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 Hey everyone!  I have been planning to write this post ever since last week but I just couldn’t find enough time! Last week I cooked a whole bunch of beans. I cooked some white beans, chickpeas, and pinto beans.  I am trying to include more beans in my diet.  I really like beans and they are full of goodness.  My family usually eats beans Albanian Style like this.  This is usually the only way my family prepares beans but I am always looking for new ways to use them.    I decided to come up with a new bean dish that was different for a change.

I came up with a White Bean Stew!  That day my dad bought some delicious kalamata olives that were begging to be eaten! I also had some capers on hand. I really like olives and capers together, I think it’s a great flavor combination.  I thought it would be amazing in this white bean stew. I was sure right the olives and capers brought this stew up one step further! I also added some sun dried tomatoes for even more flavor! This stew was bursting with flavor!  I really enjoyed this stew and all of the flavors it had. I simply served it was toasted bread and a salad.  You can also add some rice and a vegtable side too.   It also made a delicious pasta sauce the next day! This recipe is really flexible and makes a quick tasty weeknight dinner!

White Bean Stew

 Stewed White Beans

Ingredients:

4 cups of White beans, cooked or 2 15.5 cans of white beans
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion chopped small
2 small carrots chopped small
1 stalk of celery, chopped small
4 garlic cloves minced
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 3 and a half cups) or one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup of vegetable broth or more if needed
1/4 cup of olives or more, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons Capers with some brine
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
A few leaves of Kale or any other leafy green (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Then add the onions and saute for 4 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery and saute for 8 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes break down. Now add the sun dried tomatoes, beans, and broth and bring to a boil. When boiling bring down to a simmer. Simmer the beans for about 10 minutes. Make sure that the stew doesn’t get too dry, if it gets dry add more vegetable broth. Add the kale and cook for 2 minutes. Next add the olives and capers and stir in. Cook it for another 2 minutes. Re-season if necessary.

That’s it for now..I’ll leave you with my cat Kisses. This is her first blog appearance! She loves to “help” me with my homework. She lays on my books like she is on vacation!  She’s the best!

kisses on books

lentil stuffed peppers 1
Hey everyone!  I’ve been meaning to put up this recipe for Lentil Stuffed Peppers for a while now but just never got to it.  I made this about a week ago when I add some peppers to use up.  I am always looking for new ideas for stuffed peppers.  As I was thinking of various things I could do with these peppers I came up with an idea of stuffing them with lentils!  I chose to go with a Mediterranean inspriation for these peppers.  I really enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean and these peppers feel very Mediterranean with all the lemon  in them!   I really like lemon, I just can’t get enough of it and it really brings these peppers to the next level!

This recipe is a great nutritious way to use lentils.  The ingredients you can put into these stuffed peppers are endless.  I chose vegetables that I had on hand that day but you can certainly use any vegetable you like or have on hand. I also added a panko topping to these peppers, I just think it adds something special to them.  Serve these peppers as a main course with a salad and some toasted bread or as a side dish! 

Mediterranean Inspired Lentil Stuffed Peppers

lentils stuffed pepper 2_edited-1

Ingredients
1 cup of lentils (I used plain old brown lentils, but you can use any lentils you have on hand)
4 Bell Peppers
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of celery, cut into small pieces
1 small carrot , cut into small pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 large tomatoes or 1 14 oz can of tomatoes
2 cups or more spinach chopped or any other leafy green
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup vegetable broth
half a lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Lemon Panko Topping
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

In a saucepan add the lentils and about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. When it is boiling bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer the lentils for 15 minutes, you don’t want them to go mushy so keep an eye on them. They should still retain their shape. After 15 minutes, drain the lentils and set them aside.

Meanwhile, cut 4 bell peppers in half, take the seeds out but leave the stem intact. Bring a pot of water to a boil. After the water is up to a boil, drop the peppers in the water and blanch them for 3-5 minutes. Immediately add them to a bowl of ice water.

Preheat oven to 375.

