Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sacred Chow

Our last day in NYC, we got up early and wandered around neighboring Chinatown for a little bit. Once we had had enough of people pushing handbags on us ("HandbaghandbaghandbagGucciguccigucci"), we wandered over to our breakfast destination: Sacred Chow.

We ended up in that neck of the woods a tad bit too early, but thankfully the restaurant was only a block or so from Washington Square Park, so we just headed over there. Much to our delight, we discovered that the fountain was on, so we (or at least I) was able to swish my toes around in the delightfully butt-laden waters while a man nearby played quietly on his guitar and kids leapt from platform to platform, splashed at each other, and dunked their heads underwater.

Eventually, our hunger got the best of us, and we drifted back over to the restaurant to chow down. Seeing as the vegan breakfast-fare in Cleveland consists of nothing more eventful than the standard Tofu Scramble, I knew after seeing not one but half-a-dozen delectable breakfast options that I had no other choice but to order breakfast.

So I did. Along with 1500 other things to eat, simply because it was our last NYC meal, and simply because EVERYTHING LOOKED SO FRICKING GOOD.

I am sad to say that I'd never had a mimosa before, so that was first on the list.

Everything after that just fell into place:


  • Root Vegetable Latkes (Pancakes) w/Indonesian Date Butter--delicious.


  • Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich: their famous soy buttermilk biscuit filled w/tofu scramble, melted soy cheddar & tempeh bacon with the fruit of the day--best vegan cheez I've had... ooey and gooey and surprisingly authentic-tasting, and did I mention the biscuit? Holy crap. Flaky and buttery-tasting, a complete melt-in-your-mouth experience.


  • Cupcake: chocolate soycream-frosted vanilla cupcake w/sprinkles--I ordered this, and after E dropped it on the table and then I dropped it on the table (heh heh), I finally managed to get it into my mouth to find that it was moist and delicious with a rich sweet chocolate frosting.

  • Pound cake: Orange Chocolate Chip--E got the orange chocolate chip poundcake (as he's a huge fan of poundcake) and, though I'm not a huge fan myself, I had to try it anyways since I love all bakery fused with orange-flavoring, and DAMN was it good. Dense (like all good poundcakes) and brimming with citrus flavor.

All in all, it was the perfect end to the NYC trip--the waiter was nice and attentive, the place was very cute and cozy, and the food was out of this world.

So if you haven't figured it out yet, clearly I recommend.

Sacred Chow
227 Sullivan St. (between W. 3rd and Bleecker)

Menu: HERE

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Brief Break in Programming...

I just wanted to briefly mention two things that I'm particularly geeked up about before I forget:

  1. I recently got asked by Northern Ohio Live to do a brief write-up of vegan-friendly restaurants in the Cleveland area: their food editor apparently found my list of vegan places in Cleveland and were hoping I'd recreate it (just a wee bit shorter) for inclusion in one of their issues, saying it would be a "great resource for groups or families that are trying to satisfy different preferences."

    I was a bit leery about mentioning it here because I felt like somehow I'm gonna jinx it and they're gonna decide last minute to can the article or something, now that I've told people about it. But I decided (perhaps against my better judgment) to mention it anyways, mostly just because I'm excited about it. If I jinx it, so be it I guess.

    I am, of course, flattered to have someone from a popular magazine seek me out to do a write-up, but I am even *more* pleased to see interest expressed in what's typically considered a dietary lifestyle that's alternative enough not to get (positive) mainstream mention very often. I am a bit nervous though about carrying the vegan-burden into a mainstream magazine since (as any of you who've ever conversed with anyone that's NOT vegan about veganism know) it means being extra-careful to be encouraging while not alienating carnivores with one's rhetoric. Thankfully though, it's just going to be a brief list, so there won't be much "rhetoric" involved, just lots of yummy yummy food-discussion.

    Oh, and part of the reason I decided to mention this now is so that the delectable veganness Kim (of Tremont Scoops) who is a regular reader of this blog and who has concocted some DAMN fine vegan ice-cream sammiches, knows that her vegan numblies will be getting a little shout-out in Northern Ohio Live if all goes as planned. ((I meant to tell you that when I stopped in the other day, Kim, but totally and completely forgot!))

    So anyways, keep your eyes out in the August issue (as they're hoping to squeak it into that one).

  2. I also wanted to note that one of my friends has been inspired by his (very delightful) cat to tread down the road towards veganism, and he's started his own blog documenting the transition. So stop by when you get a chance and tell him he has a nice set of avocados *eyebrows waggling*.

