Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pesto Tofu Stir Fry with Quinoa

I have been feeling a little stale with my cooking these days. I have no new ideas, no inspiration and we have been doing more than our regular share of take out and quickly rustled up meals. In keeping with the low cooking interest, my refrigerator is bare and has very few vegetables. After a spring/summer/fall with fresh vegetables from my CSA and farmer' market, I don't want to get vegetables that were grown many thousands of miles away and off-season. But, I also can't think of many recipes using butternut squash (or cut it up regularly). Maybe that's just an excuse.
Along the lines of being stale, I stared at an empty refrigerator a few days ago, except for some spinach. I also wanted to make something with quinoa. I have 3 boxes of quinoa and need more recipes using this grain. Luckily, I remembered that 100 cookbooks had a fun stir-fry recipe and some corn in the freezer (from the summer). I also had a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and it was time to try the recipe. Her photo was also much better than mine.

But, the taste was not-so-ordinary. We both really enjoyed the stir-fry. I added some red chilli flakes too - because I need more spice to the recipe. As I was cooking it, I was not sure about the meal, but it was very yummy!!!

Em, I hope you are doing well :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Welcome JTD!!

Welcome to JT!! Em had her baby boy on Dec 3rd. He is healthy and appears to be happy and Em is occasionally on Facebook, so I take that as a good sign. I assume that she will not be as regular posting her recipes. I am not sure what she is 'cooking' these days, so I'm going to keep trying to fill the void (and it will be a void).

In spite of the quiet for the past week (or more), I have been cooking. Just recycling old recipes and forgetting to take photographs.

Here are somethings that I made in the last week and verdicts (without photos or detailed recipes because of the lack of photos!).

--Peanut Butter pancakes - I created and re-created this recipe from a bunch that I saw. I will try it again and post it. This did not have as much peanut flavor as I would have liked. But, I'll tweak it and try to post it another time.

-- Date nut slices - based on this recipe. I think I may not have waited long enough for it to thicken. So my slices were nowhere as pretty as the ones in the original post and were too mushy. I still have some left in the fridge - V does not like nuts in any of his foods and won't have too much of it anyway.

-- Stir Fry - based loosely on this recipe, but with broccoli, tofu, seitan, cashews and peanut sauce and soy sauce stir fried in oil with some garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Quick and easy to make and very enjoyable. I found a Peanut Sauce at Target (Archer Farms brand) that I really like. So, we're having a variety of stir fries that feature this Peanut sauce with variations.

-- Thai Curry - modified from this recipe, thai curry is a staple at our home. I make it when I need a quick dinner - it's a great one-dish meal. I added some squash and root vegetables this time for a change and some of the peanut sauce mentioned before!

-- Vegan chilli (made in a slow cooker) - I will try make it again in the next couple of days and post a recipe!!

Good night and have fun with JT, Em!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Desserts

Before going to work this morning, I was busy baking. We are going to friends' for Thanksgiving tomorrow and I wanted to bring a cake with us. Our friends just brought home their little girl from Haiti last week and will probably not be able to make a big dessert. Tomorrow, I'll work on the vegetarian/vegan side dishes for dinner. I am also trying to make some food that they can heat and eat for the next few days. Em, if you lived closer, I would do this for you too :)
Also, my brother and his family are getting ready to make a big move in their lives with their 2 month old son and 2 cats... first to New Jersey and then to India. Lucky for us, on their way to NJ (from MN), they are stopping at our home and spending a little time with us. To help them with the move, I want to do what I can do best - cook food and freeze it for them.
Two good reasons to bake!

First, cake. Our hosts said that pumpkin is not their favorite taste and I am not to comfortable with pies - I am not sure why. So, I decided to look for a cake recipe. I really had to search a LOT to find something that I liked. And then I found - Cherry Chocolate Cake.

I used this recipe almost completely. We have not eaten any of the cake yet, but I tasted some while it was baking - I used a rectangular pan, but a round cake pan would have probably been better, so it took a much longer time to bake, requiring many tastes :) I liked the taste, but would have liked more chocolate in the cake. Melting chocolate chips meant that some of the chocolate remained stuck in the skillet, so I should have used more chocolate chips or cocoa powder. I think pouring some chocolate syrup on top will be good!!

The next baking activity was an old recipe that I had forgotten. A few years ago, I made this Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips regularly! And just like many other meals, it went to the back of my mind and never got made again. As I was browsing for recipe ideas for muffins/bread to bake, I re-discovered this recipe from an old faithful blog - One Hot Stove.
I modified by using Soy Yogurt, Soy Milk and Egg Replacer to make the recipe Vegan. One bite and it reminded me why we loved the recipe and I made it so often. I doubled the recipe to make a loaf and 12 muffins too. I think I may have to bake another loaf soon. Only half a day has gone by and we already have eaten half the bread!!

I hope you all have a very very happy Thanksgiving and have LOTS to be thankful for. Of all the holidays in India and here, I find this one to be most meaningful and special. It will be a quiet Thanksgiving for us (a friend just called and said they would be coming to visit), but I am thankful for everything that life has given me and will take some time tomorrow to treasure it all.
Em, I hope you have a great thanksgiving too - and you get to enjoy the first day of your time off and the little one lets you rest a bit!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Curried Butternut Squash and Bean Stew

Em sent me this recipe during the week and it looked so appetizing, I made it. The photo does not do the dish any justice. I got a another tutorial about how to take photos so they are in-focus. Maybe next time, it'll be better!! In short, the stew was delicious. V had it for 2-3 meals and enjoyed them.

We made our monthly trip to Trader Joe's and found peeled and cubed butternut squash - the hardest part of B.Nut Squash for me is peeling and cutting it. Score!!
Surprisingly, this recipe came from the Hannaford's website. This is a grocery store in the North East, like Krogers, Meijer in the mid-west.
The flavors of the recipe were really good and it is here.

