Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sweet Potato/Black Bean Corn-Tortilla Wraps

Redemption from my not-so-fantastic Sweet Potato and Bean Enchilada Casserole (and my not-so-fantastic Tuesday--ah stress and lack of sleep and perpetually-twitching left eyelid) came in the form of a dinner I whipped up using leftover ingredients that I'd bought for that original recipe.

I now say to you: Ignore that enchilada casserole recipe, and put the ingredients to better (and more scrumptious) use with this one instead. You will make them much much happier.

These wraps managed to absorb the proper balance of flavors that the enchilada casserole was missing, and they were much much simpler to make. Plus, they look prettier. And they're LOW-FAT! You can't beat that.

  • 6 vegan corn tortillas

  • 2 large sweet potatoes

  • Juice from one lime

  • 1 T. brown sugar

  • 1/2 - 1 can black beans, drained

  • 1 onion, sliced

  • 1 t. vegan sugar

  • Pine nuts, toasted

  • Cilantro

  • Agave nectar

Heat up a small pan. Spray with non-stick spray oil. Toss your onions in and heat them until they're starting to get soft. Once they start to get soft, toss in the vegan sugar and mix. Cook the onions until they've turned a deep, rich caramel color. Set aside. While the onions are cooking, you can cook your sweet potatoes until they're soft (I use a steamer, but you can just as easily use the microwave or boil them). Once they're done, place them in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the juice from your lime (and you can also toss a bit of lime zest in there, if you're feeling overzealous) and your brown sugar. Set aside. Heat up your black beans (I used the microwave, but you can use whatever the frick you want, really). Finally, heat up a nice big pan and spray it with non-stick spray oil. Toss in your corn tortillas, three at a time, until they've softened up and will be pliable enough to roll up. Repeat with the remaining three tortillas. Place the six on two plates.
SERVING: Evenly distribute the lime sweet potato mash, black beans, and caramelized onions between the 6 corn tortillas. Top each with some toasted pine nuts and cilantro, and then drizzle with a nice healthy portion of agave nectar. Roll them up, and chow down.

Serves 2

This recipe seriously takes no more than a half-an-hour at most to make. And it packs a punch of sweetness when it comes to flavors, especially with the bit of added oomph the agave nectar gives it. Good good stuff.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mango Asparagus (and Mango Sorbet)

Today's recipe is kind of a multi-tasker--really, it's two recipes in one, so hold onto your horses, o faithful readers.

Despite all my autumnal cooking this weekend (or perhaps BECAUSE of it), I did manage to sneak in a lighter, more end-of-summery dish (or two?) as well (despite the fact that I coupled it with the braised seitan dinner I mentioned yesterday, which in all truth, it didn't fit in with really--but ah well).

My friend D has been trying to coerce me into making him mango sorbet ever since I brought in some of my avocado sorbet for him to taste. So this weekend I decided to tackle the task, all in the name of asparagus.

Yes, asparagus.

I wanted to add a vegetable other than mashed taters on with my braised seitan dinner, and asparagus is always my go-to guy. But since the temperature actually *was* in the 80s this weekend, I didn't wanna go my usual route of broiling it because it would've heated up my kitchen unbearably.

So instead, I decided that steaming the asparagus would not contribute too much to the stuffiness of my apartment, *AND* I could also top it with some mango sorbet for a bit of pizazz (which gave me a reason to actually *make* the sorbet finally).

The end results were mixed. Strangely, I really liked the asparagus topped with the mango sorbet--it was nice and light and the flavors were a lovely, crisp contrast to one another, but the sorbet on its own didn't do a whole heckuva lot for me. My avocado sorbet was luxuriant and creamy--the mango sorbet was moreso just icy and overly-sweet. It kinda had the came consistency as a lemon-ice. And the recipe seemed to call for way more sugar than necessary, seeing as mangos are naturally sweet. So really, I could take it or leave it. And next time around, I'll probably just leave it and try out a different recipe on the mango-sorbet front instead.

But here it be anyways.


  • 1 bunch of asparagus

  • Mango sorbet (recipe follows)

Steam asparagus until tender but not too soft. Drain. Serve topped with mango sorbet. Way too damn simple.


  • 1 c. vegan sugar

  • 3/4 c. water

  • Juice from one lime

  • 2 mangos, peeled and chunked

Put the sugar and water in a small pot on the stove. Bring them to a boil while stirring frequently. Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Place mango chunks and lime juice in a food processor. Once sugar-water mixture has cooled, add this to the food processor as well. Pulse until well-blended and smooth. Place in a metal pan of some sort (I used a cake pan) and put in freezer. After an hour or so, remove and whip a bit. Return to freezer, this time covered in plastic wrap. Let freeze until frozen completely.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Braised and Coffeed Seitan with Pine Nuts & Punky Mashed Taters

Oh glorious anger when my blog entry somehow doesn't get saved.

