December 22, 2010

Breakfast Burritos

I discovered the sheer bliss of breakfast burritos while visiting friends in NM. There, green and red chile smother eggs and cheese and meat for three bucks a piece. Inspired, I started making my own early-morning burritos filled with tofu scramble, beans, salsa, avocado, and cilantro. Sour cream (dairy free), kale, and fried potatoes also make great additions.

For burritos, I like to add some spice to my tofu scramble. From the recipe listed on the blog, I exclude the thyme and add more cumin (1 tsp.), 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro, and 1 jalapeno. Dice the hot pepper and fry it with the onion and garlic early in the scramble process.

I was lucky this morning and had some left-over cooked beans from last night. If you are less fortunate and are starting from scratch, cook 1-2 cups of black beans with 1 tsp. cumin, 1 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 bay leaf. Remember to be patient.

Assemble the scramble, beans, avocado, cilantro, and salsa on warm tortillas and dig in!


December 14, 2010

Perfect Pillsbury Cinnamon Buns

K and I recently hosted a festive winter-y brunch filled with delicious quiches, glowing fruits, spicy sausages, and these yeasty cinnamon buns. You know your brunch has gone well when your guests stick around deep into the afternoon, playing Nilsson records and chasing the sun from one end of the apartment to the other. I hadn't made sticky buns in quite a while, but thanks to Lauren at veganyumyum, I pushed my fears aside and spent my Saturday night happily flinging flour around the kitchen. I combined a few recipes with what I learned at marie's to make these buns, which were quite a success if I can say so myself! One of my friends even said they tasted just like Pillsbury!

4 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water

1 cup soymilk
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup earth balance
2 tsp. salt
6 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup earth balance (melted)
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 Tbs. cinnamon

Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water and set aside until frothy. Next, heat the soymilk, sugar, and earth balance in a medium-sized saucepan until margarine is melted. Once the ingredients are combined, add the warm ingredients to the  yeast mixture. Make sure that the ingredients in the saucepan are lukewarm. Stir together the flour and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and knead for about ten minutes.

Place in an oiled bowl covered in a plastic bag and let sit in a warm spot in your apartment for two hours.

Once the dough has risen, punch down and flatten out into a large rectangular shape. Brush with melted margarine and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Roll the dough up length-wise into a large log. Next, cut the log into 10-12  pieces. Pour the remaining margarine into a casserole dish and sprinkle the margarine with sugar. Place the buns in the dish and let rise for another hour, covered. If you are going to bake them the next day, cover and place in the oven overnight.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Once cool, frost with a mixture of vanilla soymilk and confectioners sugar.

Here's to lazy brunches and holiday buns!

December 4, 2010

Walnut and Brussels Mixed Greens

Sometimes, even in December, you just need a good salad. This one's easy and delicious, if I may say so myself. The roasted brussels sprouts are perfectly meaty alongside crunchy, toasted almonds, roasted garlic, and thin slices of red onion. The salad greens are lightly coated in a handmade shallot vinaigrette. 

Components and Assembly

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Use as many sprouts as you think necessary to feed your table. I used about 10 for K and I. Quarter and trim the little cabbages and peel, trim, and half 4-5 cloves of garlic. Place the garlic and sprouts on a baking sheet and coat in 3 Tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and a heap of black pepper. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, stirring once, until the spouts are tender and outsides seem crisp.

Toasted Walnuts
Simply place a thin layer of walnuts on a baking sheet and toss them right in there with the sprouts, shaking them every now and then to make sure they aren't burning. The nuts will be toasted before the brussels are done, so keep your eyes on them.

Mixed Greens
It is always worthwhile to look through your greens for a moment to pick out all of the bad bits. Do that- and wash and dry the little leaves

Shallot  Vinaigrette
To taste- mix 1 minced shallot, 2 cloves garlic (minced), 2 Tbs fresh cilantro, about 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar, about 4 Tbs. olive oil, about 2 tsp. soy sauce, a pinch of fresh ground pepper, a pinch of brown sugar, and the juice of 1/2 a lime.

