Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Improved Vegan Mac and Cheese!

The ultimate comfort food, Mac and Cheese is something many people eating a vegan diet seem to miss a lot.  I know whenever I would run a special at work or make some to for the take home case, it would disappear as fast as I could make it!   I have an old stand-by recipe that I tweaked just a bit to make it even better.  I used our home cultured sauerkraut in the cheese and OMG, I can't begin to tell you how good it is! 

I like using white beans to add a creamy texture and some fiber to the sauce.  The Vita-Mix or blender is the preferred implement of choice to get the sauce super smooth.  This relies on my Cashew Goat Cheese as the base.  If you don't have that, just add 1/2 cup cashews, 1/2 cup sauerkraut, 1 tbsp miso, 2 cloves garlic  and a dollop of mustard to the blender, but it won't taste quite as good.  

New and Improved Vegan Mac and Cheese 
  • 8 oz pasta, uncooked 
  • 1 cup Melody's Nutty Goat Cheese
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1  cup cooked white beans
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp umeboshi vinegar
  • 1-2 cups pasta cooking water
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle powder
  1. Cook pasta until al dente; drain and reserve 2 cups of the cooking water
  2. Add the remaining ingredients expect Earth Balance to a blender and blend until smooth
  3. Toss cooked pasta with the Earth Balance, pour in the sauce and cook for two minutes. 
  4. Season with black pepper, salt if needed and the smoked paprika or chipotle

Do you have a favorite Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe? 

*Note:  I like Trader Joes Brown Rice Pasta for a Gluten Free Option!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seitan Hot Dogs and Homemade Sauerkraut

We finally put up Angela! (our first attempt at homemade Sauerkraut, which came out just PERFECT if I do say so myself!) I can't believe how easy it was and I can't wait to play around with flavors next time and add more  veggies!  We have about a gallon and a half total; we water canned 1 1/2 quarts and the rest is live!

So, of course I was craving a Veggie Dog, and decided to make some out of Seitan.  I have a very strange relationship with seitan. I don't like it, but several times a year, I think I will like it and then I make it and eat it and like it while I'm eating it..  but am reminded why I only eat it twice a year .. but I digress.  This recipe is certainly not like commercial vegan hot dogs, but they hit the spot and are super simple to make with ingredients most of you probably have in your pantry. 


  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten 
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp onion flakes
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • pinch cloves
  • 1 teaspoon smoke powder (or 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke)

  1. Put a big pot of water onto steam
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients
  3. Divide dough into six equal pieces, roll into logs and wrap in foil and steam for 40 minutes. 
  5. Let seitan cool completely; then pan fry it and enjoy! 

Angela was also amazing on my homemade veggie burger! 

I'm going to make a big loaf of Pumpernickel and we are going to have Smoked Tofu Reubens! Yum..  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spicy Nigerian Black Eyed Peas

On Saturday, The Boyfriend and I went out for lunch at Suya Joint , a lovely little restaurant in Roslindale Village.  We stumbled across this restaurant a couple months ago and put it on our To Do list of places to try in and around Boston.   I will do a full restaurant review in the next week or so, but I will tell you that we loved our food.  We also really enjoyed the staff.  The Chef came out to speak with us and everyone was so friendly! When people put their heart and soul into food, you can tell and it makes all of the difference when someone loves what they are doing.  The menu is definitely centered around meat, but they say at the bottom that they cater to vegetarians as well, so I asked my server to recommend something.  I had the Beans and Fried Plantains.  I asked for it extra spicy, but of course, I needed more heat, so they brought out their amazing Spice Mix for me to sprinkle on my food.  Are you seeing a theme here yet?  We had a lot of fun trying to discern the spices again and of course, my mind was wanting to re-create the mixture.  I think I FINALLY might have figured out that they use Birds of Paradise in their mixtures... which gives it such an astringent and citrus flavor. I have been using Amchoor (dried green mango powder) in my spice mixture.  Anyway.. I digress...  here is a picture of my delicious lunch from Suya Joint!