Modifications that I made
1. No Cannelini beans, so I used garbanzo beans instead - it's what I had at home!
2. Added vegan sausages, cubed.
3. Added a touch of agave nectar for a sweet taste.
4. Added roasted peanuts just before eating.

Yummy!! Enjoy!! I'm thinking of making it again for the Thanksgiving meal!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Waffle Duel; Squash soup with coconut milk

My husband woke up wanting waffles this morning so he made his favorite waffles from this Easy, Basic Waffles in the Morning recipe. He just uses 1/4 cup of oil instead of any applesauce so they are crunchy on the outside. I assume with the applesauce they would be softer. They really are quick and yummy. The recipe makes just enough for the three of us in our 4 waffle iron.
I, on the other hand, wanted to make some Pumpkin Waffles so I looked up a recipe that I have used before on the thePPK.com. It seems to have a lot of ingredients but it isn't too difficult. I am not sure if the 2TB soy yogurt are really necessary but I added them anyway and then ate the rest of the yogurt.
In the end, my family had completed their breakfast while I was still mixing my pumpkin waffles but I had a nice, quiet breakfast on my own and it was delicious. This recipe made 10-12 waffles so I should have halved it but I read that they freeze well so I guess I have several breakfasts waiting for me in the freezer now!

Ok, I was not so impressed with my last try at butternut squash soup so I thought I would try again since I still have several large squashes hanging out in my kitchen. I used this Squash Soup as the basis for my version and I have already made it twice since I loved it so much. Here is my version:

Squash Soup with coconut milk

-Saute 2 cloves of garlic along with one chopped onion until soft.
-Add shakes of curry powder, garam masala, black pepper, turmeric, salt and ginger.
-Add cubed butternut squash and delicata squash and cooked until soft (20 minutes plus)
-Add2 cups veggie broth until heated
-Whizz it up with immersion blender
-Add 1/2 can of lite coconut milk and warmed

I love this flavor combination and if you have other recipes that have squash, curry and coconut milk let me know!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Party

A little late in the post. Last weekend, we had a little party at home for Halloween, fall, late Deepavali - vegetarian and Vegan dishes were on display. One of our friends made very pretty halloween-based cakes and I feel bad about not getting a photo. There were costumes - creative and fun ones! Ours were easy and funny!

Some dishes I made were the Chaat that most people enjoyed. It had a little 'kick' to it too.

Also, pumpkin cookies adapted from this recipe on vegweb.com. I substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce for 1/2 cupe of oil. I did not add nuts and I used craisins and chocolate chips instead. Like all the comments in the recipe, it is slightly more like a 'muffin' or 'cake' than a cookie.

The muffin is from this recipe. I did not change much this time. The last time I made it, it was dense - like a bread. But, this time around - soft, tarty and sweet.

Bean dip adapted from this recipe. I used black beans rather than white because that's what I had. I used 2 cans of beans instead of the one can that the recipe indicates. I also added some chipotle in adobo sauce and vegan sour cream to the recipe. Served it with chips, of course. The leftovers turned into the base for the tortilla pizza for the past 2 days!!

I hope you are doing well and the shoulder get unstuck from your hip, Em.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

tunisian eggplant appetizer

This stuff is amazing. It is designed as an appetizer to be served with pita bread and is best served at room temperature. Our friend, Marcela, has made it for several work functions and finally brought me in the recipe. I recently discovered that it is from Mollie Katzen's "Still Life with Menu" Cookbook. I did not add the artichoke hearts and actually mixed it up with some pasta for dinner. I was also imagining it as a soup if I had added some broth. Hmmm......the ideas are endless.

1 medium sized onion finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 TB tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup small pitted green olives
1 small jar (6 oz.) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
pinches of dried tarragon, basil, and/or oregano (optional)

-Saute onion and garlic in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat until soft
-Add eggplant cubes, stir and cover. Cook until the eggplant is very well done (15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally, adding small amounts of oil to prevent sticking.
-Stir in tomato paste and vinegar and heat to boil. Add olives and remove from heat.
-Stir in artichoke hearts, then cool to room temperature. Add herbs to taste.

So, so, so, so good!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Autumn Vegetable Tagine

This recipe is inspired by the same-named recipe in the most recent Vegetarian Times magazine. I say 'inspired' because I did not have a number of the ingredients and used a lot of substitutions. I had ingredients similar to the ones recommended from my CSA and I needed to use them up! The only thing that remained consistent was the use of beans, pressure cooker and butternut squash. As I was making this dish, I was very skeptical. I like foods with a lot of flavor - this recipe looked like it did not have any redeeming flavors. Adding Harrisa (which I did not have - so I used 'Sriracha sauce and cumin powder' that VT suggested. In reality, VT also suggested Coriander powder, but I did not search for it) and salt at the end was the only flavor. I was very pleasantly surprised when I ate the dish. Cooking the beans and vegetables in the pressure cooker really brought out the flavors in the dish. Loved it.

Here are the changes I made -
1. Black-Eyed Peas instead of Garbanzo Beans
2. Used 3 small sweet potatoes, a very small butternut squash and a turnip instead of a medium butternut squash
3. Used Spinach instead of the suggested greens
4. Quinoa instead of Couscous
5. Added peanuts on top for crunch.
6. Harrissa substitute explained earlier.