    Switching Crispers

Thank You Lord For Sending Me the F-Train

This past memorial day weekend, I took a secret surprise trip to NYC with E, in celebration of our Randomversary.

I had started planning the trip about a month or two ago, and I managed (somehow) to keep the destination a secret for that long (despite some near slip-ups). Needless to say, I figured he'd quickly figure out our destination, seeing as about 370 miles are spent on I-80, driving beneath very large signs announcing NYC. So to add a bit more fun to the game, I created a Mystery-Trip-mix on my Ipod which I queued up as we started our road-trip and which very slowly (through hints and clues the likes of Mike Doughty and PJ Harvey, among others) revealed where we were headed.

E had never been to NYC before, and although I've been there a handful of times myself, I've never played tour-guide there before--I've just basically been carted around by New Yorkers to all their favorite places--so clearly I had to do a lot of planning, especially since we were only gonna be spending two nights there (and one full day).

I am very pleased to say that we managed to hit-up a vast-wealth of tourist-sites as well as a plethora of not-so-touristy sites as well, despite the very short amount of time we had to deal with.

Places We Visited:
  • Washington Square Park

  • Greenwich Village

  • The Museum of Sex

  • Times Square

  • Tom's Restaurant (E's a big Seinfeld fan)

  • NBC Studios

  • Rockefeller Center

  • Central Park

  • Strawberry Fields

  • The Dakota

  • Mars Bar (apparently one of the best dive-bars in NYC)

  • Burp Castle (where the bar is supposed to be monastically quiet and the bartender shushes the crowd whenever voices get too far above whisper-levels)

And of course of course of course we ate at WAY too many RIDICULOUSLY fricking good vegan restaurants while we were there. I planned these out ahead of time as well, but chose to pick out a bunch of options (from the cheap to the expensive) in order to give us some flexibility as to what we were in the mood for.

I didn't take pics at *ALL* of the restaurants though, so today and tomorrow I'll post pics and reviews of two of the places we ate. And Thursday I'll post reviews of the remaining (pictureless) places. So prepare yourself for a veritable orgy of New-Yorkerness!


(Pic courtesy of E)

For lunch on Saturday, we checked out Viva Cafe Natural Pizza. I was pumped to have a nice greasy soy-cheese pizza, as there's only one place in Cleveland (Web of Life) where I'm able to get one dripping with ooey gooey cheezy goodness. I was a bit disappointed when we arrived and found out that their menu had a little disclaimer on it noting that all their soy cheese "contains casein." Poop, I said to myself, especially since their on-line menu didn't note this anywhere.

Disappointing, yes. But not a vegan disaster by any means. They still have a RIDICULOUS amount of vegan-options, many of which were sitting in their display-case for us to gawk at. Their slices range about $5 (for all the gloriously-heaping vegan pizzas, including a delectable-looking pesto one), so since we are both *pigs* when it comes to pizza, in the interest of not going bankrupt, we ended up creating our own small pizza.

We didn't get too crazy with it, but we *did* want to try out their fake-meat options, so we ended up getting a cornmeal crust pizza with soy-pepperoni and soy-sausage. It was delish. I still think Cleveland's Mama Santa's is much better in the world of cheeseless pizzas, but E begged to differ--he dug the pizza far above and beyond Mama Santa's. At $14 a pop for a relatively small pizza, it's not exactly cheap. But hell, if you're in the area, I would definitely order a slice of some kind--you'll have plenty to choose from...

That's my plan next time around.

Viva Cafe Natural Pizza
179 2nd Ave (bet. 11th & 12th St)
Menu: HERE

Stay tuned tomorrow for another review and WAY more pictures.

Oh, and you can check out my NYC pics at my photoblog if you're interested--I'll be posting them once-a-day or so for the next few weeks.

(And a hearty thank you to, since much of my restaurant choices were based on your sparklingly-good reviews. So *hats off*.)

Carry on.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Grilled Tofu and Sauteed Asian Greens

I'm still a bit tired today.

But I have my trusty jug o' coffee sitting next to me, so perhaps I'll find myself writing with a little bit more energy as this post unfolds.

E made grilled tofu and sauteed greens for us a couple weeks ago but kept forgetting to pass along the recipe.

He finally remembered, so here it is in all its grilled and sautee-ish glory.

It was numbly and good, good and numbly. Especially when accompanied by fresh veggies sauteed in hoisin. Which I still haven't a clue how to pronounce, so I'm just going with a very mumbled "Hoy-sin!"

