Saturday, July 31, 2010

Portobello Salad + Ginger Miso Sesame Dressing

I actually read on facebook (oh, this is bad manners, too--talking about facebook on a blog?) that my friend was making something like this, and it sounded like a good idea!  I used powdered dried ginger in the dressing (what?  It doesn't just go in cookies?), and it (obviously) blended much better than fresh.  The dressing was delicious!  The only thing is that the miso in the dressing and the tamari on the mushrooms combined were a little too salty, so use some prudence.  Or get one of those little plastic thingys for your tamari so it doesn't accidentally come out too quickly.

Sauteed Portobello Mushrooms on Greens with Ginger Miso Sesame Dressing

Mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and garlic with tamari and balsamic vinegar added towards the end.

Ginger Miso Sesame Dressing ingredients, whisked together (measurements are estimates):
1-2 tsp dried ground ginger
garlic powder, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 TB yellow miso (any kind would work)
3 TB warm water
1 TB rice vinegar
2-3 TB olive oil
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Herbed Short-Grain Brown Rice

My mom is and has been for many years a dedicated reader of Cooking Light Magazine, and even though these days she eats a mostly vegetarian diet, she insists that she likes it better than Vegetarian Times.  As for me, everytime I think about subscribing to a food magazine, I'm like, "Then I could read about new recipes on a regular basis... oh.  That's what I do on Google Reader."  I do wonder about how the internet, and especially blogging, has changed the way cookbooks and food magazines work.  I'm also curious how copyright works when--in a much more obvious way than with, say, literature--most recipes are tweaked versions of other recipes. 

But the reason I bring up my mom's longstanding relationship with Cooking Light is because I'd been thinking about this rice recipe from the magazine that became a staple in my family growing up.  We took to calling it "Wife Rice," like the author herself did, which now just makes me itch to rename it "Domestic Partner Rice" or something.

Herbed Short-Grain Brown Rice
(adapted from Cooking Light's Herbed Basmati Rice )

2 tsp earth balance or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice 
1 cup water (or whatever your
2 TB finely minced onion
2 TB minced fresh parsley
2 tsp minced fresh basil
1 tsp minced fresh thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, melt earth balance and saute garlic.  Briefly saute the rice, then add water and onion, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or so (follow the instructions for your rice).
2. When rice is cooked, stir in herbs and add salt.  The other things I was making for dinner (Apricot Sesame Kale and Salad with Sauteed Portobellos and Ginger Miso Sesame Dressing) were both rather salty, so I actually didn't add any salt (and there's a little in earth balance already).  Serves 2-3.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Savory Ground Walnut-Cauliflower Slop

What on earth to call this recipe?  I adapted it from this recipe, appetizingly named "ground 'meat.'"  I think it's a really creative and successful recipe, but surely there's a better name?  Any suggestions?  :)

The original author made this, er, stuff to put in a lasagna.  It has a pleasing texture and taste, but it's not something you'd eat on its own. While the original author called for 1 tsp of liquid smoke, I thought 1/2 tsp was a little too much.  I think I'm finally able to articulate my ambivalence about liquid smoke: like salt, it should never be a dominant flavor that you taste; rather, it should add interesting dimensions to the other flavors.

I think you could also use ground/chopped mushrooms in addition to cauliflower and walnuts, with great results.

When this stuff came out of the oven, I mixed a small portion of it with some canned tomato to make a delicious pasta sauce.  But I've frozen the rest for putting into a lasagna some day.  I never cook with meat substitutes like TVP (ew ew ew), so I'm a little at a loss for what else to do with this.

Savory Ground Walnut-Cauliflower Slop [with tomatoes added]
(adapted from Diet, Dessert and Dogs)

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and washed, broken into florets (about 1 pound/450 g after trimming)
2 c raw walnut halves
2 TB extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
sea salt, to taste (I didn't add any)
2 TB tamari

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Oil a large baking dish.
2. In a food processor, blend the cauliflower and nuts to a fine meal.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in remaining ingredients.
3. Turn the mixture into the pan and spread out evenly.  Bake for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 15 minutes after that, until it's is dry and brown (if the layer underneath comes up looking wet and white–as cauliflower tends to do–then you need to keep baking).  The grounds will begin to separate and intensify in color as they roast.  Once the meat is cooked, you can cool, package, and freeze it for later use, or use it right away.  Will keep, up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator.  May be frozen.  Makes about 4-5 cups.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Basil-Kale Pesto

More kale banditry.  Tastes awesome.

Basil-Kale Pesto

about 1 c cashews, lightly toasted
about 1 c fresh basil, chopped
about 1 c kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1-2 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
olive oil, as needed

Blend everything in a food processor, adding as only as much olive oil as is necessary.  Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Another Chocolate Cookie (with a top secret ingredient)

These cookies are bafflingly good.

