Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mexican Style Winter Squash Soup

I mentioned before that I love making pureed soups with winter squash. I think October should be dubbed National Winter Squash Soup month. This one is sort of inspired by the traditional flavors of tortilla soup. You can use any style of winter squash (although maybe not spaghetti squash) for this soup, I used a big blue hubbard.

There are several options for this soup, I'm providing the simplest option in the recipe. However, if you wanted this soup to be chunkier you could saute the poblano peppers in a separate pan and then add them to the soup after it has been pureed along with some black beans and corn. You could also toss some thinly sliced corn tortillas with a little olive oil and chile powder and bake them for about 10-15 minutes once the squash is done roasting and use them as a garnish.

Home Decor Maven
I've recently realized there's an extra bonus to making a lot of squash soups in the fall and winter. I love art, but I can't like interior decorating, seasonal decor or setabouts. But by default your house does look kind of festive if you've got a lot of beautiful squashes sitting around on your kitchen counter, plus rather than dusting them you can eat them!

About 5 lb. winter squash (such as blue hubbard, kuri pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, etc.), peeled and cut into 1" dice
4-5 cloves garlic with the peel left on and about 1/4" cut off of the top to expose the cloves (or see my instructions for roasting a whole head of garlic - Roasted Garlic)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large poblano peppers, diced
2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or sweet)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 large tomatoes, pureed in a blender or diced (or 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes)
4-5 c. vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro to garnish (as much as you want)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ends off of your squash so that it can be stood on end, and use a large sharp knife to slice the skin off of the squash.

2) Once the skin is removed, cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then slice the squash into strips and cut into 1" diced pieces. Cut the tips off of your garlic cloves and wrap them in some foil with a little drizzle of olive oil.

3) Place the diced squash into a large baking dish and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Then place the foil packet of garlic into the baking dish with the squash and place another sheet of foil over the baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

4) As the squash bakes you can dice the onion, carrots, and peppers and measure out your spices.

5) When the squash is almost finished baking, heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, carrots and peppers. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.

6) When the vegetables are softened add the squash and the roasted garlic (use the tip of the knife to pull the garlic cloves out from the paper into your soup pot. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook, mostly covered, for 20 minutes.

7) Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit, then puree with an immersion blender. Squeeze in the juice of 1 fresh lime and stir to incorporate. If you wanted to add beans or corn you could do so after it has been pureed and then just turn the heat back on and let it cook for a few minutes longer to heat through.

This makes about 6-8 servings. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Miso Lemon Tahini Sauce

With roasted asparagus and shallots.
This is high in protein and delicious over grilled or roasted vegetables, especially asparagus or broccoli. It's also good on veggie burgers, croquettes, baked potatoes, or stirred into leftover rice. If you know someone who thinks vegetables are bland, give them some roasted vegetables with this sauce drizzled on top. My almost two year old daughter eats it with rice and adzuki beans all the time.

1/3 c. tahini
1 Tbsp. light miso
1 tsp. shoyu or tamari
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Water to thin out the consistency if necessary

1) Whisk it all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Add water, a little at a time, and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and drizzles nicely.

This makes a little over 1/3 cup of sauce.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baked Mushroom Thing

I have no idea what to call this but oooooh boy is it good. I came up with this trying to think of something that could be used as a main dish for a vegan style holiday meal and I think it turned out pretty good.  This is a multi-step recipe, but so worth it.

Served with Colcannon

1/2 to 3/4 c. Roasted Garlic and Basil Aioli
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, caramelized
1 puff pastry sheet rolled to about 1/4" thick
1 lb. mushrooms of mixed varieties, sliced (crimini/baby bella, button, portabello, etc.)
Sea salt
Black pepper
1-2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 tsp. sherry vinegar or marsala wine vinegar
4 oz. tempeh, diced and browned in a little olive oil
1 Tbsp. soy milk 

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan and add the red onion and a sprinkling of sea salt. Give the onions a toss to coat and then leave them alone for about 10 minutes, until they start to brown. Once they start to brown toss them around and turn the heat down a little to medium. Let them sit for about another 5 minutes until they start getting evenly browned. Then continue to stir the onions until they are fully browned and caramelized.

2) As the onions are close to being done place the puff pastry shell on a sheet of parchment paper and roll it out a little with a rolling pin so that its about 1/4" thick and then move the parchment paper with the puff pastry still on it onto a baking sheet. Working lengthwise down the center, spread about 1/4 c. of the roasted garlic aioli along the length of the pastry.

3) When the onions have finished caramelizing spread them evenly down the center of the puff pastry atop the aioli.

