Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Americans in Paris

I'm still here! We'd just started getting settled into the rhythm of the school year when hubby and I took off for Paris to celebrate our 20th(!) wedding anniversary. This picture was taken at the Chateau de Versailles:

Pretty much every picture we took we had the same comment "we look old!" Especially compared to this wedding day photo :

We had a wonderfully relaxing time. It's hard to believe it's been 20 years! wow.

I had actually cooked some really good new recipes before we left but I ended up deleting the photos before uploading them. oops. I will have to take another stab at them. I will close with some dog photos instead :-) We are fortunate to live a very short walk away from a regional park that is over 5,000 acres - and allows dogs to be off leash. This is about 1/8 mile from my front door:

Bella and Renzo think it is their own personal space and can really tear up those hills:

Tired pooch - Bella:


Tomorrow I'm off to Berkeley Bowl to do a huge shopping trip. Then - back in the kitchen!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Caramelized fig tart with pecan crust

I'm always up for a challenge (well, usually) so when Urban Vegan mentioned her tART contest I got to thinking of what I could make. I didn't want to go to the store so that limited my options. As luck would have it we have two extremely prolific fig trees so I started there. I found a recipe on epicurious.com that looked like it would be easy to veganize. I also happened to have all the other ingredients I'd need on hand.

I was in the middle of preparations when dh decided to take the dogs for a walk. Since he couldn't persuade one of the girls to go with him I told him I'd go along. So off we went - two people, two very happy dogs and one burner still on. Now, you'd think after the blackened tofu incident I would be a little more cautious. You may be thinking perhaps an assisted living facility might be in order... In any case - the girls were home and had the figs started burning they would have been able to handle it. As it was, we came home to some really deliciously caramelized figs - not burned at all. If the dogs had been up for a longer walk it might have had a less happy ending. I don't know that I'd do it that way again but it worked out this time.

The other thing I realized is that if you are making tART for a contest where photography is a big part of it choosing a recipe where the crust and filling are all shades of BROWN probably isn't the best strategy. As I always say, I am a work in progress.

Caramelized fig tart with pecan crust

12 ounces Calimyrna figs, stemmed, chopped
1 cup water
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon peel

Almond meal
6 oz pecans, toasted, cooled
heaping 1/2 cup sugar
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch salt
Energ-G egg replacer - 1 egg

3 oz. chocolate chips

For Filling:

Combine all ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until figs are very tender, about 35 minutes. Uncover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and filling is thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes (or if you take your dogs for a walk and forget the stove is on...30 minutes).

Transfer filling to processor. Using about 5 on/off turns, process just until mixture holds together. Transfer to small bowl; cool filling. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For Crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place round tart pan with removable bottom onto waxed paper. Trace outline of pan bottom on paper; set paper aside. Line pan with heavy-duty foil. Grease foil; dust with almond meal. Combine pecans, sugar, ginger and salt in processor; finely grind nuts. Add egg replacer and process until moist clumps form. Using moistened fingertips, press 3/4 cup dough over bottom and up sides of prepared pan (crust will be thin). Bake crust until puffed and dry looking, about 14 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; press bottom of crust lightly to flatten. Cool crust completely. Maintain over temperature.

Stir 3 ounces chocolate in top double boiler set over simmering water until melted. Spread over bottom of crust. Spoon filling over chocolate.

Press remaining dough over traced circle on waxed paper, filling outline completely. Using paper as aid, turn dough circle over onto tart, aligning carefully; peel off paper. Pinch edge of crust and top dough together to seal.

Bake tart until top is golden and dry looking, about 28 minutes. Cool tart completely in pan on rack. (Can be prepared ahead. Wrap in foil and store 1 day at room temperature or refrigerate up to 5 days.) Push up pan bottom to release tart. Peel off foil from bottom.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We survived the first week of school!

It was hard getting back into the groove but we all managed. The weather has been beautiful - cool in the mornings leading up to very warm afternoons, then cooling down again at night. Perfect!

I've always tried to take a first day of school picture - and one of these days I will gather them all together. I took one on Tuesday and then dug out this other one that was their first day of preschool - 13 years ago. It has really been just a blink of an eye, those 13 years...

