Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Holidays!

Ladies & Gents:

Today is the last day you will be (presumably) delightfully devouring my recipes until the New Year, as I have next week off from work. But I do plan on returning with so many new recipes to talk about that you may just explode. So prepare yourself.

Until then, a sneak preview of what I shall be making over the next few days:

For my X-mas Party this Saturday:

For E's family:

For my family gathering:

And before I bid thee adieu, I thought I'd also leave you with my list of the top four things you should make for your friends and family this holiday season (in no particular order):

  1. Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce--it was just so damn good that I've been thinking about it with longing at least once every day since I made it;

  2. Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Nut Cookies--I've honestly never made anything quite so popular as these. I've had requests from E's sister, his mom, and himself to bake these for the holiday season. Both E's sister and his parents have declared them one of their absolute favorite homemade cookies;

  3. Junior Gems--these are super-easy and yet look impressive because of the frosting. And they're really just too damn tasty not to make. Plus, the gingeriness gives the ring of X-mas;

  4. And last, but not least, the Peppermint Patty Nanaimo Bars I blogged about earlier this week--these are also damn simple and require no baking. And they are uber-Christmasy, what with their mega-peppermintiness. And despite the fact that the recipe doesn't make an assload, they are super-rich, so they'll go the distance and please everyone.

Anyways, I hope if you end up making any of these, that you enjoy them. Until then, happy holidays to you all, and happy cooking! See you in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peppermint Patty Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars. How could you NOT make these--I mean, look at how fricking awesomely goopy and tasty Melissa's version looks. *Sugar coma-ed sigh*

Granted, I *DID* end up making some modifications, basically just to Christmas-ify them. And the white sugary layer did not come out thick like the one pictured on Melissa's Vegan Blog, but I suspect this is mostly just because I don't have a hand-held mixer and have to resort to using a food processor to satisfy all my hand-held mixing needs. But I have to say, despite the fact that I was initially disappointed with regard to the consistency, after actually *tasting* my pepperminty variation (one that tastes strikingly similar to a peppermint patty--also fitting for the X-mas season...), I can't really complain one bit.

They are uber-minty, refreshing, and sugary as all get-out. They were also very popular, so I definitely recommend. The recipe doesn't make a ton, but they are extremely rich--so trust me, it makes enough.


Bottom Layer:
  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 2 T. water

  • 1/4 c. vegan white sugar

  • 1 3/4 c. vegan graham cracker crumbs

  • 3/8 c. (6 T.) cocoa powder

  • 1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut

  • egg substitute equivalent of 1 egg

  • 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

Middle Layer (peppermint frosting):
  • 1/8 c. + 2 t. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5/8 t. vanilla extract

  • 3/8 t. peppermint extract (may want to adjust the ratio of vanilla to peppermint a bit if you're not super-fond of peppermint--these are VERY pepperminty)

  • 1 T.+ 1 t. soy milk

  • 2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Top Layer (chocolate ganache):

  • 1 T. vegan nonhydrogenated margarine

  • 5 squares (5 oz. total) Baker's unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 ungreased 8 x 8 square pan

  • 1 candy cane, smashed


Bottom layer:

Combine graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts in a mixing bowl & stir well. Put vegan margarine in a saucepan evenly along the bottom. Heat gently until it begins to melt. Add sugar and cocoa and melt on low heat and stir.

When the sugar & cocoa have dissolved, remove from heat. Add in the egg substitute and the 2 T. water and stir to blend the chocolaty mix evenly. Add the mixture of graham crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Mix well. Press this mixture firmly into the bottom of the 8x8 square pan. (Pressing it well is very important, so don't be afraid to use your hands). Refrigerate to chill while you prepare the middle layer.

Middle layer:

Combine the vegan margarine, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and soy milk. Microwave for a minute to heat. While this mixture is still hot, put it in a food processer and gradually begin to add the confectioner's sugar. (Alternately, you could follow the original directions and use a handheld mixer to blend the two--you may get better results. With the food processer, you will get a consistency that's like an oozier version of the inside of a peppermint patty--no fluff.) When you're done, it should be thick enough that it doesn't seem to ooze around in the food processer. You will need it at least that thick to keep it from oozing off the bottom layer.

Take the bottom layer out of the refrigerator. Use a spatula to spread the filling over the bottom layer. Don't start the top layer until you are done with the middle.

Top layer:

Break the five chocolate squares in two. Coat bottom of a saucepan (or double boiler) with 1 T. vegan margarine. Heat gently until it begins melting. Add unsweetened chocolate and melt on low heat. As soon as it is evenly melted, remove from heat and pour immediately on top of the bars, spreading with a spatula. Before the top hardens, sprinkle your crushed candy cane all in the chocolate for decoration.

The contrast between the super-sweetness of the middle and the dark, bitter chocolate is key. Chill the bars in the refrigerator or freezer until the chocolate ganache hardens. Cut into 16 2" squares. At this point they are ready to serve, or you can freeze them ahead of time; they freeze very well. Serve chilled at room temperature. Enjoy.

Makes 16 small but very rich, sinful servings

(Original recipe HERE)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Things to Do with Barbecue Sauce

I had decided this weekend to try out a BBQ ribz recipe that Ms. Dorklepork had recommended, but being the airhead that I often am, I had been spending the whole last week thinking it called for vital wheat gluten flour when in reality it called for just vital wheat gluten. Needless to say, I was not pleased when I realized this on Saturday night and was only equipped with the former and not the latter. But I decided f- it. I had a nice big batch of Barbecue Sauce with a Bite whipped up from the PPK, and, well, I couldn't just let it go to waste, dammit. So I improvised.

Using my brainiac skills (and praying that even though there are large differences between unwashed gluten--which the original recipe called for--and gluten FLOUR (differences that I'm not even sure of but know exist), a Christmas miracle might take place and the ribz might not end up tasting like dog poo), I decided that I'd take my chances and try to substitute in my wheat gluten flour.

Thank all things thankful, it worked out ok. In the end, the ribz were scrumptious (though I *DO* plan on one day trying out the original recipe to see if it blows my version away) and the only thing I would change about them would be to half the sizes on them all as the best parts were the ends, and the very middles were a little bit more chewy instead of yumbly and tough and grrrrristly. So I'll include that little variation in with this recipe.

