Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Cold Winter's Soup

I haven't really had soup this year. As in, I mean that I have not even had soup once this entire year, as best as I can recall. So when it started to get really cold outside and a facebook friend of mine posted a link to a recipe entitled "Chickpea and Bread Soup," I was thoroughly intrigued and decided it was time I ended my unintentionally anti-soup diet and try it out.

Below you will find my tweaked recipe, taken from this website: Bitchin' Camero

Vegan Chickpea and Bread Soup

oil for frying
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of onion, chopped
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup of sweet dumpling squash, peeled and cut up
1/2 cup of freshly diced tomatoes
3 cups of vegetable broth
sage, thyme, parsley
1 cup of vegan bread, toasted and chopped into cubes

In a pan heat oil, add garlic and onions, saute for about 2-3 minutes.
Add chickpeas, let them toast well on all sides stirring about every 4 minutes or so
Add vegetable broth, squash, tomatoes, and herbs. Bring to a boil.
Boil for about 7-10 minutes, until squash is soft, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat and stir in bread.

Soup about to boil


Southern Savory

So, despite my absence from posting recipes as of late, I am, in fact, still eating. In fact, eating so much that I haven't had time to post blogs. It is the holiday season, after all. Really, though, what else is there to do when you have a blizzard brewing outside? There's only so many books you can read, presents you can wrap, and house to be cleaned. Therefore, I've been cooking up something of a storm (as us fine Appalachian folk would say). To rekindle my blogging inspiration this post will describe a deliciously savory holiday-style southern feast, complete with a perfectly holiday squash dessert crisp. So grab your pots, pans, baking dishes and enjoy!

Savory Vegan Nut Roast with Hearty Mushroom Gravy

Roast Ingredients:
Oil for frying
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of flour
1 1/4 cup of vegetable stock
1 1/2 cup of finely chopped nuts of your choice (I used almonds, walnuts, and cashews)
3 cups of breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon of soy/tamari sauce
1/2 teaspoon each of sage, thyme, parsley
1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
extra flour to coat
extra vegetable stock to baste

Fry onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
Sprinkle flour on top of this, add vegetable stock, and boil.
Turn this down to a simmer, stir in nuts, breadcrumbs, soy/tamari sauce, and seasoning herbs and salt and pepper
Shape into a loaf on a floured board, then coat the top with flour
Place in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes, basting with additional vegetable stock about every 10 minutes

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:
(note: this recipe comes from an AMAZING book called "Country Wisdom and Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land." In fact, it is so useful that everyone should have a copy of this book.)

3 tablespoons of butter (I use vegan butter)
1 small onion, diced
2 1/2 cups of mushrooms, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
garlic salt
liquid smoke
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan, then add onion and mushrooms.
Saute for about 2-3 minutes
Add flour and mix well
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
Remove from heat, and add half of the gravy over the nut roast in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Serve the rest on the side for additional gravy

Southern Style Mashed Turnips
1 large turnip (you can find some really good, large turnips at your local farmer's market!)
salt and pepper
3 strips of Vegan/Vegetarian bacon
liquid smoke

Wash and cut the turnip up into small cubes
Boil for about 10 minutes, or until tender
While the turnip is boiling, heat some oil in a frying pan and add your veggie bacon
Season the bacon with salt, pepper, and liquid smoke (on both sides)
Once your bacon is well cooked, remove it from heat and set it aside.
Once your turnips are soft, drain them, and mash them. Add the bacon, salt and pepper, and liquid smoke to taste.

You can find additional Southern-style side dishes here. In this meal, I also had collard greens, but really you could use any side that you want.

Roast, turnips, and collards! 
Now, time for a savory winter squash dessert:

Savory Fall Crisp

2 apples, washed, peeled, and sliced
1 cup of pumpkin , peeled and cubed   (note: do not used canned pumpkin or pumpkin mush, you will actually have to buy a whole pumpkin and cut it up yourself, on the bright side this will give you plenty of seeds to start your pumpkin patch with next year)
1/2 cup of sweet dumpling squash, peeled and cubed (farmer's markets have a great selection of local sweet dumpling squash!)
1/2 cup of raisins
1 cup of flour
1 cup of oats
1 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter (as always, I use vegan butter)
1/4 cup of water
cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

Place the apples, pumpkin, squash, and raisins in a lightly greased baking dish (make sure to mix them up well)
Mix about 1 tablespoon of flour with the white sugar, add cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice (to your preference) and then place this over the apple mixture in the pan.
Add the water, making sure it is spread evenly over all of the apples/pumpkin/squash
Now, in a separate bowl mix the rest of the flour, the oats, and the brown sugar. Cut the butter in, until it is well mixed and has a crumbly texture.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the apples/squash/raisins and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Panang Curry Tofu

I happen to be a pretty big fan of Thai food. I love (and I mean love) Thai iced tea. I love Panang curry. In fact, I really enjoy most Thai curries. However, I really don't like leaving the comfort of my home to go out to eat (unless there is some rational behind it). Thus, on Friday night, when my partner and I were all settled in (and it was really cold outside) we decided that we were not going out and that we would, in fact, make Thai food in our own home. Below is the recipe for Panang curry that I had jotted down in my recipe journal long ago and from who knows where:

1 lb. block of tofu (frozen, thawed, and cut into smallish cubes)
1 teaspoon cumin, turmeric
2 teaspoons tamari/soy sauce
1 cup of onions
1 tablespoon red chili paste (recipe below) (includes: red pepper flakes or red chili peppers, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and peanut sauce/peanut butter)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 clove of minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 lime peel, grated
Juice from 1 lime (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup of water
1 can of coconut milk
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 carrot, diced

