Saturday, December 31, 2005

Maruthi

I can't believe we haven't written abou this place yet since it's the only all vegetarian restaurant in Charlottesville. It opened about 3 months ago and it's South Indian (which we have written about). They started out with a limited menu, but they've now expanded and have quite an extensive menu, much of which appears to be vegan. We need to branch out and try more of the options, but we had the usual tonight which was a masala dosa. We also had onion bahjis which were quite good, though not quite like the ones I made a couple weeks ago (these were deep fried with lots of batter - not the best thing for you I suppose, but very yummy).

If you're reading this in C-ville, regardless of whether or not you're vegan, you have to check this place out (Preston Plaza, next to Integral Yoga).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Spinach Salad

We had a bunch of fresh spinach we needed to use, so I thought a big salad would be good. I made a very slightly tweaked version of the tempeh bacon (added a little maple syrup to the marinade) from Vegan with a Vengeance and put that together with the spinach and some shredded carrot. For the dressing I combined 1/2 tsp. dried mustard, 1/4 tsp. salt, a little fresh ground pepper, 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely minced, 1/4 c. olive oil, 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, and 1 Tbs. orange champagne vinegar. You could whisk this all together in a bowl, or do what I did and put it in a container with a tight-fitting lid and shake it like crazy.

The salad was pretty filling, but we also made some lentil soup kind of like the basic recipe we already posted.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pasta with Broccoli

Another case of "what's in the fridge that we need to use?" We had some broccoli that had been in there a while, plus a little leftover tempeh sausage and pizza sauce from last night. I sauteed the broccoli in a healthy amount of olive oil with salt & pepper, then added some garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and the tempeh sausage. Meanwhile I cooked about half a package of pasta, then added that to the broccoli, etc. along with some of the sauce. We had the pasta with a couple slices of pizza leftover from last night. And we had blueberry-apple cobbler for dessert since we still had some of that left from Christmas dinner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pizza

I'm not much of a pizza maker, but I try anyway. Tonight I made the Potato and Tempeh Sausage Pizza from Vegan with a Vengeance. I made the sauce and tempeh sausage (recipe here) a couple of nights ago when we had a quick dinner of leftovers. The other toppings were garlic, thinly sliced potatoes and fennel. On the first pizza I put the sausage on top which was probably a mistake because it went flying everywhere when I shook the peel to make sure the crust was loose. I made quite a mess in general, but the pizza was good.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Waffles

We got ourselves a waffle maker for Christmas and the last 2 mornings we've started trying out the waffle recipes in Vegan with a Vengeance. We made the pumpkin waffles yesterday and the oatmeal-banana waffles today. Both were outstanding. A note on the pumpkin waffles: we halved the recipe and that was plenty for the two of us. And if you're not sure about your measurement conversions, half of 1/3 cup is 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons. (If you want to do the math, there are 16 tablespoons in a cup and 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon.)

Anyway, we had a late breakfast this morning and stuffed ourselves with waffles, and we just got back from a late lunch at Ming Dynasty (which we've already written about), where we also stuffed ourselves. So there won't be a dinner post since dinner will probably be something small - maybe just leftovers from last night.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Dinner

- Fried Tofu and Gravy (recipe below)
- Brussels Sprouts (thanks to Vegan Lunch Box)
- Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root with Roasted Garlic (similar to what we posted here but with the addition of celery root)
- Tangerine-glazed Beets (from Vegan with a Vengeance, but we used tangerines instead of oranges since we just got a nice shipment of tangerines from my parents in Florida)

Dessert was an apple and blueberry cobbler that was loosely based on the cobbler recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. We served the cobbler with Wild Berry Supreme Tofutti - harder to find but definitely my favorite flavor outside of chocolate.

The fried tofu & gravy recipe is something I clipped out of the newspaper many years ago and we still make it from time to time. The credit in the tattered clipping says it's adapted from Heart of the Home by Ann Jackson.

