Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

I love roasted vegetables! Here's a simple recipe if you like brussels sprouts and honestly, even if you're not sure if you like them, you will be eating them up after you make this dish.

1 lb bag of Brussels Sprouts (Trader Joe's has them pre-washed) - halved lengthwise

6 Small Portobello Mushrooms (Trader Joe's has these packaged) - sliced
4 Tbsp of Butter or Vegan Margarine
1-2 tsp of Rosemary Leaves
2 tsp of Garlic Powder
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
1-2 tsp of Salt
1-2 tsp of Black Pepper

1/4 cup of Water

Preparation is key for this recipe to work under 30 minutes. First, pre-heat your oven to 450º, meanwhile halve your brussels sprouts and place them in a baking pan or sheet. Take the olive oil and spread evenly across your sprouts. Take 1-2 tsp of salt and sprinkle evenly over the sprouts. Do the same for garlic powder and black pepper. Place pan in oven. Bake for about 20 minutes.

While your sprouts are in the oven. Slice your mushrooms. Heat your pan with 2 Tbsp of butter or margarine. When butter starts to melt toss in your sliced mushrooms. Cook until covered in butter or until soft. Toss in rosemary, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Take an additional 2 Tbsp of butter and melt in the pan again. Stir until well mixed. Pour in water. You'll want to make a sauce out of this so the dish won't be dry.

Once the sprouts are finished in the oven... (they're done when you see them begin to caramelize.) Yum! you can take them out of the oven and taste test it as well. When you're satisfied, take the sprouts and place them in the pan with the mushroom sauté. Make sure you have enough sauce so that your dish doesn't wind up dry. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Finish by serving over a bed of rice! (I can't believe how good this is...) Oh and if you want to get adventurous add fried onions. Heh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Green Beans and Fried Onions

You got it, fried onions! I don't know why I hadn't discovered this sooner. Trader Joe's sells cans of fried onions and they were on display a few days before Thanksgiving. I decided to put them to use and try them on EVERYTHING... :D

(You can try them with asparagus too!)

French Green Beans
Trader Joe's Fried Onions
1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
2 tsp Garlic Powder

Heat oiled pan. When pan is hot, toss in a handful of onions and start to sauté. Toss in the green beans. Stir. Add garlic powder pinch of salt... keep stirring. Cook until green beans are softer but still bright green. Don't overcook. Add more onions and salt to taste. The onions are already salty so be aware of how much salt you are adding. If you're unsure, do a taste test.

Yummmy. I love this recipe with asparagus! Fried onions are the best!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nearly Vegan Thanksgiving Feast

Yum! I wish I could have Thanksgiving food all over again! Doesn't it look good? Anyway, I promised I would post pictures of my Thanksgiving food and here it is in all its glory. Unfortunately, I would be breaking my own rules if I posted the recipe to this whole meal. It was an entire process to get all of these ingredients together. I might post the green beans though... that was easy! I discovered Trader Joe's fried onions too.... now I'm putting them on EVERYTHING. Heh.

Sigh... tofurkey... mmm.

Last but not least... everyone's favorite mashed potatoes. My boyfriend decided to micromanage my kitchen skills by taking this task over. Luckily he pulled this one off beautifully thanks to his fond memories of mom's own recipe. What a good boy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Broccoli Shiitake Somen

Wow, I'm just now coming up for air. I was working 12 hour days right before the holidays. I still have to post my Thanksgiving feast, but first try this light (as in not how heavy Thanksgiving food can be) dish that's simple and easy to make. Good especially if you're tired of cooking and eating Thanksgiving leftovers. Or if you just want a break from rich food. All you need are a few ingredients.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Somen Noodles
4 Tbsp Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Tbsp Canola Oil or Sesame Oil

Boil somen noodles in vegetable broth. Prepare broccoli and shiitake mushrooms. Slice and chop. Take a pan and sauté mushrooms and broccoli in oil. Sauté until broccoli has soften and turned bright green. Mushrooms should soften as well. Cover for a few minutes while you drain the somen noodles. Make sure to keep about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth to add to the noodles once you are finished with the vegetables.

Uncover veggies and add oyster sauce. Stir until ingredients are mixed well. Place noodles in a bowl, stir in veggies, add in broth. Add additional amounts of oyster sauce as needed.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thai Green Curry with Mint

With all of the family stuff I had to do the last couple of weeks and Halloween, I have been remiss in my regular cooking habits. But, I'm back today. The night before Super Tuesday is a chilly one in Los Angeles and it inspired me to make some warm yummy curry. All you need here are a few ingredients to get you going.

10 Baby Carrots, sliced
5-8 Mint Leaves, chopped
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 of a Ginger, minced
1 Tbs of Canola Oil
1 Package of Thai Baked Tofu from Trader Joe's, sliced
1 Jar of Green Thai Curry Sauce from Trader Joe's
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper
Dash of Garlic Powder

If you want to serve your dish over rice you can save time by cooking it before you start preparing the ingredients. When you're ready, place the sliced carrots in a pan with some water. Boiling the carrots first will soften them enough to be able to sauté them with the peppers. Poke the carrots with a fork to make sure they are soft enough. You want your carrots to still be a bit crunchy so don't boil them for too long. Next heat a pan with oil. In the meantime, drain your carrots. Throw in the salt, pepper, ginger, garlic powder, peppers, mint and carrots into the pan. Stir. Keep cooking for a few minutes until the peppers soften a little. Now you can put the tofu in. Stir. If the ingredients start to dry out stir in a little curry sauce. Keep stirring. Once the mint looks a little cooked. Pour in the rest of the sauce to finish. Place lid over pan to let the steam heat the sauce and cook the vegetables a little more.