After you have cubed your thawed tofu, heat some oil in a frying pan, add cumin seeds, onion, and tamari/soy sauce, and let the tofu fry (flipping it consistently) for a few minutes, until it is nice and crisp on the outside. Set aside the fried tofu and sprinkle it with the turmeric.
To make the red chili paste combine red pepper flakes, or diced red chili peppers, with a dash of rice vinegar and soy/tamari sauce, and a teaspoon of peanut sauce or peanut butter in a blender/food processor and blend for several seconds until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Now, on medium heat, add the garlic and ginger to the pan (with the oil and onion etc. still in it) and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Now add peanut butter, red chili paste and water to the frying pan, stir until the peanut butter has dissolved (a couple of minutes)
Now add the brown sugar, coconut milk, lime juice, lime peel, and carrot. Stir well and let cook about 5 minutes.
Now add the tofu, making sure to cover each piece completely with the sauce. Cover and let cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Squash Casserole

At almost every holiday get together my sister makes this amazingly delicious squash casserole. It is always the first dish to disappear, and everyone is always asking for more. So, after acquiring some adorable yellow squash from the farmers' market a couple of weeks ago, I absolutely had to try to make this casserole.  I called my sister, got her recipe, and then tweaked it to the ingredients I had at home. Below is what I created, and it is delicious. You might want to make two, just to be safe.

Squash Casserole

5-6 small to medium yellow squash, sliced (you can add zucchini too if you want)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of vegetable broth
1 8 oz bag of cheddar cheese
2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup of crushed crackers (any of your choice, I used herb and garlic wheat crackers)
1 cup of onions
1 teaspoon each of sage, garlic powder, onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 350
Heat some oil in a pan on med-high heat for a few minutes (maybe while you are dicing your squash) and then add about 1/2 of the onions, let them cook for a couple of minutes, then add the squash. Cover and let cook for about 6-7 minutes (stirring occasionally)
In a small pan, add a little oil, heat it on medium heat, then add breadcrumbs, the rest of the onions, the sage, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir well and then let this cook for a couple of minutes, until it is slightly browned and the onions are cooked.
In a baking dish pour the mushroom soup and vegetable broth, mix well.
Add the cooked squash, and then add about 1/2 of your breadcrumb mixture in this and mix well
Now add the cheese, on top of the squash
Add the rest of the breadcrumbs and your crushed crackers
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes
Uncover and bake for about 5-7 more minutes, until the topping is browned


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mexican-Style Casserole

Friday  night we decided to have some friends over. Since we're all homebodies now, after graduating from college, this was a really big deal. We planned everything out, decided on tequila for drinks and, to complement the drinks, Mexican-style food. Our friends offered to bring tequila, and I baked a Mexican casserole on the fly. This is what I came up with:

Mexican-Style Casserole

2-3 cups of crushed blue corn chips (crushed them with a potato masher)
1 box of "fantastic world foods" brand vegan taco "meat" mixture
1 can of black beans
1 can of whole kernal corn
1 cup of salsa (any kind you like, I make my own with summer tomatoes, I will provide the recipe below)
1 cup of tofutti brand vegan sour cream
1/4 cup each of fresh diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos
1 8 oz package of Mexican-style cheese (this is optional, you can leave off the cheese for a vegan casserole)

Preheat your oven to 350, and in a baking dish crush your corn chips up
Prepare the taco "meat" as directed on the box (I also add a little cumin and garam masala to add some extra flavor and spice to the mixture)
Layer the taco mixture over the corn chips
Next, layer the sour cream over the taco mixture
Place a thin layer of salsa (about 1/3 of a cup) over the sour cream
Next add a layer of black beans
Add another 1/3 cup layer of salsa
Add a layer of corn
Now add the rest of the salsa
On top of this place the fresh cut tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos
If you are using cheese place the cheese evenly on top
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the casserole is all nice and bubbly


Homemade Salsa
(disclaimer: This is a salsa I make out of summer garden ingredients, and mostly I randomly throw things together in a food processor and see how it comes out, but this will be my best attempt at listing an official recipe for this salsa. It's a great salsa, a little like pico de gallo, a little spicy, and can keep for a long time in the refrigerator. Play around with it to find a taste you like the best.)

2-3 tomatoes, diced
1 cup of onions, diced
1-2 green chili peppers, diced
1 spring of mint, chopped up
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped up
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoons of vinegar
1 tablespoon of agave nectar
3-4 tablespoons ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until you have a smooth, but chunky mixture, place in a sealed container and refrigerate. Enjoy whenever!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Koftas

     I have this vegetarian cookbook that my mom bought me when I was about 14 (I'm sure she was hoping I would take the hint and learn how to cook. It only took about 10 years for me to get started on that.) Recently, though, I have been flipping through the book, trying to figure out some new recipes to make, and I stumbled across a recipe for koftas made from sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
     Now, in the past I have attempted to make Malai Kofta, a delicious Indian dish with vegetable balls made from potato dough served in a delicious spicy, creamy tomato sauce, but failed miserably. When I stumbled across this recipe for sweet potato and chickpea koftas, I was intrigued by the author's technique, and as I had sweet potatoes on the verge of going bad and some chickpeas in my cabinet, I decided I needed to make myself some koftas. Below you will find the recipe (slightly tweaked, but otherwise unaltered) for these sweet potato and chickpea koftas, additionally I am going to list a recipe for some good raita (an Indian yogurt-based dip/sauce) which goes along well with the koftas, and, if you prefer to turn them into a curry, I will also include my recipe for malai kofta gravy.
So, without further adieu, the recipes:

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Koftas:
(taken from Vegetable Heaven by Mollie Katzen) 

1-2 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups of chickpeas (or 1 can, rinsed and drained)
1 large clove of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
pepper to taste
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup of peas (optional, I did not use these)
oil for sauteing

Peel and cut your sweet potatoes, then boil them for about 10 minutes until they are soft, and mash them.
In a blender/food processor mix sweet potatoes, chickpeas, garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, lemon juice, and pepper, blend until the mixture is well mixed and smooth (this may take a little bit, as the potatoes are thick).
Transfer mixture to a bowl, add flour, and stir well.
Put about 1/4 cup of oil in a frying pan, turn it on med-high heat, and leave it until it gets hot
While the oil is heating up, pat out your dough mixture into little balls
Once oil is hot, place the koftas into the oil, flipping them consistently, until they are golden brown on all sides.
Remove them from heat, sprinkle a little cumin and cinnamon on top, and they are ready!