Although similar in appearance and texture to Fat Mints, these cookies use neither earth balance nor egg replacer, so they're cheaper and have no strange ingredients.  Except for one.  In adapting the recipe for "Mocha Mamas" in Vegan Cookies Invade..., I had no coffee extract.  Rather than substitute ground coffee, as I recently did for the Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies, I used some finely ground teeccino.

Teeccino entered my life over a year ago, when I decided to clean up my act after a harrying first year of grad school.  Giving up coffee was part of this plan.  First I made my own grain coffee, but it tasted like burnt rice--probably because that's what it mostly was.  So I tried teeccino, an herbal "coffee," which is made out of totally respectable ingredients like carob, chicory (a very old coffee substitute), cocoa, almonds, etc.  It tastes pretty okay, but it doesn't taste like coffee.  I moved on to swiss water decaf, and finally just back to coffee.  One bag of rejected teeccino in my freezer eventually turned into four as Devon went through every flavor in hopes of finding one that didn't repel her (she didn't).  I got all her leftovers.

**Anyway, if anyone wants a bunch of teeccino, or has any more ideas about what to do with it, let me know.**

I used 2 TB of teeccino in this cookie, and it tasted fantastic.  That means I only have to make about 3000 more cookies to use up all the year-old teeccino in my freezer.

Cocoa seems to improve the structure and texture of everything it touches.  Frosting, cookies, sauces... here, a normal cookie recipe becomes almost melt-in-your-mouth brownie-ish in the middle, while slightly crisp on the outside (though this is probably due to the cornstarch, too).  The combined vanilla, cocoa, coconut, and "coffee" create a rich, nutty, aromatic, balanced flavor.  By all means, you can use ground coffee in this recipe, but the teeccino--long an albatross around my neck--really made the cookies special.

I used a 1:2 ratio of whole wheat to white flour in this recipe (hence the specks in the photo), but I think this is one cookie where you actually might want all white flour, what with the whole creamy truffle thing.

Finally, the original recipe has you sifting the dry ingredients into the wet one at a time, which while saving you a bowl, means that by the time you get to the baking soda and salt there's no way that stuff's going to be evenly distributed throughout what's already a glop of wet dough.  The upside to this was that there were marvelous little pockets of saltiness in the cookies.  But you might consider mixing all the dry stuff separately first.

Mocha Coconut Truffle Cookies
(adapted from "Mocha Mamas" in Vegan Cookies Invade...)

1/2 c oil
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c nondairy milk
1 TB ground flax seeds
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
2 TB finely ground teeccino or coffee (or, 1 TB coffee extract)
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine oil through cornstarch and mix very well.  Then, add extracts.
3. Combine dry ingredients separately and then add to wet.  Mix until you have a dough--it's going to look like it's too dry, but keep mixing and you should actually get there.  As a last resort, add a little more milk if needed.
4. Roll dough into small balls, place on parchment paper, and flatten slightly.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or until cookies have cracked slightly.  Allow to sit and cool before transferring.  Makes 3 dozen small (or 2 dozen larger) cookies.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tahini Lime Coconut Cookies

This cookie post actually has a recipe!

Baking with tahini rocks: remember Arhia's Tahini Pie Crust?

I recently bought coconut extract and wanted to use it, so I started with the Tahini-Lime cookie recipe in Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and messed with it: I subbed in some whole wheat flour, added sesame seeds (I'm sure there's a literary equivalent for the way the sesame seeds call attention to what the tahini is actually made of) and coconut extract, increased the salt, and topped the cookies with coconut instead of black sesame seeds.  I also think you might need less than the 3-5 TB milk the original recipe calls for (depending, as the authors acknowledge, on your particular tahini).  And, even though I made small cookies, the 10-12 min cook time wasn't quite long enough.

These cookies are just what I wanted: just weird enough, rich enough, and "healthy" enough.  They're crispy on outside and chewy on inside (thanks be to tahini), and the whole wheat flour, sesame, and coconut make the textures even more interesting.  Not to say that this tastes like a healthy trail-mix type cookie: it has a lot of delicious fat (half earth balance, half tahini) in it.  I doubled the salt to 1 tsp, which doesn't make the cookie taste salty so much as it makes the lime and nutty flavors a lot more intense (but... you might want to cut back a bit, to 3/4 tsp).  When I was putting together the dough, I worried that the tahini taste would be overwhelming, but after baking it was just right.  Speaking of vanishing flavors, the coconut extract (I only used 1/2 tsp) was nowhere to be found in the finished product--double this, or don't bother.