For the fried tofu:
1 block tofu (1 lb.), sliced into 8 pieces
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. tamari
1/3 c. nutritional yeast

For the gravy:
2 Tbs. vegan margarine
1/4 c. flour
leftover nutritional yeast from fried tofu
1-3/4 c. plain soy milk
1 Tbs. tamari
salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat in a cast iron (or other) skillet and add sesame seeds. Dredge each slice of tofu in nutritional yeast and add to skillet. Drizzle tamari over top. Fry on both sides until brown. Remove tofu from pan and leave pan as is to start the gravy.

Add margarine and let it melt. Whisk in flour and nutritional yeast and let it brown a little. Whisk in soy milk and continue whisking vigorously to make sure you get rid of any lumps. Continue stirring until thickened, then add tamari and salt & pepper.

Puff Pastry Roulade with Mushroom Filling

I'm not sure if that's the best way to describe this concoction that we brought to a Christmas Eve gathering with Darlene's family, but it's the best I could come up with. It was sort of an experiment, but it came out tasting very good. The photo isn't so great, but we've already had that discussion ;-)

In our Thanksgiving post, I mentioned the puff pastry dough we made and the fact that we froze half of it. Well, we thawed the frozen puff pastry in the fridge a day or so in advance, then rolled it out into a large rectangle (around 9"x15") on a lightly floured counter. We spread a mushroom filling on it (recipe follows), and topped that with some fresh spinach leaves, leaving a little space along the borders. Then we rolled it up starting from a long side; having a piece of parchment underneath it can help with this process. We brushed the last edge with a little Silk creamer to help it seal, then brushed the whole roll with a little more creamer, then cut a few very small slits in the top and baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes; you want it to be nice and golden brown on top. Once it cooled a little, I cut it into roughly 1" pieces to serve.

Here's what we did for the filling:

1 large shallot, cut into small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. fresh thyme
4 oz. Tofutti cream cheese
1 large roasted red pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Saute shallot & mushrooms in some olive oil for several minutes until mushrooms are getting soft. Add garlic and thyme and cook a little more. You want to make sure that all the liquid that's released from the mushrooms is cooked off. Allow this mixture to cool a little, then add to a food processor along with cream cheese and salt & pepper. Process until well combined, then add red pepper and pulse a few times just until red pepper is coarsley chopped.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Great gift idea

I can't claim credit for this idea - this was a nice gift I received from a co-worker: a vegan oatmeal cookie mix. All the dry ingredients were in the jar, and we just added a few more ingredients according to the included recipe and voila, great vegan cookies.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

Here's yet another one from Vegan with a Vengeance. A yummy casserole made with mashed chickpeas and broccoli and baked. We served it with garlic bread. While the casserole was baking, I also roasted some garlic and spread a little of the roasted garlic along with some vegan margarine on a baguette. After I pulled the casserole out, I turned off the oven and put the bread in there to toast for about 5 minutes.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Gnocchi Asian Style

This was sort of an experiment and is definitely not traditional; just something quick with the few things that were left in our fridge tonight. It came out pretty good though. I wrote about another gnocchi dish a couple of weeks ago and for this one the method is essentially the same. So excuse me while I cut and paste from the previous post and make a few edits.

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, saute about 1/4 c. onion, diced, 1 carrot, peeled and diced, about 2 c. chopped green cabbage, and 1 c. chopped seitan in 2 Tbs. peanut oil. Cook until seitan is starting to get brown, then add 1 clove minced garlic, and a little finely minced ginger. Cook for a few seconds more, then add 1 package gnocchi and mix well. Then add 1/3 c. vegetable stock and 2 Tbs. of soy sauce. Mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan, then cover, reduce heat and cook for a few minutes more until the gnocchi are done. Mix in about 1 Tbs. sesame oil at the end.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sandwiches and Roasted Butternut Squash

Another pretty quick meal tonight. We made a slightly tweaked version of the chickpea salad from Vegan with a Vengeance that I wrote about here, and we had that on some ciabatta rolls. We also had a small butternut squash that had been sitting on our counter for a while, so I peeled and seeded that, cut it into roughly 1" chunks, mixed it with some olive oil and salt & pepper and roasted it in a small baking dish at 400° for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Chips & Dips

Tonight we had an avocado that was getting very ripe so I made it into guacamole, cooked some black beans and served with soy sour cream and salsa and chips. For the black beans, I sauteed a little onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes, then added a can of black beans (drained), about 2-3 Tbs. veg. stock (you could use water), and 1 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin and a little salt. I mixed everything together and partially mashed the beans with the back of a spoon.

