Monday, December 1, 2008

I enjoyed turkey for Thanskgiving!

OK, not turkey. Turk'y. I have a vegan co-worker who bought the Quorn turkey roast from the "vegan" section of the grocery store, only to find out it has egg whites in it.

SO, she handed it off to me, a non-vegan, to test it out.
Quorn products aren't made of soy, or even vegetable protein. They're made of mycoprotein, a protein-packed fungi.

Nobody can explain it as well as the company can, so if you're interested in learning more, check out this info page of its Web site.

I pierced the wrapping, as instructed and baked it in a toaster oven for 30 minutes. After letting it cool for a few minutes, I unwrapped it and sliced it and found the most meat-like non-meat I have ever seen, tasted or been able to convince meat eaters to try.

I don't necessarily love eating "fake" meat, but I really couldn't believe it. It had a similar texture and was even dry like white turkey meat. While I think it would be amazing in sandwiches and other dishes, I sliced it up, got out the mustard and went to town.

I'm officially a convert -- now I just have to find a store that sells it, which shouldn't be too hard, because you can search by zip code on the Web site, which also has recipes and more.

Thanks, Mary!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Help Sugar Kisses!

Vegan-friendly Royal Oak bakery Sugar Kisses learned a few weeks ago that their building has been sold and they must move by the end of the year or close up shop, after 5 1/2 years at their Washington Avenue location.

In general, this would be a challenge, not to mention that bakeries often make the most profit at holiday time, so this makes the move especially hard to complete while hoping to keep the doors open.

And, they need some help! There are three ways we can help them:

1. Give them your business! They have a packed menu full of breakfast stuff (Scones, coffee cakes, etc.), cookies and cupcakes, candy, granola bars and much more. They have vegan and gluten free items. They also have a light lunch menu of soups and more and serve fair trade organic coffee.

2. Buy gift certificates -- you can purchase gift certificates to give as holiday gifts. Them getting the money up front will help them with the move.

3. Donate! They have PayPal set up on their Web site if you just want to give them a few bucks to help.

You can check out their menu, buy gift certificates or donate by going to their About section on their Web site.

And pass it on!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Coffee Mug Chocolate Cake!

Ok, so this post is just for fun. Gooey, (not vegan) chocolate cake fun. A friend e-mailed this recipe to me and I knew it was something Claire would love.

Even though I told her Sally e-mailed me the directions, she said, "You should get a job cooking. You love cooking, right?" After she finally tasted the gooey mess, she said, "Now you really should get a job cooking."

Step 1. Get a large mug and spray it with cooking spray.

Step 2. Measure 4 Tbsp. flour and 9 Tbsp. hot cocoa mix into mug

Step 3. Crack an egg into the mug and mix as best you can.

Step 4. Add 3 Tbsp. water and 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Mix thoroughly until all dry ingredients are wet. Be sure to scrape the bottom to get all the flour and cocoa!

(Here we added some marshmallows and mini chocolate chips, but they all melted during the "baking." But, they were still melty and good.)

Step 5. Microwave on high for 3 minutes*. During microwaving, the cylinder of cake will rise out of the mug. As soon as the microwave stops, it will slink back into the cup.

* I looked at it and the top looked all sticky and wet so I thought it wasn't done and put it in for another minute. Four minutes was fine/didn't overcook it, but it still was wet looking after 4 minutes but was thoroughly cooked. I think 3 would have been fine.

Step 6. Turn over cup and tap until the cake falls out onto the plate. It will be extremely hot -- look at the steam! (And the bits of flour I didn't get quite mixed in.)

Step 7. Add any toppings, frosting, etc. you might like. We went for more marshmallows, chocolate chips and some chocolate sauce.

Step 8. Enjoy! Claire (and dad) tell me it was delicious.

Since I don't like chocolate, I decided to make one out of my Ghiradelli white chocolate hot chocolate. Having never had white chocolate cake, I have nothing too compare it to, but it was a pretty good little treat!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Indian Pot Pie and Mango Chutney

My co-worker Christa is a wealth of information about and creator of delicious, amazing food. The problem? She's so talented she often "wings it" and doesn't have an exact recipe. This always works out well for my taste buds but proves a bit more challenging when it comes to replicating one of her creations.

Here's a "recipe" for her mango chutney, along with a "recipe" of my own for my new "Indian Pot Pie" -- which I made up after craving samosas when Christa brought a similar tasting dish to work, along with her amazing chutney.

Christa's Mango Chutney

green pepper
red pepper
scotch bonnet hot peppers
jalapeno pepper
1 whole pineapple
2 whole mangoes
Looza pineapple juice
1-2 lemons or limes + the zest of 1 lemon or lime
hot sauce
chili powder

1. Finely, finely, finely dice garlic, onions, sweet and hot peppers and saute while chopping up pineapples and mangoes.

2. Add fruit and any juice you've got on your chopping board, then add some of your Looza pineapple juice (she likes that brand because it's pulpy and good).