Tahini Lime Coconut Cookies

1/2 c earth balance
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c tahini
2-5 TB nondairy milk
zest of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional)
3/4 c white flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 TB sesame seeds
2 TB cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 unsweetened coconut flakes

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, cream earth balance and sugar.  Then add tahini, 2-3 TB milk, zest, and extracts.
3. Add half the flour, then sesame seeds, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.  Mix.  Add remaining flour and mix well.
4. Pour coconut into a shallow bowl or plate.  Roll dough into little balls, then gently place each ball in the coconut before putting it (coconut-side up) on the baking sheet.  Bake 12-14 minutes until bottoms (and coconut) are lightly browned.  Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

Apricot Sesame Kale

Kale, more kale!  This was an easy variation on lots of other kale recipes.  I was actually inspired by a recipe for chard with oranges and shallots in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian... but this recipe contains none of those things.  I approximated the work of the oranges with apricots (sadly, too mushy to be worth eating on their own) and lemon juice.  Other than that, this recipe is pretty close to my standby green recipe: saute with garlic (and maybe ginger or onion), add tamari (and maybe lemon or sesame oil), toss with sesame seeds (though this time I used cashews).  The sweetness of the apricot worked really amazingly with the tamari (kind of caramelly) and the greens (balancing out their bitter and cabbagey aspects).  I used a lot of lemon juice, so the overall effect was somewhat sweet-and-sour.  A splash of sesame oil might also be nice, but I wasn't feeling it today.

Edit 8/31: added pomegranate molasses and pistachios, and left out the sesame, for a slightly more middle-eastern version.  Also great!

I almost didn't upload a photo of this.  It looks kind of iffy, but it's really good.  I actually ate all of it for lunch.

Apricot [Cashew] Kale

olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and trimmed
2-3 apricots, diced
tamari (and water as needed)
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
toasted sesame seeds or cashews

In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic; saute until browned and fragrant.  Add kale; cook until bright green.  Add apricot and tamari; cook for a little while longer.  Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and sesame seeds.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apricot Salad with Fresh Basil and Cashews

Today was the day of the cashew!  Good thing Trader Joe's sells raw ones for like $5 a pound.

By the way... do you know how cashews grow?  I got to see them when traveling in the Gambia--each fruit, sort of like a pear, bears only one cashew

My friend Julia just came back from a brief stay in San Francisco with a friend who fed her a salad of peaches, basil, and cheese.  So I made a similar one, just one that didn't have peaches or cheese.  These apricots were so soft and pretty; it was such a disappointment to cut them open and find the texture to be less than amazing.  Nevertheless, the combo of stone fruit, basil, lemon, and salt is very lovely and refreshing!  I put a lot of salt and lemon juice on it--the salt only accentuates the sweetness.  And it should be served very cold.

Apricot Salad with Fresh Basil and Cashews

5-6 apricots, sliced
10 leaves basil, chopped into thin strips
lemon juice
10 cashews, dry roasted and chopped

Navratna Korma

I've hesitated mentioning Google Analytics on here--it seems sort of bad manners or something.  I promise that your browsing identity remains safely secret.  But I thought some readers might be interested to learn that since I started keeping stats in January 2010, I've had readers from 45 countries!  Now, most of these countries are like one visit from one reader, but still, even in the past month there have been readers from 21 countries.  The US comes in first, followed by Canada (why are there so many awesome vegan bloggers in Canada, btw?), then the UK and France.

What's maybe even more interesting is that Google Analytics tracks what search terms brought people to the blog.  Mostly it's just random ingredients strung together--some of which obviously led to a recipe I'd blogged about.  In fact, some search phrases show up every single month, like those leading people to Marinated Broccoli Lentil Salad, Oatmeal Coconut Spice Cookies, and Avocado-Pear Salad.  Some searchers, however, must have gone away disappointed: my apologies to those seeking "armenian squash cookies" and "cumin oatmeal."  Then there's also the magic-8-ball type searches: "should i marinate tofu overnight for tofu scramble" and the very distressing "cookies are not for julia."  I'm guessing any reader of this blog--from Chile, to Pakistan, to Bulgaria, to Los Angeles--can probably see that cookies are indeed for julia!

Anyway, gazillions of thanks to those who read this blog!


Warning: if this website speaks to you, don't come anywhere near this recipe.  :)

When I first saw this recipe in The Asian Vegan Kitchen, I got excited for another chance at making awesome creamy things out of raw cashews (this streak began a few weeks ago with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Sauce).  Three tablespoons of cashews for the whole recipe, however, seemed a bit scanty, so I used at least 1/4 c.  But I still would have liked a lot more cashewiness in this dish.  I've been looking at other recipes for navratan korma online, and it looks like traditional recipes use some cream and/or cheese.  So more cashews, please!  Next time I'll use 1/2 c, upping the protein content of this dish as well.

