Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not recipes authored by me. Rather, this is just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, usually tweaked just a little. It's intended to be a reference FOR ME so I don't lose great food I've found nor the changes I've made to suit my tastes, but I'm happy for you to use it, too. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good.
Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe Amount Conversions

I just found the coolest website! I am trying out a new cake doughnut recipe, and it calls for 8 oz. of sifted flour. Is the author kidding me? I need to know how many cups that is. Well, I used Google to look up converting ounces to cups for flour, and I found this great website that calculates the conversion for me:


So now I know that this is approximately 1.8 cups of flour. My measuring cup has 1/8 cup increments, so I did the math (See? Math is very useful! Even for eating!) and found that I will need to use just over 1 and 6/8 cups.

I figured you might find this website handy, too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and Sweet Potato Casserole topping recipe

Happy Black Friday to you all! I hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday as much as I did yesterday! Scott and I went to my parents' house and feasted! Mom started cooking on Wednesday, then she got up at 5:10 yesterday to get rolling again. Scott and I got there a little before 10am so I could help. Of course, my family is not vegetarian, but let me outline the feast that was available to me as the family vegetarian yesterday: smooth mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, buttery corn casserole, candied yams, speckled butter beans, roasted Brussels sprouts (from the recipe on this very blog), vegetarian cornbread dressing, homemade macaroni and cheese, and store-bought rolls. And that's just dinner. For dessert there was homemade yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing, 2 pecan pies, lemon icebox pie, banana pudding, and chocolate pie from my Granny's famous recipe. It was, truly, a feast, and I took full advantage of the gorgeous Southern food and the warm company of family.

Now, one pickle that vegetarians sometimes find themselves in at Thanksgiving is the issue of the sweet potato casserole. You'll find that the casserole is there calling to you, all nice and vegetarian, but someone sticks marshmallows on top! (For those of you who don't know, marshmallows contain gelatin, and gelatin is not vegetarian. I will spare you the details, but you can search the web for information if your curiosity is piqued.) Here's an alternative topping for a sweet potato casserole that is more seasonal and absolutely delicious! It's what my mom uses:

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar (YUM!)
1 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. melted butter or margarine (As you may know, I like to use the vegan margarine from Earth Balance. It does not have hydrogenated oils or trans fats in it.)

Just mix the ingredients well and spread in clumps over your casserole. It bakes to a sweet, crunchy, nutty, awesome thing when you bake the casserole. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yummy Vegetable Hodge-Podge

Last night I made a delicious dish based on (1) vegetables I had in the fridge that needed to be used and (2) my fond memories from the now-bygone restaurant La Montagne. You can use whatever vegetables you want in this...the main thing is to use a only little bit of each of a lot of things. Try to keep the colors varied and have some type of bean in the mix.

I served it over wild rice last night, then over couscous today with the leftovers. With the rice or couscous (or orzo or other pasta or whatever you want) and some bread, it's pretty much an entire meal. Last night we chose to eat it with toasted baguette smeared with goat cheese and black pepper. It was perfect!

2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small jalepeno peppers, diced (Again, you can use what you want and don't have to use what you don't want, so don't let the jalepenos turn you off if you don't like spicy food. Maybe try half of a yellow bell pepper instead?)
1/2 onion, diced
2 handfuls frozen chopped broccoli
1 handful frozen green peas
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced (Yellow squash would work just as well.)
2 handfuls chopped sundried tomatoes, reconstituted according to package directions (I freeze the water I use to reconstitute them. I pour it into ice trays then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. Later I use them to add flavor when I make winter squash soup.)
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
salt and black pepper, to taste
about 2 T. olive oil
(I also used about 2 teaspoons of capers last night, but I think sliced black olives might have been better. Chopped mushrooms and/or asparagus and/or kale and/or Swiss chard and/or cherry tomatoes would be great in this, too.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the carrots, peppers, onion, frozen broccoli, and frozen peas and sauté lightly until the onions are becoming transparent. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add the zucchini and sauté until it is tender-crisp (or however you like it). Add the tomatoes, beans, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. When the beans are heated through, serve this over a bed of your choice (rice, wild rice, couscous, orzo, other pasta, etc.) and with bread. Voila! Dinner!

PS - If it tastes bland, you probably didn't use enough salt. You can salt at your plate, too, to fix it. Enjoy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Posies!!!

Holy frijoles! Scott and I went to dinner at Bosco's last night (Thank you, Scott!), and halfway through dinner the hostess seated THE POSIES at the next table. I was in the middle of a bite of black bean tamale when I saw some rockstar-looking guy getting seated at the next table in my peripheral vision. I didn't think anything about it, because it's Midtown, for heaven's sake. Scott said, "The Posies just sat down behind you" under his breath. We could barely speak or eat for the rest of our time there. Too way cool. I am, of course, listening to Dear 23 today. Check them out: www.theposies.net. AAaaaaahhh!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cranberry-Apple Crumble

I tried this recipe twice recently, and it's really good. It's not mine, so I'm just including the link. The first time I made it, I did it almost according to Martha's instructions. I substituted vegan Earth Balance margarine for the butter, and it worked fine. Also, I did not chop up my cranberries, and I liked it that way.

The 2nd time, I doubled the recipe, but I didn't double the recommended size of the dish. I squeezed it all into a pan that was smaller and, although it fit, it wasn't as good. The crumble topping really does need to spread out over that area. Also, don't cut down the amount of butter (or, in my case, margarine). I thought it called for a lot of butter/margarine when I made it the first time (only because the quantity seemed like a lot, not because it tasted like too much), so I cut some out the 2nd time, and it wasn't as good. Use the full amount!

Follow this advice, and you'll have a delicious autumn dessert (or breakfast! Why not?!).

Vegan Southern-Style Biscuits

I love to eat biscuits on weekend mornings. This morning I made an especially good batch. I think their texture may have been different than usual, because it is cool and rainy here today. Weather definitely affects baking!
They are delicious served with fried apples or sliced tomatoes and gravy and/or pan-fried potatoes. This morning I ate them alone with a big glass of chocolate soymilk. YUM! You could also serve them as bread with dinner or take them on a picnic to make tomato sandwiches.
1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour, plus more for kneading
scant 1/2 t. salt (You really could get away with 1/4 t. if you're watching your salt, but they don't rise quite as well.)
1 1/2 t. baking powder (Get the kind with no aluminum in it.)
2 T. vegan margarine (I use sticks of Earth Balance margarine, because it does not have hydrogenated oil in it.), cold
1/2 c. rice or almond milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder with a fork. Cut the cold butter into small chunks, then work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips. The butter should be completely incorporated into the flour so that the flour looks crumbly and you cannot identify any chunks of butter. Stir in the rice milk and incorporate.

On a clean kitchen counter, sprinkle out some flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Sometimes the dough might be pretty wet, sometimes (like today for me), it might be quite dry. Either way, knead the dough in the flour briefly. I limit myself to about 8 kneads before patting it out to a 1/2-inch. If you knead biscuits too much, they come out too dense. Use a biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass or jelly jar) to cut out biscuits, but don't twist the cutter.  This seals the edges and can prevent a good rise during baking.

Put biscuits in an oven-safe pan (I use a nice cast iron griddle.) and bake until the biscuits have risen and the tops are browned. This recipe makes about 5 biscuits of average size and doubles easily.