Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nutcracker Sweets

I asked my sister Cynthia if I could include her NUTCRACKER SWEETS in this blog, and she said that was fine. She had gotten the recipe from the mother of a friend of her daughter, but thought she might have changed it a little, plus she gave it this name. I have made these for the dance school's fund-raising refreshment table during The Nutcracker Suite, where they seemed to sell well and no one knew they were eating a vegan treat. Try to find fresh pecans to make them with, as that is the most important ingredient.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl stir together two cups of organic white flour or whole wheat pastry flour and a cup of Sucanat, which is an organic brown sugar. With a fork mix in half a cup of Earth or organic Smart Balance non hydrogenated butter substitute. Possibly you could try this with a bland oil, like sunflower, but since the rest of the ingredients are expensive, I have yet to experiment. I added a sprinkle of vanilla.

Curried Nuts

CURRIED NUTS are a simple vegan treat to make for a holiday party. In a heavy frying pan roast about two cups of whole raw almonds mixed with some cashews. 

My cashews were already roasted and were supposed to be salted, but someone seemed to have forgotten to put the salt on, so this seemed like a good use for them. As they roasted in the pan, to which I added a very small amount of olive oil, probably a half teaspoon, I added a sprinkle of curry powder, tamari and some nutritional yeast. 

Keep stirring them and trying an almond every now and then, until they seem roasted enough and before the spices get burned. I made my own curry powder and it had cayenne in it, so these nuts were hot. Your curry powder is probably different. I like the book The Spice Box for some good curry powder and garam masala recipes, as well as a lot of Indian food recipes. This is a quick way to have something special to bring or to serve to guests. Store them in a tin when they cool off. Mine all got eaten, so storage was no longer an issue.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Meal

Check out my last March's entry for SAVORY ROAST GLUTEN AND GRAVY as the centerpiece of a holiday meal. You cook the double batch of a rectangular slab of seasoned gluten the day ahead, then lay it over the stuffing, also surrounding it with the stuffing. 

I know this doesn't sound very good in the telling, but for those of us who can eat and enjoy seitan or gluten, we actually enjoy this dish. You can carve it up and use a knife to cut it into smaller pieces on your plate. And it is chewy. And not made up of anybody's muscle.

Read on for all the other parts of the meal--the gravy, stuffing, creamed onions, mashed potatoes, mashed carrots and turnips and cranberry relish.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Onion Soup

I made an ONION SOUP in about twenty or twenty-five minutes, and then, to see if I was leaving anything out, I checked out Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. I guess I left out about two hours of cooking, the butter, and the beef stock. Oh, well.

I sauted a giant sweet onion, chopped into long pieces, in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I suppose you could develop the flavors with longer, slower cooking, but I was hungry.

I added five coarsely chopped garlic cloves, and a small amount of chopped hot red pepper, because there was a little piece waiting to be used up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stir-fried Rice and Gomasio

I had a bunch of steamed Chinese cabbage I needed to get rid of, plus I had used my rice cooker to make four cups of long grain brown rice, so I decided to make STIR-FRIED RICE last night.
In a large frying pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and two one-pound blocks of tofu that are cubed into half-inch sized pieces. Sprinkle it with tamari, toasted sesame oil, agave syrup and GOMASIO. I will mention how to make that, below.
Add a chopped red onion and a small amount of chopped hot red pepper. The pepper isn't necessary, but it does add a nice touch of color and hotness.
Keep stirring it every now and then, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan throughout this process.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Won't you feel clever for making BAGELS? There are only a few differences between the dough for bread or bagels, and one extra step. If you make several dozen at a time, you can freeze them. This recipe will yield two dozen bagels and four large breads.
Start in a large bowl with two cups hot water and six cups cold water. That should be just warm enough to not burn on the back of your wrist. To this, add one tablespoon baking yeast and two tablespoons sugar.

Let it sit about five minutes before adding in eight cups of unbleached white flour, (I like the kind with the wheatgerm added back in). Beat it one hundred times, to develop the gluten. If you would like a dense bagel, more akin to a bagel shop's, you can add in some gluten flour at this point, or gluten powder. This raises the protein content and will help make a denser bagel consistency, but is not necessary for a delicious bagel. Let this sponge rise for twenty minutes.


I got out my cast iron cornstick pans to make a batch of CORNBREAD. These cornstick pans have seven indented shapes that are pocked with little holes that turn out stubbled sticks of crispy cornbread that are supposed to look like ears of corn. They don't look like ears of corn, too much, but they didn't hang around long enough that it mattered. You could also make these in a cast iron frying pan, bake it a little longer, and cut into wedges. They will be less crisp that way, but still great with soup or beans.