For a good snack, you can eat them with this Raita:
1 cup of yogurt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cumin, tandoori powder, thyme

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve

If you would prefer to use the koftas for a meal, try them in this Spicy Malai Kofta Gravy:
2-3 large tomatoes, diced
1 cup of diced onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
1 teaspoon each of red chili powder, garam masala, cumin, and red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of heavy cream or milk
1/2 cup of chopped cashews
1/2 cup of golden raisins

Puree everything in a blender, except the onions, milk, cashews, and raisins. In a saucepan, heat a couple tablespoons of oil and add onion, cook until transparent (about 2 minutes).  Place the puree mix in the sauce pan and bring to a boil on med heat, then stir in the cream/milk, whisking for about 2-3 minutes. Add cashews and raisins. Cook for another 5-7 minutes on low heat. 

Place you koftas in the sauce and enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cranberries make Autumn Official

Cranberry sauce is my favorite. It always has been. I remember being young and loving November because I would steal cans of cranberry sauce out of our cabinets and hide in my room to eat the whole can, by itself, with a spoon. Maybe you think that is slightly strange, but what can I say? I love cranberry sauce.
I haven't had real (that is homemade) cranberry sauce in many many years. Celebrating the holidays away from home, or in between several homes, makes it difficult to get to the cranberry sauce. This year, however, I felt the need to make my own cranberry sauce, and when I received a coupon from Earth Fare for a FREE pound of fresh cranberries, I really didn't have a choice. So now I can celebrate the season in true autumn fashion. Cranberries, fall spices, and deliciousness.

Below you will find my cranberry sauce concoction: a blend of tangy taste, classic fall sweet and spicy, with lots of flavor and happiness.

Fall Cranberry Chutney

1 pound of fresh cranberries
1 peeled orange or 1 can of drained mandarin oranges, pureed
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 apple peeled, cored, and diced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2-3 tablespoons each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
1 tablespoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Prepare all of your ingredients (dice apples, chop walnuts, mince ginger, puree oranges in blender/food processor until they are a smooth but pulpy liquid)

prepared ingredients

Heat 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water in a sauce pan until boiling, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. After it has boiled for a few seconds, turn the heat on simmer, add rest of ingredients, and stir well.

Just added everything!

Cover and let simmer for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour so that it can thicken

Finished chutney!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Diwali!

November 5 officially marked the Hindu festival of Diwali. During Diwali Hindus light lamps as part of the festival; in reading about it I came across this quote that I believe is absolutely beautiful:

"What is the significance of lighting a lamp? There is a logical answer to this question. It is through the light that the beauty of this world is revealed or experienced. Most civilizations of the world recognize the importance of light as a gift of God. It has always been a symbol of whatever is positive in our world of experience.
To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces- wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering..."

And while I do not prescribe myself to any religion, the idea of celebrating knowledge and the beauty of knowledge's capability to illuminate the world in such a way that we can erase oppression, injustice, fear, etc. seems like one of the best reasons to celebrate that I can think of.

Thus, moving into a less serious tone of thought, I decided to partake in the Diwali celebration by attempting to make a delicious north Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun, that I have always enjoyed. 

My partner and I, self-proclaimed gulab jamun amateurs, went to work on these delicious pancake-like balls of syrupy sweetness, and the recipe that follows is what transpired:

Gulab Jamun

Sugar Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
2-3 tablespoons of cardamom powder or 3-4 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
1-2 tablespoons rose water (optional)

Directions for Sugar Syrup:
Mix ingredients in a sauce pan, heat mixture to boiling while stirring, until sugar dissolves. Allow mixture to boil for a few seconds, then turn down to a simmer. Leave syrup simmering, so that it may thicken (though you do not want it too thick, a good thin syrup consistency). Be sure to stir it occasionally, as you are making the jamuns, so that the sugar doesn't burn to the pan. 

Jamun Ingredients:
1 cup dry milk powder
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup milk
Oil for frying

 In a thick bottomed pan (like a Dutch oven, or just a thicker bottomed sauce pan), pour enough oil in to cover the small jamuns in, and turn on a low heat (between 2-4, if using an electric oven). Let the oil heat up while you are making the jamuns (you do not want your oil too hot, as the jamuns will instantly burn, they need to fry slowly so that they can plump up and cook thoroughly inside and out). 

* Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add butter. Using your fingers mix the butter in until the butter is completely crumbled up and integrated into the dry mix.
*Next, add milk, and mix into a sticky dough. Form one large ball, and then from that ball make smaller balls (about the size of a rubber bouncy ball you would get from a quarter machine, or a large marble). Place these little dough balls on a plate, and cover in a damp (but not wet!) paper towel. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes. 
*Now, test your oil by placing one jamun in it. It should take a good 15 seconds for it to rise to the top, and then it will slowly cook from there. If it cooks faster than that, or fries to a crisp, your oil is too hot and you should turn off the heat or remove the oil from the stove until it cools down.
Jamuns frying
*When your jamun cooks at the appropriate pace, you can then add about 6 or 7 at a time. Gently turn them in the oil using a spatula,so that they cook evenly on all sides. Once they have plumped up and are golden all the way around (this takes a few minutes), remove them from the oil and set them on a plate to cool. 
*Once all of the jamuns are finished, you can remove your sugar syrup from the heat, let it cool for a few minutes, and then place the jamuns in the syrup. They may be eaten immediately, or you can let them sit overnight (so that they soak up the syrup) and warmed up the next day. Either way, they are delicious.

Finished Gulab Jamun
Enjoy! And be sure, while you are enjoying these delicious sweets to think about the meaning and significance of Diwali, and maybe in your own way celebrate your own triumphs over darkness in life.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vegan Cushaw Squash Pie

So, I recently acquired an amazing cushaw squash from my farmer friend. For those of you who don't know, cushaw is an heirloom squash that has a naturally more sweet taste than pumpkin. Apparently, the canned pumpkin you buy in stores is largely made up of cushaw, because it makes better pies. After learning all of this groundbreaking news about the truth of pumpkin pies, I decided to make a cushaw squash pie.

