Friday, September 28, 2012


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It's definitely getting Fall-ish around here.  Even though the weather has been gorgeous (except today, which  is cloudy and drizzly-- the first rain in months), it's been on the chilly side when the sun is down.  The other day both my husband and I craved stew, so I pulled out a favorite recipe from one of my older books and tweaked it a bit.

It's not picture-pretty, but it's homey, comforting, satisfying, and, best of all, full of complex flavors.  I adore the combination of apples with savory onions, herbs and potatoes, with the flavor intensified by the addition of sherry.  You can serve this simply with a good crusty bread.
"Nuff said-- here's the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it!

Printable Recipe 

Serves 4
I made this stew years ago (in pre-vegetarian days) with pork.  It was so good that, quite a few years ago, I made a vegan version for my book “Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause”.  I have further tweaked the recipe to boost the flavor. I prefer to use textured soy protein chunks in stews (I like their texture), but there are other options in the recipe.

2 c. reconstituted textured soy protein chunks (1 1/2 cups dry, reconstituted in tasty broth), well-drained and patted dry (See Cooking Tip below for how to reconstitute-- for Americans, Barry Farm makes these, but I am now finding a similar product hard to find in Canada. I intend to order some of these organic chunks from )
    OR 2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls [2 oz. dry], or 2 cups seitan, cut into chunks, or even chunks of  your favorite commercial vegan "chikn brest".
Whole wheat (or brown rice) flour
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, thinly-sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage (or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped)
2 large potatoes, cut into 6ths (or 3 medium ones, in quarters)
2 large apples, cored and chunked (peel only if not organic, or if skins are unsightly)
3 cups tasty vegetarian broth (I like better Than Bouillon No-Chicken vegan broth paste)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup dry white wine or dry white vermouth (or use 1/2 cup total non-alcoholic sweet white wine)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. organic unbleached sugar
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste
Coat the soy protein chunks (or Soy Curls or seitan chunks, etc.) with flour.  Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add the soy protein chunks and sliced onions.  When the onions soften (add squirts of water as needed to keep from sticking, but not too much), add the garlic, smoked paprika and pepper to taste and stir-cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients.
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Serve hot with crusty bread and a salad.

Nutrition (per serving): 368.2 calories; 9% calories from fat; 4.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 799.6mg sodium; 1453.1mg potassium; 67.6g carbohydrates; 8.0g fiber; 17.0g sugar; 59.6g net carbs; 17.6g protein; 6.9 points.

Cooking Tip: 

Reconstitute the textured soy protein chunks by simmering 1 1/2 cups dry chunks in 3 cups water with 3 Tbs soy sauce, 3 Tbs ketchup or tomato paste, and 1 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes for 15-30 minutes, depending upon how tender you like them. Cool and store in the cooking broth. (I usually make 4 or more times this amount and freeze it in 2 cup portions.) Drain the chunks before using them, and pat them dry before coating with flour, frying, or marinating. This amount will yield about 2 cups reconstituted chunks.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


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Uploaded by Storybubble on Jul 26, 2010

Tofu Meets Greens is a tasty mix of food, dance, and jazz, and was inspired by the song "Tofu & Greens" by Canadian jazz musician Denzal Sinclaire. It features talented swing duo David Yates and Diane Garceau of Night and Day Dance. It brings together Vancouver's local film, dance, music and food communities in a piece that shows the best the West Coast has to offer. The piece is a short, dance-based courtship between a masculine Tofu and a feminine Greens. The story is performed in public in a place where Tofu might meet Greens: Vancouver's well- known Granville Island Market.

