Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recipe Testing: Yu-Xiang Eggplant (Szechuan Spicy Eggplant)

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iPhone pic, not the best, but you get the idea!

HOORAY for  trying new ingredients! And, let me tell you, testing for Terry Hope Romero's new international cookbook has really given me the opportunity to try all sorts of ingredients and spices I have never worked with before.

This recipe called for Chinese Garlic Bean Paste, something I had heard of, but certainly never used before.  This condiment is made from fermented black soybeans, garlic, CHILI, and soy sauce.  Conveniently, I have a wonderful Asian Market within walking distance from my house (Asian Market & Video!!) so I was able to find it easily. 

Now, if you know me, you know I like things SPICY, but let me tell you, this Chinese Garlic Bean Paste came darn near close to blowing my head off!!  And, I loved every second of it.

Although not a fan of eggplant, I do see myself making this sauce for a variety of different vegetables and perhaps tofu.  I served mine over ramen noodles, which I thought was quite yummy ^_^

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Recipe Testing: Lemon Coolers!

I'm not sure WHAT possesd me to take on another recipe testing project, but when I saw a tweet asking for testers for VEGAN Holiday recipes, it was all I could do to contain myself!

These lovely little cookies are from Joni Marie Newman's (Self-appointed Queen of Veggie Burgers) upcoming cookbook: Vegan Food Gifts.

How exciting is that?!  The bulk of my holiday gifts are baked cakes and cookies.  Last year, I even made up batches of home made cinnamon granola.  Testing for this book is a treat, because I already socked away forty of these lovely cookies in my freezer for the end of the month.

Think of these as a lemony twist on the holiday butterball cookie.  The coating on these has a special suprise ingredient that adds a hint of tart to these sweet and lovely lemon cookies ^_^

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recipe Testing: Greek Village Salad with Cashew "Feta"

Who doesn't love the tangy bite of a fresh Greek-style salad?  This recipe uses cashew pieces, marinated in a salty brine, as a stand-in for the feta cheese found in traditional Greek Salads.

I usually do a vegan feta that involves marinated tofu, so It’s nice to have another “feta” recipe that isn’t tofu based, for folks who can’t have soy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recipe Testing: Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblanos and Pickled Onions

Another successful test from Terry Hope Romero's upcoming cookbook!  Warm and comforting black bean soup, with a subtle hint of heat from the roasted poblanos.  I took the time and soaked my black beans from scratch, which gave the most amazingly creamy texture to the beans in this soup.

I also learned how quick and simple it is to make pickled red onions, which will now become a regular soup, sandwich or burrito topper in our house.

As good as this soup was the day it was made, topped with pickled onions and some avocado, it got EVEN BETTER the next day! 

Freshly Roasted Poblanos, right from the broiler!
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  Another winner, for me!
Thank you, Terry!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Eats, 2011 Edition

This year, I had much to be thankful for.  My loving family and friends, my health, my home, and the delicious food that we were ALL able to share.

I am fortunate enough to be in charge of SIDES and DESSERTS on Thanksgiving, so even though there is a turkey served, I can eat the better part of the feast as well. It's a lot of work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

You see, if you cook it well, AND it looks beautiful, no one even bats an eye that they are being served an entire feast of cruelty free vegan dishes!

Here is what I made this year:
Caramelized Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

Always a hit, and so simple.  Peel and de-seed three (3) Butternut Squash, and chop into 1" pieces. Peel and halve 4-6 shallots. Toss everything in a single layer on baking sheets with some olive oil (or melted Earth Balance Margarine), brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg (maybe some allspice too, depending on how I'm feeling).  Roast in a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Harvest Green Beans

Harvest Green Beans
From the Penzey's Spice Catalogue! This dish is a nice change from the usual "Green Bean Casserole" we've all seen so many times. For those of you who aren't familiar with Penzey's spice blend Mural of Flavor, it is a salt-free mix of: shallots, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, basil, coriander, lemon peel, citric acid, black pepper, chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, and orange peel.

