Sunday, July 18, 2010


Just a quick note to say that I am on lock-down studying for the bar exam.  As soon as the exam is over, I'm heading to Southeast Asia for a month-long backpacking trip, so you might not hear from me for a while!   In the meantime, happy eating!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Surprise Dumplings

I didn't intend on making dumplings when I came up with this filling.  I had decided to make a salad wrap with roasted cauliflower, tofu, and red onions, but the liquid from the tofu (which I hadn't pressed) made the vegetables much softer than planned.  They were still firm enough for my salad wrap, which was actually rather good, but as I ate it I thought, "These would make great dumplings."

I had to beg Boyfriend to try these dumplings because I made the mistake of telling him they contained cauliflower.  Add that to the growing list of vegetables that Boyfriend thinks he doesn't like.  After he finally did try one, he said, "Yeah, you're right.  These are good.  I stand corrected."  When he asked, "Do you have more?" I knew these were winners.  And when I asked him how many he wanted, he said, "Eight."

These are NOT Asian dumplings.  Instead, they're flavored with rosemary and thyme.  The maple dipping sauce, which was improvised using a few kitchen staples, is sweet and compliments them well.  Boyfriend liked the dipping sauce so much he bragged about it to his friends: "And she made this dipping sauce for them.  And guess what the secret ingredient was!  Maple Syrup!"

Surprise Dumplings

Note: I don't actually know how many this recipe makes, since I used some of the veggies for my salad wrap, but I would guess it makes over 40 dumplings.

• 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
• 1 red onion, diced
• One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp dried rosemary
• 2 tbsp dried thyme
• package of gyoza wrappers (I used vegetable gyoza wrappers)

Special tool: Dumpling press (You can make the dumplings by hand, but using a dumpling press is so much easier, and the dumplings end up looking beautiful!)

Put the cauliflower florets, red onions, and tofu cubes in a baking dish, and toss them with the olive oil, rosemary, and thyme.  Bake them at 425° for 1 hour, then remove from the oven.  (Watch out for the steam!)

Let the veggies and tofu cool, then pulse them in a food processor to make a coarse mixture.  Fill a small bowl with a bit of water to moisten your fingers.  Place a gyoza wrapper on a dumpling press, dip your finger in the water, and trace the perimeter of the gyoza wrapper with your finger.  (Getting the edge of the wrapper wet helps the wrapper stick together.)  Place about one tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper, and then close the dumpling with the dumpling press.  Continue until you have used up all of the filling.

You can freeze the dumplings for later use, or go ahead and cook them according to the directions on the gyoza wrapper package.  Serve them with the Maple Dipping Sauce.

Maple Dipping Sauce

• 1 tbsp rice vinegar
• 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
• 1 tbsp medium maple syrup

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl, and use as a dipping sauce.

My dumpling-making set-up

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spicy Noodles with Cabbage and Edamame

(Note: This is actually a post from March that I saved as a draft and never posted.  Since I came across it today, I thought I'd go ahead and publish it.)

Life has been incredibly hectic lately.  Life is normally hectic, but the last few weeks have been abnormal.  With vacation, visiting Boyfriend in Houston, and an unexpected trip home, I've been flying about twice a week.  I haven't had much time to cook, and many of the dishes I've made lately have been sadly uninspired.  BUT tonight I finally made a stir fry worth posting!  This is one perfectly spicy stir fry- just spicy enough to make my nose run a bit and my lips swell slightly.  It would probably make my mom cry, though, so be careful if you're not a fan of the heat and cut back on the sriracha.

Spicy Noodles with Cabbage and Edamame
Makes 2 servings

• 2 cups sliced red cabbage
• 1 cup frozen edamame
• 2 servings cooked soba noodles
• 2 tsp Asian chili oil
• 2 tbsp soy sauce
• 2 tbsp rice vinegar
• 2 tsp sriracha
• 2 tsp minced ginger

In a nonstick pan, stir-fry the cabbage and edamame in the chili oil over medium-high heat, letting the edamame and cabbage brown just slightly.  Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, and ginger in a small bowl.  Add the sauce and the cooked soba noodles to the cabbage and edamame, and heat the noodles until they absorb the sauce.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More from Viva Vegan!

