Saturday, October 31, 2009


I have to admit that I don't know very much about Korean cuisine. However, in all my hippie-dippy macrobiotic, etc., reading, I've become well aware of the supposedly amazing health benefits of kimchi. There's the anti-oxidant power of lots of garlic, and I believe ginger and chili peppers are anti-inflammatory? Plus, there's a great deal of vitamin C in carrots and cabbage. Then there's the dubious fermented magic--like miso, kimchi may introduce friendly little beasts into your intestines to aid you in digestion! This might be especially beneficial to vegans, who can't eat yogurt (unless you're eating soy yogurt, which is a] gross and b] not particularly vegan). Of course, this is all colloquial psuedo-nutrition, so take it with a grain of salt (or a pinch of gomasio?).

Anyway, if nothing else, it's a good way to get more vegetables into your diet. Oh, and it's really tasty.

The following recipe is from The Asian Vegan Kitchen, which is a great cookbook: rather than veganizing traditional dishes, it only includes dishes that are vegan anyway (besides substituting oil for ghee). It appeals to ethnic-cuisine dillettantes in that it's really nine cookbooks in one--it's organized into sections for India, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Korea, so it has an incredibly wide variety of recipes.

I used regular cabbage and radishes rather than bok choy, etc. It looks very different than most kimchi I've seen (it's not red!).

Cabbage Radish Kimchi
(adapted from The Asian Vegan Kitchen)

1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced and then chopped
5-10 radishes, very thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, julienned
1 c scallions (green part) or chives, cut into 1-in pieces
1 TB salt
4 c water
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 TB minced ginger
1-2 TB minced chili peppers
1 TB water

1. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add salt to water and pour it over the vegetables. Place a plate and a heavy weight over the vegetables (or just use a big stack of plates). The vegetables should be completey immersed. Let them stand for 4-5 hours.
2. Drain vegetables and discard water. Rinse and drain, squeeze dry.
3. Mix together garlic-chili paste ingredients. Add to vegetables and toss until evenly coated.
4. Place vegetables in large, sterile jars. Place in fridge or leave on counter. Fills 2 large jars.

I think since kimchi was traditionally buried in the ground, it's not at all cheating to put it in the fridge. But, if you leave it out, it will do its thing more quickly. It tastes pretty good after just a few days, but it's even better weeks (or even two months!) later. I don't know--I'm new at this thing...and there are a lot of possibilities!

Halloween baking

I wanted to make something Halloweeny for a party today. Normally, I'm not a fan of mixing chocolate with pumpkin (like chocolate chips in pumpkin bread, for example--the chocolate overpowers the pumpkin and spices, and it implies that the pumpkin and spices are lacking something). But this cookie recipe doesn't really distinguish between the chocolate parts and the pumpkin parts.

As you might guess from the fact that there's twice as much pumpkin as shortening, this isn't a very cookie-y cookie. It's a bit closer to little bite-sized pumpkin breads...which is ok.

Marbled Pumpkin-Chocolate Cookies

1/2 c vegan butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c turbinado sugar
1 c pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/3 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa

1. Preheat oven to 350*. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add pumpkin and vanilla, mix well. Refrigerate while mixing dry ingredients (earth balance likes to melt)
2. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour through spices).
3. Add wet to dry. Stir in nuts, if desired. Then stir in cocoa, but do not mix thoroughly. I mixed the cocoa with a small amount of corn oil and soymilk to make it mix better.
4. Form dough into 1- or 1.5-in-diameter balls. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Spacing not necessary as cookies don't expand much at all. Bake about 14 minutes, or until bottoms begin to brown. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Parchment paper tip from my friend Amanda: fold up the parchment paper after using, put it in a sealed ziploc, and put in freezer. You can reuse it over and over.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hummus among us

Whole Wheat Bread with Za'trummus and Avocado

I think hummus is like the vegan equivalent of . . . pizza, maybe? Something that's really basic, always a hit, and open to endless permutations and innovations. So I solicit you, o readers, for your hummus recipes.

Basic Hummus

1 can chickpeas
1-2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 c tahini (optional)
cayenne pepper, to taste
cumin, to taste
salt, to taste
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

Instructions: Blend. Add water if necessary for consistency. Garnish with extra cumin, cayenne, olive oil, and parsley.

