Tag Archives: recipes

Good Morning, Brunch Feast!

Despite the time invested in this pile of delicious breakfast, this post is going to be exceedingly brief. I spent Sunday evening in glorious doom and gloom entertainment, first watching the final performance of Next to Normal Downtown [capsule review: Could also have been titled Depression! The Musical], then after post-show drinks, rushed home to watch the 11:00 pm re-run of the latest episode of The Killing on AMC.

I spent Sunday evening enjoying the most downbeat offerings stage and TV could possibly provide, which starkly contrasted with my midday minor vegan feast and the pure joy I felt throwing it together.

The meal was this: Roasted Cajun potatoes, scrambled tofu, navy bean gravy, and tempeh bacon. All delicious items when eaten apart, but as America knows, best when it can be collected in a big sloppy pile. The potatoes are easy enough – sliced and roasted with Cajun seasoning – and the tofu was just your typical scrambled tofu – turmeric, a little bit of vegan margarine, a little bit of liquid smoke, some salt and cayenne pepper – so the real stars here are the tempeh bacon and the amazing navy bean gravy, a vegan gravy so good, it could easily run for the same affections currently claimed by beef and chicken gravy devotees. And it’s incredibly easy to make.

Navy Bean Gravy

Ingredients
- 1 15 oz. can navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 half onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- Black pepper (I tend to think more is better than less, but the actual quantity is a matter of taste)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup flour
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water

- Saute the onions and garlic. Add the rosemary and black pepper and cook until the onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Combine the broth and flour and stir vigorously with a fork until there are few lumps of flour left.

- In a blender or food processor, combine the stock mixture, beans, soy sauce. Blend until smooth, then add the onions and garlic. Puree again until mostly smooth.

- Pour the pureed mixture into the stove pot and simmer until bubbling, stirring frequently. Add water to desired consistency.


Tempeh Bacon

Ingredients
- 8 oz. package of tempeh, sliced widthwise into 1/4 inch strips.
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (I used honey)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper

- Combine all ingredients (except for the tempeh) into a large bowl. Mix until well combined, then add the tempeh strips. Marinate for 1 hour (can be done overnight as well).

- When tempeh has marinated long enough, heat some oil in a large frying pan. Fry the slices for six minutes on each side, or until both are browned sufficiently.

 (Adapted from recipes in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Good Morning, Vegan Banana Pudding


I once had a banana pudding so good it had to have been evil. I don’t mean “sinfully delicious” or so bad for you but so good-tasting. I mean that it literally had to be evil to be that good. It had to have communed with the beast. It had to have divined its powers from another worldly realm so deep, so far from the simple divinity of heaven.

It was heavy and sweet and body-possessing. As a follow-up to an already very substantial lunch in Athens, Georgia in mid-August, it was a little too much to take. It was a taste that knocked the wind out of me, and pretty much every ounce of energy I might have had left. Emerging into the well-baked afternoon, I promptly fell into what could only be described as a euphoric food coma. It might also have been described as heat stroke.

Anyway, I suffered the same fate as those who dare chase the forbidden fruit. To this day, I’ve never found the equal to this banana pudding (found at Peaches in Athens, GA, if you’re interested), and I’ve never really desired to. One encounter is enough.

Still, I love banana pudding. Serve it with vanilla wafers, ladyfingers, or whipped cream. My favorite preparation is simple: Pudding and banana slices. I had some silken tofu and bananas on hand, so I was set to make up a vegan variation, which me and my partner set about devouring as soon as it left the fridge. Thank goodness this only takes five minutes to make. Next time I’m saving it all for myself!

Vegan Banana Pudding

Ingredients
- 2 ripe bananas (Don’t forget to have an extra on hand for topping!)
- 1 12 oz. package of silken tofu
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp Xanathan gum

- In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients until well blended. Chill for at least two hours. Serve with banana slices.

(Adapted from this recipe on Vegweb.com)

Good Morning, Cauliflower Cheese Soup!


Mollie Katzen, Mollie Katzen. Is there anything you can’t make delicious?

Some of you out there might know of my current quest to conquer cauliflower. I’ve long held the albino broccoli in disregard. Its pure whiteness, its bland nothing flavor, its weird not-quite-crunchy-enough texture… All I’ve ever known of cauliflower is that people tend to avoid it on vegetable trays. While their fellow tray-mates, the robustly orange carrots, the crunchy, stringy celery, the vibrant and tree-like broccoli, find better homes on small plates and napkins (to eventually be devoured and rest inside various digestive tracts), the cauliflower is left to an uncertain fate.

All that changed with a little dish from Tamarind Savoring India: Gobi Manchurian, dry, fried, crunchy, a little spicy. The cauliflower was more like Korean spareribs than that pale, lonely little vegetable left alone on the party tray. This cauliflower was savory, vibrantly colored, and extremely flavorful. I was completely turned around.

