Monday, December 28, 2009

Peanutty Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

I often make lettuce wraps with tofu, water chestnuts, cremini mushrooms, carrots, and a TON of soy sauce. They're absolutely delicious, but incredibly high in sodium. Today, I decided to mix things up a bit and make my lettuce wraps with tempeh (since I had 5 packages of it in the fridge), different veggies, and a lower sodium sauce. I have an insatiable salt tooth, so I think these would have been better with more soy sauce, but I was pretty pleased with the result nonetheless.

Peanutty Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
Makes 2 servings

• 2 tsp peanut oil
• 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 1 package tempeh, cut into bite sized pieces*
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• 6 tbsp light coconut milk
• 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
• 1 head iceberg lettuce

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet and sauté the mushrooms, peppers, and tempeh for 4 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, mix together the peanut butter, coconut milk, and soy sauce, making a creamy sauce. Add the sauce to the pan and turn off the heat once the sauce is absorbed.

Chop the bottom of the stem off the head of lettuce- doing so makes it easier to remove big leaves for wrapping. For me, this makes about 4 lettuce wraps- 2 per person.

* Depending on your tempeh, you might want to boil or steam it first, but I don't think it's necessary for my Trader Joe's brand tempeh.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tofu Kale Bowl

I make this ALL THE TIME. Simple and quick to put together. Sometimes I use more soy sauce and no mirin. Of course, there are plenty of ways to change this dish, but I just keep coming back to making it this way for its simplicity.

Tofu Kale Bowl
Makes 1 serving

• 2 tsp peanut oil, divided
• Half an 8-ounce package extra-firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1/2 bunch kale
• 1 serving cooked brown rice
• 2 tbsp mirin
• 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

Pan-fry the tofu with one teaspoon of the peanut oil in a non-stick pan. Once the tofu has a golden crust, add the rest of the peanut oil and the remaining ingredients. When the kale has wilted, the dish is ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mustard Cannellini Spread

I like mustard but find it overpowering when I put it on sandwiches. I created this spread to go on sandwiches or a piece of toast in the morning instead of the cream cheese I used to use before I began eating vegan at home. The cannellini beans make the dip creamy, and the mustard flavor is light but gives it just the right amount of kick for me. I apologize for the ugly picture- I made this dip at 1 AM and didn't want to put the extra effort into it!

Approximate nutrition facts for this dip are below. They are based on calculations from the LoseIt! iPhone application.

Mustard Cannellini Spread
Makes about 1 cup, eight 1-ounce servings

• One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• white pepper, to taste

Combine the first four ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add white pepper to taste.

Per 1-ounce serving: 71 calories, 3.9 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 25.6 mg sodium, 6.8 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 2.3 g protein

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Black Beans, Banana, and Quinoa

I admit I'm a bad vegetarian in that I eat very little fruit. You'll never find me snacking on an apple or having a banana with breakfast. When I eat fruit it's mixed into a salad or a stir-fry. I made this dish in an attempt to get myself to eat more fruit, and I think it worked because this is DELICIOUS and I will be making it OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Black Beans, Banana, and Quinoa
Makes 2 servings

• 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
• 1 cup water
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1/4 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 serrano chili, minced
• 1 cup canned black beans with liquid
• 2 medium bananas, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced 1/4"
• 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
• salt, to taste

Combine the quinoa, water, cumin, and paprika in a pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, about 20 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Sauté the chili in the olive oil for about a minute, then add the black beans, quinoa, and bananas. Continue to cook until all ingredients are heated through, making sure not to let the bananas get mushy. Add the salt to taste (it might not be necessary, depending on the canned beans you use), then add the cilantro into the mixture. Plate it, serve it, devour it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Corn Casserole

Even though I've been cooking almost only vegan meals, I made an exception for Thanksgiving when I cooked for myself and my meat-eating boyfriend. We both love corn casserole, a family favorite that probably came off the back of a Jiffy box. It's creamy, corny, cheesy deliciousness.