3. Add lemon/lime juice and zest and add pineapple juice as you go along as needed.

4. Add honey and hot sauce. She likes to use jerk hot sauce for its spices. If you are using regular hot sauce, you may want to add some cinnamon, nutmeg and/or coriander to the pot.

5. Add some salt, pepper, curry powder and chili powder to taste.

All of these ingredients are to taste, so sample your chutney as you go along and add what you think it needs. Cook it down until the fruit is broken down and its somewhat gelatinous.

Indian Pot Pie
3-4 redskin potatoes, peeled and diced (small!)
1/2 lg. white onion, finely diced
1/2 packet of yellow curry paste (comes in plastic packet in a box in the Thai section of the store)
frozen peas
15 oz. can of coconut milk
2 pie crusts (if using store bought, use the kind that are rolled up in a box so you can use in a bigger dish than a pie plate)

1. Saute potatoes in a bit of oil, then add onion. When it's sticking too much and annoying, add coconut milk (remember to shake the can before you open it!)

2. Add about half the packet of yellow curry paste, which I imagine is 1-2 Tbsp. (Notice my freezer bag in the background to collect all my scraps for my next pot of veggie stock!)

(And yes, that's a monkey veggie peeler. You should be jealous)

3. After this cooks down for a while and is pretty thick and the potatoes and onions are soft, add frozen peas. Eyeball it. I put in 1/2-3/4 of a small box of frozen peas.

4. Use your own homemade dough or biscuits, OR store bought cannister biscuits or pie crust at this point. The first time I made these, I used Pillsbury Grand's biscuits and made individual pockets that baked up all puffy and delicious.

In the interest of time, the second time I made this, I took a 2-back of rolled up pie crusts, put one in the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 9 square glass pan, poured in the filling, the put the other crust on top and crimped the sides together.

5. Bake until the crust looks golden brown.

6. Serve with mango chutney (don't have any pics of the chutney!).

7. Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

October is Vegetarian Awarness Month

October 1 is World Vegetarian Day and kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month.

In honor of that, a local hospital has offer Five Tips for a Vegetarian Diet, which, if nothing else, can give you a little insight into what eating more of a plant-based diet can do for you and your body, even if you're not vegetarian or vegan.

A good resources is a Web site called, where you can get a free vegetarian start kit.

I, personally, subscribe to Vegetarian Times, where I have learned a lot and have dozens of amazing recipes at my fingertips..

(I recently tested VT's African Chickpea and Spinach Soup and it was AMAZING.

And, if I haven't mentioned it before, check out VegMichigan.

I volunteer as editor of VegMichigan's monthly newsletter and monthly news updates. It's a great resource for information and vegetarian or vegan events, potlucks, information and more, including the annual MeatOut which, at the local level anyway, has been renamed VegFest and is scheduled to be at Ferndale High School in April.

OK, I think I've inundated you with far too many links, so I'll leave it at that. If you ever know of any vegetarian-friendly news or events, feel free to post here or let me know!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's a vegan to do?

My co-worker and regular recipe tester Mary T. recently found herself at a wedding where she had requested a vegan meal. She couldn't believe it when they showed up with a pile of cantaloupe and a pile of tabbouleh.

Per the waiter's instruction, she mixed it together and dove in. Sound crazy? I agree.

But Mary swears that it's now a favorite of her and her husband, Matt, who's not even vegetarian, let alone vegan.

On a recently night they filled a giant pasta bowl of the mixture and killed it, with the help of some pita bread.

I've never been much of a picky eater so I'm willing to give it a try! I mean, I've grown to love strawberry jelly on grilled cheese, so why not give this a shot, right?

If you try it, let me know what you think! On that note, if you try any of the recipes I post here, I would love to hear your comments on what you think of them.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

African Chickpea and Spinach Soup

I have been subscribing to Vegetarian Times for almost two years now and, sadly, have yet to make a single recipe from any issue.

That is, until tonight. I've been saving my soon-to-spoil herbs, stalks, peels and more for a few weeks and decided it was time to make some veggie broth -- if for no other reason than the refrigerator at the new house is teeny so it was fighting veggie burgers and ice cube trays for space.

I filled a pot with my two gallon-sized Ziploc bags full of vegetable scraps and let it simmer for about five hours, then let it cool for another hour or so. It made almost 20 cups of broth! Most of it is in plastic bags in the freezer...

Out of three contenders I was deciding between, I realized I had 95 percent of the ingredients for the African Chickpea and Spinach Soup from the March 2007 issue so that's what won. That and the fact that it sounded goooood.

I just finished making it and -- holy cow -- did I choose wisely. A brief taste test is all I have experienced, but it's really good. In a way that's a little unexpected. One of those recipes that just works, but you can't figure out what your favorite part is. It almost doesn't make sense, but that's OK -- it's delicious nonsense.

