Jan 31, 2009

Game Day Football Cookies

I scored a touchdown with these decadent peanut butter shortbread cookies, dipped in chocolate (okay, you can now roll your eyes at the cheesy metaphor)... the best thing is that no animals were harmed in the making of THESE game day footballs!

Makes about 18 cookies


3/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. Earth Balance buttery sticks
1/2 C. peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. all purpose flour
1 C. dark chocolate candy melts (vegan)


Cream softened margarine, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Add the flour until well combined into a stiff dough. Roll into balls and shape into footballs by tapering the ends a bit. Place onto parchment lined or non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15minutes or until bottoms are deep golden. Let cool before dipping.

Melt the chocolate as directed on the package in a microwave or double boiler. Carefully dip each cookie to coat the bottoms and place onto a cool, parchment lined cookie sheet. With a butter knife, draw the "football stitches" onto the cookies. Let harden before moving (placing them into a refrigerator makes this quicker).

Eat in moderation!

Jan 29, 2009

Vegan Raw Green Smoothie... for my cold! (sniff)

First cold of the season- ACK! So if you're supposed to starve a cold and feed a fever, what if you have both? ...Drink a Green Smoothie! (and don't starve yourself). There's something comforting and quite empowering about imbibing good raw nutrition through a straw. It feels like all those vitamins and nutrients are somehow going straight to my blood stream.

Of course, I probably wouldn't be sick in the first place, if I hadn't replaced the good nutrients with cupcakes as I have been. So, back on the green wagon it is!

Actually, this banana-kale smoothie is quite tasty and naturally sweet. If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can add a little squeeze of agave nectar. It's also quite easy to make, which is much appreciated when your feeling like I do- ugh!

Makes 1-2 servings


1/2 C. ice
1 large banana
1 kale leaf, stripped from its stem
1/2 C. vanilla soy milk
1 tsp. ground flax seeds
squeeze of agave nectar (if desired)


Put ice, banana, kale, and flax seeds in a blender. Add the soy milk. Blend until smooth. Drink before it gets to room temp.

Feel free to experiment with different greens, fruits, etc. You might want to stay in the same color scheme to avoid a weird brown (gag) unappetizing color... which is NOT what you wanna see when you're sick! ...or just drink with your eyes closed.

... feeling better already!

Jan 26, 2009

New England Clamless Chowder and Fried Chickn

This soup was inspired by the current issue of Veg News, and the chowder recipe by Allison Rivers Samson (my hero when it comes to cashews). It's a creamy, decadent, soup with mushrooms to take the place of the clams. The cashews give it an unbelievable richness, but could be left out if you want to go lower-fat. To me, it's very much like clam chowder, but it doesn't have that clammy-seafood flavor (which is fine with me). My friend suggested adding a little vegetarian fish sauce (found in Asian markets), which sounded intriguing. So she added some to her bowl, and liked it, but made the comment that the salt would have to be reduced in the recipe to compensate for the salt in the "fish" sauce.

The base of this soup (cauliflower, potato, cashews, onions, & broth) could easily be made into any creamy soup you can imagine!

I cheated again with another Asian faux meat (been doing that a lot lately)... for the Fried Chick'n, I used these ingenious drumstick-shaped faux meat on a stick. They come in packages of 6 or 12. One note of caution: Make sure to read the ingredients label- some of these faux meats contain eggs or whey(milk product). I simply battered them in a mixture of flour, cold water, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (resembling thin pancake batter). Then, dredged them in panko bread crumbs and fried them in a little oil at the bottom of a big skillet- turning them once to fry both sides). I must say, these are VERY much like real chicken, it's a bit scary.

Accompanying them, are some delicious crispy roasted kale - stripped leaves tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roasted in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes (careful not to burn).


