Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good Sandwich

sprouted rye bread
mashed avocado + lemon juice
lettuce from sina's garden
horseradish mustard

That's all, folks!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Armenian Potato Salad

So, I know I raved about this potato salad a few weeks ago, but this Armenian one--made for a dinner with my mom and some friends--was equally fantastic.  Horseradish mustard and celery seeds are swapped out in favor of lemon and dried mint.  I think this recipe, which I've had bookmarked forever, originally came from Simply Armenian.  Like most of the Armenian dishes I've made, its simplicity is part of its deliciousness.

It's important not to overcook the potatoes; remember that they will continue cooking even after you strain them and rinse them with cold water.

A few days after making this salad, I threw in some really ripe grape tomatoes.  Their sour juiciness went perfectly here.

Armenian Potato Salad
(from simply armenian)

1.5 lbs small waxy potatoes, quartered
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 large bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried mint
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
cayenne to taste
grape tomatoes, halved (optional)

1. Boil potatoes in salted water until just pokeable with a fork, perhaps 10-15 min.  Don't overcook them!  Strain and place in cold water.
2. Combine remaining ingredients, then strain potatoes and toss them in this dressing.  Allow to sit several hours to chill and for flavors to meld.


It is that time of year again!  I was going to make this fava bean pasta sauce again and finally get a decent photo, but I realized I didn't have near enough favas.  What I did have, however, was a blackened eggplant ready for baba ganoush.  I used favas instead of tahini in this recipe, and the result was surprisingly similar.  Favas have a slighly funky/nutty character to them that other green-colored beans lack. 

I had this with whole wheat lavash and Armenian potato salad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wedding Soup

In making this Italian wedding soup from my vegan cookbook, I used different pasta, and instead of homemade meatballs I used 2 Tofurkey Italian sausages I found in my freezer.  Instead of raw kale I threw in a bunch of sauteed collards I already had in my fridge.  And sadly, I omitted the mushrooms.
I loved the combination of flavors and textures here, but overall it was a bit bland.  I ended up adding some bouillon concentrate late in the game to compensate.

Also, check out the fascinating folk etymology of "Italian wedding soup"!

Italian Wedding Soup

1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
1/4 c soy sauce
6 cups water/stock
1/4 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 bay leaf
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
4 cups of chopped greens
1 c whole wheat rotelle pasta
2 vegan Italian sausages, cut into small pieces
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1.In a large pot sweat the onion and garlic with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, on medium heat, until the onions are transparent. Add to the pot the water, kale, fennel, herbs, garlic and onion powder, bay leaf, sugar and liquid smoke and the rest of the soy sauce. Cook this for 25 to 30 minutes, on medium heat, covered. The last 5 or 10 minutes of cooking add the noodles and the greens.
2. Last, add the sausage and tomato sauce and turn the heat up to high and cook an additional 3 minutes. Serves 8 or more.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Imam Bayildi

I think I decided to make this when I saw a recipe for "healthy imam bayildi" and eventually found my way to the less-healthy version.  Quite frankly, after Robin Robertson's turkish eggplant with walnut sauce, no other stuffed eggplant is going to come close, but this was simple and solid.  I forgot to photograph it after it came out of the oven; I just ate it!

Here I precooked the onion and garlic, and I also threw some of the eggplant innards into that saute.  I doubled the number of tomatoes and roasted them ahead of time; I omitted parsley and dill and added cinnamon and cayenne.

Imam Bayildi (stuffed Turkish eggplant)

2 large tomatoes
1 large eggplant, halved lengthwise
1/3 c olive oil – and you might need more
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped mint
juice from half a lemon
1 lil thwack cinnamon
1 lil thwack cayenne
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450*.  Roast tomatoes whole until their skins blister; then remove them from the oven.
2. Remove green part from eggplant and halve lenthwise. Slice a thin strip off the eggplant so it will sit in baking dish without rolling.  Scoop/cut out the innards and set aside.  Place hollow eggplants in an oiled baking dish.
3. Saute onion, garlic, and eggplant in a bit of oil.
4. When the tomatoes have cooled, pull off their skins and discard them. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds into a bowl. Dice the tomato and add to the onion mixture. Add mint, lemon juice, spices, and a glug of olive oil, and mix.
5. Overfill the eggplant with the onion mixture.  Smother with olive oil and season wel.
6. Pour water into the dish so that it comes about 1 cm up the side of the eggplant.
7. Bake or simmer covered with foil for 1 hour at a low heat (350ish), uncovering half way through. Serves 2. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Seafood Curry