In a food processor, pulse the two tomatoes until they are chunky and their juices release. (Skip this step if you are using canned tomatoes) 

Now time for the filling!  Heat a skillet over medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Now, add the zucchini or any other vegetable you are using. Saute the zucchini for about 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. At this time season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for a few minutes. Now add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the lentils and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon juice. Re-season if necessary.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. Place the peppers in the casserole dish. Now stuff them with the lentil mixture genoursly. Cover them with tin foil and bake them for 25-30 minutes. After 25-30 minutes take the tin foil out and sprinkle the peppers with the topping. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. That’s it! Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve with plenty of lemon slices!

For the Lemon Panko Topping
Heat a small pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the panko bread crumbs and thyme, cook for a few minutes until the panko bread crumbs are well coated. Now add the lemon zest and parsley, Season with salt and pepper. That’s it!

Hello everyone!  This past weekend I made some seitan which turned out delicious!  I used the seitan recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance with a few modifications.  I was looking to make a stringy seitan and I attempted to do that by kneading the seitan dough and then I stretched it and repeated with the kneading for about 5 minutes.  I think the stretching made a great difference in the texture of the seitan.  I really enjoyed the texture of this seitan and I will try to continue to experiment with the texture.  

Moving on to the recipe!  My grandparents were preparing to cook some stewed green beans with beef.  I asked my grandpa if he needed all the green beans and he said no, so I took about two cups of the green beans.  I really wanted them to make the dish with seitan but they were not fully convinced.  They have both tried seitan a few times but are still not convinced to use it in their dishes yet.  They always laugh at me when I tell them I am making “meat” from flour!  I keep explaning to them that it’s so pure and simple it’s just wheat gluten, a couple of spices, broth and that’s it.  I really want to get them to eat seitan instead of meat but that were probably take so long as they don’t like to explore many different foods.  Anyway I decided to make a delicous vegan adaption of their dish they were making!  I really enjoy stewed green beans and I have blogged about them before.  This time I decided I wanted to step it up a notch and add some seitan!  Stewed Green Beans is a very popular Albanian dish that my mom would make all the time when she cooked, she usually made it with smoked meat.  That is where I got the idea to flavor my seitan with some liquid smoke and smoked salt for a delicious smokey taste.  The smokey seitan really give the recipe some kick!  I like adding potatoes to my stewed green beans which I learned from my grandma.  As the potatoes cook they thicken the sauce really good.  I really enjoyed the taste of this stew!   

Stewed Green Beans with Smokey Seitan

Albanian Style Stewed Green Beans and Potatoes with Smokey Seitan
Serves 2 people
This Stewed Green Bean recipe is a great flavorful way to use green beans! The recipe makes enough for two hungry people, so if you have more people at home double the recipe. The recipe uses three tablespoons of olive oil so if you want to make this lower fat feel free to reduce some of the oil.  I use smoked salt in this recipe which is very tasty and perfect for creating a smokey flavor in addition to the liquid smoke. 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of Seitan, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups of Green Beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 small red potato, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
3-4 garlic cloves
1 medium tomato or one half of a large tomato diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
2 cups vegetable broth or water ( You may need to add more liquid)
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 1/2 teaspoons – 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke (My liquid smoke was a bit weak flavored so I had to use more until I got the right flavor, so adjust to your taste)Smoked salt to taste (Optional, if you don’t have smoked salt feel free to use regular salt)

Heat a medium pot over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When hot enough, add the seitan and saute until golden on all sides about 4-5 minutes. Towards the end at the liquid smoke and Smoked Salt. Remove from pot and set aside.

Now add about 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil to the pot. Add the onions and saute for a good 8 minutes until they are translucent and tender. If your pot has burned pieces from the seitan, deglaze it with a bit of vegetable broth. Add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragrant. Now it’s time to add the green beans and potatoes. Saute the green beans and potatoes for about 5 minutes.

