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Hey everyone!  It’s been a couple of weeks since I last blogged.  This month flew so fast!   This month wasn’t that great for me since I got strep throat!  I was put under the dreaded antibiotics for 10 days!  It turns out this is the only way you can cure strep throat, with antibiotics.  I tried salt and water in the beginning and it seemed to work but after a week I felt very tried so I went to the doctor who prescribed me those antibiotics!  I really hate antibiotics!  Anyway, I’m feeling a lot better now! 

Raw Pasta

 Zucchini Pasta with Raw Marinara Sauce

I recently got Raw Food/Real Worldfrom the library as I was searching for new cookbooks.  The cookbook has some of the most amazing food pictures I have ever seen.  I got the “uncookbook” so I can learn more about raw vegan food.  I was impressed!  I still didn’t try any of the recipes but I did make something raw of my own.  I made a very easy raw zucchini “pasta” with a raw marinara sauce.  All I really did was peel some zucchini into thin slices and then I made a quick sauce in the food processor.  It was really tasty!  I felt really good after eating it, for some reason I had a lot of energy after eating it.  I don’t plan on going fully raw, but I am interested in trying various recipes and hopefully I just got a juicer yesterday! 

Here’s some Baked Pumpkin Ziti I made last week from Veganomicon.  I never got around to making this awesome recipe  last fall.  This Baked Pumpkin Ziti was the first recipe I made from Veganomicon!  It’s a favorite of mine!  It’s so tasty!

Baked Pumpkin Penne Edited

Baked Pumpkin Penne

Finally, some Chana Masala! Chana Masala was  one of the first Indian foods I have tasted.  I never tried to make it until earlier this week.  I looked at various ways to make Chana Masala, and came up with a great recipe!   It’s really tasty, and I plan on making it next month again!   I think it’s going to be a new favorite because it’s so easy and flavorful.  I’ll share the recipe soon!   I was so happy that it tasted like the Chana Masala I had first tried.  I’m really enjoying exploring Indian food.  I really like watching Manjula’s Kitchen and other Indian cooking shows on youtube.  I also like reading  Hooked On Heat which has a lot of information about Indian cooking. 

 Chana Marsala

Chana Masala

Well that’s about it for now!  I hope to blog again very soon!

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I got a lot of things to share with everyone tonight!  Sorry for not blogging for a while.  Last week I was a bit busy so I didn’t have time to blog.   Luckily I found some time tonight!   

Brocolli Rabe and Spicy Temeph Pasta

Last Monday I made the Spicy Tempeh and Broccoli Rabe Pasta from Veganomicon.  This was my second time making this pasta dish.  The first time it was super bitter from the Broccoli Rabe, I didn’t enjoy it much the first time.  I decided to give it another chance with spaghetti this time because it was all I had.  My mom prepares Broccoli Rabe very well so I decided to ask her about the secrets.  My mom says broccoli rabe has to be blanched for one to two minutes and then dropped into ice cold water.  Just like tempeh where it has to be boiled for a couple of minutes to remove the bitterness, broccoli rabe benefits from the boiling water too.    I decidedto try the blanching and it worked great!  The blanching defiantly removes some of the bitterness of the Broccoli Rabe making it taste pleasant..  I really enjoyed the flavorful spicy tempeh and the slightly bitter broccoli rabe.  I will now make this tasty pasta dish more often.  I hope everyone reading this blog has Veganomicon, if you don’t I highly suggest getting it!  Isa and Terry have taught me so much about cooking!   

Moving along on Wednesday I made and Albanian recipe.  It is called Pita or Burek, in Albanian.

Albanian Pita

My family mostly calls it Pita, I’ll refer it to Burek since it is more popular way to say it.  There are many versions for Burek there is a coil version similar to the picture and a regular square version.  I still havn’t learned how to make the dough fully by myself.  My grandma made the dough for this pita and I made the filling.  My mom is so good at rolling Burek dough, she can make its nice and thin.  My grandma made it a bit thicker which is how she makes it all the time.  It is very rare for Albanians to have recipes, we usually just eyeball everything.  I ask my mom where are your recipes and she says “they are all in my head”.  Next time I want to actually develop a recipe for the dough which should be fun!  You can always take the easy route and just use phyllo dough but then it would be more like a Burek.  I used a mixed mushroom filling for this Burek.  Tradionally the two major fillings are cheese or ground meat and sometimes spinach/cheese.  My mom always develops interesting fillings for Burek.   She came up with this one a while back when we bought a lot of mushrooms.  The first time my mom made it I was suprised with how good it was.  I really love mushrooms and I was so happy my mom invented this new filling!  I don’t have the recipe ready completely.  I want to create an easy to follow recipe for Pita/Burek and will probably have it up soon!

 Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

Another dish I made this week was eggplant in a tomato pepper sauce.  This was very easy to make.  I just cut an eggplant into small triangles and then pan fried them.  I then made a quick tomato pepper sauce with fresh tomatoes and some canned, onions, garlic, and a green pepper.  Seasoned it with some oregano, thyme, and of course salt andharvest-blend.jpg pepper. I threw the fried eggplant into the sauce and simmered it for a few minutes and  Voilá I had an awesome dinner!   I normally don’t like eating summer vegetables in the winter time but sometimes you get that craving for a summer vegetable.  Although this eggplant dish doesn’t look too photogenic it was very tasty!   I served it with a delicous product I just discovered at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend, it basically features Israeli couscous, along with red and green orzo, split dried garbanzo beans, and red quinoa.  I really like it because it cooks up so quick and it has so many different things in it.  Next time your at Trader Joe’s pick this up, you’ll love it!

I’ll leave you with my dog,  Madison.  This is her first appearance on my blog!   I took this picture a while back but I just had to share it with everyone know because she worked so hard on our little “photoshoot”.  In this picture she is in the snow, which it is actually snowing right now as well.  Look how serious she is!  I am so excited for tomorrow because my school has issued a snow day!  My school rarely gives out snowdays!  It’s supposed to snow a whole lot here in New York!

Madison

Madison says Hello to everyone reading!

Hey everyone!  The past three days I have been eating my Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna that I made! 
Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna
I made it on Tuesday and it’s delicious!  So I started making a tomato sauce for the lasagna but it ended up wrong.  I wanted to make an Italian sauce with onions, carrots and celery.  My dad who owns a pizzeria makes this all the time.  The problem with mine was when I pureed it it turned orange!  I think the problem was because I didn’t puree the carrots and celery in the beginning of the cooking process.  I tried to fix the sauce by putting some jarred tomato sauce that I found in the fridge.  Not reading the ingredients, I poured the jarred tomato sauce to my orange tomato sauce in hopes of making it redder.  Bad idea the jarred tomato sauce had cheese in it!!!!  I was so upset when I did this!  I didn’t know weather to eat it or throw it out.  I hate throwing out food and I almost never do but I didn’t want to feel guilty eating a sauce with dairy in it so sadly I threw it out.  I felt so bad because I had spent about one and a half hours cooking the sauce and it went wrong!  

Luckily I had some vegan jarred tomato sauce in the fridge.  I almost never use jarred tomato sauce for lasagna.  I thought my lasagna turn out bad with the jarred tomato sauce but thankfully it turned out really good!  Now lets talk about the filling I used for it.  I used the awesome Cashew Ricotta from Veganomicon!  This is so so good!  I would have liked it a bit more richer tasting like I made it before but the problem was that I used a bigger amount of tofu and didn’t add more cashews.   When it cooked it firmed up just like dairy ricotta.  It’s amazing!  My filling also consited of spinach and mushrooms.  I made a four layer lasagna and baked it for about an hour.  Now I have been eating lasagna since Tuesday.  After I finish writing this post I am going to freeze it so I can have a quick dinner when I don’t feel like making something. 

I also made some Sweet Potato Blondies from Isa and Terry’s upcoming cookie book!  These were really tasty and really gooey! 
Sweet Potato Blondies

Well that’s about it.

Hey everyone!  Kelly from The Pink Apron tagged me for seeing what’s in my freezer.  Thanks Kelly for tagging me!  I use my freezer as a storage center for some of my spices so they don’t go bad as I bought them in bulk. My freezer doesn’t have meat and it rarely has meat since my family doesn’t eat a lot of meat since I became vegan. I’m glad because I am saving so many animal!

my freezer

my freezer part 2

I am tagging the following awesome bloggers to show their freezers

1) Show Me Vegan
2) La Vegan Loca
3) Vegan Eats & Treats
4) Mobetta Vegan
5) Sweet Potatoe

Also today I made some pasta with what ever vegetables were in my fridge.  I have been going on a pasta overload but its OK, because they are so good!  Today I had penne with capers, zucchini, spinach, shallots, broccoli, balsamic vinegar, and garlic!  It was so good and simple!

