Friday, November 30, 2007

A Mr. Bolsh Dinner

Mr. Bolsh made me a special dinner of beans and toast. Okay, maybe it wasn't so special. He meant to add fake hot dogs but we were out. This is Mr. Bolsh's speciality - Amy's canned baked beans with hot dogs.

It tasted like beans and toast...

Mr. Bolsh got an early Christmas present of a pressure cooker, so look for those meals coming up next.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sugar Cookies

We had a cookie decorating party!
Mr. Bolsh and I created one of his favorite cookies - sugar cookies.
We started with the cookies, two colors of frosting and a plethora of sprinkles!

Frosting and the blank canvas:
I finally got my new camera and I had so much fun taking photos again, that I couldn't stop! There were also so many sprinkles it was hard to choose just one:

So many shapes and sizes of sprinkles:Emilie sent us these beautiful sparkles of pink and white/clear. I've admired them for so long but hadn't put them to use yet because they seem so special and fancy. I love the way they catch light:

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Thanksgiving Menu: (all dishes named by Mr. Bolsh)
Potato Rolls
Candied Carrots
Mashed Potatoes
Tofurky with Cider Glaze
Gobble Gravy
Super Green Beans

The Potato Rolls came from Veganomicon. They were fantastic, but not much like the potato rolls I grew up with, but more like dinner rolls.

Candied Carrots is a dish both Mr. Bolsh and I grew up with but it seems most people eat this dish with yams or sweet potatoes. Simply over boil some carrots, drain, then add some earth balance and brown sugar. Cook until the sugar is melted.

Mashed Potatoes are Mr. Bolsh's specialty. I did have some input - I had him add some parsley based off Julie's advice.

Gobble Gravy was something I wasn't planning on making, but it turned out wonderful, and I'm not even a gravy fan! I caramelized 1 1/2 onion. It took awhile for it to cook down. I used sparkling cider to deglaze the pan. I then dissolved 1 cube of vegetable broth in 1 cup of thick cashew milk/cream. Once this was all added together I was planning on adding a thickener, but instead I let it cook for about an hour (while the tofurky was cooking) and it boiled down very nicely.

Super Green Beans were about as simple as the carrots. I roasted the green beans with olive oil. When they were done from the oven I added some flax seed, which lightly coated the green beans and gave a nice nutty texture to it.

The Tofurky, both of them, were all cooked by Mr. Bolsh. A few year ago we started using sparkling pear cider to glaze and marinade the fake meat. This year was no different. Mr. Bolsh boiled the cider into a reduction sauce (though I don't think he knew that's what he was doing) and he kept turning the tofurky to coat it. He then baked it like normal.

On to the photos!

The Spread:
Potato Rolls:
Candied Carrots:
Super Green Beans:
My Wonderful Plate of food:
Nap Time!

Faux Indian Food

I've been craving Indian food lately. It's more the spices and the wonderful smells they bring into the house.

This was a simple meal I made that makes my mouth still water.

Potatoes coated in oil, mustard seed, cumin seed, cardamon seed, pepper, and probably some other spices. I then roasted them for about 30 minutes in the oven.

Pan fried brussel sprouts and onions with similar spices as the potatoes. They didn't taste the same though.

Chickpeas, spinach and a premade tandoori sauce.

Such a simple meal and full of so much flavor!

Pumpkin Waffles

This is just a simple praise for Pumpkin Waffles!
These were from Vegan with a Vengeance.
Quick praise to my waffle maker who decided to make waffles that didn't fall apart on me!

Spaghetti Squash

I've made it public many times that I am not a big fan on pasta. I enjoy pasta about every time out of five times I eat it. There have been times I've wanted pasta but I've gone out of my way to make something pasta like, but not involving pasta. I was in the same mood a couple of days ago so I picked up a squash that use to repulse me - Spaghetti Squash!

Since this is the month of food I thought I should try it again, give it another shot. I had already experimented with brussel sprouts again, why not try another food.
I've heard you can pour spaghetti sauce over it and eat it out of the shell, but that didn't sound good to me, so this is what I did:

Basil Spaghetti Squash:
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 Tablepoons Earth Balance, or other vegetable fat
2-3 teaspoons frozen chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F
Cut the squash in half and scoop out guts.
Place face down on a cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.
Check the squash - the skin part should be a bit squishy to touch. If it's not ready, take out of the oven, turn over, place 1 tablespoon of earth balance in each part and return to the oven for about 10-15 minutes longer.
Take out of the oven and mix up the squash. Spaghetti squash is a stringy squash - that's how it got it's name (I am assuming) so when you start mixing up the squash you'll see that.
Add the herbs and spices to the mixed squash and serve warm.

