Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moroccan Carrot Salad, Take Two

How the hell do you spell Moroccan?  The question of whether to double your consonants or not becomes doubly tricky with the addition of "carrot" to Moroccan ... since in French it's "carotte."  What a mess.  As if British spellings weren't enough to mess up one's spelling.

When Helen sent me the link to this carrot salad in the LA Times, I was a bit like, ho hum, I've already made a Moroccan carrot salad, and it had harissa in it.  But this new one was WAY better!  Sauteeing the garlic, onions, and spices evened out the flavors.  Also, lightly cooked, larger chunks of carrot had a more pleasant texture than raw grated carrot.  Overall, this was a delicious, balanced dish: lemon, vinegar, chili, and cayenne all add zing, while sugar and cloves, ginger, cinnamon, etc. add warmth.  And of course, cilantro's off doing its own thing.  :)

I made a half recipe and it easily served three.

Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad
(from the LA times)

2 pounds carrots
1/3 c olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 serrano chile, finely chopped (and seeded, if you want less heat)
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 TB white red wine vinegar
1 TB chopped preserved lemon lemon juice
salt, to taste
2 1/2 c cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, plus extra to garnish
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, chilled

1. Peel the carrots and cut them, depending on their size, into cylinders or semicircles one-half-inch thick; all the pieces should end up roughly the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender but still crunchy, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to dry out.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft and slightly brown, about 12 minutes. Add the cooked carrots to the onion, followed by the sugar, garlic, chile, onion, cloves, ground ginger, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and vinegar.
3. Remove from the heat. Season with salt and lemon juice, stir well and leave to cool.
4. Before serving, stir in the cilantro, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of oil and a garnish of the extra cilantro.  Serves about 6.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Green Pea Soup

This soup is so easy and simple, but it's also very delicious and refreshing.  I could almost see myself eating it cold (and I really am not into cold savory soups).  Ginger, lemon juice, and mint all "cool down" this ever-so-slightly-spicy soup.  If you wanted a more intense version, I think this soup would also be a great vehicle for harissa, in the style of that split pea harissa soup.

Green extravaganza!  Salad with avocado, pea soup with mint

Green Pea Soup Recipe
3 TB fresh ginger, well chopped
10 sm-med cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin, plus more to serve
3 TB veg oil
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
4 1/2 cups good-tasting vegetable stock or water
3 1/2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
8 fresh mint leaves
pan-fried paneed, queso fresco, or haloumi, cut into tiny cubes - optional
harissa (optional)

1. Use a food processor to puree the ginger, garlic, chiles, cumin and three tablespoons of water into a paste. You could also use a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
2. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When hot, add the bay leaves and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the onion and cook for a few minutes, until it begins to take on a bit of color. At this point, stir in the garlic-ginger paste, and cook for another minute. Carefully add the stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Then add the peas. Simmer just until the peas are bright, and cooked through - just a couple minutes.
3. Remove from heat, fish out the bay leaves, add the salt, and puree well with a hand blender. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Also, if you need to thin out the soup at all, you can add more stock at this point. Serve hot (or chilled?) topped with a bit of lemon juice, a pinch of cumin, mint leaves, and perhaps harissa? pan-fried paneer or cheese.  Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recipe Index Updated

Today I pulled out my very dusty html skillz from the late 90s and tried to make the index on the right-hand side of the blog a little easier to use: there's a list of categories at the top with links to take you down to each particular category.  I'd appreciate any feedback on a) whether this works ok in your browser and b) whether the categories are helpful/intuitive (and organizational suggestions).  I think it's a sign of what's exciting about vegan food that "main dishes" is a pretty irrelevant category, but it has made organizing this growing bunch of recipes a tricky task. 


Italian-Inspired Rotelle with Sausage, Spinach, and Sundried Tomatoes

One evening I got home and needed to eat quickly before going to a concert.  I threw this pasta dish together.  It was balanced, filling, and fast, and the flavors went together excellently.