Corn Casserole
Makes 16 side servings
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 5 minutes

• 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
• 1 can cream corn
• 1 can whole kernel sweet corn
• One 8-ounce Jiffy cornbread (or corn muffin) mix
• 8 ounces sour cream
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup or more grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter and pour it into a 9x13 baking dish. Mix in the two kinds of corn and the cornbread mix. Add the sour cream and 2 eggs. Sprinkle generously with cheddar cheese. Although the original directions say to bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes, it has always taken me at least 30 minutes. The casserole is ready when toothpicks inserted into the center of the casserole come out clean.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Smoky Tofu, Wilted Chard, and Chai Quinoa

A lot of my meals follow the basic pattern of greens, grain, and protein, but this was my first time cooking with chard. It definitely won't be the last time, because this meal was easy and delicious! This recipe may look like a lot of work, but very little active time is required.

I used ground cloves to flavor the tofu because I wanted it to taste smoky, but changing the spices on the tofu could take this dish in a different direction. Bryant Terry's Rosemary-Roasted Tofu Cubes from Vegan Soul Kitchen would work great.

Smoky Tofu, Wilted Chard, and Chai Quinoa
Makes 2 servings

• One 8-ounce package of extra-firm tofu
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp ground cloves
• 1/2 cup quinoa
• 1 cup brewed chai
• 1 bunch chard (I used red)
• 1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Cut the tofu into 8 slabs and pat the slabs dry with a paper towel.

3. Mix the olive oil and ground cloves together in a small bowl. Dip each slab of tofu in the mixture, making sure to coat each side.

4. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time.

5. While the tofu is baking, rinse the quinoa then put it in a pot with the chai. Bring the chai to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat. Simmer until the quinoa is cooked.

6. Wash the chard, then separate the stems from the chard leaves and chop the stems. Begin sauteeing the stems in the Earth Balance while you chop the chard leaves. Add the chard leaves and sautee until they are wilted.

7. Plate the quinoa, chard, and tofu, and serve.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I asked Boyfriend if I should make a dessert for our 2-person Thanksgiving dinner. He said, "Yeah! Chocolate Guinness Cake!" I said, "Or do you want me to make something more Thanksgiving-y. Like Pumpkin Cheesecake!" He said, "No! Chocolate Guinness Cake!" I agreed, and he said, "And can you make that icing too?!" Chocolate Guinness Cake it is, with the almost pure sugar icing. This cake is great at room temperature or after coming out of the fridge, but Boyfriend and I like to heat it up for a bit in the microwave and let the icing get warm and gooey!

This recipe first came to my attention when I was a grocery store in undergrad and saw a copy of Imbibe magazine on display. It advertised a recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes. I bought the magazine and gave them a try- they were delicious!

I find cupcakes a big pain to make, so the next time I made this recipe I made it as a cake. My torts professor had a Torts and Tortes party for my 1L section (the group of students I had all of my classes with during my first year of law school). He encouraged us to bring desserts, and we had a bake off among 5 of us who had brought desserts. My Chocolate Guinness Cake won, and I received a copy of "Freakonomics" as a prize. I still haven't read it, but I keep it on my bookshelf as a subtle trophy.

This recipe is altered very little from its original form. The ingredients are the same, only the directions are different. To make this cake as cupcakes, pour the batter into 24 muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Guinness Cake
Makes 1 cake

• One 12-ounce bottle Guinness stout
• 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
• 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
• 3 large eggs
• 3/4 cup sour cream
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for garnish
• 2 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
• One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 1/2 pounds Confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.

4. Pour the batter in a nonstick 9 x 13 baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.

5. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. Slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar. Once the cake has cooled, top it with the icing and and dust with cocoa.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adopt a Turkey!

Farm Sanctuary has a fantastic Adopt-A-Turkey Project for Thanksgiving. According to the website, the sanctuary "seeks to end the misery of commercially-raised turkeys by offering a compassionate alternative for Thanksgiving. Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has rescued more than 1,000 turkeys, placed hundreds into loving homes through our annual Turkey Express adoption event, educated millions of people about their plight, and provided resources for a cruelty-free holiday."

