Sunday, July 30, 2006

Caesar Salad and Pasta

We picked up a nice big head of romaine lettuce at the market yesterday and that gave me the caesar salad idea. I found a recipe for the salad in Very Vegetarian by Jannequin Bennett that I mostly used, though I added tomatoes and tempeh bacon from Vegan with a Vengeance (and I made some croutons but I forgot to put 'em in there). For the dressing I basically just mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl with a hand blender:

2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. veg. worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. safflower oil & 1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon zest
fresh ground black pepper

I also added some vegan parmesan substitute to both the dressing and the salad. It really doesn't taste like parmesan but it's pretty good just the same. Just blend together equal parts ground almonds and nutritional yeast plus a little salt. Or add more nutritional yeast if you like. As for the pasta, I just cooked some whole wheat spaghetti and added that to a saute of onions, garlic, zucchini and lots of fresh tomatoes.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vegetable Pie

This was another recipe we tried from The Vegan Chef, but with slightly less success - possibly only because of our lack of good pastry skills. See, the recipe is for vegetable turnovers but we decided there was no way we could roll this dough out enough to get 9 turnovers out of it so we improvised and made it into a pie. The pie turned out to be quite tasty, even though it sort of fell apart when I served it. The filling was especially good - we used purple potatoes along with the onions, celery, carrots and zucchini. And on the side we had a nice salad with tomatoes fresh from the market today, cucumbers and chick peas.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Atomic Burrito

On Fridays we often walk downtown after dinner for Fridays after Five but tonight we decided to skip cooking at home and use a coupon I found for buy one get one free burritos at Atomic Burrito. I guess it's been a while since we've been there since we haven't written about it yet. It's mostly a fairly typical burrito joint, but they make the burritos to order so that means they can be somewhat vegan-friendly. Plus it's cool that they offer whole wheat tortillas and brown rice. They even had a tofu and veggie stir-fry as one of the veg. options today. And better yet I heard the V word without any prompting.

Me: "Is there sour cream in the guac?"
Dude behind counter: "No, it's totally vegan."

They got an extra buck in the tip jar for that one ;-)

Choco PB Cups

A while back Chris and I went to Harrison Street Coffee shop and Chris had a homemade peanut butter cup. I tried a little and it was so good. It got me thinking that I could make some at home. I made the peanut better cookie recipe from Vive Le Vegan!. I then portioned the batter into muffin cups using a small cookie scoop and pressed it into the corners. I baked the cookies at 375° for about 15 minutes. While the peanut butter part was cooling, I melted 1 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave until I had a creamy consistancy. Adding the melted chocolate to the top of the peanut butter was a little tricky. I added about 2 tsp of chocolate per cookie and then spread it around with a knife. I put the peanut butter cups in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set the chocolate and they were ready for Chris to devour. Yummy! Yummy!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Eggplant Poor Boys

I was poking around over at The Vegan Club recently and I came across the interview with Beverly Lynn Bennett, aka The Vegan Chef. I went to her website and I was astounded at all the amazing recipes she has posted. In the sandwich section this recipe for Eggplant Poor Boys sounded good so I picked up an eggplant and some ciabatta bread at the store today. I'm not a huge eggplant fan, but Darlene likes it and I knew she'd like this recipe. Well, I liked it too - especially the remoulade sauce.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Leftovers and a Big Salad

The thing about making tacos, especially when you're only 2 people, is that there are taco shells left over and once the package is opened they don't keep very long. So tonight we finished off the taco fixins plus we had this big beautiful salad. In the salad is red leaf lettuce, lots of cherry tomatoes from our garden, cucumbers, carrots, red cabbage, toasted pine nuts, nasturtium flowers and borage flowers. The dressing was the Simple Cider Vinaigrette from Vive le Vegan.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


When I was visiting my sister in Buffalo recently we made tacos for dinner one night so I thought I'd do something similar again and share them with Chris this time. This made for a quick weeknight meal since I just sauteed some onion and garlic in oil then added TVP that had been reconstituted in boiling water; the seasoning was from a packaged mix that we picked up at the store recently. And we had them with diced fresh tomatoes, salsa, Tofutti sour cream and lettuce. Yummy-licious!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Flight-Less Salad

This recipe is only slightly adapted from the July, 1997 issue of Vegetarian Times (created by Myra Kornfeld). We even served it at our wedding 8 years ago and it's something we still come back to from time to time. It's sort of a mock chicken salad with tempeh and cabbage and tonight we had it with corn on the cob. It takes a little advance planning because the tempeh should marinate for 3-6 hours.

