Cape Codding

Early this summer I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Cape Cod, which has quickly become one of my favorite places.  There is something so exhilarating and relaxing about spending time in a place so filled with natural beauty and simple charm.  A few weeks back, a group of my friends from law school headed out to H’s house on the Cape for a weekend of baseball and beaching. 

I took it upon myself to be the food provider for the 10 of us for the weekend, and spent several days prior to it preparing for this.  Here is what I made:

1) Lower Fat Banana Bread (with chocolate chips!) from Veganomicon

2) Five-Spice Almond Cookies (which we made into Five-Star Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches, natch) from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan

Fresh out of the oven (sorry for the craptastic picture)

Best ice cream sandwich ever (P.S.-that is not my arm!)

3) Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured, but see a batch I made last year here)

4) Cumin-Cinnamon Vinaigrette from ED&BV (not pictured)…I chopped some cucumbers and tossed them with this dressing and a little oregano for a really delish salad

5) The spice mixture from ED&BV’s Blackened Tofu recipe, which I used to make cajun scallops** (not pictured, but see the results of this mixture on tofu here)
**please see my note below

6) A variation of the stuffing from Self magazine’s Couscous and Feta Stuffed Peppers recipe (not pictured)

All of the food was very well-received and appreciated, and we had a wonderful weekend!

So, about those scallops…

On the Cape the emphasis is heavily on seafood.  While I know this might be controversial to many vegetarians and vegans, I have no problem cooking non-veg options for others.  In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, that day I also made broiled haddock for the company.  My food preferences are solely mine, and I wouldn’t presume to prepare an entirely vegan menu for 9 omnivores and expect them to enjoy it as much as I would.  I feel that trying to impose my points of view on any topic (be it diet or things like politics, religion, etc.) on others can only backfire; people don’t like to be told what to do or made to feel that they are wrong…each person needs to come to his or her own decision about how he or she wants to live by making their own personal judgments.  That being said, I think it’s very important to show non-veg*ns how enjoyable vegan cuisine can be, which, if I may say, I think I did very effectively with the breakfast bread and desserts, as well as the couscous and salad.  I think every little bit counts, and each time I prepare veg food for non-veg*ns that they actually enjoy, I hope that the next time they will be slightly less surprised by the fact that they actually enjoyed it. 

Anyway, I just needed to put that out there.  I know not everyone agrees with me, and I would definitely be interested to hear the points of view of others. 

I have a ton of pictures of meals to post from the last few weeks and hope to do so soon!

A Mega-Post for the Greater Good

Ooookay!  It’s time to put up all the pics I have from the last few weeks in one big post.  I’ll understand if no one reads it, but I really really want to get on a regular posting schedule and blog about what I cook when I actually cook it, like the rest of the food blogging world does!  Honestly I admire all of you–I am still relatively new to this so bear with me this one time and hopefully after this I can maintain a regular schedule! 

Enough of that…on to the food!  I made a couple of recipes that I’ve seen used frequently in the vegan food blogosphere, which I had been dying to try out!

First up was Blackened Tofu from Eat, Drink, & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton. 

I made mine with tofu that had been pressed, frozen, and then defrosted (because I always prefer the texture of tofu that has been frozen!).  I served it up with some couscous tossed with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and some chopped cucumber from our garden (which I will miss so much now that I’m in Boston!).

Couscous Closeup

A Perfect Little Meal

So simple and soooo delicious!  Definitely something I will be making often during the semester. 

I have also now successfully made the Tamari-Roasted Chickpeas, also from ED&BV, that I have seen on so many people’s blogs, and that have made my mouth water every time I’ve seen them!  Actually my mouth is watering now just thinking about them…

Made with fresh rosemary, which I highly recommend

For a really fantastic, light summery meal, I made the Chickpeas along with Kalamata Walnut Tapenade from Vive Le Vegan by Ms. Burton.  It kind of has the look of used coffee grounds, but if you are anywhere near it you can smell the delicious olive-y aroma and you will know that it’s more than edible! 🙂

I served this to Dad and M, with some crackers to go with the tapenade.  I ate my tapenade with a whole-wheat mini-bagel, and my chickpeas over a spinach salad, which contained the chopped remnants of one of the largest white mushrooms I’ve ever seen:

Apologies for the slightly horrifying no-makeup pic, but this mushroom was intense

I loved loved loved the chickpeas, and I liked the tapenade alot.  The only issue I had with the tapenade was that it was incredibly salty.  I think this is due to the olives I used, not to the recipe.  The recipe actually calls for “sea salt to taste”, but I don’t even think I added any, and it was still super-salty!  I would definitely make the recipe again though.  And as for the chickpeas, I’m pretty sure they will be made weekly here in my Beantown (how appropriate!) kitchen 🙂

Here is a pic of my little spread (a little went a long way!):

Last night, I got around to making Snobby Joes from Veganomicon. 

