Friday, September 25, 2009

Tapas! (mostly)

Due to an inspiration which I shall not mention here, I picked up a couple of Spanish Cookbooks at my local library, bent on veganizing some traditional Spanish recipes. Paging through Penelope Casas' book "¡Delicioso! The Regional Cooking of Spain," I came across two tapas recipes that were already vegan and that looked mighty tasty. That inspired George and I to put together a meal around these two recipes. We came up with this menu:

-Coriander-Scented Batter-Fried Eggplant (which we baked instead of frying)
-Spinach and Chickpeas, Sivilla Style
-Chili, Lime and Cilantro Grilled Tofu
-Pan Grilled Vegetables (zucchini, red peppers, onions, baby bellos and asparagus)
-Roasted Potatoes with Garlic Alioli

The first two dishes were from "Delicioso," as was the alioli that George whipped up. The pan grilled veggies came from a recipe in Janet Mendel's "Food of La Mancha: Cooking from the heart of Spain." The tofu recipe was something I came up with on the spot, and is exactly what it sounds like, tofu marinated with fresh roasted chilis, lime juice and cilantro, then grilled on the forman grill.

Photographic evidence:

Chili, Lime and Cilantro Grilled Tofu

Coriander-Scented Batter-Fried Eggplant

Spinach and Chickpeas, Sivilla Style

Pan Grilled Vegetables

The Spread


The Spinach and Garbanzo Bean Tapas dish was by far our favorite. It was made with this paste that you made by frying bread and garlic together and then adding salt and vinegar. Definitely a keeper. I will work on a fat-free version and then post the results here in the futre.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fat Free Vegan Recipe Source #1

When I am searching for a recipe, and I want it to be fat free and vegan (which is most of the time that I am cooking for myself), one of the places that I turn to is the FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe index. Most of the recipes that I have ever made from there are pretty good, and if I don't follow the recipe to the letter (which I usually don't do, for whatever reason), they provide a good basis for experimentation.

I asked George to pick a couple of recipes to make while he was here, and he ventured over to the MWLP recipe page at (btw, the blog is my favorite vegan blog, best photography too!). These are the two that he picked out:

Orange Millet Pilaf

George made this one himself. It was pretty good, but wasn't the best centerpiece for a meal. We had it cold today for lunch, and we thought it work better as a cold side. We serve it that night with a cold boiled potato and spinach salad, which was really good.

Quinoa Vegetable Jumbalaya

This was pretty good, nice flavor. However, we both would have preferred a rice Jumbalaya, but even that didn't stop us from eating it for lunch for two days straight.

Stay tuned for a post about my other favorite online recipe index!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Snack Emergency!

What do you do when you need a snack, and air popped popcorn doesn't sound like it will fit the bill? Well, you roast chickpeas of course!!!


mmmmmmmm.... (that's a tiny bowl, not a collection of gigantic chickpeas).

They took an hour, but that allowed me to chill and drink some water, and by the time they were done, I was ready to snack!

Check out the recipe here. They take 50 minutes to roast, so you better get started!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Susan V's Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

See? More yummy basil creations. Christopher joined George and I for dinner last night, and I whipped this up after spending the afternoon locked in my bedroom writing. This was also pretty easy to create, and very tasty! Get the recipe on the FatFree Vegan Kitchen Blog.

I adjusted the recipe by adding a little more basil and cashews (I think my zucchini's were bigger, I'm not bragging, they just were).

I served this up with a fresh veggie salad, using up some CSA veggies and my trusty bag of spinach.

Monday, September 21, 2009

YumYummy Basil Cream Pasta

This was a quick and easy dinner I found at Vegan YumYum via Vegan Crunk. It was really easy and very good. My basil plant, that I picked up at my CSA last spring, has transformed itself into a bush, so I was happy to find a recipe that used up a bunch. More yummy basil creations to come.

I am a newbie to the whole raw cashew as vegan substitute for creaminess, and I am in love.
I served this with a side of steamed broccoli, and really, how could you go wrong with steamed broccoli?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Asian Millet Burgers

Asian Millet Burger with spicy mustard, cucumber and dill salad, and carrot sticks

In a search for a new kind of veggie burger, and a way to use some of the excess millet I had, I came up with this recipe for Asian Millet Burgers. I was inspired by a recipe I found on RecipeZaar for a millet burger that had ginger in it, and remember I had some dried shitake mushrooms in pantry, so I decided to do these up Asian style.