  • 1 (14-oz) block firm tofu, drained

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco or dried hot red pepper flakes

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 2 (5-oz) bags Asian greens or baby spinach (E used the latter)


Press your tofu by whatever methods you usually employ.
Stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, Tabasco, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a glass pie plate. Add tofu slices in 1 layer and marinate, turning over every couple of minutes, 8 minutes total.

Heat a lightly oiled well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Lift tofu from marinade with a slotted spatula (reserve marinade) and grill, turning over once carefully with spatula, until grill marks appear and tofu is heated through, 4 to 6 minutes total.

While tofu grills, heat remaining teaspoon vegetable oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté greens, tossing with tongs, until beginning to wilt. Add reserved marinade and sauté, tossing, until greens are just wilted, about 1 minute. Lift greens from skillet with tongs, letting excess marinade drip off, and divide between 2 plates.

Serve greens with tofu slices.

Makes 2 main-course servings.

(Original recipe HERE)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Leslie's Gypsy Soup

I'm inordinately tired today, and because of it, I'm feeling inordinately unenthusiastic about posting.

But please, chalk the lack of enthusiasm up to the tiredness. Not the meal.

Here be something good I made this week, again, courtesy of Leslie, the very cool recipe-spinner at Eat Peace Please.

Make it.


Or if not now, tomorrow at least.

(Or next week or something. But make it. Now.)

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped small

  • 3 stalks celery, diced

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 green pepper, diced

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, diced small

  • 1 large or 2 small yams, peeled and diced small

  • 2 t. paprika

  • 1 t. ground tumeric

  • 1 t. basil, dried

  • 1 t. sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/8 - 1/4 t. cinnamon, ground

  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper, ground

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 5-6 c. water + 1 bullion cube or stock equiv.

  • 1T. tamari/soy sauce

  • 2 c. chickpeas (or a 25 oz can)

  • 15 oz can great northern beans (or white beans)

  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes


Heat olive oil in the soup pot over medium to high heat. Saute the onion, garlic, celery, green bell pepper and sweet potato for about 10 minutes, until semi-soft. Season with paprika, tumeric, basil, salt, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper and the bay leaf. Stir to blend and then add the water, bullion and tamari/soy sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Add beans and tomatoes if using and simmer for another 10 minutes, uncovered, until all the veggies are tender. If they aren't close to being tender, keep the lid on for a bit longer. Remove the bay leaf and consume.

Serves a serious serious buttload.

(Original recipe HERE)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cardboard Ravioli

I had high hopes. High hopes, my friends.

When I nabbed these Rising Moon Organics ravioli, I thought, yay--vegan and on sale! In the back of my mind, I vaguely recollected having bought a different flavor of the same brand once, long long ago, and not being bowled over by it AT ALL, but the sale-price quickly banished the memory from my brain.

So when I finally whipped these up last week, with a bit of leftover frozen pesto and some tomatoes, my palate was drooly and eager.

It even LOOKED really pretty, all green and red and bright and springy.

Suffice it to say, I was not pleased when I realized that these ravioli kinda tasted like wet cardboard. They were dry, despite claiming to be "creamy." They were bland. And they were probably the dullest-tasting ravioli I've ever had. Even the pesto and tomato couldn't up the ante at all in the way of taste--I mean, really, cardboard is cardboard, no matter WHAT you try to garnish it with.

I only occasionally offer up product-reviews on here, but I can say this with definite certainty: even if they're on sale, it's worth your while to just steer clear.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Leslie's Sloppy Lentils

Man, am I starting to lag behind with posting recipes. I think this one was from, like, the week BEFORE last week. So it's a bonafide crusty recipe, complete with a little bit of refrigerator mold. =)

But yeah, I snagged this lovely recipe from Leslie's Eat Peace Please recipes, and it is a really simple and really yummy one (not to mention really healthy). And it makes a ton. And you can serve it a whole bunch of different ways, which is always nice: over rice, in a bread bowl, over noodles, the possibilities are endless. It tasted good even just by itself, and moreso tossed with a bit of nice, ripe, sexy-smooth avocado.

I couldn't find kale at the market the weekend I made it, so the only adjustment I made was to substitute in spinach.

  • 1.5 c. rinsed and drained red lentils

  • 3 c. water

  • 2 c. tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes or whatever you want

  • 1 T. tamari (soy sauce)

  • 3-4 carrots, chopped

  • 1 bell pepper of choice

  • a few big handfuls of kale, chopped (or spinach)

  • about 1/2 or 1 whole onion, chopped

  • pinch of chili flakes

  • 1t. dried basil

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced

  • habenero pepper (if you feel like it)


Combine dried lentils, water, tomato sauce, tamari and bring to a boil.

