Bok Choy Bohemia | A Vegetarian Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Asian Quinoa Pilaf and Sugared Basil

I wanted to make this recipe for "lemongrass quinoa pilaf" that was in Vegetarian Planet, but as it turns out, I couldn't find lemongrass ANYWHERE this week. If worst comes to worst, Shaws normally has it in a tube...but they were completely out as well, go figure. Who needs parsley in a tube?

Since I had to be creative, I replaced the lemongrass with a combination of tamari, sherry, and lime juice. Everything else in the recipe remained the same.
The dish was very simple, and quite delicious. I had quinoa for the first time less than a year ago, and I still can't get over how friggin DELICIOUS it is...never mind how good FOR you! Why quinoa isn't more mainstream I'll never know...perhaps I'll make bringing it out into the mainstream my life's ambition, why should rice get all the love?

The second component of this meal was an idea that I would NEVER, in a MILLION YEARS, have come up with on my own. This was another recipe from The Olive and the Caper and darn those crazy Greeks, they decided to go off and sugar basil leaves.
Who DOES THAT? ME. That's who. Not only are these delicious, but something tells me they'll make awesome garnishes for some of my new years eve drinks as well.

The basic idea here is that you brush the leaves with anything moist (the recipe suggests egg whites, but soy milk works just fine) and then sprinkle sugar on both sides. Afterward they go somewhere "airy" for a couple hours to dry out and turn crispy, and OH BOY are they good. Basil for desert...who knew.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Marinated Mushrooms and a Hot n Sour Slaw

Tonight was a very "antipasti" medley of sorts. We had green olives and whole roasted garlic spread on toast as well, but they aren't pictured.

I've been wanting to try out Marinated Mushrooms for awhile, as they're a household favorite, and I'm not huge on some of the sketchy ingredients that come in your average jar. The recipe I used was from the cookbook The Olive and the Caper and was good...although not quite what I was after. These were very oily (not surprising considering how much olive oil was in the recipe) and the anise seed was just plain time I think an ingredient is odd...I'll follow my gut. Otherwise they're good...but it looks like we'll keep buying the jarred kind for least until I can get my own version up to par.

The salad was in no way Greek, but still quite good. I got the recipe from Vegetarian Planet, and the introduction to it said that "hot and sour soup is good..but hot and sour slaw is so much better."
I LOVE my hot and sour soup, and not much can get in the way of our relationship. So while this salad is REALLY good, and I went back for's no hot and sour soup, I'm sorry. If you've got the cookbook, I highly recommend it is VERY good, they're on to something here.


Stir Fry

There's nothing overly special about this....except that I used a couple fun new things I found at the Asian Market. One was long, purple eggplant....I simply couldn't resist their fun color...and the other is green tea flavored soba noodles. The eggplant tasted a lot like normal eggplant, but nice and mild, no soaking/salting here, and they weren't bitter in the least. The green tea noodles has a VAGUELY tea like flavor when you ate them alone, but it wasn't noticeable under anything else. They were dirt cheap and they look cool though, so I'll probably buy them again.
The sauce was a combination of black bean paste, hot chili oil, mirin, the soaking liquid from the "dry sliced mushrooms-I wish I knew what the Chinese said, but they're good", and some dried mustard and five spice powder.

Simple and Delicious...and topped with some Gomasio for a bit of crunch.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Garam Masala Stir Fry

We've had a bottle of garam masala marinating sauce that's been kicking around in the fridge for awhile, and tonight was its big night. I marinated tofu triangles for about half an hour in the sauce, and then grilled them in my cast iron skillet, pressing down on each side as they cooked.
I also re-hydrated oyster mushroom, lily flower buds, and shitakes in boiling water, and sauteed them up with minced ginger, scallion, and sliced baby carrots.
The remaining garam masala marinade went over these vegetables and everything simmered as it cooked. The frozen peas went in last, since they don't take much cooking time.

I served this all up over rice noodles, and it was pretty good, although I'm still a bit skeeved out by the slightly bitter aftertaste from the lily that I've tried them twice I can safely say that I won't buy more once I've finished the current supply. They aren't horrible...I just don't love the taste they impart on everything.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Creamy Tomato Soup and Panko Stuffed Mushrooms

Tonight's V'con menu was much more successful, which I was excited about, since I'm still on a "try the few recipes you've never made in V'con" kick.

The first thing I tried out was the panko stuffed mushrooms, which I'd been eying for awhile since everything "mushroom" is a big kick around here. I'd made stuffed mushrooms before...but never Vegan ones, my past attempts have always had some kind of cheese kicking around in them. The most exciting part of these was the fresh diced daikon...I'd never have thought to put a crunchy radish in a mushroom...but it's delicious!
Doesn't it just look like the mushroom is beckoning to you...saying "eat me...please eat me"? Never fear, we ate all of them without issue.

I also gave the creamy tomato soup a go, and it was a huge success as well. The sun dried tomatoes are absolutely key, giving this soup a much richer and more tomato-ey taste than campbells...that's for sure. This simply felt rustic and as though it'd been cooking and developing all day, while in actuality it took me barely 30 minutes.