(Oh yeah, and them potatoes in the back--those be mashed potatoes I made with the chickpea gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance, which was tasty but did not blow me away as I'd hoped based on the book's recommendations...)

BBQ Sauce with a Bite

  • 12 oz tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup tamari or Braggs (I used 1/4 c. Braggs and 1/4 c. soy sauce)

  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

  • 2 T. brown sugar

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • a few chipotles in adobo

  • 1 t. liquid smoke

  • dash of cocoa powder


Mix the tomato paste, tamari, molasses, brown sugar, nutritional yeast, chipotles in adobo, liquid smoke, and dash of cocoa powder in the bowl. Stir with fork till completely blended. This tends to make a fairly thick sauce. Thin with water as desired.

(Original recipe HERE)

Vegan Barbecue Ribz

  • 1 c. vital wheat gluten flour

  • 2/3 c. of water

  • 2 T. soy butter

  • 3 T. peanut butter

  • 7 Tbl spoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce

  • spices to taste (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, etc)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat soy butter and add the peanut butter, mixing it so that it's consistent throughout. Mix the wheat gluten flour, nutritional yeast, and spices in a dry bowl. Add the water and knead until almost all of the dry powder is absorbed (you may have to add a tiny little bit to pick up everything). Do not over-knead. This dough is really sticky.

Form the dough into a flat, square shape about one-half inch thick. Add one-half of the peanut butter mixture to the top of the flattened dough. Use your fingers to poke the peanut butter mixture deeply into the dough (it is goopy and messy, but DO IT!). Do this for about 30 seconds. Turn the dough over and pour the remaining half of the peanut butter mixture onto the dough, again using your fingers to poke into the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut one-half inch strips of dough. Make them as long or as short as you like them (though if you originally form your dough into a rectangle, I recommend halving the rectangle and THEN cutting the 1/2" strips--the end result would be rips half the length of the ones pictured above, which I think would offer up the ideal consistency). Lay out on a lightly oiled baking pan. Bake for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, use a spatula to turn the ribz over. Spoon or brush on BBQ sauce and return to the oven.

Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and turn the ribz over again. Spoon or brush on some more BBQ sauce.

Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy your hot, sweet and sticky "ribz!"

Makes enough for four.

(Original recipe from

* * * * * * *

Even after all the ribz, I still had a ton of BBQ sauce left over. So Sunday night, with a package of tempeh sitting in my fridge getting ready to expire, I decided to whip up some barbecued tempeh to use up the excess sauce. I used a long skinny package of tempeh (whose brandname is eluding me), but I'm sure you could make do with whatever. You'll just end up with different sizes and shapes.

The end result was surprisingly delicious, and I definitely recommend the roasted red pepper topping as it seriously made the dish. Not only was it tasty, it was also ridiculously ridiculously simple, as you will see. So chalk this up as another highly-recommended quickie.

L's BBQ Tempeh

  • 1 package of tempeh

  • About 1 - 2 c. of BBQ sauce (preferably the homemade kind above, thinned out to a slightly more marinade-ish consistency with water)

  • 2 red peppers, roasted


Preheat your oven to 350.

Slice your tempeh into 4 slices--first slice your chunk in half, right down the middle. Then slice it through the skinniest part, effectively thinnng out each of your slices and cutting them into two thinner slices.

Spray a bread pan with a bit of non-stick oil. Pour in some BBQ to cover the bottom of the pan. Add two slices of tempeh, side by side. Use a spoon to brush some more BBQ sauce on top of them. Layer your other two slices on top of these two slices. Pour the rest of your BBQ sauce on top. Cover the pan with foil.

Cook in the oven for 50 minutes, turning the slices over half-way through. Remove the foil and cook for 5-10 more minutes.

To serve: Place one of the slices on a plate. Top with roasted red peppers. Place another slice on top. Top this with roasted red peppers as well. Serve

Makes enough for 2 tempeh "steaks."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

MMMMMM, Chocolatey

Not much to say about this recipe other than that it is a damn good one. I've made chilis before that have had cocoa powder in them, but never have I had the opportunity to throw in actual chocolate chips. There is actually something quite joyous and gleeful in doing so, kinda like licking off the spatula after mixing together cake.

My only only complaint about this recipe was the salt-quantity. Normally I put in a fraction of the amount of salt the recipe calls for. But as this one said, "1/2 t. salt, to taste" and later gives you a moment to "adjust the salt and pepper," I thought this implied that 1/2 t. was on the low end of the amount of salt you'd end up tossing in. Oh my god, I have never been more wrong. I'm a salt FREAK, and yet, between the 1/2 t. and the soy sauce, this chili was fricking INSANELY salty. So of course not wanting to waste it all, I decided to throw in random potato chunks in the hopes that they'd absorb some of the salt. (This isn't anything weird I've made up--I've read about doing this in quite a few places... If you over-salt something, toss in chunks of potatoes, and supposedly they'll absorb some of the salt and then you can remove them.) Thankfully this actually did work a bit (also helpful was leaving them in with the chili after it was refrigerated and then picking them out each time I served myself some). But as I thought the amount of salt in the recipe was ridiculous, I've omitted it from the version reprinted here.

Anyways, this chili is the perfect spiciness level--hot enough to be like ZOWEEE but not so hot that your eyes will water and you'll doubt the existence of God (unless you're *ALREADY* an atheist =). The chocolate chips also add just the perfect level of richness to the chili as well, making it tasty and luxurious. A definite thumbs up.

Black Bean and Chocolate Chili

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 1.5 c. chopped onions

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 stalk celery, sliced

  • 2 jalapenos, minced

  • 1 T. cumin

  • 2 t. oregano

  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

  • 1 pinch ground cloves

  • 1 t. ground coriander

  • 1 T. chili powder

  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper

  • 1.5 c. chopped bell peppers (I used red and orange)

  • Two 14.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • One 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

  • 1 T. fresh lime juice

  • 1 T. soy sauce

  • 1.4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions become soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery and chile, cover and cook for another five minutes more.

Reduce the heat and stir in spices, (cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, chili powder, black pepper) along with the bell peppers. Cover again and cook for another five minutes. Stir often to keep the spices from burning. If pan get too dry add a little liquid from the diced tomatoes, or some water.

Next, add the black beans, tomatoes, lime juice (if using) and soy sauce. Let the chili simmer on low for 5 to 10 minutes, until it thickens slightly and flavors combine.

