Friday, December 31, 2010

swiss chard frittata

between christmas travel and going out for new years eve tonight i found time last night to squeeze in one last vegan brunch dinner before december ends. oh and i also made a double batch of bagels (the recipe in vegan brunch is my chosen bagel recipe) to stick in the freezer. but back to dinner, a swiss chard fritatta! the base is tofu and seasoning mashed up and then you mix in chard, i used red chard as suggested because it's pretty but really i imagine any green will do, press it into a pie pan, bake it and, ta da!, pair it with a salad and you have a perfect light and tasty dinner. unfortunately the top was the pretty side and when i flipped it onto the plate it became less photogenic. oh well. it was delicious! and i had a slice for lunch today and the leftovers are just as good.

i really enjoyed focusing on one cookbook this month but i still feel like there are so many recipes in here that i'm dying to make. i think everyone should have this book, vegan or not the recipes are just plain delicious and that's what matters. here's a handy link so you can buy it.

and on that note, happy new year everybody! here's to a delicious 2011.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

speculoos: a novel

our time in europe a few months ago was fabulous but there was one very sad incident that i didn't mention before...

one of my goals for the trip was to get some speculoos! speculoos was a mysterious thing to me. a spread that i had read much about but never tasted and never found in the states. when we landed in amsterdam and were waiting at the airport/train station i passed the time by exploring the little grocery store (obviously) and was delighted to see speculoos. it was so easy! i would pick some up on our way out of the country. i think that deep down i knew this wouldn't fly with airport security and sure enough, minutes after i purchased it, they confiscated my 'loos. i asked the nice security lady if i could have it back for just a second. she obliged, i opened it, dipped my pinky in and fell in love....and then sadly handed it over.

if you're not familiar, speculoos is a sweet spread that tastes like graham crackers. or delta biscoff cookies. it is delicious! and we're in luck because you can now buy it on amazon, which is exactly what kris did for me (what a sweetie). all plans of savoring this precious jar and making it last were squashed when i saw that the expiration date was quickly approaching, though i'm doubtful that this stuff actually expires. in any case, here is how to use a jar of speculoos in a month:

first: test out the claim that this is a "sandwich spread" by making a speculoos and jelly sandwich. yummy....but this stuff is better suited for dessert in my opionion.

second: speculoos brownies! make your favorite brownie recipe and spread that batter in a pan. heat the speculoos over low heat until it is runny and pour over brownies. try to make pretty designs if you feel like it. bake. eat.

third: speculoos and graham cracker ice cream. add crushed graham crackers to your ice cream during the last few minutes of freezing. heat your speculoos as you did for the brownies and let it cool. when transferring your ice cream into the container drizzle speculoos all through it. this is especially awesome because when the speculoos freezes it gets hard and becomes like speculoos chips in the ice cream!

fourth: think that a scraped jar means you're done? nope! use the jar for overnight oats! add one part oats, two parts milk of choice and any other seasoning/additions you want. let it sit overnight in the fridge and in morning oatmeal is made! eat and and enjoy little hints of speculoos.


Saturday, December 18, 2010


i've made these pierogi before but i was excited to make them again this month before our vegan brunch bonanza ends. these take some time but the delicious pierogi payoff is well worth it. it's especially perfect if you have a dreary saturday or sunday on your hands and just want to hang out in the kitchen.

you can either eat these right after boiling or boil and then pan fry. when they were freshly made we did not pan fry but with the leftovers the next day we did to put a little more life into them after a night in the fridge. you can't go wrong either way.

here's a note i forgot to mention in my last post about these guys - the book gives two filling options (potato onion and mushroom sauerkraut) and either one will be enough to fill all of the pierogi. if you want to make both fillings (like me) you can just halve both recipes, but if you don't do that (like me) you will have lots of filling left. here's what to do: mix 'em both together and fry 'em up in little patties. and if you don't want to dedicate hours to making these may i recommend just skipping right to this "leftover plan"?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

coconut bacon

i don't normally repost recipes that i make from other blogs but i must share this one because if you have not heard about the magic of coconut bacon you are really missing out! sure, tempeh bacon is good stuff but this! this is amazing. the flavor is similar but it has a crunch that i have never been able to get from tempeh bacon. and sometimes maybe you just want to lay off the soy and switch things up a bit. well coconut bacon to the rescue!