While waiting, chop (food processor is best to get real small) the veggies and mix together. Add to pot of lentils. Add chili flakes and basil and whatever else you feel like. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Stir every once in a while. Enjoy with a spoon or some bread (or anything else good you can think of, like a bread bowl).

Makes a ton.

(Original recipe HERE)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shells

I saw this recipe a couple weeks back, via the one and only Tania's blog, My Journey: Adventures of a Vegan, and I'd been fantasizing about it for weeks, and yet somehow not finding time to actually TRY the recipe out.

But lo and behold, on Sunday God created chocolatey-peanutbuttery goodness, and it was good.

I brought these into work on Monday, after trying to control myself so that I didn't eat a ridiculous amount of them Sunday night, and they went very quickly. E has concluded that these may be his new favorite cookies, and my boss came back for seconds about five minutes after FIRSTS and without even having to be encouraged to do so.

So yeah. Make these. They'll make your squishy little tumbly happy.


  • 1.5 c. flour

  • 1/2 c. baking cocoa

  • 1/2 t. baking soda

  • 1/2 c. margarine, softened

  • 1/2 c. sugar

  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

  • 1/4 c. soy milk

  • 1 t. vanilla

Peanut Butter Filling:
  • 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar

  • 1/2-3/4 c. peanut butter- chunky is great!

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. In a large bowl beat together margarine, sugar, brown sugar. Add milk. Beat well. Gently mix in the flour mixture about 1/3 at a time until incorporated.

For the filling, combine powdered sugar and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and beat until sugar is absorbed and peanut butter feels stiffer. Add chocolate chips. It should be a pretty solid mixture because you want to form it into little balls. If it’s still oily or thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Using a piece of dough just a bit smaller than the size of a golf ball, flatten the dough into a disc on a piece of parchment paper. Place a heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture on the center of the dough. Carefully fold chocolate dough over the peanut butter ball and seal the edges. Roll dough into a ball. If the dough gets dry, add a splash of milk to moisten it.

Place balls on baking sheet, seam down, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the surface begins to slightly crack. Let cool for 2 minutes on the sheet then transfer to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen.

*The dough should be similar in texture and malleability to Play-doh.

(from Squirrel's Vegan Kitchen)

Monday, May 14, 2007

I've been having difficulty finding time to post lately, so today I present you with




My Sabado Gigundo Portobello Mushroom Sammiches

(I made them for me and E on Sunday morning--not actually Saturday night (I just can't remember the Spanish word for Sunday); they were giant portobello 'shrooms marinated in lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and grilled on E's hubcap, topped with caramelized onions, quick-sauteed spinach, and homemade pesto-mayo. Look at how goddamn sexy it is. Work it, girl. Work them 'shrooms.)

Some 7-Grain Something-or-Another Salad from the WSM

(A bit too oily for my taste, but otherwise scrumptious)

And last but not least,

The Vegan Pad Thai recipe from VwaV

(which I was very pleased with (and it made a RIDICULOUS amount). I subbed a bit--lemon zest for lemongrass, crumbled tofu for triangles, etc.--and in the end, I know I'll probably end up tweaking it some, but even as of right now, it's damn good.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hurray for Vegetables (and the Massage Therapists Who Love Them)!

The other day, I was randomly flipping through this massage therapy journal called MTJ, and I found myself giddily nerded up by the fact that again and again in the magazine, it was clearly endorsing the healthy lifestyle of vegetarianism, veganism, and even a raw food diet, without ever quite coming out and saying: "Go veg!" It was nice to be reading something not at all geared towards already-practicing vegetarians that nonetheless again and again demonstrated that a vegetarian lifestyle is much healthier than a meat-eating one.

Particularly exciting was that one of its suggestions for "Making the Most of Summer" (24) was to cook less and to basically **EAT RAW** for at least one meal a day, pointing out that "the less you cook your fruits and vegetables, generally the more anti-oxidants and water-soluble vitamins you'll ingest." How cool is that?

And then in a later article titled "Ten Tips to Boost Your Immunity," the journal and various doctors and nutritionists again and again endorse a vegetable-oriented diet, recommend cutting out milk-products, and only ONCE mention an animal product or by-product (in this case, yogurt) in any sort of positive light.

It was refreshing, as I'm sure you all will understand, to stumble across such acceptance and endorsement of a healthy and ethical lifestyle such as vegetarianism (and veganism) in a magazine that has no sort of hidden agenda in endorsing such things.

