Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cod-Potato Soup

Last night I made a tasty cod-potato soup. It was a great warm and filling winter meal. The only problem is, it was so good I forgot to take a picture before I ate it! The recipe is below.

1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 potatoes
2 cups of veggie broth
1 cup soy milk
12 oz Cod
2 stalks of celery
1 TBS mixed dried herbs
1 tsp dry dill


1. Sauté onions for 2 minutes in a little olive oil.
2. Add chopped potatoes.
3. Add veggie broth and a little water, enough to submerge the potatoes.
4. Cover and boil until potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
5. Mash potatoes with an immersion blend or a hand held masher.
6. Add mixed herbs, garlic, soy milk, and celery. Let cook on medium-high for 10 minutes.
7. Add cod and continue to cook for another 7 minutes.
8. Add dried or fresh dill and serve warm!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Winter Veggies

After the Thanksgiving holiday I was looking for some healthy meals using in-season vegetables. I came across a few recipes on the New York Times Recipes for Health column (which I really enjoy) and altered them slightly to add more flavor. The one in the picture is one that I quite enjoyed. Here is the recipe from the website. The dish was flavorful, filling, and healthy. I found all of the vegetables to be in-season at my food co-op. True the tomatoes may only have another week or so left before their season is over, but they could be substituted with another vegetable if necessary. Below are my altercations. 

4 large firm tomatoes
1 red onion chopped
2 zucchinis
2 eggplants
¼ cup grape seed oil
Mixed Herbs de Provence (if you wanted you could exchange fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
2 cloves of garlic minced
¼ cup veggie broth
Salt and pepper
2 TBSP tomato paste

11. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
22. Chop veggies so they are about ¼ to ½ inch thick.
33. Chop the onion finely and mince the garlic. Set aside. 
44. Add grape seed oil, Herbs de Provence, salt and pepper, and veggies (except for the onion and garlic) in a large bowl and mix until the seasoning and oil are well dispersed.
55. Stack the veggies in an oiled pan so that there is no room for them to fall. I had to use two pans for this.
66. Pour the onion and garlic mixture over the pan of stacked veggies.
77. Add 1/8 cup of liquid mixed with 1 TBSP of tomato paste to each pan. The tomatoes will make more liquid but this helps to keep the veggies moist.
88. Cover your baking pan with tin foil or back in a Dutch oven for 45minutes.
99. Take out after 45minutes and add breadcrumbs (you could also add vegan cheese or parmesan if you like). Bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Apple Butter

I recently made some fall apple apple butter. It is amazingly simple and deliscious. I made two canisters of it and thought it would last a few months, we ate almost an entire canister in the first week. We had friends over for dinner and put it warm on brie, yum! I also put it on pumpkin muffins, toast, and in oatmeal. Below is the recipe.

4 Granny Smith apples
6 sweeter apples (I used Empire and Honey Crisp)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of brown sugar

1. Pell and chop finely all apples.
2. Place in the crock pot with all ingredients.
3. Cook on low for 9 hours stirring every 1.5 hours.
4. Serve warm and save the rest in canisters.

This came out so good I may even make some for the holidays to give out. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My latest experiment is homemade Kombucha Tea. Kombucha is an ancient fermented tea with live bacteria. Many claim that is has various health benefits from improving your immune system to aiding in detoxification. Health benefits aside, I just love that it is fizzy and I enjoy the taste.

Last Christmas, Rich got me a Kombucha kit to feed my Kombucha addiction. I started using it about a month ago and am really happy to report that Kombucha is quite easy to make. Well, aside from the first time when I capped the bottles too tightly and we had to use a gigantic wrench to get them open. A It can also be a little unsettling at first being confronted by the live scooby (bacteria) in your drink, but now I am just impressed by how much it grows!

I have been experimenting with several different kinds of flavors. My favorite so far was the Orange-Ginger. I made a lemon-ginger flavor that was also very good. I like to mix it up. The recipe and method are below. If you want to try the lemon flavor, just substitute the orange juice with lemon juice.