1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup millet
3 cups water
pinch of salt
1 package dried shitake mushrooms (reconstituted per instructions)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup shredded carrot
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 handful chopped parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon vegan egg replacer, plus two tablespoons cold water

Heat the oil in a sauce pan, and add the garlic and ginger. Saute until fragrant, and then add the millet. Heat the millet until it is coated in oil and is browned just a little. Add the water, bring to a boil, and cook for 30 minutes, or until the millet has absorbed the water and is nice and fluffy. Remove from heat.

In a skillet, cook the onion in a bit of water, until translucent. Add the celery, carrots, and mushrooms, and cook until all the veggies are soft. Add the Braggs and crushed red pepper. Remove from heat and combine it with the cooked millet.

After you let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes, add the parsley, cornmeal, and egg replacer. I used my hands to combine everything, and it seemed to work well. If the mixture is too wet, add some more cornmeal. If it is too dry, you can try to add some water or more Braggs.

Form the mix into patties with your hands. Makes 8-10 patties.

I cooked them on my Forman Grill, and as always, the results were tastey.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Nacho Cheese Sauce

First of all, this has no cheese in it. However, it has a great texture and is packed with flavor , way better then of the nasty processed cheese you get in the can (IMHO). The main ingrediants are raw cashews and nutritional yeast.

This is straight version of the recipe I found on Shmooed Food, only I replaced the pimentos with 2 roasted red peppers, and added a tablespoon of turmeric for color (it was too red!).

I enjoyed it with with some veggie chili I cooked up on Saturday night, and then as a dipping sauce with some carrots and celery while I was watching football on Sunday.

Be sure to head over to Shmooed Food to check out the recipe. Highly recommended.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mixed Fruit Compote

I made this tasty compote from some fruit that I had laying around that needed to be used up. I had some Asian pear from my CSA share that never really cut it for me, so I decided to combine them with some other stuff and cook the hell out of them. Good choice.

Since I usually don't have maple syrup sitting around the house, I usually whip up a compote when I make pancakes. Normally it's just an apple, some sugar, water, and a dash of spice. This compote was a little fancier then usual, and it was really good. Not too sweet, and packed with flavor.

Mixed Fruit Compote

1 cup water
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, split in half (I used one that I brought back from Bali)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/16 teaspoon ground cloves (a big pinch)
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 apples, finely chopped (I always leave the peels on, but you can peel them if you wish)
2 Asian pears, finely chopped
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup golden raisins

Combine the water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the fruit when the liquid starts to thicken. Simmer on medium heat for one half hour.


I served this with some vegan cornmeal pancakes. Usually they are really tasty, but I am never sure which recipe I use as a base for my version, so these were not as good as they usually are. When I perfect my recipe, I will post it here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gado Gado

Here it is... made with love via Indonesia. Gado gado is a mixed salad with both steamed and fresh veggies, served with rice (brown, in this case) and covered in a peanut sauce. In my version, steamed green beans and carrots, and used some boiled potatoes. I sliced some fresh cucumber and tomato to go with it.

I didn't have all of the of the stuff to make this authentic (bean sprouts, boiled eggs, lontong), but it was yummy. The sauce was from a chunk of gado gado (spicy peanut paste) I brought back with me from Indonesia. Here is the label.

Here is the evidence!


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sonoita Chickpea Calabacitas

Look at these babies:

Thanks to Kat, I got a delivery of fresh squash, straight from Sonoita! I whipped some calabacitas, because what else are you going to do with so much squash?

The stuff: (inspired by a recipe in the McDougall Newsletter)

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable broth (or water, used to sauté the veggies)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon oregano
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
4 cups chunked squash
3 roasted green chilies
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
Salt and pepper, to taste

Sauté the onions and garlic in the broth, and then added the spices. Throw in the squash (add more broth if things get a little dry). When the squash begins to look cooked, add the rest of the stuff, cook some more, and then eat up!

They turned out pretty good, but next time I will increase the spices, and use more green chilies (I only got three green chilies from my CSA share after Kat and I split the loot). I whipped up a batch of fresh salsa with peppers from Sonoita to give the whole plate some kick.

Here is all is, served with a side of my seasoned rice (a rice cooker special).