I was flush with an ear-to-ear grin for a few hours afterwards--so for your reading pleasure, I include some excerpts that I found particularly interesting below (Go, quinoa!):

"We eat refined sugars and flours, and [too much] dairy and meat," says Elson Haas, MD, author of Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts, 2006). "This tends to create more acid, which in turn creates more mucus and that allows bugs to which we're exposed to breed." The so-called healthiest people on the earth--the Okinawans of Japan's southernmost prefecture--eat, as their mainstays, alkaline foods, such as watermelon, sweet potato, onions and sea vegetables.

The Okinawan diet also [sic] comprises only eat [/sic] two percent or so of cow's milk products, another good lesson for us. Dairy products can often cause inflammation, in our respiratory systems and elsewhere in our bodies [...] "As far as we know, every degenerative disease, including cancer and heart disease, occurs because of inflammation inside the cells," [Tom O'Bryan, a chiropractor and nutritionist] says. "And underscore 'every.'""


Plus, "dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, have higher absorbable calcium than milk. Other good sources of calcium include sesame seeds, tofu and nuts."


The journal encourages us to "transform the monochromatic American Diet fare of a slab of meat, white bread with butter, white potato, American cheese, and pasta to the vivid greens, blues, reds and yellows of nature."


Bonnie Minsky, MA, an Illinois-based nutritionist, says to cut down on wheat-consumption and "recommends these four grains [instead]: quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice and brown rice, in that order. "None have gluten, all are more digestible," she says."

""Herbs have oodles of flavor," says Huffnagle [PhD, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School], "and they're a tremendous source of dietary phenols," which are plant compounds sky high in antioxidants. Phenols also act as selective antibiotics, zapping the non-probiotic bacteria while supporting the probiotic."


"Many herbs have other immune-boosting qualities as well, including cayenne pepper, onions and garlic. Paprika, like many red foods, is high in immune-boosting vitamin A. Minsky says turmeric may help prevent cancer. Cinnamon is good as a blood regulator, and parsley is a phenomenal digestive aid. Huffnagle raves about phenol-heavy oregano, and Minsky loves the anti-microbial onion family."

And on their list of "Seven Super Foods for Immunity," not one animal-product or by-product, of course!

The List

  1. Quinoa--"rich in fiber and iron [and] supplies a balance of all of the essential amino acids";

  2. Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)--"stimulate the body to produce enzymes for detoxifying cancer-causing chemicals";

  3. Dried beans and peas;

  4. Onion (Allium) family--"includes onion, garlic, shallot, chive, leak and asparagus" [which I never even KNEW was in the onion family]; "provides anti-microbial benefits"; "Garlic can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure while increasing natural killer cell activity."

  5. Nuts and seeds--"A daily ounce of any of these can reduce heart disease by up to 50 percent."

  6. Sea vegetables;

  7. Tea.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, they ended the article by stating, "After all, taking time to eat can be the greatest act of self-love of all." And after giggling a little bit of course, because of the "self-love" part--teehee, ROLLING THE BEAN!--I thought to myself, as food-lovers and ardent cooks (many of us), I can't think of anything more on target than that.

(from the Summer 2007 issue of MTJ--pp. 64-72)

Mexican Chocolate Cake

So like I mentioned yesterday, Saturday was "Coincidental Cinco-de-Mayo-ish Food Day," and the icing on the cake of Mexican-food night (quite literally) was the Mexican Chocolate Cake recipe I stumbled across on

Holy crap.

Seriously, folks. I mean, I know I'm a sucker for chocolate with cayenne pepper in it (it's delectable), but regardless, this was hand's down the best cake I've ever baked.

It was wonderfully moist. It was delightfully chocolatey. It was raunchily spicy. And the chocolate-drizzle you can pour on top--fan-fricking-tastic (though I *did* just end up using semi-sweet baking chocolate instead of dark chocolate, but it was nonetheless gloriously yummy).

Now, I know the cayenne pepper probably scares off some of you, but jesus, peeps! Be daring! You only live once! If it scares you that badly, just use 1/4 t. (I used only 1/2 myself, and it set my mouth ablaze, so be forewarned)--or you can just omit it entirely and still have a wonderfully moist chocolate cake, but what fun would THAT be?

And if you haven't ever *HAD* the pleasure of TRYING chocolate with cayenne pepper, get ye to an oven, because you must. There is some sort of wonderful chemistry that goes on when the two meet--couple that with the cinnamon (which also lends an added richness to the chocolate) and you have a crazy-ass sexy motherfucking threesome going on--all batting eyelashes and garter belts and thigh-high pleather boots. How can you pass THAT up?

