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, February 27, 2011


Scott's bottling his first batch of homebrew. I think he's so cool right now!

Warm Kale and Potato Salad with Mustard-Lemon Dressing

I tried a new recipe from Martha Stewart last night, and I felt it was worth sharing. Since The salad is a nice change of pace during the late winter when in-season produce is limited. The only real change I made was cutting down the mustard, so if you love mustard, amp it back up.  Here's the 411:

1.5 lbs. small potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 T. plus 2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/2 t. mustard, or to taste
1 T. finely grated lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 lb. kale, trimmed, cut into large pieces, and rinsed well (I just used 1 bunch of kale...no idea what it weighed.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the potatoes, onion slices, 1 T. oil, and 3/4 t. salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with pepper, and toss to coat. Spread mixture in a single layer. Roast, stirring potatoes and scraping the bottom of the pan every 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until potatoes are brown and crisp (35-45 minutes).

Combine mustard, zest, and juice in a bowl. Heat remaining 2 t. oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 2 minutes). Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 6 minutes. Add mustard-lemon mixture and toss to coat. Cook until heated through. Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt, and season with pepper. Toss with potatoes.

I served it with a side of Great Northern beans, a warmed baguette, and a glass of red wine.

Martha says the recipe serves 6, but I'd say that's only as a side dish. As a main dish, it serves about 3-4. Here's the per-serving info she gives: 268 calories, 1 g. saturated fat, 6 g unsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 48 g carbs, 389 mg sodium, 8 g. protein, 7 g fiber.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tofu Manicotti Florentine

Monday night I was in the mood for...something. I just didn't know what. Scott and I bounced some dinner ideas around, and when someone brought up stuffed manicotti, I knew that was it. I didn't feel like making anything complicated, but once my stomach thought about manicotti, I decided simple wasn't absolutely necessary. Honestly, though, this dish is not difficult. The most challenging part is getting the tofu-spinach mixture into the manicotti tubes!

8 oz. manicotti noodles (These are huge pasta tubes, if you're not familiar with them. I'm sure the giant shells would work just fine, too.)
1 lb. tofu (not the silken kind)
1 stick vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance vegan margarine.), melted
1/2 c. rice milk
1.5 t. salt
2 T. fresh basil, minced (I used basil from a previous gardening season that I had food-processed and frozen.)
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
12 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

Prepare the manicotti noodles according to package directions. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cool water so that the noodles are not too hot to handle.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Squeeze as much water as possible from the tofu. Put the tofu, margarine, rice milk, salt, basil, parsley, oregano, black pepper, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth. The mix should resemble the texture of ricotta cheese. Turn the mixture out into a medium-sized bowl.

Squeeze as much water as possible from the thawed chopped spinach. Use a spoon to thoroughly combine with the ricotta mixture.

Pour 1/2 of the jar of pasta sauce into a shallow baking dish that can hold the manicotti noodles in a single layer. Now stuff the manicotti with the tofu-spinach mixture. I held the noodle open and used a small spoon to stuff it in. Place the stuffed manicotti in a single layer on top of the pasta sauce in the baking dish. If a noodle splits open, fill it like a taco, fold it back over into a tube, and place it in the dish with the seam side down. Once all the manicotti are stuffed and arranged, pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the noodles.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and allow to set for 15 minutes before diving in.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring's A-Coming Pasta

I made a delicious pasta dish last night, right off the cuff. All I knew was that we were going to have pasta and that we were in the mood to eat some REAL vegetables. Like, from the produce department, not from a can or frozen or from a jar or what-have-you. Now, the ingredients may sound kind of run-of-the-mill, but the end result tasted really great. I'm going to tell you how I did it, but you can do it your own way. Want to see fresh peas or asparagus in the veggie mix? Wish there were more carrots and less broccoli? Go for it!

about 1.5 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow or white onion, cut into narrow wedges
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 lb. broccoli florets, broken into smaller florets if they are large
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 t. salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
2 T. pesto (or if you have some fresh basil from last season that you've processed with olive oil and frozen, that's perfect, too...The pesto will determine if this dish is vegan or vegetarian, so pay attention to the pesto ingredients.)
1 small tomato, cut into narrow wedges
12 oz. fettucine (I used fettucine, because that's what I had on hand, but I think a short, chunky pasta like penne or farfalle or rotini might have been even more appropriate, based on the size and shape of the vegetables.)

