Tag Archives: garlic

Hot pot!

When Brent and I are feeling particularly lazy but still want to eat something healthy, we make hot pot. This is an East Asian fun thing that can be enjoyed by small groups of friends or just your family. We use a simple electric wok that’s resistant to tipping over and fill it with our favorite kind of broth.¬†It’s a great way to use just about any vegetables that are available in our refrigerator – broccoli, green beans, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, tofu, tofu skins, mushrooms, snow peas, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, noodles (we use thin rice noodles and konjac noodles). Napa cabbage, spinach and Romaine lettuce are favorites.

After that, all you need is some fresh veg chopped into bite sized pieces and maybe some dipping sauces. Our broth recipe is as follows
1-2  liters of water

1-2 cubes of bouillon (we use “chicken” or mushroom)

1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns (we like spicy, what can I say)

2 star anise pods

15-20 goji berries

10-15 scallion onions, chopped into 2 inch pieces

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

a pinch of ground cumin

2-3 pods of allspice

1 coin size slice of ginger (optional)

juice from 1/2 lemon (optional)

1 tbsp chili or garlic flavored canola oil

salt and pepper to taste

I combine everything but the scallion onions in my pot and boil for 30 minutes or more until it’s fragrant and steamy. Then I add the spring onions and take the pot to our table. You put the veggies into the soup pot and wait for the liquid to return to a boil. Then we remove the vegetables without chopsticks, wait for them to cool or dip them in sauce or not (I like a home-made chili-lime-peanut sauce, Brent prefers a garlic chili sauce) and DEVOUR! Just be careful that the hot liquid doesn’t splash anyone and that the contents don’t spill onto anyone. It’s HOT (hence the name *hot* pot)! This might not be a dish for the faint of heart, but it is for the hungry, adventurous and lazy. Just put down a towel for all the drips and splashes.

As versatile as this particular dish is, there’s something for everyone. Just don’t get hurt when you realize someone ate your mushroom.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Mushroom Spinach Risotto

I admit I’ve been delinquent in my duties as a blogger. We had to move (our former land lady disagreed with us on an appropriate time frame for air conditioner repair in Florida in the summer). I can’t find my camera, but that’s no excuse. I’ve got a phone. Brent is pretty awesome and cooks for both of us when I’m too exhausted from work or moving or all the bologna that goes with all of that, so I wanted to treat him for being so proactive in the kitchen with some comfort food.

I started by making some creamy cashew cheese.

3/4 cup of dry cashews soaked overnight in water (hemp hearts can be a suitable substitute if you’ve got a nut allergy)

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 pinch salt

I blended this up until it was creamy and put it into the fridge until I was ready to make my risotto. We ate a lot of it with crackers. Oopsie!

To make the risotto I assembled the following additional ingredients.

1/2 cup arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 people)

2 cups spinach (our was frozen)

1 and 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 cup of white wine (I like chardonnay for this recipe, but I used pinot grigio because we had it)

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 quart of water

1 cube of vegetable bouillon

1 onion, diced

1/2 tsp garlic paste or chopped garlic

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

I started by microwaving the bouillon and water, stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube.


I then put the rice into my pan with the wine and herbes de provence over low heat until the wine cooked off and some of the liquid was absorbed. I continued to add the broth while I started to sautee the onion in the olive oil.

After the onion was soft I added the mushrooms. Once they started to soften, I added the spinach and turned off the heat once it was wilted.

Once the rice had absorbed most of the broth and was mostly translucent except for a little opaque bit in the middle of the rice grain, I added the nutritional yeast, garlic paste and then combined that with the sauteed vegetables.

Then I stirred in 1/2 cup of my cashew cheese and adjusted the salt and pepper to taste. Hey, guess what… it’s ready. The addition of cashew cheese makes this dish more reminiscent of the cheesy delightful artery clogging dairy rich dish but it’s way better for you and super ultra mega tasty.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Buffalo Cauliflower!

It was a holiday weekend and something decadent and reminiscent of junk food was an order. Most people are BBQ and Buffalo wings. We had Buffalo cauliflower. You’ll need the following:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup of flour (we used garbanzo bean flour)
4 tbsp onion powder
1 pinch paprika
1 pinch garlic salt
1 cup of almond milk (you can use soy if you’ve got a nut allergy)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite vegan Buffalo sauce
corn oil spray
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For the batter, combine the flour, milk, garlic salt, paprika and onion powder and mix well. Coat all the cauliflower with batter and place it into a lightly oiled glass baking dish. Cover it with a baking sheet so the cauliflower won’t touch the cover.

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Bake at 450F/230C for 20 minutes. Remove the lid, toss the cauliflower, spraying lightly with corn oil and bake for 5 more minutes. Now toss to coat it with Buffalo sauce and bake for 10 more minutes. Watch it closely in case it starts to blacken around the edges.

