Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Wicked Fun Dinner

I had my son and his gf over for a Halloween dinner tonight and we had A BLAST!!! On our menu was:

Jack-o-lantern Sandwiches
Black Bean and Spider Web Soup
Missing Bloody Fingers (Fries w/ketchup)
Pumpkin Roll Cake

I was planning on a soup and sandwich dinner and thinking about cutting the bread into pumpkin shapes, then I remembered I had this vintage sandwich maker called a Toastite. It makes round hot sandwiches you cook on the stovetop. This is a Toastite.

So here's what we did. We took our bread and painted on jack-o-lantern faces using food coloring and water. Mine is the plain ugly one.

I'm sure the last time I used the Toastite we made ham and cheese sandwiches, but tonight we had dried tofu (my new fave tofu from the asian market), sauted onions and peppers, and barbecue sauce.

Then you just close up the sandwich in the Toastite and set it over the flame.

You can take a peek after a couple of minutes to see how brown they are getting.

In the meantime, we ladeled out our soup and used tofu sour cream to pipe on the spider webs. My bread face was ugly, but I did have the best web!

I found some corn tortillas in the freezer yesterday and decided to cut them into ghost shapes and bake them. They are topped with chili powder, maple sugar, and a little salt. Ghos-tados.

Here is Chase's dinner. He gets credit for most of the photography tonight. Poor child never gets a hot meal anymore!

I think he may have discovered a way to get kids to try tofu. He dipped his in the food coloring!

The sandwiches were so good. I think another good filling would be something with a chickpea gravy. There's limitless possibilities.

After we all talked about how full we were and couldn't eat another bite, I brought out the cake. It's a pumpkin cake with chocolate filling. It was moist and chocolately and somehow we all made room for a couple of pieces.

After I baked the cake this morning, I couldn't leave half a can of pumpkin hanging out in the refrigerator, so I baked pumpkin raisin mini muffins. I used Dreena's pumpkin raisin bread recipe from The Everyday Vegan.

Here are the soup and cake recipes.

This soup has a lot of flavor layers in it, intensified at the end with a little cocoa powder.
Black Bean Soup:
1 pound dried black beans
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 bell peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Spicy Montreal Seasoning
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Bragg's
1 teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Soak the beans (overnight or quick method), then rinse and put in a large soup pot with the onion. Add 9 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for an hour.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the cocoa powder, and cook for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender and puree about half the beans (or more if you prefer). Add the cocoa powder, adjust seasonings, and add water, if necessary. (I added almost a cup of water at this point, and again when I reheated it.) Cook another 15 minutes.

Pumpkin Roll Cake with Chocolate Filling:
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pumpkin puree
equivalent of 3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 x 15 baking sheet.
In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and spices. Add in the pumpkin puree, egg replacer, and lemon juice, and mix well. Spread the batter evenly into the pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Place a damp kitchen towel on a flat surface and sprinkle it liberally with powdered sugar. Turn the cake onto the towel. Beginning with the short side, roll the cake up with the towel. Place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes.

Prepare filling
1 box silken firm tofu
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon canola oil
dash salt

Place all filling ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

When the cake has cooled, unroll it and spread the filling on it. (You will have some left over. Refrigerate it and have pudding later!) Immediately re-roll, without the towel, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place it seam side down on a platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The cake is super moist and would also be great with something other than a chocolate filling. I'm sure it would be much prettier with a white filling, but I was going for an orange and black Halloween look.

We had so much fun preparing this dinner and eating too much!

P.S. to Michelle
who asked for my tortilla soup recipe. I don't post recipes unless they are original (copyright issues!). Otherwise, I just let you know where you can find them. That recipe was from Real Food Daily.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Aloo Panak & Mochi

Tonight I had potatoes and fresh spinach that needed to be used, so what else was there to make! I diced two small white potatoes and put them on to boil. I diced an onion and sauted it until it was golden brown, then added garlic, cumin, coriander, tumeric, salt, and red pepper. When the potatoes were done, I added in the spinach, let it wilt, then added in the potatoes and let it simmer just a few minutes to let the spices bloom.