The sauce from Trader Joe's is a bit tangy so it's perfect over rice!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Greek Style Orzo with Tomatoes

Do you like orzo, feta, tomatoes, and dill? If the answer is yes, then definitely try this recipe stolen from Epicurious.com once again. I loved this dish because it was super simple to make and I wound up with a lot of leftovers!

3 Tbs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups of Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Chopped Dill
1 tsp grated Lemon Zest
1 cup Orzo
1 1/2 cup Crumbled Feta (6 oz) (I bought an exact 6 oz plastic tub of this at Trader Joe's)

Toss together oil, tomatoes, dill, and lemon zest in a large bowl. By the way an easy way to zest a lemon is to take a vegetable peeler and peel some skin off of a lemon. Then mince. 1 tsp of zest is easy to get from just peeling it a few times. Add a little pepper and a tiny bit of salt to your mix. (The feta is pretty salty so you want to make sure you don't add too much salt.) Let sit after stirring.

Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook orzo. Drain. Add to the above bowl mix. Stir vigorously. Add feta. Stir once more. Add additional salt or pepper if necessary. But only after you taste test it!

Simple and good!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Parmesan

Another stolen recipe from Epicurious.com. Although quick, this recipe does take a little time to cook in the oven. But it's totally worth it! All I have to say is: YUM!

1 pound of Asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 Tbs of Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) - they sell tubs of these already grated at Trader Joe's

Preheat oven at 450ºF using middle or lower rack.

Toss together cut asparagus, potatoes, oil and sprinkled salt and pepper about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp in a large shallow baking pan. Spread evenly. Roast stirring once after 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and roast until cheese has melted. About a minute or so.

I accidentally placed my pan on the top rack for almost 15 minutes. It really depends on your oven. I have a powerful gas oven which I had preheated, so it cooked pretty quickly.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Yummy Mango Burrito

I know what you're thinking, mango in a burrito? Adding a mango slice will add a nice and subtle sweetness to the burrito. I was inspired from an old recipe I had tried from The Millenium Cookbook which used mango in a Vietnamese style roll. On a whim, I decided to try it in a burrito. The below vegan recipe serves 1, but you can increase the amount for more.


1 Slice of Mango
2-3 Small Slices of Avocado
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Clove of Garlic
1/2 12 oz. Can of Pinto Beans
Handful of Cilantro
5 Mushrooms
1 tsp of Red Chili Pepper
1/4 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 of an Onion would've been nice, but I didn't have one during the making
1/2 tsp of 21 Seasoning from Trader Joe's (some might consider this cheating, but it makes the recipe quick)
Large flour tortillas
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp Canola Oil

Prepare by chopping up garlic and cilantro. Slice bell pepper into strips. Slice mushrooms too. Place oil, red chili pepper, cayenne pepper, seasoning, and garlic in a pan over medium heat. After pan has been heated, about 5 to 10 minutes - add bell pepper, mushrooms, and pinto beans. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a little water if necessary. Keep stirring. In the meantime, place a tortilla in the toaster oven for about a minute just to warm up and soften. Cover your pan. Slice the avocado and prepare a slice of mango.

After the tortilla has been heated. Spoon 1/2 or 1/4 of bean stir-fry onto the tortilla. Add a few avocado slices, cilantro, and mango. Fold burrito. Click here to see how to fold a burrito. Top off with salsa if you'd like. My dinner for two consecutive nights!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Creamy Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas

Don't try this at home if you're vegan. At least not yet. This recipe is vegetarian but uses a lot of dairy. I will have to report back on the vegan version, that I haven't made yet. For now, I'm posting this recipe variation that I tried from Epicurious.com. The original recipe was too bland for me, so I decided to change it a little.

1 cup frozen peas, not thawed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp of dried red-pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves smashed
3 cups packed baby spinach (3 oz)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp of lemon juice
1 pound of dried gnocchi
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan

Simmer peas with cream, red-pepper flakes, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt in a 12-inch skillet or pan. Be sure to use smashed garlic. Peel and use the side of a large knife. Use your right hand to press down on the flat part of the knife. This will 'smash' the garlic. Simmer for about 5 minutes covered or until peas have soften.

Add spinach and cook over medium-low heat, uncovered, stirring until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. I used a vegetable peeler for the zest by peeling the skin off of the lemon. I then chopped the peel into bits.

Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in a pot with 3 Tbs of salt per 6 quarts of water until the gnocchi floats to the top. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain gnocchi.

Add gnocchi to sauce with cheese and the pasta water. Stir. Add salt, pepper, and possibly more Parmesan cheese to taste.
So good!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Peruvian Lima Bean Casserole

I found this great recipe from a cookbook called The World in Your Kitchen by Troth Wells. This great book is chock full of simple vegetarian recipes from all around the world. Lots of exotic dishes which don't take hours to prepare! If you like Lima beans and a tangy taste you'll love this dish.

1 1/4 cups Lima or butter beans, cooked
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 tomatoes, chopped
rind and juice of 1/2-1 lemon
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Place the Lima beans in a bowl and partially mash with a fork. Heat the oil and fry onion for a minute or two. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook for a few minutes more. The mashed beans can be spooned in now, mix them well. Add the tomatoes, lemon rind and juice, parsley and seasoning. Cook, covered for 5-10 minutes more to let the flavor infuse. Serve over bed of rice or with tortilla chips.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thai Peppers & Tofu

If you like Thai food and you shop at Trader Joe's, you should definitely try this super simple recipe I made up yesterday. Even my picky non-vegetarian boyfriend loved it.