This hearty vegetable dish was time-intensive and delicious.  Overall, the flavors are very bright--the lemon, coriander, cilantro, and tomato win out on the heavier/yangier potatoes and toasted cashews.  Using more cashews would tip this balance somewhat, but I actually really like how a dish that consists mostly of potatoes and cauliflower can seem light and refreshing because of the particular seasonings being used.  Make sure to test the salt again at the end, however, as the vegetables dilute the flavors.

Update 7/27: Purists, avert your eyes, but adding either some miso or some nutritional yeast just before serving did a lot to round out those bright flavors.  The nutritional yeast was especially good, and I'm generally not a huge fan.

(the photo doesn't do justice to this dish)
Assorted Vegetables in Cashew Gravy (Navratna Korma)
(from The Asian Vegan Kitchen)

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1 medium carrot, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 c green beans, in bite-sized pieces
2/3 c green peas
1 TB vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1-in piece of ginger, minced
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
1 c water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
 1/2 c raw cashew nuts
2 TB coriander seeds (you may prefer to use less)
2 tsp cumin seeds
3-4 cloves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 green chili
1 c cilantro leaves
1/4 c mint leaves

1. Boil the vegetables in lightly salted water.  Drain and set aside.
2. For the cashew paste: dry roast the cashews, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, and peppervorns over low heat until fragrant.  Grind in a spice grinder, then transfer to a food processor and blend with chili, cilantro, mint leaves, and water as needed until you have a creamy paste.
3. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion over medium heat until soft and light brown.  Mix in the garlic and ginger and saute for 1 more minute.
4. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, and salt to taste.  Cook covered for 2-3 minutes.  Add the cashew paste and the 1 c water.  Bring to a simmer.
5. Add the sugar and lemon juice, then toss in the boiled vegetables.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Check salt again.  Serve hot garnished with toasted and ground cashews and still more cilantro!  Serves 6-8.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies AND Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Finally, some good stuff.  After the failed flapjacks (again--this time blame my trying to bake using weight instead of volume), the vinegary yassa chickpeas, and some frightening fried lentil things purporting to be papadums (see right), it's comforting to know that at least cookies are still pretty okay.

After months of dithering, I ordered Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  It was an impulse buy.  I was like, It's too hot to turn on the oven and you've gained weight from all those trips to Scoops.  Also, you already have a lot of cookie recipes in your life (for example, see the index at the lower right side of this page).  So why would this book be a good idea?

Oh but it was.  Can you even think of 100 cookie recipes?  (although... I have to say, the cookie dough "recipe" at the end is a total cop-out)  This was only the first one I've tried, but I read through the whole thing, and I like that many of the recipes use oil instead of Earth Balance (I am always running out of Earth Balance!) and don't call for commercial egg replacer (works like a charm, but do you know what half the ingredients are?).  The authors' voice is very funny and amiable, but even more importantly, they foresee many of the questions and problems you might have, and work their preemptive responses into the conversational tone of the book.  I don't know if this prescience is the result of having lots of testers, being psychic, or both, but whatever... I am going to be making a LOT of new cookies.

I'm not going to post the recipe below because I followed it pretty closely, only upping the cinnamon and using ground coffee instead of coffee extract--this latter move left me with some granules to chew on, but I kind of liked that, too.

Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)


Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies were also a success, although increasing the salt (and I used salted peanut butter, too!) would have made them still more flavorful.  The texture, though, was perfect: soft but firm, only slightly cakey, with crunchy peanuts on top.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
(from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar)

Yassa Chickpeas / Yassa Poix Chiche

The time I spent studying abroad in Senegal had a significant impact on how I think about food--in some ways for the worse, but in many ways for the better.  Even though by then I'd lived in a vegetarian co-op house for the better part of two years, it was only after being in Senegal that much of the cultural, geopolitical, and environmental importance of food really hit me--the importance, for example, of being able to choose staples grown nearby rather than imported from S.E. Asia, or the idea that vegetarianism was a choice available to me mostly because of specific cultural (lack of a strong culinary tradition as well as a culture where eating by oneself is acceptable), geographic (what do vegetarians in the desert eat?), and economic (ex. disposable income for more expensive fresh vegetables) factors.

While in Senegal, I ate everything.  My favorite dish was Yassa Poulet, a simple chicken dish that was made with lots of onion and lemon/vinegar.  Someone in Senegal once told me that it actually has Portuguese origins, but a cursory google search does not confirm this.

I used this recipe from, and I should have looked at others before proceeding, because the amount of vinegar in this recipe was a bit nasty.  I can tell that without this issue the dish would have been delicious, so I've already swapped out the 1/2 c apple cider vinegar for 1/2 c vegetable broth.  Trust me, the lemon juice will be enough--and most of the other yassa recipes I've since found on the internet don't call for vinegar at all.  And also... I don't care how many recipes call for Maggi.  It's just never going to happen.

