Friday, June 30, 2006

Supporting vegan-friendly businesses

We went to The Flat and had vegan crepes for dinner tonight. I mentioned this place when they first opened and we try to stop by every so often to support them since they have the vegan crepe option (and their soy cheese is vegan - at least is says so on the menu). After eating at several places in Richmond recently with great vegan items clearly marked on the menu it dawned on me that even though there are many restaurants here in Charlottesville where we can eat out and get vegan options, I think The Flat is the only one that actually has the word "vegan" on their menu. So we're doing what we can to keep them in business. Not that they really need it though because whenever we go there always seems to be a big crowd of people there.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vegetable Biryani

Even though we have quite a bit of food in the house we had an especially hard time deciding what to make for dinner tonight. I can cook pretty well from a recipe and I can adapt recipes to my liking; I can even come up with good meal ideas on my own if I have time to plan. But it's still a challenge to step into the kitchen with no plan whatsoever and come up with a good quick meal based on what we have on hand (I'd get clobbered on Iron Chef). I had a couple of ideas tonight but Darlene wasn't too keen on them and I wasn't sold on her ideas either. So I started flipping through La Dolce Vegan and we finally settled on the Vegetable Biryani. We had everything but the fresh tomato and I just left that out. The rest of the ingredients are onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, chickpeas, red lentils, basmati rice, frozen peas and fresh mint. It's seasoned with salt & pepper plus turmeric and cinnamon. I also added some golden raisins and sprinkled a few more on top along with some slivered almonds and a bit of soy yogurt. It was pretty good but if I make it again I may adjust the seasonings a little - I think there was a little too much cinnamon.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Scrambled Tofu and Home Fries

It's not just for breakfast anymore. This was another "it's getting late what the heck should we cook" kind of night. Well, we have tofu, we have potatoes, we have a huge bunch of chard that we got at the farmers market last weekend, and I even found a few mushrooms from I don't know when that were still hanging on in the fridge. While Darlene fried the potatoes in some Earth Balance, I cooked some diced red onion, chard stems and mushrooms in olive oil with a little salt & pepper. I sort of made this one up as I went along, but in the fridge I spied a couple of limes that I zested when I made the granola last night so some lime juice went in the pan with the crumbled tofu. Then it was seasoned with cumin, paprika, chili powder and fresh oregano along with more salt & pepper. Oh, and don't forget the garlic! A healthy amount of nutritional yeast went in there and lastly the chard leaves, cooked until just wilted. That was thrown on the plate with the potatoes (ketchup on top of mine), some hot sauce went on top of the tofu and potatoes and we had toast on the side spread with more Earth Balance. And there was breakfast for dinner once again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Try this granola

We had some errands to do this evening so dinner was not very interesting - Trader Joe's Indian Fare from a box - Punjab Eggplant in this case. Which was pretty decent considering it came out of a box and was ready to eat in 2 minutes (well, plus the time to cook some basmati rice). At any rate, I've mentioned granola before but I thought I'd point you to another very tasty recipe I've tried lately. If you read Chocolate & Zucchini you've probably seen it before, but this Macadamia Maple Granola is quite yummy. Now macadamias ain't cheap but I splurged and got a small package recently because I wanted to try this recipe. This being a vegan blog and all, I substituted margarine for the butter and though I also reduced the maple syrup a little I still ended up cooking it for twice as long as she says before it got brown and crispy (but maybe that's just my oven). Once it cooled a little it was very hard to pull myself away from standing next to the pan grazing on it. The lime zest with the macadamias is quite a wonderful combination.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Quick Curried Pasta

