Monday, June 22, 2015

Vegan Avgolemono -- Updated, EASY Version

I posted my first recipe for this soup six years ago, in 2009. The following is an updated, easy version based on a recipe from . I like it better than the tofu version. I know it's not Easter, but I've got tons of dried dill from the garden, and this is the perfect recipe to showcase it. If you want to check out the older recipe, it's here.

Vegan Avgolemono 
(Greek Easter Soup with Lemon and Rice)

Serves 4 generously
5 cups vegetable broth (I use a 32-oz box of Imagine  low sodium No-Chicken Broth + 1 cup water)
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 shallots, diced (or an onion)
2 carrots, diced 
2 stalks celery, diced
2 baby bok choys, chopped (or any greens -- kale, spinach, or whatever. Can also use MORE greens.)
3 tbsp mellow white miso
2 tbsp tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried dill, or more (I used 1/4 cup today, and it was great.)

Place broth, rice, and vegetables (except greens) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook 35 minutes, or until rice is done. Add bok choy the last 10 minutes. Whisk together the miso, tahini, and lemon juice (adding water if needed to make a smooth consistency.) Stir into soup. Add nutritional yeast, and dill.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chickpea - Kale Burgers

I adapted this recipe from one in Prevention Magazine. I changed the type of nuts and some of the veggies. 
Here's my recipe:

1 T ground flax
3 T hot water
1/4 c tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 t tamari
2 tsp maple syrup or agave
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cashews (or another kind of nut)
2/3 cup baby carrots
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large leaf of kale, stripped from stalk
1 t ground cumin
3/4 t salt, optional
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t cinnamon

1) Combine the ground flax and hot water in a small bowl; mix and set aside.
2) Make the lemon-tahini sauce by stirring together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and tamari in another small bowl, set aside.
3) Place the chickpeas, cashews, carrots, onion, and garlic in the food processor. Process until everything is finely chopped and mixture is nearly smooth. I had to stop my processor and scrape down the sides several times, and mine was still a bit on the chunky side.
4) Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
5) Process the kale until finely chopped, and add it to the mixing bowl.
6) Add the flax mixture and spices and mix well (I used my hands.)
7) Form into patties and cook on a nonstick skillet until nicely browned on both sides. You could probably bake them, but I haven't tried that yet.
8) Serve with salad and lemon tahini sauce.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Free Kale Chips

We went to the Kirkwood farmer's market today. Bought some handcrafted laundry soap, some herbs (fennel and dill) to plant in the garden, coffee beans from Stringbean Coffee Company, a local fair trade roaster, and various vegetables -- eggplant, small red potatoes, a red pepper. In honor of Earth Day, if you spent a certain amount you got a ticket for the roulette wheel. I won a lovely bunch of kale! 

It made a huge bowl of chips. By the time I remembered to take a picture, we had already eaten more than half.

What's great is that, except for a sprinkle of spices I already had, these delicious chips were free. Not bad, considering the store charges $5 to $7 for a 2.2 oz bag!

My recipe came from Oh She Glows

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ethiopian Vegetable Stew

I made Ethiopian Vegetable Stew in my new Berndes 11" saute pan. Love the pan -- it has high sides, a beautiful wooden handle, and a high-quality nonstick surface. The lid is glass.
The food is an adaptation of this recipe for Atakilt Wat (Ethiopian cabbage and potatoes) from Vegan Richa. My modified version is below; follow the link above for the original. It was delicious, the only thing missing was the injera.