the blog i found this on is called good good things. i made mine much the same way as she did - soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup (and i added apple cider vinegar) in a bowl to taste. you can search for a recipe if you want but this isn't a science and i think it would be pretty hard to mess up. into that mixture add a bunch of large, unsweetened flaked coconut (i found mine at the bulk store in my neighborhood). toss it around to cover all of the coconut and let it sit for a bit while the oven heats up to 350. spread it out on a baking sheet, good good things recommends 10 minutes then stir it around and keep a close eye, checking and stirring every minute. good advice. when it's done take it out and let it cool for a minute and it should be nice and crisp crisp crisp. it does retain a slight coconut flavor and that is not a bad thing. trust me.

first we made blt's (obviously) and they were yummy. but this morning was when the amazingness happened. vegan jackson crooks for breakfast. for those not in the know a jackson crook is a bagel sandwich from bagel rising in boston. i have never had one myself but kris loved them back in the day and many argue that they are the best bagel sandwich there is. so that's what you see pictured at the top of this post: bagel (garlic here), coconut bacon, red onion and tomato. i cheated and went open faced. kris made a proper one sandwich style.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

pumpkin pancakes

friday night's breakfast dinner wasn't quite as exciting since we've been cooking so much from vegan brunch this month, but it's still a fun way to end the work week. last night we kept it simple with pumpkin pancakes and a side of fruit (which included the best kiwi of my life that we got at the farmer's market last week. will definitely look for more of them tomorrow). i love all things pumpkin and it almost makes you feel like you can justify eating pancakes for dinner (if you feel the need to justify such things) because, after all, pumpkin is good for you. this is a great pancake recipe - it's easy (as pancakes should be) and results in fluffy pancakes that taste like fall. what more could you ask for?


Thursday, December 9, 2010

coleslaw potato salad with cumin seeds

we did it again. while browsing our sunday farmer's market we just couldn't resist. so we made slaw, we made cabbage peanut noodles but when we got the third day we were stuck. well thanks to our self imposed month of vegan brunch i knew just where to look! and once again this book did not disappoint. it was a toss up between curry scrambled tofu with cabbage and caraway and this salad we have here. ultimately this one won because we had just had tofu the night before. ahh easy decisions i love you. it really is brilliant to put coleslaw and potato salad together and i really enjoyed the little twist that the cumin seeds lended. also this is a creamy potato salad that calls for veganaise but i used a homemade mayo-ish creation that did not gross me out! hooray!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


happy hanukkah! it really snuck up on me this year. i mean, it was just thanksgiving and i'm already supposed to be ready for another holiday? well i'm not. sorry hanukkah. sorry everybody who won't be getting a gift for a few more weeks. but there is one thing i'm ready for....latkes! it really is a shame when the eight nights pass without a single latke and i wasn't going to let that happen this year. in fact, i would place latke eating as a higher priority hanukkah necessity than a proper menorah.*

so for the second time in a week the cast iron skillet** came out, the vegetable oil poured out in glugs and deep frying was under way! no question, latkes are always worth the frying hassle.

when i was growing up my mom made latkes using the recipe in the vegetarian epicure and this is the recipe i use as a guideline now. though here's a little latke secret - most recipes use eggs in them but they're really not necessary and you don't even have to replace them with anything, just pretend that whole part about adding eggs doesn't even exist. the rough recipe as i make it is below, this is just a guide and you may have to add more or less matzo meal depending on how good you are at squeezing the liquid out of your potatoes.

makes about 15-20 small-ish latkes
2 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes (about 3 baking potatoes)
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons matzo meal
black pepper to taste
oil for frying

first you've got to grate your potatoes

(oh please please please can i buy a big food processor with a grating attachment?) squeeze out as much water as you can. then measure (you'll probably have more than 2 1/2 cups so just add a little more of everything else cause that's much smarter than wasting potato). chop up your onion and add it to the shredded potatoes in a large bowl. add the matzo meal, salt and pepper to taste. mix it all up and try forming a patty to make sure it holds together. add more matzo meal if needed.

heat up your oil. when it gets to around 350 (i got this "meat" thermometer from foodbuzz and was pretty excited to be able to track the oil temperature. if you don't have one just test the oil with a bit of potato and when it bubbles it's ready) it's time to stop taking pictures and start frying! cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely browned and crispy. drain on a paper bag or paper towels.

we topped these with applesauce and vegan brunch cashew sour cream (staying on theme here!). and since fried potatoes are not a complete meal we also had some broccoli topped with vegan brunch hollandaise sauce. this was a delicious dinner! i want to eat it again right now.