Now add the tomato, paprika, oregano, chili flakes and season with salt and pepper. Saute for another two minutes. Add the vegetable broth or water and bring to a boil and then to a simmer. After a couple of minutes add the seitan that you have set aside. Simmer the stew for about 45-50 minutes until the green beans and potatoes are tender. If the stew starts to get dry simply add some more broth. Re-season with salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Remember to not go heavy on the salt because the Smokey Seitan is salt already from the smoked salt. Let the stew sit for 15 minutes or you can eat it has soon has it finished cooking. 

I like to serve these stewed green beans with some rice, bread, and a side salad or vegetable.

I really love Tofu as you have probably noticed!  I am a big fan of Tofu’s clean taste and ability to absorb so many different flavors.  I am always looking for different ways to prepare Grilled Tofu.  I am a big fan of Balsamic Vinegar!  I love everything about it, it’s a staple in my house.  I always dress my salads with a simple Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil dressing.  Salad dressing is not the only thing you can do with Balsamic Vinegar.  It works really well for Tofu!

I use Balsamic Vinegar as a base for the tofu marinade which is then turned into a delicious glaze!  This Tofu is really tasty.  I have been playing around with the recipe for a few months and I think I finally got it right!  This Balsamic Glazed Tofu has a slightly tangy taste with a touch of sweetness.  It can be made grilled or baked, I tried both ways and both turn out really tasty!  Like I said earlier the tofu marinade does not go to waste because it is reduced into a scrumptious glaze! 

This Tofu is great served in a number of ways.  I like to serve it with a grain and a vegetable side or chopped over a salad.  This tofu recipe is great for the summer time when you are looking to fire up the grill even though it’s winter now!  Here’s the recipe:

Balsamic Glazed Grilled Tofu 1

Balsamic Glazed Tofu
Grilled Version serves about 2-3 people, Baked Version serves about 3-4 people.

1 pound Extra-Firm Tofu, drained and pressed

For the Marinade/Glaze
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon Agave nectar (This depends on how sweet you like it, if you like it more sweeter use ! tablespoon or more.
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic smashed
A Pinch of Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary, and Marjoram. (Feel free to use any of your favorite herbs or leave them out completely if you wish)

You can Cut the Tofu anyway you like, I like to cut it into triangles or slabs.
For Triangles
Cut the Tofu in half diagonally. Now take the two tofu triangles and cut them into three triangles each. For the baked Tofu, cut it into 4 triangles each. You should get 6 triangles for the grilled tofu and 8 for the baked tofu.
For Slabs
Cut the Tofu width-wise into 5-6 pieces for grilled tofu and 7-8 pieces for the baked tofu.

After you have the cut the tofu, mix all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl.  I like to marinade the tofu in an 8 by 8 baking pan.  Pour the Marinade over the tofu.   Marinade the tofu for at least an hour.  Turn it  halfway through.  The longer you marinade it the better!

When the Tofu has marinated take the tofu out and set it aside. Strain the marinade to remove the garlic. Preheat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the Marinade mixture to the saucepan. Bring it to a boil. You want to keep it on a medium simmer. Cook the marinade for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken and look like a glaze. Remember to keep stirring unless you have a non-stick saucepan. You want to keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning, it happened to me once so that’s why I bring it up. I actually burned a saucepan from doing this a while back!

For Grilled Tofu
Preheat a Cast-iron grill pan to medium-high heat. When it is hot, place the tofu on the cast iron grill pan. Grill the Tofu about 2-3 minutes per side. If your tofu is cut into slabs, grill the tofu 1-2 minutes per side and then turn it 90 degrees to form cross-hatch grill marks. As the Tofu is grilling, brush it with the Balsamic Glaze.

For Baked Tofu
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the tofu on a slightly greased baking sheet. Bake the tofu for about 20 minutes. Then flip it over and bake it for about 10 minutes. Brush it with the glaze towards the end because you don’t want the glaze to burn. If you like a chewier tofu place it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, make sure to keep an eye for it!

Enjoy!