Credit List:
Production Company - Storybubble Pictures Inc.
Director - Devon Cooke
Cinematrographer - Andrej Marko
Dancers - David Yates and Diane Garceau of Night and Day Dance
Music - Denzal Sinclaire

UPDATE: What we had for dinner tonight:

The tofu in the video made me crave a simple meal of tofu marinated in a simple mixture, pan-fried, with fresh kale from our garden and garlic from the island, sauteed mushrooms, and brown Basmati rice.  I pressed a pound of medium-firm tofu in my small tofu press for 1/2 an hour-- I really like the texture of this tofu when pressed.  It's firm, but still a bit silky. I marinated it (cut into four slabs) for about 5 hours in a mixture of 1/4 cup of low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. liquid smoke and 1/4 tsp. hot smoked paprika. I dumped the slabs and the marinade into a hot cast iron pan sprayed with bit of oil from a pump sprayer, sprinkled the slabs with dry sherry (maybe1 tablespoon in all)  and cooked over medium-high heat until both sides were browned and there was just a little marinade left.  Served on the rice and greens and topped with the sauteed mushrooms-- heaven!

                    Some Tofu & Greens recipes on this blog:






Thursday, September 20, 2012


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Evenings are cool these days, even though the days are warm and sunny.  As a consequence, I'm pulling out the soup pot more often.  I do love soup, and find soup-making a wonderful way to use leftovers and bits and pieces that need using-up. I make large pots of soups of all kinds and my husband and I take leftovers for work lunches. 

This soup was developed for a group of recipes I did for the book "Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Heart Disease", which featured recipes that were not only vegan, but also fat-free, high-fiber, and low in salt and sugar, which was a challenge, because I wanted everything to taste yummy and full-bodied, too!

I wanted this soup to showcase time-honored Southern foods and flavors, which not only meld nicely with each other, but are colorful and eye-appealing as well.  The soup is super fast and easy to make, economical, and very satisfying-- a whole-meal soup which could be accompanied by a scoop of rice in the middle of the soup plate, if you like, or some hot cornbread. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Printable Recipe

(A slightly altered version of the recipe I developed for "Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Heart Disease" [Rodale Press, NY, 2007])
Serves 6  
This delectable, but easy soup contains Southern elements-- black-eyed peas, smoky flavors, sweet potatoes, and greens.  

1 large    onion, chopped  
3 cloves    garlic, minced  
6 cups    chicken-style vegetarian broth  
1/4 cup    tomato paste  
3 cups    cooked or canned, drained black-eyed peas ( 2/ 15 ounce cans)  
2 tablespoons    vegan bacon bits,  a handful of chopped vegan "ham", or a few dashes liquid smoke  
2 teaspoons    dried oregano  
1    bay leaf  
1/2 teaspoon    salt  
1/2 teaspoon    dried red chile flakes  (optional-- see below)
4 ounces    kale, collards, or other dark greens, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced  
1 pound    sweet potato, peeled and diced  
1 to 2   spicy vegan sausages, sliced 1/4"-thick
(I like Field Roast Chipotle Sausages in this, but Tofurky Spicy Italian are good, too.  If you use the Field Roast sausages, you might want to use fewer chile flakes, or omit them altogether, because they are quite hot.)

Steam-fry the onion and garlic in in a large heavy nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized aluminum skillet sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, or with cooking spray, until soft. (To steam-fry, saute over high heat, adding squirts of water as you cook-- just enough to keep the onions from sticking, but not enough to "stew' them.) Or, use the microwave option and  place in a covered microwave-safe dish (such as a Pyrex casserole, or Pyrex pie plate covered with a Pyrex pot lid or another Pyrex pie plate, upside-down) and microwave at 100% power for 5 minutes.

Add the cooked onion and garlic to a large pot along with the broth, tomato paste, black-eyed peas, soy bacon bits, "ham" or liquid smoke, oregano, bay leaf, salt, chile flakes, greens, sweet potato, and vegetarian sausage. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender.

Taste for salt and serve immediately.
 Nutrition Facts (Nutrition facts calculated using the optional 2 veggie "sausages".)
Nutrition (per serving): 260.1 calories; 9% calories from fat; 3.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 486.2mg sodium; 782.4mg potassium; 43.6g carbohydrates; 9.8g fiber; 8.1g sugar; 32.8g net carbs; 18.4g protein; 4.7 points.


Friday, September 14, 2012


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UPDATE Sept. 2015 : We can no longer buy Vegg products (and there are 5 now) in Canada, and our low dollar comparison to the US dollar, plus shipping costs, makes it beyond my means to purchase it from the States right now.  So, for me, experiments mentioned below will have to wait. 