1 lb fresh green beans
1/2 cup pecans
2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Penzey's MURAL of FLAVOR, or your favorite salt-free seasoning
2 teaspoons agave nectar

1. Wash the beans, and cut the stem end off. (this can be done a day ahead of time).
2. To cook: Bring a pot of water (at least 2 quarts) to a rolling boil.
3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat the butter/oil in a medium pan and simmer on low with the pecans.
4. Once they are lightly browned, add the SESAME SEEDS and MURAL OF FLAVOR.
5. Add the green beans to boiling water and cook 2 minutes.
6. Drain and rinse the beans to stop the cooking, but leave them warm.
7. Drizzle the pecan mix with the honey, stir regularly, then when the beans have been drained and rinsed, add them to the pan and toss with the seasoned nut mix.
8. Place in a serving bowl.
9. Cover the bowl with foil and place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Harvest Green Beans

Mashed Potatoes & Vegan Gravy (mostly for me)
Although my mother surprised me and pulled out some of her mashed potatoes that she mashed with Smart Balance instead of butter, so I had extra potatoes!

Mashed Potatoes & Vegan Gravy
Posted by EmilyStrikesAgain @, this recipe for Vegan Gravy is one of the simplest, BEST tasting gravies I've ever made. I use this 99.9% of the time when I need a basic, all-purpose gravy.  100% omnivore approved! I usually use shallot in place of the onion.

Broccoli Aglio Olio (With Garlic and Olive Oil)

Simple and delicious. A true Italian staple for any dinner. This recipe is just about the ONLY way my mother and grandmother cook their vegetables, and it's the way I do too!

1 lb broccoli floret
1 -2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 -4 garlic cloves, sliced thin (sometimes I mince too)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Steam broccoli over a pot of boiling water, or in a veggie steamer, for about 5 minutes.
2. Feel free to steam more or less, depending on how your family likes their veggies cooked.
3. Keep in mind that you will also be sautéing the broccoli in the next step.
4. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
5. Add the garlic and saute for about 45 seconds to impart its flavors into the oil.
6. Before the garlic begins to brown, add the red pepper flakes and broccoli to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


I want to personally thank Vegan Pie in the Sky, the third installment of Isa and Terry's dessert Trilogy, for the bulk of my inspiration this year! They were truly the stars of the show ^_^

We have, Maple Pecan Pie:

And Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crunch Topping (this literally blew my MIND it was so good)!!

And, then my version of Tarte aux Pommes, which you might remember from here:

And, there you have it!  Vegan food fit for kings and queens, that stands up to even the most picky meat-eater, and even... my family. ^_^

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe Testing: White Rice & Black Beans

Taken with Instagram for iPhone
This is the first recipe I tried as a tester for Terry Hope Romero's new International Cookbook, scheduled to hit shelves next Fall!

White Rice and Black Beans is Terry's delicious spin on the dish commonly know as 'Moors and Christians'.  Now, if you already own Viva Vegan!, you KNOW that Terry's Latin inspired dishes are fantastic, so why should this one be any different.  I chose this one first, because I had all the ingredients on hand in my pantry, and it could be simmered all in one pot. what i loved most about this recipe is that it was so simple, yet the flavors really shined! I served mine with fresh avocado slices, and of course, some hot sauce.

This dish happened to fall into the rotation for my weekly: 'Cooking with Becky & Kathy Night', and my dear friend, Kathy ended up taking ALL the leftovers home! I was actually sad, but to me, any guest who leaves with leftovers is a culinary success in my book! ^_^
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Thank You to all my MOFO Readers!

I apologise for loosing some steam part way through, BUT, I sincerely appreciate ALL of you who took the time to take a peek, and leave comments on my blog!!

You see, I LOVE to cook. Whether it's following an intricate recipe for the first time, or raiding my pantry for a quick weeknight meal,  the process of putting together and cooking (vegan) meals brings me nothing but joy.  [Like AS excited as that little monster on my magnet up there!!]

My 6-year old iMac is showing signs of dimentia, so that has seriously put a cramp in my computer blogging time...


I am happy to announce that I am helping Terry Hope Romero test recipes for her new International Cookbook!  So if you are tempted by Food Porn, please visit again for some new photos, and preview some FANTASTIC dishes from around the world ^_^

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Vegan Birthday Cake!

Taken with Instagram for iPhone

My mom made me a vegan birthday cake! So proud of her for taking the time to look up a special recipe. She actually found the same "Wacky Cake" with chocolate glaze that I use!

