Friday, October 31, 2014


Delicious and easy bibimbap recipe from the asian vegan kitchen cookbook.

Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

Vegenaise never fails to help reproduce the tastes of childhood in middle America. This is basically tuna salad but with mashed chickpeas instead of tuna. You could try harder to make it taste fishy (as I did with this tempeh "tuna"), but really the effect is about all the other ingredients. I used minced scallions, celery, carrots, and pickles, along with the chickpeas and the vegenaise, plus mustard, salt, and black pepper. I was amazed by how easy and delicious it was.

I'm also thinking that if you want to avoid vegenaise you try using this cashew "yogurt" that worked so great in another savory dish.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cucumber Onion Raita with Cashew "Yogurt"

I seriously have no idea where October went. Does anyone know? Can you send it around my way so we can catch up? Eep.

A post on findingvegan (which I now can't find!) about using a thick cashew milk instead of yogurt in a cucumber salad left me wondering why I'd never thought to do this before! I first tasted Indian cuisine only 3.5 years before going vegan, so for most of my Indian-food-loving life, raitas have been that one thing on the vegetarian thali plate ya don't eat. And only rarely do I think, I'm missing out because the mellow creaminess of the yogurt really complements some of the other dishes on the table. Most nondairy yogurt weirds me out a bit, but cashews? That is brilliant.

This was stupidly easy and also delicious. Also you could easily tweak the seasonings used for a more western-style set of flavors (dill and parsley instead of turmeric and mustard seeds?).

Cucumber Onion Raita with Cashew "Yogurt"

6 persian cukes, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
pinch turmeric
pinch salt
1/2 c cashews, soaked and rinsed
3/4 c water plus more as needed
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch turmeric
cayenne and salt to taste
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

1. Pour hot water over the cashews to cover and let them soak for at least five hours. If you're in a hurry, you can simmer the heck out of them on the stove to speed things up.
2. Combine the cucumbers, onion, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3. Drain the cashews, then put them in the blender with about 3/4 c water. Adding more water as needed, blend until you have a thick and smooth mixture with a consistency somewhere between pudding and yogurt. Remove from blender and put in a pyrex measuring cup. Add lemon juice and salt until it tastes kind of like yogurt.
4. Over high heat, heat the oil in a small frying pan with the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, cook only a few seconds more and then remove from the heat.
5. Add oil and mustard seeds to the cashew mixture, then pour the cashew mixture over the vegetables and stir it in. Add pinch turmeric and cayenne and salt to taste. I mixed in some cherry tomatoes at the end as well. Serves about 4.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Kale Salad Wow

Kale Saladwow


blanched kale

1/2 c edamame

1/4 apple, diced

1-2 stalks (raw) bok choy, diced small

tahini dressing:
     white wine vinegar
     olive oil
     garlic powder

6 oz tofu, browned with:
     liquid smoke

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

2/3 c toasted walnuts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Butternut Squash with Coconut Milk and Harissa

I've put off writing this post for a while because I'm still feeling a bit traumatized. Let me be clear: this recipe from ecurry is a brilliant one, blending cuisines in a way that is innovative and delicious. But let me also be clear: I should have exercised some common sense on this one. 1/4 c of this harissa is nearly lethal.

multitasking, mise-ing en place for kale edamame salad and janet's pea curry

This recipe became like strega nona's pasta pot (or stone soup?) as we kept adding things to try to dilute the heat enough to where this would be edible. Even this blended soup, with stock and more coconut milk added, was still super spicy.

I was just so excited to use harissa! It brings marvellous flavors to so many different dishes. But you know what? You can always taste and add more later.