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This is a much lower calorie alternative to Buffalo wings and it’s great with vegan sour cream (or the creamy cilantro lime sauce we make) and celery. If you get to try it, let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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“Shrimp” Jambalaya

This was one of those nights when we wanted something fun, but didn’t want to work too hard for it.
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This Vigo Jambalaya rice mix was an easy base for our next ingredient. Brent made that while I prepared the rest. I diced an onion and sauteed it in Earth Balance buttery spread, chardonnay, flake red pepper and garlic.
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We’re using a different kind of vegan shrimp than our usual Ocean’s Best. Visually it was a decent substitute for shrimp.

This particular variety is soy and gluten free and has the texture of overcooked shrimp. I don’t mind that chewier texture, in most dishes I prefer it. It gave a good contrast to the tender rice and soft onion.

At this point I’m neutral to the two. Sophie’s has a slightly better nutritional profile because they’re made with konjac flour instead of potato starch like Ocean’s best. In the end, they’re both tasty, very processed, taste not unlike the real thing but won’t convince most picky carnists. I’d get them if you’re really missing shrimp. Real shrimp are harvested by ocean dredging which is the ecological equivalent of clear cutting a forest. These are better for your conscience.

If you get to try them, let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Spinach Pesto!

Brent and I have been pretty lazy lately and that’s mostly burrito kick since we found gluten-free wraps made from teff. This wasn’t one of those nights.

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All you need is the following in your blender.

1 cube of veggie bouillon

juice from a lemon

1/4 cup of hemp hearts (pine nuts work too but hemp is cheaper and more sustainable)

5-6 cloves of garlic (more if you like it spicy)

1 large bunch of spinach (frozen is fine)

1 tsp flake red pepper

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 block of silken tofu (use a cup of dry cashews, soaked overnight if you’ve got a soy allergy)

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BLEND! We served ours with pasta that we tossed with chickpeas, sun dried tomato and porcini mushrooms.

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It was definitely a worth while experiment because it was tasty and loaded with nutrients.

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This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Vegan Pasta Bake

This was an uncharacteristically un-lazy dish for me to make. It turned out pretty good considering that I was winging it from start to finish.

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You may not be able to easily make out the veggies in the bake from the photo above, but I assure you that they’re there. The veggies used can vary, depending on what you have in your fridge or what you’re simply in the mood to eat. I went with zucchini and carrots. Everything from the pasta to the sauce to the ‘cheese’ that you use can be varied. Below are the ingredients that I used.

Vegan Pasta Bake

8oz penne pasta
2 cans tomato sauce (you can use 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce)
1 block firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
1 pack Teese mozzarella vegan cheese
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 medium onion, minced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian herbs
salt and pepper

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While the water for the pasta was boiling and the oven was preheating to 350 degrees, I mixed my tofu crumbles with the spices and olive oil, and cut up the veggies, onion, and garlic.

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After the pasta was cooked and drained, I started placing the ingredients in a casserole dish. I tried to do it in layers: pasta, onions and garlic, tofu, veggies, teese. After all the veggies and pasta were in the dish, I poured the sauce over everything. I should have layered in the sauce as well. Duh. But it still turned out okay, so, yay!

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I was only about 95% happy with how this turned out, but I learned a lot of lessons making it. I hope to try it again with other veggies like spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, squash… and I’ll plan to have more veggies than pasta in it next time. –Melissa

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Stock!

This post is about making stock for soup, mashed potatoes, French Onion soup, gravy, risotto or whatever you would normally use soup stock for and it’s crazy simple. Even if you like to compost (or have bunnies to ‘process’ your leftover veggies) this is a great way to get more out of your veggies before you throw them in your bin. Get yourself a big old freezer safe storage container. Every time you peel the skins off onions or garlic, cut the ends of carrots or celery, stems from parsley and other herbs, stumps from mushrooms or broccoli… really anything. I add lemon peel from time to time for certain recipes like pho and orange peel for zesty soy curls. Dump it into the container (I like to use a freezer bag) and store in your freezer.

When your container is full of veggie scraps, dump the contents into a pan, cover with water and simmer for at least 2 hours. Strain the liquid into a container and freeze for whenever. Now the veggies are extra mushy for composting or your sink disposal.

The stock will have no added fat or sodium and full of flavor. I like to store the stock in zippered freezer baggies too. If the bag is full enough for about 1/2 inch thickness when lying on its side, then you’ll be able to thaw it quickly.

This is Christie, signing off.

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Pasta a la Fauxlognese

As a kid, spaghetti bolognese was a favorite. It’s a rich meaty sauce wth lots of tomato and onion served with whatever pasta you tend to fancy. In this case, we’re using shirataki noodles and no meat. Shirataki noodles are great for those who are concerned about gluten and calories. If you use regular noodles, your fauxlognese will be more attractive than ours but just as tasty. You’ll want the following

1 onion, diced

3.4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 16oz tin of diced tomato

1 cup of TVP (reconstituted with water) or soy crumbles (Marion tofu crumbles work well here), chopped mushrooms can be substituted for those sensitive to soy

1 cube of “beef bouillon”

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and flake red pepper to taste

olive oil

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Add a dash of olive oil and the onion and garlic to your pan and saute until the onion starts to carmelize, stirring occasionally. Add the tofu crumbles or TVP and the dry spices.