Check it out, it's a winner.

Happy Halloween, everyone! (^_^)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Favorite Sauteed Kale

Photo by Spongebob Chefpants!
Today, I am sharing one of my favorite kale recipes, as well as sharing the photo talents of some of my online cooking buddies over at

Now, as food bloggers, we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.  But sometimes timing, lighting and HUNGER are not always on our side!  I have yet to snap a decent picture of my sauteed kale, but some of my internet cooking friends, who were nice enough to take the time to make and review my recipe, did!  Photo credits with links under each pic!  I encourage you to check out their recipes on, and while they might not be vegans, they are both 'veggie friendly'.  After all, they did both take the time to make sauteed KALE, (quite beautifully, I might add), so I think that maybe gives them an honorary degree...

Photo by Rita~

I LOVE kale and this is how I like to make it almost every time. It is simple and delicious.

Now, I am a hot pepper flake chick, but if that's too much for you, just leave it out. Great as a side dish, but I can eat this as my main meal, maybe just add some chickpeas or cannelini beans in at the end of cooking time. If stems aren't your thing, leave them out.  I usually de-stem the leaves, then chop up the tender parts of the stems, leaving the rough ends behind.

1 1/2 lbs kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or 1/2 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and let them sizzle a bit in the oil.
  • Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored.
  • Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all (most) the liquid has evaporated. I like the kale to still remain bright-ish green.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

Photo by Rita~

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Humble Home-Cooked Beans

I do love the convenience of canned beans, but a while back, I figured I'd get my tail in gear and learn how to make them from scratch.  Here was the first recipe I ever tried.

About the time I get home from work, Jamie Oliver's show, JAMIE AT HOME is usually on the Cooking Chanel.  I find myself drawn to this show because I am a HUGE fan of Jamie's simple and rustic style, and his drop-dead GORGEOUS garden (which he probably does not tend himself, but, oh well...)  Even thought there is meat on most of the plates he creates, I still find there is a lot of inspiration to be had here.

So when a vegan recipe comes along on his show, I get a little excited!

"My first thought when I saw these beans on a menu in Italy was "Beans on toast?" But then I tasted them. I felt pretty humbled that such a simple dish had been made to taste so gorgeous". Jamie Oliver

I don't think I'll ever buy white beans in a can again. I LOVE the flavor in this recipe!! It's finally nice and refreshing to see a bean recipe on network television, cooked from scratch, with OUT using bacon, salt pork or pancetta in the base :) This makes a wonderful side dish to a Mediterranean meal, or served as bruscetta over toasted garlic bread.

I did find his use of cherry tomatoes in the cooking liquid a bit out of the ordinary.  I had read TONS of cookbooks and blogs about cooking beans from scratch, and they all had the general consensus that acidic foods should NOT be used when cooking beans... But, I figured if it works for Jamie (and he has a cooking show, restaurants and cookbooks deals) it can work for me.  Plus, what's the harm in two cherry tomatoes with their skins on anyway...


For the beans:
11 oz dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water for at least 12 hours (the 11 oz is translated from the English original: 300 grams.  I used 1 lb of dried beans, and it was just fine)
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
A few sprigs fresh thyme
A sprig fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 stick celery, trimmed
1 small potato, peeled and halved
2 cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar
4 slices rustic Italian bread

  • Drain the soaked beans, then give them a good wash.
  • Place them in a deep pot and cover them with cold water.
  • Throw in the garlic, herb sprigs, bay leaves, celery stick, potato and tomatoes.
  • Place the beans on the heat and slowly bring to the boil.
  • Cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft and cooked nicely. Skim if necessary, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if you need to.
  • When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, reserving enough of the cooking water to cover them halfway up when put back in the pot.
  • Remove the garlic, herbs, celery, potato and tomatoes from the beans. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and pinch the skin off the tomatoes.
  • Put the garlic, tomatoes and potato onto a plate, mash them with a fork and stir back into the beans.
  • Season well with salt and pepper, and pour in up to 3 TBSP of extra-virgin olive oil and a few splashes of vinegar.
  • Serve on some toasted crusty Italian bread. I brushed mine with olive oil and garlic
I have to say, this could very well be my request for last meal! ^_^

So, if you have yet to venture into the world of dried beans, I encourage you to give it a go!  Not only can you save yourself lots of $$$, but the taste and texture of a fresh batch of home cooked beans beats canned any day...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spicy, Smokey Tomatillo Salsa

Spicy, Smokey, GREEN Salsa (Elphaba)

Smoky, Spicy Tomatillo Salsa Verde  

Recipe here, by Rita~ at

TRY IT, you will NOT be disappointed!!