So, I woke up the next morning with a recipe in my head to re-create the flavors.  I like writing down the recipe the way I think it will work, then following it exactly the first time.. then tweak it I'm happy to say that my recipe produced almost the exact results I had intended; the only issue is that the stew IS SPICY.. most likely too spicy for most people to enjoy... oh and it uses 2 of our Spice Mixtures and one Hot Sauce I've made, so I realize this isn't a very accessible recipe for most of you.. BUT I am going to revamp it for the average kitchen user the next time I make it. 

Nigerian Spicy Black Eyed Peas
  • 1 cup dried black eyed peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • ½ teaspoon Tony’s Creole Seasoning or Salt
  • 1 tablespoon The Boyfriend’s Spice Mix
  • 2 tablespoons Melody’s Spice Mix
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 medium size tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons Habanero/Peach Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil (Thai basil if you can get it)
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil, garlic spices, onion with a pinch of salt. Sauté for a couple minutes then add the tomatoes, and pepper.
  2. Cook over medium heat until everything is broken down into a fragrant paste.
  3. Add the water and bay leaf. Cover and bring to high pressure for 4 minutes. Let pressure come down naturally.  If the beans aren’t fully cooked, cook on the stove top, adding more water if needed. 
  4. Stir in the Habanero Sauce and Basil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Like I said, I realize this recipe relies on having 3 of my spice mixtures/sauces on hand and will be too spicy for most of you...   :-)  I will post a more accessible recipe soon, I promise!  I served this with Peanutty Collards and Cornbread.  I made my cornbread with barley flour and bean milk. I left out the spices and extracts in the bean milk and used my Gluten Free Cornbread recipe, but with barley flour instead of the Gluten Free Flour.

I will post the Collard recipe and full Cornbread recipe soon.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Clean out the fridge Raw Slaw with Spicy Wasabi Ginger Dressing

Some of my best recipes come from cleaning out my fridge and this is no exception.  Click here for my recipes for 5 Spice Raw Slaw...  so yummy!  You can use whatever raw veggies you have and it will be delicious.

For breakfast today we I whipped up a batch of my Gluten Free Raspberry-Lemon-Poppyseed bars.  The ORIGINAL recipe used strawberries.. again , use whatever fruits you have on hand. 

The Boyfriend and I are going to be experimenting with some more awesome Cashew Cheese Recipes today!  I can't wait to tell you more about them! 

Have you made my Vegan Nutty Goat Cheese ?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PIckled Beets and Hot Peppers

About a month ago, some friends gave us some produce from their garden. (Remember Angela, our Saurerkraut?  She's almost ready!)  I'm thrilled to say that we put it all to good use, including these simple refrigerator pickles.  I used hot peppers, garlic, onions and beets.  I did cook the beets first, boiling them for around 30 minutes and then peeling before slicing.  Note that I am using a plastic  cutting board on top of the wooden one so I don't stain it.  

Make sure to save the beet greens (I'll post what we did with them soon!). 

Chop your peppers and beets... so pretty! 

Simple Pickled Beets and Hot Peppers
1 large bunch beets, cooked, peeled and sliced
8 whole cloves garlic
1 small red onion, cut in half moons
Hot Peppers to taste (I used)
2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon non-iodized salt (more if your tastes desire)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 while cloves
1 bay leaf

  1. Boil the vinegar, water, sugar, salt/pepper and spices , pour over beets in a sterilized jar.  Cool and refrigerate. 
  2. Enjoy!!

For more beet recipes click below:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chocolate Mint Pie

This chocolate pie is absolutely delicious, decadent and something you should only make for a special occasion.  It has passed the picky eater test and pleased everyone from wine bar patrons (I was the chef at a wine bar in Kennebunk, ME several years back) to children who were VERY picky eaters at a Personal Chef job I had.  The Boyfriend likes it too.  Not that he's picky.  He's not... but he likes good food and won't say he likes something if he doesn't.  

I am giving you a Chocolate Mint version, but feel free to eliminate the mint extract for a pure chocolate explosion.  The coffee enhances the chocolate and you will not taste it. 