4) Add a little more olive oil to the pan you used for the onions and add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms start to brown (after about 5-7 minutes) add a little sea salt, the thyme and 1 tsp. sherry vinegar and toss around about 2-3 more minutes until they're cooked through. Then place the mushrooms over the caramelized onions.

5) In the same saute pan add a little more olive oil and the diced tempeh and cook while stirring occasionally until evenly browned, about 7 minutes. Then put the tempeh over the mushrooms.

6) Fold one end of the puff pastry sideways over the filling and then fold the opposing side over the first side so that you have a long log shaped item. Using a sharp knife with a wet blade (to avoid sticking), cut about 4 cross hatches on the top of the pastry to allow air to escape. Then brush a little soy milk over the top to aid in browning.

7) Bake for about 17-18 minutes until the pastry is nicely browned.

This serves 4 and is good with a little extra aioli and a sprig of fresh thyme on top.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roasted Garlic and Basil Aioli

Aioli is a French condiment that uses mayonnaise usually mixed with garlic and eggs. My version obviously doesn't have eggs, but I've added a little lemon juice to it. I like this drizzled over roasted potatoes or grilled asparagus, but it's good with all kinds of vegetables.

Baked potato rounds with Roasted Garlic and Basil Aioli
1 c. vegannaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 a head of Roasted Garlic (4-5 large cloves)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Dash of black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, roughly chopped

1) Put everything but the basil into a blender or food processor (blender works better) and blend until smooth.

2) Add the basil and pulse a few times to incorporate the basil, but stop before the aioli turns green.  Transfer to a container. This can be kept in the fridge for about 4-5 days.

This makes about 1 cup of aioli.

NOTE: To make baked potato rounds, slice a russet potato into 1/2" thick rounds and toss in a large bowl with a little olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and any desired spices. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Smooth, silky, bright orange, and sorta Indian flavored without being complicated. You can make this soup for some fancy company or for a hot date with your main squeeze. This is my favorite winter squash soup.

1 butternut squash, about 3 lbs., peeled and diced into 1" pieces
1 large yam, peeled and diced into 1" pieces
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, separated
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper
8 c. vegetable broth
1/2 a head of Roasted Garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
Juice of 1 fresh lemon

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To prepare the squash cut off both ends and peel with a vegetable peeler. Then cut the squash lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Peel the yam, and dice both the yam and squash into 1" chunks.

2) Once the squash and yam are peeled and diced, place them in an 8X12" baking dish and toss to coat with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. If you want, you can roast the garlic along with the squash and yams by placing 5-6 cloves of garlic in some foil and adding it to the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 1 hour, stirring twice.

3) When the squash and yam are almost done heat the other Tbsp. of olive oil in a large soup pot and caramelize the onion in the oil by cooking it over a medium-low heat for abot 15-20 minutes stirring frequently once it starts to brown.

4) When the squash and yam are done roasting and the onion is caramelized add the broth, spices, squash, yam and garlic and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes.

5) Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a little while. Puree the soup with an immersion blender and then add the juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon, salt or pepper if desired.

This makes about 6-8 servings and is excellent with home made Garlic Bread or fresh baked bread of any kind.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tofu "Egg" Salad

I never really was a fan of egg salad (or any kind of eggs for that matter), it always seemed kind of stinky to me. But I love it when the eggs are replaced with tofu. This is so easy to make and it's based on something familiar to most people, which can help if you're new to vegan food - seriously, it tastes just like egg salad but better and fresher. You could put this in a pita, make a sandwich or wrap, or serve it open faced on a piece of toasted pumpernickel rye bread topped with avocado slices and black sesame seeds.

1/3 c. vegan mayonnaise such as veganaise
2 tsp. yellow or dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Large pinch of sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 large celery rib, minced
1/2 a small red onion, minced
1-2 Tbsp. minced fresh green herb such as Italian parsley, tarragon or chives
1 lb. extra firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry

1) In a large bowl whisk together the veganaise, mustard, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper.

2) Add the minced celery, onion and herbs and then using your fingers crumble the entire block of tofu into the bowl (it should look kind of like scrambled eggs).

3) Use a large spoon to mix well and then serve or refrigerate until ready to use.

This makes about 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Panzanella is an Italian salad created to use up stale bread. I think that traditionally it is mostly just bread, onions and tomatoes. The idea is that the bread absorbs the juices from the vegetables and dressing & rehydrates. Mine is crammed with a bunch of other stuff, so maybe it's not technically a traditional panzanella, but it tastes great and it still uses up stale bread. This is excellent on its own for lunch or served with any Italian meal.