When I saw Vaishali's recipe for a seafood curry, I was so excited to use these canned abalone mushrooms from the pan-Asian market near me.  Ultimately, however, although the sauce was delicious, I just couldn't get down with the texture of these mushrooms.  They were very meaty and very tough.  If there was a way to make them more tender--and I did marinate them for hours!--I might be convinced to try them again; otherwise, I think this recipe would be delicious with some other kind of vegan protein, or even jackfruit.  The sauce was both rich (coconut milk!) and zingy (chilies, mustard/fenugreek seeds, and a ton of lemon) at the same time.

Abalone Mushroom Curry
(adapted from holy cow)
1 can of "abalone" mushrooms or similar
1 tsp grated garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil
For the sauce:
2 dried arbol chilies
2 fresh serrano chilies
1/4 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
1 TB coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 large onion or 2 small ones, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB cashews
1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 c coconut milk
1 TB tamarind paste
salt to taste
1/4 c cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Mix marinade ingredients and pour over mushrooms.  Allow to sit at least 30 minutes.
2. Roast mushrooms in the oven?  Brown in a skillet?  Cut into smaller pieces?
3. Meanwhile, soak the dried chilies in water for about 30 minutes.
4. Toast the fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a dry skillet set over medium heat, about 2 minutes or until the spices start to get fragrant and the coriander seeds turn a couple of shades darker.  Remove the spices from the skillet and set aside to cool.
5. Finely grind cashew nuts (I do this in my spice grinder because it's such a small amount for the food processor).   Add the chilies, toasted spices, onion, garlic, and cashew powder to food processor and process, adding enough water to make a thick, smooth paste.
6. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the mustard seeds until they start to sputter, then add the blended chili and onion paste. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a few shades darker and the water has evaporated. Add the tamarind along with 1 cup water. If the curry is too thick, add more water. Add salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the sauce simmers. Let it cook for 15 minutes without covering it.
7. Add the mushrooms and let the sauce simmer for another five minutes.  Add the coconut milk. Mix well and warm through. Turn off the heat and garnish with cilantro leaves.  Serves about 3-4.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wheatberry Salad with Favas and Roasted Radicchio

This recipe is a Theseus's ship, originating in a recipe from the first mess.  I omitted balsamic reduction (although if I were you, I wouldn't!), used wheat berries (what is farro?) and this method to cook them, used fava rather than white beans, omitted currants and almonds, used mixed greens rather than arugula, and used double radicchio and no belgian endive.  Finally, as I have no grill, I roasted the radicchio in my oven instead.

In conclusion, I wasn't crazy about the extreme bitterness of the roasted radicchio, but the dressing for the grains and beans was phenomenal-- a nice variation on this one.

This post is the first of many in a megabacklog!  Get ready!

Wheatberry Salad with Favas and Roasted Radicchio
(adapted from the first mess)

1 c wheat berries, rinsed
2.5 c water
1 bay leaf
splash tamari
1 c fava or white beans
2 heads radicchio, trimmed of rough outer leaves and cut into quarters
1 TB canola oil
salt and pepper
juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup-worth)
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
1 TB maple syrup
squirt of mustard
salt and pepper
1/2 c canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 450*
2. Place wheat berries in a medium saucepan with 2.5 cups of water, a bay leaf, and a splash of tamari, over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tender but still chewy. Drain, rinse with cold water and dump into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. To the cooked grains, add the beans and salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Make the dressing: whisk together the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil while quickly whisking the mixture. Taste for seasoning. Pour over farro and bean mixture and toss to combine.
5. Toss radicchio with oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in oven at 450* until wilted/browned.
6. Place cooked grains and beans on a bed of greens.  Arrange grilled endive pieces on top. Serves 4-6.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I've been dreaming about a vegan English breakfast off and on since... hm, forever?  With the introduction of Little Armenian SPICY GIANT BEANS (see below) to my fridge, I realized I had almost all the essential components.  I suppose I could have added toast, hash browns, and bacon, but this was nevertheless a ton of food.  This being LA, and local avocadoes being abundant these days, I had to throw in that extra delight.