Pasta Primavera

Hey everyone!  This week I bought some tempeh from the natural food supermarket.  Everything was so expensive there!  I had to beg my mom to go to that supermarket but at the end I wasn’t that happy, as everything was so overpriced.  We bought only 4 things, brown rice syrup, agar, tempeh, and a bag of chips. I just don’t know why the natural supermarkets have to be so overpriced. The produce at the supermarket was amazing!!!  With the high prices, I rather shop at the regular supermarket or Trader Joe’s.  Today I used the tempeh and made the vwav tempeh sausage crumbles.  I then had some jarred tomato sauce and mixed that in.  It is very very rare for me to use store-bought jarred tomato sauce.  I love making my own sauce, in fact I make almost everything from scratch.  The pasta and tempeh crumbles were really good! I love tempeh so much! I even ate some raw and it taste awesome, that’s how much I love it!  Here’s a picture below, not the best picture, sorry I was a bit lazy today!
Penne with Tempeh Sauage Crumbles

Hey everyone!  Today I got the perfect recipe for the fall, Roasted Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Lasagna with a Cashew Cream Sauce.  About two weeks I bought some butternut squashes.  I really wanted to do something great with them so I turned them into a lasagna!  The lasagna was really good although I wish the butternut squash was just a little more sweeter.  I wasn’t really getting that sweet butternut squash taste because one of the squashes wasn’t all the way ripe.  But still it was really good and the cashew cream sauce was amazing!!  I added some Caramelized Onions to the Butternut Squash filling and that made it even more tasty!  I think its official Squash and Caramelized onions were meant to be together, they’re the perfect combo.  Try this great recipe for this Lasagna! 

Butternut Squash and Carmazlized Onion Lasagna

Butternut and Camerlized Onions Lasagna
 

Ingredients:
3 medium-large butternut squashes (I used two but 3 will give you the perfect amount of filling)
1 pound of Lasagna Sheets
1 teaspoon sage or 1 tablespoon fresh sage
Enough oil to coat butternut squash
1 onion thinly sliced
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil to cook onions
Salt and Pepper to taste

For the cashew cream sauce
5 cups soy milk
9 oz cashews
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
2 cloves of garlic minced
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Peel and then Cut up the squash into cubes. Toss with some olive oil. Season with Salt and Pepper and roast for about 30 mins until slightly caramelized.
While the squash is roasting prepare the caramelized onions. Heat up a pan with oil to medium heat. Add the thinly sliced onions to the pan. Cook for about 25 minutes until nice and caramelized.
Now its time to get your salted boiling water started for the lasagna. Once it is boiling add the lasagna and cook according to the package.
For the cashew cream add the soy milk and cashews to a blender. Mix until the cashews are well grinded and everything is nice and smooth. Add the maple syrup now. Heat up a small saucepan with oil. Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute. Add the cashew cream and cook for about 3-5 minutes until thickened don’t bring it to a really high boil.
The squash should be ready now. Take it out and tranfer the squash to a medium size bowl. Mash the squash with a potato masher. Add the carmalized onions and sage. Season with salt and pepper. I suggest that if your squash is not sweet to your liking add some maple syrup. I should have done this and I will next time.
The lasagna noddles should be done by now. Drain them and coat with some oil to prevent sticking. Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease a 9 by 13 baking dish. Add about half a cup of the cashew cream sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Then layer it with 4 sheets of lasagna noddles. Spoon some of the squash mixture over the lasagna sheets. Then drizzle it with some of the cashew cream sauce. Repeat 3 more times. Top off the lasagna with the remaining cashew cream sauce.
Bake for 30 minutes covered and then 5-7 minutes uncovered.
It’s important to let it rest for about 10 minutes so it cuts perfectly.
Enjoy!

Hey everyone!  Today I was in the mood for some pasta.  Olives and Capers are my favorite combination.  A few years back I taught olives were gross!  I never ate them, until one day I tried them and since then I have loved them.  I often like to use the combination of capers and olives into my dishes.  Today I made a simple pasta dish with capers and olives.  Pasta Puttanesca is really easy to make.  Here’s how I made it today.  I made enough for 2-3 people.  I also put some yellow squash because I had it on hand and it was getting kinda lonely in the fridge.  Here’s a quick recipe on how to make it. 

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca

Ingredients
1 shallot (Optional)
20 oz can of whole tomatoes
Handful or two of olives
Pinch of thyme and oregano
Couple of tablespoons of capers
Salt And Pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
5 Garlic Cloves
Half Pound Spaghetti

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add some oil. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Meanwhile add the spaghetti to the water. Cook the sauce for about 15-20 minutes. Add the olives and capers cook for a few minutes more and that’s it for the sauce. Mix in the pasta. Add some chopped fresh basil or parsley on top of the pasta. I also sprinkled it with some Almesan from v’con.

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I was also craving something sweet so I made some chocolate raspberry cookies from v’con.  I lowered the almond extract on them because because if I use the whole teaspoon they taste like almond cookies.  These cookies were really good!  I look forward to eating more of them!!
chocolate raspberry cookies

This is my first year of VeganMofo! I am so exicted. This month I will have a lot for you guys. Today I have a ton of things to share!!   I previouly had a blog on blogspot called Vegan Teen Chef.   Now this is my new home!!