1 heart of romaine lettuce (about 4 c.), sliced
1/2 a small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 a cucumber, peeled, seeded & cubed
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, diced
About 10 kalamata olives, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
About 3-4 c. cubed bread, a nice crusty whole grain bread is great
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper

1) Chop the lettuce & vegetables and place them in a large bowl and then add the cubed bread.

2) Drizzle the juice of the lemon, balsamic vinegar & olive oil over the salad (as much of each as you'd like) and the sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper and toss to mix well.

This about 4.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spaghetti Hot Dish

This is a recipe that I originally found when I was logging out of my hotmail account and saw an article titled something like, "10 Simple Pasta Dishes." Since finding the original recipe I've veganized it and adapted it so much that I think it's safe to call it my own. The original recipe was called, "Spaghetti il Forno" or something fancy like that, but here in Minnesota we call it "Hot Dish." It bakes in a 2 quart baking dish using 1/2 pound of pasta (that's 8 oz.), so if you cut it into 4 square pieces it looks like you're eating a HUGE piece of Spaghetti Hot Dish, but really it's only 2 oz. of pasta with tons of vegetables. It would be very easy to double the recipe and use a whole pound of pasta and a larger baking dish if you wanted to make this for more people.

2-3 Tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 yellow or white onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti (8 oz.)
About 3/4 c. whole wheat, plain, panko or Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Another 1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1) For the sauce, heat the oil in a sauce pan and then add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Saute until very tender, 12-15 minutes.

2) Add the tomatoes, salt & pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, vinegar, parsley and basil. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.

3) When the sauce is almost done, preheat the oven to 450 degrees, lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish with some olive oil, and cook the pasta according to the package directions (but shave 2-3 minutes off of the cooking time so that it is very al dente).

4) When the pasta is done cooking drain it very well and add it into the pan with the sauce and stir until mixed very well.

5) Transfer the pasta into the baking dish and press down. Sprinkle about 3/4 c. bread crumbs over the top (don't bother to measure out the bread crumbs, just give it a nice coating), sprinkle a little dried oregano over the bread crumbs and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

I used panko bread crumbs.
6) Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool and set for a few minutes when it is done baking and then slice into 4 pieces and use a spatula to serve.

This makes 4 servings.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tofu Scramble with Pesto

This is super easy to make and it's perfect for a weekend brunch. You could chop all of the vegetables the night before and then just throw it together in the morning. The recipe is easy to double and feel free to switch the vegetables according to what you like or what you have in the fridge.

Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a red onion, diced
1 lb. extra firm tofu, rinsed & patted dry
About 10 crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, diced
Sea salt
2 Tbsp. vegan pesto (just make sure there's no cheese in it)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4-1/2 c. vegetable broth
1-2 c. chopped greens such as kale, collards, arugula, spinach or chard

1) Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat (more medium than high) and add the onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

2) Once the onion is softened, take the whole brick of tofu and crumble it with your fingers into the saute pan. It should look kind of like scrambled eggs. Stir to mix with the onions and then let it brown for about 5-7 minutes.

3) Once the tofu starts to brown add the mushrooms and zucchini and let it cook for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms and zucchini are softened. Then sprinkle a little sea salt over the whole dish and use your wooden spoon to make a hole in the middle of the pan and put the pesto and tomato paste into the hole. Then pour the vegetable broth over the pesto and tomato paste and stir it around to dissolve them in the broth.

4) Toss to incorporate the pesto & tomato paste throughout the dish and let the broth evaporate. Then toss in the greens and mix. Continue to saute for another couple of minutes until the greens are wilted.

This serves 2-3.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paprika Potatoes with Kraut

This is for those "meat & potatoes" people that don't like the meat part. I'm starting to notice I've got a lot of potato recipes so I must really like potatoes, but right now this is my favorite way to eat them. I first made another variation of these where rather than sour kraut I added some malt vinegar at the end and that was good too, so if you don't like (or have) kraut you could try that.

2 lbs. fingerling or new potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, quartered lengthwise & sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
3/4 c. Wild Fermented Sour Kraut, or a good store bought brand

1) Boil the potatoes until just tender, about 5-7 minutes depending on their size. Then drain them and set them aside to cool a bit.

2) As the potatoes cool, slice the onion & pepper.

3) Heat some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and add the onion and a sprinkling of sea salt. Toss the onions to coat and let them cook until soft, about 7 minutes.

4) As the onions soften slice the potatoes into 1/2" thick rounds and then add to the pan along with the peppers, paprika, and sea salt and pepper to taste.