Trader Joe's Brand Organic Baked Thai Tofu - cut into cubes
Trader Joe's Brand Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
1/4 sliced Yellow Onion
3 sliced Green Peppers (for variation use 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 green pepper)
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Sea Salt (or regular salt)
1 Tbsp Canola Oil

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper if you like it a little spicy
1 cup cooked basmati rice to serve with

First, prepare your pan with 1 Tbsp canola oil, 2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp of cayenne, and 2 tsp of garlic powder over high heat. Throw in sliced onion. Cook while stirring occasionally. When onion softens throw in the sliced green peppers. Keep stirring. Cook until the peppers start to soften. Throw in thai tofu. Stir. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Take the thai curry sauce and pour about 3-4 Tbsp in. Depending on how you want your dish to taste, I would recommend putting the initial amount in and then tasting it. Pour additional amount in to your liking. Cook for a final few minutes until peppers are softer. Be careful not to overcook them. Peppers should be softer, but not mushy.

Serve over bed of rice!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Easiest Vegan Pancakes Ever!

These yummy vegan pancakes were the easiest pancakes I've ever made. For variation, you can throw some fresh fruit, walnuts, and maple syrup on them!

1 Cup Flour
1 Tbsp of Sugar (I used organic cane sugar from Trader Joe's)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp of salt
1 Cup Soy Milk (I used Trader Joe's Soy Creamer)
2 Tbsp of Canola Oil

Combine flour, sugar, powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add soy milk and oil to your mixture. Mix with wire whisk. I used a wire whisk hand blender. Mix until smooth. Set a non-stick pan over medium heat. I kept a can of canola oil spray handy just in case. The pan can get really hot after the first pancake, keep watch so you don't overcook them. Also, make sure your pan is lightly oiled especially if you're not using a non-stick pan (thus keeping spray handy).

Take a ladel (I used an ice cream scoop) and pour one spoonful of mix into the pan. Make sure you spread it around a little by picking up the pan and circling. You want the pancake to be thin, but still completely covered. Flip carefully with a spatula when you see the mixture bubble or if the sides turn a yellowish brown. Step and repeat until all the mix is gone!

Total Time: 30 minutes! Top with maple syrup. YUM!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

I was happy to see Vegan Yum Yum post a quick and simple recipe. It was really easy to make and of course yummy to boot. You will need a blender, I used my hand blender and it worked nicely. I modified it only ever so slightly. Click here for the original recipe.

1 large Ripe Tomato, chopped
1/2 Cup Raw Cashews
1 Tbs Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Water

2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
6 oz. of Spaghetti (I used Linguine)
3/4 tsp of Salt
1-2 tsp of Black Pepper
1 Large Handful of Fresh Basil, chopped

Boil water with salt and add in pasta when finished.

Add chopped tomato, cashews, tomato paste, and water. Blend smoothly. Add olive oil to a large pan over medium-heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Pour sauce into the pan bringing to a simmer. Add salt to taste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.

Drain pasta once finished cooking. Add pasta to pan with sprinkling black pepper and chopped basil leaves. Toss in pan. Serve and garnish with basil leaves.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spicy Garlic Eggplant

I really enjoy eggplant especially when it's a little fried. The following dish is adapted from the typical Chinese dish served in many restaurants.

Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/4 Tbs of Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp of Rice Vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp of Cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbs of Vegetable Stock

Remaining Ingredients:

3 Cups Peanut Oil
1 Medium-sized Eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
2 tsp garlic, minced

Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Reserve. Heat wok or pan over high heat for 45 seconds. Add the peanut oil and coat the wok with spatula. When heated, place the eggplant strips in a strainer and lower into oil. Cook for 1 minute, or until eggplant softens or gets a little fried. You'll notice when the eggplant starts to darken. Remove, drain, and reserve.

In another pan, place 1 1/2 Tbs of oil from the previous pan. Over high heat add the minced garlic. Stir until it browns, then place the eggplant in the pan or wok. Stir together and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Stir the sauce and pour it in. Stir until sauce thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat and serve!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spicy Kung Pao Tofu

If you like peppers this recipe is definitely for you. Inspired by the Chinese version of 'Kung Pao Chicken' this healthy vegetarian version is also simple to make. I stole this from Recipezaar.com and modified it a little bit. Click here for the original.

2 Tbs of Vegetable Broth
1 Tbs Soy Sauce, 2 tsp of Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp of Cornstarch
1/2 tsp of Sugar
2 Tbs of Sliced Garlic
2 Tbs of Minced Ginger
3/4 tsp of Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbs of Canola Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper - sliced into 1/2 inch squares
1 Yellow Bell Pepper - sliced into 1/2 inch squares
1 Green Bell Pepper - sliced into 1/2 inch squares
1 Carton of Firm Tofu - cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Salt to taste
1 Tbs of Chopped Peanuts

In a small bowl combine vegetable broth, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, and sugar. In a large wok or skillet over medium heat - cook garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper in hot oil for about 10 seconds. Add bell peppers and stir-fry until peppers start to soften. Add tofu and broth mixture. Stir-fry a few more seconds. Cover, reduce to low heat and cook until tofu has heated through and sauce has thickened. Add salt to taste and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Sprinkle with peanuts. Serve over rice!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mushroom and Cabbage Stir-Fry

Here's a simple Chinese style stir-fry that can be made very quickly. You could also use this for the inside ingredients to a spring roll.

