26 December 2010

Veggie Couscous!

I love couscous and I just don't seem to make it often enough lately.  So, I had to make it tonight.  I got creative and added all sorts of tasty stuff to it.  Carrots, zucchini, onion, garlic, mushrooms, golden raisins, toasted almonds and some peas all play a tasty role in my dinner. I used whole wheat couscous, which I love love love!

I also love me some Caesar salad, so I sort of devised my own recipe based on a bunch of other recipes I found online.  And, mine is vegan, which makes it even better than all the others, at least in my way of thinking.  I like it a bit tangy, and with lots of garlic. YUM.

Remember: If you make couscous from dry, it doubles when you cook it. I always forget this. And end up making a TON. So, 1 cup dry couscous will make at least 2 cups cooked couscous.  I always forget, so I just want to make sure you realize how much you're about to make.

Couscous Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dry couscous
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 large cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small-medium carrot thinly sliced
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2/3 cup to 1 full cup raw almonds, roughly chopped and briefly toasted
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • cooking spray
Couscous Method:
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add in the carrots and zucchini. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring once.
  2. Meanwhile, boil your water with some salt in a large sauce pan. 
  3. Add the onion, and cook 4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, peas and mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes. Add any salt or pepper you want.
  5. While you are doing step 4, you should add the couscous to the water, stir briefly. Then remove the pan from the burner and add the lid to the pan. This will take about 5 minutes or so to cook.  then remove lid and fluff with a fork.
  6. Now, add your veggies to the couscous, along with your almonds and raisins. And stir well. You may need a bit more salt here, or maybe that is just me because I LOVE SALT.
Caesar Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 TB Veganaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB capers, without their brine
  • 1/3 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 TB lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 3 TB nutritional yeast
  • a few shakes garlic powder
  • a few shakes onion powder
  • 1 1/2 TB dijon mustard
Dressing Method:
  1. Put all ingredients into blender and whir until well combined.  Easy Peasy.

21 December 2010

Chocolate Glazed Cupcakes

This is a classic recipe I used on my old website and I just thought I'd share it here, too, because it's too good to miss out on.  It is absolutely amazing, especially when you get a chocolate craving (ladies, I'm talking to you).  I know how it is.  These are some moist, rich, wonderful chocolate cupcakes.  And I just can't believe how delectable these cupcakes are. I never ever thought a sweet recipe would have vinegar and still taste amazing.

Who needs loads of frosting when you have a killer chocolate glaze?  Not me.  As much as I love frosting (which is a lot) I wasn't sure that I would really like the glaze. I do like it. A lot. Like, crazy amounts of love.  Don't get me wrong, I typically find cupcakes to be merely a frosting delivery tool.  But, these cuppies are so amazing that you won't miss the fluffy sweet frosting.  These are really some of the best cupcakes I've ever had.

This recipe is adapted from this recipe at the Radishes & Rhubarb blog. I had to change a few ingredients to fit what I had on-hand. I'm thinking that there is one little thing I am going to change next time. And that is to add some espresso powder to the glaze to kick up the flavor just a bit more. But, they are fabulous as-is. 

The recipe makes 12 cuppies.

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup light canola oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 TB Earth Balance Spread
  • 2 TB reduced fat almond milk
  • 1 TB warm water
  • 2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners (or lightly oil cups and go liner-free).
  2. In a medium/large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk until very well combined and homogenous in appearance.
  3. Then whisk the warm water, vanilla, oil and vinegar into the dry mix. Stir only until you see no more dry powder.
  4. Carefully pour batter into the liners until 2/3 full. Place in center of oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into cupcakes comes out clean. Mine took right about 18 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
  5. When the cupcakes have cooled, start the glaze.
  6. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, Earth Balance, almond milk, warm water and cocoa powder. Place pan over a medium heat and stir continually. Bring the mixture to a light boil, stirring and scraping the pan bottom constantly. This took me about 4-5 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Stir non-stop for 5 minutes. Glaze will thicken somewhat and also get a bit darker.
  8. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cupcakes and dig in! They are super tasty!

