Monday, May 28, 2012

Steamed dessert dumplings


I'm honestly not sure if this is a common thing to do with dumplings or not.. but since I'm a fan of steamed foods and I love fruit.. I figured, why the heck not try?

Let me say that I'm so glad that I did! With the freshness of fruit, the ease of a dumpling and the awesomeness of organic maple syrup.. this dessert is amazing.

Dumpling wrappers
Fresh fruit, diced small (I used strawberry)
Optional: dash of raw/whole sugar or dates
Maple syrup

Follow the same directions as for  savory dumplings. You're going to dice your fruit, wrap it in a dumpling wrapper (the more you practice, the easier it is) and cover and steam for 20-30 minutes. I also put some raw sugar inside each dumpling with the berries. Next time I'll dice some dates and put those in the dumpling wrapper instead.

Try them warm.

Try them chilled.

Don't forget to dip in maple syrup.

Whole, organic sugars are the best tasting - and actually good for you. Most people forget (or just don't know) that whole sugars, salts and grains all contain micronutrients that humans can't list because there are just too many. So, stick with WHOLE foods, not bleached-then-fortified foods. Your body will thank you!

Lentil tacos (or burritos or nachos)


Makes 6-8 tacos

3/4 c dried lentils
1 3/4 c water
1.5 t cumin
1 t chili powder
3/4 t coriander
1 t soy sauce
1/2 t jalapeno (or your favorite hot spice)
1/2 t sea salt

This recipe is so easy, it's almost silly to post it as a recipe:

Mix all ingredients in a pot. Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes (until water is absorbed). Serve with freshly cut veggies.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Dog food

Anyone who knows us knows that we have foster animals coming and going all year long. Well, our recent rescue (from last weekend) is an obese, silly, sweet, needy beagle.

His obesity is probably the reason he has a tumor under his armpit and rotten gums. We have an appointment at the vet soon. We just hope his obesity hasn't caused diabetes -- or any other obesity-related disease.


Sadly, we believe he was left behind when his oh-so-caring owner graduated college and left town last weekend. I suppose if people abandon their pets when they move, when they foreclose.. why wouldn't students do it, too?

Although for Zoid, whom we saw him rummaging through a bag of garbage last weekend, this was lucky! Now he will get his gums and teeth cleaned, he has started eating healthy (and yummy!) foods and will get his tumor removed once he's lost a little weight. You see, he's not just fat - he's obese. Surgery is just as dangerous for an obese dog as it is for an obese person.

Sadly, we can only assume he has been living on pizza, burgers and beer - or some equally unhealthy combination of foods. And he may have gotten many of those meals out of dumpsters because he always takes us there on our walks.

Luckily, he loves loves loves loves broccoli. Just raw, sliced broccoli. No kidding. Most dogs love green beans. Many love carrots. Some love chickpeas. A friend's dogs absolutely LOVE watermelon. You just have to keep trying until you find out what your own pooch loves.

NOTE: I prefer softer tofu but Zoid prefers pressed. You can purchase pressed tofu at any Asian market. It's super inexpensive, too! Or you could also try pressing firm tofu that you buy at the grocery store. Open and drain package. Wrap the tofu with a hand towel and put something hard on top, like a skillet. Let it squeeze out the water. Now place in a container and freeze solid. When you want to use it, simply thaw and squeeze out any remaining water. You'll notice the texture is firmer and stringier. It can give you variety with your tofu, too! Try it. You might like it.

Dog food 1:

Pressed tofu
Cooked lentils
Cooked oats or brown/red/black rice
Sliced raw broccoli
Dash turmeric
Dash soy sauce
Pureed pumpkin on top

I cube the tofu small and mix with turmeric. Then cook with extra olive oil -- this is the only fat in this meal, so don't be afraid to use it. Now, mix with your other ingredients. Serve warm.

Dog food 2:

Cooked black beans
Cooked brown rice
Sliced, raw broccoli
Sliced cooked or raw zucchini (however your dog prefers)
A few sliced carrots
Pureed pumpkin on top

Dog food 3:

Pressed tofu
Cooked lentils
Cooked peas
Cooked, diced potatoes
Sliced raw broccoli
Dash soy sauce
Pureed pumpkin on top

This time put soy sauce on the tofu cubes. Cook with extra olive oil until well done. Mix with remaining ingredients.