5) Continue to saute until the potatoes are fully cooked and the peppers are softened, about 7 more minutes, and then add the sour kraut and toss to incorporate. Test for salt & pepper and add more if necessary.

This makes about 8 servings (depending on how much you eat in one serving).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mixed Grain Stirfry with Onions, Carrots and Greens

Sometimes when I cook rice I like to make it with a 3:1 ratio of another grain such as spelt, buckwheat groats, rye berries or hulled barley. Adding other grains brings variety and also extra nutrients.

Long grain brown rice with spelt.
Greens are an extremely important food, we should all try to eat more of them. Dark green leafy vegetables are super high in calcium as well as many other vitamins and minerals (and unlike dairy they have NO saturated fat or cholesterol, and they have an alkalizing rather than an acidifying affect on our blood). You can use any greens you want for this, but keep in mind that while all greens are high in calcium spinach, chard, and beet greens contain oxalic acid which hinders our ability to absorb calcium. A really cool thing about greens is that vitamin C aides in our body's ability to absorb calcium, and in her great wisdom mother nature endowed most leafy green vegetables with high levels of vitamin C (unlike dairy). Did you know that there are numerous studies showing that countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis? And countries with the lowest dairy consumption have the lowest levels of osteoporosis (and breast cancer!).

When I speak of acidic vs. alkaline blood what I am referring to is our blood's ph balance. Many studies have shown that disease thrives in blood with an acidic ph balance. We, therefore, want to eat foods that promote a slightly alkaline blood ph. Foods that promote alkaline blood include: brown rice, dark green leafy vegetables, burdock root, sea vegetables and citrus. Foods that promote an acidic blood ph include drugs (including prescription), alcohol, meat, dairy, caffeine, and worst of all, sugar. When we consume foods that acidify our blood our bones release calcium (and other precious minerals) into our bloodstream to bring its ph back to an alkaline state, which many believe is more responsible for osteoperosis than not getting enough calcium. Yet those brilliant (and well funded) marketing execs working for the dairy industry have managed to hoodwink us into believing we'll collapse into a pile of fractured hips if we don't drink cow's milk. Brilliant.

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. another oil (olive, canola, hot chili, etc.)
1 white or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 carrots, washed and sliced
4-5 c. cooked brown rice, with other grains if desired
1/4 c. shoyu or tamari
1 tsp. brown rice or ume plum vinegar
1/4 tsp. Chinese 5 spice powder and/or 1-2 Tbsp. vegan hoisin sauce
1-2 c. (really as much as you want) chopped greens, any kind

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the onion & carrots and saute until they begin to brown 5-7 minutes.

2) Add the rice and then all of the other ingredients except for the greens and toss to mix. Cook for about 3 more minutes while tossing.

3) Add the greens and continue to saute until the greens are wilted (this will take longer for a hearty green like kale than it will for a tender green like spinach).

This can be garnished with brown or black sesame seeds, a little baked tofu, several Tbsp. of cooked beans, pickled vegetables such as beets or red onions, or whatever else your (healthy from vegan food) heart desires.

Serves about 4 with a little left over.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onions

This can be made with Field Roast brand Italian Sausages or Tofurkey makes a good one, too (even though I hate that name). I find Field Roast brand vegan sausages at Whole Foods or health food co-ops, Tofurkey can be found at most large grocery stores. I recommend seeking out Field Roast brand because I think it's the best, but if you can't find it this is still really good with Tofurkey. We love this meal so much that we made it for Christmas last year, it's that gooooood.

This batch was made with Tofurkey brand sausages.

1 package of vegan Italian flavored sausages, sliced 1/2" thick 
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & black pepper
1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. tomato paste
3/4 c. vegetable broth
Chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley to garnish (optional)

1) Heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, and add the sliced sausages. Cook on the first side until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Flip and brown the second side, this will take 3-4 minutes (add a little more oil if necessary).

2) Remove the sausages and set aside. Preheat a bit more oil to the pan and add the sliced onion and a pinch of sea salt, about 1/4 tsp. Cook until the onion is beginning to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

3) Add the peppers and cook about 5 minutes longer.

4) Add the sausages back to the pan along with the tomato paste, vegetable broth, another pinch of sea salt and several dashes of back pepper. Bring the liquid up to a boil and dissolve the tomato paste. Add a little more broth if the pan dries out. Cook for about 3-5 more minutes, you want it to be saucy but not super liquidy.

