stirring until they start to pop. Add the onions. Cook until the onions brown (about 7-10 minutes) stirring occasionally to keep the spices from burning. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalepeno. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the spices and salt. Cook another minute.

Add one cup of water, stir to deglaze. Add the vegetables. Add the can of coconut milk. Cover and lower heat and simmer 30 minutes. When the vegetables are starting to get tender, add the chickpeas and cook another 10-15 minutes. Add the cilantro and server over brown rice.

Psst - Kim if you are reading this, I was trying to recreate that dish we had at your house last fall after pumpkin/apple picking. Find out what I am missing, please!!!! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin and Black Bean Casserole

Isn't this casserole beautiful. It made the house smell as good as it looks.

Pumpkin Black Bean Casserole

This is a Pumpkin Black Bean Casserole, recipe from Fat Free Vegan. It has layers of thinly sliced pumpkin, layers of a mexican chile flavored black bean mixture with tomatoes and corn, and then a cheesy sauce. It tasted like a spicy, cheesy chili. Since it was pretty spicy, I think I may have goofed and added more Ancho or Chipolte than it called for. I'll be making this again so I'll know the answer next time if it doesn't come out as spicy. This goes great with some blue corn chips.

Things that I think I will change next time: I think I will saute the onions first. My onion was really really strong and overpowered things a bit. And, I think that 1/2 way through the baking time I will add some crushed blue corn chips to the top. Now I can't wait to make it again. You may see this one again next week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cooking when you have no time to cook

After working from home for a while (and previous to that, a 8-5 cushy job), I recently started working with my husband at a new job. And working about 50-60 hours a week. Between that and hiking, there isn't much time left for cooking. In the past we've always been able to work out cooking dinner. We'd make a menu and then if one of us was running late, the other would start dinner. Now when one of us is running late, we are both running late and dinner doesn't happen. The first couple of weeks I worked with him, we found that we were suddenly eating like crap. Lots of chinese takeout and burritos. We decided that we had to do something different. So we started cooking almost all of our week's food over the weekend (still hard with the amount of hiking and biking we were doing in the summer). It is kind of a painful process but for the rest of the week, we are very happy we did it. I thought that I would share a few tips for busy cooks. Even if you don't cook everything in a couple of nights like we have been trying to do, these are still useful prep tricks for middle of the week cooking.

Your food processor is your friend. Use it to shred cabbage, slice carrots, celery, zucchini, etc. Get the food processor dirty once and slice up as much as you can. Place vegetables in tupperware or plastic bags. Some vegetables like zucchini do better if you wrap them in a damp paper towel.

Chop up as much as you can ahead of time. You can cut up all your stir fry vegetables and then you are ready to cook when you get home with almost no prep. I chop almost all vegetables ahead of time, except potatoes. Potatoes sometimes turn brown so I wait and do them as needed.

In a mini chopper (or food processor) place a head's worth of garlic cloves in and mince. Put the garlic in a small tupperware container with a little olive oil. Store it in the fridge. It keeps for a stunningly long time. You can also do this with ginger.

Make a big pot of rice and put it in the fridge for the week. Rice takes a long time to cook. This also makes stir-fry an easy weeknight dinner.

If you do want to try to cook everything ahead of time, plan for a few nights worth of food plus a couple night of leftovers. Make big pots of stews and soups. Casseroles are also good for make ahead food. Pasta and sauce also hold up well. You can make pasta, drain it, toss it with a little olive oil and throw it into a ziploc bag in the fridge. I also make side dishes such as sauteed corn or greens or roasted beets and put them in the fridge for eating later in the week. When I get done cooking for the week, my fridge is full of food and my vegetable bin is almost empty. It is an oddly satisfying feeling.

When ski season hits and we are snowboarding all weekend, we won't have as much time to make everything ahead of time so we will try to change tactics a bit... and we won't be overrun with CSA vegetables after December s we will have more control over how much we need to cook. At that point, I expect there will be more spaghetti and "meatballs", burritos, tacos, and pizza in our house on weeknights. I'll still try to get at least one big pot of soup or stew cooked on the weekend so we don't starve. And, I am definitely going to keep prepping all the vegetables over the weekend.

