Thursday, February 25, 2010

New blog, new site!

I'm moving the blog! I decided I needed a new look and wanted to purchase a real domain name for I Eat Veg.

From here on out, head on over to for lots of new recipes, much better photos and even the ability to search!

From the Categories drop down menu on the right, you can go right to what you're looking for too -- a specific type of recipe (dessert, soup, appetizer, etc.) and I've even got restaurant reviews grouped into general areas.

I already love it and I hope you will to. Come on over and comment to let me know what you think! (And remember to change your RSS feeds to the new address!)


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creamy Cheesecake from Magnolia Bakery in NY

This recipe comes from S.Y. who signed up for dessert for Season 1, Episode 1 of the cooking club recently. This cheesecake was SO good and was a little different from any cheesecake I've ever had. If you're a cheesecake fan definitely try it!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie with Graham Cracker Crust (from "More from Magnolia")

1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. chopped toasted pecans (to toast, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned and fragrant...recipe says 15 min, but that was too long, started to burn...i'd say 10)
1/4 c. unpacked light brown sugar

1 lb (2 8 oz packages) cream cheese, softened
1 c. confectioners sugar
1/4 c. sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pint strawberries, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
CRUST: In a medium size bowl, combine the butter with the graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and sugar. Press firmly into lightly buttered 9 inch glass pie dish. Place an a baking rack and back for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
FILLING: In a large bowl, on the low speed of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and continue to beat on low speed until well combined.

Refrigerate the filling while the crust is cooling. When the crust is completely cooled, spread the filling evenly in the crust with a rubber spatula. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top in a decorative manner.

Refrigerate the pie for at least 8 hours or overnight to ensure that the filling sets.

and that's it..easy as pie :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vegan baked ziti and sweet potato hummus!

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

3/4 pound uncooked ziti or penne (just realized I used the whole pound! Seemed to work out fine!)
2 onions thinly sliced (one of mine was huge, so I used 1 1/2)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 recipe Cashew Ricotta (see below)
1 Tbsp. browns sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
White pepper and cayenne (I probably used about 1/2 tsp each)
2 c. purred pumpkin or 1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/4 c. veg broth

Sage Bread Crumbs
2 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I threw about 5 slices of double protein wheat bread into the food processor.
Homemade bread crumbs are lighter and crispier! I threw in the walnuts to grind up at the same time)
1/3 c. walnut pieces (I put the whole 1/2 c. bag in there)
1/4 c. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. ground paprika
salt and pepper

Cashew Ricotta:
1/2 c. raw cashew pieces (about 4 oz)
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 pound firm tofu, drained and crumbled (I squeeze it in my hands over a strainer. Works great!)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt

I realize now Cashew Ricotta could totally be made ahead of time and refrigerated, if you want to cut down your preparation time on one day. Put cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic into food processor. Once creamy, add tofu, then basil and salt. I ended up adding another half lemon of juice to help get all the tofu blended in. But that shouldn't be a problem when you're not using the tiniest food processor on the planet. I think this filling would be great in lasagna too, or even on sandwiches, etc.

The rest:
Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9x13 pan with pam, etc.
1. Boil water for ziti, cook according to directions.
2. While water is boiling/ziti is cooking, thinly slice onions and cook until some of them are getting a little brown and caramelized. I used a great cast iron pot for this -- highly recommend if you have one. This will take about 15 min.
3. Put cashew ricotta in a bowl and fold in pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne and veg broth -- mix. Add cooked ziti and onions, stirring to coat pasta and evenly mix in onions.
4. Poor into 9x13 pan and spread out with spatula.

Bread crumb topping:
1. Melt margarine in a heavy-bottomed skillet (I used a saucepan...) over medium heat
2. Stir in bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs, paprika, salt and pepper.
3. Stir constantly until mixture is lightly coated, 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and sprinkle over ziti.

Bake for 28-30 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then dig in. Really easier than I thought it would be and really good. I love it even more the second day.