Stir in the chocolate. When chocolate has melted, taste to adjust the salt and pepper.

Serve with topping of your choice.

(Original recipe found HERE)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

After seeing pics of this magnificent bread pudding mixed in with pics from Dorklepork's Magnificent Tofurky Day Feast and having fantasized for the past month or so about trying it, I finally decided to tackle it this weekend. I've never ever had bread pudding before. In fact, it's something that I've always found to be a bit creepy. I mean, bread? In pudding? WTF?

What won me over on this one was the chocolate-factor. I am not a fan of vanilla pudding, period. So it makes sense that I've never had bread pudding before since it's typically vanilla. With this recipe, however, that is so very much *NOT* the case. This version is rich and decadent with all sorts of chocolatey goodness.

Having decided to make it, I purchased a nice, fresh, crusty loaf of italian bread at the WSM. However, I was not patient enough to let it stale up (since I wanted to make it that same night). I let it sit out all day, but it only got a bit hard. So while we ate dinner, we tossed chunks of the loaf in the oven on super-low and let it harden up some. Worked wonders.

The bread pudding itself is as easy-peasy as they come. Takes maybe all of 5-10 minutes to whip together. And when it's ready to toss in the oven, it kinda looks like gross bread sopping in chocolate milk--tee hee...

The rum sauce was just as easy, though I would've preferred someone else to have made it SIMPLY SO I COULD'VE CONVINCED MYSELF IT WASN'T TERRIBLY HORRIBLY BAD FOR YOU. But alas, after dumping a whole cup of margarine into a food processor, it's hard to cling to that illusion.

End result: chocolatey rummy goodness. I will forewarn you--E's first response when he sunk his teeth into this beauty of a recipe was "Oh my god, is this rummy." And ladies and gents, by god, it certainly is. I mean, it has 1/4 cup of fricking rum in it. That's like a couple shots. And you can definitely taste it.

But oh man, is it good. We weren't quite so liberal with the rum sauce as Ms. Dorklepork was--we spooned a couple spoonfuls on each helping of bread pudding, just enough to melt delectably into the oozy gooey nooks and crannies. Because of that, I ended up with about 1/4 cup or so left over after all the pudding was gone. But any more I think might've been a bit too potent.

All that being said and done, I don't think I'd change a damn thing about the recipe. Yeah, the rum's potent. But that's why you embrace minimalism when dousing your bread pudding with it.

Seriously folks, if you're looking for a scrumptious, luxuriant, decadent, oozy, yumtastic dessert for the holiday season, this is the one. I plan on making it again for Christmas, if all goes well.

(Oh yeah--and it works well as leftovers. The rum sauce hardens up into a margarine-consistency, but scrape chunks over your bread pudding and pop it into the microwave for a few, and it'll soften right up.)


For the Pudding:
  • 5 Tbsp. cocoa

  • 1 Tbsp. hot water

  • 2 cups soy milk

  • Egg Replacer equivalent of 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup sugar (try Florida Crystals brand)

  • Dash salt

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 to 3 cups stale bread, torn into small pieces

For the Rum Sauce:
  • 1 cup margarine, softened (try Earth Balance brand)

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar

  • 1/4 cup dark rum

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg


Combine the cocoa with the hot water until smooth. Add more water as needed. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa mixture, soy milk, egg replacer, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix in the stale bread. Pour into a prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour.

Beat the margarine until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into the butter. Add the rum, vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Pour over the pudding.

Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

(Original recipe from VegCooking)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Grilled Teriyaki and Other Stuffs That I Didn't Make--So THERE!

E cooked this weekend, and he whipped up one of his usual simple but tasty meals. It was delish--the only thing we both commented on was that the tofu was a bit salty, so take that into considerations, darlings, before whipping this up. Just a wee bit of tweeking with regard to the soy and teriyaki should do the trick.

To illustrate how he likes things short and sweet when it comes to meals and recipes, I post his recipes exactly as he typed them up for me. =)


about 1/2 cup teriyaki
about 1/2 cup soy sauce
about 3 tbs lemon juice
grind fresh rosemary and thyme in processor. add to marinade
two cloves garlic, minced.

soak pressed tofu in marinade for 45 minutes to an hour.



boil green beans for five minutes.
place beans, two tbs olive oil, roasted walnuts, a few dashes of mrs. dash or some other garlic/herb mix, and cranberries in frying pan and saute until hot and cranberries burst.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sweet Sweet Lomatato Soup

I decided to fiddle with a lentil soup recipe on Sunday that I'd seen on-line earlier in the week. And fiddle I did, the end-result looking so very different from the original recipe that I'm not even gonna credit it.

The best part of this soup was naming it... Lomatato Soup. Get it?? GET IT?!?!?! *slapping knee and chortling* Lentil tOMAto sweet poTATO soup! It rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? *Picturing some hottie wooing his girlfriend after a long day spent cooking for her in the kitchen, beads of sweat glistening off his well-built chest (because all well-built boyfriends cook topless in the kitchen, no?), a towel thrown over his forearm all waiter-ly, as he bends to her in soft candle-light and says, "Darling, I made this for you--it's Sweet Sweet Lomotato Soup, just like you..." *Fade out as they kiss over this very bowl of soup*

*Jumping up and down with glee and clapping hands*

Anyways, my favorite part of this recipe is the fact that you cook the lentils with a cinnamon stick, jalapeno pepper, bay leaf, and some ginger. How brilliant is that? (That's the part I snagged from the aforementioned recipe, lest I sound really really conceited.) And the lentils are FANTASTIC-tasting because of it--a little bit of zing and some bing-bang-boom in them. Quite honestly, the lentils were so flavorful that I was a bit disappointed once I added the sweet potato--its sweetness overpowered their delicate and zippy flavor. The soup is still quite yummy and sweet, but I think next time I might actually try it without the sweet potato or with the sweet potato cubed instead of blended in with the actual soup-base.

  • 1 c. brown lentils

  • 3 c. water

  • 1 t. ginger (or some fresh ginger chunk)

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded and cut in half

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 sweet potater

  • 1 c. sliced green beans

  • 1 stalk celery, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • Olive oil

  • 2 t. coriander

  • 1 t. turmeric

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 c. water

  • About 3 c. crushed tomatoes

Place lentils and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and add the ginger, cinnamon stick, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Reduce heat, and simmer the lentils for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, boil your sweet potato for about 30-40 minutes (or until tender). Remove the skin and mash.