Vegetable Love 2009

Susan from The Fatfree Vegan Kitchen challenged bloggers to create a vegetable filled Valentine’s recipe for Vegetable Love 2009!  I decided to create a delicious dinner that would be perfect for a Valentine’s day dinner. For the Challenge I made Cashew Crusted Tofu and served it with a Mixed Vegetable Israeli Couscous, a bed of sauteed kale, and a Red Pepper Coulis. The whole dinner was delicious! The Cashew Crusted Tofu was so tasty! I really liked the rich flavor the cashews give to the Tofu. I am always looking for ways to crust Tofu. For the next part of the dish I wanted something more interesting so I made some Israeli Couscous with sauteed leeks, carrots, olives, and capers! I really liked the Israeli Couscous with all the delicious add ins. I usually eat plain Israeli Couscous, so this was a nice change. I always like to have lots of greens in a dish so I made some delicious Kale! To add some more flavor to the dish I made a really tasty Red Pepper Coulis. The Red Pepper Coulis was so rich in flavor, a little went a long way. I am always looking for sauces to serve with Cashew Crusted Tofu and I am glad I learned to make this Red Pepper Coulis!  This dish sure has a lot of Vegetable love! This dinner has a few steps to it but its worth it! 

Cashew Crusted Tofu, Cous Cous, Kale

Cashew Crusted Tofu, Vegetable Israeli Couscous, Sauteed Kale, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

Cashew Crusted Tofu
Serves about 4
This Tofu is packed with flavor! The mariade makes the tofu extra tasty. And the cashew crust makes it perfect! You can cook this many ways,  I  perfer the panfry bake method as it yields the best texture.

 1 pound of Extra  Firm Tofu drained and pressed for 30 mins to one hour
Marinade
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine (I use Ariel Non Alcoholic wine) or vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Crust
1 1/4 cup raw cashews or roasted cashews (If using raw toast them a bit)
1/2 cup flour
A dash of Thyme, Oregano, and Paprika or any of your favorite herbs/spices (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Cut your tofu diagonally to form two triangles. Take those two triangles and cut them into 4 triangles. You should get about 8 triangles.

Mix the Marinade ingredients together and marinade the Tofu for a minimum of one hour. The more you marinade the better.

After one hour grind the cashews finely until tiny pieces form. You don’t want to grind it into a powder. In a small bowl mix the cashews, flour, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Take the Tofu and dip it in the marinade and then in the cashew mixture.

I cooked these by pan-frying them until golden and then I finished them by baking them for a few minutes and then I put them under the broiler for 2 minutes or so. To make them more healthy for you, you can bake them and then finish them in the broiler.

For Pan-frying/Baking

Preheat your Oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large pan to medium high heat with a thin layer of oil.

Pan fry the Tofu until golden. Make sure you don’t burn them! When they are done put them on a baking sheet and bake them for about 8 minutes depending on how much you cooked them on the pan. If you want them to me a bit more chewy you can put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until you get your desired texture.

For Baking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the tofu for about 10 minutes per side until golden.
If you want finish it off in the broiler.

Serve!

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
This Roasted Red Pepper Coulis is so flavorful! A coulis is basiclly a fresh sauce and it is great on crusted tofu, seitan, and tempeh!  You will find yourself making this easy flavorful sauce often.  The sauce is very rich tasting with the olive oil and if you watching your calories or don’t like olive oil that much,  I suggest you use half olive oil and broth to make it a bit ligher. You may want to double the recipe if you like a lot of sauce! 

Ingredients
2 red peppers, roasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or a mixture of broth and olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

I like Roasting my own peppers. I don’t have a gas stove so I roast my peppers in a 400 degrees oven until nice and charred! If you have a gas stove feel free to roast them over the burner. I then put them in a bag to make it easier to peel the skins.

In a food processor add the peppers and garlic. Process the mixture until smooth. Add the olive oil or broth/olive oil mixture until a nice creamy smooth sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the sauce slightly over medium heat or in a microwave.

Vegetable Israeli Couscous
Serves about 4
A nice way to dress plain Israeli Couscous!

