Archive for February, 2010

I have a very heartfelt thank you to send out to Marti who gave me a head’s up regarding this challenge.  Thank you Marti!

It’s actually been such a long time now since we’ve cooked with cheese that when we accepted the Teese Vegan Cheese Challenge, aside from the usual suspects like pizza and such,  it took us a while to think of something to use Teese in.  The only request they made was that it not be used in the same old, same old.  Then it came to us, something we used to love that was both cheesy and special…chile rellenos.  The vegan cheese actually worked perfectly in this dish and melted beautifully, which is why you use cheese in recipes to begin with, you want that rich creaminess that enhances both flavor and texture and Teese came through perfectly.

In addition to the chile rellenos, I used the mole and filling along with the Teese to make enchiladas.   [Using tortillas, roll filling and Teese into enchiladas and place in a baking dish.  Cover with mole sauce and bake at 350 degrees, covered,  until the Teese and sauce bubble.] Because they both freeze and reheat well for leftovers, enchiladas were a handy way to use  the rest of the filling and mole sauce.

Mole Verde with Edamame


1/2 cup raw pepitas, toasted

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds, toasted

1 onion, cut in half

6 tomatillos, diced

1 cup edamame

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 ripe plantain, diced

1 tsp oregano

1 inch of canella [Mexican cinnamon, otherwise use ground]

1.5 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ancho chile

1 dried chile de arbol

1 dried guajillo chili

2 corn tortillas

salt and pepper to taste


Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chiles and toast in a dry pan until slightly blackened.  Move to a bowl and pour 2 cups steaming water over chiles, cover until softened.

Blacken the onion and tomato in a pan and move to a blender.  Drizzle some canola oil into the pan and sauté the plantain, garlic and tomatillos until the edges have carmelized.  Move to the blender.  Add broth, canella, oregano, cocoa and tortillas to the blender and blend until homogenous.  Return to a pot on the stove and heat on low for about 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Teeming with Teese Chile Rellenos

I used both flavors of Teese in this dish because I was sent both flavors to try out and happen to like white cheeses in melty Mexican food.  You could certainly use one or the other rather than both in this recipe.


1/4 cup  Teese Cheddar Vegan Cheese, grated

1/4 cup Teese Mozzarella Vegan Cheese, grated

4  poblano peppers, roasted and skin removed

3  blue Peruvian potatoes [can substitute red potatoes], small dice

1 carrot, small dice

1/2 chayote squash, small dice

1 onion, small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 nopalito, spines removed and grilled, diced

1/4 of a pineapple, grilled and diced [I cut have a pineapple into wedges and grilled them beside the nopalito.  I then kept back 2 wedges of pineapple for garnish; they are so delicious grilled.]

wooden skewers

vegetable oil for frying [You want the oil around 350-360 degrees.]


8 oz  all-purpose flour

1 bottle vegan beer

Whisk beer into flour until well combined.


Sauté the onion and garlic until softened and slightly carmelized, set aside.  In same pan, sauté the potatoes and carrot for about 10 minutes and then add in the chayote and sauté until all the vegetables have softened.  Add in the grilled nopalito and pineapple.  Set aside to cool.

Slice the poblanos once to create an opening and gingerly remove the seeds taking care to keep the pepper intact.  Insert filling into the pepper with a small amount of the mole and add 1/4 of the cheese [Cheddar and Mozzarella combined].  Close the pepper and stitch together with a wooden skewer.  Repeat until all peppers are filled.  Dredge in flour and gently knock off excess.  Dip into batter and immediately place  into heated oil to fry.  Fry until golden brown, remove and drain on paper towels.

Black Beans with Coconut Milk and Canella

I wanted some richly-flavored black beans to compliment the grilled nopalito and pineapple in the chile rellenos and this is what I came up with.  They turned out really well.


1 lb. dried black beans

1 can unsweetened Thai coconut milk

1 stick canella

2 large roma tomato

2 dried bay leaves

1 kaffir lime leaf

1 clove garlic

2 cups No-Chicken Broth

4 dried guajillo chilis

2 dried chile de arbol

1 dried ancho chili

salt and pepper to taste


Remove seeds and stems from dried chiles and toast in a dry pan.  Cover with 1 cup steaming water until softened.  Add chilis and water along with garlic clove and one tomato to a blender.  Blend until smooth and set aside.

Cover beans with water and bring to a boil.  Cover, turn off heat and let sit for an hour.  Drain and rinse beans.  Return to pot and add remaining ingredients, including the blended chilis.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered until beans are soft.  [This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.]


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Warmed Kasha Salad


I would like to thank Mila for sending H home with a package of buckwheat.  It challenged me to come up with something that represents what I think a Russian might enjoy using ingredients that I already had on hand.  When I think of Russia I think of beets, sour cream, dill, cabbage…and warm comfort food.

Warmed Kasha and Root Vegetable Salad


1 cup buckwheat

1 cup millet, hulled

2 beets, small dice

3 carrots, small dice

1 onion, small dice

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 dried figs, sliced

1/4 cup walnuts, rough chop leaving some larger pieces

olive oil


To cook the buckwheat [ As per Mila’s instructions to H]:  Cover buckwheat by an inch of water and bring to a boil.  Drain off the water and repeat the process.  Return the grain to the heat and bring to a simmer with fresh water and cook until soft.  Drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.  Do not overcook the grain.

To cook the millet:  Add 1 cup millet to 3 cups boiling water.  Reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.  Fluff with a fork.

Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and add the diced beets, carrots, onion, garlic, figs and walnuts.  Saute until the root vegetables have softened softened. 

Combine the buckwheat, millet and vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with some walnut or olive oil.

I garnished this with some creamed tofu which was basically just tofu processed with some lemon juice and vinegar for a tart flavor and olive oil until the tofu became creamy. 

Braised Cabbage with Apple and Dill


1 small head of green cabbage

1 apple

2-3 tsp dill seeds

1/4 cup fresh dill

apple cider vinegar

vegetable stock [amount will vary, all you need is to keep the cabbage wet to braise.]

salt and freshly cracked black pepper


Add cabbage and apple to a pan containing simmering vegetable stock.  Cook until the cabbage begins to soften.  Add in the dill, fresh and seed, and the vinegar.  Continue to cook until the cabbage is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper and more vinegar if needed.

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I think it’s pretty obvious by now that H and I are not beige vegans.  We eat the rainbow,  painting a new piece of art at each meal.  Not only is it visually gorgeous but the vibrant colors in botanical foods mean that they’re packed with phytonutrients.  Including some fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is not only good for you, you get to savor an artwork of your own making.  Consider taking the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s vegan challenge in March, it just might change your life.


Sunflower Seed and Cinnamon Hash

Sunflower seeds are a great source for vitamin E as well as being a good source for vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, folate and selenium. 


1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 T flax seed

agave syrup, to taste

lemon zest, to taste

cinnamon, to taste

freshly grated nutmeg, to taste


In a food processor combine sunflower and flax seeds until a meal is formed.  Add in lemon zest and spices.  Pulse until the lemon zest is ground.  Add agave and pulse until the mixture starts to form a ball, pulling off the sides, and is well combined.

Spread on anything you wish from celery stalks to bread.

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Carrot and Black Bean Posole


340 gram package dried posole [4 cups], soaked overnight

1 large russet potato, cut into a bite-sized dice

3 carrots, sliced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 

1 poblano pepper, skin removed and subsequently diced

8 dried guajillo peppers

4 roma tomatoes

2 large yellow onion [One is for the sauce, one is to be chopped for the stew.]

6 cloves garlic [2 cloves for the sauce, 4 minced for the stew.]

1 box vegetable stock

1 jalapeno, diced

2 dried bay leaves

1 T dried oregano


Place poblano pepper under the broiler to blister and blacken the skin. Place pepper into a plastic bag and seal. When cooled, the skin peels off easily. Cut the tops from the dried guajillo peppers and remove the seeds. Toast the guajillos in a skillet until slightly browned. Place in a bowl with a few cups of hot water to rehydrate. Reserve this liquid for the sauce.

Cut an onion in half and place in a skillet cut sides down along with the roma tomatoes and blacken. [This char adds great flavor in the final sauce.] Add the blackened onion and tomatoes along with the rehydrated guajillos and 2 cloves of garlic to a blender. Add a bit of the guajillo soaking liquid to blend. Blend the mixture until homogenous. Add the remaining guajillo soaking liquid. Blitz a few times and set aside.

Drizzle a bit of oil into a soup pot and sauté the chopped onion and jalapeno until the onions have softened. Add minced garlic, oregano, black beans, poblano pepper and posole. After a couple minutes toss in the bay leaves and guajillo pepper sauce. Cook at a low simmer for an hour and a half. [If the soup needs more liquid add in vegetable broth. The consistency is really up to you and your tastes. H prefers soups on the heartier side with less broth so I made this posole more stew-like.]