This makes about 6 servings


3 medium potatoes (about 3 C. chopped)
2 C. chopped mushrooms (the original recipe called for oyster mushrooms, but I used plain old white button mushrooms)
oil for saute & roasting
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium head of cauliflower (about 3 C. chopped)
1/4 C. broth powder
5 C. water
1 C. raw cashews
salt, pepper to taste
vegetarian fish sauce to taste (optional)


In a sauce pan, put half of the chopped potatoes (1 1/2 C.) with enough water to cover. Cover the pan and boil until potatoes are tender.
Heat your oven to 425 degrees, and toss mushrooms in a little oil, salt , and pepper, then spread onto a sheet pan and roast for about 5-6 minutes.
In a large soup pot, add a little oil and saute the onions on med-high heat (do not brown) for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add the cauliflower and remaining potatoes, and broth powder, and toss together. Add the water and let simmer until everything is tender.
In a food processor, process the cashews until you get a fine crumble. Add about 1/2 C. of the broth in the pot to the processor and spin until smooth and creamy.
Add the cashew mixture to the soup and mix well. When veggies are tender, turn off the heat and puree the soup until smooth, using a stick blender. Mix in the remaining cooked potatoes (drained) and mushrooms, and season to taste.

Jan 25, 2009

Roasted Mushroom Sub with Carmelized Onions and Carrot Garlic Spread...whew!

Apologize for the long name... wanted to give this a special name, given that it's such a special sandwich! Hmmm... any ideas? So far, I got "QuizNO's on Shrooms" and "The Mushroom McHater,"and I was throwing around "The Cropper"- but no one got that. Of course, Mark wanted to call it "The Three-Way Sandwich" to add it the Sexy Vegan Line, but I said no.

Anyway- I roasted some mushrooms and garlic, and microwaved 4 or 5 big carrots (we just got a 10 lb. bag from Costco-gasp!), and was thinking about what to do with it all, when Mark suggested enthusiastically that we should make a sandwich. I happily stepped back and let him have at it (so to speak). The last input I had was to make a carrot puree, and he did the rest while I gladly played siou chef. So, maybe he does have some say in what it's called -don't tell him though!

What he came up with tasted like sheer genius. Meaty roasted mushrooms smothered in grilled onions with a sweet tangy carrot spread on one side and a creamy savory hummus on the other- adorned with optional tomatoes and lettuce. If only this was on the fast food menus!

Makes about 5-6 sandwiches (depending on how big you make them)


-white button mushrooms (about 3-4 cups), cut in halves or quarters
-olive oil to toss (about 2 T.)
-salt & cracked black pepper
-4 large whole garlic cloves, peeled
-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
-lemon juice
-1 yellow onion, sliced
-1 T. margarine
-store-bought or homemade hummus
-sandwich buns of choice
-sliced tomatoes and lettuce (optional)


Roasted mushrooms and garlic:
Put the cut mushrooms in a large bowl and add a bit of the oil to toss. Also add salt and pepper and toss well. Scatter them onto a prepared baking sheet. For the garlic, add the cloves to the bowl that you just tossed the mushrooms in, and toss the garlic in the remaining oil left in the bowl. Put the garlic in a small piece of foil and close loosely. Put the baking sheet and foil wrap in the oven at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until nicely roasted. If the garlic needs it, leave it in there a bit longer until it's golden.

Carrot spread:
Put the cut carrots in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic and poke a couple of holes in it. Microwave on high for about 10 minutes, or until very tender (these are SO good just like that, with a little melted margarine btw). Strain the cooked carrots and put into a food processor with the roasted garlic. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Process until smooth- I like to leave little chunks of the garlic.

Carmelized onions:
Sautee onions with a little margarine (or oil) in a med-hot skillet until golden and tender.

To assemble, simply spread hummus on the bottom half of a toasted bun and spread the carrot spread on the other half. Pile on the mushrooms and onions, and serve!

Jan 22, 2009

Faux-Fancy-Fishy Sticks

Mike (my husband) doesn't usually get in the kitchen, unless it's time to impress the omnivores. And, in his opinion, what impresses more than something fried, crunchy, and meat-like? Well, he's usually right about that.

So, for his friend's gathering, he whipped up these fish imposters by using soy faux fish from the Asian market. As shown below, it comes in a big frozen pre-sliced block and is labeled "Vege Fish Ham." What fish has to do with ham, I do not know- but you gotta hand it to the Asians to come up with a descriptor like that! They're big, tender, and meaty, and wrapped in nori (seaweed), which gives it a seafood-y taste.

