Monday, September 3, 2012

Baked Setain Taquitos!

 The core of the recipe for these taquitos comes from the Ancho Lentil Taco recipe on Post Punk Kitchen. I first quartered the recipe, then added about 1 cup of slivered seitan. 

To make the taquitos, grease a baking sheet, and preheat the oven to 425 F. Place a couple spoonfuls of the lentil/seitan filling on a corn tortilla, then roll the tortilla up, without folding in the edges. 
 Place the rolled taquitos on a baking sheet about 1/2" apart. Spray with cooking oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and browning in spots. Spray a couple of times with oil throughout the cooking process if desired, to get a better crunch to your tortillas.   

Great with guac!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chile-Lime-Cilantro Seitan

 This recipe is for cilantro lovers! Boost the cilantro flavor by adding more of the herb to suit your tastes. Why corn on the cob? Well, what DOESN'T corn on the cob go well with??

Chile-Lime-Cilantro Seitan - serves 2-3

1 c seitan, cut into thin strips
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
1 small chile, minced
1/2 c cilantro, chopped (I used Vietnamese cilantro- try it if you can! I bought it from a local nursery)
zest + juice from 1 lime
1 tblsp lite soy sauce
1 med. carrot, shredded
1 tsp agave syrup
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 tsp smoked paprika

1. Saute all ingredients, beginning with mustard seeds for a few minutes; then the veggies for a few minutes; then the sauce and seasoning ingredients for a few minutes; then the seitan, until beginning to blacken in spots.
2. Remove from heat. Serve over rice or quinoa. Top with chopped tomatoes, lime, poppy seeds, and extra cilantro, if desired.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mango-Rice-Bean Bowl with Kale

 Cooking for someone who doesn't like greens, but who wants to eat them cuz they know that greens are healthy, can be tricky. A big bunch of sauteed greens is something I could go for, but for others, it's a definite no-go. So, I've realized that finely chopping your green and then throwing it into a dish with a bunch of other stuff is a great way to "conceal" all that healthy goodness and create a meal that even a "tofu-and-taters lover" will enjoy!

   Mango-Rice-Bean Bowl with Kale
- makes  2 big bowls, 4 smaller bowls -
 3/4 c brown/wild rice mix, uncooked
1 15 oz can tri-bean blend or kidney beans
1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 med. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
2/3 c corn kernals
2 c kale (or green of choice), finely chopped
3 tblsp sunflower seeds
1/2 mango, diced

1 tblsp tahini
1/2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp bbq sauce (Bull's Eye Original is a vegan bbq sauce with no high fructose corn syrup)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the rice 
2. Saute the onion in the olive oil on medium heat in a cast iron skillet until soft, then add the carrots, garlic, kale, and corn. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the beans. Cook until heated through, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle in some water if the saute gets dry or starts to burn.
3. Meanwhile, blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor.
4. Once the rice is tender, mix it with the bean and kale saute, then add the dressing and toss to coat. 
5. Serve in bowls and top with the diced mango and sunflower seeds

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Underestimating Other Animals

Articles in the news that relay scientists' new discoveries of the complexities of other animals' mental lives occur fairly frequently. One today discusses the results of tests done with the famous African Grey Parrots. Other stories abound, and continue coming out.

The moral of all these stories? In general, we are usually underestimating the richness of other animals' mental capacities and subjective experiences. Perhaps this all goes back to the fact that animals can't talk, and humans use speech as a way of evaluating how smart or even valuable other beings are. If you can't talk, you must be fairly dumb, and thus your subjective experience must be something easy to dismiss, from a moral standpoint. Humans don't do this just to other animals, of course- they judge other people in this way all the time (for one example, look up the origin of the word "barbarian").

