Monday, August 31, 2009

Melissa's Squash, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup with Pesto Mashed Potatoes and Tempeh

We got home late, after 9:30p, so I wanted to get dinner together quickly tonight. I never used to eat a lot of soups, but ever since we found this local person who makes great soups, I've been enjoying soup more often. Tonight, I used the second soup variety that she made this week,
Squash, Corn, and Lemongrass Soup. I made some mashed potatoes with my homemade pesto mixed in, and also served some tempeh.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Melissa's Tomato-Miso Soup

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rendang Vegetables with Ramen Noodles and Tempeh

As I described this past May, "there is a line of convenient Indian (and Thai, I believe) foods by a company called Tasty Byte; the ingredients are good and don't include all sorts of strange sounding chemicals, and they just require boiling for a few minutes within the foil bag the food comes in." Their foods don't even require refrigeration (till you open the packet).

Tonight, we were planning on going to see the film Gone with the Wind outdoors and had little time to prepare a meal. (It turned out that rain came and postponed the film!) I took advantage of having a few of these yummy packets of food, including Tasty Byte's Rendang Vegetables, which is what I served. I simply sauteed some tempeh and served atop ramen noodles.

The vegetables were good! They definitely needed to be accompanied with something like tempeh or seitan, as well as rice or noodles.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Potatoes, Zucchini, and Corn with Pesto; Crusty Bread with Hummus

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Melissa's Spicy Tomato Soup with Smoked Tempeh and Potatoes O'Brien

I so love Melissa's cauliflower soup; tonight, we had her spicy tomato soup which included a mild dose of "harissa I found at my favorite
Middle Eastern food emporium, Sahadi's, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn" during her recent vacation. I also cooked smoked tempeh and Potatoes O'Brien.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thai Seitan-Portabello-Rice Noodle Saute with Homemade Pesto

Yesterday, I had purchased a quarter pound of fresh locally-grown basil. After dinner, I got to work making some pesto. I simply used an electric spice chopper/grinder and, in batches, ground down the basil and some olive oil. I would have liked to have added garlic, but was out - so I used roasted garlic juice. I also added some walnuts, salt, and vegan Parm! "Parmesan cheese". The pesto ended up not being as smooth as when I make it in a food processor, but cleanup of the chopper was much easier than it would have been for the food processor.

I intend to make a number of dishes with pesto soon, starting tonight. I was thinking of making a pesto pasta, but then though that Thai food often is served with basil ... we love Thai rice noodles ... hmm.... So I started a saute not with onion, as I usually do, but with a box of seitan, chopped into large pieces (maybe 1 1/2" rectangles that were 1/2" - 3/4" thick).

I let the seitan get well cooked over medium high till it was medium brown, perhaps six minutes or so. Then, I added about a teaspoon of chopped ginger, about a third of a very hot banana pepper (cut into very large chunks so as to flavor the dish but be easily left out at the plate), and two portabello mushrooms, cut in half then in perhaps 3/4" slices. I cooked a few more minutes, then added a quarter purple onion, cut into half moons, and a full red bell pepper, cut into thick slices. I cooked just a few more minutes, letting the onion clarify a bit.

I had been soaking a handful of rice noodles in hot tap water for perhaps 10 minutes. I drained the noodles and mixed them in to the vegetables and seitan, mixing well. After two minutes or so, I reduced the heat and added two tablespoons or so of the pesto, and just let it cook, stirring, another minute or so, then served.

The cauliflower soup that we had yesterday was so excellent, that I thought of it several times since last night. There was enough left for two small servings, and that, along with some spinach and a large piece of Meyer lemon (for the spinach and the saute) accompanied the saute.

We loved dinner! It was one of my tastiest in a while. It turned out the granular nature of the pesto worked very well with this Thai dish. There were no leftovers!

Melissa's Cauliflower Soup with Arugula and Basil Oil with Vegan Apple-Sage Sausage and Lemon Rosemary Bread

The woman who sells soup locally, Melissa, had a week or so off to visit New York. She was inspired by a few places that she ate on this trip - what a nice benefit for her patrons, especially since she already has a high standard! This week, I picked up her cauliflower soup garnished with fresh arugula and basil oil ("I had a bowl of this delicious soup on the terrace cafe at MoMA,
and I hope to recreate it for all of you!"), and her spicy tomato soup ("only ... mildly spiced with Harissa I found at my favorite Middle Eastern food emporium, Sahadi's, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn").

