Friday, May 13, 2011

Long time no blog. Dipping my toe into the blog pool with a post of some pictures. All stuff I was going to post and never did.

Spicy Peanut Miso Soup

Basically mild miso with peanut butter, Sriracha, veggies and tofu. Really easy, really good.

Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Lemon Almond Poppyseed Cookies

These are my favorite cookie. Someday I will post the recipe.

Roasted Veggies with Quinoa and Tomatillo Sauce

Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

And finally a shot of Nutmeg looking sweet. But don't believe it.
She's a demon bunny who chews on furniture.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ms. Jenny and The Springtime Stew Stumper

It was a cold and lonely night when I logged into my blogger account. My senses were dulled by one too many pomegranate martini, but even so I noticed that something was amiss. An unfinished entry dated March 8, 2009 stared me in the face. I blinked. I rubbed my eyes. I drank a pot of coffee to sober up, but that post was still there, like an uninvited guest who couldn't take the hint that it was time to scram. I stumbled to bed, tired but jittery from caffeine, and fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning I woke up hoping I had dreamed the whole thing, but as I waited for my computer to boot up, I became certain it was all too real. Sure enough, the post was still there. Three pictures and the title 'Spring and Stew'. No notes. No recipe. I closed my eyes and searched my memory...yes...there it was. I did make this stew. I remember the smell of spring in the air. The flowers were starting to bloom, and the weather was beginning to turn warm. I remember the smell of onions, the texture of brown rice, the sharp aroma of fresh parsley, the sweet tang of balsamic vinegar. I remember...

Okay, done with the blog noir. But seriously, I don't remember starting this post. I do remember making this dish, but the specifics are a mystery. I distinctly remember using my pressure cooker, but it appears that I seared the tofu. I see potatoes, carrots, onions, and what may or may not be celery. I also associate balsamic vinegar with this meal. Judging from photographic evidence there was brown rice and a fair amount of parsley involved. When winging it I usually use some dried rosemary and thyme. There's probably garlic, because I love it.

So here's what I'm thinking...

Springtime Potofu Stew (potato+tofu=potofu, duh)

Heat some olive oil in pressure cooker.
Add tofu cut into triangles and some Braggs or salt.
Sear tofu on both sides. Add a bit of balsamic vinegar to tofu.
Add diced onion, celery, and carrot, along with some dried thyme and rosemary.
Saute along with tofu for a couple minutes. Add diced garlic.
Add some chopped potato. (it appears I used red skinned potatoes)
Add some water, attach lid to pressure cooker and bring to full pressure.
Lower heat and use common pressure cooker sense. Cook a bit.
Release pressure and remove lid. Add lots of chopped fresh parsley.
Taste for salt and overall deliciousness. Add whatever is lacking.
Perhaps a drop of Tabasco?
Serve with brown rice.

I will now consider the Springtime-Stew-Stumper solved.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello Again

A few of you may have noticed that I have not blogged in quite some time. My mother passed away last May, and I have not been in a blogging mood since. I haven't been in a cooking mood, either. There's been a lot of frozen prepared food, canned soup, and frozen vegetables with frozen rice going on around here. So between not wanting to blog, and not having anything to blog about except prepared veggie burgers and potato chips, several months have flown by.

However, for reasons of emotional as well as physical health, this cannot go on. Also, I'm wasting tons of money on all this prepared stuff. So tonight I made my favorite vegetable casserole. Easy to make, and so good. I could feel the vitamins seeping into my cells.

I made this tonight with the vegetables listed below, but you can use broccoli, sweet potato, or anything you like. I got the basic recipe from a generic vegetarian cookbook I was given years ago. It has a green cover and is called something original like 'Vegetarian Cookbook'. I am a lover of condiments and seasonings, so was therefore skeptical of this casserole the first time I made it because paprika, onion, and garlic didn't seem like enough seasoning. It's very good, though, and you can really taste all the vegetables when they're not hiding under lots of hot sauce, mustard, and whatever else I always slather on my food.

Jeff the hand model with Vegetable Casserole
Vegetable Casserole with Herbed Dumplings

1 Onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. sweet paprika
2 potatoes (I used Russet)
3 Carrots
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup water or veg. stock
2 zucchini
A bunch of frozen green beans (I didn't measure)

for dumplings
1 cup flour (I used a mix of millet and spelt)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. margarine or olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion in a little olive oil till soft, then add paprika and garlic and saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes, water or stock, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and continue simmering until vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste. Transfer to a large casserole dish.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the margarine or oil and work into the flour with your fingers until it resembles very fine bread crumbs. (I also add a little flax meal 'cause it's good for you) Mix in the herbs. Stir in the soymilk until the mixture just comes together. (You may have to add a bit more flour depending on the kind you use) Divide into 8 pieces, and roll into balls.

