Welcome!


Welcome to Romeo's Food Lady! This blog mainly contains recipes for delicious vegetarian food. Most of these are not MY recipes, just a compilation of great veggie food I've found from all over the place, sometimes tweaked to my taste. It's intended to be a reference you can consult again and again rather than a daily inspiration. After more than 25 years of being a vegetarian, I know what tastes good. In addition to recipes, you may occasionally have to tolerate musings and rants as well. Romeo's Food Lady is named after my friend and cat, Romeo. Romeo is not a vegetarian, but his Food Lady is. Enjoy!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spinach and Red Pepper Quiche

Sadly, no photos were taken of this lovely quiche before it was devoured at our Christmas Eve brunch, but please trust me when I say it was beautiful on the plate alongside pan-fried potatoes, Southern-style vegan biscuits (recipe here), and goat's milk gravy.
 
The idea for this recipe came from a fritatta in Annie Somerville's cookbook Fields of Greens.  You might like to serve it at your New Year's Day brunch.  In the Southern US, we say that eating greens on New Year's Day will bring money in the new year, and eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will bring good luck in the new year.  May you have both in 2013!

Ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
16 c. (packed) fresh baby spinach - Yes, that is 16 cups!  It is amazing how much volume the spinach loses during wilting.  I used 2 large bags of prewashed baby spinach to make this easier.  If you are using fresh mature spinach, be sure to wash and remove large stems first.
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped - You can roast it yourself or buy it pre-roasted in a jar or from your grocer's olive bar to save time.
2 scallions, both white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese (I found vegetarian Parmesan at Whole Foods.)
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 t. dried rosemary, crushed
2 t. fresh lemon juice
7 eggs, beaten
1 8-inch or 9-inch pie crust (I used a frozen crust from Whole Foods, but if you're keen to make your own, please do!)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Wilt the spinach with 1/4 t. salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the garlic.  You'll likely have to do this in batches, adding more as room becomes available due to spinach volume wilting.  Once all the spinach is wilted, remove from heat immediately.  Transfer the spinach to a colander to drain and cool.  Once cooled, squeeze out the excess moisture and and coarsely chop.

In a bowl, combine spinach mixture with chopped pepper, scallions, Parmesan, feta, rosemary, and lemon juice.  Stir in the eggs, another 1/4 t. salt, and a few more grinds of pepper.

Pour the eggs into the pie crust.  Sit the filled pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet to catch anything that bubbles over.  Bake 40 - 50 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle.  Remove from oven and allow the quiche to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Cajun Rice Pilaf

Here's another dish I got from The Food Network magazine.  There recipe called for pork and sausage, but it was fine without the meat. As you can see, I served it with crowder peas, collard greens, and cornbread for an excellent meal.
 
 
 

Ingredients:
1 c. wild rice blend
2 T. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 T. fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 t. tried thyme)
1 t. Cajun seasoning
1 large paste tomato, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
salt, to taste

Method:
Cook the wild rice according to pkg directions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the bell pepper, celery, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are tender, approximately 7 minutes.  Add Cajun seasoning, the cooked rice, the chopped tomato, and the chopped scallions and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes or until heated through.  Season with salt, to taste.

Serves 2 - 4 as a side dish.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Southern Collard Greens

I hope each of you enjoyed a happy, relaxing Thanksgiving with some great vegetarian food!
 
I'm so excited that I finally have a good vegetarian recipe for Southern collard greens, and would you believe it came from Food Network Magazine and not from family or friends?  See, the deal is that most people in the South make their greens with ham or other meat seasonings.  In fact, the magazine's recipe called for bacon (What recipe does not call for bacon these days?) and chicken broth, but I just decided I'd go for it without any meat seasonings and see if it turned out.  There were plenty of other seasonings in the recipe, so I felt it would probably be ok.  And it is!  Here's how I did it, adapted from their recipe:
 
 

Ingredients:
2 bunches collard greens, washed
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 t. Cajun seasoning
4 c. vegetable broth
4 c. water (and more, if needed or desired)
apple cider vinegar, to taste
hot sauce, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

First, tear out the large stems from the greens and discard.  (My dogs like to eat them.)  Chop the greens into, oh, about 1 - 1 1/2-inch pieces. It doesn't have to be perfect.