*Pitiful sniffle*

Anyways, as I mentioned yesterday, I was in the mood to do a bit of fall-cooking this weekend. So, inspired by the coffee-marinated tofu and seitan that What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyways blogged about recently (yet one more reason I love you, Coffee!), I decided to track down some sort of coffee marinade of my own and do a bit of experimentation.

And there are a BUTTLOAD of coffee marinades on the internet, folks--who'da thunk it!

But after much roaming around, I decided to fiddle with THIS RECIPE. I had most of the ingredients, and it sounded like the kind of recipe that would make you feel all warm and cozy from the inside out.

I was not far off. If there's only one thing you take away from reading this little ramble about the seitan recipe I made this weekend, it's this:


I kid you not.

As I'm sure you can figure out, it's totally all about the cinnamon and cloves--they make you wanna sing carols and string popcorn around a Christmas tree.

I cannot wait 'til the holidays roll around, because I am *so* whipping this recipe out and wowing my friends and family with it. It is damn fricking good, ladies and gents. Damn fricking good. *AND* it's damn simple, to boot.

I was a bit leery at first, because it's a strange variety of ingredients. And after it marinated overnight, there was a weird film of scum along the top of the marinade (kinda like when Lake Erie is not looking so clean), and it had a strange kinda boogery slimey consistency (I can tell I'm *REALLY* getting your tastebuds going with *this* description). But lo and behold, this stuff knocked our socks off.

The seitan holds the marinade wonderfully, and it cooks up really delicately and tenderly. The final result is a rich and roasty, ridiculously tender seitan that will melt on your tongue with a wonderful Christmasy bouquet of flavors and put any fatty, gristly hunk of animal flesh to shame. Good stuff.


  • 1 cup strong coffee

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

  • 3 T. packed brown sugar (I used light)

  • 1 T. soy sauce

  • 1 T. teriyaki sauce

  • 2 cloves peeled garlic

  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 t. ground ginger

  • 1/4 t. ground cloves

  • 1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes or to taste

  • Two 8/12 oz. packs of seitan (or you can make your own)

  • 1/4-1/2 C. toasted pine nuts

Toss all the ingredients except for the seitan and pine nuts into a food processor. Process until pretty well-blended. Remove marinade and place in large, sealable container. Drain seitan. Place seitan in marinade. Refrigerate overnight (or at least a few hours).
To prepare: Heat up a large pan. Scoop out the chunks of seitan and toss into pan. Add enough marinade to the pan that it covers the bottom and the seitan is sitting a tiny bit deep in it. Cover and heat at medium heat for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. (This is considered stovetop braising, apparently--alternately, you could braise the seitan similarly in the oven.) Serve topped with the toasted pine nuts.

Serves 2-4 (depending on how hungry you are)


  • About 4-5 blue potatoes

  • About 4-6 little white potatoes

  • Soy milk

  • 1-2 T. vegan margarine

  • 1 clove garlic, diced real tiny or pressed

  • Dried rosemary

  • Pine nuts

DIRECTIONS: Cube all your potatoes (but don't peel the skins off!). Toss into a pot of water. Boil potatoes until tender (about 15 minutes or so). Drain potatoes. Mash them up with a fork (but not completely--chunky mashed taters are da best!). Toss in about 1-2 T. of vegan margarine and your soy milk (how much you add of the latter will depend on how whippy you like your mashed potatoes, so I've not included measurements). Add garlic and dried rosemary. Top with toasted pine nuts.

I don't really know that the blue potatoes taste any differently or better than normal potatoes, but they SURE IS PRETTY!

(I didn't originally intend this dish to have pine nuts since the seitan already did, but since there were leftovers of the pine nuts, I just thought I'd toss some on top when I went back for seconds. Holy mother of god--I never would've guessed that some simple pine nuts could add so much to a potato recipe!)

(Blue taters are the COOLEST--even if
they DO look more purple than blue!)

Serves 2-4 (also depending on how hungry you are)

Really and truly, this is a damn good cold-weather meal. So store it away in the back of your brain (or in the back of your recipe box), and when you get in the mood to get yourself excited about winter and Christmas, pull this baby out.

Merry seitan to all, and to all a good night!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sweet Potato and Bean Enchilada Casserole

I've been all nerded-up lately about the arrival of fall weather, so I decided during the week that I was gonna cook some more fall-friendly food this weekend, now that it's been delightfully cool in the evenings and I can use the oven without making my apartment a sweltering heat-pit. But of course, as always, the weather had to be ornery and peak in the 80's this weekend, effectively ruining the fall spirit of all the food I made.