Yassa Chickpeas
(adapted from

3 c cooked chickpeas (or start with 1-1.5 c dried)
4 onions, chopped
1 small cabbage, cut into chunks
3-4 carrots, sliced
2 habanero (or other very spicy) chilies     
3/8 c peanut or other vegetable oil
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c vegetable stock
1-2 bay leaves
4 cloves minced garlic
2 TB Dijon mustard
2 TB tamari
cayenne pepper or red pepper, black pepper, salt (to taste)

1. Combine chickpeas, onions, cabbage, carrots, and chilies in a large baking dish.  Combine remaining ingredients separately and then pour over the vegetables.  Toss gently to mix.
2. Cover dish and allow to sit for 4+ hours.
3. Bake first covered, then uncovered at a low temperature until vegetables are very tender and liquid has mostly evaporated.  OR simmer partially covered in a skillet until same results are achieved.
4. Serve with rice or couscous/millet.

Turnip (?) Greens

Recently, I made these very tasty greens from a recipe I found on One Hot Stove, although it originally came from World Vegetarian.  The coconut--something I've been meaning to try in brussels sprouts for a year or so--was a great addition here, adding a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and more texture.  I added cumin.

I decided to make this recipe before I looked in my fridge and realized I'd bought turnip greens (I think) and not mustard greens.  No matter--this would work for any leafy green.

Sri Lankan Mustard [or Turnip] Greens

1 bunch greens, de-stemmed and shredded/chopped into thin strips
1 medium onion, chopped
cumin seeds
1/2 tsp? red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp? ground cumin
1/2 tsp? ground turmeric
salt to taste
2 TB unsweetened dried coconut flakes

1. In a large skillet, heat a couple of teaspoons of oil on medium heat. Add onion, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes.  Saute for 4-5 minutes or until the edges of the onion start to brown.
2. Add the shredded greens, turmeric, ground cumin, and salt to taste. Stir around and mix well until the greens start to wilt.
3. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the greens are cooked and tender.  At the end of cooking, stir 2 tbsp of grated fresh or dried unsweetened coconut into the greens.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Green Chutney (again) and More

2 recipes in this post...

Why o why did I make more soup?  It is so hot outside (and, accordingly, inside).  I guess the complicatedness of this recipe enticed me with a promise of really interesting flavors.  And, it's very good, though (I can't believe I'm saying this for once) I think I used too much lime juice: I was making a 1/4 (!!) recipe and may have fudged some of the measurements.  I also did a few unorthodox substitutions: instead of black mustard seeds, I used ground mustard seed; instead of black kalonji onion seeds, I used cumin seeds; instead of curry leaves, I used a few bay leaves; and I just omitted the asafetida in the sambar powder mix.  Someday soon I need to haul myself back up the road to India Sweets & Spices in Atwater Village, which is one of the most fun grocery stores I have been to in my life, and get a few more spices.

You WILL need the biggest pot you have.  And even that might not be big enough.


1 1/2 c green lentils
4 c water
2 TB vegan butter
1 TB oil
1/2 TB coriander seeds
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 TB black kalonji onion seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 fresh curry leaves
3 chopped potatoes, leave the skins on
1 chopped onion
1 diced carrot
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 TB molasses
10 c of water
juice of 4 limes
1 c cashews ground fine
Sambar Powder:
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp fenugeek, ground
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
2 c frozen peas
2 c frozen green beans  

1. Boil the lentils in the 3 cups of water with a hefty pinch of salt until they are completely soft and tender and falling apart
2. While the lentils are cooking, in a HUGE soup pot on medium high heat saute the vegan butter, oil, coriander seed, mustard seed, kalonji onion seed, garlic, and curry leaves for about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a lid to keep the mustard seeds from popping out!
3. Add the chopped potatoes and onion, and stir around to get coated with the spice/butter mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Add the carrot, a very large pinch of salt and pepper, cook for another 5 minutes
5. Add the tomatoes, molasses, and 10 cups water, bring up to heat till almost boiling, and add the lime juice, ground up cashews, and sambar powder. Simmer for 20 minutes
6. Add the peas and green beans and simmer for another 20 minutes
7. Add the completely cooked and soft green lentils and cook for another 10 minutes. Enjoy!  Makes 16 (?) servings.


Last year, I blogged about an unusual green chutney recipe from Vegan Fire and Spice that contains green tomatoes and fruit.  But what I haven't blogged about yet is my quest to find the perfect cilantro/coriander chutney recipe.  I'm talking about the soupy emerald green paste you get at Indian restaurants.  I always end up eating the stuff like ice cream; it's one of my favorite tastes in the whole world.  And all the recipes I find seem so simple.  So why can I never get it?  I've made several recipes like the one in The Asian Vegan Kitchen, which contain cilantro, mint, spices, chilies, and ginger.  Today I tried a new one that omits mint and contains lemon juice and shredded coconut.  Alas...though good, it was too lemony (I used the juice of 2 whole lemons), and not green enough.  I wonder if simply using more cilantro would fix things--"1 bunch" is a little vague (I actually used 2 "bunches" and it apparently still wasn't enough).  I should have measured how much I was using for reference.  Oh, and again, I used ground mustard instead of mustard seed, which I know is something I should avoid, but ever since I made these Gingerbread Cookies I've had SO MUCH ground mustard , and it goes in very few things.