Yes, I consider this "cheating" in the veggie culinary world, but they did taste really good! Instead of bread crumbs, he used dried unsweetened coconut flakes, which gave it a wonderful nutty sweet taste and a great crunch.

His omni friends fell over in awe when they learned that these were vegan! ...Mission accomplished!

Note: Mike hasn't adopted the habit of measuring things, so this is the best interpretation of what he did:

  • All purpose (unbleached) flour
  • cold water
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Asian vege sliced ham, each slice cut in half
  • Oil for frying (try coconut oil if you have it!)

Mix together flour and cold water until the consistency resembles pancake batter. Dip the vege ham pieces in the batter, then roll in the coconut flakes to coat. Heat a thin layer of oil (1/4" thick) in a flat skillet and fry each side for a few minutes until golden. Serve warm and dipped in sauce of choice. We made a Vegenaise "tartar" sauce, which probably didn't fit the Asian theme, but it rocked! You could use a peanut sauce or spicy chili sauce, or get creative.

Jan 20, 2009

Eating Up Our Fears: Inauguration Inspiration

After listening intently at President Obama's inaugural speech, as did millions of others, there was certainly a sense of change, a breath of fresh air- a taste of renewal and anticipation for things to come. I, like many, clung to phrases like, "choosing hope over fear" and "holding ourselves accountable for our problems."

For me, it was a reminder of why I became vegan- pushing all excuses aside and doing what was not exactly popular (or simple), but what was based on truth... and hope. It was also a reminder that we ALL have our own fears, and if I could become vegan and be completely honest about what I put into my body, then I could also break down my other fears in the same way, and move forward towards growth.

More than anything, Obama's speech uplifted my resolve to make a difference. I have been feeling, as I'm sure many of us have, deflated and discouraged about the level of change I am truly making- for the state of the planet, the treatment of animals, and the severe decline in the health of people, especially in our country. All the jokes, hateful comments, and overall disapproval of the vegan lifestyle that I read on many mainstream online sites, didn't help either!

But ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that everyone MUST come to their OWN truths, and that it is so much more effective to guide them towards the truth, rather than slap them in the face with it. Anger and force will draw resistence more than calm, intelligent reasoning. And, if the person still won't listen- it means that they're just not ready to hear, which is okay! The whole, "you can lead a horse to water..." saying holds true, and it's important to not get rattled and just move on. The important thing is to remember that rejection doesn't mean that I am a "reject," and the hope that I have dies only if I allow it to. Setting a good example is the best that we can all do to spur change in the world, and I think that's what Obama's speech was all about.

So... in celebration of this important day in history, what could be more American than some traditional comfort food! For the company meeting tonight, I made some hearty (veganized) Mac'n'Cheeze, which I had posted before, and some Carmel Apple Pie Tartlets.

... To the mac'n'cheeze, I left out the potato and carrots (because I was out), and added one block of Follow Your Heart vegan mozarella, along with 2 T. nutritional yeast. I also topped with thinly sliced tomatoes and artichoke hearts, sprinkled with bread crumbs, then drizzled with melted Earth Balance buttery sticks (about 2 T.).

I broke down and used pre-made vegan pie crust that was already rolled out. Cut them into quarters and lined a multi-tartlet pan with them, pressing gently to form a "cup." Baked them at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, or slightly golden.


5 peeled and sliced apples
2 T. unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C. brown sugar
2 T. Earth Balance buttery sticks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt


Toss the apples in the flour. In a large, deep skillet, melt the margarine and mix in brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the apple mixture and stir to coat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then cover and turn down the heat to simmer for about 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Take off the heat and let cool a bit. Spoon mixture into prepared crusts and serve with vanilla soy ice cream or Rod's non-dairy whipped cream (in picture).