Chocolate Mint Pie
  • 12 oz package dark chocolate chips/chunks (I like Bakers Chunks.. they are vegan and available in most supermarkets) 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp dark french roast coffee or espresso (prepared, not the grounds)
  • 16 oz silken tofu (I used Trader Joes) 
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 2/3 cup white sugar (depends on how sweet you want it; start with 1/2 cup and add more if you need to)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (I know it's odd, but it really enhances the flavor)
Prepared Chocolate Cookie Crust or if you are looking for a gluten free version, click here for instructions.

  1. Melt chocolate with coconut oil and coffee either in a double boiler over the stove or in the microwave.  If you are using the microwave, start with 45 seconds, stir and repeat for 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted.  
  2. In a food processor, add the tofu, cocoa, salt, sugar, extracts and vinegar.  
  3. Process until smooth, then add the chocolate mixture
  4. Pour into prepared pie shell and chill for 4 hours.
  5. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cajun Red Bean Stew

This recipe is super simple and delicious.  It has a lot of ingredients, but comes together fast. I love using okra to thicken stews and curries.

Cajun Red Bean Stew
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 chipotle pepper or 1 t chipotle powder (or if you really can’t stand the heat 1 t smoked paprika or 1 t sweet paprika and ½ t liquid smoke)
  • 1 T thyme
  • ½ t Italian seasoning
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large green pepper chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 large carrot cut in rounds
  • 10 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 t Tony seasoning
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes and their juice
  • 2 c water
  • 2 c kidney beans
  • 8 oz frozen okra (or 2 c fresh)
  • 1 t Pickapeppa sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • Parsley
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 2-4 T Hot Pepper Sauce (such as Louisiana Red Hot)
  • Salt/pepper to taste 
In a heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat add the oil and spices. Toast for several minutes, then add the onion, pepper, celery, carrot, garlic and tony’s. Sauté for 10 minutes then add the vinegar and can of tomatoes and their juice along with 2 c water, beans and Okra. Cover and bring to a strong simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in pickapeppa, a handful of parsley, lemon juice/zest, hot sauce and add salt/pepper if needed.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hiyashi Chuka Guest Post!

About a month ago, our friend Naahmah made a lovely Japanese summer dish called Hiyashi Chuka.  The great thing about this dish is that it can be prepared for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans!  It's all about the toppings and the amazing vegan savory broth that is poured over the noodles.  Here's the post she wrote about it.  I took the pictures and we enjoyed this meal outside because it was still warm!

Hiyashi Chuka translates literally to “chilled Chinese,” and it’s an example of shoku, an adaptation of Chinese cuisine for Japanese palates. It’s a summer dish – chilled noodles, chilled broth, and chilled toppings. While it’s from Japan, it’s a very easy dish to do, and a great way to use leftover bits and pieces from the fridge. While there’s a lot of toppings, they’re all discrete and you can make them at your leisure over the course of the day. The base is vegan, the toppings are at your discretion, and all you have to do is put it together and eat!

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman or Yamasa are my favorites, feel free to use a low-sodium version)
  • 2 Tbsp freshly toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp sesame oil

Grind the sesame seeds in a [waribashi] (if you’re being fancy) or a mortar and pestle, or your device of choice, until it is a fine paste. Mix the vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Chill.

  • ½ lb to 1 lb fresh ramen or lo mein noodles
  • If you’re lucky and have an Asian supermarket at your disposal, this will be easiest. If you can’t find fresh ramen, look for a Chinese lo mein noodle, with egg in it, about the width of angel hair to spaghettini, curly and tangled together.  It may say “for stir frying.”
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, no salt, and cook the noodles until they are al dente. Drain and chill in an ice bath, then set aside. Generally, I have this as the last step before assembly.


2-3 eggs, beaten with ½-1 tsp sugar, splash mirin or sake
You can find [LINK] of the art of making the thinly layered Japanese omelette, but it does take time. If you can’t quite get it working, just make multiple thin omelets, let them cool, and cut them into strips.

Slow Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for at least 4 hours, with ¼ cup of the soaking liquid reserved
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp vegetable oil

Stir-fry the drained shiitake in the vegetable oil over high heat for at least 5 minutes. Mix the reserved liquid, soy sauce, and sugar, and add to the pan. Cook until the liquids have been absorbed or evaporated. Let cool, slice into strips.