8 oz. package tempeh
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. veg. broth
1/4 tsp. each sage, thyme, and marjoram
3 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 Tbs. Vegenaise
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 c. shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, diced
3 scallions, chopped (white parts and some of the green parts)
1/2 a medium bell pepper, diced (I used a purple bell, but red or green is fine.)

Cut the tempeh into 1" pieces and steam for 5 minutes then spread in a shallow container. Mix together the soy sauce, lemon juice, veg. broth and sage, thyme and marjoram and pour over the tempeh. Allow to marinate for several hours, then spread the tempeh on a baking sheet and bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool. Meanwhile, mix together vinegar, Vegenaise, mustard, garlic and black pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until thickened a little. Then mix all the vegetables and the tempeh together in a large bowl, pour the dressing over top and stir to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

No Wonder Bread Pudding

I think this is the first recipe I ever came up with on my own. When I was in college I used to frequent a little take out place called Caribbean Spice (which I've mentioned before). The lunch special always came with a dessert, which was usually carrot cake. But sometimes it was bread pudding and for reasons I no longer remember, one day a friend of mine and I decided that this stuff was absolutely delicious and we had to try making our own. There wasn't any internet in those days (I know... I'm showing my age now) but we poked around a cookbook or two to get ideas and then set out in our respective kitchens. Many recipes for bread pudding call for a milk/egg mixture to be poured over cubes of stale bread and then baked. That's how we started out, but we couldn't get the texture to match what we'd get with our lunch special - which was more of a firm cake-like thing that you could eat out of your hand. We finally asked the owner of the restaurant what the secret was and he said he tore the bread into pieces and mixed it into the batter. So back to the kitchen we went and this recipe was born. At the time I was still using milk and eggs but the recipe was easily veganized with soy milk and silken tofu. I also used to use the cheapest white bread I could find but now I can't bring myself to buy cheap white bread, what with the lengthy list of ingredients I don't understand - and that's if you can even find some that's vegan. Now I make it with better bread, but it remains not exceptionally healthy because white bread is still a must.

I used to make this so often that I don't think I ever wrote down the recipe. Until now...

1 loaf of Italian bread or other soft white bread (see note below)
1/2 c. Silk creamer or soy milk
4 oz. silken tofu (about 1/2 c. or 1/3 of a 12 oz. package)
2 c. soy milk
1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 c. raisins (I used golden raisins this time because that's all I had but I usually use your average everyday dark raisin; either one works.)

Mix creamer and tofu in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Pour into a large bowl and add soy milk, 1/2 c. sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. Tear the whole loaf of bread into small pieces and mix it all into the wet ingredients as you go. You should end up with a stiff but wet batter. Fold in the raisins then spread the mixture in a greased 8" x 12" baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar and bake at 350° for 1 hour. After it cools, slice it into squares to serve.

Note: You may need to adjust the amount of soy milk depending on the size of your loaf of bread. For this recipe I used a 19 oz. loaf which was a pretty decent-sized round, but if your loaf is smaller use less soy milk and if it's larger use more. You want to have a fairly stiff batter but it should be wet.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


It was City Market time again today but we still had a few veggies from last week's market to use up, namely a yellow zucchini, a pattypan squash and a few green beans. Darlene suggested calzones and that sounded good to me. So I made the pizza dough recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, but I used half whole wheat flour. (Normally I'd use less whole wheat flour but we ran out of white flour; the dough still turned out great with the 50/50 mixture.) For the filling, I diced the zucchini and squash and cut up the green beans, then sauteed all that in olive oil along with some diced onion. Then I added a couple cloves of minced garlic and seasoned with salt & pepper, along with some fresh herbs - basil, oregano and parsley. Oh, and I added a few black olives, capers and pine nuts too. When the dough was ready Darlene cut it into 6 pieces and rolled each piece out into a circle. She added some of the vegetables to one side of each piece of dough then folded it over and crimped the edges. These got baked at 425° for 15 minutes until they were golden brown. (And don't forget to cut a little slit in the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape.)