1 Small Cabbage
3 Large Shiitake Mushrooms or if you can only find small ones - use about 12-15
Peanut Oil
Fresh Ginger
Sea Salt
1 Scallion
2 Tbs of Vegetable Stock

Optional: Black Pepper

Julienne the cabbage. Slice mushrooms. Take the green part of the scallion and slice. Take about 1/2 inch of ginger and chop into really small pieces. Heat large pan or wok for 30 seconds. Pour in 2 Tbs of peanut oil in your pan. Throw in ginger and salt. Coat your pan with spatula. Keep cooking on high heat until some smoke starts to appear. Toss in cabbage and mushrooms. Stir-fry for one minute. Add 2 Tbs of vegetable stock. Mix well. Cook for 5 minutes or until cabbage softens. Add one more Tbs of vegetable stock. Add scallions. Add more salt and even pepper for taste. When the scallions turn bright green the dish is ready to serve!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cool Cucumber Sandwich

My cucumber sandwich is probably one of the easiest recipes I'll ever post... It's the most refreshing, tasty and light sandwich yet! And it takes a mere 10 seconds to make.

Required: 1 Cucumber, Bread, Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese which is dairy free)

Take the cucumber and peel the skin off. I tried to peel mine with a knife since I could not for the life of me find my peeler... I will have to buy a new one tomorrow. (As you can see, not so successful with the knife.) Slice the cucumber thinly. Use as much cucumber as desired. My one sandwich called for half of a medium-sized cucumber. It also depends on how thick you want it.

Spread as much cream cheese on your bread as you desire. Take the slices and place them on the cream cheese. Place two pieces of bread together, cut in half, and eat.

SO EASY and so mmm! A great snack to eat during the hot summer weather!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ratatouille Style Spicy Sauté

Here we are again with the spicy dishes. This one is easy to whip up. All you need is a little eggplant, a tomato, and a handful of spinach.

Required: 1 Small Eggplant, 1 Large Tomato, Spinach, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Olive Oil

I was lazy today so I decided to use garlic powder instead of chopping some fresh cloves. Take your eggplant and chop into small rectangles. Do the same to the tomato. Tomatoes can be more triangular rather than square.

Heat up the pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Throw in the tomatoes first. Stir. Then toss in the eggplant. Stir in 2-3 tsp of turmeric and cayenne. Add 1 Tbsp of garlic powder. Add salt and pepper for taste. Keep stirring. After the eggplant gets nice and soft, add the spinach and cover for a few seconds. Uncover and stir again.
Serve over rice.

The spice from the cayenne will add a nice touch to the eggplant and tomato!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cauliflower and Tomato Curry

More curry! MMM... This one is super easy to whip up too! All you need are spices, cauliflower, and tomatoes.

Required: 1 Cauliflower, 2 Medium sized tomatoes, Canola Oil, Garlic Powder, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper, Curry Powder, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Butter or Soy Margarine

Take a vegetable steamer and place it in a pot or deep pan and fill with water. Add cauliflower. Bring to a boil. Steam the cauliflower until soft. Meanwhile chop two tomatoes into small chunks. Take 2 Tbsp of canola oil and heat on high in pan. Throw in tomatoes and stir. Keep on high heat. Toss in the steamed cauliflower. Stir in 4 tsp of garlic powder, 4 tsp of cayenne, 3 Tbsp of curry powder, 1 Tbsp of turmeric, and 1/4 cup of margarine or butter. Keep stirring until butter melts completely. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over bed of brown or saffron rice!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Curry Spinach and Brown Rice

The weather in Los Angeles has cooled down in the last week or so. It's allowed me to go back to cooking. I discovered a new treat from Trader Joe's in the form of bagged brown rice. It inspired me to make this Spinach Curry to serve over the rice.

Required: 1 Batch of Spinach, 1 box of White Mushrooms, 1/2 of a Yellow Onion, Curry Powder, 2 cups of Brown Rice Medley (from Trader Joe's), Canola Oil, Garlic Powder, Turmeric, Sea Salt, Black Pepper

Prepare the rice before cooking. Follow the directions on the package. Or use a rice cooker!

Chop the onion. Slice the white mushrooms. Take 2 Tbsps of the canola oil and oil a pan. Turn on stove at high heat to warm the pan. Sauté the onion first. Cook until soft. Throw in the mushrooms. Add 4 tsp of turmeric, add 4 tsp of curry, and add 2 tsp of garlic powder. Stir. Make sure your ingredients get mixed well with the spices. Finally add spinach. The spinach will cook quickly. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve over brown rice medley!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Julienned Carrots

I can attest that this recipe is super yummy. It might even convince you carrot haters out there to start eating carrots (or not)! This simple dish can compliment other dishes really well. For example, I made the carrots and then cooked a separate batch of green beans. Then took a little of both and packed them over brown rice for lunch. I could just tell that my co-workers were envious!

Required: Carrots, Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Black Pepper

First, you should julienne the carrots. Julienning is essentially cutting a food item into thin long strips. I used baby carrots and sliced them in half first. Then I took my knife and cut them thinly at approximately a 45 degree angle. This helps make them nice and thin!

Poor about 3-5 Tbsp of Olive oil into a pan. Just realize that the ratio should match how much carrots you're using. Since I usually only cook for myself, I'll make a little more than I need so I can have leftovers for lunch or the following evening. If you need more olive oil, you can always add more. Set the stove to high heat. Wait until pan heats up and then add the carrots.

