Sunday, October 18, 2009

I-Might-Be-in-Love Pesto Pasta

One of my many best-friend perks is access to Meaghan's *amazing* garden. She filled up a bag of veggies and herbs for me, and I cooked them all up in this pasta. Perfect conclusion to a very happy October weekend.

What You'll Need:
several tsp minced garlic
7 cherry tomatoes
2 bell peppers
1/2 large onion
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
several tbs olive oil
1 box shell pasta (serves 7)
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/6 cup pine nuts
splash of lemon juice

[I used pre-minced garlic because I was feeling mega-lazy. That's why it's referred to in terms of teaspoons. If you're using fresh garlic, just make it to taste.]

Stir-fry the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, broccoli (all diced/sliced), and 1 tsp. garlic with a little olive oil.

Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Add the pasta and cook according to instructions.

While everything's cooking, put the basil, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp garlic, pine nuts, and lemon juice in a food processor to make the pesto sauce. (If it's still too chunky, add more olive oil.)

In a huge bowl, toss together the stir-fry, pasta, and pesto sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Viola!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Vegan Pierogies

Quick and dirty... Yeah, I said it.
(Make in bulk to avoid multiple clean-ups.)

What You'll Need:
2 cups flour
warm water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 large onion
2 medium potatoes
Earth Balance (vegan butter spread)
soy milk
garlic salt
parsley flakes

Mix flour, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 cup oil, and some salt in a bowl.
Roll out into 1/8" sheet and cookie cut 3" circles.

Pan-fry onion, sliced, with a little water until caramel-color and soft.
Boil potatoes and mash them with some Earth Balance and a little soy milk.
Mix potatoes and onions and toss in some salt, pepper, garlic salt, and parsley flakes.
Whip it good.
[Make any filling you want, though. Seriously. They can even be made with apples and cinnamon for dessert.]

Add little dollops (I really hate that word) of mixture onto the circles.
Fold the dough over in half and seal with fork ridges.
Boil pierogies, 3 at a time, until they rise in the water.
Pull out quickly and pan fry in olive oil

.:Pierogie perfection:.

Cuckoo for Coconut... Soup.

I was really craving the coconut soup they served @ my college in Australia (miss you, Goldstein!), so I attempted to recreate it, leaving me with a totally bad ass/super easy recipe that serves 6-8.

What You'll Need:
3 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 bundle green onions
olive oil
1 package extra-firm tofu
2 15 oz. cans of light coconut milk
1 can equivalent of soy milk
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp red curry paste

In a pan, fry garlic (minced), red bell pepper (sliced thinly), and the white ends of 5 green onions (sliced thinly) in a little bit of olive oil. After they begin to soften [~2-3 min], add in cubes of extra-firm tofu. You'll want to cook this mixture together for another minute or two, until the tofu begins to slightly brown. Next, pour in coconut milk, soy milk, curry powder, red curry paste*, and the remainder of the green onions (sliced finely). Bring the soup to a high boil; then reduce the temperature and let simmer (covered) for about five minutes. At this point, you can add salt to taste.

*Use less if you don't want it that spicy. Also, try dissolving the powder in a little bit of water before you mix it in. The paste gets WAY too hot if there are chunks of it floating around!


Feel-Good Brocolli Soup

This one's good for the rainy day blues (and people who hate soy milk)...

What You'll Need:
1 cup raw cashews
5 cups vegetable broth
2 potatoes
1 large onion
4 cups broccoli florets
dried basil
garlic salt
nutritional yeast
baked garlic bread

(A) In a food processor, blend raw cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth.
(B) Cut potatoes into tiny cubes... Finely slice the onion. In a big-ass soup pot, put in 4 cups of vegetable broth, the onion, and the potatoes. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
(C) Stir in broccoli florets and some dried basil. Let cook for another 10 minutes or so.
(D) Pour the mixture from the food processor into the soup pot. Then take about 3/4 of the total soup and put it back into the food processor to blend smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot, so there are just a few chunks of vegetables left over. Salt and pepper to taste. (Garlic salt=good). Add nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavor.
(E) Top with baked garlic bread.

>>>Thank you to several blogs, books, and cooking shows whose combined efforts resulted in this recipe.<<<

Almondy Asparagus Plate

Before entering into this recipe, I should first ask if anyone's heard of any serious health repercussions for eating particles of burnt parchment paper... Being unfamiliar with parchment paper and the broiler setting, I lit my food on fire twice. Hopefully, you know better than this.

What You'll Need:
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 vegetable broth cube
chili powder
bundle of asparagus
3 or 4 carrots
olive oil
lemon juice

Set your oven to 450.

In a food processor, mix 1/8 cup of raw almonds with the vegetable broth cube (as well as a few shakes of chili powder.)