Ginger-Orange Kombucha Ingredients 
6 black or green (decaf or regular) tea bags
1 cup of sugar

3/4 cup of fresh squeezed ginger
1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

1 Kombucha Scooby

1 large mason jar
1 square cotton cloth to cover the jar
several empty bottles

1. Fill the mason jar with water to see how much you need and then dump this into a large pot and bring to a boil.
2. Add 6 tea bags to the water and let sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the tea bags.
3. When the tea cools to luke-warm, add 1 cup of sugar. Be careful not to add the sugar too soon or it will crystalize.
4. Pour the liquid into the mason jar.
5. Once the liquid has cooled, add the Kombucha Scooby (if your water is too warm it can kill the scooby so make sure it is luke-warm).
6. Cover with a cotton cloth and let sit for 7-14 days.
7. Once the 7 days are up, remove your scooby. Store it with a little of the liquid in the refrigerator.
8.  Put about 1/4 cup of the combined orange-ginger juice in each bottle.
9. Add the Kombucha liquid until it is almost full. Be sure to leave some room.
10. Store the bottles is a warm place 2 two days, this helps the drink become fizzy. If you go much longer, you will get new a new scooby in your drink so be careful.
11. After two days, place the bottles in the fridge and enjoy chilled!

If you are wondering where to get Kombucha equipment and the live scooby, you can buy a Kombucha kit from Kombucha Brooklyn. Alternatively, you could do it for much cheeper by buying your own equipment and getting some one to give you their extra scooby (each batch gives birth to a new scooby). I know I always have extra.

Instead of wine, we often share a romantic bottle of Kombucha on weekday nights!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cold Weather Food

Now that the weather is cooler and the days are getting shorter, I am finding more time to cook and document it. Yesterday Rich and I got together with some friends and made one of my new favorites, vegan tomato soup with goat cheese grilled cheese and pesto sandwiches. It was perfect for a chilly, Halloween, post-hurricane day. Both are quite easy.

2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
½ onion
2 tbsps mixed dried Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme)
3-4 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1 tbsp pepper
1 large jar of tomato puree
1 large can of diced tomatoes
1 cup veggie broth
1 bunch of fresh basil

1. Put a little olive oil in a pan and sauté the shallots, garlic, onion and dried herbs over medium heat.
2. Add chopped fresh tomatoes. Bring the pot with the tomatoes to medium-high and let cook with the lid on for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently.
3. When the tomatoes cook down, add pepper, tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and veggie broth. Let this cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the bunch of fresh basil and let simmer on low for another 10 minutes.
5. Top with some fresh basil, a little thinly sliced tomato and breadcrumbs.
This soup is very tasty and surprisingly creamy for a vegan soup!

Whole-wheat sourdough (Bread Alone makes a very good one)
Pesto (I cheated and used store bought this time, but you can easily make your own)
Sliced tomato (in the picture I used a green heirloom tomato)
Goat cheese with herbs (you could make this recipe vegan by submitting Daiya cheese)
A little butter or Earth Balance for the pan

1. Spread the goat cheese and pesto on the sandwich.
2. Add a few thinly sliced tomatoes to the sandwich.
3. Place a little butter in the pan and cook the sandwich on both sides with the lid on to melt the goat cheese.
Serve with the soup!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Comfort Food and Pie

Although I am no longer strictly vegan, I am still enjoying many vegan dishes. Recently I found a great vegan website called Post Punk Kitchen (http://www.theppk.com). She has some really interesting and unique vegan recipes. It was a rainy afternoon in Brooklyn so we decided to make some vegan comfort food. Rich made vegan sloppy joes from The Post Punk Kitchen and I made vegan mac and cheese. They were delicious! I don't think either of us has eaten a sloppy joe, vegan or otherwise, since we were about 10 years old. They were just as messy as I remember them but I am sure a lot healthier. 