I love this recipe!  My roommate (not vegan but very veg-friendly–hi K!) liked it too.  I actually ate it with tortilla chips (as seen above)–maybe that’s weird but it was delicious!  I’m planning to freeze the leftovers to use all semester long. 

Actually I spent alot of the week cooking freezer-bound meals, including the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, which I’ve posted about before.  I also made Veggie Burger Patties, from Josh at My Vegan Cookbook.  I actually made these last week for a barbecue at my parents’ house, and this week while being industrious I doubled the recipe and froze eight of these beauties to eat when I will be too busy with Civil Procedure reading to even boil water for pasta!  Here is a piccie:

Do you love my mom’s little fish plate? I do!


This recipe is a great find.  They are quite hamburger-like, insofar as I enjoy them best on a big ol’ bun with lots of ketchup, mustard, lettuce, and tomato.  I’ve also eaten them on an English muffin with salsa and that was very enjoyable too 🙂 

During my last week at home, there was another fun, simple little meal that I’d like to share. This one did not from books but consisted of one recipe-in-the-head and one recipe-from-Panama. Fresh Herb and Tomato Pasta Saladand Patacones (aka “Tostones”).

For the pasta salad, I first went a-picking:

Beautiful garden tomatoes, with some cucs thrown in for good measure

The finished product

It contained fresh chopped basil, cilantro, and fenugreek, the chopped tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic. It tasted so fresh and delicious and was great served cold.

Plus patacones!

These are patacones con ajo. Basically you wash, slice, and salt a plaintain, then deep fry it until it gets a little darker in color. You then flatten it (in Panama they use an authentic volcanic rock for the smashing but we used the side of a cleaver). In this case, we slapped on some crushed garlic before smashing. Then you fry them again until crispy. Totally unhealthy but totally delicious 🙂 Something we all need once in a while!

Finally, on to the soups!!  On one of my last nights at home, Dad and I whipped up the Ancho-Lentil Soup with Grilled Pineapple from Veganomicon, a recipe which I had been eyeing from the first time I ever cracked open the book!

First we made the ancho chile powder!

The finished product

Heaven.  That is all there is to say about that.

And finally, Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans, also from Veganomicon, which I made this week and which is happily chillin out (pun intended) in my freezer as we speak 🙂

Oven-roasting garlic was a new experience for me, and squeezing the soft goo out of the cloves was slightly disgusting but oddly satisfying. This soup is just delicious, filling and satisfying. And pretty easy to make too! I pretty much am gunning to make every soup recipe featured in this book, because these ladies know their soups and it is well worth the effort!

Okay I’m done! Congratulations if you’ve reached the end of this monster post!!!

Back in the Swing of Things

I really, really miss Panama, but it feels good to be back in my normal routine, especially with regards to my eating.  I wasted no time this week getting back into the kitchen 🙂 The other night Dad and I made a really fantastic, light, summery dinner, using lots of ingredients from our garden (which is flourishing, and on which I will make a separate post soon!).  Dad made a recipe from the New York Times online, Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula.  He used our garden basil in the recipe and substituted our garden Swiss chard for the arugula.  Ohhh it was so delicious, and unfortunately I have no pic 😦  But I do have a picture of the other *vegan* component of the meal (there were also pork ribs, which I obviously had no reason to take a picture of…), Mediterranean-Style Cashew-Cucumber Dip from Veganomicon.  I served this with homemade pita chips (my own creation: whole-wheat pitas brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and paprika, and baked at 325 for about 20 minutes).

A Platter of Goodness


I used our garden cucumbers for this recipe and did my best to de-seed them.  The result was a delicious creamy dip that can be described as a cross between tzatziki sauce and hummus.  It was reeeeeally good and even Mom was raving about it (she is a good sport about trying my vegan concoctions, but usually feels lukewarm about them). 

Also on Friday morning I baked, partially because I owed J some cookies as payment for a favor he did me, and partially because I was spending the weekend at E’s and didn’t want to arrive empty-handed 🙂  So I made two of my favorites, both by Dreena Burton: Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies (I made my mint version) from Vive Le Vegan, and Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.  They all turned out REALLY good (if I do say so myself!) and every last one has long-since been eaten.  I have to put in my two cents regarding the Spice Cookies, and say that I think that using freshly grated/ground spices is the key to making these cookies outstanding.  I used freshly grated nutmeg and ground whole cloves to use in the recipe…it is definitely worthwhile!


