Archive for February, 2010


Crispy Yuba with Matchstick Vegetables


4 sticks dried bean curd [yuba], rehydrated, patted dry and cut into shreds

2 celery sticks, cut into matchsticks

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

1 red bell pepper,  cut into matchsticks

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into matchsticks

1 broccoli stalk, outer fibrous layer peeled off and cut into matchsticks

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 inches ginger, minced

1/3 cup cornstarch seasoned with salt and pepper


4 T ponzu sauce [without bonito, could use soy or tamari as substitute]

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T sake

2 T agave syrup

1/2 T chili garlic sauce [or more, depending on how spicy you like your food]

1/3 cup water


Toss the yuba with the cornstarch and add to a wok-style pan on medium high heat with a coating of canola oil.  Cook until the yuba has browned edges and is crisped up.  Remove the yuba and set aside.  Add another drizzle of oil if needed and sequentially cook the vegetables in the following order and then set aside with the yuba:  carrots, broccoli stalks, celery, peppers.  Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook briefly.  Add the sauce mixture.  Return the cooked items to the pan and coat with the sauce.  Give it enough time in the pan so that the cornstarch on the yuba interacts with the sauce and thickens it a bit.  Serve immediately over brown basmati rice.

The next day I tossed in some fresh spinach –to get my greens fix– while reheating and had a great lunch.  The yuba softens and loses it’s crispy texture after being in the fridge overnight but I happen to love the texture of yuba in any incarnation.  It’s really become one of my favorite foods.

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Brûléed Banana Pudding


Silken Banana Pudding

So incredibly simple and yet so delicious.  I had banana pudding on my mind, the kind with vanilla wafers.  I  improvised.


1 package extra  firm silken tofu

2 bananas [The riper the more banana flavor.]

1 tsp vanilla extract [You could use banana if you prefer and/or your bananas are not quite ripe enough.]

agave syrup,  to taste

Brûléed Banana


firm ripe bananas

organic sugar


Mix all ingredients in a food processor until well mixed and creamy.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

I broke out the kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar on fresh banana slices.  I’m sure you could achieve the same end by placing lightly-sugared banana slices under the broiler on a sheet pan.   I took it a step further and served it all over a vegan vanilla sugar cookie.

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Supplí Alla Veganese

Supplí are a Roman street food.  The first time I had these was when I visited my mother and younger brother who were living in Rome.  They were, quite simply, amazing.  What isn’t to adore about a fried Arborio rice ball filled with cheese?  Americans really have nothing that compares.  I’ve been making them for years; however, no longer willing to eat dairy cheese, I had to improvise.

Break into the hot and crispy fried rice balls and find an oozy creamy cashew cheese tucked inside.


Risotto, cooled enough to handle comfortably in your hand [The recipe I used from an earlier post.]

cashew cheese [recipe]

panko bread crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper and any dried Italian herbs your fancy

vegetable oil


Mold some risotto flat in your hand and place some cashew cheese in the center.  Fold the risotto around the cashew cheese, encasing it completely.  Roll the rice ball in the seasoned bread crumbs.  Fry at 350 degrees until golden brown.  Serve while hot.

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Tomato and Basil Risotto


Tomato and Basil Risotto

This is a very basic risotto with classic flavors.  The vegan twist involves adding a soft cashew cheese to add a rich creaminess to the dish. 

Note:  I consciously made this risotto thicker than I normally would because I made it with the intent of its being a precursor to another dish, Supplí.  You can adjust the consistency of your own risotto by the amount of broth you add near the end of the cooking time.



16 oz Arborio Rice

1 onion, finely diced

1 – 28 oz can plum tomatoes, pulsed in a blender to homogenize

1 quart vegetable stock or No-Chicken Broth

1 cup white wine

fresh basil

4 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil


Cashew cheese


1 block firm silken tofu

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup nutritional yeast

juice of ½ lemon

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil


Make the cashew cheese in a food processor by adding the tofu, cashew and nutritional yeast.  Pulse to break up and add in lemon juice.  Drizzle in olive oil until there is a thick and creamy consistency.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a soup pot add the vegetable stock and pureéd tomatoes.  Heat to a simmer then turn down to low.

Sauté the onion and garlic in a drizzle of olive oil until the onions have softened.  Add in the rice and mix well to coat the grains entirely with oil.  Continue cooking for a few minutes.  Add in the white wine and cook until fully absorbed into the rice.  Add in a ladel-ful or two of the broth/tomato mix and mix into the rice.  Continue to add in broth once the previous broth mixture has been absorbed.  Keep doing this until the rice is soft to the tooth yet still has a slight bite in the center of the grain.  Stir in some freshly chopped basil.