Instead of eating turkey on Thanksgiving, why not adopt a turkey? I adopted Olive (pictured above). I hope you swing by the Adopt-A-Turkey Project website also and help the organization out!

Noochy Vegan Polenta with Mustard Greens Mix

I'm in Houston right now visiting my boyfriend. Houston has this WONDERFUL grocery store called Central Market. It's similar to Whole Foods, except that the produce and bulk grains and spices section is on steroids. The produce section has ingredients I can never find anywhere else- like black truffles, for example. The spice section is my favorite section, though, because it saves me so much money. I'll get a little baggie of a spice for 50 cents instead of paying $5 for a bottle! Whenever I'm in town, I stock up on the spices I need (and some I don't need) back in Boston. This trip I got marjoram, turmeric, sumac (which I've never used before), ground and whole cloves, allspice, star anise, and onion powder- all for a couple of dollars.

But enough about my love for Central Market. On to the food! Even though CM usually has EVERYTHING in the produce section, it was out of kale. I decided to buy curly mustard greens instead. I'd never used them before, but they looked like kale, so why not? I decided to pair them with red pepper, onions, and sweet yellow corn, served with polenta. Although I'm not vegan, I've been trying to cook vegan at home. Normally I add tons of Parmesan to my polenta, but since I'm avoiding cheese, I tried something a little different, and I think it worked out great! So, here are my two newest recipes- enjoy!

Noochy Vegan Polenta
Makes 1 serving

• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
• 2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine
• 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
• salt and pepper to taste

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot and slowly add in the cornmeal, mixing it to avoid clumps. Once the cornmeal has absorbed the water, turn off the heat and mix in the margarine and nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the polenta cools, it will harden a bit and keep its shape. But, if you're like me, you can eat it while it's hot and enjoy the soft gooeyness!

Mustard Greens Mix
Makes 4 servings

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 red bell pepper, cut into inch-long strips
• 1/2 onion, diced
• 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
• 1 large bunch mustard greens, stems removed and leaves chopped
• 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
• 1/2 tbsp cumin
• salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and add the pepper, onion, corn, cayenne, and cumin (you could definitely up the spices for more of a kick, but I like the lightly spiced flavor). Cover the pan until the peppers are cooked. Add the mustard greens a handful or two at a time and mix them into the peppers, onions, and corn, allowing them to wilt. Salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

ALWAYS get a receipt!

Today I checked my credit card balance online and saw that I was charged $76.50 for a purchase I made at Whole Foods on Sunday. I left for Houston on Tuesday, so I bought very few items at Whole Foods that day: 2 bottles of $10 wine, 2 bottles of marinara sauce, and a package of tofu. I was obviously overcharged.

When I had checked out, I was told that I didn't need to sign anything- which is the case when your purchase is under $25. When I walked over to the bagger, she was putting items into my bag that weren't mine, and had started filling another bag. I told her those weren't my items, we removed them from my bag, and checked with the cashier to make sure everything was okay. He said everything was fine, and I left. I never received a receipt, and for some reason assumed that the bagger had put the receipt in the bag then absent-mindedly kept bagging. But hey, the whole purchase was less than $25, right?

I called Whole Foods today and explained the problem. Once the WF employee found the receipt, he went through it with me and marked off the items that I didn't buy- I was charged for the next customer's items. My card will be credited as soon as the man in charge of these things is in tomorrow and can sign off on the refund. I'm not foreseeing any problems there, knock on wood.

Although this was kind of a pain in the butt to deal with today, I still love Whole Foods. The employee was very nice and helpful and took care of everything quickly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Vegan Wines

I was surprised to learn this summer that many wines are not vegan. Many winemakers use animal products to filter their wines. is a great database that lists many popular brands of beer, wine, and liquor and let's you know whether or not they're vegan, but the site doesn't seem to have been updated in at least a month.

I recently emailed several of my favorite winemakers (or their importers) to ask whether their wines were vegan friendly. Several didn't ever respond, but those who did said that they did not use any animal products in making the wine. I've forwarded these emails to the people at, but since they haven't been posted yet, here is my list of a few wines that are vegan according to the makers or importers. I'll try to update this list whenever I get information on a new label.