This had to have been one of the BEST homemade salsas I've EVER tasted.  Not only is this gorgeously green, refreshing and FULL of flavor, but it is so easy to make as well.

Because I was making this for a party, and was not sure the heat tolerance of all of the guests, I used  one (1) whole habanero, but only HALF of the seeds.  It was great, just the right hint of heat at the end.  Now that I've tasted it once, I know I can use the whole habanero; seeds and all, without it being too spicy.  The fresh herbs REALLY make this something else.  I LOVE cilantro, but the addition of fresh basil is simply PERFECT.  There was not a DROP of this left and everyone asked for the recipe.

I have seen quite a few roasted tomatillo salsa recipes here on Vegan MOFO, which I am dying to try because I love this one so...  If you have any you would like to recommend, spicy OR mild, please send them my way ^_^

LOL, a little home town team fun!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taco Time

So, any excuse to bust out my new tortilla press, and I am ALL over it!!  I found a bag of Masa corn flour in the grocery store a while back, and decided to attempt home made corn tortillas.

The only problem was that, at this time, I did NOT own a tortillas press.  We (L, and myself) decided we could hand roll them... (heh, heh). WELL.. we did hand roll them, which was a giant pain in the asparagus, BUT they tasted so flippin AMAZING that I vowed to pick up a press next time I saw one...

Fast forward a month or two... Thank you, Kathy, (my Chili Cookoff friend)! I now have a $9.99 Tortilla press, and can make beautiful shaped tortillas like the ones in the pic below:

SO, last Saturday was lunch with an old friend, and instead of meeting up at Garden Grill (our usual) I decided to make us a Mexican Lunch at home.  I went a bit overboard, as usual, and made enough food for an army. Thankfully L joined us for lunch too, so my spread did not look SO ridiculously abundant for two.

Salsa de Arbol from the El Paso Veg Snob's blog
While browsing all the new and exciting Vegan Mofo posts, one can get slightly overwhelmed.  I saw this salsa post and was intrigued by the used of dried Arbol chilies (I have a big bag of them in my pantry and they are nice and spicy)! The directions stated 4-9 dried chilies. Not wanting to use the mere minimum, but not sure if my guests would be up for NINE chilies, I split the difference so-to-speak and went for five.  Good stuff! A nice, simple, tasty and fresh salsa with just the hint of spicy kick.

Cashew Crema from Viva Vegan!
I don't know why I haven't tried this sooner, what a complete and utter FOOL I've been.  I occasionally buy Tofutti sour cream, and have dabbled in making my own vegan sour cream varieties, too.  But I tell you Terry's Cashew Crema blows them ALL out of the water!!  It's so thick, rich and tangy, absolutely perfect for topping any part of a Mexican feast!  My omni better-half is a die hard sour cream fanatic.  SO much that, when I order a dish out in a restaurant that comes with sour cream, I have them leave it OFF my plate and give it to her.  Needless to say, sometimes the dairy free sour cream options are less than impressive to someone who is looking for the actual "cream" that is sour cream.  Tofutti works okay... but I like home made stuff, and so far my attempts at tofu based non-dairy sour creams have not quite lived up to her expectations...


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I mean, just LOOK at how lovely and thick it is.

I was fortunate enough to see Terry do a cooking demo at the Worcester VegFest, and the beloved Cashew Crema was featured on top of her CHIPOTLE, SEITAN, AND POTATO TACOS, which we all got to taste (my favorite part)!

CILANTRO LIME RICE:  I'm a big fan of serving rice alongside of my Mexican meals.  I wanted something simple, yet flavorful, so instead of my usual recipe for Mexican Rice, which is a bit involved, I decided to try something new. 

Viva Vegan strikes again with CILANTRO LIME RICE! Terry's tip: "This rice works well with rice cookers"*SOLD* One less pan on the stove! I doubled the recipe, and used basmati rice because I love it so.  Threw everthing into my rice cooker and hit the start button.