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 small can diced green chilies
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1/4 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds 
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
dash of black pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
6 - 8 small red potatoes, chunked
1/2 napa cabbage, chopped (or any cabbage)
1 cup cooked lima beans, optional

In a large skillet, add 1 T vegetable broth and 1 T tamari, and heat at medium. Add garlic, ginger, chili, and onion. Mix, cook for 5 minutes. 
Add the cumin, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper. Mix and cook for 2 minutes. 
Add the carrots, potato and mix well. Add cabbage. Mix well, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir once in between. 
Reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and Cook for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add cooked lima beans near the end of cooking time.

my modifications include: omit oil, omit salt, add lima beans, use canned green chilies

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Happy Herbivore's Vegetable Korma

Emma and I are wild about the vegetable korma from Everest Cafe. This recipe from The Happy Herbivore Abroad (page 100) is almost as good! I made a few tweaks:

  • added cauliflower
  • added mushrooms
  • left out the cayenne (the garam masala provides plenty of spice on its own, and I wanted a mellower taste)
  • added 1 T arrowroot to the spiced soy milk (for the creamy curry version)
  • served it over a mix of Red Cargo Jasmine Rice and brown rice
This recipe will definitely become a staple.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Friday

my favorite lentils

Quinoa Rice-and-Shine
Apple, blueberries, soy milk

Sweet Tomatoes - Large veggie 
    salad with balsamic vinegar
Baked potato with pico and 

Lentils with potatoes and carrots
Collard greens

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Thursday

Kale and Olive Pasta Salad
Chock-full of veggies, and perfect for the first day of spring! The original recipe is called Pasta With Greens, Chickpeas, and Olives, and it comes from Nava Atlas' wonderful VegKitchen website. We ate it hot, but it would be equally delicious served cold. 

I made the following changes:

  • used brown rice elbow noodles
  • omitted the olive oil  and sauteed the veggies in a little water
  • added 12 oz sliced mushrooms
  • added the juice of half a lemon to the finished salad

And now for Thursday's meals:

Cream of Buckwheat
Apple, blueberries, soy milk

Kale and Olive Pasta Salad (recipe above)


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Wednesday

Brown rice and buckwheat
Apples, blueberries, soy milk

Gee Whiz Spread (from The UnCheese Book)
Rice cakes
Zevia cola

Enchiladas - refried beans mixed with leftover Gee Whiz spread
                       wrapped in Engine 2 sprouted whole-grain tortillas
                       topped with sauteed mushrooms
                       and Happy Herbivore Abroad Enchilada Sauce

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Tuesday

Buckwheat cooking

Buckwheat with soy milk
Apple, blueberries

Lentils, potatoes, and carrots
Rice cakes
Chocolate chip cookies
Zevia cola

African Green Beans and Chickpeas

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Monday

Colcannon - not the prettiest, but it was delicious!

Buckwheat (I made it in the rice cooker)
Apple, blueberries, soy milk

Soy latte 

Lentils and potatoes (leftover)
Rice cakes with a dab of tahini                               

Zevia cola

Chocolate chip cookies 
(Both recipes from Happy Herbivore)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Sunday

Ezekiel Cereal

Ezekiel Cereal with chopped apple, blueberries, and soy milk, Coffee

Leftover bean burgers with catsup  

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush
Chickpeas seasoned with chili powder and lime juice

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Week of Plant-Based Meals - Saturday

Pocono Cream of Buckwheat 
Blueberries, chopped apple
Soy milk

Bean burgers (recipe below)
Whole wheat toast
Hash browns

Kale chips 
Mary's Gone Crackers (Herb)

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese 
(recipe below)   


Bean Burgers
1 can drained kidney beans
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup rice flour
2 T tahini
2 T catsup
2 T vegetable broth mix or nutritional yeast

Process all ingredients in food processor, adding small amounts of water if needed, until well blended. Form into 5 patties. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet in 425 oven for 20 minutes, turning once. Serve on whole wheat toast, tortillas, or sprouted buns with condiments.

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese 
1 1/2 cups rice elbow noodles
1 chopped sweet potato
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1 1/2 T arrowroot
1 T veggie broth powder
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 pkg frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, etc)

Bring pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and set timer for 15 minutes. 
Put chopped sweet potato in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add 1 clove minced garlic, microwave 2 more minutes. Transfer to blender, add remaining ingredients except lime and veggies, and blend until very smooth. Place in saucepan and heat until thick, whisking often. Cook the frozen mixed veggies in microwave according to package directions. Drain rice pasta, and stir in the cooked veggies, sauce, and lime juice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spirit Melon?