In a large pot, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chopped collard greens in batches, allowing each batch to get coated in oil and wilt down enough to accommodate the next batch.  Add vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the greens are tender, about 1 - 1.5 hours.

Add vinegar (I only used a couple of splashes.), hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.  Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish.

Greens are delicious and outrageously healthy.  I served them with crowder peas, cornbread, and a Cajun rice pilaf (which I'll give the recipe for soon).  Hope you enjoy the greens!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Forest Cookies

Here's a good recipe from waaaaayyyyyy back at the beginning of the blog:  Black Forest Cookies (recipe here).  You can consider them sort of "seasonal", because they have cranberries and nuts in them.  Hey, that makes them kind of healthy, too!
 



I'm taking these to take to my mom's house for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving from all the Today Tomorrows!
 
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Frederick Today Tomorrow

The Today Tomorrow family recently welcomed a new member.  We adopted our foster dog, Frederick.  He'd been with us for several months without getting adopted by anyone else.  By that time, he felt like family, so we made it official.  Here's happy Fredland Morris (his nickname, a tribute to Stevie Wonder) with Elvis.  Welcome to your forever home, Fred!
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry-Cherry Sauce for Holidays

Does your family serve that congealed, gelatinous cranberry sauce from a can at the holidays?  It may even have gelatin in it, rendering it non-vegetarian.  If so, here's a fix from Country Living magazine!  It's got fresh cranberries, it's completely vegan, and it's simple to make.  Happy holidays!



Ingredients:
1 (12-oz) package fresh cranberries
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 navel orange (with skin), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/4 t. salt

Method:
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently until sauce is thick, about 20 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature and remove remainder of orange slices before serving.  This can be refrigerated up to 2 weeks, then brought to room temperature before serving.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Curry Roasted Cabbage

Here's another bit of inspiration, thanks to The Food Network magazine.  I've labeled it an autumn dish, but it's really got to be early autumn when cherry tomatoes are reaching the end of their season and autumn cabbage is beginning its season.  Hope you like it!
 
 
 
Ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
1 t. curry powder
1/4 t. salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
 
Method:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
 
On a rimmed baking sheet, pour in the olive oil, curry powder, and salt.  Add the garlic, cabbage, and cherry tomatoes, and toss so that everything is coated with the oil and seasonings.  Spread to a single layer, and roast until the cabbage is tender, about 25 - 30 minutes.
 
This serves 2 - 3 as a side dish and doubles easily.  I served it with a spicy red bean dish and broiled cheddar toasts:

 
 
 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sparkling Spider Cocktail

Here's a lovely autumn drink to serve at your Halloween party tonight, courtesy of The Food Network magazine.  The recipe is theirs, but the name came from us!
 
 



Ingredients:
sparkling apple cider
cinnamon schnapps
sparkling white wine

Method:
In flutes or coupes, fill your glass 1/3 - 1/2 full of sparkling apple cider.  The balance will be alcohol, so determine your amount of cider with that in mind.  Next, add 2 splashes of cinnamon schnapps, and top it off with sparkling white wine.  Beautiful and seasonal!

 
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Waffles

 
Feeling autumny yet?  Here's a great weekend breakfast to get you in the mood:  pumpkin waffles!  It's a recipe I adapted from a very inspiring book called The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash.  She makes this with mashed sweet potatoes, but canned pumpkin makes it super convenient.  Let me know what you think!
 
