30 June 2010

Egg Salad & Curry...

... But not in that order.

My sister sent my this recipe for No Egg Egg Salad that she was addicted to during her month long vegan experiment. According to her, you can eat this for days and it is delicious. I decided to try my hand as I've been missing sandwiches something fierce. Cucumbers and cream cheese is delicious but not necessarily the most nutritious. It is important to note that not all silken tofu is created equally. I had no idea there was both soft and firm style so of course I bought the wrong kind. I basically made soup. The firm silken tofu is not refrigerated and is in a small cardboard box. Let me know if you try this and how it was!

No Egg Egg Salad
1 cucumber diced small
1 carrot diced small
1/2 package Mori-nu silken tofu, extra firm, diced a little larger
1/4-1/2 c Veganaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
caraway seeds to taste
salt and pepper

mix together and enjoy!


Last night I decided to finally make the couscous I bought ages ago, but what to put with it? I haven't made curry in a while and I really wanted to get a bunch of veggies on the plate. I forgot to take pictures, but will try to get a good one of the leftovers. This is super easy, rustic, and easy to adapt to whatever fresh vegs you have. I will say, I like my curry hot to desi hot so you may need to adjust some of the ratios.

Couscous with Vegetable Curry
Serves 2

For the couscous:
1 c couscous (I get it in the bulk foods section)
1 c water
1c vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

For the vegetables:
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c onions, large dice
1 clove garlic, diced
1 medium white potato, cubed
1 carrot, chopped
½ c green beans (or 1/3 12 oz can)
1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1 T tomato paste
½ c water or vegetable broth
½ t curry powder (get a quality one)
½ t hot paprika
½ t red pepper flakes
¼ t ground coriander
1 t Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pot, bring the water and broth to a boil. Gradually stir in the couscous to avoid clumping. Reduce to a simmer and cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit about 15-20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pot. Add potato and par boil, about 4-6 minutes. If using fresh green beans add them as well.

Meanwhile, in a medium to large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until just soft. Add the carrots and cook until they begin to get tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and add the potatoes and the rest of the veggies. Toss in red pepper flakes. Let cook about 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes begin to brown. Add spices, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and ½ of the water/broth. Bring to a simmer. If there is not enough broth, add the rest of the water/broth. Cook until the liquid begins to reduce and thicken up, about 5-7 minutes.

Fluff couscous with a fork and pile into a bowl or deep plate. Top with veggies and enjoy!


Is any one word more horror inducing than "risotto"? It evokes a painful and languorous process that sucks the soul from the living. In reality, it is a simple and delicious way to cook starch's. Sure, this cannot be done in 15 minutes, but the small amount of time you do spend is sure to produce fantastic results! Once mastered, the options are limitless.

Risotto is a cooking style where the rice (or other starch) is slowly cooked in liquid while stirring. The stirring releases the starch from the rice and thickens the sauce. When you're done, you are left with a creamy treat that will satisfy any craving.

Last night I made the most amazing risotto, my best one yet! I was inspired to try something new while watching "Chuck's Day Off" on the Cooking Channel. He made a risotto with potatoes and I thought, "Genius!"
[As always, I rarely measure anything, preferring to "eyeball it" and simply knowing how much 1c or 1T looks like. Please keep this in mind.]

Potato Risotto w/Beans
serves 3-4 as a side, 1-2 as main

1 medium white potato, cubed
1/2 c arborio rice
4-5 c vegetable broth
2 T olive oil, extra virgin
2 T vegan butter
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 c spinach, chiffonade
1/4 c green beans, cut in 2-3 bits
Vegan Parmesan (4-5 shakes)
1 T soft silken tofu
salt & pepper

In a small sauce pan, par boil the potato until just soft, about 2 minutes. Drain and set aside. Then, cook green beans until almost soft, about 2 minutes. Set aside. In same pan, bring broth up to a boil, then reduce to barely a simmer. The idea is to get it hot but not to cook it.

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add rice and stir until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add potato and stir.

Now, to risotto: Turn up heat to high/medium high. Ladle in about 1/2 c of broth to the rice (this is 1-2 full ladles) and stir. The liquid should come to a slow boil then simmer as you stir. Once the liquid is absorbed, add another ladle. You must stir frequently or risk the rice sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan. If you must divert your attention, add a second ladle of liquid.

When you have about 1 c left of broth, add the green beans. Keep adding liquid until it is all absorbed.
[This is a great time to taste the rice. Is it hard or crunchy? If so, keep adding liquid until fully cooked.]

When your rice is cooked, add the tofu, butter, Parmesan, and spinach. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir together well. Serve!

For the crispy shallots:
In a small frying pan, heat 2 T oil. Cut about 3 slices from the shallot. Toss in whole wheat flour and add to frying pan. Give them about 1 minute per side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Garnish!