The Cake Itself

  • 1.5 c. flour, sifted

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 T. cocoa powder

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 1 t. cinnamon

  • 1/2-3/4 t. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 and it was pretty damn spicy)

  • 1 t. vanilla extract

  • 1 T. distilled white vinegar

  • 5 T. vegetable oil

  • 1 c. cold water

  • Confectioners' sugar for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Stir in the cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla, vinegar, oil, and water. Mix until just combined.

Pour into the prepared cake pan and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Dust with the confectioners' sugar before serving. Or drizzle with the following spicy chocolate sauce.

(Makes 8 to 10 servings )

Spicy Chocolate Sauce


  • 2 squares dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate

  • 1/4 c. soy milk

  • 1/2 c. sugar

  • 3 T. vegan margarine

  • 1/2 t. vanilla

  • Dash or two of cayenne pepper


Melt 2 squares of dark or semi-sweet chocolate with 1/4 cup water or soy milk. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 Tbsp. vegan margarine, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and cayenne pepper, to taste.

(from VegCooking)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lindy Loo's Mexican Lasagna

Apparently my gastric system is in line with Cinco de Mayo or something, because I spontaneously decided to cook a bunch of hot and spicy mexican stuff this weekend, without even realizing that it was Cinco de Mayo until I'd already planned the meal. Inadvertent score.

Having seen (and drooled over) the Mexican Lasagna recipe noted at the end of this post, I decided to whip up my own version. I also saw a recipe for a Mexican Chocolate Cake on vegweb, and since I heart heart heart cayenne pepper and chocolate, I of course had to try it out (but you'll have to wait 'til tomorrow to hear more about that). And E ended up picking me up this Vegan Recipes cookbook at Half-Price Books, so I decided to go with a spicy-potato recipe from there as well. I was not too pleased with the latter, but I think this was probably because I thought I needed to double the amount of spices I used (because I appeared to be making double the amount of potatoes) but perhaps I didn't need to after all. The recipe is an interesting mix of spices though--coriander, allspice, garlic, and paprika--so I'll *definitely* be trying it again, hopefully more successfully next time.

As for the lasagna, well, I've been cowing down on it and craving it all week, so I'd say it was a success. It's very sloppy and doesn't hold together well straight out of the oven (as you can see from the pics), but as left-overs, it's all nice and compact like lasagna-leftovers normally are. It also seemed a bit salty to me on the first day, so next time, I will probably do without the taco-packets and use my own non-salty variety of mexican-inspired seasonings. However, the leftovers didn't seem NEARLY so salty, so perhaps it was just my imagination.

All and all, this dish was delish, if I may say so myself. It's nice and spicy, gloriously ooey-gooey, and makes a lot lot lot. So definitely check it out if you're having a party or something, or are just trying to feed a nice big family.

  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles

  • 1 lg. can tomato sauce

  • 2 jars salsa

  • 1 sm. can black beans, drained

  • 1 package Morningstar Farms meat-crumbles

  • 1/2 c. water

  • 1 sm. can vegan refried beans (I used seasoned ones)

  • 1 vegan taco-seasoning packet

  • About 4-5 green onions, sliced thin

  • 1 medium-sized green pepper, diced

  • 1 habanero pepper, deseeded and diced tiny

  • 1/2 can black olives, sliced

  • 1 cube vegan cheddar cheez, shredded


Either spray a large pan with nonstick oil or use a little bit of veggie oil, and brown the Morningstar Farms meat-crumbles along with your habanero. Once the crumbles are pretty brown, add in about 1/2 c. water and no more than half of your taco-seasoning packet. Cook until it's absorbed the liquid. Add in 1/2 jar salsa and 1/2 of your can of tomato sauce. Stir until heated through. Set aside.

In another pan, dump in your black beans, refried beans, the other half of your salsa, and one cup of tomato sauce. Add in just a tablespoon or so of your taco-seasoning packet. Stir until mixed and then cook until heated through. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400. In a 9x13 casserole dish of some sort, pour just enough tomato sauce to very thinly cover the bottom of the pan. Place three uncooked lasagna noodles on top (make sure the noodles aren't touching each other or the sides of the casserole because they apparently expand when they cook). Cover the lasagna noodles with most of the "meat"-mixture (you will end up with a little bit left over). Sprinkle a tiny bit of cheez as well as a handful of green-onions over the "meat"-mixture. Layer on three more noodles. Cover the noodles with the bean mixture (you will have a significant amount of the mixture left over, but that's ok because you'll need it for the final layer). Layer on three more noodles. Cover these noodles with the rest of your bean-mixture and the rest of your "meat"-mixture. Add your final layer of three noodles. Pour your other jar of salsa as well as any remaining tomato sauce over this final layer, making sure to thoroughly cover the noodles so they cook correctly. Sprinkle your green peppers, any remaining green onions, and olives on top. Cover with all your shredded cheez.