My next plan is to have people over for a party in a couple of weeks and I need to find some harvest/halloween foods. Any ideas/suggestions welcome!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Squash Fries; Cheater Cinnamon Rolls; Crockpot Applesauce; Apple Crumble

None of these are going to do wonders for your diet (with the exception of the applesauce) but they were all really good. First, I made some Wise Fries from the Hungry Girl website using Delicata squash from my CSA share. This particular squash is so easy to cut into strips that I always seem to make them into fries. They are incredibly good. I ate almost 2 squashes worth on my own (well, I am eating for 2 right?...right? Someone help me out here!).
My husband has been getting way too thin so I have been trying to make lots of sweets although he often takes his one small portion and then I end up finishing the dessert so it isn't really helping him put on any weight. I had a cinnamon roll craving so I rolled out some Pillsbury Reduced Fat Croissant Dough, spread on 1-2 TB melted Earth Balance, and then sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon. I rolled the entire thing up and sliced it into about 1 inch thick rolls and placed them side by side in a small baking pan. I baked them at a slightly higher temperature than the package called for since they were thicker and just took them out when they were browning. For the glaze, I mixed about 1/2 cup powdered sugar with some vanilla soymilk (start with a few tsp and then increase as needed.) The middle rolls were a little gooey but my family likes them that way!
We recently went apple picking so I should have lots of apple related posts over the next few days. Last night I made CrockPot Applesauce from A Year of Slowcooking and it came out great. Today, I made Dutch Apple Crumble which is sort of like a pie without the crust on the bottom although it is definitely different than Apple Crisp. Not sure where this recipe comes from since I have it written on several small Post-It notes in my recipes book. If this recipe belongs to you, thank you very much!!!!

Dutch Apple Crumble

  • 6 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I only needed 4 because they were enormous)
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup or one stick cold Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease pie plate with cooking spray
Mix all filling ingredients together and transfer to pie plate
In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut in margarine with a fork. Use hands to thoroughly mix
Gather small handfuls of crumble mix and spread over top of apple filling randomly
Bake 35-40 minutes or until it begins to brown.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tortilla Pizza

First, we got an award from Daily Dose. Thank you!! Thank you!!
I am not sure how to post the 'award' on our blog, so you can read about it here.
Em, good to see your posts. Here is my contribution. I made this the other day and I really liked it. I need to make it more often!

So many variations are possible with this dish. The base for the 'pizza' is a black bean paste. I added carrots for more nutrition value. I also sauteed the paste, which may be optional. The toppings can also vary based on your taste and interest - I used red and yellow peppers and some chard too. Vegan cheese is a wonderful option on top.


Tortillas, 4-5 (wheat, corn, flour - your choice)
Black beans, 1 can
Garlic, 2 cloves
Carrots, 2 peeled
Chipotle, 1 T
Cilantro, 2-3T
Vegan Cream Cheese, 2 T
Peppers, 2-3 chopped
Salsa, 1 cup
Chard, 3 leaves chopped
Oil, 1 T divided
Salt, to taste
Paprika, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pan, heat part of the oil. Add the peppers and saute till they are lightly browned. When they are almost done, add Chard (or Kale or Spinach) and saute till very slightly wilted. Add salt and paprika to taste (Remember, the salsa that you add to the 'pizza' will also have salt and spices). Set aside.

While the peppers are cooking, puree a can of black beans, vegan cream cheese, carrots, garlic, cilantro, and chipotle. Heat remaining oil in a pan (I use the same pan - one less dish to wash!). Add the pureed mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes till cooked.

Assemble your pizza with the black bean puree spread over a warm tortilla (heated in the microwave for 5- 10 seconds). Add the vegetable topping and 1 - 2 T of salsa per tortilla.
Heat in the oven for 11-13 minutes.
I had to fold mine and eat it as a wrap, but I think it will taste great on pizza dough too!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kashi Frozen Meals

Ok, I did not cook tonight but I thought I would blog about the frozen meal that I did eat. I have tried a few of the Kashi meals and they have been pretty good. I bought the Mayan Harvest Bake since I saw some positive reviews of it in a few different magazines. It did not look very good but was very interesting. It is made of amaranth, polenta, black beans, sweet potatoes, kale, plantains, pumpkin seeds, and a spicy sauce-nothing I would ever think to throw together on my own!

Kashi has several other vegan meals: Black Bean Mango, Garden Vegetable Pasta, Ranchero Beans, Tuscan Veggie Bake. I have tried the black bean mango meal and I liked that one too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Peanutty Rice Noodles and Veggies; Another Butternut Squash Soup

I just read about Vegan MoFo on another blog and did a little reading up on it. I guess October is the Vegan Month of Food so to celebrate I am going to try to cook/blog a bit more if I can. Tonight, I had a little caffeine (please don't tell the pregnancy police...they seem to be everywhere) so I have been super-efficient since arriving home from work. I made "Kids Choice Yummy Peanut Noodles" without my actual kid in mind since she likes her noodles plain but I mixed anyhow and she ate it. My husband then told me he did not like rice noodles so, in the end, this meal was for me. I think it will make a good cold lunch for me too since I work out of my car. I used Trader Joe's Rice Sticks as my noodles and just microwaved a bag of 365 Thai Stir-Fry Mix. On the side are some Ling Ling Spring Rolls which were also good. I should have added some frozen Edammame for more protein but I forgot.

The other day I also made a butternut squash soup in my crockpot from the Year of Slowcooking website. Obviously I used Veg broth and I also used leeks instead of onions. I have never had butternut squash soup but it sort of reminds me of baby food. Overall, the flavor was good. Somehow the picture of my soup seems to be missing so I will post whe it turns up.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lemon Caper Spaghetti Squash

I have had this giant spaghetti squash in my fridge for almost three weeks because I was unsure what I wanted to do with it. I found this recipe for Lemon Caper Spaghetti Squash and thought it looked interesting. Now, generally I am not a fan of capers but I knew there were some in my fridge from another recipe I made a while back and thought maybe they would grow on me. As I was cooking this recipe I assumed I would not like it since it had an unusual smell (this may be my pregnancy nose which seems to pick up on scents that no one else can detect) but now I am eating it while I type this and I think it is pretty darned good. I made a few changes and I did not exactly measure so who knows if I can ever recreate this:
-I used a giant spaghetti squash so I increased the other ingredients to almost double, except the margarine....1/4 cup is enough, maybe even too much. I bet a little broth would have worked.
-I added 1/2 of a chopped onion along with the red pepper
-I thought adding zucchini squash to another squash was just odd so I threw in some frozen peas (about 1/4-1/2 cup) instead
-I used basil instead of parsley since that was what I had around
-I used the juice of just one lemon