Top with thinly sliced pieces of red onion and green apple.


December 3, 2010

French Loaves

There is nothing I love more than toasty loaves of french bread right out of the oven. If you steam the oven correctly, you can be guaranteed a lovely crumb and a light, sponge of a center. Someday I will have baguette pans and these loaves will become less chubby, but for now they are perfect for holding spreads, earth balance, apple butter, and chunky preserves. Not to mention their aptitude for becoming gorgeous stacks of french toast the morning after!

I am under the belief that bread recipes have personalities and that they find you, like a good pair of used boots or an animal companion. I started with Mark Bittman's easy-peasy no-knead recipe from How to Cook Everything and then tweaked it a tad to involve more yeast, sugar, wheat flour, and handling.

Good Luck!

November 30, 2010

Holland-Style Split Pea Soup

I love this time of the eating year: when we start cooking out of our pantries and when the Ball jars filled with lentils, peas, beans, and grains finally get re-opened and savory  (and incredibly cheap) dishes emerge. My dear friend, RW, was a real master of these foods, so this recipe is dedicated to him. We all know that split pea soup will never win the "most photogenic food of the year" award, so bear with me. This dish is hearty, and according to my friend, TS, the flavor comes pretty close to Erwtensoep, a traditional Dutch split pea soup. Add a dash of liquid smoke for an extra-meaty flavor. Perfect with a couple slices of toasty bread and makes enough to feed 6 or more hungry mouths.

3 cups dry split peas
9-10 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
2 cups minced onion
5 cloves garlic (minced)
3 stalks celery (chopped finely)
2 carrots (chopped finely)
1 potato (diced)
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine

In a large soup pot (or cauldron)  heat up the salt, water, split peas, bay leaves, and mustard. Let these ingredients simmer for 20 minutes. Now add all of the other ingredients except the vinegar and wine. Let this mixture simmer for another 40 minutes. Add the vinegar, wine and fresh ground pepper and make adjustments to taste. Top with diced tomatoes, yogurt, olive oil, and herbs.


November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

Well, here you have it folks, Thanksgiving dinner. I was sad to be away from my usual crowd of favorite omnivores but we scrapped together a few friendly faces and made the table warm this year with casseroles, pies, and gravy boats. The stuffing was perfect, thanks to a gift of Field Roast sausages from AT. This year was the first time in a while that I have been able to enjoy Green Bean Casserole and I was so enthusiastic about all the available dairy-free ingredients to be found in Brooklyn. Friends brought spicy hominy and a delicious cranberry sauce made with oranges, pears, and cinnamon. I made Isa's Pumpkin Pie Brownies for the first time and they were by far the winning dish of the evening. Why don't we eat these dishes year round? I think I am going to add Mushroom Gravy to my list of regulars. I am (at least kind of) from the South.

Sausage Stuffing

1 large yellow onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
3 carrots (chopped)
3 ribs of celery (chopped finely)
1 red pepper (chopped)
2-3 spicy Field Roast sausages (chopped)
12 oz. cremini mushrooms (chopped)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. earth balance
stale bread (I used 3  multi-grain baguettes and 1 white baguette)
4 Tbs. fresh parsley
2-3 cups vegetable broth (I use Better than Bouillon)
fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350. Grab a large frying pan and heat the oil and margarine over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for a few minutes. You know what to do next- add the garlic, thyme and sage, carrots, celery, red pepper and mushrooms. While all that is sauteing, toast your loaves of bread in the oven until they are crunchy. Break the bread up into medium-sized chunks. Once your vegetables are cooked, add a heap of fresh ground pepper and parsley. Next, use your hands to mix some bread and veggies together in a large casserole dish. Add the veggie broth one cup at a time while adding the rest of the bread and vegetables. The mixture will keep absorbing the liquid and sinking. Trust me, it will all fit in the end! Cover with foil or a lid and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing the cover at the end of the baking time to crisp up the top layer of bread.

