Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Breakfast sammies!

A good while ago I made some breakfast sandwiches with seitan sausage, tofu "eggs" and onions on homemade bread... Then I completely forgot about them and they got lost in the maze of photos on my camera. Good thing I check before I erased everything from the memory card, because I found these great photos!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Israeli Couscous Salad

Israeli couscous is an oversized version of the "grain" you probably already know. And the mouth-feel is amazing! Truly.
It's like my mouth is at Chuck-E-Cheese in the ball cage!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bottle Garden

Miniature gardens are really, really cute!
Robot in the garden

Chickpea Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

 This soup is a recipe from the Vegan Yum Yum cook book.  It is mostly a tomato soup with cayenne pepper (and a few other spices) and a can of chickpeas all blended together.

Bree had a loaf of sourdough lying around and some spare Daiya mozzarella shreds so we made grilled cheese to go with the soup. A dash of basil and pepper and this meal still has us revelling!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kale Hazelnut Lentil Soup

This soup blew my mind. And it was easy. A friend made a soup using some of these ingredients and I added some more that sounded good:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Skillet fajitas, Skillet 911

These days I feel like a winner. I just got a cast iron skillet, and guys, it's really amazing. It grills, it sautes, it bakes. Really great.*

Apple Sausage Dogs

These weren't your normal hot dogs!
Homemade pickles turned into homemade relish for these hot dogs with Smoked Apple Sage sausages.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Metal or Glass?

 I have made my last two loaves of bread in a metal pan and I wanted to see if I can see a difference in how the bread turns out when cooking in glass. Here is the run-down: Glass absorbs heat and retains it more than metal (cooking your dish quicker, browning more), so the oven should be set for 25 degrees F lower than with a metal pan. Also, baked items tend to stick more to glass bakeware...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pickles, part 2

Some photos surfaced of the original pickling process as well as the finished product. Without the cucumbers in them, them mason jars looks like terrariums!

Potato and Spinach Salad, Lemon-Mustard Dressing

This dish is something I ate at a potluck and have been trying to re-create ever since. I have mostly not had luck trying to make up the recipe on the fly. Today I took a little time and came up with something that resembles the original dish.

3 Cubed and boiled potatoes
Fresh spinach leaves
Optional: other veggies that sound good to you

Dressing (whisk together ingredients while potatoes cook):
1/8 Cup olive oil
1/8 Cup Lemon juice
2 tsp stoneground mustard
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 garlic cloved diced or pressed very small
salt and pepper to taste
I cooked and drained the potatoes and put them in the bowl and poured the dressing over them while still hot. Let them sit for a couple of minutes and prepare the spinach to add. I added a large handful of spinach and ripped it into pieces easy enough to eat. I pickled some green beans recently that sound pretty good in this as well as the sliced onion I added.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some words on Hazelnuts

This post is a shot-out to a very tasty local tree nut: The hazel nut, sometimes referred to as Filberts (depending on shape). And as Bree noted, Filbert would be a great name for a small-ish dog. Phil for short!

Raw hazelnuts in a chop salad.
Roasted hazelnuts.
Roasted hazelnuts in a salad.
Hazelnuts in my steel cut oats.

I revisited brown sugar rosemary hazelnuts and was just as satisfied by them as when I first posted.

To roast:
Place shelled nuts on a baking pan and cook for 5-10 minutes at 375, until golden brown. Then take the nuts out of oven and use a dishtowel to partially remove some of the skins from the nuts. These nuts are hot (!) so be careful. Sprinkle with salt or add a glaze and cook a little more.
Pour a desired glaze of the nuts and toss in a bowl until nuts are coated. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the coated nuts over the surface. Then pop it ack into the oven and cook until sugar is bubbly and thick. And as before: separate nuts from each other once out of the oven so that they don't stick to each other as they cool.

As fall sets in, I'd love to roast more nuts. It makes my apartment smell good and stay very warm!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pickling Vegetables

I've always wanted to pickle vegetables but just never followed through. Spear-headed by the suggestion from Bree, we pickled some cucumbers (pickles!), grean beans (dilly beans!) and red onion with cauliflower. the whole event was filled with awe, excitement (mostly me), and lots of preemptive congratulatory statements.