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When everything is hot and fragrant, add the tomato. Mix it all up, stirring occasionally until hot and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

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Your sauce should look deceptively meaty. Top with some vegan parmesan, shredded basil or Daiya or just serve as is.

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This is a very kid friendly preparation of vegan fare, tasty and healthy to boot. I hope you get to try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Potatoes Au Gratin, VEGAN STYLE!!!

The holidays are upon us and there’s nothing better than something that’s easy, kid friendly (for your picky nephews), low fat (for your vain body-builder cousin), cholesterol free (for your crotchety aunt), easy (for your peace of mind) and cheap (because you already spent all your money on gifts). This recipe as written will serve 6-8 people as a side dish and doubles easily. It would be great for a departmental potluck.

You’ll need the following:

2 large white potatoes (sliced thin)

2 gigantic yams or sweet potatoes (sliced thin)

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Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are easy to find for around $1 per pound this time of year so I use them fairly often during the holidays. I cut mine with a big old knife. This is one of those times I wish I wasn’t averse to mandolines. The finger that I partially amputated using one always tingles whenever I think about working with one. If you’ve got a good food processor with a slicing blade, I’d recommend using that for safety’s sake, if you’re a fan of the mandoline, use that and be really really really really careful, otherwise use a knife and be really really really careful. I leave the skin on; you don’t have to.

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1 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

a pinch of flake red pepper

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

12-16 ounces of silken tofu

1 cup of soy or almond milk

4 tbsp almond flour

vegan mozzarella and/or parmesan (optional)

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Take the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, flake red pepper, nutritional yeast, tofu and half a cup of milk and blend it all up.

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Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of almond flour on the bottom of a large baking dish and make a layer of white potatoes on it.

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Then slather that layer with some of your tofu mixture. Now repeat the process with the yams or sweet potatoes: layer them on top and then add the tofu cream. You should be able to get 5 or 6 layers of potatoes. I then put the remaining milk into the rest of the tofu sauce and mixed it well before pouring it over the top of the potatoes. I added a few slices of Teese mozzarella (any vegan cheese will do) and sprinkled it with the rest of the almond meal and sprinkled it liberally with walnut parmesan.

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Bake it for an hour and a half at 400F/200C

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You should get a beautiful layered look and a delicious addition to any holiday meal. Hopefully your guests will be too busy enjoying it to notice the orange and white stripes.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Tempeh Cacciatore

Not long ago I got a request for cacciatore from fellow blogger, VeganMonologue. How can I resist!? I took a slab of tempeh and cut it in half. I did it at an angle to satisfy my love of the rhombus. Add that to the list of things nobody needs to know about me. You’ll need the following:

1 package of tempeh
1 pinch salt, plus more to taste
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
olive oil
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 cup dry red wine or 1 cup of dry white wine
1 28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup veggie bouillon
3 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1 pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

I added it to a pan with some rosemary infused olive oil (regular olive oil is fine) and a pinch each of salt and cracked black pepper. I sauteed until it was lightly browned on each side. I transferred the tempeh to a plate with some fabulous wooden tongs that my sister got me.

Then I added a chopped onion, 1/4 of a chopped green bell pepper and 1/4 of a chopped red bell pepper. I sprinkled in some chopped parsley and slivers of garlic and sauteed until the onion became translucent.

I added the white wine (I used a pinot gris and kind of wished I’d used a merlot. If you try that let me know how it goes.), 1/2 tsp of dried oregano leaves, 1/2 tsp of cumin and a pinch of nutmeg and simmered until the wine was reduced by half.

Then I added a half cup of vegetable bouillon, a tin of tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of capers and a pinch of cracked black pepper. I stirred it a few times to mix and then added the tempeh back to the pan, covered it with tomatoes and allowed it to simmer for another 20 minutes.

Brent made some guinoa while we waited because it was what we had but I think this would be better with pasta or mashed potatoes.

After 20 minutes, the tempeh should have taken on some of the characteristics of the broth. Put the tempeh on your quinoa, potatoes, pasta, whatever and spoon generous helpings of the remaining deglazing/reduction. I sprinkled mine with some fresh basil leaves. This is a hearty meal, full of savory and herbal flavors all brought out by the acid and sweetness of the tomatoes. This would also work with chickpeas or seitan instead of tempeh for those with a soy allergy. It’s a surprisingly healthy crowd pleaser.

A note for the health conscious: don’t be afraid of soy. There’s a lot of propaganda out there that says soy isn’t good for you for one reason or another. A word from your vegan scientist: the data suggest that soy is better for you than meat, dairy and eggs by a long shot, particularly if you’re worried about cancer (particularly colon cancer) or cardiovascular disease.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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