Jan 18, 2009

Skillet Potato Fritatta

I've been experimenting a lot lately, and haven't been coming up with anything blog-worthy. I guess you could call it "blogger's block." So Mark (my housemate) stepped up again, and saved the day! I wasn't sure what to call this, and for once, Mark was stumped too- no clever nasty names to think of (thank God)! It has layers of thinly sliced potatoes, grilled onions, and tofu salad that I threw together, resulting in a delicious breakfast treat... not really a fritatta in the traditional sense, but has that sliceable cake-like quality, so I went with that. There wasn't a written recipe made, so I'll describe what he did.

By the way, Mark is only 90% vegan, but came to our household a fully-fledged omnivore- leaning more towards lacto-ovo-carnivore, just last year. Needless to say, he's lost over 20 lbs. and is singing the praises of veganism, but still has his little binges outside of the house, as well as that small chunk of cheese he keeps way back in the 2nd fridge in the garage that he doesn't know I know about! Gotta love the guy for trying though!

Ok, back to business!
1) This layered potato dish starts by adding a thin coating of olive or canola oil to the bottom of an oven-safe skillet.
2) Layer thinly-sliced potatoes in a spiral-ish pattern on the bottom of the skillet, and season with salt and pepper.
3) Then, add a layer of grilled onions, and a thin layer of Eggy Tofu Salad. Press each layer down a bit to make it flat.
4) Then, add another layer of potatoes (like the first one), and seaon the top with a little more salt (he used ground sea salt), cracked black pepper, and a sprinkling of dried dill.
5) Drizzle a small amount of oil on top and put the whole skillet into a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the whole thing moves together in one big block when you jiggle the pan. Broil for a few minutes to brown the top, then remove from the oven and wait for it to cool down slightly before turning it out onto a platter uspide down. You may need to let it cool a bit more so the slices stay intact.

Jan 15, 2009

No-Brainer Bread

I've been making this bread for quite some time now, previously posted as "No Knead Bread." The reason I'm re-posting is because I've found ways to make this bread even EASIER to make, and it's just too cool to keep to myself! And, what's cool too, is the fact that you'll only need a scant 1/2 teaspoon of yeast to make a huge loaf, and you can skip the second rise! This bread has a crispy crust with lots of nice air bubbles, and the only thing you'll need to remember is to prepare it before you go to sleep. Sweet dreams!

Makes the equivalent of 2 regular loaves- mine is just one huge one!


6 C. unbleached all purpose flour (or bread flour)
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
3 C. lukewarm water


First, I prepare the inside stoneware from my large crockpot (I think any good covered pot that is oven safe can be used too). Spray the inside of it well with cooking spray (like Pam) and sprinkle a little corn meal on the bottom (optional). Then, simply mix all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl until combined (a nice sticky mess). Transfer the dough to the crock pot and leave it on the counter overnight (roughly 8 hours - I did it in 5 once, but let's say 8 just to be safe). It will have doubled in size. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and bake covered for 20 minutes; uncovered for 10 minutes or until golden. Loosen the bread from the pot by running a knife around the perimeter, plop it onto a cutting board, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Jan 14, 2009

Vote for Vegan Lunches

Jennifer over at Vegan Lunch Box posted this topic from Change.org ...Let's vote for vegan school lunch options and make a difference!

NOTE: Voting is now closed.

Jan 12, 2009

Sexy Sticky Buns

Mark, my housemate, decided to add another recipe to the Sexy Vegan Line, following the Chocolate Harry Nut Sacks (Guiltless Chocolate Date Bon-Bons) and the Naughty Whipped Italian Nuts (Cashew Cheese Skewers)... Uh, maybe he should start his own blog... He may be on to something!
Not to be outdone, he named these insanely good sticky buns, Gooey Nuts on My Buns (not a joke). The dough is based on this recipe for cinnamon (potato) buns, with some flavor variations. The texture is wonderfully moist, and the flavor is sinfully sweet with the rich caramel topping, and has fragrant hints of orange, cinnamon, and almond. To complete the sensual experience, you MUST eat it with your hands, of course!