Dry Ingredients
3 cups--whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups--corn meal (or 1 1/2 cups corn flour and 1/2 corn grits)
1 Tbl.--baking powder
1 Tbl.--chili powder
1 tsp.-- salt
1/2 tsp--sugar
Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup--sunflower oil
3 cups--water or soymilk
oil or Smart Balance margarine for the pans

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. You can either oil the pans or put dabs of Earth or Smart Balance (the organic kind) margarine in each pan opening, then heat the pans up while you mix up the batter. If you do this, the outsides of the sticks will be even crispier. I forgot to, and they were still good.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zucchini Bread

I had five really large zucchini taking up space on my counter, so what better to do with them than grate them into ZUCCHINI BREAD? 

Almost the same as carrot cake, I don't know why this is called a bread, other than it being baked in a loaf shaped pan. 

Regardless, I peeled and cored the five giant zucchini, and ran them through an electric grater, yielding enough for two batches of loaves, which was around ten cups of zucchini.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tofu Stroganoff and Red Cabbage

I thought I'd lost my recipe of TOFU STROGANOFF, but I found it tonight. There used to be little tear-off recipes from Natural Messages Company in Boston back in the seventies. Having recovered it, I share it with you, now, almost the same.
The night before, dice up a pound of tofu and marinate it in a jar with a quarter cup of tamari, a half teaspoon of garlic powder, and an eighth teaspoon of cumin and black pepper. Fill the jar with water to cover and shake it up before refrigerating.
The next night, saute one chopped large onion in a quarter cup of olive oil. Slice half a pound of white mushrooms, which is about four cups, and add them to the onions after a few minutes, along with the marinated tofu and the marinade.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lentil Soup and Sourdough Bread and Vegan Pizza

My mother would always make LENTIL SOUP when we would come to visit, and I have tried to recreate her recipe, with maybe just a few changes.

In a large soup pot, saute one medium chopped onion in a tablespoon of olive oil, eventually adding three chopped garlic cloves, three chopped carrots and two large diced potatoes. I also added a small amount of chopped celery, a small piece of hot red pepper and one small green pepper that grew all lonely in the garden.
Add one teaspoon of thyme, one bay leaf, one teaspoon of summer savory, and a half teaspoon of turmeric, just because.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Corn Chowder

If you buy some corn on the cob which isn't as good as you hoped it would be, it's always helpful when someone says, “Make some CORN CHOWDER!” So, thanks, Dean. I was also making some soymilk, so I had plenty of that, too. This meal doesn't take too long to make, and doesn't require any bread with it to be filling.
Chop up and saute together one large onion, two stalks celery, four small carrots and three large potatoes for about five minutes in some olive oil.
Add one teaspoon salt, and either black or cayenne pepper to taste, along with two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and four cups of water.

Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cook for thirty minutes, covered.
Add two and a half cups of cooked corn that has been cut off the cob, or a couple of cans of corn, or a package of frozen corn. If you used the frozen corn, of course cook it until it is all hot.
Add four cups of unsweetened or plain soymilk and serve.

I have used vanilla soymilk when I had nothing else around. Also, since I hadn't sweetened the soymilk I just made, I did add about a half teaspoon of agave syrup to make up for that.
I thought it was tasty, and the boys came back for seconds.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chocolate Pudding, Tofu Whipped Cream and Vanilla Extract

I mentioned before that I would tell you how to make a CHOCOLATE PUDDING with the soymilk that may be languishing in the refrigerator. Tonight was the night.

In a sturdy pot, add one third cup of cocoa powder, one half cup of organic sugar, a quarter teaspoon salt, and a quarter cup of organic cornstarch.
Whisk in three cups soymilk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for ten minutes. Whisk occasionally while heating.

Peanut Squash Soup

My oldest son says that the name “Squash” says it all, in regards to that Vitamin A-packed vegetable. He wouldn't touch it, normally, but since he was out in his truck listening to VPR while I blended this PEANUT SQUASH SOUP, he will never know what he ingested. 

As the chef said on Fawlty Towers, “What the eye doesn't see, the cook gets away with.”

Have on hand one buttercup squash or two sweet potatoes. Peel them, and take out the seeds, if it is a squash. Cube it.
Saute one large chopped onion and eventually add five chopped garlic cloves in two tablespoons of olive oil.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barley Pilaf

I decided I wanted to see if I could make BARLEY PILAF in the rice cooker, and it sort of worked out. This could also be easily made in a saucepan, though.