This is definitely a uniquely flavored, unexpected dish and I think I will go get me some more considering that spaghetti squash has only 42 calories per cup (I will just ignore the olive oil and margarine I used, ok?) :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Slow Cooker Modified "Red Beans and Rice"

I am trying to get to the gym regularly (side note - very frustrated with it. I have been making it to the gym 4-5 days a week. Yes. That often. And working out for 1 - 1 1/2 hours most times. That's a LOT. And I can't think of the last time I ate dessert. The weighing scale won't budge. I am frustrated). That said, to continue this policy of eating healthy, I try to cook in the slow cooker at least once a week so I will have something to come home to in the evening even on days I am at the gym till 7pm. This was one such recipe. It was easy, modified from the 'traditional' red beans and rice and tasted good enough. Not the best meal I have ever eaten, but works for a week-day meal.
Em, I think you can add beets to the beans in the slow cooker to use up some of them too!! I added onions, carrots and celery and some paprika for spice :)

Modified "Red Beans and Rice"

Red Kidney beans, 1 can or 4 oz soaked overnight (doesn't have to be cooked all the way yet)
Onion, 1 - chopped
Celery - 4 Stalks, chopped
Carrot - 2, chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced
Cumin - 2-3 T
Vegetable Broth - 3 cups (add more water, based on your preference for consistency)
Paprika - 3 T
Salt - To taste
Thyme - 2 t, dried
Cilantro - 2 T (fresh)
Lemon Juice - 1 T
Cooked Rice.

Heat Oil in a pan. Saute onions, celery and carrot with garlic. Once cooked, add cumin and paprika. Add beans and coat.
Transfer to a slow cooker. Add vegetable broth/water, salt, thyme. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Before serving with rice, add lemon juice and cilantro.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cornbread Topped Pie and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry I haven't been doing much cooking lately (or maybe I just haven't been doing much blogging lately....not sure). I have made a few things lately that I thought I would share with you.

Cornbread Topped Pie
I am not sure that I have an exact recipe since I tend to throw this together but basically I sauteed some onion, green pepper and garlic in pan until soft. Then I added a can of kidney beans, 1/2-3/4 cup of frozen corn, several TB of taco seasoning and a small can of tomato sauce. While this is warming, make a batch of cornbread. I make Grandma's Cornbread Made Vegan from vegweb.com and always love it. It does make far more than you need for this recipe so I made a few corn muffins on the side. If you are using a cast iron dutch oven as I did, spoon cornbread batter directly on top of warmed pie mix until you have a thin layer. Remember, it will rise quite a bit. Bake as directed in the cornbread recipe (although it may need a shorter cooking time since it is thinner). If you are using a pan that cannot go in the oven, transfer bean mixture into a pie plate and then top with corn bread mix. Serve with a bit of Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream.

Best Ever Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
I did not name these cookies and, although they were good, I am not sure I would call them "Best Ever." According to my husband the problem is simply that I cook things too long when I bake so I guess they were a little over done. Anyhow, I found this recipe online on a whim while looking for ways to use up a bag of oats that was nearing the end of its shelf life. I think I will try them again but cook for less time and maybe add something that will make them chewier, like agave or applesauce. Any ideas? They were rock hard by the next day.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Roasted Pepper, Eggplant and Broccoli-Quinoa Stir Fry

A colorful platter. Having a variety of colors in your meal is supposed to be healthy and ensure that you get different minerals/vitamins and nutrients. So this should be a good meal :) I made it over a week ago, but did not get to posting it - let's see if I remember exactly how I made the meal.

Roasted Vegetables are easy. I cut the 'chosen' vegetable and brush with Olive Oil, mixed with salt, pepper and a smattering of dried herbs. And roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 mintues. Yummy.

Broccoli-Quinoa Stir Fry was also very easy. I quick-cooked the Broccoli florets and stems in just enough water to cover the vegetables with salt and red pepper flakes. On the side, I cooked quinoa according to package directions. I sauteed the broccoli florets, minced ginger (1 t) and garlic (1 T) and morning star grillers (you can substitute Tofu here too) in a little olive oil. Added hoisin sauce (1 T), slivered almonds. Taste and add more salt and/or red pepper flakes as needed. Mix in the quinoa, squeeze lemon juice (1 t) and it's ready to eat!

Hopefully, I'll post more often regularly. My nephew is here (Neel, and very very cute!!) and my in-laws and parents are back in India, so I am going to have to get back into the kitchen and cook away - every night!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

Our CSA packet from last week had a butternut squash. The family (my parents are still here) agreed on a soup (with home-made pizza) for dinner. It has been a cold enough summer to warrant some soup. Especially on Monday night.

This recipe is modified from the Moosewood Recipes. That's where the idea of sage warmed with butter came from - that's not me! Here is the link to the recipe - Moosewood's Butternut Squash Soup

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chaat -Indian Fast Food

When we started this blog, Em did not want too many Indian recipes for herself - her family is not big fans of 'ethnic' foods. But, recently, she asked for Indian recipes because her daughter liked samosas. I love them too, but have no interest in frying anything for any length of time.

We went for a BBQ this past weekend. Our host suggested a 'Spicy Indian Dish' for me to bring. I made this up with the help of some pre-packaged spices. These are available at most Indian stores.
Here is a wikipedia entry about 'Chaat'. To me, they are the best Indian fast food one can eat. Often, not very healthy - has some fried components to it. And there is a wide variety and range of flavors. I created mine as I went along.

