Monday, January 30, 2006

Gnocchi with sweet potatoes

Monday night's dinner:

Gnocchi with oven roasted sweet potatoes and toasted walnuts (seasoned with sage, salt and pepper)
Spinach salad with mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, red onion, tofu "feta" and vinaigrette

Friday, January 27, 2006

No cooking this weekend...

This has been a busy weekend and dinner out Friday, Saturday and tonight. On Friday night we had dinner at a little place called Amber Bistro in Danville. There wasn't much of a vegetarian selection but I asked our waiter if I could have one of the side dishes prepared as an entree. It was pan fried noodles with carrots, zucchini and yellow squash with a wasabi vinaigrette. Wow. It was good but that wasabi was HOT.

Saturday night took us to San Francisco through some of the most hellish traffic I can recall in a long time. We were an HOUR late meeting our friends. But the restaurant very kindly held our table for us and comp'd us a bottle of wine and a killer appetizer. Our waiter was vegetarian and steered us to some good choices. Great dinner. Then it was off to see Super Diamond at Bimbo's 365 Club. It had been a few years since our last "Surreal Neil" show and we were not disappointed. Despite the Very. Drunk. Girl. who was ass-grabbing every guy around we had a great time. We stood right by the stage (and speakers) and my ears are still ringing. So even though the traffic sucked and it was pouring rain we had an awesome night.

Today we are off to celebrate my nephew's birthday so I'm once again off kitchen duty. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Veg gyros

Thursday night was a busy one - one kid had musical rehearsals, the other an orchestra performance. Oh, and "The OC" was on at 9 - we can't forget that. But I really like for us to have dinner together. We managed to have three of us at one time so that wasn't too bad considering how much was going on.

Thursday night's dinner:

Veg gyros made with veg "steak" and greek seasoning, topped with lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. I made the sauce with plain soy yogurt, garlic, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper. We had it with a salad of tomato, cucumber, red onion, mint and tofu "feta" tossed with lemon juice and a bit of balsamic vinegar and some oven roasted asparagus. It got two thumbs up from everyone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Comfort food

For tonight's dinner we had stuffing (or bread dressing I guess - depending on where you are from) mixed with faux chicken, raisins, celery, onion and walnuts - and while I'm not wild about Morningstar Farms (the product is good, it's just the company I don't like), I haven't had a chance to get to the asian market that has the good veg chicken. We also had purple peruvian potatoes prepared like this. I made some applesauce too - I had a lot of apples in the fridge so it was an interesting blend. The plate was crying out for a leafy green but I turned a deaf ear. I just didn't feel like cooking anymore...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Happy Birthday hubby!

Today was dh's birthday and we bought theater tickets to see Machomer in Berkeley. It was hilarious and we had a blast. We had takeout from our favorite Thai restaurant and for dessert I made a vegan cheesecake. I was really happy with how it turned out (I used a ready-made crust and a 12 oz pkg of extra firm silken tofu - I think the recipe called for 14 oz). For the topping I took a jar of sour cherries and cooked them with a little sugar and some cornstarch to thicken it up. A definite keeper.

Finger Spaghetti

Our Monday dinner was by request of my older daughter. This is a pasta dish that we used to have frequently and that the girls used to call Finger Spaghetti - both because the pasta shapes looked like fingers and because when we used rigatoni it actually fit over their fingers. It started with a Marcella Hazan recipe and eventually evolved into a simple, quick dish.

Rigatoni with Tomato and Cream Sauce ( aka "Finger Spaghetti")
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 3/4 oz. can chopped black olives
1 6 oz can tomato paste (I used to use Contadina Italian style tomato paste but it has partially hydrogenated oil and high fructose corn syrup so now I use plain tomato paste and add my own seasoning - some parsley, basil and oregano)
2 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
2 T. dried parsley
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (not fat free)
1 lb. rigatoni (or penne)

Saute garlic and chopped olives in olive oil over med.high heat until garlic is lightly browned.Add tomato paste, tomato sauce and parsley. Let simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. Add soy milk and cracked black pepper. Mix well, let simmer for about 5 more minutes. Add to cooked rigatoni, toss together.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Khoresht-e Gheimeh

Tonight we had Persian food. Typically most dishes take a long time to make but I had some khoresht (stew) in the freezer so this was an easy meal. The khoresht I make is a recipe I've come up with for the crockpot - it makes it simple. It's usually made with a bit of beef or lamb but I use eggplant or sometimes zucchini and yellow squash. We had this with persian-style rice, plain yogurt (Wildwood Soyogurt - plain - it's the best!), and some homemade flatbread. It's traditionally served with homemade french fries on top - but we like the little french fried potatoes on top (I've found some at Cost Plus that don't have partially hydrogenated oil). We usually have a plate of fresh mint, basil, onions etc but alas, I didn't feel like going to the store for the fresh greens.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

It's not easy being green

It was supposed to be a dry weekend but when I got up this morning it was raining - again. I was glad that I had soup planned for dinner - it was the perfect ending to a busy, rainy Saturday. We sat through a wet and cold soccer game and then took the dogs for a long hike.

Tonight's menu was:

*Palak Shorva (curried spinach soup with toasted coconut) from Fields of Greens. Everyone liked this a lot - it was, however, very, very green. The picture doesn't quite translate how green this was! The recipe called for garnishing with toasted, unsweetened coconut which I did. I also swirled in some coconut milk.
*Crackling Cauliflower from the Whole Foods Cookbook - a family favorite.
*Homemade baguette (pretty basic recipe but it always works and everyone loves it).

Now off to finish cleaning up...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Snap, crackle, pop!

Today I made this recipe for vegan rice krispy treats. Most people are surprised to find out that rice krispy treats are not vegetarian (they are made with gelatin). We haven't had them in a LONG time and since today was the last day of finals I thought it would be fun to have a treat. My younger daughter's face just lit up when she saw them. So while they certainly don't qualify as health food - today they fit the bill as happy food.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Meat and potatoes

My older daughter had requested scalloped potatoes for dinner so I found this recipe and tried it out. Definitely follow the comments about using less cayenne - wow. We had it with tofurkey keilbasa, fresh steamed green beans tossed with soy sauce and gomasio, sourdough bread (I use vegan margarine and sprinkle it with old bay seasoning, vegan parmesan and gomasio and broil it), blackberries and mango.

I don't use a lot of fake meat products and here I cooked with them two nights in a row (and we're having veggie burgers tonight!). But my older daughter is not vegetarian (she is at home because it's the only option), so I try to occasionally have dinners that resemble something she'd get in a meat-eating household.

I don't know what it is about my Virgo personality but I love this website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The past few days

It was a busy weekend - soccer, study sessions (it's finals week for the kids), etc.

One night I made lavosh sandwiches for hubby and I. I spread the bread with "better than cream cheese", dijon mustard and smashed up avocado. Then put sliced tofurkey, thinly sliced tomatoes, pepperoncini and kalamata olives. I rolled it up and let it set awhile in the fridge - it turned out to be a great sandwich. I'll definitely make it again.

Sunday we went to a dinner party where they were serving traditional Persian food - lamb kebab and rice. So I made my vegan kebab (made with mushrooms, celery, walnuts, tofu, etc) and not only did we enjoy it but several of the other people tried it and liked it. I mean, no one would ever mistake it for lamb but it tastes good!

Last night I made calzone with a spinach and tofu "ricotta". I loosely based it on a recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I sauteed spinach with garlic and onion and added some nicoise olives, waluts, capers, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I added this to crumbled tofu that was seasoned with some nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon juice and basil. Alongside I made a greek salad and added the leftover kebab. For my greek salad dressing I use plain soy yogurt, red wine vinegar, a little olive oil, salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Tossed with romaine, olives, tomato, red onion, cucumber and tofu feta it makes a great salad.

Tonight was a busy night so we had a simple dinner - crunchy tacos, refried beans, sauteed corn and fresh mango. I usually make tacos with TVP or beans but tonight we used the Smart Ground taco and burrito flavor to keep it easy. We always have Mexican food on Tuesdays :-)

It started raining again today so I hit the cookbooks looking for soup recipes. This weekend I'm going to try the Palak Shorva- Curried spinach soup recipe from Fields of Greens. That's the plan anyway...we shall see.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Artichoke heart and caramelized onion risotto

So Tuesday night we had just had 7 layer bean dip - you know, the kind of thing you see at a potluck. It is one of my daughter's favorite foods and she requested it.

Last night we had:

Risotto with artichoke hearts and caramelized red onion
Oven roasted brussels sprouts with lemon and capers
spinach salad with dried cranberry and almonds

You can make a really good vegan risotto with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. I've been surprised at how nice it turns out. Our other favorite recently is a mushroom risotto. Good stuff.

Tonight we had leftovers. The word I dreaded as a kid but now love as the cook of the house!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pasta Puttanesca

Monday, January 9:

Pasta Puttanesca -
4 garlic cloves, smashed
3 T. olive oil
2 - 28 ounce cans chopped tomatoes, drained
1 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/3 - 1/2 cup capers
fresh ground pepper

Heat olive oil and garlic. Add tomatoes, olives and caper. Bring to a simmer. Let cook for an hour. Add pepper to taste. Serve over 1 lb. whole wheat pasta.

We had this with a salad (baby romaine, cherry tomatoes, toasted walnuts, avocado and tofu "feta" with a balsamic vinaigrette) and homemade baguettes.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Happy New Year

Since I'm short on time these days I've decided to make this blog just a chronicle of vegan/vegetarian dinners. Then maybe I'll keep up with it.

So far this year we've had:

Homemade pizza - one with olive tapenade the other with caramelized onions and grape tomatoes

Spaghetti with vegetarian "meatballs" - crockpot recipe yum.

Grilled veggie fajitas and refried beans

biscuits, oven roasted sweet potatoes and applesauce.

Tofu bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato sandwiches with vegan potato salad (I didn't follow this exactly but it was quite good...)

Stirfried eggplant and spicy veg "chicken" in blackbean garlic sauce and asian coleslaw

We had a few nights of takeout because of scheduling but other than that I've been pretty good about getting dinner on the table...