Nonetheless, I *did* end up making a fantastically yummy cold-weather dinner on Saturday (despite the sweltering humidity) which I will post about tomorrow. I also ended up making this "nothing-special" dish on Friday night, unfortunately. It's not terrible, and I've been eating left-overs all weekend and will continue to during the week. But it's definitely not worth writing home about.

So next time around, I'm *DEFINITELY* tweaking it so it's a bit more flavorful.

  • 18 vegan corn tortillas

  • 2 cans vegan enchilada sauce

  • One 12 oz. pack of vegan ground-beef crumbles

  • One packet of taco seasoning

  • One small can of black beans, drained

  • One small can of red kidney beans, drained

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced

  • Some nutritional yeast

  • 2-3 cups of Fritos

  • Cilantro


Steam the sweet potatoes until they are near to soft and then dice them into smallish chunks--the oven will take care of the rest of their cooking process. Mix the frozen "beef" crumbles, jalapeno, and taco seasoning together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375. Take out a large, deep pan (I am bad with dimensions--it's the size that'll fit 2x3 corn tortillas in it, with just slight overlap). Coat the bottom with half a can of enchilada sauce. Layer on 6 corn tortillas. Add the sweet potatoes and all the beans. Pour another 1/2 can of enchilada sauce over this layer. Add 6 more corn tortillas. Top with the fake-meat mixture. Add another 1/2 can of enchilada sauce. Layer on 6 more corn tortillas. Top with remaining enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, top the casserole with the Fritos, and return it to the oven (without the foil) for about 10-15 more minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

The problems with this casserole were that a) it was too dry--the lack of, say, vegan cheese made the enchilada sauce absorb into the corn tortillas without retaining the moistness of the sauce like enchiladas normally do, and b) the flavors were a bit too confused--the bottom layer was yumtastic, the sweet potatoes adding a nice sweet touch to the meal in contrast to the saltier beans, but the fake meat threw the rest of the casserole off a bit too much by being too overpowering and spicy-tasting. The next time around I will probably contemplate using vegan cheese in each layer, though I don't think it is *necessary* to make this a good dish. I think I will also try to play up the sweetness of the dish more, eliminating the meat layer and perhaps replacing it with a sweet-corn and diced mango layer instead. This would also call for an adjustment to the enchilada sauce as well, but there are plenty of tomatillo enchilada sauces or tomatillo salsas that could make for a much tastier topping.

So yeah, I wouldn't recommend this recipe enough to even put it in my sidebar recipe-links, but I think with some definite toying with the ingredients, it may end up there down the road.

Until then, I blame the humidity for f-ing it up.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dorkling It Up

I'm very disappointed to say that I only cooked one thing this weekend, and it was something whose recipe was already featured on prior occasion on this blog (my roasted couscous and cranberry salad, with modifications minor enough not to warrant a mention here). I've been busy as of late--the weekends have been chockfull of activity. So I've not found much time to cook.

However, I *have* been finding time to have other folks cook for me instead. A few weekends back, my friend dorklepork had us over for vegan BLT's, homemade guac and black-bean dip, and the homemade avocado ice cream that inspired this undertaking. I didn't take pictures though, unfortunately.

But this weekend, she cooked out for us (hence my contribution of the roasted couscous and cranberry salad), and I *did* have enough wherewithall to take pics. So although I have no recipes for you, I do have a gorgeous food porn pic for you to drool over.

And I do have this to say: strawberries grilled with a bit of maple syrup are *amazingly* fricking good.

  • Grilled fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, pears, mango, and nectarines)

  • Marinated tofu (dorklepork's special recipe--all we can tell you without having to kill you afterwards is that it has a peanut-butter base and is *damn* fricking good)

  • My roasted couscous and cranberry salad

  • An apple-salad (also dorklepork's special recipe--something along the lines of apples, celery, cilantro, and tabasco, though more special because it was made with love... and probably some other ingredients that I've failed to mention here)

  • Grilled corn with lime (inspired by Fat-free vegan--really good fresh corn and a bit of tangy lime is about the best damn thing you'll taste at a cookout)

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Cook's Thesaurus

So if you're like me and often too cheap to spring for some bizarre, expensive ingredient that you'll probably only ever use once and then never be able to find another recipe for, *OR* if you happen to live in an area where you just don't have easy access to strange ingredients, *OR* if you just like to substitute ingredients for other ingredients (just because you're weird like that), you must check this out.

The Cook's Thesaurus

It gives you substitutions for pretty much any ingredient you could ever possibly think of.