 


Ingredients:
1/4 c. butter or vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance vegan margarine.)
1.5 c. all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 T. baking powder (try to find aluminum-free baking powder)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
cinnamon, to taste (optional)
3 eggs (or vegan egg replacer, like that by Ener-G)
1 c. almond milk (or rice milk will work fine)
1 c. canned pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

Method:
Melt the butter or margarine, then set it aside to cool slightly.

Using a fork, blend the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center, and add the eggs, almond milk, and pumpkin.  Using a hand mixer, start mixing the ingredients on low, and pour in the melted butter or margarine while the mixer is going.  Mix on high until the batter is light and fluffy.

Cook on a preheated waffle iron as instructed by the manufacturer.  Serves about 4.

Note that these waffles are moist and may require additional cooking time if you prefer a crisp exterior.  Served with breakfast potatoes and cranberry juice or hot cranberry tea, this is the perfect autumn breakfast!

Monday, October 8, 2012

New Orleans, LA!

Scott had a milestone birthday last month, so we celebrated by going to New Orleans, LA, his favorite city in the U.S.  Now, New Orleans - or NOLA as I prefer to call it - can be unfriendly for a vegetarian, but we did make some great discoveries that I'll pass on to you.  The city is so great that you musn't let the task of eating well daunt you!
 
 
 
 
1.  The Jazz Quarters (http://jazzquarters.com/ ) bed and breakfast in Tremé, just on the edge of the French Quarter, is vegetarian-friendly.  Just let the innkeepers know your special dietary needs, and they will absolutely work around them at breakfast - beautifully.  We enjoyed couscous boiled in orange juice with dried fruit and nuts and optional yogurt at breakfast each morning before our entrée.  One morning we had Haitian bread pudding with praline sauce (with bacon crumbles for Scott) and a Zydeco wrap with chipotle cream sauce (with sausage and eggs for Scott) the next.  Both were absolutely delicious!
 
 
 
2.  The Gumbo Shop (http://www.gumboshop.com/)  on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter not only has vegetarian food, but it has vegetarian food with local flavor.  Here's me enjoying the heck out of some Cajun-seasoned white beans with rice and, although you can't see it, some locally-brewed beer.  They had this offering as well as vegetarian gumbo, and you can't beat that!
 
 
 
The Gumbo Shop sells a cookbook with some of their vegetarian recipes in it, but since you're already supporting them by eating there, buy their cookbook at:
 
3.  The Kitchen Witch (http://www.kwcookbooks.com/), a cookbook shop on Toulouse Street in the French Quarter where doggie hosts Sophia and Scout will greet you and show you around the shop.  I got an autographed copy of The Gumbo Shop's cookbook here.
 
4.  La Davina Gelateria (http://www.ladivinagelateria.com/), also on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter has vegetarian food AND homemade gelato and sorbetto (a vegan-friendly "ice-cream-like" treat that is very welcome during the hell-like heat of NOLA summers) along with cold sodas, waters, teas, etc. when you need them.
 
5.  Finally, there is a wonderful place on Frenchmen Street where you can get vegetarian food before seeing a great, great show at Snug Harbor:  The Three Muses (http://www.thethreemuses.com/).  The food is not of local flavor, but the ambience is, and it's absolutely beautiful.  I recommend it!
 
 
 
We also tried Central Grocery, home of the original mufaletta, when we heard they had "vegetarian mufalettas".  But unless you are hungry for a pound of cheese and a hint of olive spread between 2 pieces of mufaletta bread, I'd look elsewhere for a good vegetarian version of this classic sandwich.  "Original" does not always equal "best".  If anyone from Central Grocery is reading this, your vegetarian sandwich could be improved by vastly reducing the cheese, upping the olive spread, and adding some vegetables like lettuce and tomato.

 
 

Consider topping your trip off with a stop at Café du Monde (http://www.cafedumonde.com/).  I know it's cliché, but dang!  The beignets are so good!