Cilantro Chutney 
(from No Recipes)

1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp mustard seed
2 bunches of coriander, large stems removed
1/4 small onion roughly chopped
1/4 c unsweetened grated coconut
1/2" piece of ginger roughly chopped
2 serrano chilies
1-2 lemons juiced
salt to taste


Put the cumin seed and mustard seed in a small heavy bottomed pan and roast over heat until the spices are fragrant, but be careful not to burn them.  Put the spices in a spice grinder and pulverize.
In a small food processor, grind everything together, including the spices.  Add some water if the chutney is too thick, then adjust salt to taste.
Stored in an airtight container in the fridge your green chutney should last at least 1 week.  You can also freeze it in small portions--1/4 c tupperwares are the best!  Makes about 3/4 c.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kale chips

I've always poo-poohed the idea of kale chips.  Surely only an anorexic would be interested in a "chip" snack made out of what's pretty much the healthiest food ever?

But recently I read a post on this blog that I just started reading (I love how almost all the other recent posts are about cake, and then... kale chips).  The author stressed the ridiculous calcium content of these chips (for more on greens as a fantastic source of calcium and more, see this post on my friend Hannah's blog).  And, I'd just bought all that nutritional yeast...

The goop that you make to put on the kale reminded me of a souped-up version of my friends Myer and Arhia's tahini-tamari sauce--it smelled awesome, especially before all the "nootch" got added.  In the future, I will definitely make a sauce (to put on anything!) out of tahini, water, tamari, chipotle, and cayenne.  I didn't have chipotle powder, so I ground a dried chunk in the coffee mill I just use for spices.  At right: a "pinch" of chipotle.

I don't have a dehydrator, so I baked these in the oven, and damn, what an inefficient way of making a snack!  Four hours of running the oven at 170* (the lowest it goes), a hot apartment, and all I had to show for it was some weird-looking kale chunks.

But they were good.  Strange--definitely an acquired taste--but good.  So umami that they tasted salty--I had to check the sodium content of nutritional yeast to make sure it wasn't actually that salty (FYI: Nutritional Yeast Nutritional Info).  And the texture is really fun; they are very light and crispy, until you leave them out and they get a little soggy, in which case they're even weirder than before.  If I make these again, I'll use a lot less nutritional yeast.  I loved the inclusion of the carrot, though--it's like a perversely healthy version of THIS.

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale, cleaned and de-stemmed
3 TB tahini or other nut butter
5 TB warm water
1 1/2 TB tamari
a big pinch chipotle chile powder
medium pinch cayenne powder
3 TB, plus 1/4 c nutritional yeast, divided
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
dehydrator or a big parchment lined cookie sheet.

1.    Gather your kale leaves up into an even bundle, and cut 'em into 2" pieces.
2.    In a small bowl place the tahini and tablespoon by tablespoon mix in the warm water until smooth.
3.    Stir in the tamari, chili powders and 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast until smooth.
4.    Stir in the grated carrot.
5.    In a giant bowl, or in batches if necessary, combine the kale with the nut butter sauce. Toss really well to cover every leaf with sauce and carrots. Then sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, so that it is clinging to the leaves.
6.    Divide the kale evenly over two dehydrator trays (14" square) and dehydrate between 105-115F for 3 hours, rotating trays every thirty minutes or so and flipping the chips at least once, until dry and crispy. Alternatively, spread the kale over the large parchment covered cookie sheet and place in an oven on warm, or the lowest possible setting, until dry and crispy (try keeping the door open a few inches if you can). If using an oven, be sure to flip your kale over every hour or so to dry on both sides.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Berbere-encrusted Tempeh

Ok, so I know this looks a lot like the last recipe I've posted, but the cooking method, the flavors, and the texture are all completely different.  Because the original Tempeh Bacon recipe called for 2/3 a package of tempeh, I had this leftover chunk in my fridge, making me nervous that it would go moldy at any moment (that's the weird thing about tempeh: in a sealed package, it lasts for months, but once exposed to the air, it goes off really quickly).  And, as I am accumulating all these unusual homemade spice mixes--berbere, garam masala, chili powder, zatar--I should probably try to use them.

A spice mix makes for instant yumminess!  This recipe was beyond easy, and incredibly flavorful.  If you use the berbere recipe I made, watch out--it will be spicy.  The outside gets nice and crispy; the only thing is that the inner part of the tempeh was a bit dry.  You could steam the tempeh first, or just do what I did and mash some avocado on it to moisten the overall effect.