It was also, however, a huge gluten bomb in the stomach.  I've already written about how these Field Roast sausages are delicious, minimally processed, and yet strangely difficult to digest.  Since I bought them, I intend on using them!  Perhaps in smaller amounts.

Italian-Inspired Rotelle with Sausage, Spinach, and Sundried Tomatoes

2 servings of pasta, cooked as directed (I used whole wheat rotelle)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sausage (I used Field Roast Italian), sliced
lots of spinach
juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 sundried tomatoes (from a jar), chopped
oil from tomatoes
red pepper flakes
salt, if needed

1. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. In a frying pan, heat oil, then saute garlic a few minutes.  Add sausage and cook until browned, then add spinach and cook briefly.
3. Toss pasta with saute mixture and remaining ingredients.  Add lemon and salt to taste.  Serves 2.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Spicy Noodles with Basil

Intrigued by a recipe that uses ketchup (as well as other premade sauces I didn't have), I made this noodle dish.  Basil, citrus, cucumber, and ginger freshened up the heavier flavors of sugar, peanut butter, and ketchup.  I found myself wishing for a greater variety and overall amount of veggies, but otherwise this was interesting and satisfying, and I think it could withstand a ton of tweaking based on your tastes and what you have lying around.  I also think rice stick noodles might be better, given that the flavors--insofar as they were anything--seemed more Thai than Japanese.

Spicy Noodles with Basil
(adapted from get sconed)

1 package tempeh, cut into pieces
2-3 servings noodles (I used soba, but rice noodles might be better)
2 TB tamari
1 TB wocerstershire
3 TB water
2 TB peanut butter
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic chili paste
sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 in piece ginger, minced
1-2 chilies, minced
carrots, sliced
other vegetables
juice of one lime
1 small cuke, peeled, diced, and divided
scallions, chopped and divided
basil, chopped and divided

1. Steam tempeh, and then save water. Combine marinade/sauce ingredients (tamari through turmeric).
2. Marinate tempeh and cook noodles as directed.
3. In a frying pan or a wok, fry garlic, ginger, and chilies.
4. Pick the tempeh out of the marinade (reserving marinade), add said tempeh into the frying pan along with carrots and other veggies.
5. When tempeh is browned and veggies are slightly cooked, stir in noodles, leftover sauce/marinade, lime juice, and some each of cucumber, scallions, and basil.  Serve warm and top with additional cucumber, scallions, and basil.  Serves about 3.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two One-Offs

I recently made a faster version of the green curry broth soup.  I didn't simmer the broth for all that long before straining it, and then I added stir-fried tofu, mushrooms, carrots, shredded collards, and udon noodles.  I garnished it with lime juice, scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds... really, though, the possibilities for this soup are endless.


Secondly.  Sometimes I want to make something savory for breakfast in the morning, but the sausagey recipes require sooo much measuring that I'm just not down.  But I've gotten around this problem by quadrupling the spices from the oats and rice sausage recipe so that you have a mixture of:

2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tsp ground sage
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
4 tsp fennel seeds

You'd then use about a heaping tablespoon for the original recipe, or less for smaller batches of stuff.

In this case, I then referred to this tempeh sausage squares recipe.  I mixed 1 TB tamari, 1/4 tsp liquid smoke, and about 1/4-1/2 c water with a heaping teaspoon of the above mixture.  Then I fried triangles of tempeh on both sides before pouring this mixture over the top, letting it cook off, etc., etc.

Then, because I happened to have some lying around, we topped off the tempeh with some mushroom gravy. Not the best photo, but this is one of the best (and fastest) homemade sausage things I've made yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Caraway Beer Bread

This bread was baked with some amount of anticipation because it was super fast and used two very exciting ingredients: beer and caraway seeds (obviously).  Like this other beer bread, I think the beer is not so much for leavening as it is for flavor (yeasty/malty, sort of compensates for it being a baking powder bread rather than a yeasted one).

