Monday, August 31, 2009

BBQ Seitan Sammies

I tagged this recipe when I first got my copy of Veganomicon, nearly 2 years ago. And I only just tried it last week. And I kind of hate myself for waiting so long. Homemade seitan ("wheat meat"), grilled in peanut oil, doused in BBQ sauce and grilled again, then served on a bun with homemade cole slaw. Freaking awesome. Served 'em with corn on the cob to make a perfect summer meal.

Tofu Marsala

I've been craving mashed potatoes lately, but being a vegetarian, I've had a hard time thinking what the main dish should be. Plus finding a veggie gravy that doesn't involve mushrooms (yuck!). Then inspiration hit - Tofu Marsala:

Tofu, garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, topped with a Marsala sauce, sans mushrooms. My Marsala sauce = Marsala wine, veggie broth, cornstarch, fresh thyme (thanks to Joe's family!) a tiny bit of spaghetti sauce, and olive oil.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wine of the Week - Cotes Du Rhone

Found a nice, affordable French import this week. A 2007 red from Cotes du Rhone. I don't know what grapes were used, as the French are in the habit of omitting that information from the label (the cultured should just know); but as a certified AOC wine, it's guaranteed to be at least 40% Grenache (spicy and berry flavored). I'll dig into this later in the week.

More info.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I make my own granola. Which is like the ultimate hippie thing to do. But I'm not a hippie, I swear. But then I saw this recipe and knew I had to at least try it, since granola is so darned expensive. Rolled oats, on the other hand, only cost $.79 in bulk at the grocery store! As suggested in the blog, I don't follow the ingredients list too closely. Sometimes instead of agave I'll use maple syrup. This time I sprung for coconut oil instead of my usual canola and the result was very tasty. For fruit I generally follow the 4 Tbsp of fruit per cup of oats ratio, but I use whatever I have on hand - dried cranberries, dried blueberries and raisins made the cut for this batch. I use less flax than suggested, about 1 Tbsp per cup of oats, and I use half raw and half golden roasted flax seeds, just because they're delish. And I threw in a few Tbsp of sliced almonds and walnut pieces. I make a batch with 3 cups of oats and it lasts about a week, so I like to make it on Sunday nights while watching Big Brother and doing laundry so we have it for the week.

Start your day right with this granola and your favorite non-dairy yogurt or milk.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Beet and Carrot wrap

As I spent a few hours in the kitchen yesterday, I decided to whip something together for my lunch today. As I was making beet burgers for dinner, I already had some beets grated!

Beets, carrots, arugula, a pinch of shredded mozzarella, olive oil wrap, and strawberry balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eat steak, eat steak, eat a big ol' steer.

I feel almost bad posting this, since we've had a plethora of super tasty veg-friendly entries. But as much as I love making (and eating) vegetarian/vegan dishes, we're equal opportunity eaters in our house. Tonight's dinner:
NY strip steak with my own top secret marinade (grilled by my gorgeous hubby), sweet corn sauteed with butter and fresh chives, whole wheat pasta tossed with olive oil and sauteed Roma and cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and onions.
And aforementioned hubby enjoying his dinner with his favorite seasonal beer (Sam Adams Oktoberfest)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

OMG these are my favorite thing to make. They take a bit of time - about two hours, but a full hour and a half of that is just letting the dough rise. Or, if you're like me and don't read the directions correctly, it's only an hour of rising time.

I basically follow the recipe from The Village Vegan, with some minor modifications. I don't use cardamom, because it's hella expensive, so I just leave that out. instead of baking them in muffin papers, I just put them in a greased muffin tin. They end up a bit unevenly shaped, instead of perfectly round, but that makes them into fun cinnamon roll muffins and avoids the dozen little paper circles on my coffee table, which is where I eat my desserts. And I didn't do the final sprinkle of pearl sugar, because I don't have any.

They're actually not sweet the way I'm used to cinnamon rolls being, but I like them better this way. If you like them sweeter, a simple icing of margarine, soy milk, powdered sugar and maybe some vanilla extract would make a nice glaze for the top.