I've been slow about experimenting with the new vegan egg yolk alternative, The Vegg.  A couple of weeks ago I made a version of my lowfat mayonnaise with the "Vegg "vegan egg yolk" and it turned out very well, the Vegg adding a richer flavor, I thought (but not necessary).  We really enjoyed the French Toast recipe from the Vegg recipe page. ( I used regular wheat bread, homemade),  but I've had less success with some of their other recipes. They tend to be very short on detail, and, in my opinion, use too much Vegg in many of them, giving the result a slimy texture that I don't like.

I altered the fritatta recipe from my book Nonna's Italian Kitchen to include The Vegg, but, though it tasted good and wasn't slimy, it wasn't as substantial as my original recipe, so I have to try it with more tofu next time.  I notice that many of the recipes use tapioca flour or cornstarch because The Veg does not have thickening qualities like egg yolk does.  Not that I object to using these starches, but in a recipe like a fritatta or an omelet, which is a main course in many cases, I want more nutrition in the dish than starch can provide.  Tofu can thicken as well as add nutrition, but I also want to experiment using nutritional thickeners such as chickpea flour and corn flour.

Despite the learning curve, I think that this ingredient (which is sold in powder form and mixed with water) has great potential once we learn the ways to use it properly, so I want to test out some further ideas. On my list: a soy-free, nut-free, coconut-free vegan creme brulee and other custard-type recipe (in conjunction with British-style custard powder); revised versions of my fritatta and quiche recipes, and also my vegan Spanish omelet (Potato Tortilla) and vegan egg foo yung recipes; adding it to my vegan spoonbread recipe; adding it to my vegan "eggnog" recipe and perhaps vegan sweet yeast breads , etc.  I don't really feel the need to add it to my vegan pasta recipe-- a little chickpea flour provides good color and a slightly "eggy" flavor.

In any case, yesterday I experimented with a recipe from The Vegg website (by Sandy DeFino and Rocky Shepheard, the creator of The Vegg-- the recipe's not there anymore) for French Vanilla Ice Cream.  It was a very simple recipe and I followed it pretty much to the "T", except that I used commercial almond milk plus 2 tablespoons of canola oil instead of the coconut oil they recommended.  It turned out very well, although I think using a vanilla bean next time would add a richer vanilla flavor. Here's the recipe:

As you can see, I served the ice cream with grilled fresh pineapple slices and some toasted coconut flakes-- a great combination!

Printable Recipe

Makes about 3-31/2 cups

In a blender, combine 
2 cups commercial almond milk + 2 tablespoons oil 
(OR use 2 cups homemade almond milk or almond cream-- you can see my method of making almond cream within the recipe for my almond "whipped topping"-- you can add more water for "milk")  
3 tsp. Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk Powder blended well with 3/4 cup water (NOTE: for a less "eggy" flavor, use only 2 tsp.) 
1/2 cup light-colored unbleached organic granulated sugar (or to taste-- remember that the ice cream mixture tastes sweeter when it is room temperature than it will when frozen) OR, for sugar-free, use sweetener of your choice, such as Splenda (sucralose), etc.
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (See PS below)
1/2 tsp. xantham or guar gum gum OR 1 Tablespoon Instant ClearJel

Blend until very smooth. (Cooking the mixture as you would with real egg yolks won't thicken the mixture, so it's not necessary here.) Chill the mixture thoroughly, pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer instructions.  PS: If you want to use a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract, slit the vanilla pod lengthwise with a sharp knife-tip scrape the sticky seeds out and add the pod and seeds to the almond milk which has been brought to boiling.  Turn off heat and allow to cool in the refrigerator, then strain the milk before using in the recipe.


Friday, September 7, 2012


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Last Sunday I realized that I (gulp) hadn't made a potato salad yet this summer!  What is wrong with me?  I've made all sorts of grainy/beany/vegetable-y/fruity salads this summer, but no potato salads.  I needed to take something to a potluck meeting the next day (and DH needed something portable to bring for lunch)-- potato salad would be just the thing, I thought.  So,while we were walking our new doggy resident, Pheobe (see picture below), through the winding, up-and-down path in the woods, I was devising a new potato salad in my head.  I wanted it to be a-meal-in-itself, not too high in fat, to be lemony and have some Greek components, including something with a pleasant crunch (I thought that fennel would work well here, with it's pleasant anise-like fragrance).  As soon as we got home, I set to work on it with what I had in the house, scribbling down ingredients, measurements and instructions as I went.