Dog food 4:

Nutritional yeast is chocker-block full of nutrients. You enjoy it - so will your pooch!

Simmer 1 c water with up to 1/2 c nutritional yeast. Sprinkle with salt. Add cilantro if you want.

Option 1: Pour this over some squished black beans.
Option 2: Pour this over boiled and sliced veggie dogs for a treat!
Option 3: Slice corn tortillas (Zoid LOVES corn tortillas), cover with some squished black beans and nutritional yeast sauce.

Just like us, dogs are NOT obligate carnivores. They do not need meat, saturated fat or any milk. Each meal should have some form of fat, protein, vitamins and moisture... and all of that can and should come from plant sources.

Rosemary basil fries

If you're like my husband, you prefer fried fries. Who doesn't, right? But we only fry the when we've done something particularly active - like cycling, hiking or some heavy remodeling.

Instead, we bake them:


I love mixing sweet potatoes with russet or red potatoes. Just note that russet take longer to cook than most other potatoes.

Serves 2

1 sweet potato
1 russet potato
Dash of olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375.

You'll want to slice your russet potatoes thinner than your sweet potatoes, to even out the cooking times. Slice them into long fries or short fries or even wedges. Peel your sweet potato and slice. Wash and do not peel your other potato.

Have your large bowl read with about 1 T olive oil. Throw your fries in there and mix. Now sprinkle with a lot of rosemary and basil and a little salt.

Put a single layer of fries on your cooking sheet. We actually cook on our cast iron skillets. Anything will work.

Cook 30 minutes at 375. Now flip all of your fries and increase heat to 400. Cook up to another 30 minutes or until brown.

Enjoy immediately.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Steamed dumplings

Who knew making dumplings was SO easy? I sure didn't.


Stop by any local Asian market and you'll find these inexpensive, round wrappers.

All I did was google "how to wrap a dumpling". I could make a video or take photos.. but why reinvent the wheel, I say? You'll find out just how easy this is.


You can use ANYthing you want for the filler. Make it sweet for a dessert. Make it savory. Flavor with masala (which is what I did). Use extra garlic. Really, the possibilities are endless.

To make them like this, simply chop into very small pieces 1 potato, 1 zucchini, 1 carrot and cook some brown rice. While still warm and after they've become slightly overcooked mash your potato. Then mix with the veggies, rice and a little masala and soy sauce. The mashed potato holds your dumpling contents together very well.


DO NOT OPEN WRAPPERS UNTIL YOU'RE READY TO WRAP. You don't want them to dry out at all.

Now, following the directions in any of the zillion youtube videos you just found, place the filling inside one wrapper and gently make your dumpling. Trust me, it's easier than you think.

Let your dumplings air dry for a few minutes so they stiffen up a little. Place in a large bamboo or metal steamer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Enjoy immediately.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fake your bacon


Tempeh-bacon, avocado and grape tomatoes make a delicious breakfast. Use all of the raw salt and pepper that you want.

We've all heard people say "I just could never give up meat" or "I love bacon too much" .. when in actuality what they mean to say is, "But it's something I've always done" or "I don't know what goes into my food but I love the way it tastes." 

Truly, all of those wonderful "meaty" flavors that people love are spices. Every region in the world has a different variety of "normal" spices. Replicating those spicy flavors using healthy (and cruelty-free alternatives) is tasty, wonderful for your body and well, it also means that we vegans eat well. We eat VERY well.

Tempeh (any variety)
Mesquite powder 
Soy sauce 

Slice your tempeh very thin. Place one layer of your tempeh in a bowl. Sprinkle with soy sauce until every piece is lightly wet. Run molasses up and down the strips. If you've never worked with molasses, this can be tricky! Go slowly. Once the molasses starts flowing it's hard to stop it. Then, sprinkle with mesquite powder. 

Now, place your next layer of tempeh on top of that one. 

Repeat previous steps until all tempeh is layered and soaking in these wonderful juices. 