In a rice cooker saute a quarter cup of chopped almonds and a small chopped onion in a Tablespoon of olive oil. Add two cups of rinsed hulled barley.

Hulled barley is not as polished as pearl barley, and requires a longer cooking time. Cover and wait a minute or two until the button pops up, which I took to mean it was time to add a little less than four cups of water and a teaspoon of tamari and press the button down again. Cover and cook past the button popping up for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Granola and Soy milk

At the risk of making a mockery of myself, I offer a GRANOLA RECIPE and HOMEMADE SOY MILK RECIPE. It is easy to make, cheaper than buying boxes of cereal, and makes your house smell good. Also, you can hide all sorts of nutritious ingredients in it, and design it around your own dietary restrictions and taste requirements.

I use a large stainless bowl both to mix up the granola, and later in which to dump the toasted cereal before transferring it to a large metal tin. It is also necessary to have on hand a couple of flat baking sheets with edges. I use two cookie sheets. Other than a large spoon, that is the only equipment needed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Greek Vegetables

GREEK VEGETABLES don't take long to cook and use up a lot of garden produce.

Wash and prepare to chop about two cups of string beans, six medium potatoes, two medium zucchini and a couple of carrots. Chop them all into half inch to one inch sized pieces.

In a large pot saute one chopped onion and three chopped garlic cloves in a tablespoon of olive oil. In the winter or if you have people who don't like the texture of onions and garlic, you could use a tablespoon of onion powder and a teaspoon of garlic powder and just add it with the water and other seasonings. However, if you use an onion and garlic, add the other vegetables after a minute or two, and add two cups of water. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summertime Meal

Tonight's meal went over pretty well. Such a hot day called for multiple salads. I did have to turn on the stove to cook the rotini and the collard greens, but after that it was all just a matter of marinating.

I had found a great corn and tomato salad recipe in the paper which I liked because I had all the ingredients—or so I thought. Somebody had eaten the two ears of cooked corn I was counting on, so I changed it to a ZUCCHINI TOMATO CUCUMBER SALAD. 

Substitute cooked corn if you have it for the cucumbers, but this salad was fine the way it was.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blueberry Buckle

We went picking blueberries today, and tonight I made the second BLUEBERRY BUCKLE of the season, which went away as quickly as the first one did. It is a sweet dish somewhere between a cake and a pudding, with plenty of blueberries throughout, quick to make and quick, it seems, to eat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a rectangular baking dish. Have two cups of fresh blueberries handy.

Tofu Salad

No cooking at all is involved in making a TOFU SALAD, and it is useful for a dinner protein, a sandwich filling, or a dip for substantial chips.

Simply mash up a block or two of tofu with a potato masher or fork, add chopped green onion (two scallions or onion tops from the garden, or even a handful of chives) or a small red onion, chopped very small pieces of celery, three tablespoons of vinegar, one teaspoon of sweetener, a tablespoon of tamari, pepper or hot sauce to taste, a tablespoon of olive oil, and mix it all together.

You could grate up some carrot into it, add some nayonnaise or creamy miso dressing, add other seasonings if you wanted (chili powder or curry powder or mustard), or just leave it as is. It is akin to an egg salad sandwich, so you might like to add a little turmeric for a pleasing yellow color.

This on some good toasted bread or a bun with lettuce and maybe a pickle and mustard makes an easy light supper or lunch. You could also serve it with a green salad and noodle salad for a pleasant summer meal. Tomatoes could also be stuffed with it. It lasts several days in the refrigerator and travels well. Since it has no dairy or egg product in it, you don't have to worry about it turning on you in the course of a day.

Iced Tea Drink

A refreshing ICED TEA DRINK in the summer can be made in a gallon size glass jug and kept in the refrigerator. It never lasts more than a day in my house, but you might have fewer thirsty people. This is an alternative to buying expensive juice or using less natural alternatives, when someone is looking for something more interesting than water, which is always the best thirst quencher.

This summer at yard sales I found several gallon sized glass jugs with spigots down low and a plastic screw on lid on top that has a flap to lift to make the flow come out faster below. This makes it easier to access, though one of ours had a dripping problem, so we are just using a plain gallon jar with a pouring lid at top, now.

Fill the jar almost to the top with fresh spring, well or filtered water. Add three Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea bags. Cut a lemon in half, and cut off three thin rounds from the middle, adding them to the water. Juice the remaining two halves of the lemon, and add the juice to the water.