I also made a quick sauce to go on top and for dipping: I sauteed 2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil, then added about half a bottle of Bionaturae® strained tomatoes, about 3 Tbs. of tomato paste, and about 1/2 tsp. each of dried oregano and salt. Then I just simmered that for a few minutes until it was well combined. Finally, we had a salad on the side with fresh cherry tomatoes, black olives, marinated mushrooms (from a jar) and a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt & pepper. And, to coin a phrase, it was all good...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Scrambled Tofu and Green Beans

Sometimes when we make scrambled tofu we like to use silken tofu for a little bit different texture. Darlene whipped this up in a snap by opening a box of silken tofu, dicing it and frying it - this time with a little soy sausage. She seasoned it with salt & pepper, turmeric, celery seed and nutritional yeast. Meanwhile I fixed us some salads and steamed the green beans. Our garden isn't doing so well this year but I did find a big cucumber out there today so that went into the salad along with a few fresh cherry tomatoes. We've got some beans planted and they're looking pretty good but they haven't produced anything yet so these were what we picked up at the market last weekend. For dessert we walked downtown and went to Splendora's Gelato Cafe where, in addition to the gelato, they have several flavors of dairy-free sorbet. Alas, there's no vegan soft-serve in our little town but Splendora's will suffice. It's a tad more pricey than your average everyday ice cream shop but well worth it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Convenience and Inconvenience

Those of you who have been hanging out with us here for a while know we try not to rely too heavily on processed convenience foods but occasionally we'll have them for the sake of well, convenience. We wanted a quick dinner tonight since we were heading out to see An Inconvenient Truth. So I made us a simple salad and Darlene made us some grilled sandwiches with some nice olive bread she picked up today. We had sauerkraut left from our reuben adventure so that went on the sandwiches along with some Tofurkey slices, soy cheese, pickles and Vegenaise. Quite delish for something that only took a few minutes to make. On the side we had some Garden of Eatin' Pico de Gallo chips. Not something I'd recommend making a meal out of every night but good enough for tonight.

As for the movie, all I can say is go see it. Now. Regardless of how you feel about Al Gore, he makes a complex topic interesting and presents a fascinating and compelling argument. And believe it or not, he's even pretty funny at times - though the main topic is gravely serious. Even if you're already convinced of the perils of global warming, as many of you probably are, it's still an interesting movie and well worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Collards, Noodles and Corn

Not exactly a high-class anniversary dinner this; it was more of using up some things in the fridge that needed to be used. I found a nice bunch of collards at the market this past weekend so I cooked those up this way. We also had some locally made Twin Oaks soy sausage and I cut some of that up, fried it in a little olive oil and added it to the collards at the end. The corn was also a score at the market and then I cooked some soba noodles so we could have the rest of the leftover peanut sauce over the noodles.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Spring Rolls and a Grunt

Tomorrow is our anniversary (number 8) and I wanted to give Chris a break from cooking so I decided to make spring rolls. They were slightly different than usual, especially since I baked them instead of frying. The spring roll mixture this time was onions, napa cabbage, carrots, celery, yellow squash, garlic, TVP chunks, Bragg's, and a little black sesame oil. Once I wrapped them I sprayed them lightly with canola oil and baked at 375° for about 35 minutes. While they were baking Chris made us a salad with red leaf lettuce, tomatoes and carrots and a dressing of a little toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and soy sauce. I also made two dipping sauces. The first was 1 tsp. chili paste, 1/3 c. rice vinegar, 2 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. cornstarch. I just heated that in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until it started to get a little thick. For the second sauce I whisked together 2 Tbs. hoisin sauce, 2 Tbs. apricot jam and 1 Tbs. rice vinegar. The spring rolls were really tasty though a little more dry than when we fry them.

For dessert I tried to make something like a grunt. I heated a package of frozen mixed berries, a diced Granny Smith apple, 1/2 c. orange juice, 1/2 c. sugar, juice of 1 lemon, and 1 Tbs. cornstarch in a saucepan until it started to get thick, then I poured that into a baking dish and added sort of a cobbler dough in large spoonfuls to the fruit mixture then flipped the dough over so it was coated. The dough was adapted from a cobbler topping recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison:

1 c. each whole wheat & all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 stick margarine
1 c. soy milk

Just mix the dry ingredients, cut in the margarine then mix in the soy milk. This concoction was baked in the same oven as the spring rolls for about 10 minutes longer, so 375° for about 45 minutes. We had it with vanilla Tofutti and it was delicious.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pasta Salad

A simple pasta salad for dinner tonight. First I "grilled" some fresh corn. By that I mean that I held an ear of corn with tongs over the flame on our gas stove for a few minutes (another advantage of cooking with gas ;-) Then I cut the kernals off and put them in a bowl along with some fresh tomatoes, carrots, and a can of black beans. Meanwhile I cooked some orichette and once that was done I mixed everything together and added the cumin-lime vinaigrette from Vive le Vegan. A good meal for a hot night.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cold Udons with Peanut Sauce and Seitan