Woot woot to that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Part II of "The Most Bizarre Google Searches By Which People Stumble Across This Blog"

I'm outta recipes for the week, so instead, I figured I'd bring you Part II of "The Most Bizarre Google Searches By Which People Stumble Across This Blog." You can read part one HERE.

Most bizarre recent google searches that have retrieved this blog:
  • "vegan white hair"

  • "moldy tempeh"

  • "charles patterson shit"

  • yet ANOTHER search for "olives feces" (apparently this is a pandemic problem all over the world or something)

  • "shit with sugar on top"

  • "shishkabobs what to eat with"

  • "gangsta wine" (I'd imagine whoever googled this one was sorely disappointed when their search turned up my lil' ol' vegan blog--so to them, I say "Say hello to my little friend!")

  • "baby shit orange"

  • "eating expired tofu"

  • "women bowl shit"

  • "cat shit cookies sweet potato queen"

  • "the shite chipper"

And bless your cute little hearts, you dorky readers--one of you was either trying to verify that the search would work and/or just trying to be cute, but, yes, someone actually *DID* google "Pubic pumpernickel booger snot." And needless to say, I'm the first site that comes up. Woot woot!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pseudo-Pad Thai with Mango and Caramelized Limes

Last week I mentioned that I thought the peanut sauce I'd made might make a nice base for a pad thai. I think all the talk and conjecture over the dish got my tastebuds hankering for it, so I decided on Sunday to do a bit of experimenting and see if I might be able to modify the sauce in such a way as to make it taste pad thai-ish.

I originally wanted to add the tamarind paste that so many pad thai dishes call for, but I was unable to track it down. (I'm going to have to keep my eye out on future trips to Asian Food Marts and/or Wild Oats.) So then I decided to see if ketchup might be an ok substitute (I'd seen that in a few recipes as well), but when I tried it in a wee bit of sauce, it tasted nast, so I gave up on that idea.

After all was said and done, the only alterations I made were the substitution of lime juice for the lemon, and the addition of ginger. I really liked this dish quite a lot (as did E), but it still doesn't have that very unique and specific pad thai taste to it quite yet--but hey, that just means more tasty experimentation, so I can't complain. As it stands right now, it tastes like a bit peanuttier pad thai--still damn tasty, but not yet perfect, so be forewarned.

I added mango on the side because, damn, if the flavors don't complement each other. And inspired by a recipe in Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures (which calls for caramelizing lemons), I caramelized some limes and served those on the side so they could be squeezed over the dish to taste. The caramelization process nixes some of their sour flavor, and adds a lovely, sweet richness to them.


  • 1/2 c. peanut butter

  • 1/2 c. hot water

  • 4 T. soy sauce

  • 3 T. vegan brown sugar

  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper

  • 3 t. fresh lime juice

  • 1/4 t. ginger

  • A box of rice noodles

The Rest
  • Peanut oil (I used canola, but peanut would probably taste a lot better)

  • 1/2 a block of tofu, crumbled

  • Broccoli (cut in wee tiny bits)

  • Ginger

  • Bean sprouts

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Peanuts

  • Scallions, sliced in thin little circles

  • 1-2 limes, quartered

  • Mango, slivered


Make the sauce by whipping together the water and peanut butter until it is smooth. Gradually start adding the rest of the ingredients while whisking to maintain smoothness. Set sauce aside.

Soak noodles in hot (but not boiling) water for about 30 minutes or so. They will still be a bit al dente, but they will soften up when you stirfry them. Drain. Set aside.

Place a little bit of oil (maybe a tablespoon or so) into a large pan/wok (or pot if you only have smaller pans--there's gonna be a lot of ingredients) and heat. Add the tofu and fry until it's starting to cook through (but not yet brown). Add the broccoli. Sprinkle a bit of ginger on the two. Cook until the tofu is starting to brown. Toss in the bean sprouts and heat for about a minute. Then add the noodles, the sauce, and some red pepper flakes to taste. (You may need to spray the pan again with nonstick spray first so the sticky peanut butter sauce doesn't make the noodles stick--you may not.) Stirfry until the noodles have softened some (without becoming mushy).

Remove from heat. Add a tiny bit of oil back to the pan. Toss the limes in. Cook each lime-quarter for about a minute per side, until it's a bit golden. Remove from heat.


Dish out a heaping serving on a plate. Top with scallions and peanuts to taste. Encircle noodles with some slivered mango and a couple quarters of caramelized lime, to be squeezed over the noodles liberally. Serve.

Serves 4-6, depending on how big a pig you are.

LEFTOVERS: This definitely tasted more like pad thai the first day. Upon reheating, it tasted moreso like a peanut sauce, though still yummy. Don't ask me why. But it did.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Best Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in Cleveland

(If you live in Cleveland, that is)

'Cause you know what?