Lastly, sweeten to your taste. I have been using about three tablespoons of agave syrup, but you could use organic sugar or maple syrup.

Stir with a long spoon or whisk, then refrigerate until cold. The teabags don't take too long to flavor the water, and they turn it a pale pink.

Noodle Salad and Vegan Pesto

Chopped collards, carrots and green onion

I don't feel like cooking every night in the summer, but cold pasta dishes are quick and easy to prepare, and enough can be made ahead, in case the next day is even hotter, or if you are going on a picnic or to a potluck.

Cook up a bunch of noodles in as big a pan as you have, filled three quarters full with water and a sprinkle of salt. There are plenty of different varieties of pasta, so pick your favorite. I usually use the organic spiral rotini or the diagonally cut penne tubes, just because I buy it in bulk and have a lot around. You can find noodles made from whole grains or gluten free varieties, if you want them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Black Bean and Rice Salad served with Coleslaw

If you have a couple of cups of cooked brown rice left over, it is a matter of minutes to serve BLACK BEAN AND RICE SALAD. 

In a large bowl dump the rice, two fifteen ounce cans of drained black beans and a can of drained sweet corn.

If you have two medium tomatoes, chop them and throw them in. I only had a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes, so I used that instead.

Pour on three Tablespoons of olive oil and a half a cup of balsamic vinegar.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Potato Salad

If it's going to get hot in the next few days, it is a gift to your future self to cook up some potatoes today for POTATO SALAD later, when you don't feel like cooking.

3 pound bag--red or Yukon Gold potatoes
Large pot--boiling water

1/2 cup--olive oil
1/2 cup--apple cider or rice vinegar, with 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar OR 1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons--wet mustard, either yellow, brown or rough brown
1 Tablespoon--tamari
1 teaspoon each--hot sauce (or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper) and vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 stalk--chopped celery or 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 small--chopped onion or 3 stalks chopped green onions

1/2 cup--Nayonnaise salad dressing, if desired

For a three pound bag of potatoes you will need to make about a cup of dressing.

I like red potatoes or Yukon Gold, but any potatoes will work. Scrub the skins and cut out any bad spots. The first difference about my potato salad is that I leave the skins on. You don't have to do this, but it is the most nutritious part of the potato, so it would be a shame to discard it. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chick Pea Patties

If you need something to serve on a bun, CHICK PEA PATTIES might be something you could make at home and then not have to go to the store to buy commercially made vegan burgers. I also like them just on a plate with tomato sauce, or even just by themselves as a little snack.

I made some last night, and they are all gone this morning, so somebody must have liked them, because I only ate two, and there were seven to begin with.

(2) 15 ounce cans--chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup--whole wheat pastry flour (or another kind of flour)
1/4 cup--nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon each--wet mustard, olive oil, water
1/2 teaspoon each--tamari and onion powder
1/4 teaspoon--dried oregano
sprinkles of--red pepper and turmeric
1/4 teaspoon--olive oil for frying
additional seasonings if desired

Open and drain two fifteen ounce cans of chick peas (garbanzo beans), and mash them up in a mixing bowl. I used a potato masher, but if you keep at it a while, a fork would do.

Add a half cup of whole wheat flour. I used pastry flour, but it doesn't really make a whole lot of difference. In fact, if you are gluten free, you could use some other kind of flour, such as potato starch or rice flour.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dog Crisis Moussaka

MOUSSAKA is a Greek casserole usually made with something other than beans, but beans do very nicely as a substitute for that other substance. This dish is a good use for eggplants, and can be served hot or room temperature. It can be made ahead and reheated, and is good for leftovers.

The casserole is made in three parts, with a layering of thinly sliced eggplant and bean mix topped with a creamy sauce and perhaps some grated vegan cheese on the top.

Take one large eggplant and slice it very thinly, sprinkling it with salt and placing on a plate until you are ready to start layering. The salt will draw out the juices and possibly make the eggplant less bitter.

Meanwhile drain two fifteen ounce cans (approximately two cups) of chickpeas or lentils. The chickpeas should be chopped up somewhat, but the lentils can be used as is. Saute a large chopped onion and garlic clove in two Tablespoons olive oil in a large pot until just beginning to brown. Add two cups of chopped tomatoes (or two fifteen ounce cans), four Tablespoons of red wine, a sprinkle of salt unless the beans are already salted, a sprinkle of pepper, a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and the beans. Simmer this mixture for about twenty minutes in the uncovered pot until it is thickened.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seitan and Polenta Skillet With Fresh Greens

I am always on the lookout for fast vegan recipes that use ingredients I haven't yet tried much. I bought a premade tube of polenta at Trader Joe's that I needed to try, although the family seemed dubious about its looks. Polenta is cooked corn meal which is moist yet firm, and sliceable. It doesn't need to be refrigerated until you slice into the plastic wrapping around it.