A long time ago I mentioned the Green Valley Book Fair where we got Moby's book for cheap. At the same time we also picked up The PDQ (Pretty Darn Quick) Vegetarian Cookbook by Donna Klein but I don't think we ever got around to making anything from it. Well tonight I was home from work and getting hungry and I still had no idea what I was going to make for dinner so I pulled out this book. I was racing in Northern Virginia again yesterday so we stocked up at Trader Joe's and they finally had their whole wheat spaghetti in stock so I think we got 4 packages. I had that on my mind as I flipped through the cookbook and I settled on the recipe for Curried Vermicelli with Chickpeas. Now this cookbook is written so that you don't even have to take out your knife and that's fine but I'd just as soon spend a couple minutes chopping onions and garlic than use onion powder and garlic powder so I adapted the recipe just a bit. It wasn't spectacular but good for a quick meal. We also had a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, slivered almonds and the Sesame Mustard Tahini Sauce from Vive le Vegan (have I mentioned how much I like Dreena's dressing recipes?). Here's what I did for the pasta:

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1/3 c. finely diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
Asian chili sauce to taste
1 Tbs. black sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 can chickpeas, drained

While the pasta's cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet and add onion. Cook for a couple minutes then add garlic, curry powder and chili sauce and cook for another minute or so. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add the pasta and toss then serve with a drizzle of a little more sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

BBQ Tofu Sandwiches

I guess we were making up for a so-so meal last night because tonight's dinner was fabulous. Today was City Market day and we got lots of nice fresh produce. Dinner started with a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes and carrots. The main course was the BBQ Pomegranate Tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance served on a sandwich with coleslaw on top. We couldn't find any good rolls for our sandwiches so we used a really tasty whole wheat sourdough from a local bakery. And the tofu - wow! It was awesome. We'd been wanting to try this recipe for a while because though we didn't find the pomegranate molasses that it calls for, we did pick up some pomegranate glaze the last time we were at Trader Joe's. A little of that mixed with standard molasses made a fine substitution in the BBQ sauce - which turned out to be extremely delicious (and there's plenty left over). For the slaw, I used this recipe from Alton Brown as a guide (though I obviously left out the buttermilk - didn't miss it). On the side was some steamed broccoli.

And then there was dessert. This afternoon Darlene made the Banana Hazelnut Cream Pie from Vive le Vegan. It didn't set up completely firm, but it was close enough and the taste was amazing. Especially with a little fruit salad of cantelope and fresh blueberries.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Cookies

Dinner didn't work out so well tonight (more on that in a bit) so I thought I'd post a picture of these cookies instead. I'm a very lucky guy because even though Darlene tries to avoid chocolate since it can trigger her migraines, she still makes chocolatey treats for me. Like these chocolate chip cookies from Vive le Vegan. Darlene reported that they were a snap to make and I thought they were totally delicious.

As for dinner, I was inspired by a tempeh wrap we had on our recent vacation at The Seaside Vegetarian in Kitty Hawk. I baked a sweet potato and while that was going on I cooked some broccoli, onions and napa cabbage and added soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and black sesame oil. Then I added the sweet potato and some tempeh that I cubed and cooked in a little water and soy sauce. Darlene had suggested some kind of pressed sandwich and that's where the trouble began. We didn't have much in the way of bread but I got these sprouted wheat tortillas a couple days ago. I melted a little magarine in a fry pan and put in a tortilla, then spread some of the tempeh mixture on top and added another tortilla. I put a hot cast iron skillet on top and let it cook for a few minutes, but it didn't really stay together when I tried to take it out. Then I ended up folding over the tortillas and cooking them like a quesadilla. In the end I ate this concoction and thought it was decent, but Darlene really didn't like the sprouted wheat tortillas at all. I guess we'll stick with white tortillas and at least try to fill them with healthy stuff...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Salad and Sandwiches

Not much new to offer tonight, except maybe to say that the Chickpea-Hijiki Salad is probably the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance that we've made most often (maybe it's a toss-up between that and the Tempeh Bacon). I've lost track of how many times I've mentioned it, but here's at least one instance. It's quick and easy and tasty and that fit the bill for tonight. I made us some salads with lettuce from the garden and carrots, cucumber, chickpeas and pine nuts, then I mixed up the chickpea salad, made Darlene a sandwich and went out for a ride. A couple of sandwiches on some whole grain bread when I got home really hit the spot.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Spaghetti