So I’ve made a little mission of coming to terms with  cauliflower. Considering the benefits of the vegetable itself – low in fat, high in fiber and Vitamin C – and the expanding possibilities of its taste capabilities, this seems like a fairly easy challenge.

But one cannot subsist on Gobi Manchurian and only Gobi Manchurian. So it’s up to other cooks to show me how to best utilize this former enemy. Enter lover of all things veggie and culinary genius, Mollie Katzen, whose Moosewood Cookbook has become a formidable weapon in this delectable battle of will, wit, and tastebuds.

My pal, Jackie, had a great recent find at Beyond Bedtime Books on Potomac Avenue. Seemingly moments after saying that she needed to pick up the Moosewood at some point, she found a used copy right there on the shelf. Flash to weeks later and she’s cooking us up a version of Katzen’s “Cauliflower and Cheese Soup.”

Recommended for this recipe: Do not over puree. A little texture keeps the soup from being to gruel-like. We also threw in some steamed asparagus, optional, of course, but it was the perfect crunchy counterpart to the creamy, mildly cheesy soup.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Ingredients
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced
- 1 medium to large cauliflower, cut or broken into florets
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 to 3 tsp salt
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Colby Jack
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp fresh dill
- Black pepper to taste

- Set the water to boil and add the potato, cauliflower, garlic, onion, dill, and salt. Bring to boil, then simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Add milk.

- Puree about half of the mixture in a blender or food processor, then transfer back into the pot. Keeping on low heat, add cheese, then stir until cheese has melted completely. Season with black pepper to taste.

Optional: Take a pound of asparagus and chop off about two inches of the stem from the bottom. Steam asparagus and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until asparagus is bright green and tender, but still crunchy. Add a few stalks to the soup as a delicious garnish.

(Recipe adapted from “Cauliflower Cheese Soup” from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)

Good Morning, Tamale Casserole!

A while back, I made an argument for taking back the microwave, and I stand by that argument. While not appropriate for cooking most dishes, it can be really effective in the throwing together of a meal in under thirty minutes. I’m not necessarily one of those 30-minute-meal types: I like to languish in the kitchen, relax, chop and slice and cook at leisure. This is, understandably, why most of my meals clock in around 45 minutes to an hour, and also why, reasonably, I don’t tend to do a lot of cooking mid-week. Unless eating out or being cooked for, I tend to subsist on whatever is readily available in the kitchen.

Thankfully for my appetite, The Garden of Vegan not only contains wonderful vegan recipes, it features an entire chapter on microwaveable meals. Coming across a recipe for “Tamale Pie” I was immediately entranced – all the goodness of a cornmeal-crusted casserole in exactly half the time I would usually make something like this. Despite a minor error with the cornmeal topping, this came out delicious, hearty, and very, very quickly.

Best of all, this dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. It’s so fast, make two and save the other one for later in the week.

Tamale Casserole

Ingredients
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans beans, your choice, drained and rinsed (I used black and pinto)
- 1 cup corn
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
- 1/4 cup jalapeno, sliced (optional)

- In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and water. Microwave for 6 minutes. The cornmeal should be a firm mush.
- In a microwaveable casserole dish, add the beans, corn, onion, and pepper. Cover with sauce and spices. Cover the whole dish with the cornmeal mixture and add the jalapeno on top, if using. Microwave for 8 – 12 minutes, until the cornmeal is crisp on top and the entire dish is heated through.

(Recipe adapted from “Tamale Pie” in The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard)

Good Morning, Monday Morning Muffins!

I will make a confession: I have never had a really good muffin from a bakery or grocery store. I’ve had good ones. I’ve had decent ones. And I’ve had ones that were downright awful (and really, is there anything worse than trying to get through a chalky, crumbly, mess of a failed muffin?). But I’ve never one that was to die for, and that’s a shame. I’ve been to a lot of good bakeries, had muffins in many cosmopolitan cities, dined in fine establishments worldwide… but I’ve yet to have a decent muffin that wasn’t directly out of someone’s personal kitchen.

Not sure why this is, really. Maybe it’s a muffin preference. I like mine to be a tad crumbly, not overwhelmingly large, moist, and not super sweet. I don’t want icing on the top or even sugared crumbs (good in theory, not so great when they’re dotting the front of your jacket and pants). Also, the window of time for muffin perfection from the time they come out of the oven to the time they go into your mouth is perilously tight. Maybe I like my homemade muffins better because they come out of the oven and as soon as they are cool enough to swallow, they get eaten. (I really have a patience problem when it comes to sweets…)

Get your Monday morning and burgeoning muffin top started off right with these banana nut muffins. They’re extra nutty, cause I’m just feeling that way these days.