The store called it a spirit melon. I cut it up and put it in a bowl in the fridge, prompting intrigued questions from the rest of the family: "What is this strange, pale fruit?"

But when I looked it up online, it turns out to be a sprite melon. I am a little disappointed. It's still very cute, and all, just not so mysterious and ... ghostly.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Here's a tasty McDougall-friendly dip based on one posted at  SparkPeople Recipes by Serene Vannoy.  The original doesn't contain tahini, but I added a tablespoon to give it a smoother consistency. It is still very low-fat. It's also very garlicky and lemony, so my garlic- and lemon-loving offspring liked it. It is a lovely red-orange color (the photo doesn't do it justice!)

Here's my version:

2 cans chickpeas, drained
1 4.25-oz jar roasted red peppers
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp tahini

Place in food processer and blend until smooth. Serve with crackers or pita.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Smoky Chickpea Soup

Here's what I fixed for lunch. The recipe was adapted from Mary McDougall's White Bean Soup recipe in the McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook. I substituted ingredients I had on hand, and it was very tasty and filling! I think you could sub just about any kind of broth, beans, and veggies, and it would be just as good.

1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 carrot, chopped
2 cups Imagine No-Chicken Broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp oregano
generous dash of liquid smoke
1 cup water
1 cup shell pasta (or other pasta)

Saute the green onions and carrots in a little broth in a medium-size saucepan until soft. Add the remaining ingredients except for the pasta, and bring to a boil. Add pasta (and additional water, if necessary) and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tofu Tacos With Cilantro-Garlic Aioli

It's been a very interesting day. Went grocery shopping. Stocked up for the week at two different stores ... and returned to find that the refrigerator/freezer had gone out and all the food that had been in it was at room temperature. Ugh. The fridge was a very old one, so we figured it wasn't worth trying to get it repaired. We went to Home Depot and found a nice, new, energy efficient one a little bigger than the old one--and it was even on sale. It's got an ice maker (yeah, we're the only people in the world who still don't have an ice maker) and nice glass shelves which will make finding things a breeze. I also really like the adjustable plastic door bins. The only problem is, the new fridge won't be delivered until next Saturday, so until then, we're roughing it. Luckily, we have a chest freezer in the basement, so the frozen food is okay (except what was in the upstairs fridge-top freezer, which we had to throw out). And my son is home from college, so we've set up his little dorm-size fridge to hold some of our stuff. Between that and a cooler, we'll make do, I guess.

On with the plan--today's dinner was Mary McDougall's Tofu Tacos with Cilantro-Garlic Aioli from the McDougall Made Easy DVD. On the DVD, Mary explains that she flavored the tofu with a seasoning mix similar to what they use on fish tacos. The seasoned, browned tofu is placed on a soft flour or corn tortilla, topped with cabbage, and then with a cilantro-garlic aioli sauce and hot sauce (we used Sriracha) if desired.

Here's a link to the marvelous recipe. If you want to see Mary making the tacos (and Dr. John eating them), here's where you can order the DVD.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pink Breakfast Smoothie

Place in blender:

2 large bananas
1 large apple
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup frozen mixed fruit
2 T. ground flaxseed
2 cups water
3/4 cup ice

Blend well, adding more water or ice if needed to achieve desired consistency. Makes 3 servings.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Purple Breakfast Smoothie

Place in blender:

1 large apple, chopped
2 large bananas
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups soy milk
2 T. ground flaxseed

Blend well, adding more water or soy milk if needed to achieve desired consistency. Makes 3 servings.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mom's Easy Vegetable Soup

This tasty soup was inspired by a recipe my mother and aunts used to make. The original was a quick and easy turkey-vegetable soup. This vegetarian version is just as simple to prepare, and just as good. It's one of my favorites for busy evenings when there's not much time to cook. It makes great leftovers, too!

