Monday, September 28, 2009

Easy Mushroom Marinade

There's nothing better than a good grilled mushroom, well nothing better if that mushroom already went through a round of this marinade! Below is a simple and delicious 30 minute marinade, the longer you marinade, the tastier the mushroom of course.

In a mixing cup whisk together the following:

2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
dash Onion Powder/Salt
Dash Honey
.5 tsp Cracked pepper
dash Salt

After sauce has been whisked, simply dip a paper towel (or a brush if you have one) in the marinade and generously wipe across top side of mushroom. Once mushrooms have been well covered in marinade, drizzle any left over marinade onto the gills of the mushroom. Yield is enough to marinade 4 Portabella Mushrooms. Just double the amounts if you need more. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beans, Beans, Beans

Given that we don't eat meat (well, most of the time), we get most of our protein from beans and soy. When Tamar's cousin and her friend, both from Israel, came by on Monday night, we decided to give them a taste of Southwestern American cuisine. We served them black bean soup, cornbread, and sweet corn on the cob, all of which led to a fun conversation about how much food differs between here and Israel, and their questioning of why we serve "cake" with soup...

Hearty Black Bean Soup (vegan)

1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 small/medium onion, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, core and seeds removed, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 15 oz cans black beans with liquid
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 tsp or so of cumin
1 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sautee over medium heat celery, carrots, onion, jalapeno and garlic in olive oil (two-ish drizzles around the pot of oil shoudl be enough) and add in cumin and cayenne. Once onion becomes fairly translucent and garlic takes on a light brown color, add in the beans, tomatoes and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Place bay leaf on top, re-cover, and let simmer for about 45 minutes.
Remove bay leaf, and use hand or standing blender to blend about half of the soup, depending on how chunky you like it. Once blended, let simmer for a while longer (about 15 minutes or so).
This tastes even better as leftovers, once all the flavors have really set in.

Makes about 6 large servings.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tapenade Meets Burrito

So we've constantly talked and raved about Grandma Lydia's recipes, which we have been meticulously working through. Grandma was excited when I told her how great her banana cake came out, but not nearly excited as I was when I took that first bite.

Last night we were looking for a quick meal and decided to make Grandma's very simple burritos. For years, I had been trying to recreate the delicious flavor she came up with, and the recipe made it much simpler.

Grandma Lydia's Burritos (can be vegan)

2 cans refried pinto beans
15ish stuffed green olives (more or less, depending on how much you like olives!)
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts - hard to measure out, but again go by taste
1 jalapeno, core and seeds removed
10-12 flour tortillas, heated in microwave
optional cheese combo: Monterey Jack and Chedder

Stick the olives, onions and jalapeno in food processor. For each burrito, about 3-4 TBSP beans, between 1/2-1 TBSP topping [and a little bit of cheese]. We rolled the burritos up and stuck most of them in the freezer for quick-grab dinners. To heat them up, we pan fried with a little bit of cooking spray.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy New Year!

Have no fear, there will be more recipes posted soon. It has been a busy week, and yesterday was a crazy cooking day in time for Rosh Hashana. I championed my grandma's banana cake (though mine and greg's teeth hurt now from all the sugar), and we had a nice Eastern European Jewish meal of potato kugel and noodle kugel alongside homemade challah. It was our first time buying eggs since we moved into the apartment, and boy did they make a comeback. We have yet to learn vegan Jewish cooking methods.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

You got a sweeeeet sweetback Bar-b-que Sauce

I'm a true believer in sweet bar-b-que sauces and this recipe doesn't disappoint. It's super easy and when used in grilling it'll char slightly giving foods a whole extra layer of flavor.

The ingredients are:

1 small can of tomato paste (1 cup ketchup works well as a substitute *see below)
1.5-2 cups warm water
1tbsp salt (or too taste, be modest, too much salt will kill a sauce)
1tsp pepper
1tsp molasses
1.5tbsp sugar
1.5tbsp brown sugar
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2tsp onion powder
1/2tsp garlic powder
1/2tsp mustard powder
1tbsp mustard (any variety honey, dijon, etc.)
dash lemon juice
1/2tsp liquid smoke
tiny dash of hot sauce

Combine tomato paste and water (*if using ketchup, mix ketchup instead with 3/4 cup of warm water) in medium sauce pan and stir together over low heat until tomato product dissolves completely. Add remaining ingredients and bring heat to a low simmer. Allow sauce to simmer for 30min stirring occasionally, the more time you give it, the better. Lastly, you'll notice the sauce reducing as it simmers, this is good! The sugars are really deliciously blending at this point so simply stir in a tablespoon of water, then as the sauce simmers, continue adding dashes of water as needed so the sauce avoids getting too thick or a skin on top.

note: As with most sauces, this recipe is a good foundation, so go crazy adding stuff taking out stuff.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mayo-less Coleslaw

Following last night's meal, we had still most of the head of cabbage. Since we got a load of carrots this past week, we decided to enjoy the veggies in their raw state and make some vegan coleslaw.