Now, if you go to the farmer's market and pick yourself up a cushaw, you will have to prepare it for pie use.
This is actually quite simple:
cut your squash in half, take out the seeds (I saved my seeds so I can plant cushaw squash next year, but you can also roast them in salt if you want a tasty snack), and scoop out all of the stringy goop, then place the squash face down on a greased baking sheet (or two) and bake at 350 for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (until the squash is soft). Let the squash cool, then scrape it from the skin. Then, mash the squash with a potato masher or in a food processor/blender until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes. I saved my squash in two large mason jars (one squash can make about 4 pies!).
(information on cushaw squash gathered here)
Cut in half
About to bake

Now, you can use 2 cups of squash to replace 1 can of pumpkin in any pumpkin pie recipe. I decided to go the vegan route, and made this pretty amazing vegan cushaw squash pie (it has a good consistency, and since it doesn't use tofu it doesn't have the usual "vegan" taste of many tofu-made desserts)

Vegan Cushaw Squash Pie
(recipe tweaked from: Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe)

Pie Filling:
2 cups of mashed cushaw squash
3/4 cups of sugar
2-3 teaspoons each of: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom (optional) (you can just use cinnamon, or a pre-blended pumpkin pie spice mix)
1 1/2 cups of silk brand soy pumpkin spice drink (I think this is out only during the winter holidays, if you can't find it the original recipe calls for vanilla soy milk)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water

Mix squash with spices and sugar
In a saucepan on med-low heat, heat up the soy milk
In a small bowl dissolve the corn starch in the water (add more water if you need to, just make sure the cornstarch is completely dissolved, but also make sure it's not just a watery mixture)
Add cornstarch to the soy milk, turn to med-high heat, and let the mixture come to a boil while stirring constantly
After about 1 minute the mixture should look like pudding, add this to the squash mixture, mix well, and then place in your crust (pre-made vegan crust or recipe below)

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then at 350 for 40-50 minutes (until the pumpkin feels solid to the touch in the middle) 
Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours

"pudding" consistency of soy milk and cornstarch

Pie about to bake!
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of vegan butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons water

cut butter into the flour using a fork or knives, until all of the butter is small flour-covered chunks
add sugar and cinnamon, mix well
add the water, and roll of the mixture into ball (if it isn't sticky enough add slightly more water, 1/2 a tablespoon at a time)
place on a floured surface and roll out flat
place in your greased pie pan and make sure you cover the surface of the pan evenly

Enjoy your deliciously perfect fall treat!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vegan (not)Meatloaf

Meatloaf was always one of my favorite foods for some odd reason (I think it is all the ketchup), but I haven't eaten meat since I was about 11, so, as one can imagine, I haven't had meatloaf in quite some time (and particularly the thought of ground up beef, all soaked in ammonia and full of slaughter-house left overs grosses me out, so I don't even like to think about real meatloaf). However, I decided I would like to have some (not)meatloaf, with some delicious homemade mashed potatoes and some spicy habanero macaroni and cheese, to really enjoy my southern self.  Thus, I have tweaked this recipe to create a delicious vegan meatloaf that is nothing but tasty.

Vegan (not)Meatloaf

1 package of soy crumbles (check to make sure they are vegan)
1 bottle of ketchup
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/3 cup of onion
1 clove of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of Veganaise
1/4 teaspoon each of parsley, thyme, basil, celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 diced green chili peppers (if you want it spicy)

Mix the soy crumbles with 1/2 bottle of ketchup, add onion, garlic, spices, Veganaise, bread crumbs, and peppers, mix well
Grease a 5X9" loaf pan (I used a cupcake pan, because I don't have a loaf pan, and it takes less time you may want to consider doing this as well) and bake for 45 minutes (using a cupcake pan bake about 27 minutes, or 25-30 to be more vague) and then add the remaining ketchup to the top of the loaf and bake 15 more minutes (for both loaf pan and cupcake pan).


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indian Night!

     My partner's father is from northern India, so my partner's palate is, of course, seasoned by a life of delicious Indian food. Before I met him, I enjoyed Indian food but was completely paralyzed by the thought of even attempting to make it. Now, however, Indian dinners are a weekly staple for us, and the most exciting night of the week. So, after becoming acquainted with commonly used spices in north Indian food, and watching him and his mother cook up Indian deliciousness I now can safely make most curries (though I'm still working on koftas and haven't touched the paneer making). Below you will find recipes for Channa Masala (chickpea curry), Bhindi Masala (okra curry), and Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower curry).

Channa Masala

2 cups of dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, or 2 cans of chickpeas
1/4 cup of oil
1 teaspoon each of: cumin seeds, cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala, tandoori powder, salt
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 medium to large sized tomato, diced
1 green chili, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oil in a pan, add onions, cumin seeds, and ginger, let cook for about 5-6 minutes on med heat
Add chickpeas, all of the spices, and chili pepper, let cook for about 5-6 minutes
Add tomatoes, you can add red pepper flakes or more garam masala if you want it to be spicy, bring this to a boil over med-high heat, let cook for about 20 minutes
Add lemon juice, let cook for about 5 more minutes.
You can add more or less of the spices, depending on your taste.