I get Laptop Lunch newsletters monthly, which have recipes, and this month's featured a SEITAN POLENTA SKILLET WITH FRESH GREENS which looked tasty, from Nava Atlas' Vegan Express cookbook. I went to the coop looking for the baby bok choy and fresh spinach, plus the gluten powder I needed to make some seitan. They no longer carried gluten powder, having replaced it with gluten-free baking mixes galore. I did mention to them that not everyone is gluten intolerant, but grudgingly spent over three dollars for an eight ounce tub of premade seitan, because I really wanted to try this recipe. Apparently the other coop in my area has the gluten powder, and I will get a few pounds there next time I'm in town. I already had some green onions and dried tomatoes, which would be the other essential ingredients to have on hand.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

White Bean Dip

To make a quick WHITE BEAN DIP, in a food processor or blender mix up one fifteen ounce can of white beans (I used Cannelini), one peeled garlic clove, the juice of one lemon, a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley and basil, two Tablespoons of miso (one of the lighter ones), one Tablespoon of olive oil and one quarter to one half a teaspoon of garam masala. Garam masala is an Indian spice mix which can be made at home to your own tastes, or purchased already ground up. If you don't have it, add some chili powder or make up some other flavor of spices you do have, within reason. Maybe some olives, for instance. Use tamari soy sauce if you don't have miso, adding about one Tablespoon. Serve with tortilla chips, cut up vegetables or toasted bread.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tofu Lasagna

Last week I was thinking about making TOFU LASAGNA, and I wondered why you are supposed to boil the long wide noodles first, before baking them in the lasagna. This seemed redundant to me, and it was always annoying when the noodles stuck together after I drained them, as I was trying to make my layers. So I decided to experiment with using dry noodles. I also decided to use some of my vegetable soup vegetables in my tomato sauce, as we didn't seem to be eating it up fast enough, and it had started out as a giant pot of soup.

First I started out with some tomato sauce, the recipe for which you can find in an earlier post. I added scooped out vegetables from the previous posted vegetable soup recipe. This added bulk to the sauce, which was good, because I make lasagna in a very large pot I found at a yard sale. It is a big long oval stainless steel pot with a lid that is supposed to be used to roast...other things. (It comes with an insert holed tray that fits inside the bottom which I don't use.) Maybe you have one around or can find one. I actually have found two of them over the years. Or perhaps you have some other deep dish casserole you could use. It needs to be pretty deep to contain all the sauce and layers, and this new method works best if you can cover the pot during most of the cooking.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Quick Tofu Pot Pie

To universal acclaim (all five family members liked it) last night's TOFU POT PIE made its way to the table in just about an hour, using only one skillet and one deep dish casserole in the process. That's a good thing, as I didn't get around to starting it until after seven. This streamlined version was based on the Farm Cookbook (a good compendium of family favorites, which, if you ignore and change their use of white flour and white sugar, is completely vegan-friendly), but combined several processes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mine takes about twenty minutes to preheat, which, if you are efficient, should be long enough to prepare the dish for the oven.
1 block--cubed extra firm tofu

flour mixture to coat tofu
1/4 cup--whole wheat pastry flour
1/8 cup--nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp--garlic and/or onion powder
1/2 tsp--turmeric
sprinkles of--salt and black pepper

1 Tbl--olive oil, plus more if you want
1--chopped onion
1--minced carrot
1/3 cup--whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup--nutritional yeast
1 Tbl--tamari soy sauce
1 each can or 1 each bag frozen--peas and green beans
1 sprinkle--celery seed
optional--cubed potato, celery, broccoli, mushroom, sweet peppers, corn, chopped greens--but not all at once
1/4 tsp--Smoky Serrano hot sauce
2 cups water

1 cup--whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup--olive oil
1/8 cup or so--water: enough to make it into soft pliable dough to roll or pat out

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The other night there were just a few of us home, so I decided to make some HASH.

Wash and cut the eyes (or long roots, if you've stored your potatoes all winter, like I have) off two medium sized potatoes for each person. I used eight potatoes. Cube them into very small cubes, sized about a centimeter.
Chop a medium sized onion.