Here it is:

2 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1 c.)
1 clove minced garlic -- about 1 tsp (I used 2 because I love garlic)
1/4 c. smooth natural peanut butter (I only had Jiff, which seems to have worked fine)
2 c. low sodium vegetable broth (or no sodium, if you make your own)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I added a touch more for extra kick)
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 14 oz. an of diced tomatoes
2 oz. spinach chopped (about 2 c.)

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute 5 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more, or until garlic is lightly browned.

2. Blend peanut butter and 1/2 c. broth in food processor to make smooth paste. (Note: I don't see how this could be a paste. Maybe with natural peanut butter? It made peanut butter liquid for me, which seems to have turned out fine. Maybe it's because I just used a whisk instead of putting it in a food processor.) Blend in remaining 1 1/2 c. of broth.

3. Add paprika, coriander and cayenne into onion mixture and saute about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in peanut butter mixture, chickpeas and tomatoes.

4. Simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in spinach just before serving. (Although I don't intend to eat it until tomorrow, I chopped up about 1/2 a bag of spinach and added it. I'm guessing it will hold up just fine until tomorrow).

According to Veg Times, per serving:
257 calories
11 grams protein
13 grams total fat (2 g. saturated fat)
28 grams carbohydrates
581 milligrams sodium
9 grams fiber
9 grams sugar

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guest Post: Chilaquiles

We've got a guest post from former Royal Oakian and new Torontan Tara Dziurman, who made chilaquiles (or a version of them she came across) last weekend and has morphed it into brunches and other meals she's continued to eat daily since.

Thanks for Tara for sharing! I can't wait to make it.

So I think there are a variety of different kinds of chilaquiles, but the one I made is like a Mexican lasagna. I made some improvisations to the recipe I found (some because I wanted to, some because Canadian grocery stores aren't quite up to par with what's available in Detroit).

This is what I ended up doing:
Half of a large onion (diced)
1 Large zucchini (diced)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 can sliced jalapenos (then chopped)
2 cans enchilada sauce (regular sized - 10 oz??)
Shredded cheddar cheese (I used a cheddar / mozzarella mix because it was cheaper)
12 Corn tortillas - quartered (Canadian grocery stores don't carry corn tortillas so I used multi-grain tortillas meant for wraps. I figured the texture was closer than flour tortillas. Also the package had 8 so I used 8 and it was fine)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion in a pan, once browned add zucchini, tomatoes, beans, cumin and jalapenos. (recipe actually called for corn and I substituted it with jalapenos because I like spice, the fresh corn was crap, and I didn't feel like dealing with the frozen stuff). Cook for about 3 minutes.
Take a baking dish (I used 8 x 8, but the recipe called for 13 x 9. My chilaquiles just came out really deep) and line it with some (half?) of the quartered tortillas.

Spoon in half the veggie mixture, pour on half the enchilada sauce and sprinkle as much cheese (cheese substitute?) as you want.

Then layer with the rest of the tortillas, then the veggie mixture, then the rest of the sauce. I made my two tortilla layers rather thin so I added a layer at the top with what was left of the tortillas.

Then sprinkled cheese on top of that. I think this made it sit better, so when you cut squares they were more apt to stay in tact.
Pop into oven covered in foil for 15 min. Then remove the foil and cook for another 10 min so the cheese can get bubbly.
I cutup avocado slices to have on the side, which was yum-o!
Next day scrambled some eggs, and made it into brunch.
It was so easy to make this and I love how you can use whatever veggies you want but provides a Mexican craving fix. There really aren't any Mexican restaurants in Toronto, can you believe that?!

- Tara

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I promise...

Not to post something every time I notice something new growing. But overnight, five new tomatoes cropped up as well as my first pepper! It's very exciting. You have to admit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Isn't it exciting?!?!?!

I planted my tomato, onion and green pepper plants just a few weeks ago and am not supposed to see any fruits of my labor until about Labor Day.

Look what just arrived -- my first ever tomato! I can't help it. I'm excited. Oh, it will be delicious. Delicious, tomato-growing victory.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Give my regards to Broadway

For weeks I've noticed this small, gray-brick, square building, on Woodward Heights near 9 Mile. It always seemed closed or empty, so I've never stopped. But with the only thing nearby being a boarded up gas station, it's simple yet modern feel jumps at you from the street.

One day, on a quest for an extremely late brunch during our Stay-cation we saw a chalk board outside, proclaiming that Pete's Place: The Broadway Cafe "Now open at 9:00."

I decided to stop and pick up a to-go menu and ultimately we decided this was our destination for the afternoon.

With Broadway tunes blaring and play posters lining the walls, there's no question where Pete's gets its name. The clean lines, white and silver decor and fresh flowers reminded me of a place where I once ate in Hell's Kitchen in NYC, although it was about 1/5 of the size.

