Showing posts with label nuts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nuts. Show all posts

Apr 9, 2012

vine and dine + gnocchi with basil and roasted shallot cream sauce

Vine and Dine, hosted by Tami Noyes at Vegan Appetite, is Potato Gnocchi with Basil in a Roasted Shallot Cream Sauce, from Spork-Fed

The family loves Gnocchi so we decided to go for it and participate in Tami's cookalong, even though this cookbook is not on my shelf. 

The gnocchi recipe itself is basic, using potatoes and flour. The sauce uses roasted shallots and tons of cashews, which makes the sauce quite thick. You can very successfully reduce the amount of nuts to at least half the amount called for. 

After tasting it, the kids would have liked some tomato sauce added, 'to lighten things up,' as it is stated in the anecdote of the recipe. I agree - next time we make a gnocchi cream sauce, we will add some red sauce as well.

We drank a(nother) white wine with this dish, but I wholeheartedly believe a red would have complemented it much better. I'll let David catch you up on the wine selection. I have been the one choosing the wine for the past few V&D's (only because I have been shopping alone), but I think it is time to get him back out there making the selections. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm quite as choosy about buying the wine as about drinking it.

(David will be posting the wine review this evening).

Aug 5, 2011

FNF - koftas with pomegranate glaze and indian potatoes

 Food Network Friday

Our next challenge for Tami's Food Network Friday is Aarti's Ground Lamb Kofta Kebabas with Pomegranate Glaze. If you haven't jumped on the FNF wagon, you should give them a try - they are loads of fun!

Making vegan ground meat concoctions gluten-free can be a challenge because I love to use vital wheat gluten to bind the mixture. Aarti's recipe is basically ground lamb meat-lollipops. She glazes them with pomegranate molasses and grills them. Her accompaniment is a mashed potato cake with Indian spices. 

Since we are in the middle of a move and have a gluten-sensitive daughter, I needed to make this dish simple and without seitan. I made a mushroom-nut-black-eyed-pea mixture for the lamb kebabas.  All I needed to do was saute the mushrooms with onion, nuts and garlic, deglazed it with Marsala wine and added loads of fresh herbs. Since we are leaving a huge garden behind, this recipe received a bunch of those herbs: basil, mint, parsley, oregano. I then roasted the kebab-balls glazed with the pomegranate molasses.

I skipped the riata completely but subbed a Fig-Pomegranate Salad.

These alterations were the simplest way to convert this dish to fast and gluten-free. This is our interpretation of Aarti, who is herself interpreting Indian. 

This worked out very well and we enjoyed the dish. The kids found the potatoes the tastiest. I toasted some fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and garlic in a few tablespoons of oil. I then added some smoked paprika and tossed it with the potatoes. I roasted them and the kids gobbled them all up. 
Indian Roasted Potatoes!

A hint for roasting potatoes: Add some veg broth on the bottom of the pan with the sliced potatoes, cover it with a foil, and bake on 450 until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, uncover and broil, turning a few times, until they are crispy.

Feb 15, 2011

baked eggplant over scampi pasta

Italian Night

Over the MoFo I made a Chick'n Scampi pasta dish from Olive Garden. This dish impressed Mikel so much he requested it again. I wanted to change it up somewhat, so I married Eggplant Parm and the Scampi dish and came up with this course: Baked Eggplant over Scampi Pasta.

As the name implies, Scampi includes lemon and garlic.

I baked the eggplant which turned out just as crunchy as frying it, but without the obvious oily texture. You can add some Daiya to it at the end to get the Parmesan effect.

The pasta sauce is soy free, using cashews as the base of the creamy sauce. Mikel's only complaint was the size of the peppers. Therefore, I have adjusted the recipe since the picture to reflect his concern; dice the peppers and not slice them.

I served these over rice pasta so if you are using gluten free pasta, make sure not to over cook it; it'll turn to mush.