Fry the potatoes and onion together, breaking up an eight ounce slab of tempeh into the mixture. Tempeh can be made of soybeans or grains, and is a fermented food that is easy to digest. I hate to say any more on the subject, or you won't buy it and try it. Suffice to say the tempeh should have a whiteness between the beans which is a normal part of the cake of fermented beans. It has sort of the flavor of cheese (but what do I know, having not eaten it in so many years...) and can hold up to frying or using in all sorts of recipes instead of meat, not having the flabby texture of tofu.

Clean the Refrigerator Vegetable Soup and Crackers Even the Dog Loves

I needed to clean out the vegetable drawer anyhow, so thought I'd make some soup. To make VEGETABLE SOUP, first wash the vegetables and see what you've collected, then peel the thick skinned ones and scrub the carrots and peel the onions and garlic.

Chop up the vegetables, using as many as will fill your large soup pot about one third full. Or like me, you will start off using one soup pot, end up adding too much water, and have to transfer to the largest stock pot in the house.
In a tablespoon or so of olive oil, saute the chopped large onion. Add the cut up slices, sticks, rounds or wedges of your other chopped vegetables after a couple of minutes. I used turnips, carrots, golden beets and celery because that's what I had. Towards the end of sautéing add the minced garlic cloves (as many as you'd like).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coconut Chick Peas, Quinoa, Greens and Salad

I had a creepy experience last night while preparing to make some QUINOA and COCONUT CHICKPEAS. You'll remember I said I have attempted to be a vegan for the past thirty five years?

Now I find, upon looking at the microscopic ingredient list on my Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste which I've used occasionally for years, which my curiosity led me to examine with a large magnifying glass, that it contains anchovy extract and shrimp paste. Grrr. Poor little shrimp and anchovies! And, I am sorry, children, for I knew not what I did.

I promptly disposed of it and then cut my thumb on a can's edge, which made the dinner last night take an hour to prepare, though normally it might take at the most forty five minutes. I hope this is penance enough, along with now giving you an alternative to typical Thai cooking. My vegan version has everything else that the paste would normally have had, with the exception of the fennel seed and tamarind paste, which luckily I had on hand, but would normally have forgotten to add to my dish. (I think they have changed the formula since I wrote this, or I was using a very old version. Yet the moral of the story remains: always read labels before you buy new products. Look for the green V for vegan, or to see if it says vegan, or at least get to know what isn't vegan, and do your own determining.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Desperation Soup

The other night we got home after eight at night and still had to unpack the car. I was hoping nobody was hungry, but it seemed like they were, so I went to the pantry and only found one can of Trader Joe's Black Bean soup, not nearly enough for five moderately hungry people. I did have some cans of black beans, though, so I figured I could stretch it.

To make DESPERATION SOUP, dump a can of black bean soup and a can of black beans and one can's worth of water in a small soup pot.

Quick Black Beans

Last night's dinner of black beans was pretty good, and it didn't take that long to make. First I used my rice cooker to make two cups of dried rice in two cups of water turn into enough rice for five people with some left over, and I steamed a bunch of chopped Red Russian Kale over it. You could do this on the stove top the usual way, but I liked not thinking of these two aspects of the meal once I had them in the cooker. They were just done whenever I got around to unplugging the device, as long as the button had switched itself up to the warm setting. In other words, I didn't have to wait for the rice water to come to a boil, let it boil five minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pan, nor did I have to use a second pan to steam the greens.

While those were cooking, I decided to make some BLACK BEANS. They were done by the time the rice was, and it all took place within half an hour.
Saute two small chopped onions in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Add about half a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, turmeric, chili powder and oregano.

Add two fifteen ounce cans of black beans once the onions are softened.
Chop up sprigs of fresh basil and parsley (which is starting to grow back from the guinea pig pruning), or add a half teaspoon of dry basil and parsley along with the other seasonings.

Add a dash of tamari, nutritional yeast and smoky Serrano hot sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like), and a dab or so of tomato sauce. You made that yesterday, right?

Stir and let simmer on low until the rice and kale are ready.

In the summer I like to serve this dish with chopped up yellow onions, green peppers and red tomatoes on top of the black beans, which is served on top of the rice, with the greens to the side. Sprinkle the top with tamari, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and you have a colorful, yummy and nutritious meal.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fried Tofu

FRIED TOFU is a staple dinner food around here. It is fast and easy to make, and goes well with a pasta dinner, rice, or any other grain, served with some steamed vegetables (including the ever-important daily dark green leafy vegetables) and maybe some sauce or gravy, or a dash of a store bought dressing or hot sauce.

