Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lentil Loaf with Basil Mashed Potatoes

June has been a faboosh month! I like to think that it's because of my Rob Pattinson calendar. My thoughtful & loving husband gave me a Rob calendar for Christmas and every month on the first, when I turn the page over to see a new picture of Robby, I pretty much know what kind of month it's going to be. This picture brought an insanely awesome June:

I've been able to spend time with family, reconnect with old friends, attend the final PDub, saw Iron Maiden and Dream Theatre, went camping. I'm going to see a whooooooole slew of old friends in three days when we go to watch two of our friends get married (I get to sing at their wedding and spend it with my husband in a tuxedo. :)), then the rest of the month is spent planning and shopping and cleaning and FREAKING OUT for my Marissa's arrival on July 1. It's been seven years since I've seen her beautiful face and I couldn't be more excited to spend a few days with her!!! And heck...with July starting off like that, it has to be a good month, right? We'll see, Edward. We'll see.

Other good things that have happened this month? The food.
I can't lie, it's been amazing! I've got some pretty awesome recipes to put up...from foreign desserts to camping food. Another reason July should be great. :)

This next recipe is pretty awesome! It kinda made me feel like the wife I was 4 years ago: making full-course, full-fat, meaty, cheesy, standard American meals. I might sound like I hated this, but I didn't. I didn't know any better then, and cooking was how I really started showing my husband how much I loved him. I wanted to make all the delicious foods my mom made us, too. As I got better with cooking, I did it more. I think that has a lot to do with why I stayed so heavy for so long. Anyway, I digress. This meal is such a healthy alternative to the traditional meatloaf dinner. We had to use some basil from the garden (yesssss......), so I decided to try a basil butter to put in the mashed potatoes. Huge success. :)

Lentil Loaf
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Tomato Topping

1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp onion flakes (or 1/2 tsp onion powder)
1 tsp garlic salt

Lentil Loaf

Lentil Loaf

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 block extra firm tofu
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp Tomato Topping (recipe above)
3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup lentils, cooked and drained (I used black lentils!)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Mix the tomato topping together first because you're going to need a tablespoon to mix into the lentil loaf. The rest will be set aside to coat the loaf when its assembled.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat. Add chopped onions and the peppers. Let cook until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Cool.

3. In a food processor, chop oats for 5 quick pulses. Set aside.

4. Drain tofu well and press with hands until all excess water comes out. In a mixing bowl, mash tofu with a fork or use grater to coarsely grate. In the same mixing bowl combine cooked onions and peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture, oats, corn meal, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, parsley, salt, sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, ground mustard and mix until well combined.

5. Spray a large sheet of foil with cooking spray to form loaf on, place on cookie sheet. On top and in the middle of tin foil form loaf mixture into loaf that is 2 1/2 inches high and 4 1/2 inches square. Coat top and sides with tomato mixture. Cook loaf for 20 minutes, then cover with tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

I have to admit, I didn't LOVE meatloaf growing up. In fact, I think it was in the bottom 10 meals. Not that it wasn't good, I was just convinced that I didn't like onions or peppers. You can only lie to yourself for so long!

As far as the mashed potatoes go...I just put 1/4 cup of Earth Balance with a pinch of garlic salt and about 1/3 cup of fresh, packed basil leaves in my little food processor. I blended it until smooth and used that instead of regular butter along with soy milk to mash my potatoes.

Now a few questions for you!

It's officially summer. How do you plan on spending it?



Running off to Mexico?

Some other fabulous way you can't wait to tell me about?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Berry Pie

Of all the holidays on our calendar, the ones that really make me happy are Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July. Both of them have no presents. Thanksgiving is about being thankful, seeing family, friends, and eating amazing food allllll day. July Fourth celebrates our wonderful country. Pretty much everyone looks forward to these holidays. It's hard to be disappointed...unless your Tofurkey is a little dry. :)

Memorial Day is another great holiday. Most everyone gets a long weekend, there are nonstop BBQs, beer drinking, maybe some fireworks, and lots of great tributes to the men and women who have served our nation. This year, Codester and I went to the family's house for some BBQ. We had a great batch of roasted asparagus (which means to us that it really is summer), amazing potato salad ala Dei, a white bean chili, recipe coming shortly, and some amazing desserts. D.E.I. made blueberry crisp that had some of the biggest blueberries I've ever seen. I made a strawberry & blueberry pie that I topped with some coconut whipped cream. Look how great this is!

Yes, I know my crust isn't all that pretty. I still haven't mastered fluting. It tastes delicious, however, and I think it makes is look kinda rustic. Ha!

Berry Pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1 9-inch pie crust, cooked
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup blueberries
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. In a large bowl, mash 2 cups strawberries with a potato masher. You want these to get really mashed up, so don't go easy on them. Add the sugar, corn starch, and lemon juice.

2. Pour the strawberry mixture into a medium-sized sauce pan and warm over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a small boil, continuing to stir, and reduce heat to low. Cook until it resembles a jelly. Remove from heat.

3. Gently fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared crust, smoothing out as much as possible. Arrange the remaining sliced strawberries and blueberries on top of the pie. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Coconut Whipped Cream
Prep time: 5 minutes

(This is how it's done, ladies & gents. I haven't made whipped cream because the thought of using tofu scares ME. This is light and fluffy and has the sweet hint of coconut.

1 15-oz can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup powdered soy milk
1/4 tsp vanilla, if desired

1. Make sure you refrigerate the can of soy milk for at least 4 hours. This will really help it separate. Open the can and scoop out only the hardened parts. Leave the milk for something later, like curry.

2. Beat the coconut milk on high until light and fluffy. This could take up to 8 minutes, so if you have a stand-up mixer, rock it. Sift in the confectioners' sugar and powdered soy milk. Continue to beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla, if using.