I've been working on compiling all my vegan-friendly Cleveland restaurant reviews in one easy-to-access location, and


It's all done:

(Click on pic to visit)

So check it out.


Leave suggestions for new additions to the restaurant list.

Post a comment on the restaurants you've eaten at to balance out the reviews.

And most importantly, love me. Love me like you do. Oh yes, baby. Do.

* * * * * *

I have one more recipe to post for the week, but unfortunately I got home too late last night to upload pictures and whatnot. Perhaps tomorrow.

To tide you over until then, I present you with a list of the best vegan-friendly restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio... in case you ever happen to be in the neighborhood.

(It's funny because I always feel the need to apologize when I deviate from the normal posting of recipes--since it's a food blog, I feel obligated to stick to that for some reason. But I was thinking about it just now, and really, if I wanted to post about stuffing vegan cupcakes in my panties and walking around with them like that all day, it's my prerogative. In fact, if I wanted to post about stuffing vegan cupcakes in my panties and walking around with them like that all day WHILE DRESSED UP LIKE GEORGE W., I could--and there's not a goddamn thing you can do about it! So read this! And love it! And stop being so demanding! *Sobbing*)

2362 Professor Ave.
Cleveland OH
Type of food: Ice cream and desserts
Comments: Hurray for Marianne and the magic she works on veganizing cold treats! Vegan specials often change: They typically have some sort of vegan pie-slices available, but the flavors vary depending on the week. They also have tried-and-true vegan goodies that stick around regularly in their cases (ice-cream sammiches, choc-covered bananas, fudge-bars) and, for special occasions, you can special-order vegan ice cream cakes and pies.
Recommendations: Cookie ice-cream sammiches, vegan oreo pie

11213 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH
Type of food: A bar that serves vegan brunch Sundays nights from 6 to 9pm, and vegan specials on Tuesday nights.
Comments: They also frequently feature bands, and they have different drink specials from night to night (for example, one of the nights, your first beer is free if you ride your bike there).
[Read more from me about it HERE]

12906 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
Type of food: Italian/pizza.
Comments: They only have two booths, so it's more of a take-out atmosphere.
Recommendations: I recommend their vegan meatball subs. Delish.
[Read more from me about it HERE]

14718 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH
Type of food: Sandwiches and bar food
Comments: They have two vegan cheezes, so you can order most vegetarian sandwiches with vegan cheez subbed in. They also have a plethora of other vegan options--you can read letters from the owner detailing them HERE
Recommendations: The Kindergartener with vegan cheddar (or American--can't remember which one they have) with avocado and tomato added on.
[Read more from me about it HERE]

13800 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH
Type of food: Chinese
Comments: The have a full zen-menu, all of which is vegetarian. Including (as long as I'm understanding them correctly) bizarre things like vegetarian chicken legs, vegetarian squid, and vegetarian ribs, among others. Not sure how much of these are VEGAN as well, but definitely worth checking out to inquire. If you DO find out, holler. Either which way, even if some of their faux-meats/seafoods aren't vegan, they have plenty of tofu and veg dishes that surely are.
Recommendations: Vegan sweet n' sour "chicken," babies!

1824 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Hts., OH
Type of food: Diner-esque.
More info...
Comments: They know their vegan stuff, so inquire when you have questions and you should have no problems getting answers. Some of the vegan stuff is marked as such, some is not. They have vegan mozzarella though which they'll gladly substitute on your salad.
Recommendations: French onion soup (sans cheese), veggie burger, BBQ seitan sandwich, taco salad (all of which are vegan or can be made vegan)

3120 Bridge Ave.
Cleveland, OH
Type of food: World cuisine
Comments: They are super-helpful when it comes to veganizing stuff--just ask. Basically, you usually just need to say "veganize it" and they'll hook you up without you even having to say another word. If you get a big-plate, the portions are ridiculously generous.
Recommendations: Pad thai (veganized--just ask); burrito big-plates (my fav is the mushroom, tomato, garlic one and I add on avocado and black beans)--ask to veganize; fried tofu (ask for vegan dipping sauce); caribbean french fries; and the Tingle to drink.

1791 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Hts., OH
Type of food: Thai
Comments: Everything is cooked in vegetable oil. They will gladly alter meat dishes for vegans/vegetarians. In fact, the menu stresses that if you'd like your dish prepared a certain way, let the staff know and they'll hook you up. Just be sure to ask about ingredients in their sauces--many of the curries contain fish sauce, but they will very helpfully alter them for you if you let them know.
Recommendations: Red, masaman, and pik king curries with tofu--make sure to inquire about fish sauce. Also, definitely order a mango smoothy with bubbles. They rock.