I just got my Canon Rebel DSLR on Saturday! I am loving how my pictures are coming out. So last weekend I made some Ratatouille with Chickpeas. Ratatouille is one of my favorite dishes, its like one of the first things I made. The Ratatouille was really good. I just love vegetable stews. I make them at least once a week. With the leftovers I just cook some pasta and heat up the vegetable stew and mix up and you’ve got yourself a whole different meal!!
Ratatouille with Chickpeas

Ratatouille cooking on the stove!!

ratatouille pasta

Leftover Ratatouille with Whole Wheat Pasta

Next up is Chickpeas Romesco and Saffron Rice from V’con!! I served it with some salad! I enjoyed this but I just wish that I would have cooked the chickpeas just little longer to make them really tender. This is tonight’s dinner and I can’t wait to eat after I finish blogging that is!

Chickpeas Romesco

Chickpeas Romesco

Yesterday, today, and tommoraw Eid.  Eid is a Muslim holiday that I celebrate.  It is so fun! I love making desserts to celebrate Eid!!! And today I will share my awesome recipe for Bakalava which everyone loved!!!! I also made some Chocolate Vanilla Strawberry cake using the VCTOTW recipes. The cake was really good. When I was making the frosting, I doubled it and added the double amount the soymilk. The frosting turned out runny and it was so hard to frost the cake.  The cake is a 4 layer chocolate and vanilla cake with strawberry preserves in the middle.  Topped of with chocolate ganche and strawberries!  It was really good!!

chocolate vanilla strawberry cake

Chocolate Vanilla Strawberry Cake

My Recipe for Baklava

This recipe is so good.  I created it myself after having my mom’s cousin’s baklava.  It was so good.  The secret was coconut which I never though I would add to baklava.  I added it and it worked.  Everyone is so amazed at this baklava!!  Try this recipe and be prepared for rave reviews!!

1 package phylo dough
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1/2 cup canola oil

For the filling
2.5 cups walnuts
1 1/4 cups almonds
1/4 cups of breadcrumbs
3 cups coconut (The secret ingredient that will have people begging for more)
1/2 t  cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
4T sugar
1/4 cups melted vegan maragine (like Earth balance)

In a food processer grind the walnuts and almonds until they are crumbs with some small bit of walnuts. Melt the 3/4 cups of Earth balance and then set aside. Mix the ingredients together then add 1/4 cup of the melted Earth Balance

Take the 1/2 cups of melted earth balance and mix it with the canola oil.

Now it is time to get into the most fun part!! Forming the triangles. Now Preheat the oven to 375. Brush the baking sheet with rimmed edges with oil. Take two sheets of dough and brush one layer just a bit and then place the layer for the first layer and brush with the melted earth balance and oil mixture. Depending on your sheets of dough you might have to cut the sheets in half. Now take about 2 tablespoons of the nut mixture and put it to the end nearest you. Grab the corner of the dough, fold it so forms a triangle, fold it again and again till you reach the end. Place on the baking pan with rimmed edges and brush with the oil mixture. And now you just repeat it until your dough is done. I got about 34 pieces of Baklava!! Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn. It should be golden brown.

The syrup
2 cups of sugar
3 cups water
1/4 t vanilla
1 lemon squeezed

Heat up a sauce pan on medium heat. Then put the sugar and melt it just a little. Make sure to keep stirring. Then add the water and vanilla. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 20-25 minutes until it is a little bit thick. When its done add the lemon.

When the baklava is baked. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Drizzle the syrup and cover it like 3/4 of the way up. Don’t worry it will absorb all the syrup. Then let it cool and store it in the fridge. Enjoy. People will be suprised at this Baklava. Everyone that tried it liked it!!!

baklava 3

The Ulimate Baklava!!!

I have been absent for a while but I am back!! I always wanted to create a Blasamic Glazed Tofu dish!! And I did! Last night I made this tofu and it was good, it was a bit bland in the middle because I didn’t press long enough. I am still working on this recipe. I served it over some pasta primavera!!! When I perfect the recipe I will post it up!

I made some Eggplant Rollantini from V’con! These were really good! I wish I had the spinach though. I had a lot of eggplant this week as you will see!!

A creation of mine!! Rigatoni with Eggplant “Croutons”! This was fairly simple to make. I breaded and fried the eggplant. I then got some of my homemade marinara sauce heated up and cooked some rigatoni. and then threw that all together. Then topped it off with these Eggplant “Croutons”. Very good!!

This is a Roasted Eggplant Soup. I got this recipe from The Mediterranean Vegan Cookbook! This was a very good soup. I have started using this cookbook a lot more it gives me a lot of inspriation!

Orzo Stuffed Peppers- I loved these peppers! I adapted this recipe from the Mediterranean Vegan Cookbook. I added some more vegetables to the orzo filling. This is really simple to make and very tasty!! 

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