Mom's Easy Vegetable Soup

4 cups Imagine No-Chicken Broth (or your favorite vegetable broth)
2 cups water
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes
1 16-oz package of mixed vegetables
1 cup whole wheat elbow noodles (or other pasta of your choice)
2 Field Roast vegetarian sausages*, sliced, OR a 12-oz package of Nate's Meatless Meatballs (or a vegetarian meat substitute of your choice)
2 T dried minced onion OR a 1.25 oz packet of vegetarian onion soup mix
1 T Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried minced garlic
1/4 t dried thyme

Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Sprinkle with vegetarian parmesan, if desired, and serve with bread or crackers.

*These are the BEST vegetarian sausages I've ever tasted--especially the Smoked Apple Sage

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bread Stuffing

Sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and bread stuffing are some of my favorite holiday foods, and they taste every bit as good in January as they do in November. Our dinner tonight was just like Thanksgiving, minus the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie--and, Eryca says, minus the little nephew eating all the olives!

Here is the recipe for the delicious, traditional bread stuffing we had tonight. We've had some version of this every Thanksgiving for over twenty years. Some years we do the deluxe recipe with chestnuts and Jerusalem artichokes; this is the less complicated adaptation.

Bread Stuffing
1 loaf Brownberry Natural 100% Whole Wheat Bread
1 T olive oil (optional)
1 large onion
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 lb Gimme Lean (sausage flavored), broken into chunks
1 1/2 cups Imagine No-Chicken Broth
1 T dried parsley
1 t dried sage
3/4 t dried thyme
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bread into cubes. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, and place under broiler for 4 - 5 minutes, or until brown and toasty, watching them closely so they won't burn. Saute the onion in olive oil or a little broth. When onions are soft and turning golden, add the Gimme Lean. Saute 3 or 4 minutes, then add mushrooms and saute until soft and brown. Mix the sauteed vegetables and the toasted bread cubes together in a large bowl. Add broth, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Mix in herbs and spices, and mix well. Bake in ovenproof casserole or stainless steel soup pot for 30 - 40 minutes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Super Bowl Chili, Vegetarian Style

Having vegetarians over on Super Bowl Sunday? Want a spicy, warming bowl of tastiness, minus the animal products? No worries--here are TWO easy chili recipes that are so good, no one will miss the meat!

Veggie Chili

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. water, wine, or olive oil for sauteeing
2 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 large green pepper, diced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 T brown sugar
2 T chili powder
1 T dried cumin seed or dried cumin
1 T dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coriander
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t allspice
2 cans kidney beans
1 package Smart Ground* "beef" flavored crumbles, optional

Saute the onion and garlic in 2 T. water, wine, or olive oil. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetables, brown sugar, and all the seasonings; simmer 30 minutes, adding additional water if needed to prevent burning. Add the kidney beans and the Smart Ground (if desired), and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or more.

* The Smart Ground is not necessary, but it does give the chili a "meatier" texture. If you prefer, you can substitute another ground beef analog, such as Gimme Lean, or leave it out entirely.

Slow Cooker White Chili

2 8-oz. packages of tempeh, cubed*
1 T. olive oil
3 cans pinto or canellini beans, rinsed & drained
4 cups vegetable broth (not tomato-based--I like Imagine's No-Chicken)
2 4.5 oz cans diced green chilies, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 T cumin seed
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1/2 t ground cayenne
1/4 t salt
1 sliced avocado, optional, for garnish

In a large skillet, saute the tempeh cubes in olive oil until golden.
Place the beans in the slow cooker and mash them slightly. Add the sauteed tempeh, vegetable broth, chilies, onion, cumin, garlic, cayenne, and salt. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Serve with sliced avocado.