Chick Pea Chaat


Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans) - 2 cans
Potatoes - 2 steamed and mashed
Onion - 1 chopped
Tomato - 1 or 2 chopped
Cilantro - 4 T chopped
Lemon Juice - 1 T
Chaat Masala - 2-3 T (or per your taste) - locally available at Food Mart
Date -Tamarind Chutney or Bhel Puri Chutney - 4-5 T (lots of recipes if you google it; or available at local Indian store - Food Mart)
Sev - 1/2 cup (or as much crunch as you would like; as above - available in Indian stores)
Salt, Chilli powder - to taste

Mash potatoes well, after steaming. Mix together all ingredients, leaving the Sev till the end. Because it is crunchy, adding it to the rest of the mixture can cause it to get soggy. Add it at the end - just before serving.

Add salt, chilli powder (or sugar) at the end - based on your taste and the spiciness of the masala and chutneys.

For variation, can add dry-roasted peanuts or cashews too. If it is too spicy, you can add yogurt too - a common addition to chaat. Also, here is a link to 'papri' or spicy wafers that you can add to the mix for more of a crunchy flavor.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Date Walnut Balls

Another positive effect of our trip to California was discovering these 'date walnut balls'. My cousin's wife (cousin-in-law, I guess?) was 'inspired' to make these very easy, healthy treats after eating the trail mix cookies that I made. Both Em and I blogged about these cookies earlier - here and here. The trail mix cookies have become a staple in our home!!

These date-walnut balls are amazingly easy to make too. She just blended dates, walnuts and flax seeds together and rolled the mix into balls. I did the same, but added the flax seeds at the end, rather than attempting to blend it. Thanks Sangita :)

We made a 'P' with the balls for 'Purdue'. Cheesy (vegan, style!).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Just back from a trip to California. Had a great time with my cousin, his wife and our little nephew. 18 months old and such a talker (he labels everything around him) - we miss him.
I was mighty impressed with Yosemite NP and the food there. All the grills had a morning star burger without cheese and whole wheat burger buns. These morning star burgers were grilled on a separate grill - away from the meats and they tasted YUMMY!! Other foods we saw at the NP - veggie chilli, vegan hummus basket - in addition to the regular pizza, grilled cheese, salads, yogurt, fruits etc.

With all the zucchini coming from the CSA, I have been trying to find multiple ways to cook it. Last year, I made multiple zucchini breads with eggs and butter. Last week, I tried to find recipes for the same without eggs and butter. I found one!! I actually found two!!

I combined this one and this recipe with ingredients I had at home and made my own zucchini bread and muffins. The muffins stayed in the oven for a shorter time, so we could serve it to friends who were visiting and the bread is still in our fridge! I used a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flours for a healthy result. I also added walnuts and craisins. The resulting bread hardly tastes like zucchini, it's just yummy!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


I just wrote a whole post it and hit 'backspace' and voila! - it was gone!!
So here we go again!!

I started this recipe to make an enchilada similar to this recipe or a side dish like this one for my mom who is visiting. First, I made the bean-vegetable mixture. I used vegetables that came from our garden or the CSA - corn, zucchini, chili peppers, tomatoes. V, however, wanted a Quesadilla. So, that's what I made. I had a wrap without the cheese.

I boiled the sweet corn on the cob and chopped off the kernels for this recipe. I also used dry black beans - soaked and cooked in a pressure cooker. To use up all the zucchini we're getting from the farmer's market, I used it in the recipe. Feel free to change the vegetable. I used a pineapple salsa - I like a little sweet in my food. If not, a few pieces of pineapple may be an option.


1 cup black beans
1 cup corn kernels
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 chili pepper
1 garlic, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1 T Adobo Seasoning, or to taste
1 t lime juice
1 T Olive oil
1 T vegan cream cheese

Heat Oil, add garlic, corn, black beans, zucchini and saute till the zucchini is slightly cooked. Add tomatoes and saute for a few more minutes. Add salsa, seasoning and let the flavors blend.

Just before turning off, add vegan cream cheese and lime juice. Mix well together.

Warm up tortillas, add the black bean dish and enjoy!

(I would have liked some cilantro too, but we were out and our herb garden lack cilantro)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cashew French Toast

There are several recipes that I love in the "Becoming Vegetarian" book by Melina and Davis. I find myself returning to it frequently. This recipe for Cashew French Toast always comes out fabulous for us. I think it actually tastes better than egg-based french toast.

Cashew French Toast
  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1TB maple syrup
  • I usually add some ground cinnamon too!
  • 6 slices of bread
  • oil for the pan or cooking spray
Grind cashews in a blender or food processor until they are powdery. This will take some time. Don't rush it or the french toast will be gritty. Add other ingredients (except the oil and bread) and continue to blend/process until smooth. Pour into a shallow bowl. Oil or spray a skillet and preheat over medium heat. Dip bread in cashew mixture and place a few slices into the pan. Do not overlap. Flip once browned. You will likely need to re-oil/spray the pan before cooking additional slices.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tempura Veggies

I think we may be a little bit too fond of frying vegetables but my husband is a big fan so here we go again! A while back we made a recipe called Better Than Sonics Onion Rings from Vegweb.com and we all loved it so I had the idea to use this batter on some other vegetables to make a tempura, of sorts. We had a bunch of zucchini, green beans and bell peppers from the CSA so those were battered and fried along with a few onions. The green beans were the surprising favorite in this selection. The batter worked really well but the veggies can't be reheated the next day since they get really soggy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Basil and tomato pasta

A dish from the vegetable garden and CSA vegetables!! I made the 'creamy basil pasta'. It was quite easy to make. I used basil and tomatoes from our garden - there's more of the tomatoes in our garden! Looking forward to using them all. I also added vegan sausage and carrots (for protein and more vegetables - balance the meal!) and it was a yummy meal all around. The chilled glass of white wine (sorry Em) was a delight with the meal!! Definitely going to keep trying this with a variety of vegetables!