25923 Detroit Rd
Westlake, Ohio
Comments: Every fricking thing on their menu is vegan, so you can go hog-wild. Plus, you can grocery shop while you wait for your order--how cool is that, dammit?
Recommendations: Pepperoni pizza, "fish" sammich, bbq-"chicken" pizza, pot pie.

621 E. 185th St.
Cleveland, OH
Type of food: Home-cooking
Comments: All vegetarian with a ridiculous amount of mouth-watering vegan items on the menu. It's a small place, a few booths and a counter, but you get a lot of TLC from the folks working--the two women who waited on us were some of the sweetest, cheeriest folks I've ever met--and they're all about hooking you up with vegan food.
Recommendations: Vegan mac n' cheese, "fish" sandwich.

14224 Madison Ave
Lakewood, OH
Comments: The owner seems to be clueless and determined to be unhelpful when it comes to vegan items, but if you ask the right employee, some of them know their shit. I was told that the burritos are vegan if ordered without cheese and their "sweet sauce." They also have the standard chips and salsa as well as a soup or two that's vegan if ordered without cheese. The burritos put Chipotle to shame (they're like the size of an upper extremity), so they're definitely worth the money.
Recommendations: Their veggie burritos, no cheese, no "sweet sauce." Tortilla chips and three-salsa combo.

1763 Coventry Rd.
Cleveland Hts., OH
Type of food: Japanese
Comments: In my group of veggie friends, many of whom are well-versed in sushi restaurants, this is a favorite (in both Cleveland and in general). I've only had sushi at about three different restaurants myself, but Pacific East definitely stands out among those three restaurants. Plus, it's cute and hip inside, like a little taste of NYC in Cleveland.
Recommendations: Side salad with ginger dressing, miso soup (apparently has fish in the broth), sweet potato sushi (arghlghlghlhglhglhgl) and avocado sushi.

7329 Mentor Ave.
Mentor, OH
Type of food: Thai
Recommendations: Tofu royale (ask for no fish sauce)

12305 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH
Comments: Mama Santa's has, hands-down, the best pizza in Cleveland--you'll find few who'll argue with you about this. And, thankfully, it's just as mind-blowingly good, even without cheese. And it's vegan. It's saying something when the crust and sauce of a pizza can hold up fantastically on its own without a hint of cheese.
Recommendations: Large cheese-less pizza with pepperoncini.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Avocado Sorbet

RECIPE: from

A couple weekends ago, the lovely Dorklepork made us some vegan avocado ice cream when we went to hang out at her place. It was so divinely rich and tasty that it inspired me to try fiddling with something sweet and avocado-y on my own. However, I don't have an ice cream maker, so when I stumbled across this recipe for avocado sorbet, I couldn't pass it up.

I've grown horribly aware (and disturbed by) the amount of corn syrup in what we eat on a daily basis (thanks to The Omnivore's Dilemma and Peter Singer's newest book), so I've been trying to cut down on my consumption of it. However, as you'll see, this recipe calls for corn syrup. I'm not quite sure how or what to substitute in for corn syrup in order to make this a bit less processed and, well, corn syrupy, but I'd like to figure it out for the next time I make this. (So if you have any suggestions, please let me know.)

Despite the corniness of the ingredients, this ended up being some damn good sorbet. It's not overwhelmingly avocado-ish (for those of you who aren't huge fans)--it actually tastes more like a lime sorbet with a hint of avocado. But the avocado gives a luxuriousness to this sorbet that would probably be lacking in other sorbet recipes. And for those of you who like avocados, you're gonna dig this shit.

I served this with some slivers of mango, but really any accompanying fruit will work.

  • 1 c. vegan sugar

  • 1 c. Light corn syrup

  • 2 c. Water

  • 1 t. Grated lime peel

  • 3 Avocados; seeded, peeled and mashed

  • 2 T. Lemon juice

  • 1 T. Lime juice


Toss the sugar, corn syrup, and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the lime peel. Blend avocados, lemon, and lime juice in food processor until smooth. Add cooled sugar mixture; blend until thoroughly combined. Pour into 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan or 2 smaller pans so depth is about 1/2 inch. Freeze 1 hour. Remove sorbet from freezer, beat 2 to 3 minutes until light and creamy (I tossed it back in the food processor). Pour back into pan; cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Serve sorbet with fruit or eat on its own--it's damn good either way.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Peas & Walnuts in a Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

This was another quick and easy dish that I whipped up on a weeknight this week--it's mostly just about the peanut sauce, which is a fantastically simple and yet surprisingly yummy recipe, but I will admit--the peas and walnuts combination was ALSO surprisingly tasty as well.

Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe: from

  • 4 T. peanut butter

  • 4 T. hot water

  • 2 T. soy sauce

  • 1.5 T. vegan brown sugar

  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper

  • 1 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice


Whisk the first two ingredients together until they're smooth. Then gradually add each of the other ingredients in one at a time, whisking as you go along. The cayenne pepper may seem like a lot given the small quantity of sauce this makes--I started off with 1/8 t. at first because I was leery--but it's not. It'll have some zip, but it won't sear your tongue off, promise.

I tossed the peanut sauce on some angel hair noodles along with some frozen peas and walnuts. Not remotely gourmet of course, but I was just trying to make do with the stuff I had around the house.

A definite improvement would be to use this on some sort of rice noodle along with tofu, peanuts, beansprouts, etc. I also think next time I would probably experiment more with it--perhaps adding some fresh ginger, maybe substituting the lemon juice for lime. This is a very basic (but really tasty, especially given its simplicity) sauce that allows for a lot of fiddling--I think it actually might even make a good base for a pad thai dish, so that may be my next goal with it.

Oh, and btw, this recipe makes enough for two ridiculously large bowls of pasta or (if you can keep from drowning your pasta in freakish quantities of sauce like I do) 4 medium-sized bowls of pasta.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Feisty Truffles

Ah yes. Finally the last vegan wine-tasting recipe. About damn time, but what can I say? We stirred up some goodies for the party. But anyways...

Ah, truffles truffles truffles. The manna of the gods, when it comes to wine parties. I knew I had to make these for dessert as they are too yummy not to have at a wine party. I originally wanted to try out a recipe for truffles from The Millenium Cookbook, but my grocery store didn't have bittersweet chocolate bars that were vegan, and again, I was too lazy to try tracking them down.

So instead, I used the tried and true recipe from the PETA Celebrity Cookbook that I'd used on prior occasion. This time though, I fiddled with flavors a whole lot more. And what fun!

  • 12 oz. vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 8 oz. vegan cream cheese

  • 3 cup vegan powdered sugar

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Orange zest

  • Vegan oreos

  • Walnuts

  • Vanilla extract

  • Almond extract

Step #1: Whip the vegan cream cheese into a smooth frothiness in your food processer. Gradually add the powdered sugar until completely mixed. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips somehow or another (double-broiler, pot, microwave). Add the chocolate to the food processer and pulse until completely blended. Divide the mixture into four equal parts to make these four types of truffles.

Step #2: Refrigerate--you will want the mixture to sit in your fridge for at least an hour to harden before trying to mold any truffles.

Some of the following truffles will require that you add stuff to the mix BEFORE Step #2 (refrigerating them), and others only require rolling them in stuff *after* Step #2, so just read the directions closely.
  • Orange truffles: These I botched up and had to end up adding cocoa and sugar to in order to firm them up some. So instead of giving you the long version, I'll give you the short, which is basically what I should have done but didn't, and what you should do instead.

    After Step #1 is complete, add in about 2 t. of orange zest to 1/4 of your total truffle mixture, then refrigerate. I was worried that the consistency would be weird due to the zest (which is why I thinned them out too much by attempting to use orange juice instead) but it won't be. Trust me. I added zest to them after botching them up originally, and you can barely sense a consistency change. Alternatively, you could probably use some sort of orange liquor, but you'll have to figure that one out for yourself.

    Finish by rolling in some unsweetened cocoa powder, mostly so they don't stick together and get goopy.

  • Nutty truffles: Before Step #2, mix about 1/4 t. of almond extract in with 1/4 of the the truffle mix. Refrigerate. After an hour, remove the truffle mixture, roll the truffles, and then coat them in smashed-up walnuts.

  • Oreo truffles: Before Step #2, mix about 1/4 t. of vanilla extract in with 1/4 of the truffle mixture. Refrigerate. After an hour, remove the truffle mixture, roll the truffles, and then coat them in smashed up Oreos.

  • Cayenne pepper truffles: These were my favorite of the four flavors, and the most unique as well. Party-goers were suspicious initially, but after trying them out, I could tell that other folks also enjoyed these the most out of the bunch as well.

    After you've completed Step #1 and Step #2 and this 1/4 of your truffle mix has been sitting in the fridge for an hour or so, roll out your truffles. To pepper them, roll a truffle in a *wee* bit of cayenne pepper and then spread it out all over the truffle by rolling them around between your palms for a few seconds. Then roll them in some unsweetened cocoa powder.

    I was a bit worried that they'd be too spicy, but folks loved them. The cayenne was a very understated flavor that caught up with you as a cute little afterthought a minute or so after you finished chowing down on them. And it was a good little jolt, a fun little jolt, a not-too-fiery little jolt. Kind of like a bit of cayenne in your hot chocolate.