Buy extra firm tofu. Be sure the store you are buying from understands how to handle and store tofu. It should smell fresh and beany when you open the package, not off in any way. Nasoya, Vitasoy and Soyboy are my local favorites. Other parts of the country will have their own. In Vermont there is a small company making tofu locally. It costs twice as much, but I like to buy some from time to time to keep their enterprise going, and to support local agriculture and industry. The aseptically packaged extra firm tofu doesn't work as well for this. Fried tofu needs to have a little body to it, and the Morinu tofus are too custard-like for this particular application.

Tomato Sauce

About once a week if you have time it's helpful to make some TOMATO SAUCE. If some vegans are stopping in for dinner, you can't go wrong with some pasta and sauce, a salad and maybe some garbanzo beans either thrown in the sauce or cooked up on the side, and perhaps some cooked greens. Then the sauce can hang around for about a week in the refrigerator, helping out in other dishes, or repeats of a pasta dinner, or, if you live alone, you can freeze it in small portions (or in an ice cube tray, transferring it to a freezer bag) for use in soups or whenever you need a little sauce. It's cheaper than store bought, and it tastes a lot fresher. It's also good on pizzas—homemade or store bought rounds, or even english muffin pizzas in your toaster oven for lunch, topped with your favorite vegan cheese substitute, or shredded Tofu-Lin, nutritional yeast, olive oil, oregano and a ring of onion.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tofu Jerky

Today I got a case of three pound blocks of TOFU from my buying club, so I am going to roast some long strips of it with olive oil and tamari. You could also sprinkle it with herbs or garlic or onion powder while it's cooking, but that isn't necessary.

I preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lay out the strips of tofu that have been cut about a quarter of an inch thick on an oiled cookie sheet (what I call a cookie sheet is probably really a jelly roll pan—it has sides).

I sprinkle the tofu with olive oil and tamari and roast it on one side for about half an hour and then flip it over with a spatula and cook it on the other side for another twenty to thirty minutes, until it becomes quite chewy and a little crisp around the edges.

Check on it, because your oven might be different than mine. You don't want the tofu to get burnt. The thinner you slice it, the shorter the cooking time will be. The longer it cooks, the more leathery it gets, so don't overdo.

You can use the regular extra firm blocks of tofu for this (getting about ten slices from one block), and you can fit two blocks of those on one sheet, with room for a halved onion for more flavor for your meal. If you eat a lot of tofu, and can find the industrial sized blocks like I sometimes can, one three pound block will fit on one cookie sheet, if you lay them out touching each other, and even up on their sides around the edges of the pan.

Serve with a grain and some greens, or with potatoes and squash.

Leftovers of these are great to munch on or bring as a snack when you want a little chewy protein if you're feeling hungry. It's sort of like homemade jerky, and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Savory Roast Seitan and Gravy

SAVORY ROAST SEITAN is an easy dish to prepare. I usually just call it roast gluten, but I didn't want to scare anyone off from trying it. 

Gluten is the protein part of the wheat berry, that which is left over if you wash away all the starch from whole wheat flour, after mixing it with water and kneading it a while into a dough ball. You can do that if you want, but it's a lot easier to just buy some vital wheat gluten powder, available at natural food stores. I checked with Arrowhead Mills, one of the main producers of gluten in this country, and they are still making their own and not importing it from China, like the pet food companies do, so there is no need to worry about melamine contamination if you buy their brand, or ask if they are the source of bulk gluten powder, if that's what your store carries. Seitan is a seasoned cooked substance made from gluten, which is available in the freezer or refrigerated sections of your natural food store. The plain gluten dough ball is usually cooked in a seasoned broth for an hour or so to make it the traditional way, but I find it easier to do it my own way at home, which is probably cheaper, too.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you've brought home a package of the gluten powder, which should be about two cups, dump it in a mixing bowl and add the following seasonings, stirring them all together: two tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (better pick some of those up when you get the gluten, along with the tamari soy sauce you'll need), half a teaspoon of garlic powder, a quarter teaspoon of ginger powder, a sprinkle of cumin seeds, and a dash of red pepper. You can use a little more of any of those, if you'd like.