* Tempeh is a cultured soy product with a chewy, meatlike texture. You can find it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or natural foods store, near the tofu. It usually comes in 8-oz packages. Tempeh can be frozen until you're ready to use it. When you take it out of the freezer, put it in a bowl under cold tap water until it's defrosted enough to slice into cubes. It's great sauteed in a little oil and simmered in a flavorful sauce, as in this chili.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Summer Squash

The garden is still going strong. Lots of summer squash this week! Emma loves yellow squash sauteed in olive oil. I like it pureed with soy milk. My husband and oldest son, Paul, will eat it any old way. And Will won't touch it at all.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Bumper Crop

The garden is full of eggplant now--both regular and Japanese. We had Baba Ghanoush a few days ago. Today I think I'll just slice, saute, and serve with hummus and pitas.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indian Tofu, Tomatoes, and Peas

I made this recipe a few weeks ago. It was adapted from a recipe in Delicious Living magazine, one of the freebie publications I pick up occasionally at Whole Foods. It was easy, and very tasty--I think I'll make it again this week, and throw in some dried curry leaves.

1 lb extra firm tofu
1/8 t salt
2 t curry powder
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
cooking spray, optional

Press excess moisture out of the tofu with a towel. Cut tofu into cubes. Sprinkle with salt and 1 t of the curry powder. Spray a nonstick skillet lightly with cooking oil spray (if desired). Cook the tofu in the skillet until it starts to turn golden. Remove tofu to a bowl and set aside. Saute the garlic and ginger in 1 T water in the same skillet. Add tomatoes and the remaining curry powder. Stir and cook 3 - 4 minutes, until the moisture in the tomatoes is reduced. Add frozen peas; cook covered until peas are almost tender, about 3 minutes, adding 1 T of water if needed. Scatter the tofu over the tomato-pea mixture and heat 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Serve alone, or on top of pasta or rice.


My middle son, Will, graduated from high school on Wednesday evening, as one of the two co-valedictorians for the Gateway Institute of Technology's 2009 graduating class. (Gateway is a St. Louis public magnet school). In the photo, my son is the tall one in the back row. He gave a fine valedictory address--we were so proud of him! In fact, I'm proud of all his accomplishments. He set himself a goal to graduate from high school in just three years, and he worked very hard, taking extra classes in addition to his regular courseload, in order to reach his goal. Along the way, he found time to devote many, many hours each week to his school's FIRST Robotics team. He was the driver of his team's robot, and traveled with the team to the Kansas City Regional competition (where they won!) and to the FIRST World Competition in Atlanta. He designed and built a prototype for a new and improved game controller for the FIRST Tech Challenge, another robotics program his school participated in--and is currently working with his engineering teacher to build a large, multi-controller version of his design. He'll start college at Washington University in the fall, majoring in electrical engineering. Hooray, Will-- you did it!

Mother's Day Muffins

My daughter Emma made me these delightful and delicious heart-shaped muffins for Mother's Day! She used the recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Muffins from the FatFree Vegan recipe index. She had to do a bit of creative substituting for ingredients we were out of, like substituting soy "buttermilk" (soy milk with a tablespoon of vinegar added) for the orange juice.
That evening, we had dinner at Cafe Natasha's, a Persian restaurant on South Grand. I had the Rice and Curry Vegetable Platter, as well as my favorite appetizer, Baba Ghannouj.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Black Lentil and Split Pea Dal

I originally checked 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer out from the library. But you can only make so many curries in a two-week loan period! I couldn't in good conscience keep renewing the book over and over again, even if my husband is the library director. Finally, I gave in and bought my own copy.

Now that I own the book, my goal is to make at least one curry per week. At that rate I should be able to work my way through all 660 curries in, uh ... about twelve and a half years! This week's choice is an adaptation of Black Lentils and Split Peas with Cardamom--or Chilke Waale Urad Aur Chane Ki Dal. As usual, I omitted the ghee and other oils, and changed amounts of ingredients. I doubled the amount of lentils and split peas. I served the dal with brown rice and papads Italiccrisped in the microwave (as suggested by Madhur Jaffrey).

The legumes and Indian spices can be found in Asian and international food stores. I bought mine at Global Foods in Kirkwood, MO, one of my favorite places to shop.