Thursday, August 16, 2012

The King's Favorite

Today is the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.  In his honor, why not have grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches for dinner tonight?  Make it with vegan margarine, and you have a vegan treat fit for The King!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

Here's a photo of the very delicious cold Asian noodle salad recipe I posted last year (recipe here).



Unlike the original recipe, here I used soba noodles instead of regular Italian-type pasta, but they both work fine.  Also, instead of shredded carrots, I used larger cuts of carrots, blanched for about 40 seconds in the boiling pasta water.  I served it with tempeh sautéed in oil and soy sauce then sprinkled with sesame seeds and with iced green tea for a very satisfyingly cool summer meal.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bean-y Veggie Burgers

Ever wonder what all is in commercially available "veggie burgers"?  Me, too.  The ingredient lists are not short, either.  If you're looking for something a little more identifiable, this recipe that my neighbor shared from Taste of Home is a good place to start.  You can make them spicy or plain, vegetarian or vegan.  I served them dressed with avocado, lettuce, and tomato with a side of onion rings.  Perfect!




Ingredients:
1 c. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 fresh jalapeno, destemmed (optional - omit if you don't want them to be spicy)
2 T. minced cilantro (optional)
1 1/2 t. dried minced onion
1 1/2 t. lime juice
1 1/2 t. chili powder
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. soft bread crumbs (Just put the bread in a food processor and whirl it around if you don't have any crumbs.)
1 large egg, lightly beaten, or 4 T. vegan egg substitute (like Ener-G Egg Replacer)
cornmeal to coat burgers (maybe use the cornmeal leftover from frying okra in the previous recipe?)
canola oil for frying burgers

Method:
In a food processor, combine the first 12 ingredients; cover and pulse until blended.  Stir in bread crumbs and egg or egg substitute.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Shape bean mixture into thin patties (I was able to make 8 or 9.)  Put cornmeal in a small plate and lay one patty in meal.  Turn patty over to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the patties in oil for 4-5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Drain on paper towels, and serve warm, dressed as you like.  Serves 4 - 8 people, depending on how hungry you all are!



Monday, July 30, 2012

Quick Pan-Fried Okra

As I mentioned, we're having a successful first year with okra in the garden.  It doesn't mind the drought, but pretty much everything else does.  Here's a quick, easy recipe for a weeknight side of fried okra.  It's not the battered fried okra you may be used to, but it is still yummy!  I got this recipe from an old Southern Living cookbook called The Southern Heritage of Vegetables Cookbook, copyright 1983.  Many (most?) of the recipes are heavy on dairy and meat ingredients, but the antique photos, seed advertisements, and sentiments make it worth my time nonetheless.




Ingredients:
1 lb. okra, cleaned  (NOTE:  It is best to cook with okra that is no more than about 3 inches in length.  Larger pods usually have a woody, tough texture.)
3/4 c. cornmeal
1/2 t. salt
canola oil

Method:
Cut okra crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, discarding stems.  Set aside.

Combine cornmeal and salt, mixing well, then put the mixture into a small brown paper bag.  Add the okra, close the bag, and shake to coat the okra.  (Don't worry.  The okra's sticky juices will make this easy!)  Remove the okra from the bag and cook in 1/2 inch oil over high heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.  Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

This is good with an old-fashioned Southern veggie plate of mashed potatoes, stewed beans, sliced and salted tomatoes, and cornbread.  YUM!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blue and Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Remember the blue potatoes we grew in the garden this year?  Well, they make beautiful gnocchi, especially when presented with sweet potato gnocchi.  How does one do this?  It's pretty labor intensive and probably not a good project for a novice cook since the instructions are kind of nebulous.  To begin, you need to boil the blue potatoes and the sweet potatoes separately until soft.  Drain the potatoes (keep the 2 colors separate throughout), then mash them dry (i.e. without any liquid), but add 1/4 t. salt and 1 T. extra virgin olive oil for every 2 cups of mashed potatoes.  After that, follow the instructions for gnocchi previously posted here for the blue potatoes.  The sweet potatoes were far too moist, so I added significantly more flour, maybe at a 1:1 ratio with the potatoes.  Also, instead of rolling the sweet potato dough into tubes and cutting, I just spooned it out of the pan and into the boiling water.  The results were not as uniform in appearance, but just as tasty.  You can easily make as much or as little as you want, then serve the dumplings with tomato sauce, pesto sauce, goat cheese sauce, or pesto-goat cheese sauce.  Other ideas:  mix herbs and/or garlic into your gnocchi dough.  Have fun with it!  I was very pleased with the results.