Given what we know about biology, about where emotions and other features of mental lives arise from, and the frequent studies that fairly consistently reveal how we underestimate other animals, one can take it as a rule of thumb that our (under)appreciation of what animals are thinking and experiencing is a substantially inaccurate representation of reality. It's fairly reasonable to conclude that to the degree that an animal shares our underlying biology, the experience that that biological function is responsible for will manifest similarly across species. Thus if we imagine the pain and distress we would feel being a lab animal undergoing painful procedures, or being caged, beaten, and sick in a factory farm, then it's safe to assume that other animals are going to feel this way too. It's called biology. 

This heightens all the more our moral duties to fellow inhabitants of our planet. They don't just deserve our respect; they deserve to be free from the actions of ours that so frequently cause them pain and distress.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Almond or Coconut Milk Ice Cream

 Homemade Almond or Coconut Milk ice cream

One of my favorite foods is ice cream.  I’ve always loved it!  At grocery stores, they sell it by the pint or by the quart and the price is fairly unaffordable if you purchase it on a regular basis.  So I bought my own ice cream maker and decided to mess around with almond milk and coconut milk. I really wanted to make this easy. I wasn’t interested in cooking the contents before-hand, in which most dairy recipes require. Ice cream makers aren’t what they used to be (unless you are looking for a top dollar maker)…They are more fun and colorful, but with a plastic barrel.  I was a little worried purchasing it at first, but am so impressed with it’s durability.  They average about $20 at any large, regional or national chain.

I am thrilled with my discoveries! And you can make as much as you want. I usually make half a gallon, but the cylinder in the maker will hold twice as much. I’ll share a base recipe with you. I’ll add some suggestions for flavoring your ice cream afterwards.
I’ve made both almond and coconut ice cream.  I like them both evenly.  For those that do not like the taste of coconut milk, the coconut flavor gets lost after the ice cream is made and coconut gives it a creamier texture.

See recipe for creamy and flavored ice cream below.

Basic vanilla ice cream base
6 cups vanilla almond or  vanilla coconut milk (Unsweetened is fine too, it just won’t be as sweet)
1 cup of sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla imitation extract
Generous amount of ice
Rock salt

Pour all contents into the container, place in ice cream maker and use as directed by the instructions it came with. Generally, you fill up the edges with cubed ice and dump a bit of rock salt all over the ice evenly.  When the ice melts half-way down, repeat process.

Extra creamy ice cream
My preference by far (with minimal added calories):  Add ½-3/4 cup of plain or vanilla soy yogurt or ½- ¾ cup of whipped non-dairy topping to base. If using yogurt, increase sugar by ¼ cup.  Again, this is preference.  The ice cream is still very good without as much sugar.

Flavored ice cream
The creamy version works best for any flavored ice cream recipe which helps to hold it's shape.
Powder, liquid and soft substance such as cocoa, peanut butter and extract can be added to base. Solid substance such as chocolate chips and marshmallows should be added halfway through chilling.

Chocolate chip:

You can buy mini chocolate chips if available or grate or cut dark semi sweet baking chocolate. Without removing the canister, remove lid halfway through chilling and pour the chips in.  It doesn’t require very much chocolate to taste just perfect.  Be careful not to overdo it.

Smores: (requested by my children)

Add about ¼ cup of each (add more or less depending on preference):
Chocolate pieces as described above
Hand broken graham crackers
Small sized marshmallows (normal size)
Mix in ingredients halfway into chilling

Chocolate peanut butter   (Adds protein and antioxidents!)

¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup chocolate baking cocoa
Add with all ingredients to base

Suggestions you can try yourself: 

Maple pecan (use maple extract and chopped pecans)

Lemon (using lemon juice)

Chocolate chip cookie dough (maybe quarter a normal cookie recipe)

Chocolate chip mint (use peppermint extract and chocolate pieces.  (If your fine with dye, add a few drops of green for a true color).

Chocolate Raspberry...

Experiment with your favorite flavors!

Enjoy your delicious ice cream for a much lower price!

Peanut Butter Granola

Granola is what I go to when I need to bake something. Why? It's healthy, it lasts a fair amount of time in your pantry, and, well, it's cereal. What's not to love, really?