That is all...have a good night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sphagetti Squash Mexican Fiesta with Avocado Salsa Fresca

...or something like that.
There's not a whole lot I can say about this....It was a a V'con recipe...I didn't like it. Okay, that's not totally true...I loved the fruit salsa component...the whole Mexican bean stuff underneath was nasty....or at least that's my opinion on the matter.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Cajun Meatloaf with Bourbon Sauce and Sweet N' Sour Potato Shreds

Vegan Dad went...and he did it again. He made something so totally delicious looking, that I could practically taste it from the picture, and couldn't think of anything else but consuming it until I'd made my very own.
Vegan Dad's Picture looks way more appetizing than mine, but I can promise I followed his recipe to a tee and that it was absolutely delicious. I've been slowly reintroducing myself to tempeh over the last couple months or so...doing my best to hide it in things and overwhelm its texture and taste so I wouldn't know it was there. Well, I used two entire packages of tempeh in this recipe, it was the main protein component, and I LOVED IT. I just couldn't get enough of this. THANK YOU VEGAN DAD, THANK YOU!!!

Since I was feeling pretty down-home comfort food...I figured meat and potatoes was a good direction to head culinary-wise. My potato component was the Stir Fried Sweet N' Sour Potato Shreds from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian (real "steakhouse" traditional, I know) My mandolin was really what made this recipe, since you need the potatoes to be in thin little shreds for this to work.
The potatoes are only cooked (with a number of other ingredients) for a couple minutes, because you want them to retain a solid crunch. I never thought I'd like almost raw potatoes...but this is really, really good...and I definitely enjoyed when my boyfriend asked "what vegetable is this?".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sweet N Sour Seitan

This was another idea I got from the Brand Name Chinese Cookbook although I didn't follow the directions in the least.
The seitan hit the wok with sliced carrots, green bell, celery, leek, and a can of pineapple chunks. The sauce was a combination of the juice from the pineapple, shoyu, hoisen sauce, and white wine vinegar. I didn't measure any of them, so frankly I couldn't tell you what the amounts are. After adding all the ingredients to the wok, I simply allowed things to simmer for about 15 minutes, giving it a toss with the tongs every five or so....

mmmm...more chinese food...I'm definitely seeing a trend in my tastes lately.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Orange Seitan

Orange Beef is another popular Chinese dish that I remember from my childhood...and since I was making some seitan for a sweet and sour dish coming later this weekend, I decided to double the recipe and make some orange seitan over rice as well.
I used the simple seitan recipe from V'con as usual, and then sliced it into strips which were sauteed in peanut oil. The sauce was a combination of 2 parts OJ, and 1 of equal parts sherry and shoyu. I mixed in about a tablespoon of cornstarch, and then added it to the seitan in the wok. About a minute later it had reached the correct consistency.

Not counting the seitan which was made earlier in the evening, this meal took barely ten minutes to make, which is good...because that mustered all the motivation I had.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pad Thai

According to the Brand Name Chinese Cookbook, this recipe is called "tofu noodle salad with spicy peanut sauce". I don't know why they call it that, it's a great Pad Thai.
I've made plenty of Pad Thai's before, and this ranks well among them...nothing stellar, but not bad either. The real trick to this was using fresh ground organic peanut butter...although I think "brand name chinese" called for Jiff.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fennel Orange Salad and Sopa de Ajo

I found a Sephardic cookbook in the library last week, and just had to check it out. For those unfamiliar, Jews are basically divided into two groups based on their family origin. More well known around these parts are the Ashkenazim....or Jews from Eastern Europe. We have the Ashkenazim to thank for quintessential Jewish dishes like kugel, matzoh ball soup and latkes. The Sphardim are quite a different bunch, hailing from Spain/South America and the Middle East. Don't ask me how Moroccans get grouped in with Argentinians...I don't know. Sephardi food is very different from the classic Ashkenazi "Jewish Grandmother fare" with a lot more spice and less fat, and is in my opinion....better. *removes soapbox, steps down*

The first recipe I made was a simple orange and fennel salad with LOTS of orange. We're talking orange zest, orange juice, and the insides of the oranges. (I supremed beautifully in case you were wondering.) Considering I don't like orange juice or most orange flavored foods (weird, I know) I REALLY liked this salad. The anise flavor of the fennel with the crisp leek and the citrus-y dressing just made me happy...literally, it must be all the vitamin C.
The main course was a sopa de Ajo, which in laymens terms is a yogurt and garlic soup. The whole affair sounded a bit strange to me, but it involved swiss chard which is quite possible my favorite leafy green, so I figured it couldn't be all bad.
It turns out that it's all good. It was rich and creamy, and absolutely DELICIOUS. I liked this soup A LOT, and while there was certainly nothing wrong with the yogurt, for a slightly thinner and easy Vegan alternative, I might try out a coconut milk version at some point.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mediterranean Pesto Pasta

Sometimes leftovers are pretty blah...other times they're pretty great, and today's lunch erred on the side of pretty great. We're in painful need of a grocery shopping excursion which is planned for later tonight, but I did manage to scrape up some remnants of food and put together a pretty nice lunch for myself.
I wilted down the remaining baby spinach (that didn't quite get used up in salads this week) with some minced garlic and olive oil. I added some leftover cooked angel hair that was in the fridge along with some oil cured black olives, sun dried tomatoes, and a gladware of arugula pesto that I'd made a couple weeks ago and totally forgotten about since it got lost in the back of the (now empty) fridge.