Risotto should be served immediately and does not reheat well. My favorite thing to do with leftovers is make risotto cakes. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Roll riotto into a ball, about 2", then roll in whole wheat flour and breadcrumbs. Fry and serve. You can also bake these, but I haven't tried that yet.
I hope you enjoy. Recipe cards are available, just leave me a comment and I'll email it to you. Let me know how your risotto turns out. Have you ever made it before? What's your favorite kind?

Take Action!

* So Delicious is donating $1 (up to $5000) to the Farm Sanctuary. for every UPC mailed in between now and September 30th. Farm Sanctuary does great work rescuing farm animals from cruel and inhospitable environments to instead live their lives on a peaceful farm in upstate New York or California. See kids, it's just like your parents told you- Daisy did go live on a farm! You can mail your UPC's to:

Farm Sanctuary Donation
Turtle Mountain, LLC
POB 21938
Eugene, OR 97402

* The Huffington Post offers some tips for those who "hate" cooking. You can also check out my beginner cooks larder (that's pantry for the rest of us) on The Art of Throwing Stones. You can also find my fledgling food writing there by clicking on "cooking" or "food".

* Dangers of soy. And more evidence from Scientific American

* Very exciting news: The USDA has approved new rules for the National Organic Program (NOP) called The Access to Pasture rule. It states:
"The Access to Pasture rule specifies that organic milk and meat products come from organically‐raised animals that are actively grazing on pasture. "

Basically, it requires organic livestock to have access to pasture throughout the grazing season and that that intake must account for at least 30% of the animals diet. Of course, organic livestock must still refrain from using GMO's, antibiotics/vaccinations, synthetic parasiticides, 100% organic feed with no animal by-products.

So, how is this different from what is currently labled "organic"? I had to look that up myself, and found a great side-by-side chart from the USDA website. Many of the changes have to do with verbage and further definition/inclusion of verbage (a crop is more than just the plant but also now includes the pasture, cover crop, catch crop, or any part of the plant used for food to either humans or animals or to feed the soil).

The point is, to be labled organic is now a more defined and policed process which protects the integrity of the product and the brand. Also, all those cows making your milk and chickens laying your eggs are now entitled to more time running around outside in pastures and enjoying their lives to the fullest!

19 June 2010

It's Not the Devil's Playground

**** (4 stars)

I just finished reading (and copying) recipes from "Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook" written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Both ladies are also the minds behind the Post Punk Kitchen and their previous best seller "Vegan Vengeance".

What I love about this cookbook is the author's relatable and funny writing style (yes, they did come up with the name for this book from repeat watching's of "Army of Darkness". Come one, that's just cool). The recipes run the gamut from simple homemade seitan (I'm still convinced I would need more counter space than my barely 2x3') to stuffed peppers to BBQ. Everything sounds delicious and the colour photos included read like food porn 101.

My only complaint with the book is that some recipes are way too long. If it can't fit on one page, there's something wrong. Besides that it's off putting, it makes it hard to photocopy which is kind of what you do when your rent from the library.

[side note: I totally rented this from the Library! So excited! I hope to one day own it, but in truth, shoes were calling my name instead.]

I am not vegan, but I love the creativity of the food and am always interested in expanding my culinary repertoire- who isn't?! This book is a nice primer for those who are considering veganism, vegetarians looking for more, and the curious (definitely omnivore friendly).

What are your favorite cook books?

11 June 2010

Take Action!

~ A recipe note: My sister tried to make my vegan chocolate chip cookies last night and they were a disaster. While going over the recipe with her we found two things she did differently from me. Here's what we discovered in case you have your own troubles with cookies (and who wants that?): She used two Earth Balance sticks of butter while I used the tub butter and "eyeballed" 1/2 cup in a measuring cup. Using two sticks (the Earth Balance ones appear smaller than other margarine or butters) was too much and her cookies were flat as a pancake. Also, when creaming the butter, I did everything by hand while she used a mixer. I can't imagine that had much to do with her cookies flattening, but thought I would share as well. In the end, your mixture should look crumbly (kinda like apple crumble pie crust) and not smooth like packaged cookie dough. It will smooth out from the heat in your hands when you roll them into balls.

Have you tried any recipes listed here? Successes? Failures??

~ I just learned about Preserve Products through The Kind Life website and have fallen in love! I can't wait to get paid and buy a bunch of Tupperware and travel ware from them. All of their products are made from 100% recycled plastic and paper. You can even send your old (preserve) toothbrushes back to be recycled. Kinda gross, but also kinda cool. The pricing is pretty great. Has anyone tried any of their products before?

~ The UN is now advising a vegan diet for the world. The reason is simple: By 2050 there will be an estimated 9.1 billion people on this planet (WOW) and a diet high in meat and dairy will no longer be sustainable. We can help now by eating more veggies (organic of course!) and less meat in our diets. Besides, it just feels better!