So, when I was craving peanut butter, this happened...

 Peanut Butter Granola - makes ~1o servings

2 1/2 c oats (not quick-cooking)
2 tblsp flax seeds
3 tblsp wheat bran (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
couple pinches salt

3 tblsp peanut natural butter
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 c raisins

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Mix together the dry ingredients, then mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir to coat. Spread evenly on a greased baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking spray (optional- makes a crispier granola). 

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 20 minutes, until the granola begins to turn light brown. Let cool for an hour before storing in an air tight container. Once the granola has cooled, stir in the raisins.

A great addition would be some almonds or other nuts that you may have on hand!

Happy crunching...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Raisin Breakfast Rolls

 Check out these yummy raisin rolls from My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky. They're like a cross between a scone and a cinnamon roll- perfect for mornings with coffee! Not too sweet, with whole wheat flour and oats, it's a breakfast you can feel good about.

(I'm feeling dizzy...)

...The only substitution I made was, instead of using the white flour that the recipe called for, I tried spelt flour instead. Next time I would add some cinnamon, but otherwise they were a good treat! Especially with some vegan butter...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vegetarian Shoes

I'm not a natural shopper. Buying stuff just doesn't do it for me. But recently I needed sandals (after wearing my others to oblivion), and I've always liked the "cup heal" of Birckenstocks...

Well, Birkenstock no longer makes animal product-free shoes anymore. Their sister companies make a few, but the selection is not spectacular. However, searching online I found this company from the UK. 

They're called "Vegetarian Shoes," and their products are free from animal products. So, well, I bought a pair of their sandals...

The lining mimics suede, and the shoe resembles one of Birkenstock's. Pretty nice! And comfortable. A little big, but they don't have half sizes. At any rate, I'm happy with them, and happy to support a company who has a bottom line worth supporting!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cherry BBQ Tofu (And How to Bake Tofu RIGHT)

So I had acquired some fresh cherries and was wondering, What could I do with them? Well, most of them just got eaten... but, then I found this recipe for cherry barbeque sauce.

It worked terrifically with tofu. As time goes on, my tofu baking skills are improving... Here's what I've found to be a good way to get chewy, nicely-textured and flavorful tofu:

1. Press your tofu in a cloth to get out excess water (no need to be a stickler about this)
2. Cut or tear the tofu into bite size pieces
3. Spray a baking sheet with oil, then place the tofu on it. Splash soy sauce over the pieces, then spray the tofu with oil.
4. Bake at 425 F (or 400 in a convection oven setting) for 20 minutes. Stir and flip the tofu pieces. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until edges of tofu look hardened. 
5. Put your tofu in a heat-safe bowl with the sauce you plan to use, stir to coat, then place in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce is heated through.

Alternatively, after step 2 you can do the following:
3a. Place the tofu in a container and add a marinade. Cover the container with an airtight lid, then turn the container around to coat all of the tofu pieces. Stick in the fridge, turning occasionally, for at least two hours, or overnight.
4a. Bake as directed, reserving any excess sauce in a bowl (otherwise your tofu will be mushy). You can pour the extra sauce over the tofu once it's all done baking. (This is a good idea especially if you're putting the tofu over rice.)

For barbeque sauce, I follow the first set of steps. For "saucier" or more liquid-y marinades, I'll follow the second set.

Onward tofu bakers!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thai Basil-Coconut Tofu

This recipe is from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. We're growing Thai basil, and I needed to put it to good use! This recipe was spot on. Here are some modifications:

- I used the dressing as a marinade for tofu, which I then cubed and baked, rather than stir-fried
- I put the dish over rice instead of rice noodles 

- I then roasted the broccoli and carrots, rather than steamed them, to bring out more flavor

The dish uses coconut milk, but isn't heavy (only 1/4 c of the milk for the dressing/marinade), so it's not like a curry. Good summer dish, in other words. The dressing works really well as a marinade if you let the tofu soak in it for a few hours. I always bake the tofu at 425 F until it is firm, chewy, and turning dark brown. Mushy tofu is a strict no-no in our abode. 

