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!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Indian Dal

I loooooove eating dal at Indian restaurants.  When we lived in Hot Springs, AR, there were no Indian restaurants in town.  Since I really missed Indian food, I decided to teach myself to cook some of it.  This recipe is a sort of mash-up of advice I received for Indian cooking in general and various recipes I found for dal, especially the Dal Makhani recipe from Madhu Gadia's great cookbook New Indian Home Cooking, which is what I used to learn about cooking Indian food in Hot Springs.  Serve this with basmati rice and a side of spinach...and some garlic naan, if you can find it at your market.  I'm making dal for dinner tonight!

1/2 c. urad dal (Don't panic!  You can order this online, which is what I did in Hot Springs, or you can try your local international market.  If you can't find it, increase the amount of dried black-eyed peas and dried kidney beans to 1/2 c. each.  It'll still work!)
1/2 c. lentils
1/4 c. dry black-eyed peas
1/4 c. dry kidney beans
2 t. salt
1 t. turmeric
2 T. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 T. canola oil
1 t. cumin seeds
2 small onions, chopped
1 T. ground coriander
1 t. garam masala (either make this homemade from a recipe you find yourself, or buy it premade at the store.  I've seen a McCormick garam masala, but I can't always find it.  However, I find giant jars of it for very cheap at the international market here.)
1/2 - 1 t. cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cans chopped tomatoes (I like to use petite-diced.  Of course, you can use fresh tomatoes, too.  Canned is just so convenient.)
3/4 c. goat's milk (optional, but the dish is less creamy, of course, without it)
fresh cilantro (optional)
cooked basmati rice, to serve with the dal

Clean all the dried legumes of any foreign material and rinse it in 2-3 changes of water.  Add the salt, turmeric, and ginger to the legumes in a large stock pot and cover well with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 3 - 3.5 hours until the beans and water have melted together to form a creamy consistency.  (I've even been known to get at the legumes with a potato masher to speed this up.)  Add water as the legumes are cooking if the mixture gets too thick.

(Don't forget to start your rice!)  Heat the oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the cumin seeds and brown until golden, just a few seconds.  Add the onion and sauté until transluscent.  Remove from heat.

Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, garam masala, coriander, and cayenne pepper and goat's milk, if using, to the legume mixture.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat back to a simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, or to desired consistency.  Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro, if using.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chocolate-Chip Coffeecake

This one is a similar story to the stuffed chard leaves:  got it from The Commercial Appeal, original recipe from Carol Borchardt (I believe she is a personal chef.), I made some modifications to suit me.  The only story change here is that today wasn't the first time I've made this one.  I've had to work on it a bit to get a topping version I really like.  Here it is:

For the cake:
vegan margarine and flour for the pan
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
a 6-oz. container of plain vegan yogurt (although, honestly, I've used lemon-flavored vegan yogurt, and it worked fine...I'm sure other fruit-flavored yogurts would be fine.)
1 egg (or if you want this cake to be vegan, try using Ener-G's Egg Replacer)
1 t. vanilla or almond extract
1/2 c. canola oil

For the topping:
1/4 c. chocolate chips (and, hey, nothing's stopping you from using more, right?)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. granulated sugar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance vegan margarine.), cold
1/3 c. chopped pecans

To make it happen:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Grease an 11-inch x 7-inch (or 11-inch x 8-inch) baking dish with vegan margarine.  Put a handful of flour in the pan and shake it around so that the butter is coated with flour (discard any remaining flour in the pan).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake-ingredients flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a smaller bowl, combine the yogurt, egg (or egg replacer), and vanilla/almond extract.  Add the yogurt mixture and the canola oil to the flour mixture.  Stir until well-blended, and pour into the prepared pan, spreading evenly over the bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the batter.  In a small bowl, mix the topping-ingredients flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon.  Cut the cold vegan margarine into small chunks.  Using your fingers, mash the margarine chunks into the flour-and-sugar mixture so that the mixture becomes crumbly.  There should be no visibly powdery ingredients left, no trace of flour or sugar.  Mix the chopped pecans into the crumbles, then spread evenly over the cake batter.

Bake 35-40 minutes.

Stuffed Chard Leaves

Last night I finally tried a special-looking recipe I cut out of The Commercial Appeal (our daily newspaper) several weeks ago.  It turned out great!  It tasted good, and it looked beautiful.  Perfect for a dinner party.  As always, I made some modifications to Carol Borchardt's original recipe.  Let me share it with you!

6 large leaves of Swiss chard
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 c. couscous

2 T. fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
non-stick cooking spray
1 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste - optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Set a pot of generously salted water to boil.  The pot should be large enough to accommodate the Swiss chard leaves.  Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl.  Wash the Swiss chard leaves.  Once the water is boiling, use the stem of the first leaf as a handle to blanch the leaf in the boiling water for 5 seconds.  Immediately plunge into the ice water bath.  Set the leaf aside, and repeat with each leaf until all are done.

Using a sharp knife, cut the wide part of the stem out of each leaf using a V-shape, about 1 inch up from the bottom of the leaf.  Finely chop the section of the stems that were removed.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet that has a matching lid.  Add the onion and carrots to the warmed oil and sauté until the onion is translucent (about 6 - 8 minutes).  Add half of the garlic to the onion and carrot and sauté for another 30 seconds.  Add 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper, to taste, and bring to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, cover the skillet with the lid, and remove from heat.  Let sit 5 minutes, then fluff the couscous with a fork.  Stir in the chopped chard stems and the oregano, if using.

Spray a small baking dish (large enough to hold the 6 chard rolls) with nonstick cooking spray.  Combine the fire-roasted tomatoes, the remaining minced garlic, and the crushed red pepper flakes in the baking dish.  Taking one leaf, put 1/6 of the couscous mixture in the center of the leaf.  Fold the V-cut side up over the filling, fold the 2 long sides of the leaf over the filling, and roll to the tip of the leaf.  Place the stuffed chard leaf, seam-side down, in the sauced baking dish.  Repeat with remaining leaves, then cover the baking dish with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through, and serve.

I served this with salted black beans and yeast rolls.  It made a beautiful presentation!


Everyone, I know it's been a while since I posted any exciting new vegetarian recipes for you, but it's been busy here in the Today Tomorrow household.  Our dear doggie, Grace, had an episode of pancreatitis last month that caused her kidneys to stop working well.  So, I've been busy with that.  We have good days and bad days, but we're doing the best we can with special foods, supplements, and even some home health care to keep this kiddo perky and happy for whatever time we've got left with her.  Please forgive me for the sparse postings while we're helping Grace.  However, I do have two great recipes to post for you today.  So let me get at it!

Nutmeg - NO!

Something I learned this week:  if a savory recipe calls for nutmeg, don't do it!  It has now ruined 2 new recipes I've tried.  No nutmeg in savories!