Start a large pot of salted water to boil on the stovetop. When the water comes to a rolling boil, cook the pasta according to package directions.
Cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water in a small bowl to reconstitute them. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Bust the onion wedges into individual layer-pieces. Add the onion, carrots, and broccoli to the olive oil along with a generous grinding of black pepper. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes, then add the chopped garlic and the salt. (I know. It's a lot of salt. What can I say?) You can add more ground pepper, too. I added it periodically, throughout the cooking process. Continue to sauté until the onions are transparent and the broccoli and carrots are tender-crisp. Test the texture of the veggies by biting a broccoli floret and a carrot piece to make sure it's the way you like it.

Once you've achieved the best veggie texture, stir in the pesto. Drain the sundried tomatoes (You can freeze the tomato water in ice cube trays and use it in a soup some other time.) and add them to the veggies. Also add the fresh tomatoes and, if you want, more pepper. Toss and continue cooking until the new ingredients are warmed through.

When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it and toss it immediately with the vegetable mix. It serves about 4 people for a main dish. I served it with garlic toast, red wine, and cold green tea.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ok, everyone, I've started a new job this week, and I'm tired! I know I've been kind of M.I.A. recently, and that's why. Anyhoo, are you needing something new for a dinner entrée? Here's something exciting: twice-baked potatoes! You need:

baking potatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
smoked paprika (regular paprika will do but it's not as exciting)
yummy stuff to put in your potatoes like leftover grilled peppers and onions, snipped chives, extra-virgin olive oil, vegan sour cream...use your imagination! I usually like to have something onion-y and something high-fat. What?!

To make them:
Scrub the potatoes clean, then bake them at 475 degrees F for an hour. Don't wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil to bake them, because you want the potato skins to crisp up.

Once the potatoes are done cooking, remove them from the oven. Slice them in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop most of the flesh from each potato-skin shell into a bowl. Salt the inside of the shells.

Using a fork, mash the potato pulp like you would any baked potato. Stir in salt and pepper to taste along with whatever yummy stuff you want to add. Like I said, I like to include something with a lot of fat to get a more exciting mouth-feel. That would be, like, extra-virgin olive oil and/or vegan sour cream and/or vegan margarine. When I made them this week, I stirred in
chopped grilled onions, chopped grilled bell peppers, and olive oil. The grilling of the veggies really makes this dish outstanding!

Scoop the seasoned pulp back into the potato shells, dividing it evenly among the shells.

Put the shells on a jelly roll pan or other baking vessel, then sprinkle each potato with the smoked paprkia. Pop it back into the oven until warmed through and slightly crisped on the surface.

You can serve this with a green salad or green vegetable, a protein source like beans or tempeh, and a bread like yeast rolls or baguette to make a delicious and balanced meal.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Here's a basic muffin batter that you can build several different types of muffins with, along with some ideas of what to do with it. I got the original blueberry muffin recipe (slightly tweaked, as usual) from Peta's Compassionate Cook cookbook.

Making muffins on Sunday morning makes breakfast on Monday and Tuesday a breeze. You just grab a muffin from Sunday's batch, and voila! A healthy breakfast with no effort!

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. non-aluminum baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. rice milk
1/4 c. canola oil (or 1/2 stick vegan margarine, melted...As you probably know, I prefer Earth Balance vegan margarine.)
1 egg, beaten (or use Ener-G's Egg Replacer for an equivalent amount if you need the recipe to be vegan)

To make the muffins, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Either grease (using margarine, canola oil, or nonstick spray) a muffin pan or line the muffin tins with cupcake papers.