Black Lentil and Split Pea Dal

1 1/2 cup split black lentils

1/2 cup yellow split peas

1/2 t ground turmeric

1 onion

8 cloves garlic

chunk of fresh ginger approximately 1" x 1" x 1 1/2", sliced

3 fresh Serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed

2 t cumin seeds

1/2 t asafetida

6 cardamom pods

1 t sea salt

fresh cilantro for garnish

  • Place the lentils and split peas in a pot, and cover with cold water. Rub the beans between your fingers. When the water gets cloudy, pour the beans into a strainer, return to pot, and cover with water again. Repeat this three or four times until the water is fairly clear. Drain the beans and return to the pot.

  • Add 6 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Skim off and discard the foam that forms on the surface. Stir in the turmeric and simmer uncovered 30 minutes until beans are tender and most of the water has evaporated.

  • Meanwhile, put the onion, garlic, ginger, and chiles in a food processor. Pulse until minced.

  • Cook cumin seeds in a skillet until they begin to turn reddish brown, about 1 minute. Add the onion-chile mixture, the asafetida, and the cardamom pods. Stir-fry until the onion is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

  • Stir the salt into the onion mixture. Add 1 cup water, and set aside until the lentils are ready.

  • When the lentils are tender, stir in the onion mixture. Simmer gently 15 more minutes.

  • You can remove the cardamom pods before serving. (Or you can leave them in, as I did, and listen to people exclaim when they get an intense bite of cardamom!)

  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. I put more cilantro on the table for additional garnishing.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Everest Cafe

Last week we visited Everest Cafe, a St. Louis restaurant that serves authentic Nepalese, Korean, and Indian food. The owner, Devi Gurung States, grew up in Nepal, and his wife is from South Korea. Dr. States is committed to promoting better health and serving high-quality food. His amazing story can be read here, on the restaurant's website.

First, we ordered an appetizer tray that contained Vegetable Mo-Mo (Tibetan dumplings stuffed with vegetables, cumin, garlic, ginger, and spices), Vegetable Samosas (pastry puffs filled with potatoes, onion, and coriander) and Vegetable Pakoras (vegetables coated in chickpea flour and--gulp--deep fried). The appetizers were served with the best tamarind sauce I've ever tasted.

For my entree, I had Tama Bodi Tarkari, a wonderful combination of blackeyed peas, potatoes, bamboo shoots, and tomato sauce, served with steamed rice. My husband chose Mixed Organic Vegetable Tarkari with Tofu, cooked in a Nepali-style sauce, and served with green onions-- spicy and delicious. The two kids who came with us didn't eat vegetarian, but my daughter's entree came with Everest Dahl, a mellow lentil soup made with Himalayan herbs and spices.

The food was fantastic, there were good vegetarian options, and the ambience was casual and enjoyable. I'll definitely visit The Everest Cafe again!

Kidney Bean Salad

Lunch today was kidney bean salad made with a delicious tofu mayonnaise from one of my book fair books, Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless "Poultry" Potpourri. This book was written by Karen Davis, the founder of United Poultry Concerns, a non-profit education organization involved with the treatment of domestic fowl.

I'm not normally a big fan of tofu mayonnaises--they always seem too heavy to me, and I never use up the leftovers. But this one was good--light, sweet, and tangy. I only made 1/4 the recipe, so I didn't have gobs of it left like I usually do--just a little dab, which we'll be able to use up in the next few days.

Here's the way I made it:

Oil-Free Tofu Mayonnaise

4 oz Mori-Nu lite silken tofu, firm
1 small clove garlic
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
water, if needed to thin

Blend all ingredients. (I used my little Cuisinart mini-blender that the Smart Stick fits into).

Kidney Bean Salad
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 T oil-free tofu mayonnaise (above)
2 T sweet pickle relish

Mash kidney beans with a potato masher. Mix all ingredients. Serve with pitas or crackers.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Bento Box Give-Away!