Toss a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a pan, and add your green beans, celery, red pepper, and seasonings. Cook until all the veggies are tender.
Once your lentils are done, remove the ginger (if you used a fresh chunk), cinnamon stick, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Puree half with a hand-held blender or in a food processer.

Add your 2 c. water and 3 c. crushed tomatoes to a large soup pot. Add in your lentils, your mashed sweet tater, and all your vegetables. Mix well, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.


Makes a large pot--anywhere from 4-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Return of Cooking Tips

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, and her name was "Cooking Tips." She skipped and galloped through another little girl's blog, leaving trails of flowers, joyful squealings, and little tips to all those who visited. Then one day, she met a little boy. She fell madly in love, and they went together on mystical adventures in far-off lands. For months and months, she was nowhere to be found.

But as always happens in the world of love, he slept with her best friend, she started drinking too much and wearing her pajamas all day, and they of course inevitably broke up--her throwing all his records out of the second story of their castle, him cutting the crotches out of all her negligee, the both of them ending up on Judge Judy (her suing him for an unpaid $750 loan, him suing her for illegally repossessing his horse and carriage).

So now she's back! (A bit bitter and with a new haircut and outlook on men, but back nonetheless!)

So you! Read this! Replace eggs! Do it!

On Egg Replacers

Monday, December 04, 2006

Easiest Peasiest Couscous Ever

I swear to you, if you're looking for a freakishly quick lunch recipe, this is the one for you. It may not 'cause you to explode into a month-long orgasm, but trust me--it's tasty. And quick quick quick quick.

This recipe is for two servings.

  • 1 1/4 c. whole-wheat couscous

  • 1 c. orange juice

  • 2 T. soy sauce

  • 2 T. water

  • (you can mess around with the soy sauce/water ration if you find your couscous is too salty--I've already adjusted it once, since I originally used 4 T. soy sauce and no water--but you may find it too salty still)
  • 1-2 stalk celery, diced

  • 1/2 of a red pepper, diced

  • 4-7 baby carrots, shredded

Toss the OJ, water, and soy sauce in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from the heat, and throw the couscous in the saucepan as well. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes or so. Fluff. Add your vegetables. Stir. Eat. Marvel at the fact that it took maybe 10 minutes to whip this baby up. Worship Lindy Loo and send her lots of money.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Post-Thanksgiving Stupor

The day after Thanksgiving, E and I have always made it a habit to do our *OWN* little Thanksgiving, that way we can enjoy the holiday, each others' company, and fricking amazing food without the stress of family or traveling around to visit them. This year was no different. However, for the first time in a couple years, we actually managed to show a bit of restraint as to what we cooked. (Last year, we made a *RIDICULOUS* amount of food for only two people--tofurky, potatoes, green-bean casserole, biscuits, extra stuffing, dumplings, etc.) And given the fact that I'd cooked several dishes for my mom's the day before, I laid low this time around and didn't do much of anything except basting our sweet little plump football of a Tofurky.

(I heart basting.)

I enjoyed every bit of the meal, including the Tofurky, despite the fact that for some reason, this year it seemed to make a weird squeegee rubbery noise and sensation when you chewed on it. (Haven't quite figured *THAT* one out yet.) I even managed to wrangle up a nice new vegan wine for us to try out (and it was only $10)!

For those of you who are wine enthusiasts (or just plain ol' like to booze it up on occasion), check out the Orleans Hill Zinfandel--even for my amateur nose and tastebuds, I could tell it was quite good for a $10 bottle--smooth, a bit peppery, and not harsh at all (look, Ma, no extra sulfites!). I definitely think this'll be a new favorite, and I'm gonna have to get my ass back to Nature's Bin so I can try the Merlot as well sometime.

The highlights of the night were definitely the cranberry sauce (which was tart--and yet not TOO tart--and sweet--and yet not TOO sweet) and E's Rosemary and Hazelnut-Encrusted Seitan which, seriously folks, if you only heed one word of advice from me, let it be this: Make this recipe. Eat this recipe. Try not to die of ecstasy. Seriously. I think it may be my favorite dish that E makes. It's that good. Oh, and yes, I'm an absolute sucker for the Cranberry Apple Potato Dumplings that come with the Tofurky kit as well--they are, to me, orgasmatronic to the nth degree. Especially topped with E's cranberry sauce. Mmmmm mmmm.

But anyways, blah dee blee. Food. Good. Warm. Tummy. Bulging. Pants. No more belts. Recipe. E's super-simple cranberry sauce. You. Read.

  • 3/4 c. water

  • 1/4 c. orange juice

  • 3/4 c. sugar

  • 2-2 1/4 c. cranberries, rinsed

Put water, OJ, and sugar in a small pot. Boil for 5 minutes. Add cranberries. Return to a boil, lower heat, simmer for 5 minutes.

How fricking simple is that?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fluffy Sweet Potatoes from the Magical Banana Forest!

As mentioned yesterday, the other dish I made for my mom's Thanksgiving gathering was a sweet potato dish. It was inspired by a recipe I saw in the Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook, but I varied it so much that it isn't even worth crediting, to be honest.

I was a bit concerned initially because once I'd mixed all the ingredients, the mixture was actually quite soupy. When you're trying to get a mashed-potato consistency and it ends up watery, it's hard not to be a little bit worried that things just aren't gonna turn out right. But thankfully, after the 50 minute baking time, they were firmed right up. Quite honestly, they firmed up so nicely that next time I make them, I actually think I probably would tinker with them a bit more by adding some more liquids, now that I know it all gets absorbed in the oven.

All in all, they were pretty damn tasty. My brother kept saying that they actually tasted like pumpkin pie, and I do agree. In fact, I suspect that these would make a good filling for a sweet potato pie. I've never actually *HAD* sweet potato pie though, so I can't be certain. But they taste like what I'd *IMAGINE* sweet potato pie to taste like, in the land of magical fairies and giant lollipops, where I've actually *TRIED* sweet potato pie. =)

  • 4 lbs. sweet potatoes

  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 1 c. soymilk

  • 1/2 c. apple cider

  • 3 T. agave nectar

  • 1 t. allspice

  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

  • 1/4 t. ground cloves

  • 3 T. or so of candied ginger, minced

  • Toasted pine nuts

Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water until soft--about 40 minutes or so. Transfer to a colander and then remove the skins while running the potatoes under cold water. Transfer skinless potatoes to a large metal bowl. Mash with a fork or masher. Add the bananas. Mix well. Add the soymilk and apple cider. Whip with a whisk until fairly smooth. Add everything else but the candied ginger and pinenuts.