Sweet Potato Hummus
Makes 4 cups

* 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 can (19.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
* 1/4 cup tahini
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* Whole-wheat pita and crudites such as red pepper and broccoli (Note: It was really good with Wheat Thins -- but what isn't?)


1. Set a steamer basket in a large pot. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Add potatoes; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a food processor.
2. Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, oil, cumin, and garlic in the food processor. Puree, about 1 minute; thin with water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and let cool; refrigerate, in an airtight container, up to 1 week. Serve with pita and crudites.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Shallot Soup and Crusty No-Knead Bread

This also from Season 1, Episode one of the cooking club, made by the lovely G.P. I love ginger stuff, so it was especially delicious. We ate it alongside her no-knead bread - a recipe originally printed in the NY Times. Both were amazing!

Butternut Squash, Ginger, Shallot Soup
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup soup and 1 teaspoon chives)

4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large shallots, peeled and halved
1 (1/2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbsp. (1-inch) slices fresh chives
Cracked black pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a roasting pan or jelly-roll pan; toss well. Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes.

3. Place half of squash mixture and half of broth in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture and broth. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with chives and pepper, if desired.

*I used a food processor instead which was easier and worked well
*I doubled the entire recipe, using 1 large 3 lb squash and added extra ginger.

No-Knead Bread

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 c. all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ tsp. instant yeast
1¼ tsp. salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cooking Club Season 1, Episode 1

Some ladies and I have decided to get together roughly once a month, each of us bringing a different course, sharing the recipes, learning some new things. Among the group are people who eat meat, don't eat meat, don't do dairy -- lots of diets to take into account. I'm not sure how they all will pan out, but Episode 1 was all vegan and vegetarian, which works for me!

I tackled the vegan entree of Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta and Sage Crumb Topping, straight from the Veganomicon cookbook. Other deliciousness was squash/ginger/shallot soup, homemade bread, cheesecake, sweet potato hummus and the first recipe I'll share:

Kale with Peanut Dressing, with instructions by A.A.

1 head of kale
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
A few dashes hot sauce or sriracha, depending on how spicy you like it
Ginger, fresh or powder (optional)
Garlic, fresh or powder (optional)
Agave or honey (optional)
Sesame seeds to garnish (optional)
Red onions to garnish (optional)

I put on a pot of boiling water, and while I wait for it to boil I
make my peanut sauce. You may already have a peanut sauce recipe you
love, so feel free to run with that. Mine is a mix of peanut butter,
soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and water. I don't really measure,
so the measurements above are really general. I usually heat a blob of
peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds. Then pour a little soy
sauce and stir. Then add the rice vinegar and hot sauce, stir again,
taste, adjust, then add a little water to thin it all out. (Sometimes
I'll add those optional ingredients above, but when I'm doing it
quickly, I leave them out.)

Now your water's boiling. Remove all the leaves from the kale stems
and then blanch the leaves in the boiling water for about 1.5-2
minutes, until soft.

Next, put it in an ice bath or run it quickly
under cold water to stop it from cooking further, and to keep it
green. Now you want to get the water out of it so it will soak up the
dressing. You can squeeze it with your hands (this will bunch it up,
but you can separate it again) or dab it with a clean kitchen towel.
Then mix it with the peanut dressing you've made. You can eat it right
away, but I actually like to refrigerate mine a little first.

The kale cooks down a lot, so a whole head of kale really makes about
2 portions.

This was delicious! AA confessed she put a ton of sriracha in it, but that's just fine with me. So good! I can't wait to try this on things other than kale too, as I've been on the hunt for the perfect peanut sauce.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mushroom Tarts

I found myself with a few random ingredients and decided to make something out of them a couple of weeks ago when some friends were coming over to watch the Golden Globes. You won't see any specific amounts here, since I was just winging it. I'm sure all kinds of stuff would be good added to these, but this is a good starting off point for variations...

I used almost 2 pkgs of crescent roll sheets -- basically the ones without the perforations. I sprayed muffin pans with Pam, then cut squares of the dough and pushed them into the cups. Some covered the whole cup, some didn't -- it didn't really matter in the end.