Cover the casserole dish with foil and cook in oven for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven for 10 minutes. Turn your oven onto the broiler setting, and place the casserole into the broiler for a couple minutes--until the cheez has melted and started to brown just a bit. Remove from broiler and let sit for 5-10 minutes.


**Please note, if you are using the no-boil lasagna noodles, you will need to make sure that they are thoroughly covered in liquidy/beany/meaty mixtures so they cook correctly. This is why you definitely need the bottom layer of sauce before you start adding noodles.

Feeds an assload.

(Inspired by--but totally altered from--this recipe)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cookies n' Rum Pudding

So I made this pudding the other week from scratch. And then I decided that I wasn't sure I liked it. So then I let it sit in the fridge for a week without touching it. And then I decided perhaps I should just throw it away. But then I felt guilty. So then I decided to try one more bite and if it was completely nast, THEN I'd not feel so bad throwing it away. So then I had a bite. And then I realized, hey, this shit is good. Not perfect, but good. So then I decided to throw some oreos in to make it better than good, though still one step below perfect.

And voila. Cookies n' rum pudding.

I will warn you though--it tastes a bit heavy on the booze. And it has a WEE bit of a chalky aftertaste (but for some reason, this seems to ALWAYS be the way when you make desserts with tofu--at least from my experience). But take that as you may--in the moment, with the ooey goopy cookie-ish liquored-up sweet chocolatey-yumtasticness in your mouth, it's all good.

  • 1 cube Mori-Nu firm silken tofu

  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1 T. cocoa

  • 1 T. agave nectar

  • 2 T. rum (this makes it pretty potent though, so you light-weights may wanna halve-it)

  • 1 t. vanilla

  • 9 or so vegan oreo cookies (or some sorta chocolate vegan wafer-cookie)


Toss the tofu in a food processer and process the shit out of it, until it's nice and smooth.

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips, somehow or another (I just used a low-flame on the stove). Add them to the tofu once completely melted and process again until thoroughly mixed.

Add all other ingredients to the tofu, except for the oreos and process until blended once more.

Add about 6 or 7 oreos to the tofu-mix and blend until oreos are demolished and fully mixed in. Smash up the remaining oreos into larger chunks and mix in with a spoon (to give it a bit of chunky texture).

Refrigerate for a week (kidding--just a few hours or so should be fine) and chow down.

Serves 2 if you eat the way I eat.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flaming Tacos

Important bit of cooking wisdom I learned this past week:

Corn tacos are highly flammable.

No shit.

I quickly came to realize this after I tossed a few tacos into my broiler for a minute to melt the cheddar "cheez" on top (seeing as intense heat seems to be the only fricking way to melt that stuff, and the oven just doesn't quite seem to cut it) and when I opened the broiler to remove them, they were engulfed in flames.

Literal flames.

The kind that made me go "Agh!" and then blow on them, for the most part ineffectively.

Good times.

Actually, it all just made me kind of laugh, since I am a world-renowned klutz, and this didn't surprise me all that much. (In the last month I've also a) melted half my toaster, though thankfully it's still usable, and b) dropped a large cup of ketchup from about four-feet in the air in the middle of a children's booksale, yelled SHIT! when it hit the ground, and watched as it exploded all over my pants and the surrounding carpeting.) So yeah, flaming tacos: not so shocking. I only wish I would've not had the immediate instinct to blow them out seeing as it would've made a helluva picture.

Instead, I give you a picture of the results: sadly burnt taco shells.

The cool thing though was that I was able to save my dinner by just breaking off the more burnt parts of the taco shells and using them anyways. They actually ended up being quite good--they tasted a bit smoked or something. Heh heh--imagine that.

Anyways, I don't recommend going out of your way to set the shells on fire (though I suspect some of you deviants will now be like, "What? Taco shells catch fire? Nuh uh! No way! I've got to see this for myself, because I don't believe you"), but if you do, rise above, and turn them into something magical.

  • Three taco shells

  • Cooked quinoa (about 1 c. or so)

  • Canned black beans (about 1 c. or so)

  • 1/4 packet of taco seasoning

  • 1/2 an avocado, diced

  • A handful of thinly-shredded lettuce

  • 1/2 c. vegan cheddar "cheez"

  • Salsa of your choosing


Toss quinoa and black beans in a small pot with the taco seasoning packet and a bit of water (the amount you use will depend on how liquidy-ish you want the end results to be). Cook until heated through and the water has cooked down some. Removed from heat.