Preheat oven to 375. Transfer the sweet potatoes to an 8x8 casserole dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 50 minutes or so. Remove from oven and sprinkle the candied ginger and pinenuts on top.

Serves a whole buttload.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving and the Three Sisters Casserole

I have little doubt that most of you managed to gorge your stomachs out on vegan feastie goodies this past week, and the same was, of course, true for me as well. My mom had Thanksgiving at her place this year, and since she's been eating vegetarian for the past two months (*giving her a much-deserved round of applause*), the only meat-related item in the house was my brother's obligatory stuffing. And I must thank her heartily as she went out of her way to deck us out with some yummy vegan grub as well--a glorious fruit salad, an elaborate greens salad, and an apple crisp for dessert.

You go, girl!

As for me, I decided to whip up a couple items to take over there myself. I originally intended to bring dessert as well, but seeing as I've apparently become the spokesperson as to why us vegans need to go out and buy the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook (every time I even attempt them, it turns into some elaborate Three-Stooges-esque baking ordeal), that didn't end up panning out.

Thankfully, both the casserole (which I felt almost obligated to pick because it was named the "Three Sisters casserole" and there are three of us sisters (even though one of us was in NYC for the holiday)) and the mashed sweet potatoes I decided to make came out poifect though.

Today the casserole recipe, tomorrow the sweet potatoes.

I snagged the Three Sisters Casserole recipe from the Nov./Dec. 2006 issue of the Vegetarian Times, and I must admit, it is a good one. I recommend their preparation techniques for the polenta in any instance when you're trying to make a good batch of polenta--it is quite a clever one and the polenta comes out perfect and unlumpy. I ended up baking the casserole in a larger pan (maybe 9 x 13 or somewhere thereabouts) which made the top layer of polenta a bit more difficult to deal with, but it still came out really quite tasty. Plus, I think the quantity of veggies the recipe makes seems ridiculously large for a smaller casserole, though perhaps that's just me. Anyways, if you end up wanting to feed larger armies of people, I'd say you can definitely get away with using the larger pan (I've also included a couple other slight variations). Otherwise, just follow the directions. Deviant.


Polenta Topping
  • 1.5 c. yellow cornmeal

  • 1 T. chili powder

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 4.5 c. water

  • 3 T. olive oil

  • 1 sm. onion, chopped

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and diced

  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper (cut into 1-inch dice)

  • 1 lb. squash (I used butternut--they called for kobacha), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 15 oz-can diced tomatoes

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 t. ground coriander

  • 1 t. ground cumin

  • 1/2 c. water

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 c. frozen corn kernels, thawed


For the polenta topping
Whisk together the polenta ingredients in either a double boiler or (as I did) in a large metal bowl over barely simmering water. Cook 40 minutes or until polenta is thick and stiff, stirring 3 or 4 times. Remove from heat.

For the filling
Preheat oven to 375. Heat 2 T. of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 7 minutes or so, until softened, stirring frequently. Add the bell pepper and cook another 5. Stir in the squash, tomatoes, garlic, coriander, and cumin. Cook 5 more. (Continue to stir frequently throughout.) Add the water and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for about 10-15 minutes (or until squash is tender). Stir in the beans and corn and cook 5 more minutes (or until slightly-thickened--I ended up having to just drain out some of the excess tomatoey-water at the end).

Coat an 8x11-inch (or 9x13-inch) pan/baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread 2 cups of polenta over the bottom of the dish. (This is kinda tricky as it does not spread too well. My suggestion is to run a little water over your spatula to keep it from sticking and to moreso mash or pat the polenta into shape instead of trying to actually spread it over the bottom. It works much better.) Spoon your squash mixture over the polenta (making sure to drain some of the excess water and whatnot to avoid sogging it up). Smooth the remaining polenta over the top. (If you use the larger pan, it won't cover up your middle layer in its entirety, but that's ok. It still tastes good. Just try to spread it out as much as possible.)

Brush the top of the casserole with the remaining T. of olive oil. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly brown.

Serves 6-10, depending.

(Original recipe from the Nov./Dec. 2006 issue of the Vegetarian Times, p. 60)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Anniversary, Franny and Zooey!

So I am the suckiest suckfest in SuckFest City and totally missed the one-year anniversary of adopting my cats, despite the fact that I spent weeks prior thinking and musing and reminiscing about the strange and lovely and disarming way that the two of them ended up in my life. I suck.

But perhaps it's even more fitting that I suddenly remembered yesterday and am able to post this today, seeing as it's the week of Thanksgiving, and of all the things in my life this year, I am most thankful for these two roommates of mine and the fact that we made it through the year safely and happily (despite two escapes off my roof and the piece of poop that chased Franny through our apartment during 90-degree weather).

So yes--happy anniversary, Franny and Zooey, my most darlingest of cats. I can hardly think of anything in my life that I feel more blessed about than to have you two cuddly and rambunctious deviants to come home to.


And now...

You can read more about them HERE and about their very beginning as my roommates HERE.

*This will be my only post this week, for those of you who read my blog regularly--I will, however, be back with tons of holiday recipes next week, no doubt. =)

Happy holidays.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

With These Shoulder Pads I Have the Strength to Destroy Villages, Homes and Crops

As you all know, I rarely post recipes from cookbooks on my blog, out of respect to the folks kind enough to compile and publish collections of their fantastic vegan recipes, but today I'm posting one from the most recent issue of the Vegetarian Times. And the reason that I'm doing so is that I have mixed feelings about the magazine--while I appreciate the fact that they go out of their way to publish and designate vegan recipes, I take issue with the other ways in which it handles veganism within its pages. So in publishing their vegan recipes on the rare occasions that I do, I consider it my own tiny little act of protest. So there, Vegetarian Times! Take that! Wappah! *Karate chop*

Anyways, these cookies are fricking amazing. E tried one out the other day and immediately came back with a "best cookie ever" response and the command that I make them again for him. Right then and there. So he may eat them forever and ever. So yeah, he'd probably second the recommendation.