This is Violet (tonight's dinner is below). I'm starting with Violet because we had a stressful day today with her and didn't put much thought or time into dinner because of it. She's lost a lot of weight lately and we're still in the process of trying to figure out why. She had to see a specialist in Richmond today for some tests and it took many hours longer than we anticipated. We had to leave her there for the better part of the day and though we did have a good vegan lunch at the Harrison Street Coffee Shop that was the extent of the fun. When we finally got home it was dinner time and we didn't feel much like cooking so we threw together a relatively quick pasta dish. I sauteed fresh peas, mushrooms and garlic in lots of olive oil, then added a little chard along with olives and capers and a fresh diced tomato and seasoned it with dried basil and salt & pepper. I mixed in some spaghetti and that was it for dinner.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Cashew Fried Quinoa and Sauteed Totsoi

When we were at the Outer Banks we had an excellent Cashew Fried Rice at Thai Moon in Ocracoke. Tonight I thought about doing something similar but we were low on rice so I used quinoa. I stir-fried some fresh peas that we got at the market this weekend, plus carrots, onions, a few mushrooms, a big handful of cashews and a little garlic and ginger. Then I added the cooked quinoa plus soy sauce, a little rice vinegar and a little sesame oil. On the side is some totsoi that we also got at the market. If you're not familiar with totsoi, it's an Asian green that's a little like a cross between bok choy and spinach. I sauteed it with a little onion, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and agave. It was a small bunch and I left a lot of the stems on but they turned out to be rather tough and fibrous. In hindsight I should've just cut the stems off and added the leaves to the quinoa. Live and learn eh?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sticky Rice

No it's not something we cooked but the name of a restaurant. I had a late afternoon race in Richmond today. I'm still searching for that elusive top 3 placing but today I finished 4th and won a few bucks so we went to dinner afterwards at Sticky Rice, a sushi bar with lots of vegan options on their menu. If you're ever in Richmond you have to check it out. And if you're nowhere near there but still want to salivate over their menu, they have it on-line (scroll down for the sushi or click the pdf). Probably the best thing we had were the Garden Balls which is a roll with shiitake mushrooms, red pepper, tofu, cilantro and spicy rice dipped in a tempura batter and fried. Out of this world good...

Apple Uglies Recipe

Several of you asked about it so here goes:

This is adapted from Meet Me at the Orange Blossom by Henry and Michal Schliff.

1 package dry yeast
1 c. soy milk, heated to 110 degrees
7 Tbs. sugar, divided
1/4 c. shortening, set out at room temperature for a while
1/4 c. plain soy yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" dice
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
oil for frying

Pour warm soy milk over yeast, mix well and let sit for several minutes. Meanwhile cream together shortening and 6 Tbs. sugar. Add milk/yeast mixture, yogurt and vanilla and mix well. Sift together flour, salt and nutmeg and add to the liquid ingredients. Stir everything together until a rough dough forms then turn out onto a counter and knead for 8-10 minutes. (If you have a stand mixer then by all means use it.) Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let sit until doubled in size. Meanwhile, mix together the diced apple, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and lemon juice. Then turn the dough out onto a counter and roll into a sheet about 1/4" thick. Spread the apples evenly over the dough and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon. Then cut into about 12 equal pieces and pick each piece up, fold it over and mix with your hands a little until the apples are at least somewhat incorporated. Form into an oblong shape, then place 2 inches apart on a baking pan, cover and let rise until doubled in size. Heat oil to 375° and carefully pick up one of the fritters with a spatula and slide it into the oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you can cook multiple fritters at once but don't crowd them. Fry for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side then remove with tongs and place on a rack to drain. Once they're cooled, drizzle with icing made from 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar and 2 1/2 Tbs. water. Now share some with your friends because otherwise you'll eat all of them yourself.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