*though i did look for candles for my menorah. really.
**these recent frying episodes have made me fall in love with my cast iron skillet. i'm convinced that this little pan is the best frying vessel there is. the oil heats up quickly and stays hot and i find it's much easier to clean up afterwards than when i've tried frying in any other pan.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

december, the month of vegan brunch

in order to work through the gobs of cookbooks hanging around the apartment (too many of which go unused) kris and i decided to start a one cookbook per month experiment. it doesn't mean that we will cook solely recipes from that book and nothing else but it does mean that when we're thinking "hmmm what to make tonight?" that is the book we will turn to for a full month. so basically it's that cookbook or concoctions or staples in our rotation. yes the rules are a bit loosely defined at the moment (and i'm fully expecting to cheat) but i'm looking forward to exploring some new recipes.

so for december we're going to focus on vegan brunch (a lately not ignored at all cookbook....does this defeat the purpose? perhaps. but will it still be fun and delcious? absolutely! and that's what matters). i won't be posting recipes from this book but i will show some pretty pictures and maybe you will go out and buy the book which you should cause i can already tell you that this one well worth it.

to kick off our brunchy month we made beer battered tofu and garlic roasted potatoes. SUPER SUCCESS! the tofu was perfect. i am usually hesitant to fry things at home because i feel like the results are not worth the mess, the oil and the smell that lingers in the apartment for hours. but this one is so worth it! the batter was perfect and fried up to a nice light pillowey casing. i will definitely use this batter for future frying adventures. and garlic roasted potatoes? enough said.

and i promise i will try to make some yumcoast worthy creations this month so as not to completely leave you recipe deprived in december.


Monday, November 22, 2010

sweet potato biscuits

clearly i love biscuits. never one to resist testing out a new twist on my beloved bread product i was excited to do a test run of these guys just in time for thanksgiving. i am happy to say that they passed the test and come thursday i will be whipping up another batch (or two). the main reason i wanted to test these before the big day is because the recipe calls for gluten-free flour. i wasn't sure if there was a reason for it or just so that the biscuits are gluten-free. so i decided to test run with regular all purpose flour...nothing against gluten free but if i don't have to buy special flour i don't want to. good news gluten lovers, these turned out great! they are delicious on their own with just a hint of sweetness. however, keeping with our friday night breakfast theme we used these to make sausage egg* biscuits.

i made minor changes to make these vegan and also i would say that the nuts are optional. if you have them, sure, toss them in but i don't think i'd miss them if they weren't there. i plan to leave them out on thanksgiving. if you want to see the original recipe it's here, below is my version (and with instructions for us non-microwave, non-(large) food processor having folks). oh also, the original recipe claims 16 biscuits from this recipe...those would be 16 small biscuits, i got 10 using my 3 inch biscuit cutter.
happy thanksgiving everyone!

sweet potato biscuits
(from bon appetit, november 2010)
1 large red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 1 1/4 pounds), pierced with fork
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour plus additional
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup almond milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to curdle
1/4 cup maple syrup (i ran out and used 1/2 maple 1/2 agave)
1/2 cup pecans, toasted , chopped (optional)

preheat oven to 425°F. line baking sheet with parchment.

first you need to bake your potato. when the oven is hot put the potato in until cooked all the way through (about an hour depending on the size of your potato). when it's done take it out and cut it in half and scoop out 1 cup of the flesh. mash it well and let cool

in a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal and baking powder. cut in the margarine until you have a coarse meal. add the potato, milk mixture and syrup and mix until combined (i would recommend using your hands for that bit) add nuts (if using) and mix again.

sprinkle dough with flour. pat dough so that it's about and inch thick and cut into biscuits. transfer to baking sheet. bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

*SO amazingly yummy. we used tempeh sausage crumbles from vegan with a vengence and omelet rounds from vegan brunch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

tempeh taco lettuce wraps

i was on the train home the other day trying to think of what to make for dinner. the first thing i thought was "tacos!" because i could eat them every day. but i knew that if i went home and kris asked what i want to make and i said "tacos!" he would say "of course you do..." and i don't want to be that predictable. so to keep some mystery about myself and also get my taco fix i went for a slight twist with taco lettuce wraps. in the past my lettuce wraps have consisted of mostly asian inspired innards so this was a nice twist on them too. you could make any taco-y fillings you like but i went with tempeh, potatoes, carmelized red onions and avocado. this was the first time in a long time that i made tacos and didn't end up feeling stuffed so hooray for lettuce! here's how it went (all seasonings are to taste).