The cookies are called Ginger Gems, but of course when I realized that, I immediately got the song "Gem Sweater" by Leslie and the Lys stuck in my head (you can watch their gloriously campy and bizarre and fricking funny video HERE if you haven't been blessed enough to already have seen it)... So consequently I've taken to calling them "Junior Jems" instead. But you can call them whatever you damn well please, of course.

These cookies are very simple to make, *AND* they're glazed (which just fricking rocks because ANYTHING is just automatically cooler when it's glazed). The only two problems I had with the recipe (and they're minimal ones) were that a) for some reason the VT didn't feel the need to put the 1/4 c. of water in the ingredients list (which I have, so that you may avoid the same confusion as me), so I managed to gloss over the inclusion of water when I put together the cookie dough. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out when the cookie dough was super-crumbly and not compactible at all. Then I noticed the water in the directions themselves (VT, last time I checked, water *IS* an ingredient--just so you know) and added it last minute--thankfully it didn't cause any problems. However, it'd still be useful for you to know (if you end up baking these) that the dough is very thick, despite the fact that they consider them "drop" cookies. Drop cookies implies to me a bit of mushiness, enough so that the dough will goopily drop off the spoon onto the pan. But these you kinda have to press into a flattened shape to make. So word to the wise. And b) as always, the ingredients for the glaze seemed like it would make enough to glaze a small Volkswagon, so I decided to half it (which are the quantities you see here). I don't know why recipes generally super-overcompensate when it comes to frosting and glaze, but in my past experience, every frosting and glaze recipe I've stumbled across has left me with gratuitous unusable left-over quantities. So word to the wise--you'll be better off starting with the quantities below--they should make more than enough to glaze your cookies, but if not, you can just make more.

  • 3/4 c. sugar

  • 1/4 c. vegan margarine, softened

  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil

  • 1/4 c. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 T. molasses

  • 1 T. vanilla extract

  • 1/4 c. water

  • 2 c. whole wheat flour

  • 1 t. baking soda

  • 1/2 t. salt

  • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts

  • 2 1/4 T. lime juice

  • 1.5 c. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, margarine, oil, molasses, and vanilla. Once this is mixed, add in the water and ginger and mix until absorbed. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add your dry ingredients to your wet and mix until completely combined. Cut in the chopped walnuts.

On either a greased pan or parchment paper, begin to spoon out your cookies about 1 inch apart or so. Use about a spoon's worth of dough for each cookie--it's too thick to actually kinda "drop" on the pan, so you may just wanna smoosh together about a spoon's worth and then flatten it out a tiny bit on the pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before removing from the pan. Place on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

For the glaze, whisk your lime juice into your powdered sugar. Dip the top of each completely-cooled cookie into the glaze and return the cookies to the cooling rack until the glaze hardens.

Eat while singing "Gem Sweater" and busting some cool-ass gem-sweatery moves on your kitchen floor.

Say what? Say what?

Makes 35 cookies.

(recipe from the November/December Issue of the Vegetarian Times (p. 80))

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Macaroni Pancakes!

Psych! That would just be gross, people.

Despite the Nature's Bin gorge-session on Friday, I did a lot of relatively minor cooking this weekend. Unfortunately, most of it was from cookbooks, so I shan't be posting the recipes here. But I can at least offer up some recommendations.

For dinner on Sunday night, I decided to whip up some pancakes. My VwaV cookbook was, for some reason, all the way out in my car, I realized. And as I was donning rather large Grinch slippers and an uncombed Elvis-'do, I decided that I'd avoid trekking out there to nab it and just try out another recipe instead. I had a couple leftover bananas from work, so I decided to go the banana-walnut route, and I used the Banana Walnut Pancake recipe from the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook. As always, I tossed in some semi-sweet chocolate chips as well. Because I am a self-professed chocolate-chip pancake whore.



Anyways, these pancakes are decked out with bananas and walnuts and even some oats. Not too shabby. My only problem with them was that I think I made them too big (and didn't thin the batter out well enough) so the insides ended up staying kinda goopy and not cooking through all the way. Nothing that a little bit of syrup can't fix though. =) So although I'd recommend the recipe, just be sure to add a bit extra soy milk and make sure to cook those babies through all the way.

The other thing I whipped up on Sunday was the Macaroni and Kidney Bean Salad from Easy Vegan Cooking (which I scored at Half-Price Books a couple months ago). I dig this cookbook, even though it has no pictures (which is typically necessary for me to indulge a cookbook's recipes), just because it has some really simple and yet tasty recipes that you can whip up quickly and with ingredients that you normally have around the house. This one was no exception--it consists of wheat macaroni noodles, kidney beans, scallions, diced green peppers, walnuts, vegan Baco-bits, and a cider-vinegar dressing. I was surprised that it was such a tasty dish given its absolute simplicity. Somehow the very minimilastic dressing allows all the ingredients to work it a lot more on their own, bringing out their flavors instead of hiding them by overpowering them. I've been hooked on this ever since Sunday, stealing little nibbles of the leftovers here and there and chowing on it for the occasional lunch and dinner. This is a definite highly-recommended recipe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for an actual recipe! Try not to wet yourself in excitement!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Food! Food! Food! In My Mouf! Mouf! Mouf!

So yeah, Friday night I had all to myself--the first time in forever--so I initially had plans to try making myself one of the General Tso's tofu recipes I've seen floating around lately. But then I made the glorious mistake of stopping at Nature's Bin and decided to treat my lazy-ass self instead and just buy a whole bunch of little sides and numblies to eat for dinner... and lunch... and dessert. Ah gluttony. The upside of it all was that despite all the food you see, I spent no more than $10.

Seriously, if you ever happen to be in the Cleveland area and just wanna gorge on deli-style vegan goodies, you must trek your ass over to Nature's Bin. Their deli selection fluctuates on a (presumably) daily basis, so there's always something new to seduce you. They never have less than a dozen or so selections, from the likes of various bean or grain salads to mock-chicken nuggets to pasta dishes to a variety of baked goods. It's glorious. Not to mention the fact that for the majority of their deli goods, they list out a (generified) version of the ingredients on the label for you. This is not the case with *ALL* their goods, but as a general rule, most of the salads and pastas have all the ingredients right there for you which, for a nerdy vegan cook, is a dream come true seeing as if you end up absolutely adoring a salad or something, you have the basic ingredients in front of you to toy with on your own sometime.