With tomato sauce:

Before sauce:

Serve with a green side (fresh salad, roasted asparagus, sautéed green beans, wilted spinach, steamed broccoli, etc.) and you're all set!

Pizza Bites

Recently, Scott and I were playing with our reproduction Atari game console that my sister got us for Christmas a few years ago, and we started feeling peckish.  "What kind of snack can we have that is sort of 80s-ish?" I asked.  "Fruit Roll-Ups?  Pizza Bites? Gummy Bears?" he suggested.  Well, obviously I'm not going to eat Gummy Bears, but the pizza bites sounded good.  Since I didn't really have 80s-style pizza bites on hand, I had to just make something that was like pizza and sort of bite-sized.  These are kind of obvious and obviously mainstream, but we cleaned them out pretty quickly nonetheless.  They're a good idea for a vegetarian snack or appetizer for something casual.  Vegans, just omit the cheese and have at it!



Ingredients (You choose how much of everything.):
baguette bread, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
jarred tomato pasta sauce or prepared pizza sauce
strips or chunks of organic mozzarella cheese (I like Organic Valley brand, as you probably know.)
pimento-stuffed olives, cut in half
banana pepper rings

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  On each round, spoon on a bit of sauce, top with cheese, poise one olive half over the cheese, and surround the olive with a banana pepper ring (or let it just keep the olive company).  Put the rounds on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F until cheese is melted and edges are browning.  Let that cheese cool before popping them into your mouth!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Aloo Gobi with Chana Dal

These days I make my aloo gobi (recipe here) with a can of garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas, a.k.a. chana dal) tossed in.  It is a more balanced meal with the addition of a protein ingredient.  Add 1 can of rinsed, drained chickpeas near the end of the recipe and heat until they are warmed through.  This would also be a good accompaniment to the Bhindi Masala recipe in the previous post.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bhindi Masala

We've had great success with okra in the garden this year, and it's our first year trying to grow it!  I guess that is a testament as to why the Southern U.S.is so loyal to the okra pod.  Here's a great way to use fresh okra.  NOTE:  You want okra that is only 2 - 3 inches long and very fresh.  Larger pods are woody and don't absorb the spices as well.  This recipe is from Madhu Gadia's book New Indian Home Cooking, which I recommend!  Serve this with basmati rice and dal for a delicious, balanced meal.  Tasty Bite brand makes a great Madras Lentils if you don't want to make the dal from scratch (recipe here).  I also use Mexican flour tortillas as a flat bread to serve with my Indian meals at home.




Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh okra
4 t. canola oil, separated
1/2 t. whole cumin seeds
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cored, cut in half, then sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
1 T. coriander powder
1/2 t. cayenne powder (optional)
2 t. fennel seeds, coarsely ground (I grind whole spices using a coffee bean grinder.)
1/2 t. mango powder (otherwise known as amchur powder - order online or visit your local international grocery store)

Method:
Wash the okra.  Remove the stem ends and the tips.  Slice each okra pod in half lengthwise then set aside.

Heat 1 t. canola oil in a nonstick frying pan oveer medium-high heat.  Add cumin seeds and fry until they turn golden brown, a few seconds.  Add the onion and tomato to the pan, then layer the okra on top.  Sprinkle the turmeric, salt, coriander powder, cayenne pepper (if using), and ground fennel seeds over to the okra.  Stir gently with a spatula using a lifting and turning motion.

Cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and simmer until the okra is tender, 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove the lid and increase the heat to medium.  Add the mango powder and stir gently.  Pour the remaining 3 t. oil around the sides of the pan, allowing oil to flow to the bottom of the pan.  Fry for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring gently with a spatula using a lifting and turning motion.

Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mashed Blue Potatoes

This year, Scott and I grew "blue" potatoes in the garden.  Really, Scott did all the work.  Unlike "red" potatoes, blue potatoes have blue skin AND blue flesh (and in the plant world, "blue" usually means purple).  They make the most bee-YOU-tiful mashed potatoes, as you see here.  These are not artificially colored!  So head on out to your local farmer's market and see if the farmers in your area are growing blue potatoes that can liven up your table.  If not, they are something to consider for your own food garden next year.


Here's a blue potato, straight out of the garden and after a little bath.  As you can see, the skin is blue.  But the flesh is blue, too!



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Watermelon Margaritas

Here's another great idea for produce from the farmer's market.  I got the recipe from The Commercial Appeal, and they cited Arlen Gargagliano's Mambo Mixers as their source.  In any case, we made this with a luscious watermelon we picked up at last Saturday's farmer's market, and it was fun and refreshing!  There are no photos of the frothy pink drinks, because we were too busy enjoying them to photograph them.


Ingredients:
4 T. fresh lime juice plus 1 lime wedge and 2 full-moon lime slices for garnish
2 t. Kosher salt OR 2 t. granulated sugar (for the rim - you choose)
3 oz. tequila (El Mayor is a good brand that isn't expensive.)
1.5 c. watermelon, seeded and diced
1.5 t. Cointreau (or other orange liqueur)
2.5 t. superfine sugar, or to taste
2 c. ice cubes

Method:
Rub the rims of 2 chilled (optional) margarita or cocktail glasses with the lime wedge.  Pour the salt or sugar (whichever you chose) on a plate and press the rim of the glasses into it, turning gently until the rims are evenly coated.  Shake off excess.

Combine the lime juice, tequila, watermelon, superfine sugar, and ice cubes in a blender.  Process until smooth.  Pour into the prepared glasses.  Garnish with lime slices, and serve.  Serves 2.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Heirloom Tomato Salad

First, let me apologize for my long absence.  I started a new job this summer, and it's been exciting!  Beyond that, as everyone knows, life is busy and sometimes it's hard to balance everything.  I hope in the meantime you've been taking full advantage of the farmer's market near you while the summer produce is at its peak.  Even though I haven't been posting, I've been eating well!  For example, check out this incredible heirloom tomato salad.  Serve it with crusty bread and lettuce for a light meal for one or as a side for two to something more substantial.



Ingredients:
3 medium to large heirloom tomatoes, preferably 3 different colors (I used red, orange, and yellow, but tomatoes also come in pink, purple, striped, and even white!)
1 thin slice of white onion, halved and separated into strips
1 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (optional - omit if making vegan salad)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil (or to taste)
1 T. red wine vinegar (or to taste)
2 sprigs tarragon
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method:
Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized wedges.  Remove leaves from tarragon sprigs and discard stems.  Toss everything together until all coated, and enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

Here's an idea that I tried recently, and it turned out deliciously!  When I make mashed potatoes, I use a hand mixer to "mash" them to ensure no lumps.  Just before this mixing recently, I put in 1 deseeded chipotle pepper (I used the kind that is canned in adobo sauce.) for every 2 potatoes.  It gave the potatoes a smoky flavor with a mildly spicy kick.  YUM!

Here's another idea I haven't tried yet:  using these chipotle mashed potatoes to top a vegan pot pie or shepherd's pie.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roasted Carrots

While this recipe from Dash magazine looks too simple to be very exciting, this is a case where looks are deceiving.  Even if you are just so-so on carrots, give this recipe a chance.  Carrots don't usually make me feel much one way or the other, but Scott and I were scrapping for the last of this bunch!