In a bowl, throw in asparagus and sliced carrots. Pour in about 3 tbs of oil and shake the food around. Then, pour in the almond mixture and try to distribute it evenly.

Assemble your creation on a baking sheet lined with *parchment paper!* and throw in the oven for about 5 minutes. Then, change the setting to *broiler!* and cook [with oven door slightly open] for another 5 minutes or so. (Make sure it doesn't burn... or light on fire.)

After it's cooked and slightly browned, throw in some lemon juice and another 1/8 cup of ground almonds... Even the veggie-haters won't be able to turn this one down.

>>>Props to several other veggie blogs who inspired this meal.<<<

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn in the Midwest Tofu Scramble

This is hopefully the first of many entries of this blog. To readers: if you would like to contribute to this blog, email me at I'm trying to figure out a less clunky way to add authors than this, but haven't yet. Anyone have any suggestions?

I don't think there should be a prescriptive "format" for this blog. Any entry is fine as long as somewhere in the post there is a recipe for a vegan food item, or a recipe for a dish that could easily be made vegan. Also, make sure to give the post a title, probably the name of your recipe, and add some labels to make the recipe easier to find in Google.


This morning I went upstairs to negotiate for some breakfast with a kitchen in need of a visit from the grocery store fairy. There was an adequate amount of food, for sure, but not many breakfast items. Basically, there was no oats to make oatmeal, my standard breakfast. But that's okay; I was in need of a change in the morning, anyways.

My mom said I should "look up" an "apple tofu scrambler" online. Interesting...I searched "apple tofu breakfast" and eventually found my way here. No apples, but there is tofu, sweet potatoes, and maple syrup in it.

Okay, I basically disregarded that recipe, but I owe inspiration for the following recipe to my mom and Tamara Marnell, of Bloomington, Indiana, author of The Amateur Nutritionist blog.

So here it is. I'm calling it Autumn in the Midwest tofu scramble:

  • two large chopped apples. I used honey crisp, which I have just under a half bushel of right now, purchased from a roadside stand in Michigan (see my other blog, which I need to update again, for why I was in Michigan).
  • 1/2 thinly sliced squash. I used a squash bought from the same roadside stand where I got the apples. I can't remember the name of this particular variety, but it's about the size of an acorn squash, and looks like a dark green pumpkin on the outside, and inside, it's just like a pumpkin. Any squash with orange, pumpkin-like flesh will work fine in this, as would sweet potatoes.
  • 1 onion. Okay, I didn't have any fresh onions. I used part of a frozen "seasoning blend" (mostly onions with a little bell pepper and celery as well), and a frozen fajita vegetable pack consisting of onions and bell peppers. I estimate what I added was the equivalent of one medium onion.
  • 1 cup chopped carrots. Again, an estimate, add as many carrots as you want.
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper. I would say green, or purple, would go best in this, mostly because almost everything else is a warm color, so the coolness of green and purple would balance it, color-wise.
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds. I used almonds, that's what I had available. I bet walnuts would be great in this, also.
  • 3/4 block firm tofu, pressed. More of this could be added, too, I just so happened to have 3/4 block leftover from yesterday's more modest breakfast of toast, tofu, and jelly.
  • About 1.5-2 tablespoons cinnamon. Unfortunately, I never actually measure things like this out, but about this much.
  • About 1 tablespoon allspice. Or equal parts nutmeg and cloves totaling to about a tablespoon.
  • 1-2 ounces Maple Syrup, or Agave Nectar, depending on how sweet you want it. I used a Maple Agave syrup blend.
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic. *See salt description at bottom of the list
  • enough oil to make thin layer on your pan
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy buttery spread (optional). I used earth balance. It's pretty good--has all natural ingredients and lactic acid derived from beets, not milk.
  • salt, to taste. *Okay, I couldn't find any garlic at the outset of this coffee drenched cooking endeavor, and when I tested the dish I thought it needed some garlic. My only option was garlic salt. Adding this turned out beautifully. I think the salt helped a lot, possibly more than the garlic.

In a large pan, combine oil, garlic, squash, onion, and carrots. Simmer on medium heat until squash is tender (about 5 minutes, if it's sliced thinly). Add apples, bell peppers, tofu, cinnamon, and allspice. Scramble all this together, adding syrup and butter substitute when cinnamon and allspice appear to be equally spread throughout the pan (Again, this is optional, at this point all the oil I had initially added had been absorbed by food, thus warranting more. I chose the earth balance, could have used more oil, though. Whatever you choose, the extra oil will mix with the syrup and help the spices spread evenly throughout the dish). Cook until apples are soft and tofu has a rich, golden color.

Top with more syrup to reach your desired level of sweetness. Serve with toast, or just eat it by itself.

This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people.

peace and love