Since I had breakfast on the brain, I went to that section of the large, one-page menu. There are egg platters and omelets galore, including one with broccoli, portabello mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.

But then... I found the real prize -- asparagus Benedict. Daniel can attest to the fact that I love, love, love, love Hollandaise sauce. Just about every time we have asparagus for dinner, it's drenched in the thick, lemony, buttery sauce that's oh-so-bad-for-you, but tastes oh-so-good.

Now that I'm not a meat-eater, I miss the good ol' days of ordering Eggs Benedict, complete with a slathering of sauce (although I never much cared for ham even when I ate meat).

To find asparagus Benedict -- it just made sense. Why had I never thought of it before? I ordered it, and waited. I tried to determine which play each song was from to pass the time. (Although I've seen several Broadway plays, I did poorly at this exercise).

Then the waitress rounded the corner from the open kitchen window and set down..... an omelet. An asparagus and brie omelet. Don't get me wrong -- this would have been what I ordered next time. The waitress mumbled something about the cook hearing her wrong and said, "Let me know if it's not OK." And walked away. It was kind of an odd exchange, but I love asparagus and I love Brie, so I went to town.

About half-way through, the cook (who is possibly owner Peter Mel) stopped out to apologize and I said it was fine. The omelet was very rich, even though I do love Brie. It was good.

They were out of parsley potatoes, but I hope to try those next time too.

"Act I" selections range from about $5 to $8 depending on what you're getting.

The "Auditions" portion of the menu -- appetizers -- includes everything from soups and salads, to sauteed artichokes over spinach, a Brie and fruit plate and guacamole and chips.

Dan got his meal from the lunch portion of the menu -- "Act II" -- considering he doesn't eat eggs and there weren't any options other than French toast that don't have eggs as a main ingredient. (Note: French toast can come plain, with blueberry compote or a caramelized pecan sauce. Sounds like dessert, but it still might be worth sampling).

This section of the menu includes sandwiches, a burger and several paninis, only two of which don't involve meet. He opted for the portabella one, which comes with arugula, tomato, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette (he went sans cheese). The other veg option basically omits the mushroom.

Act II prices are all in the $6 to $7 range.

Pete's also an interesting mix of items available for dinner -- "Act III." There are several different types of pasta, including one with broccoli and pine nuts, another with fresh vegetables and pesto and ravioli. Wheat and gluten free pastas are available.

Other options, for the meat eaters in your life, including prime rib, salmon, classic chicken picatta (an old favorite from my meat-eating days), fish and chips, lemon garlic shrimp linguini and chicken Marsala. The most expensive thing is the salmon, which is $12.95.

They have several non-alcoholic drink options under the "Take Five" section, including Starbucks bottled Frappuccino, fresh lemonade and sun tea when available and your regular sodas and the like. Bring along your own bottle of wine -- but there's a $5 uncorking fee.

And, what Broadway show wouldn't be complete without the finale? Desserts include molten volcanic chocolate cake, Bloomfield Canopy Cheese Cake with blueberry compote, slices of fresh baked pie, and fresh grilled pineapple with ice cream and hot rum sauce (um...I need to go back there stat). Desserts are about $3 to $5. Add a scoop of ice cream for an additional $1.25.

Pete's Place, 1225 Woodward Heights in Ferndale, seems to have just launched its Web site, which didn't exist yet when we visited. You can check everything Pete's has to offer HERE.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Herbs and veggies

While I, personally, am tired of the rain, my pot of herbs are soaking it up and loving it. A few weeks back I bought rosemary, garlic chives, sweet basil and cilantro at the Rochester Farmer's Market and Dan picked me up a giant pot to plant them in. I threw in a couple of leftover purple pansies for color too.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't help but swing into Home Depot when I was driving past its Garden Center. We don't really have a place to have a vegetable garden at our rental house, so I decided I wanted to crowd our front stoop a little more with some vegetable pots. In the interest of space, I decided to go with only two though I was tempted to buy one of every kind of veggie Home Depot had. I got a "hearty cherry tomato" plant and a green pepper plant.

The nice man inside told me how much space each plant needs, so that helped to confirm my choice to buy only two. One thing I never would have done on my own (I've never before grown vegetables) was to plant the majority of the tomato plant under the dirt -- leaves and stem included. Apparently, if you do that, any leaves/branches that are planted underground turn into roots and it all leads to bigger fruit/vegetables. So, that's just what I did.

A couple of days after that, I stopped my the rickety old fruit and veg stand by my sister's place in Milford and they had onion starters. I really, really like onions. So, I had to go for it. The only problem was, I didn't have any large pots left. So I planted a couple of the miniature onions on the outskirts of both the green pepper pot (the one on the left) and the tomato pot, and a couple in the small pot to the right of the big ones. I think that will stunt the onions' growth and probably leave them looking more like shallots, but oh, well. At 99 cents a pound, I'd say the 13 cents i paid for about 2 dozen starters was worth taking a shot at it.