Coleslaw (vegan)

1 small head cabbage, chopped
3 carrots, shredded

6 TBSP olive oil
4 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP soy yogurt
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp sugar

Directions: Mix. Add salt and pepper. Done :)

Vegan Cabbage Rolls

We got cabbage from the farm this past Monday and decided to get a little creative with it. I (Tamar) have not really worked with cabbage much, except one time in college when I needed lettuce and bought cabbage by mistake (that may have been in my pre-glasses days, or so I hope). Needless to say, our cabbage rolls came out delicious; Greg made a peanut butter-coconut sauce to put on top, which perfected the dish.

Cabbage Rolls (vegan)

10 outer leaves of cabbage
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 onion
1/2 cup chopped vegan meat or tofu (we used morningstar chicken strips, which I actually think might not be vegan... oops)
1 clove garlic
~1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 carrot, cut into short sticks
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP hoisin sauce (an Asian barbecue-ish sauce)

To prepare the cabbage:

People have all sorts of tricks for getting the leaves off the cabbage (freezing the cabbage, sticking the whole this in a pot of water, etc.), but we were lazy and wanted to find a way around it all. So with some determination, we ran a knife across the bottom of each leaf we intended to pull off, right near the core, and used a sort of "popping" method to get it off by pushing from the bottom up.

Heat up a large pot with a few cups of water and bring to a roaring boil. For each leaf, stick it in the boiling water for about 2 minutes; remove it with a slotted spoon and immediately run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside so that the leaves dry off, or wipe with towel.

To prepare the carrot sticks:

Place the sticks in about a TBSP or two of canola oil in a frying pan. Stir, coating each piece with oil and cover for about 5-6 minutes until the carrots get softer, but are still crunchy.

To prepare the filling:

Sautee the tofu/fake meat/whatever with the onion and garlic for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the rice, and occasionally stir for another minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and hoisin sauce, and taste to make sure you don't need any additional seasoning. Stir in chopped cilantro.

To assemble the rolls:

Place 1-2 large scoops of the filling in the center and top with 2 or 3 carrot sticks. Fold in the top and bottom (it's a little tricky with the vein toward the bottom, so cut some of it off if necessary) and roll the leaf, making sure to tuck in the edges as you go. Very burrito like, only smaller.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And then our mouths burned...

Yeah, it's not the most appetizing picture... but we never claimed to be great photographers. Nor do we have good lighting in our kitchen. But tonight's dinner was delicious, until all of our tastebuds were burned off. We got about a pound of tomatillos from our CSA on Monday, and neither Greg nor I have ever worked with them before. So we decided to use them in the simplest way that we know - salsa.

HOT Tomatillo Salsa (vegan)

When we say hot, we mean it. Even Greg, the king of spicy food, agreed with me on this one. Turns out jalapenos are spicier than we thought.

1 lb tomatillos, taken out of their husks and rinsed
1/2 - 3/4 of an onion, sliced
2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup cilantro
1 or 2 tsp of canola oil
salt to taste

Turn on your broiler. Slice the tomatillos into halves and lay face down on a lightly greased baking sheet. Add onto the sheet the garlic cloves, onion, and jalapenos. If you are slightly obsessive compulsive, your baking sheet will look something like this:

Put in the broiler for 4 minutes, so that veggies are browned but not burnt. Let cool, and put all ingredients into a food processor. We love you, Cuisinart.

Dinner was a burrito stuffed with spicy refried beans, lettuce, tomato, a tiny bit of smoked gouda cheese (we craved calcium), topped with our smokin' hot salsa. We ate it with some braised kale, which didn't come out all that great, but at least we got a good amount of vitamin A, C and apparently K for the day!

BBQ Chili and Corn Muffins

Wow, we are way behind. I could conjure up some stories to tell, but we're sitting here and falling asleep at 9:30pm (so cool).

On Sunday we still had some veggies leftover from the last CSA, and the temperature dipped below 70 - whoa - so we thought we could somewhat justify a hearty chili.

Spicy Barbeque Bean Chili
Chili's so great because you can throw whatever you've got in it... so that's basically what we did.

1/2 onion, diced
Most of a poblano pepper, seeded and diced
Corn kernels from one husk corn
1/2 tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 cups barbeque sauce (Greg's recipe will be posted at some point)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
a dash of hot sauce
salt, pepper, and any other spices you deem fitting

In a large pot, sautee over medium heat the onion, poblano, corn, tomato and garlic in some olive oil until onion starts to become translucent. Stir in beans and coat the mixture with about a TBSP of flour, mixing as you sprinkle it in order to avoid clumps. Pour in the liquids, tomato paste, and spices; lower heat to a simmer, stick in the bay leaf, and sit and distract yourself for about 30 or so minutes.
We went a little crazy with the heat in this, but spicy=good.