20 December 2010

Garlicky White Bean Soup with Basil

Yumm. This is probably the best soup I've ever made.  And, I had no help with this one.  Sometimes, I like to get online and mash together a few recipe ideas to make my own unique recipe out of the mix.  But, this one is all me.  It was a very cold day and I didn't feel like going anywhere, which also meant no trip to the grocery store.  So, I made do with what I had in my cupboard.  And, in my cupboard were 2 cans of cannellini beans and some vegetable broth.  What is a girl to do with that?  Make soup, of course.

I also had some fresh basil on hand after making yesterday's veggie pasta, so I put it to work in today's soup.  If you've been visiting my blog, you may have noticed that nearly every savory meal I make has garlic in it, so this soup would not be complete without a healthy dose of it.  If I had been feeling particularly adventurous, I would have roasted the garlic in my oven before adding it to the soup.  But, I was no such thing, so I just sauteed it with the onion and carrot.

Now, I recommend pureeing most of the beans in the broth because it helps thicken the soup.  I also reserve some whole beans because I can't eat just pureed soup. I need texture when I eat. But, if you like pureed foods, feel free to puree it all.

Now, on to the recipe. This makes about 3 large bowls.

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 5 large-ish cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned and then diced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp coriander powder
  • salt and pepper (I used kind of a lot of pepper)
  • 2 shakes of red pepper flakes
  • handful fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 2 TB or less olive oil
  1. Place the broth and 1 1/2 cans of beans into the blender or food processor and puree. Then set aside.
  2. In a stock pot (I used my enameled cast iron pot), heat the olive oil over medium heat.  After the oil has heated for 3-ish minutes, add the carrots and the onion and and the spices (but not the basil). Let cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent or nearly so.
  3. Add in the garlic and cook 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the pureed bean and broth mixture. Stir everything together and let simmer and bubble a bit for about 25 minutes. This will thicken up the soup-- but don't boil it. Turn the heat down if it starts to boil.  You will want to stir and make sure nothing is burning to the bottom of the pan about every 5 minutes.  After about 15 minutes, I stirred in the rest of the beans (whole).
  5. Adjust your seasonings and in the last 4-5 minutes or so, add in the fresh basil.
I meant to make some garlicky croutons out of some diced french bread, but I completely forgot. So, I used some oyster crackers and they were quite tasty.  I think the soup would be delicious with any sort of toasted bread.

19 December 2010

Veggie Pasta...Again

If you've visited my blog in the past...distant past, you would have seen my veggie pasta recipe. But, I guess that it really isn't a recipe as I don't ever make it exactly the same way.  It's one of those dishes where I just use whatever I have in my fridge.  This last time it had broccoli, cremini mushrooms, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, baby spinach and a ton of fresh basil and garlic.  Yes, I freaking LOVE garlic.  I even bought a stellar xmas tree ornament that is a bulb of garlic.  Don't believe me?  Check this out:

Awesome, huh?

Anyway, back to the veggie pasta.  It really is one of my most favorite things to make.  It's crazy easy, and it seems like everyone who tries it loves it.  Or, well, at least that's what they tell me.  Although, there's almost never any leftovers, so that has to mean something, right?

As for the pasta itself, you can use any shape or kind you want, but I love me some penne.  In a pinch, I've used some rotini, but it just isn't the same.  I'm sure it's all in my head, but I'd like to think that maybe the penne is just more tasty.  The only thing I wouldn't do is use whole wheat pasta as it seems to get dried out too easily.  Plus, if I'm totally honest, I don't really like it.  Enough about my pasta OCD.