Ingredients
2 cups Israeli Couscous
2.5 cups water or vegetable broth
1 leek thinly sliced
1 carrot chopped into small pieces
2 garlic cloves
A couple of Tablespoons fresh parlsley fienly chopped
A nice handful of olives( I used Kalamata olives)
A couple of tablespoons of capers
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Then add the carrots and sautee for 2 minutes. Then add the leeks and sautee until the leeks have reduced in size about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragent. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the Israeli Couscous and toast it for a minute. Then add the water or vegetable broth and bring it to a boil and then to a simmer. Simmer it for 10 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Add the capers and olives. Add the parsley. Reseason if neccasary.

Sauteed Kale
About half a pound of Kale or more chopped
About 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Two Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sautee the garlic until golden. Add the kale and cook until slighty wilted depending on your desire.

To serve you: Put a generous layer of kale on the plate, and then top the kale with the Israeli Couscous.  Place two tofu triangles over the Israeli Couscous.  Top the Tofu with the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis.

This week I made some really tasty things!!  The inspiration for this week’s dinner came from Isa’s Blog.  For the House of Dreams benefit dinner, Isa made Temeph over Kale, with mushroom ragout, and stuffed acorn squash. I really wish I was in Portland so I could have went to this dinner.  I decided to recreate what Isa made myself based on that photo.   I made the best tempeh I ever tasted!  It was so tasty.  I made a simple marinade to marinade the tempeh in and I boiled it in a soy sauce and water mixture which I think really helped the flavor.  I then panfried it until nice and golden!  I served the tempeh was a mushroom ragout which really complemented the tempeh.  I also had spinach under the tempeh.  Here’s the recipe for the tempeh and mushroom ragout below.

Pan Fried Tempeh, Mushroom Ragout, Stuffed Acorn Squash and Garlicky Spianch

Pan Fried Tempeh, Mushroom Ragout, Stuffed Acorn Squash and Garlicky Spianch

Panfried Tempeh
Serves about 4

Ingredients:
For the marinade
3/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce plus 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
half a lemon squeezed
2 garlic cloves
2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

2 packages of tempeh
Olive Oil for frying

Cut each block of tempeh in to 4 triangles. First cut it across in the middle then cut the two squares diagonally, into triangles.
Bring a pot of water to boil and add some soy sauce to it about 2-3 tablespoons to the water. Add the tempeh and boil on medium for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all the other ingredients for the marinade.
After 10 minutes add the tempeh to the marinate and marinate for about an hour or more if you want.
After it has marinated, heat a pan over medium high heat with olive oil for pan-frying.
Pan Fry the tempeh until golden about 2-3 minutes per side.

Mushroom Ragout
Ingredients
1 pound of cremini mushrooms thinly sliced
About half a cup of white wine or vegetable broth
1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2-3 medium Shallots minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
A pinch of dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Heat a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for about 5-8 minutes, until they are translucent. Add the herbs and tomato paste. Then add the mushrooms and wine or vegetable broth and saute for about 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms have reduced. If it seems a little dry add more wine/vegetable broth. Season with Salt and Pepper.

For my acorn squash, I used Isa’s recipe for Cornbread Stuffing with Pears and Pecans and just substituted some ingredients based on what I had.  For example I use rosemary instead of thyme, apples instead of pears, and shallots instead of onions.  I also added some carrots and celery and omitted the celery seed.  Oh and I halved the recipe.  I really suggest Isa’s recipe for cornbread stuffing, it was so tasty!  I will defiantly make this stuffing for Thanksgiving!  Now let’s talk about the acorn squash itself.  It was my first time having acorn squash.  I was very surprised with the taste, it tasted so different from the other squashes.  It was good but I think next time I will roast it with earth balance and maple syrup for extra goodness!

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I also made some awesome baked goods this week.  I made a really awesome bundt cake from Veganomicon.  I made the Coconut- Lemon Bundt cake.  This bundt cake was so moist and full of lemony and coconut flavor!  I think it was the most moist cake when I have ever had.  I will defiantly make this again! 

Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake

Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake

 

I made my very first apple pie! It came out really good!   I even made a lattice crust for it.  The only thing I will probaly do next time is reduce the spices I used in the apple filling.  I need to work a bit more on my crust though.  This apple pie went really fast.  I only had a slice and I wanted more!!  I can’t wait to make this again for Thanksgiving. 

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

This fall I made a resolution to try all the winter squashes out there.  Last year I didn’t cook much with squash, so this year I really want to master cooking winter squash!  I already made something with butternut squash for Vegan MoFo.  I made the Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cream.  When we went to the supermarket we bought 3 butternut squashes, 2 acorn squashes, and one pumpkin.  Last night I used one butternut squash to make a wonderful Rosemary Scented- Butternut Squash Risotto.  The result was amazing.  The Rosemary gave the risotto a complex flavor.  Sage would have also worked in this risotto.  The butternut squash were roasted until tender and then cooked for a bit in the risotto.  I love making risotto!  My favorite thing is stirring it, I think that’s awesome!  My mom was a big fan of this risotto, she had like 3 servings!  I think I am going to make this for Thanksgiving.  This is a great dish to serve in the fall!  Here’s the recipe.  

Rosemary Scented Butternut Squash Risotto

Rosemary Scented Butternut Squash Risotto

 

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes
5.5 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cups chopped shallots
1 rosemary spring
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use Ariel Non  Alcoholic Wine, from Trader Joe’s)
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Earth Balance (Optional)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prep the squash and then place it on a baking pan. Toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable broth

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee for about 8 minutes, until translucent but not browned. Add the rice and sautee for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the rosemary spring. Now add a ladle or two of vegetable broth and stir. Cook until the risotto starts to become a bit dry. Keep adding a 2 ladles of vegetable broth. Stir every 2 minutes or so. When the rice is 3/4 of the way done add the butternut squash. Cook until the rice is al dente. It should take about 30 minutes. Off the heat you can melt about 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance into the risotto for extra richness.

A couple of days ago I made the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Veganomicon.  At first I wasn’t crazy about them but the next day they were really good!  I ate like 10 in one sitting.  Next time I would probaly reduce the spices just a bit, I though they slightly overpowered the cookies.  That was the only problem, other than these cookies were good!

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Hey everyone!  Yesterday I made Pecan Crusted Seitan and I served with my leftover Creamy Cashew Mustard Cream Sauce and Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Asparagus in Orange Sauce from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook.  This month I am sampling some dishes I want to serve on Thanksgiving.  I am post likely going to serve this Pecan Crusted Seitan or a Seitan Roast for thanksgiving.  And I am defiantly serving the mashed sweet potatoes and possibly the asparagus.  This dinner was really good, every thing shined on the plate!  I really liked the texture of the seitan, it has been one of the few successful seitans I have made.  I used the recipe for the seitan cutlets from veganomicon, I just added some nooch and that’s it.  The seitan cutlets had a great texture.  It was so tender, I didn’t even need a knife!  I think I can officially say that I like seitan!  I think the only thing I would change is flavor them a bit more when I baked them probably use some herbs or something.  Anyway,  I then marinaded them in a simple marinade consisting of soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and wine.  I then breaded them in a Pecan Rosemary Panko mixture.  Frying was a bit of a pain because some of the cutlets slighty burned, I don’t know why.  The oil got too hot and the cutlets browned very quickly.  Then, I also made mashed sweet potatoes for the first time but I gave it a little twist!  I used coconut milk instead of soy milk, and wow the coconut and the sweet potatoes were amazing together!  I usually just roast asparagus but I was looking for a little something new so I grabbed my Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook and I saw this great recipe for asparagusin orange sauce.  It was really simple to make just take some fresh orange juice, wine, and vegetable broth and reduce it.  I boiled the asparagus and then poured the sauce over it.  At the end I had an awesome meal! 