I did a little cooking this week - made some taquitos with black beans and soy cheese that were baked in the oven - they fell apart a little bit but they tasted good! I also made a curried "chicken" salad. I used to make this back when we ate chicken and I think I made it once with tofu and didn't like it so much. I probably have better ways to prepare the tofu now so I should try that again - but I had a couple boxes of Gardenburger chik'n patties so I pan fried those and chopped them up for this salad. I used this recipe from epicurious.com substituting vegan version of mayo and yogurt. I also used apple instead of mango, almonds instead of cashews and added raisins. It was the perfect dinner for a busy school night - I'd made it in the morning and it was ready when we were. I sent the leftovers in Hallie's lunch and she said all her friends tried it and like it... It is, however, one of those things that doesn't photograph all that well:

I've also realized that I need to do some updating on this blog - there are so many great blogs that I read but that I don't have links to on this page. It's on my list! I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Plum Galette

The craziness that is the school year has begun. And other than dropping one kid off for soccer practice on the wrong day and leaving half an hour early today (they start late on Wednesdays) - it's gone okay ;-)

Our dinner with friends the other night went well. I made pasta with garlic cream sauce and it was as awesome as the last time I made it. Truly - an amazingly rich tasting sauce without a drop of cream. My friend told me a funny story from the last time they were over for dinner. That time I made tostada salads and used the smartground taco/burrito soy meat. My friend's 9 year old daughter was talking about the dinner on their way home and how much she liked the salad. But then she said in a worried voice "did they eat the meat that was in it? I think they ate meat mom!"

We also had some delicious bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and basil. My birthday is next week and it happens to fall the day before Millenium Restaurant holds its annual heirloom tomato dinner. So we will be having my birthday dinner a day late so that we can try this menu. I can't wait!

For dessert I made a really simple but delicious plum galette.

I had bunch of organic plums I'd gotten at the Berkeley Bowl and a single pie crust in the freezer. I used this recipe from epicurious.com. It was easy since I already had a crust. I didn't leave enough of a border to really wrap the dough up and over the edges but that gave me more room for plums. For a topping other than their suggested crème fraîche I made spiced rice dream from the Millenium cookbook. It made an excellent topping and complemented the plum flavor perfectly.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back to school

Here it is - the last weekend before school starts. This summer seemed to fly by...I certainly didn't accomplish half the things I'd hoped to.

I've been doing some cooking - just not blogging. Here are a couple things we've had lately:

Roasted vegetable ravioli (Rising Moon Brand) with olives, tomatoes and basil. I had a container of olives, mushrooms, peppers, etc from the olive bar at the grocery store. So I sliced everything and warmed it up in a bit of olive oil. Then I tossed the ravioli with that mixture, chopped tomatoes and basil from the garden:

I made some quesadillas with the Follow Your Heart nacho flavored cheese - I'd planned on using the monterey jack flavor but they didn't have it at the store - I'd never tried the nacho and it is actually pretty spicy which was fine for us but Hallie thought it was too hot. I roasted some poblano chilies and cut them into strips and put the cheese and chilies in large corn tortillas. I used just a little bit of spray oil and cooked them until the cheese was melted and the tortillas were browned. These were so simple but very tasty - served with refried black beans and homemade guacamole. Hallie actually came home from Costa Rica liking black beans and guacamole - that alone made that camp worth every penny!

Tonight we're having my best friend and her family over again - they are like family to us and I love cooking for them. I'm going to make the Millennium pasta with garlic cream sauce that I made awhile back. It's so easy and it was a huge hit in this household! I'll also be trying out another dessert so I'll post that if it turns out. It's hard to believe that 48 hours from now my kids will be back in class...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Two simple desserts

I got one kid home from Costa Rica (not without incident I might add - a missed connection - but they did get on the last flight out of Miami...) then turned around the next day and headed back to the airport to drop the other one off for a flight to UCLA and two weeks of performing arts camp. It's been a busy household with the washing machine running non-stop.

Saturday night we had my best friend and her family over for dinner. I made tostada salads - it was simple but good. I served some jicama that was tossed with lime juice, salt and chili powder. The little ones visiting thought they were french fries - I think they were a tad bit disappointed but the rest of us loved this healthy, crunchy dish.

For dessert I made two different things - both extremely simple - but very well received. First I had a new vanilla rice cream - Good Karma Very Vanilla Rice Cream (I got it at Trader Joe's). I let it soften a bit and then spread it on Anna's Ginger Thin cookies. I topped it with another cookie and then popped them back into the freezer. This was popular with everyone but particularly the kids:

I also made individual deep dish blackberry pies. I was able to pick some blackberries on our street but not nearly enough so I got some frozen organic blackberries at Whole Foods. I cheated on the crust - I had a frozen pie crust (also from WFM) and used a cookie cutter to cut out circles that I placed on top of the berries. Then I used all the various scraps and placed them around the edges. I brushed it all with soymilk and sprinkled it with cinammon and sugar. I baked them at about 425 for 30 minutes.