Close-up (Minty Chocolate Chip cookies)

Close-up (Spice Cookies)

Mmmmm now I want to go make some more…

Will post the garden update tomorrow!

Explosion Indeed

Double-Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I’ve been very curious to make these, as the cookbook’s description promises that these cookies will have vegan cookie critics “eating their words, and the cookies.” I figured they must be great!


Mmmmmm toasty chocolatey heaven!

Tomorrow is my last day at work so I wanted to make cookies (because any excuse to bake is a good one!).  I didn’t have a ton of time so last night I toasted the almonds and sifted out the dry ingredients ahead of time, then this morning I mixed the wet ingredients in and baked up the cookies.  I baked them in two batches.  While the first batch were baking I had to go over to my neighbor’s house to take care of their pets (because they are away, obviously).  I had set the timer and when I got back they still had 45 seconds so of course I was thinking “Wow good timing!  Go me.”  Of course, then Mom says “Oh the timer went off before, but the cookies still looked raw and the chocolate chips weren’t melted or anything, so I put them on another three minutes.”  Nooooo!  I always heed Dreena’s warnings about overbaking and I was pretty sure these would be all dried out.  They are a little dry but they turned out okay I guess (good thing our oven sucks and doesn’t get that hot anyway…you may have noticed that I never bake cakes or breads and that is why).  The second batch I guarded more closely and I am proud to say they turned out perfectly 🙂  Not one but two of the coworkers with whom I shared these little nuggets of joy asked for seconds!

Here are some members of the first (dry) batch sitting out to cool:

And here is the second (delish) batch getting ready for transport to the office:

I am definitely making these again!!!

Going-Away “Party”

Tomorrow M is leaving for a month-long trip to Israel, so my parents wanted to make her a nice dinner and cook whatever she wanted. She chose chicken parmesan which of course meant I’d be cooking a separate entree for myself :b

Using what we had on hand, I decided to make Stuffed Mushrooms from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin.  This was the first vegan dish I ever cooked!  That was back in December and I actually made it several times (to the point where I could do it sans recipe!) during the winter, but I hadn’t made them for a while so I was back to referring to the recipe.  Tonight’s version deviated a little bit from the original, as I didn’t have any red bell pepper to use.  Instead, I played around a little with the spices, including adding some dried chopped garlic and some cayenne pepper to the stuffing mixture.  However, without the bell pepper, the stuffing comes out too dry to be of any use.  So I ended up stirring in a tablespoon of olive oil or two and it worked beautifully.  The mushrooms came out delicious and just a tiny bit spicy, with a yummy Italian flavor (thanks to the oregano, parsley, and olive oil), but they were a little saltier than I would have liked and I can’t figure out why.  I love this recipe–I just hate that the mushrooms are so small!!

(Somehow the really nice picture I took of the full plate of mushrooms disappeared) 😦

Dad also made broccoli to go with the chicken parmesan and was looking for something to add to make it a little special.  He was thinking along the lines of sliced almonds but a search of the pantry didn’t produce any, so instead we decided to toast some pumpkin seeds to toss in there 🙂

Here is my daddy toasting the seeds on the stovetop:

Here is the finished product (sorry for the crappy picture…this is after we’d already started eating! haha):

And for dessert…

Coconut-Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I made these once before and blogged about them, but without a picture.  M loved them so I decided to make them for her going-away dessert.

For some reason, the batter was a little runnier this time around, and I was in a rush, the result being that they all ran into each other while baking and did not turn out very attractive 😦  Three of them were pretty so I photographed those three :b

A picture of the popular kids on the cooling rack:

Here they are after getting their lime-confectioner’s sugar glaze:

And lastly, fine, okay, here is a picture of all of the shapey cookies (the uglier ones are hiding down the bottom):

Just as tasty as last time though 🙂

Bonus picture: J making garlic bread vegan-style 🙂

Highly Anticipated

The minute I picked up Vive Le Vegan, I knew I wanted to make this recipe…

Chinatown-style Veggie Spring Rolls and Ginger Dipping Sauce from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton


Another Father’s Day project 🙂 Making these was a labor-intensive process, especially the wetting and rolling of the wrappers.  I used Chinese vermicelli noodles made from green mung bean rather than the rice vermicelli noodles that the recipe calls for.  Also, my dad pan-fried the rolls for a few minutes each after baking, because they weren’t crispy enough for our taste.  They tasted subtly yummy when we first tried them, but I had this feeling that they were missing something, some sort of saltiness…maybe soy sauce?  Enter the Ginger Dipping Sauce (which contains soy sauce, naturally).  It complemented them perfectly (as I’m sure Dreena knew it would, since she recommends it in the spring roll recipe as an accompaniment!).  I think out of my family members I enjoyed these the most.  My mom and dad were not fans of the texture, because despite our frying attempts they were still apt to tear and fall apart, and I think both would have preferred them crispier.  My dad and I think that if we make them again, we might try a) another type of wrapper, and/or b) pan-frying the rolls a little before baking.