It's a quick and easy meal. It tastes like healthy spaghetti. Try it again for the second time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I have many thoughts on Thanksgiving. I usually share those thoughts with my close friends, but today I will tell you.

I don't care much for Thanksgiving. I love the time off from work, but it's no big deal to me because I cook all the time, from scratch. I get annoyed with all the extra people at the grocery store, hearing people talk about making a pie from scratch, using fresh vegetables...these are common things for me. I live a busy life and I always make time for cooking. (This is where I get in trouble) I see the people who cook real meals three times a year as posers. There I said it. Posers.

I do love that an event makes cooking real food popular and that everyone can enjoy a real meal full of love and healthy ingredients.

Mr. Bolsh loves Thanksgiving. I prefer to fast, but we all do things for our partners to make them happy. The past three years we've spent Thanksgiving in Bend, OR, cooking in a tiny kitchenet, but this year we will have our first Thanksgiving in our first house. I am excited for that. So I've let Mr. Bolsh plan the menu:
2 Tofurkys
Mashed potatoes
Boiled Carrots
Chocolate chip cookies

Yes, two tofurkys, for two people. I'm not the biggest Tofurky fan, but Mr. Bolsh is and he wanted one all to himself.
My favorite thing to do with Tofurky is to either glaze it with sparkling pear cider o marinate it with pear cider. It creates a wonderfully sweet glaze and full flavor. But this year, Mr. Bolsh will not have any of my silly gourmet tactics - back to basic, except for the cookies.
Hopefully a camera will be able to capture the glory of the meal.
As a side note, Mr. Bolsh has expressed interested in participating in one day of VeganMoFo. We'll see if he is really interested in telling you about his cooking skills.

Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with your favorites.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dill Cauliflower

I normally consider dill to be a summer spice. Last night I mixed it up to make it into a hearty winer meal with a thick sauce.

Dill Cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
flour, soy milk, dill, garlic powder, onion powder and pinch of nutritional yeast

Steam the cauliflower.
Create a roux with flour and soy milk. Add the spices and keep mixing until it's thickened.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and sprinkle with dill and salt. Serve warm.

Caramelized Onions, Chestnuts with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This dish was made for a friend's pre-thanksgiving feast. You should make this for your feast if you celebrate such things, if not, find another way to enjoy this dish. You might want to half the recipe it's just you.

Brussel Sprouts with caramelized onions and roasted chestnuts:
2 rods of brussel sprouts, de-rodded.
1 large onion
1 pound chestnuts
4 cloves garlic.
Earth Balance
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Simple recipe:
Add roasted chestnuts, garlic and caramelized onions to sliced brussel sprouts and roast as normal.

Cut the onion in half and slice into 1/4"-1/2" slices. Cut into half if you'd like.
Melt 2-3 tablespoons of earth balance in a a frying pan on medium-low heat and add onions. Cover for 5-10 minutes until the onions are sweating. Heat uncovered until they are caramelized. Add 1 tablespoon on brown sugar when they are done and cook for a few more minutes until the sugar is dissolved.
Take the sprouts off the rod, clean, take off damaged leaves and cut in half.
Dice garlic.
Drizzle the sprouts with olive oil and throw in the diced garlic.
Cut an x into each of the chestnuts and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 400F. Husk and cut in half.
Roast the brussel sprouts and garlic at 425F for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and throw in the caramelized onions and chestnuts.
Return to the oven and roast another 15 minutes.
Serve warm.

The nutty flavor of the roasted sprouts adds beautifully to the sweet chestnut and sweet onions. I am salivating just writing this. I can't wait to take more!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stuffed Squash

Good idea, bad idea, great idea. That's how my stuff squash idea worked out this morning.
I bought this beautiful squash at the farmers market. It could have been a sugar pumpkin because of how sweet it was.
My idea was simply to stuff it like I had done a few years ago. But this time I was going to cook the grain inside the squash.

Stuffed Squash:
1 medium squash
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 diced onion
1 diced carrot
garlic, herbs and spices.

Cut a hole in the top of the squash like it's going to be carved for Halloween. Scoop out the guts.
Cut the onion, carrots and other vegetables.
Combine the broth, grain, herbs and spices, and vegetables and mix well. Pour inside the squash - hopefully you had a big enough cavity.
Bake the squash for 30 minutes at 400F. Open oven and move the filling around. At this point it will probably just be warm and you'll be thinking it was a bad idea.
If the outside of the squash is getting too brown, put a piece of tin foil over it.
Bake another 30 minutes, or longer, until the grain absorbs almost all the water.
Take it out of the oven and let it sit about 10-20 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve.