Bhindi Masala:
Note: even people who claim to hate okra always love this curry 

 2-3 green chili peppers, diced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/3 cup of shredded coconut
2-3 cups of sliced okra
1/2 cup each of cashews (minced) and raisins
1/4 cup of oil
1 teaspoon each of: cumin powder, turmeric, garam masala, salt, cardamom powder
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Heat oil in pan on med heat, add chili peppers, coconut, and ginger, cook for about 5-6 minutes
Add okra, cashews, raisins, and spices, cook for about 7-10 minutes on low-medium heat
You can add more spices if you need to (I tend to add more cardamom and cinnamon)

Aloo Gobi

2-3 potatoes, washed and cut into cubes
1-2 cups of cauliflower (chopped)
1/4 cup of oil
1 teaspoon each of: cumin seed, cumin powder, turmeric, salt, garam masala
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup of onions
about 1/2 cup of water

 Heat oil in pan on med-high, add onions and cumin seed, let cook for about 5 minutes
Add tomatoes and spices, cook for about 3-4 more minutes, stirring frequently
Add potatoes and cauliflower, carefully add water until it almost or just barely covers the vegetables
Cover and let cook on med heat for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes and cauliflower are soft, stirring about every 5 minutes
You can add more spices if you need too.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

For one of my dear friend's birthdays, I decided to make her up something tasty. I remembered when, long ago, in a fit of needing some sweet treat, I had made some strawberry cupcakes with lemon icing (from store mixes and pre-made icings that I had laying around in my cabinets). I had loved these haphazard cupcakes and decided that they would be a good birthday cake for my friend, thus, this recipe was born:

Strawberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup room temp. butter
2/3 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 strawberries, diced
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (I didn't have liners so I just used butter baking spray to thoroughly grease the cupcake pans)
Cream together sugar and butter
Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg completely into the mixture before adding next egg
Add vanilla extract
Add diced strawberries, beat well (you can also add red food coloring if you want, as just using real strawberries will not change the color of your baked cupcakes)
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt
Add 1/2 of flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing well
Add milk
Add rest of flour mixture, beat until smooth
Place cupcakes in your cupcake pan, evenly filling each slot, and bake for 18-20 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in cupcakes comes out clean)

1 cup of softened butter
1 package of softened 8 oz cream cheese
3 cups of confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and cream cheese with mixer
Add sugar, one cup at a time, mixing each cup thoroughly before adding next
Add lemon juice and vanilla, mix thoroughly
(note: if mixture is to thick add milk by the tablespoon to thin it out enough to ice your cupcakes, I found that the consistency without milk worked perfectly, though)

Ice your cupcakes once they have cooled =)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New York Apples and Carolina Peppers

So, I have had some left over peppers from my dad's garden, along with a couple of my own for a while now (since making this hot sauce), and they were starting to dwindle, so I felt I needed to do something with them. Along those same lines, I have also acquired a whole bunch of organic apples from my partner's sister in NYC, and while they look nice sitting on my table, they were also in desperate need of use. So, today I have been utilizing both peppers and apples in the following recipes:

Sweet and Spicy Apple Hot Sauce:

4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 cup of diced onion
3 cups of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 medium chili peppers
2 jalapenos
2 medium sized apples (diced)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup of distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup of lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup agave nectar, or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

peppers and apples cooking
1. Over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat oil and add the onion, peppers, apples,ginger and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown. Stir continuously.
2. Reduce heat. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, tomatoes, and salt. Stir until the tomatoes break down. Roughly 6 minutes. Add agave nectar/sugar and cinnamon and stir well.
3. Place mixture in blender and blend until a puree is formed.
4. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a container. (note: I saved the chunks in a separate jar to use for salsa later)
5. Let mixture cool for an hour.

Spiced Apple Sauce
 (recipe taken from:
This recipe makes your house smell really nice and is perfect for fall.

4 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar/brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of ginger and cardamom


In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar (if using), and spices. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15-20 min., or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

apples cooking

finished applesauce


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm tired of Morning Star

     So, I do my best to avoid genetically modified and over processed foods (read more about the GM foods issue here). Morning Star (a corporation owned by the giant Kelloggs) doesn't necessarily have sustainable and healthy food practices in mind, and has admitted to usage of gm products in its food (this is biased, but read it anyway). Thus, I try to not buy Morning Star brand and have been sticking to Earth Fare brand organic veggie burgers. However, this still entirely removes me from the food process and makes me feel slightly uneasy, so, to correct this problem, I have decided to start making my own veggie burgers. Below, you will find my tasty recipe for homemade vegan veggie burgers.

(Slightly Spicy) Vegan Black Bean Veggie Burgers

1 can of black beans (16 oz)
1 tablespoon veganaise
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon each of cumin and Indian curry powder
1-2 dashes of liquid smoke
1 tablespoon peanut butter or 2-3 dashes peanut sauce
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of Italian seasoned bread crumbs

Mince up the onion and garlic thoroughly and set aside. Empty black beans into a bowl and mash them with either a fork or potato masher until they are well mashed and have a sort of paste consistency. Mix together the onions and garlic with the mashed beans.
In a separate bowl mix veganaise, flour, hot sauce, liquid smoke, cumin, curry powder, and peanut butter/sauce and blend well.
Mix veganaise mix with black bean mixture, then add bread crumbs slowly, mixing well and until your black bean mixture sticks together.
Heat oven to 375, and pat out burgers on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tandoori Buffalo (not) Wings

     Tempeh has always been a fascinating food for me. Fascinating in the way that I never, in my life, could imagine cooking with it and could never understand how anyone else could either. As a child I had a pretty bad experience with tempeh, and swore it off until the tempeh Reuben at Rosetta's Kitchen (which is pretty amazing). However, after having their tempelo wings for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I have decided that I really need to learn to cook with tempeh, specifically to make buffalo (not) wings.
    I was determined to make these last night, even when my partner announced that he was making Indian food (post to come later on north Indian recipes), so to make them fit with the evening a little better, I added a little tandoori spice to the mix. Thus, Tempeh Tandoori Buffalo (not) Wings were born!
    Now, I have been busy this week making other things that I used with the wings, so you can utilize my other recipes or just buy wing sauce and ranch (but really, making your own is best if you have the time).