Makes 18 buns

4 1/2 C. all purpose flour (can sub 1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour)
1 T. wheat gluten
1 pkg. dry active yeast
1 1/2 C. warm water (or soy milk)
1/2 C. mashed cooked potato
1/3 C. melted Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 T. cinnamon
zest 1/2 orange, finely grated
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Caramel Topping:
2 T. margarine
1/4 C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. raisins
1/2 C. walnuts
zest of 1/2 orange (the other half)
juice of 1 orange
1/4 C. coconut milk


In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water, sugar, and extracts, and set aside until frothy. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the melted margarine and the yeast mixture and knead together to form a smooth elastic dough. Place into a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for about an hour (should double in size). Tear off pieces of dough to fill 18 prepared muffin tins, and bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

To prepare the topping, melt the margarine in a sauce pan, then add the sugars and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients (coconut milk last), and let simmer until thick and syrupy. Pour over finished buns (after removing from tins).

Be careful not to get any of this topping on your skin-it burns! Mark described it as hot wax... Um, yeah...I won't go there.

Lima Beans in Lechon Sauce

Yes, more ethnic flair today! My husband, Mike is Filipino American, and grew up eating vast amounts of this sauce. The word lechon means pig, so you can imagine what he ate it with. The sauce itself is vegan, and is sweet, spicy, tangy, and garlicy, and can be found in most Asian markets.

To pay homage to all the pigs that were sacrificed for us before we became vegan, I chose to pair this sauce with some giant meaty lima beans. I didn't go to much trouble preparing this dish, although I could've wrapped everything in banana leaves and put on some Filipino karaoke! To everyone's relief, I opted instead to serve it with a glass of ice-cold calamansi (sweet lime) juice, to finish off the theme (because let's face it, nobody wants to hear me sing)... whew!


2 C. lima beans (soaked overnight and cooked al-dente)
1 C. onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
one bunch of collard greens, stripped from stem and chopped
1 C. tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 C. lechon sauce (I like the spicy version)
1 C. water
1 T. soy sauce
1 T. agave nectar
2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
3-4 bay leaves
cracked black pepper


When you boil your beans, add the collard greens about 5 minutes before the beans are done- they should still have a slight bite to them. Drain, and set aside. Saute the onion in a little vegetable oil on high heat, stiring until it starts to turn brown. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so. Add the beans and collard greens and stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients (lechon sauce, water, soy sauce, agave nectar, nutritional yeast flakes, bay leaves, and tomatoes). Let simmer until the beans are nice and soft. Remove the bay leaves, add cracked black pepper to taste, and serve over steamed rice.

Jan 8, 2009

Cocoa Nib Almond Cookies

I finally got a box of roasted cocoa nibs, which I've been meaning to try for some time now. But when I got them home and "nibbed" on some, I realized that this wasn't something I particularly wanted to snack on straight from the box. They're good and bitter, and also nut-like in texture, and linger on the tongue to the point of requiring a serious palette cleanser! My pack of Wriggley's Spearmint was my savior.

After contemplating the fact that I had just spent 7 bucks on this gourmet treat, I was determined to find a good use for them. I found this recipe from the Alice Medrich's Bittersweet, and "vegspun" it by simply swapping Earth Balance for the butter.

The result was a cross between a shortbread and a biscotti, with a great almond flavor and crunch which definitely complimented the almost coffee-like flavor of the nibs. As soon as the aroma filled the room, everyone in the house was drawn to the kitchen like the cookie-eating zombies that they are. Must...have...cookie!


3/4 C. almonds
1 C. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
2/3 C. sugar
1/4 t. salt
6 T. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, cut into chunks
2 T. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1/4 C. roasted cocoa nibs


Proccess the almonds, flour, sugar, and salt until the almonds are reduced to a fine meal. Add the Earth Balance and pulse until it looks crumbly. Combine the water, vanilla, and almond extract in a small bowl, then add and pulse just until just incorporated. Add the cocoa nibs and pulse a few more times to mix in evenly.

Turn out the dough onto a large sheet of foil and press it together with your hands to form a 6 x 9 inch rectangle, that's about a 1/2 inch thick. Wrap it up in the foil tightly and refrigerate on a flat surface until the dough is nice and firm (an hour or two, or more). Unwrap and cut into thin strips (about 1/4" thick). Carefully transfer the delicate strips to a prepared cookie sheet about an inch apart, and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees, or until edges are golden.