Pheobe and the cats waiting for dinner

The happy result was the following recipe, which DH and the potluck-ers all heartily enjoyed, and I hope you will, too.

Printable Recipe

Serves 12 (approximately)

Fennel bulbs
4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup dry white wine OR dry white vermouth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups coarsely chopped fennel bulb
One 19 oz. can white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups sliced marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup whole pitted kalamata olives (smallish ones)
1/2 cup chopped green onion bottoms or chives
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed OR 1 tablespoon dried
handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley
Lemon Salad Dressing (see below)
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (preferably reduced-fat) OR my homemade low-fat vegan mayo (hemp version here and new VEGG [yolk substitute] version here)  OR Tofu Mayonnaise
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Lemon Salad Dressing:
1/3 cup aquafaba or Oil Substitute for Salad Dressings
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 small clove garlic, crushed

Scrub the potatoes, but don't peel.  Cut into 3/4" chunks (more or less) and steam, pressure-steam or micro-steam them until just tender-- not mushy.  (Pressure-steaming or micro-steaming are the most energy-efficient [and nutrient-saving] methods, BTW.  Regular steaming is preferable to boiling because it conserves nutrition and uses less water, and.thus, less energy to heat up the water.)  Place the potatoes in a colander rinse briefly and let drain.

When well-drained, place the potatoes in a large bowl and toss with the wine and salt.  Add the fennel, beans, artichoke hearts, olives, green onions, dill and parsley, and toss gently.

Mix up the Lemon Salad Dressing and toss it with the salad.  Then fold in the mayonnaise, mixing evenly.  Taste for salt and add a liberal grinding of pepper and the zest and juice of the lemon.  Mix well.

It's best to let this sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving, so that the potatoes soak up some of the flavorful dressing.

Nutrition Facts (calculated using Reduced-Fat Vegenaise-- it would be lower in fat and calories if you use my lowfat vegan mayo, or the Tofu Mayonnaise, and slightly lower if you use the Spectrum reduced-fat mayo)
Nutrition (per serving): 417.9 calories; 28% calories from fat; 14.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 772.1mg sodium; 1648.2mg potassium; 62.0g carbohydrates; 12.6g fiber; 1.4g sugar; 49.4g net carbs; 14.8g protein; 8.7 points.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


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NOTE: If you don't use oil, see my version using no extracted oil here:  

I had to make something for a potluck yesterday and decided on potato salad with a Greek theme (I'll blog the recipe on Thursday-- it turned out well!).  The only problem was that I used up all my homemade mayonnaise, and we have to have some around this time of year for tomato sandwiches made with our homegrown tomatoes.  So I decided to experiment with a variation on my usual vegan mayo recipe that I've been meaning to try-- using some of the new vegan egg yolk substitute, The VEGG.

I know that others have made vegan mayo with The VEGG, but those were typical mayo recipe containing mostly oil.  Now, I love mayonnaise, and I like to slather it on liberally, but the oil-rich versions are too calorie and fat-laden for my style of eating.  So my version contains only 1/4 cup oil, but it really tastes and behaves like mayonnaise, so I don't feel deprived.

The recipe took just a wee bit of modifying and it turned out very well.  You can't really taste the egg-y flavor right up front (which is a good thing, in my opinion), but there seems to be an added richness to the mixture.

Printable Recipe

Makes about 2 cups
Recipe updated September 14, 2017

This is a revised version of the recipe that appears in several of my cookbooks. For those who are allergic to soy, or who do not like tofu mayonnaise or the commercial "light" mayos (most are not vegan, anyway), here is a delicious (and inexpensive) solution! Four Hellman's fans of my acquaintance loved this (and were surprised that they did!).  It contains a small amount of oil, just enough for good flavor and mouthfeel. It’s smooth and creamy, and a little tangy, but not too much. The VEGG seemed to add a richness to the mixture.