First I will begin with some HOT habenero hot sauce (made with beautiful peppers from my dad's garden):
(recipe tweaked from

4 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 cup of diced red onion
3 cups of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 medium chili peppers
4 habanero peppers, seeded
2 jalapenos
2 hot banana peppers
1 cup of distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup of lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup agave nectar

1. Over medium heat in a large saucepan, heat oil and add the onion, peppers, ginger and garlic. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown. Stir continuously.
2. Reduce heat. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, tomatoes, and salt. Stir until the tomatoes break down. Roughly 6 minutes. Add agave nectar and stir well.
3. Place mixture in blender and blend until a puree is formed.
4. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a container. (note: I saved the chunks in a separate jar to use for salsa later)
5. Let mixture cool for an hour.

 Next, some delicious vegan ranch!

6 tablespoons Veganaise
8 1/2 tablespoons tofutti vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3-4 teaspoons of each: thyme, parsley, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder
1-2 teaspoons of celery salt
black pepper to taste

Mix in blender, blend well. (Check taste to make sure it is to your liking, add more of whatever you feel necessary). Place in container and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Tandoori Buffalo (not) Wings!
(recipe tweaked from: Buffalo Tempeh "Wings")
1 (8 oz) pkg tempeh
⅓ c soy or rice milk
⅓ c flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp thyme leaves
2 tablespoons tandoori powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup panko crumbs

Wing Sauce
½ c hot habenero hot sauce (recipe above) or Louisiana style hot sauce
2 tbsp vegan butter
1 tbsp ketchup
1 teaspoon agave nectar

  • Bring 4 cups of water to boil over high heat. Meanwhile, remove tempeh from package. Slice into 8 strips. (If you are a first time tempheh eater and have texture issues, I recommend slicing into 10-12 strips) Once water is boiling, lower heat to medium high, add tempeh, and boil for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
sliced tempeh
  • Set out 3 bowls. In one, pour in soy/rice milk. In the second, combine flour and seasonings. In third bowl, add panko crumbs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place each strip in milk. Coat in flour mixture, then briefly re-dip into milk. Toss with panko crumbs, coating well. Set on slightly oiled baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tempeh strips. Once all are coated and on baking sheet, lightly spray all “wings” with cooking spray. Place into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip “wings” over and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
coating tempeh with milk, flour, and panko crumbs
  • While they are baking, place wing sauce ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cover with Saran wrap and heat in microwave on medium high setting for a minute and a half. Remove from heat and whisk ingredients together.
  • When wings are finished baking, toss with sauce. Serve immediately.
finished "wings"!

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Pumpkins make me happy.

    For some unexplainable reason pumpkins make me really happy. Additionally I have concocted the idea that October is officially pumpkin month. All this said, at the town of Erwin, TN's Apple Festival last weekend I picked up an adorable, locally grown pumpkin for the purpose of making an autumn couscous stuffed pumpkin . So, below find the recipe that I made up with some items I had in stock and enjoy the beginning of pumpkin month!

    Autumn Couscous Stuffed Pumpkin

    1 pumpkin, "lid" (top w/stem) cut off, if you are serving 2 people you can use another pumpkin or cut your pumpkin in 1/2 to make two small bowl shapes
    2/3 cup of couscous, toasted
    1 cup of vegetable broth
    1 can of mixed beans of your choice
    1/2 cup each of cashews and raisins
    2 tablespoons of butter or vegan butter
    2 teaspoons each of cardamom and cinnamon and sage

    Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your pumpkin by cutting off the lid (and if serving two with the single pumpkin cut in 1/2), place in a baking dish with about 1 inch of  water on the bottom, rub the inside of pumpkin with butter, cardamom, and cinnamon. Bake pumpkin until flesh is soft (about 45 min to 1 hour)

     In a saucepan on the stove bring vegetable broth to a boil, mix in couscous, cover and remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous lightly.
    Simultaneously, heat your mixed beans on the stove, in a saucepan over med heat, about 7 minutes
    Mix beans with couscous, add cashews, raisins, and sage. Heat this mixture up over med heat for about 5-7 minutes.

    When your pumpkin is soft and finished baking, remove from oven, let cool, and scrape flesh from the inside (leave it in the pumpkin still), add couscous mixture, mix with the pumpkin flesh (still inside the pumpkin), you can sprinkle a little more cinnamon/cardamom over the top of the mixture, maybe add a little agave nectar if you want it sweeter, and place back in the oven to bake for about 10-15 minutes (until mixture is slightly browned on top).


    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Growing up eggplant

    So, I have honestly never cooked with eggplants. I have had eggplant curry and eggplant parmesan, and enjoyed them both, but never have I attempted to utilize those intimidating veggies. Yet, during my visit to the Asheville farmer's market (read more about it here) I picked up some nice little locally grown eggplants. Thus, I have forced myself to cook something with them. I have chosen a simple Eggplant Parmesan recipe, as I have been in an Italian mood this week. And while Ursula K. Le Guin may be inclined to believe that eggplants lack imagination (referencing "Why are Americans Afraid of Dragons?" from her book Language of the Night where she claims "Now, I doubt that imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant), I am going to confess to the contrary-they come in purple and taste so delicious! (I, in fact, would not really mind growing up an eggplant).

    So below, disregarding eggplant insults, growing up and such things, enjoy my version of delicious eggplant parmesan.

    2-3 eggplants, sliced
    3 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs (in a zip-lock baggie)
    1 cup of vegetable broth
    1 jar of pasta sauce (of your choice, homemade or store bought)
    2 cups of parmesan
    2 cups of mozzarella

    Preheat oven to 350, dip your sliced eggplant in warmed up vegetable broth, then place the slice in the baggie with the bread crumbs, and thoroughly coat the slice. Place on a cookie sheet, in a single layer, and bake for about 7 minutes on each side.