Ladel the risotto into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of the cashew cheese per bowl.  You can either mix this in or allow your guests to do it at the table, which can be fun.  Garnish with fresh basil and toasted pine nuts, if you wish.

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So, it has been occurring to me lately that there are so many things we, H and I,  buy commercially that I could easily make from scratch.  Not only would they taste better and be more nutritious but I’d know exactly what I put into them.  Imagine that.  I get weary of having to look at microscopic fonts that are printed upon reflective plastic and tucked behind the flap on a wrapper to see what’s actually in a product.  Seriously, I don’t want my foods full of industrial chemicals and preservatives because a company wants its product to sit pretty upon a shelf for years.

There are so many foods that we consume on a  regular basis that can easily be made at home.  For me, the major epiphany was tofu, but pasta, jams and jellies, bread and crackers are in the lists.  Guess what?  I’m in the kitchen and I’m experimenting.  It’s hella fun.

I modified a recipe posted on the Food Network.  The first cracker is slightly modified; the other two strayed well off the beaten path.

Seven Seed Flatbread Crackers


5 oz 10-grain flour [Bob’s Red Mill]

4-3/4 oz unbleached flour

2/3 cup seeds  [I used 1/3 cup black and white sesame seeds and then 1/3 cup of mixed poppy, flax, chia, millet and dill seeds]

1.5 tsp sea salt

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

3 T olive oil

6.5 oz water


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients then add oil and mix well.  Slowly drizzle in the water and knead a few times on a floured surface.  Cut into 8 equal sections and let rest for 15 minutes.  Using a pasta machine, roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness for a thicker flatbread-style cracker.  Roll through a higher setting for a thinner cracker.  Bake until slightly browned, turning once during cooking.

Dilled Yease and Flax Seed Flatbread Cracker

I wanted a savory cracker with a slight cheesy flavor.  This one worked out nicely.


2/3 cup nutritional yeast

5 oz 10-grain flour

4-3/4 oz unbleached flour

1 T Bill’s Chik’Nish vegetarian seasoning

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

1 T dill weed

1 T dill seed

1 T flax seed

1 T turmeric

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp sea salt

1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 T walnut oil

6.5 oz water


Same as above.

Carrot, Roasted Garlic and Walnut Crackers

I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make a variety using our vegetable of the month.  I’m jazzed that I found a use for the carrot pulp left behind from making fresh carrot juice.  [A thinly-rolled version is pictured above.]


5 oz 10-grain flour

2-3/4 oz garbanzo flour

2 oz  unbleached flour

one head roasted garlic

1/3 cup ground walnuts

2 T ground flax seeds

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

1 T caraway seeds

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup carrot pulp [from freshly juiced carrots]

3 T walnut oil

3 oz fresh carrot juice


Same as first cracker recipe.

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Asian Barbecue-Glazed Lentil and Barley Loaf

I was looking through our pantry at the various grains tucked within.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t done anything with pearled barley in a really long time.  Now color me strange, but whenever I see the words “pearled barley” my mind leaps to an image of Pearl S. Buck’s,  The Good Earth.  Every.  Single.  Time.  That admission out of the way,  it should now seem intuitive that an Asian-inspired dish leapt to mind.  But I really really wanted to make a grain loaf.  Therein lied the conundrum…occidentally oriented…until my synapses fired.  Blammo!  I would make a loaf with a sticky, full-flavored, lip-smackingly tasty Asian-style barbecue sauce.  I fled, gleefully, to the kitchen! 


2 cups cooked Puy lentils [I cooked mine in No-Chicken Broth for added flavor.]

1 cup cooked pearled barley [Also cooked in No-Chicken Broth.]

½ cup rolled oats, uncooked

¼ cup sesame seeds

2 cups ciabatta bread, cubed and soaked in ¼ cup No-Chicken broth, pulsed in a processor

½ cup red pepper, finely diced

½ cup green pepper, finely diced

½ cup carrot, finely diced

½ onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 head roasted garlic

½ cup Asian-style barbecue sauce [Recipe below.]


Sauté onions, peppers, minced garlic and carrot in a drizzle of canola oil until softened.  In a bowl add lentils, barley, oats, sesame seeds, roasted garlic, soaked and pulsed bread, and sautéed vegetables.  Mix well.  Add ½ cup of Asian barbecue sauce and mix thoroughly. 

Add mixture to a sprayed loaf pan and press into shape.  Top with more of the barbecue sauce and place in the oven.  Cook until the sauce on top has caramelized and is thick and sticky.   [If you place a whole carrot in the center of the loaf as I did you need to cook it a bit longer to ensure the carrot is fully cooked.]