This is a rerun but that's because 1) it's completely scrump- diddly- icious and 2) I invited my neighbor over for dinner and when we have someone over for dinner we generally try to stick with a recipe that's tried and true. This time I pretty much followed the recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance: cold udon noodles topped with a very yummy peanut sauce then sprinkled with black sesame seeds. On top of that go some red bell pepper, cucumber, bean sprouts and scallions, then finally some fried seitan to top it off.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Dagwood Sandwich

I was at work the other day making a sandwich for lunch with some of the leftover tofu spread when this idea to make a huge double-decker dinner sandwich hit me. I got some whole wheat sesame sourdough bread today and piled it high with tempeh bacon, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, avocado, onions, lettuce, veganaise and mustard. Yup, I got all that on one big sandwich and boy was it good. A little unwieldy perhaps, but good.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Newman O Blizzard

Most of us who aren't life-long vegans probably have a story about some questionable junk food we used to eat. Well, I'm afraid my list is rather long, but up near the top is Oreo cookie Blizzards from Dairy Queen. There was a time in my life when hardly a road trip went by without a stop at DQ for a Blizzard. Fortunately, there's Newman O's and Tofutti. Throw a few crumbled cookies and some chocolate Tofutti into a food processor, whir a few times and voila - better than a Blizzard. I even put a little fresh peach on the side - try getting Dairy Queen to do that for you.

Burritos with Black Beans and Squash

I'm on my own for a few days since Darlene's in Buffalo visiting her sister. Burritos aren't one of her favorite meals but I love 'em so I had to make some while she's gone. We still had one little pattypan squash from the market this past weekend so I diced that and sauteed it with some onion and garlic and salt & pepper. I also added some chili powder, cumin and oregano and finally a can of black beans and a small handful of cherry tomatoes from our garden. I had that mixture on some spinach tortillas topped with store-bought salsa and a little lettuce.

I went for a mountain bike ride with our next door neighbor recently and we got to talking about food. He's vegetarian and on-and-off vegan but he was saying that he feels like one of the obstacles to being completely vegan is time. He's really busy and often eating on the go and it is a little more difficult to eat out or get convenience foods that are vegan. Well Jason my friend, I looked at the clock tonight and exactly 20 minutes elapsed from the time I walked into the kitchen to the time I sat down to eat. Granted we often spend more time in the kitchen than that, and you can't eat burritos every night but I think it is possible to keep to a vegan diet even if you don't have a lot of time to cook.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tofu Salad Sandwich and Kale

I posted about this tofu salad a few months ago. This was pretty similar - we had it on sandwiches with whole wheat toast, shredded carrots, pickles, lettuce and mustard. For the kale, I sauteed lots of garlic in olive oil with salt & pepper, then added a bunch of chopped kale, tossed it around for a bit, then added a couple tablespoons of veg. broth and covered and simmered for 5 minutes or so. Kale isn't my favorite thing in the world, but it's good for you and cooked this way it wasn't too bad. And we also had a salad that looked very much like the one from last night.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gnocchi and Sauteed Pattypan Squash

Yup, we make gnocchi quite often but it's really true that we don't make it the same way twice. Tonight it was with shallots, garlic, seitan, kalamata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, and seasoned with fresh basil and parsley plus salt & pepper. After everything else is in the pan I mix in the gnocchi and add a couple tablespoons veg. broth (or wine), cover, and let it cook for 2-3 minutes and that's enough to cook the gnocchi.

On the side we had sauteed pattypan squash with garlic and lemon, an idea that I got from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I sauteed the garlic in olive oil then added the diced squash and salt & pepper. That cooked for a while longer before adding some fresh dill and lemon zest. The squash was quite good paired with the lemon. And we started the meal with a big salad, seen below mingling with the squash.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pumpkin Seed-Coated Lentil Patties

I was flipping through Vive le Vegan recently and when I spied this recipe I said to myself, "Hey, we've still got some pumpkin seeds laying around from back when I made that Southwestern pasta dish..." The patties are lentils cooked with onions, garlic and spices, then mashed up in a food processor with a little vinegar and curry paste and some bread crumbs. Some diced celery goes into the mix, then you form them into patties, coat them in ground pumpkin seeds and fry in olive oil. We had them with slices of fresh tomato and some store-bought plum sauce. And, since today was City Market day and corn season is upon us, some very fresh sweet corn on the side. I'm running out of ways to say delicious but these patties were like, really good man...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Biscuits and Gravy