    In a baking dish, layer the bottom with sauce, add slices of eggplant, sprinkle cheeses over this, add sauce, and repeat layers, ending with cheese
    Bake for about 35-40 minutes


    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    To market, to market

          Tomorrow I am leaving to participate in Appalachia Rising ( to continue to work on ending the horrific practice of mountaintop removal (for more info:, so today my partner wanted to spend time with me before I headed off to D.C. Since he had never been to the Asheville farmer's market (I, being from Asheville, spent very many fond moments there), we decided we should go on an adventure. So we loaded ourselves up and headed through the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains to the quirky little city of Asheville.
          The wonderful thing about the farmer's market in Asheville is that it is open all year round, usually seven days a week. It's a pretty amazing place where you can find locally made cheeses, locally grown produce of all sorts, original Appalachian jams, jellies, and butters (for instance "frog jam" which is made out of figs,
    raspberries, oranges and ginger, or moonshine jelly, jalapeno jelly, pumpkin butter, sweet potato butter, etc etc.), fudge, homemade ice cream, crafts and more. I hadn't been there for some time, so revisiting it was, for me, something like a six year old going to Disney. We looked at the amazing assortment of pumpkins, perused the endless aisles of canned jellies and honey, tasted amazing cheese, and in general had a wonderful time.
    Perfect apples!                                                       Giant pumpkin!
          While we were there we picked out some pretty exciting local produce, which I plan on using this week once I make it home from D.C. Tonight, though, I am using some beautiful sweet potatoes we picked up to make some baked sweet potato souffle with pecans (recipe below), along with some southern style pinto beans (you can find this recipe in the post "I'm from the South"). I was also going to make some Southern fried tofu, but after eating a delicious meal of tempelo wings and southern style greens with cornbread and vegan gravy from Rosetta's Kitchen (an AMAZING vegetarian/vegan restaurant that uses local food in downtown Asheville), we decided we would have a light dinner.

    Our amazing meal from Rosetta's Kitchen

    Below, enjoy my simple sweet potato souffle with pecans:

    3 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into cubes
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, sage, black pepper, salt
    3-4 tablespoons agave nectar
    3 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
    1 cup of pecans, ground up or finely chopped
    3 tablespoons of brown sugar

    Boil your sweet potatoes in a large pot of water with the olive oil (I actually put mine on low heat for about 30 minutes)
    Strain potatoes, place in a baking dish (I used an 8X8 dish), add butter and using a hand-held masher, mash potatoes. Add agave nectar, mash again. Add spices, and mash again, making sure everything is mixed up well.
    Mix your pecans and brown sugar together and layer them out evenly on top of the potatoes.
    Place in oven at 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes


    Friday, September 24, 2010

    A tale that begins with a beet.....

    So after acquiring beets from my farmer friend this summer I have become slightly obsessed with learning how to cook with them. My first dish with beets was Aloo Koora, an Indian curry with beets and potatoes (I will post this at some point in the future). But now, as fall steadily approaches, I have been searching for hearty fall-spiced dishes that help stave off the melancholy end of summer and imminent approach of winter. For some reason, this has manifested itself in a slight fascination with eastern European dishes. So tonight I am going to make a vegetarian version of Ukrainsky Borshch, a Ukrainian beet and cabbage stew. Below you will find the recipe I have concocted.

    We will approach this with caution, however, because as they say: "a tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil" (and I suppose we could do without devils for dinner).

    (Recipe adapted from:

    3 cups vegetable broth
    2 large potatoes or 4 small potatoes of your choice cut up into large chunks (you can peel them if you want, I prefer skins-on potatoes).
    1 large tomato or 2 small tomatoes diced
    1/4 cup oil (canola, vegetable or olive)
    1/2 cup of diced onion
    1-2 carrots diced
    1 can of sauerkraut or 1/4 head of cabbage diced                
    3-4 beets roasted (directions below) and diced
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1 cup of raisins or 3-4 pitted prunes
    3 tbspns of tomato paste
    1 tsp sugar or brown sugar
    black pepper
    1-2 cloves diced garlic
    parsley/dill/basil (spices of choice)
    2-3 teaspoons liquid smoke

    Roasting beets:
    prepare beets ahead of time by washing and slicing them, placing them in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, brush them with oil and herbs (I use olive oil with onion powder, sage, basil leaves, salt and black pepper, and a little brown sugar), cover the beets with the foil, and bake at 350 degrees until they can be easily pierced with a fork (approximately 1- 1 1/2 hours)

    1. Bring vegetable broth/stock to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and tomatoes, season to taste with salt, add liquid smoke, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are just soft, about 15 minutes.
     2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage/sauerkraut and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until cabbage wilts, 6–8 minutes.
    3. Add vegetable mixture, beets, and lemon juice to stock in pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add raisins/prunes, tomato paste, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until prunes soften and begin to dissolve, about 10 minutes more.
    4.  Remove pot from heat, add garlic, parsley, and dill, (possibly more liquid smoke if you prefer) then set soup aside to rest for 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Serve with sour cream on side.

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    I'm from the South

    Being a vegetarian in the southeastern United States is often entertaining. Basic food items here generally come loaded up with some form of ham or bacon. Or brown beef gravy. Or white sausage gravy. And let's not forget bbq, ribs, fried chicken, etc. I am very often asked "What DO you eat?" as if there could not possibly be anything Southern that I could eat. Well, I am glad to inform you that I have been able to create this wonderful list of recipes that fulfill my very Southern appetite =)


    BBQ Tofu

    1 lb block of tofu (I use Twin Oaks brand tofu from EarthFare, it’s locally(ish) and cooperatively grown (from Virginia)! And it is always really firm and not too juicy. When you get home, put your tofu in the freezer and freeze it for at least one day, leave tofu out for a few hours before you make this recipe, and then cut tofu out of package and drain it/squeeze it to make it as dry as possible)
    ¼ cup of peanut butter or peanut sauce
    ¼ cup of tamari or soy sauce
    1-2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
    1/3 cup of olive oil
    1 clove of minced garlic
    2 tablespoons of onion powder
    Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Take your tofu and cut it into really thin slices, then use your fingers to pull it apart into decent sized chunks reminiscent of a pulled pork look. Pour marinade over tofu, make sure all tofu is covered. I take a potato masher and lightly press on the tofu to make sure it absorbs the marinade well (don’t press too hard or mash up tofu). Let sit in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (sometimes I leave mine over night).
    Marinating tofu
    Heat oven to 400, cook tofu 10-15 minutes, or until liquid is dry and tofu is slightly crispy (you can take it out before it is completely crispy because as it cools it will harden).
    Baked tofu
     Now, you can use any bbq sauce you want for the tofu shreds you have made. I usually combine Carolina gold brand and add hot mustard and spicy red bbq sauce, but really this is entirely up to what kind of bbq sauce you like. You can mix and match or experiment with making your own. But, once you have figured out what you want to use for bbq, take your tofu and put it into a container with the sauce, mix it up thoroughly, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes for the tofu to absorb it.