As I mentioned earlier, these pumpkin brownies were a hit at dinner. Though you can't taste it, there is pumpkin puree in the brownie layer which makes it very light and perfect. I was so impressed by the consistency that I may start using pumpkin as my egg replacer in brownies from now till eternity. We all know that Isa Chandra is a genius, and this recipe proved the point again. I went with less sugar because I used semi-sweet chocolate, added walnuts, and used a tall round cake pan. Otherwise, the recipe is true-to-form. Find it on the ever-so-glorious PostPunkKitchen website.

Does this look familiar? It is the same pie I posted a few weeks ago along with the Pumpkin Pie recipe in the Pie Time post. AT, LN and I made four dutch apple pies on Wednesday with the oil and soymilk crust. You can't have Thanksgiving without pies, and I think this one is becoming my signature.

Wishing you happy holidays, wherever and however you spend them. Try some of these recipes in December. Even your meat-loving aunts and uncles will be impressed.


November 19, 2010

Friday Flapjacks

Good morning! It's another day on the apartment-hunt, so I decided to make pancakes. Pancakes are the official power-for-the-journey food and can truly start an otherwise daunting and unpromising day on an uphill slant. The other thing I love about pancakes is that the ingredients are (almost) always available in your pantry.

1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soymilk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. maple syrup or 1 Tbs. agave
1 Tbs. vegetable oil

Mix the soy milk with the vinegar. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix together all of the wet ingredients and add slowly to the dry, making sure not to over-mix. Now heat your skillet for about 3 minutes. Add a dab of margarine and once it's melted, drop the batter onto the hot skillet. Flip and enjoy.

I dressed the stack up with a pile of spiced apples. Just cut up some apples and fry them in a saucepan over medium heat with margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Throw in a pinch of nutmeg or cloves if you like.

Happy Weekend,

November 18, 2010

Open-Face Sweet Potato Tacos with Tempeh, Beans, and Greens

These sweet potato black bean tacos are a fall go-to recipe for any protein-seeking, flavor-loving vegan. You can find variations on the concept at many veg. restaurants like The Chicago Diner. Here's my take on the traditional - double corn tortillas with spiced sweet potato base, black beans, sauteed greens, onions, and tempeh topped with fresh salsa. Many thanks to LRW for introducing me to the wonders of sweet potato tacos.

 Sweet Potato Base
2 sweet potatoes, baked and peeled
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
pinch salt
fresh ground pepper
(Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes with the spices.)

1 can beans or 1 1/2 cups dry, cooked
1 bay leaf
cayenne pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
(Cook the beans and spices on low heat for about 15 minutes. Add the lime juice at the very end.)

1 medium-sized yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
olive oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2-3 cups mixed greens
1 pk. tempeh
soy sauce to taste
fresh ground pepper
(Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened. Add the red pepper flakes and the garlic and saute for another 3 minutes. Now add the tempeh with a splash of soy sauce and quickly fry with the onions and garlic. Add the greens and a tablespoon of water. Saute on medium heat until greens are softened.)

Preheat oven to 400. Place one layer of tortillas on an oiled baking sheet. Turn the tortillas in the oil so they get crispy when baked. Now add another layer of tortillas and smear with a layer of the sweet potato base. Next, add the black beans and the tempeh. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-18 minutes or until the tortillas get crispy and the sweet potato lightly browns around the edges. Serve with fresh salsa, hot sauce, cilantro, and avocado.