Here is the only photo I took of the entire process:
This is a picture of the cucumbers and green beans awaiting the water/vinager/salt solution. Inside, each jar has fresh dill sprigs, garlic, and pickling spices that include black pepper, mustardseed, and dried hot red pepper.

In the future I would love to pickle beets, peppers and maybe even carrots or something...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Because everything needed a change...

I have made bagels before. Mostly of the everything variety (poppy seed, garlic, onion, salt, etc). Nothing else seemed like a good idea until now. Introducing, the jalapeño cheddar mini bagel!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guilty pleasure chili

Mostly, I don't consider chili to be a junk food. I use beans, fresh produce and spices and slow-cooked in my Crock Pot.

The chili below was no different... But then I added Daiya shredded cheddar cheese.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pizza dough on the quick.

"Lately" my food craving has been pizza. This is largely due to the addition of the vegan wonder cheese, Daiya, to many of the local food stores. But with or without cheese, pizza is a still a versatile meal made simpler by this quick dough recipe I used last night.

2 1/2 Cup flour
1/4 ounce dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbps oil
a dash of salt

Mix water and yeast together and let sit for 5 minutes until it's all bubbly and thick. Add this mixture to the flour and salt, add oil. I stirred with a wooden spoon until the dough was mostly together and then kneaded it by hand on a lightly floured surface for a couple minutes adding a little flour when it got sticky. The dough should be soft, moist and a little shiny but won't stick to your hand or the kneading surface.

Put in a oiled bowl to rise for 15 minutes (oiled so the dough won't stick when rising!). Then turn it out onto a flat surface and shape into your ideal pizza. Sauce, toppings, oven. I cooked it at 375 for maybe 20 minutes. I just made sure the crust was looking golden brown before I took it out of the oven.

Note: It might be beneficial to pre-bake the dough for 5 minutes before adding toppings too. That would just cut down on the amount of time the pizza needs to cook in the oven with the toppings on it. Some toppings can be time sensitive in the oven, like spinach.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Steak and Slaw

Colorful red cabbage slaw with well marinated tempeh steaks. Just some pretty photos today because I've covered slaw and steak before: Here and here, respectively.
A different angle:
Sliced almonds, chopped pecans, red cabbage, kale, carrot, onion, red wine vinaigrette.

Coconut Lime Pops

 Hot days call for cold treats. Everybody knows this. But I've been so distracted with summer that I have been forgetting to make popsicles that I planned on so many months ago when it was still wintry in PDX. Recently I followed through, though, with Coconut Lime popsicles:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pecan Flaxseed Granola Bars

I usually ride my bike to get where I need to go and hunger comes with the territory. So I try to pack protein-rich granola bars in my bag to fill the gap between bigger meals. For those of you who buy granola bars from the store you know that they only come in packs of 6 bars. That is a box a week! What?! Homemade granola bar time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pesto Pasta with Tempeh Bacon

I was pretty tired having just spent the weekend with some of my favorite people at a wedding in the bay area (!!!) and when I finally got home I just wanted a fast meal. I was pleasantly surprised with this meal and how quick it was to create with so little ingredients!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First time with Gazpacho

 Once, for a short time, I worked in the Deli of a food co-op where all the food was the best I'd ever had. For the hot summer days they made a gazpacho that was so popular people would ask for it even before the weather was ready to give us sunburns. So now I'm thinking, "If it's that popular, I should make it". All it has in it is fresh veggies with a tomato base and spices. Not hard right?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pecan Tassies

July was a high for me but a low for the WIDWIDHAJ blog. Admitedly, a poorly chosen in-the-moment title because, in fact, I do have a job which keeps me busy outside of the kitchen in addition to many fun visitors last month! I did however manage to squeeze in another tassie recipe that I'll share. (Notice the "Nairobi" mug! A favorite cafe of Alan's in Kenya)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Picnic at the Bluffs

Days off are awesome. They are even better spent with people you love. A good friend was in town and we went to a great lookout park and had a picnic centered around Quinoa Salad.
Bree and Liz casually take in the view. Optimistically, I brought a frisbee, but it was just so hot that I got lazy and ate food instead. Fine by me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mixed berry Tassies in Miniature

A local bakery makes something called "tassies" that look like tarts to my untrained eye. I'm sure I'd be able to get away with either name, but will go with "tassies" since they sound foreign to my ear and, therefore, more fancy! Additionally, they looked easy to make and I like that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scones or Biscuits?