Bean Wrap

Strain the water from a can of black beans and pinto beans at the beginning of the week, then store the mixture of beans in a container in your fridge. When you're looking for a quick but nutritious breakfast during your morning rush for work during the week, you're all ready to go. Just tip some beans onto a shell, and spread some shredded cheese on top. A glass of your favorite fruit juice makes this a healthy way to start the day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Picnic Pasta Salad

Last week I was seeing a friend I hadn't seen in a while. We decided to have a picnic in the park to celebrate the fact that the weather was fabulous and we both had the afternoon free. The menu was: pasta salad, crustless sandwiches (marinated tofu, pb&j), fruit salad and more of my peanut butter cookies. Oh, and lemonade, of course. The pasta salad was my own creation, which is a big deal because I'm not one to "invent" a recipe. Although this was fairly simple. Observe:

Picnic Pasta Salad
- Cook one package of Israeli Cous Cous (or other small pasta of your choice) according to directions.

- After pasta is cool, mix it with dressing, and chopped veggies. I used roasted red pepper, artichokes, zuchinni, and red onion. For the dressing I made a roasted shallot dressing from Veganomicon (p86), which is my new favorite.

- Bring to picnic, photograph poorly, enjoy with an old friend!

Pita Caprese

Because I'm a fingerfood kinda gal, I prefer to be touchy-feely with my sidedishes. Hence - Pita caprese. Olive oil, tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil on top of a slice of pita, baked for 10 minutes so the cheese is nice and soft.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wine of the Week - Shannon Ridge Zinfandel

You'll begin to notice that I'm a pretty big fan of Zinfandel. Found this one at Trader Joe's. It's a 2007 Zinfandel from Shannon Ridge. It's spicy up front, with a fruity aftertaste. Drink it warm to minimize the alcohol taste.

Read More.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Orange-Roasted Tofu and Asparagus

Wasn't quite sure how this would come out. The thought of orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and asparagus didn't seem right to me. Shows what I know.

For the recipe, see

Friday, August 21, 2009

Asian for dinner, again....sweet!

A favorite recipe source in our house (second to the vegetarian edition of course) is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. The recipes are easy, but the flavors are quite complex. Lots of bang for the buck.
Last night's dinner (and an awesome lunch to blog by, reheated very well): a simple asian soup and super nummy fried rice.
Check our the uber-local (approximately 0.004 food miles) swiss chard, snow peas, and thai chilies.

Posted via email from virtuallymeg's posterous

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My First Peanut Butter Cookies

I'm totally one of those people that brings my own snacks to the movies. But I'm not satisfied with chocolate, so I bake. I happened to have all of the ingredients for these cookies (from Vive Le Vegan) on hand, so I gave 'em a whirl. I was in a rush so they didn't come out as pretty as I'd like, but they were nice and soft and the leftovers (leftovers!) have stayed that way for several days. A total win.

Southwest Panini and edamame succotash

Super quick and easy to make! Of course, I make it to my liking, but for the recipes, visit and
(My bread looks burnt, but it's not, I swear! Just how it came out in the pic.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

At home, alone, watching the barley wine cook

While, I will admit, I am not as domestic as my husband. I do cook on occasion... But holy @)(&@;! This pot is bigger, stickier, stanker, and more volcanous than it looks. Everyone, hope for jon's safe return. I could be defeated by the beer at any moment!!

Posted via email from virtuallymeg's posterous

Peach Berry Jam, in short form.

We've been making a lot of jam at our house lately (and by "we" I mean me with a toddler stuck to my leg like a koala). There's so much yummy local fruit available, and something has to be done with it. I've never made jam before this summer, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. I picked up a copy of 175 Best Jams, Jellies, Marmalades and other Soft Spreads and have been slowly working my way through my favorite recipes. This is the latest batch: Peach Strawberry. Yummm.