November 13, 2010

Apple and Rosemary Scones

A visit by friends, swimsuit, called for a brunch of epic proportions. K and I whipped up some tofu scramble with carrots, tomatoes, onions, and garlic and roasted up some herb-y potatoes. I'll spare you all the gory details, but trust me, it was delicious. Thanks to Isa, for posting the mother-of-all-scones recipe on postpunkkitchen. I just added in the rosemary, cinnamon, and apples and tweaked things a bit. Extra thanks to all the tasters for helping make this place feel like a home.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
4-5 small tart apples (chopped finely)
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary (chopped finely)
brown sugar (for topping)

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix together the dry ingredients with a whisk. Now cut in the earth balance (margarine) and rosemary with two knives or a pastry cutter. Next, add in the wet ingredients and apples and stir till moistened (don't over-mix!). Drop the dough onto a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Dot the brown sugar with a splash of soy milk and bake for 20 minutes or so.

Happy Brunching,

November 12, 2010

Fire Escape Baked Tofu Sandwich

This sandwich is so hot it'll have you running for the fire escape. It's easy and will provide you with lots of protein-energy and joy. I like to cut the tofu into giant slabs, but you can slice it as you like. Topping recommendations? Roasted garlic, avocado, spinach, red peppers - just use what you've got in your kitchen. We topped the sandwich with hummus, arugula, tomatoes, and sauteed mushrooms and onions. Happy double-post day! Enjoy this one, ladies and gents.

Baked Tofu
3 cloves garlic (finely minced)
2 cm. ginger (finely minced)
1/3 c. soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbs. sesame oil or olive oil
lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. extra-firm tofu (sliced)

Mix your marinade ingredients together and lay the tofu slabs in the dish. Let the slabs marinate for an hour or so, flipping once or twice. If you're in a crunch, just let the slabs marinate for 10m or so. Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes, flipping once.
Top some toasted bread with your favorite toppings and voila!


Balsamic Bed-Stuy Pasta

After another unsuccessful day on the job-hunt, I threw  on a Hank Williams record, and set out to make a quick, extra-spicy, salty, pasta for K and I. The  result was  this, a  brown and red sauce that was tangy and savory atop a heap of skinny linguine. You can reduce the Balsamic Vinegar before hand if you have the  time and want your sauce to be a bit sweeter and milder. I think this sauce would actually work very well as a winter bruschetta, so consider it, folks!

1 medium-sized onion (chopped)
4-5 cloves garlic (roasted and sliced)
1/2 green pepper
1-3 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional) depending on your spice level
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts (chopped)
2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
1/4 cup olives (mild, green, chopped)
1/2 tsp. rosemary (crushed)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 pinch thyme
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
squeeze of lemon
lots of fresh ground pepper

Start your noodle water and don't forget to salt it. You can use any pasta you like or have around. Saute your onion till soft. Add the green pepper and spices (rosemary, oregano and thyme). Saute till pepper  has  softened. Add the vinegar and stir for about  3 minutes on high. Add the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and olives and saute for another 10 minutes or so. Finish with ground pepper and a quick squeeze of lemon and serve with a heap of peppery greens.

From the east,

November 7, 2010

Pie Time

Here are two (may I say perfect) pies that have been made in the last week. You should have seen how excited I was that it is finally fall pie-season again. This Apple Pie was made for a Twin Peaks party in Marfa, and the Pumpkin for my family's early mock-Thanksgiving. The only real trick for vegan pie is having a good crust and I'm about to share with you the easiest pie crust recipe in the history of the earth. It doesn't even require Earth Balance. Believe it. Enjoy these with your friends and families and don't tell any of your non-veg. friends that you used tofu (my family couldn't believe it!).

"Dutch" Apple Pie

1 c. sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
dash salt
6-7 cups tart apples (sliced, half of them peeled)

1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/3 c. Earth Balance

Preheat to 400. Make your crust (recipe below). Combine the filling ingredients. Fill the crust till you get a monstrous heap. Combine the topping ingredients. I do this with my hands because I don't own a pastry cutter, but I suppose a fork would work too.
Cook at 400 for 45-50 m. or so.