Mission: Vegan is honoring Earth Day by giving away awesome bento boxes for packing your own lunch! Here's the link to the contest. All you have to do is post a comment on the contest post on Mission: Vegan's blog answering this question:

What will you do to reduce your carbon footprint?
The contest deadline is midnight on Earth Day (April 22).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vegan Easter Soup

Before we married (25 years ago this August!) my husband had a recipe for a Greek Easter soup called Mayeritsa. It contained lamb, and involved beating eggs until stiff, stirring in lemon juice, then combining the egg mixture with the hot broth, and "stirring furiously".

I created a vegetarian version of this years ago, taking out the lamb, but could not (at that time) come up with a substitute for the eggs.

Here's this year's attempt at a vegan version, which my family judged a success. I substituted "No Chicken" broth for the lamb broth, but you could use any vegetable broth you like that is not tomato-based. I also used Yves Heart's Desire Meatless "Beef" Strips. The guys liked this addition, but my daughter and I felt the soup would be just as good--and maybe better--without them. I used tofu blended with soy milk for the eggs.

2 bunches green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup white cooking wine (optional)
1 T dried parsley
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
8 cups Imagine "No Chicken" vegetable broth
2 Rapunzel vegan vegetable bouillon cubes
1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice, cooked
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, cooked
Yves Heart's Desire Meatless "Beef" Strips (optional)
3 oz firm silken lite tofu
1/3 cup soy milk
Juice from 2 large lemons
salt, pepper

In a large soup pot, saute the onions and celery in 1/4 cup white wine or water, until golden. Add parsley and spinach and saute until soft, adding more water if needed. Add the vegetable broth, rice, and meatless "beef" strips, and simmer 10 minutes. Blend the tofu and soy milk in blender until very smooth (or blend in a bowl with immersion blender). Add lemon juice to tofu mixture and blend briefly. Pour the tofu-lemon mixture slowly into the hot soup, stirring constantly. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Potato and Spinach Masala

This is really, really good. Okay, so it's not as low in fat as most of my recipes--it contains lite coconut milk, which adds 3.5 grams of fat per serving. But it's soooooo good! The combination of lime and coconut milk is incredible.

This recipe was adapted from Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala in the April 2009 Vegetarian Times.

2 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold or Klondike yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 jalapeno chile, chopped
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1 13.5-oz can lite coconut milk
4 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 1/2 t garam masala
2 T lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Steam the potatoes in steamer basket for about 10 minutes, until just tender.
Meanwhile, saute the onion in 1/4 cup water in a large nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, and continue sauteeing until golden and fragrant, adding more water if needed. Stir in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir in the potatoes. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and garam masala, and cook 2 minutes until spinach is wilted. Stir in lime juice and cilantro just before serving. Serve over brown rice.

A Critical Look at Vegetarian Times

Probably I'm just too critical.

I've subscribed to Vegetarian Times for years, but lately it seems to have changed its focus. For one thing, a lot more of the recipes seem to be based around eggs and dairy. Of course, they do include some vegan recipes--like the current (April '09) issue's feature on making your own vegan faux cheeses--but most have a lot of oil. (See? I'm never satisfied!)

Obviously, a commercial publication has to appeal to a broad spectrum of people in order to stay in business; I can't fault them for that. And there are alternative publications that cater to vegan readers; among them are Vegetarian Resource Journal, a quarterly publication, and Dr. McDougall's monthly newsletter containing health-related articles and a selection of health-promoting recipes. These publications don't include dairy or egg recipes. (They don't include beautifully-styled, glossy food photos either, but you can't have everything!)

Back to VT--another thing I've noticed is that many of the articles in recent months seem to be aimed at the proverbial young person who doesn't yet know how to boil water. Of course, this may be a conscious decision, an attempt to appeal to a new generation of vegetarians--and, looked at from that perspective, it's not a bad idea.