Berbere-Encrusted Tempeh

8 oz tempeh
2-3 TB berbere
2-3 TB olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
more oil

Cut tempeh into three pieces, and then slice each third the other direction to make it half as thick.
Mix berbere, olive oil, and garlic powder into a paste.  Dredge each chunk of tempeh in it to coat on both sides.
Place chunks on an oiled baking sheet and broil on high, flipping once, until sizzling and browned (about 5 min on each side).  Serve hot.  Makes 3 servings.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tempeh Bacon

Here's the thing about tempeh bacon: it's tempeh.  Not bacon.

Nevertheless, the maple syrup makes for a crispy-caramelly thing, and the overall combo tastes remarkably like BBQ Pringles.  Very tasty.  To the right, you will see some of this tempeh on zatar-pesto whole-wheat spaghetti with kale, avocado, and lemon.  (Mix zatar with olive oil and garlic, then mix into pasta).

In adapting this recipe, I reduced the amount of liquid smoke, increased the cayenne, added garlic powder, and then adjusted the amounts so that the recipe would be for a whole block of tempeh.

Tempeh Bacon
(adapted from Healthy Happy Life)

8 oz tempeh
2.5 TB maple syrup
1.5 TB olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 TB soy sauce
for pan: vegetable oil

Combine marinade ingredients.  Very thinly slice the tempeh and place in a shallow bowl (I used a pyrex bowl with a lid so that I could easily shake the tempeh a few times for even coverage).  Pour marinade over tempeh (it will seem like not enough for the amount of tempeh) and let sit 10 minutes or so--move the tempeh around so that it all gets exposed to the marinade.
Heat vegetable oil in cast iron skillet.  Saute tempeh on one side for a few minutes, then flip.  Cook until
both sides are crisp and browned.  Makes 3 servings.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kale Banditry

Pasta salad, made for a 4th-of-July potluck I didn't make it to, when I didn't have any produce and needed to produce something quickly.  Delicious!  Lots of flavors and textures.

I was recently talking with my friends Taylor and Matthew about how getting a CSA box often requires you to do weird things with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of dark leafy greens.  One becomes a KALE BANDIT, sneaking kale and its friends into all manner of nooks and crannies of one's diet.

There's a little bit of kale banditry in this salad.  Don't worry, you will like it!

Independent Pasta Salad

Whole wheat rotelle, cooked
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Kale (not too much), finely chopped and steamed
Fresh basil, chopped
Dried oregano
Red wine vinegar
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt (optional)
Black pepper, ground
Walnuts, lightly toasted

In a large bowl, combine pasta, vegetables, and herbs to taste.  In a separate container, mix together vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper (all to taste) before pouring over salad and mixing again.  This salad can now sit as long as you wish, up to a few days.  Just before serving, add the toasted walnuts.

Lemon Lavender Cookies

It is done.

I used more butter and more salt.  The 2 TB lavender called for was rather overpowering.  I recommend 1 TB.

Lemon Lavender Cookies
(adapted from Have Cake, Will Travel)
1/2 c + 2 TB nondairy butter
3/4 c raw sugar
zest and juice of one lemon 
1 TB lavender, dried
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
2 TB nondairy milk, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream together butter and sugar. Stir in lemon juice and zest, lavender, and vanilla.
3. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and salt.
4. Fold dry ingredients into wet. Add milk, as needed.
5. Scoop up 1 1/2 to 2 TB worth of dough.  Roll into balls, then place on baking sheet.  Flatten a little, as the cookies don’t spread a lot while baking.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. If you want chewier cookies, aim for 12 minutes.  Wait 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.

See also: Lemon Sesame Cookies.

Flapjack Fail

When I lived in the UK, I wasn't too impressed with traditional British food (not that "traditional American" food is worth writing home about, either).  But there were a few notable exceptions, for example, the prevalence of "rocket" (arugula) in every random salad or sandwich, and the flapjack.  Not a pancake, but a granolabar-slash-cookie.  Easy, and easily vegan--and even gluten free, if you're into that--and super delicious.

But don't make this recipe.  It resulted in a sticky flapjack-wad that, while tasty, was not really very presentable.  Instead, send me your recipe, or, wait until I make Prof. Sarah Kareem's TA-tested-and-approved recipe.

British Flapjacks
(adapted from COOKS.COM [changes in italics])

2 TB earth balance
6 TB brown sugar
1 TB ground flaxseed mixed with 1/4 c water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
4 TB brown rice syrup
1 1/2 c. oats
silvered almonds

Preheat oven to 375*.  Cream together butter, sugar, flax mixture, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Add brown rice syrup, then oats. Spread the mixture into a greased 8x8 inch pan, smoothing the top with the back of knife. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. In last 10 minutes of baking, spread almonds over the top.  Cut into squares and cool in the same pan. Makes 9 flapjacks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Haha!  The posts just keep coming!  Can you keep up? It's summer, and until I find new hobbies... the blitz will continue. 