Pumpkin Pie

12 oz. firm silken tofu
2 c. pumpkin (or 1 can pureed pumpkin)
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
dash nutmeg
dash cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat to 350. Prepare crust. Throw the pumpkin and tofu in your food processor and puree. Mix together all of the ingredients.  Pour into crust and bake at 350 for 60 m. or so.

Oil Pie Crust
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. oil
2 Tbs. soy milk

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Mix the wet into the dry with a fork. Now just press the dough into the pie pan. You don't even have to roll it out! Bake the crust at 350 for about 7 minutes before filling and voila! Welcome to pie-land, friend.

Soon I will be celebrating fall from a new city! Until then, enjoy!

October 29, 2010

Blackberry Swirl Coffee Cake

This is an adaptation of Isa's East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch. If you haven't purchased the cookbook yet, now is the time. It is a masterpiece. This coffee cake is perfect - easy enough to whip together with the ingredients in your kitchen and always a crowd pleaser. Any jam swirl will do but I usually stick to raspberry or blackberry.

1 cup soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
about 1 cup of blackberry jam, mixed

1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup oil

Preheat your oven to 350. Combine the soy milk and vinegar and allow to curdle. Mix your dry ingredients together in a bowl (this really helps, thanks EJ). Next mix the wet ingredients together and add the soy "buttermilk" to the combo. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined and still a little lumpy. Now prepare your topping. Combine the dry ingredients then use your hands to mix in the oil, a little at a time, until the crumble is a bit sandy but mostly clumpy. Pour the cake batter in a glass 8X8 dish and dollop the jam all over the surface. Now use a knife to cut the jam through the batter. Cover  with the crumble topping and pat down the surface lightly. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Once cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Making your morning better since 2010,

October 27, 2010

Home-Style Aloo Gobi

I am getting ready to move, so I am faced with the familiar challenge of using up all of the contents of my refrigerator. I saw the head of cauliflower and remembered a recipe my mum used to make that involved turmeric, ginger, and onions. Here's a variation on that recipe including potatoes and some hot peppers. My mum's recipe came from this old 1970's cookbook on Northern Indian cooking by Madhur Jaffrey. In the recipe, MJ makes a huge deal about breaking apart your cauliflower florets consistently and trust me, it's completely worth it. Otherwise they just crumble apart and you're left with a sloppy mess. There are lots of variations on this dish, so feel free to get creative. Peas make a great addition. Serve this on rice or on it's own and take it to potlucks!

1 large yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 cm X 2 cm piece of fresh garlic, about 2 Tbs. (peeled and chopped)
1 medium-large head of cauliflower (cut into 3 cm. florets)
2 medium-sized potatoes (peeled and cubed)
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 hot peppers (minced, optional)
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. salt
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro

In a food processor, chop the onion, garlic, and ginger until the pieces are very fine. Add a few tablespoons of water if necessary. Heat your oil in  a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the onion-ginger-garlic paste in the oil for a 5 or so minutes. Add the hot peppers if you choose to use them. Next add all of the dry spices and fry for a minute. Add your potatoes and a half cup of water and cover, allowing the potatoes to cook. After 10 or so minutes, add the cauliflower and the salt and some more water if necessary. Let cook until potatoes and cauliflower are both tender (another 10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, add some fresh ground pepper and the juice from 1/2  a lime and voila! Serve over Basmati rice or with some plain soy yogurt. Top with fresh cilantro.

Still eating dinner outside in Texas,

October 25, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Filling

When you know someone as  great as RN, and it's their birthday, you pull out all the stops. These cakes are the sunniest I could muster for one of the brightest people I have met in Marfa. Cupcakes are so versatile, so feel free to get wild. You won't regret it. As always, hats off to Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero for teaching us all how to make cake again.