~ I just signed this Petition asking for the end of arsenic laced animal feed. Who wants to ingest that?!

~ I started eating better in an attempt to get healthier and avoid the gym. Part of what inspired me was my sister (the vegetarian- vegan for June!) and my friend shine (vegan for April and now mostly vegan). I never thought I would be put on this list, but the other day I had a conversation with a friend who revealed she too had recently started thinking about the way she eats and how to make changes. She said speaking to me about how easy it has been and seeing my success has motivated her. To date, she has lost 12 lbs and looks amazing just by becoming veggie friendly. It really made me feel good to hear that someone is listening and that change happens everyday. Do any of you have any success stories?

07 June 2010

Meat Free Monday Reviews!

Happy Meatless Monday! Today I thought I would give you a couple reviews of some fast (read: frozen) meals I've tried recently. I've kept it reletavely simple today for food- an apple for breakfast (I was kinds hurting this morning, so this was all I could handle), some edemame with tamari (the uber-good soy sauce) and leftover spinach pizza from my favorite Italian place, and So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt in chocolate for a snack. Dinner is "baked" gnocci with pesto (recipe to follow) and maybe some salad.

I'm trying not to eat so much processed/frozen dinners, prefering to save the processing for when I really need it like packaged tempeh, seitan, and Tofurky deli slices. However, while cruising the aisles at Central Market the other day when the word "NEW!" caught my eye. Morningstar Farms (my favorite breakfast sausages by the way) now have TV dinners- Sweet & Sour Chik'n and Lasagna. I am a huge sweet & sour fan so I decided to try it. The sauce is good, as are the chik'n bites, but there are not enough of them. The box promised chunks of pineapple, carrots, and peppers. I think mine had three small pieces of pineapple (Okay by me. I don't really like pineapple) and was over running with carrots and peppers. Mostly, what I had was peppers and rice with carrots and a bit of chik'n. Maybe it's because I haven't had a TV dinner in a while, but I also thought it was a bit salty. Overall, I'd give it 3 stars- Perfect for a quick meal when you're out of time, but not good enough to make it into regular rotation. This is also good for anyone just starting out on a more veggie friendly path.
My favorite new discovery is the Naan pizza by Tandoor Chef. So far, I've only found them at Whole Foods but they are to die! Your choices are Margharita, Roasted Eggplant , Cilantro Pesto, and Spinach & Paneer (which I had). I am in love with paneer, a soft Indian cheese, but have never found a good "instant" version. I don't know how one pizza would feed two people because I would have cut someone if they tried to take the other half! It is delicious and flavorful and I want one right now. I can't wait to try out the other versions (Minus the eggplant. I'm just not there yet). 5 stars! Everyone will enjoy.

What are you eating this Meatless Monday?

02 June 2010

Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

It's hard for me to type anything about food right now, as I am getting over some sort of stomach bug, but let's give it ago anyway!

Last weekend, my sister and I checked out Kalachandjis Temple & Restaurant. Open for over 27 years, it claims to be Dallas' longest running vegetarian restaurant. This beautiful Hare Krishna temple is located in an "eclectic" neighborhood in East Dallas. Truth is, if you are not an "East Village" (as I've dubbed it) regular or resident, the area can be kind of scary- think bars on windows, broken cars, roaming pit bulls- but that shouldn't stop you from trying any of the amazing hidden gems located here. Trust me, I'm a local.

Kalachandjis has been on our radar ever since I moved to the area and decided to give in an support (read: eat) vegetarian with my sister. The irony is not lost on me that we finally made the trip once I embraced a more veggie lifestyle.

Most of the menu is vegan and gluten free, though some options do contain dairy and they are clearly marked. They also refrain from using onions or garlic (I'm not sure why) but somehow that doesn't stop the flavor. The menu changes daily based on what is fresh and looking good, so be sure to check out their website for up to the minute information. They are also a donation based restaurant, so you can pay what you think is fair. This seems to be a bit tricky though as our bill was brought to us filled out ($21.90 for all you can eat for 2), I guess you just leave more or less as you see fit.

The food is served buffet style, then you can carry your trays outside to a beautiful courtyard or sit inside in the relative cool. When we were there there was: lemon tahini soup, steamed carrots, spicy peas in tomato sauce, potatoes and green beans, papadam, spinach pakora, tofu salad, collard greens, cheese quiche (I would use quiche lightly, but it was heaven!), fresh bread (cinnamon raisin!), salad bar with fresh dressings, and your choice of desert. We sampled the vanilla rice pudding (orgasmic) and the carob and walnut cake. Put the two together and you've got a winning combination. I'm sure there was more to choose from, but I forget already.

I can't wait to go back, and I hope others will join me in this strange and beautiful restaurant!