Out of the oven:
What's inside:
It's quinoa:

If yours turned out like mine, then you will have a nice fluffy quinoa filling with the softest squash ever. The squash was so soft it melted in my mouth.
This particular squash I bought was so sweet it almost didn't go well with the savory qunioa filling. While I was eattng it I had thoughts of going back in time and stuffing it with bits of apple and oatmeal.

Survey Says

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I like the cheap kind. I normally go for rice in cereal and soy in baking. I don't really have a favorite anymore.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Brussel sprouts with roasted chestnuts and caramelized onions
Black and White cookies
Muffins - I'll find out what type when I make it to the kitchen.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
melted EB and sun dried tomato powder, and fake parm

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
Trying to make marshmellows a few years ago and I blew my mixer and now it only has one speed, super fast.

5. Favorite pickled item?

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I write them on lose paper while I am making them, crossing things out, adding stuff, then I transfer it to a recipe card.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
We have a garbage disposal, it's just not installed. We need to hire an electrician.
The compost, I talked about that in a previous VeganMoFo.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
Potatoes, spinach and mangos. Maybe tomatoes.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Tuna melts. I still miss tuna. It's been 13 years and I still think about tuna fish sandwiches on little rolls with a bit of cheese on top and cooked in the toaster oven.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
PB zigzag from soy delicious or the cookie dough.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
Right now it's the bullet. It's replaced the use of the food processor.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
Vegan Vittles. It even has a burn on the front cover that just happens to match the metal coils on an electric stove!

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Strawberry freezer jam!

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Tofu spinach lasanga.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
I don't know. Seitan I suppose.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
I haven't been eating much lately, but I love to make breakfast. If only Mr. Bolsh would clean up after me.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
cereal boxes too big to go in the pantry, jugs for water.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Frozen "tropical" fruits, flax seeds, cashews.

20. What's on your grocery list?
apples, pears, greens, squash, cereal, soy milk, chocolate chips.

21. Favorite grocery store?
New Seasons!!!! It's the best store in the world.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
there are many I've tried, but failed - meringue, tuna melt, coconut cream pie.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
I just go through my google blog reader from the top down. Right now I am far behind. I do get really excited when I see Emilie made a new post.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
candy - swedish fish and chicosticks. and the truffles from trader joes.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
$5 MimicCream. When I saw what it was made out of I thought I could make it at home, but I wanted to try theirs.

26. Make up your own question to put here (and answer it).
What's your next kitchen project - non food?
After cutting the hole in the cabinet for the dish washer we can't yet afford, and putting up the new shelves for all the bulk items, the next main thing is the counters. I am planning on getting dark gray concrete. I want a bright red under counter mount sink, black/dark gray concrete counters with a little bit of sparkle. To the right of the stove I want a built in hot plate that is a bike chain ring. I want the edges of the slab (the vertical part) to be inset with little pieces of bike chain. to the left of the sink I want a built in drain board. The backsplash will be an aluminium tile and the floor will be a bright red marmolium. Maybe I should change the question, to "tell me about your long term kitchen goals." Then I would mention sanding and restaining the cabinet boxes, refacing the cabinets with a more modern angle. Under cabinet lighting, dishwasher, garbage diposal...I'm a designer - my house will never be done.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Soy Curls

Julie introduced me to Soy Curls over a year ago and I just got around to purchasing them. I've been using them all over the place and Mr. Bolsh has been a big fan. Too bad his camera hasn't been as appreciative of my food.

This soup contained lots of potatoes, and soy chicken. Very simple but hearty.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Poppyseed Persimmon Pears

I've been craving the persimmon and pear combination lately. I bought the persimmon, but forgot the pear. Now I just have to sit and stare at old photos and remember better times.

Friday, November 09, 2007


This VeganMoFo is brought to you by the letter A.

A - Allergies
A- Annoying
A- Awful
A - Advantages

I am a vegan with allergies. There are many of us. There are many vegetarians and omnis who say they can't go vegan because of their allergies. I love referring them to gluten free vegan blogs and vegan soy free recipes, because it's possible. There are so many foods out there that being allergic to even 100 common foods, leaves millions of other options available. On top of that, it fosters creative cooking - something I value more than anything in cooking.

As a kid I was often sick. I had what my mom called "Texas Crud" the green and yellow snot collecting in that troth below your nose and above your lip. My chest infections were constant. I received weekly allergy shots and dealt with asthma attacks. We moved to Salt Lake City when I was 8 and a new set of problems came into my life - hives, chest pains, and swollen joints.