PRESTO. A quick, mediterranean lunch made from practically nothing...and quite delicious if I say so myself.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


When I spent the semester in Israel, I had one of two things for breakfast every day...the first was Israeli salad...fresh chopped cucumber,tomato, and bell pepper with lemon juice,olive oil,salt,pepper,and zataar. The other thing was Shakshukah. Think scrambled eggs, but with more tomato and veggies then this case they're simply a thickening agent so that the finished product holds shape better on toast.
I'm sure you could mix a pre-made tofu scramble into this as well...but today I went with the original.

1 can pureed tomatoes
1 md. onion,minced
1 ripe tomato,chopped
Approx. 10 leaves fresh basil, julienned
3 lrg. mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 eggs
hot paprika
garlic salt
dried oregano

1. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and onions,and sautee until translucent. Add the mushrooms,tomatoes, paprika, garlic salt, oregano, and cumin. Stir for a couple more minutes.
2. Add the can of pureed tomatoes and allow everything to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the eggs and basil, and mix until thickened and resembling a somewhat loose version of scrambled eggs.

This is best divvied up on toast...I'm currently hooked on a whole wheat sourdough,although it works on anything. I do intend to try it out with a tofu scramble in the future...I'll post the recipe when I do...


Friday, December 5, 2008

Mushroom Focaccia

We decided to mix up pizza night a bit by making focaccia instead of pizza...a mushroom one to be exact.
I used a pizza dough mix for this...straight out of the bag and add water. The dough was topped with morrel mushrooms, white buttons, minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, dried basil, salt, pepper, and white truffle oil.

Once these were served up, I added a drizzle of balsamic to the mix...and perfection was met. I seriously can't imagine anything I would've liked better for dinner...this is going to become a mainstay, I'm making the prediction now...


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Slow Cooker Chili

Since I saw my first snow of the season last week (it didn't stick...thankfully) I've officially deemed it chili season. I made chili in a pot last year, and kept an eye on it all day long to make sure I didn't burn my apartment down in the process...this year, I have a slow cooker! I scored the Hamilton Beach model for $10 on black friday, and today's chili is it's first run 'round the block. I got a slow cooker recipe cookbook from the library today, so I have a number of options for its next adventure.
The chili was topped with some avocado and Nooch...I wanted to make a guacamole, but the avocados were still too firm for mashing, but that doesn't mean they can't be enjoyed sliced and diced.
The one thing I always keep constant in my chili is using V8 as the liquid...I already know I like the stuff, there's always a box-full in my pantry, and it comes pre-seasoned, how could I lose?
Today's combination was as follows:

1/2 lb dried kidney beans
1 lg. onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 green bell pepper,diced
1 jalapeno (with seeds) minced
1 pkg tempeh, diced
3 cans V8 juice
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
1.5 tbsp. garlic salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. dried basil
1.5 tbsp. cumin

1. This is the best part of having a slow cooker...dump EVERYTHING in, turn to high, and forget for 6 hours.

Have I mentioned it also makes the apartment smell like chili-deliciousness all day? I may never make a 30 minute meal again...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sweet Potato Shepards Pie

I was partially listening to Rachael Ray at some point last week, and saw that she was making a sweet potato Shepards Pie. It sounded like a great idea to me, and so later that night when I was at work and bored out of my mind, I put together a recipe for a Veggie version. Since I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to Rachael I'm not sure if this is anywhere close to the real thing, but it certainly tasted good, I can attest to that.
I melted cheese over the top since Rachael did, but in eating, it turned out the cheese is completely unnecessary, it was much better with the leftover cranberry sauce and gravy.

I am rather proud of this recipe, since it turned out so well, and I highly recommend you give it a shot, especially if you were ever a fan of the omnivore version.

4 large yams, peeled and cubed.
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated cheddar (optional)
1 medium onion, minced
5 large mushrooms, minced
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups TVP
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp. Bac-Uns
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. garlic salt
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel yams, cube, and boil until soft. Add Salt and Pepper, and mash.
2. Combine the stock, wine, and liquid smoke, and stir in TVP to reconstitute.
3. In a large skillet, add olive oil, garlic, onion, and spices. Cook until onions are just becoming translucent,and add mushrooms. Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
4. Add the TVP with liquids, and the peas. Simmer until everything has reduced and resembles ground beef.
5. Grease a large casserole dish. Coat the bottom with the TVP/Vegetable mixture, and layer the mashed sweet potatoes over that. If desired, cover with grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.

Once this had been sitting out for a few minutes it held its shape much better...I simple couldn't wait that long for my first serving, so the picture is a bit more abstract...

Blog Directory - Blogged