So far I've used some of the rosemary in some dish I made, I used the cilantro in our black bean tacos last night, and I've made a couple of Caprese salads with the basil. The other night I made asparagus with hollandaise sauce and just to try something new, I chopped up a little of the garlic chives and a little of the rosemary, and sprinkled half of my plate of asparagus with each. I thought there would be a clear winner, but both were delicious and didn't take away from the sauce itself, which I was concerned about because I love it (I could drink it. It's sad, really).

I keep meaning to cut up the herbs to throw on a salad or on toasted buttered bread for dinner, but haven't remembered once. We're having a salad bar at work this week, so maybe I'll remember for that.

And even though I won't have tomatoes or peppers or onions until, oh, Labor Day, (if I'm successful at all) it's exciting to try my hand at this. Some day I hope to have a giant garden in the backyard of a future home, so I guess until then I'll just keep trying stuff and practicing.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mediterranean heaven

So, Daniel and I have a new favorite place to eat. It's called Anita's Kitchen and it's got the best falafel we've had in the area, not to mention being walking distance from our house -- at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Saratoga Street.

Dan feeds his falafel craving there regularly (to say daily at times would not be a stretch) and the lemon lentil soup is like nothing we've ever had.

Tonight we went and decided to try something new. Instead of the vegetarian mezza -- a plate of samples of vegetarian grape leaves, hummus, babaganoush, tabbouli, falafel, spinach pie and all kinds of other things, we made our own little veggie smorgasbord.

We went for the lemon lentil soup, because we can't not get it; the chickpea salad, which is a little like tabbouli, , but without the tomatoes and with chickpeas; the Arabian pizza, a pita pizza with hummus, red peppers and artichokes (it's supposed to come with lamb too, but we went sans lamb, obviously); and the falafel platter, which comes with six pieces baked or fried falafel (we prefer baked), tabbouli, hummus, tahini and wild rice.

Needless to say, it was a bit too much food, but if I hadn't gorged myself at Chris and Jessica's wedding earlier in the day, we probably could have made it happen.

Though I didn't have one tonight, they have a great Lebanese beer -- Alamazza, I believe it's called. I think it's a lager. They even have a gluten free beer, but I haven't tried that yet. Besides that, they've got a big selection of beer and wine, including one of my favorites on tap, Bell's Oberon.

If you go and happen to have room for dessert, we had the lemon tart when it was on special once and it was good. Be sure to get some of Anita's Turkish coffee to go with it.

Here's a link to the Anita's Kitchen Web site. As you'll see, they have a huge menu for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. They also have a few items for kids -- we found the other day the whole family could go out to dinner for 20 bucks. You can't beat that.

Instead of the cheesy posters from Beirut and unused hookahs you might find in most Mediterranean joints, Anita's is actually cool, warm and comforting. The walls are painted in warm tones of earthy green and terracotta, large roots or vines wind through the open ceiling and along the wall and any adornments or "kitsch" is actually tasteful and interesting. Used water and beer bottles hold fresh Gerber daises, which is a nice touch. And, in case someone's worried about missing the big game, there are a couple of flat screens hoisted behind the bar.

All that being said, the restaurant has a great outdoor patio on the side of the building that probably seats 30 to 40 people, so that's clearly a draw for the summer. Better yet, there's always a parking spot or two nearby.

So, check it out when you get the chance. You won't regret it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mr. MacDougall's Vegan Instant Soups

I have found my way to nearly the 20th day of May -- can you tell I just finished a Seuss-filled story time? -- and I've not posted anything in two weeks. It's a sad state of affairs...

In reality, I should be working on the baby blanket I've been hired to make, so I'll keep this one short.

For a few weeks now, a staple at my desk come lunchtime has been Dr. McDougall's vegan instant soups. I first saw them at Holiday Market in Royal Oak and then saw them at Meijer for about $2.29 a pop. I wasn't necessarily looking for vegan soups in particular, but just something healthier than the sodium-laden instant soups of yore. I tried a couple and really liked them.

After I bumped into my co-worker, Mary, at the Meatout and learned she was vegan, I told her about the soups.

Many of them you can buy for about $18 for a 12-pack on Amazon, so Mary and I went in on a few cases. It's true -- cases -- but a $1.50 lunch is hard to come by so we went for it.

Here's the link to the whole lot that's available on Amazon. They even are eligible for free shipping if you get 2 12-packs (or anything totaling $25 that's eligible).

Mary's currently addicted to the Split Pea with Barley soup, and spends her time outside of work finding new and interesting ways to hide her vegan soups from her carnivore husband, Matt.