I also tried Mochi for the first time (inspired by Bazu!). I found a hemp and flax seed mochi and cut a one inch square. It baked at 450 degrees for 8 minutes, which may not have been quite long enough. It was definitely odd looking after baking. I pulled away the insides, which were still quite doughy, and was left with - well, not much. I was hoping to fill it with cooked apples and peanut butter, but I ended up just cutting wedges of raw apple and topping it with a dollop of peanut butter. I'm sure I can improve on this recipe!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I live in Austin, Texas. I grew up here. Austin is the birthplace of Whole Foods and home to its awesome landmark store. I love Whole Foods and always have, ever since it was the Safer Way grocery store in a tiny little space only frequented by "hippies." There was a strange commentary in our local paper today by a regular columnist about Whole Foods' animal compassion policy. My first thought was "this clearly shows the uncompassionate nature of meat eaters and why they refuse to accept the vegetarian way of eating." If anyone is so inclined, I wish you would read this short article and tell me if you think Whole Foods is hypocritical (but don't hurt my feelings!). I don't fault John Mackey for being vegan and a business person. Perhaps I have a skewed view.

You can find the article here:

Thanks. And see ya Sunday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Squash Rings with Cranberry Rice

I love summer and summer squash, but there's nothing quite like the colors and tastes of all the beautiful winter squashes. I had never made rings with acorn squash before. I think the halves plate just as pretty. But when I found a beautiful organic acorn squash over the weekend, I decided to bake rings. The squash is easy to cut. The skin is thin, and wherever it wasn't too tough, I ate it. I glazed the rings with a mixture of Bragg's, agave nectar, rice wine vinegar, and crushed garlic. I don't like sweet veggies (like the mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows - ick!). For me, the squash is sweet enough on its own.

I added onions, mushrooms, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, and leftover glaze to the brown rice. It was completely delicious, the perfect marriage of sweet and savory.

I also made something just for me - gluten free banana muffins with chocolate chips and toasted almonds. Mmmmm - breakfast!

I was asked to post my recipe for Oatmeal Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, so here it is:

2/3 cup warm water
one package quick rise yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
1-1/3 cup flour

In a small bowl, combine water, yeast, oil, and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes or until foamy. In a mixer combine flour and oats. Add in the yeast mixture and blend on low speed until moistened. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead one minute. Shape it into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, then turn it over (so both sides are greased) and cover. Let rise in a warm oven for 20 minutes or until doubled in size.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Punch down the dough. Remove from bowl and shape into four 6-inch crusts or one 12-inch crust. Partially bake for 10 minutes before adding toppings.

One of my friends and I watched Top Chef last season and it was pretty entertaining. Season 2 started last week. I missed that show, so I promised to watch last week's episode and this week's episode tonight. Anybody else watching?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pizza and a Beautiful Salad

It was just me and my son tonight, but it didn't stop us from having a great pizza party. I baked a whole wheat oatmeal pizza crust, and we topped it with my homemade sauce, carmelized onions, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, red & green bell peppers, dried tofu, and a little pineapple. CB wanted to dip his slices in ranch, so I made that too. Here is the pizza before it went into the oven.

Here's a slice ready to eat, topped with nutritional yeast.

I also made my nightly broccoli, this time mixed with cannelini beans and sundried tomatoes.

Ever since I found my favorite restaurant's house salad recipe on the PETA website, I've been dying to make it. I finally made my version of it today. I promise it is the most beautiful and best tasting salad I've ever eaten. It's a mix of greens, cucumbers, radishes, purple cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, apple, pineapple, and mango. It's topped with golden raisins, dried cranberries, candied pecans, hemp seeds, an avocado, and edible flowers. It has a tiny amount of dressing which is 1 tablespoon Bragg's, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 teaspoon maple sugar, and 1 teaspoon agave nectar.