A.’s Cookies in the Baking!!

Baking is probably my favorite thing to do, and the thing which seems to have the lowest rate of failure in my experience.

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I have made these probably a dozen times since becoming vegan, before I even knew who Dreena was or owned any of her books!  I found this recipe initially on the Internet.  The batch pictured were some of the best cookies I have ever had, let alone baked myself (not to brag or anything…)  I made these at E’s house and used regular molasses instead of blackstrap, white flour instead of my usual wheat, and also substituted 2 tbsp. of Trader Joe’s Mint Cocoa for the sugar in the recipe.  The results were “better than Toll House” according to Mom.  🙂

You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Unless you are allergic to peanut butter or to chocolate, you are crazy if you don’t like these cookies.  They are out of this world.  I’ve made them twice.  My first batch is pictured.  My second batch was better if I recall correctly…maybe a little more moist?  Either way, these are awesome and would be my recipe of choice if I were baking to impress non-vegans :b

Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies (aka “BlackOut Cookies” if you are in-the-know) from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan

Oh, how I love these.  I will make them again and again, and definitely at Christmas time.

Pineapple Lemon Bars from Vive Le Vegan

I made these as a special request for my daddy on Father’s Day.  They are pretty good, but I liked them best fresh out of the oven when they were a little melty.  I think heating leftovers before eating would improve them.  I like the ground oat crust and would definitely use it again when inventing my own recipes.

Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured)

I made these for J’s girlfriend’s graduation party and to be perfectly honest they got eaten before I could take a picture.  They were pretty good on their own, but I thought they didn’t taste lime-y enough, so I added a lime-flavored icing.  Combine 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice, spoon into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and use as a decorating bag.  With the icing, they were great.

Beanie Babies

Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero (which have been seen frequently in the blogosphere!)

The picture doesn’t quite do them justice…

I have made these four times.  The picture is of my fourth batch, which is the only one I baked (the others were fried).  I also made these with black chickpeas that I had soaked and cooked.  I left out the lemon zest that the recipe calls for because I had no lemons, and I think I actually prefer them this way.  They smelled unbelieveable while baking!  I ate one on a whole wheat hamburger bun with agave nectar-dijon dressing and a little ketchup.  I pretty much consider these a staple in my diet.

Chipotle Veggie-Bean Burritos from Vive le Vigan by Dreena Burton

These were scrumptious.  No other words need be applied.  My dad and I made them and our only deviation from the recipe was that we used fresh tomatoes instead of the canned diced called for. (This was before the current poisonous tomato season began, obviously.)

Cheater Baked Beans from Veganomicon (except that they are technically “peas”, and we didn’t “cheat”!)

Dad and I decided to make these for J’s girlfriend’s graduation party. We thought it would be cool to soak the beans overnight before cooking the recipe rather than relying on canned, despite the fact that the recipe’s title refers to the very fact that canned beans are used! But no matter. We used black-eyed peas, which we soaked overnight, and then proceeded in the morning to make the delicious sauce (we doubled the recipe), add the beans, and put it in the oven to bake for an hour. When we took the beans out of the oven, my dad sampled them and was a little surprised to find that the peas were fairly crunchy…much crunchier than one would expect from baked “beans”. We suddenly realized that we had neglected to cook the beans before baking them!! It was pretty funny actually. We ended up pouring the huge vat of beans into casserole dishes, adding water, and microwaving them for a few minutes at a time in an attempt to cook the beans. In the end they actually came out really well and were a hit at the party (about 2/3 got eaten!). Cooking is fun :-b

Smoky Grilled Tempeh from Veganomicon

Did. Not. Like.  This is the most disappointing thing I’ve ever attempted to cook.  I can’t figure out what went wrong.  All I know is that despite all the great stuff that went into the marinade, the only thing I could taste was the liquid smoke and I just couldn’t eat it 😦 Farley loved it though 🙂

Black Bean Burgers also from Veganomicon (not pictured)

These were so-so.  I made the recipe for a barbecue we hosted when my a cappella group was visiting my house and so I doubled the recipe.  The burgers tasted good but were overly gluteny.  I think that maybe gluten doesn’t need to be doubled even when the rest of the recipe is.  If I made these again I would definitely use less.