Add the potatoes and carrots and continue cooking at a low simmer for another 90 minutes or until the posole is tender. Adjust the volume and consistency of the soup/stew with broth and taste to season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with whatever wonderfully fresh ingredients you can imagine. Shredded cabbage, radishes, freshly-squeezed lime juice, creamy avocado, tomatillo salsa, pepitas and cilantro are only a few ideas. It’s entirely up to your tastes.

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Three Chile Pepper Chili

Chili is one of those comfort foods that people love to see at a game day party.  It is so versatile it can also be used to top nachos and burgers, hot dogs and even atop pasta.   This is a really simple and tasty version that leaves a great deal up to you.  When I say that it’s up to you I mean, for example,  that if you do not like black beans don’t add them and simply add more kidney beans or another bean.  If you like your chili extra spicy or mild, adjust the chili pepper amount to suit your tastes.  I’ve provided the amounts I used but as I’ve said, be creative and add what flavors you like.   This recipe makes a ton of chili, enough for a game day party; it’s a good thing it freezes so well.

H made some cornbread that was delicious crumbled atop the chili.  Garnish with whatever turns you on be that cilantro, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, red onion or crushed tortilla chips.


2 – 15oz chili beans, undrained

2 – 25 oz cans kidney beans, drained

1 – 25 oz can black beans, drained

1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce

3 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes [I used Muir Glen’s fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies]

1 – 12 oz can tomato paste

32 oz tomato juice

3 roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced

2 green bell peppers, diced

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and deveined, diced

1 serrano pepper, deseeded and deveined, diced

3 poblano peppers, skin removed and diced

1 T ground cumin

1 T chili powder

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

canola oil


Drizzle a bit of canola oil in a large stock pot and cook the onion, garlic, poblano, jalapeno, serrano and bell peppers until softened.  Add in the beans, the fresh tomatoes and all the tomato products including the juice.  Add in the chili powder and cumin.  Stir well and cover.  Simmer on low for a couple of hours adjusting the consistency to your tastes with water.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Silken Joy



Dilled Carrot and Potato Soup with Pistachio Cream

If you want a more savory soup replace the carrot juice with vegetable stock.


1 large Russet potato, large dice  [The one I used yielded 4 cups.]

6 carrots, cut into similar sized pieces as the potato [Also about 4 cups worth.]

1 onion, sliced

1/2 cup celery, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine for easy removal later

2 dried bay leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup white wine [I used a Sauvignon Blanc.]

2 cups carrot juice

vegetable stock  [The amount will vary according to the thickness of soup you desire.]

1 T dill seeds

salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a soup pot and add onions and celery.  Cook till the onions have softened and add in the potatoes and carrots.  Let these cook till the vegetables have browned edges. [Browned bits are where the flavor is at.] Add in the garlic, dill and thyme and mix well.  Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the wine and allow a few minutes for the alcohol to evaporate off.  Add in the carrot juice and one cup of vegetable stock.   Cover and cook for half an hour or so, until the vegetables are fork tender. 

Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems.  Transfer the soup to a blender and blitz till smooth.  [Remember that hot liquids will expand when blended so do not fill the blender more than half-way and cover the top with a kitchen towel while holding down the lid.]  Adjust the consistency with vegetable stock and taste to see if salt and pepper are needed.

Spoon some of the sweet pistachio cream and tart creamy dill sauce over the soup and garnish with chopped pistachios for a nice crunchy contrast to the silky soup.

Dilled Tofu Sauce

You can adjust the tartness of this sauce by adding either more of less vinegar.  The vinegar I used has a very distinct flavor though as a common substitute I would likely choose an apple cider vinegar.


1/2 package firm silken tofu

1 cup fresh dill

2 T fresh lemon juice

2 tsp pear vinegar 

1 tsp dill seeds

salt and pepper to taste


Simply blend all ingredients in a food processor. 

Creamed Pistachio Sauce


1/4 cup pistachios

1/4 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer


Toss into a processor and blend.

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This was a quick, easy and delicious lunch.  I schmeared it onto some dark pumpernickel and stacked on some carrot slices with dandelion greens and watercress.  Marvelous!


Soft Lemony Cashew and Tofu Cheese


1/4 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup firm silken tofu

2 T fresh lemon juice

few sprigs fresh thyme, destemmed

1 tsp lemon zest

few dashes umeboshi vinegar [could substitute with cider vinegar]

salt and pepper to taste


Simply blend together in a food processor until a smooth consistency is achieved.

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