Though the caraway seeds are zingy and fun, though, I've yet to meet a soda bread that I'm really excited about.  Fresh out of the oven, slathered in earth balance, it tastes awesome (don't most things? [don't answer that]).  But as early as the morning after, it feels stale, dry, dense; it lacks flavor... which is why I made a funny-looking half loaf (pictured below). 

Does anyone have a really awesome quick bread recipe?  I mean, a bready one (not pumpkin bread or something like that, where the sugar, oil, and pumpkin all add to the moistness).

Caraway Beer Bread

3 c all-purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt
2 TB caraway seeds (don't overdo this--it won't look like that much, but a little goes a long way)
12 ounces beer, room temperature 
2 TB vegan butter, melted 

1. Heat oven to 350*F.  Coat a small loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and caraway in a large bowl.  Add beer; stir in liquid into flour mixture just until flour is moistened.  Scrape into pan.
3. Bake at 350*F for 50 minutes.  Brush top with half of melted butter, then bake 10 more minutes or until lightly browned.
4. Remove loaf from oven and brush on remaining butter.  Cool somewhat, then serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes one (9x5) loaf.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sorrel Omelettes

One of the new strange vegetables I got from my visit to Wattles was sorrel--or at least that's what they told me.  Weirdly, sorrel is poisonous in large amounts, yet it has a role in many different cuisines.  Quite bitter, somewhat like arugula, this green was well balanced by the yangy flavors of a chickpea flour omelette with black salt, about which I recently blogged. 

Chickpea flour omelette with black salt and sorrel

I followed the same recipe as before, but I stirred as much shredded greens as I could into the batter before cooking.


Sage, dried (unrelated to above omelette)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hummus / Garden / ?

My friend and colleague Sina has a plot at what I'm pretty sure is the best community garden in all of LA.

Last weekend, he hosted a picnic at this ridiculously idyllic place.  Now, let me just say... my parents were and are pretty enthusiastic gardeners, and when I was growing up in Minneapolis, in the summer we had tomatoes, green beans, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, squashes, maybe strawberries... plus, local farms had loads of amazing sweetcorn and apples... but a garden in southern California is a whole other thing.  At the risk of playing into so many myths about the American West, this place at the end of the world does feel like an immanent or incipient (albeit often ill-managed) paradise... limitless potential... blah blah blah...

Really, I just mean that almost everything grows here.  Artichokes, grapes, passion fruit, citrus, avocados, more.

Anyway, continuing with this thin excuse for a blog post...

It was a potluck, and I made hummus with harissa. Why I didn't do this sooner is beyond me.  After all, I've been known to stir my harissa into my baba ganoush... and I can't recommend harissa's introduction into hummus highly enough.  I love the crazy mixture of flavors in this harissa (chipotles, caraway, mint!), but it usually ends up being too spicy to really immerse oneself in said flavors.  Here, they're spread out enough through the hummus that you can really bask in them.

I used this hummus recipe (minus the green goo).  I stirred in some harissa and then topped it with an additional dollop.

Hummus with Harissa

Finally, as is the case on every visit to Wattles, Sina sent me home with a bunch of strange vegetables.  I'll soon be posting about some of them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blackberry Pie

Some of all that frozen fruit (mostly blackberries, but also some strawberries) went into making this pie.  I love how few ingredients a pie can have and still come out just right.  The filling: fruit and cornstarch (and maybe sugar).  The crust: flour, oil, and salt.  Seriously!

I loved this pie (especially once it firmed up--it was better the second day).  The filling just had this really dense and tart berry flavor, and the whole wheat flour gives the crust a fantastic texture.  We ate it with coconut bliss ice cream, which I think is the only grocery store vegan ice cream worth getting.  So good... and it, too, only has three ingredients: coconut milk, agave, and vanilla.