You can buy soy sour cream (I think Tofutti is the best), but it's also easy to make it yourself. This is a recipe (with quantities roughly halved) from Peter Berley's great book, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen: in a food processor, blend until very smooth half of a 12 oz. package silken tofu, 3 Tbs. olive oil, 2 Tbs. lemon juice, 3/4 tsp. cider vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Recipes for guacamole abound, but I don't think you need to get too fancy. Basic guac can just be avacado, lime juice and salt. You can add onion, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, chiles, etc. but I usually like to keep it simple and highlight the flavor of the avocado. Tonight's recipe was just 1 ripe avocado (a ripe avocado is a little soft to the touch and almost black) mashed with about 1 Tbs. finely minced red onion, 1 Tbs. lime juice and 1/4 tsp. salt. If tomatoes are in season, I might add a little chopped tomato, but that's usually it. And whatever you do, don't buy those packaged mixes for guacamole you see in the store. Too many ingredients you've never heard of.

Candy Cane Cookies


Here is a recipe I came up with for peppermint candy cane cookies. They are easy to make and great for the holidays.

Candy Cane Cookies

6 candy canes
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy milk
2 tsp flax powder
1/2 cup vegan magarine (Good Earth Buttery Sticks)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Good Earth Shortening Sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract

Turn on oven to 350 F. Crush the candy canes in a plastic bag using a hammer until they are in small pieces. Add candy cane pieces, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Cream butter, shortening and sugar in a food processor. Mix together flax powder, soy milk, vanilla extract and peppermint extract in a small bowl. Add to butter and sugar and mix well in the food processor. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. You will have stiff dough. Scoop cookies onto a cookie sheet using either a small cookie scoop or two teaspoons. Flatten cookies slightly with the bottom of a glass. Sprinkle with a little turbinado sugar and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Potato Soup

Not much time to post tonight, but dinner was Darlene's potato soup with some slices of whole wheat baguette and spring rolls from last night. A quick idea about the soup - saute celery & carrots in olive oil, add garlic, mix in a little flour, then add diced potatoes, a veg. boullion cube, water, a little miso, dried parsley (or fresh if you've got it) and salt & pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender then add a little vinegar at the end.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Spring Rolls and Pad Thai

These spring rolls are something Darlene came up with many years ago when we lived in North Carolina. I went out for a ride one day after work and when I came home there were fresh spring rolls for dinner. We make them a little different every time but the main ingredient is most often either green cabbage or napa cabbage. Spring roll wrappers can be hard to find (as opposed to egg roll wrappers which definitely aren't vegan), but we usually find them in Asian markets. We don't have a deep fryer and though you could deep fry them in a large amount of oil in a deep pan, we usually just roll them a little flat and fry them in a saute pan in canola oil for a few minutes on each side. Here's the recipe we used tonight:

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
small handful snow peas, cut into small pieces
1/2 of an 8 oz. box of seitan, cut into small pieces
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced thin
1 tsp. finely minced ginger

In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry the carrot, onion, snow peas, and seitan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add the cabbage and continue cooking until cabbage is very wilted. Add ginger and cook another minute or so. Allow to cool a little, then start assembling the spring rolls. Keep wrappers under a damp towel and pull out one at a time. Place the wrapper diagonally in front of you, brush the edges liberally with water, spoon about 3-4 Tbs. filling in the center, then fold the top corner down over the filling, fold both sides in, and fold the bottom up and over. We usually double wrap ours so they'll hold together better, so now you can take the single wrapped roll you just did and wrap it again in a similar fashion. Store the finished rolls under another damp towel. When you're done wrapping them all, fry them a few at a time in a healthy amount of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown on each side. When you take them out of the skillet, put them on a paper towel lined plate and sprinke immediately with a little salt or seasoning mix. We usually serve them with a dipping sauce that goes something like this (amounts are approximate):

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/3 c. apricot jam, 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. rice vinegar, and 1 tsp. sesame oil.