BLTs

Ever since we got our copy of Vegan with a Vengeance last fall and discovered the tempeh bacon recipe we've been patiently waiting for summer and good fresh tomatoes. It's actually not prime tomato season here just yet but we've been getting good greenhouse tomatoes recently from our local farmers market. Before we got our tomatoes at the market this morning we also stopped by a local bakery and picked up some good country white bread. We toasted that up and added plenty of Vegenaise, tempeh bacon, tomatoes and lettuce from our garden. We made short work of two sandwiches each and that was pretty much our dinner. Very delicious...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Black Bean Cakes

Ever wondered what to do with the bottom of a bag of stale tortilla chips? I often just chuck 'em in the compost pile, but I'm always trying to figure out if there's something better I could do with them. So there's the inspiration for tonight's dinner. (Yes, believe it or not we were still hungry for dinner despite snacking on apple uglies all day.) I crushed some stale tortilla chips with my hands, then put about a cup of them in the food processor and ground them very fine. Then I added about 2 cups of cooked black beans (or 1 can), plus 2 Tbs. canola oil, 2 Tbs. veg. broth, the juice of 1 lime, 1 tsp. agave nectar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cumin and 1 tsp. chili powder. That all got mixed together in the food processor, then for some texture I scooped that mixture into a bowl and worked in 2 chopped scallions, 1/4 c. finely diced red bell pepper and 1 grated carrot. Then I formed them into patties and fried them in a little canola oil. I served them over some rice that was cooked with a little bit of crushed tomatoes and put a sauce on top that was more of said tomatoes plus onions, red bell pepper, garlic, salt, chili powder and cumin. Some steamed green beans rounded it out.

Our trip to the Outer Banks was also somewhat of an inspiration for this meal because we had something kinda sorta similar out there. The vegan food options there are limited and we usually bring a good bit of our own food, but there's a relatively new restaurant in Kitty Hawk called The Seaside Vegetarian and though we stay about an hour south of there we pass through there on our way in and out. On the way in we were getting hungry and just happened to see the sign for this restaurant as we passed it by. A quick U-turn later and we were in the door about 10 minutes before they closed. I took a little exception to the name because among their limited menu are several seafood options and as we all know fish isn't vegetarian. But they were forgiven because they also have some vegan options and everything we had there was awesome. On the way home we stopped there for lunch and I had fried yellow lentil and root vegetable cakes that were served over rice with green beans on the side. The tempeh wrap I had the first time we stopped there was awesome too, so something like that may also show up here in the near future.

Apple Uglies Go Vegan

First a confession. Even though I've called myself a vegan for probably 5+ years now, I have a major sweet tooth and I've been known to snarf a cookie or piece of cake or donut knowing that it's not vegan. It's only been within the last year that I've become more firm on eschewing such non-vegan sweet treats.

It's hard to break with tradition too. I started going to the North Carolina Outer Banks with my parents 20 years ago and I've always loved the Apple Uglies from the Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton - so named because they don't look very pretty but they sure do taste good. They're also known as apple fritters and are basically a big fat donut with apples and cinnamon. Last weekend's trip to the Outer Banks was the first time I've been there without having at least one Apple Ugly. But we did buy the cookbook that the bakery sells and the Apple Ugly recipe was quite easy to veganize and not too hard to make - though it did require getting out the big container of canola oil and deep frying for the second day in a row (I know, we're getting dangerous). These tasted every bit as good as I remember from the Orange Blossom, but even better they're vegan!