1 c. soy or almond milk
1 tsp.  apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups a.p. flour
1 Tbs. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2  tsp vanilla extract
zest of 3 or so lemons

1 bag organic frozen blueberries
1 Tbs. sugar
juice of 2 lemons

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup earth balance
2 (+) cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Combine milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix dry ingredients together with a whisk. Mix wet ingredients together. Add wet to dry, mix, fill cupcake liners, and place in oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Now prepare your filling and frosting. Just heat up the filling  ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer for a couple minutes, then remove and let the mixture cool. Use a hand mixer to whip up your frosting, adding powdered sugar and soy milk until you reach the desired consistency. Once your cupcakes are cool, cut little cone shapes out of the tops and fill with blueberries. Replace the tops and cover with frosting. Top with crystallized ginger!

Unfrosted cakes also make perfect leftovers for breakfast!

October 24, 2010

Mushrooms stuffed with Wild Rice, Shallots, Tomatoes, and Artichoke Hearts

I had been dreaming about giant stuffed Portobello mushrooms so I had to make something of the sort. This recipe was a complete experiment and I was so happy it went well! Stuffed mushrooms can be a real bore, so I tried to mix it up with these little caps. Sauteing the mushrooms in a white wine reduction before baking helped add flavor and kept the mushrooms from getting too dried out.  The mashed avocado held everything together (for the most part) and the shallots added a sweet and earthy flavor, complimenting the winey-mushroom-caps perfectly. Thanks to CBG for teaching me the beauty of wild rice, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Serve these suckers piping hot!  

16 oz. whole mushrooms, the best you can find (capped and washed)
1 cup white wine
3 Tbs. earth balance

Stems of mushrooms (diced)
1 large shallot (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 box long grain wild rice (cooked)
2 Tbs. breadcrumbs
15 or so grape tomatoes (thinly sliced)
5 oz. marinated artichoke hearts (diced)
1 medium-sized avocado (diced and semi-mashed)
fresh sage
ground pepper

Prepare the wild rice and pre-heat the oven to 350. In a large frying pan, heat the white wine and earth balance over medium heat until the spread has dissolved  into the wine. Add the mushroom caps and saute as the wine evaporates, turning only once. Saute for about five minutes and then remove the caps and place them on an oiled baking sheet. Now prepare your filling.

In the same frying pan that has a bit of wine and oil left in it, saute the shallot over medium heat for about five minutes. Add the garlic and a touch of oil if the pan needs it. Add the diced mushroom stems and saute for another five minutes. Next, add all of your other ingredients and take the pan off of the burner. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill your prepared mushroom caps to the brim (and beyond) and place them in the oven. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until they look done. Top with fresh sage leaves and serve toute de suite!


October 21, 2010

Texas Thai Lentil Curry

This recipe was a special request from LB, who has been with me in many spice-filled kitchens, and who has heard the midnight saute and tasted dozens of trials and errors. When we were in school, this was one of my go-to recipes because it is cheap, incredibly easy, delicious, and makes for great left-overs. Could it get any better? It's still one of my staples but I've had to make a couple of revisions since finding lemongrass and red lentils can be a bit impossible in Texas. Many hats off to RW and SCL for posting the root recipe for this curry in the Dialogue Cookbook. I am forever indebted to you.

1 medium-sized yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves of garlic (minced and  trimmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. crushed red pepper (more or less, depending on your spice level)
2 cups lentils
4-5 cups veggie broth (I highly recommend Better than Bouillon brand)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 regular-sized can of coconut milk
1 large, beautiful tomato (chopped)
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
 fresh cilantro

Bring the lentils and broth to a boil and then cover and reduce heat. Cook until soft (about 30 minutes).
Put some rice on. I like to use Jasmine with this recipe, and mix in a heap of cilantro when it's all cooked up.