 **BRIGHT IDEA-- This mayonnaise, with the addition of herbs, garlic, etc., can be used as a savory vegetable and toast topping. Note: If you leave out the agar in the basic recipe, this makes a good base for cold savory sauces. 

Mix A:
1 cup any "original" creamy non-dairy milk for drinking
2 T. to 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or flax or hemp oil (or a mix)
2 T. apple cider (my preference), plain rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar, or lemon juice
1-1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. The VEGG powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard 

Mix B:
1/2 cup + 2 T. cold water 
4 T. cornstarch (or wheat starch--do not substitute other starches! You can buy organic cornstarch in health food stores and online.)
1/2 tsp. agar powder (NOT flakes!)

1.) Place all of the Mix A ingredients into your blender jar or food processor bowl and set aside. NOTE: If you have no food processor or blender, you can use a 1 qt. deep bowl or pitcher and a hand/immersion blender.

2.) In a small saucepan or microwave-proof bowl, mix together the water and agar from Mix B, and let sit for a few of minutes. Add the cornstarch and whisk well. If making in the pot on the stovetop, stir constantly over high heat until thick and translucent-- not white.  Microwave option (my preference): Use the microwave-proof bowl for the mixture, and microwave on HI 30 seconds. Whisk. Repeat this about three times, or until thick and translucent. (The microwave works well with cornstarch mixtures.)
Tip: If you don't cook this thoroughly, the mayo won't thicken properly.
Tip #2:  Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot or bowl with the whisk, so that none of the  cornstarch mixture gets left at behind.

3.) Scrape the cooked Mix B into the blender or food processor or container you are using with a hand/immersion blender (using a spatula so that you get as much of it as you can out of the bowl or pot) containing Mix A.  Quickly add the xanthan or guar gum. Blend until the mixture is very white and frothy and emulsified (you can't see any oil globules).(Tip: This mayo doesn’t get thick as you blend it, like regular mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise made with lots of oil, so don’t blend it and blend it, thinking it will thicken as it blends— it won’t!! It will thicken in a few hours in the refrigerator.)

4.) Pour into a clean pint jar, cover and refrigerate for several hours, until it is set. It should be firm enough to stand a knife up in. NOTE: If the cooled-off mayo seems too thick or stiff to you, beat it with a whisk (you can do it right in the jar if you have a whisk that fits) until creamy. 
If you cut down the amount of cornstarch, it gets a bit runny after a week or so.  The whisking method works for me-- it stays creamy but thick.

Keep refrigerated.  Will keep for about 2 weeks.

Cooking Tip
Do you prefer Miracle Whip to mayonnaise? Try this:
Use 1 teaspoon mustard powder, and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon organic sugar or agave nectar to the recipe (sugar levels in this type of recipe vary, so start with this and then let your taste dictate).

Nutrition facts were (using Living Cookbook software) calculated using my homemade soymilk and  1/4 cup olive oil.  I calculated it using various kinds of nondairy milk and the nutrition facts are in this range no matter what you use (except for regular coconut milk, which has more fat in it).  21 calories a tablespoon is pretty darn good, considering regular mayonnaise (even vegan) contains about 100 calories per tablespoon!

If you use less oil, of course fat and calorie levels will be less, but I think you loose the creamy mouthfeel and it doesn't look right to me, but I've given you the Nutrition facts for that version below these, if you insist!

Nutrition Facts: (per tablespoon): Nutrition (per serving): 21.0 calories; 75% calories from fat; 1.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 92.5mg sodium; 2.3mg potassium; 1.1g carbohydrates; 0.0g fiber; 0.1g sugar; 1.1g net carbs; 0.2g protein; 0.6 points.

Nutrition Facts: (using only 2 tablespoons oil in the recipe-- see my comments above) (per tablespoon): 13.6 calories; 61% calories from fat; 1.0g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 92.5mg sodium; 2.3mg potassium; 1.1g carbohydrates; 0.0g fiber; 0.1g sugar; 1.1g net carbs; 0.2g protein; 0.3 points.