Also, tried Blueberry Oat bars. It did not end up as pretty or tasty as I had expected. I used 'Steel Cut Oats' because we ran out of the regular oats. It was a little too 'nutty' and I did not like the texture too much. But I want to try to make it again with the 'bettter' oats!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peach Upside Down Cake

It has been a while since I blogged. V's parents are visiting (they leave Tuesday and my mom arrives). His mom has mostly been cooking Indian food. When I cooked, I was making tried and tested recipes rather than experiment with new foods. I did create some vegan banana nut muffins when the mix that I was putting together for blueberry muffins was too dry and the store was out of blueberries (V was grocery shopping as I was putting the ingredients together - not recommended!). I used the bananas to moisten the mix and it did not turn out too bad.
After the successful Pineapple Upside Down Cake that V's parents also enjoyed, I wanted to bake more fruity desserts. V's mom likes peaches and when I saw this recipe for a Peach Upside Down Cake, I wanted to try it. The photos looked enticing too :)

I used the same recipe, but reduced the amount of sugar. Only 1/4 cup of sugar along with the peaches and 1/2 cup for the actual cake. It was still a little too sweet for me. Of course, the peaches were VERY sweet too. The cake was also slightly crumbly, but was a great taste. I made it 3 days ago and it's all gone. I need to think about another dessert for the weekend. Thinking about a peanut butter-jelly muffin :)

Next up - Creamy Pasta from "One Hot Stove"
And hopefully more regular posts from both of us :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thai Style Yellow Curry Noodle Soup; Garlic Spinach Pasta

I am glad to see I am not the only one who has had some trouble blogging lately! I hope you are having a fabulous time in the windy city. These are a few things I have made recently in an attempt to use up some of the greens that I have received through my CSA. Some weeks it is a daunting task to try to get through so much produce with a small family but I HATE to throw it out. Sadly, it does happen sometimes :-(

Thai Style Yellow Curry Soup
This was an attempt to use up a head of baby bok choy since I heard that it is extremely nutritious. My inspiration came from Thai-Inspired Veggie and Rice Soup which always looks so good to me! I absolutley love yellow curries so I adapted this recipe to make a yellow curry soup. I had some yellow curry powder which looked vegan but the flavor was not strong enough (even for me!). All the simmer sauces seemed to contain fish sauce. Maybe someone knows how to make it without the fish?

These are rough estimates since I sort of threw this together
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • small zucchini sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper sliced into 1 ince pieces
  • 1/2 head of baby bok choy chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • handful of shredded carrots
  • 4 cups veggie broth (you will likely need to add more since it seemed to cook off quite a bit)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 1 block of firm tofu cubed
  • corn starch
  • vegetable oil
  • your favorite spices (basil, salt, red pepper, etc.)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • handful of soba noodles
Sautee garlic, onions and carrots in 1 TB vegetable oil. As it starts to become transluscent, add the other veggies and cook until they begin to soften slightly. Add tomatoes and broth along with any spices you want to add. I added about 4 TB yellow curry powder here but kept adding more as it cooked to intensify the curry flavor. Bring this to a boil. Once it boils, add soba noodles and boil unitl they are fully cooked (check package instructions) then lower soup to a simmer.

While the soup cooks, place tofu into a bag or container with enough corn starch to coat. Shake it up until tofu is completely coated. Heat a few TB oil in a pan and fry tofu cubes until they are browned.

Remove soup from the heat, add tofu and coconut milk. Enjoy!

Garlic Spinach Pasta
Again, had a whole lotta spinach and I am the only one who likes it. I thought the family might get into this but I was wrong. I thought it was great and I will likely make this again, just for myself. I got the basic recipe from a Whole Foods Cookbook sitting on my shelf but I adapted it.

  • 1 pound pasta (I used penne)
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Lots and lots of spinach chopped
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan
Cook pasta as directed. Drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large sautee pan over low heat. Add garlic and cook until it begins to carmelize. Raise heat to medium, add soinach and cook until wilted. Add lemon juice and cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan. Yum!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

We were having some friends over for brunch today and I wanted to make some muffins along with the fruit and happy eggs that we were having. V likes pineapple upside down cakes very much and when I was reading out different options, that's what he chose. I mostly followed this recipe to make this cake.

The changes I made were - I used 1/2 cup of Sugar instead of a whole cup; substituted half the oil with applesauce; used pineapple rings instead of pineapple chunks; used half all purpose flour and half whole wheat flour; used a regular cake pan instead of a spring form board; and it took me about 45 minutes in 350 degree temperature to get it completely cooked.

It definitely did not taste like pastry shops' cake. But, it was very good - healthily good :)
Half of it was eaten today and half for dinner guests tomorrow!!

Before I end, here is a picture of our small raspberry bush. We got 3 raspberries today. Can't wait for the blueberry busy to start bearing fruit (literally) too!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The not-so-new Vegan Soul Food by Bryant Terry that I have really enjoyed had a recipe for Succotash Soup. It sounded like a good idea. But, it has been so hot, I decided that a soup was really not going to be fun. I looked through a bunch of recipes at recipezaar and created my own recipe for Succotash. I am very sure that this is not completely authentic. I have eaten Succotash at one local restaurant (if you can call it that). It is made of black beans and corn and definitely has butter and/or cream. I tried a healthier version of Succotash with Frozen Lima Beans instead. I used some fresh herbs from the vegetable garden - both oregano and basil - some of the recipes called for Parsley, but I did not grow any.