So now I'm getting a little tired of typing and there are many recipes out there for Pad Thai, but I'll give you the basics on what we made tonight. The sauce was the juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbs. tamarind concentrate, 3 Tbs. soy sauce, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, and Asian chile sauce to taste. The veggies were 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks, a handful of snow peas, a little sliced onion, scallions (sliced in half lengthwise and cut into 2" pieces), 2 c. mung bean sprouts, and garlic & ginger. All this with a 12 oz. package of rice noodles.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Flat

Not long ago, we read in one of our local weeklies that a crepe stand was supposed to open downtown. We thought that was cool, but didn't think much more about it since crepes generally aren't vegan. Well a few days ago I heard on the radio not only that the crepe stand had just opened, but that they offered a vegan crepe option. So this afternoon we walked downtown to check it out.

It's called The Flat, and it's a little take-out window on Water Street offering crepes with sweet or savory fillings. And they did indeed have a vegan option. We each got a huge vegan crepe filled with mushrooms, fresh spinach and soy cheese (not sure if the soy cheese was totally vegan but we let that slide since we were so excited that the crepe itself was vegan). Anyway, it was quite yummy and if you're in Charlottesville, regardless of whether or not you're vegan, you have to check this place out.

We probably won't post anything about our dinner tonight since we've got various leftovers from the last several days in the fridge. I think dinner will be a salad and a clean-out-the-fridge sort of affair.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Onion Bahji and Sambhar with Idli

I wrote about South Indian food, and dosas in particular, in a previous post. Another mainstay of South Indian cooking is Sambhar, a spicy soup. It's often served with Idli which are sort of rice & lentil dumplings. Though I've made both of these from scratch, it's a little involved and you can get packaged mixes that are quite good at Indian markets. If you don't have an Indian market near you, you can also order these mixes on-line (sambhar mix, idli mix). The sambhar packaged mix is super easy to make, but to make idlis requires a special gadget. Typically, idlis are steamed in a special contraption, but you can also get a container (like this one) that will allow you to make idlis in a microwave. A friend of ours brought back one of these microwave idli makers from India for us several years ago and we break it out on occasion.

We also made onion bahjis from a recipe I wrote down while watching Jamie Oliver on the Food Network quite a while ago. I don't know how authentic this is, but here goes:

Peel a large red onion, cut in half and then into fairly thin slices. Mix in a large bowl with 2 grated carrots, 3-4 chopped scallions (white and some green parts), and about 1/2 a bunch cilantro, coarsley chopped. In another bowl, make a batter from 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. chickpea flour, 2 tsp. black mustard seeds, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. turmeric, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 1/3 c. water. Add batter to onion mixture and mix well (it's messy, but best to use your hands for this). Heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Pick up a small handful of the mixture and add to the pan, pressing down a little to flatten it some. Repeat until you've filled up your pan (I fit 3 large ones in a 12" skillet). Fry until golden brown on one side, then flip over and repeat for the other side. We served ours with prepared mango chutney.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lentil Soup and Mushroom Fritatta

We were planning on trying the fritatta recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, but today was another good soup day so we also made lentil soup. Like a lot of the rest of the Mid-Atlantic, we got every kind of precipitation in the book today. It started this morning with about 2" of snow, then changed to sleet for a while, then changed to freezing rain, and now it's just plain rain. The temperature is just barely above freezing though so there's still a lot of ice on the trees and we hear limbs come crashing down outside every so often. But back to dinner. The soup was nothing fancy; it started with cooking onions, carrots and celery in olive oil, then adding 1/4 c. white wine and cooking a little more, then 1 c. lentils, about 5 c. water, 1 veg. boullion cube, some fresh thyme and salt & pepper. We also had some roasted garlic left over from a few nights ago so I added that along with about half of a 1 oz. package of dried porcini mushrooms that I broke up into little pieces. I simmered all that until the lentils were tender then added a diced yukon gold potato and cooked a little more until that was tender.