    Southern Fried Tofu
    (note: I mostly stole this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen:
    1 block of tofu defrosted and cut into triangles. (freeze your tofu before use, as before)
    Organic White Flour
    *Cayenne pepper
    *Garlic powder
    *Sea Salt
    *Fresh ground pepper
    A teaspoon of cornstarch
    1/4 cup cold water
    1 cup warmed vegetable broth
    Canola oil for frying

    *All of these are according to taste*

    ~For spicy tofu, melt two tablespoons of dairy free butter and mix with your favorite hot sauce in a bowl. Set aside.

    Leave your tofu sitting in warm water

    In a small cup, add the cold water and the corn starch and stir until dissolved. Mix in with vegetable broth.
    In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.

    It turns out better if you 'double dip' the tofu. Take a triangle and dip it into the flour mixture first. After that, dip in the vegetable broth mixture and then back into the flour until evenly covered. Set the battered tofu on a plate and prepare the rest of the pieces the same way. Get your oil good and hot.

    Fry your battered tofu and turn regularly until brown on all sides. It doesn't take that long. Do yourself a favor and use tongs!

    If you want to, once the tofu is cooked, toss it into the hot sauce/butter mix. It is good plain too.

    Vegan Gumbo
    So, there is a small back story here: one of my friends posted a facebook status that she was making gumbo, someone commented asking if there was a way to make vegan gumbo. I, realizing I had not had gumbo since my childhood, decided that I would find a way to make vegan gumbo. Thus, stealing and tweaking a recipe from the famous Paula Deen, I created this:


    • 1 block of cajun marinated tofu (see directions below)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3-4 pieces of vegan Italian sausage (note: Morning Star brand is NOT vegan!) seasoned with cumin and cajun seasoning
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 5 tablespoons vegan butter
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic minced
    • 3 stalks celery chopped
    • 1/4 cup soy/tamari sauce
    • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish (I used basil)
    • 4 cups hot vegetable broth/stock
    • 1 (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice (I use fresh tomatoes, I used about 3-4, diced up)
    • 2 cups frozen sliced okra
    • 4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts


        Cajun marinated tofu:
      combine 1/4 cup tamari/soy sauce, 1/3 cup of olive oil 2-3 teaspoons of liquid smoke, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of cajun seasoning, and 2-3 teaspoons of cumin. cut tofu into large chunks and marinate for about 1 hour (or as long as you want) then bake at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until tofu is slightly crispy.

      Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat.Add tofu until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove (sprinkle the warmed tofu and sausage lightly with cajun seasoning and cumin).
      Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
      Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons vegan butter. Add the onion, garlic,  and celery and cook for 5-6minutes.

      Add soy/tamari sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 5-6minutes.
      Add vegetable stock/broth, whisking constantly. Add the tofu and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Just before serving add the green onions and chopped parsley.
      Note: I also used zucchini and carrots in my gumbo. You can add any vegetable you have on hand, really.
      finished gumbo


      Southern Style Pinto Beans
      1 bag dry pinto beans or 1 can vegetarian pinto beans
      Liquid smoke
      Butter (or vegan butter)

                  For the dry pinto beans you will need to cover the pan of beans with water at least three inches above the beans. Soak overnight. The next morning the beans will be plump and ready to cook. Pour out the water and fill with clean tap water, covering beans at least one inch above the beans. Bring beans to boil. Reduce heat and simmer with lid on for about 4-6 hours (until they are well cooked and soft) checking every hour to make sure beans continue to have enough water.
                  For canned beans, you just need to heat them up in a pot.
                  Add a few dashes of liquid smoke (maybe about 4-5 teaspoons?)
                  Add about 1 tablespoon of butter/vegan butter
                  Salt and pepper to taste

      Cajun Pinto Beans
                  Dry beans or can of beans
                  Brown sugar
                  Cajun seasoning
                  Liquid smoke

      Prepare your beans, add 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, a few dashes of liquid smoke, mix well. Dice up tomato and about 1/3 cup of onion, add to beans, stir well. Add about 1 teaspoon of cumin and 2-3 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning. To make them spicy you can add red pepper flakes.

      Southern Style Greens
                  Greens of your choice (I have used swiss chard, beet greens, dandelion greens, and poke salad, usually I use collard greens though)
                  Liquid smoke
                  1 clove of Garlic (minced)
                  Additional/optional vegetables (I sometimes use zucchini or mushrooms when I make greens, but you don’t have to add anything unless you have it on hand)

      Heat about ¼ cup of oil with garlic and onions, cook until onions are transparent. Add greens (and additional vegetables if you are using them). Add a few dashes of liquid smoke. Stir well, cook for about 10-15 minutes (depending on if you want your greens softer or crispier), stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste, you can also add red pepper flakes if you want them spicier.

      Fried Green Tomatoes
                  Green tomatoes (I usually use 2)
                  Corn flour
                  1 egg (beaten) (for vegan use vegetable stock/broth)
                  Salt and pepper
                  Slice tomatoes. In a bag or on a plate mix salt, pepper, and corn flour. Dip tomatoes in egg and then place in corn flour mix to thoroughly coat. Heat about ¼ cup of oil in frying pan, cook tomatoes, turning often, until they are thoroughly golden brown on both sides. 
      When zucchini is in season I often fry it up with the tomatoes too.

        Enjoy your Southern feast!