My favorites are the Curry Brown and Wild Rice Fruited Pilaf (trust me -- it just became available today and I can't wait for my case to arrive because it's hard to find in stores) and the Pad Thai Soup. So far, I can't find one I don't like at all though.

It turns out Dr. McDougall's also makes some breakfast type options, including oatmeal and barley featuring various fruits. If I can get past my morning peanut butter protein bar addiction, perhaps I'll give them a shot.

You can find out more about who this San Francisco vegan doctor and his philosophies

You can check out his "Right Foods" online shop, which has slightly more expensive, but expanded options, including health and sampler packs, family-sized meals and more

Dig in. A cheap lunch just got healthier.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cakes and more cakes.

Vegans, I'm sorry. This blog just isn't for you. It involves all the deliciousness that dairy can be.

This weekend I made desserts for my
mom's birthday.

The first -- the easy one, recipe wise -- was a cigarette cake.

Weird? Yeah, I guess so. But my mom smoked for a really long time. And she finally put down her Marlboro's on her 59th birthday in 2007. So I thought making it a year without smokes, deserved a little recognition.

I took a box of Betty Crocker Funfetti (or wait -- is that Pillsbury?) anyway, funfetti cake mix, and made it according to directions in a 9x13 pan. Once it was cooled, I got it out of the pan the best I could (I had greased and floured the pan, which helped), and I used the entire length and about 2/3 of the width of the cake.

For the majority of the cake, I used plain vanilla Betty Crocker frosting. For the filter, I mixed in a ton of yellow, a bit of red and exactly one drop of green food coloring.

For the burning end, I used red food coloring to make a bright red frosting, then covered it in crushed Oreos to make the ashes.

And that's about it! I could have done better, but I think for my first shot out of the gate, it's not bad!

The "real" dessert I decided to make was a Key lime cheesecake. I've only made it once before and it was well received. So, when I learned my brother-in-law likes Key lime, I was in.

Even though I learned a new recipe for Key lime cheesecake with tropical fruit chutney while covering The Longacre House Cooking Show the other day that had coconut in the crust and was topped with this chutney of dried mango and raisins and cooked in sherry and all kinds of craziness, I decided to go with the old tried and true recipe I had used before. I have a hard time presenting a recipe to people when I've never tried it before...

Before I wrapped it up, I copied a handful of recipes from a cheesecake cookbook I bought my cousin, Leigh, a few years ago for Christmas and this was one of them. It's really simple. This is how you make it:

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar

Mix and press into the bottom of an 8" springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

2 XL eggs, separated
2 Tbsp sugar
1 lb. (2 pkgs) cream cheese
1/4 c. Key lime juice
1 c. sugar

1. Beat egg whites until stiff, add 2 Tbsp sugar and beat for another few seconds
2. In a separate (your bigger) bow, beat yolks and cream cheese together until smooth
3. Add 1 c. sugar and lime juice to the cream cheese mixture
4. Fold whites into cream cheese mixture and fold by hand so it stays fluffy
5. Pour batter into crust and bake for 40-45 minutes. Be sure not to open the oven door at least for the first 35 minutes.
6. Once it passes the toothpick test (you prick it with a toothpick and it comes out clean) then you're good to go.
7. Ideally, you'll be able to let it cool completely and then refrigerate at least four hours before serving. But if not -- who cares. It's still going to taste freakin' GOOD.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Putting my almost perfect peanut sauce to use...

I'm pretty sure my search still is on for the perfect peanut sauce, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep fudging with the recipe I've been tossing around for a couple of months. Now I have a couple of pictures at least to go with it.

The peanut sauce listed in my previous post begins with some red curry paste, coconut milk, soy sauce, peanut butter and the like (go to the post for measurements and specific whatnot).

In the meantime, you take some veggies, clean and cut them up. Our preferred assortment includes green pepper, onions, mushrooms and broccoli.

We steam them in a regular old on the stove steamer, along with some drained and cubed tofu (but now they sell it pre-cubed and I'm hoping that will stay together a bit better!)

Meanwhile, make some rice -- we prefer brown, as its much better for you.
The process that produces brown rice removes only the outermost layer of the rice kernel and is the least damaging to its nutritional value.

(The complete milling and polishing that converts brown rice into white rice destroys 67% of the vitamin B3, 80% of the vitamin B1, 90% of the vitamin B6, half of the manganese (my favorite of all of them), half of the phosphorus, 60% of the iron, and all of the dietary fiber and essential fatty acids.

SO, take your nutritionally superior brown rice, place steamed veggies on top and douse with a ladle full of your semi-perfect peanut sauce. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Showing meat the door.

Last weekend, Daniel, Claire and I went to Metro Detroit's Great American Meatout.

While looking up the Detroit Evolution Laboratory (I plan to blog about them separately) I followed a link to an organization called VegMichigan. Sorry for all the links, but that's how I got to them!