Wine of the Week - Post-It Note Wine

I wasn't going to buy a wine this week, but Trader Joe's made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I've had this wine once before, and it's one of the tastiest I've ever had. It's a red 2007 Zinfandel. As you can tell, the label is a goof. The initials stand for "Really Cool Trader Joe's Wine Find." I just call it "Post-It Note Wine." Trust me, this tastes great. If you have access to it, check it out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Open-Faced Veggie Sammich

Even though my boyfriend isn't a vegetarian like me, he has really amazed me with the fabulous meat-free dishes he cooks up for me. He made this up all while wandering a grocery store produce section with me and the taste blew me away!

On a basic roll he slathered locally-produced red pepper hummus, added a slice of Gouda cheese, tomatoes, grilled shallots and diced orange peppers. On the side (which I piled on top before I ate it), he had fresh spinach with a little grated Asiago cheese and a splash of balsamic.

Simple ingredients and it was a quick fix, but it's the best sammich I've had all year.


Apple-stuffed Pretzels

Sometimes, when I feeling a bit hungry at a movie theater, amusement park, wherever, I want something more than just popcorn or candy. Then I see the soft pretzels basking in the heavenly glow of the heated lamp. Bingo.
Now, I can't remember where exactly this was, but I swear I used to get awesomely delicious soft pretzels stuffed with not super fattening cheese, but tart tasty apples. For the life of me, I've never been able to find these again. That forces me to make my own.

Since this was my first batch with a recipe I made up in my head, it needs some work. But you get the idea.

  • Dough: 4 cups flour; 1 1/2 cups water; 1 packet yeast; 1 tbsp sugar
  • Apple stuffing: 2 granny smiths, chopped; cinnamon; nutmeg; brown sugar; (heat in a pan with butter to soften before rolling in dough)
  • Brush on a beaten egg for browning. Cook at 425°F for 15 min.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baked Ziti

Growing up I love, love, loved my mother's baked ziti. When I went vegan it was probably the thing I missed the most. Thanks to two of my favorite cookbook authors, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and their insane Cashew Ricotta recipe, I am now able to create a reasonable facsimile of my mom's gooey masterpiece. It's lacking the stringiness of the mozzarella, but the flavor is all there. I mixed a recipe of the Cashew Ricotta with cooked pasta and a 28-oz can of Marinara Sauce from Trader Joe's. Yeah, I was going to make the sauce from scratch, but then I stumbled upon the perfect amount of sauce already made and couldn't resist. I grew up on jarred sauce, so to me it's not the travesty it might be to some people. Mixed all of that tastiness together in a casserole dish and threw it in the oven at 375 for about half an hour, until the top was nice and crunchy.

I ate it with some steamed kale since, apparently,
it's good to get some vegetables in my diet. Who knew?

Egg Muffin

Just a quick, simple, healthy breakfast. One egg covers the whole English muffin, and keeps your cholesterol in check. I use olive oil instead of butter to grease the pan. You can switch out the lettuce with spinach, for a little extra flavor. Strawberries and bananas (or whatever seasonal fruit) help to start your day with a recommended fruit serving. Helen is a vegetarian, so fake bacon from Morningstar rounds out this complete breakfast.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chickpea Rat-a-tat-tat

The other night I made Chickpea Ratatouille, from Vive Le Vegan. I always forget how much I love this recipe - maybe it's because I don't like regular ratatouille much (except the movie, of course). But this is nothing like regular ratatouille. This one uses much less pepper, no eggplant or zucchini,and, obviously, features chickpeas, my favorite of all the beans (shh, don't tell the others).Oh, and it's super simple to make, just some chopping and pop it in the oven for about an hour. In theory you'd serve it with a fresh salad or some cooked greens, but my plan to steam up a bunch of kale went to hell when the heavenly smells started coming from the oven and I forgot about all other food.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Patriotic cupcakes

Super simple recipe: White cake mix made according to box instructions, but dough was separated with food coloring. Homemade frosting of powdered sugar, shortening, and lemon. And topped off with sprinkles (or jimmies, as some of you call them).

mmmm...America tastes good...

Friday, August 14, 2009


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