Welcome!

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!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Spice Cabinet Heaven

Scott and I have been eating leftovers all week from the Christmas festivities. It's nice not to need to cook to have full meals every day! That's right. Full. Meals. My mom cooked enough for an army on Christmas! However, the dense, homemade bread from Saturday's brunch did not last long at all. Like, I think it was gone Sunday. That was okay, because I had a bag full of my mom's homemade yeast rolls to tide me over, but the end is drawing near. So...

Today, I'm making another batch of the French bread. (Now, I know it's not a proper "French bread," but let's just say it's a long skinny loaf, okay?) Anyhoo, I opened my spice cabinet to get the salt for the bread, and I got a little whiff of heaven. That small cabinet has been my spice cabinet for over 4 years, and it is nice and seasoned, believe me. It smells like love!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Warm Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

I based this recipe on a Martha Stewart recipe. Mine is simpler.

I contributed this dish to my mom's Christmas Day dinner. It's perfect for a Christmas dinner, because kale is still in season in the winter, and butternut squash is a seasonally appropriate winter storage squash.

Martha had it right when she included beans in her version of the dish to make a nutritionally balanced meal. You could definitely toss in a can of beans of your choice for a compact and balanced lunch, or you could serve beans on the side with both dishes playing their part in a larger meal.

1 butternut squash
olive oil
salt
1 shallot, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed, torn into bite-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the butternut squash. Cut off the stem and blossom ends and discard. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and veins from the bulbous end of the squash. Cut the squash flesh into 1-inch pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the squash on the paper, drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and salt to taste. Toss the squash to coat, then spread to a single layer. Bake 20 minutes, until the squash pieces are easily pierced with a fork. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the shallot and garlic in the oil until the shallot is soft and translucent, if using, or skip this step if omitting shallot and garlic. Add the washed, torn kale to the pan, and toss in the oil to coat. Continue moving the kale over the heat until it is wilted (but stop before it browns, dries, or gets crunchy). Remove from heat, and salt to taste.

Toss the squash with the kale, and serve warm.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Around Thanksgiving, I gave you the recipe for a vegetarian topping for sweet potato casserole. Here's the recipe for the casserole. I got the original recipe from my mom (I'm not sure where she got it from.) and made a few adjustments to suit my dietary preferences. Thanks, Mom!

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 c. sugar
2 free-range eggs (If you want to make this vegan, try using Ener-G's Egg Replacer instead.)
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. vegan margarine (or butter), plus more to grease casserole dish
1/2 c. rice milk (or other milk of your choice)

Bake the sweet potatoes at 475 degrees until easily pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once the sweet potatoes are cool, the skins should peel away easily. Peel the baked sweet potatoes, then use a mixer to purée them. You need 3 cups of the puréed sweet potatoes. (Save any leftovers to add to waffles or muffins later.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add all remaining ingredients to the 3 cups of puréed sweet potatoes. Using the mixer, blend well leaving no lumps. Grease a 9x9 baking dish (I used a 9x11 with no trouble.) with the extra margarine (or butter). Spread the casserole mixture into the baking dish. Top with the vegetarian sweet potato casserole topping (recipe here), spreading over the entire casserole mixture.

Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Salty Chocolate-Pecan Candy

Here's a recipe you can use for a Christmas get-together. It came from my friend, Pam, who said she got it from a "Southern Living" magazine. It's deceptively easy for how delicious and addictive it is!

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3 (4-oz.) bars semi-sweet chocolate baking bars (Pam recommends using Ghiradelli brand, and I can confirm that I have used it with excellent results.)
3 (4-oz.) bars white chocolate baking bars (again with the Ghiradelli)
1 t. coarse salt

Roast the pecans. You can do this in a skillet over medium-low heat. Just shake the pecans around in the pan so that they don't burn. When they become fragrant, they're done. It takes maybe 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Break each chocolate bar into 8 equal pieces. (Ghiradelli comes pre-sectioned into 8 square pieces, making this quite simple.) Arrange your 48 pieces in a checkerboard pattern of brown and white on the cookie sheet with the pieces touching.