* use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice
* use more or less garlic, tahini, lemon, or spices
* CHANA MASALUMMUS: add garam masala (toasted Indian spice blend; cinnamon, cayenne, coriander, cardamom, etc.)
* PIZZA HUMMUS: omit cumin and lemon juice, add tomato paste and oregano
* ZA'TRUMMUS: add za'atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend; typically thyme, oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt)
* SQUMMUS (added 8/19/10): blend chunks of squash that have been boiled until very soft into the basic recipe
* POTATO HUMMUS (added 11/8/10): as with Sqummus, but use regular potatoes
* LENTIL HUMMUS WITH ORANGE AND TARRAGON (added 9/8/10): sub lentils for chickpeas and orange juice for some of the lemon juice; add tarragon

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dandelion greens

Jon's had a crazy deal on dandelion greens. But I had never cooked them in my life. The following recipe tasted great, but the greens were pretty tough. Any ideas on how to do this better? Maybe steam or boil them first?

Stir-Fried Dandelion Greens over Whole Wheat Pasta

2 TB canola or peanut oil
1/3 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB minced ginger
1-2 lbs dandelion greens, washed, ends removed, and chopped into 3-in pieces
1-2 TB garlic chili paste
1-2 TB fresh lemon juice
nutritional yeast (optional)

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Fry for 1-2 minutes. Add greens and tamari and mix. Cook until greens are shiny and wilted. Remove from heat, stir in garlic chili paste and lemon juice. Serve over noodles and top with nutritional yeast, if desired.

Red Lentil Coconut Curry

My friend Amanda made this curry for dinner last week. The entire can of coconut milk made it amazingly creamy. Yum...

Red Lentil Curry
(from epicurious)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 TB vegetable oil
1 TB minced ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
1 small hot pepper, minced
2 c water
1 1/2 red lentils, dry
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb zucchini (about 2), 1/4-in dice

Cook onion in oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until edges are golden, about 6 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and chile and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in water, lentils, and coconut milk, then simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini and simmer, covered, until lentils and zucchini are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and serve with cilantro sprigs scattered on top.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When vegetables meet herbs and spices

My friend Hannah posted this on Facebook (it's from the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service), and I was like, what a neat chart. (it's legible if you click on it)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spite soup

After a week of delicious REALLY cold weather, followed by 3 days of cool rain, the temperature yesterday skyrocketed back into the 80s. :( I made soup out of spite. This recipe came from my mom and my aunt Pat, who made a version of this soup the other weekend. I omitted tomatoes and basil, threw some jalapeno, used miso instead of stock and collards instead of spinach... these were all substitutions of convenience rather than purposeful ones.

Lentil Soup

1-2 TB olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
3 TB dried oregano
6-8 c water
2 c uncooked lentils (I used half green/'French' and half brown), rinsed
2 c collards, middle part removed, chopped
copious amounts of black pepper, to taste
3 TB miso
balsamic vinegar, to taste

Instructions: In large saucepan, saute garlic, onion, and jalapeno in olive oil over medium heat, 5 min. Add carrots and celery, cook for a few minutes, then add bay leaves, oregano, water, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30+ min. After 10 min, add the collards. Towards the end, add miso, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Serves 8-12.

Clean-out-the-fridge curry

Just what it sounds like. I was again pleasantly surprised by new possibilities for collard greens--in this kind of a stew, they took on a delicate yet chewy consistency that was a dead ringer for grape leaves...go figure.

What is the name of this type of pan? It's like a skillet but with straight, high sides, and a lid that fits on it--so saucy things are more contained...

