Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Pot Meals: Spanish Couscous

Sorry for the terrible picture, made this dinner at a friends and forgot my camera to boot

I'm a big fan of the one-pot meal. Little clean up with so much variety, so much possibility to make it up as you go. Or perhaps I just like to rebel against the traditional omnivore 1-main, 1-grain, 1-veggie meal.

Couscous, the base for the recipe below, is one of my favorite grains for these one pot meals (that and quinoa, but whole wheat couscous is generally cheap). I made this one up on a whim at my friend's house. The ingredients are easy enough for transport and hearty enough to warm the soul as you catch-up with old friends over great red wine.

Spanish Couscous


1 Can, Tomato sauce
1/2 Cup, Whole wheat couscous
1 Large Yellow onion, diced
2 Cups, Fresh Spinach
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 t, Paprika
2 t, Garlic Salt
2 t, Salt
3 t, Pepper
1 Can, Chickpeas


1. In a large pot, cook 1/2 cup cous-cous according to package directions but omitting half the amount of water called for. Also add in tomato sauce and stir well; cook according to package directions.
2. In a large frying pan, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add in onions and cook until soft and translucent.
3. Once onions are cooked, add in spinach and 1/4 cup water. Cook spinach until wilted, stirring often. If the spinach has not wilted and all the water is absorbed, add more water a tablespoon at a time.
4. Add garlic, paprika, garlic salt, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir well for approximately 3-5 minutes, until fragrant.
5. Remove the pan from heat. Once the cous-cous is done cooking, add in the ingredients form the pan and mix well. Add in the chickpeas and mix. Enjoy!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cure That Cold: Garlicky Pasta

Garlic has been recognized for its medicinal health benefits for over 5,000 years. So, naturally, whenever I feel that scratching my the throat, along the warm tea with lemon & ginger, a garlic pill is in order. Better yet, up that garlic pill and go for the more delicious equivalent: garlicky pasta.

Here's a quick recipe to try at home, whether for infection-fighting purposes or simply because you're craving pasta but with little money to spare. This dish is surprisingly smooth and light, with the only bad side being some potentially potent breath. Don't worry, your partner will understand upon trying it themselves!

Garlicky Pasta

* 1/2 package whole wheat pasta
* 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
* 10 cloves garlic, roughly minced
* 1/4 C & 1 1/2 T, good olive oil
* 1 t & 1 t, raw pink Himalayan sea salt
* 1 T & 1 t, pepper
* 1 clove garlic, roughly minced

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place 1/2 package of whole wheat pasta in a large pot of boiling water and cook according to package directions.
3. In a large bowl, toss together halved tomatoes with 1 1/2 T olive oil, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper, mixing well. Place tomatoes on baking sheet and put in oven to bake roast.
4. Now for the (more difficult) fun part! You'll smell like garlic for a while, but its a good thing! To really get the juice out of the garlic, you have one of two options. Either use a garlic press and press the hell outta them, or use the flat end of the knife (plus a little sprinkle of salt) and squeeze on the minced garlic until it begins to release its juices, repeat a few times. Place pressed garlic in a small dish and set aside.
5. In a large frying pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and set to low heat, simmering until about a minute after it becomes fragrant (don't let the garlic brown).
6. As the garlic cooks, drain pasta well. Add pasta to the frying pan once the garlic has become fragrant.
7. Remove tomatoes from the oven and toss them in with the pasta, mixing well on low to avoid any browning.
9. Add remaining 1 t salt and 1 T pepper, mixing well. Remove the pan from the heat.
10. At this point, I like to add some extra fresh, uncooked garlic for the added health benefit, so I threw in the additional minced garlic clove after pressing it thoroughly. Feel free to also add fresh herbs of your choice. Enjoy!