I also made the mushroom fritatta with mushroom sauce from Vegan with a Vengeance. The fritatta is basically mashed tofu, seasoned and mixed with sauteed onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and black olives then pressed into a pan and baked. It didn't hold together that well since I used a larger pan than what was called for in the recipe and it was a little thin, but it still tasted good. And the mushroom sauce was out of this world. If you have the book I highly recommend that you try it. And if you don't have the book, what're you waiting for?!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mac and "Cheese" with Seitan and Collards

Tonight we had the mac and "cheese" again that we wrote about a couple weeks ago. We also had a little homemade seitan left from before Thanksgiving (that had been frozen in some of its cooking liquid and thawed in the fridge a few days ago) so I chopped that up and fried it in a little olive oil. To round it out we had collards.

Now every good vegan knows that collards are way good for you (lots of calcium and all that) but I'm sometimes at a loss as to what to do with them. Not too long ago we found a recipe in a back issue of Vegetarian Times from several years ago that looked pretty good and I've cooked collards this way a few times since then and they come out really good. Here's my slightly tweaked version of the recipe:

In a medium-sized pot, add 1 c. water, about 1/4 c. diced onion, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 Tbs. veg. worcestershire sauce (I used Annie's brand), 1 Tbs. soy sauce, and 1 tsp. maple syrup. Bring that mixture to a boil. Meanwhile, remove thick stems from 1 bunch of collards and chop into fairly small pieces (I had about 3-4 cups chopped). Once the liquid boils for a couple of minutes, add collards, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Then remove from heat, remove bay leaf, stir in 1 Tbs. olive oil and add salt & pepper to taste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fast Food

But not from one of the corporate behemoths. On my way home from work I had an errand to do downtown and while I was there I picked up some great veggie dumplings from a place called Tea Time Desires. There's another dumpling/noodle shop (called Marco & Luca) practically right next door to this one and everyone raves about their dumplings, but they only offer pork filled ones. When we discovered Tea Time Desires had opened and offered veggie dumplings we were quite happy. Anyway, for 5 bucks we got 2 orders of these dumplings and then we just had a big salad with buttercrunch lettuce, carrots, chickpeas, a few cashews, and a dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and Bragg's Liquid Aminos.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Veggie Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

A pretty quick dinner tonight - and a quick post too. We had a big sweet potato that had been sitting there a while, so I made fries from that like this recipe (except I peeled it). The veggie burgers I just pulled out of the freezer and fried in a skillet with a little oil and we had them on these nice ciabatta rolls we picked up at the store yesterday. The burgers were Dr. Praeger's brand California style that we find at Trader Joe's. They're a little soft but quite tasty and have big chunks of veggies in them.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Stir Fry with Snow Peas and Cashews

Dinner tonight was a fairly simple stir fry with onions, carrots, snow peas, cabbage, cashews and a little garlic and ginger. I made a sauce from 1/4 c. apple cider, 3 Tbs. soy sauce, 1 Tbs. rice vinegar and 1 Tbs. corn starch. We served it over soba noodles which is a thin Japanese buckwheat noodle.

Banana Bread

This morning we had 2 bananas left that were starting to turn a little brown. When that happens I often make banana bread. When I was in college and travelling to bike races almost every weekend, sometimes we'd pass through my friend Robb's hometown on our way to a race and his mom would meet us just off the interstate somewhere and give us banana bread to take with us. It usually didn't last very long. One time she also gave us her recipe. I've since modified the recipe to make it vegan, but it still doesn't last very long whenever I make it.