Turn on broiler. Place three taco shells in some sort of casserole-dish where they can all stand upright. Fill the shells with your quinoa/black bean mix. Top with "cheez." After broiler has heated up, place tacos in broiler. In a minute or two (or three), open broiler, gasp at the fact that your tacos are on fire, blow them out, and remove from broiler.

Break off the ridiculously burnt parts of your shells. Top the quinoa/black bean/cheez innards with lettuce, avocado, and salsa.


(Makes enough for one hearty serving.)

PS. Do not hold me responsible for catching your house on fire if you are a big enough tool to actually intentionally try this at home.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Toasted Almond Quinoa Salad

As I've mentioned on prior occasion, I'm a big fan of Nature's Bin, a natural-food store just a hop-skip-and-jump from my house, particularly because of their freakishly good (and freakishly vegan-friendly) deli selections. (You can witness the glory of their deli-food HERE.) And one of my all-time favorite things to get there is their quinoa salad--it is tasty, light, healthy, clean, and crisp. It is good good stuff. (Another favorite of mine is their delectable vegan spinach pie--I don't think I've ever been in that store without nabbing one.)

Anyways, as I've also mentioned before, one of the reasons I love Nature's Bin so much is that on the labels of most of their deli-dishes, they list out the ingredients. This is a vegan cooking-nerd's wet dream.

So this week, I finally decided to try duplicating their quinoa salad for myself. That way I could make it in bulk, I could make it whenever I wanted, and I could cow down on it for way cheaper.

And duplicate it I did. I will probably end up tweaking the soy sauce/lemon juice ratio the tiniest bit, but nonetheless, I was proud of myself for getting so close to the original. I *did* mix it up just a little by using both black quinoa and regular, and I recommend it. But it's not a necessity.

Either which way, this makes for the perfect lunch or the perfect picnic dish. And (almonds aside) it's fat-free.



  • 3 or 4 c. cooked quinoa--I used half regular, half black quinoa

  • 1 c. slivered carrots (or shaved would work too)

  • 1/2 c. thinly-sliced scallions

  • 1/3 c. slivered or shaved almonds, toasted

  • 1 handful parsley, finely cut

  • 3 T. soy sauce

  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar

  • Juice from one lemon


Mix the quinoa, carrots, scallions, almonds, and parsley in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Drizzle over the quinoa mixture.

Let sit for an hour or so to absorb the flavors. Serve.

Makes 4-6 servings

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Not-So-Julian-Casablancas Black-Bean Casserole

So you know how there's foods that perhaps don't send you barrelling into an alternate universe of a explosive orgasms and million-dollar lotto-wins and a veganized America and endless Julian-Casablancas-involved orgies, but do offer up a solid, simple, relatively healthy meal that (I suspect) even kids would dig? Well, this is one of those recipes.

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine came up to me and said, I made this really good black-bean casserole last week for me and my boyfriend, and it calls for sausage, but you totally couldn't taste the sausage at all anyways, so I think you could probably easily veganize it. And the next week she brought it in for me.

I know not from whence it came, but I *DO* know that the photocopy has it listed in a chapter called "Family-Approved Meat Dishes" which for some reason makes me feel a bit blorfy. But yes, the damn thing is so basic, so easy, and requires so few ingredients that it was a cinch to veganize.

Next time around, I'm gonna try adding this little thing called "spices" that the meat-filled cookbook apparently has never heard of, but rest assured--the fake-sausage adds enough muscle in the way of flavor that you won't be lacking even if you DON'T add anything extra.

It makes an assload too, which is nice if you have a big family. Or if you can use it for dinners all week. Or if you like to fill your bathtub up with strange casseroles and lay around in them.

  • One tube of Gimme Lean (Fake) Sausage

  • Two 14.5-oz. cans of Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
    (you can alternately use plain and spice them up some with--what who where--spices, or you can use them ones with the basil and oregano in them, which I think is what I accidentally ended up using myself)

  • 2 c. cooked brown rice (or white rice)

  • Two 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 c. shredded vegan cheddar cheez

  • Vegan sour cream (optional)


In a large skillet, cook the sausage until brown and a bit crispier (this is important because mine was not-so-crisp and it sogged up in the oven quite a bit). Stir in the tomatoes, cooked rice, black beans, and sweet pepper. Mix, and spoon into a large baking dish (around 3-quarts or so).

Bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheez. Place the casserole dish uncovered in the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheez has begun to bubble and melt.

Let stand five minutes before serving. Top with vegan sour cream, if you so choose.

Makes 8 servings.