Hard to get a side shot in a glass bowl, but even the leftovers are beautiful.

This is our awaiting table.

CB was too full for dessert, but not me! I made a cocoa banana marble cake. This was my first time at marbling. I obviously need more practice. The cake has 4 ripe bananas in it, so it is very moist - no frosting necessary. I hope it freezes well.

Now I've got to start planning my Halloween menu.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saturday Evening Post

What a weird day. I was so looking forward to my "knife skills" class at Whole Foods this morning. It was taught by my favorite chef, Jamie, and it never hurts to brush up on your skills. I picked out my station. My station had the 12-inch chef's knife. It was huge! I'm used to 8-inch knives, and my hand is sore after 2-1/2 hours of chopping and slicing. After practicing cuts on onions, potatoes, carrots, etc., we were paired off to prepare soup, salsa, and pico de gallo. I was paired with a 49-year-old man who told me he had never prepared a meal in his life. So we start preparing the sweet potato and kale soup. (He had never heard of kale or chipotle.) I took the sweet potatoes and he took the onions. After a couple of minutes, I heard him say "uh-oh." Well, his knuckles weren't quite curved under enough and he had sliced off a nice chunk of skin below the nail of his left middle finger. He was washed and bandaged and given a glove to put on. That glove filled with blood in no time. How appetizing is that? Needless to say, I went into high gear to prepare the entire menu myself.

So there were these 2 giant jalepenos to chop, which I did. When I went to wash my hands afterward, there was no soap at the sink. Yeh, I could have left the kitchen and gone to the public restroom, but I didn't. I just kept chopping. I AM SO STUPID! MY HANDS ARE ON FIRE, and from what I hear it will last for 3 days! I baked cookies this afternoon and having my hands near a hot oven is just unbearable. I am as stupid as my partner was.

Otherwise, the class was great. Jamie said when she was in culinary school, the instructors would come by and measure each piece of whatever they diced to make sure it was uniform and the proper size!

Thursday night I went to an open house at Whole Foods. They were previewing their holiday foods. I was pleased to find a platter labeled "Vegan Antipasto" which was a delicious variety of grilled veggies with a balsamic vinaigrette. There was also wonderful potato pancakes with an onion-apple topping. I also shopped. I found some items I had read about on other blogs and wanted to try; mainly, Sunshine Burgers and mochi.

I had to have a burger right away. I didn't have any tomatoes, so I used lots of ketchup!

And I sprinkled hemp seeds on my steamed broccoli.

Here's the almond crisp cookies I made this afternoon.

The recipe is interesting. I adapted it from the "12 Best Foods" cookbook. Remember when that list came out a couple of years ago? It's one of my favorite cookbooks. Aside from the section on salmon, it's very veg friendly. Anyway, the recipe has no butter and just 1-1/2 tablespoons of flour. I was supposed to get 24 large cookies, but I only got a dozen regular cookies. So I'm not sure if they are 55 calories or 110 calories each. But they are nice and crispy and will go with our pizza party tomorrow night.

I'm off to run my hands under cold water again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Gado-gado is an Indonesian mixed vegetable salad with peanut dressing. I made a low fat vegan version for dinner tonight. A true gado-gado usually includes fried tofu, fried onions, and hard-boiled eggs. The salad can be mixed or layered. My salad doesn't have any tofu. It is layered with these veggies in this order: mixed greens, purple cabbage, boiled white potatoes, steamed green beans, mung bean sprouts, grated carrots, roasted cauliflower, and sauteed red onions.

I used Spicy Peanut Butter Dressing from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites.

Makes 1 cup

3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup water
1 clove pressed garlic
1 fresh chili (I used jalepeno), chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon Bragg's
1/4 cup diced fresh tomato
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

This salad with the dressing was a great combination of flavors and really filling! Yes, I did eat it all.....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday Leftovers (pictures)

Since Blogger wouldn't let me post all my food pics yesterday, I thought I would add them in tonight in a short post.

Here's my roasted veggies - fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in my cool new dish.