Bake the chocolate at 225 degrees until the chocolate is melty. Remove the pan to a wire rack. Using a wooden toothpick or skewer, swirl the melted chocolate into a marbled pattern. While the chocolate is still melty, sprinkle it evenly with the coarse salt and toasted pecans. Press the pecans into the chocolate slightly to ensure they adhere in the final product.

Chill the pan in the refrigerator 1 hour or until firm. Break the sheet of chocolate into pieces. You can store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kale Calzones

Serve these with your favorite tomato-y pasta sauce (from a jar or homemade), and no side dishes are necessary with this entrée! I wouldn't describe this dish as "easy," but only because it's time-consuming. It is well worth the effort!

about 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced (optional - I had one freak zucchini left over from gardening season.)
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and minced (NOTE: A clove of garlic is one section of the head of garlic. Some people don't know.)
1 bunch kale, washed and destemmed then torn into bite-sized pieces
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pizza dough for 2 pizzas (This can be your favorite homemade dough or store-bought refrigerated dough. Be sure to check ingredients if you need a vegan dough.)
your favorite tomato-y pasta sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and zucchini (if using) to the oil, and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic and some salt, and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the kale and stir to coat. Keep stirring until the kale has wilted down but not dried out. (You may have add the kale in batches, depending on how large your skillet is. If your skillet gets full of kale, let it wilt down some, and add more. Keep repeating until it's all in there.)

Once the kale is wilted down, add the beans and stir so that everything is mixed. Add salt and black pepper to taste. (Remember that too little salt makes a dish bland, so unless you're watching your salt, taste it and add more if it's bland.) Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to the proper temperature for your pizza dough, just as if you were cooking pizza.

Divide your pizza dough into halves, then divide each piece into halves, then divide each piece into halves again. You should have 8 equal-sized pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll the first piece into a large circle. Put 1/8th of the kale and bean mix in the middle of the first circle, then fold the circle in half so that it looks like a half moon with the kale mix as the filling. Using the tines of a fork, press the edges of the top and half of your calzone together. Prick the top of the dough several times with the fork, and move it to a baking sheet or pizza pan. Repeat this process with the remaining 7 circles of dough.

Bake your calzones until they are golden brown. In the meantime, heat up your pasta sauce.

Serve the calzones warm, covered with the warm sauce.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tempeh Sliders

Last night I made delicious tempeh sliders. Don't know what tempeh is? It's a fermented soy product which, I believe, is indigineous to Polynesia. Anyhoo, whatever it is, it makes a mean vegetarian slider. I use the Garden Veggie variety of tempeh from LightLife. It has peppers in it, and it's yummy. Here's what I did, in recipe form:

1 8-oz. package tempeh
about...4 T. canola oil
about, oh, 1 or 2 T. soy sauce, tamari, or shoyu
a baguette
slider garnish (I used spring mix salad, roasted red pepper, and sliced tomato last night. I know, I know. Tomato isn't in season right now, but Scott wanted some, and it was actually just fine. I prefer to use mashed avocado in place of the tomato.)

Now, you need to slice the tempeh into 6 slider-sized pieces, and that will depend on the shape of your tempeh cake. The way LightLife is shaped, I cut it across the width into thirds, then I slice each third to half the depth so that it's 2 "slices."

Put about 3 T. of the oil and 1 T. of the soy sauce (or tamari or shoyu) into a large nonstick skillet and warm it over medium heat. Once it's warm, put all 6 slices of tempeh into the oil and fry it until it's nice and brown on the bottom. Flip each slice with tongs and do the same to the other side. This is where you may need to add another T. of oil and soy sauce.

In the meantime, use a bread knife to cut the baguette into slider-sized chunks. Each chunk will be a "bun." Slice each "bun" in half lengthwise, then toast it in the toaster.

Once the tempeh slices are brown on both sides, load up your buns with tempeh, and your garnishes. Scott put ranch dressing on his sliders last night, and he said it was good. I'm not into ranch dressing, but you can decide for yourself. Serve the sliders with fries or chips (store-bought or homemade).

PS - Did you know you can print coupons for Terra Chips online? Here's the link I used:
http://www.terrachips.com/promos-offers/coupons

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be My Clementine!

I'm so happy that clementines are back in the markets now. One rescued me today when I could not stave off the urge to eat a snack despite my resolve to be snackless today. If a snack must be eaten, eat a clementine!