    My tip would be to make a trial one for yourself and try it out before figuring out how much/little cayenne pepper to roll them in. If your lips burst into flame and you end up running around the kitchen, trying to remember where the fire extinguisher is, you'll probably wanna lay off on it a little.

Folks liked these. A lot. They're simple to make, and they're definite crowd-pleasers.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Wine Party Etceteras

All last week I posted some wine party recipes, so today I figured I'd take pause and mention all the yummy food that was there but sans recipes (because they're either from cookbooks or I just don't know them). So a hat's off to the following dishes.


As another whore-devore, I decided to tackle an Eggplant Caviar recipe from The Artful Vegan cookbook. It was a bit more elaborate, and I stuck to the recipe pretty closely (except for substituting brown lentils for the black (no time to try and track those down), so I shan't reproduce it here. Suffice it to say, it consists of broiled a) eggplant, b) red pepper, c) onion, and d) garlic along with lentils and a whole bunch of spices and other things. This picture is ugly. It is difficult to take attractive pictures of dips. *sigh*

Quite honestly, I wasn't a big fan of this dip anyways. It just was kind of bland to me. *BUT* I blame not the cookbook because I suspect the black lentils would've helped some with the absent luxuriant flavoring. Plus, folks liked it and wolfed-down a whole bowl's worth, so maybe it was just me.


E made these using the "Italian Tofu Steaks recipe that he snarked from Vegan with a Vengeance. They were a nice finger-food, are very simple to make, and they showcased one of the wine-party wines which was used in the marinade. Needless to say, they got wolfed down very quickly.

And finally...


These yumtastic little nibblers were courtesy of the lovely Ms. Dorklepork. From what I could piece together, they consisted of a) crackers topped with b) little mini portabella black bean patties, c) tiny chunks of mango, d) this super-brilliant tofu cheese (which I am in the process of making a batch of as we speak as well), and e) cilantro(?) tossed in the broiler for a few.

They were most excellent--the cheese had a bit of a feta-y kick to it, and the mango balanced it out with its delicate sweetness. Num num.

Woot woot to finger foods!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Orange-Rosemary Olives

Recipe from Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures.

I am a bit more worrisome than most about posting recipes from cookbooks on-line (even if I *do* give them credit) because I think it's only right for folks to be able to own the shit they do. But my new recipe-posting theory is this: if it's a simple enough recipe that I can still remember all the ingredients and their quantities a few days after making it and/or I can track down several very similar recipes on-line (case in point: Rosemary Orange Olives at, then it's fair game for posting. Especially when it's a recipe as simple (though damn good) as this one.

I shall still give credit where credit is due of course, but I shall post them until someone objects--in which case, I shall challenge said objector to a vegan-pudding wrestling match! *Hut hut!*

You can woo mates with these olives, you can raise the dead, and you can curl the toes of those who like when orange and rosemary bed together. They's yummy and sexy. And they're simple to boot. So yay for olives!

  • 1.5-2 c. mixed kalamata and green olives

  • 2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 2-4 thick pieces of orange zest

  • A handful of fresh parsely, finely cut

  • Olive oil


Place all of these together in a container and allow to marinate. I used 3 T. olive oil, but your olives may already have a large amount of oil on them, so the amount you use is up to you. Let sit at least a couple hours, preferably UNrefrigerated (the olives gunk up and absorb all the oil, looking ooey gooey and goopy if you refrigerate them)--if you refrigerate overnight or something, make sure they sit out at least an hour or so before serving. Eat around the rosemary sprigs and orange-bits (the recipe says to remove them before serving, but I think they're too pretty of a garnish to remove).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sweet-Potato Dip

One of my favorite things that I made for the wine-tasting on Saturday was a variation on the Maple Potato Spread from the PCRM recipe database. I made quite a few variations to the recipe though, so I'ma repost it here...

(Makes about 2 cups)

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and quartered

  • 1 small onion, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • 1 T+ vegan brown sugar

  • 2 dried figs, finely chopped (the recipe calls for 3, so you may wanna use this instead, I just accidentally got the wrong amount)

  • Soy milk

Steam sweet potato until soft. Toss the onion into a pot and caramelize it (cook it in a bit of oil until it's soft and starting to brown, toss in about 1 t. of vegan sugar and mix around, continue to cook until it is a rich caramel color and then remove from heat). Place all your ingredients into a blender and blend until mixture is thick and smooth. Very gradually add soy milk until the thickness is to your liking. The amount of brown sugar you use may vary as well--more if you want it sweet sweet and less if the sweet potato's doing all the work for ya. Let cool before serving (tastes best after having sat in the fridge overnight and eaten cold). Serve with original (non-honey-ed) Nabisco graham crackers.