Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes - Veganomicon - p. 106

Ingredients for the Italian version:
1 bunch spinach, roots discarded, washed well (about 6 loosely-packed cups)
2 TBL. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into a little less than a 1/2 inch dice
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
toasted pine nuts

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the onions for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and salt.  Saute for another 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and saute for anouther 2 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted, adding water, which allows the spinach to cook faster without burning.  Toss in the toasted pine nuts, sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve!

The Indian version of this recipe includes substituting the olive oil with peanut oil, omitting the toasted pine nuts, and including in 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger.

(Revised) Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto – Vegan Yum Yum – p. 139

1 c. pearled barley (I revised the recipe and used Arborio Rice)
1 TBL. olive oil
½ tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1.5 c. fresh or canned diced tomatoes, mashed a bit [I used fresh plum tomatoes]
1 c. soy milk [I used rice milk]
½ c. water
¼ c. nutritional yeast
3 TBL. miso mixed with 3 TBL. water [The recipe says to use mellow or white miso, I used red miso]
¼ to ½ tsp. salt [I omitted]


1) Put the barley, olive oil, oregano, and basil into your Le Cresuet. Turn heat to medium high and stir until barley is coated in oil.
2) One the barley begins sizzling (about a minute), add the garlic. Cook for another minute.
3) Add the tomatoes, non-dairy milk, water, nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Bring to a gentle boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is creamy, but not soupy, and the grains are cooked through but not mushy.


This was delicious! The substitutions I used worked beautifully. Also, from my Williams Sonoma Technique classes, I learned that when making risotto, it helps if the liquid that you add in (in this case, the non-dairy milk and water) is heated rather than cold. The heated liquid penetrates the grains better, which in turn, leads to a decreased cooking time length. This is such a delicious dish, it gets a 5-star rating.

Raw Vegan Cilantro Pesto Recipe - Online

I had quite a bit of fresh cilantro that I wanted to use before it wilted, so I was happy to stumble across this recipe for Raw Vegan Cilantro Pesto.

Heads up - the recipe was quite garlicy, which may or may not be a good thing.  I used the pesto to dress some whole wheat penne, though a pesto-covered linguine might also be nice.  Also, tossing in some halved cherry tomatoes might have added a nice complementary flavor as well as dash of color to the dish.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quiche Du Jour – The Urban Vegan – p. 33

Flaky pie crust dough (see below)
1 – 14 oz. aseptic box of extra-firm silken tofu (do not use refrigerated tofu; it is not creamy enough)
3 TBL. fresh parsley, chopped
5 TBL. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. salt [I omitted this]
2 TBL. soy cream or soy milk [I used soy cream]

Filling Ingredient Du Jour:
1 c. sliced tomato [I used plum tomatoes]
1 c. fresh basil [It’s time to start my own herb garden at home!]

1) Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 10- or 11-inch quiche pan.
2) Roll out dough and press into quiche pan. Set aside.
3) In a food processor, blend together tofu, parsley, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, salt, and milk or cream until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
4) Pour the tofu mixture into the pie crust. Gently arrange filling (i.e. tomatoes and basil) on top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the tofu is set.
If your filling is browning too quickly, simply cover the quiche with aluminum foil.
5) Cool on a wire rack and let sit for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Filling Ingredients Pour Les Jours Autres:
-Mushrooms sauteed in sherry or marsala
-1 package of tempeh bacon, steamed for 10 minutes, drained, and crumbled (Quiche Lorraine)
- roasted red pepper & marinated artichoke hearts, drained very well before using
-sun dried tomatoes
-1/2 c. vegan cheese

Flaky Pie Crust – p. 160

¾ c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 + 1/8 c. flour
Scant 3/8 tsp. salt
3/8 c. (equivalent to 6 TBL.) non-hydrogenated shortening
3/8 c. (equivalent to 6 TBL.) Earth Balance
3-6 TBL. ice water


1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Cut in shortening and Earth Balance. Don’t overmix!
3) Add enough ice water to make the dough stick together when you squeeze it. Let the dough chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
4) Roll into one disk on a lightly floured surface.


After an extensive search for Mori-Nu brand tofu in my area, I finally was able to locate some in nearby Hoboken! There is a health food store, right on Washington Ave., that carries Mori-Nu. Mori-Nu tofu is different because it is packed in an aseptic, cardboard package whereas “traditional” tofu, such as the Nasoya brand, is packed in water in a vacuum-sealed plastic container. The texture of Mori-Nu is much creamier and less grainy than traditional tofu and lends itself nicely for a quiche recipe. I could imagine using the creamy Mori-Nu in vegan cheesecake recipes, delicious! As for the quantity of Mori-Nu, I used a full box, which is 12.3 oz., plus a guesstimate of a second box to total 14 oz., as required by the recipe.