Makes about 30, 6-inch sticks

Red & White Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa (pronounced kee-nuaw), is one of my all-time favorite grains. And, when I found red quinoa at the market, I just couldn't resist! It's a tiny grain that plumps up when cooked and has a fragrant, nutty taste.

We DJed Colusa Casino's holiday party last December, and the hotel chef made us these incredible quinoa cakes (much like crab cakes), which was a shock to us, because we're just not used to that kind of love- especially from mainstream chefs! He told us how excited he was to make them for us, and even went out of his way to get the ingredients! After that, I knew I wanted to make my own version. This one uses white beans and the aforementioned red quinoa. Simple to throw together, and oh so good! We served 'em up with roasted eggplant, marinated tomatoes, and seasoned baked potato wedges.


1 can (15oz.) white beans
2 C. cooked red quinoa
1/2 C. onion, finely chopped
1/2 C. cilantro, chopped
1 T. unsalted broth powder (or nutritional yeast + spices)
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 C. panko bread crumbs
oil for pan frying


Rinse and drain the white beans, then mash them up- leaving some chunks in there. Add the cooked quinoa, onion, cilantro, broth powder, salt, and pepper, and mix together. Form into golf ball sized balls, press to flatten a bit, and coat with bread crumbs. Cook each side for a few minutes in a large flat skillet with a thin layer of oil.

Jan 6, 2009

Eggy Tofu Salad

The guys had a Video DJ Demo at the Apple Store in San Francisco for the Mac World Convention, to perform and explain what we do with our beloved Mac products. I wasn't gonna be behind the decks, so I tagged along with the video camera to document the experience. This place was HUGE, with two levels and a large demo area with seating. They "killed" it, and everyone had a blast watching 'em spin and scratch videos using our macs, even though most of them weren't remotely interested in DJing! I guess they were there for the entertainment factor. One thing I have found is that techy nerds attract other techy nerds (myself included)!

Anyway, back to the recipe. I often make this because it's both delicious AND portable via two slices of bread or in a breakfast burrito. And when we're out on gigs or on the road, it's nice to have something comforting to eat, given the limited availability of quality vegan food in general. I tend to make extra sauce, because I just hate leaving a half or a third of something (i.e. tofu) floating around in the fridge. So this makes probably 8-10 servings, plus a little extra sauce for dipping veggies in or using for other great purposes. If you don't have as many people to feed, you could cut the recipe, but I find that this stuff is even better as leftovers and often eat it in creative ways throughout the week.


2 blocks of extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1 T. olive oil or veg oil
1 C. onion, chopped small
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 C. frozen yellow corn
2 heaping T. hot dog relish or chopped pickles (add a bit more if you're using this)

1 pkg (8oz.) Mori-Nu silken tofu (soft kind)
1 C. Vegenaise
1 T. dijon mustard
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. tumeric
1 T. garlic powder (cut back if you don't like it too garlicy like me)
1 T. ground coriander
salt to taste (I use @ a tsp.)
1 tsp. ground pepper (or more if you like)


After thawing the extra firm tofu, squeeze out as much water as possible (it's much easier to do this if it's been frozen). Crumble it up in a large mixing bowl with a towel to dry it even more. At this point, I like to sprinkle some salt and massage it in to soak up some seasoning, but it's optional. Saute the onions in the oil until golden brown and carmelized (add a little water if it's sticking), and add the garlic to saute for a minute or two. Take off the heat and mix in the frozen corn to thaw it and cool the mixture down. Now, all you do is whiz together all the sauce ingredients until smooth, creamy, and tasty. It should taste a bit on the strong side. Add your relish or pickles to the tofu as well as about 1/2-2/3 of the sauce (reserve the rest for later use). Mix well and eat or stick in the fridge to get it colder.

Spicy Eggplant & Tofu With Garlic Sauce

I'm fortunate to be living relatively near Asian supermarkets, where I could probably spend all day looking in wonderment at all of the exotic ingredients that remind me of my childhood. As a 2nd-generation Asian, I don't make Asian food all the time, but still crave the flavors pretty often. Today, I made this dish using a black bean & garlic paste that may be found in regular supermarkets on the "Ethnic" isle if you're not close to any Asian markets. It is a blend of soy sauce, black beans, garlic, a little sugar and ginger. This is wonderful over rice, but I opted to put it over a bed of Korean vermicelli, which is a translucent noodle made of sweet potatoes... cool, huh?