Wait a minute, these scones look just like biscuits!
The name definitely depends where you live in the world.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Cold grain and bean salads work really well with warm summer days. Additions of spices are limitless, really. Yesterday I chose quinoa, black beans, green onions, cilantro and corn.

According to me (and this Wikipedia entry) Quinoa is a really special "grain" (in quotes because it isn't technically a grain, I learned) because of its intense nutritional value. It's a complete protein with lots of dietary fiber and, when cooked,  it looks like each piece has a cute little tail!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Flax loaf

 It's been a while since I baked a plain old loaf of bread. Today I had some extra time on my hands (and a loaf of Dave's Killer Bread that is about to be finished), in fact, enough time to make a loaf of sliceable bread for my coming work week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nontraditionally flavored pizza...

I had a long, hot day at work so I decided to come home and make myself exactly what I wanted when I walked in the door: pizza! It's hard though, because when you walk in the door you don't always have the ingredients for success. Luckily tonight I had red bell, onion, peanut butter and potatoes. Great stuff for a Spicy Thai Pizza.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


 My brother taught me how to make chapati when he visited Portland a couple years ago. He was visiting from Kenya and he taught me how to make chapati the way the Kenyans do. I'm not sure if I still do it the way Alan taught me, I make it every now and again and I always think of him way off in Nairobi where you can get fresh chapo on the street corners in the mornings.

Tempeh Cabbage Wraps

 Crumbled tempeh is a very desireable food for me these days. I made some Tempeh Tuna Salad the other day and liked it so much that I marched right back to the store for some more tempeh to crumble. Cabbage wraps sounded easy but also fancy. Two of my favorite concepts.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sweet Potato and Pinto Bean Stuffed Tortillas

I made these in honor of a a recent air trip back home to San Diego. Plane flights and airports are always hard when it comes to food. As it is you can hardly get free water and airport food can be fairly pricey and considerably underwhelming. I made these potato stuffed tortillas as a meal for my travels. (Note: These photos don't do justice to how great this meal was.)
In picture above: Two open-face tortillas in the foreground and one finished product in the background.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

 When I started cutting meat and other animal products out of my diet, I kind of thought that also included sweet treats like ice creams, candies, and baked goods. Man alive, was I wrong: I can TOTALLY be just as unhealthy with my eating as before! I like to keep my health foods in check with Cinnamon Rolls. The recipe I used here advertises itself to be as close to those ridiculously huge, sticky, gooey, buns found at malls and airports throughout the country. You know the ones. And they do a pretty good job.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hot Dog Sandwich

After a somewhat long day with bikes, children, and lots of coffee, you know what? It's dinner time! It's not fancy cooking time, though, so I used a sausage I made recently thrown in with with grilled onion, mustard and relish on toasted Dave's Killer Good Seed bread. A hot dog sandwich.

As I do, here is an extreme close-up:
The onions were al dente but I didn't mind at all. I also think the relish was a great addition, though I see how that might be weird to some people too. Does that sound good to anybody else?

Fajita baked tofu

I got this recipe online for a marinade for "fajita" tofu or vegetables. I feel a little weird calling my creation fajitas, though, because I ended up a) baking the tofu and b) making a veggie bowl with baked cauliflower. Most definitely not fajitas.

Marinades make me feel like a cooking genius! They flavor my food so well and I feel like I don't even try. I get to watch 30 Rock or Fringe then put a dish (or two in this case) in the oven and, bam! dinner is awesome. Today I also tried out a new kitchen gadget: The Misto. It's a pump-action oil sprayer that I purchased in order to reduce the amount of oil I use to cook. The teacher in me gives it a check plus, plus.