A few notes about Garlic:
* Garlic has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure

* It has also been studied for its ability to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly through reducing the risk of blood clots

* Garlic's antibacterial effects have been recognized for hundreds of years and is still used as a home remedy for fighting off colds


Friday, November 26, 2010

America Abroad: Vegan Thanksgiving in the UK

Thanksgiving for many young students (such as myself) is a favorite holiday. For one, its the perfect break in the middle of stressful exam study. Secondly, a lot of us get to come home and catch up with family and friends we haven't seen since summer, all while enjoying copious amounts of lovingly homemade comfort food. In a word, a dream for the starving student and foodie in us all.
Unfortunately, studying abroad affords you few of these luxuries. So while all of our friends were enjoying the usual Thanksgiving fix, the boyfriend and I whipped up our own 7-dish feast after coming back from a day of classes. Needless to say, dinner was at 9pm, and a few hours later was sleep from a food coma. But all in all it was a fun time, some delicious food, and gave us an opportunity to catch up and reflect on the good fortune in our lives.

I hope you guys all had a great Thanksgiving as well, and here are just some of the features from our table, and some ideas for Christmas or next year:


Easy Traditional Stuffing: Recipe Below

Cornbread Stuffing: I edited this recipe a bit and think it worked out better. Bake the cornbread a few days in advanced and let dry out. Only use 1 T maple syrup, replace eggs with cornstarch eggs (1 "egg" = 2 T cornstarch + 2 T water), and toss everything together in the end with 1/2 cup vegetable stock. I ended up baking it bit long (10 minutes more uncovered) because of the extra liquid. Yumm!

Sweet Potato Casserole: Love Susan's recipe and this one's delicious. I topped it with about 1/2 cup crumbled graham crackers.

No-Turkey Loaf: To veganize, simply replace turkey with 4oz seiten, add about 1/4 cup Italian spiced bread crumbs and 1/4 cup cornmeal. Bake as directed, top with fresh cranberry sauce, enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pie: Love Mark Bittman's column in the NYTs, and this delicious sweet potato pie with coconut milk is just as lovable. I used a traditional homemade crust instead however, but once I have access to my cooking equipment again (oh, food processor, how I miss thee) I'm definitely going to try his crust.

Easy, Creamy Mashed Potatoes: To make the perfect veganized mashed potatoes, use soy creamer, a good dose of Earth Balance margarine, and some garlic salt.

Easy Traditional Stuffing
- 1/2 loaf soft whole wheat bread
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 2-3 medium onions, diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 T
- 1 t, salt
- 3/4 T, pepper
- a few stalks fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
2. Tear up the 1/2 loaf of bread into small pieces and toss into a large bowl.
3. Fill a frying with the 1/4 cup olive oil and warm over low. Add in diced celery and diced onions. Lightly fry over low until translucent and soft.
4. Add celery and onions to the bread and mix to combine.
5. Add in salt, pepper, and parsley. (Feel free to add any other spices you'd like)
6. Add in the vegetable broth and mix well to combine.
7. With the extra 1 T oil, grease a casserole dish. Add in the stuffing mixture and spread out evenly.
9. Remove foil lid and bake for approximately 10-20 minutes (or until as crispy as your prefer it). Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweet & Sticky: Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

Everyone knows that no holiday season is complete without the smell of warm cinnamon and freshly baked pie wafting through the house. The good people at Earth Balance and Whole Foods seem to agree, and have create this Holiday Bake-Off Contest for all the bakers out there: $400 shopping spree at Whole Foods and a year supply of Earth Balance products.

Now what vegan baker wouldn't want a year supply of Earth Balance or their choice of expensive organic fruit and jars of nutritional yeast? I, for one, can hardly afford Whole Foods on a normal day; so I figured I could satisfy my desire for a delicious fall dessert and apply for the contest all in one go. Plus, it gives me something to bring to our Thanksgiving potluck this Thursday in seminar (our British TF seems amused about it).

So here's a simple recipe I whipped up for one of the entries: an amalgamation between a cinnamon roll, maple pancakes, and yellow cake... a breakfast cake, if you will. I figure its 9pm somewhere, so dessert in the morning can be acceptable.