African Groundnut Stew with Kuri Squash

Last night we made African Groundnut Stew from Voluptuous Vegan. Groundnut, in this case, refers to the 1/4 cup of peanut butter that finished the stew. Yum! This is a recipe that has become a fall favorite in our house. We only get to make it in the fall when we are getting fresh local interesting squash. I always make it with a Kuri Squash which is the red one in the picture below.


It is a time consuming recipe, but the results are well worth it. In addition to Kuri squash, the stew also has roasted cauliflower in it, carrots, sweet potatoes, potato (instead of the turnip it called for because I had potatoes), garlic, lots of ginger, ginger juice, cilantro, onions, and scallions. But its the peanut butter, ginger, and the squash that are the real stars of this stew:

African Groundnut Stew

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This week has been brought to you by the vegetable: Pumpkin

Holy Pumpkin! I have a lot of pumpkin. So, don't be at all surprised that almost everything I post this week will be made with Pumpkin! In addition to the 3 main courses I made over the weekend (for next week - but that's another post), pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin muffins... I still put 4 cups of pumpkin puree away in the freezer. This big guy, an Aluminum Squash, made 6 cups of pumpkin puree! We forgot to get a picture of this pumpkin until after we sliced it open:

Aluminum Squash

The first cup of this pumpkin puree went into Pumpkin Cookies. This recipe is from Dabbles with Apples. These are soooo good and the crunchy brown sugar in the frosting is the best! They are like little cupcakes in the shape of cookies. I didn't change anything about this recipe, but I did need to add a little more powdered sugar to the frosting.

Pumpkin Cookies

Psst - Liz... you need to make these!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So angry tonight, stupid local news

I'm sitting here playing on my computer and the local news is on the tv in the background. Fox Utah. I look up and there is a story about a cat stuck in a tree and how the "rescuers" sprayed the cat with a hose and then planned to catch it with a net. The cat fell about 30 feet and was missed and hit the ground. The stupid news presented this story as funny. The end of the story said "don't worry the cat is fine and only broke a tooth in his fall" uh huh huh huh. I'm in total disbelief that anyone would find that funny. You can bet that before I wrote this, I wrote an email to the news channel. Anyway, i knew you guys would understand.

Outfitting your kitchen with knives

Since vegans chop a lot of vegetables it seems important to talk about knives and how to choose them. I'm guessing a lot of you already know this and if so, just stop reading now. :)

First of all, don't buy a set. Second, don't buy a cheap (except maybe Forschner knives) knives. Good knives last a lifetime and are worth the investment. Even if you have to save your pennies for months to buy one knife, you should do that instead of buying cheap knives. I have Wusthof's, but Henckle's are equally good. I know some people will disagree and say that cheap knives are fine, but after years of using cheap crappy knives we got as a wedding present and then switching to nice knives, I just disagree. Cooks Illustrated also seems to really like the Forschner knives as good quality inexpensive knives.

The first knife you should buy is an 8" Chefs Knife and then if you have never used one before, watch a video about how to hold it and use it (watching my Mom with the knife I bought her about kills me). It is the one indispensible knife in your kitchen. It can do everything and is great at chopping fresh herbs and mincing garlic. If you can have 2 "chefs knives", I'd recommend a Santuko. I do almost all my chopping with my Santuko. I love it and would cry for days if something happened to it. It is not so great for fresh herbs though, so then I pull out my chefs knife. My husband Mike uses the Chefs knife almost exclusively.

Chefs Knife


You really don't need any other knives, but if you can have more knives, a good serrated knife is next in line. I have 2 serrated knives: a short tomato knife (it's good for slicing fingers too) and a very long bread knife. My tomato knife is oddly named a "sausage knife" in the Wustoff catalog.

Tomato Knife

Bread Knife

I also have a wooden knife block to keep my knives in. Don't just throw them in a drawer, give them a safe home.

And while it is not a knife, a peeler is indispensible when prepping for dinner. A regular old oxo peeler is best. And next is the oxo serrated tomato peeler, while it is clearly just a bonus tool, it peels tomatoes and peaches easily (without boiling water).

Tomato peeler

Vegetable Pancit

Many many years ago, i lived in Charleston, SC for a short time. We used to always get this dish called Pancit from a local Chinese restaurant. A lot. Then we moved away and I have since then looked at every Chinese restaurant I've been to for this dish. No one ever has it. I was confused by that till I saw it in Robin Robertson's cookbook, Fire and Spice. In her book, she mentions that the dish is a Filipino dish. No wonder I never find it in Chinese restaurants. It was a fluke that I've ever had it. We made this dish with the tiniest Capallini I've ever seen (brand De Cecco) and it was at least as good as my memory of the dish.