Pecan Crusted Seitan with Creamy Mustard Sauce, Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Asparagus in Orange Sauce

Pecan Crusted Seitan with Creamy Mustard Sauce, Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Asparagus in Orange Sauce

Here’s the recipe for the Pecan Crusted Seitan, Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Asparagus in Orange Sauce

Pecan Crusted Seitan
Serves 4-5
These Pecan Crusted Seitan Cutlets are awesome. They are a great main course to serve while entertaining. They would be perfect for a Holiday party! These are great served them with the Cashew Mustard Cream Sauce, but you can serve them with any sauce you wish.

Ingredients:
For the marinade
1/4 Cups Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1/3 cup white wine or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
half a lemon squeezed
3 garlic cloves minced

For the breading mixture
1 1/4 cup pecans
3 tablespoons panko
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

5 seitan cutlets (I used the recipe from V’con)
Oil for Pan Frying

Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Place the seitan in a small casserole dish or ziplock bag and pour the marinade over it. Marinade it for about an hour in the fridge.

After one hour, start making the pecan mixture. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Dip a seitan cutlet in the marinade and then bread it with the pecans. Make sure to press the pecans well into the seitan cutlet. Repeat with all of them.

Heat a pan over medium heat with oil. You need just enough oil to pan fry, you are not deep frying. Pan fry the seitan until nice and golden.

Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes
The mashed Sweet Potatoes are perfect to serve anywhere where regular mashed potatoes are served. They would be perfect for Thanksgiving!
Serves 4-5 people

3 medium sized Sweet Potatoes peeled and cubed into large pieces
Half a cup of coconut milk
3 tablespoons Earth Balance
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a pot of water. Add the sweet potatoes. Then salt them generously with salt. Bring it to a low boil. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender. When the sweet potatoes are done drain them. Add them back to the pot. Add the maple syrup, Earth Balance, and coconut milk. Mash until nice and fluffy.

Asparagus in Orange Sauce
From the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of pencil thin asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil. Boil the asparagus for 3 minutes. Run them through cold water.

Meanwhile, combine the orange juice, wine, and broth and bring it to a boil, reduce to 1/4 cup. Pour over the asparagus, and then season with salt and pepper.

Today I made the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from V’con.  I will post the pictures hopefully tomorrow.

Hey everyone!  On Sunday Morning I made the best waffles I have made in my entire life.  I made the awesome Pumpkin Waffles from VwAv.  These waffles are so good, perfect for the fall time!  I made them so I can serve to my family at the same time but my waffle iron only makes 2 waffles and they took forever, so my dad and brothers couldn’t wait so they made some else.  I was a bit disappointed at my waffle iron,  but I think I want to  buy another one that makes 4 at a time and then I can make 6 waffles at a time!  That would be awesome!  The recipe makes a lot of waffles so I ended up freezing them so I can have them as breakfast before school.   

pumpkin waffles

Today for dinner, I made the most awesome Tofu I have ever made besides the Chile Cornmeal Tofu which was also awesome.  I made Pistachio Crusted Tofu which I was dying to make for so so long.  I am glad I finally got to it and created a recipe for it.  I was so happy at the result, my brother (a.k.a. my toughest food critic) liked them, he said they were really good.  The only thing I would change is add just a bit more pistachios to the breading mixture.  By the way pistachios are extremely addictive, I love them so much.  I also had some Garlicky Kale and Lemon Provicenal Rice from the Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen Cookbook.   I served the tofu with a Mustard Cashew Cream Sauce which complicated the tofu so well.  I finally figured out an awesome to replace heavy cream in sauces, its really simple, just combine some cashews and soy milk together and then just put it in whatever recipe you are making.  The cashews add a great richness to the soy milk.  Here’s the recipe for the Pistachio Crusted Tofu and Mustard Cashew Cream Sauce.

Pistachio Crusted Tofu With A Creamy Cashew Mustard Cream Sauce

Pistachio Crusted Tofu With A Creamy Cashew Mustard Cream Sauce

Pistachio Crusted Tofu

Ingredients:
For the Basic Tofu Marinade
2-3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
half a lemon squeezed
Splash of White Wine ( I use Ariel Non  Alcoholic Wine)
1 pound of Extra-Firm Tofu cut into 8 picuies lengthwide pressed and drained

For the Breading Mixture
1/2 cup of pistachios shelled finely chopped (This is what I put originally but I would increase by 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup Panko or Breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
A pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper

4-5 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

Mix the ingredients for the marinade into a bowl. Then brush on to the tofu and marinade it for about 15-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Grind the pistachios in a food processor until crumbs form. Mix the breading ingredients together.