1/2 C, Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1 1/2 C, light brown sugar
2, cornstarch eggs (1 egg=2 T cornstarch + 2 T water)
2 1/4 C, flour
1 t, salt
4 1/2 t, baking powder
1/2 t, baking soda
1/2 t, fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 C, unsweetened soymilk
1 t, vanilla extract

3/4 C, Earth Balance margarine, softened
3/4 C, brown sugar
2 T, flour
2 T, cinnamon

1 C, powdered sugar
2 T, unsweetened soymilk
1 T, pure maple syrup
1/2 t, vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 pan with a little bit of Earth Balance margarine.
2. In a small bowl, cream together the Earth Balance margarine and brown sugar for the topping. Add in the flour and cinnamon for the topping and mix well. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl (or electric mixer) mix the softened butter and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy.
4. Then add cornstarch eggs, flour, salt, and baking powder, stirring thoroughly between each new ingredient.
5. Add the liquid ingredients, stirring thoroughly between each new addition.
6. Pour immediately into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.
7. Pour the topping mixture evenly over the cake by the spoonful and swirl it throughout the cake with a knife.
8. Place the pan in the oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until you can insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean. (I found that even in my small oven, it took closer to the 35 minute mark, potentially longer in a larger oven)
9. As the cake is baking, mix together, in a small bowl, all the ingredients for the glaze until smooth. (If the mixture is too dry, add more soymilk. If the mixture is too liquidy, add more powdered sugar)
10. Once the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven. Immediately add the glaze on top of the warm cake. (This cake is best served after setting for 15 minutes) Enjoy!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eat in Season: Ideas for Your Rejected Squash

With Thanksgiving fast approaching and the smell of fall in the air, I'm sure most of you will be seeing a lot of a seasonal favorite: winter squash. I realize for many young students out there the odd shapes and thick exterior of some of these babies may be off putting, but I'm here to correct any misinterpretations: winter squash can be both delicious to eat and easy to make.

In fact, there are numerous ways to cook squash, and each has its own advantages. Here are some easy to replicate ideas:

* Acorn Squash as a Soup Bowl: (see picture) Cut your squash in half, remove and discard seeds and inner core. Lightly spread olive oil & herb mixture of your choice (I used basil, oregano, pepper, and fresh garlic) over the cross-sections of the flesh. Place in the oven on a baking sheet (or foil, as I did... sadly, cannot afford to buying a baking sheet abroad) with the cut side facing up. Roast on high (400F) until soft and beginning to glaze, or as desired.

* Sliced, caramelized squash: Haven't tried it, but here's a great recipe to start with (just change out the butter for Earth Balance Margerine or Olive Oil for a healthier, vegan friendly dish).

* Roasted, herb-spiced squash: Cut off and discard thick skin. Chop into small cubes and marinate with olive oil and herbs of choice (such as, a nice Italian herb spice). Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400F until tender.

* Boiled, mashed squash: Cut off and discard thick skin. Slice in half, remove and discard inner seeds. Chop into small cubes and drop into boiling water. Lower to a simmer and allow to simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash up squash. Add spices, oil, or soymilk as desired.

* Butternut squash pie: Cooked (roasted especially!) butternut squash can be a unique substitute for pumpkin pie

Not to mention, of course, that squash provides many nutrients, particularly vital carotene (which have shown to be preventative against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) as well as fiber, and vitamins B1 and B6 to name a few. Plus, squash is a hearty main course, perfect for a vegan meal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Study While Cooking: Poor Man's Risotto

My philosophy with cooking has always been, if life only gives you lemon peels, you should still find a way to make a damn good lemon-aid... or at the very least, a tasty dish, such as this risotto recipe below.

After indulging in a divine risotto bianco at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, I knew I had to try to recreate it (or at the very least, create my own version). This recipe comes stems from this desire; its a recipe intended for all the poor, college foodies out there who are now banned to the exclusive use of hot plates and using a wine glass as a measuring cup--the latter part, however, may just be something I've been forced to do.