For dinner, I heated her cauliflower soup and, as per her direction, sprinkled some of the lovely basil oil atop, as well as the arugula. I also cooked in a little oil in my cast iron pan a vegan Field Roast Grain Meat Company apple-sage artisanal sausage. Finally, I picked up some lemon rosemary bread, one of our favorites, today, and served a large chunk with Earth Balance vegan margarine. The soup was great, and we enjoyed the whole meal!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Melissa's Cauliflower Soup garnished with fresh aragula and basil oil, Lemon-Rosemary Bread, Vegan Apple Sage Sausage

We have a woman in town named Melissa who makes amazing soups for sale each week. She was away recently in New York City and enjoyed a cauliflower soup garnished with fresh aragula and basil oil at the cafe of the Museum of Modern Art. She tried to recreate it for us; I don't know what MoMA's soup tasted like, but I loved this batch, including freshly made basil oil, to be perhaps the best soup that Melissa has ever made. Wow!!

I prepared a bowl of this soup, topped with the oil and aragula that were provided. We picked up one of my favorite breads from Weaver Street Market today, lemon-rosemary sourdough, and I served a warmed slice with Earth Balance margarine, as well. A grilled Field Roast Grain Meat Company's apple-sage artisanal vegan sausage with mustard over greens completed today's meal.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gnocchi and Asparagus

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swiss Chard - Zucchini - Smoked Tempeh Saute

I had a small round zucchini that we had picked up at a farmer's market, as well as some Swiss Chard that I wanted to use. I started sauteeing over medium heat in extra virgin olive oil a medium red onion that I had chopped into 1/4" or so cubes. As the onion cleared in color a bit, maybe after 2 or 3 minutes, I added most of a package of smoked tempeh, cut into 1/2" lengths.

After a few minutes, when the tempeh was on its way to being gently browned, I added 1/2" slices of the stalks of the chard. A few minutes later, with the tempeh gently brown, I added the zucchini, cut into 1/4" or slightly larger cubes, as well as the chard leaves, simply sliced across into 3/4" strips. I cooked just another few minutes, then sprayed some roasted garlic juice (I've come to really like the flavor and convenience of this product that I just recently bought for the first time) onto the vegetables and sprinkled a little bit of dried dill weed.

I served with some lemony quinoa (I actually purchased this, but it would have been easy to cook quinoa in a 1:2 ratio with water, and mix in lemon and vegetables). Tomato and parsnips rounded out the meal.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thai Rice Noodles with Corn and Breadsticks

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Breaded Eggplant

Monday, August 10, 2009


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Grilled Eggplant with Seitan, Lemon Cucumber

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Mafaldine Pasta with Mushroom and Wine Sauce and Vegan Savory Mushroom Meatballs

We have had my wife's lovely niece from Wisconsin visiting since last weekend. She's a vegetarian, aspiring to be vegan, and is a model 16-year-old - just delightful to be around. She is helping to take care of our daughter and seems to be having a great time!

Tonight, I tried cooking Mafaldine (also known as Riccia or Reginette) pasta, a flat ribbon pasta about a half inch wide with one or two rippled edges. It was named in honor of Princess Mafalda of Savoy, according to wikipedia. I had purchased an imported pasta package, Il Vecchio Pastificio di Gragnano 'e Mafaldine. Preparing this semolina wheat pasta simply took nine minutes of boiling.

I also purchased a sauce new to me from Bove's of Vermont, their Mushroom and Wine sauce. It was an excellent sauce! I heated it slowly, adding about half of a bell pepper cut into 1/4" cubes, a few teaspoonfuls of crushed red pepper, a bit of salt, some quartered olives, and Nate's Savory Mushroom vegan "meatballs". (Since the "meatballs" are derived from soy which, other than fermented soy products, my wife avoids, I served her pasta with tempeh mixed in to the sauce instead.) As the pasta neared completion, I added to the sauce in its remaining two or so minutes of simmering maybe 1/4 teaspoonful of fresh oregano leaves from my garden, and 8-10 squirts of roasted garlic juice spray, which is another new product for me (I picked it up last week).

Dinner was rounded out with a poppy seed bagle half and some cucumber. Everybody liked dinner!

Speaking of cucumber, I often use fresh ground black pepper in my cooking, but several months ago, my grinder stopped working. I finally got a new one very recently - it's so good to have my fresh black pepper again!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Asparagus-Fingerling Potato Saute, Potstickers

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Tacos, Vegan Meatballs, Potatoes O'Brien

My wife was away for part of this weekend, so I enjoyed some tacos, which she doesn't generally like.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese, Broccoli