Mixed Berry Pie with Whole Wheat Oil Crust
Whole Wheat Oil Pie Crust

1 1/4 c white flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
3-4 TB of cold water

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine flour, oil, and salt.  Add water until you have dough.  Roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper, on top of a slightly wet countertop.  Transfer to a 9-in pie pan; extra crust can be rolled out and cut into fun shapes or thin strips as a topping, or cooked off in a frying pan as a snack, or frozen for later use.  Poke crust with a fork and bake 15-20 min.  I suggest placing a sheet of parchment paper over the crust and weighting it down with dry beans; this helps the crust keep its shape.  Remove crust from oven and set aside until you're ready to fill it.


Mixed Berry Pie Filling
LOTS of berries (far more than you think you need)
0-1/2 c turbinado sugar (to taste)
1/4 c cornstarch, mixed with a bit of cold water
2 TB lemon juice

In a saucepan, cook fruit with some water until it begins to soften. Add remaining ingredients and cook for a few minutes, until well mixed. Transfer to pie crust. Top with reserved crust pieces and brown sugar, if desired.  Bake pie at 425* for ten minutes, then at 350* for an additional 40-50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust begins to brown. Allow to stand and cool before serving.  It will seem way to mushy to be done, but if you let it sit and cool for at least a few hours, it will firm up just fine.


Reference cupboard: conversions, "bean math," legume and grain cooking times and water ratios.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coconut Cilantro Bean Curry

Savory recipes that use (unsweetened) coconut are awesome!  See, for example, shredded brussels sprouts with coconut, hyderabad cauliflower, hyderabadi eggplant, and baingan bharta... and now this recipe from vegventures.

In making this recipe, I used way more cilantro and a bit more heat than were called for (I also used fresh chilies instead of chili powder).  The flavors were good, but the texture was so dry, especially with all the coconut.

So, a bit like when I transported the filling from stuffed collards into a kind of sushi roll, I seriously tweaked my leftovers into a soupier curry by simmering them in a mixture of coconut milk and stock.  Perfect!  Most of the liquid cooked off, but I was left with a curry that was moister and richer.

Coconut Cilantro Bean Curry (without and with sauce ingredients)

3 TB vegetable oil
4-5 crushed garlic cloves
1/2 to 1 whole green chili, w/seeds
1.5 TB cumin (yes, TB)
1.5 TB coriander (-”-)
1 TB turmeric (-”-)
1/4 c fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
1.5 c desiccated coconut
1.5 c cooked (or canned) black-eyed beans (I used black beans)
1.5 c cooked and cubed potatoes
salt to taste
lime or lemon juice to taste
optional: 1 c coconut milk, 1 c vegetable stock

1. Heat the oil on a pan and fry the garlic and chili for 30 seconds. Add all the other spices and sauté, stirring, for 1-2 minutes more. Add all the other ingredients except lime juice (and optional sauce ingredients) and mix.
2. Cook for 10 more minutes, stirring frequently (the curry is so dry that especially if you don’t have a non-stick pan it might burn, since the the ingredients quickly soak up the oil). Optional: add coconut milk and stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5-10 more minutes.  Serve hot.  Serves about three.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Muffins and Sausages

My girlfriend Sarah (wait?  does she mean girlfriend?) recently worked on a commercial shoot that involved craploads of fresh fruit... which wound up in my fridge!  It was a little overwhelming for a bit there: tons of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, ten mangos, two pineapples, and ten bananas.

But, freezers are our friends!  I washed, trimmed, chopped, and froze almost all of it--the equivalent of many dollars of frozen fruit, just waiting for smoothies, pies, curries, breads, etc.  Yay!

First thing I did with the fruit that didn't get frozen was make some muffins... I used the recipe for berry muffins in Vegan Brunch, but too much multitasking was going on, and I know I messed it up somehow (3 c of flour instead of 2, maybe?), because I had to add a LOT of milk to get batter consistency.  I know using fresh berries instead of frozen also affects the cooking time, but it was more than that.  I wasn't thrilled about the results (though Sarah said they were just fine), but we nevertheless ate them or gave them away quickly enough that I didn't get a decent photo.