In a small bowl add the Dijon mustard. Brush the tofu with the Dijon mustard and then bread it in the breading mixture.

Bake it for about 15 minutes until golden, if you want put it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes for extra chewiness.

Meanwhile make the sauce (recipe follows)

Cashew Mustard Cream Sauce

Ingredients
1 cup Plain Soy milk
2/4 cups preferably raw cashews
4 Tablespoons Dijon mustard or more if you like
1 Tablespoon Whole Grain mustard
1 shallot minced
1 garlic clove minced
2 Tablespoons Chopped parsley
A Splash of White Wine (Optional)
Half a tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a food processor, blend the cashews and soy milk until very smooth.

Heat a sauce pan to medium heat, and add the garlic and shallot. Saute for 2 minutes. Then add the cashew cream and the two types of mustard and blend together. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 4 minutes. This thickens up fairly quick. Season with Salt and Pepper. Add the lemon and parsley and that’s it. Now you can use this to top any protein dish like tofu, seitan, tempeh, and even the great chickpea cutlets!!!

Hey everyone!  Today for dinner I made Albanian-Style Bean. You may be wondering what in the world are Albanian-Style Beans, don’t worry I am here to tell you.  I am here to introduce a great way to eat beans!!  My ethic backround is Albanian.  My mom and dad were born in Montenegro so I know a lot of Albanian dishes that I will be sharing with you from time to time.  By the way there are Albanian people in Montenegro.  Whrn I went to Montenegro I told everyone all the different ways I cook beans like put them into soups, stews, etc.  This was unheard of there.   There is only one way Albanian people eat beans.  They eat them in a gravy like liquid.  The  liquid is like a thick soup.  The most popular beans that we use are any white bean and roman/kidney beans.  These beans can be flavored in so many ways.  I like to put whatever soup vegetables I have on hand.  Most often I put carrot, peppers, and celery.  I like to flavor it with paprika, oregano, and Vegeta.  Now you may be wondering what in the world is Vegeta.  Vegetais an awesome seasoning that Albanians always use, in fact it’s our number one seasoning.  It is dehydrated vegetables, some spices, and lots of salt!  Its really good and I put it in quite a few dishes mostly Albanian dishes.  I feel it is difficult make Albanian food without vegeta, it just doesn’t taste Albanian.  I think almost every Albanian household has vegeta.  I really think you should go to an eastern European market and get it.  I sometimes use it in place of vegetable bouillon cubes or vegetable broth.   I am going to give you a basic recipe on how to make these beans. I am always experimenting on these beans as I just learned how to make them. This is what I did with them today. 

Albanian-Style Beans

Albanian style beans

Ingredients
1 pound of beans (Today I used Roman Beans)
1 Large Onion chopped and half of it goes whole
1 Carrot fine chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper fine chopped
1.5 teaspoons of paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 teaspoons vegeta or any powered broth or 1 bouillon cube or use vegetable broth instead of water
About 6 cups of water
A couple of tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste or tomato sauce (Optional)
1.5 tablespoons flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak the beans for 8-12 hours. Rinse them and put about 6 cups of water covering them by a fair amount. Add the carrots and half an onion. Bring to boil and then to a simmer. Cook beans until they start to get tender about 40 mins depending on beans.

When they start to get tender start chopping the onions. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onions. You want the onions to cook nice and slowly for about 10 minutes. Add the herbs and paprika. Also add tomato paste if using. Also season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and cook for about a minute. Add the mixture to the beans. Then you want to clean the pan with the bean broth and add it back to the beans. Cook the beans for 15 minutes until thickened. You want it to be nice and gravy like. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with bread and salad.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask me as you probably have never heard of Albanian food or this dish.

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