Fajita marinade:
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
~1/4 tsp. Oregano
~1/4 tsp. ground Cumin
~2 tsp. sugar
1-3 tsp. of Tapatío
1/8 tsp. Liquid Smoke

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Not-so-spicey Italian Sausages

I haven't made seitan lately, so I decided to jump back into it with a Spicy Italian Seitan Sausage recipe from the internet. I am pretty sure that if you search for those key words you too can find this recipe (or one similar!).

Some necessary and perhaps predictable ingredients include: vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, flour, soy sauce and water.

Some fun ingredients include: paprika, chili flakes, fresh minced garlic and ground allspice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bread Pudding featuring: chocolate! berries!

I had some of a french baguette leftover from a couple days ago. While stuffing has been the main contender for dry or stale bread, today I decided to make bread pudding for three reasons: it has less ingredients, less prep time and more sugar! I've only had bread pudding once in my life, many years ago. If I'm not trying to be fancy there are definitely some simple and fast recipes floating around the internet.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cabbage is my new Kale

I was compelled, once again, to buy some cabbage at the store. This time around I chose green cabbage. My original idea was veggie wraps with a ginger dressing until I realized that cabbage would do better as part of a filling instead of the wrap itself. So, as I do, I then became excited to make a giant salad with added protein from lentils. Delicious as a meal and great for leftovers the next day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

16 Bean Soup, what?!

I used a dry bean mix of 16 kinds of beans (plus barley) found at the store. The brand was Fiesta, which is accurate, because these beans totally looked like a party: colorful, in all shapes and sizes.
I agree that the colors of the cooked beans don't look so great, but I assure you the taste is off the chain! I'm pretty sure I owe it all to the chicken bouillon cube (vegan) I used for the broth. Also, the salty tortilla chips were great and reminded me of Tortilla Soup. I can imagine making tortilla chip strips for Tortillas soup in the future.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Recently I learned how to make a paper pinwheel so here is what I did with it (this wood piece is probably 2 inches by 3 inches):
I made some pinwheels out of some colorful vinyl strips, too. I took them over to B's house where she is babysitting a particularly pretty bundle of decorative mossy branches thinking that I'd fasten the pinwheels to the branches in honor of Spring. But as it turns out B has another, smaller, dead tree and the vinyl "flowers" looked great tied to its smaller branches with sewing thread. No pictures of those though. Darn.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ginger Lemon Soother for my tired voice

My life has gone zero to sixty in how much I use my voice to talk to people (on the six days on, one day off schedule). As a result I am losing my voice. I have a sore throat and lately I've been coughing at night because my throat is itchy. What a terrible and uncomfortable situation!

After some internet searching I found a delicious recipe with only a few ingredients. Lemons. Ginger. Water. Honey (or I have also used Agave).

I used about 2 inches of ginger peeled, then cut into thin rounds and put into about 4 cups of water heated to a boil. Then I let that simmer for 15-20 minutes. The result is full of ginger spice! I put the ginger tea into a glass jar (with a lid!) with a juice of one lemon and sweetener to taste.

With all my talking and sometimes LOUD direction giving to unwieldy children on bikes (for my job) this gives my throat a little relief. I like it warm OR cold!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

omg, Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

So simple. Sweet and salty with a kick from raw ginger.

~3 tbsp Soy Sauce*
~1 tbps White wine vinegar*
1 tsp sugar
a splash of red wine
freshly grated ginger and garlic to taste
*very approximate; as with most of my cooking, I didn't pay attention to how much of anything I added. If it doesn't taste awesome, just play around with it!

Poured over thinly sliced tempeh and marinated for a couple minutes. Then cooked up in a pan until crispy.
Kale. Onion. Cucumber (briefly marinated in white wine vinegar). Teriyaki tempeh. (The focaccia was a regrettable addition and I didn't finish it.)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Potato Tacos are all the rage

 Lately I've been noticing a fun addition to the alternative-to-meat options at my favorite food places: Potatoes!At taco stands I have been sticking to soyrizo because a) I like it and b) it is something that I don't think I can make yet. But I wanted to give potatoes a fighting chance and they are easy for me to make.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sage Rosemary Focaccia

 I have tried my hand at making many breads. Over the course of my year making various breads I have learned that I prefer to make free form loaves as opposed to bread pan, sandwich-sized loaves. I like the variation in the final product.