I realize that its not easy trying to pay for college, attend classes and meetings, and at the same time trying to eat well. And just because you're on a budget and with little time to spare doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality food and unique recipes. So here's a version of a classy dish that every college student can whip up in under an hour with little cost, little clean-up, but all of the indulgence--you can even continue studying as it cooks! No need for another dinner of microwaved-steamed veggies or pasta with jarred tomato sauce.

Poor Man's Risotto


* 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
* 1 teaspoon lemon zest
* 1 cup brown rice
* 1 vegetable bullion cube
* 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


1. Measure out one cup of warm water and dissolve bullion cube in it.
2. In a large pot, throw in the Earth Balance with lemon zest and let it fry over medium heat until margarine is completely dissolved.
3. Add rice to the pot and fry for approximately 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn.
4. Quickly add to the pot vegetable broth along with 2 cups water.
5. Add ground coriander and stir. Bring to a boil.
6. Once boiling, low to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 45-50 minutes. Enjoy!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's Get It Started: Black-Eyed Pea Fritter Style!

Continuing in the Southern tradition, I decided to satisfying a craving for something crunchy. These black-eyed pea fritters fit the bill perfect; last night was, indeed, a good, good night. Though this was my first time working with these particular legumes, I realize now I should have gotten more while they were on sale.

These fritters were perfect paired with some lightly steamed brussel sprouts with mustard sauce (recipe soon to come), with just the right amount of heart-healthy fat without overdoing it on the salt. The green chili pepper in this recipe really helps to bring a nice heat to the recipe.

Let me know if you guys have any other suggestions for Southern food to try and veganaify!

Peppery Black-Eyed Fritters


* 1 can black-eyed peas, drained
* 3 tablespoons cornmeal
* 1 small, white onion, chopped
* 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
* 1/2 green chili pepper, finely diced
* 2 teaspoons pepper
* 1 teaspoon veggie salt
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 2 cornstarch eggs (1 "egg"=1 T cornstarch mixed with 3 T water)
* 2 tablespoons water
* 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup olive oil


1. In a large mixing bowl, place all black-eyed peas and mash well (either with a potato masher or a fork will work).
2. Add in onions, garlic, chili and cornmeal, mix well.
2. Mix remaining spices together in separate, small bowl. Add to black-eyed peas, and mix well.
3. Add in both cornstarch eggs and mix in.
5. Finally, add water and 1 T olive oil to mixture until just mixed. If the mixture is too dry, add in more water until it will hold; if it is too wet, add more cornmeal.
6. Heat half of the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a flat-bottomed pan over medium heat.
7. Form mixture into small flat disks. Once the oil is hot, place disks in the pan and allow to cook until browning, approximately 2 minutes. Flip disks and repeat on the other side, then remove.
8. As remaining olive oil as needed to fry disks. Once all disks are fried, lightly pat dry with a paper towel. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get Yo Greens: Southern Comfort Food Take 1

As mentioned earlier, I was inspired recently by the weekly sales at the grocery store: cheap corn grits, canned black eyed peas, 2 for 1 collard greens & half off brussel sprouts! After returning from a long vacation, and without too much in the way of a real job while abroad, being thrifty in the grocery department is a must (though certainly not a reason for skimping on health).

So my first adventure with Veganafying Southern cooking came that night. Okay, I made creamy corn "kasha" that morning (think polenta but creamier & with soy milk), but I doubt that counts.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with the results, especially since it came without anything if the way of a recipe to follow. Toni was similarly pleased (clearly showing his surprise at, for once, liking sweet potatoes).

My favorite part about these mashed sweet potatoes was that they took on a texture and taste more similar to regular russet mashed potatoes: not too sweet, nice and rich. The collard greens were really made by the carmelized onions (its hard to go wrong with caramelized onions).