Cook on a hot caste iron griddle until brown on both sides. Use a small amount of oil as necessary.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Samosas (baked or fried)

While nothing compares to the food we had in India.... I have to give it a try. It's certainly too far to commute!


Samosas.. Oh, how we miss you samosas. So, here's our first (and pretty tasty) attempt. 


There are a few layers to this recipe. You make a dough. You boil several veggies. You even mash one. Don't get overwhelmed. It's much easier than you imagine it to be... and worth the effort. 

Serve with 1/2 recipe of dahl for two people. Make a larger serving of dahl and you can spread the samosas around to serve more people. Either way, it's delicious!


1 T wheat gluten
1 c wheat flour
dash salt
2 t oil

2 medium potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed)
1/4 c carrots (diced, boiled)
1/2 c green peas (boiled)
1/4 c boca crumbles, cooked with onions or onion powder and spices, if you like it spicy 
1 t Garam masala (or more if you're adventurous!) 
1 green chili 
1 t ginger
1 t chili powder
1 T coriander
handful cashews
salt to taste
Other recipes also call for dried mango powder but I don't have any...

Step 1: Make your dough and set aside under a moist cloth. Basically, mix the ingredients listed and begin adding water a little at a time until you have a ball of dough. **I use wheat flour, not all-purpose flour. If you use all-purpose flour, you can leave out the gluten. 

Step 2: Peel and boil the potatoes. Mash. 
Step 3: Boil peas and carrots. Drain.
Step 4: Cook boca (if using). 

Step 5: If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees. We baked half and fried half. You've probably guessed the fried ones are the golden, dark color. I won't lie.. the fried ones are deliciously-fried. But the baked ones are great, too. 

Step 6: Add your peas, carrots, boca (if using) and all spices to the mashed potatoes. Set aside. This is your filling. 

Step 7: Now, pinch off a small ball of dough. I used a 4" (appox) sized glass bowl as my cutter. I rolled out a small dough as thin as I could get it and cut out a circle. Put the excess back with the rest of the unused dough. Use extra flour to keep it from sticking to you and whatever surface you are using. NOTE: You can make large samosas, small samosas or any size samosa you want. Don't be afraid to try this recipe. You won't mess it up.

Step 8: Put about 3-4 T of filling on each round of dough. Pinch all the way around. I used a fork to ensure it closed. Run each seam under a small amount of water. Set aside to dry. 

Repeat for all 8 samosas. 

Step 9: Bake 15 minutes on each side. Or fry until golden brown. 


Don't forget to serve with your favorite chutneys! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Homemade dahl

If you aren't lucky enough to live in a place where Dahl is standard fare (and we aren't), you have to make your own. Don't worry.. it's so much easier than I expected. Plus, it's even tastier when you can eat it right off the stove. No waiting. No reheating. Delicious!


You may have noticed that I've taken several weeks off. We moved. We've been in deep-remodeling mode. We've barely had energy to cook anything. So, now that I have the kitchen of my dreams [pictures to come soon] I thought the first meal in my new kitchen should be something I absolutely adore.. so that's what I did.


We finally have the kitchen we've always wanted! It's open, with a small fridge, top shelves instead of cabinetry. It's lovely. This makes me want to cook everyday again. I miss this.

So, here goes.

I've always loved dahl. It's a wonderful meal in itself. It's great as a side dish but totally satisfying on its own. Enjoy!

Serves 2 (as a meal)

1 T sesame oil
4 1/2 c water
2 bullion cubes
1 c red lentils
1 t onion powder
1 T sliced green onion
1 T ginger
1 t cumin, coriander, tumeric
1/4 t cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne
1 t salt
1 medium tomato, diced small
1 T tomato paste (optional)

OPTIONAL FIRST STEP: cook green onions in the oil for up to 5 minutes before adding remaining ingredients.

Or, skip that step and just mix all ingredients in the pot. Cook until lentils are overcooked, about 35 minutes. Don't evaporate all of your water -- this should be a runny soup. So, add water as needed.

Enjoy with naan or toasted pita pockets. Enjoy with friends!