So, altogether, there was avocado, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, tofu scramble, oats and rice sausage, and Little Armenian giant beans.

I roasted the tomatoes, quartered, at 400*F for 20 min.  I did mushrooms at 475*F for 25 minutes.  And, while I had the oven on, I also did some broccoli at 400-475*F for 25 minutes (I turned up the temperature halfway through).  In each case, they were tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and in the case of the mushrooms and the broccoli, some garlic cloves, and stirred occasionally while cooking. The mushrooms were fantastic!  Chewy, meaty, juicy.  They shrank so much, however!  One large bag turned out to be barely two servings.


A very pleasant combo of some of my favorite things.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peanut Butter Patties

Well, just as in the case of the caramel delites, this vegnews recipe had some serious issues.  Unlike the aforementioned cookie, however, these worked out just fine!

Basically, we had to add liquid to all three components (cookie, peanut butter, and chocolate) it order for it to make sense at all.  We used no cookie press, electric mixer, or microwave, the only outcome of which was (I think) slightly thicker cookies that took much longer to bake.  Finally, we ended up painting rather than dipping into the chocolate-- even with the extra margarine and soymilk, it was so thick (an issue with the chocolate also in thin mints and the caramel in caramel delites).  We used the leftover chocolate on strawberries.

But these were delicious.  And unlike most cookies, the staler they got, the more they resembled the original Girl Scout delicacy.

Peanut Butter Patties
(from vegnews)


For the cookie base:
1 c vegan margarine
1/2 c sugar
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 TB applesauce
2 TB vanilla soymilk
additional soymilk
For the peanut butter filling:
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 c smooth natural peanut butter
1/8 tsp salt ONLY if peanut butter is unsalted
additional soymilk
For the chocolate coating:
1 10-oz bag vegan chocolate chips
additional soymilk and margarine

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, blend margarine and sugar until creamy. Add flour, flaxseed, vanilla, salt, applesauce, and soymilk, and blend until dough is smooth, adding soymilk as necessary to get it to form a dough.
2. Form dough into small balls and flatten to about 1-in diameter and 1/4-to-1/2-in height.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 6-12 minutes until slightly golden around edges/bottom.  Remove and cool. 
3. For the peanut butter filling, in a large bowl, mix powdered sugar and peanut butter (and salt if using unsalted PB).  Add a drizzle of soymilk if necessary.  With your hands, use roughly 1 TB of mixture to form small balls and gently press on top of each cookie.
4. In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate chips.  Thin with soymilk and margarine as needed.  Coat cookies in chocolate by "painting" on chocolate or by dropping cookies into chocolate and fishing them out.
5. Chill cookies in refrigerator for an hour or until chocolate is fully dry.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Japanese-Style Curry

This curry--at least the way I made it--was pretty underwhelming.  I'm not sure why this surprised me; after all, I used frozen veggies, and just a pre-mixed curry powder.  That said, I'd be curious to experiment more with curries like this--ones that use ketchup and cornstarch, for example.

I used corn, peas, and chickpeas instead of potato, apple, and edamame.  I also added a chili, garlic, and ginger.

Japanese-Style Curry

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 TB curry powder
3 carrots, sliced

1 serrano chili, finely chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 TB minced ginger
l L water
2 c chickpeas
3 TB ketchup
1 TB miso
1/2 c corn
1/2 c peas
1 TB cornstarch

1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil.  Over medium heat, saute onion and curry powder until onions are soft.
2. Add carrots, chili, garlic, and ginger, stir, and cook a few minutes.
3. Add the water, chickpeas, ketchup, and miso.  Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
4. In a glass mix a little cold water with the cornstarch and add to curry.  Stir, continue cooking for few minutes until thickened, and serve with rice. Serves about 4.