Muffin Carnage


Pancakes from Vegan Brunch have also continued to happen, with great success.  Sometimes they have blueberries in them.


On the topic of breakfast, I recently made an impulse buy at wholefoods and got a pack of Field Roast's Italian sausages.  Now, I pretty much never buy "fake meat products" (tofu and tempeh are different, since they have one ingredient).  But I looked at the list of ingredients and thought, I could make this exact sausage at home.  It's simply wheat gluten, vegetables, and spices.  So that's cool... and the sausages taste really great... but they sort of sit in the bottom of my stomach for hours, as if my body isn't sure it can actually digest them.  Is it a gluten thing?  I'm inclined to pooh-pooh the hordes of upper-middle-class white people who only as of very recently imagine that gluten has singled them out as torture victims (as if insisting on soymilk and egg-whites-only-omelettes was no longer enough to make them special)... but yeah, something about these sausages doesn't sit well with me.  Not that this keeps me from ordering one (at a 500% markup) every time I go to Blue Palms for happy hour.

Still, unless I'm feeling really lazy, I could make my own.  Or I could skip the gluten bomb altogether and return to my standbys of tempeh sausage filling, tempeh sausage triangles, and the amazing oat and rice sausage.

Field Roast Italian Sausage, lightly fried, with sprouted rye bread and raspberry jam in the background

And yes, I know the title of this post is "muffins and sausages."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lapsang Tofu

When I acquire a new ingredient (or when I think of one I haven't used in a long time), I leave it out on the counter so that it watches me as I cook, silently guilting me into using it.  For some (kombu, for example), it takes a while.  But for these new additions to my cupboard, it didn't take long at all.

Yet another example of macro-Southern fusion, this recipe from seitan is my motor caught my eye because it uses not only Worcestershire sauce and smoked paprika, but also lapsong souchong tea!  Lapsong souchong has been a favorite of mine ever since 2004, when my friend Myer solemnly ushered us into his room in our old co-op house (RIP [the house, not Myer]) and poured us some of this mysterious smoky tea.

I used the cooking method from orange pan-glazed tofu or tempeh, and I used honey, but otherwise I kept the recipe pretty much the same.  I wanted less sweet, more salty, and some spicy in it, but the flavors were still really great.  And pairing it with the collard slaw was a natural choice.

Smoky Tofu with Lapsang Souchong

1 block extra firm or firm tofu
100 ml brewed lapsang souchong (about 1 teabag in 1/2 c hot water)
1 TB jerk sauce (substitute [vegan] Worcestershire sauce)
1 TB soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp honey or agave nectar (or less)
1 large garlic clove, pressed
consider: cayenne pepper

1. Press tofu and drain.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and set aside.
3. In a large skillet, fry tofu pieces on one side, then flip over and do the other side.  Tofu should be golden brown.  Then add mixture of remaining ingredients and simmer, spooning liquid over tofu pieces until it's mostly gone.  Serve hot or cold.  Serves about 3.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Collard Slaw

As this old standby casserole and the 3 Bowls cookbook both suggest, there's something oddly meant-to-be about macrobiotic/Japanese flavors and soul-foody ones.  Collard greens are probably the most stunning case of this; I love to eat them stirfried not only with lots of garlic but also with a bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds.  I tried to mix that up a bit here by making a cold slaw that uses similar flavors.  This could easily be a raw salad if you slice the greens really thinly and massage them when you're mixing it all up, but I preferred to lightly steam the collards before proceeding.  This recipe was really simple but also really delicious and healthy.

Collard Slaw

1 bunch collards, washed, de-stemmed, and thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB grated ginger
salt to taste
sesame oil to taste
rice vinegar to taste
sesame seeds, toasted

1. Lightly steam collards if desired.  Don't overcook them!
2. Combine collards, carrots, scallions, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl and toss with salt.
3. Dress to taste with sesame oil (use sparingly) and rice vinegar.  Adjust salt to taste as well.
4. Serve chilled and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  Serves about 4.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chickpeas and Edamame with Greens and Shiitakes

Oh hey, another recipe from the taste space.