Edit: Recipe is here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sweet Sunshine Pasta Salad

Every once in a while we still go back to the first vegetarian cookbook we ever bought - The Meatless Gourmet - Favorite Recipes from Around the World by Bobbie Hinman (which has since been re-published with a new title - The Vegetarian Gourmet's Easy International Recipes). This pasta salad from the Caribbean section is really good and I thought about it after I cooked a big pot of black beans yesterday. In addition to the black beans, there's red bell pepper, carrots, peas, green onions, orange sections and a can of pineapple chunks. The dressing I changed slightly from the book and it goes like this: in a small bowl mix 1/2 c. pineapple juice from the canned pineapple, 1 Tbs. orange juice, 1 tsp. orange zest, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 tsp. dried basil, 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar, 2 tsp. agave nectar, and salt & pepper to taste. Blend all this up with a hand blender, then with the blender still running, drizzle in 1/4 c. - 1/3 c. olive oil.

Big Breakfast

Though we're back from our trip, I took the whole week off work so that means I had time this morning to cook a hearty breakfast. The rest of the baguette that was left from last night's soup got sliced up and made into Fronch Toast from Vegan with a Vengeance. Yum. The tofu scramble from VwaV is also yummy but I went in a little different direction this morning, seasoning mine with turmeric, paprika, celery seed and salt & pepper. It started with cooking onions and garlic in olive oil and ended with plenty of nutritional yeast and plenty of time to fry and get a little brown. And speaking of frying, I got brave and deep fried the potatoes. Not something I'd recommend doing all the time but boy were they good. And I only ended up with a few tablespoons less oil than what I started out with so they weren't that bad for us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Curried Split Pea Soup

We're back with a quick post about yet another Vegan with a Vengeance-inspired meal. It was a bit cool and rainy here today so this soup sounded good. And it was delicious on its own but it was made even more so with the addition of some cubed tofu that I marinated in the tempeh bacon marinade and fried. I topped it with some chopped cilantro and served it with slices of a nice crusty baguette that we picked up from a local bakery this afternoon.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Big Salad and a Short Break

I started working on this salad and it just kept growing and growing. It started when I picked some lettuce and spinach from our garden and also some nasturtium flowers we have growing like crazy out front. I still had the orange that I zested for last night's sauce so I put a few sections of that on top, then some sliced cucumber and shredded carrot. Next was some broccoli (steamed), chickpeas, toasted pine nuts and finally a little quinoa - also left over from last night. The dressing was Sweet Maple-Hemp Vinaigrette from Vive le Vegan (except it was actually maple-flax since I used flax oil instead of hemp seed oil). The salad was so filling that the rest of dinner was just a small bowl of left over chili and a piece of toast.

And hopefully this is a pretty enough picture to last a while since we won't be posting for the next several days. I have a race in Virginia Beach tomorrow then we're heading to the North Carolina Outer Banks for a few days.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Tofu Stir Fry with Orange Sauce

Half a head of green cabbage and half a green bell pepper that had been in the back of the fridge for a while were the inspiration for this meal. It turned out pretty good, but not spectacular so I won't bother with a recipe. The short story goes like this: I fried some tofu in peanut oil until golden brown (adding some soy sauce and maple syrup in the last minute or so). Then I set that aside and stir-fried the cabbage, bell pepper and a sliced carrot. Some garlic and ginger went in there, along with some chopped scallions, then the tofu went back in along with the sauce (soy sauce, veg. broth, sesame oil, maple syrup, orange zest and cornstarch). We were low on brown rice so we had it over quinoa.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gnocchi with Fresh Chard

Yes, another Gnocchi post (hey, it's quick and tasty). And when I say fresh chard I do mean fresh.

5:50 PM


6:20 PM


I sauteed the chard stems in olive oil with salt & pepper, added garlic and some mushroom pate (from our local soy foods purveyor, Twin Oaks), then the chard leaves and gnocchi, then some veg. broth. Cover and simmer for a few minutes and voila - dinner was served (along with some leftover cornbread from chili night).