There are these noodles with Indian spices that V really likes - They are called 'Maggi Noodles'. Growing up, they were called the 2-minute noodles - it takes 2 minutes to cook. Now that I am more conscious of our eating habits, I realize that the spices in the noodles are probably not the best. But, occasionally (or however often I agree to it) V craves these noodles. The Succotash is probably best as a side dish, but I did not want to make a main dish. So Maggi to the rescue. I had a few indulgent bites of these noodles and then returned to brown rice as the base for my Succotash. The photo has Succotash topped with Maggi Noodles!



1 C Frozen Lima Beans
1 Onion, chopped
1 C Frozen Sweet Corn
1 C Shelled Peas
1 15 oz can Fire-roasted tomatoes
1 Vegan Sausage, chopped
Salt, to taste
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
1/2 t Sugar
1 T Lemon Juice
2 T Fresh Herbs
1 t Olive Oil

Heat Oil. Saute onions till soft. Add beans, corn, peas and vegan sausage. Cook till vegetables are soft. Add salt, red pepper flakes, tomatoes and cook till flavors meld. Add Sugar and let cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add lemon juice and herbs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another smoothie and my growing garden

After our regular Saturday run, we crave a smoothie. Yesterday was humid - even early in the morning. When I got home, I realized that we had no berries for a smoothie! So I decided to experiment some.

The ingredients - 1 Frozen Banana, 2 T Cocoa Powder, 2 T Peanut Butter, 1 Packet Soy Yogurt, 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 T Protein Powder - were purreed together for 2 large servings of smoothie. When the bananas start to get too ripe, I peel them and put them in the freezer in a container. This makes the smoothie much better. I used baking cocoa powder - that's all I had. But, the new Nasoya Silken Creations (dark chocolate, especially) will probably be amazing in the smoothie (among other recipes!).

Here is an update on the growing garden and how it grows. The first photo is of the tomato plants.
They were small when first planted. If you look carefully, you can see green tomatoes on the plant in the far right. We are very excited. They tomato plants have taken over the area and that killed the Okra. We started with 6 of them.

These feature the spinach plants in the center - who knew that spinach grows this tall, surrounded by serrano peppers, yellow and red peppers and herbs (far left). The cilantro that we planted did not grow - unfortunately because that is my favorite herb. We started with seeds that I had at home. I am already making plans for next year's vegetable garden. Thanks SO much to V's aunt for her help in planting these vegetables. Some of the flowers are growing well too! Very exciting!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Black Bean Dish

This hiatus was long. With a trip to MN to visit the brother and sister-in-law, I was not cooking anything new or exciting. Today, I made an interesting dish. It started off as a potential soup in the slow cooker. When I came home, it was nowhere near the consistency of soup - too solid. So I decided to turn them into wraps for me and quesadillas for V. I still was not happy with the taste, so I added the salad dressing from this salad recipe. And then it was bliss!!

I have been meaning to try the dressing from the recipe. That is why I soaked the black beans. But, I was planning on coming home late tonight (got to workout after gaining weight on the trip to MN!), so I decided to get something quick started on the slow cooker. We had no fresh vegetables at home, other than peas from the CSA. We have been eating peas everyday and today, I decided not to shell more peas. The dressing is spicy, sweet, tangy and wonderful. I have some saved for salad tomorrow, when we get our fresh veggies from the CSA.

V does not approve of this photo - he says it does not look good. But it's all I have and I don't want to delay this post even longer!

Slow Cooker Beans

Mix together the following ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.

-- 2 C Black Beans
-- 1.5 C Salsa
-- 1 Pkt Peppers and Onions, frozen
-- 1/2 C water (increase the water or broth to make the consistency thinner)
-- 2 t Cumin powder
-- Salt, to taste
-- 1 t Chipotle chillis in Adobo sauce - chopped
-- 1 T Fajita Seasoning.

When done, add 2 T Vegan Cream Cheese, 1 t Lemon/Lime Juice and 2 T Cilantro, chopped. Mix and serve with Corn Tortillas and pre-made Salad Dressing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

a couple of odds and ends

Well, I don't want you to think that we are not eating at all over here, I just have not been making anything really new or interesting. This weekend we had black bean burgers, corn, broccoli, and I made some potato salad. I haven't made potato salad in a long time and it seemed to be missing something (maybe vinegar?) but I ate it anyway. Here is my less than exciting recipe:

Potato Salad
  • 4-5 red potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup vegenaise
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of celery seed
Boil potatoes. Chill for about an hour. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Let me know if you have another recipe. I need some interest!

Secondly, I made a quick Pasta Fagioli that I forgot to photograph until the next morning as it left the house as a lunch. It was much prettier the night before! The ingredients were basically:
  • Can of white beans, drained
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • can of diced tomatoes (I have done this with diced fresh roma tomatoes and it is much better)
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of onion powder
  • pinch of basil/oregano
  • 1/2 box of small shell pasta
Boil pasta as directed. In a separate pan, heat oil and cook garlic until fragrant. Add tomatoes and spices and let it cook off for a bit. Add pasta when ready.

Ok, no genius tonight but at least I have added something!!!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Orange Cake and Mint Chutney

... made on the same day, but not for the same meal!!
We are going to see my brother and sister-in-law next weekend and we are going to be in cabins - high end camping - for a day. To make a burger sandwich for lunch, I made a mint chutney. This is an Indian-style chutney that can be mixed with yogurt to be a condiment to grilled food. I also have fond memories of English-style sandwiches that were Indian-ized. White bread (crusts removed), butter, cucumber and mint chutney on a hot day with some pepper. Good memories!! So when we went to pick up our CSA vegetables this week and there was a *huge* bunch of mint in the 'extras' table, I decided to make some mint chutney to take with us camping. It will go in a ymmy sandwich for a picnic lunch!!

Mint Chutney

Mix together the following ingredients in a blender with as much water as you need to make it into the right consistency.