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Watermelon Juice

While I was in Indonesia this summer, I had the best tropical juices everyday, usually with every meal! This recipe came in the CSA newsletter this week, along with a huge juicy watermelon. The recipe called for mineral water as well, but it was so good with out it, I didn't add it.

1/2 large watermelon, seeded and chopped
1/8 cup lime juice (about one small lime)
1/4 sugar (or honey)
1 inch ginger, grated and juiced
(original recipe by Sara Jones, Tucson CSA member)

Combine everything in blender and puree until smooth. (I used my trusty hand blender, and blended it right in the pitcher.

To juice the ginger, I grated it and then pressed it through a wire strainer. Also the juice was really sweet, so I probably could have left out some of the sugar. However, it made a perfect dessert, and next time I might try freezing it to see how that works.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Salsa

It's good to be home and blogging again. Things are going to pick up again soon, but in cased you missed what I have been doing the past two years, check this out.

In the next few months, I am going to be trying out some Indonesian recipes, using things I brought back from my trip. Hold on, they are going to be spicy!

In the meantime here is some super yummy 'salsa.' I wasn't quite what I normally think of as salsa, only because it was light on tomatoes. However, it was yummy and super fresh tasting (despite the fact that I used canned tomatoes!)

Here it is: (inspired by Vegan Dad's recipe)

1 red pepper, roasted and peeled
1 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeño pepper, seed and chopped
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilis, drained just a bit
1 Tbls dried cilantro (or the fresh stuff if you remember to get it at the store, and try to remember the tomatoes while you are at it! Doh!)

Roast the pepper, and while it is cooling, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Juice the lime and add it to the onion and garlic. When the pepper is cooled, peel it, chop it, and add it to the mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients and then chill for an hour so the flavors can blend.

I enjoyed mine on some tasty burritos, and then ate it the next day with some lettuce and veggies as a salad

Here it is on some taco salad

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Old Food Porn

Okay, it's been a long time, and because I have an important recital tomorrow, I am taking the day off. However, that does not mean that I have to not blog! So, today I am reaching back into the photo vault to display some tasty creations. But before I to that, I want to post this recipe. I promised Sara that I would post this. I hope you are having a safe and fun trip!!!!

I made this without the tomatoes and substituted a small can of salsa and it made an excellent chunky dip. I have to give credit to Faith from the McDougall forum for this find. I don't have a photo, but I am sure that I will make it again!

Aztec Salad
(Makes about 8 cups)
This delicious salad is also a visual feast. It may be made in advance and keeps well for several days. The cilantro may be omitted if you prefer.

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 15-ounce can corn kernels, drained, or 1 10-ounce bag frozen corn, thawed, or 2 cups fresh corn
2 tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider or distilled vinegar
1 lemon or lime, juiced
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne

In a large bowl, combine beans, onion, bell peppers, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegars, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Pour over salad and toss gently to mix.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 70 calories; 4 g protein; 14 g carbohydrate; 0.7 g fat; 4 g fiber; 235 mg sodium; calories from protein: 20%; calories from carbohydrates: 71%; calories from fats: 9%

Recipe from Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Diabetes by Patricia Bertron, R.D.

Now on to the food porn!

Chipotle Cornbread Bake with Black Beans and Squash

Vegan Cinnamon Swirl Hot Cakes and Fruit Salad

Italian Style Baked Seitan with Rice Penne Pasta and Chunky Red Sauce

Roasted Veggies (Carrots, Cauliflower, Turnips, Brussel Sprouts) with French Mustard Sauce and Vegan Potatoes Au Graten

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nephew Videos!

Here are two that I thought I would put up. The first is a video of strong little Nolan maneuvering on the floor at my dad's condo. He will be crawling in no time!

The second is a quick transitions from a candid smile to the classic Nolan "Blue Steel"

The original.

Food coming...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vegetable Love and Spicy Love!

I'm excited to present my entry for the Vegetable Love recipe contest at FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog. Click on the link to view the rules. Thanks to Susan for inspiring me to create something! I love her blog, please visit it!

When I think of Valentine's Day, I think of special meals. When I think of special meals, I think of wine! I am featuring mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. Below is my creation!