2 ripe bananas
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. Ener-G egg replacer (available at most natural food stores or on-line)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Mash bananas in a large bowl then add oil, sugar, soy milk and vanilla and mix well. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, egg replacer and salt and gently mix until well combined (it will be a fairly stiff batter). Fold in nuts if using then spread into a greased 4” x 8” loaf pan and bake at 350º for 55-60 minutes.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Jerk Seitan with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli

Here's another one from Vegan with a Vengeance. So far this book has not disappointed us once. The jerk seitan we made tonight is very similar to this recipe for jerk tofu, but with seitan instead of tofu. (If you're not sure what seitan is, try looking it up on Wikipedia.) We had the seitan with garlic mashed potatoes which I made by peeling, quartering and boiling 4 yukon gold potatoes, then mashing them with about 1/2 a head of roasted garlic, a little margarine, about 1/4 cup of Silk creamer, and salt & pepper. We rounded out the meal with steamed broccoli.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Artichoke Dip

This is a recipe I came up with that's based on a very non-vegan artichoke dip I saw somewhere. All my non-vegan friends absolutely love it. I made this tonight and we ate so much of it that the rest of our dinner was just a small salad and the rest of the stew left over from a couple night ago.

1 can artichoke hearts (14oz), drained and rinsed
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Vegenaise
1/4 cup Tofutti non-cream cheese
2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Combine garlic, lemon juice, vegenaise, non-cream cheese and pinch of salt in food processor and process until smooth. Add artichoke hearts and pulse a few more times. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Baked Penne

Darlene made a great pasta dish tonight which we had with a simple salad of mesclun and baby spinach with carrots and toasted pine nuts with a vinagarette.

Tofu mix:
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 c. olive oil
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
3 veggie sausage patties, fried in a little oil and crumbled
2 tsp. capers
handful of green olives, chopped

Crumble tofu into a bowl, then add remaining ingredients except capers and olives and mix well. Then fold in capers and olives.

Meanwhile cook a pound of penne in plenty of water until not quite al dente. Spread a little olive oil in a large shallow baking dish then add a few tablespoons marinara (we used an organic marinara from a jar; if you have time and inclination, you can make your own). Add 1/3 of the pasta to the baking dish, top with 1/3 of the tofu mixture then 1/3 of the marinara. Continue layering like this with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle a little olive oil on top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Beefless" Stew

Darlene made a stew tonight similar to the one in the Cooking with PETA book. This is a good book for any vegan to have in their collection and this is probably the recipe from the book we make most often. Without taking the time to post the whole recipe, it's basically a stew with TVP chunks, onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, & peas with a tomato and veg. broth base and seasoned with bay leaves, veg. worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper. Only Darlene likes to make it with a can of coconut milk instead of a can of tomatoes. Yummy either way. We served it tonight with quinoa.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gnocchi with Broccoli and Seitan


When we were in Northern Virginia this weekend, we stopped at Trader Joe's and stocked up (which we usually do whenever we're in that neck o' the woods since we don't have a Trader Joe's here). We mainly do this because they're much less expensive than any of the natural food stores we have here. Anyway, we usually get a few packages of potato gnocchi there which makes for a fairly quick one-pot meal. I do this a little differently every time I make it, but here's what I did tonight; amounts are approximate.

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, saute 1/2 of a medium onion, diced, 2 c. chopped broccoli, and 1 c. chopped seitan in 2 Tbs. olive oil. Cook until seitan is starting to get brown, then add 2 cloves minced garlic, a few coarsley chopped kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 Tbs. capers. Cook for a few seconds more, then add gnocchi and mix well. Then add 1/3 c. red wine and a few Tbs. of tomato sauce. Mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan, then cover, reduce heat and cook for a few minutes more until the gnocchi are done. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Adding some liquid to the pan then covering it for a few minutes allows the gnocchi to cook without having to boil them. And when you don't own a dishwasher every dish you can avoid mucking up helps.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

Here's another idea from Vegan with a Vengeance. We really didn't create this blog just to plug this book, but it's our newest and most favorite cookbook at the moment (and may remain so for a good long while).

We don't have much in the way of fresh veggies in our fridge at the moment and we were hungry and wanted something quick so we made something like the Hijiki-Chickpea Salad from the book. I looked for hijiki the last time I made this recipe and couldn't find it, but I did find arame which is another sea vegetable. You can tweak the proportions to your liking, but basically I reconstituted a few tablespoons of the arame in hot water and while that was soaking, I drained and rinsed a can of chick peas then smashed them in a bowl with some vegenaise, whole grain mustard, and apple cider vinegar, then mixed in some shredded carrot, finely diced onion, diced celery, diced sweet pickle and salt & pepper. Then I drained and chopped the sea vegetable, mixed that in and made sandwiches with it on some whole grain toast.