Distribute the dumplings evenly over the top of the casserole. You'll want them to absorb the juicy goodness, so get them nestled down in the casserole a bit. Bake for 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when you stab a dumpling. I spoon a little juice over the dumplings a couple of times while it's baking to help keep them from getting too dry on top. Throw on some more parsley and eat it up.

Ready to eat with baby greens and herbs

Nutmeg is doing well and wants to say hello. She was so excited to be blogging again that she rushed the camera. I'll get some better pictures when she has calmed down from all the excitement.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This sweet little fruit tree makes it's home in my front yard. When we first moved in I had to ask a neighbor what it was. The answer was a Loquat tree. I then had to ask what in the heck a loquat was.

The tree flowers in the fall, and puts out fruit in early spring. From what I understand, loquat vary in color and flavor. Mine have yellow skin and white flesh with one or two large seeds in the center. The flavor is sort of peach, sort of cherry. But not exactly. When fully ripe, they are extremely sweet. I almost prefer them a little unripe, when they are a bit tart.

Loquat are native to southeast China, have been cultivated in Japan for over 1000 years, and in the States are mostly grown in California and east-Texas/west-Louisiana. I think you can find them canned in some Asian markets, but I'm pretty sure the taste and texture will be very different. Around here, this seems to be a fruit that people either happen to have growing in their yard, or have never heard of.

The past few years, the birds have beat me to the loquat, and left me with only a handful to munch on. This year the birds lost out big time, because I picked them all the minute they seemed ripe. I don't usually have so much fresh fruit in the house, so it was fun to decide what to do with it. Tarts, crisps, cakes: all would have been good, but I was worried I still wouldn't use them all before they went bad. So in the end I decided to make loquat jam.

I kept fretting over how to go about making this, spending way too much time comparing recipes on the internet. In the end I just winged it, and it came out perfect. I made two batches; one with ginger and one without.

Loquat Jam

Loquat Jam

Halve loquat, removing seed and membrane. You can leave the skins on.

Blend in food processor to desired consistency. I like mine pretty chunky. Transfer to a large pot.

For each cup of puree add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp. minced crystallized ginger if desired. Add cold water just to cover.

Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened considerably.

Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge.

Quinoa Biscuits with Loquat Jam

I made these biscuits the same night and we consumed an alarming amount of them with lots of the jam. The lavender in these really goes well with the loquat.

Quinoa Lavender Biscuits

1 1/2 cup flour (I used spelt)
1/2 cup quinoa flakes*
2 tsp. lavender
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil or melted margarine
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. flax meal (optional)

Mix wet ingredients and flax. In separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir till just combined. Drop by spoonful onto oiled baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until biscuits are firm and slightly browned.

*I use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes. Rolled oats would work as well. Or, you could just omit and add an extra 1/2 cup flour.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I love food that is stuffed or filled. I think it's the contrast of textures and flavors. In addition it's always cooking and crafting at the same time. Here's a couple of tasty stuffed things I've made recently.

Stuffed With Fennel

These filo pockets are delicious. I wanted to use the filo dough that had been sitting in my freezer, and I had some lovely fennel in the refrigerator. The rest of the recipe came together when I thought about a Coconut Corn Fennel Chowder that I like to make. The flavor combination is wonderful.
Fennel Corn Filo Pockets

frozen filo dough, thawed
one onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 fennel bulb, stalks removed, quartered, and thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flake
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tbsp. shredded coconut
2 Tbsp. coconut milk
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup firm tofu, crumbled
salt and lemon juice to taste
feathery greens from fennel stalks

Heat a little olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and fennel. Saute until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the vegetable stock and pepper flake. Cover and steam until the fennel is tender. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving some of the fennel greens for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet.

You will need a large working area for assembling the pockets. Lay the thawed filo out flat, and cover with a clean kitchen towel or wax paper to keep from drying out. Remove two sheets of the filo and lay them (stacked one on the other) on your work surface. Spray them with a little oil, sprinkle the whole thing with some more shredded coconut, and cut into 5 even strips (about 3 and 1/2 inches or so wide). Place a small mound of the filling at the end of one of the strips of filo. Fold the bottom right corner up to meet the left side to form a triangle. Continue folding until you get to the end of the strip. Spray the whole thing with some oil and move to the prepared baking sheet. Continue like this until you use all of the filling.

Bake in preheated oven until the filo is crisp and slightly browned. Garnish with the reserved fennel fluff and eat! I really think this is one of the tastiest recipes I have ever come up with.