Oh hey, Trader Joe's sells frozen shelled edamame for absurdly cheap!  This was like 4 c for $1.50 or something.

I finally remembered to use my kombu when making chickpeas.  I think, though, that I need to conduct a controlled experiment to see whether it actually makes legumes more digestible.  But it certainly adds a bit of flavor...

I have to go a bit out of my way to get shiitake mushrooms, so I usually just stick with button, crimini, or portobello, but making this recipe with actual shiitakes reminded me of how awesome their texture is.

In adapting this recipe, I did use nori instead of dulse (because that's what I had).

I also used (pre-steamed) kale instead of watercress, and skipped the snow peas.  A recipe like this one is clearly endlessly adaptable.  What's important is the mixture of the bright and tangy flavors (ginger, lime juice) and the super duper umami ones (mushrooms, tamari).

Chickpeas and Edamame with Greens and Shiitakes
(from taste space)

1 TB olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tsp salt
2 c shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1 TB fresh grated ginger
1.5 c edamame
1 TB dulse granules (I used half a sheet of chopped up nori)
1 TB tamari or soy sauce
2 c cooked chickpeas, drained (cooking water reserved)
1/2 c cold water
1 TB cornstarch (optional)
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, roughly chopped, and steamed
juice of 1-2 limes
sesame seeds

1. Saute the onion in the oil on medium heat until it starts to turn translucent. Add the salt, mushrooms, and ginger and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir in the edamame, sea veg, soy sauce, and chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes.
2. In a separate bowl dissolve the cornstarch in some cold water, then pour the mixture into the pan with the beans. Stir in the greens and cook until they has wilted. Remove from heat and add lime juice before serving, mix well.  Serve over a bed of brown rice or quinoa.  Serves 4-6.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miso Eggplant

Recently I made this broiled eggplant from the taste space.  It was lovely.  I used a regular eggplant instead of a Japanese one, and since it was so big, I cut it into quarters instead of in half.  I ate this eggplant hot, cold, on its own and in salads, including in the mediterranean wheat berry salad (at right).

Since I didn't have sake or mirin, I just used seasoned rice vinegar, and since it was seasoned, I didn't add any extra sugar.

Baked Asian Eggplant with Miso

1 eggplant, cut in half lengthwise (I actually cut this one giant eggplant into quarters lengthwise)
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
2 tsp olive oil
4 tsp seasoned rice vinegar (or 2 tsp saké + 2 tsp mirin + 1 tsp sugar)
1 tbsp white miso
1 green onion, sliced (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 430*F.  Oil baking tray.
2. Wash eggplants and cut lengthwise. Brush the inside sides of the eggplant sides with the sesame oil and olive oil.  Bake for 30 minutes till soft and slightly brown.
3. Bring rice vinegar to a gentle boil on low heat. Add white miso and stir till smooth. Remove from heat. (Leftover miso mix may be stored in the fridge.)
4. When eggplants are cooked and soft, switch the oven to the broil mode. Brush eggplant tops with miso mixture and grill for about 5 minutes till the miso bubbles. Garnish with green onion or  some toasted white sesame seeds if you are so inclined. Serve warm.  Serves about 2.


Since I love cooking so much, I don't actually often take advantage of all the awesome vegan restaurant food LA has to offer, but last weekend I did get the chance to have brunch at the new Sage Vegan Bistro in Echo Park.  It was really excellent, and the prices were ridiculously good!  I'll definitely go back.

I had a fried rice scramble with fennel, asparagus, orange, lentils, cranberries, tofu, red peppers, almonds, dill, cilantro, and sour cream (at left).

My friend Denise had the spinach, avocado, and walnut sausage florentine (at right), which came with a ridiculously buttery hollandaise sauce.

And of course there was ice cream: Denise had strawberry lemonade and coconut chip, and I had coconut chip and cinnamon latte!  They were good, but I still like Scoops' ice cream the best.