Greetings from Planet Houston!

(The astronaut cow statue at Houston's IAH airport)

I'm back in Houston after having to testify in a trial in New York City.  I had forgotten how much I loved New York's vegan food.  During the short time I was there, I ate at Candle Café and Blossom, two of my very favorite restaurants.  I love Houston, but I don't know if a day will ever come that I can go out for a nice fancy dinner and order seitan in a port wine-mushroom sauce.  A girl can always dream.

In the spirit of yummy vegan food, here are the results of my most recent projects from Viva Vegan!  As I mentioned in a previous post, I made the Red Chile Sauce (page 45) and wanted to use it in the Red Chile Enchiladas (page 135).  To do so, I also had to make the Steamed Red Seitan (page 34) and Pine Nut Crema (page 45).

The Steamed Red Seitan didn't look like I thought it would; it was more tan than red.  

I eventually realized that I had only used half of the amount of tomato paste that I was supposed to use.  Even though I had gone slightly off-recipe, it still turned out delicious.  It was shockingly moist.  I've heard people talk about meat that falls right off the bone (gross) or melts in your mouth.  I imagine this seitan was the vegetarian equivalent.  

The recipe yielded twice as much seitan as needed for the enchiladas, so the night before I made the enchiladas I used the seitan to make a quick meal for Boyfriend and I- sautéed seitan, onions, and black beans with yellow rice and avocado.  Boyfriend LOVED the seitan.  All of the recipes I've made from Viva Vegan! have scored major points with him.

I also made the Pine Nut Crema ahead and refrigerated it until I was ready to make the enchiladas.  I tried out the Pine Nut Crema after I made it and was skeptical.  I'm not vegan.  I'm vegetarian, so I know what cheesy sauces are supposed to taste like.  This sauce tasted like tofu mixed with pine nuts.  At that point, I had a feeling I was not going to be thrilled with the enchiladas.  I made them anyway, and was pleasantly mistaken. 

The enchiladas were filled primarily with waxy potatoes and Steamed Red Seitan.  They were bathed in the Red Chile Sauce and topped with the Pine Nut Crema.  In the interest of full disclosure, I used some low-carb onion and herb tortillas instead of the corn tortillas that were called for.  I also ended up only making half of the recipe, since the full recipe would feed six people and I was only cooking for myself: one fresh meal and two quick reheated lunches.

The Red Chile Enchiladas were what I imagine meat enchiladas are supposed to taste like.  If I had grown up on this kind of food, or even if I had ever eaten a meat-filled enchilada, I'm sure these enchiladas would make great comfort food.  I'm happy to report that the Pine Nut Crema, in combination with the Red Chile Sauce, really did taste like a creamy cheesy sauce.  That kind of taste is very hard to accomplish with a vegan recipe, but Master Terry managed, of course.  The only down side to this meal is that it does take a lot of effort.  Since I made most of the ingredients ahead of time, it came together rather quickly.  Still, I think the next time I make enchiladas I might opt for a semi-homemade version using pre-made enchilada sauce and Daiya "cheese" on top. 

This cookbook might be too good.  I decided to give myself a little distance from it because I've been neglecting so many of my other cookbooks that I want to try out.  My newest one, "Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey", by Najmieh Batmanglij, has been begging me to experiment with it.  So, Latin America may have to wait for a bit while I head over to Persia.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Orange Stir-Fry Sauce

I hadn't intended on posting this recipe.  I was just trying to use up a random orange I had in the fridge, but the stir-fry sauce was too good not to share.  It was also very, very easy, just the way I like it.  I used this sauce with tofu, kale, yellow pepper, and onions, served over coconut rice (recipe to come, once I actually measure everything).

Orange Stir-Fry Sauce
Makes 1 serving

• 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed juice from a naval orange
• 1 tbsp minced ginger (I always have a jar of minced ginger on hand)
• 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tbsp granulated sugar

After sautéing your vegetables in a bit of oil, add the stir-fry sauce and allow to reduce for about 3 minutes.  Serve with rice.