My neurotic nitpicking: My quiche pan was only 9 inches (not 10 inches or 11-inches as the recipe suggests) but the smaller pan size had no discernible negative affect on the outcome. Also, although I did not grease the quiche pan as the recipe suggests, I did not have any problems seamlessly cutting out the slices. Eliminating the extra grease was a good way to save calories – there was plenty of fat within the dough recipe itself!

After assembling the quiche, I liberally sprinkled some vegan parmesan cheese on top, which added to the complexity of flavors in the quiche.

I baked the quiche for 15 minutes uncovered and then noticed that the basil was getting a little too toasty, so for the remaining time, I loosely covered the dish with tin. The tinfoil trick worked wonders – the basil did not end up burning at all. On a tangent – is the word “tinfoil” no longer P.C.? Is the proper terminology “aluminum foil”? Haha. It took 35 minutes for the crust to brown and the tofu mixture to set.

After about 10 minutes of cooling time, I couldn’t resist any longer and had to cut myself a slice!  While I enjoyed the quiche, it seemed to be lacking in the flavor department.  In a future experimentation, I might double the quantity of the tomatoes and basil and create layers, or add some more spices or herbs to the tofu mixture.  The crust though, was deliciously flaky and perfect.  The next two quiches I’d like to experiment with is the Quiche Lorraine (with the tempeh bacon crumbles) and then also, broccoli and vegan cheddar in honor of my co-worker, MT’s quiche, which was absolutely phenomenal, albeit non-vegan friendly.

Lemon Poppy Seed Tempeh - The Urban Vegan - p. 138

1 pound tempeh [I used Lightlife Flax]
Juice of 4 lemons
Zest of 4 lemons
6 TBL. olive oil
4 TBL. poppy seeds
2 TBL. brown rice syrup or agave nectar or maple syrup
2 TBL. cornstarch
3 scallions, chopped finely
Healthy pinch of sea salt (versus an unhealthy pinch?)

1) Cut the tempeh into 4 triangles. Steam for 10 minutes, to, as the author states, “chase away the tempeh’s inherent bitterness”.
2) In a baking pan, mix the remaining ingredients, making sure that the cornstarch and sweetener are completely dissolved. Coat the tempeh with the marinade and let sit for at least an hour, preferably for 24 hours. Be sure to baste the tempeh from time to time.
3) Preheat oven to 400F. Re-baste the tempeh once more, and bake for 15-20 minutes, re-basting every 5 minutes.
4) Serve over your grain of choice with pan drippings.

This was a decent dish.  I am becoming more familiar and comfortable with cooking tempeh and am excited to experiment with the different versions (i.e. flax, three grain, etc.).  I found that the flax version used in this recipe crumbled a little more after it was steamed, as compared to the version ET and I used in the Lemon-Ginger Tempeh.

Coconut-Lime Bars – The Urban Vegan – p. 16


½ c. flour
(additionally) 3 TBL. flour
1/3 c. sugar
(additionally) 2/3 c. sugar
Pinch of salt [I omitted]
¼ c. coconut oil
1/3 c. nuts, ground to a flour using a food processor [Although the recipe doesn’t specify which type of nut, NMcL and I decided that pecans would be our best bet]
2 tsp. lime zest (from about 2 limes)
3.5-4 TBL. lime juice (from about 2 limes) [I used 3.5 TBL]
1 TBL. soy or rice milk
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 c. shredded coconut


1) Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9-inch pan.
2) In a medium bowl, cut together ½ c. flour, 1/3 c. sugar, salt, and coconut until crumbly. Stir in ground nuts, then press into prepared pan.
3) Bake crust for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
4) In a medium bowl, using a fork, still together 2/3 c. sugar, lime zest, lime juice, milk, 3 TBL. flour, and coconut extract until smooth. Mix in shredded coconut.
5) Spread over baked crust and bake for 20 to 27 minutes or until set and just starting to turn golden.
6) Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

These were a zesty, refreshing, light dessert, perfect for summer.  My bars turned out a little on the thin side - in the future, to plumpen them up, I'd probably look to use a smaller pan so that the finished product would be thicker.  This would be delicious with KeKe Liqueur + vanilla soy milk over ice.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quoting Myra Kornfield

"Cooking is one of the most basic forms of nurturing – a deeply grounding experience, an active, meditative immersion in nature."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Revisiting Cookbooks

I love skimming through cookbooks and marking recipes that catch my eye.  Then, after some period of time passing, I love going through cookbooks a second, (third, fourth...) time and discovering new recipes that were intially overlooked.  It seems to show how different one's tastes and the level at which one is willing to experiment with food changes over time, perhaps depending on one's mood, salient influences, and life experiences.