Allow it to time to set and cool before cutting.  Spraying your knife with a non-stick spray also helps to ensure clean cuts.

Asian-Style Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is sweet and spicy and packs a bit of heat.  Absolutely delicious.


1 cup hoisin sauce

½ cup No-Chicken broth

¼ cup white miso

¼ cup sake

¼ cup double-concentrated tomato paste

¼ cup ponzu sauce [without bonito]

2 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise


Combine all ingredients in a pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

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Lushly Lemon

Herbed Meyer Lemon Pudding

I used Meyer lemons for this because I love their herby flavor.  You could certainly use any lemon.


1 box firm silken tofu

1 tsp pure lemon extract [or more or less, to taste]

juice of one meyer lemon, reduced in volume to about a tablespoon and cooled

peel of one meyer lemon, candied

organic sugar

agave syrup,  to taste

fresh thyme


Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer and add in lemon peel.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Transfer lemon peels from syrup to a bowl containing fresh sugar and toss to coat.  Set aside on a paper towel.

Keep the sugar syrup simmering on the stovetop until the color darkens significantly.  Add in some fresh  thyme leaves,  the amount is entirely up to you.  Pour the hot carmelized sugar onto a silpat sheet or oil-sprayed cookie sheet and tilt until the sugar has thinned.  Set aside to harden.

In the food processor add in the tofu, lemon juice, lemon extract and fresh thyme leaves.  Pulse until silken.  Sweeten with agave syrup and move to a bowl.  Stir in minced candied lemon rind to taste.  Allow to chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with cracked shards of the hardened thyme sugar.

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A Simple Dinner

Sometimes nothing beats fresh roasted vegetables and greens for dinner.  I saw these golden beets in the produce section with their tops still attached and I started to salivate.  I promptly whisked them home and decided upon a very simple dinner with some warmed tart and tangy apples and Peruvian potatoes to accompany the beets.

Mustardy Apples


2 Fuji apples, cored and cut into chunks

1/2 onion, diced

1 head roasted garlic

1 T  stone-ground mustard [or to taste]

white wine

apple cider vinegar


Sauté the onions and apples in a drizzle of olive oil until edges begin to caramelize.  Add in 1/4 cup wine and cook off the alcohol.  Add in the roasted garlic, mustard and splash in some apple cider vinegar.  Cook for a few minutes to evaporate off the vinegar.

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Carrot and Sage Tagliatelle with Roasted Garlic and Walnuts

I made a fresh homemade carrot tagliatelle pasta for this dish but any wide eggless noodle would do.  This dish was seriously lush.


1 head roasted garlic

1 cup fresh carrot juice

1 -2 cups No-Chicken broth

10 fresh sage leaves

fried sage leaves for garnish


olive oil

1 T AP flour

salt and pepper


Add carrot juice and roasted garlic to a pot.  Toss in the sage leaves and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.  In a separate pot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and an equal amount of AP flour.  Stir with a whisk for a few minutes until the flour has cooked and you have a roux. 

Remove the sage leaves from the first pot and add the contents to the roux while whisking.  Bring to a boil.  Adjust thickness with the No-Chicken broth until you have a sauce that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.   Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer lightly for about 10 minutes. 

Cook your pasta until nearly done, strain and transfer the pasta into the pot with the sauce.  Add in walnuts and finish cooking the pasta with the sauce.  [Remember, you can always add some pasta water to extend the amount of sauce if more is needed to sauce the pasta].  Garnish with fried sage leaves.

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Vegan French Onion Soup

While it’s Winter and as we all know soups rock when it’s cold out, this soup is also a really nice springtime meal because it’s so light.  I can’t wait for the garlic scapes to spring up from the earth; they would be a really nice addition to this soup.

Vegan French Onion Soup


4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 – 1 cup white wine [depends upon your tastes, you could also use sherry if you prefer]

3 large onions, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil

8 sprigs fresh thyme [plus some extra for garnish if you wish], tied in a bundle for easy retrieval

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper

baguette, cut into inch-thick slices

vegan cheese


Carmelize the onions over medium low heat in a soup pot. [This will take a good 45 minutes to fully carmelize.  You can speed up the process by adding in a bit of sugar but it’s really important for flavor that the onions are caremelized; they’re the star of this soup.]  Add in thyme and garlic and cook for a few minutes until you smell the garlic.  Deglaze the soup pot with the wine and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes to evaporate off the alcohol.  Add in the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes or so.  Season with salt and pepper.

Toast both sides of the baguette slices prior to melting the vegan cheese under a broiler because you do not want the soup to sop into the bread immediately.  Serve atop the soup immediately.

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