Cook carrots until a little brownish and soft. In the meantime, add 1-2 tsp of sugar. Make sure you stir thoroughly, you want it to mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Simple, easy, fast, good, and good for you!

Fresh Mint Tea

Maybe you already know this, but just in case... I have a suggestion for those of you who have purchased fresh mint for a specific recipe and then wonder what you to do with the leftovers.

You can simply make mint tea, (hot or iced) by chopping fresh mint and soaking it in boiled water.

Required: Fresh Mint Leaves, Water, Honey

Pour desired amount of water in a tea kettle. Place on high heat. Chop some mint leaves. Take your leaves and place them in a French Press or teapot. If you don't have one, you can put them in a tall glass. Place 1 Tbsp (or to taste) of honey into the press or glass. Pour boiled water. Stir to mix up the honey. Let steep for about a minute or two depending on how strong you like it. If you are doing this in a glass, be sure to keep stirring so that the water absorbs the leaves. They'll be floating to the top.

For the iced version, once your leaves are finished steeping. Drain and pour only the water into a glass full of ice.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tahini Noodles

Cold Tahini Noodles are great for the hot weather. Inspired by the Vegan Yum Yum recipe and the Real Food Daily Sesame noodles (no longer on the menu)... here is a nice almost raw and all vegan cold noodle recipe. This recipe takes a little preparation, but it's fairly easy to make.

Required: Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Linguine Noodles, Tahini, Mint, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Mustard, Salt, Black Pepper

Optional: Sesame seeds, Shiitake Mushrooms

First before doing anything you should boil the noodles. I used Linguine which I thought was the perfect noodle for this dish.

Next, prepare the Tahini dressing-like sauce with the following:

1/4 cup Tahini
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Red Chili
1 tsp Mustard (I used Dijon)
1 pinch salt to taste
Dashes of Black Pepper

Mix all of the above in a bowl. Use a whisk until completely mixed. Let sit. In the meantime, check on your boiling water and noodles. When the noodles are finished please drain and run cold water over the strain. Place a few drops of olive oil in the pasta. Let it sit in the refrigerator.

Chop your broccoli into smaller pieces. I got my broccoli from Trader Joe's so I just cut the small pieces in quarters. Then take two carrots, peel and slice. Take 1/4 of your cabbage and shred. I don't have a shredder so I just sliced the cabbage thinly with a knife. Mix the veggies together. For giggles, I added some cooked shiitake mushrooms. I cooked them in oil and soy sauce. Mix all of the veggies in one bowl.

Once your noodles have been chilled enough, take them out of the fridge. Place some in a bowl. Add the semi raw veggies. Add some sesame seeds. Stir in the Tahini sauce. Mix well. Try not to put in too much since it might get salty quickly. Add some chopped mint leaves. Keep stirring until you see the sauce completely covering everything!

Taste the sauce before you add it to your noodle dish. You want to make sure the sauce is to your liking so you can adjust the ingredients before mixing it with your veggies.

Lastly, throw on some chopped mint leaves as garnish!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tofu Scramble Part Two

Here's an example of how having the same ingredients in your fridge can go a long way. Here I used my staple ingredient tofu to make a spicy breakfast scramble. It's super quick and easy.

Required: Firm Tofu, Onions, Spinach, Sea Salt,
Turmeric, Garlic or Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Curry Powder, Olive Oil, Cayenne Pepper

Half of a carton of tofu makes about 2 small servings. Take the desired amount of tofu and smash with a fork. You can do this in a large bowl. Make sure the tofu winds up looking like the picture when you're done with it. Chop half of a small onion. Mince a small clove of garlic.

Start by oiling your pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Turn on high heat and dump the chopped onions and minced garlic into the pan. Stir in a dash of salt, 4 tsp of turmeric, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Keep stirring. Next place the squished tofu into the pan. Add a few dashes of black pepper, 2 tsp of curry, and another Tbsp of oil. Stir. Lastly put in the spinach. Add more salt and pepper to taste. If you need more turmeric or curry please add a little more.

I served this with toast and a few slices of mozzarella cheese.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cool Tofu Snack

'Tofu Snack' is quick, easy, and perfect for the hot summer weather! It's great as an appetizer or healthy snack when you're not in the mood to cook. Take a slab of chilled tofu (meaning tofu that's been in the refrigerator), drain, and cut in half. Or if you're really hungry you can use the whole thing.

Firm Tofu, Vegetarian Oyster Sauce (you can get this at most Asian stores), Vegetarian Nori Furikake (thanks Stacey)

Slice drained tofu into cubes. Pour some oyster sauce on top and then sprinkle with Furikake. Oooh we're mixing Chinese and Japanese condiments together! You may want to repeat the condiment mixture on the second layer if you used all of the first layer. You'll see what I mean once eat the first cube.

Super cool!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Simple Breakfast Crepe

In my last post I tried making a vegan crepe from Allrecipe.com which I decided was too sweet for a savory dish. Since I had leftover crepe mix, I had an idea to make a variation by adding a couple of ingredients. This is a super easy breakfast treat!

Required: Vegan Crepe, Fresh Blueberries, Yogurt (preferably Fagé - the fully fat kind)
Note: This recipe is not vegan, but you could substitute the Fagé with Soy Yogurt.
Optional: Maple syrup or honey

Take your crepe and slather yogurt. Sprinkle fresh blueberries. Fold in half. Top off with a little maple syrup or honey to taste. Simple and good!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holy Vegan Crepe?