My mini tarts.......

Me and my reason for living and cooking. (I can't believe I'm showing this - I don't do makeup on Sundays.)

My reason and his gf......

I don't think I gave my son enough credit for his Crunchy Tofu prep last night. He is awesome!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Crunchy Tofu with Mango Jalapeno Aoili

It's been a drizzly, dreary (but not cold!) weekend, so I took lots of time reading through my gazillion cookbooks to come up with a Sunday dinner worthy of my son's visit. He loves tofu, and he suggested a breaded and pan fried version. I am AWFUL at frying, probably because I just don't do it that much. My son said he loves to fry stuff, so I came up with a veganized version of a Hot 'n Crunchy Chicken we ate years ago. The recipe is from a local 5-star restaurant (famous for cooking up elk, rattlesnake, and even kangaroo!). Crunchy needs mushy to go with it, so I also made smashed sweet potatoes and a roasted vegetable medley. My son likes unadulterated mashed potatoes, so that's why these are literally smashed with a little salt and pepper only.
Isn't that breading beautiful?!! I can say that because I take no credit for the recipe. We put 8 slices of tofu into a marinade of mostly fat free garlic vinaigrette and teriyaki sauce, and then some other stuff we found in the refrigerator. I made twice as much breading as I needed, but here's the recipe:

Crunchy Tofu Coating:
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 cup cornflakes
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt

Mango Jalapeno Aoili:
In a small bowl, mix together:
1 fresh mango, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
dash of salt

In a food processor or blender, mix together:
1 box firm silken tofu
juice of one large lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon mango jelly
salt and pepper to taste

When combined, add to mango jalapeno mixture. Add in a 1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro and chill until ready to serve.

We began our meal with Millet-Spinach Soup from Nava Atlas' new soup cookbook It was wonderful and made a huge pot. It is very flavorful with a hint of curry powder and so filling.
I made an Oatmeal Whole Wheat quick bread to go with it. I haven't had a lot of luck with vegan breads besides cornbread, but this one turned out pretty good.

I think I may have stumbled onto a new kitchen tip. The millet soup called for fresh grated ginger. Since I had already pressed some garlic into the soup, I cut off a piece of ginger and pushed it through the garlic press, skin side up, and that worked better than any fancy ginger grater I've ever bought.

For our dessert I decided we should have something light. I rolled out some phyllo dough, cut it into six pieces, and put the pieces into my giant muffin pan. I cut up some fresh peaches, quince, and kiwi and put those into the shells. Then I made a pastry cream of silken tofu, brown rice syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. I had enough leftover to make some mini tarts too, but apparently Blogger is limiting my photo uploads tonight.

The lighting for the pics is not so good today with such overcast skies.

I'm still cooking. We're having an office potluck breakfast tomorrow. I took a hint from Vicki at Vegetarian Family and am roasting potatoes so I'll have something to eat. I can see it now - my potatoes, along with six boxes of doughnuts and a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Hot Brown Sandwich

I've seen so many wonderful sandwich posts lately, I decided to forget I'm poor and buy myself a loaf of $5 gluten free bread. I found this tofu at the asian market. (I think the label should read "thin sliced tofu" because the ingredients are only soybeans, water, salt, and pepper - not spicy!) When I found it, it reminded me of deli roast beef. I wasn't craving a roast beef sandwich, but it was something different to try. I hoped when I opened the package I would get long thin strips, so the plan was to make a panini. Yes, I was willing to pull out the George Foreman. But the slices were only about an inch square. I knew I wanted onion with it, so I grabbed a red onion, chopped it up, and sauteed it in the skillet. Then I threw in the tofu and some spices. When the onions were softened, I decided that mixture would just make a big mess in the Foreman, so I switched gears and opted for an open face sandwich.

I didn't want a roux type gravy, so I rinsed and drained a can of chickpeas and put them in the mini prep, added 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon Bragg's -- sort of quickie Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy. I whizzed that all together, then added it to the skillet to get hot.