These were so good. I've never been a big pie fan - I don't dislike it - it's just not one of my favorites. But the pie I do love is blackberry or boysenberry. And what I'm after is the fruit, not crust so I like this deep dish option.

We only have two weeks until school begins again - hopefully I'll be able to post more once the routine settles in. This weekend I'll be playing in San Francisco with the sistahs (my online young cancer survivors group). We know how to have FUN!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

mas mraz

I mentioned that I would be seeing Jason Mraz in concert again - this time at Villa Montalvo. This was my first time there and we done felt like the Clampetts come to Beverly Hills. It is an incredibly beautiful venue- I can't wait to see another show there.

I don't have any pictures this time - Hallie has my camera with her in Costa Rica and I figured bringing the new Nikon with zoom lense would border on stalking. So I had to settle for soaking it all into my mind on a beautiful summer night. Even the food was good - they had garden burgers but I settled for a salad (and a nice cold beer :-))

Yesterday was another triple digit heatwave day. I dug through what I had in the fridge and we had salad - yet again.

This one had spinach, mixed baby greens, sugar snap peas. carrots, green onion and a mixture I got from Trader Joes of pine nuts, pepitas and almonds. I topped it with Soyvay Chinese Chicken Salad dressing. The combination tasted better than I thought it would and it cleaned out the vegetable bin too!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Teriyaki portobello with asian coleslaw

This isn't the most complicated cooking I've ever done but it was good :-)

I marinated portobello mushrooms in teriyaki sauce and then cooked them on the stovetop and served them on Il Fornaio rolls topped with asian coleslaw. Messy! Good!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I believe you Al!

While running errands today(picture taken on my phone):


The loud thud

Did you hear the loud thud? The sound of me falling off the edge of the earth?

Back when we were younger and had our first child we thought it would be really nice to space them two years apart. So three weeks before our first child turned two we brought home our second. We Virgos - we don't mess around with plans. The girls actually had the same due date - Ana was a week late, Hallie two weeks early. The one thing we didn't really think about was birthdays. July turns into birthday month around here. And ironically - they both have lots of friends with July birthdays. So I've basically been either shopping for a party, cleaning for a party, hosting a party, cleaning up after a party....you get the idea.

Not to mention it has been well over 100 degrees for days on end (it was still in the mid-90's last night at 10pm). I really haven't prepared a meal for our family for quite some time. Lots of takeout, pita and hummus, simple salads. In other words, nothing anyone would really care about! But I'm tired of takeout Chinese, I'm really tired of hummus so I need to get inspired and get cooking.

But in the meantime I'm off to see Jason Mraz AGAIN tomorrow night. I know, I am far too old for this nonsense. I am taking my best friend Jen, Ana and her best friend (they share the same birthday!). This is a birthday gift for Ana and her friend. Hallie is gone and while I feel bad she will be missing the concert I have to remind myself she is in Costa Rica. Surfing.

So...until I get something going in the kitchen...some pooch pics:



It was a year ago today that I went to see Renzo for the first time. I had been resisting a puppy from this litter (Renzo is Bella's nephew). I found out there were two puppies left - both males - and we could get one if we wanted. So before I got anyone's hopes up I took Bella over to meet the puppies to see how she would do.

The one we took home two days later (the puppy, not the boy!)

The one we left behind :-( Don't worry - he went to a great family!)

Can I just say that it is nearly impossible to visit a puppy and not take it home? I was a goner. I went from "No. I mean it No. We will never get a dog. Never - do you hear me?" to two dogs. Two dogs that I cook for (I've cooked more for them the past two weeks than I have for us!). I've learned my lesson. Never say never. Vive le Vizsla!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I'm mrazmerized!

Another weekend away for us - this weekend we headed up to Clear Lake (the largest lake in California) and went to the Konocti Resort and Spa. The name makes it sound a lot nicer than it is ;-) There are a lot of activities, but we were there for a concert.