I finally made the Vegan Crepe mix I took from Allrecipe.com. Although I did make the regular crepe version of it in my last blog post, I have an aversion to eggs. Truthfully, I think eggs kind of smell bad and taste gross. The vegan recipe was great, but I do think that it is meant for more of a sweet crepe rather than a savory one. It has a slight tinge of sweetness because of the added sugar and maple syrup.

Required: Soy Milk, Soy Margarine (I used Earth Balance from Trader Joe's) , Turbinado Sugar, Maple Syrup, Unbleached All-purpose Flour, Salt

In a large bowl, blend all of your ingredients. I used a hand blender with a whisk at the end. Make sure you mix the ingredients really well. Cover and chill for two hours.

Lightly grease a 5 to 6 inch skillet. I used olive oil spray and covered the entire non-stick pan. Heat the skillet until hot. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the mix into the skillet. Pick up the pan and swirl it around a bit to spread the mix enough to make a nice sized crepe. Make sure you do this carefully so you don't create holes or breaks. Have a spatula ready! You'll want to flip the crepe over and cook the other side once it's golden.

Now for the savory inside...

Required: Spinach, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Mushrooms, Onions, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, Canola Oil

Slice onions and mushrooms. Please place about 1 Tbsp of canola oil in the pan. Sauté the onions until soft. Throw in mushrooms, two pinches of cayenne pepper, a few pinches of sea salt. Sauté for a few minutes until mushrooms look soft. Sprinkle in some shredded cheese. Lastly add the spinach and stir. Serve hot on the crepe. Fold in half, yum!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Holy Crepe!

I made crepes for dinner this weekend. Even though it does take a little while to prepare, it's completely worth it. Crepes are extremely versatile because you can make sweet desserts or salty breakfasts. I took the crepe recipe from All Recipes.com. It's not vegan, however, there is a vegan version available as well. I'm going to try that this week and post a comparison. Thanks to guest chef Steve for helping me make this.

Now for the traditional crepe. Here's the recipe I used.

Required: 2 Eggs, 1 Cup of Soy Creamer (or just regular milk), 2/3 Cup All-purpose Flour, 1 Pinch Salt, 1 1/2 Tsp of Canola Oil

You can use milk if you don't have soy milk. Combine all of the required ingredients into a mixing bowl. I don't have a blender so I used a hand mixer, you could probably use a whisk too. Make sure you circle the bowl so that you can get the sides as well. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place in the fridge. You're supposed to let the mix sit. On All Recipe it says to place the bowl in the fridge for an hour. But, I think you could probably let it sit while you make the ingredients to go inside the crepe.

For the filling I used spinach, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and mozzarella cheese. Chop all ingredients including spinach. Use 1 Tbsp of canola oil. Sauté garlic, onions, and mushrooms first. Stir. Place cheese in next. Make sure the cheese starts to melt before throwing in the spinach. Toss in the spinach. Let it cook. Stir. Throw some salt in for taste. If the sauté is too watery you can use a little corn starch. The cheese may be enough to make it clump together.

Heat a well oiled skillet. On medium heat pour about 1/4 cup of the crepe mix into the pan. Make sure you coat a larger area of the pan. Enough to create a good sized crepe. Cook 2-5 minutes until golden brown. Turn once.

Place the filling in the crepe and fold in half. Serve. MMM!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stuffed Mushroom and Carrots

Pictured here are some julienned carrots and a stuffed portobello mushroom. Thank you guest chef Steve for making the yummy carrots!

Julienned Carrots
Required: Carrots, Spinach, Canola Oil, Sugar, Salt, Soy Sauce, Black pepper

First you'll want to take your desired amount of carrots. We used baby carrots so it was easier to cut them. Julienne basically means to cut into long thin strips. Steve prepared this, by cutting the carrots first. Mix 1 1/2 of Tbsp of oil, 1 Tbsp of sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, salt, black pepper in a separate bowl. Make sure the pan is heated for a few seconds before placing the mix in. Place the carrots in the pan. Use high heat. The carrots should caramelize a little. Stir.
Once the carrots look nearly blackened on one side, you'll want to put in some spinach. Carrots should be crunchy on the inside and sweet on the outside. Spinach goes into the pan last since it cooks very quickly. Add salt to taste.

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom
Required: Broccoli, Tofu, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Onions, Black pepper, Salt, Olive Oil, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper

For this dish, you'll need to preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Make sure you have a small oven tray or baking sheet to place the stuffed mushroom on. You could also use aluminum foil if you don't have either.

Prepare a mushroom or two by chopping off the stem and boiling for a little bit in a pot. For the stuffing, take a few pieces of broccoli and mince. You'll want to do the same to the onion. Use about half of a block of tofu. Smoosh with fork in a bowl. Oil your pan. Throw in the onions and a small clove of garlic. Stir. Cook onions until soft. Next throw in broccoli. Finally toss in the tofu. Continue stirring. Add some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt for taste. I like it spicy so I put in a little more cayenne pepper than usual. Keep stirring.

Once your mushroom is cooked,
place it on the baking sheet. Spoon in some stuffing. Top it off with a lot of cheddar cheese. It's better if you use more than you think you'll need. Take your baking sheet and place it in the oven. Cook until cheese is fully melted. I would give it a good 10-15 minutes depending on how quickly your oven cooks.

It sounds complicated, but this stuffed mushroom is really not hard to make at all. It does take a bit more preparation and it's a small and light meal. Don't expect to be very full after having one mushroom. Personally, I had a fun time making it and it was super yummy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Polish Vegetarian Food, Wow

I wish I could take credit for making this amazing meal. I haven't posted a recipe in a bit because I was in London eating this incredible meal. Believe it or not, this was all vegetarian! Wow!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Spicy Curry Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple food in a lot of households. And they're really easy to cook and incorporate in just about anything. They do, however, take a little more time to prepare.