Moral of the story: use that Thai basil! It will be worth it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Factory Farming - The Cruelty Factor

Here's an investigation that has just added to their website. I haven't read it, because I know this would be agonizing. But, if you are still on the edge about the cruelty of factory farming, please do read it. This is something everyone needs to feel agony over (since only this will change these practices).


Warning: you may feel a certain mental discomfort; this is your conscience. Welcome it. It is here to make the world a better place for us all. Humans and animals alike.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Morrocan-Spiced Dinner Salad

Dinner salads are the bomb. Throw everything in a bowl, and not only do you have a quick, easy meal, you have all of your greens, veggies, protein, and (maybe even) grains in one nice little spot! 

I wanted to add raisins to this salad, and thus added some warm and sweet Middle Eastern spices to the dressing. If you don't have wheat berries, you could probably use rice just as well!

 Morrocan-Spiced Dinner Salad - Serves 2

1/2 c uncooked wheat berries (or rice, preferably brown)
1 15-oz can kidney beans
1/4 c chopped celery
2 tblsp raisins
2 tblsp sesame seeds
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
1/8 c chopped fresh mint 
2 scallions, chopped
3 c chopped lettuce or spinach
2 medium carrots, cut into sticks (optional)


juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/2 tsp agave syrup (or sugar)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Wheat berries take a while to cook. Put 2 1/2 c of water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the wheat berries, bring to a simmer, and cook for an hour, or until tender (but they'll still be nice and chewy), stirring occasionally. Drain and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of your salad ingredients, tossing all except the lettuce/spinach and carrots together in a bowl. Add the cooked wheat berries. Whisk together your dressing ingredients, then pour over the salad and stir to coat. You can keep it in the fridge until ready to use, or serve immediately. 

Serve the salad over a bed of chopped lettuce or spinach. Complete the salad with carrot sticks, if you like. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

Cornmeal Crusted Tofu

Here's the first dinner I ever cooked: Cornmeal Crusted Tofu, from Veganomicon.

It was an instant success, and has stayed with us ever since. 

This recipe is definitely worth checking out!
However, this time when I made it I tried baking the tofu instead of pan-frying it. It wasn't just as good- it was an improvement! Even on an already 'delish' dish. I just made sure to spray it a few times with olive oil while it baked (400 F, 35-40 min). The crust turned out so.... crusty...

 Along with the tofu, I roasted some broccoli with fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, and EVOO spray, and also roasted some chopped red potatoes. About five minutes or so before the tofu was done, I topped some of the pieces with fresh sage leaves. Southwestern-y decadence!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chimichurri Soy Curls

Continuing the culinary dive into Soy Curls...

If you want to expand your soy horizons beyond tofu and tempeh, check out Soy Curls from Butler Foods. Then try out this recipe!

So, this recipe is the chimichurri sauce recipe in Terry Hope Romero's Viva Vegan! cookbook. The recipe is really delicious, and, it turns out, goes great with Soy Curls. 

After rehydrating the soy curls, saute them in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Add some lite soy sauce to the pan, to just moisten the curls and add a nice "browning vehicle". After the curls turn brown and begin to blacken in places, turn the heat to low and add the chimichurri sauce. Stir to coat, and serve with chopped tomatoes and avocado.

Added to this dish are the whole wheat tortillas, also from Viva Vegan!. The key to good homemade tortillas is to get them as thin as possible. Really, you need a tortilla press for this- it makes the job much easier and keeps your tortillas nice and round. Also, don't forget to use Spectrum Shortening - it's vegan and non-hydrogenated, and you can find it at most grocery stores. Onward, to "comida latina", vegan-style!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pretzel Rolls!