Ingredients:
2 lbs. carrots, peeled, ends trimmed, and halved lengthwise (Believe me:  You want to make the whole 2 lbs.  I made just over 1 lb., and I was sorry!)
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly-ground black pepper

Method:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  In a shallow baking dish, toss the carrots in the olive oil, salt, and pepper so that the carrots are coated.  Roast the carrots at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees F, and carefully toss the carrots in the oil again.  Continue to cook at 325 degrees F until carrots are soft and browned.  Voila!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Dilly Spinach Dip

A big thank-you to my neighbor Kim who gave me this recipe from Real Simple magazine.  I've made some minor tweaks, but it's pretty much as originally given to me.  This vegan dip is delicious, healthy, and filling.  Spread it on crackers or crostini, dip it with tortilla chips or pita chips, or do like I did today and spread it onto crusty European bread with sliced tomatoes and roasted red peppers for a delicious vegan lunch.



Ingredients:
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, coarsley chopped
1 15.5-oz. can white beans (cannellini, Great Northern, etc.), rinsed and drained
1 12-oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 c. fresh dill sprigs (or to taste)
juice from 1/2 juicy lemon
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1.  In a small saucepan, heat the oil with the chopped garlic over medium heat until fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes.  Let cool.
2.  Squeeze the excess water from the thawed spinach.
3.  In a food processor, combine the garlic, oil, beans, spinach, dill, and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper, and purée until smooth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

A big fat THANK YOU! to my very good friend Christa who turned me on to this recipe from Oprah's website.  It is, in a word, outrageously delicious.  OK, that's 2 words.  And not only does it taste great, it includes sweet potatoes, which I'm trying to work into my diet more frequently.  Yay!  This recipe can easily be made vegan by omitting the cheese from the corn toritllas.  Just brush both sides of the tortilla with oil (instead of only one, as in the instructions), and brown both sides.  Either way, it makes 12 6-inch really yummy tacos.


Ingredients:
1.5 T. canola oil, divided
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 chipotles (from a can and in adobo sauce), minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 + 1/4 t. salt, divided
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 (6-inch) corn toritllas
additional canola oil
2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (omit if making vegan tacos - I used Organic Valley brand.)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 t. ground black pepper (optional - I didn't use it.)
salsa, for serving

Method:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 T. canola oil, then diced onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until transparent.  Stir in chipotles, garlic, and 1/2 t. salt.  Add sweet potato, remaining 1/2 T. canola oil, and another 1/2 t. salt, and stir to coat the potatoes with oil.  Cook one minute, then move the skillet to the oven and roast potatoes 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortillas.  Heat a frying pan or griddle (I used another cast-iron one.) over medium-high heat.  Brush 1 side of a tortilla lightly with oil, and place the oil side down in the pan.  Scatter a generous spoonful of shredded cheese over the center of the tortilla, and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is lightly golden brown on the underside but still flexible.  (NOTE:  If making vegan tacos, omit the cheese, and cook the other side of the tortilla in the same manner.)  Place the tortilla on a cookie sheet, and repeat with the remaining tortillas.  If the potatoes are still cooking when you are done with the tortillas, lightly oil a piece of foil and use it to cover the cookie sheet and tortillas.

Remove the skillet from the oven and immediately stir in the black beans, black pepper, if using, and up to 1/4 t. salt, to taste.  Top each tortilla with the sweet potato mixture and a spoonful of salsa.  Try not to eat too many!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegetarian/Vegan Event at Felicia Suzanne's in Memphis

According to Jennifer Biggs in the local Commercial Appeal paper, Felicia Suzanne's in Memphis is celebrating their 10th annivesary with several events including a vegan/vegetarian dinner on March 22nd.  Here are the details from today's paper:

At 7 p.m. March 22, the dinner is vegan/vegetarian and features an optional pairing of sustainably grown wines from A to Z in Oregon, Paul Dolan in California, and Rex Hill, also from Oregon. $55; $35 for wine pairing. Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to Project Green Fork.