1 T. oil
1 C. onions, chopped
3 C. eggplant, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pkg. extra firm tofu, drained & cubed
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. black bean paste
1 T. hoisin sauce (should be more common in supermarkets)
1 T. red pepper flakes (adjust amount to your liking)
2 T. sugar
2 C. water + a little more to mix with cornstarch
1 1/2 T. cornstarch
3 green onions, sliced


Mix together the soy sauce, bean paste, hoisin, pepper flakes, and sugar in a small bowl. Saute the onions in the oil on high heat for a bit until just turning brown. Stir, and if it looks too dry, add a few tablespoons of water to help it along. Add eggplant, garlic, and pre-mixed sauce and stir to coat. Mix in 2 cups of water and let simmer. In a small bowl or cup, put in the cornstarch (first), then add a little water to dissolve. Add this to the mix to thicken it up. Lastly, add the green onions.

Jan 4, 2009

Black Bean & Veggie Pizza

My housemate Mark, who is mostly vegan and used to own a couple of restaurants, came up with this quick recipe. We were all pretty hungry and so naturally, it was time to raid the fridge and cupboards for a "quick fix"... but what to make? Well, we had a can of Pillsbury pizza dough, assorted veggies, and some canned black beans, and voila! Dinner. I like how this man thinks!


1 (15oz.) can black beans
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
Eggplant, thinly sliced
Red pepper, thinly sliced
onion, thinly sliced
tomatoes, cubed
Sprinkle of vegan shredded cheese
1 can of Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
veggie meat (chicken style)


Roll out the dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Pre-bake the dough for about 3 minutes at 400 degrees. Whiz together black beans (drained), garlic, salt, cumin, white pepper, and olive oil until a smooth paste forms. Spread this evenly onto the crust, then layer the eggplant, red peppers, onions, tomatoes, veg cheese, and mock meat. The eggplant layered over the beans will keep them from drying out too much during baking. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden and bubbly. Drizzle with hot sauce of choice (if you like), or top with guacamole.

Here are what I like to call, "The Wild Turkeys of Davis." Although the land surrounding Davis is used for agriculture, we city folk don't consider ourselves to be a farm community at all! So why is there a band of wild free-roaming turkeys loitering on our front lawns and city parking lots? ... I like to think that they are refugees from the local turkey farms and have narrowly escaped the holidays, unscathed! Can't you just hear "Born to Be Wild" in the background?

Jan 3, 2009

Better Than Campbell's

It's dark and cold today, as cold as it can get in Davis, CA... Not cold enough to be a whiner, but cold enough to crave... soup! On a lazy day like this, I just wanna throw something together to make the insides feel good. As I revert to childhood and Mom's comfort foods, I remember the red and white cans of Campbell's chicken noodle glop, mixed with water and heated on the stove to form a piping hot, high-sodium bowl of MSG, mushy noodles, and ungenerous amounts of chicken bits. In need of a good vegspin? Desperately!

Ingredients I threw together:

-Chicken-style broth powder* (use @ 1 T. powder to 1 C. water)
-chopped onions
-sliced carrots
-chopped bok choy
-vegan veggie ham (from the Asian market), cut into good sized chunks
-vegan ramen noodles
-salt & pepper to taste(I used unsalted broth powder)
-a little olive oil

*Unsalted Broth Powder (adapted from Bryanna Grogan's recipe)
This makes a good batch:
1 1/3 C. nutritional yeast flakes
1 T. soy protein flour
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. sugar
3 T. onion powder
1 T. poultry seasoning (dried flakes, not ground powder)
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. ground black pepper


Saute the onions and carrots in a little olive oil until almost tender. Add broth powder and water and let come to a boil. Add bok choy, let simmer for a few minutes. Add veggie ham and ramen and boil for a minute or two, then cover and take off heat. Wait a little, but serve hot.