Caramelized Collard Greens


1 large onion, cut into thin rings
1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 bundles (heads) collard greens, destemed and torn into large squares
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1-2 T, red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 t, minced garlic paste
1 t, white balsamic vinegar
1/2 t, garlic salt
1/2 t, salt
2 t, pepper


1. In a large, flat bottomed pan (I prefer cast iron), heat the 1/4 cup olive oil over medium. Add in onion rings and bring heat to low. Allow to caramelize, approximately 20-30 minutes (turn onions periodically to keep from over browning).
2. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to boil. Add in collard green squares and simmer until tender, approximately 10 minutes. Drain.
3. Once onions have almost caramelized completely, add in garlic slices. Once garlic is aromatic, about 1-2 minutes, add the rest of the spices and balsamic vinegar; stir.
4. Now add in collard greens and drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Mix well; serve hot. Enjoy!

Mashed Not-So-Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cube
1 T, vegan Earth Balance margarine
2 T, soya cream
1 1/2 t, veggie salt
1 1/2 t, garlic salt
1 t, pepper
1/2 t, salt


1. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into equal, small cubes.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add cubed sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until very tender, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Once tender, drain potatoes. Run cool water over them, drain again.
4. Place potatoes in a mixing bowl and smash to liking (a fork will work, but a potato masher maybe easier).
5. Add in the rest of ingredients and mix together well. Enjoy!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Best Part About Waking Up: Pancakes!

What's a girl to do for breakfast with a sparse cupboard, filled mostly with oats? I love oatmeal as much as the next person, but on a Sunday morning, with the sun shining, perhaps something more original is warrant.

Enter Golden Oat Pancakes. Adapted from a favorite foodie blog site, The Kitchn, these little cakes of love were perfect for a slow morning brunch.

In terms of veganafying the recipe, simply replace milk with soy milk (or whatever milk alternative is on hand; almond would also be a good choice) and eggs with a small, well smashed-up banana. I also added in 1 small cornstarch "egg" for binding properties (1/2 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoon water).

Edit: My amazing friend from home, Christine, took a stab at jazzing up these bad boys and oh does the outcome look delectable! Just another reason to try out these yummy pancakes :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Toni's Tikki Masala

Apologies for my inexplicable week-long absence. Toni & I were touring Europe, Germany & Amsterdam (pictures of food adventures to come!). It was an amazing time, and Amsterdam especially is such an amazing city, so vibrant, everyone is so nice, and just a quaint place (for not speaking the language basically at all, you can still feel safe & at home). If you have the chance to visit, do go, its well worth a visit!

Anyway, I've come back armed with photos, blog updates ready: many recipes to follow this week. A lot relate to how I've been toying around with different ethnic foods and, recently, tried my hand at perfecting some Southern comfort food, vegan style (the collard greens, grits, and brussel sprouts were all on sale this week).

For now though, here is the recipe I promise last week, a delicious Vegan Indian Chickpea Tikki Masala! Being that Indian spices are much cheaper here in London, Antonio and I have been powering through literally a curry or two a week: here's my favorite (the perfected spinach curry to come!)

Toni's Tikki Masala


2 onions, chopped
1 T ground fenugreek
1.2 T cumin seed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb print sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/2-1 green chili pepper, chopped (desire of heat)
3 T of garam masala
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
15-20 T of soya cream (desire of consistency)
1 can of chickpeas
1.4 cup water
Salt, to taste
Coriander/cilantro for garnish


1. In a large frying pan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium. Add chopped onions to the frying pan and cook until soft and translucent.
2. Move onions to the side of the pan, add fenugreek and cumin to the opposing side, keeping them untouched until aroma appears.
3. Once onions, fenugreek and cumin are mixed together, throw in chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir together until garlic aroma appears.
4. Mix in garam masala to form a paste
5. Add tomatoes and mix.
6. Add cream and mix well. Bring to boil
7. Add water and chickpeas [or, whatever vegetable you want] and cover. Simmer for five minutes (this will allow your curry to thicken a bit, although it should turn out to be on the saucy side).
8. Add salt to taste.
9. Serve with rice and garnish with coriander. Enjoy!