Clean-out-the-fridge Curry

1 TB olive oil
1/3 to 1/2 yellow onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB minced or pureed ginger
1 TB turmeric
1-3 tsp cayenne or paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 serving tempeh, in small cubes
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4-6 large collard greens, with middle stalk removed, chopped
1/2 can coconut milk
garlic-chili paste, to taste
salt to taste
lime juice to taste (optional)

Instructions: In a separate saucepan or pot, boil collards in salted water for 10 min, drain. Heat oil to medium heat in a skillet. Sautee onion, garlic, ginger, and spices until translucent (5 min). Add tempeh and cook until tempeh browns (5 min). Add vegetables, mix to coat with spices. Add coconut milk, reduce heat, cover, simmer 10-20 min, adding collards just before the end. Add salt, garlic-chili paste, and lime juice to taste. Serve over rice. Serves 4.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks to Vegan Planet and Arhia

Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas

Last night I had my friend Devon over for dinner and we tried out some new recipes. On the menu: Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas (as an hors d'oeuvre--think popcorn or nuts), Southern Style Collard Greens, "Dirty" Rice, Sauteed Apples and Onions, and grapes. For dessert we had chocolate macaroons that are Devon's secret specialty, and peppermint tea.

Southern Style Collard Greens, "Dirty" Rice, Sauteed Apples and Onions

This dinner owes a big debt to the Vegan Planet cookbook. I'm not going to reproduce the collard greens recipe because we followed it exactly from the cookbook. It was delicious--I almost always stir-fry collards with garlic, tamari, sesame oil, etc., so this was a very different cooking method--boiling the greens, then making a saute-stew mixture of onions, spices, tomato, other veggies, then adding the collards. The greens were a lot juicier.

The roasted chickpeas became thus spiced because I made some garam masala (a toasted Indian spice mixture) about six weeks ago, and I was worried it would soon lose its flavor. So I wanted to use some of it up.

Roasted Garam Masala Chickpeas
(adapted from Vegan Planet)

Recipe: In a baking dish, combine 1 c cooked chickpeas, olive oil, salt, and garam masala. Dish should be large enough that chickpeas form only one layer. Roast in oven at 400*, stirring every 10-15 minutes, for 25-40 minutes total.

The apples were an inspiration from my friend and old co-op cooking partner, Arhia. She once suggested sauteeing apples and onions together, and I thought she was crazy.

Sauteed Apples and Onions
(adapted from Arhia Kohlmoos)

1 TB olive oil
2 granny smith apples, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced in circles
1 TB cumin seeds
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions: In a toaster oven or small skillet, toast the cumin seeds, set aside and let cool. Heat the olive oil (not too hot) in a cast-iron skillet, and add apples and onions and sautee. Grind most of the cumin seeds. Sprinkle in cumin (both ground and remaining seeds) and nutmeg and continue to cook until apples just begin to be soft and slightly translucent.

I changed Vegan Planet's recipe for Dirty Rice by subbing some vegetables and the type of rice, and most significantly, swapping out veggie burger crumbles for tempeh and liquid smoke. I find tempeh to be less processed and more delicious. But wait, you might say, liquid smoke? surely that's not at all "natural"! But google it or something--it's actually just mesquite smoke and water, with the tar, etc. filtered out. It still feels a bit like cheating, but for an occasional change of pace...

"Dirty" Rice
(adapted from Vegan Planet)

1 1/2 c short grain brown rice
3 c water
olive oil
1 TB olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 to 1/2 of a jalapeno (to taste)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 servings tempeh, finely chopped
1 tsp "liquid smoke"
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne

Instructions: Prepare rice with salt and olive oil (cook time: about 40 min). In a saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onion and pepper, and cook until softened. Add remaining ingredients and cook. Stir in rice and cook some more. Add salt to taste.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More gingerbread!

More birthday baking.... but, you might ask, another gingerbread cookie?? Ah, but this one is totally different--It's fluffier and sweeter, and it has a history:

This recipe marks a pivotal moment in my personal culinarybildung: I believe it was senior year of college that I found this recipe (sortof) in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and grudgingly decided to veganize it... to my surprise, the vegan version was fantastic! Thus, I began to realize that maybe vegan baking wasn't a second-rate sort of activity... over the years (and at one point when I was living far away, it involved a dear former cooking partner looking up the recipe and typing it up for me!), this recipe has changed a bit more: in addition to the egg-replacer and Earth Balance substitutions, it now also contains half whole-wheat flour, more spices, and no sugar on the outside. For this run, I also added 1/2 tsp ground mustard, with good results, I think.