Required: Potatoes (I got the smaller kind,) 1 can of Chick peas (Garbanzo beans,) Tomatoes, Curry powder, Salt, Cayenne pepper, Canola oil

Optional: Clove powder

Cooking time for this dish was less than 30 minutes. Unfortunately that doesn't include prep time. To prep the potatoes, you should bring a pot of water to boil. Remember that once you place the potatoes in, the water will rise. Be sure to fill the appropriate amount of water in your pot. The number of potatoes to boil largely depends on their size. But really you only need about 4-5 small potatoes for this dish. I didn't peel mine, but if you don't like the skin please peel before boiling them!

Once the potatoes are finished cooking. Let them cool down. I boiled mine the night before and then placed them in the refrigerator for the next day.

Chop the potatoes in quarters. Chop about 3 small tomatoes. Oil a pan or skillet with canola oil. I put in about 2 Tbsp. Stir. Add approximately 2 Tbsp of curry powder. Stir. Add 2 Tsp of clove powder. Add in some cayenne pepper to taste. I added a lot more in mine, because I wanted a very spicy dish. Keep stirring. If it looks like you need more curry, add it. In the end, I wound up adding a little bit of water. You should only do that if it looks too dry. Normally the juice in the tomatoes would suffice. Add some salt and pepper for taste!

Serve over bed of rice or eat it right out of the pan!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Whole Foods Bag!

Ok obviously I'm not posting a new recipe here. But I'm making an exception, because I found a great deal at Whole Foods. While I wouldn't normally advocate Whole Foods (since I think they're overpriced). I did find a gem! In the check-out aisle they have these bright and cheery 80% post-consumer recycled grocery bags. Let me tell you, it was completely worth the mere 99 cents. It's large, has a nice handle, and it's cute! My biggest complaint about most canvas bags is that they're ugly. I'm a sucker for good design. The best part is, Whole Foods will replace this bag for free if it breaks.

Cats love it too!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Portobello MMM-Mushroom

These portobello mushrooms complimented my asparagus recipe very well. Steve, my favorite guest chef, made the mushroom side and I made the asparagus side. (We stuck to the 30 minutes rule).

Required: Portobello mushrooms, Spinach, White onion, Cayenne pepper, Vegetarian oyster sauce, Canola oil, Salt, Corn starch

Optional: Asparagus (see asparagus recipe), Olive Oil, Garlic, Sea salt, Basmati rice

Slice 2 large portobello mushrooms into thin strips. Chop half of an onion into small pieces. After the basic preparation, place about 1-2 Tbsp of canola oil into a medium-sized skillet at high heat. Toss in all of the mushrooms first. Stir. Throw in the onions too. Stir. Add a pinch or two of cayenne and black pepper to taste. Also add in about 1 Tbsp of oyster sauce. Check consistency of sauté. If it's too watered down you'll want to add in some corn starch to absorb the liquid. Stir again. Save the spinach for last. Once you add the spinach you'll want to turn down to medium heat.

Be sure to keep moving and stirring the sauté.

If you get super ambitious, you can try cooking the asparagus while you make this mushroom dish. The two compliment each other very well. MMM!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Avocado Salad

Hot weather calls for salads. If you love avocado like I do, you'll love this yummy snack!

Required: Avocado, Baby Spring Mix (I got a pre-washed bag from Trader Joe's), Tomatoes, Almonds

Optional: Tofu, Spinach

Chop 1 tomato. Slice 1 avocado. Chop half of 1 packaged tofu into small cubes. Take the baby spring mix and throw some into a large bowl. If you have raw spinach you can mix it up by adding a little into the spring mix. Top the greens off with tomatoes, sliced avocados, and cubes of tofu. Throw in a few almonds (about 10-15).

For salad dressing, I used the Goddess Dressing from Trader Joe's. This dressing is tahini based... and it's vegan!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tantalizing Tempeh

A lot of people including vegetarians will ask me, what is tempeh and how do you cook it? Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans and comes in a cake-like form. Although made from the same ingredients as tofu, it has different nutritional properties. The texture is very different as well. Here's a picture of what it looks like in it's raw form:

I bought this block of regular flavored tempeh at Whole Foods and cut it in half lengthwise. Then I sliced it horizontally.

Required: Garlic powder, Soy sauce, Tempeh, Shiitake mushrooms, Chili oil, Canola oil or Sesame oil if you're feeling brave

Optional: Rice, Broccoli

Slice shiitake mushrooms and tempeh as shown above. Prepare pan by placing 3 Tbsp of canola oil and 1 Tbsp of chili oil. You may need to add more oil depending on the size of your pan and tempeh block. Tempeh can easily turn dry, so you want to make sure that you add enough oil.

Place pan on high heat with oil. Add tempeh and mushrooms. Add a few splashes of soy sauce for taste. Let the tempeh cook for a minute until it absorbs the soy sauce. Tempeh is good at absorbing soy sauce and will turn a brownish color (see top picture). Do not stir yet.
The other reason you don't want to stir too soon is that the tempeh will start to crumble. You want the tempeh to get brown! Have I made my point yet? Keep cooking. If it looks like you need more oil, put in more.

After you see the tempeh get a bit brown, you can then start to stir.
But please do it gently. Take a spatula and lift up and down. Add a dash of garlic powder. Stir again.