We adjusted the recipes slightly. The recipes are below. Enjoy!

Sloppy Joes (original recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped medium

1 pound seitan, chopped into bite sized pieces (we bought it pre-ground which was easier)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoons dried Italian herbs

1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

14 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
The juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons bbq sauce

Spinach Topping:
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb fresh spinach
1/2 cup light coconut milk 
1. Chop and saute onion 
2. Add seitan (cut it even smaller if it is pre-ground) to the pan on medium head
3. Add remaining ingredients while stirring the mixture in the pan
4. Continue to heat while making the spinach topping
5. Clean spinach and steam in a steamer
6. Take out the steamer, put the spinach back into the small pot and heat briefly with garlic and coconut milk
7. Place seitan and spinach topping on some fresh bread and enjoy!

   1 1/2 pounds  macaroni pasta
    1 13/4 cups unsweetened soy milk
    1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast (plus a little extra for topping)
    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup water
    1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
    1/2 (12 ounce) block firm tofu
    2 gloves minced garlic
    1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
    2 tablespoons bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook pasta as usual, let cool on the side.

2. Add tofu, garlic, and nutritional yeast in the food processor and pulse until blended

3. Add remaining liquid ingredients.

3. Put cooked pasta in a baking dish. Cover with "cheese" sauce. 
4. sprinkle with break crumbs, nutritional yeast, and paprika

5. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

6. Enjoy!
Last night I also I made one of my favorite no bake strawberry pies. It is so refreshing and has very few ingredients. This recipe is inspired by the Whole Foods no bake strawberry pie. My recipe has slightly less sugar and slightly more strawberries. I have also made it without any sugar at all and it was delicious!

  • 1 (8 ounce) box vegan gingersnap cookies
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • 2 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved,divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
1. Put the vegan cookies in a food processor and blend until they are finely ground. 
2. Place the ground cookies in a pie pan. You will have to evenly distribute it and press it to the sides to get it to stay. Freeze for 1 hour. 
3. Whisk the water and cornstarch, set aside. 
4. Place half of the strawberries in the food processors and blend until it becomes a strawberry juice. 
5. Add the strawberry juice to a pot and warm on medium. 
6. Once the strawberry juice is warm, add the cornstarch and water mix and sugar. Whisk until well combined. 
7. Bring this liquid to a boil (on medium-high heat) and stir continuously until you get a thicker liquid. This should take about 5 minutes. 
8. Set aside to cool for about 40 minutes. 
9. Cut up the remaining strawberries and place them in the pie crust. 
10. Pour the liquid mix overtop and let chill in the freezer for at least 3 hours. 
11. Top with a few remaining strawberry slices. 
12. This pie is best when served cold so let it sit for only about 5 minutes before you serve it. 
13. Enjoy with some vegan ice cream!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Foods

This month my goal was to try 5 new foods a week. Everyone warned me it was too ambitious, but I only learned after spending too much at the grocery store on foods that ultimately went to waste or did not come out well. Also, my refrigerator smelled funny after the first week of shopping. I suspect the Jerusalem Artichokes but still cannot be sure.

I started out buying almond flour and tried to make vegan scones. They looked like pancakes and were not very tasty. I tried another version the next week that tasted much better, but they were still flat. I will have to keep working on those.

Last night I was successful with one of my new foods, celeriac or celery root. I made vegan mashed potatoes mixed with this. The flavor was a little more earthy than regular mashed potatoes. I really enjoyed them. Also on the plate are spinach stuffed portobello and asparagus with a tahini-mustard sauce.