These wines are VEGAN:
Rabbit Ridge
Cycles Gladiator (this wine is banned in Alabama because the label is considered pornographic)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seitan Tikka Masala

"India's 500 Best Recipes" by Shehzad Husain, Rafi Fernandez, Mridula Baljekar, and Manisha Kanani is one of my favorite cookbooks. The cookbook has a section devoted to vegetarian main dishes, but my favorite way to use the cookbook is to vegetarianize the meat dishes. It's incredibly easy and usually just requires that I substitute seitan for chicken. I've had plenty of vegetarian Indian food in restaurants, but have never found a restaurant with vegetarianized versions of Indian meat dishes. Now I don't have to miss out on "chicken" tikka masala.

Seitan Tikka Masala
Makes 4 servings

• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 tbsp minced garlic
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• 1 green chili, seeded and diced
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 6 tbsp tikka paste
• 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• Three 8-ounce packages seitan
• fresh cilantro to garnish


1. Cook the onion, garlic, ginger, and chili in the olive oil in a large pan for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, tikka paste, and water to the pan and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until it's smooth. Return the sauce to the pan and mix in the lemon juice, yogurt, and seitan.

3. Let the seitan simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes, then serve over rice or with naan. Add cilantro as garnish.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1,000 Vegan Recipes: Simple Simmered Seitan

I had some plain yogurt leftover from a couple of weeks ago and wanted to use it up, so I decided to vegetarianize the Chicken Korma recipe from "India's 500 Best Recipes" by Shehzad Husain, Rafi Fernandez, Mridula Baljekar, and Manisha Kanani. Lately I have been baking my seitan, but I decided to try the Simple Simmered Seitan recipe from "1,000 Vegan Recipes" by Robin Roberts. The ingredients might already be in your kitchen- olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, and vital wheat gluten flower. I had everything I needed on hand except onion powder, so I substituted asafoetida. If you've never smelled asafoetida, it's quite an interesting spice. I usually hear that it smells like a stinky foot, but I think it smells like cat urine. Don't worry though, the smell goes away when cooked, and it has an onion-garlic flavor rather than a foot-urine flavor!

Robin Roberts says in the cookbook that she usually makes a double batch and freezes some of it. Sounded like a perfect idea to me, so I did the same. After mixing the dough, I had a little bit too much liquid, so I poured some of it out and added a bit of vital wheat gluten. That solved the problem, and left me with a big hunk of baby seitan.

I cut the dough into eight roughly equal pieces and put them in the simmering liquid in a giant pot. At first the dough sunk to the bottom of the bowl, but after some time it began to rise to the top.

After about 45 minutes of simmering, I realized I should have used two large pots. The seitan had doubled in size and it looked like the pot would overflow with seitan cutlets!

Once an hour of simmering had passed, I turned off the heat and let the seitan cool down a bit while I prepped the ingredients for the Chicken Korma. I also tore off a few pieces of seitan to munch on. The seitan was very lightly spiced and would work well in a variety of recipes. If you made the seitan with a specific recipe in mind, you could easily add spices to the dough with your meal in mind. I think boiled seitan works much better than baked seitan in the stir-frys and Indian meals I make. Baked seitan is much more dense, and it is better to use as sausage, pepperoni, or ground meat.

I have about 3 pounds of seitan left in my fridge, so I shouldn't need more seitan for a while. But when I do run out, I'm looking forward to experimenting with difference spices in this basic seitan recipe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Walnut Disaster

During my first year of law school, my contracts professor gave us his famous hypothetical. We were to imagine that a man invited a potential client to dinner, and made a luxurious souffle with walnuts and truffles. Unfortunately, the walnuts were rancid. How much could the man recover from the shop that sold him the rancid walnuts that ruined his super expensive souffle and made his business deal go sour?