Saute the onions and crushed red pepper in a large frying pan over medium heat until onions are soft. Add the garlic and saute for another  couple of minutes. Next, add you spice mix (turmeric, coriander, and cumin) and fry for 5 seconds being careful not to burn your spices. Now add the tomato paste and a couple tablespoons of water. After a few seconds, add in the coconut milk and the  tomato. Stir melange and let the flavors mix together for  a few minutes. By this time, your lentils should be ready. Add them to the sauce and let the  whole mixture simmer for 8-10 minutes. Taste and adjust spices as necessary. Your rice should be done now, so mix in a ton of cilantro and start fixing up the plates! Serve with a slice of lime and a dollop of unsweetened soy-yogurt if you can find some!


October 17, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Red Onions

M & I wanted to eat something simple tonight, and I remembered one of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's recipes that incorporated sprouts with apples. I don't remember her recipe exactly but here's what I came up with. The apples help keep the other vegetables from getting too dry and caramelize the onions beautifully.

12-15 brussels sprouts (halved, washed, and trimmed)
5 cloves of garlic (crushed, quartered, and trimmed)
1 medium-sized red onion (chopped)
2 crisp apples (chopped)
4  Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. fresh rosemary (rubbed)
coarse salt
loads of fresh ground pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 425. Toss all of the ingredients on a baking pan and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place the pan in the oven and wait for about 30 minutes or until everything is starting to brown. I usually move things around on the pan every 10 minutes or so to prevent sticking. 
Nothing says fall like the smell of roasted apples! Enjoy as a side dish or on its own. Brussels Sprouts are gorgeous and so good for you, so eat up!


October 15, 2010

Blackberry and Pear Tart

      Photo by AT                                                                                                                                                                                                        

We had a big event this week at the museum and there was a bunch of fruit left over so I scavenged a half-dozen pears and decided to try my hand  at making a pear tart. A vegan cream base usually requires a number of items unavailable here in west Texas, so I did my best at substituting ingredients with what I could find in town. I brought the desert to our bi-weekly vegangelical potluck and it was a huge hit! If you have one of those fancy tart pans, now is the time to use it! If you are like me and don't have one, use a wine bottle to roll out the dough and pinch together the outer edges of the dough for a relaxed, country finish.

Tart Crust
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup earth  balance
ice cold water

Mix together your dry ingredients. Now cut in the marg. using  two knives or a pastry cutter. Try to quickly work the  dough into a sandy texture. Next add the ice cold water by the tablespoon until the dough is sticky and can be formed into a round ball. Cover the ball and leave it in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the components.

Cream Filling
1 package (350 g.) silken tofu *soft is best, but use what is available
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. corn starch
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of ginger

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Taste and adjust as necessary. Add lemon or orange zest.

Fruit Filling
5 yellow pears (cored and thinly sliced)
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. earth balance
1 pk. blackberries

Poaching pears works well for tarts, but I like to saute them in a big frying pan. Coat the sliced pears in sugar and place in buttered pan on medium heat. Turn the fruit after 3 minutes or once the pears begin to appear translucent. Caramelize the pears in shifts so that you have no more than one layer in the pan at a time and don't get rid of the juices!

     Photo by AT

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper. Place the rolled dough in a tart pan or on a baking sheet. Pierce the dough lightly with a fork. Spread 1/2 the cream filling over the entire surface and cover with a layer of pears. Next, spread the remaining 1/2 of the cream onto the surface and cover with pears and blackberries. Pour the juices from the pear saute over the tart. Pinch together the ends of the dough and place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the crust becomes golden and the cream sets. Let the tart cool once out of the oven and then place in the fridge to cool completely.


October 13, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup with Hearth Bread

Even though it still feels like summer in Texas, I was determined to have a good outdoor fall dinner with my friends. B&C kindly offered me three gorgeous butternut squashes from their garden which inspired this soup. Peeling squashes can be a real pain, so I always cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast them face-down on an oiled baking sheet before I get started. You could also choose to peel the squashes, cut them into small cubes, and boil them with the rest of the ingredients. The apples and sage help make this soup savory, but if you want to make your soup sweeter, consider adding cinnamon and orange juice.