Spicy Red Wine Love Sauce with Savory White Wine Ravioli

For the Ravioli Filling

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cups bulger wheat
1/4 dry white wine
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms
1/2 teas. thyme
1/2 teas. rubbed sage
1/4 teas. marjoram
1/4 teas. fennel seeds (I left mine uncrushed)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped spinach
one package vegan wanton wrappers

For the Sauce:

3 cups of pureed tomatoed (or one large can)
2/3 cup of red wine (I used Sangiovese)
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 teas. crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teas. salt

As you start: Bring the vegetable broth to a boil and add the bulger wheat. Cook for about five minutes, turn off the heat and let sit until needed.

Sauce: Saute garlic and crushed red pepper in a little bit of water for about a minute. Add the red wine and simmer for about five minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

Ravioli Filling: Saute the onions and the garlic in a little bit of the wine until the onions are translucent. Add the mushroom, the rest of the wine, and the seasonings (except salt and pepper) and simmer until the wine is reduced in half. Then add the bulger and continue cooking. Salt and Pepper to taste and add spinach, cook until just wilted. Remove from the heat.

Building the Ravioli: On a floured surface, place one wonton wrapper and place 1 tablespoon of the ravioli filling on top. Wet the edges of the ravioli and place another wonton on top, pressing the filling to remove any air and sealing the ravioli.

When all the ravioli are constructed, bring a pot of water to boil and add the ravioli, cooking for 4 minutes. I found it worked best to use a slotted spoon to remove the ravioli from the water, and I placed the cooked ravioli on a cooling rack to let some of the excess water to drain. Serve with some sauce and a glass of the wine that was leftover!


Thanks to Kat for coming over to taste test!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Next weeks menu!

Lazy Saturday! (I wish!)

First of all, I have to report that the menu making was successful! I stuck to it, and did not spend an extra penny on food! (I had one americano, and one ice tea, but those are beverages.) I guess my anal retentiveness paid off.

Before we go on to week two, to the left is my tasty dinner I had last night. I love steamed brussels sprouts and broccoli, and the bulger sauce was pretty good, although I could just add the bulger to a better sauce recipe and I think it would be better!

On last week's menu, I never had to make the Curry Tomato Soup. I have to many leftovers! So this week, I will try make less of each recipe, so I can keep the variety and have less leftovers!

Weekly Menu


Lunch: Left over Potato with a garden salad
Dinner: Experiment new recipe for the Valentine's Day Contest . It's a secret!


Lunch: Salad and leftover experiment food!
Dinner: Hummus with veggies and crackers (I will attempt to make home-made Monday Morning before I hit the gym!)


Lunch: Freezer leftovers and with veggies
Dinner: Dijon Mustard Baked Potatoes from the McDougal MWL Cookbook


Lunch: BBQ Beans Salad (I'll adapt this a bit) with salad.
Dinner: Rustic Cabbage Soup


Lunch: Leftover Cabbage soup and Bean Salad
Dinner: Freezer dinner with Salad (A night off! Hooray!)


Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Sweet potato and black bean burgers
I'm going to make a bunch of these and freeze them for lunches.


Leftovers and Clean out the fridge.

Note: I am also going to see Andrew Bird on Saturday, so I might treat myself to a yummy dinner at Yoshimatsuaz, we'll see what Kat thinks!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Mushroom Barley Soup with a side of Sweet and Savory Kale!

Mmmmmmmmm, that was good, especially the awesome Kale recipe! The soup was good, but only after I seasoned it up a bit. I added twice the thyme, a generous pour of garlic powder (I should have just used fresh garlic at the start), and about a tablespoon of tamari.

I went a little prep crazy, mostly because I had work to do, and wanted to get everything cooking right away.

The the kale was so tasty, even though I did not add the slice almonds mentioned in the recipe. It was maybe even a little too sweet, and next time I will probably cut the sugar in half (I used raw turbino sugar). Also, I cut the recipe in half, which I won't do next time because I can probably eat the whole thing!

Monday, February 02, 2009


I took the plunge and adapted Sunny's Breakfast Enchiladas. This was going to be a dinner recipe, so I left out the eggs entirely (and they are not vegan!)

I made the Sauce and the refried beans exactly like the recipes on the site, but I left out the oil in both cases. I wasn't a fan of seeding and chopping 10 Roma tomatoes, so next time I'm sure I'll just use a big can of chopped tomatoes. Both turned out great, especially the beans. I think I found my new favorite refried bean recipe!

