Sunday, November 29, 2015

Best Marinated Tofu Steak

Search "best veggie burger" and prepare for the avalanche, and the disappointment! It seems that anyone who has ever come across a can of beans and cooked rice, tossed in some seasonings and called it "the best." Meh, not my cup of tea at all! But this one intrigued me - few ingredients and a Dr. Weil recipe (his food is both healthy but tasty), so we gave it a try.

Home Run!!

Next to Melissa Clark's Ultimate Veggie Burger (which takes hours to make and has an ingredient list that can make strong cooks shudder) this one is our favorite. Really tasty, little prep, and cooks up quickly.

Of course there is the catch that the tofu has to be frozen, defrosted and then marinated. It's definitely a do-ahead dinner, but so easy and delicious that you will begin to freeze blocks of tofu just so you make it (or this amazing recipe or these tasty morsels that work best with frozen/defrosted tofu).

Oh, and kid approved. Yup, gotta love that!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving Appetizers and Desserts

Although my blog is flexitarian, these suggestions are vegetarian and vegan in focus. So here, in no particular order, are my humble suggestions!

Hors d'oeuvres

Easy snacks for arriving guests are the name of the game here. These are do ahead treats that go great with wine and require little from you on turkey day. 

Fermented Cashew "Boursin" cheese. Yup, vegan, dairy free, delicious. If you want to shock your eaters, make this amazing "cheese." It's amazingly mind-blowing!

Olives are always easy and fun and when you marinate them yourself, you can taylor the flavors. Here's my version of them Moroccan Style.

Nuts are always a great snack to serve and these Maple Rosemary Glazed Walnuts will be a huge hit. But truly heed my warning and triple the batch, they are seriously addictive!


I have to admit that desserts are very much an afterthought for me, except at Thanksgiving! While my sweet tooth is general MIA, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite foods, probably because the sweetness factor isn't too high! That being said, if you are cooking for a crowd, it is good to have some variety. So beyond the traditional pumpkin and pecan, here are some suggestions.

Limoncello Macaroons with Lemon Icing are definitely not traditional turkey day fare, but they are easy to make and improve with age and will keep well in the refrigerator! Oh, and deliciously addictive to boot!

Chocolate is usually de rigor in some sort of dessert, and last year I had a sinfully rich chocolate pecan pie, but it really was a recipe for a bellyache! Try this Chocolate Ricotta Tart instead. Rich dark chocolate taste with the creaminess of ricotta!

Lastly, a fruit pie of sorts, inspired by the French: Goat Cheese, Walnut and Pear Galette. Rustic in look but elegant in taste.

Happy meal planning!


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving Entrees and Sides - Veggie Friendly

Vegetarians (and vegans!) get so much flak at Thanksgiving, and quite often their entree options are boring or nil. Be kind to the plant eaters and make them an entree to remember, and lots of sides that everyone will love!


Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy sounds like a scary throwback from the early hippie food of the 1970s, but this is decadence and deliciousness that everyone will love. Make enough so the carnivores can try it, they will be pleasantly surprised!

If your diners are primarily omnivores, these Chick Pea Parmesan Cutlets are easy to make ahead of time and then heat with some tomato sauce and presto! Delicious vegetarian or vegan entree without much fuss.

My personal old standby favorite whenever I was eating with my omnivore family was the Seitan Sautee with gravy. Here's a version with Fieldroast Marsala with Mushrooms.


Whether I eat turkey or not, my favorite part of the meal are the vegetable side dishes. Some people are crazy for stuffing but what I can't wait for is...Brussels Sprouts! Truly, and without bacon! Just sauteed with some olive oil and salt and sometimes a little balsamic vinegar. And then there's cauliflower gratin and beet salad and green beans...Ok, I'm drooling all over the computer. Suffice to say the veggies win the day for me!

Basque Beet Salad with Parsley and Garlic

(Use butter and cream instead of non-dairy ingredients if you like).

Happy Eating!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spectacular Fish Cakes

Fish cakes have never been high on my list of recipes to make. They were never something my mother served our family. In fact the first image that comes to mind is greasy, smoke filled cottages in England or Ireland where I'm guessing fish cakes were a staple simply due to the abundance of the sea. But when I was gifted with two pounds of fresh, local, ling cod from a friend for showing how to cook Sticky Sesame Tofu and Mei Fun Noodles, fish cakes was what sprang to my mind as the best way to showcase the cod.

And then the internet led me to this recipe and a love that I never knew possible was born. Ultimate may sound like hyperbole, and because my repertoire on fish cakes is limited to this one version, I am just going to take their word for it. But believe me, these are freaking amazing! Out of this world, smack your mama good! (that would be Southern for why didn't my mama make this for me when I was a child?!)

The tartar sauce alone blows your mind but mashed in with some potatoes and then combined with fish? Holy cannolis! Two-three servings is really only two (or one!) if you are willing to share! These will be making a regular appearance at our table for sure!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Homemade Cheese Ravioli - Spelt Flour Version

Homemade pasta was the first complicated meal I made for someone other than myself. It was a traditional Lasagna Bolognese and since a rolling pin was not yet a part of my kitchen tool kit, I used a wine bottle with the label removed. A rousing success!

Maybe it was a result of that first success that homemade pasta has never intimidated me. Once you've made it well, it is such a pleasure and joy to make and offer to your loved ones. Since store bought ravioli is always made with wheat flour, I now make my own. Out of all the spelt products I have attempted, this was the easiest and least problematic, score!

Make sure your eggs are large since spelt will soak up lots of liquid; if your eggs are on the smaller side, feel free to add a third egg but you will probably end up adding some more flour.
Obviously the fillings for ravioli can vary as wide as your imagination. My raviolis in the past have ranged from beet and chevre, spinach ricotta, wild mushroom and chevre, and pumpkin (which is superb with a balsamic cream sauce!)

Below are instructing for making ravioli with and without a ravioli mold. I've had one like the picture to the right for 25 years and it has traveled far and wide with me through many moves and homes; it was one of my first kitchen tool investments and it has served me well!