Cost Breakdown:

eggplant, bread crumbs, spices: $4
cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
garlic, pepper, onion: $3
Total to make 4 servings:

Jan 26, 2011

lemon cashew-stuffed crepes


Today's brunch item, Lemon Cashew-Stuffed Crepes with Berry Sauce, is out of Vegan Brunch by  Isa Moskowitz. Pretty much, anyway. I had made Isa's crepe recipe before and because mine is simpler and taste-wise, similar - nothing special in either of them - I used mine (updated).

Isa's filling is a lovely concoction of lemon and cashew and is even raw (if you replace the cashews with almonds - cashews are processed using heat). Creamy, easy and wonderful. The cashew filling is topped with a Berry Sauce. Again, she uses a few too many ingredients for me, so I used my own berry sauce which is nothing more than berries and a little sugar.

Brunch was an absolute hit and was ready in no time. In fact, I kept flitting back and forth from the computer to the crepe-pan (my cast iron Goliath) because each crepe takes a minute to cook on each side. One can get a good handle on the amount of time it takes to cook crepes, just don't get overzealous if you are new at it!

Cost Breakdown

crepes: $1
cashews: $4.50
maple, nondairy milk, lemon: $1.50
berries: $4
Total to make 4 servings:

Berry Sauce Recipe

Dec 30, 2010

seitan paprikas

Last week I blogged about 'Poor Man's Paprikas,' also known as Paprikas Potato, so I decided to make the actual, very popular Hungarian dish, apparently intended only for rich folks, Chicken Paprikas.

The good news is that the seitan costs about as much as the potatoes and, in fact, the costliest ingredient here is the cashews for the cashew sour cream.

Tender Seitan in sauteed until it starts getting brown and then set aside. The base of the sauce is very authentically Hungarian, being reliant on onions and fat. I cut most of the oil out, but the flavor was still wonderful.

My recipe calls for 2 T of oil, one large onion and 1 T of Hungarian paprika. You can cut the oil in half again, just make sure to keep the onions moving so they don't burn. In addition, "sweat" your onions at some points as well (cover with a lid to keep the moisture in the pan not in the air).

To make it even more authentic, I made Galuska with this to sop up the lovely gravy. Galuska is a dumpling, almost like a gnocchi but no potato and much less work. These "require" eggs, but having made them in mass proportions with eggs at the restaurant and now making them without eggs, it is obvious that as long as you cook them for a minute or two after they start floating, they are just as fluffy as their counterpart.
Another egg "requirement" debunked!

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $3
pepper, onion, tomato: $2
paprika: $.50
cashew, flour: $1
flour, turmeric, salt: $2
Total to make 6 servings:

Dec 25, 2010

indian rasam and cauliflower with creamy sauce

Indian Night

Rasam is a light Indian soup made with dal, tamarind and diced tomatoes. The dal (split legumes) is cooked  in lots of water and is seasoned with the sour tamarind and spices. When the dal is cooked well, it is whipped so it falls apart and sinks to the bottom of the pot. Tradition holds that you serve the clear, spicy, flavorful broth to guests and the 'dregs' are eaten by the family.

In our family everyone had some of both by stirring up the soup before serving.

The Cauliflower in Creamy Sauce is adapted from a recipe in Flavors of India, a nice little vegetarian Indian cookbook. This was divine. And oh so quick! While the cauliflower is steaming the sauce is made and then poured over the tender cauliflower. That's it. We all loved this version of a sauced cauliflower and it goes on our 'Make Again' list.

I also made the Saffron Rice right out of the same cookbook. I should have followed by instincts to use the amount of water to make the rice as I usually do, but instead I followed my rule of making something from a recipe as the author wrote it. Hence, I got overcooked rice. What a shame. The taste was great and the kids liked it, but you know mushy rice when you eat it.

The simplest way to cook white rice is to combine it with the water (1 c rice to 1 1/2 c water), bring to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer for 5-10 (Max!) minutes, turn it off and let it hang out on the back of the stove for another 15 minutes, covered. Fluff it with a fork and serve.