  • 1/2 lb pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 of a small red onion, thick-sliced or diced large
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, de-stemmed and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • handful fresh basil, shredded
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • s&p to your tastes
  • a few shakes of garlic salt 

  1. Put 2 TB of the oil into a skillet.  Heat over medium heat.
  2. Once hot, add the carrots and the broccoli.  Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Now, add your pasta to some salted, boiling water.  Cook according to package directions.
  4. Add the zucchini, squash and onions to your skillet.  Saute, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. 
  5. Then add in the garlic and mushrooms.  Lower heat to medium-low and cook 3 minutes.  The veggies should be tender.
  6. Add the spinach to the pan and wilt a bit.  This should only take a couple of minutes at most.
  7. Drain your pasta and mix it in to your veggies.  I leave the heat on low and drizzle another TB of olive oil into the pan. Add in your salt and pepper, fresh basil and any other spices you want.  I sometimes add a bit of onion powder and garlic powder.  
  8. Serve up with some fresh garlic bread.  It'll blow your mind :)  Enjoy!

12 December 2010

Veggie Cassoulet - I'm Back!

As you may know, I've been sick lately and haven't felt like eating anything, let alone cooking it.  But, my friends, I am back.  I used an altered version of a recipe from Veganomicon (I think the recipe was originally Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits or something like that) to make this tasty dinner.  Well, as I didn't have leeks, I decided to just make my own version using potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms and garlic.  It's basically a very tasty stew with biscuits cooked on top.  And, it was delicious.  Don't be freaked out by the steps involved, its actually super duper easy!  Although it does take a little time to make, and it helps greatly if you are a multi-tasker, like myself because it really will cut down your time involved.

I think the only changes I would make next time would be to add some sauteed celery and a few shakes of a curry powder.  One of my favorite potpie recipes uses curry powder for a little kick and I love it, so I think it would be a pleasant flavor to add to this dish as well.

Easily feeds 2 hungry adults with some leftovers.

Ingredients for stew:
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • about 1/2 can great northern beans, rinsed well
  • 4 large cremini mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 TB cornstarch
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • any other spices that strike your fancy
  • salt to your tastes, but add in little by little because your broth might be pretty salty already. Also, I just love salt, so I tend to put more in food than is probably necessary.
Ingredients for biscuits:
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 TB vegetable shortening
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small pot, bring your potatoes and some salted water to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork-tender. Then drain and set aside.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, I got an oven safe pot out. I used a 2 qt. cast iron stock pot, and put it on medium-heat.  Add the oil and heat about 2-3 minutes. Then add in the carrots.
  4. Cook carrots for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Then add in the onion. Cook for about 7-8 minutes, until onions are translucent and the carrots are softened.  
  5. By now, your potatoes should be done cooking and setting aside. Take a moment to combine your broth and the corn starch and set aside for a minute or two. Make sure it is mixed well, with no lumps.
  6. Add the peas, beans, and potatoes to the pot. And then add in the broth mixture and mix well.  Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. The sauce will thicken and bubble. BUT, after you increase the heat, you need to start your biscuits.
  7. Put the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl. In a small bowl, add the vinegar to the milk and let set 3 minutes to curdle slightly like buttermilk.  Meanwhile, back to the dry ingredients. Mix them well, then using a fork, gently mash the shortening into the flour. There will be chunks, which is what you want, but only make them pea-sized. You don't want giant chunks.
  8. Now, drizzle the milk over the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork until combined. It should be a smidge sticky. I actually didn't need all of the milk to make it work, so add it in a little at a time. If its too wet, add a bit more flour.
  9. Your stew should be thickened now. I'd recommend you add your spices and adjust them before adding the biscuits.  Remove from the heat. Add your biscuit dough in small clumps onto the top of the stew.  Making at least 6 biscuit mounds. 
  10.  Then put the whole pot in the oven and bake about 13-15 minutes.  Serve up nice and hot. 

06 December 2010


Hello Friends, I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a several days, but I have not been feeling well, and have not been doing any cooking and very little eating. Hopefully I'm on the mend and will get back to posting very soon!