Stuffed with Strawberries and Bean Paste

I have a love/hate relationship with Asian sweets in general, and red bean paste in particular. During a two month trip to Thailand and Malaysia several years ago I was always being confronted with desserts that my taste buds and eyes just had no reference for. I still cringe at the thought of a bowl of black gelatinous cubes in a sweet liquid with shaved ice that my kind and gracious host set before me. I'm still not sure how I managed to eat it.

When I saw Kittee's post about Ichigo Daifuku, though, I was intrigued. Ichigo Daifuku is Mochi (a chewy cake made from glutinous rice) stuffed with red bean paste and strawberries. Not only was it pretty, but I love strawberries and Jeff loves red bean paste, so I decided to give it a try. These were really fun to make, and while I'm not ready to call myself a lover of red bean paste quite yet, they were somehow very tasty. I saved the stems and leaves from the strawberries I used and stuck them on the finished mochi. They turned out better than I expected! For directions and pictures, see Kittee's original post.

Mochi waiting to happen

Speaking of Kittee, she tagged me! So I now have to tell you five things about myself, and then tag five more people to do the same. Here goes...

1. I grew up in the Midwest. Indiana to be exact. The thing I miss most is the 4 distinct seasons...winter, spring, summer, fall. (they all seem to blur together in the South).

2. Jeff and I sometimes make music...and videos. Check it out if you dare.

3. In addition to Nutmeg the bunny, we share our house with Spiralina the mourning dove (rescued as a baby from the mean streets of the french quarter, New Orleans), and Castor the gecko.

4. I went Veg about 4 years ago. I had been married for about a year, cooking lots of meat, when I decided to cease and desist. I'm extremely lucky that Jeff not only went along for the veg ride, but was very encouraging about the decision.

5. I currently wait tables at a 'British' tea room that is NOT veg friendly. We do have lots of tasty tea, however, which is of course vegan!

And I will tag...

1. bugheart
2. kamutflake girl
3. bird by bird
4. your vegan mom
5. eve and johnny

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cheddary Tofu Quinoa Pie

I make some version of this 'pie' on a regular basis. This was the first time I have used the cheddar or the quinoa in this dish. The fact that I call this a pie is getting me thinking it would be good baked in some kind of crust...puff pastry maybe?

Cheddary Tofu Quinoa Pie

1 lb. firm tofu (chinese)
1 tsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. tahini
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
lots of black olives*
pinch of turmeric and paprika*
dried thyme*
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup FollowYourHeart cheddar (soy cheese)
1 /2 cup cooked quinoa
salt to taste
fresh basil and chives*

In a large bowl, mash the tofu (I just use my hands) and mix in the mustard and tahini. Set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic in a little oil. When the onions are soft add the olives, turmeric, paprika and thyme. After a couple of minutes the olives should be getting toasty and it should be smelling really good. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat.

Combine the tofu with the onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to mix well. Turn into a lightly oiled pie pan and press into shape. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it's hot in the center and starting to brown on top. Put under the broiler briefly to brown it a bit more. Be careful, it will burn fast! Let it sit for several minutes until slightly cooled. Cut into slices and eat it up. Sometimes it falls apart all over the plate, but it's just as tasty.

*I never measure for things like this unless it's important to the recipe. The only rule is that it's better to use too little than too much (except can't have too many olives).

Served with baby yellow beets and their greens, and more quinoa

P.S. Spring is here!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eggplant Burgers

For this I started with a recipe from Crescent Dragonwagon's "Passionate Vegetarian" and modified it to suit my needs. The resulting eggplant cakes are my new favorite thing. There's really not much else I can say about these. You simply need to try them. They were twice as good as I was expecting.

Eggplant Burgers

2 eggplants sliced into rounds
3 Tbsp. Braggs or soy sauce
4 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 small slices of bread torn into pieces
1 Tbsp. tahini (or more)
1 teaspoon Chipotle sauce (or more)
1 1/2 cups dry textured vegetable protein

Bake the eggplant on an oiled baking sheet at 350 degrees until tender, turning halfway through. Remove from oven and transfer to a food processor.

Add the Braggs, garlic, bread, tahini, and chipotle sauce. Blend until smooth, then add the textured vegetable protein. Blend to mix well. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Blend again briefly and taste for seasoning.

Form into 8 patties (approx. 3 inch). When I am making patties from something sticky like this I find it helpful to form the patty between two layers of plastic wrap so they don't stick to my hands. Bake the patties on an oiled baking sheet at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes, flipping over halfway through. If you would like the burgers a little crispier, put them under the broiler for a few seconds on each side.

Serve as is, with the sauce of your choice, or on a bun with greens, tomato, Veganaise, and spicy ketchup.