Well, I still don't know the answer to that, but I was reminded of this hypo after trying out the Eggplant with Pomegranate Walnut Sauce from 1,000 Vegan Recipes tonight. A friend had commented in class that any good cook would have tasted the walnuts while making the souffle. I'm ashamed to admit that I tried the walnuts I was using in this dish- and realized I didn't remember what raw walnuts are supposed to taste like. I can't remember the last time I had a walnut- much less a raw one rather than a toasted one. I also can't remember when I bought the bag of walnuts sitting in my pantry that I decided to open up for this dish. Bad call.

I thought the walnuts had a slightly funny aftertaste, but thought the taste would go away when the walnuts were cooked. It didn't. The result was edible, but well, yeah, it was just edible. So, while I would love to review my first recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, I really can't. Some day I'll try the recipe again, or wait for one of the ladies at "Cooking from 1,000 Vegan Recipes" to do it, but for tomorrow I'll turn these fried eggplant slices into Eggplant Parmesan.

As it turns out, the package of walnuts said "Best by Nov 13 2009", which just so happens to be the very day I made the dish. They probably would have kept better if I had put them in the fridge. Oh well, happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cookbook Review: How it all Vegan!

I bought "How it all Vegan!" a while ago, but didn't really appreciate it until I decided to go vegan. This is not a coffee table cookbook nor a cookbook you flip through for inspiration, and there's no food porn. But this book is more than your typical cookbook- it's a guide to living a vegan lifestyle. My favorite part of this book is the list of ingredients to watch out for and an explanation of why each one is not vegan friendly. If I had kids, I'm sure I'd make use of the "Vegan Kids Stuff" section, which has recipes targeted at kids and fun things for kids to do in the kitchen, among other things.

The book has vegan versions of a lot of the dairy foods I'll miss: sour cream, grated Parmesan, and cream cheese. So far, I've only tried the garlic dill cream cheese on p. 86- pictured above with the book. I can't really say that it tasted like cream cheese, but it was yummy. And it made a nice addition to a tofu sandwich I made- and devoured!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Study-time Sushi

It's finals time so I don't have much time to try out new recipes, but I think study time is a great time to make sushi. It doesn't take much active time to make it, and I can keep a few rolls in the fridge an pop them out whenever I'm hungry. After taking my second final of three today, I devoured the sushi above- a baked tofu and cucumber roll. Here's my lazy sushi recipe:

Lazy Sushi Rice
4 servings

• 1 cup sushi rice
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 tbsp rice vinegar (eyeball it)
• 1 tbsp sugar (eyeball it)

The instructions on my sushi rice package say to rinse the rice until it's clear and soak it for 30 minutes, but I don't bother. I also don't dissolve the sugar in the rice vinegar over heat before adding it to the rice. Hence why I call it "lazy sushi rice".


1. Combine the sushi rice and water in a pan, cover it, and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, stir, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover until the water is absorbed. It shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes.

2. Once it's done pour in the rice vinegar and sugar. Just eyeball it and adjust it to taste.

Sometimes I have this rice with a tofu dish, but most of the time I use a knife to spread 1/4 of the batch on a sheet of nori. My favorite rolls (that I am naming as I write this):

• The Franzenator Roll- baked tofu and cucumber- leave the skin on for more crunch. (Named for one of the ridiculous mnemonic devices I used to study for my exam)
• The Thanksgiving Roll- sweet potato and toasted pecans (goat cheese optional)
• The Mushocado Roll- sauteed mushrooms and avocado (also great with goat cheese)

Below: getting ready to roll a mushocado roll, with a little too much rice (about 1/3 of the batch. Lately I've been limiting myself to one serving (1/4 batch) per roll and leaving an inch at the bottom of the sheet on which to place the filling, and that seems to be a better filling-to-rice ratio.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Seitan O'Greatness

I finally tried the famous Seitan O'Greatness that was first posted on The Post Punk Kitchen forums a couple years ago by Lachesis. It takes no more than 10 minutes of active time (so easy!), although you have to wait an hour and a half for it to bake. It's worth the wait though. The result is a chewy, spicy, pepperoni-esque log of protein. The texture is much better than you'll get from boiled seitan. I haven't tried it in any dishes yet, but I think it would be great ground up or chopped up in a spicy Indian or Mexican dish. Don't have the vegetarian Worcestshire sauce or tomato paste? No biggie- just substitute soy sauce and ketchup, respectively.