We added some Morningstar "Chicken" strips because I had them in the house. I actually bought the Morningstar strips about 3 months ago and I've been afraid to try them. I thought they were just ok. I'd actually preferred some seitan instead. Next time!

Vegetable Pancit with Morningstar Vegan "chicken"
From Fire and Spice cookbook

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chickpea Patties with Garlicky Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Corn, and Roasted Butternut

Last nights dinner:
Chickpea Patties

Chickpea Patties from Eat Drink and Be Vegan
Brussel Sprouts from Vegan with a Vengeance
Fresh corn, cut off the cob and sauteed in olive oil and Earth Balance
Roasted Butternut Squash

It looks like one of those old-fashioned plates of food Mom used to serve every night, heh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A new twist on the old pot pie - White Bean, Butternut, "Sausage" & Sage Pot Pie

This recipe has been developing in my head for a few weeks and I finally got around to making it Sunday night. It is full of Fall stuff. The crust is from Candle Cafe's cookbook. I love it's hearty wheat and herbiness and really can't improve on the Candle Cafe version. We really really really liked this and it seemed to get even better as leftovers.

White Bean Butternut Pot Pie

White Bean, Butternut, Sausage & Sage Pot Pie

2 16 oz cans white beans (cannallini or northern)
1 butternut squash
2 Field Roast Apple Sage Sausages (or italian flavor), chopped into 1/2 in pieces **
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped sage
1 bunch spinach
1/4 cup water
2 cups soy milk, warmed for a minute in the microwave
1 Tbsp margarine
1-2 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
lots of pepper

Crust Ingredients:
1 tsp fresh thyme*
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp rosemary, minced
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup-ish water

Prepare the Butternut (this can be done ahead of time):

Preheat oven to 425 F. Peel with a vegetable peeler, seed, and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place on one or two baking sheets lined with parchment or nonstick foil. Pour enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45-50 minutes (stirring every 20 minutes and rotating pans if using 2 pans) until tender. Set aside. Note that you will only use about 2 cups of the butternut. Reserve the rest for a side dish for another meal.

Make the filling:
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium with 1 tbsp olive oil. When hot, add the vegan sausage and cook for a minute or so until it starts to brown. Add the sage and cook for a minute. Add the spinach and some water to steam it. Cover with a lid for 1 minute. Stir and add 2 cups of the squash and white beans. Stir to combine and set aside.

Make the sauce (a typical bechemel):
Heat margarine and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a saucier or similar round bottom pot over medium heat. When melted, add 3 Tbsp flour. If it looks too dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil (I eyeballed this part). Slowly add the warmed soy milk while stirring constantly with a wisk. Stir until it thickens. Add salt and pepper.

Add the sauce to the vegetables. Set aside.

Make the crust:
Put Whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour and herbs and a pinch of kosher salt into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the oil and pulse a few times to combine. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water and pulse to combine. You want to add enough water so that the dough sticks together.

Divide the dough in half and roll out the first half of the dough until it will cover the pie plate. Place it in the pie plate and trim the excess. Pour the filling into the pie plate. Roll out the other half of the dough and place it over the top of the pie. Roll the bottom edge over the top edge and pinch together. Cut for or five slits in the top with a serrated knife.

Cook for 30-40 minutes at 350 till lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes and then serve.

* If your store sells an herb mix called Poultry Mix (poorly named, I know), it will contain a mix of most of the herbs you need and will cost a whole lot less than buying the herbs separately. It usually contains sage, rosemary, and thyme. Don't substitute dried herbs in this.

** Don't bother replacing this with any other kind of sausage. The Field Roast really made this dish.

Here is a picture of the filling before I added the bechemel sauce:

White Bean Butternut Pot Pie

And a picture of the pot pie before I cut into it:
White Bean Butternut Pot Pie with Herbed Crust
The flecks you see in the crust are fresh herbs.

This was the perfect dinner to eat after hanging around the top of Snowbird in on Sunday morning (sad that they wouldn't let me snowboard down):