I have to admit, though, that every month there are several recipes in Vegetarian Times that I enjoy tremendously; recipes that can easily be adapted to be lower in fat. Last month (March '09) there was the Mixed Vegetable Kootu and the Spicy Asian Stir-Fry with Whole-Wheat Linguine.

And this month? My copy arrived only a few days ago, and already I've made--and blogged about--three of the recipes. All were absolutely delicious! Tonight's dinner--Potato and Spinach Masala--is definitely something I'll make again. I also enjoyed the descriptions of readers' favorite vegetarian restaurants in the Dining Out awards.

So I guess I should just quit my griping and enjoy the beautiful magazine, skipping over the parts that don't interest me. Like the obligatory Easter article about eggs.

What do you think? If you're a vegetarian or a vegan--or even if you're not--please leave a comment and give your opinion. Do you read Vegetarian Times? Do you like it? Is there another food-related publication you like better?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Veggie Hot Pot

This is adapted from one of the many, many delicious recipes in The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.
1 onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock (I used
Imagine No-Chicken Broth)
2 carrots, chopped
4 potatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T curry powder
1 t ground cumin
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t allspice
1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 apple, chopped
1 cup (or more) frozen cut green beans
1 cup (or more) frozen cauliflower
2 cans chickpeas
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, saute the onions in a few tablespoons of the broth until beginning to brown. Stir in 2 cups of the stock and the carrots, potatoes, garlic, curry, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, chili pepper, and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Add the apple, green beans, cauliflower, chickpeas, and the rest of the broth. Return to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve with pitas or over rice.

Japanese Asparagus Dengaku

There's not much my 15-year-old daughter, Emma, likes better than asparagus (unless it's lentils ... or potatoes ... or anything with lots and lots of garlic).

Emma made this as a side dish for our dinner tonight. It's adapted from a 5-ingredient recipe published in Vegetarian Times--this one is from the April 2009 issue that arrived yesterday. The description explains that dengaku is a Japanese barbecue tradition in which foods are coated with a miso-based sauce, then grilled (or, in this case, broiled).

2 lb. asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
3 T white (Shiro) miso
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 T)
2 T tahini
1 T maple syrup

Place asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
Whisk together miso, lemon juice, tahini, and maple syrup in a bowl. Brush the miso mixture over the asparagus. Broil 6 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and starting to brown.

The miso sauce is absolutely delicious. I'm thinking about trying it on brussels sprouts next.

What's-Left-in-the-Pantry Lunch

A good lunch that everyone liked--even the one who views vegetables with suspicion. Amounts and ingredients are approximate; the idea was to use up the dribs and drabs that were lurking in the freezer and pantry.

4 oz whole wheat shell noodles
4 oz tri-color rotini pasta
1/2 cup frozen broccoli
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen green beans
1 lb. tofu, cubed
2 T tamari
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T maple syrup
2 T sweet and spicy mustard

Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta 7 minutes, then add frozen vegetables. Cover pot and return quickly to a boil; boil 7 more minutes. While pasta and vegetables are cooking, brown tofu cubes in a nonstick skillet, stirring frequently. Whisk tamari, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and sweet/spicy mustard together in a small bowl. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the sauce over the tofu and continue cooking, stirring frequently. When the pasta and vegetables are done, pour into colander to drain, then return to pot. Stir in tofu cubes and remaining sauce.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate Cookie Bars

Sometimes you just want chocolate.

After dinner, Emma got a craving for chocolate chip cookies. She found a recipe, sweet-talked her brother into taking her to the grocery store for chocolate chips, and set to work.

Before long, the cookies were out of the oven, and the kids were making them disappear--fast. Meanwhile, I was trying to come up with a low fat treat that I could make without another run to the store. These are very sweet, but at least they have no added fat. And they taste great with a mug of cold soy milk.

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 oz lite firm silken tofu
1/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/4 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Combine wet ingredients, including tofu, in a separate bowl, and blend with immersion blender (or blend in regular blender). Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir to combine. Spread batter in a nonstick 9" X 13" cake pan. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool in pan briefly, then cut into bars.