Monday Morning Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 ripe bananas, mashed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup shaved almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 count muffin pan.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a mixer blend together bananas, sugar, oil, extract, and applesauce. Once completely blended, gradually fold the dry into the wet ingredients. Add nuts and stir until just mixed.

Fill each muffin cup to about halfway. Bake in the oven for 18 – 20 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from “Crazy Good Banana Muffins” on VegWeb.com)

Good Morning, Citrus!

It is time that I added more citrus to my recipe book. Sure, I have the odd lemon-infused muffin here, orange juice makes a few appearances there, but I haven’t really dedicated myself to assembling recipes that best use the fruits that this season has to offer.

Why not, you might ask? There’s many, many reasons to. The mighty orange offers nutrients that have been said to prevent everything from high blood pressure to arthritis to cancer. Grapefruits, also rich in Vitamin C, can reduce cholesterol and slow atherosclerosis. Lemons are a top-notch antioxidant and can, among other helpful uses, sooth stomach aches and indigestion. Limes are rich with dietary fiber and Vitamin K.

Blood Oranges with Star Anise Syrup from Sifting and Sowing

Whoa. Those are something freaking nutrient powerhouses. And did I mention that they’re all delicious? No, cause I didn’t have to, right? You all know that already. So what am I wasting your time for? Here are some recipes that won’t waste your time and will get you a good citrus fix:

- Oh, Sifting and Sowing… I could stare at your picture for Blood Oranges with Star Anise Syrup all day. So bright, so cheery, so unbelievably delicious looking. With a little yogurt on the side, this could actually make me look forward to the morning. (As long as that morning starts at 10 am…)

- Cupcakes Ate My Soul is cooking up a Christmas-y cake of Cloves, Oranges and Cinnamon. So, I just found this blog, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but… I love this blogger. Her recipes are little nuggets of genius in an adorable scattershot package. I’m making this cake before the next big snowfall, and hopefully, I will have a nice big mug of mulled wine to go with it.

Agave-Lime Grilled Tofu from Krule in the Kitchen

- It’s equally important to get your protein this time of year, but don’t worry, Krule in the Kitchen has you covered with this excellent recipe for Agave-Lime Grilled Tofu. This is the recipe I will have in mind next time I’m at Lotus Foods in the Strip, weighing down my bag with pound after pound of tofu. I just need to remember the limes…

Lemon Curd from TasteFood

- Lemony recipes? TasteFood had a hundred lemons on their hands, so they practically did all the work for me! I love Lemon Curd, although I have yet to have anything close to resembling a vegan version, so I’ll probably be keeping this all to myself. Accompanying this recipe is a handy rundown of various lemon-featured recipes culled from other food bloggers.

Ruby Grapefruit Marmalade from Subatomicbetty

- It comes off a little old-fashioned, but I love marmalade. I’m used to getting my marma-fix in orange form, but I love this recipe for Ruby Grapefruit Marmalade from Subatomicbetty. This is also a really nice recipe for preserves-lovers who don’t want to make a whole ton of the stuff (she doesn’t give the exact quantity the recipe provides, but it doesn’t looking overwhelming). It also has lemons! A perfect citrus spread for people who really need to jazz up their morning toast.

Good Morning, Mini Almond Tarts!

My boss loves burnt almond tortes, so for her birthday, I thought I would whip up something similar, but a little different. I was hoping to get the essence of the almond torte without the overwhelming amounts of sugar and cream. Also, because the treat was going to serve as a sort of birthday gift, I was hoping that the recipe would be fairy simple to make. After a busy Tuesday, the last thing I wanted to be doing at ten pm was attempting a second batch of tarts.

I used a regular metal cupcake dish for my tarts, which resulted in some rather substantial “mini” treats. For true bite-sized confections, definitely pick up a dedicated mini tart or mini muffin pan. I know I will be doing so as soon as possible, because I have a weird fondness for small, dainty sweets.

Mini Almond Tarts

Ingredients
For the crust
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp Grand Marnier (You can do it without the liquor, but I’d recommend using it)
- Pinch of salt

To assemble the crust: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cupcake tin (or if you have a mini tart pan). You should fill about seven cups in a regular sized cupcake tin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate glass bowl, stir together the melted butter, vanilla, and a 1/2 tbsp of water. Pour the wet into the dry and combine until dough is formed. Knead for about 30 seconds.

Section off the dough into seven even-sized balls. Press each ball into the prepared tin, pressing it into the bottom and sides of the tin. You’ll want a little bit of the crust to come up from the top, but make sure the bottom is thick enough to hold. Put the tray of crusts into the oven for 7 minutes.

Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Make the filling: Whip together all filling ingredients until well combined. Pour filling into each of the tart cups, just beneath the top of the crust.

Bake for 22 – 25 minutes. Let stand and cool before removing from cups.

(Recipe adapted MarthaStewart.com)