Cost Breakdown:

dal: $.50
spices, tomato, tamarind: $1.50
rice, saffron: $1
plant milk, cashews: $2
cauliflower: $4
Total to make 5 servings:

Nov 16, 2010

greens (MoFo 10)

Greens is a renowned San Francisco fixture, on the bayside in Fort Mason. It is a vegetarian restaurant that has been patronized since 1979. Although it is vegetarian, vegans can find something to eat, albeit not as easily as their more frequent customers.

The restaurant boasts Chef Annie Sommerville, who daily chooses her menu based on the local offerings. The food is fresh, vibrant, local and delicious. It is time some of those wonderful dishes were veganized.

My first choice is a squash soup. I had given up on making any sort of squash soup, but since my CSA brought me squash and it has been almost a year since I've thrown in my squash towel, I figured I could give it another try; especially using a recipe from Greens. The soup is Kabocha Squash and Chestnut Soup. Outstanding. Finally a squash soup we liked. Maybe the secret was in the chestnuts or the stock the squash was cooked in or just because it was a kobacha squash...regardless, a winner.

Tarts and Filo pastries are a signature of Greens so I made their Red Onion, Goat Cheese and Walnut Tart. Goat cheese I had none of, but I did need to simulate the tartness, sharpness, and creaminess that it affords. I used a combination of Better Than Sour Cream and B.T. Cream Cheese with a splash of lemon juice. Nice crunch from the nuts, sweetness from the onions and creaminess from the nondairy sour cream and cream cheese. The tart dough was easy to make and turned out crispy and light.

I decided to make another dessert, since they use eggs and dairy. Another signature item on the menu is the Ginger Cake. The original recipe is a pound cake and calls for 6 eggs. I replaced the eggs with well whipped ener-G egg replacer and increased the bake time by about a half hour - it needed it. I also made poached cherries using dried cherries in a simple syrup that was decadent with the cake. 

My hubby worked almost next door to Greens in San Fran and while difficult to find something vegan right off the menu, what we did have was delicious. It was great to have now some of the dishes we couldn't have then.

And now for the cookbook, Sinfully Vegan, winner. I removed me from the count and the few who did not want to be entered in the contest for a total of 10 entrees. According to, the comment from Tender Branson is the winner. 
Thanks everyone for participating. Another contest on Friday or Saturday. 

Cost Breakdown:

squash, chestnuts: $6
stock, herbs: $1.50
Total to make 7 servings;

dough: $1.50
onion, nuts, spices: $2.50
Better Than sour cream and cream cheese: $3
Total to make 8 tarts:

Earth Balance: $2.50
flour, baking powder: $1.50
sugar: $2
cherries, vanilla, lemon: $3
Total to make 8 servings:

Squash and Chestnut Soup


Ginger Cake

Nov 13, 2010

mother's cafe and garden (MoFo 7)

Mother's Cafe and Garden is located in Austin, TX. Anyone who has traveled through the great beef state knows that Austin is the haven for vegetarians in a sea of meat-aholics. I even think they have their burgers with a side of beef.

Anyway, that is what it was like back a decade ago when we lived there. As with all places things change and there were some unfortunate turn of events concerning the veg establishments there. One was that Mother's Cafe burned down. Since then they have rebuilt, but after being open since 1985, they had to keep their doors closed for eight months during the refurbishment. Boy, we're gone for a few years and the whole place falls apart!

This was the very first place we frequented as newly indoctrinated vegans. Although the place is vegetarian, they have very strict sanitary practices regarding segregating vegetarian instruments and cooking vessels with vegan ones. Looking back now, I realize we were the 'vegan police,' and such vigilance is best reserved for omni restaurants, but for what we were looking for then, they certainly fit the bill.

They are not high end, have reasonable prices and pretty good food. So if in Texas, you know what city to aim to get to.

Starting with a drink, the Iced Hibiscus-Mint tea is a must. Hibiscus not only is reported to lower blood pressure, but tastes refreshing with the mint. No sweetener was ever required by me - the complimentary flavors of the tea were enough without having to mask it with sugar.