tempeh taco lettuce wraps
for the potatoes:
cut potatoes into small, bite sized pieces. place in a baking dish and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder. cook at 375 until tender (20 minutes?). these were a success on their own because kris said they "look so professional! like diner potatoes!" and we all know that diner potatoes are among the best potatoes.

for the tempeh:
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 serrano chili, finely chopped
1 package tempeh
hot sauce
dried oregano
salt and pepper
olive oil

heat oil in a pan and add the chopped tomatoes (seeds, juice and all) and serrano. crumble the tempeh into the pan as well. add hot sauce and spices to taste and cook it all up until the tomatoes break down and the tempeh is heated through and coated with all the spices.

to assemble place a bit of tempeh and potatoes in a butter lettuce leaf, top with onions and chopped avocado. enjoy!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

indian chickpea stew

whenever kris is out of town, instead of smartly cooking for one, i do the total opposite and cook for 8*. it happens every time. during his most recent weekend trip my vat on the stove contained indian chickpea stew from the cafe flora cookbook. the stew is exactly what you would imagine hearty chickpeas and vegetables in a spicy tomato broth**. it's comfort food that comes together (relatively) quickly and easily and you can freeze the leftovers and reheat when you're feeling lazy.

i made a few tiny adjustments to the recipe: instead of 1 pound of potatoes i did half a pound and a zuccini. i also only added 1 teaspoon of salt instead of 2 and didn't feel like i needed to add any more later. you might want to but better to check it out first than have chickpea salty stew. oh and it also says to use a 3-quart or larger saucepan....go for larger, my 3-quart was full to the brim which made stirring in the greens difficult. and speaking of greens i added way more than 3 cups. maybe that's why the pot was so full......hmmmm. anyway, below is the recipes as it is in the book.

the cookbook recommends serving this with a side of green beans, asparagus or snow peas. i served it over rice.

indian chickpea stew

(from cafe flora cookbook)
15 oz. can canned chickpeas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 large onion, thinly sliced in crescents
1 (2 to 3 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno chili, finely diced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1 pound small red potatoes
3 cups roughly chopped greens (i used kale)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

heat the oil in a saucepan, add the mustard and cumin seeds and saute over medium heat until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop.

add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. then add the ginger and jalapeno and saute for 2 minutes more.

stir in the tomatoes and their juice, turmeric, salt and water. bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

while the sauce simmers, drop the potatoes into a small pot of boiling water to cover. cook them, covered, until they are barely tender, about 20 minutes. drain the potatoes and cut them in half. you cook the potatoes separately so they don't fall apart in the stew.

add the chickpeas, potatoes and greens to the tomato mixture. simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are hot, 3 to 5 minutes. if you find the stew is getting thicker than you like, add more water to keep it saucy. just before serving, add the herbs, and season to taste with salt.

*the recipe claims 4-6 servings but seriously. i had one dinner. two lunches. and two full tupperwares in the freezer. i'll give you 6-8 but i'm still leaning towards 8.
**i notice that this picture does not look saucy at all but trust me, sauce is there.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

noochy pepita crusted tofu

this was a tofu concoction that turned out to be quite successful. these pan fried slabs of 'fu taste nice and light and make a great meal with a veggie side (like, say, roasted asparagus!). the pepita coating not only tastes great but it's a bit more filling (nuts and seeds are sneaky like that) than plain old breadcrumbs.

a bonus of this meal is that we realized trader joe's "high protein" tofu is the best tofu there is. it's super firm and absolutely perfect for frying up like this or in a stir fry or anywhere where you would want firm tofu. plus, like everything at trader joe's, it's cheap.

pepita crusted tofu

pepitas, roasted
smoked paprika
unsweetened almond milk
nutritional yeast (you know, nooch)

this is a no measuring, wing-it kind of recipe. here's what you're gonna do:

put a bunch of pepitas in a food processor with smoked paprika, salt and pepper (don't be shy with the spices, i wish i'd added more than i did). grind it up until you have pepita crumbs. place this in a shallow bowl.

in another shallow bowl, mix together the almond milk and a bunch of nooch so that you have a thick, kind of gloppy product.

dredge the tofu slabs first in the milk/nooch and then in the pepitas.

heat a lightly oiled pan over medium high and add the tofu. cook until browned on each side.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

fall pasta

this pasta involves butternut squash and also sage so i'm dubbing it fall pasta. it doesn't look like fall around here and doesn't really feel like fall so i've got to get my autumn fix where i can, thanks for pulling through squash.