I came out perfect! The lime zest and juice really add a great fresh flavor to the rice.  Stir in some chopped scallion and cilantro at the end, and you are good to go!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Apple Tart: (or Forgotten Pie Crust; Best one Yet)

iPhone Pic
Sorry it's another apple dessert, but I'm getting my practice in for Thanksgiving!!

So, I had a few, lonley Honeycrisp Apples left from my Farmer's Market haul.  Not quite enough for a full blown pie, so I though an apple tart would show them off nicely.  I had bought an inexpensive tart pan a year or so back, which I have NEVER used. It even has fluted edges and a removable bottom; how very exciting!

I went back to my original pie crust recipe for this one, cutting in in HALF, because I just needed a tart 'bottom', with enough extra bits to fold over the edges.

Basic Flaky Pie Crust (Vegan)

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup margarine, non-hydrogenated (I use Earth Balance)
1/4 cup ice water, plus 1 tbsp ice water as needed

Now, I don't usually commit to making pies on weeknights, but the urge was there, so I went with it.  I cubed up all my shortening and Earth Balance on a little plate, measured out my flour in a stainless steel bowl, and proceeded to place them both in the freezer to chill, as I always do.  And then, fell asleep...

I woke up, slightly dazed, and decided that the crust ingredients would be fine in the freezer until tomorrow, and went to bed.  And they were.  Next day after work, I figured I'd better make this bad boy, so I pulled out the butter and shortening cubes to let them thaw, so as not destroy my food processor when I pulsed.  The dough came together nicely. So, I scooped it out into a disk, wrapped it in saran wrap and placed it in the fridge to chill for 40 mins. And then, my urge to bake a tart had suddenly left...

"Well, the crust is done, and ready to go," I thought.  "I'll just bang this thing out tomorrow when I'm fresh."

Okay, THURSDAY night after work (I started this on Tuesday...) THURSDAY, I came home from work, determined to have apple tart made, come hell or high water! I pulled my 'crust disk' out of the fridge to get the chill off before I rolled it out. I peeled three (3) apples, sliced them with my apple slicer and THEN cut each slice into 4, to make beautiful, thin pieces.  The crust rolled out like a dream.  I think I let it get a bit more room temperature than normal, which is odd because I am usually paranoid about the crust getting too warm.  Perhaps, that is part of my problem... rolling the dough out too cold(?!)  Anyhow, the crust fit nicely into the tart pan, with just enough hanging over to fold. But I felt the fat melting a bit, so I put the crust into the freezer while I finished preparing the apples.

I read a couple of different tart recipes online where the sugar and spice were sprinkled over the apples after they were arranged in the tart pan.  So, I went to work arranging my little apple slices in co centric circles, overlapping each other, working from the outside, in.  I then sprinkled them with 2 TBSP of sugar, about 1 tsp of cinnamon, and then a few shakes of Cinnamon PLUS from Pampered Chef (cinnamon, nutmeg,  allspice and a bit of orange peel).  I folded the edges of the crust over onto the outer edge of the apples, and brushed the entire top with 2-3 tbsp of melted Earth Balance.  For an extra, special good measure, I also sprinkled the crust with extra sugar and cinnamon.

Bake your lovely tart at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.  Many of the tart recipes online also had the last and final step of glazing the top, right out of the oven, with a type of jam or jelly.  I had in the fridge, a jar of Holiday Jam, from Stonewall Kitchen, which is a mixture of pear, cranberry and raspberry with a hint of orange. I thought this fit the bill nicely, and the jar was almost done.  So I nuked what was left in the microwave, about 2 tbsp, and brushed the top of the entire tart before it cooled.

I don't know if it was freezing the butter/shortning cubes overnight, letting the dough rest in saran overnight, putting the rolled dough in the freezer before I baked it, or dousing the whole top in Earth Balance, but the crust on this tart was one of the BEST I have ever made OR tasted.  So flaky and delicious, and omni-approved; it absolutely melted in your mouth.  My boss at work, (the Martha Stewart of cakes and baking I call her) even asked for the recipe.  And, my mother requested this tart (not apple pie) for Thanksgiving.  Well, hey, I'll take it... Impressing people with vegan treats always puts a smile on my face ^_^

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smoothie To-Go!