Ginger Cookies
(adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c (i.e., 12 TB or 1 1/2 sticks) vegan butter, softened
1/3 c packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c turbinado sugar
1 "egg"
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c molasses

1) Preheat oven to 375*.
2) You need two large bowls. In one bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour to salt). In the other bowl, cream butter and sugars. When mixed, add in "egg" and vanilla, and mix. Add molasses, then add dry to wet. Don't overmix.
3) Grease cookie sheets if necessary (i.e., if not teflon-coated). You may wish to put the dough in the freezer while you are doing this to firm it up a bit.
4) Roll dough into 1-in-diameter balls. Place on cookie sheet at least 1 in apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms have started to brown. Makes 40-50 small cookies.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vaguely macro, overtly colorful

When I was home last month I went through a pile of recipes that my mom had clipped from the newspaper and magazines. I took two home with me, and I got to try them out last night. Spiced Coconut Red Lentil Soup? What a great idea, Cooking Light--it will be similar to those sweet potato coconut soups but with more fiber and protein. Yet some changes were necessary: in the original recipe, the cooking times and the order in which you add ingredients were all wrong. The ginger was burning before the garlic and spices were supposed to be added, and the garlic never got cooked. I also swapped out chicken broth in favor of miso broth. In the final analysis, though, this soup was actually too "healthy": just too watery for what it purported to be.

I was also drawn to a recipe for "Moravian Wafers." Distracted by the fact that this cookie calls for ground mustard (A MUSTARD COOKIE!?), I failed to notice that it's mostly just a gingerbread cookie. Still, it's a pretty badass gingerbread cookie: it's not too sweet, the mustard gives it lots of tang, and the copious amounts of black pepper I added give it a lot of bite. I increased most of the spices, used Earth Balance instead of butter, and after struggling to use plastic wrap instead of waxed paper, with a bottle instead of a rolling pin and a wobbly table, I abandoned the "wafer" part of the recipe (which necessitated upping the cooking time).

Finally, as cabbage is the $1 gift to yourself from Jons that keeps on giving, I decided to try out the pressed salad recipe that Myer posted on my blog last week.

Oh, and everyone should make their own gomasio! I ate the soup and the salad with some steamed broccoli with olive oil and gomasio. Just grind toasted sesame seeds and sea salt in a (very clean) coffee grinder, and you have a delectable condiment to use as you would use salt: on vegetables, rice, porridge, and more!

Coconut Red Lentil Soup
(salvaged from a Cooking Light recipe)


2 tsp olive oil
2 c chopped onion
1 terabyte minced fresh ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cinnamon
3 1/2 c water
1 c red lentils, washed and drained
1 c coconut milk
3-4 TB miso paste (not white)
3 TB chopped fresh basil
2 TB fresh lime juice

Instructions: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until browned. Add ginger, garlic, and spices, and cook until fragrant. Add water and lentils, bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, simmer 30-60 min. Remove from heat. When cool, puree in a blender. Add coconut milk and miso paste (in blender if possible). Return to saucepan and bring back to hot temperature (do not boil). Stir in basil and lime juice, and serve.

Pressed Purple Cabbage Salad
(adapted from a recipe from Cirrus Kohlmoos, via Myer Nore)


1/2 purple cabbage
1/2 yellow onion
2 small persian cucumbers, peeled
1 large carrot
1/2 lemon
1/2 green apple, diced

Instructions: Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons, the onion into very thin moons, the cucumber into slightly thicker slices. Julienne the carrot in 1-in-long pieces. Combine in a large bowl. Add about 1 tsp sea salt to the bowl, then mix and massage until the vegetables are bright, wilty, and wet. Cover with a plate held down by heavy weights (cans, jars, etc.). Let sit for 1 hour. Drain excess liquid. Add a little lemon juice and garnish with diced apple.

Gingerbread Cookies and Rice Milk

Gingerbread Cookies
(adapted from a Cooking Light recipe for Moravian Wafers)

1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground dry mustard
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 c molasses
3 TB vegan butter, softened
2 TB brown sugar

Instructions: Combine and mix thoroughly--dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. Add dry to wet, mix until just blended. NOW preheat oven to 350*. Freeze or refrigerate dough for 10 minutes. Lightly oil or grease cookie sheets. Take dough out. Form into small balls (1-in diameter). Place on cookie sheets and squash them with a glass or your hand. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Makes 1 or 2 dozen.