Combine the dry ingredients in a 2-quart bowl with a fork. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix until just combined.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full (or evenly among 12 muffin tins) with the batter. Bake 20-25 minutes or until muffins are golden-brown.

NOTE: Store leftover muffins in a sealed container in the fridge. Let them cool completely before sealing them away.

Some ideas to add to the batter:
1. 1 c. fresh blueberries, washed; 1/4 t. grated lemon zest; and 1 t. lemon juice
2. 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, 3/4 c. vegan chocolate chips, 1 t. almond or vanilla extract
3. 1 t. orange extract, 1 t. vanilla extract, and 1 c. chopped pecans
4. Use your imagination! Think of chopped pecans or walnuts and/or poppy seeds and/or dried cherries and/or cinnamon and/or craisins and/or grated carrots and/or sprinkle sugar over the surface to make the muffins sparkle. Almost anything goes!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Garden Bed

Scott and I built a new raised bed in the backyard this past weekend. It is going to be awesome! We built it from metal corners we purchased and some cedar boards. It's about 10 feet long and about 2 feet wide, and we're going to use it for salad vegetables and herbs. Since it is just outside the back door, it will be supremely convenient. Here's a photo:

After we built it, we lined the bottom with cardboard. We layered unfinished compost on top of the cardboard followed by a layer of leaves, then a layer of substandard dirt we got for free, then a layer of finished compost. We'll top it off with topsoil from a home center before planting.
We plan to grow lettuces, arugula, green onions, carrots, chives, parsley, thyme, oregano, cherry tomatoes, nasturtiums, and maybe some cilantro in this bed. I'm so excited!


I am a Southern girl. I may have a cosmopolitan set of values or an eclectic variety of tastes, but my roots are true Southern. And nothing - NOTHING - is as quintessentially Southern food as cornbread. It transports me directly back to my childhood when my grandmother would make us a skillet of cornbread and a big pot of white beans for a meal. I still love that meal, so I made it last night. All Scott could do was roll his eyes while I exclaimed my love for cornbread every time I took a bite.

Here's my grandmother's recipe for cornbread (with some slightly modified ingredients to align with today's healthier values). I know some people don't share family recipes, but this stuff is too good to keep to myself.

2 c. yellow cornmeal (Since corn is one of the most common foods to be victimized by genetic engineering, consider getting organic.)
a little more cornmeal to spread in the skillet
1 c. all-purpose unbleached white flour
1 T. plus 1.5 t. non-aluminum baking powder
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 stick of vegan margarine (or 1/2 c. canola oil, but the flavor won't be quite as rich)
3 free-range eggs, beaten (or substitute
Ener-G's egg replacer if you need the product to be vegan)
1 3/4 c. rice milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the stick of margarine in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and put the skillet in the oven while it is preheating to melt the margarine. Don't let it burn while you're busy doing other things. (If you're using the canola oil instead, just pour it into the skillet and let it get warm in the oven while it's heating up.)

Mix the dry ingredients with a fork in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients, including the margarine or oil. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Sprinkle cornmeal over the margarine or oil to cover the bottom of your iron skillet. Pour in the batter. Cook at 400 degrees F until the bread is golden-brown on top and has pulled away from the sides of the skillet. Eat warm, with or without margarine. Perfect with a big pot of white beans and, perhaps, some sautéed kale or collard greens!

NOTE: Some people find cast-iron cookware a mystery. You are not really supposed to scrub them out with soap and water, because you want the cookware to become "seasoned." I can't stand the thought of not scrubbing mine clean, so I do so anyway. I then use a paper towel to coat the surface with a thin layer of oil to keep it from rusting. My cookware has still seasoned to a fine, black finish.
Lodge cookware is what I use for cast-iron skillets and griddles.