1 Celery Root
4 small to medium potatoes
3/4 cup soy milk
2 tbs earth balance
1 tbs fresh rosemary finely chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper to season

1. Chop celery root into 1/2 inch cubes and put into boiling water for 15 minutes.
2. Add diced potatoes in 1 inch cubes, let boil for another 15 minutes.
3. When both vegetables are soft, drain the water.
4. Mash potatoes with rosemary, butter, and garlic.
5. Add soy milk until desired consistency is achieved.
6. Add salt and pepper for seasoning and serve warm!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Vegan Pizza

Being vegan is getting easier the more time goes by. I am finding out that Mexican is really easy to do vegan and even went to an amazing vegan restaurant this weekend with some other 1-month vegan friends. The restaurant was called Dao Palate. The dinners were great but I was even more impressed with my soy cheesecake!

During the day I do a lot of different kinds of salads with vegan leftovers. One of my favorites is a cucumber, tomato, and onion salad. It is just those ingredients and a little salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. It is very tasty! The salads are good, but not very challenging or as exciting to blog about. This week I make vegan comfort food in the form of pizza…..twice.

The first pizza is something my mom always made when we were kids, Greek Pizza. It is just some pita, with humus instead of sauce, and lots of veggies on top. It was very good with Rich's homemade hummus. The ingredients are below.

Rich's Hummus
2 cup of chick peas soaked overnight
4-6 tbsp of tahini
4 lemons squeezed
1 head garlic
salt, pepper, cayenne, and Hungarian paprika for seasoning

Method: 1. Soak the chickpeas overnight. 2. Empty old water and bring chickpeas to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep them on simmer about 1-11/2 hours until the chickpeas can easily squish in your hand. 3. Save the water that you simmered the chickpeas in. This is really important, we found that our hummus comes out much better with this water. 4. Drain the chickpeas and let them cool (save about 2 cups of this liquid, let this cool as well). 5. When the chickpeas have cooled put them in a blender with the tahini, lemon, and minced garlic. 6. Add the liquid until you achieve the desired consistency. Remember, your hummus will thicken up once it goes into the fridge, so don't be afraid to make it a little more liquidy then you would like it. 7. Add spices to desired taste.

Greek Pizza Recipe

4 pieces of vegan pita
Fresh hummus (see recipe above)
1 small onion
2 medium tomatos
5 olives
Artichoke hearts
1 Avocado
Hungarian Paprika to spice.

1. Put the hummus onto the pita like you would pizza sauce on dough, covering most of the pita but leaving a little room on the sides. 2. Chop up and grill onion. 3. Divide the chopped onion, tomatoes, olives, and artichoke hearts evenly among the 4 pitas. 4. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. 5. Cut up some avocado into small cubes and place it on top of the pizza. 6. Sprinkle a little Hungarian Paprika on top.

We also made a fabulous regular vegan pizza based on the ones we used to love at Whole Foods. For years I hated any kind of vegan cheese. I thought they always had a nasty aftertaste. Then I tried the vegan pizza at Whole Foods. I really liked the cheese and started buying it. It is by a company called daiya . It is not very good plain, but cooked it actually tastes like cheese. The pizza tasted just as good as the one we used to get at Whole Foods and we both enjoyed it immensely!

Soy Cheese Pizza Ingredients
1 vegan pizza dough (most pizza dough is vegan, just ask to be sure)
1/2 jar of pizza sauce
1/2 package daiya mozzarella
10-12 mushrooms
1 onion grilled
4 cloves of garlic
Onion powder, dried oregano, thyme, and pepper to spice.

1. Spread out the pizza dough on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. 2. Liberally pour the sauce on the pizza. 3. Mince garlic and mix into the sauce. 4. Add vegan cheese. 5. Add chopped, grilled onion and all of the other chopped veggies. 6. Sprinkle onion powder, dried herbs, salt and pepper on the pizza. 7. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mushroom Risotto and Lime Cupcakes

One of the problems with being vegan for a month is that my friends don't realize I am vegan and are not prepared when coming over for dinner. When a few of my friends from college said they were going to be in town I was excited to have them over in my new apartment. Afterwards I remembered that it might be hard to make a dinner that everyone would enjoy with vegan ingredients. I imagined serving them hummus, carrots, and maybe some vegan chili. Not very exciting. Not to mention one of our friends is a chef. I wanted to make something more gourmet. I came upon a mushroom risotto recipe (one of our favorite dishes anyway) that could be made using vegan ingredients. I left out the parmesan that I usually add and just grated parmesan for my friends to put on their dishes. It turned out great and it wasn't a traditional vegan meal.

I knew just what to do for dessert. I have long been into vegan baking. Last year for Christmas, my mom got me Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I have tried out several of the recipes thus far and all of them have been amazing. Last year, Rich and I were having some friends over for dinner and we decided to have a bake off. He made the Vegan Coconut Lime Cupcakes and I made the Vegan Oreo Cookie Cupcakes. We didn't tell our friends who made which cupcake and they had to vote on their favorite. They were both delicious, but he won the contest. Naturally I decided to make these winning cupcakes again. Now that we had the recipe down, I was able to focus more on the presentation. I got some winter snowflake cupcake papers and put a piece of lime wedge in each cupcake.

Mushroom Risotto

6 cups mushroom broth, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp italian herbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions. Cook about 5 minutes until soft and slightly brown.
In a separate sauce pan put the mushrooms on medium-high heat and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
Add rice to the first sauce pan, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid and chives. Season with pepper to taste.

Everything came out great. The only problem…..our chef friend hates mushrooms! Next time maybe I will do an asparagus risotto for them. :)

Vegan Lime Cupcakes
I cannot add this recipe since it is directly from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (I didn't really change it) but I highly recommend the book!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2 of Vegan!

My fiance and I like to challenge ourselves with a little detox diet for the month of January. After all of the holiday food and drink it helps us to feel a little less guilty. It is also fun to create new dishes we would never have otherwise tried! This year we decided to do Vegan, no alcohol, and no caffeine for the month of January.

I have decided to take it a little further this year and have a food goal for each month and then blog about it! The other months won't be quite so intense (although maybe a few will be. My sister is trying a raw food month). For example, I would like to create 2 Indian dishes a week in the month of February. It won't effect my daily food intake as much but it will push me to cook new foods.

We have had some minor set backs thus far. Last night, we went to see the Giant's game at a bar in Park Slope. We already had our vegan dinner an hour earlier and so we weren't very hungry. We felt guilty ordering seltzer, tea and some guacamole when we knew we were going to be staying for a while. My fiance (Rich) looked at me after the bar tender came back to see what drink we would be having. He decided to take one for the team and have a drink or two. My brother, who was also with us, gladly joined him. We decided we would just have to add one day on to our month. That was setback number 1. Today we went for a nice long run through Prospect Park and were starving afterwards. We talked about how excited we were to have a vegan carrot muffin at the Park Slope Food Co-op. There was a blueberry muffin next to the carrot, I just happened to grab it. "Wow! I cannot believe how good this vegan muffin is! I will have to figure out how to make mine this good!" I said as I ate it. Afterwards, I looked at the label. Butter, sugar, and milk were among the first ingredients. Humm…I guess not ALL of the muffins are vegan, just the carrot one. Oh well, one more day added on!

Things got better this evening when I made some great peanut butter sesame vegan cookies! I used a recipe from Veganomicon as a base. It just called for too much sugar and brown rice syrup which I didn't have. I altered it a little and they came out great! The recipe is below.

Peanut Butter Sesame Vegan Cookies!

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup smooth unsalted peanut butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup candied ginger chopped (I would add more next time)
1/2 cup white sesame seeds for rolling


Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

In another bowl, mix the Earth Balance, sugar, peanut butter, soy milk, and vanilla together.

Stir in flour mixture with a spatula.

Fold in ginger candy.

Roll in sesame seeds.

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes.

They were very tasty and not too sweet!