Another new summer activity has been watching lots of TV-on-laptop.  Most recently, I have been watching
Dexter.  In one episode, everyone's favorite serial killer took a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie out of his desk, and I thought... I want that.  And then I thought, I can make that.

Well, I haven't yet, but I got as far as the cookie part.  A Google search for oatmeal (raisin/nut/spice) cookies turned up a recipe on smitten kitchen, which is itself apparently based on original recipe on the Quaker Oats can.  I guess there's a reason that some of these recipes survive so long--my favorite basic chocolate chip cookie recipe came off the back of a bag of chocolate chips (Guittard). 

I veganized this oatmeal cookie recipe, and my baking partner Devon and I used fewer raisins, and after the dough tasted a little...meh... we also added some cloves, as well as more cinnamon, more vanilla, and more salt. 

First thing out of the oven, these cookies were amazing.  There's a lot of butter in them, so the outside got crispy while the inside remained soft.  Overnight, though, in a sealed container, they got a lot harder.  I'm fine with this (and they are great for dunking), but if you want soft cookies you should probably cook them for a slightly shorter period of time.  I love how much of this cookie is just oats and walnuts.  I'm guessing my grandma Shirley would have said it was okay to eat these for breakfast... which I just did.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(adapted from smitten kitchen)

1/2 c earth balance
2/3 c light brown sugar, packed
1 "egg" (ener-g egg replacer prepared with water)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 350* and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, then add "egg" and vanilla.
3) In a second bowl, mix together flour, soda, spices, and salt.  Add this dry mix to the other bowl and mix well.  Then stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts.
4) With hands or spoons, form dough into little balls and place on baking sheet, flattening slightly.  Bake about 12 minutes or until bottoms have started to brown--they will appear too soft to be done, but they just need to sit out for 10 minutes or so after baking in order to firm up.  Makes about 2-3 dozen small cookies.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The latest post on Irreverent Vegan got me more excited about veggie burgers than I have been in years.  I got right up and made a batch each of Black Bean Burgers and Chick Patties.  Now, Mark claims that these burgers are grillable, but with the chick patties I was not convinced.  The black bean burgers held together quite well, but they weren't nearly as delicious.

These chick patties are breaded in a concoction breaded in which the original author swears he would eat a shoe.  I'm sort of inclined to agree.  It reminds me of something delicious from my distant past... and it would be great with the tahini sauce from the other day.

Chick Patties

2 cups (1 can) cooked chick peas
1/4 c finely diced carrots
1 scallion, finely diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ground oats
1 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 dash cayenne pepper
ground black pepper, to taste
cooking oil
chik’n almond bake (also adapted from Irreverent Vegan):
(makes quite a bit more than enough)
3/4 c ground (blanched) almonds
1.5 TB nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1) Whip together flaxseed and water and set aside.  Also mix together ingredients for "chik’n almond bake" and set aside in a shallow bowl.  Pour some oil into a second shallow bowl. Preheat oven to 375* and place a pan of water on the bottom rack.
2) Mash together chickpeas, carrot, scallion, spices, and oat flour.
3) Add flax mixture and mix well.  Shape into patties (makes about 4), squeezing out excess water/air. 
4) Dredge patties in oil and then "chik’n almond bake," coating both sides.  Place on a well-oiled baking sheet and bake for 10 min on each side--if eating immediately, do 15 min the second side.  Otherwise, patties are ready to freeze or refrigerate for later.


This patty held together better than the first; unfortunately, it was a little bland, even chalky.  I think next time I might put some little pineapple chunks in it to zing it up.  The original recipe called for bell pepper; I subbed roasted pepper from a jar + celery.  The original recipe called for chili powder, when most of the ingredients in chili powder were already in the recipe; I just used cayenne, paprika, and coriander.

Black Bean Burgers
(adapted from Irreverent Vegan)

1 TB ground flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water
2 cups (1 can) cooked black beans
1/4 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, finely minced
1/4 c roasted peppers from a jar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1.5 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 cup ground oats
2 TB corn meal
1/4 cup corn

1) Whip together flaxseed and water and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375* and place a pan of water on the bottom rack.

2) Mash together beans, onion, celery, pepper, spices, oat flour, and corn meal.

3) Add flax mixture and mix well.  Add corn.  Shape into patties (makes about 4), squeezing out excess water/air.
4) Bake 10 min on each side on very well oiled baking sheets--if eating immediately, do 15 min the second side.  Otherwise, patties are ready to freeze or refrigerate for later.