Friday, January 27, 2012

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

eggplant parm1

Ohhhh, my goodness!  This was delicious AND easy!  Technically, it should be served with pasta and marinara sauce, but I ate it as is, and I don't regret it one bit.  Completely wonderful.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Source: 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

Takes about an 20 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake.  Serves 4-6 people.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 cup panko-style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, ground into a powder
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs dried basil
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • freshly cracked salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for brushing
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or foil.
  3. Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick slices. You can peel the eggplant or leave it unpeeled. If you leave it unpeeled, the coating won’t stick to the skin on the edges, but there will be plenty of coating on the flesh.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, walnuts, nutritional yeast, basil, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.
  5. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil liberally and then coat in panko mixture.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and top with a thinly sliced tomato.
  7. Baked for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Serve on its own or with your favorite marinara sauce.

Cleanup Factor:
LIGHT. Easy to make and to clean. Amazing!

Reheat or Street:
The bad news about this recipe that it should probably not be reheated.  I brought this bad boy to work for lunch today... and well, let's just say, I was hungry today.  The truth is that it gets really soggy and weird. Best if eaten immediately.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Split Pea Soup


Been craving soup, soup, SOUP lately!  Perhaps because it finally feels like WINTER!  There's snow on the ground at last. As much as I hate being cold, I love the beauty of snow, particularly fresh snow.  Anyway, here is a recipe for a hearty winter soup, slow cooked split pea soup.  It turned out great and it was super easy ( pot...!)

Slow Cooked Split Pea Soup

Takes 5-8 hours depends on if you cook it on high or low. Serves 6-8 people.

  • 16 oz split peas
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 -1 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups hot water





Layer ingredients in order listed above.  Do not stir. 
Cover and cook until peas are soft. (High: 4-5 hours or Low: 8-10 hours)

  3. Remove bay leaf and garlic (if it has held together) before serving.



The cleanup factor:
"The cleanup factor" is a new part I've decided to add to my blog, since cleaning up is the worst part of making any recipe. As implied by the title, I will just mention how light or rough the cleanup was after making the recipe. The slow cooked split pea soup's cleanup factor was very light.  Just some scraps to go down the garbage disposal and a few dishes, like the knife used to chop the veggies, measuring cups, cutting board, and the crock pot itself to wash.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Easy Tofu Scramble



My lovely friend, Gina, sent me this recipe months ago and I've finally gotten around to whipping it up. It's an easy one that can be done even on your laziest day.  I didn't have many veggies in the house, but feel free to add as many as you like to this delicious scramble.

Tofu Scramble
Source: Regina Leal

Takes about 15 minutes, tops.  Serves 1 person.  For more, double the ingredients below.

  • 1/4 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 onion (mushrooms or spanish would also be great in here)
  • light coating of nutritional yeast
  • dash of ground turmeric
  • dash of mustard powder
  • some garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Begin by sautéing the veggies with a few drops of olive oil until they are slightly brown.
  2. Crumble the tofu with your hands into the pan with the veggies.  Note: Do NOT squeeze the access water from the tofu, as the tofu will stick to the pan if it is too dry.
  3. Sprinkle a thin layer of nutritional yeast in the pan and stir.  Cook on medium for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  4. Next add the remaining seasonings and serve immediately.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pesto Lasagna




Lots of work went into this one.  I'm ever so grateful for my friend, Amanda, for helping me!!

Pesto Lasagna
Source: The Accidental Vegan by Devra Gartenstein

Takes about an hour and a half total.

  • 12 to 15 lasagna noodles
  • 2lbs soft tofu
  • 2 cups pesto (see appendix a, below)
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup faux cheese (see appendix b, below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat, and add the lasagna noodles.  Cook until noodles for about 8-10 minutes (or until noodles are soft).  Drain and set aside.
  2. While the noodles are cooking, crumble the tofu into a bowl with the pesto.
  3. Then layer the ingredients in a 9 x 11 pan as followed:
    • 1/3 of the tomato sauce
    • 1/3 of the noodles
    • 1/2 of the tofu/pesto mixture
    • another 1/3 of the noodles
    • another 1/3 of the tomato sauce
    • the rest of the tofu/pesto mixture
    • the 1 cup of faux cheese
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the "cheese" starts to brown.  Let cool for a little while, and serve hot.