Top all that with the fact that, honest to god, I've not had one item in their deli case that I haven't been impressed with (I mean seriously--how amazing is that? Typically you stumble across *something* or another that just ends up being a turd-licious bomb, and yet I've liked--with much gusto--every damn thing I've eaten out of here), and you can see why it's hard to control myself at Nature's Bin...

Did I mention that I heart Nature's Bin?

Anyways, onwards to the actual food p0rn. Try to control yourself, as an immediate vicarious orgasm may ensue just from viewing!

Quinoa Salad--quinoa, carrots, almonds, scallions, soy sauce, and more

Curried Cashew Pilaf--Curry, Cashews, Pilaf, Duh.

Vegan Chicken Parmesan--A vegan chicken pattie nestled beneath a layer of vegan cheese which has been melted over some juicy tomato-chunks

Vegan Lasagna--Spinachy lasagna with a tofu-ricotta and sprinkled with delicately-sliced almonds

Chocolate Cake--their gloriously dense and Lindy-Loo approved sweet yummy sugar-tastic frosting

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sensational Sun-Dried Tomato and Chickpea Soup

This weekend, the only thing I actually cooked myself was a batch of Sensational Sun-Dried Tomato and Chickpea soup from The Garden of Vegan. I settled on this soup in particular because I'm trying to get myself to love chickpeas the way I suddenly got myself to love beans after hating them for years and years--I love hummus, but there's just something about the consistency of whole chickpeas that throws me for a loop. Granted, I ended up food-processing a large amount of the chickpeas (because they were just sitting there, staring at me, taunting me with their strange consistency), but nonetheless, I'm getting a tiny bit closer to a greater appreciation of them.

This is definitely an easy and uncomplicated recipe, but I think calling it a soup is a wee bit misleading (at least given how mine turned out). Almost everyone who saw this "soup" when I brought it in for lunch one day asked me if it was a chickpea curry, and indeed, it is thick enough to pass as one. Given that and the fact that my only real complaint about this soup (strangely enough) is that it is *WAY* too overpoweringly flavorful, I ended up adding water to each serving to thin it down quite a bit so it was both more soup-like and not quite so ridiculously flavorful... I know it is strange to complain about something having *TOO MUCH* flavor, but seriously, I think this can be just as bad as having too little. I'm sure the sun-dried tomatoes were the culprits, but thankfully, with a little bit of extra water, this soup can be turned into quite an enjoyable little lunch.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 1 large carrot, cut into thin rounds (I used 1 large carrot's worth of baby carrots, diced)

  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil (I used olive oil instead)

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes

  • 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 t. cumin

  • 1 t. dry yellow mustard

  • 1/8 t. cayenne

  • 1/8 t. fresh ground black pepper

  • 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar

  • 1 T. Bragg's liquid aminos

  • 2 c. vegetable stock

  • 2 T. tahini

  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley


Combine the onions, garlic, carrots and oil in a medium stockpot over a medium flame. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, cumin, mustard powder, cayenne, black pepper, vinegar, soy sauce and vegetable stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

Transfer half the soup, in batches if necessary, to a blender or food processor (I just used one of those hand-held immersion-blender things). Add the tahini and puree until smooth and thick. Return to the pot and mix well to blend with remaining soup. Stir in parsley and serve. Thin out with water as necessary.

Serves four.

(on-line recipe from The Daily Herald, original recipe from The Garden of Vegan)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The recipe index in the sidebar was starting to get a bit too lengthy and cluttery, so if you've been spending the last 15 minutes sitting in the corner, sobbing, hyperventilating, pulling at your hair, and rocking back and forth because you thought I'd completely done away with it: rest assured, it's just been moved.

There is a link to it in the sidebar, but in case you didn't notice it, you can find the new recipe-index HERE.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Very Merry Un-Holiday to You! To You!

I so lazy this week. I didn't even have to cook the recipes I'm posting today which leaves me with no excuse about "being too tired to blog because of all the time I spent in the kitchen this weekend;" and yet, I've been taking forever to get around to posting them.

No more excuses though, so here goes...

It was E's turn to cook this weekend, and after I stumbled across the wealth of vegan holiday-recipes at, he settled on a full-out and spontaneous holiday-esque meal. And I give thanks to the fact that it was really damn good--enough so that I recommend every single part of it to those of you trying to track down some holiday numblies. (E made only slight variations to the original recipes, but I include links to the originals nonetheless.)

The seitan was hands-down my favorite part of the meal I must admit. It was truly orgasmic, coated in crumbled hazelnuts and fresh rosemary, juicy with flavor. Topped with a bit of the Red Wine and Shallot gravy, it was a dream come true. And the green beans and cranberries on the side (though they did not impress E) made my tastebuds giddy with pleasure as well--fresh and crisp green beans accented by plump juicy cranberries. I can't think of a better side for a Thanksgiving dinner.

My only complaint was not with the cooking but moreso with the portions when it came to the gravy--for the amount of ingredients involved, it yields a wicked-small amount of gravy in return. But damn good gravy it is, nonetheless.

Point being, if you're looking for ideas for Thanksgiving or Christmas, I highly recommend all of the recipes below. They will impress guests and leave your stomach feeling ever so jolly.

{{And yes, I am determined to figure out some sort of better lighting for taking post-sunset food p0rn pics, seeing as lately they've all been turning out yellowy and unattractivey, kinda like when you have beer goggles on and are feeling all bow-chicka-bow-wow towards some fellow only to see him again in the broad daylight a month or so later and find yourself making promises that you will never ever ever ever never ever ever drink even the tiniest sip of alcohol EVER AGAIN if that's how badly it impairs your judgment. (Though as we all know, that vow lasts like 5 minutes and then you're sipping on a nice frothy porter again. ; ) But I swear to you, this vow I will keep: no more bad food-p0rn pics! It just ain't right.}}

Rosemary and Hazelnut-Encrusted Seitan

  • 1 c. hazelnuts, toasted

  • 3 T. fresh rosemary, minced

  • 2 c. flour

  • 3-5 T. olive oil

  • 1 lb. seitan cut or shredded into large chunks and marinated at room temp. for two hours (in 2-3 T. dijon mustard, 2 c. teriyaki, 2 T. olive oil)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Place the hazelnuts and rosemary in a food processor and blend until fine. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the flour, and stir to combine.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip the seitan chunks in the hazelnut mixture and coat completely (if the seitan does not come packaged in liquid, dip each piece in a little bit of water first). Put the seitan pieces in the oil and fry until lightly browned and crispy on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with Red Wine and Shallot Gravy (see recipe).