Baby Bok Choy
3 bunches Baby Bok Choy
Steam until your desired level of crisp-tender, shock in an ice bath.

Melody made a [baked, marinated tofu] that she sliced into strips. It was incredibly creamy and delicious.

Enoki Mushrooms
½ package Enoki mushrooms, broken into pieces
Clean and use raw.

Other Topping Ideas
  • Raw cucumber spears
  • Stir-fried bean sprouts
  • Poached chicken style seitan or commerical 'chicken' breast, sliced into strips
  • Marinated Tempeh, cooked and sliced into strips
  • Thinly sliced raw or crisp-tender cooked vegetables

  • Some aonori or thin strips of nori
  • [Beni Shoga]
  • [Karashi] or a strong Chinese-style mustard

 Thanks for such a delicious dinner! I look forward to having this again next summer! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lemon-Tarragon Asparagus

Even though it's Fall and asparagus is not in season, sometimes it's fun to utilize side dishes to brighten up a meal.  I have never been one to subscribe to "shoulds" in any area of my life, so food is no different.

This simple dish showcases blanched asparagus and raw grape tomatoes.  To blanch the asparagus, salt your water and bring it to a boil. Cut your asparagus in bit size pieces and drop it into the boiling water for 5 seconds.  Drain in a colander and immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and set the color. Set aside.

Chop your tomatoes and toss with this simple lemon-mustard-tarragon vinaigrette. If you would like to cut calories, you can replace most of the olive oil with chickpea cooking liquid.  Please use at least 2 tablespoons of oil though for the lovely flavor and mouth feel it provides.

Mustard-Tarragon Vinaigrette:

  • Juice of 1 lemon (around 4 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or 4 tablespoons chickpea cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Salt/freshly ground pepper to taste 

Simple yet so flavorful! 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Sugar Free Chocolate Hummus

Sugar free, and full of protein this chocolate hummus is so versatile and delicious!  You can even use it as frosting!

I use black beans and peanut butter, but you can use white beans and other nut butters as well.

Sugar Free Chocolate Hummus
  • 1 cups dates, pitted or 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  •  Good pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Local honey to taste
  • 2-4 tablespoons water,  date soaking liquid or milk

  1.  If the dates or raisins are dry, cover with boiling water for 5 minutes, strain and save the water
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients except for the soaking water in a food processor and process until totally smooth, adding the liquid as needed.
  3. Let hummus sit for several hours so the flavors can get to know each other. 

Kids love it (especially with a Green Slime smoothie on the side!) 

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Simple Roasted Carrots and Beets

This recipe is brought to you by The Boyfriend and is a lesson in restraint when it comes to spicing.   
We picked up these amazing carrots and beets at the farmer's market along with some arugula and blue cheese, so we decided that a salad would be amazing.. and we were right! 

We chopped them up, and he informed me that we would not be adding any spices.  I resisted the urge to argue and tossed them with a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and that's it. Now spread on a sheet pan and bake at 400 for around 20-30 minutes.  I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette, tossed the arugula in it and then placed the hot veggies on the cold arugula and topped with the most amazing local blue cheese..    It would be GREAT with my Vegan Blue Cheese as well or my Nutty Cashew Goaty Cheese

So good! 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ethiopian Cabbage and Peas

We made an amazing Ethiopian meal around a month ago and I'm finally getting around to blogging more about it.  Stay tuned for a complete Injera post, complete with a video of the cooking process! 

This is a delicious, savory dish that explodes with flavor!  I relied on both of our Spice Mixtures and then added more cardamom.  

Ethiopian Cabbage and Peas
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil 
  • 1/2 tablespoon Melody's Spice Mix
  • 1/2 tablespoon The Boyfriends Spice Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • Salt/pepper 
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 head medium green cabbage
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 8 oz frozen peas 
  • Juice of 1 large lime

  1. Heat oil, add the spices, onion, ginger, salt and pepper. Saute for 10 minutes
  2. Add the tomato sauce, water and cabbage. Cover and cook for 10 minutes
  3. Stir in garlic powder, peas and the juice of 1 lime
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning
The whole meal with 100% Teff Injera

Beautiful spices!