You can put this stuff in a decorating bag. You can dollop it with a spoon. You can use your (washed) finger to taste it right outta the bowl. It's so good. Seriously.

I hope you try this pie for summer...maybe even for Independence Day!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Soft Corn Tacos

I love Mexican food. Mexi-Cali, Tex-Mex, and especially New Mexican. I've been saving up pictures of some amazing vegan dishes, all from the restaurant I work for, La Salita. If someone were to ask me what the difference is between Mexican and New Mexican food, I'd quickly reply, "THE CHILE!!!" No one does chile, like New Mexico...and no one does red chile like La Salita.

Sometimes when I'm standing up at the window at work, waiting for food orders, certain smells will catch me off guard and I'll crave whatever it is that smells so good. Lately it's been corn tortillas. More specific: soft corn tacos. Here's my tasty soft corn taco recipe that even includes a little La Salita Red Chile, which you can order HERE.

Soft Corn Tacos
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

4 corn tortillas
1 cup Textured Vegetable Protein
1 cup boiling water, plus 1/4 cup water, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
Shredded lettuce
(Tomato, if you want it.)
Vegan Cheese
Red or green chile

Taco Seasoning
This is a little something I always have in my cabinet, ready to go. It's so much better for you than that pre-made, high-sodium, store-bought seasoning!!!

1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

1. In a large bowl, mix TVP with boiling water and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add hydrated TVP, Taco Seasoning, and 2 tbsp of water. Mix to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes; if more water is needed, add by the tablespoon until you get a nice taco "meat" texture.

3. To heat your corn tortillas, place tortillas on a plate, cover with an inverted plate, and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Assemble tacos with some chile, taco meat, veggies, cheese, and whatever else your little heart desires.

That's it, my dearies! Not much to it! We love these tacos, and I'm sure you will, too. Just know they're a tad bit messier because they're soft corn! And if you don't steam the corn tortillas, chances are, they're going to break on you. Just sayin'!

Does anyone happen to know what the difference between Mexi-Cali and Tex-Mex is?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Capers

There are three things I love more than anything else in the world:

My husband:

My family:

My friends:

This blog is about all three. :)

Let's start with the why.

The reason I made this dinner is because I was showing a lil' love to C-Dog. My wonderful mom was here visiting for about a week...and then I was going to California to visit with my sister, her amazing girls, and my aunt and cousins...so I hadn't really been able to make him a nice meal. This was to make up for that. :)

That takes care of husband and family...2/3 of my list....now on to friends:

One of the sweetest and most darling friends that I have, Erin, is a constant reminder that there are good people in the world. She's so thoughtful, it gives me the thoughtfulness bug and makes me want to be kind to other people as well. I love her for that. When we first became friends, she sent me an autographed copy of The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. It's such an amazing read and has a plethora of amazing recipes. This recipe is from the book, given to me by a good friend. There's the last third. Bring on the recipe!

Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Capers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

Seitan Cutlets

1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp basil
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp tahini

1. Prepare some aluminum foil by tearing off 4 10-inch pieces. Get a steamer ready and start heating water.

2. In a mixer or large bowll, combine the vital wheat gluten,nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, and basil. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the broth and tahini. Stir the wet mixture into the dry until well blended. Knead gently 10 times. Quickly divide dough into 4 equal pieces.

3. Take a piece of dough and shape and flatten it into a thin oval-shaped cutlet. Place it on a sheet of foil, a little higher than center. Fold the bottom of the foil over to meet the top, and then fold the two edges over about 1/2 inch to form a seam. Continue folding the foil by half inches until it reaches just above the cutlet. Flatten the cutlet down a little more, and then fold the left and right edges in the same way until the packet is snug around the cutlet. Repeat with all pieces of dough.

4. Place the packets flat into the steamer and cover. Steam for 25 minutes. Keep packets sealed until you’re ready to use them.

White Wine and Capers Sauce

Whole wheat flour for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced shallots (I used scallions because it's what I had on hand)
1/2 cup diced onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup drained capers
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup vegetable broth, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
4 tablespoons soy margarine
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Dredge the seitan in the whole wheat flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the seitan pieces, and saute until crisp and golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer the seitan to a serving platter or individual plates.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the same skillet. Add the shallots, onions, garlic, and capers and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced by half. Whisk in the lemon juice, and cook until the sauce has reduced a bit more, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Whisk in the broth and the unbleached flour, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 minute to thicken. Whisk in the margarine, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour over the seitan, and serve immediately.

I paired this with some wilted baby spinach and mushroom couscous. It was quite tasty, I can't lie. Especially since I drank a glass of the delicious Pinot Gris I used to cook with. ;)

This blog really brings me to a new level of hippie-ness and really makes me realize how intertwined we all are. You can't take anyone out of the equation. On that note, I need to go hug a tree and tie-dye some shirts.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Hello, bloggies! I'm so sorry I didn't get to announcing the winner of my Endangered Species Chocolate Giveaway. I ended up going to LA this weekend...and San Diego...and Lake Forest...and had the most amazing time. I visited with my sister & her girls (along with our family friend, Melissa) who surprised my cousins out in California. I was able to see our Marine Corps friends that I haven't seen in 2 years and it was the most long overdue visit in the history of visits. I took part in the final PDub. My Marine Corps friend, Missy, who is also Vegan, came up with her beautiful family and we spent the day in the pool then ate at an entirely Vegan restaurant, The Wheel of Life. If you're ever in SoCal, you seriously need to try this place. Here's us with our first taste of Vegan shrimp!

Such an amazing weekend. There was very little sleep but the smiles and laughs were overflowing.


Stephanie @ The Grant's Giveaways is going to be getting a gift basket from Endangered Species. Send me an email with your address, Stephanie! :)

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!