Meanwhile, I toasted an expensive slice of bread, and got a couple of slices of fresh tomato. When the bread was toasted, I put some of my fave broccoli slaw on it and a little fat free vinaigrette. Then I added the tomato, and topped it off with the tofu.

I enjoyed the sandwich. I toasted the bread pretty dark, so I could pick it up instead of using a fork. I would love to describe the texture and flavor, but it's really difficult. (I'm not into faux meat, although I love tofu and tempeh; can't have seitan.) The tofu is so thin I hardly noticed it. It had a chewy "meaty" texture, I guess. I think I mostly tasted the chickpeas and mustard.

Now, what to do with the leftovers.......

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yay for Dale, my computer repairman! Now I can post my Vegetarian Day Fiesta pics. Even though that was the day my son came over with 103 fever and didn't eat a thing, the rest of us celebrated with lots of yummy food. I sent two bags of leftovers home with him, which he was able to enjoy the next night. The meal was all made with fresh farmers market ingredients and it was muy bueno!

Here's the menu:

Tortilla Soup garnished with baked torilla strips
Baked Tofu with Ranchero Sauce
Giant Chalupas with:
Mashed Anasazi Beans
Mixed lettuces
Pico de Gallo

Brown Rice with Sweet Peppers and Cilantro
Chocolate Chip Coconut Cake
Cinnamon Almond Soy Ice Cream

The Tortilla Soup and Ranchero Sauce recipes are from Real Food Daily. I'm sad the author is no longer vegan, but I guess it's okay to use her recipes created while she was vegan. I love the soup because it's thickened with chopped tortillas that get mushy and creamy in the broth. But mostly I love those tortilla strips! They are seasoned with chili powder and maple sugar, and they are smoky sweet, and I could eat them all day. In fact, I'm going to make tostadas with that recipe and use them for nachos. My soup turned out a little redder than it should be because I added a couple of tablespoons of chili powder to the original recipe.

The Ranchero Sauce headnote says you could also use this recipe in place of Italian style tomato sauces, so that was my clue that I would need to make it a little more "ranchero." After tasting, I added 3 tablespoons of chili powder and a serano pepper. It makes 5 cups. I marinaded the tofu in the sauce and had plenty left over to serve on the side.

The guacamole recipe is from Alton Brown. You can find it on It is my absolute favorite, hands down. It is the perfect combination of avocado, tomato, onion, lime, garlic, cumin, cayenne, and cilantro. No sour cream and naturally vegan.

The cheeze recipe is from The Saucy Vegetarian. I've never really been a cheese fan, but I used "I Can't Believe it's Not Cheese" and it seemed to go well with the chalupas.

The Pico de Gallo was your basic tomatoes, onions, jalepenos, and cilantro. Again, the fresh ingredients are just bursting with flavor.

Although nothing will ever compare, in my opinion, to the magnificent Eat Peace Please bule corn tacos, our giant chalupas were quite beautiful and flavorful. I offered bowl-sized plain corn toritillas and sturdy red corn tortillas for the base. Then we piled on beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico, ranchero sauce, and cheeze. I wanted to eat 3 chalupas but stopped myself at 2. The fresh ingredients take the food to the next level. I would like to make my own tortillas some day, but my grocery store makes them fresh everyday and they only cost a dollar for 3 dozen, so.......

Now for the recipes.

Mashed Anasazi Beans:
4 cups cooked beans (I cooked my beans with one chopped onion; otherwise, add some chopped onion to this recipe)
1/4 cup red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the bell pepper and garlic in a little broth until soft. Add in all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash the beans with a potato masher until thickened.

Brown Rice with Sweet Peppers and Cilantro:
2 cups prepared brown rice
1 cup chopped bell peppers, mixed colors are nice
1 medium chopped tomato
1/2 cup red onion
3 scallions, white and green parts

Mix all together and serve hot!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cake:
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a few grates of fresh nutmeg
dash of salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg equivalent egg replacer

Spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick spray and then line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Put oats in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Stir, then set aside until cool, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Add in the chocolate chips and coconut and mix well. (This helps keep the chips and coconut from clumping together and settling at the bottom of the pan.)

