Even in the summer, I can’t help but crave piping hot soup. I love soup. In fact, it’s my favorite food. Yes, it really is. I think it’s because it’s really the one dish that can be made so many different ways out of so many different ingredients — isn’t that the idea behind “stone soup”? But seriously, soup is comforting every time. And when you’re lucky enough to be sitting in an air conditioned home, then it really doesn’t matter if it’s 90 degrees outside. When I was younger I used to have these “episodes” (I guess one could call them that) where I needed to have soup, like, on our way up to the White Mountains to go hiking, I’d suddenly need soup — mid-drive. My mom is the same way, it’s very much like, “Pull the car over at the next restaurant! I need soup!” It got to the point once when we would bring thermoses of soup if we were going on long weekend or day trips. My mom calls these episodes “soup attacks.” They seem to be less frequent these days, I don’t know why, but neither of us is ever far from the urge to make or eat soup, regardless.
That being said, it’d been a while, but this little concoction came about when I was having a soup attack. I didn’t even know it until after I was done eating, of course, when I’d successfully licked the bowl clean. This soup is thick and smooth in flavor, thanks to the addition of cashew cream. The use of whole tomatoes makes it just a bit chunky and hearty, the way I like tomato soup to be. The beauty of this soup is that you can make it as chunky or smooth as you’d like, it’s just a matter of blending less or more. I used only half a cup of basil, but you can use more if you want a stronger basil flavor.
The beautiful grilled cheese is the usual salty, cheesy goodness that compliments any tomato soup well. Is there anything Daiya can’t do? I doubt it. Continue reading
Corn muffins. Delicious, delicious corn muffins. I love corn muffins. Especially when they’re cake-y and not crumbly and dry. These corn muffins have a soft, almost cake-like texture and they are subtly sweet with just the perfect hint of that savory taste that’s reminiscent of breakfast. I’ve seen similar versions made with bacon and I was going to incorporate tempeh bacon into the mix, but it’s really not necessary. This was just enough. If you like butter and jam on your toast, you’ll probably like these. All I know is that I made six, and I ate three in one sitting and three later that day. I feel no shame. No shame.
Although I’m not super impressed with how the sprinkled cheese looks on top (because if you don’t cover Daiya in the oven it doesn’t get all gooey) they still taste fabulous and the flax seeds give it a nice speckled look! If you want, you can make an aluminum foil tent to cover them while they’re in the oven and see if that works to make the cheese all gooey-like on top, or you can simple put all the cheese in the muffin. Again, it doesn’t matter, these are so delicious no matter what you do! Serve these up with your next batch of tofu scramble or chili, or just whip ‘em up for your next on-the-go breakfast — I like mine with a little Earth Balance Butter. Either way, I’m sure they’ll put a smile on your face. This recipe is a standard corn muffin recipe, feel free to improvise with different flavors! Continue reading
When I was 19 I started cooking for myself and thus grocery shopping for myself. I don’t know what happened, but on that first day I went to the store by myself to do an entire shopping trip, I fell in love. Yeah. Love. I’m one of those people who loves grocery shopping. I mean, it’s literally one of my favorite things to do. Oh, you want to go to a movie tonight? Can we go to the grocery store instead? Maybe make some cookies, yeah? That’s me. Okay, maybe I’m not that hardcore, but I do really like going and whenever a new vegan comes my way I often suggest doing a shopping trip together. I’m excited just thinking about it. I think it has a lot to do with finally taking charge of what I put into my body and really appreciating food and variety. After all, these things are important. So, that being said, it’s been about two weeks since I’ve been to the store. I’m very grateful that I live in a country, and more specifically, in a situation where shopping once a week is something I can do easily. But…two weeks is hell for me and I keep missing the farmer’s markets, dammit.
In any case, I decided to walk on the coals and use what I had in house to come up with this delicious one dish wonder. The tempeh in this recipe is reminiscent of ground turkey. And the crust should really be cooked until a nice light, golden brown. It’s okay if the edges get a little burned and crunchy. This is a light dish so, it wouldn’t satisfy a large crowd. If you’re making this for a small dinner party, say, of four, I’d recommend serving soup and/or salad ahead. Enjoy! Continue reading
Recently at dinner one of my friends remarked that he wishes Boston had an all vegan Mexican restaurant. I thought to myself, “Well that would be wildly popular, no doubt!” Then I thought about what kind of items besides the standard burrito and taco would be on the menu. Then I remembered that Daiya Foods had just released this behemoth of a vegan cheese — pepperjack — and that I had picked some up after having been shocked out of my boots at its appearance at my local natural foods store, in my current town of Middle Of Nowhere, NH. And so, with Daiya pepperjack shreds in hand, a pie dish, and some beans — I got to work. And this delicious, belly filling, comfort food creation is what came of it.
This is a great dish to take to your next potluck or party, or just to make for your next Mexican inspired home cooked dinner. My one word of advice is to go easy on the hot peppers (or omit them) if you can’t take the heat. I originally made this with one full cherry pepper. I don’t recommend it unless you like really, really spicy food. Either way, this dish is delicious and you are bound to impress!