The photo may not look like much but it sure did taste good. A serious lack of fresh vegetables in the house is what led to this meal. Darlene made the Baking Powder Biscuits from Vegan with a Vengeance and I made a seitan and spinach gravy that's loosely based on the Mushroom Sauce, also in VwaV. We had a few cherry tomatoes on hand so to add a little color I mixed those up with some kalamata olives and a little olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt & pepper and we had that on the side. Here's what I did for the gravy (with a big nod to Isa):

3 c. veg. broth, divided (or broth from cooking seitan)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 c. flour
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
8 oz. seitan, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 c. frozen spinach
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. plain unsweetened soy milk

Whisk cornstarch and flour into 2 3/4 cups broth and set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and add onion. Cook for a minute or so then add seitan. Cook for a few minutes more until seitan is getting brown then add garlic, fennel, marjoram, salt & pepper and cook for another minute or so. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 c. broth, then add remaining broth/flour/cornstarch mixture, soy sauce and spinach. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 mins. Stir in nutritional yeast and soy milk and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Serve over biscuits, smashed taters, etc. or just eat it with a spoon.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Standard Stuff

One of the reasons we started this blog is to show that eating vegan isn't all about pasta and salads. Except occasionally it is. I came home from work a little late today wondering what to do for dinner but Darlene already had a pot of marinara sauce going and was starting a pot of water for the pasta - whole wheat spaghetti in this case. (The secret ingredient in the sauce was 1 Tbs. peanut butter, which made it very creamy.) I fixed us some salads with leaf lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and toasted pine nuts and a simple cider vinaigrette and put in some toast to have with the pasta and that was it. Pretty standard stuff.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Grilled Veggies and Potato Salad

We don't always go along with traditions, but on this July 4th, like most of the rest of America we did fire up the grill. Our grill is actually quite a tiny pathetic little thing but it was free (thanks Judy!) and we break it out every once in a while. What inspired this round of taking match to charcoal was the sauce we still have left over from our BBQ Tofu sandwiches a week or so ago. I skewered some portobello mushrooms, yellow squash, Vidalia onions, cherry tomatoes and seitan then brushed everything liberally with the sauce and put 'em on the fire. I always have a hard time getting the heat even on our tiny grill so I had to keep moving things around but eventually all the veggies got more or less cooked and they tasted D-lish.

On the side is some potato salad, though I can't offer an exact recipe because I made it up as I went along. The basics are potatoes (I used a couple yukon golds and a few small white ones), lots of Vegenaise, some chopped celery and salt & pepper. I think I also added some chopped garlic chives and fresh parsley, paprika and a little mustard and red wine vinegar. Not quite a traditional meal, but probably as close as we'll get.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tempeh Reuben

We've been eyeing this recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for quite a while; we finally got around to it tonight and we weren't disappointed. We started with a big salad, then put together the reubens on grilled pumpernickel bread with grilled marinated tempeh, thousand island dressing (Vegenaise, ketchup, lemon juice, minced onion, capers, sweet pickles), dill pickles, sauerkraut and avocado. We thought about getting some soy cheese to add, but we didn't bother and we really didn't miss it - especially with the addition of the avocado.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Three Vegetables

But first let's start with dessert since it's a prettier picture. This is actually last night's meal that I never got around to posting (tonight we went out to eat at Ming Dynasty).

Sadly, strawberry season is over but that means that blueberries are in season and we're starting to get peaches too. We had some macadamia nuts left from when I made granola so I decided to do the strawberry shortcake with macadamia creme recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance but with peaches and blueberries. The "shortcakes" are Isa's basic scone recipe and I added some fresh blueberries to this batch. I do miss the fresh strawberries but this was almost as good.

In addition to the peaches and blueberries we found at the farmers market, we were also excited to pick up the first sweet corn of the season - which of course must be eaten the same day you get it. But we still had green beans and chard in the fridge from last weekend's trip to the market. We couldn't come up with an imaginative way of using them all together so I just let each stand on its own and that was our dinner. The corn, well what do you do with corn - boil it and serve with a little margarine and salt (though this idea sounds good too). I roasted the green beans with a little olive oil and salt & pepper and I simmered the chard in a small amount of veggie broth after first sauteeing some red onions and garlic in the pan. I also added a little balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar and, unfortunately, just a little too much salt. But the corn sure was good... and so was dessert.