Seitan O'Greatness

• 1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp paprika
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon
• 1/4 tsp cumin
• 1-2 tsp pepper (I used 2 tsp)
• 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or less if you don't want it spicy)
• 1/8 tsp allspice
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 3/4 cups water
• 4 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp tamari
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients (the first 10 ingredients). Mix the liquid ingredients (the rest of the ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl and mix well.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for a couple of minutes. It shouldn't stick to your hands.

Form into a log (6-8" long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it in foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Simple Tofruity Smoothie

I made a tofu smoothie for the first time recently. I had leftover silken tofu from a Vegetarian Times ceasar salad dressing, so I put it to use. The best bananas are overripe ones (with brown spots on the outside) that you peel and freeze in a plastic bag.

Simple Tofruity Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

• 1/3 package of silken tofu
• 1 cup frozen strawberries
• 1/2 frozen overripe banana
• 1/2 cup soymilk

Put the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!

Also, give Vegan Yum Yum's pot stickers a try! They're filled with ground seitan, mushrooms, and chilies. You can use any seitan, but I tried the seitan recipe Lolo used, and it was fantastic! (I found myself munching on slices of it while making the pot stickers) I made these using wonton wrappers and, since I was just cooking for myself, I keep the filling in the fridge and I fry up the pot stickers as needed. I'm glad I didn't make them all at once because they'd be gone quickly!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunny Stir-Fry

It's a beautiful sunny day here in Kansas City, so I thought I'd share a recipe that's bright and sunny as well. This is a dish I've made several times, and it uses one of my favorite low-fat methods of cooking tofu. When I say "press the tofu", what I mean is to wrap the tofu in paper towels, and then place a cutting board with weights (big bottle of olive oil, a few cans of soup, etc.) on top. Many recipes will tell you that you need to press the tofu for half an hour, but if you cut the tofu in several smaller, equal-width slices and put them side-to-side with the weights on top, you can press the tofu in a very short time.

Sunny Stir Fry

Makes 2 servings

• 1/2 package tofu
• Pam cooking spray
• 1 medium yellow potato, diced in 1" pieces
• 1 yellow pepper, diced
• 1 cup canned pineapple chunks with liquid
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced at an angle
• 1 habañero pepper, minced
• 1/2 cup coconut milk (I use lite coconut milk, but you can use regular)
• 2 tbsp Thai chili sauce
• 2 tbsp soy sauce

Press the tofu to drain excess liquid and cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces.  Spray a nonstick pan with Pam and fry the tofu medium heat, spraying with more Pam if needed.Mix the coconut milk, Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, and minced habañero in a bowl.  Add the sauce mixture and potatoes to the tofu and let simmer, covered.  While letting the potatoes simmer, peel and cut the carrots, then add them to the pan to simmer.  Dice the pepper and add it to the pan as well.  Once the potatoes, carrots, and peppers are cooked, remove from heat and serve with brown rice or couscous.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Finally- A Veggie's Noodle Ramen!

I just got back from apartment hunting and Ashley's wedding in Houston last night. I leave tomorrow night to visit my parents for 5 nights. This month I'm out of town 19 out of 30 days- having class only 2 or 3 days a week gives me a lot of flexibility with my traveling.

Since I'm out of town so much this month, I've been trying to use up pantry food and whatever is left in my fridge rather than heading to the grocery store. I thought I'd share one of my go-to light meals that is ready in less than 10 minutes and is great when I'm having a carb craving! It's my vegetarian equivalent of Noodle Ramen. In college, there were always packages of Noodle Ramen in the dining area of the sorority house so that we could have a snack when the kitchen was closed. But, unfortunately, Noodel Ramen is not vegetarian so I was out of luck. Finally, I stumbled upon the vegetarian answer to Noodle Ramen at Whole Foods- Thai Kitchen noodle soup!