1 pkg sliced baby bella mushrooms,
onion and/or shallot
minced garlic
fresh herbs: thyme, sage
Italian bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese (you could easily substitute veggie cheese(s) here!)
salt and pepper

1. First, I sauteed the onion and garlic in a little olive oil, then added the chopped sage and thyme, salt and pepper.

2. Chopped and sauteed almost the whole package of mushrooms -- in the end I could have used more filling, so I should have used the whole thing.

3. After they were all soft and sauteed, I added just a little bit of shredded Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkling of bread crumbs to bind everything together.

4. I divided the filling into the cups, remembering that the dough would puff up a bit upon cooking. I sprinkled extra cheese on top of about half of them, knowing half of the people eating them don't love a lot of cheese.

5. I baked them according to a recipe on the side of the roll canister -- about 10 minutes at 350 degrees or so. I just kept an eye on them until the dough started to brown a little.

I realize this is all a little vague, but that's what's good about cooking sometimes -- it doesn't have to be exact. Everyone loved them, so I guess winging it sometimes works!

See the happy faces!!

I think if Scott was alone, he would have rolled around in them. He smacked my hand away when I tried to enjoy one of my own creations.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pumpkin Soup!

I decided this weekend that I needed to make soup. Maybe because I was fighting a cold yet again, but it's cold, soup is hot -- and there you have it.

I stole my sister's soup cookbook and saw MANY that I will definitely try (um... ginger leek soup, anyone?). Then I remembered that I have three cans of pumpkin puree in my pantry from Thanksgiving. Since I first started going to my squeeze's family Thanksgiving in Champaign, Ill., three years ago, I have been the designated pumpkin-pie-maker.

Due to work and some unforeseen circumstances, our trip was axed the morning we were supposed to leave, and the pies never got made (by me, anyway). I didn't know if pumpkin soup existed, but certainly there is butternut squash soup, and it's practically the same thing, right?

A quick Google search and I was happy with one of the first I found. A good friend just got out of the hospital after a wicked Penicillin reaction during dental surgery (talk about kicking someone while they're down), so I decided to double the batch. Holy hell did it make a lot of soup. Around 20 cups to be exact. That had to be pureed one at a time. That is how said squeeze, me, our two guests, recently-sprung-from-the-hospital-friend (and likely her husband) and yet another sick friend got dinner last night. Buyza Soup Kitchen was born.

Without further ado, here is the recipe (a single batch version, which has 7-10 servings). I'll list the recipe as I found it, then tell you what I added to it at the end. My guess is, you could throw about anything in this soup and it would be delicious.

6 c. vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. pumpkin puree
chopped fresh parsley
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 c. whipping cream
5 whole peppercorns

1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorns in a pot. (I think next time I will probably saute the onions and garlic in a bit of oil and then add everything else...).

2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.

3. Puree the soup (I went with a blender) in small batches - 1 cup at a time (toward then end of my 4,000 cups, I was doing 2 or 3 at a time, but I do think some chunks got through). Some of the people who reviewed the recipe online said they did it right in the pot with a hand mixer too.

4. Return to pan and bring to a boil again.Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes uncovered.

5. Stir in heavy cream. After I made the soup, I realized coconut milk would probably be DELICIOUS in this - and make it vegan. I think I'll try it next time just to see.

6. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

NOW for the additions, I made....

I put in extra salt and pepper -- my guess is, if you don't have the peppercorns, obviously you can just use ground pepper.

I also added touches of garlic powder, cinnamon and ginger powder. I think next time I might add some curry too and see how that goes!

The thyme I bought also came with sage, so I put a bunch of that in, not to mention far more thyme than the recipe asked for.

I served it with some French bread -- a good crusty baguette would actually be great with this though.

I just ate it for dinner AGAIN and, after a day to hang out, it's definitely a little spicier than it was last night, but still really good.

For some reason, the idea of making the effort to puree a soup always turned me off from doing it. I am no longer afraid (even 20 cups later). I'm so glad my laziness didn't stop me from discovering this soup!