Appendix A: Pesto

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 2tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes, until softened.
  2. Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse several times until chopped finely.  Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and add to the garlic, along with the basil, walnuts, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Note: If you mix this with pasta or veggies that have just been cooked, don't reheat the mixture further, as you may risk burning it.  You can also serve pesto cold, as a spread on bread or crackers.

Appendix B: Faux Cheese

  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or any flour will do)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, preferably large flake
  • 3 cups water
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  1. Gently heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Then whisk in the flour and nutritional yeast.  Turn the heat down to low and cook, whisking constantly for a minute or two, or until the mixture is reasonably homogenous, with few lumps. 
  2. Add the water and raise the heat to medium.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking until it is relatively smooth.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pea soup.  
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in the salt and mustard.  Be sure to use immediately, as this mixture forms a layer on top.

When Amanda and I finished our dinner, we finished up some vegan sugar cookies Amanda started earlier in the day.  Sorry I don't have the recipe for this one, but I wanted to share the pretty pictures:



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sautéed Kale



Went for a second run this week with this sautéed kale.  To be honest I didn't really like it.  The flavor was great, but the texture of the kale... I wasn't a big fan of.  I've only had kale once before at The Green Cafe, but it was much softer and easier to chew.  I do, however, think it turned out how it was supposed to, and my roommate gladly ate it for me.  He enjoyed it and said that kale definitely has an acquired taste.  Here is the recipe nonetheless!

Sautéed Kale
Source: Vegan's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Inspiration for Cooking, Eating, and Living Compassionately by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Takes about 20 minutes to make and serves 1-2 people

  • 4 stalks of fresh kale
  • 5 baby Portabella mushrooms
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  1. Wash kale and cut into 1-2 inch pieces.  Place in a bowl.  Squeeze the lemon half onto the kale and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour a splash of olive oil in a large skillet and heat on low.  While heating, rinse and chop up the remaining veggies. 
  3. Sauté all veggies until cooked.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Creole Stuffed Peppers



First recipe went well!  It took me a long time because I have terrible knives and the smallest cutting board in the world (siiiggghhh, I guess I could invest in better kitchen-ware).  The recipe for the filling made A LOT, so when stuffing your peppers, make sure to fill them very generously.  I had some filling left over, which I plan to use in a salad.  Or better yet, perhaps in place of taco filling...nomz.  Anyway, this dish was great.  I didn't prepare any sides with it, but it was fine alone.  I will definitely be making this again in the future!

Vegan Creole Stuffed Peppers
Source: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Takes about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how quickly you can chop veggies.
Makes 4 servings.

  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced thinly
  • 2 15oz cans of black eyed peas, drained
  • 1 15oz can of chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x11 pan with olive oil.  Cut the peppers in half, the long way.  Try to keep the stem on one side for appearance.  Gut the center and boil in a large pot of water.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the onion, carrots, garlic, and jalapenos.  Stir and cover.  Let cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the black eyed peas, tomatoes, and spices. Stir and cover.  Let cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the peppers in the greased pan and fill peppers with veggie, bean mix.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes.  Serve immediately.

The First Post

What do people do when a new year approaches and last year's grease and grime needs to be polished and shined?  They create new year's resolutions.  (Yes, I rhymed to mimic the cliché concept of a new year's resolution.)  Not to be one of those people, but I simply thought starting something new, fresh, healthy, whatever you want to call would be good for me.  2011 was a rough year and I'd like to be more active in the world around me.  In other words, I feel like I need to experience things more thoroughly.  Therefore, I've taken it upon myself to document one of my goals in hopes of staying more in touch with it.  This goal, er new year's resolution, is to make a unique vegan meal at least once a week, every week for the entire year.

Yeah, this seems small to some, but to those who know me, this will be a project.  Although I maintain a pretty much vegan diet (I eliminate dairy and eggs from my vegetarian diet, but I do still eat honey), most days of the week I eat cereal or pb&j for dinner.  I knoooowwwww, it's terrible and I knnoooowww, I'm completely unhealthy, but fooock, I'm tired when I get home from my one hour, three bus transfers, commute home from Washington, DC.  And yeah, I realize some have it way worse, but that's why I'm trying to change!  I want to eat healthy and I think by preparing a well-balanced vegan meal at least once a week, I will have left-overs and possibly gain more experience in cooking, which could lead to more willingness to cook food that doesn't come out of a box several times a week.

I bought a couple vegan cook books and consolidated my vegan recipes from the past.  The goal is to make something unique every week.  I do not want to make the same thing twice!!  If I do make a repeat, that meal will not count as a my one meal for the week.

So here it goes.