So Saturday morning we rolled out of bed, put on our bathing suits, packed up our lunch (we brought all our food since we'd rented one of their apartments) and started off on the long walk to the pool. We were walking up the hill when we saw the Konocti shuttle. We weren't super close but the driver stopped and signaled for us that he would wait. So there we are, the Dorkus McGee family traipsing across the parking lot with our towels, books and cooler. I hate making anyone wait so I felt badly as we boarded the little bus and just quickly took a seat. As I looked around I realized that everyone else on the shuttle was a) male b) young and c) looked tired and suspiciously like touring musicians. OMIGOD we were on the shuttle bus with Jason Mraz and his band. Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Jason Mraz fan. I didn't want to act like Marcia Brady meeting Davy Jones - c'mon, I have some pride (but oh so very little sitting there in my swimsuit coverup) so we made some casual conversation with them before they got dropped off.

We found chairs at the pool and before long they showed up there too :-) We stayed until it was time to head back to get cleaned up for the concert. We had the pool attendant call the shuttle for us and we climbed in hot and tired. Wouldn't you know it - the bus made one more stop - yup, another ride with M-R-A-Z. Our apartment was right near the amphitheater so we got ready listening to the soundcheck, had dinner and then headed into the concert.
It was HOT and our seats were in the glaring sun but as usual, he put on a fantastic show.

Since he was the opening act there were still a lot of empty seats (if only those RobThomas fans knew what they were missing...) . Here's what they missed:

It was a great weekend. If you ever want to check out a highly talented, immensely entertaining act get thee to a Jason Mraz show.

Tomorrow night we're having Hallie's birthday party (she's doing a party with a friend who also has a July birthday). So not much cooking - just lots of cleaning and organizing! A virtual Virgo nirvana!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Veggie burgers and potato salad

We're on our way to see fireworks tonight - it's a local thing, nothing spectacular. But it's kind of tradition at this point so even though I'd be perfectly happy to stay home and watch a movie, off we go.

Tonight we had Gardenburger veggie burgers and a potato salad using a recipe I found on epicurious.com (if you follow the link for their tip on how much salt to put in the water make sure to read the comments - it's hilarious).

Potato Salad with Mint and Peas

2 lb small red potatoes
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thawed frozen or cooked fresh baby peas (5 oz)
1/3 cup chopped or torn fresh mint leaves

Cover potatoes with cold salted water in a 3-quart saucepan, then simmer, covered, until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk together vinegar, shallot, salt, and pepper in a large serving bowl.

Drain potatoes and halve or quarter if desired. Add to vinegar mixture while warm and toss to coat. Add oil, peas, and mint and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Here's a shot of the veggie burgers and salad

We're off!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Millennium Pasta Carbonara

Tonight was a pasta night. We had pasta carbonara from the Millennium cookbook. I followed the suggestion from the cookbook and added some sun dried tomatoes, capers and fresh peas. It had a bit of a bite to it due to the cayenne pepper but it was devoured by everyone (including a friend of Hallie's). I'll definitely make this again. The only time it took was cooking the garlic (1.5 hours). But putting the actual sauce together is a cinch.

We had this with a spinach salad, organic strawberries, watermelon and a loaf of French bread.

I got a new camera and am still trying to figure things out. It's a digital SLR instead of a point and shoot (although you can use it that way). It's a fun new toy :-)

Here are some random pictures I've been taking...

Grapes growing on the trellis:


And lots of dog pictures (people complain after a few - the dogs just put up with it). I'll post some pup pics another time!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cherry chocolate shortcake

Yesterday was Hallie's birthday and she requested her favorite dinner (Persian "chicken" and rice) and for dessert I tried something new.

When we were at my friend's cabin a few weekends ago I was looking through an old Gourmet magazine. I usually don't find much in Gourmet (or Bon Appetit) but I found several recipes this time. The chipotle sweet potatoes were from that issue as well I think. In any case I found a recipe for Cherry Chocolate Shortcake. I made a few substitutions for the shortcakes (used soy milk and Ener-G for the egg). And for the cherries I used frozen dark sweet cherries from Trader Joe's (I adore my daughter, truly I do. But I just don't have the patience to pit that many cherries!). I didn't have kirsch in the house so I just mixed the thawed cherries with the sugar and a little cornstarch and cooked them a bit. For the topping I made Bryanna's Almond Creme Whipped Topping.

This was really wonderful - the chocolate in the shortcakes was a nice twist. The almond creme was delicious!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Virgo, interrupted

I am a Virgo through and through. I thrive on order, routine and structure (I know, boring). And with summer upon us (not to mention the World Cup) - I have none of those things. I have teenagers coming and going - teens who want to be fed and then driven someplace. I have hot weather and an even hotter kitchen. I have no urge to cook.