This makes 4 servings. Garnish with chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley if desired.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spring Rolls with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce

I think spring rolls might be the ultimate appetizer. You can put anything you want in them, they're fresh and full of vegetables, you can dip them in any different kind of sauce (anything involving sauce is tops with me). Plus they're fun to make and kids love helping. One of the best and easiest ways to get my kids to try new foods is to have them help me make it. It's so easy for kids to help put the filling into spring rolls - you can even let them choose the fillings they like best. You should tailor this recipe by putting you your favorite vegetables (cabbage, mung bean sprouts, sliced avocado, kim chi, carrots, red or green onion, etc.), this is just how I like them.

For the Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c. natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. chili garlic paste (or Asian hot paste, start with 1 tsp. if you're sensitive to spicy food)
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
1 tsp. pure maple syrup or agave nectar
1" knob of fresh ginger, grated

For the Spring Rolls:
2 oz. mung bean thread noodles or very thin rice noodles
1 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
1 Tbsp. mushroom flavored soy sauce (or more shoyu)
8 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 a red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves (about 1 c.)
About 1/3 recipe for Baked Tofu or 4-5 thin slices
10-12 sheets spring roll wrappers (rice paper)

1) For the dipping sauce, place all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2) Place the shoyu or tamari and mushroom flavored soy sauce in a bowl and add the thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms. Toss to cover the mushrooms with the sauce and then set aside to marinade as you prepare the other ingredients.

3) Fill a sauce pan with very hot water and add 2 oz. of bean thread or very thin rice noodles and let them sit in the water for about 8-10 minutes until softened. Drain with a fine mesh colander and then place the colander over the pan you used to soak them so they can drain.

4) As the noodles soak in the hot water slice your peppers, get the cilantro washed & ready to go and slice your baked tofu into long thin strips.

5) Once you have everything ready to go, take the mushrooms and pour the excess mariade from them over the noodles that are resting in the colander over the pan and toss them around with your hand to coat them in the marinade.

6)Take a large baking dish (like a 9x13 one) and fill it about 1/2 way up with very hot water. Then dampen a dish cloth and hang it lengthwise over the edge of your counter so that half of it is on the counter and the other half is hanging down.

7) To assemble the spring rolls, place a sheet of rice paper into the hot water and leave it in there for 30-60 seconds or so, until it's fully hydrated and no longer hard. Then carefully take the wrapper out of the water, place it on the dampened dishtowel making sure to flatten it out, fold the edge of the towel that's hanging down up over the wrapper and pat it a little to remove the excess moisture, and then pull the towel off and let it hang over the edge of the counter again while keeping the wrapper on the other half of the towel.

8) Place a small handful of the noodles onto the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper and then top the noodles with the mushrooms, peppers, tofu and cilantro. Note: once I put the noodles on the wrapper I usually put the next rice paper wrapper into the hot water to let is soak so it's ready when I want to make the next spring roll.

9) Fold the bottom of the wrapper up over the filling and pull down to secure and roll it about 1/3 of the way up. Then fold in both sides and continue to roll the rice paper until completely sealed and set on a serving platter. Note: if you are making a lot of spring rolls it's a good idea to keep a damp cloth over the completed spring rolls so that they don't dry out and stick together.

This serves 4-6 as appetizers.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I would not even know this dish existed if my friend Kara hadn't mentioned she was going to make it from items received in her CSA box. Colcannon is an Irish dish with potatoes and greens and I guess at some point people started adding all sorts of other good things in there. I'm sure glad I found out about it because, YUM!

2 lbs. potatoes, gold or red skinned
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, any color
1-2 c. hearty greens such as cabbage, kale, collards or chard, de-stemmed and chopped into bitesize pieces
Sea salt
Black pepper
3 Tbsp. vegan chive & garlic cream cheese, or vegan sour cream plus 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
Plain soy milk to thin, probably about 1/2 c.

1) Cut the potatoes into 1" chunks, place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water. Bring them up to a boil, add 1 tsp. of sea salt, and let them cook for 15 minutes. Once they're done drain them and return them to the pot.

2) As the potatoes cook, add a little olive oil to a saute pan and caramelize the sliced onion over medium high heat. This will take about 15-17 minutes and once it starts to brown you should stir it frequently to avoid burning. When the onion is almost finished cooking add the chopped greens for the last 3-5 minutes to wilt and soften them.

3) Once the potatoes have been drained mash them up really well with a potato masher and then add the remaining ingredients (except for the soy milk) and stir together.

4) Add the soy milk 1/4 c. at a time and stir to incorporate. Once the potatoes reach a nice creamy consistency you can stop adding the soy milk.

This makes about 6 servings.