Anyway, that's how I found my way to the Great American Meatout 2008, an annual event that takes place in various cities throughout the world, with the parent organization Meatout, established in 1985, which calls itself "The World's Largest Diet Education Campaign."

The Meatout seems to aim, at least in part, to educate those in attendance about vegetarianism and veganism, teach how eating meat harms the environment, host experts and speakers, and offer vegetarian food samples and recipes from area restaurants.

Unfortunately, the night before Dan and I went out with Bad Influence #1 and Bad Influence #2, Meg and Zozzy, so we were a bit "under the weather." Though Dan tried his best to stay at home with, "I have an idea -- why don't you and Claire go and I'll stay here and work on music" -- the three of us set off in our own hazes.

We tried our best to pick up information that struck us the most, tried to find food samples laden with chocolate or other things that might briefly entertain Claire, who displayed the most incredible child patience of all time in this boring adult event. Not surprisingly she loves vegan chocolate cupcakes.

As a new resident to the Greater Detroit area, is was wonderful for me not only to sample the food but to learn about some of the vegetarian restaurants in the area. Though I love, love, love Thai Cafe and Beirut Palace, etc., I want some variety in my life.

Now I know to stop by Udipi Indian restaurant when I'm out working in Farmington Hills, learned Taste of Ethiopia is the place to go in Southfield, and learned one way to get Claire eat more fruit is to make strawberry, banana and soy milk smoothies with just a hint of maple syrup, thanks to Atoms Java and Juice in Grosse Pointe Park.

Another cool thing we learned about was the Good Neighbors Garden, a community garden where residents of certain cities can help garden crops and flowers if they enjoy that kind of thing or they can rent a plot and garden their own flowers, fruits and vegetables. We immediately decided it was a great idea and grabbed the information, but I'm doubtful we'll actually go through with our rash, "We should do it!" Either way, I'm glad to know one exists and maybe at some point we'll take part.

The idea is that the annual Meatouts -- no matter where they are in the world -- are to take place on or about the first day of spring. If you missed it this year, keep an eye out for one in your town next year. Even meat eaters can find something worthwhile and interesting at the Meatout. Don't be afraid. We won't bite.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Now you can see the best soup in the whole wide world.

A while back I posted a blog and recipe about
The best soup in the whole wide world.

More recently, I poached a blog and recipe from my friend Megan about The best GD salad you ever will eat.

I finally have pictures of both!

OK, the pictures of the soup were taken with the exact purpose of posting on this blog, so they were taken with more care.

The salad, on the other hand, I happened to make while having dinner at my sister's when my dad was in town. I happened to get a shot of it in the foreground of a photo of he and my little brother, so I suppose I should happen to post it for all the curious salad eaters.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mrs. Schwitter's Mashed Potato Tower

This blog comes from my good friend Karyn, who soon will be marrying her tall drink of vegan water, Kevin. So happy to have her contribute a recipe to I Eat Veg!

Mashed Potato Tower

When I fell in love with a vegan, I thought cooking would be difficult. I'd been vegetarian for years, but it was hard to imagine eliminating cheese. We are less than 30 miles from Wisconsin for god's sake.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that cooking vegan isn't as difficult as I had imagined, and in fact, it forces me to be quite creative, which I find to be more fun. However, most of my recipes to date have been of Asian or Mexican flair, and I haven't actually cooked much American food, unless of course you count veggie burgers.

Years ago I used to order this item called "Mashed Potato Pile" from a local restaurant. The name is admittedly not too enticing but the dish itself was the perfect cure for a comfort food craving. I have changed the name slightly and recreated this meal, and it was damn tasty-- very filling too!!

Ingredients for the tower:
4-6 Yukon gold potatoes
Pole green beans (a good handful)
3-4 medium to large carrots cut into quarter to half inch round slices
Whatever other veggies you desire -- I added asparagus too.
Margarine (I prefer Earth Balance)

For the Mushroom Gravy:
1-2 shallots
Olive Oil
4 c. of your favorite mushrooms (crimini, portabella, shitake)
3 cloves of garlic
4 c. of vegetable broth
1 c. white or red wine ( I used a little of both because I'm a lush)
2 Tbsp. sage
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. regular soy milk
4 tsp. flour dissolved in 1/2 c. cold water
(You can also dissolve corn starch in cold water to thicken)

1.Start the gravy first because it needs time to cook down. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet.
2.Add sliced mushrooms and shallots. Sautee for 10 minutes.
3.Add minced garlic, salt, pepper and sage. Saute 5 minutes more. Add wine and sautee.
4.Add vegetable broth. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half.
5.Add flour mixture and combine well until sauce is thickened. Add soy milk and cook only 1 or 2 more minutes.