We enjoyed are chili with some poblano corn muffins, using up the rest of the pepper left from the chili.

Poblano Pepper Corn Muffins (vegan)

This recipe is adapted from our absolutely favorite vegan cookbook: Please Don't Feed the Bears; if you want to cook vegan, you should own this book - it's cheap and all the recipes we've tried are super good. The original recipe makes cornbread, but we thought we would spice it up a bit - pun intended.

Dry Ingredients
1.5 cups corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup sugar

Wet Ingredients
2 TBSP melted Earth Balance
1 cup soy/rice milk + 2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg's worth of egg replacer

+ leftover poblano pepper, diced.

Mix dry ingredients into wet, or wet into dry, depending on your school of thought. Fold in poblano pepper and pour into pre-greased muffin pan. We got about 10 muffins out of the mix.

The original recipe, since it's for cornbread, says to bake for 20 min at 425 degrees. We baked our muffins at that temperature for 10 minutes, and they came out a little dry, though still tasty. Baking is most definitely not my expertise - upon reflection, probably would have made sense to have baked them at 350-375 for 12-15 min. Oops.

Friday, September 4, 2009

For the Love of Vegan Cooking

This week reminded us that everyone has their good days and their bad days when it comes to cooking, especially vegan cooking.

On Wednesday, as Greg posted earlier that day, we had our friends Cristina and Dave over for dinner. We had planned a vegan meal consisting of asparagus crepes, mushroom and tofu ricotta crepes, a tomato and peach salad, and an appetizer of homemade french bread and olive tapenade. It all sounded so good and easy to make, especially since the only things that needed to go on the burner were the veggies and the crepes for a few minutes each. By 7:20 - 10 minutes before C & D were set to arrive - our kitchen turned into a food network show, with Tamar scrambling around the kitchen trying to figure out what to make, and Greg silently focusing on quickly chopping vegetables before heading out to the grocery store to buy a frozen pizza or pierogies that we could serve instead of what was turning out to be a disastrous meal.

Somehow, by the time Greg returned from the grocery store, I had 4 plates on the table, each showcasing a crepe stuffed with mushrooms and vegan ricotta, alongside sauteed asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Turns out, like those 20 page papers in college that I used to write the night (or morning) before, I do much better under pressure.

We pulled it off, just barely, but not without a slight nervous breakdown, a few muttered swears, and a deep hatred for vegan cooking. Needless to say, it was comforting to hear that Cristina, who so wonderfully took her first shot at vegan baking and made delicious cupcakes as a result, had a similar experience only a few hours earlier.

Recipe for the tapenade to come later on, perhaps once the white sox vs red sox game is over. Below, I am posting the recipes for things that came out, so the awful crepe recipe that we used is most definitely excluded. I have lost my faith in vegan crepes, but maybe one day when we own proper equipment, we'll give it another go.

Tomato and Peach Salad (vegan)
(Mark Bittman's recipes for 101 simple salads:

2 medium-size tomatoes
2 peaches
1 very small red onion (probably between 1/4-1/2 reg size onion)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 TBS olive oil
1-1.5 TBS lemon juice (we usually used fresh, but had concentrated LJ in the fridge)
a dash or two of red chili pepper flakes

Cut the tomatoes and peaches into similar size wedges. Sliver the red onion, and toss everything in a bowl. Pretty darn simple.

Sauteed Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce (vegan)

We sauteed about a lb of asparagus, stems chopped, in olive oil for 4-5 minutes and then slathered it with a tablespoon of Earth Balance and some salt and pepper. For the sauce, I found a great blog -; one of the better vegan sauces I have had.

1/2 cup silvered almonds
1/2 cup hot water
2 TBS Earth Balance
2 tsp lemon juice
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp mustard
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

Mix ingredients in food processor or blender and season to taste.

Sauteed Mushrooms and Tofu Ricotta (vegan)

We used about a 1/2 lb mini portabella mushrooms, sliced into quarters. Sautee the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes until pan is fairly dried out. Grab a swig or two of white wine and use it to deglaze the pan and give some mushrooms a meaty flavor. Season with salt, pepper, dried herbs, and various powders to your liking!

The tofu ricotta pretty much follows a recipe from Veganomicon, our vegan bible by Isa Moskowitz.

1 lb extra firm tofu
2 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, tumeric, garlic powder, onion powder, dried herbs, and we like to add a little bit of heat - whether it be red chili pepper flakes, cayenne, or hot sauce.

Crumble tofu (roll up those sleeves and just dig in there with your recently washed hands), add lemon juice and garlic and continue to smush. Once it's seemingly close to ricotta appearance, add olive oil, nutritional yeast, and spices and mix and mash with a fork.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More to come...

We're having some dinner guests this evening, to keep their lovely palettes entertained, we plan on making some asparagus blintzes/crĂªpes . Stay tuned, we'll update the blog with our recipe and make sure to tell you all about how it goes later on tonight.