I also love breads to dip in sauces, oils and herbs. It was just yesterday when I realized that Focaccia might be perfect for this. A quick internet search revealed that toppings for Focaccia are only limited by imagination. I like this a lot! But I will start simple with two herbs: sage and rosemary.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I love roasted Cauliflower.

Cauliflower is a vegetable that is (or was) largely overlooked in my diet. My memory of cauliflower is from relish trays at family gatherings where I dip it into ranch alongside carrots, radishes and broccoli florets. It never occurred to me to use it in any other way until recently. Maybe that is because the all-white coloring of this veggie betrays its nutritional value. Cauliflower, in fact, is not devoid of nutrients! It is a nice source of protein as well as a champion of Vitamin C and other daily essentials. Who knew?

Because I am an aspiring Fancy Person, I tried to slice the cauliflower in a cross-section to show its nice "branches". I got about two good pieces in and the rest became popcorn-sized bites. Oh well. My favorite seasoning to date is olive oil, salt and pepper, and lots of nutritional yeast. (un)Fortunately for you, I am not including the one ugly photo of this meal that I took right before my camera ran out of batteries.

Roasting cauliflower takes 10-15 minutes and it is a great addition to a meal. Continuing with my cheating theme for busy days, I added cauliflower to sauteed kale, long grain brown rice and a prepackaged chana masala.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chili con... seitan!

It's no secret that I'm a copycat. So, when a friend of mine mentioned that she was going to use her crock pot to cook something delicious I was like, "Ooh, yeah! I want that too."

I love chili from a crock pot. But I thought after making a couple of chilis with just beans and veggies it's time to step it up. So, I stepped it up with a seitan sausage experiment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cooking in Advance

It feels really good to eat homemade food. For me, this extends all the way to bringing a lunch to work instead of buying one (In fact, right now it is really exciting for me to even get to say the words "bring a lunch to work"!). Homemade lunches are harder to pull off with a busy schedule and I can easily to fall into a routine of PB&J sandwiches.
I try to plan ahead so that I can provide myself with delicious, healthful meals that don't take my whole morning to prepare. This week I decided to roast some bell peppers with onion. I love them in my sandwiches and had a great time eating them in pasta, too.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mini Bagels!

Here is a quick look at some mini everything bagels I made. Really adorable. They are more laborious than bread to make, but the end result is so pleasing. And I love anything in miniature.
 For anyone thinking about getting into the homemade bagel scene, what are you waiting for?! You can have something this cute in your kitchen too!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweet Chili Sauce

I recently made Coconut Curry Polenta which was pleasing, but missing something: the sweet chili sauce. I even mentioned it in the blogpost, but it didn't occur to me to make my own until the next day.

Here's how simple it was:
Rice Vinegar
Tamari Soy sauce
Chili flakes

After finding a recipe online, I put all the ingredients together in a small saucepan and let it reduce by half. I had my sugar jar on hand so that I could add more if needed. This is a perfect compliment to my polenta and I am excited to use it for salad rolls, stir fries and whatever else I can imagine. Below, I put it on the last of the polenta with some freshly roasted peppers and onion:
So easy, I can't believe I've never made it before!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Coconut Curry Polenta and Chop Salad

A couple of days ago I had an amazing meal at a bar during happy hour. My mind was blown when I ate the coconut curry polenta with sesame sauteed veggies and sweet chili sauce. I've never had a more tasty polenta!

As I tend to do, I then tried to make my own version of this dish. Since I didn't have a recipe for the curried polenta I made one up, substituting half the cooking water with coconut milk and various other spices (Thai hot sauce, tamari soy sauce, curry powder, grated ginger).

I cooked the polenta until it was a thick and hard to stir, then spread it in a pyrex dish to cool. As it cools, the polenta hardens and can be handled easily and prepared for any recipe. However, this batch is probably limited by its dominant curry flavor.