On to the Garden Patch Salad. This was my first taste of sunflower sprouts and it made me try to grow them myself. Not as easy to grow as alfalfa sprouts, they are worth the extra effort. Let me tell you about the Cashew Tamari dressing! I must have spent at least a pound of cashews trying to get the flavor just right so we can have it at home (we weren't exactly next to Mother's, you see). 

The Chili Rellenos alas were filled with cheese and we never got to try them, but that is only extra impetus to make them vegan. Rellenos are poblano peppers (usually) that have been roasted, skinned and seeded. They are then stuffed with cheese, covered in an egg batter and fried. I stuffed mine with Native Chi's that I made for Native Foods menu mixed with black beans. The Native Chi's melted (yay!), but you can use Daiya or Follow Your Heart or any cheese from the Uncheese Cookbook. They will melt. I advise against using only cheese (even dairy) since it is just too much. 

The batter is really the most challenging part. It has fry light and not leave the relleno oily. My version was very good and I was very happy that we could have a relleno again. I think it does need more testing since the authentic version uses whipped eggs and just like flan or sunny side up eggs, eggs are eggs and I am not mother nature. Although, I certainly pretend to be sometimes!

Lastly, I couldn't omit my oldest daughter's favorite dish at Mother's: Sage Mashed Potatoes. Go light on the sage since it can be overpowering, but make sure not to add so little that the flavor is not evident.

Cost Breakdown:

hibiscus tea, mint: $1

carrot, cuke, tomato, onion: $2
lettuce, purple cabbage: $3
tamari, cashew, balsamic, oil: $2
sprouts: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

poblano: $4
cheese: $1
tomato, onion, garlic: $2
black beans: $2
ener-G, cashew, flour: $1.50
Total to make 4 servings:

Potatoes, milk, sage: $4

Hibiscus-Mint Tea

Garden Patch Salad

Chili Relleno

Sage Mashed Potatoes

Nov 10, 2010

olive garden (MoFo 6)

Olive Garden - When you're here you're family!
Unless you are vegan, then you should consider yourself in-laws.

Olive Garden is an Americanized Italian, family, commercial restaurant that is not so much Italian as American fast food that overcharges and is not vegan-friendly. True to that credo, veganizing Olive Garden has been a frustrating quest. Not so much because their food is so unique that transforming them to vegan is difficult, but because my pictures of the food weren't turning out quite right. Then, I needed to streamline the recipes and hone the flavors. All in all I spent waayyy too much time on Olive Garden, making the following dishes more often than my family cared to partake of, over and over again for the past few days.

Enough whining! 

I chose Fettuccine Alfredo because once you can make the Alfredo sauce you can make practically half the menu and I love Primavera Alfredo - an Alfredo based pasta with spring vegetables. The vegan-Alfredo sauce is easy, tasty and soy-free. It thickens as it sits for a few minutes so don't stress if you don't see it thickening in the pot. Pour it over the Fettuccine like Olive Garden does and then mix it in at the table.

My second choice was Chicken Scampi
Shrimp Scampi was absolutely one of my faves when I worked at seafood places, but now I can't imagine for the life of me why I ate bugs. Yes, folks, shrimp, lobster and crab are arthropods, sharing the same kin as the roach. I'm now good with seitan, thank you very much. Looking back I am sure I loved it for the garlic and lemon. Yeah, that's it. This dish has lemon and garlic, too, making it an authentic scampi.

Lastly, my kids have been bugging me for Tiramisu. Olive Garden's tiramisu is not quite as complicated as one from  a true Italian kitchen, so it makes it easier for us home-cooks to veganize.

Of course, the bread sticks, salad and soup are what vegans go for at Olive Garden. Naturally we have to get the bread naked, the salad undressed and the soup without the cheese. While I ran out of time adapting the bread sticks and dressing (which I am working on!), the Minestrone Soup I have already blogged about and the Spinach-Artichoke Dip is another one already in the arsenal. Check those out for more Olive Garden clones.