I am cooking though - just not doing a good job of blogging it! H leaves for Costa Rica in two weeks so I know the pace will slow down somewhat at that time. I do have a few recipes to blog so I hope to get to those very soon...

My next post will be a dessert so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Barbecue roasted tofu with whipped chipotle sweet potatoes

I've been organizing my recipe binder lately (it gives me something to do while watching World Cup games and feel less guilty for the time spent in front of the tube...). I have a lot of recipes still from before we were vegetarian and I came across an old favorite and decided to veganize it.

This was a recipe from Cooking Light magazine. Basically it was salmon marinated in pineapple and lemon juice then rubbed with a spicy sweet mixture and roasted in the oven. So I subbed some tofu and cooked it on the stovetop instead. I served it on whipped chipotle sweet potatoes (I halved this recipe and used just a tiny bit of Earth Balance margarine instead of the butter it calls for. Next time I'll just leave it out entirely) .

Barbecue Roasted Tofu
adapted from Cooking Light magazine 9/98

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lb. extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T plus 2 tsp. chili powder
4 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cooking spray
lemon wedges

Combine first 3 ingredients in zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator several hours, turning occasionally.

Remove tofu from bag; discard marinade. Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients in a bowl. Rub over tofu; cook over medium heat in a pan sprayed with oil until evenly browned on both sides. The sugar makes it brown quickly so watch it. The original recipe called for baking in the oven which I might try next time.

We also had an unbelievably sweet sharlyn melon with blueberries:

I still had some salad left from the night before (luckily I hadn't dressed the whole thing...). It was made with red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, cucumbers, red peppers, green beans, sugar snap peas, cabbage, carrots and more! I have a picture but blogger is being difficult so that's it for now!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day

Last week was our first week off from school and we were ever so slightly busy ;-) We went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I took the girls and friends to a concert in the park in San Jose, some shopping and lots of back and forth between friends houses. On Friday we took off for a little Father's Day getaway with some friends.

We went wine tasting, played in the lake,

watched the US-Italy game in a pub - in short, it was a wonderfully relaxing weekend! I'd made the soyrizo and green olive enchilidas to take up for dinner the first night and they were a hit even with the chorizo eating crowd! The second night my friend made a pasta with a bunch of mixed vegetables. It was delicious :-)

When we returned home last night we were all hungry and here it was Father's Day and no special dinner planned! The girls and I went to the store and came home with veggie burgers, tomatoes and fruit. It wasn't a fancy dinner but it was good and by candlelight anything is special!

Tonight I think I will just make a big salad and some iced green tea so we can detox from the weekend!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Like mother, like daughter

Last night Hallie cooked dinner for us - veggie chicken patties on whole wheat buns with fruit and french fries - she did a beautiful job. Everything was ready at the same time and cooked perfectly...

We decided that maybe one night each week the girls could cook dinner. I so enjoyed dinner last night (she did the clean up as well). I could get used to this!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Crockpot chili

Inspired by the chili we had at the potluck the other nightI decide to make a pot of my vegan chili. I've been making this for many years now - it's been served at my neighbor's Super Bowl party for probably the last 4 years or so with great success. I would recommend starting with less chili powder and adding more to taste. I've used some chili powders that were explosively hot!

Vegetarian Chili

1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ ounce ground cumin seed
1 ounce plain chili powder
2 tablespoons dijon style mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 28 ounce cans chopped tomatoes (do not drain)
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
1 small can sliced black olives
water as needed

Combine everything except olives in crockpot and cook on high for about 4 hours then reduce to low for another 4 hours or so. Add olives about an hour before you’re ready to serve. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes.

Serves: 6-8

Adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook “Chili for a Crowd”

I didn't get a picture of the chili - it was a night where we all ate whenever it was convenient. But I haven't posted a dog picture for awhile so here is a picture of Bella - she had been rummaging through the bag I keep at my desk for paper recycling and when she went back to her favorite spot, acting all casual, I spotted the post-its stuck to her face.

It is now summer vacation! Woohoo!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Seitan fajitas

After the success of the BBQ seitan the other day I decided to try another dish based on that same recipe. I made the seitan but instead of peanut butter I used a Mexican chili sauce I got at the grocery store. Then I used that sauce for basting while it baked. After it finished baking I sauteed it in a little bit of oil with some salt and pepper and then added it to some sauteed peppers and onions.

We had this on flour tortillas with diced avocado, soy sour cream and HOT salsa - they were really good and even Miss "I don't like Taco Tuesday" Hallie ate it. That makes two weeks in a row she has liked TT. Whatever is this world coming to?

Tonight was a school function/potluck - as I was walking along the table I made some comment about how nice it was that someone had labeled their lasagne as vegetarian and the woman behind me said "the chili we brought is vegetarian - actually it's vegan" - Cool. It was really good.

Two more days of school for the kiddos!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon and Garlic

I needed something simple tonight (I know, I sound like a broken record)... I went to my favorite produce store this afternoon and the tomatoes and basil both looked beautiful. So I made an old favorite:

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon and Garlic
adapted from In the Kitchen with Rosie, Rosie Daley

2 teaspoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups chopped roma tomatoes
16 oz. angel hair pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2-4 tablespoons vegan parmesan substitute
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and maintain at a boil.

Put the olive oil and garlic in a sauté pan and cook over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove the sauté pan from the heat and pour in the wine. Return it to the heat. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the wine has been reduced by half. Stir in the lemon juice and tomato. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook to desired doneness. Drain the pasta and put it into a warm serving bowl. Add the basil, soy parmesan cheese, and black pepper, along with the tomato mixture. Toss and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

The lemon and wine make a nice light sauce so the pasta isn't dry. I find it works best with angel hair pasta and not anything bigger. Everyone liked this dish.

I also made a caesar salad using hearts of romaine - whole leaf, not chopped. It just looks so nice that way - even if it's harder to eat ;-)

Everyone was goofy tonight at the dinner table - I think we are all ready for school to be over!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Food as art...

Busy weekend, basic cooking - nothing terribly blogworthy. We went to a catered graduation party today where the food was spectacular. With the exception of a poached salmon everything was vegetarian. And out of those items, many were vegan.

There was this incredibly beautiful hummus platter (this is definitely worth clicking on to see the larger picture):

And this melon:

Amazing isn't it? There was vegan sushi, a fruit platter that was overflowing, veggies - all kinds of things. I couldn't get a picture of everything though - while my family is used to not eating until a picture has been taken - it's a little bit harder to impose on others!

Friday, June 02, 2006

BBQ seitan

I finally got around to copying the recipe that Jess made the other day. This was for vegan BBQ "ribs" but I'm just calling it BBQ seitan to eliminate the whole faux meat heebie jeebies. It was easy, fairly quick and best of all everyone loved them. I was really rushed so I couldn't give it the obvious care and attention that Jess and provided hers.. but still - definitely liked by everyone

We have some tomatoes on the vine but it will be awhile before they are ready. I found some organic tomatoes at the store - yellow and orange - and sliced them up for a salad with balsamic vinegar and basil and sprinkled it all with Hawaiian black lava salt

We also had the first corn on the cob of the season and an amazingly sweet cantaloupe. Ah, summer is almost here!!!

Cashew veg chicken and QFT

Still catching up on the last few nights... Wednesday night I made a stir fry with the veg chicken I get at the Asian market. It's called "spicy vege chicken" on the label and it actually has very few ingredients which is nice. It's spicy (but not too) and is so good in a stirfry. I sliced a couple of carrots on the diagonal, 3 celery stalks, a yellow onion, and 2 zucchini diced small. I still had some soy vay Chinese marinade in the fridge so I used that instead of making a sauce.

I had bigger plans this week than my schedule actually allowed - I had planned on making some spring rolls to go with this - but that sort of vaporized as the day got busier. I did buy all the vegetables though so I think that might be a good QFT project for this weekend (as my kids call it - Quality Family Time™).

Speaking of QFT... the reunion last weekend was fun - Hallie and I made a girls weekend out of it. We stayed at a bed and breakfast with my parents, my sister and her husband and my brother and his wife. We had this whole Victorian house to ourselves (though it wasn't as exciting as this picture might lead you to believe... )

This reunion was a little less scheduled than some of the past reunions which was nice. We did a lot of shopping in our free time. A sure fire way to a teenage girls heart.

Me with Hal and my dad...

On our drive home we ventured off of I-5 (boring, boring, boring) and hit State Route 99. It was so incredibly beautiful - farms and orchards for as far as you could see. California seems like such a crowded, crazy place sometimes. Seeing these other parts is always amazing. It's a beautiful state.