Butternut Squash with Harissa and Coconut Milk
(from ecurry)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4-5 cups cubed approximately) **
1 c coconut milk (of all light coconut milk, if you want a lighter version)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon oil
3/4 inch fresh ginger, peeled and julienned – divided
salt to taste
1-2 TB harissa (add more to taste)
few tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, julienned

1. Peel and cube butternut squash. Wash and pat dry.
2. Combine coconut milk with sugar and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add half the julienned ginger and stir fry for about half a minute and then add the cubed squash. Add salt and cook them at high heat until the outside of the cubes are coated with the oil and they just start to turn brown at the corners. Add the harissa and toss and cook again at medium heat until all the harissa has coated the cubes. About 2 -3 minutes.
4. Now add the coconut milk/cream and fresh mint leaves, stir and bring it to a simmer. Cover partially and cook until the butternut squash softens and there is still some liquid left in the pan. Now add the rest of the julienned ginger and stir them in. Finish off with fresh mint leaves. Serve with rice or flat bread. Serves 4-6 as a side.


On the subject of spicy things with coconut milk, this massaman curry recipe from vegan richa was awesome! I seem to have forgotten to take a picture, though...

beet / bean / okra quickpickles (quickles?)

More pickles!

Okra pickles are from the supermarket. The green beans were pickled with red wine vinegar and garlic cloves.

Beet pickles with white vinegar, sesame oil, and lime juice

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Two New Recipes with Vadouvan

It was hot, and I had a lot of vegetables.

Thus started an amazing new discovery: these two dishes, and their star component: vadouvan. Vadouvan is a French-ified curry powder that comes pre-loaded with onion, garlic, shallots, and salt, along with spices like turmeric and mustard seeds. My friends Clare and Nako sent me some from the spice house in Evanston, IL, over a year ago, and while I'd sprinkled it into something, I'd never let it be the star ingredient before. Same goes for nigella seeds, which I also used here: usually they have to share a role with mustard seeds and/or cumin seeds, but here they held their own with their more subtle flavor.

Since these recipes are more like stir-fries, it would be pretty easy to change around the vegetables, add a chili at the beginning for more heat, etc. I really like the combo of vegetables in the first recipe, because the cauliflower stayed crisp while the mushrooms became lovely chewy bits, with the okra somewhere in between. When cooking with okra I think it helps to add something acidic, like tomatoes or amchoor powder, to minimize the slime factor.

After this first recipe is a second, similar, simpler one that I actually made earlier that same day, but ate all of it right out of the pan. That one is more of a side dish with crisp green beans.

Stir-Fried Mixed Veggies with Tomato and Vadouvan

2 TB canola oil
1 TB nigella seeds
6-8 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tsp vadouvan
1/2 tsp asafoetida (optional)
1 c cauliflower florets
1 c mushrooms, quartered
2 c okra in 1/2-in round slices
3/4 c diced tomatoes w/juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp amchoor powder (optional)
salt and cayenne to taste

1. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add garlic. Cook for a moment, then add vadouvan and asafoetida. Cook while stirring until everything is fragrant but not burning.
2. Add cauliflower and cook for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and cook a bit longer, all the while stirring to coat the vegetables in the oil and spices. When mushrooms start to soften, add okra and cook a bit longer--it's really nice to get a little bit of browning on the okra.
3. Add tomatoes, turmeric, and amchoor, and stir and cook a few more minutes. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Serves about 4.


Garlicky Green Beans with Vadouvan and Nigella Seeds

2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp nigella seeds
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp vadouvan
pinch asafetida (optional)
2-3 c green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in pieces
smoked salt to taste
cayenne to taste

1. First, blanch the beans by placing them in a large pot or bowl and pouring boiling water on them, enough to cover them. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add garlic. Cook for a moment, then add vadouvan and asafoetida. Cook while stirring until everything is fragrant but not burning. 
3. Drain green beans well, then add them to the pan. Stir to coat with the oil and spices, and try to get a little bit of sizzle-browning on some of the beans, but don't overcook! The beans should still be crisp.
4. Turn off the heat and season with smoked salt and cayenne to taste. Good hot or cold. Serves 2-3.