Been cooking a lot of food lately... And I mean A LOT! This Vegan MOFO is kicking my but, and I have enough leftovers in my fridge and freezer to last me all Winter.

Some days, you just need to start off with some raw liquid sunshine!

Here we have:
1/2 of a Honey Crisp Apple (peeled & cored)
2/3 of a ripe frozen banana
1 cup frozen Mango  (Trader Joe's)
1/2 tsp cracked Flax Seeds
Fresh Orange Juice to cover

Blend until smooth!  Pour into jar (above we  have a clean, de-labeled Veganaise jar), screw on the lid and your are ready to hit the road. ^_^

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cheezy Artichoke Crostini

Creamy Artichoke Crostini

PPK Cookbook Challenge Week Three: Colleen Patrick Goudreau

Since the folks over on the PPK website are cooking from Colleen Patrick Goudreau's cookbooks, I decided to take  some inspiration from them and follow suit.

Although I do have Joy of Vegan Baking and Vegan Table, this dish was inspired from Color Me Vegan.  Colleen was nice enough to post some sample recipes here, on her website.  For the dish above, I used the cashew cream part of the Black Olive Bruschetta with Cashew Cream.  Since I had no black olives on hand, I decided to mix in a can of artichoke hearts instead.  I then added some extra garlic and nutritional yeast to give it a bit more cheezy artichoke dip flavor.


1 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional oil for brushing
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon miso (white or yellow)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 -2 garlic clove, minced
1 -2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt and pepper, to taste
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can artichokes, chopped
1 baguette, sliced
fresh chives, minced, for garnish

  • Soak the cashews overnight in just enough water to completely cover them. The next day, drain and rinse the cashews, then set aside.
  • In a medium sauté pan, sauté the onions in the 1 tablespoon of oil until translucent and tender, about 5 to 
  • Place the soaked cashews, sautéed onions, miso, lemon juice, minced garlic and water into a blender and process until smooth.
  • Mix in the chopped artichokes, and nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, to taste.
  • In the meantime, preheat broiler to high.
  • Brush the baguette slices with a light layer of olive oil and broil for 2-4 minutes, watching closely to not burn.
  • Top each toasted slice with 1-2 tbsp of the cheezy artichoke spread then sprinkle with chives.
Creamy Artichoke Crostini

I was fortunate enough to hear Colleen speak at a book signing here in little Rhode Island.  I actually found out about it by accident, but had time to rush down to the Barnes & Noble in Warwick with my books to get them signed!  I have listened to her podcasts many times, and I must say, she is EVERY bit as inspiring and enthusiastic about veganism in person ^_^

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh, Smoky Curls, You are Shamefully Addictive

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I would almost have to say:  It is a sin how good these are...  Perfect for Sunday Brunch, next to a huge stack of pancakes.  And don't even get me started on how amazing these are on whole wheat toast slathered with Veganaise, lettuce and tomato...

If you don't have Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson, run to your nearest bookstore and buy it!!  I have this cookbook on my Nook Color, and I have to say, every recipe I've tried so far has been a winner!  Google books just so happens to have a sneak peek of the Smoky Soy Curl recipe here, if you'd like to check it out.

So, Soy Curls... 

When dry, they kind of remind me of shriveled up witches' fingers  Not very appetizing, I know, but when re-hydrated, these little babies take on a life of their own!  Soy Curls are not sold in stores anywhere in Rhode Island, so I decided to order me some bags to keep in the pantry.  I ordered quite a few... but the price was better the more you bought!!  They also threw in a container of their Chickn Seasoning too, (kewl)!

The beauty of the soy curl is two-fold. 
ONE: although they are technically a processed soy product, Soy curls are actually made from certified Non-GMO, WHOLE soybeans, grown without chemical pesticides.  Many of the vegan "meat" products on the market today are made with “soy protein isolates”. These protein isolates are obtained through a rigorous chemical process, often using the chemical hexane, where the soy protein is actually separated from the fat of the soybean.  Thankfully, soy curls leave this chemical bath behind when making their product
TWO: Soy curls have no FLAVOR, whatsoever. Which gives you, the cook, the power to impart any flavor your heart desires!  The suggested method of re hydration from the Soy Curls website is plain ol' boiling water. I always thought that was a little pedestrian, considering there are so many broths and spices one could use to infuse flavor RIGHT into the curl!  I'm thinking something more like veggie broth, a splash of soy or Bragg's, some sage, thyme or rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder...something!