You can serve this over rice and/or with broccoli. (See broccoli recipe).

Tempeh is high in protein and yummy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spicy Italian Salad

Los Angeles was in the 80's yesterday (re: weather) and I couldn't bring myself to stand in front of my hot gas stove for the sake of cooked food. So the capers I bought at the store inspired me to make an Italian based salad.

Required: Spinach, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Capers, Black Pepper, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar

If your spinach is not pre-washed please wash before eating and mixing. Slice mushrooms. Cut tomatoes into triangular chunks (I used Roma tomatoes so they were easy to cut.) Take 2-4 Tbsp of capers and dice them. Throw the washed and dried spinach in a bowl. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Top off with capers, Parmesan cheese and spices. The black pepper and cayenne pepper make this salad spicy. Put in less than you think you can handle.

Mix olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Spoon dressing over salad. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Yes, it's Asparagus!

To my surprise, I found out recently that one of my co-workers prefers asparagus over broccoli. I had just assumed that most people were iffy on asparagus. Boy, was I wrong! This really simple recipe goes out to the 'a' lovers out there in the world. For those of you who are skeptical, try this and report back to me.

Required: Asparagus, Olive Oil, Garlic, Sea Salt

Prepare asparagus by chopping the stems. I bought my asparagus from Trader Joe's so they were already cut, I simply had to cut them in half. Mince one garlic clove (or two if you love garlic). Oil the pan enough to cover the bottom. Saute the garlic under high heat for a few minutes. Throw in the asparagus. Throw in some salt for taste. Cover while keeping the heat high. You want the stems to get a little dark (see above picture). Stir. Uncover when you think they look about right.

Serve over rice. Yummy!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Huevos Rancheros

Another recipe with tofu and broccoli! I promise I'll insert some variety in here. This dish is inspired by Cafe 101 on Franklin. They have a No Huevos Rancheros (no eggs) entree which uses tofu that's pretty good.

Required: Onion, Corn, Black Beans, Tofu, Salsa, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Olive Oil

Optional: Corn Tortilla, Broccoli, Cumin

Chop the onion! Slice the firm tofu into cubes. Oil pan with 2 or 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Saute onion. If you're going to use broccoli, I would put it in at this point. Stir in tofu cubes. Sprinkle a little less than desired amount of cayenne pepper and a pinch of cumin. Add black beans then corn. Stir. Sprinkle more cayenne pepper to taste. Top off with sea salt and black pepper to taste and stir.

Prepare a piece of warm corn tortilla on a plate. Spoon the mix onto the tortilla and top with some salsa. Mmm, vegan mexican!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tofu Messy in Bed

I love making this tofu scramble because first, I love breakfast food, but also it's easy to make and yummy to boot.

Required: Tofu, Spinach, White/Yellow Onion, Sea Salt (or just salt), Black Pepper, Olive Oil, Garlic Powder

Optional: Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preparation: Take a block of tofu and place in a medium sized bowl. Take a fork and mash up the tofu. It's easier to use soft tofu, but I often wind up with firm. The firm kind is more clumpy whereas soft tofu tends to be softer (duh) and more watered down. Chop onion.

Ok now that you've got your mashed tofu and onion. Place 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Let it heat up. Then take the onion and saute until soft. Then take the mashed tofu and dump into pan. Stir. Add 4 tsp of garlic powder. Sprinkle with a little black pepper and salt to taste.

Add your pre-washed spinach! Remember spinach tends to shrink a lot, so you'll need to put more than it looks like you'll need. I placed two small handfuls in my pan then covered it so that the steam would shrink the spinach. Once the spinach shrank, I continued to stir.

In the above picture, I topped the scramble off with shredded cheddar and mozzarella soy cheese.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Broccoli is Good for You

Mom would be proud if you ate this broccoli dish. You could make this with your eyes closed.

Required: Broccoli, Chili Oil, Canola Oil, Sea Salt

Take desired amount of broccoli and dump it in a pan. Add 2 Tbsp of Chili Oil (this will give your dish a hint of spiciness.) Then add a couple of tsp of Canola Oil. Saute on high heat until broccoli gets a little charred. Yes, I said charred. See the dark brown spots in the picture above? You want it to look like that. Although you DON'T want to overcook it. I usually don't like my broccoli soggy. I like it soft yet fairly crisp. You can serve this with rice or pasta or use it as a side vegetable dish in a multiple course meal.

Don't forget to add Sea Salt to taste. Salt makes everything taste better!

Monday, March 17, 2008


If you like pesto, try this...

Required: Bowtie pasta, Crimini Mushrooms, Firm tofu, Pesto (For vegans, you can find vegan pesto at Whole Foods), Olive Oil, Black pepper, Salt

Optional: Garlic powder

First, prepare the pasta by boiling just enough in a pot. Put a little olive oil and salt in the pot while boiling the water. In the meantime, slice the mushrooms as desired. Cut firm pieces of tofu into cubes. Saute the tofu and mushrooms in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add a few pinches of salt and black pepper. Add a few dashes of garlic powder if you have it. If you like garlic, you can also add a minced clove into this saute.

When the pasta is ready to drain, let saute stand while you are draining the pasta. Put a dash of olive oil in the drained pasta and stir. This will prevent the pasta from sticking to each other. When you refrigerate the leftover pasta, it will also prevent the pasta from clumping.

Add desired pasta topped with mushroom and tofu saute to a large bowl. Stir in desired amount of pesto. Mix well.

15 minutes and you're done!