As for the cookbook, Vegan Vittles, winner, has chosen comment #1 as the winner. I will try to find your address, but if you'd like to make sure the book gets to you asap, email me at with your address! Thanks everyone for participating! Another book contest on Friday.

Cost Breakdown:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, garlic: $3
Total to make 2 large servings:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
seitan, flour: $3
garlic, pepper, onion, spices: $1
Total to make 2 large servings:

flour, Earth balance: $1
cashew, almond: $2
starch, flour, extract: $1
maple syrup, sugar: $2
cocoa: $1
TotL to make 6 servings:

Chick'n Scampi

Fettuccine Alfredo


Nov 8, 2010

native foods (MoFo 5)

Native Foods is the brain child of Tanya Petrovna, who opened the first Native Foods in 1994. She will be opening the seventh very soon! That is impressive; a vegan restaurant that will be celebrating another grand opening. What is more impressive, though, is the food. I am literally licking the plate that I served the Azteca Ensalada on - that Mango-Lime Dressing rocks!

Another impressive feat is the preparation of her tempeh. While she actually makes the tempeh on the premises, my store-bought version did not suffer any using her technique. Delicious! If you are one of those tempeh-phobes this is the recipe for you. If after having tempeh this way you don't like it, then you never will and you may fearlessly throw in the proverbial towel. 

To the recipes...

Let's face it, nachos are good. Most any nachos. But these Native Nachos are great! Chef Tanya shares her Native Chi's recipe that go on this and the taco 'meat' is TVP. You can freely use seitan ground, however, or omit it at will and double the beans. Nothing processed. Even the cashew sour cream I have on there is very easy to make. THIS is one loaded nacho plate and go ahead and customize it to your palate.

Now for that salad I was drooling over in the beginning - assorted greens with tomato, onion, jicama or apple or asian pear, cucumbers, cilantro, mango, raisin, pumpkin seeds, quinoa (superfood!) and that outrageous Mango-Lime Dressing and you not only have a complete meal but a little piece of heaven.

The last item on our tasting menu is the Gandhi Bowl - two kinds of rice, steamed greens, curry sauce and that tempeh of hers - blackened. Cajun-meets-Asian. Another out-of-the-park dish. She is batting a thousand.

The only real criticism I have is that she is inundating the east coast with her restaurants and is leaving the mid and west coast to suffer without her culinary contributions. Pure selfishness.

Cost Breakdown:

chips: $3 
cheeze, cashew sour cream: $3
TVP, beans: $4
tomato, onion, olive, pepper: $3
Total to make apps for 8:

greens: $4
Asian pear, tomato, cuke, mango: $4
mango, lime, oil, cilantro: $2
raisin, pumpkin: $1
quinoa: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

rice: $1.50
curry, coconut milk: $2
tempeh: $3
greens, cauliflower: $3
Total to make 5 servings:

Native Nachos

Ensalada Azteca

Gandhi Bowl

Nov 6, 2010

cafe flora (MoFo 4)

Cafe Flora is a Seattle  based vegetarian restaurant that opened in 1991. They built their restaurant environmentally minded, to reduce the their impact on the world community as well as their neighbors. They claim that part of their job is to help shift the consumption of animals to a more plant-based diet. They do not want, or expect, everyone to switch to vegetarianism, they do want more people to make it a viable and a more frequent choice to include plant-based meals into their meals. This is logical and very doable. Think about it: if everyone ate meatless meals on, say, ...Monday, how many animals would not have to be in the great animal husbandry industry?  How many less animals would have to be killed weekly? How many people would be so much better off with just one day a week of meatless meals? How would the earth be impacted by this one simple action?

If you haven't included Meatless Mondays into your week, I encourage you to do so this very coming Monday. Breakfast is a no-brainer. Lunch is very easy - soup, salad, sandwich - and for dinner come back here and pick something to make. Recipes are posted, pictures can help you decide and the food is good. Walking to work, changing your light bulbs and recycling are not the only things you can do to help the environment. And a Meatless Monday helps you as well as the animals. A triple whammy!