A Quick Hot Breakfast

Here's something slightly different than my typical cereal and soymilk breakfast. You can play around with the proportions, but here's roughly what I use: Heat 3/4 c. apple juice, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and 2 Tbs. raisins in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and add 1 c. grape nuts (or similar generic brand) cereal. To add some omega 3s you can stir in up to 1 Tbs. flax oil. That's it!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Our favorite restaurant

Dinner tonight was at our favorite restaurant in the DC area (and one of our favorites anywhere), Sunflower, in Vienna, Virginia. It's entirely vegetarian and almost entirely vegan and has a mostly Asian-inspired menu. If you're ever in this area, be sure to check it out. It's not good vegetarian food, it's just plain good food. We always get the fried "chicken" appetizer which is really yummy fried soy chunks and mushrooms served with a simple spicy sauce. For dinner I had Sunflower's Satisfaction which is a dish with crispy fried soy chunks with snow peas, bok choy and other veggies in a spicy orange sauce. Darlene had a wonderful veggie lo mein.

And now we're thoroughly stuffed...

Eating out in Northern Virginia

We're up in Northern Virginia this weekend, and thanks to VegDC.com we found a couple of good places to eat yesterday. Lunch was at a nice little cafe in Falls Church called Kasha's Kitchen (inside Kennedy's Natural Foods). We had some very tasty veggie sandwiches (mine with tofu) and some lentil soup. I was a bit disappointed though because the web site said they had a vegan "chicken" salad sandwhich, but in fact it wasn't vegan. Why they use soy mock chicken and then mix it with regular mayo is beyond me.

For dinner we went to Woodlands in Fairfax which is an entirely vegetarian Indian restaurant with an extensive South Indian menu. If you've never had South Indian food before you should definitely seek it out the next time you're in a bigger city. A mainstay of South Indian cooking is the dosa which is sort of a savory crepe from a batter made from ground and fermented rice and lentils. If you're interested in knowing more, I just found a good blog entry all about dosas. We had a masala dosa which is filled with a potato and onion curry, and also an uthapam, which is a thicker pancake sort of creation made from a similar batter to the dosa and topped with veggies.

One of the more challenging things about eating a vegan diet is travelling and eating out, but there are so many good resources on-line today that if you poke around on the web before you go you can usually find something, especially in bigger cities (VegGuide.org is a good place to start).

Another tip we use when travelling (especially for finding breakfast) is to seek out bagel shops. Bagels are usually vegan and you can also usually get them with peanut butter. If you go to Google maps and use the find businesses link you can type in "bagels" and the town you're interested in and up will come a map with a bunch of bagel shops located.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dinner from a box

We drove to the Washington DC area tonight where Darlene has a craft show this weekend. We were in a bit of a hurry to leave and we didn't have much in the fridge so we pulled a box of couscous out of the pantry, cooked it in the microwave and added some toasted pine nuts and that was dinner. I think it was Near East brand and whenever we find these boxes on sale we stock up because it makes a good quick meal or snack. We try to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients as much as we can, but sometimes we do resort to just opening a box.

The great thing about coming to the DC area is the abundance of veg-friendly restaurants. Earlier today I was checking out VegDC.com trying to decide where to eat while we're here. I'll let you know what we find.

No food, just technical details

So I'm still playing around with the settings and generally learning how Blogger works and I just figured out how to open the comments to anyone so now you don't have to be a Blogger member to comment. Now I suppose I'm inviting comment spam (especially bad for a vegan) but there's a way around that so we'll see how it goes.

I also figured out what the link was for the RSS feed which was not obvious to me just viewing the web site. If you want to add the site to your RSS reader, here's the link: http://eatair.blogspot.com/atom.xml

On another note, we'll be travelling this weekend and we'll have access to a computer, but we may not post every day.