Sometimes mistakes turn into something great... That's what happened when I made the soft pretzels from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I wanted to added roasted garlic to the dough, but forgot to do the roasting! So, while the dough was rising, I put the garlic in the oven anyway and tried making some pretzels, with a "twist"...

To roast garlic, chop the top off of a bulb (yes, the entire bulb), drizzle some olive oil over the top, then wrap the bulb in tinfoil. Roast for 40 minutes in a preheated oven set to 400 F. 

After garlic is roasted, it gets super soft and mushy. This is a good thing! Squeeze out those cloves of garlic, and either mash them with a spoon or chop them up with a knife. Either way, you'll eventually get a nice roasted-garlic paste.

To make garlic pretzels, punch down your dough after it's done rising and divide it into eight equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a long rectangle, about 6-8 inches long by 2.5 inches wide. Keep the other pieces under a moist towel while not working with them. 

Now, spread some of your garlic paste along the rectangle-shaped dough, and roll length-wise to form a log. Now you have roasted-garlic pretzel rolls! Boil in baking soda water for 30 seconds as usual (see the recipe in the book!), cover with course salt, and bake. 

And, in the meantime, check out some nice pics of some homegrown tomatoes...

Stewed tomatoes, anyone?...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Indian Platter

I love tabouleh. Loads of fresh parsley and loads of lemony bliss. Here it is next to some falafel, chutney, and tahini sauce (recipes below). Normally one doesn't think of parsley as a main ingredient; but really, one should! Parsley, like greens in general, is quite healthy: anti-oxidants, vitamin C, vitamin A... So, without further ado, here's my go-to tabouleh recipe!:

Keep-it-simple Parsley-loaded Tabouleh - serves 2-3

2 bunches curly-leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 c cooked bulgur wheat
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together your ingredients and serve; or, put in the fridge an hour or two ahead of time for maximum flavor!


When making falafel, I usually follow the recipe found here. For the egg I substitute Ener-g Egg, a great all-purpose egg replacer. Also, instead of frying the falafel, I bake it at 400 F for 25-30 minutes, spray the patties with olive oil, and flip them halfway through. Mm...delicious, guilt-free baked falafel... and, what really makes this a great part of a meal is some tahini sauce! Check out this recipe:

Cheater Dill-Tahini Sauce - makes about 1/2 cup

I call this "cheater" because, instead of using fresh dill and cucumber as many tahini recipes call for, I mince some dill pickles as a convenient substitute. The end result is a truly "finger-lickin' good" sauce, worthy of the most-worthy falafel.

1/4 c tahini
juice from 1/2 lemon
two cloves garlic, grated or minced 
1 tsp dried parsley (or, add some chopped fresh parsley...)
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c dill pickles (I use the sandwich chip kind), minced
1/8-1/4 c water
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the tahini with the lemon juice. Add in the garlic, olive oil, and parsley, and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Add the pickles and mix, then add the water a tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches your desirable consistency (I like mine dippable but not very thin). Add salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

Easy Pita Chips - serves 2-3

And, lastly, here are some crunchy, salt and peppery pita chips to finish off the platter! The recipe for the chutney can be found in one of my earlier posts, although a word of caution: you may want to cut the spices to about 2/3 of the amount called for, as the chutney ended up being fairly pungent. Or, make extra tahini sauce and dip these suckers in that!

2 whole-wheat pitas
olive oil spray 
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Now, first you'll need to separate the two sides of your pita bread rounds: with a small knife, cut through the rim of the pita, then pull the two sides apart. You'll end up with 4 rounds, 1/2 the thickness of the original rounds - better for crisping! 

Next, cut the rounds into quarters, and place on a greased baking sheet (or two). You don't want the edges of the pieces touching. Now spray the pieces with olive oil (or, if you don't have spray, brush some olive oil on each piece), sprinkle evenly with the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to look crispy and the tops reveal spots of golden-brown. 

Alternatively, if you have a toaster oven, you can toast them in there too!