Monday, June 05, 2006

Chili and Corn Bread

This is the first time we've made the Chili sin Carne al Mole from Vegan with a Vengeance and it gets two thumbs up. It's somewhat of a basic chili recipe - with seitan and pinto beans - until you add the cocoa powder, molasses and cinnamon and that brings it to another level. We had it with guacamole and the cornbread recipe from the PPK, also delicious. For my cornbread I like to put a bit of margarine in a cast iron skillet and put the skillet in the oven while it pre-heats. Then I take out the skillet, pour the batter in and put it right back in the oven.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Yellow Beet Ravioli

I'm always intrigued by the raw food meals on the What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway blog. A couple of weeks ago they posted about this ravioli partly in response to a question I asked about raw food recipes that don't require a dehydrator. It looked great so we had to give it a try. The ravioli is yellow beets sliced very thin, marinated for a while in olive oil and salt & pepper, and stuffed with cashew "cheese". I winged it with the cashew mixture by soaking some raw cashews in water for a while, then draining and mixing them in the food processor with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, dry mustard and salt & pepper. Unless you have the knife skills of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, I'd recommend using a mandoline to slice the beets. Since we don't have a mandoline, I sliced them with a knife and I ended up with about a third of my slices going into the "good" pile and the rest going into the reject pile. But at least I had enough good ones for this picture ;-)

With the ravioli, we had a cherry tomato salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh oregano and salt & pepper. And we started with a big salad that was a mixture of some store bought mesclun and spinach and lettuce from our garden, along with shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes and some shredded bosc pear which was very good on the salad along with a simple olive oil/lemon vinaigrette.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tempeh Coconut Curry

This was last night's dinner but we left directly after dinner to head to Arlington where I had a race first thing this morning. The race was fun (I finished 8th), but what I really like about going to this particular race is the opportunity to watch the best pros in the country race later in the day while sitting at a cafe that's right on the course chowing down on a big vegan deli sandwich. Cafe Wilson (aka Big Belly Deli) has several sandwich options with soy "meats" and "cheese" - the turkey bacon club is especially yummy.

But back to last night's dinner. I mentioned a while back our free subscription to Cooking Light magazine. Not a lot of recipes in there we can use, but sometimes it gives us some ideas and they always have a vegetarian section. The veg. section this month actually featured tempeh and that's where we got this recipe. It's onions, garlic and ginger seasoned with tamarind, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon. Then you add a can of coconut milk, some diced sweet potato and tempeh, cover and cook until the sweet potato is done, then season with lime juice and soy sauce at the end. We had it over brown rice garnished with chopped cilantro.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

White Bean and Veggie Burritos

Recently we were talking about cheese and whether or not we miss it - I don't really miss it anymore, but Darlene does occasionally. Vegan cheeses can be hit or miss (and also expensive) but when I was picking up a few groceries today I grabbed a package of Follow Your Heart vegan cheddar and we decided to have it on burritos. It didn't have a very good texture, but the taste wasn't bad - especially when shredded on these burritos. We didn't have any canned black beans on hand and I didn't want to take the time to cook dried beans so the burritos consisted of white beans with broccoli and other veggies, namely yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, red onion and garlic. I threw some brown rice into the burrito too since the tortillas definitely weren't whole grain.

This combination is not without precedent because many years ago I remember having a white bean and broccoli burrito at a little burrito joint in New York City. I still remember this because it ranks right up there with the hottest things I've ever eaten. When I ordered the burrito they asked, "What kind of sauce do you want? The green sauce is hot and the red sauce is mild." So naturally I picked the green sauce. I suspected I was in trouble because they had their sauces out on a table with chips and you could help yourself while waiting for your burrito. I had some of the green sauce with chips and it completely lit me on fire. Then I got my burrito and it was smothered with this same sauce. I got through about 3/4 of the burrito but that was all I could do; it was one of the few times I've had to stop eating something because of the heat level. Then right after eating we had to head to the airport and get on a plane to fly home. Let's just say that wasn't such a comfortable flight.