When oats are cool, put them into a mixer. Add in the margarine and brown sugar and mix well. Add in the egg replacer. Stir in by hand the flour mixture and blend well. Pour into pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

We didn't actually get to have the soy ice cream that night. And I couldn't really send it home with my son, so I ate the entire quart all by myself. It did however take me two weeks to finish.

Cinnamon Almond Soy Ice Cream:

1 box firm silken tofu
1-1/2 cups plain soy milk
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted almonds

Combine tofu, soy milk, syrup, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a blender and puree until smooth. Refrigerate overnight (or several hours). Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine's instructions. Add in almonds about 2 minutes before ice cream is ready.


Lunch with Friends

I am so lucky. The past two Wednesdays I have had lunch at Nu Age Cafe. The cafe was featured in VegNews magazine recently as one of the top 20 veg restaurants in the country. Everything I've ever eaten there is perfect and bursting with layers of flavor. They have recently started offering lunch "express" specials, which I almost always order. For around $7 you could get a burger and fries, or a huge plate of some sort of soy protein with a great sauce and broccoli or green beans, or a half order of the house salad and a big bowl of soup. My lunch companions are nowhere close to vegetarian, but are very accommodating of my way of eating. Fortunately, a restaurant like this can sure help convince skeptics that tofu and seitan and veggies are good things! Anyway, my absolute favorite thing on the Nu Age menu is their house salad. I remembered that PETA had Nu Age as a featured restaurant awhile back, so I went to the website and lo and behold, I found the recipe for the salad! The recipe does not mention that the pecans in the salad are candied. That's one reason the salad is so awesome! Here's a link to the recipe: There is also another recipe with that link for a pesto linguine that looks pretty good. I haven't had it because it's not gluten free. Nu Age does identify all its gluten free items on the menu, which I appreciate.

Another of my favorite restaurants is Koriente. If you want to see some really really beautiful food, check out this menu:

I was supposed to get my home computer back yesterday. I would love to post pictures of my Veggie Day Fiesta tonight, but I'm baking cookies for our local SPCA Barktoberfest, and my stupid computer probably won't get delivered today as promised anyway.......

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Sunday Birthday Dinner

I'm still posting from my office on my lunch break until my home computer is repaired.

We had a delicious, easy to prepare meal last night topped with a triple layer coconut birthday cake. We made Creamy Tofu and Broccoli Skillet from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. We added red and roasted bell peppers and used nutritional yeast instead of faux cheese. A tip: many of the recipes in this book call for baked tofu. Sixteen ounces costs about $8.00 at Whole Foods. I baked my own for $1.29.

I also made a simple salad that everyone went crazy over. I took a bag of broccoli slaw, added shredded carrots, some craisins, and a can of black beans, and tossed it all together with a bottled lime cilantro vinaigrette.

I also made the Polenta Napoleans from the recipe given to me in macrobiotics class. The stacks are made of baked polenta and two different pestos, and are topped with a mushroom onion sauce. The sundried tomato pesto was good, but I have to say the pepita cilantro pesto is about the best thing I've ever eaten. I don't know if I toasted the pumpkin seeds just right or what, but it was so great.

The coconut cake takes two days to make. I used a recipe from Dining With Friends. I haven't made anything else from that book, but it has lots of tasty looking recipes I would like to try. Between the cake layers is a coconut custard creme which is so good. I think I like it better on its own. The frosting is a basic buttercream and beautiful toasted large flakes of coconut. It's a shame I didn't get pictures to do it justice.

Too bad my hometown chef couldn't beat Bobby Flay last night, but he made a great showing. I endured 20 minutes of meat cutting to support my chef! I always try to imagine tofu in place of the meats on all the food shows, or concentrate on the sauces and side dishes, but it's not always easy.