I battled these annoyances for years. I was seeing 14 different doctors by the time I was 14 trying to figure out the source of all my pain. One of my mom's hippie friends suggested I do a spit test. Basically, I was to spit into a cottonball and send it to this lady in Denver who was going to tell me what was wrong with me. Sure, why not? It was cheaper than all the other doctors and medicine - only $20.

When that spit test came back she said I was allergic to yeast, brewers yeast, mushrooms, diary, and a few others. Hmm. This was a life change - I had to stop eating those 4 pieces of toast I had for breakfast every morning. I had to stop eating pizza - every teens' favorite food. This was about half my diet! After I cut the yeasts and fungi out of my life my symptoms dropped by 80%.

I had a difficult time cutting out the diary. Since I had cut out drinking glasses of milk long before, that was no problem, but the hidden ingredients were hard to let go of. I ignored the milk allergy, but I still had a few issues.

By the time I was 17 I embraced my feministic and environmental ways and became vegan. My sister taught me how to cook by saying, "combine things that taste good together." That's what I did and what I still try to do.
When I was finishing up collage I had all sorts of stomach pains from my workaholic, architecture student lifestyle. These lasted years and I just thought they were from stress. I had a food blood allergy test done and found I was allergic to many of the same things I was when I was tested younger: yeasts, mushrooms, diary. Added to that list were: avocados, bananas, peas, cranberries, walnuts, kidney beans, turnips, beets, alcohol...

If there was one thing architecture school taught me was that with restraint comes creativity. If you've got a plot of land that's steeply sloping and there's a giant boulder that can't be moved where you wanted the living room to be, what are you going to do? Use that huge boulder as an anchor of the house, figuratively and literally.

My food allergies have led me to create meals I wouldn't normally have.
When I could no longer eat my four pieces of toast a morning I switched to waffles. Tortillas became my typical sandwhich. I've come to eat them in many different ways, mainly folded in quarters but sometimes rolled and sliced. Bananas - there's always other baking binders and foods to grab while you're running out the door.
It took awhile to figure out in the beginning, but here I am now - proving that having food allergies doesn't have to prevent someone from becoming vegan.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

First tofu experience

I was 13 when I became vegetarian and didn't change my diet besides cutting out the meat. I stayed away from "vegetarian" items partly because I wasn't a shopper at that point, and partly because I didn't care. My older sister went vegetarian before I did and was at the age where she started experimenting with food beyond boxed mac and cheese.

One day my mom took us to the local "health food store." This was before whole foods became huge or you could buy soy milk at your local store. This health food store was about the size of a convient store and was packed to the brim with all sorts of faux meats. My sister picked up some tofu, because that's what vegetarians eat, right? I don't remember what I bought that first trip but I do remember fruit bars and some jerky. My mom probably found some interesting chip or other product she wanted us to try. (My mom still does this. She'll take us shopping and find some product she thinks is interesting, buy it for us, eat one, then give it back to us.)

Back to the tofu - so my sister bought tofu. When she prepared it at home we all took a pinch of the log. It reminded me of chicken fat. I wasn't interested. I think she crumbled it up and mixed it in this meal she use to make. She'd heat a grain like chickpeas with Italian salad dressing and cheese until warm. Then it was mixed with salad greens and stuffed inside a warm pita. It was so good, but the tofu couldn't be tasted.

So besides the thought of chicken fat, it was a decent first experience. It took me 8 years from then and 2 years of veganism before I bought my tofu to experiment.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I watched Ratatoulie a few weeks ago. I didn't know what it was and decided to replicate a cartoon dish without look at any recipes. This is what I came up with:

I thought it would be thinly sliced squash with the same sized round pasta cooked in a tomato sauce.

Sliced two different kinds of summer squash with dehydrated soy curls. I thought it would look pretty alternating them.
I sprinkled the rows of squash/soy curls with garlic and soy cheese.
I then filled in the gaps between rows with cooked round pasta and smothered it with pasta sauce, more garlic and soy cheese on top. I cooked it for about 20 minutes.
Served with fresh cracked pepper. It didn't look as great as I wanted it to when I put it on my fork, but it tasted great!

One thing I really enjoyed about the movie was this hard, tough as nails, food critic melting at the idea of being served a dish he grew up with. Food is so emotional and it brings up memories of all sorts - something that VeganMoFo is good for. I love the simple flavors of dishes - vegetables and herbs are my usual way to go. This cooked pasta dish was much better than the normal boiled pasta with wet sauce poured over. Baking the dish really helped absorb the flavors.