Makes 4 to 6 servings

(original recipe from

Red Wine and Shallot Gravy

  • 1 T. olive oil

  • 6 T. scallions, minced

  • 1/2 c. yellow onions, minced

  • 1/4 c. celery, diced

  • 1/4 c. carrots, diced

  • 1/3 c. red wine

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 3 peppercorns

  • 3 1/2 c. vegetable stock

  • 1 Tbsp. margarine

  • 1 Tbsp. flour


Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft and browned. Stir in the wine, thyme, and peppercorns and cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is absorbed. Stir in the stock and cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by half.
Meanwhile, melt the margarine in a small skillet. Add the flour and stir constantly until bubbly and lightly browned. Stir in some liquid to thin out, then stir the mixture into the stock mixture and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the vegetables. Serve over the Rosemary and Hazelnut-Encrusted Seitan.

(original recipe from

Makes 4 servings

Green Beans with Fresh Cranberries


  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal

  • 2 T. margarine

  • 1 c. cranberries

  • 1 clove garlic, minced and pressed

  • 2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 T. fresh tarragon, chopped

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
Drain the beans in a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Blot the beans with a paper towel to remove the excess water.
Put the beans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat until the remaining moisture on the beans evaporates. Stir in the margarine, cranberries, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat well.
Cook until heated through.

Makes 4 servings

(original recipe from

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo

Back when I first went vegan, my very sweet and very animal-loving friend dorklepork bought me the VwaV cookbook and also included photocopies of some of her tried-and-true favorite recipes from various other sources. I had the pleasure of trying out her Big Bread at my Vegan Barbecue this summer, and finally finally finally this past weekend I got around to trying out the vegan alfredo recipe as well. And man alive is it yummy.

I had a bit of trouble hunting down some vegan parmesan (again, we run into that dastardly idiocy that is milk-derived products in non-dairy cheese--*fart*) but I finally managed to track some down at Nature's Bin (which I really wish I would've explored a bit earlier-on in my veganism as it is pretty damn kick-ass).

Also inspired by the plethora of stuffed-tofu recipes I've been seeing pop up on people's food blogs, I decided to attempt a stuffed-tofu recipe of my own on the side. This ended up being not so fantastic as the alfredo recipe, so I'm not gonna post the recipe. But I will tell you what was in it: I sauteed up some spinach, baby 'bellas, garlic, and tomatoes and attempted to stuff two tofu-halves with it. Baking them in the oven was taking too long and they weren't goldening up at all, so I ended up tossing them in the broiler instead, which did work better, but the end result was still a disappointment. It was by no means gross or inedible; it was, simply, boring. Next time, I am going to take a little bit more guidance from other people's stuffed tofu recipes, because there's got to be a better way to cook 'em then the way I did.

Despite the failure on the tofu-front, the alfredo definitely made up for it. I un-low-fattified (yes, that IS a word, thank you very much!) the recipe, and I also tweaked it a bit to give it more flavor, and the end result was delightful. My fella even called me up the next afternoon out of the blue to say that the sauce was fricking awesome (he was randomly chowing down on some leftovers for lunch), and if a sauce is good enough to compel someone to actually call you to tell you how much they like it, it's gotta be a decent sauce.

So despite the ugly, 1970's-ish picture (damnable apartment-lighting!), this alfredo is worth your while.

  • 1 pkg. silken tofu

  • 3 T. vegan margarine, room temperature or melted (I used Earth Balance)

  • 1/4 cup vegan soy parmesan

  • 2 T. nutritional yeast

  • Soy milk

  • 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated

  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Wheat linguine noodles (cooked according to the package)

  • Thinly-sliced basil

Toss all your ingredients (minus the noodles, soy milk, and 1 T. of vegan margarine) into a food processor and process. Gradually add soy milk until it's a smooth and creamy consistency. Toss the remaining tablespoon of vegan margarine into a saucepan along with your garlic and heat until fragrant. Then transfer your sauce into the saucepan as well and heat gently, stirring frequently. You may find yourself needing to add more soy milk as it heats, simply because it thickens up crazily. So do so if necessary. (If you have leftovers and reheat them the next day, you will probably need to do the same.) Serve over pasta with some thinly-sliced basil sprinkled on top.

Some of the comments left about the original recipe complained that it tasted too tofu-y, but (despite it being the main ingredient) I didn't taste it at all.

Original recipe: HERE

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Brains, Lack of Pictures, and Amy's New Vegan Pizza

Ah, poop. I'm so mad at myself. Last week, I made a nice steaming pot of Fatfree Vegan's Stormy Black Bean Soup (I love the name of it--it's what made me wanna cook it!) and I forgot to take food-p0rn pics. *Sigh* I don't know where my brain is of late.

Oh wait! There it goes!

So instead, all I can do is entice you with my sweet sweet words.

The Stormy Black Bean Soup. Smoky and rich as it rubs up luxuriously against the tastebuds. Hearty and spicy with a bit of zip that will strike your tongue like lightning. This was a yummy soup, and I definitely plan on whipping some up again sometime soon, especially since it was so damn simple.

Also last week, I finally tried the new Amy's brand vegan pizza: Rice Crust Spinach Pizza with Soy Cheese.

I've been intrigued and excited about its appearance, but I'd not gotten around to trying it because of the hefty price (it's about $7.50 a pop). But last week, it was on sale, so I couldn't very well pass it up.

Overall, I was impressed by it. For a freezer-pizza, it cooks up really nicely. The crust is crispy and salty and surprisingly flavorful (though perhaps it doesn't surprise me QUITE so much, seeing as I've not met an Amy's brand product that I didn't like--at least not yet). And it's layered with tomato sauce, some sort of spinachy-mixture, and soy cheese. These toppings weren't too shabby either. Plus, it's quick--you pop it into the oven for less than 15 minutes and then under the broiler for about 30 seconds to melt the cheese, and voila--pizza. My only big complaint was that the size of the box is deceiving--the pizza isn't NEARLY as large as you'd expect it to be. Mildy disappointing, of course. But if you're in a pinch and looking for something quick to whip up, this might be worth your while. As long as you can find it on sale. ; )