Add an eighth cup of tamari soy sauce to one and a half cups of water and pour that into the dry mixture. Stir it together with a fork, cleaning the sides of the bowl with the forming gluten ball. If there is any leftover dry mix, then just add a little more water. It will form a springy, spongy ball.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tangy Rice with Kale and Tomatoes

I made some rice the other night and everyone wished for more. I'd only used a cup of dry rice, so the next night I made the dish again with two cups of dry rice, and there were leftovers, with a couple of comments that it had been better the night before. So I will tell you how to make a small amount of TANGY RICE WITH KALE AND TOMATO for you to start off with. 

If you do end up doubling the recipe, be sure to use just a little less water than you did for the single recipe, because that's where I went wrong. There just ended up being too much liquid and the rice got mushy. It was still very edible, though, and I enjoyed it in my miso soup last night; all need not be lost (or thrown out) when you make mistakes in cooking (except, maybe, too much salt or baking powder...and a few other things I'm not remembering right now).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lucy's Butter Bean Soup and White Bean Soup

I asked my friend Lucy Boyce if I could include her recipe for White Bean Soup in this blog, and she said she didn't make a white bean soup, that I must be talking about Lucy's Butter Bean Soup. I checked back with the recipe I'd taken down years ago, and it just said Lucy's Bean Soup, but then said to use white beans. So. I will tell you her recipe, and then what I actually did, because my daughter Wren asked me to.

For the original LUCY'S BUTTER BEAN SOUP, have about a quart of cooked butter beans on hand. That would be about 3 cans worth, since she has you drain the beans. Butter Beans are a light brown tan small Lima bean.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Breakfast Muffins

muffins with blueberries
If you have some leftover cherry pie filling, or if you have some other berries or fruit, you could make some BREAKFAST MUFFINS the next morning. Muffins don't take very long to make, and they can be baking while you are getting ready for your day. These muffins are nutritious enough for breakfast, although around here they get eaten throughout the day until they are gone. You will need a twelve hole muffin tin for these. It could probably also be baked as a cake, if you don't have muffin tins, but the baking time would be more like fifty minutes to an hour, whereas muffins bake at 350 F in about half an hour.

Cherry Pie

Yesterday was George Washington's birthday, so despite the unlikelihood of the cherry tree chopping story, I made a CHERRY PIE. We like pie in our family, so we don't need much of an excuse to make one. This recipe could be used to make any number of fruit and berry pies, and the crust is good for any pie.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the FILLING I used 3 cans of organic cherries last night, but 2 cans would have been enough for one pie. I will tell you what I did with the leftover cherries, later.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Scrambled Tofu and Garlic Toast

Last night I didn't feel like cooking anything very complicated, so I decided to make some SCRAMBLED TOFU. The good thing about this dish is that it is all in one pot, so there is an easy clean up afterwards. It also lends itself to various additions, so it is something you can make every week or so, changing the flavor if you want. We like having turn around days, with breakfast for dinner, but scrambled tofu is good any time, really.

The problem many people have with tofu is that it is white, flavorless and flabby. This recipe will solve all three issues. I like to make a lot of something, if I am going to the trouble of doing it at all, and having the leftovers in the refrigerator for the next day or two is a nice bonus, so I used three tubs of tofu last night. A person living alone could get two meals from one tub.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Miso Soup for the sick

When I say I have been a vegan for 35 years, it would be more accurate to say I have attempted to be a vegan for all those years. There have been some mistakes along the way, one of which brings me to today's recipe for MISO SOUP. I had been ordering it at Japanese/Chinese restaurants over the years, figuring they made it like I did at home; but they, it turns out, have fish in their base stock. So it is always good to ask, if you want to know, even if it does seem pesky sometimes.

One of my daughters brought home a friend this past week who was feeling a little sick, and she requested I make some miso soup. In our family, this is akin to chicken soup in its healing qualities. In fact, I can't think what the chicken adds other than fat and protein, and a certain flavor which no longer appeals to me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Salad and Croutons

My name is Bethany, and I'm a vegan. I've been a vegan for 35 years now, and a vegetarian for a couple of years before that. You've never heard of me, because I keep a low profile. But all that is going to change, starting with this new blog. I've decided to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" which is asked of many vegans when they state they don't use animal products.  The short answer is: anything in the vegetable (and mineral) kingdom, within edible reason.  But this is going to be more like the long answer. I will try to add to it from time to time, if I make something for the family that seems to be popular, or if I enjoy eating it myself.  I'm sure I'll add a lot of extraneous information along the way, so please bear with me. As many organically grown ingredients as possible will be used, so I will say that up front, rather than writing Organic, Organic, over and over.