* Note, in the picture there are potatoes included, but the second time around we found chickpeas alone to be a better choice. Unfortunately, it was too delicious for me to take a good picture before it was gobbled down by guests.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Food of the Gods?: How to Have Your "Chocolate" and Eat it Too!

If you've ever been on a chocolate tour (...if you haven't, do it now!), you probably know that our sweet, sweet friend comes from humble beginnings in the form of the cacao bean.

As it turns out, we may actually be able to have our chocolate and eat it too. (Organic) raw cacao nibs are filled with tons of antioxidants and a variety of vital neurotransmitters. If you find yourself reaching for a chocolate bar when depressed, you may not be so far off. Cacao contains the neurotransmitter serotonin which is largely responsible for positive mood. Since it also contains MAOI inhibitors, this allows the serotonin to circulate in the brain longer, allowing for an extended elevated mood.

Cacao also contains anandamide, a chemical known for inducing natural states of bliss in humans. Even better (yes, there's more!), this little bean contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our ability to breakdown natural anadamide, allowing for the extension of the natural bliss state.

Among some of the features contained in this super food are phenylethylamine (the neurotrasmitter released when we are in love), sulfur (detoxify your live), magnesium (great for heart and circulatory system) and zinc (helps your immune system).

So while I've already tried adding raw cacao nibs to cookies and having them just as a snack, I figure you can never have to much. This is where the beautiful drink picture above comes in. It's a cold drink of blended lucuma and cacao with soy milk from newly open vegan restaurant Vantra (Soho, London). At 3 pounds, this drink was a bit steep, but totally worth it! I've gotten it three times since (and once I return home to a working blender I intend to try it at home).

Do remember, however, that there is much to be considered around the ethics of chocolate. Please opt for fair trade, environmentally sustainable chocolate whenever you can. A few of my favorites are (Taza and Global Exchange). If you prefer to get the benefits in a sweeter form, make sure to get chocolate at least over 80%.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Day in the Life: Vegan MoFo

It's Vegan MoFo! What is Vegan MoFo (other than a funny name) you ask? Basically its a vegan blogging celebration where many bloggers attempt to write as much as they can about vegan food. Excited? You bet!

In honor Vegan MoFo, I'm completing this quick survey from Vegan MoFo-er, I Eat Trees. Pass it on and spread the veggie love!

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?


What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?

Spicy foods or olives (now I'm in LOVE with both)

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?

Mushrooms (most at least)...

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?

Water, but I tend to go for sparking water whenever possible (=love!)

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?

Probably Mediterranean food of some sort (always popular for non-vegans), or various chocolate cakes

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?

No rules, just fun, everything's game

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?

Avocados, they're always gone in a second, on toast or as guac

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?

Hummus, or really any Mediterranean food: baba ganoush, tabbouleh, cairo salad, falafel, even pita!

Also, all dips: salsa, guac, bean dip.... curry paste

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?

Balsamic vinegar (esp. white!), olive oil, truffle oil, dark chocolate, coconut oil, wine, coffee & espresso

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?

Yes, when I suffer through late nights of work & school unfortunately: kale chips, seaweed (Trader Joes!), strawberries, veggies & hummus, chips & salsa/guac... and Antonio's home-made french fries on rare occasion (shhh)

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?

Sundried tomatoes spread, grilled onions & red & green peppers, olives, spinach... or pesto

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?

Onion & Coconut

What is the best salad dressing?

This creamy (spicy) chipotle lime dressing Toni & I make from vegan mayo, amazing on homemade taco salad

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?

Avocado (w/ salt, pepper, red pepper flakes) or homemade jam w/ a little Earth Balance ooor peanut butter & banana... endless possibilities :)

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?