When I want to add a little protein I cook it according to the microwave package directions (careful, the Lemongrass & Chili noodle soup is not vegetarian). While the soup is in the microwave, I pan-fry a 1/4 package of extra-firm tofu, then add the tofu to the soup once both are ready. And that's it. This is a very cheap lunch- a package of tofu and 4 noodle soup packages will cost you less than $6 at Whole Foods!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bachelorette Parties

In the past month, I've attended two bachelorette parties. So here are a few ideas I've picked up when it comes to the food and beverages.

For my friend Ashley's party, Sarah (the host) had the great idea to label each dish in a funny- or obscene- way. Of course we had Mac-a-Weenie and Cheese (a bachelorette party essential), but there was also "Marry Me Brie" (Brie en Croute), "Tasty Testes" (Chocolate Chip Ball Surprise), and "Gettin' Loose Chocolate Mousse". I have no idea where the chocolate mousse recipe is from, but it's delicious, so check it out below.

If you make the Tasty Testes and end up with extra chocolate, or if you just want to make a chocolate something, use a spoon to "draw" on wax paper with the chocolate. I have a picture of my chocolate creation, but it would be inappropriate to post- I'm sure you can use your imagination.

Another Sarah (the host for Claire's 3-person bachelorette party) came up with the idea to make wine labels for the wine. I took care of making them, which was very easy to do on Word. I printed them out in 4x6 size on sticker paper. The size was larger than necessary, but I wanted to be sure that the entire original wine label was covered. The picture is above. I've blurred the faces on the labels to protect the 3 drunks' identities.

Gettin' Loose Chocolate Mousse

• One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed
• One cup cold water
• One 4-serving-size package of instant
chocolate pudding
• Cool whip
• Strawberries


1. Combine milk and water.

2. Add pudding mix and beat well.

3. Chill for 5 minutes.

4. Fold in half the container of cool whip.

5. Top with dollops of cool whip and strawberries.

Panko-Crusted Tofu with Sauteed Kale

I'm sitting in my con law class right now, paying no attention to my professor. I'm in the back of the room eating my lunch. What a perfect time to start blogging!

The other day I cooked (and ate) kale for the first time. I made Braised Seitan with Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Sun-dried Tomatoes from my favorite cookbook, Veganomicon. I had no idea how much kale I needed, so I bought two bunches, which was much more than necessary. Since I had so much left over, I made Kale and Sun-dried Tomato Hummus from the Vegan Yum Yum blog. DELICIOUS- and such a guilt-free way to eat hummus!

But after these two dishes, I still had leftover kale. I decided to experiment and created what might be one of my new favorite meals: Panko-Crusted Marinated Tofu with Sauteed Kale. Here's the recipe. I recommend serving it with rice or noodles. Otherwise, the marinade will be too strong for the kale. If not serving with the rice or noodles, saute the kale with vegetable broth and just a splash of the soy sauce and ginger instead.

Panko-Crusted Marinated Tofu with Sauteed Kale

Makes 2 servings

• 1/4 cup vegetable broth
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• Half package of extra-firm tofu
• 1/4 cup soymilk
• 1 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp peanut oil
• 1 small head of kale

Cut half of a block of tofu into four equal slices. You might want to cut each slice in half into triangles either before or after you marinate them.  Mix together the soy sauce, vegetable broth, and ginger. Place the tofu in a plastic bag and pour the mixture into the bag. Let sit to marinate for at least an hour in the refridgerator. 

When ready to fry the tofu, take the tofu out of the bag and reserve the marinade. Pat the tofu dry to remove excess liquid.  Mix together the soymilk and cornstarch in a bowl and allow the cornstarch to dissolve. Using one hand, dip a piece of tofu in the soymilk mixture. Using the other hand, cover the tofu in the panko breadcrumbs.  Pan-fry each piece of tofu in the peanut oil until both sides of each piece are a dark golden brown. 

Place the tofu on a paper towel while you break the kale into pieces, discarding the thick stalks.  Add the kale and marinade to the pan, cover the pan, and remove from heat once the kale has wilted.  Serve the tofu over the kale with a side of rice or noodles.