2 Cups Mint leaves
1 Cup Cilantro
1 T Tamarind paste
1 T Salt
2 Chilli peppers, chopped
1 t Ginger
1 clove Garlic

On a separate note, I also made this Orange Cake.
I wanted to try a different vegan cake after making multiple cup cakes. It was somewhat crumbly and sticky, but tasted very very yummy. I made a mistake while measuring and added 2 Cups of orange juice at the beginning. So I had to double the recipe (I know - very sad :). Now we have 2 cakes!! V ate 1/4 of one of the cakes himself!! Definitely recommend this. I may have enjoyed having some orange juice with pulp in it too. Or some raisins and less sugar may have been nice too. YUM!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vegan banana pancakes

Breakfast for dinner is the best!! I made these Vegan Banana Pancakes. I used a little more soy milk than in the recipe and it was YUMMY!! We topped it with peanut butter and maple syrup. I think a few slices of banana on top may also be good, but I did not get to it.

The picture does not do the pancake much justice - it tasted better than it looked :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

African Stew and Peanut Butter Cookies

OK, well I know I gave you this recipe a while back but I recently decided to make the African Stew that I have so loved in the past from the Becoming Vegetarian book. I used a rice that required a LONG cooking time so it took well over an hour to complete this stew but I always think it is worth it. The red dots on top are juts me trying to be creative with the hot sauce. I use the Vietnamese hot chili sauce. If you decide to make this, make sure you add the lemon juice and some hot sauce. I really think it is boring without those flavors.
I must be on a peanut butter kick lately because I also decided to try these "Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies" from the Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook. They were REALLY good. Mike took most of them to work and the guys enjoyed them. I made them again later in the week since we liked them so much. One of his friends said they did not taste vegan at all-whatever that means!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two more salads

Wow.. I really am on a salad binge here. For the one-two people who look at this blog regularly - Em is now making it official. She is pregnant. And has not been interested in eating - vegan or otherwise. So, she has been very quiet.
I am eating salads regularly and trying to incorporate CSA vegetables into my meals. So far, we have had lettuce, salad greens, herbs, green onions, radish, asparagus, strawberries, snap peas!! Can't wait for more. Our vegetables are also growing well so far. A couple of okras did not make it, but the others are still going strong!
Earlier this week, I made a salad inspired by Spinach salad, but with mixed greens instead. Today, I made a salad with only CSA ingredients - a green CSA salad! Both pictures are taken with the plate in the yard - you can see our deck and lawn in the photos too! We have been spending a lot of time on the deck and outside with the dogs!

Ingredients and Recipe:

2 Cups Salad Greens
1 Carrot, Diced
1 Orange (fresh, sliced without peels)
1 Vegan Sausage, warmed and cut

2 T Sliced Almonds
2 T Newman's Own Light Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette

Alterations: Strawberries instead of Orange; Roasted Walnuts instead Almonds.
Mix together and enjoy.

CSA Green Salad!

Everything on this salad today was from our CSA this week (except the almonds and dressing!). Hence the name!

Ingredients and Recipe:

2 Cups Salad Greens
9-10 Asparagus, sauteed with olive oil, salt, lemon juice and pepper
4 T Snap Peas
1 t Chives with flowers
2 T sliced almonds
1 T Olive Oil

For the dressing, I drizzled the Olive Oil on the salad. The sauteed asparagus with all the spice in it was enough for the salad along with the taste of chives.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Pepper and Garlic Aioli

I modified this recipe from the current issue of 'Vegetarian Times'. I read this magazine like a treat- savoring the pictures, imagining the taste and enjoying the prospect of cooking it!! It is relaxing and enjoyable afternoon of luxury. This month's cover had a photo of grilled asparagus. These are some of my most favorite vegetables. This is one of the many vegetables that tastes best when eaten in season. And right now, our CSA produce is over-flowing with asparagus and I am always looking for different ways to cook it. I have eaten in multiple types of stir fries, pastas, grilled, roasted, blanched, sauteed and loved it in every form.

I looked hard, but could not find this specific recipe posted on the Vegetarian Times website. I was hoping to make my blogging easier by just giving you the link to the website, but it looks like I may have to type the entire recipe!! The colors of this dish are striking - a red roasted red pepper puree, white aioli and green asparagus. The flavors really mix well together for a very surprising and delicious taste.

I halved the recipe and was happy with the results. It also called for white and green asparagus and I only had green, so that's what we had. The aioli calls for Vegan Mayonnaise, but I had none. Instead, I had made a paste with Silken Tofu and Tofu Cream Cheese for a pasta a couple of days ago and had some left-overs and used that instead. I also did not use as much Olive Oil as was recommended in the recipe. I added some TVP to the puree to add protien content. We don't have a grill or grill pan, so I sauteed them on the stove. I served them with quinoa (hidden in the picture), but did not add the lime wedge for garnishing :)

Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Puree and Aioli


2 lbs Asparagus, trimmed
1/2T Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 t Lemon Juice

2 Cloves Garlic,
1/2 t salt
1 t Olive Oil
1/4 C Vegan Mayonnaise (or I used a pureed mixture of silken tofu and tofu cream cheese)

6 oz Roasted Red Peppers (if using jar, rinse and dry)
1/4 Cup TVP or Morning Star-type Grillers
1 T Agave Nectar
1 t Paprika

To make the Red Pepper Puree: Saute the TVP or morning star grillers in oil for a few minutes till cooked. TVP may have to be soaked in water first. Puree roasted red peppers, agave nectar, paprika and 2-3 T of water, to get to the preferred consistency. Add TVP to the mixture.

To make aioli: Peel garlic cloves, add a pinch of salt and mash them together. Whisk in vegan cream mixture and Olive Oil.

Saute asparagus over medium heat with 1/2 T of olive oil, salt and pepper for 8-9 minutes. Sprinkle lemon juice.

Serve puree and aioli over asparagus!