(One thing I didn't like about the movie was the female chef mentioning that it's hard for females to get ahead in the field unless they are with a male head chef. (I do like they addressed this issue in the movie.) Even with the character mentioning this, she still went ahead and hung herself on the arm of this rising male chef (who couldn't really cook).)

In other news: I've taken photos of waffles, risottos, rice, salads and random other foods which Mr. Bolsh's camera just isn't capable of taking photos of the awesomeness. I don't know if I can wait until the insurance money kicks in to replace my camera. What type of camera should I get? What do you have? What do you wish you had? I loved my Panasonic with the Lumix lens so I am thinking of getting, basically, the same camera.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

I made pumpkin pie last weekend using a Joy of Cooking recipe and using MimicCream to sub for the condensed milk and it worked! I also added 1 Tablespoon of corn starch because I didn't trust it.
Friends told me it was the best pumpkin pie they'd had, even though they weren't fans before. Without the eggs you can really enjoy the pumpkin.
Too bad the pie was eaten before good photos could be obtained. This will have to do:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Roaster Corn Salad and Veganomicon

Tonight I made a summer favorite - roasted corn salad with lots and lots of roasted garlic. I am so glad I made enough to take to work tomorrow.Since my copy of Veganomicon came in the mail today I thought I'd share some photos from testing awhile back:

White Bean Ailoi:
Smlove Pie:
Blueberry Brownies:
Buckwheat Noodle Soup:Flourintine:
Autumn Rolls:
Chickpea Cutlets:Biscotti:
Pound Cake:
Recipes I have also tested but can't seem to find the photos:
Butternut squash and pumpkin seed rice paper rolls
Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Curried Carrot Dip
White Bean Aioli
Cheatnut Pate
Creamy Kalamata Spread
Diner Home Fries
Tofu Floretine
Caesar Salad
Corn and Edamame-Sesame Salad
Lentil Salad
Maple Mustard Dressing
Sauteed Collards
Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes
Escarole with Capers and White Beans
Cornmeal-Masala Roasted Brussle Sprouts
Herb Scalloped Potatoes
Chickpea-Quinoa Pilaf
Tomato Couscous with Capers
Broiled Tofu
Chickpea Cutlets
Spinach-Noodle Kugel
Carmelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts
BBQ Black-eyed peal collard rolls
Tomato and roasted eggplant stew with chickpeas
Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits
Almond Quinoa Muffins
Chewy Chocolate Raspberry cookies
Terry's favorite almond cookie
Rumnog Pecan cookies
Almond Biscotti
Fudgey Wudgy Blueberry brownies
Berry coconut crisp
Heart shaped Galettes
Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes
Vanilla Pound cake
Coconut Lemon Bunt cake
Smlove pie
Lost coconut custard pie
And maybe a few more.

That should be enough to blow your mind right now. But if you could only cook one thing out of the cookbook. I say go for the brownies - they will change your world. But leave out the dried blueberries - dried fruit and nuts should stay out of brownies in my opinion.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Vegan MOFO and composting

I am starting late, but from here on out, I will be writing something about food everyday in this blog. Since my camera is working less and less, since my accident, I probably won't be posting many images.

This is about composting.

So maybe composting is not about eating food to you, but it is to me. It's about using all the nutrients within the food items I bought to nourish myself and my garden, thus, later, myself.

I started a new job this past week and I love how eco-aware the people are (though I am sure when the issue of eating animals comes up I will be annoyed.) We have a compost bucket in our kitchen at work and I think it's fantastic. Our office doesn't produce too much waste for compost, but enough tea bags, coffee grinds, banana peels, and apples cores to fill half of a 5 gallon bucket.
It may not be much, but if you think about my medium sized office filling 10 gallons of compostable material each month, 120 gallons a year, that's a good amount, though still small. It makes me feel great knowing that it may be a small step in the large scheme of things, but it's step - like veganism.

How many times have we heard people say that one person not eating meat won't make a difference? How about cutting meat out of one meal a week? Well, what if 10 people did this, 100 people...the little things do add up.

Our office compost bucket has left me to think about my composter dreams - yes I have a dream composter! The last house I lived in had 2 heap compost piles that produced compost slowly but surely. Since we bought our house last spring I've gone without and felt guilty about the apple cores, corn husks and pumpkin guts I throw out. I've been holding out for my dream tumbling composter to appear on craigslist for less than $100. I haven't seen it yet.

It's hard to believe we've owned this house for 6 months. That's 6 months of not composting kitchen scraps. If this was my office, that would be 60 gallons of uncomposted material - and I am sure it's been more than that in my kitchen!
This month, this Vegan Mo Fo, will buy a composter, tumbling or not!