so besides squash and sage this pasta also includes shallots and spinach. i roasted both the squash and the shallots to bring out their sweetness and then countered that with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon. when the ingredients are this delicious they don't need a lot of dressing up. here's what i did....

fall pasta

pasta (we used tri-colored rotini)
1 butternut squash, cut into 1/2 inch-ish cubes*
several shallots, halved or quartered (i only had 3 small ones but i wish i had more)
1 bunch spinach, chopped
handful of fresh sage, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

cook the pasta according to package instructions, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

toss the squash pieces and shallots with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft.

once the pasta is cooked drain and add the spinach, sage and the 1/2 cup cooking water. toss until the spinach is wilted. add the roasted squash and shallots and toss. add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

*you will want to use your biggest, sharpest knife for this. and while you are cutting up your squash with your big sharp knife you will constantly say "man! i LOVE this knife!"...or maybe that's just me.


Friday, October 29, 2010

flakey biscuits

kris and i started doing friday night breakfast for dinner (ok so this is only the second time, but there are many more to come!) and tonight was biscuits and gravy. oh biscuits how i love them. they're flakey, they're buttery and they're so easy you can whip them up to accompany a week day meal. everyone should have a simple biscuit recipe on hand, this is mine. it's a super simple recipe that you could easily dress up by adding herbs and spices should you wish. oh and if you're curious, we made the mushroom gravy from vegan brunch. yum.

flakey biscuits
1 1/2 cup nondairy milk (i've used soy and almond and both worked great)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup cold margarine
1/2 cup cold shortening

preheat oven to 375. in a small bowl mix together milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.

in a large bowl mix flour, salt, baking power and baking soda. add the margarine and shortening in small clumps and cut into to flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

make a well in center and add milk. use your hands to mix the dry ingredients into the wet (it's more fun with your hands) the dough should be sticky (add more milk/flour if needed). turn onto a well floured surface and fold dough into itself a few times. roll out to 1 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter/cookie cutter/drinking glass/what have you.

place on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with milk.

bake 12-14 minutes until golden.

bonus! if you don't want to eat all of these at once you will be happy to know that they freeze, pre-baked, really well. you'll just have to add a few minutes to the cooking time and you can have fresh biscuits all week!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

padron peppers

one of my favorite nibbles that has started showing up on more and more bar menus lately is shishito peppers, gently pan fried and tossed with salt. it's a light little munch that packs a lot of flavor. the other day while cruising through the farmers market i saw a stand with a basket overflowing with little green peppers. i know they weren't shishito but i thought they looked like they'd do the trick for making a home recreation. i'm not entirely sure what kind of pepper i bought but i predict padron and i'm sticking to it...i'm even so confidently calling this entry "padron peppers." so there ya go. now obviously i wouldn't go so far as to demand that you track down the same mystery peppers that i did but what you are going for is a small pepper (one bite is awesome, two bites tops) that is on the milder side with just a bit of kick when you eat the seeds.

this is a really simple snack, appetizer, whatever you want, to whip up. all you do is heat a bit of olive oil in a pan, throw in some salt and cook the peppers until they begin so soften and blister; just a few minutes. i let mine go a bit too long but they were still yummy. toss with a little more salt if needed and eat warm.


Monday, October 4, 2010

eating and drinking ourselves through europe

kris and i recently* returned from a 10 day european vacation where we ate tons of falafel, drank a lot of beer and filled in the other parts with various delicious nibbles and drinks. i started writing this post and quickly realized that, at the rate i was going, it was going to be very long and very rambly and nobody wants that.

so in attempt number two i give you the highlights, as short and sweet as i can.

our first stop, brussels, was all about frites and beer.

we went to the cantillon brewery, if you like sour beer buy this stuff if you get the chance

it's really easy to do day trips from brussels. we went to cologne one day and tested out a couple of pretzels. the real winner was the walnut bread though.

after a few more days exploring brussels and day trips to ghent and lille we took off for amsterdam. kris and i love falafel and were on a mission to find the best that amsterdam had to offer. after 5 falafels in 4 days (with one day off) it came to a toss up between maoz and sonny. both places had fantastic toppings bars so that you could load up your falafel to your liking.

and certainly you didn't expect us to go through an entire trip without seeking out bagels. bagels & beans in amsterdam is surprisingly delicious!

a few more yummy things to leave you with:

*ok so it's been over a month. i've been a bit slow getting this post together.