While the gravy is doing it's thing, boil the potatoes and wash your other veggies to steam. Put your carrots in the steamer ( I put them in a little before the other veggies, since they take a little longer to cook), along with your other veggies until soft, but not mushy.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and place in a large mixing bowl with margarine, one clove of garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, and a half a cup or so of soy or rice milk. Mash using a mixer and add margarine and soy/rice milk as necessary to gain the desired consistency.

When everything is done, place a large scoop of mashed potatoes on a plate and cover with the steamed veggies. Then pour some mushroom gravy over all of this and dig in.

Thank you Kirsten for letting me be a guest blogger!!


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Makeup Casserole -- vegan goodness

Now that I've made my way to my new home, I actually will be making and photographing the food that I talk about making. First up is Makeup Casserole. The name comes from the fact that it's basically a really amazing marriage between Breakup Soup and Pockets Full of Gold.

In short: Breakup Soup is crushed tortilla chips and salsa. Pockets of Gold will be referred to as tofu and black bean tacos, as that's just what they are.

So, this is a recipe I adapted from one I cooked for my sister, Sarah. She's on bed rest for her second pregnancy, so I'm going to be showing up at her doorstep ready to cook whatever she tells me too (meat eaters, check out the note at the bottom of the post).

After I got home from making this for her on Saturday, I took a stab at vegan-izing it and it went great, but made WAY too much. So, I would use less tofu or less beans or something. Or you can do it just like I did and have a new-and-improved version of the tofu tacos to make with the leftover filling...

Here goes...

2 pkgs. tofu (any firmness, you're going to be demolishing it)
2 pkgs. soy cheese (or regular if you're not vegan)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 16 oz jar hot salsa
1 bag of your choice of tortilla chips (I went with blue corn)
1 small red onion
1 hothouse or beefsteak tomato
1 pepper (color of your choice)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
green onions
sour cream (if you're not vegan)

1. Crush chips (eyeball the amount) into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

2. After draining all the water you possibly can from the tofu* smash it up with a fork or your hands or let the cat go at it -- whatever gets the job done -- and place it in a separate bowl. Drain and rinse beans and add to the bowl, along with the drained corn.

* This time, I simply squeezed the tofu in my hands over a strainer to drain it. If you're just not as barbaric as I am, you could place it between towels, between two pans/bowls/plates and put something heavy on top of it for a while.

3. Dice the onion and green pepper and add to mixture. Now's a good time to add the cumin, salt and salsa. You can throw some chopped cilantro in there too, or just save that to use as a topping at the end.

4. Put half (or less if you made a crapton of it like I did) on top of the chips and then put half of the cheese on top of that. (In the non-vegan version, the recipe suggests a mixture of Monterrey jack and cheddar cheeses. I, personally, think pepper jack would be awesome too).

Repeat. So it goes: chips/filling/cheese/filling/cheese.

5. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 35 minutes.

When I took it out, the top was kind of a crunchy cheese crust but the inside layer of cheese was melty. I wonder if this would have been different, if I had used my favorite soy cheese.

6. After you remove it from the oven, take a big ol' slab of it, top it with a slice of tomato, chopped cilantro and chopped green onion. Add a dollop (yes, a dollop) of sour cream if you're not vegan. I also served it with corn muffins. Yum.

7. Eat your face off. Impress your loved ones.

I made this Saturday, had it for leftovers on Sunday and leftovers right this very moment on Tuesday. I think it's better and more flavory after hanging out for awhile, so make a ton and eat it for a few days.

FOR THE MEAT EATERS: Replace tofu with 3-4 cooked and shredded or cubed or otherwise cut up chicken breasts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breakup Soup

The following guest blog comes from Daniel Johnson over at Wingstroke. Music -- he knows. Culture -- his finger's on the pulse. How to talk his child into eating one more bite -- he can do. Cook a damn thing -- he cannot.

Nonetheless, we here at the I Eat Veg test kitchens have very fluid policies when it comes to guest blogging. You need not "cook" at all to create your dish, nor does it have to constitute an actual meal. So, here's Dan's recipe for Breakup Soup. Maybe you can find comfort in a big bowl of it someday too.

I've never been much in the kitchen. It's just not my gift and I'm jealous of the people with the cooking skills. They make it seem so easy, throwing spices, adding dashes and turning oven knobs with a taunting confidence.

But today I'm making my contribution to the culinary arts; a recipe I created last summer called Breakup Soup. It's cheap, delicious, and single-person friendly. And it takes, like, a minute and a half to make. I literally lived off this for months. Of course I also lost about ten pounds during that time, so maybe it should be more of a treat than the entirety of your diet.


Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

STEP 1 - Have a debilitating breakup

STEP 2 - Pour chips onto a plate or bowl and try not to think about debilitating breakup

STEP 3 - Crush the chips in a million little pieces, just like she did to your heart

STEP 4 - Add salsa, red like the color of valentines, roses and your pain-poisoned blood

STEP 5 - Mix.

STEP 6 - Eat.

STEP 7 - Go where it takes you.