It's not often enough that local restaurants have vegetarian and especially vegan events!  Take advantage of a good one while it's around.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cha-Cha!

Introducing the newest member of the Today Tomorrow family:  Cha-Cha!  Pictured here with Elvis...


This precious girl was found on the mean streets of Memphis.  She was homeless, pregnant, and hungry, but her story has a happy ending.  She was rescued and put up for adoption through Streetdog Foundation, and now she has a permanent home with us!  If you think you have room in your family for a rescued canine, click on Streetdog Foundation's link in my Links list to see all the angels that need homes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

Here's a photo of my fruit smoothie recipe (recipe here).  It's a fast, light, and healthy breakfast!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spinach and Potato Soup

Remember when I said I was trying to incorporate more sweet potatoes into my diet?  Well, ditto for leafy greens.  This recipe has both, and I am able to take credit for this one myself.  It's been a fairly warm spring in Memphis, but we had a cold snap last night.  Soup was a warm and comforting supper, and this recipe is super easy!


Ingredients:
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
water or vegetable broth (I used water plus some leek broth I had in the freezer.)
salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1 12-oz. package frozen crowder peas
1 can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 12-oz. package chopped frozen spinach


Method:
In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until transluscent.  Add the garlic, and sauté a minute more.  Add the diced potatoes plus water/broth to cover.  Add 1 t. salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.


Raise heat to high and bring the water/broth to a boil. Add the frozen crowder peas plus additional salt, if desired (I used anotehr 1/2 t. and honestly could have used a little more.), and return to a boil. When the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork and the crowder peas have a proper cooked texture when bitten, add the can of diced tomatoes with juice and the frozen chopped spinach.  Add more water/broth, if necessary.  (The soup will be very spinach-y.)  Bring the soup briefly back to a boil to ensure all soup (including frozen spinach) is thawed and warm.  Adjust salt/pepper to taste, and serve warm with crackers, cornbread, or some other tasty bread.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Lasagna

Let me preface this recipe by saying I really do not approve of dishes that are mainly CHEESE.  That having been said, I have been looking for ways to incorporate more sweet potatoes into my diet, and this idea struck me as a good one.  I can't take full credit, because I know I've seen a recipe somewhere for sweet potato lasagna.  But I didn't have one to follow, so I made this up.  It can be used as a main dish or a side dish.


Ingredients:
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin with a mandoline
15 - 16 oz. organic ricotta cheese (I used Organic Valley brand.)
2 free-range eggs
1/2 t. salt plus more, to taste
1/8 t. freshly-ground black pepper
6 - 8 oz. organic mozzarella (Again, I used Organic Valley.), shredded  (TIP:  Mozzarella is a soft-ish cheese.  Putting the block in the freezer for about 10 minutes before shredding firms it up and makes the shredding easier.)

Method:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Put 2 T. olive oil into an 8 x 11-inch baking dish.  Using a paper towel, grease the entire dish with the oil.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over mediumheat.  Sauté the chopped onion until transluscent, about 5 - 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Mix the onion, ricotta, eggs, 1/2 t. salt, and black pepper to make the ricotta custard.

Layer 1/3 of your sweet potato slices in the bottom of the greased baking dish and salt to taste.  Top the sweet potato layer with 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella.  Spread 1/2 of the ricotta custard over the cheese.  Layer another 1/3 of the sweet potato slices over the ricotta (salt to taste), then another 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Spread the other half of the ricotta custard over the cheese.  Top with the last 1/3 of sweet potatoes and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake the lasagna at 400 degrees F until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.  Remove the foil and sprinkle on the final 1/3 of the mozzarella.  Continue baking, uncovered, until the top layer of cheese is melted and slightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes before serving.

I served the lasagna with broccoli, speckled butter beans, and cornbread: