Saturday, April 29, 2006

Weekend gardening

We are finally getting some nice weather and I've been able to get out in the backyard and get some work done! Last night was H's big lacrosse game against their archrival - they beat them 15-4 I think - a very sweet victory. We took her to our favorite Thai restaurant to celebrate.

Tonight we had the leftover moussaka so nothing exciting to report. But I'm excited about what's growing in the backyard and I took some shots so I can keep track of how things are coming along in the garden. Here are orange and lemon blossoms:

The grape vines are taking off:

A newly planted mulberry tree:

Kiwi vine:

On Sunday we have a housewarming to attend and then we are off to an Evening with David Sedaris. We are both huge David Sedaris fans and I can't wait to hear him read.

We did try something yesterday that was good. I found a tofurky product we hadn't had before - the "Philly Style" steak deli slices. I made a grilled sandwich with these slices, some tofutti mozzarella and bbq sauce - it made a good sandwich!

Finally - I feel like spring has arrived!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

10 minutes to dinner

Thursdays are such busy days for us - I should probably just plan Thursdays as a takeout night. Plus we had an incredibly warm beautiful day today so I worked out in the backyard a good part of the day and didn't give much thought to dinner preparation. I arrived home with H at 6:30 and had to have her back at school by 7:00 for music. By 6:45 we were back in the car and she was eating her dinner on the way. I think I threw something together in record time and it was actually really good.

I used the Soy Vay Wasabiyaki sauce which we love. If you don't like hot things don't be put off by the wasabi - the dressing/marinade isn't spicy. I quickly chopped some napa cabbage, shredded some carrot and rinsed some pea pods and threw them in the pan, added a few packages of yaki soba noodles then the dressing. It was done in less than 10 minutes. I rinsed the box of organic strawberries I'd just picked up and we were out the door.

I was feeling pretty good about the fact that she was at least eating something from home and not a drive-thru window, she was getting some vegetables and some fruit - yada, yada, yada. Not ONCE while I was driving her to school did I think "what about some protein" or "gee, some tofu would have been good in this" and it's a shame I didn't. Because maybe then I would have recalled the pan of marinated tofu I put UNDER THE BROILER while I was making the noodles. Thank goodness my husband was home and all the windows were already open because it was so hot outside. I'm typically very careful about this kind of thing but I was rushed and definitely not "in the moment."

As my husband would say, "oh guinnah"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Tonight's dinner was moussaka - using the recipe from the Chicago Diner cookbook. I picked the book up at Whole Foods at least a year ago and I don't think I've tried anything from it. So to feel like less of an idiot for having purchased the book I decided to give something a try. The moussaka took awhile to make - there's the eggplant to cook, the filling to prepare and the bechamel. I made it in the morning when it's less overwhelming to clean all those pots and pans. Because we have our business at home we often do a lot of work at night - when the phones are quiet. So mornings are typically a good time for me to cook dinner - or at least do as much prep as possible.

We really liked the moussaka - it was rich tasting but not overwhelming. I believe the recipe called for 1/2 cup of oil in the bechamel - I used maybe 2 T. and the rest veggie broth. It worked fine. The filling was a mixture of tempeh, tomatoes, white beans, garlic and onion.

We had this with one of my favorite salads ever - I originally got the recipe from Paula Wolfert's Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean cookbook - it's essentially white beans cooked until tender and then tossed with lots of lemon, some salt, pepper and aleppo pepper. Then some chopped parsley, walnuts, green onions and pomegranate. Since it's not pomegranate season I used dried cranberries. I love the beans with just the lemon, salt and pepper. So good.

We also had a greek salad: chopped romaine, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and tofu feta. The dressing I make for this is about 1/3 cup plain soy yogurt (Wildwood), 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar, pinch of granulated garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. This is one of our favorite salads in the summer - we make a meal out of it. When I want some "feta" for a salad I just take some extra firm tofu (not silken) and crumble it with a fork, sprinkle it with a little bit of nutritional yeast, salt and a drop or two of lemon juice.

This got approval from everyone - though H only liked the moussaka when she could dip bread in it. So I'm sure we'll make it again - someday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Taco Pie

It's Taco Tuesday don't you know and I was craving an old comfort food - taco pie. My sister used to make a recipe that involved refrigerated crescent rolls as the crust, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, etc. I don't have her recipe but came up with a vegan version that we all really enjoyed (when I say "we all" in reference to Mexican food I am automatically excluding H as she doesn't like Mexican food. I've said it before but if we didn't look so much alike I would demand a DNA test because I think she was switched at birth ;-) I love Mexican food).

Taco Pie

1 recipe Yeasted Tart Dough
1 cup TVP
7/8 cup boiling water
1 pkg taco seasoning or 1-2 tsp homemade taco seasoning
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/3-1/2 cup soy sour cream (depending on personal preference)
1 recipe Cheese Sauce
2 Tbs. salsa
1 cup corn chips (such as Fritos) - crushed
1 tomato, diced

Pat the tart dough into a pie dish - spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle 2/3 of the crushed corn chips over the dough. Mix the TVP with the taco seasoning and add just under 1 cup of boiling water - blend thoroughly and let sit until reconstituted. Whenever I used TVP for tacos or in this kind of recipe I like to cook it in a frying pan for a few minutes to dry it out a little and keep it from being one big lump o' TVP. While it's in the frying pan add 1/2 cup of olives and blend. Put this on top of the crushed chips, spreading out evenly. Take one cup of the cheese sauce and mix it with ~ 2 Tbs. salsa (I used a fairly spicy one). Spread this over the TVP. Next take the sour cream and spread it on top of the cheese sauce. Top with the chopped tomato and the remaining corn chips. I ended up taking it straight from the fridge and putting it in the oven cold. I started the oven at 350 and eventually turned it up to 375 or so and it took an hour.

For a side dish I cut up a jicama and tossed it with bit of salt and cayenne pepper and mandarin oranges. I loved the heat of the cayenne with the sweetness of the oranges. We also had a fresh pineapple that was PERFECT and a cantaloupe that was surprisingly pretty close to perfect.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kashk-e bademjan

Tonight I made a Persian dish called kashk-e bademjan - bademjan is eggplant in Farsi. The trouble is, kashk is an item made from whey (I've also blogged this using kashk here). As a substitute I used some yogurt cheese I'd made the other day. It's just plain soy yogurt (the Wildwood Soyogurt is the best we've tried - it has no sweeteners and comes closest to plain dairy yogurt), put in a sieve lined with several layers of coffee filters. Then you put this over a bowl and place in the refrigerator overnight. All the excess liquid drains out and you are left with a thick yogurt "cheese." I used it in the following recipe:

Kashk-e Bademjan

2 eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/3-1/2" thick
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2-3 T. tomato paste concentrate (from tube)
1/2 cup yogurt cheese
2 tsp salt
1 onion, very finely diced
5-6 garlic cloves, very finely diced

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with oil. Put the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet and spray each side with oil. Put under the broiler for about 5-6 minutes each side until it gets browned and starts to fall apart.

Once all the eggplant is cooked put it in a saucepan and turn the heat on medium. Start with about 1/2 cup water and stir the eggplant with the water until the eggplant breaks down, adding additional water as it gets incorporated. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook until everything is combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt cheese and salt.

For the topping you'll want to cook the onion first in a small amount of oil until it starts to brown and then add the garlic. You keep cooking this, stirring constantly, until the onion/garlic combination gets very browned and crispy. Sprinkle this over the eggplant. Without this topping the eggplant won't have much flavor - the garlic and onion is pretty critical! Serve it with lavosh, pita or other bread of your choice.

We also had a store-bought bruschetta - it had tomatoes, green olives, garlic and capers. I served it on rosemary focaccia that I toasted in the oven. It was good but way saltier than what I would prepare at home.

I also made some oven roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with lemon, salt and pepper. I had a more well-though out dinner in mind and then realized that one kid had tutoring and another had a team dinner tonight. So I just put together a little of this and a little of that. Unfortunately - blogger isn't letting me upload any more pictures - I'm not sure what's up. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a couple more to post!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Take me out to the ball game

Last night was the junior prom - A and her friends had a wonderful time and it's sure fun seeing the kids all dressed up. And best of all, despite predictions there was no rain!

I think the kids we had over stayed up until 4 am!! so we had a late breakfast of pancakes and fruit and then headed out for an A's vs. Angels game. I use this recipe for pancakes and always have great success. I usually double it and then freeze the leftovers for quick weekday breakfasts. I bought the baseball tickets at a school auction and wow - we had great seats - 3rd row behind the dugout.

As fun as this weekend was I'm looking forward to just a normal (what's that???) week. I've got several recipes tagged for this week so I'll be back tomorrow night with a new food post!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Prom weekend

I'm not sure how much I'll be posting this weekend - Saturday night is the junior prom and it promises to be a busy weekend!

I am, however, planning on doing some baking - maybe some lemon squares? I came home the other day and my neighbor had dropped off some lemons for us:

I think I'll make some preserved lemons too. Until my own trees take off it's nice to know I have a nice steady source next door!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hail caesar!

The other day I made that spinach salad with a tahini vinaigrette that tasted very similar to caesar dressing. I meant to add some more garlic and work on it a little but we ended up having it for lunch just as it was. I had some garlic croutons and romaine hearts from the little produce store I love. Wow - I was really happy with the outcome. I added a little bit more vinegar - apple cider vinegar this time - to thin out the dressing. Both hubby and I thought it got a big thumbs up as a caesar.

Tonight was A's spring choir concert. So yet another very quick dinner - tonight was toasted bagels with better than cream cheese, sun dried tomato and olive tapenade and pepperoncini, macaroni salad (with grated carrot, celery, relish, vegenaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and touch of sugar) and grapes.

We just finished our front yard landscaping this past week and on one side we planted a pomegranate tree, two meyer lemon trees and an orange tree. The citrus trees have a ton of blossoms for such small trees and the smell is out of this world. I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Vegan fast food

It's been quite a day. We didn't even get home from activites until almost 8:30 and I still had to get dinner on the table! What I made might not be the prettiest most enticing dinner in the world but it was on the table in 15 minutes - can't beat that!

We had tofurky beer brat sausages sliced and cooked in a pan with one 20 oz can of pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice. You just cook it over medium high heat until the juice is gone and the sausage and pineapple are browned. We like this with a spicy brown mustard. While that cooked I threw some asparagus in a tiny bit of water and let it cook - once the water was gone I let it just brown a little bit (no oil) and then squeezed a fresh lemon over it and added salt and pepper. I had a honeydew melon already cut up in the fridge and a sourdough baguette. The produce store I shop at gives you a free baguette whenever you spend $25 or more - and I doubt I've ever spent less than $25! I meant to make a caesar salad with that dressing I made the other night but I forgot. Oh well - it can be tomorrow's lunch!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Taco Salad

We had sun today! I got out in the backyard and did some pruning and as I had it all bundled in my hand decided it was too pretty to go in the recycling bin:

When I was planning dinners for this week I realized what a hectic schedule we had for the next few days. So we're having some very simple standards this week :-)

Tonight we had taco salad - everyone makes their own:

Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 can each pinto beans, black beans and kidney beans (NOT drained) mixed with one packet of taco seasoning or homemade taco mix and heated
Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese
soy sour cream
sliced black olives
diced red onion
tortilla chips - broken up

I like this dinner because everyone can customize it to their own taste - mine was spicy HOT!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Spinach salad with grilled red onion and tahini vinaigrette

We had so much pasta leftover from Friday night - so tonight was leftovers. I also had a lot of organic baby spinach still in the fridge - but we had the same salad twice last week - so we needed a change.

I hopped over to Epicurious.com and found this recipe:

Notes: I made half the dressing, substituted agave for the honey and skipped the radicchio bit. When I adjusted the seasoning I added some umeboshi plum vinegar. I ended up with some leftover dressing - enough for at least one more salad.


1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seedpaste)
2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 small garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large red onions
12 cups (packed) baby spinach,trimmed
10 large radicchio leaves

For Vinaigrette:Combine all ingredients except oil in blender and blend well. Gradually blend in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For Salad:Cut onions lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, leaving root ends intact. Place onions in 15x10-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1 cup vinaigrette over onions, coating evenly. Let marinate 3 hours. Chill remaining dressing. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill onions.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high-heat) or preheat broiler. Sprinkle onions with salt and pepper. Grill or broil onions until golden. turning occasionally, about 12 minutes. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Place spinach in large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Fill radicchio leaves with spinach. Top with grilled onions. Pass remaining dressing separately.

Serves 10.
Bon App├ętit June 1996

Since it's just the four of us I didn't want to make a full recipe. So I halved the dressing recipe and used two medium sized red onions. Here are the onions with the dressing:

I put them under the broiler - they cook fairly quickly so you really need to watch them. I turned them over halfway through. Here are the onions when they came out of the oven:

Oh my they were good! I could have eaten the whole bowl of onions as they were. The salad in its final form was quite good too:

But the best part about making this recipe: when I first tasted the dressing it dawned on me that it tasted very much like caesar dressing! I'm going to try making it again with more garlic one of these days and see what I end up with. I'll keep you posted :-)

And if you'd like a laugh - check out this link for the Triple Tofu Tower!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Meal Planning

Okay Shawn - this post is for you! Shawn recently posted on his blog about his struggle with planning and shopping for their family meals. So I figured I'd put out there how I do it and if it helps - great - if not, I've exposed my Virgo dorkiness for anyone who is interested.

Once upon a time, B.C. (before children) I would stop at the little market at the bottom of the hill after work. I'd pick up something that looked good for dinner and then walk up the very steep hill home. Even after A was born I did daily shopping because it got us out of the house and into the neighborhood. Then daughter number two came along and I was suddenly faced with a two year old and a newborn who cried. A lot. And anyone who has raised kids knows about the witching hour - that hour right before dinner when everything seems to melt down. This is when I began planning our meals because I discovered if I knew what we were having for dinner I could make most of it in the morning. Even when I went back to work I stuck with it because I could do some prep the night before if I knew what was on the menu. Oh, and that baby who wouldn't stop crying? She just got her braces off:

So here is what I do - on Sundays I sit down and take a look at the calendar for the coming week. Does dh have any evening meetings? Are there any school performances? That sort of thing. I have sort of a loose "theme" for each night - only because this helps me come up with something and keeps us from having pasta four times in a week!

Monday: Italian - this is easy as there are countless pasta recipes, endless combinations for a pizza etc
Tuesday: Mexican (aka Taco Tuesday)
Wednesday: for lack of a better description it's Comfort Food - casseroles- that sort of thing
Thursday: soup, sandwiches, crockpot stew
Friday: take out
Saturday: usually on Saturday we are either going to dinner at someone's house or hosting dinner. This is a night when I bust out the cookbooks and try new recipes.
Sunday: Asian - Thai, Persian, Indian etc. This started mostly because H went through a phase of eating very little other than rice so I liked to start the week with a lot of leftover rice.

If you keep track on a calendar you can go back and easily repeat a complete week of menus. I keep a pretty well stocked pantry and often end up doing a lot of my shopping at a small, local produce store.

So there ya go.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Grilled veggies

Tonight was a family gathering (it's been a busy weekend) so I was off the hook for cooking! I knew we would have a wonderful meal and I knew there would be a vegan option with no accompanying commentary (you know what I mean...). I have two SILs who are great cooks and always come up with delicious vegan selections that are either the main meal or go well with whatever is being offered to non-veg diners. Tonight there was not only a fabulous eggplant dish with basmati rice but a huge platter of grilled vegetables. The mushrooms were particularly good! All of the munchies before dinner were vegan too. Aren't I a lucky girl to have a sister-in-law like this?


I'm so glad it's the weekend. Even though there is more rain in the forecast it's nice to have a break from the busy school schedule.

Last night we had friends over for dinner - my best friend and her family who we see frequently. These are my favorite kind of dinners - I don't really stress about how clean the house is or what I'm cooking. They are easy to please and great company!

I made the kid friendly "Finger Spaghetti" that I posted back in January. I knew I had a busy afternoon and wouldn't have much time in the kitchen. So I picked something that I could make while we chatted. We served it with a spinach salad like we had the other night - baby spinach, avocado, walnut and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic vinaigrette. It was easy and good. For munching on while I cooked we had the hummus I'd prepared the other day, veggies, some picholine olives, pistachios and almonds. Yum.

We rarely have (soy) ice cream in the house - I'm just not a big ice cream fan so I don't think about it when I'm in the store. But for last night I bought three different flavors of Soy Delicious Purely Decadent soy ice cream - and then forgot to serve them! Sheesh.

I bought Peanut Butter Zig Zag, Chunky Mint Madness and Vanilla. Peanut butter and chocolate is just the best combination - anybody old enough to remember those Reeses commercials where the people bumped into each other "hey you got chocolate in my peanut butter" and "well you got peanut butter on my chocolate" - of course why a guy was walking down the street eating out of a jar of peanut butter was never quite clear. But it really is one of my favorite combinations!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

French dip sandwiches

First and foremost I have to point out that we had an unexpected but very welcome visitor today - the sun. It has rained almost every day for the last month and a half. It is supposed to rain tomorrow. But today it was sunny and WARM. A sign of things to come I hope.

Tonight we had Portabella French Dip sandwiches. I tweaked the recipe a bit (we've made these several times). I make half the amount of au jus and use a lot more mushrooms. I also don't bother with the margarine and garlic on the bread - I just toast it a bit in the oven. Fantastic foods makes a mushroom onion soup mix that works well for this recipe. I'm sure you could just use a mushroom broth with some seasoning and it would work as well.

We also had a dish I make based on a traditional Jewish dish called tzimmes. I first had this from Whole Foods - it just looked good to me but I didn't really know what it was. So I just ate it cold. When I tried to find a recipe for it I learned that it is usually stewed with meat (the Whole Foods version was vegan). So I make something that is similar but I serve it as a cold or room temperature dish.

Tzimmes salad
3 cups yams, 1" dice (2 large)
3 cups baby cut carrots (or 1 lb bag)
toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 450 oven for 1 hour, stirring once or twice. Let cool a little.

1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup prunes
2 T. golden raisins
2 T. currants
champagne vinegar

Simmer dried fruits in orange juice until they soften a little then remove them with a slotted spoon. Continue to simmer the orange juice until it is reduced by half. Add a splash or two of champagne vinegar and some salt and pepper. Mix fruit with the roasted vegetable and toss with the dressing. It tastes best if it can sit for a little while.

We also had some lightly steamed green beans tossed with some balsamic vinaigrette and some mango. I really love green beans - just steamed a bit and drizzled with lemon, salt and pepper they are so good. Growing up we always had beans that were boiled with bacon. Yuck! A few years ago I was at my brothers house and they brought in some beautiful green beans fresh picked from their garden - then I watched in horror as, yup, into the bacon water they went.

One more sign of spring - one of our fig trees:

I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hummus trio

Tonight was one of those nights where I had a meal planned (more on that whole concept in a later post) and then found out it would just be me and one kid. There were leftover calzone fixings so I made some pizzas on a seeded baguette. We are having company on Friday night so I also made up some hummus to have tonight and on Friday.

I made my usual hummus:

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained but save the liquid
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
1 T. olive oil
salt, pepper to taste

Process it all in a food processor and add in the liquid from the beans to get the consistency that you like. Adust seasonings to taste.

I then took some of that and added some sun dried tomatoes. To another bowl I added chopped black olives, roasted garlic and cayenne. Hubby had meetings today and needed the camera so I used my daughter's camera. I'm so spoiled by the closeups that my camera takes!

The hummus turned out good - I got some complaints on the cayenne from H. I've got to toughen that kid up!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Soyrizo and green olive enchiladas

For dinner tonight we had enchiladas - the filling was 1 package of soyrizo, browned and then mixed with one cup roughly chopped pimento-stuffed green olives. I made this cheese sauce courtesy of vegweb.com:

1/2c flour
1/2c nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cup water
1 teaspoon mustard
4 tablespoons margarine

In medium-large saucepan, combine flour, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder. Add water and mix thoroughly. Heat on medium heat until bubbling and thick. Remove from heat and add mustard and margarine.

I used this enchilada sauce from recipezaar.com

3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon oregano
3 cups water
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly add enough of the water to make a thin paste. Pour into pan and add rest of water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Stir in tomato sauce. This makes a lot - I froze the rest.

To assemble the enchiladas I heated the tortillas one at a time in a dry frying pan until they softened a bit - then I put a couple tablespoons of the soyrizo mixture, a spoon or two of the cheese sauce and then rolled it and put it into the baking dish (it was lined with enchilada sauce first). As the enchiladas went into the pan I would then pour a little enchilada sauce over each one to keep it from drying out. Last time I made enchiladas I used way too much sauce. So I was trying to be more careful this time! Once they were covered with enchilada sauce I spread some of the cheese sauce on top. I had extra cheese sauce and mixed some salsa into it thinking it might make good nachos. When it came time to put the enchiladas in the oven I was worried I might have put too little enchilada sauce so I took that cheese sauce that had the salsa in it and put it on there.

The enchiladas were awesome! We had them with guacamole, soy sour cream and salsa.

I also made a salad that we like to have with Mexican food - I always call it popcorn salad because the corn pops when you saute it. I thaw a one pound package of frozen corn and then saute it over medium high heat (I just use a little sprayed oil).

I cook it until the corn browns and starts popping. I let it cool off a little bit and then toss it with sliced red onion and tomatoes. Season it with salt and pepper and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.

This is also good with some fresh cilantro if you have it but it certainly survives without it!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Today was the first day back to school for the girls and tonight was a busy one. I relied on some prepared foods to put together dinner. I made a combination calzone using Trader Joe's fresh pizza dough and pizza sauce. For the filling I used gimme lean sausage, slice sauteed mushrooms, sliced black olives and a little bit of veg pepperoni I had in the freezer. For each individual calzone I used a half slice of tofutti mozzarella. I ended up with lots of extra filling and will probably make a pizza for lunch one day this week. This made 8 calzones which was more than enough for dinner plus leftovers to put in the girls lunches tomorrow. I baked these at 450 for about 18 minutes. Yum.

To go with the calzones I made a spinach salad - baby spinach, grape tomatoes, avocado and toasted walnut with a balsamic vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic clove, a little dijon and a dash of sugar - seasoned with salt and pepper). It was a thrown together salad that ended up being very, very good :-)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Dim sum

Tonight's dinner was sort of a dim sum type of thing: vegetable buns, lumpia, potstickers and BBQ "pork" fried rice. When I went to the Asian market a couple of weeks ago we found so many great veg items. One of the veg "meats" we got was a BBQ pork - I sliced it up and stir fried it with some napa cabbage, peas and carrots, soy sauce and veg oyster sauce. The vegetable buns weren't so great - but they weren't bad. I cooked the potstickers in water and once they were cooked I drained the water and then browned them over high heat. We had the lumpia with some wasabi lime mustard - it was a nice combination.

Speaking of nice combinations :-) Here is another Bella and Renzo picture - our own Yin and Yang. They always sleep in matching poses!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pasta Rustica

Tonight's dinner was by request - whenever we've been away from home we all start thinking of homecooked foods we are craving. So Ana requested this pasta recipe and then ended up being invited for a sleepover. We saved her some! This is by no means a low fat dinner. The original recipe called for a bunch of olive oil, butter and fontina cheese. It can get pretty dry without some oil so I use as much as I need but no more! The menu included beet roesti with rosemary, sauteed beet greens (it's a 2 for 1 veggie!), and spinach salad with mandarin oranges, sliced almonds and red onion.

Pasta Rustica

1 lb Penne Rigate
6 small potatoes, 1" dice
olive oil
1 t salt
fresh ground pepper
½ t thyme
¼ t cayenne pepper
½ t tarragon
1 t majoram
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 T Earth Balance margarine
3 slices Tofutti mozzarella slices, finely diced.

Preheat oven to 400. Cut potatoes and put in a low-sided baking pan & toss in olive oil to coat. Sprinkle potatoes with all spices. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Add onions to potatoes and toss (I turned up the oven at this point as well). Cook for 30 more minutes or until potatoes and onions are well browned. Ten minutes before potatoes are ready, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Add margarine to preheated saute pan and melt. Mix hot pasta into saute pan and blend in potatoes/veggie mix. Toss pasta with diced soy cheese and more olive oil if needed. Serves 6-8.

We also had Beet Roesti - this is the recipe to convert beet haters. Both my kids love beets now and I know it's because of this recipe. These are the beets when they first went in the pan:

Beet Roesti with Rosemary
From How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1 to 1 1/2 lb. beets (I used one bunch that had two large and one smallish beet)
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (I think fresh is essential here)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp margarine
Trim the beets and peel them as you would potatoes; grate them in a food processor or by hand. Begin preheating a medium to large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss the grated beets in a bowl with the rosemary and salt, then add about half the flour; toss well, add the rest of the flour, then toss again.Place the margarine in the skillet and heat until it begins to turn nut-brown.

Shape the beet mixture into the skillet, shape it into a nice circle, and press it down with a spatula. Turn the heat to medium-heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the bottom of the beet cake is nicely crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Slide the cake out onto a plate, top with another plate, invert the two plates, and slide the cake back into the pan. Continue to cook, adjusting the heat if necessary, until the second side is browned. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

For the beet greens I cut them and then sauteed them in a tiny bit of olive oil and then splashed them with some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

As nice as it is to go away for a few days I always enjoy being back in my kitchen.

Chickpea salad sandwich

I made lunch today (turns out no one is into my habit of "fend for yourself" at lunchtime - go figure). We had sandwiches with a spread made from chickpeas. I used two cans that I simmered for a few minutes - sometimes the canned beans are a little too firm. So I cooked them a little and then let them cool. I then smashed them up and mixed with some Vegenaise, finely diced red onion, sweet pickle relish, a little salt and several shakes of Spike seasoning just like we used to make tuna sandwiches. I think every vegetarian/vegan I know makes some version of this sandwich!

The girls had theirs on sliced sourdough and we had ours on an 11 grain wheat bread - happy sandwich eaters all around! I'm so happy to be home :-)

Disney in the rain

Well this post isn't food related (though I will be posting tonight) - I wanted to put up a few pics of our spring trip to Southern California. Since it was raining so much we figured we'd have more fun at Disney in the rain than at the beach. So we headed to Anaheim and played in the rain. I wouldn't want to do this with little kids but we had a blast and we were able to walk on to pretty much every ride - no lines. Even the second day when it wasn't raining but rain was predicted, we had very little wait on everything. I think it was the most fun we've ever had at Disney!

Now I just need to force myself to go to the grocery store so I can get back to food blogging!