2-3 medium-sized butternut squashes
2 medium-sized leeks (washed and sliced- bottom portion only)
1/2 cup yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (diced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. earth balance
2 tart green apples (peeled and chopped)
6 cups vegetable broth (heated)
1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar (optional)
fresh ground pepper
fresh sage

If you haven't discovered earth balance buttery spread yet, now is the time. It's perfect for sauteing leeks and onions and will make your soup absolutely delicious. Heat up the e.b. and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions and leeks for 3-5 minutes. Next add the garlic and apples and saute until apples have softened. Now toss in your squash and veggie broth and let the whole pot bubble for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Now add in the vinegar and the fresh ground pepper. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree to your desired texture and voila! This soup is so easy. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh sage. Serve with hearth bread and apple pie (recipe to come).

This bread is as easy as the soup. It's an adaptation of Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe and once you get it down, it will be one of your staple bread recipes. I like it because it never comes out heavy like some wheat breads.

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1-2 cups warm water
1 tsp. agave nectar

Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast. Stir together 1 cup of the warm water and the agave and add them to the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until it is springy and add more water as you see fit. You want the dough to come together in a ball and still be a little sticky. Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover it with a plastic bag and place it in your windowsill for an hour or so (until the dough has doubled in size). Punch the dough to deflate and shape it into a tight ball. If you're like me and don't have a baking stone, place the ball on a cooking sheet that has been oiled and covered with cornmeal. At this point, pre-heat the oven to 475 and place a low dish filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven. In 20 minutes, or once your oven is hot, coat the surface of the ball with whole wheat flour, make an X-shaped slash on the top of the bread and place in the oven. Bake at 475 for 10 minutes then decrease the temperature to 425 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when knocked. I usually spritz the oven with cool water every 5-10 minutes to ensure a nice crumb.

Happy Fall!

October 11, 2010

Classic Tofu Scramble with Rosemary Potatoes

There is no better way to start than with breakfast. It took me a while to figure out the workings of a good scramble, but with the help of AW and Isa Moskowitz I finally have a recipe that doesn't come out like a big crumbly mess. There are hundreds of good tofu scramble variations,so feel free to add/ substitute the veggies as you see fit! Kale, Carrots, and Mushrooms are very complimentary.


1 lb. extra-firm tofu (pressed)
1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1-2 cups grape tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 matzo cracker (crumbled)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme (crushed)
1/2 tsp. rubbed  sage
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt or Bragg's

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (more or less)
fresh ground pepper

Heat oil to medium heat. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 3 minutes or so. Add your spices (red pepper, sage, thyme, turmeric, and salt) and heat for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Add a splash of water to keep everything from sticking!
Crumble your tofu directly into the frying pan. You can do this ahead of time, just make sure that you are crumbling the tofu into medium-sized pieces. They are going to break down in the scramble, so beware! Carefully stir the melange, making sure the spices and oil coat the tofu. Add the crumbled cracker if you choose to add it. This will help with your texture. After 5 minutes or so, add the grape tomatoes and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh pepper and stir.
Serve with avocado and rosemary potatoes (as seen here) or wrap it all up in a tortilla with some salsa and beans! Delicious!

Rosemary Potatoes

2-3 medium sized potatoes (baked, or boiled and cubed)
3-4 Tbs. fresh rosemary (rubbed and de-stemmed)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. earth balance
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat up the oil and earth balance in a cast iron pan. Add the rosemary and fry for a few seconds before adding your potatoes and salt. The tricks to good breakfast potatoes are - making sure you are using potatoes that have already been baked or boiled and -remembering not to turn and stir constantly. Just let the cubes get golden on one side before stirring. I usually get this started at the same time as the scramble, and they take about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the cubes. Just be patient! Garnish with a spring of fresh rosemary and enjoy any time of the day!