Now, adapting the turkey sausage part was a challenge, but I really loved the result. Here's what I did:

Instead of turkey I used:

1 large zucchini, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup frozen corn

I cooked the jalapeno, garlic and zucchini with water until the zucchini softened, and then I added the chopped tomatoes and all the spices from the recipe. I only had dark brown sugar, so I added only 2 tablespoons of that (I also used dried sage and thyme, so I cut the amounts in half). When everything was well mixed, I added the rice and some more water, just so the mixture was moist. The end result was a savory and spicy winner! I wasn't even close to what I would call sausage, but the flavors were great!

I think what really did it was the the combination of the savory (sage and thyme), sweet (brown sugar), and spicy (dried red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper). Even with the rice and zucchini, the flavors held nicely. I'm sure this would be awesome as a seasoning for a version of baked seitan.

Then I lined a 9 x 13 baking dish with corn tortillas and added the beans. On top of that, I added the 'sausage' mix, and then some more tortillas. Finally, I poured the sauce on top and baked it all in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

The end result was very tasty, even though it was a little dry. However, I think I like the flavors better by themselves, so next time I will just wrap the 'sausage' mix in tortillas and bake with the sauce, and eat the beans on the side.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's for Supper?

Cooking for one person is difficult. Don't you think? Cooking for one person who is trying to lose weight by eating a vegan, whole grain, and vegetable diet is really tough. It is so easy to pick up something horrible on the way home. The solution: make recipe plans, and stick to them. Now, this was easier when George was here with me but I'm sure I can do it. Two years ago lost a ton of weight on the McDougall plan. Why did it come back? Well, I'm a lazy SOB for starters, but in reality I got off it because I didn't keep up with the planning part. I've lost ten pounds since New Year's Eve, but I already got off track last week when I stayed up in Phoenix for AZ Opera, and went into panic mode when I took my orals, and just started eating take out. Well, to get back on track, I'm going to start this feature: The Weekly Menu!

This way the recipes are recorded here, and I can posted reviews of the menus as I make them. Let's see how long I can keep this up.

The After Super Bowl Menu

Starchy: Sunny's Breakfast Enchiladas (This will be a major adaptation, Keep posted on how I transform this into a yummy low-fat vegan dinner!)

Soups: Barley Mushroom soup
Old School Curry Tomato Soup (Will post my adaptation when I make it1)

Veggie Entree: Steamed Veggies with Bulger Spaghetti Sauce

Veggie side:Sweet and Savory Kale (this will take some adaptation)

Grain or Potato Salad: Black Bean Potato Salad

Dip: Hummus

Tenitive Menu

Lunch: Raw Veggies w/Hummus and Spinach salad
Dinner: Enchiladas

Lunch: Freezer leftover and Veggies with Humus
Dinner: Leftover Enchiladas with side salad

Lunch: Large Raw Salad
Dinner: Mushroom Barley soup with side of Kale

Lunch: Leftover Soup with salad
Dinner: Roasted Potatoes and Freezer leftovers

Lunch: Hummus (if there is any left) and Black Bean Potato Salad
Dinner: Bulger Spaghetti Sauce with Rice and Steamed Veggies

Lunch: Large Salad
Dinner: Old School tomato Curry soup with Rice with side of Kale

Lunch: Fridge Clean Up!

-Wish Me luck!


Well, I'm back. After a year of being distracted by facebook, I am back to the blog. So, what have I been up to? Well, I have been singing a bunch, passed my comprehensive and oral exams, and I am bout half-way through writing my proposal for my lecture recital. Here is what I have coming up:

1. Finishing my lecture recital proposal.

2. Get my job applications out.

3. Sing AZ Opera Guild preview for Don Giovanni

4. Perform Haydn's "Creation" with TCA

5. Recital at La Zarzuela with Swara Sonora Trio

That should keep me busy!

Some Arizona Opera pics from L'elisir d'amore:
(you see a couple videos from the production here)

P.S. I'm also going to use this as a way to keep track of my weekly menus. It's something George and I started after the new year, and I already got the recipes in a file on my computer, but I thought it might be helpful to put links to the sites I find the recipes (or food blogs) so I can find them. Sort of an online cooking journal, or, I guess, a food blog. I don't have to worry about boring anyone, because nobody reads this anyway!