Friday, October 2, 2015

Mushroom Ravioli with "Vodka" Sauce

Ravioli is so much work, but that very fact makes it a very satisfying endeavor. Think about it: how many food cultures have some sort of dumpling, or dough-around-filling type parcel, despite the fact that there are almost always easier delivery mechanisms for the same nutritional components (for example, sauteed slop on top of wheat berries)? No, there is something particularly attractive about a parcel of food--even the abominable Gushers fruit snacks enjoy some of this allure.

Adge had mentioned she really liked vodka sauce, which I'm not sure I'd ever had. I did some reading on why on earth you would ever put large amounts of vodka into a food (which sounds horrendous, even if most of it cooks off). But in addition to some pseudo science about flavor molecules that are only soluble in alcohol, the big thing is that there's cream in this tomato-based sauce (and maybe the alcohol helps stabilize the cream vis a vis the tomato?). So here's a tomato sauce with white wine and cashew cream. Other than that, it's pretty much the standard marinara-ish sauce I always make.

The method for the ravioli pasta, and the timing for filling, sauce, and pasta, are over here.

Mushroom Ravioli with "Vodka" Sauce
(filling was same as this one, except I used mushrooms for "something meaty")

For the sauce:

1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 chilies, minced (remove some or all seeds)
1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/2 c white wine
1/3 c cashew cream (just blend raw cashews and water)
fresh basil
salt and pepper

In a medium-to-large saucepan, heat olive oil. Saute onion until soft, then add garlic and chilies with a pinch of salt and cook a few minutes.
Add tomatoes and wine, then turn down heat to simmer. Add oregano and marjoram (or the herbs of your choosing), and cook on low until tomatoes are soft.
When sauce is close to done, add sugar, cashew cream, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a bit longer.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Recently I had the opportunity to sample some delicious vegetarian borshch made by an amazing old lady who grew up in Ukraine (n.b.: ingredients I now know how to say in Ukrainian: onion, carrot, chili, garlic, mushroom, beet, cabbage, dill). Here I wanted to make a version that was not too far from that but also could stand on its own as a one-pot meal. I read that sometimes these soups have sausage in them, so I added tempeh, mushrooms, and some sausage seasonings--which add not only protein, but also a great depth of flavor. Using the "No Beef" stock paste is also an incredible shortcut (and it works fantastically here). Chilies, tomato paste, and worcestershire sauce also amp up the flavor.

Finally (and not to sound like a broken record), cashew cream is probably the most amazing thing in the history of veganism. Literally all you do is soak raw cashews in water, then drain, then blend with new water (and a pinch of salt, lemon, etc), and you get the most perfect substitute for yogurt, cream, sour cream, milk, and so on, depending on how you tweak it. Half a cup of cashews will yield more than a cup of cream, making it way way cheaper than any commercial/processed alternative (and you can make only as much as you need).


1-2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 serrano chili, minced (seeded or not depending on your taste--I seeded half of mine)
pinch salt
1 block tempeh, cut into small cubes
1 tsp fennel seed
small pinch ground allspice
splash tamari
5 cloves garlic, minced
7 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 c vegetable stock (I used Better than Bouillon "No Beef")
2 large beets, peeled and diced
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
4-5 c more stock (or if you're cautious about salt, do 3-4 c stock and 1 c water and adjust to taste)
3-4 TB tomato paste
splash Worcestershire
1 TB minced dill
cashew cream
more dill
red pepper flakes or paprika

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and chili with pinch of salt, and saute until soft and fragrant.
Add tempeh, fennel, allspice, and tamari and saute some more, until tempeh is lightly browned.
Add garlic and mushrooms, cook briefly, then add 1 c vegetable stock to deglaze/keep from burning. Cook a few more minutes.
Now dump in the beets, cabbage, and the rest of the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beets are tender but still firm. Add more water or stock as necessary to just cover.
Add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and dill. Taste for salt and other seasonings, and adjust.
Serve hot, garnished with cashew cream, more dill, and red pepper flakes or paprika. Serves 6-8 (freeze some for later?).