Tomato soup or borscht

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?

Ferrero Rocher from Ms. Cupcake (like vegan nutella, but better!)

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?

Veggie sushi

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?

Sweet Potatoes or Eggplant

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?

Too long for the amount of time I spend on school work comparatively... its hard not to when your "kitchen" is part of your bedroom...

How many fingers am I holding up? (Just kidding… but the answer is 11. “My name is Inigo Montoya…”)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Fried Friday: Onion Bhaji

I'll be the first to admit that even with a health conscious lifestyle, the hankering for something crispy and fried may appear. And so sometimes we indulge, and that's okay; but there's a right way to do it.

For one, if you're going for one sin, try to combat it with some good. Instead of trying to deep fry that vegan chocolate bar (.... I've seen it go down) go for fresh veggies! Opt for monounsaturated oils (I went traditional canola oil, but peanut or olive work, though this will alter the taste).

Since Antonio was making a curry (curry attempt #6... 7? Just wait until you see the final product, they're already delicious!), I figured I'd satisfy my craving by veganizing a favorite: Indian Onion Bhaji.


* 1 medium yellow onion
* 3 medium carrots
* 1/2 tablespoon graham masala
* 1 teaspoon crush cumin
* 1 teaspoon crushed fennel greek
* 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/2 teaspoon raw pink Himalayan salt
* 1/4 cup flour (white, unfortunately, recommended for texture quality)
* 3 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with 3 tablespoon water
* 1 cup canola oil


1. Peel onion and chop off ends, and slice in rings from end to end. Place in large mixing bowl.
2. Peel carrots, grate roughly into long pieces. Place in large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together spices and flour. Mix flour & spices with onion and carrots in the large mixing bowl.
4. Put cornstarch mixture in with flour and veggies. Mix very well by hand. You want to make sure to spread the cornstarch mixture through-out so everything is covered and binds together; this may take a lot of "mushing" together by hand... but that's the fun of it!
5. Roll out mixture into roughly six veggie balls and flatten as much as possible.
6. Once mixed, in a large shallow frying pan (I opted for the cast iron) heat half the oil on medium heat.
7. Once the oil is hot (test by dropping a small bit of water in and see if it sizzles, but be careful!), you can start dropping in the veggie patties, 3 at a time, making sure they are just touching. Wait until they are golden brown and then flip; once golden on both sides remove. Repeat process with remaining oil and veggie patties. Enjoy!

Next time I'm going to try to find another alternative for the white flour; I'm thinking chickpea flour, suggestions welcome :) In the meantime, here's a preview of Toni's delicious curry recipe to come!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Campers: Exploring Camden Cupcake Camp

Word on the street is that gourmet donuts are the new cupcakes. Such theorizing, however, did not deter the hundreds of people all clamoring into Camden Market this weekend to participate in the London Cupcake Camp.

Strawberry Shortcake

Cupcake Camp--"a gathering of cupcake lover to raise money for a good cause"--has taken place is over 50 cities around the global including Paris, New York, and Sydney. All proceeds went to North London Hospice... and the best part? All cupcakes were only a pound! That's an amazing deal for the size and quality of some of these (Ms. Cupcake's usually go for 2.50 each).

Ms. Cupcake, of course, is of the most famous vegan cupcake artists in London, in charge of judging the vegan cupcake competition. Its a good thing we got there as it was beginning because just an hour and a half into it she had sold ALL of her cupcakes! I had luckily snagged two (one pumpkin and one ferrero rocher); my friend snagged... about seven.

After tasting the ferrero rocher, I understood why she grabbed so many. It was heavenly, absolutely the best cupcake, vegan or non, I've ever had. It taste likely someone smoothed a fluffier nutella all over the moist cake, sprinkled with perfectly toasted hazelnut bits.

Here's a sample of some of the other cupcakes:Cherry Bakewell

Chocolate Pumpkin

Raspberry Chocolate

Pumpkin Pie