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That's what makes Julie's recipe so great.  The curls are re hydrated in a mix of water, soy sauce and LIQUID SMOKE, the vegan equivalent of smoky, bacon-flavored goodness!  These smoky curls can be whipped up, marinated, and sauteed to a crispy-sweet and smoky goodness in about 15 minutes.  Julie's recipe, as written, makes an abundance of smoky curls! 

I have about a third of them leftover, and am going to attempt a Pasta Carbonara.  Will let you know how it goes!  If I can pull it off, my meat-eating better half will be MINE foreverrrrr!!  ^_^

Monday, October 3, 2011

One More Eggplant Triumph!

Fellow eggplant haters, are you still with me?!

Today I have one more delicious recipe that utilizes my (I guess we could say 'former') arch nemesis, the Eggplant.

Roasted Eggplant Spread
(adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)
 I 've never gone wrong with veganizing any of her recipes, and this one was actually vegan as written!

1 medium eggplant
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion in half.
  • Spread them face down, along with the garlic, on a baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, flipping once during cooking.
  • Cool slightly.
  • Remove the flesh from the eggplant, and the seeds from the peppers. 
  • Roughly chop and place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and a tbsp of olive oil and blend. 
  • Pulse 3-4 times for more texture, or blend until smoother, your choice.  I blended mine a bit more smooth.
  • Taste for salt and pepper.
*If you have jarred roasted red peppers on hand, those work great in this too!!

This dip has a wonderful roasted flavor and tastes amazing.  The roasted red pepper and the tomato paste add a fresh Mediterranean flavor to this.  Fresh oregano or basil would be a nice addition as well.  This dip is great spread right on plain bread, pitas, crackers, use it as a sandwich spread OR make mini pizza bites!

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iPhone pic :P

Fresh baguette topped with eggplant spread and a sprinkle of Daiya Mozzarella, baked at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

Now that I have given eggplant a second chance, (and have actually found some new ways to enjoy it), I thought I'd look up its nutritional benefits:

"Eggplant is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which can help protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular. The vitamins in eggplant consist primarily of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate and vitamin C. Eggplant is also rich in minerals, boasting a large quantity of potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. With no fat, six carbs and 27 calories in a 1-cup serving, eggplant makes an excellent addition to any diet".

(B vitamins, huh? How great is that?!)
So there you go!  Eat  your Eggplant! ^_^

(I will post something other than eggplant tomorrow, I promise)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Confessions of an Eggplant Hater

Haters gonna hate, and let me tell you, my distaste for these squat, purple little vegetables runs quite deep. Who's with me here?!?  I've had more soggy, mushy, bitter skinned eggplant dishes in my lifetime than I care to count.  And, don't even get me started on the SEEDS.  There's nothing worse that biting into a perfectly crisp, fried eggplant sandwich, only to find yourself with a mouthful of bitter seeds... blahhh!!

So when my friend brought me over a cute little eggplant that she grew herself in her garden, I was less than enthused.  How can I possible make this into something I'd actually want to eat?!
Garden Eggplant!

So falafels came to mind, (as they so often do), and I thought I'd try my hand at some Baba Ghanouj

Baba Ghanouj - Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip

Baba Ghanouj - Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip

1 eggplant (1 medium or 2 small)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 parsley, minced
black pepper, to taste
1 pinch cayenne (optional, bu I like a little spice)

For garnish
olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with non stick cooking spray.
  • Slice eggplant(s) in half lengthwise, and place face-down on baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until very tender.
  • Cool until comfortable to handle.
  • Scoop out the eggplant flesh and discard the skin.
  • Place in food processor with garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and coriander.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Add minced parsley and pulse to combine.
  • Pour into bowl, check for salt, add pepper and cayenne (if using).
  • Chill for half hour, or until ready to serve.
  • Top with a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley.

I served this as a spread on homemade falafels, and had the leftovers with pitas. ^_^