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Red Curry Carrot Soup, Fried Rice

Fantastic dinner featuring a carrot soup recipe from 101 cookbooks.
  • carrot soup (recipe from 101 cookbooks
  • fried rice with black vinegar and green peas
  • slow-baked chili tofu (something like this)
  • cucumber-cashew salad (recipe adapted from the asian vegan kitchen)

Simple Carrot Soup with Red Curry Paste
(from 101 cookbooks)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
scant 1 tablespoon red curry paste, or to taste
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped - 1/2-inch chunks
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 1/2 cups / 360 ml of water, or to cover
1 lemon or lime

In a large soup pan over medium-high heat add the oil and onion. Stir until the onions are well-coated, and allow to saute until translucent, a few minutes. Stir in the curry paste, and then the carrots. Allow to cook another minute or two, and then add the coconut milk, salt, and water, adding more water to cover if needed. Allow to simmer until the carrots are tender, 10 - 15 minutes, and then puree using a blender or hand blender until the soup is completely silky smooth. This next part is important (with any soup) - make any needed adjustments. Add more water if the consistency needs to be thinned out a bit. After that taste for salt, adding more if needed. And add lemon or lime juice at the end. Serves 4.


Cucumber-Cashew Salad, Slow-Baked Chili Tofu, Fried Rice

Kind of Macro

sweet potato hash browns
steamed broccoli
miso-tahini sauce
baked tofu (something like this)

Friday, September 4, 2015

This is how we breakfast / picnic

Sometimes the best food needs no recipes.

Coffee, sprouted rye bread from Trader Joe's and intense rye bread with coriander seed from Mediterranean Best Foods, homemade roasted red pepper hummus, earth balance, tomato, red onion, avocado, lemon, and almond-stuffed Meski olives from Trader Joe's

 Garlicky succotash with edamame instead of lima beans, sloppy joes made with cauliflower-walnut slop, quick-pickled shallots

Cornmeal-battered and fried pickle spears with caper-dill mayo, watermelon, salad, sloppy joe round 2

Soondubu Jjigae (sort of)

This soup had marvelous sour, spicy, and umami flavors.

Soft Tofu Stew (Soondubu Jjigae)
(adapted from gumshoe gastronomy)

For the stock:
1 sheet of dried kelp
3 dried shitake mushrooms
½ onion, quartered
6 cups water
For the sauce:
2 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 TB chili-garlic paste
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey or agave
1 Tbsp liquid from kimchi jar
For the stew:
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 c asian-style pickles (I used these) or kimchi, chopped
3 c shredded cabbage
1/3 lb soft or silken tofu
Salt, to taste

1. Combine all stock ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix together all sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes until the mushrooms release their liquid. Stir in the sauce and sauté for a few seconds until bubbling. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Add the remaining veggies and cook until cabbage wilts.
3. Drop the tofu into the stew in one block. Gently break up the tofu as you stir it into the sauce (don’t crumble it in because the stew should be chunky and the tofu is very delicate). Continue to boil until the veggies are soft.
4. Taste for salt. Serve with white or brown rice and garnishes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chili Roasted Eggplant

I made this for my mom when I was visiting last month--it's really simple (and customizable), but feels strangely fancy.

The basics: you need something salty and something oily for sure, plus ideally something sour, something spicy, and (for maximum broil action) something sweet.

Oily: canola (plus optional: a little bit of sesame oil)
Salty: tamari (or: miso paste, rich veg stock, etc)
Sour: rice vinegar (and/or: lime juice, other vinegars)
Spicy: sriracha or chili-garlic sauce (etc)
Sweet: pinch of sugar or agave
Also: garlic powder (and/or: minced garlic, minced ginger, onion powder, sesame seeds... wasabi?)

As in a vinaigrette, oil should be the largest portion, balanced out (to taste) by salty and sour. And everything else to taste. This is how I think about recipes these days, which may be one of the many reasons this blog has been languishing. I've been cooking really intuitively--and not precisely. I mean, this recipe depends on how big your eggplant is!

But here's the general game plan: preheat oven to 375. Slice your eggplant into thin (1/4-in) slices. Mix together your sauce. Get a baking sheet and a piece of parchment paper. Brush both sides of the eggplant with your sauce and then spread them out on the parchment paper. Bake for about 20 min, then check them. At some point you'll want to re-brush the eggplant and flip them over. But basically you are just watching to make sure the slices are still wet with sauce, and then you are watching to see when they are brown and melty (i.e., no longer raw looking).

Garnish with great things like cilantro, sesame seeds, and scallions. Goes great on/with: sandwiches, noodles, tapas, rice...