*If you can’t find the Daiya pepperjack near you yet, try the cheddar shreds. Those would work well too. And if you can’t find Daiya near you or in your country, try ordering some online, asking your store to carry it, or when all else fails, use another vegan cheese you like or omit the cheese altogether.
I have a confession to make: I’ve never had a stuffed pepper before. Ever. I know, I know, it’s practically crazy, but it’s very, very true. That being said, I took matters into my own hands two weeks ago and figured out the basics. First you take a pepper, then you stuff it, then you bake it, then you eat it. Simple enough. I think the hardest part was figuring out what I wanted to stuff it with. Rice was too conventional and polenta was too mushy. Barley seemed like the right choice. And heck, why not through in some soy crumbles and Daiya for the “beefy/cheesy” effect?
This was delicious. In fact, it was probably my favorite of my own recipes so far, besides my lasagna. I basically love anything you can cook in an oven, obviously. My only regret was that I only made two; one for me, one for mom. These peppers were really big though, even for organic ones. The good thing is that there was plenty of beef and barley stuffing left over so, I ate some of that. If you’re serving more than two people, you will have enough stuffing for about 4 large peppers.
Trust me, you’re going to want to make this. Continue reading
For all you hungry Mexican food aficionados who enjoy a hearty, (a bit spicy) and savory breakfast or brunch, but have grown tired of the omnipotent tofu scramble, I give you this: The power of polenta – for breakfast!
Call me a fat kid, I don’t care, but when I couldn’t decide between oatmeal and muffins, I made oatmeal cakes, and when I couldn’t decide to only eat oatmeal cakes for breakfast – I made this too. And thank the vegan kitchen gods I did! I couldn’t stop eating it. In fact, I made enough for two (so I could save some for later), but I ate the whole thing! Oh boy.
This was inspired by my recent trip to NYC where I had brunch at a little restaurant in the lower east side called, Caravan of Dreams. I got the french toast. My best friend got the polenta. When our food came out, it was obvious I would be secretly seething with jealousy no matter how good my french toast was.
Need I say more? Oh yes, on thing more: enjoy!
|Oh, Frankensquash, there will never be another like you!
Back in September I was given a nameless, misshapen organic squash that I’ve since named my “Frankensquash.” I’d never cooked with squash, but I’ve always liked it. I was reluctant to use the squash until recently because I had no idea what to do with it and I thought that whatever I came up with would be time consuming and difficult. But my stomach soon took over as I’m a big fan of squash. And an even bigger fan of squash soups. And an even bigger fan of collard greens. And you guessed it, an even bigger fan of ginger. I was lucky enough to have nothing much on hand but all three of these on a very cold night and came up with this easy, spicy, soothing, and filling soup! I also had some ciabatta bread lying around that was a few days old and perfect for croutons.
This soup pleases everybody. Make this for your sick loved ones, make it for a hungry winter guest, make it for yourself!
|Do they have crouton eaters anonymous meetings somewhere?
Just make sure you taste it as you go, making sure the ginger flavor is to your liking. A lot of ginger is never a bad thing, but it can make your soup too spicy and nearly inedible if you add too much, and too little ginger is no fun at all!
Also, beware the croutons! They are delicious for snacking and highly addictive! Don’t eat them all before you put them in the soup!
|I would certainly serve this to my hungry prairie guests!
When I was younger, I used to tell myself (and everyone who asked) that if I was on death’s door and could have one last meal, it would be, without question, my mom’s meat lasagna. Growing up, there was nothing she produced out of her kitchen that I loved more, and trust me, there were many things to chose from. When I first had a traditional Italian lasagna, I was baffled. What’s this ricotta cheese? My mom doesn’t use that. Where’s the meat?! And more importantly, why isn’t this being served with a side of white rice?
That’s how my mom’s was different. It had meat, no ricotta, and a lot of Dominican flavor (heavy on the oregano, know what I’m sayin’?). And…we ate everything with rice. When I went vegan, about a year ago, I thought it was all over. I thought for sure I’d be having oatmeal before dying. And not too soon after, I forgot all about mom’s lasagna. While I was in Portland, OR this summer, I made the mistake of having lasagna at a restaurant. It was good. But it wasn’t what I was used to, and flavor-wise, it just didn’t bring me back home, or anywhere for that matter. That’s when I knew that I had to tackle mom’s lasagna when I got home and make it vegan.
So this is it, my basic lasagna recipe – mom’s lasagna, veganized. I decided I like the traditional “ricotta” cheese idea a lot, and my mom’s version had a lot of mozzarella cheese so, this is my way of making up for that in a much kinder, healthier way. The ricotta recipe is from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog. All credit goes to the lovely Susan V. for creating it! My version has less spinach since there is a layer of fresh spinach in the lasagna already. Don’t tell anyone the ricotta is made of tofu and they won’t even know.
This recipe is very easy to make and very filling. But if you’re feeling ambitious, serve it with a side of white rice.