To help you get started, I am giving away a new copy of a Vegan Cookbook - Joanne Stepaniak's Vegan Vittles. This was one of the first cookbook I picked up ten years ago and it is one of the simplest, easiest to follow, containing very tasty recipes and a great way to introduce yourself to vegetarianism. Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on Meatless Mondays. Contest is open to North American and UK residence and no, you do not have to be an omnivore to enter. Please enter by the end of Monday, Nov. 8. Winner will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 9.

On to today's recipes.

A signature appetizer of Cafe Flora's is the Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. This was nice and coconuty, but not quite as flavorful as I was hoping. The tofu was a little bland, but the crust was great. I think making this with seitan would add more to the flavor. The breading is flour, coconut milk and ground coconut flakes.

Another more successful one was the Lentil Pecan Pate Platter. I know that as a vegan it is not likely that a Liver Pate would be on your Top 100 list of foods to recreate, but I am Hungarian and my dad was a great one for mixing together a chicken liver pate or beef get the gist. We had pig feet in aspic as the New Year meal... yeah.

So forgive me that I have been looking to make liver pate vegan. If you are one of the other dozen or so people in the known universe who is vying for this very thing, look no further than this recipe. You will need red lentils, mirin (rice wine), umeboshi paste (sour plum paste) light miso (Japanese fermented bean paste) and pecans. This is the real thing without liver.

As their signature dish, Cafe Flora presents Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew. They only make this veg so I adapted it to vegan. It is incredible how some mashed potatoes and black beans can be transformed to this delectable dish. They use real cheese, but I used a recipe adapted from Stepaniak's Uncheese Cookbook to make this soy-free and processed-free. This meal has many components, but they can all be done separately: Black Bean Stew, Smoky Muenster Cheeze, Mashed Potatoes, Salsa, optional feta adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Feta recipe.

Cost Breakdown:

Coconut Tofu
ginger, seaweed, tamari, rice vinegar, miso: $1.50
flour, coconut: $1
coconut milk: $.50
oil: $2
chili, sugar:$1
Total to make apps for 5:

lentil: $1
onion, garlic, spice: $1
mirin, umeboshi, miso: $2
pecan: $1.50
onion, garlic, balsamic, sugar: $2
crackers: $2
Total to make apps for 8:

tortillas: $2
potato: $2
cheeze (cashew, agar): $3
black beans, corn, garlic, spices: $3.50
tomato, pepper, lime: $2
Total to make 5 servings:

Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Lentil Pecan Pate Platter with Onion Confit

Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew

Oct 17, 2010

malai kofta

Indian Night

An awesome Indian dish is Malai Kofta. Kofta means "balls" (as in meatballs) and Malai means "cream." Neither of these would lend themselves to veganism and I haven't found a vegan version anywhere.

The kofta can be made with meat or vegetables or beans or cheese. The kofta in Malai Kofta uses paneer, a homemade cheese.

So, let's veganize it!

The sauce is a tomato based gravy with a little cream and some spices, but nothing all that complicated.  In  order to achieve the creaminess that cream brings to the Malai party, I used cashew cream and cashew butter and a few Tablespoons of Earth Balance to up the richness of the sauce.

I made the koftas using chickpeas and fresh herbs. I pan fried them a little and then finished them in the oven.

Although this meal was very successful in terms of flavor, it does not have quite the flavor that cream lends to the original. While there are some dishes that I truly try to achieve authenticity with, this particular one tasted so good that I am not bummed by not hitting the target exactly. It most certainly resembles Malai Kofta, but since I am not using dairy cream, the taste is slightly different. So, if you are not expecting exact replication, this is a total knockout.

For the greens I made the Spinach and Kale Bhaji out of Flavors of India.

Cost Breakdown
cashew: $2
tomato: $3
spices: $1
chickpeas: $2 
herbs: $2
kale, spinach: $4
garlic, onion: $1
Total to feed a family of 6: